>Blogging From a Babylonian Fiery Furnace

>It was a normal afternoon. I had finished my homework and was playing around the house. when I say house I mean a ninth floor 3.5 bedroom apartment in a poetically named Peace Street in the just off-cool suburbs of my home town. This apartment complex had trash chutes in each apartment, usually next to the kitchen (natch). You would throw your bagged (mostly) trash in there, it would crash down to the ground floor into very large bins which would then be collected by the garbage disposal people. Occasionally the trash would get stuck in a floor or between floors, and would need someone, usually the caretaker, to come around and prod it down with long brooms. At any rate, this afternoon as I was playing around the house I went by the chute and caught a whiff of some pungent smells. I opened the chute and could see a bunch of trash stuck just past our opening. Being that my parents had taught me the civic virtues, I thought I would do my part to help the trash down. That is the good part. the bad part is my pyromania. Combine the two…and well. My thought process was simple: Trash is stuck here. I have a box of matches in my pocket (doesn’t everyone?). If I burn the trash to ashes it will go down faster.

With such brilliance that would have astounded a young Plato, I struck a match and threw it into the pile of trash….WHOOSH!

I might not have been very bright (or too bright my grandmother would say) but I was also not stupid. I immediately slammed the chute closed, picked up my toys and went to my room to play, as far away from the mess as possible. I did wonder what happened, though. It did not take me long to find out. Apparently the huge fireball inched its combustible way slowly down, floor by floor, spewing smoke and toxic fumes in every apartment. Eventually it landed on the ground floor where it proceeded to double-WHOOSH if that’s possible, as it touched even more combustible material. The fire engines arrived, the police arrived. Not much after that they arrived at my door. I am still not sure how they could trace it to, ahem, me, perhaps it had something to do with previous accidents (incidents?). The worse part of my punishment was having to surrendered my prized box of matches and my 18 oz. bottle of starter fluid.

I hope you are all on fire this week as you work through our attempts at taming our minds. I did not emphasize this last time, because frankly I thought it obvious, but here is how I see it. We are all running around with our hair on fire. At least that’s how our minds see the world and life in general. Hair on fire is not a good thing. It usually makes you a little more hurried than usual, and less prone to want to sit down for a while, have a cup of tea, visit with a good friend and discuss the formula for converting temperatures from Fahrenheit to Celsius.

Now, usually this is a bad thing. So why on earth would God say this: “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” (Acts 2:1-6)

All of us have fire in our hair, but this is (or should be) Holy Fire. The trick is to stop long enough to recognize it as such. So, pay attention this week to how crazy your mind is, how it makes you think you are on fire, and rushes you about.

You ARE on fire, but this is the kind of fire that does not consume bushes or hair! You can stay in it and not get burned. But you cannot stay in it without being changed…

Look over your Christ-likeness list and pay attention to all those flames! Let it rekindle you. Let the fire transform your minds. You can blow on the flames by working on the quality of your thinking.


About spaceloom

An urban monk, and an experienced spiritual director with a Masters in Psychology. Married with two children. Want to know me better? Read my thoughts.
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