A Theology of the Stoop (Reflection)

martha-and-kids-on-a-stoop-on-ward-ave-in-s-bronxWhen I was five years old, I remember my twin brother, Pete, and I hanging out on our stoop at 1132 Ward Avenue in the Soundview section of the Bronx. It was one of those hot, humid New York City summer days.  One of the neighborhood boys visited our stoop and showed us that he had a firecracker left over from the Fourth of July.  We told him to set it off on the sidewalk, but he decided to stick the firecracker in some freshly laid dog shit near a tree in front of our stoop.

Our young friend lit the firecracker and we all ran away as fast as we could.  But it didn’t go off. So we all went towards the pile to investigate.  When we had put our faces close the firecracker, it suddenly went off and dog shit was all over our faces.  Pete and I ran up to our third story apartment, screaming for our mother, who when she saw us started yelling and cursing at us in Spanish.  We were already pretty embarrassed, but now we were really scared, because we were sure to get the belt for this. But then something different happened.  My mother started to laugh hysterically, and so did we!

I have so many precious memories of sitting and playing on the stoop – especially during the hot summers, because no one had air conditioning.

You know, air conditioning isn’t really all that it’s cracked up to be. I think they should rename air conditioners Relationship Minimizing Cooling Mechanisms.  Far too many people today who live in air conditioned homes, including myself, live out their mode of hot weather existence by going from the perceived comfort of their faux cooled homes into their Freon chilled automobiles in order to get to some other climate controlled indoor man-made place of economic mass consumption.

Yet, for the multitudes of New Yorkers in the not so distant past, air conditioning was a luxury which only the very wealthy could afford.  The rest of us sat on stoops.  And not just when it was hot.  We sat there as long as it wasn’t absolutely freezing.  The stoop was the inner city playground of both adults and children in my place in the Bronx.  It was from there you picked your teams for stick ball on car lined streets or to dry off after splashing in the spewing water of an open fire hydrant. It was where you would take your seat in the community.  The stoop is where you get to sit down and enjoy Sabbath rest.  The stoop was where real life and relationships happened.

Mario Maffi said, “In the ghetto neighborhoods [of New York City] especially, stoops served many different functions…. These elevated platforms were ideal for observation, courting, a chat, or gossip….” (2004:8). Stoops were the center of life, of relational life, of what Jesus called zoe, or spiritual life.  The stoops were the relational circuits where we visited each other in our neighborhoods.

Two years ago I took my family from Pittsburgh, where we live now, back to the South Bronx.  I wanted to take a picture of us all sitting on my old stoop.  I told my children many stories of my childhood, including how when I went trick or treating I had to catch candy in my bag that was thrown from apartment windows five, sometimes ten, stories up.  I told them the old Puerto Rican wives’ tale that when it rained and it was sunny out, witches were having a barbeque.  Don’t ask.  I have no idea.  I told them how excited I was about the ghost the whole community came out to fight one summer’s evening; how I cried when a little baby died in a fire in the corner apartment building; how happy I was to find a quarter in front of the stoop, and I how I used it to buy a Matchbox™ car at the corner Bodega. I remember the fun Pete and I had racing up and down the block as my Dad timed us from the stoop.  I recalled with great fondness the loudness of it all, of having to scream for my mother to give me permission to cross the street.  She would then yell from the window, overlooking the stoop, when it was safe.

And then I told my family about the myriad uncles, aunts, and cousins on the block, each with their own stoops, stoops to visit, stoops to be with others.  I remember Uncle Dario who couldn’t hear too well, Uncle George with his huge Afro, Titi Nilda, Titi Lucy, Titi Martha, and Blanca and Carmen. They either lived on the block or they were somehow always there, and, of course, every other adult on the block was my “uncle” or “aunt.” Who really was your uncle or aunt or cousin back then was a complete mystery. Anyone allowed to spank you was somehow related to you; and there was a lot of spanking going on. I wasn’t told until I was in my twenties that my Titi Livia and my Uncle Dario were unrelated to me.  But we were related — much in the same way I am related to Jesus.

Because the stoop is where Jesus is.  Always, Jesus is waiting there to be with us, to visit with us, to commune with us, to abide in us, to be with us.  “Then God came out from heaven, became a human being in Jesus, and Jesus moved into El Barrio to hang out on the stoop with us” (see Jn 1:14). The stoop is a sacred space; it is holy ground; it is an altar in the ‘hood.  It is where heaven and earth intersect, where “Love and truth will meet; justice and peace will kiss” (Ps 85:11, NABRE).

The dictionary definition of stoop is primarily a verb. It means to “come down from a height; to abase; to humble; to submit.” To be on the stoop is to stoop.  God comes to my stoop as the One who is grounded in my reality, as the One who wants to display the truest way of life in humility.  God submits God-self to me, God’s creature, in order that I might be One with God and all creation.  To be on the stoop is to be real, to manifest my truest self to God and my fellow creature.  When I visit others on the stoop, I am called to remove my masks, to reveal my vulnerable, interdependent, and authentic self to the other.

On the stoop Jesus, the real God, comes to visit with His real people. In the Canticle of Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist praises God for the soon coming of Jesus the Messiah saying, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, for he has visited and brought redemption to his people. Because of the tender mercy of our God by which the daybreak from on high will visit us to shine on those who sit in darkness and death’s shadow, to guide our feet into the path of peace” (Lk 1:68, 78-79, NABRE). What great news!  Emmanuel!  God with us on the stoop!

Yet after visiting my old stoop, waves of sadness came over me.  I realized that I, like so many others, can’t seem to really find my way back to the stoop.  I cannot find my way back to deep community. I have chosen separation and loneliness apart from God and neighbor.  It’s not that I want to be lonely; I desperately want deep communion with God and others.  But I have bought into the lie of the consumer society, and that the pain of my loneliness and separation is more bearable than the effort it would take to be restored to blessed community. Thus, I really haven’t felt it necessary or even prudent to go back to try and restore myself to the stoop of Christ.

Why? I am hurting; I am afraid!  I have an idolatrous desire to be air conditioned, away from God and others, superficially dabbling in religiosity, playing roles instead of living out of my brokenness.

So I no longer need to visit the stoop of my nostalgic past, but I have discovered I need to be restored to the stoop of my eternal now.

Today, I define my being lost as not knowing where my true stoop is – to be out of deep, growing relationships with God and others.  To be lost and alone is what it might mean to sit in darkness and death’s shadow.  The Israelites said, when you were lost and alone, you were outside the camp. Bronxites would say you were missing from the stoop.  Jesus might lament saying, “you did not recognize the time of your visitation” (Lk 19:44b, NABRE).

My heart’s desire is that I would be restored and gathered to my stoop, enjoying shalom and Shabbat with God, my family, my neighbor, being found and in community where there is neither black nor white, male nor female, religious nor atheist, but all are one with and in Christ, visiting, sitting, and abiding on the stoop together with Christ on earth as it is heaven.

(c) Paul Dordal, 2016


This Is Eternal Life (Reflection)

eternal_life_titleFor many Protestant Christians (and Catholic and Orthodox Christians too), there is a clear and necessary connection that John 3:3 (“Jesus replied, ‘Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.'”) has with John 3:16 (“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”).

Yet, there is another verse in John that is not always connected to the aforementioned two which will have a powerful impact for Christians who desire to live an abundant life today, and not just see this life as a way-station for the next. John 17:3 says, “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ….”

Eternal life is living life in deep communion with God and Jesus through the Holy Spirit; not simply knowing where you are going to live when you die.  By connecting necessarily all three of the above verses together, the Christian will realize that eternal life, and the kingdom of God, has begun in their lives today.  This life is not a way-station for the next.  This today-eternal life is the critical part of really being born again, because it shows forth that God’s will can be done on earth as it is heaven. It shows how heaven has indeed come to earth in Jesus.  It emphasizes that Christ is really human and divine, and that we are like him in our resurrected life.

(c) Paul Dordal, 2016

Grace Revisited (Reflection)

graceIn Christianity, grace is often defined as the unmerited favor of God in Christ. This definition is connected to the notion that the relationship between God and humans is irreparably estranged because of humanity’s intrinsically deficient sin-nature and God’s perfect holiness.  And this definition, almost exclusively, is related to the soteriological view that God must “save” us in order that we can to go to a place after death called heaven. So, grace then is the gift of salvation (life after death) given to those who don’t deserve it. Yet, in order to receive this gift, one must “repent” of his or her sins and acknowledge that Jesus is the Lord and Savior of his or her life.

But God’s grace is so much more than that, isn’t it?  Isn’t God’s grace more of an experiential reality, rather than an intellectual or metaphysical one? Isn’t God’s grace more than an it? I want to feel God’s grace, to experience God’s grace, to be familiar with God’s grace; not just think about “it.”  Theologian Karl Rahner has rightfully expanded the definition of God’s grace as God’s self-communication to all humanity. That is, God is giving and has historically, since time immemorial, been giving grace, God’s self, as a gift to anyone who wanted to receive God in myriad ways.

When I experience God’s grace, I am experiencing so much more than the assurance of what will happen to me when I die.  Though God’s grace is greater and more amazing than I can ever express with words, I believe the more real or experiential aspects of my relationship to God in Christ are founded on three immediate realities of grace:  Grace as acceptance, grace as forgiveness, and grace as love.

God’s grace accepts me for who I am.  I am God’s son.  There is nothing I can do to change that, enhance it, or undo it.  And because I am God’s fully accepted son, I no longer have to succumb to shame—a shame that often tries to tell me that I am not good enough or that I am somehow deficient in my God-imaged humanity.  So, I apply the Gospel of grace to myself, and because I can accept myself, I can accept others as well.

God’s grace completely and always forgives, because I so often know not what I do. My sins, through Christ, are wiped away—past, present, and future.  Since, I often think and act selfishly, because I am self-deceived or I allow others to deceive me, I rely on the reality of God’s ever-present grace of forgiveness. And this forgiveness allows me to have a clear conscience and not wallow in guilt. As I appropriate God’s forgiveness, I walk in self-forgiveness.  And because I can forgive myself, I can forgive others.

God’s grace also fills me with unimaginable love, and this love brings me into the deepest intimate relationship with God.  I will never be alone; I will never be empty; I will never not be satisfied as I drink from the well of God’s never ending love.  God’s grace as love makes real relationship possible, and ultimately compels me to love myself, to care for my own being.  And because I can love myself, I can love others.

Three scriptures jump out to me: “Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory” (Ro 15:7, NLT).  “Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you” (Ep 4:32, NLT). “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other” (Jn 13:34, NLT).  Christ accepts you and me; Christ forgives you and me; Christ loves you and me. Period.  Exclamation point!

In revisiting grace in the here and now, and not just for the future, helps me and should help you to experience the reality that “… now is the time of God’s grace, now is the day of salvation” (2 Co 6:2b).

© Paul Dordal, 2016

Ego Transcendence: Christosis (2 Co 3:18)

Salvador-Dali-Woman-Nursing-Her-Son-1923What is the ego? Literally, the ego is the self, the “I” that a person truly and fully is. It is not the roles we play, the stuff that we do or have, but the innermost reality of who we are as individuals. Yet, the ego is more than our individual person, because the “I” is always in relation to the “other” and the world. The “I” is not alone. We cannot know ourselves as “I” unless we can see ourselves in others. For the “I” to be truly or fully “I” is to transcend himself or herself to be with.

The ego transcendent, then, is one who is able to be truly with, who can fully incarnate into another’s life. Thus, the ego transcendent is fully accepting of the “other,” so much so that the “other” is not an “other,” but at one with the ego transcendent. Therefore, the ego transcendent has no agenda but to join with the “other” in mutuality and solidarity. If the “other” is open to growth, the ego transcendent journeys with the “other” to explore the universe.

When God states that God’s Name is, “I am who I am” (Ex 3:14), God is expressing the fullness of the Deity’s ego transcendence. God is beyond God-self and is at one with all of creation. The Transcendent One, the Christ, then comes to be – to incarnate – with us, Emmanuel. Jesus is the archetype Ego Transcendent human: “Before Abraham was, I am” (Jn 8:58), so that “they might be with him” (Mk 3:14) .

Jesus announced a new age, the age of Christ, the age of ego transcendence (Mt 3:2) to mark the beginning of his ministry. The age of ego transcendence is discernable by being involved in the process by which we divinize our souls (the Eastern Orthodox call it theosis), becoming the “I am” to be with God and the “other.”

Becoming the “I am” is not different than who we already truly are. We need only strip all that is not “I am.” So, our present reality is as the “I am” but we esteem not the “I am” nor do we receive the “I am” (Is 53:3, Jn 1:11). And because we esteem him not, nor receive him, we do not live in the truest state of ourselves, but as others to ourselves. It is not surprising then, because we live as others to ourselves that we treat others as others, and not as our true selves. This is why Jesus gives us the greatest commandment, “Love the Lord your God with all that is within you, and love your neighbor (the “other”) as you love your “self”– your “I am” (see Mt. 22:34-40) Thus, we are all called to be involved in a life-long recovery process, recovering the “I am” in each of us.

Today, ego transcendence, becoming the “I am”, is often spoken of as a psychological process, but has, as I have shown, been a spiritual/religious process for time immemorial. In Christian religious parlance the process has been variously called sanctification, divinization, perfection, conversion, or as Karl Rahner called it, simply, transcendence. Whatever it is called, whether with psychological terms or spiritual/religious terms, it is what the Transcendent One wishes for us, in order that we be joined to the Divine Mystery, to be with God and others.

Ego transcendence is becoming Christ-like: “And we all, with unveiled faces reflecting the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another, which is from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Co 3:18, NET).

© Paul Dordal, 2015

She’s Got The Whole World In Her Hands

full-moonAs I have been trying to pay attention more, I am mindful of the moon and the stars each morning as I make my way to the hospital. Yesterday, the moon was very full and hanging low in the dark hours of early morning.  The moon was so bright that it was able to cause a shadow to be cast from my car on the highway.

But what I noticed this morning was the roundness of the moon, its circular and complete beauty.  I imagined that it got so round because God took it like a lump of clay and rolled it ‘round and ‘round the palm of her hands.  I thought of this because as a child I used to roll Play-Doh into perfect little balls in the palms of my hand.

I then reflected on how God rolled me together good and unique from a cosmic ball of clay, and molded me in the palms of his hands.

Now, I know that science has a factual and more accurate description of how the moon came to be so round.  But my answer, my description of the creation of the moon and me, of Play-Doh and Silly Putty, is far truer than science could ever be.

© Paul Dordal, 2015

For or Against? Being Good News to the World (Reflection)

ForOrAgainstJesus came bringing the Good News (the Gospel) of salvation to the world, and charged his followers to do the same (Mk 1:14; 16:15). Yet, there has been much talk recently about the presentation of Christianity as unattractive, especially in America – as often not being Good News, but bad news of condemnation of people who are not Christians.

Christians are frequently, but unfortunately, known, by unbelievers and some believers alike, for the bad they are against rather than the good they are for.  There is a hypocrisy here that is without question, as the focus of some Christians is to create “scapegoats” of the “bad people” in the society, while these same Christians view themselves as the “good people.”

My wife, Martha, reminded me of how often, growing up, she heard Romans 1:18-32 used in the pulpit to condemn homosexuality (vv 26-28), while completely ignoring the sins committed by just about everyone in the congregation (vv 29-31). Hence, Christian traditionalists are routinely judged for their unbalanced stance against:  homosexual marriage, divorce, abortion, pre-marital sex, alcohol consumption, evolution, and the list can go on and on.

It seems to me that too often the political, religious, and/or social conversations which take place in the United States start from a polemic of for or against.  This makes the conversation over contentious issues often more a diatribe, rather than a dialogue that will help promote spiritual growth and mutuality. Interestingly, for those who are accused of being against something, those same people can usually make an anti-statement read like a pro-statement.  For instance, most theologically conservative Christians are anti-abortion, but refer to themselves as pro-life. Thus, perspective comes into play when making the statement that someone may be more negative than positive. But let’s not be naïve here and simply use semantics to make ourselves out to be the good guys and the other the bad guys.

Fortunately, there are many Christians who would like the (religious, social, and political) public square conversations to become more positive and dialogical.  What would it be like for Christians to be known more for what they are truly for rather than against (and I am not talking attitudinally, like being more loving or compassionate)?   I believe if Christians would shift the emphasis of the conversation from the overly sensual moral issues of our day to the more justice oriented teachings of Jesus, we would find more allies and have a greater opportunity to witness for the life-changing Gospel of Christ.

Jesus said, “Whoever is not against you is for you” (Lk 9:50, NET).  We have more allies for the faith than we sometimes think.  Conversely, if we believe that the world is against us, then we will assume a posture of being on the defensive, condemning the “bad people,” rather than being proactive by finding what Christians have in common with others of different or no faith.

I believe there are three Gospel imperatives which Jesus clearly taught which can be areas where more traditional Christians could find excellent ground for collaboration with progressive Christians and non-Christians (and atheists), and which will foster God’s Kingdom advance in the world.  Unfortunately, there are many Christians who are unaware of or simply disregard Jesus’ clear teachings in these areas, so it is important to note that this blog post is written not to the world, but to the Christian who is either ignorant of or ignoring important Biblical truths proclaimed by Christ.

First, and foremost, Christians should be known for peace.  I find it almost impossible to understand how Christians have historically twisted the clear non-violence teachings of Christ in order to support wars and oppression of all kinds.  Jesus said, “But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also” (Mt 5:39, NET). Christians are clearly called to be pro-peace (Mt 5:9), which would also be understood as firmly against the use of violence (anti-war).   We ought to always stand for peace and against war in all situations.  We should be for the development of the capacities of people and vehemently against the arms trade which brings so much death.  Since many Christians erroneously see patriotism as a biblical imperative, Christians have, sadly, not been united in this area.  It is high time for Christian leaders, especially Orthodox, Evangelical and Catholic ones, to clearly join the chorus of the peace-promoting Christian groups (Mennonites, Quakers, many Mainline Protestants, Red-Letter Christians, and others).

Second, American Christians ought to be known for justice.  This would mean that Christians would be against practices like the death penalty, the use of torture, the slave trade, institutionalized racism, sexism, homophobia, and anything that diminishes the inherent dignity of humans (with as much fervor as they are opposed to abortion). Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied” (Mt. 5:6,NET).   Christians who are justice seekers are not happy or satisfied because of what they get, but what they give to others.  Justice oriented Christians see Jesus in the poor, the marginalized (people of color, women, homosexuals, etc.), and those are very different from them.  This leads to third imperative in our day: the love of the immigrant.

American Christians have a clear scriptural duty to be for the alien.  Ironically, most American citizens who are Christians are either immigrants or the children or grandchildren of immigrants.  Have we forgotten what God said to the Israelites, “So you must love the resident foreigner because you were foreigners in the land of Egypt” (Dt 19:19, NET)?  Borders are meant to divide and nation-states were constructed to separate, but Christ wants to bring all people into global citizenship in the Kingdom of God.  Jesus said, “people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and take their places at the banquet table in the kingdom of God” (Lk 13:29, NET). Our being for the alien is not just an advocacy, but a love of those different from us.  “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Even the [oppressors] do the same, don’t they? And if you only greet your brothers, what more do you do? Even the [unbelievers] do the same, don’t they?” (Mt 5:46-47, NET).

Clearly, we have Gospel mandates that are just (and maybe more) important than some of the social issues that many conservative Christians overemphasize.  Can we seek a balance between the either/or and for/against polemics for which we are often responsible?  Jesus boiled down our mission to love of God and neighbor.  And just who is my neighbor: those who I might think are my enemies; people who are differently situated than me; and; people from other lands who would like to dwell in community with me.

© Paul Dordal, 2015

The Two Shall Become One (Reflection)

the_fullness_of_God“For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body” (Cl 2:9, NLT).

In Christ, Christ is complete. Yet Christ is only complete in Christ-self because of the perfect relationship Christ has within the Trinity and Creation.  All of the members of the Trinity are One, complete in their unique selves but in prefect union with each other.

Likewise, created in the image of God, each human has in him or herself the full potential of God’s completeness.  Humans are capable of divine actualization, yet can only reach their full potential in relational union with Christ and Creation.  This is why Jesus quotes the Psalmist, “You are gods; you are all children of the Most High” (Ps 82:6, NLT).

Christian marriage is the sacrament meant to demonstrate such a potential. The two can become one in Christ, complete in him or herself, yet committed to a progressive union which transcends his or her ego.

Any system of thought that emphasizes the full freedom and potential divine actualization of the individual yet does not correspondingly emphasize the necessity of relational union with Christ and Creation is an empty dogma encouraging selfishness and narcissism.

Christian faith paradoxically accentuates the union of the human and the divine, the self and the other, the spiritual and the material, the eternal and the temporal, the sacred and the profane, and can do so because of the matchless beauty of the completeness of Christ.

© Paul Dordal, 2015

Horizontal Is The New Vertical (Devotional Reflection)

HORIZONTALI often joke with my tweens right before I go to bed, “Poppy’s going to get vertical.” The kids always scream, “It’s horizontal!!!!!”

There is a suspect teaching that is perpetuated in the Church that we have a dualistic and bi-directional relationship with God. The first is a vertical relationship, because God is somehow mysteriously “up there” or “out there” somewhere. This vertical relationship is a disembodied experience of pietistic prayer, Bible reading, or praise and worship (singing Christian songs). The second relational direction we have with God is the horizontal relationship, which is an embodied experience of loving our neighbor, because as John said, “You can’t say you love God without loving your neighbor.” But I have a problem with this construct because God doesn’t seem to be in the horizontal. It is God in the vertical, and humans in the horizontal.

But what if those two directions are just two sides of the same coin? What if God is not up there, but exists on a paradoxical horizontally vertical plane? So we meet God between the pall, the infinitesimal wisp of no-thing that separates the spiritual from the material, and we can freely move back and forth through this pall by a sheep’s gate, the Cosmic Christ.

God’s not up there; God’s right here!

Yes, there is the mystical, ethereal, other-worldly elusive God, but we always experience that same God in the material—in the here and now: God in me, God in you, God in the middle of you and me. God existing everywhere at the same time. The distant God is always present in everyone and everything.

When I get vertical, I get horizontal with God, whether waking or sleeping, standing or lying down, busy or still. Horizontal is the new the vertical and it is entered into at the foot of the Cross!

© Paul Dordal, 2015

The World of Ideas (Personal Reflection)

idea headAs a person who writes regularly as a means of self-expression, I often travel in my mind to visit strange and wondrous places. Thus, I am comfortable in the world of ideas, of thoughts floating here and there, of visions and dreams waiting to come to be.  Most of my ideas are focused on God — who Christ is, who I am, how I relate to God and others, and what God wants for me.   Trekking through the world of ideas can be very stimulating and exciting.

Yet, sometimes the world of ideas can be frustrating, even depressing for me, because some of my ideas, visions, and dreams may never come to fruition. I also see and feel things in the world of ideas that are very disturbing and scary.  And sometimes I feel guilty because roaming about too much in the world of ideas creates a dangerous potential for me to be aloof from the actual world of the challenges and problems that I and many others face.

Nevertheless, I often remind myself that the world of ideas is a real world too, and that nothing that is tangible or touchable can exist or could have come to be if not for an idea, a dream, a vision.   In my world of ideas I travel to places no one else can go, and see things that physical eyes can never envision.  Henry David Thoreau said at the end of his book Walden (1854: 345):

Direct your eye right inward, and you’ll find
A thousand regions in your mind
Yet undiscovered.  Travel them, and be
Expert in home-cosmography.

As an INTJ on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), I realize that my personality type is oriented toward the world of ideas — that I may have been born this way.  Ever since I was young, ideas were my constant companion.  I was encouraged recently to read about my personality type in a book called SOULTYPES by Hirsh and Kise.  The authors say of people who are oriented towards an INTJ on the MBTI, “INTJ’s tend to be strong individuals who seek novel, logical ways to look at the world.  With their clear sense of direction, they are tireless and determined in developing hypotheses, ideas, and principles. Using their dominant function, Introverted Intuition, is the natural starting place for soulwork.  However, their auxiliary or second function,  Extraverted Thinking, calls them to find some sort of community, be it a small group or formal religious organization, for further exploration of spiritual truths” (2006:129-130).  However, Hirsh and Kise also note that INTJ’s prefer “to work out their beliefs by themselves or with a trusted other.  Many INTJ’s find it hard to accept a pre-established system or conventional model of spirituality” (2006:131).

I also feel the need to translate some of my ideas into words, and words into actions.  Words then give new life to my ideas.  The more I write, the more my ideas travel into the world of my reality.  My hero growing up, Jim Morrison, said of his ideas translated into words:

Words dissemble
Words be quick
Words resemble walking sticks
Plant them they will grow
Watch them waver so.

I’ll always be a word man.
Better than a bird man.

So, I live in the free world of ideas, and though, I also live in the sometimes constraining day to day mundane world, these two worlds are always interacting with each other to produce who I am and what I do.

Hirsh, Sandra Krebs & Kise, Jane A.G. (2006). SOULTYPES: Matching Your Personality and Spiritual Path (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Books).

© Paul Dordal, 2015