Wedding the Transcendent and the Concrete (by Kevin Sparks)

Wedding the Transcendent and the Concrete (by Kevin Sparks)

Kevin SparksWedding the Transcendent and the Concrete (March 1, 2007) My thought on Rumi is round about. Years ago, while studying painting as a graduate student, I met an unusually thoughtful undergraduate (Peter Franklin) who patiently endured my absolute opining. This lover of the good, true, and beautiful recommended a few books and gave a gift at one point: an edition of Rumi. I've often reflected on the convincing way these verses wed the most transcendent and the most concrete, as if revealing the sensate imperative of the spiritual (and the spiritual imperative of intimacy). Is there not another "silk road" — one connecting Islamic mystics, Cappadocian fathers, and the likes of Julian and Francis? This glistening thread of experienced, divine love — this insistence of the genuinely precious seems central to Rumi. He whispers of divine longing: that we be one in receiving and reflecting Love's other-awareness, in all things? Peter would like that. Kevin Sparks Lexington, KY (Listens to On Being OnDemand)

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is professor of Persian & Comparative Literature at Washington University in St. Louis, and the author of several books, including Reading Mystical Lyric: The Case of Jalal aI-Din Rumi.