Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Dying, thanks to Bishop Pike and William Stringfellow

I’ve been obsessing a bit lately about the Bishop James Pike, who died in September 1969 in the Judean wilderness. In my obsessing, I came across this amazing quote by another hero of mine, William Stringfellow. What I love about this quote is that, as I meditated on it, I found myself replacing all of Bishop Pike’s issues with my own. Dying to these things we once held so dear is essential to dying "in Christ," I realize. Dying to our ego, to our aspirations, to our preconceived notions of ourselves and this world. Dying to ourselves now, our actual death will truly be a birth. Thank you, Bishop Pike. Thank you, Bill Stringfellow.

“The death to self in Christ was neither doctrinal abstraction nor theological jargon for James Pike. He died in such a way before his death in Judea. He died to authority, celebrity, the opinions of others, publicity, status, dependence upon Mama, indulgences in alcohol and tobacco, family and children, marriage and marriages, promiscuity, scholarly ambition, the lawyer’s profession, political opportunity, Olympian discourses, forensic agility, controversy, denigration, injustice, religion, the need to justify himself. By the time Bishop Pike reached the wilderness in Judea, he had died in Christ. What, then, happened there was not so much a death as a birth.”

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