We want to continue our journey in our reflections on the resurrection principle this morning. I want to share a few reflections and get you to share yours as a group. This is an appropriate time for us to be talking further about the resurrection principle as we enter the season of Lent and attempt to recover this great symbol in the Church year. In just a few moments I want to come back to the relationship of the resurrection principle to Lent, as we anticipate in this season of repentance the Easter morning.

I don't know how you find it possible to check out your insights, but given RS­I, I find it necessary always to grid any insight that comes to me, or any insight that anybody has about life, against what is. That's what RS­I is all about. My short­cut to finding out if that is the way life is ~ if somebody has an insight, is to use RS­I. I was tickled here recently when some people in our group started talking about "transcendental meditation" and other things like that. When I talked to them a bit, they could relate it to a lot of different philosophies, a lot of different insights in humanness and so forth. But when we "ridded it across RS­I, it was not the way life is, in comprehensiveness, futurity, and intentionality. So it goes with all of us, I suppose, with insights that we have. They may be romantically attractive, or they might be emotionally enticing. They might be intellectually stimulating for a few moments. But then the short­cut to finding out if something is real is RS­I.

If we reflect back just a moment on RS­I in relation to the resurrection principle, we discover that RS­I begins not only with God, hut immediately also with the Christ and the Holy Spirit. You not only are dealing with God the Father in the first part of the course, but all three dimensions of the Trinity are involved in each part. You soon begin talking about judgment, although you do not call it that. But Saturday morning, when you begin to talk about the Christ, you have to talk about the judgment. And the judgment is mercy, that is, life is all about having one's illusions invaded and tromped upon. And our fathers saw clearly that that judgment was the mercy.

Or in talking about the Christ, we say that this Word­­"All is received, all is approved, all is good, and all is open" ­is the word of life. We do not say that it is the word about life. This is one of the problems I find in teaching. It's not a word about life that some philosopher or we want to superimpose on life. It is the Word of life. It is what life itself says about life, as you discover when you look when you have the eyes open to look at life. Or we say, "To die is to live." And again, that is not a word about life . That is a word that life tells you. To die is to live. All you have ~o do to check that out in reality is look. Is that not what you find happening in rime? The other way to put that is, "To live is to die." If you want to check that out, all you have to do is look. For instance, if you want to know if somebody loves you or loves somebody else, all you have to do is 1o>ok. You do not have to theorize about it too much. Is not life all about dying, anr1 is not dying in reality all about life?

In the Holy Spirit section of RS­I we say that freedom is obedience. You do not check that out with respect to some logical philosophy. You just look where you are really obedient and find out if that is not where you are really free. Then, of course, in sentence seven of the third paragraph in Bonhoeffer, if you want to find out where you are entirely free, the only thing that sets you free is the absolute obligation­­fulfilling that absolute obligation to God and neighbor in Jesus Christ understanding of life.

Now all that is simply to say that you are not trying to superimpose something on life. That is our basic stance. When you come up with the resurrection principle or any other understanding or insight, it is not that you have got this new insight that now you are going to go out and superimpose on the world, but rather that the insight has emerged from the experience of the human race. That is what I would like to look at this morning in relationship to the cruciform principle and to the resurrection principle.

But first, I need to add a bit about this word of life. Our fathers saw that this word of life "descends into Hell." I mean it descends into the Hell of encrusted illusion, in which a person does not want life to be the way it is, and where he keeps on insisting that it not be the way it is, and commands everybody and everything in his security system to keep it from being the way it is, if he possibly can. Of course, it is hell because it will not work. It never has and it never will. You can see that played out in life and in a million different dramas, poems and stories.

How does this happen day by day? I am going to be relying greatly in the next few minutes on Rollo May and on Paul Tillich. Rollo May has said, "People commit suicide not because they are afraid of life, but because they are afraid of death." They cannot stand to live always in the situation where standing means to be under the threat of death. So they commit suicide. He uses the illustration of the life boat­­not the one that some of our colleagues use in the Freedom Lecture­­another one. He says that some people, when they are in a life boat at sea waiting to be rescued, cannot stand to stay in the life boat because of the constant strain of wondering, "Shall we be rescued, or shall we drown? Shall we be rescued, or shall we die?" He says that in such cases some of them jump overboard and commit suicide because of that very strange sweat about living in a situation where it is so obviously true that life is like that. "Will we die or will we live in the next moment?" He also points out from the testimony of many heroes that much heroism comes out of that very same thing. On the battlefield, under the stress and strain of fire, the stress is "Will I die or will I live?" Sometimes the attempt to save people's lives comes out of the person's real unwillingness to live in the kind of situation in which he cannot face the stresses of the present moment over and over again. I think that that insight will he helpful In a moment in talking about the resurrection principle.

But­ let's look at day­to­day life and ask, as we do with the rent of RS­I, where it is that you see death going on in much a way that obviously gives new birth. Most of us are experiencing always what Tillich and many people call "ontological angst," the basic human anxiety that arises out of our consciousness of our death. Then we transform that into psychological fear. Here goes your ontological angst beating along at the depths of life, and the human being, in order to escape this, transposes it into psychological fear, which can have an object. It can be a real object, something worth fearing, or it can be an unreal object, something that is not worth fearing. In either case that process seems to go on in humanness with us all. Here you are going along with your ontological angst, and you decide, "Well, I can't stand to face that." But you do not say that to yourself. One transposes it over into the economic life and says, "Well, I'm afraid that I won't get enough goods, or "the quality of the goods I want won't be high enough," or something like that. As you know, the Church's answer to that is, "Poverty"' or, "Face the facts! You're dying right now and you always will be., In the political life, we transpose the basic angst about life into, ''I won't get the significance, I won't get the status that I ought to have and need"­­that kind of psychological fear. The Church has always said you know what to that. In the cultural dimension it comes out as, "I want to look smart and stylish, or be the symbol that I need to be, and it doesn't look as though I'm ever going to make it. It doesn't appear that I'm every going to get intelligent enough; it doesn't look as if I'm going to get smart enough or stylish enough, or somehow or another bring my symbolic self into concretion." These are just daily events that are reminding us of the ever­present death. In other words, in one manner of speaking, it is the hoping for the Messiah, instead of being open to the Messiah that is the No­Messiah Messiah­­it is closing ourselves off from life as it actually is.

This is especially true in the Order at this time of year when many Internships begin to come to a conclusion, and the decision must be made as to whether this is what I really want my life to be about­­this stupid Order. And it is not because people are dumb that it takes this long, to the end of the year. It is because the decision to reach concretion has to do with whether or not you want to give up your life in some outfit like this or not. You talk with the persons who are engaged in this decision, and you can feel great empathy. You cannot be of any help. There is no help for a person there at all. But you can empathize with the complexities that are involved, when they see that the only thing we have to offer in the Order, if we have anything at all, is a rather relevant way to die. That is all. Everything else we have not got. Now, on the other side of that, you can have a very interesting life as a part of this Order, a very intriguing life. You can tell yourself all sorts of tales and experience yourself in the life style of Freedom as Don Juan, the actor, or the conqueror­­all kinds of images that one can live by. But if you look at the nitty­gritty of it, that is all there is­­just a very relevant way to die that is available in this outfit and in the self­conscious Church at all points in history.

Otto Rank has talked about this with the symbol of "cutting the umbilical cord," as it has been used throughout all human existence, or dying to be reborn to a more meaningful life in constant situations. He talks of the idea of "individuation," or how a self comes into existence. First of all, he says, the umbilical cord is cut physically, and the baby then immediately thinks that it is a part of the mother's breast. Then the weaning process from the breast takes place, and that baby has to give up the breast in order to be nourished in a different fashion. Or the child goes on from nursery to school. That is a dying, if you will, to one self and moving to another. Or one reaches puberty, and discovers the "not­me" in the opposite sex. These are all dimensions of discovering the not­me. At puberty he says death to the non­sexual being that he has been and becomes a sexual being. Then there is the possibility of love of someone of the opposite sex. Immediately, there is the possibility of marriage. Or it is a question of college, going on and deciding one's life work, going on and deciding his Profession. At every one of those points there is a dying to an old in order to become that which is new. This is also true with ideas. For example, when a brand new idea is introduced into your mind, you have to die to your old ideas. This also happens finally at the deathbed, where, if you have not come to terms with the great mystery of the Not­me of all that is not­me until then, you very well come to terms with the final mystery then.

The point of this is that we repress that consciousness. We repress the images of guilt, of death, of emptiness; and this results in our floating these days, as we have said, or in our cooling it. This results in the listlessness, and I suppose, the conformity of much of American life. It especially comes out of the desire to go back into being a thing, or go back into being just a part, as the temptation not to be an individual or not to be individuated takes place. We do this by imagining that life is about getting more life, or if we could just have more goods, or if we could just have more status, or more time, more experience, more whatever. We want to have "fulfillment of life." But what is happening is that we repress our images of these dimensions of existence and try thereby to outwit death.

I think of an incident that was reported on television during the election campaign by the son of Governor Wallace He said the thing that had really struck him in the campaign was that his father was hit over the head by a flower child, hit over the head with a sign that said, "God loves everybody." I think that is not an unfair illustration of the people saying' "Make love not war." They do not want to face life as it is; they do not want to face death. They want to affirm life. But you check into it at another dimension, and you find out they want to affirm life without ambiguity, a life without death, a life without the pain and the struggle that humanness is.

Rollo May's insights are useful here:

I remarked earlier that the Christian misuse of hope plays into the American romanticization that we somehow are deluded into escaping death. I happen myself to be a person to whom religion means something important, and I also happen to be of the Christian religion. But I went to a funeral of a dear friend of mine a couple of months ago, a friend whom I miss greatly in his death, and I wanted to sit and mourn this friend. Mourning is psychologically exceedingly creative and a healthy function. If something dies in you, then the only creative way to face that is the way of grief. Now I wanted to meditate in this service on how much I loved my friend, how much we all missed him and the joy and richness that he gave to our lives and to our group. But the young minister, who is a graduate of the same seminary that Dr. Cole and I are graduates of, preached a sermon on Christian hope. We do not need to grieve for our friend because in Christianity we have transcended death. Now I am here to propose to you tonight that this is a prostitution of the idea of the Christian resurrection, and that your Christian conviction, or your religious convictions of any sort, can be meaningful for you not at all if it stops short of the fact of death, but only as a meaning to life that you can achieve, having faced directly and courageously, having mourned and experienced grief and moved through the reality of death.

Now there is in our twentieth century culture, I think particularly in America, a kind of staleness, a kind of fed­up quality. Nietszche described this in his nineteenth century Europe, the last part of the nineteenth century. He called it "The disease of contemporary man." He said that the disease of contemporary man is that his soul has gone stale. All about, said Nietszche, there is a bad smell, the smell of failure, and I believe that what is going on here is a failure to have the courage to face the fact of death, and that that smell is the smell of repressed death. If we do not pay attention to it, then the staleness and fed­upness come as a repression of grief and mourning and as I would say, as the natural outcome of the inability to face the reality of life. Now Nietszche says that the leavening and diminution of European man is our greatest danger, and I agree with him one hundred per cent. The leavening economically and the dehumanization of modern man is our greatest danger. And I think the most vital point at which this occurs is the point at which we romanticize and avoid the fact that someday we shall die. We also avoid the individuation, the growth and the new birth that is possible in each one of these steps throughout life.

I think this romanticization is a new form of the American dream, and to me, the most harmful aspect of the American dream. It is the dream that we shall never die and then if we do die, somehow our descendants will live in a world of such progress medically and psychologically that they shall not die. We will be healthier and healthier. Since, however, we still know we do die, we repress the fact of death in order that the assumption that life goes on perpetually may be hung on to. I think this romanticization comes out in some unexpected ways. One of these ways which I want to cite for you is in the last book of Erich Fromm. In his book Fromm says there are two kinds of people. There are those who love death; these he calls necrophiliac people, and he gives Hitler as an example. And there are those who love life, and these he calls biophilia, and he gives Schweitzer as an example of that. Now I am very grieved by this sheep and goats generation because I think it omits completely that those who truly love life love it by virtue of confronting death. Of course, Schweitzer has died. Of course, the artists and others who enrich life for us are precisely those who do it by virtue of the courage to face death. Life takes on its meaning, they tell us in many different ways, by virtue of the fact that we can face death. Otherwise there is this dead fed-upness. I think the loving of life for its own sake is a dehumanization of the human being. We are distinguished as human beings in the evolutionary line by virtue of the fact that life is not the ultimate reason for living.

The human being is characterized by "Give me liberty or give me death," and if he does not have values that are more important to him than the mere fact of living, then the human being would become a slave. If the mere fact of perpetuating life is the ultimate goal, we have the human being who has become dehumanized. I think the emphasis upon life as the ultimate good is to erase the distinguishing qualities of the human being that's human. It robs us of the tragic death in life; it robs us of the meaning of human experience; it goes beyond the fact of whether or not I shall live tomorrow. "Give me liberty or give me death" is not a derived concept. It is a decision. All the way through history, except since the beginning of our industrial age, men have known that unless they are willing to die for something, their lives would be empty. The Greeks said this in a hundred different ways. Primitive people said it in a hundred different ways. I think it has been said consistently up until the last few decades, that unless one has the courage to give up his life for some value, then life itself would have no meaning.

I myself have despised certain kinds of sentiment in my life because life finally taught me that sentimentality was not worth my life. When I learned that, the process for killing off the demonic unsentimentality involved killing that dimension of one's life which participates in genuine sentiment, derived from the ontological situation, from re­union, as Tillich would say. Or in this case, as Rollo May was talking about it, we have had to kill our ability to participate in grief. I think probably most of our generation in order to live in this peculiar twentieth century world that we have had on our hands, have had to shore up other dimensions of our life in order to become callous to that experience of sentimentality, or indeed we could not have existed `1uring this strange period. I think the grieving in Love Story, the empathetic grieving with what is going on on the screen, is the grieving over the fact that we did indeed have to 1 become callous or kill off a dimension of humanness. The movie is a sort of funeral for it. The audience is not grieving because the girl is dying. They are not grieving because the boy and girl are in love and the boy is having difficulty with his father-relationship. They are grieving over themselves. They are grieving over that which they have quite necessarily had to kill in themselves. And this is probably one of the greatest opportunities to go to the funeral of that dimension of yourself which you had to kill, that we have had as a whole nation, a whole culture, in a long long time. I think probably the last time that such an event took place was the death of John F. Kennedy, and we were finally able to say "yes" to the explicit death of John Kennedy, as we all watched the funeral on television.

I want to say a word about this in respect to a current problem as I see it manifest across the movement in our pedagogy. It is the problem of passion. Some of my colleagues on the experimental pedagogy team I am in bear evidence that dimensions of passion are present in their lives. But now you get some of those characters up in front of a group of people, and there is not overall passion. I do not mean there is no passion, but there is not any empathetic involvement with people. RS­I is treated as a body of material. It is being presented with perfection, but it is not being presented with passion. It is not manifest that if a person does not get this, his life is going to be living Hell for the rest of his life, and if he does not get this point he is going to die­­he is going to stay dead, to put it that way.

Now it is not just us on this team. I have found lately that passion would often not be present in my own teaching, and I have been trying to analyze why. Why won't passion return? Finally, I saw that I was waiting for a Messiah. I wanted something to manipulate me into having passion for these people when I did not care a bit whether they lived or died­­when I was so tired of teaching that I could vomit. That is my experience, and I have been waiting for some Messiah to come along that would inspire me to have the passion that I want again for these people.

Finally I had to face the fact that that is not ever going to happen. I have got to decide to be passionate. And then there is another block that comes: "Well, wait, that's not integrity. If I don't feel passion, how shall I go out and pretend I've got passion?" As if we had not been doing that all along! "Shall I jump over the fence of deciding to be the phony person we said we would have to be in the Church Lecture of RS­I, deciding to be that phony guy to myself in playing the passionate role?" The strange thing is that when you make that decision, passion flows into you, or life flows through you. As the poem says, "we are transmitters of life," when you decide to be the passionate person. In advanced PLC's we used to have to tell ministers whose marriages had fallen apart or were no longer meaningful that you decide to kiss your wife. You kiss her every morning or you kiss her thirty times a day. Passion does not happen to you; you decide passion. T do not know where I forgot that, not about my wife, but about teaching.

Across the movement, we are obedient people; we have the most obedient people in the world in this movement. But in our obedience we have to overcome that sense of "disintegrity," or whatever you would call it, which comes when a person says, "Well, shall I deviate From my material of RS­l just this much in order to be passionately concerned for people?" In other words, "Shall I demand of myself both the law and the gospel -- not just ­ the law, but shall I have both of them in my approach to teaching?" Zorba the Greek's dance comes in here. A colleague was talking about a Greek down at Diana's Restaurant here in Chicago, how he turned a situation that we would call matter into pure spirit by just that Greek approach to life. When they do those things, they are not doing them because they have been motivated to do them, or because that is their natural tendency. They are deciding to do that, to be passionately involved with whatever it is.

There is a connection between the pedagogical "moment" and the consciousness of death. Again, I quote from Rollo May:

I am going to talk from now on quite a bit about consciousness, because I think the real critical issue in the facing of death lies in the area of the human being's capacity for self­consciousness. Your consciousness is what is unique about you. You hear these ideas applying in a way that nobody else hears them in this audience. Your case, if you are honest with yourself, is always different from anybody else's. Your perception, the way you have of looking at any given scene, always has its original form. (This is like that quote out of Kazantzakis, isn't it, where he says, 'You, Adam, you brought a new rhythm to life, as soon as you appeared on the scene.') Back in the days when I was an artist, I noticed that when a group of artists were painting a model, every one of us conceived of it very differently. Now it is a different model to me from what it was to the person next to me, and it was not because one of us was a better artist than the other. It made no sense whatever to say, "We are going to measure this female to see whether she is the way I am painting her or not." This is all completely irrelevant. It is rather that human consciousness, by virtue of its being the consciousness of an individual, always is such that the form of life which is perceived by that consciousness, is unique. This is the richness, the preciousness, the greatness and also the terror of each individual act of consciousness. This is your original feeling, and your values, if they are worth anything to you, will be values that begin with this original act of consciousness. This is the stand you take.

This is interesting. For an act of consciousness, for an act of perception, I posit my body vis-à-vis something­­the model if I'm painting, a problem of my life, or whatever it may be. But I posit myself vis-à-vis something, in the world, and it goes on then between me and this something, whether it be a model, or idea or tragedy or what­not. What goes on between me is a unique act of reforming what I see. Something is born out of that incident that is unique and new and original, and it becomes so by virtue of the fact that I can stand, I can posit myself, and I take responsibility for positing myself vis-à-vis this model, this idea, or this problem. This is what distinguishes you as a human being, and the fatal question is in this consciousness of yours, "How do you relate to the fact of death?" the unique thing about the human being which differentiates him from all the rest of evolution is that we have a word for death. We can know that we die. We can foresee our death. And as I say, I think a great deal of the compulsive activity, making money, buying insurance, living more and more in our day, being compulsive conformists in the squirrel­cage sense, keeps me away from the fact, that regardless of all my life insurance, that if I were quiet with myself, I would know that someday I shall die. We know that we will die. We are the creatures who anticipate our own deaths. And our problem in the last analysis then becomes, will we run away from death by making a cult of believing in automatic progress? This is, I think, what we are doing mostly in this country. Will we make a cult of progress? " Some how God will relieve us of this vulgar crisis." Or will we obscure it by making it impersonal? Will we resort to statistics, saying that "one" dies, rather than that "I" die, hiding the fact that the real problem for me or for any man is that at some point my life will end?

To go back to my general theme of resurrection, let me say finally that a person experiences the resurrection that takes place as death gives birth to new life in day­by­day events when he finally faces the totality of death, or when he gives birth to new life, or when he's a walking, talking dead man, as we say in our course. There is no blackmail. You control your life. You control your time, yourself, no matter what the situation. I do not mean that you control it individualistically. But in corporateness you know that you are the one who controls your time because you choose to give over your time into corporateness, or you would not even be the kind of corporate man that the movement requires.

It would be interesting to examine the resurrection man over the immediate man, the circumspect man and the defiant man of Kierkegaard. When a person dies from his immediate relations, a kind of resurrection takes place. Resurrection also takes place when a person dies from hiding in circumspection, when he has the death of the weak self on his hands. That's what Kierkegaard as you know says that a person has to face. He must allow that self to he destroyed. That's how he becomes a circumspect man­­not wanting his self to be destroyed because it's a weak self and he thinks it should be nourished instead of destroyed. And you could go on with the defiant man.

If you look with Rollo May at the death­wish, it clarifies the wisdom of the church in setting aside a season of Lent, in which we self-consciously symbolize our death, allowing the Word to descend into our own most personal hell of illusion, and see that the jaws of Hell do not prevail against it. In the vocations conversation in RS­I you open up the secret that in facing death there is resurrection. In that little exercise of putting your name and the epitaph you would like on your tombstone, a person has an imaginal experience of the possibility of seeing what the Christian faith means by the new life that is born when you embrace your death.

Joseph Pierce