Moderator Mardi’s Blog: Shadow, Light, and Spirit

“There is strong shadow where there is much light.”

“To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”

Words from Goethe and from 1 Corinthians 12:7 keep working on me within the lively dialogue of response to my letter “Where Is the Hope after Copenhagen?

It’s easy to be grateful for the overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic comments sent in response to my letter here on Wondercafe, from church members across the church, and from others of varied faith communities and civil society organizations.(A Jewish woman wrote, for instance, commending my application of tikkun olam, and telling me this has caused her to link to the United Church website from her Facebook page.)

It’s not as easy to be grateful for negative and critical comments—and yet I am because it is in the dance of your light and my shadow, and of my shadow and your light, where Spirit can eventually be manifest for the common good. So thanks to all who have offered critical comment as well, some saying my letter didn’t go far enough in making a strong call to the church; others saying my concerns about climate and ocean change are misguided.

Conversations like these hold lessons about the health of our own souls, the health of our communities, and the health of our relationship with creation—all at once. An AM talk radio conversation with Dave Rutherford in Calgary last week offered me this opportunity. At first I wasn’t sure there would be any point in getting into this interview with Dave, and yet it was good for me to do it and learn from it. I learned something about what can bring out the worst/best in me, and maybe he learned something of the same. Again, I’ve been grateful for a number of follow-up e-mails to this interview from Alberta listeners, including Joanne, who wrote: “I used to listen to him sometimes, but stopped several years ago because he always made me so angry.… I really appreciated what you had to say, and how you said it.”

I suspect Dave likes you to get angry in response his interviews, and sometimes anger provides the energy for a livelier dance of shadow and light. I also wonder about how the epistle’s words apply to a conversation like this one: “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good,” and what that means to how we can better engage in such conversations. I also wonder whether—or how—you hear Spirit for the common good here.

You can listen to this conversation between Dave Rutherford and me for a few more weeks by going to this link and skipping ahead to 35:30, using Windows Media Player: AM770 CHQR.

What does your response teach you about your own dance of shadow and light, and how Spirit is manifest for the common good?