Two Kinds of People

According to the Quaker philosopher, Rufus M. Jones' quintessential book on 14th century Christian mysticism entitled, The Flowering of Mysticism: The Friends of God in the Fourteenth Century, the great Christian thinker suggests that there are two kinds of people on this planet:

(1) "... the person who has little or no interest in a Beyond.  He [or she] responds to the world which his senses report to him and in large measure he confines himself to that world.  He lives biologically and seems to care little about intrinsic values, and is for the most part unconscious or dimly conscious of transcendent realities.  This type of man, however, is not completely... devoid of spiritual capacity and composed entirely of material stuff.  His unconcern is due more to the influences of nurture and social pressure than to an original bent of mind.  This unconcerned and seemingly 'biological man' may some day be shaken awake, may set his feet on the way back to the Fatherland, and may become a genuine citizen of it."

(2) "The other type of man seems from the first to be more truly... to have come 'with trailing clouds of glory from God' and to be aware that he 'belongs' to the Fatherland of the Spirit.  He can never be content with biological existence.  The walls of separation are for him thinner, and this type of person is more sensitive and more responsive to another Realm of Reality."

These distinctions, which Jones does admit are rather more an issue of degree than of kind, are of utmost need for reflection in our day and age for they may provide crucial insight into what stimulates prayer among some men & women and what causes others to be apathetic toward this essential correspondence between God and each of His created beings.

Additionally, the ideas set forth by Jones beg another question...

How do these types contribute to the greater realm of vulnerability insofar as spiritual warfare is concerned? In other words, it may be plain to see that if one is preoccupied with the superficialities of this world, the enemy will greatly capitalize on these weaknesses and attitude toward life.  On the contrary, if one is driven to be homebound, as in finding the "Fatherland of the Spirit", i.e. the Kingdom of God, the potential for resisting evil is far more probable and greater in terms of success.  Although we need to remain humble and aware of human frailty and contradiction.

How do we then seek to determine who we are?  How can we use Jones' criteria for identification of self & priority?  The first step is to come to terms with our outlook and approach to the things of the Spirit and those of the natural world.  Where does our heart point toward and where does our inner being find its most kindred company?  If we are to claim to be of the Kingdom yet our lives are preoccupied with the present cacophony of sensuality and materialism, we are not going to see beyond ourselves.  Life will be very egocentric and malnourished.  Additionally, we will not be able to address any value on what cannot be seen, for we values only what we can touch and see and feel and taste and hear, i.e. the sensual and the present.

If, on the other hand, we are driven by the trailing clouds of glory, then we will be trailblazers of the Spirit and with the unsettling urge to correspondence with said senses with God and not with the flesh.  We will feel unsteady about the preoccupations of this world, not due to anxiety, but because they will take time away from being with the Holy.

Which one are you?

Pastor Daniel



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