The last two posts haven’t mentioned Jesus explicitly, so I thought I’d introduce my fascination with a notion that C S Lewis called “second meanings”
In Reflections on the Psalms, Lewis makes the case for a metaphysical resonance between truth revealed by secular events that point towards a deeper, indeed ultimate, spiritual Truth. Since the first time that thought took hold in my imagination I have seen it’s application everywhere.
Note that the habit of looking for second meaning in everything around you, for a Christian, can proceed without the anxiety that we are “merely” creating patterns of meaning from non-related events, since we believe all events are related, indeed choreographed in the tension between free will and finished history. We believe that God in an impenetrable mystery has created all that is to be, fashioned each of our lives down to the final breath, and yet still unequivocally reveals, not only the gift of, but the compulsion to use, free will. Because we can choose we must choose.
I choose to see a second meaning, for instance, in the hippie ideal love is all you need discussed in the prior post. In many ways the open door crash pads, shared food, impromptu barter system, folk arts, singalongs and well traveled pathways of the fluid hippie population in the 1960s were astonishingly reminiscent of first century Christian communities.
All were welcome, no questions asked. Absolute strangers thought nothing of sharing floor space, bathrooms and sketchy mulligatawny with each other. Group identification was imprinted emphatically. In both cases, human misbehavior interrupted the utopian head space often enough to inspire urgent letters. To underground rags like the Berkeley Barb, chiding backsliding revolutionaries and to the Church at Ephesus, with an elevated unity in mind.
The difference between the two communities, to the Christian view, is the obscured state of the Holy Spirit in the ’60s movement. Pentecost had imbued the first century Church with the recognized third person of the Trinity. The hippie movement had almost no reference to the Trinity until the Jesus freak phenomenon. That turn to Him–remember the song, Spirit in the Sky–resulted in the formation of the Vineyard Church in Southern California. Vineyard is where Bob Dylan turned for Biblical guidance after his late evening visitation from the Son.
Christians see the 60s love movement as doomed from the start, absent the One Who Is Love. Not, to be fair to the obvious, that Christians have sustained the unifying Spirit, have loved as Christ loved, here into the 21st Century. We have all fallen sinfully, painfully, short of that commandment.