Thursday, March 31, 2005

The Yin and Yang of the Gospel



I was thinking about how I want to get a tattoo on my left ankle to offset the tattoo on my right. The one of my right says, "broken" and I want to get one on the other to say "Shalom" or wholeness/completeness/peace on the other. Shalom seems the simplest way to put it.

This got me to thinking about the dual nature of the gospel (it's probably way more multifaceted than that, but let's start here) and how it must be in balance.

In Eastern thought, there is the understanding of the yin-yang. While "yin" would be dark, passive, downward, cold, contracting, and weak, "yang" would be bright, active, upward, hot, expanding, and strong. The shape of the yin and yang sections of the symbol, actually gives you a sense of the continual movement of these two energies, yin to yang and yang to yin, causing everything to happen: just as things expand and contract, and temperature changes from hot to cold.

I was thinking about this in regards to the gospel and my life. It seems similar. There is the yin: the recognition that we are broken, in some ways helpless, in need of something greater than ourselves, sinful, however you say it. This is a key piece of the understanding of gospel and living in rhythm with God. It is a denouncing of pride and arrogance and simply saying, "The same potential for evil that is in say 'terrorists' is the same potential for evil in me."

The yang is a kind of idealism, a kind of "holiness" you might say, a kind of "upward movement". This is also important. It is important to be forming and growing in a good direction. To be dying to self, to be putting others' needs before our own, to be a help in healing the world.

The first without the latter is a sort of narcissistic negativism, but the latter without the former is just simply self-righteousness. I have seen (in my life and in other's) a desire to stay on one side or the other... instead of living in the balance and tension of the in-between.

We are fooling ourselves to think we are one or the other; we are both.

1 comment:

brad said...

ok ok, but what is the significance of those dots in the yin yang?

I say go for it get broken on one ankle, shalom on the other, and put the yin yang in the middle!...ouch