Merry Subversion!

I’m having a subversive Christmas. I’m thinking about the subversiveness of the Christmas story.

Why subversive?

Spirituality is by its nature subversive… it sees significance and meaning beyond the material… that something is going on behind the "seen". Awakening (what I usually call mysticism) is even more subversive; it sees the interior (subversive!) way as of primary importance for the individual for experience God. The way of peaceful warriors is more subversive still: for us, it’s a challenge of (subversively!) transforming the world by allowing ourselves to be transformed.

Subversion, subversion, subversion! The arrival of the Teacher was announced to a few. Most simply weren’t interested. The presence of living Teachers today is of interest only to a few: most could care less. Yet the Teaching persists, and it’s so subversive, you can’t even grasp it with your mind. That which you think you know is the first thing that must be subverted for the seed to take root.

Nine months before this subversive birth in a smelly barn away from the eyes of the world, something else subversive happened. A messenger (angelos) privately, (subversively!) told Mary that she would become pregnant when "holy breath" (pneuma hagion) and "the power of the Highest" (dunamis hupistou) overshadowed her. (Lk. 1:26-36)

Mary immediately understood the subversive direction of this future birth:

He has shown the power of his arm,
He has routed the proud of heart.
He has pulled down princes from their thrones
and exalted the lowly.

The hungry he has filled with good things,
the rich sent empty away… (Lk 1. 51-53)

Just try saying that at a presidential inauguration, and see how long to takes the Secret Service to react! It’s subversive, and it’s not what the powers of this world want to hear, period.

So what will be conceived in you, when holy breath fills you, and your delusions are overshadowed by the Highest power? What or who will you give birth to?

9 thoughts on “Merry Subversion!

  1. Something happened to me some time ago that took me by surprise. It shouldn’t have, because the bible warns about this a hundred times over.
    There are a few persons in my surroundings who are particularly manipulative. I was aware of that but was defensive about it. Then I suddenly saw how frightened they are. That changed my attitude towards them without any effort. One of them suddenly lashed out at me, her face contorted with rage. It didn’t frighten me, because I was seeing her delusions doing this and not her real self. If you take drugs or alcohol away from an addict, they go just as crazy. There’s nothing more addictive than the delusion of power. No wonder mystics are seen as dangerous, subversive, criminal, insane or all of the above.

    One of my favorite poems:
    Leave me here freely alone,
    In cell where never sunlight shone.
    Should no one ever speak to me,
    This golden silence makes me free!
    (Part of “Prayer before a picture of Jesus” by Titus Brandsma from a Nazi prison in Scheveningen. “That dangerous little friar” they called him.)

  2. “Into this world,
    this demented inn,
    in which there is absolutely no room for him at all.
    Christ has come uninvited.

    But because he cannot be at home in it –
    because he is out of place in it –
    his place is with others who do not belong…

    who are rejected because they are regarded as weak…
    with those who are discredited,
    who are denied the status of persons….

    With those for whom there is no room, Christ is present in this world.”

    – Thomas Merton “The Time of no room
    Each time we give birth to an act of love, it is Christmas time.

  3. Margreet, yep, you’ve got it. We look behind the curtain (allusion to the Wizard of Oz, and know full well the Emperor has no clothes. Thanks for the poem.

    Julie… Yeah, I’ve gone a little easy on the “heavy stuff” this year. (this post almost makes up for that!)

    Irving, thanks for that poem, too!

    All- Blessings! peace, love, joy!

  4. Ah, you know I’m a geek when I see the word Subversion and think of the version control system :)

    I see you’re point about the story. Actually, I think that it’s a bit creepy.

  5. hello i am a beleiver of God jesus christ as his son.i met a women who called herself a mystic.e talked about things i told my story and she said she saw the holy grail and a sword her eyes just lit up when we realized christ god was with us .i told her things she told me things one thing that blew my mind was that she encouraged me to beleive i could play the guitar and i believed and i did.she allowed christ in and it birthed in me faith to beleive i could play it opened a beautiful door in my mind.wow

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