Our declining Western culture is shot through with false dichotomies. Sometimes it’s a prophetic duty to point them out.
We are neither part of the Green religion, nor do we support blind exploitation of natural resources. We believe the heart will tell you about as much as you can ever know about nature, and that we are under no moral obligation to construct a detailed agreement to act in unison. Consensus is enough for fellowship and moral communion among humans and with the natural world around us.
God created for His own ineffable pleasure. We characterize that as “for His glory.” The key to understanding anything is seeking to please God. Whatever bundle of feelings that image provokes in you is a reflection of your own fallen nature. The point is that our fundamental nature as humans is wired and programmed to seek His favor. The subjective experience is part of nature, a part of Creation and tainted by the Fall.
Your own flesh and your conscious awareness are natural resources, too. They exist to use for His glory. The complex of things that pass through your head, in a certain sense, cannot be sorted easily into good and bad, certainly not in any objective sense. There is no objective good and evil; it’s always contextual.
At the same time, we are forced to understand a cultural context that we wish we didn’t have to face. If we don’t keep a hand on the false Western perspective, we can’t speak to those still soaking in it on how to climb out. It’s a painful tension for us to live in our hearts and remember what it felt like to wallow in the pitiful blindness of living only in our heads. There is no miracle cure to take away that tension.
Each of us feels different kinds of sorrow about that. I share with some of you a tendency to depression. Sometimes I’m closer to anger. A part of the blessing here is to realize that feelings are just feelings, neither evil nor good. They can be instructive, serving as clues to meditate for a heart-led step up in holiness. Sometimes it just hurts and there’s nothing to do but wait while doing what you know is right. Faithfulness comes from somewhere beyond even the heart, higher up in the Spirit Realm. The heart’s job is to decide, to commit and keep driving the flesh to live in purity. The actual power is purely divine.
Our cultural mythology doesn’t understand depression. We attack it like some evil, instead of recognizing that it’s part of our natural world. It doesn’t require eradication; it requires careful consideration as to what part it should play. Yes, I know that in some ways depression means feeling nothing at all. It’s a painful lack of vitality. Something inside is dying and we don’t know how to mourn because we don’t even know what it is. Human flesh has no power to deal with that, but the heart is a level of Life that need not be trapped that way.
The heart-mind is not a magic pill. It is a singular potential; nothing else available to us here in this world can match it. It takes a long time to get used to focusing awareness without data, but the heart doesn’t trade much in data; heart-led awareness transcends mere thought. It is an entirely different kind of thing without words.
Depression is the cry of the flesh in precisely the same way that a nasty algae bloom is a cry of nature that something is terribly out of sync with God’s plans for us. Neither is particularly evil, just a part of the natural continuum of consequences for choices within the context of the Fall. It stinks and you don’t want to be around it, but are you going to just leave that mess for someone else? The only evil here is the choice to avoid taking responsibility. We should learn to expect such things, given the context.
A critical element in the Fall is denying it. Whatever redemption is available requires embracing the truth of the Fall. The notion that we shouldn’t have to deal with all the pain is a lie. The notion that we shouldn’t encounter depression is a lie that prevents the most blessed possible solution God has for it. Have you ever noticed that you can be slogging through depression and still touch that joy unspeakable? Your heart knows it’s true.
And if you don’t face depression, count your blessings and keep an eye out for some other painful consequence of the Fall. Either way, we need to stop norming on a happy and pain-free existence, because that image is a lie.