Zoe (Zwn) Not Bios

3 Jan

You couldn’t pay me to go to a mall. I hate them. There are only a few reasons why you’ll ever find me anywhere near one. 1) Something is going on with my Macbook and I need the ENTHUSIASTIC Mac people to help me with the issue free of charge; 2) I have a gift card to the Cheesecake Factory or 3) I need the eye liner I buy once a year from Sephora (I need to start ordering this on-line). 

Today, reason number three took me to the mall and while there, I soon realized Dorothy wasn’t in Kansas anymore. All the people around me looked like creatures from another country. Or planet. The young girls were plastered in make-up and too tight of clothes. (Someone must tell these girls that less is more. Classic, understated and natural is far more attractive). And the guys there seemed just as into the shopping as them.

I forget that we are a nation of consumers. We worship at the alter of materialism. 

Which got me thinking about a sermon I heard recently in which the pastor differentiated between two Greek words that both mean life but bear different connotations. “Zwn” means eternal life and “bios” has more to do with earthly living. He was making the point that we need to focus more on zwn than bios because bios is finite and zwn – well, zwn is eternal. And far more substantial.

So, clearly the stuff of Fashion Valley reflects bios. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that consumerism won’t sustain us. But what of those things that we think will but that don’t? That fail? Relationships? Hopes? Dreams? Love? How do we reconcile that? How do we not mistake those things for zwn?

This is more tricky because God designed us to be relational beings. He created us in His image and in others we can find this Imago Dei. This aspect of Him. So it is normal to seek zwn in people and relationships. And it is not necessarily wrong that we do. The problem though comes in our tenuous relationships to attachment. Most of us are wounded in this area and are trying to navigate how to be in relationship without losing self, perspective or God. It is very easy to be all zwn when secluded on a mountaintop in a monastery. It’s harder when brushing elbows with people at Fashion Valley and elsewhere. So it’s no coincidence that Rilke wrote, “For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation.” Or that Martin Buber writes, “Love does not cling to the I in such a way as to have the Thou only for its “content,” its object; but love is between I and Thou… Love is responsibility of an I for a Thou. 

I think the only way to truly live from zwn vs. bios is to turn to the Master for help in how to do this. I don’t think it’s an easy task to be self-aware. Or to love. To be so spiritually inclined that one can be removed from Bios. From Ego. From self or projections. Because that is how we’re partially wired. We are living in partial separation from God. 

So my New Years’ mantra is this – “Zwn not bios. God help me choose zwn not bios.”

One Response to “Zoe (Zwn) Not Bios”

  1. Kevin Brangwynne January 4, 2010 at 5:40 pm #

    Looking for the “Like” button on this! 😉

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