ben vandgrift · on living the dream

character writing - joshua matthews

"Everything has been broken upon the stone, cracked apart, laid open. The middle runs out over the sides, and nothing is hidden."–from 'The Lost Mythic' by Joshua Matthews.

"All too often one sets themselves in a static state, where they define their reality in terms of what they know. This is not the way a scientist looks at the world, and all philosophers must, at their core, be scientists. The division between Science and Mythology has been a barrier to learning for half a milennium."–from 'The Lost Mythic'

"It is the belief of every Christian that their mythology is correct. While I believe this to be true, I do not believe it to be the Truth–that is, it is not the sum of all truths. There are things in this world that the Christian mythology simply doesn't cover."from an interview with Art Bell

From essay entitled "Revisiting the Divine", by Joshua Matthews.

We, as Americans are very put upon by organized religion. The Church, in the books of Paul was touted as a group entity, the Body of Christ, and to be a part was a Christian's duty. This has led to a certain myopia in the present-day church, a cult of conformity that strangles out an important uniqueness in our being.

This uniqueness isn't merely a representation of who we are, it is also a representation of our relationship with the divine. Our communion isn't a group activity, it is a personal revelation. One's relationship with God is one-on-one, as different from person to person as their DNA. This kind of relationship is stifled by the herd mentality of the Sunday Service, everyone bowing to the greater knowledge of their 'shepherd'.

The problem with the group model, objectively, is that it doesn't lend itself to strength. If the only spiritual guidance and constancy that a person experiences is with a group, and the reasoning behind their own purity is peer pressure rather than personal decision, this person will fail and be weak when facing their temptations alone. It is better to stand up, alone, complete in the knowledge of the divine, rather than relying on your fellows, as they will not always be with you, and the greatest temptations will come from within the soul, a battle which is ultimately solitary.

Strength comes from strength of conviction, something which is an individual experience. Faith is the light of God, burning away that which troubles us. Emily Bronte put it succinctly in "No Coward Soul is Mine":

"No coward soul is mine, No trembler in the world's storm-troubled sphere: I see Heaven's glories shine, And faith shines equal, arming me from fear."

"The weather-cock on the church spire, though made of iron, would soon be broken by the storm if it… did not understand the noble art of turning to every wind." - Heinrich Heine

written: Jul 27 1999