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Dane Rudhyar's Fire Out of the Stone. Image Copyright 2007 by Michael R. Meyer.

A Reformulation of the
Basic Images of the
Judeo-Christian Tradition

by Dane Rudhyar, 1962

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This title was first published by Sevire, 1963.

Cover for the online edition copyright © 2008
by Michael R. Meyer.

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"Thy God is a cosumming fire."
Duet. 4:25

"He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire."
Matthew 3:11

"I am come to send fire on the earth."
Luke 12:49

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"And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind"
Romans 12:2

"Only the self that is willing to dare change can think creatively"
Charles Morris — The Open Self

Spiritual leadership has the power to change the hearts and minds of men and women, to rebuild a society. Because there have been and are so few examples of such leadership our Western society has been found wanting and unable to give to modern humanity — restless, chaotic, yet eagerly expectant and searching for basic values — the message of the spirit which it was called upon to give by right of historical destiny.

If the Christ-power had been alive, vibrant, dynamic and creative in this society of ours and in our churches, we could already have given this message of the spirit to the hundreds of millions of men in India, China and Africa. If this Christ-power had been alive and creative in the Russian Church, there would have been no sweep of Marxist materialism in this intensely religious people. If the Christian root of our civilization had been active and pulsating in the "free world" we speak of, there would have been no chance for sons of ministers, like Fuchs, to become traitors; for brilliant intellectuals, like Jolliot-Curie in France and many similarly gifted men in America, to seek in Communism a channel for their creative energies and the exteriorization of their social hopes.

We claim that Christianity is the greatest revelation of God; that it is unique, and Christ the "one and only Son of God". We say that spirit is the ultimately determining factor in the universe; that individual freedom and the respect for inherent human rights, democratic institutions and the ideals of our Western civilization are values which no man who has known them can fail to hold sacred. But, if so, the only possible reason for the wide spread of materialistic and tyrannical ideologies among peoples who had accepted Christianity for many centuries — whether in Nazi Germany or Communist Russia — is that Christianity had lost its power in those countries; that nominal Christians had in large numbers ceased to be Christians in spiritual fact and in actual deeds, feelings and thoughts. Christianity is not challenged by some outside power; every weapon and technique used by Communism was originally produced by men of Christian countries, imbued with Christian values.

What happened to these values and to the men whose task it was, and is, to hold them as living standards? Have they lost their power to inspire and lead men to noble living, to think great thoughts and to emulate the example of great Christian men and women?

Any set of values and ideals ceases to be effective when the leaders of the people are no longer able to receive a creative inspiration from them. When this happens, and if from the people at large no new group arises to challenge these leaders - and, having taken their place, to re-attune the society to the original ideals — spiritual decadence ensues. Alas: our leaders have not been able or willing, in most cases, to receive a creative inspiration from the traditionally formulated Christian values. For many decades Christianity has not made history. It has produced, it is true, a number of very great individuals; it has held together many facets of our complex and competitive society which other wise might have exploded altogether. But the leadership of our society has not been expressed in terms of Christianity as a motivating, dynamic world-transforming power. The basic conflicts and problems of modern man have not summoned forth a new Image of Christ filled with intense creative power. Solutions to these problems have not been asked from a living Christ but, when they have been asked of Christianity, from the Christ of an old tradition which took shape in the midst of a disintegrating Mediterranean society some nineteen centuries ago.

Now it is we who are members of a relatively disintegrating civilization — a new civilization, a new kind of disintegration, with new problems undreamt of in the days of the Apostles and their immediate followers who did give form to the long tradition of European Christianity. They it was who gave form to this tradition, not Jesus. In and through Jesus the Christ-impulse was released; but it was the men who followed after him who produced the formulations, the theology, the rituals. They embodied the Christ-impulse in a form and religion that answered the real needs of their times, that met the capacities of their converts, that used the thought-materials and cultural memories of the collectivities of which they were truly creative leaders.

Some six centuries later, after Imperial Rome fell and the Barbarians were established in Europe, the new Rome became a center for new solutions, a new creative release, a new integration — this, while Christendom was confronted with the tremendous sweep of Islam's challenge. Christianity, having then essentially to deal with Germanic peoples and the weary remains of the Roman world, was able to transform itself in order to meet the new conditions and new needs. St. Benedict offered one type of solution; Pope Gregory another. Both made spiritual, religious, cultural history.

Again six centuries passed. Christendom once more faced a deep challenge: a challenge again coming from the East. The Moguls and the Turks invaded most of the eastern half of Christendom; but this time Christianity, in its Byzantine aspect, had not the vitality necessary to absorb and convert the Asiatic conquerors. Instead, the Moguls left a deep imprint upon Russia; the democratic and vital Kiev-Russian culture disappeared and, soon after, Byzantium.

At the same time the Crusaders, who since 1100 A.D. had come into close contact with Near Eastern peoples, brought back to the West many vivifying ideas and spiritual seeds from the fountain-head of the Western spirit. A spiritual leavening began in France, but was soon arrested by the greed and tyranny of Kings and Popes (the massacres of the Albigenses, of the Templars, and so on). It spread nevertheless through the movement of Chivalry, and Christ-love blossomed forth in the great figure of St. Francis.

Another six-century period passed, marked by the rise of modern man's intellectual power, of science and of materialism. Gradually the rationalists and humanists gave birth to our democracy. Nevertheless they also gave birth, unwillingly and indirectly, yet consistently in terms of some of their basic premises, to a monster: the Communist State. And now, once more from the East, Christianity and democracy are relentlessly attacked, ideologically and politically, by a sweeping Power. This Power feeds upon the problems caused by the new economic and social conditions produced by the very achievements of the West — scientific, technological, intellectual achievements, but alas, divorced from the Christ-spirit, the Christ-love, the Christ-light. At the same time, the enormous increase in the world's population has brought to the fore a virtually new human type, a new balance of power between the cultural-spiritual elite and the masses.

Faced by this potential world-crisis what did the elite, trained in Christian traditions, do last century to meet the challenge? They kept talking Christianity, yet acted in terms of greed, lust and the worship of Mammon. Christianity itself, in the collective persons of its churches and institutions, provided no new solutions to meet these new problems and the growing conflicts. Now these conflicts have crystallized and become concentrated in the virulent power of world-Communism. The challenge, to our leaders, of new social and economic horizons which might have been lighted by the dawn of a new era of humanity, has instead become the ruthless attack of a power of enslavement and tyranny, which denies all essential Christian values.

The attack, at this late stage, must be met by military force wherever necessary. But it should be obvious to any individual with the slightest awareness of spiritual values and historical facts, that the basic challenge itself will never be met adequately and with lasting success with physical weapons alone, whether tanks or atom bombs, or even by good administrators and theoretically excellent institutions. The challenge is, first and last, ideological and spiritual. It is the challenge to discover and to realize with the immediacy of personal feeling and spiritual conviction, values so stirring and to us, men and women of today, so inspiring and transfiguring, that on the basis of the experience of these values we have to go on and meet any opposing situation with that inner necessity and that creative strength which alone can insure spiritual victory and world-transforming leadership.

Some, even from among us, will no doubt say that the traditional values of Christianity have lost the power to arouse men of our intellectual and scientific age. But if there is a seeming truth in this, there is also a profound error. The formulations, the outer garbs and crystallized institutions through which the spiritual dynamics of the Christ-impulse have been channeled out for centuries, may well have lost their vitality and stirring power, their ability to inspire a world-transforming leadership. But the Christ-impulse itself, as it radiated from Jesus, has not lost its spiritual dynamics. Our task today, as Christians, is to re-attune ourselves to this Christ-impulse and to create the new forms and the new channels of release through which Christ will become a living Power of inspiration and transfiguration.

To do this in terms of the new needs of a new humanity is to do our day what the Apostles and Paul did in the first century A.D., what St. Benedict and Pope Gregory attempted in the sixth and seventh centuries and what St. Francis accomplished some six hundred years later. We must re-create the "vestures" of Christ. He is eternal and constant and His Power is alive and vibrant, creative and immense, today as of old. It is we, his nominal disciples, who are spiritually "dead" because we have shut our souls to the descent of the creative spirit that forever flows from the Father through the Son. It is upon us that has fallen the responsibility of bringing forth and releasing, in the name of Christ, a basic spiritual solution to the needs, problems and conflicts of our people. All other solutions — economic, social, political — are derivative, because they are implied in the spiritual solution, if it is real and transfiguring.

This edition copyright © 2008 by Michael R. Meyer
All Rights Reserved.

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