October 07, 2007

Where has the fire gone?

No, this is not another post about spiritually dead Catholics, but as I'm thinking as I'm writing it may very well end up that way.

On the way home from youth group tonight (the topic of the meeting is irrelevant to the post...), I began to think about fire, and nearly wrecked as a result. I was caught up with originally these two premises. A: Satan has a grip on modern pop culture, B: Smokey the bear and his "stay away from all things that make fire" policy is definitely part of pop culture. The first premise is true; unfortunate, but true. So, the only conclusion I can draw is that Satan has some reason to keep us away from fire.

Back in the 1700's or whenever, every boy knew how to build a good fire, and every girl knew how to cook over one. Fire was still destructive, sure, but they were taught to use it and build constructively with it. The only thing a kid gets about fire is a firm NO! these days. Instead of making it a tool of warmth, cheer, and camaraderie, it is a fear-inspiring monster that burns out of control, only good for arsonists and terrorists.

Hrmmm, perhaps Satan wants us to have his view of fire - fear. As Hell is very often associated with fire, perhaps he wants us to have a certain helplessness and fear of it. But no, in the act of contrition we have "because I fear the pains of Hell", or imperfect contrition...

Fire has, biblically and otherwise, always been associated with Hell. The weeds in Jesus' parables are always burned. Gehenna, a word commonly used in place of Hell, refers to the Hebrew garbage incineration facility...er, ravine. However, fire has many, many, many other biblal connotations. The Holy Spirit descended in "tongues as of fire". Isaiah's lips were cleansed with a burning coal.

Cleansing is a very important connotation of fire, I believe. Purgatory is also always associated with fire, a cleansing fire. "Gold purified by a flame." Fire, ecologically speaking, is a cleanser. It clears clogged forests of excess debris to allow new life to grow. Iron and steel become strong only aftering tempering.

But probably the single most important correlation of fire is "the fire of God's love." God's love is likened to fire it is a burning passion, unstoppable and totally alight. It is restless and seeks us out.

And so I'm back at the beginning now. I prayed the "come Holy Spirit" prayer in hopes of inspiration, but found that it contained the words "enkindle in us the fire of thy love". So why does Satan wish for fire to be thrust away, supressed, feared? I don't know if just those connotations are enough to warrant the suppression. However, since he looks to make every person lukewarm or to form an ice-cold barrier against Love, perhaps any spark, even from a mere simile, would be too much for him. He can't let any light through the gaps.

Ah well, with those thoughts still chasing their tails in my head, I go to bed to muse some more.



Blogger Shakespeare's Cobbler said...

I think you're stretching a lot of things. First of all, I was under the impression that Smokey was part of the more classic pop culture -- a fellow of Rocky and Bullwinkle -- and thus that we could safely assume that Satan is not involved with him unless there is good evidence otherwise.

Second, while there is a "NO" attitude to fire these days, I think it's just part of the general safety craze. I read an article somewhere about some book that teaches how to do all those things that our grandparents used to do for fun and scouting and hence is titled "The Dangerous Book for Boys", if I recall correct. If it's half as good as it sounded when I heard about it, I'll have to get it myself sometime. But anyway.

Third, I think if "keep away from fire!" were to reach the analogous part of the brain, evil would be hurt before good. Isn't "fire" associated with "love" and hence a near-buzzword for the lust culture?

Fourth, there is indeed a tendency to be lax in the practice of the faith, but I doubt a fear of fire imagery is directly related. Fire imagery may be a cure, but I think its disuse is more an effect of the laxness than a cause. Then again maybe I'm wrong.

Anyway. Get some rest, my friend. Keep thinking about it.


October 08, 2007 12:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting, deep insight - I enjoyed reading. Scott makes some good points.

btw, thanks for your comment on my blog - its nice to know someone actually read it! :-)

October 08, 2007 8:48 AM  
Blogger ~Mari said...

"On the way home from youth group tonight I began to think about fire, and nearly wrecked as a result."

Ambrose, think responsibly- don't think and drive. *grin*
Anyway- when has pop culture *not* been controlled in some way by Satan? Of course it's only blatantly obvious these days...

October 10, 2007 3:23 PM  
Blogger Shakespeare's Cobbler said...

Oh, I don't know, where'd the classics come from?

October 10, 2007 8:12 PM  
Blogger ~Ambrose said...

Since when were the classics part of pop culture?

October 11, 2007 4:10 PM  
Anonymous Scott, being lazy and not signing in, said...

Back in their day most of them were popular. The definition of classic is that they still speak to us even after time would have left them behind, but if you look at Beowulf or Homer you find that they were part of their periods' "pop culture".

We could be dealing with a question of the definition of "pop culture".

October 11, 2007 5:44 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home