By Daniel August, Better Together @ UNF Director of Outreach and Hospitality
Opening up an intimate analysis of one’s cosmology in front of others is no easy task. This difficulty is only magnified when the setting happens to be a group of half strangers. But, as is generally the case with life, fearful encounters are the prime instigator of growth and should therefore be regarded with gratitude and grace. And so, first off, I would like to commend Casey Roth for his courage and thank him for jostling his beliefs onto the tinkering table (metaphorically speaking, of course) at the Interfaith Center’s most recent installment of Coffee and Conversation. I think it is noteworthy to mention, before continuing on, that my own personal mythology pulls much from Eastern philosophic traditions. For simplicities sake, and lack of space, I will classify myself as Buddhist, as I relate to this tradition more than any other.
Casey presented, at the first meeting of the New Year, his own personal Christianity based cosmology that mingled a deep appreciation for nature and a hearty strive towards divinity. As a Buddhist, I could relate whole heartedly with this deep innate urge to find passage through this sort of human existence towards a state of higher purity. While he and I may differ in the words in which we describe such divinity, and in our methods for achieving such movement, it is refreshing to meet others traveling similar spiritual paths and honestly filled the heart of this particular Buddhist with courage.
One of the main topics that Casey touched on in his spiel was the cyclical nature of reality and its corresponding effect on individual growth. He brought up his own fascination with the Christian story of creation (Genesis) and the intricacies of day and night and their role in said story. I consider this analysis of duality in the Christian mythology particularly enlightening, and found my interest peeked in a topic which I would not have considered had it not been placed in front of me by the hands of fate and interfaith relations. Such is one reason amongst many concerning the importance of dialogue between religious traditions of all kinds, and why such happenings should be considered instrumental in the navigating of our current course towards a more developed sense of humanity.
Another thing which resonated with me personally was Casey’s stand point on “purpose.” To put it succinctly, and in the own man’s words,
“We are all haunted houses.” This being said, and understood, the course of action is clear. One has two basic choices, face the demons within through movement toward love and faith or slip from one’s purpose, be it divinely inspired or not, and allow oneself to become a demon in turn. While I mostly agree with Casey on this point, I think that it is incredibly important to keep in mind that darkness gives context to light, and vice versa. Without those demons inside of each of us we would have no context to understand those angels which also happen to dwell inside