Sunday 12 December 2010

virtue - without virtue

"Virtue", it is on the move,
There is a growing desire to express,
Something of profound importance,
That has been hidden and dormant,
Forgotten, shut tight,
Lost to the index pages of dank old books,
Whose library catalogue issue numbers have faded,
Buried at the back and beyond of theological journals,
Volume 1, number 5,
Pages held together more by mould than binding glue,

This "virtue" that could so easily liberate,
Could transform the lived life of faith,
Is under threat again,
But this time not from the stagnant despondency,
And lack of loving interest of many a potential imbiber,
Long forgotten and lost,
Not this time,
"Virtue" is under threat,
From gowns and hoods and conferences,
From beards and pens and PCs,
From tweed jackets and commentaries and symposiums,

This targeted 'topic' (sic),
which has the power to break bonds of slavery,
To mental anguish and the perils of flesh and blood,
That offers a new vision of life,
Life in fullness,
Life in togetherness,
Life in growing,
Faces a threat,
So potentially insidious that it will once more be lost,
Lost to silence,
Lost to noise,
Lost to many,
Lost to those hoping for transformation,

And indeed, this very act of typing,
Of laying bare, is open to this same corruption,
Of distortion and reduction,
Deconstruction and re-calculation,
"Do you even mean what you think you mean?"
"Do you even know what you think you know?"
"Can you even define what you think you can define?"
"Where is the solid ground of evidence on which your convictions balance?"
But this dialogue is to be refused,
This dialogue must meet a turned cheek and graceful hope,
Of willingness to sacrifice the wills and wants,
The instincts of snapping back,

For if those instincts are followed,
What is the worth of wondering in the ethereal realm...
And so, to find some conclusion,
We must,
We must take "virtue" and we must unmask it,
We must wipe clean the residues and decaying decadent dusts,
We must start a fresh,
Crack open the original pages of the original book,
And we must be originally formed,
Open and expectant,

We must open our mouths wide and eat the scroll before us,
We must lie on one side 390 days,
and 40 on the other,
We must be open to the Divine inspiration,
Open to service,
Open to the Divine's opulence and power,
We must seek the Spirit's revelation,
We must move away from abstraction,
For abstraction tends to lead to distraction,
And distraction can miss the point,

And so we must save "Virtue" from itself,
We must not discuss it in abstract terms,
We must pray for it in object terms,
We must seek to live lives of utter dependence on the Divine,
We must hope through prayer and reading to be formed,
Into a likeness,
The likeness,
Not for the sake of academy,
Not for the sake of success,
But for the sake of wholeness,
But for the sake of the entirety of creation,

Let us not name "virtue",
Let us not rationalise it,
Let us not try to define it,
Let us not re-brand it - 'faithful following',
Let us not cultural-ise it, - 'sixty-six steps to.....'
Let us not rhetorical-ise it,
Let us not prove it,
Let us not remove it's mystery,
Let us not sell it,

Let us not even seek it,

Instead let us read the word,
Instead let us pray with hopeful hearts,
Instead let us ask for the Divine's insight,
Instead let us live out charity,
Instead let us live out transformation,

Shall we move, 'After After Virtue' to the bargain bin?

"Virtue" is dead!
Long live something indefinable!

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