“Paul’s view of the ‘elements’ and the ‘powers of the air’ was couched in the language of the cosmology of his day. Translated into the language of our own time, I would say these mysterious realities are to be sought where we least expect them, not in what is remote and mysterious, but in what is most familiar, what is near at hand, what is at our elbow all day long – what speaks or sings in our ear, and practically does our thinking for us. The ‘powers’ and ‘elements’ are precisely what stand between the world and Christ. It is they who stand in the way of reconciliation. It is they who, by influencing all our thinking and behavior in so many unsuspected ways, dispose us to decide for the world as against Christ, thus making reconciliation impossible. Clearly the ‘powers’ and the ‘elements,’ which in Paul’s day dominated men’s minds through pagan religion or through religious legalism, today dominate us in the confusion and the ambiguity of the Babel of tongues that we call mass-society. Certainly I do not condemn everything in the mass-media. But how does one stop to separate the truth from the half-truth, the event from the pseudo-event, reality from the manufactured image? It is in this confusion of images and myths, superstitions and ideologies that the ‘powers of the air’ govern our thinking – even our thinking about religion! Where there is no critical perspective, no detached observation, no time to ask the pertinent questions, how can one avoid being deluded and confused?” Thomas Merton
“…a mighty windstorm hit the mountain.
It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose,
but the Lord was not in the wind.”
1 Kings 19:11
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- Are you so immersed in media that it “practically does your thinking for you?”
- Do you often ask yourself whether something is a truth or half-truth, an event or a “pseudo-event” – whether what you see is reality or a “manufactured image?”
- Do you have a regular set of practices that help you avoid being “deluded and confused” by today’s Babel of tongues?
Abba, with your help I will refuse to be hurried and pressed, I will stay my soul on you. May nothing keep me from clearness of spirit which is life and peace. (adapted from Amy Carmichael)
For More: Faith and Violence by Thomas Merton
“Daily Riches” is for your encouragement as you seek God and he seeks you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)
“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”