In this course, we have looked at the writings of William Blake, Patrick White, and David Malouf. We also looked at the art of Brett Whiteley.
I have discovered a theme which runs through the whole course.
God can mean different things to different people, but it is essential to life to find your spiritual journey and to follow it wherever it may lead.
Do not be discouraged by others on your journey. They may say “You Shalt Not”, but you shall, just not in their church, or on their journey.
When it comes to things spiritual, some find comfort having a set of rules and dogmas to follow, where others like to be free in their worship of God as they know him/her or it.
Do not be scared of people who are different. Blake and Whiteley may have been scarey to those who knew them. Blake with his fervency and passion for religious freedom, and Whiteley with his passion for all kinds of mind altering substances. Whiteley’s mind scares me somewhat. How many things can one think about at once? Whiteley wanted to express all that was inside him in a sort of urgency, that caused things to often looked disconnected and muddled.
White showed in his novel, Riders in the Chariot, that there are people in our own community, in suburbia, whom we consider different; all on their own spiritual journey. it doesn’t mean one is wrong, and we shouldn’t treat them with anything other than the dignity that should be afforded to every human being. This novel exposes the maliciousness of seemingly everyday people when the are exposed to people or ways that they themselves are uncomfortable with. White himself had an epiphany, which eventually saw him leave the church., but it wasnt until he saw Billy Graham in 1979 that he gave up on Christianity. In his final days, it was said he had a new testament by his bedside. He was asked if he was reading it.He said no, but went on to say, “Well, I will soon know”.
Malouf focuses his novel on a man who is different, but the same as those in the society into which he stumbles. We all must seek to try to understand others, before we start to criticise, ostracise and demean. These different people can add to our lives. Gemmy added value and meaning to the people of the community he stumbled into.
Patrick White was a well known homosexual in our community, who lived with his male partner as husband and wife and nobody blinked an eyelid, except the church. David Malouf is also openly gay. He writes about spiritual issues but himself is not religious despite having a staunch Christian as a father and a mother who gave up her Jewish heritage to be with the man she loved.
Whiteley was raised in a Christian home and school, but turned against the traditions to follow his own spiritual path, along a journey that led him into a world of drugs and alcohol. His paintings were sometimes very sexually explicit.
Blake was a man who fervently followed the Christian teachings but who was not one to be restricted by the church concerning matters sexual or anything else.
These men freed themselves from the restrictions that the world would place on them. It gave them freedom to express the visions they had.
Ones visions and imagination are our own to enjoy, but if we wish to express them, they can be restricted by people or the community in which we wish to be a part.
The people that we studied were pioneers, bravely expressing what was on their hearts. I pray that I too might have that courage.
I have been encouraged on my own spiritual journey. I feel that I am closer to God now than I have been for years. I feel closest to God when I sing about Him, about our relationship with him and how good it is to be comforted by Him who walks with us along life’s journey.
This course has challenged me. It challenged my values and my belief structures. In doing so, it made me release some, to throw off the shackles, and embrace and strengthen others. I have enjoyed studying this course.