Murmurs and Antagonisms

Orthodoxy via Heresy

Month: July, 2013

Quotes

“Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.” -Rilke

On Christianity as Absurdity

Modern man must descend the spiral of his own absurdity to the lowest point; only then can he look beyond it. It is obviously impossible to get around it, jump over it, or simply avoid it.” Vaclev Havel

Much of what I believe has become absurd, or seemingly so. I’ve come up against the limits of reason where one can do nothing other than embrace the absurdity. Is that not faith itself? To embrace the utter strangeness of the gospel, its inherently radical nature.

And maybe that’s why Christians are so obsessed with having a rational explanation because we have to defend ourselves against the attack of atheists. But is this not the absurdity of the gospel? That we don’t defend the validity of our beliefs because they cannot, in fact, be defended. This is not to say they’re invalid but rather that the so aptly called ‘Christ-event’ is absurd and as such cannot be explained.

But once more we encounter an absurdity. By realizing the absurd nature of reason and going onward in faith we embrace absurdity once more. Absurdity is given up for lack of power and replaced by an absurdity of power in weakness: the cross.

Untitled n. 4

Walk into the sunlight
watching the car

pulling into the driveway
across from you. Observe

and watch and learn
as the woman clambers

out. Breasts singing as
they go up and down

with each breath. Observe
and cross the line. In

the soul everything goes
a-flutter. Something is

happening, occurring
and stirring.

Vere Tu Es Deus Absconditus

  I am a Christian. I pray like crazy. And I grew up being told to listen in prayer. I’ve tried listening but nada. Exactly what is entailed in listening to/for God? The still, small voice? How does God speak? Through his word? Sure, but that’s its own dilemma right there. So, I prayed and tried to listen and God was silent. What now? Silence, just silence.

 -“My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”-

   I use apologetics to give reasons, primarily to myself now, for my faith. Yet, God escapes me. “Jonas, you need to have heart knowledge, too!” Well, how? Like stated above the silence is frightening and overwhelming. Apologetics is all well and good till it isn’t.

 -“Pointless, because it seems to me like an attempt to put a grown-up man back into adolescence, i.e. to make him more dependent on things on which he is, in fact, no longer dependent, and thrusting him into problems that are, in fact, no longer problems to him.”-

   I accept unknowing, the lack of certainty. Or, rather, I try to. I think hard and think well, attempting to use my mind to get somewhere with the unknowing and lack of certainty. But it’s very obvious what I am doing. I’m finding certainty in the use of my mind to be uncertain. Oxymoron much?

 -“The eternal silence of these infinite spaces frightens me.”-

 

Untitled n. 3

See the sky, see the pavement
wet and moist. Pleasantries exchanged
between the rain and the dirt. So
my imagining goes. Smell the birds
and smell the sounds they make.
Fresh, aren’t they? Biting in a good way.

Quotes

Generally speaking, women aren’t very promiscuous. Males, by contrast, are extraordinarily slutty. And if that’s the case, then why are women rather than men called sluts?

A psychological study in this regard. A group of researchers had attractive assistants approach men and women of the opposite sex on a college campus. After a few minutes of chit chat the assistant would sexually proposition the student. The question was, what percent of women would agree to have sex with an attractive man after a few minutes of conversation? And what percent of men would agree to have sex with an attractive woman after a few minutes of conversation?

Seventy-five percent of the males agreed to have sex. The women?

Zero percent.

Generally speaking, women are choosy and discriminating when it comes to sex. Men not so much. 

In short, from an empirical standpoint men are the whores.

And if that’s the case, why are women always cast as whores, even in the bible, as the sexually insatiable ones?

It is a product of Freudian projection. Throughout history, religiously conservative males have had to confront one of the greatest sources of their moral failure: the male libido. The male libido–the fact that men are sluts–is a sore spot of any male community wanting to pursue purity and holiness. And what has happened, by and large, is that rather than admit that males struggle mightily in the sexual realm, males have externalized the blame and projected their libido onto women. Rather than blaming themselves for sexual sin males have, throughout history, blamed women for being temptresses. The Whore was created to be the scapegoat to preserve male self-righteousness. Rather than turning inward, in personal and collective repentance, men could blame women, blame the whores, for their sexual and moral failures. It’s not our fault, the men say, it’s the whore’s fault.

Examples of this sort of projection are too numerous to list. Christian campuses and youth group talks are full of this sort of stuff.

But let me bring this back to whores and brides in Revelation. Given the problematic nature of this metaphor, how are we to approach these images in the bible? 

I’ll tell you what I do. For me, I don’t read the Whore as a woman. I read it as the Freudian projection it is. The Whore is the male libido projected onto women.

More simply, when I see the Whore in Revelation I don’t see a woman.

I see a man.”


Richard Beck 

Quotes

“That which we cannot speak of is the one thing about whom and to whom we must never stop speaking.” 
― Peter Rollins

Untitled n. 2

Flick the lighter and watch as the sparks give rise to flame. The flame moves fluidly, from blue to yellow, left to right, back and forth, always in motion. Feel the warmth on the hand. Feel it as it moves from warmth to pain. Then let go and the flame dies a sudden death. Put thumb to the metal roller and feel the skin sear and seemingly melt, only to be left with a tingling feeling, one of pain and humor. Flick the lighter again again again.

Gay and Beautiful and a Little Thing Called Love

I really do love the Supreme Court sometimes. Sometimes they make decisions which make sense; also, they’re really good at instigating conversation. And with the overturning of parts of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) it’s started a revitalization of the marriage debate. It has also managed to bring out the Christians in full force. “Oh no! America is going to hell! Go back to God!” are the cries of our wonderful Christians. But guess what? It’s doing nothing. Nothing whatsoever. 
  
      I understand. But seriously? Running to Leviticus 19? If you’re a Christian and you use Leviticus as your go to reason for why gays shouldn’t be allowed to marry your hermeneutic is rather pathetic. Picking a verse, at random, from the Old Testament Law will not do. Be consistent. If you take this verse, which is not only moral but explicitly civil in nature (who else is going to enforce the death penalty for gays?), you need to take more. Oh, but you say: “There are different types of Laws in the Old Testament.” Of course there are. But not in the sense you mean (moral, civil, and those relating to the sacrificial system). There is no clear indication that the Bible, in the OT or NT, ever delineates such a distinction. So unless you’re a theonomist, which most Christians are not, don’t run to the OT Law. But what about Romans 1? and 1 Corinthians 6? Both of these have a context and neither of these tell us what the government can or cannot do. 
   
     But the  fundamental problem is how we as Christians respond. As Rachel Held Evans so aptly states, “But it reminded me of one important, reality-based fact: Most people begin to recognize their sexual orientation when they are just kids, when they are young and vulnerable like this little girl. So when we, in the Church, discuss homosexuality as though it were an issue faced by “other people” who are “out there,” when we resort to stereotypes and language about hell and judgment and damnation, we may be doing serious damage to the most precious and vulnerable among us. Even our casual conversations with one another can be picked up by little ears and internalized in destructive ways.” And her point stands validly. Go to almost any gay person and ask them when they realized they were gay you will get an answer that varies from young child to teen years. Either way one takes it words have consequences. Am I saying that if you have a conviction that being gay or gay action is wrong that’s fine and wonderful. Consider, though, how you go about sharing this belief. Will you damn gays and call them abominations simply to be faithful to the Biblical witness? Or will you love them and say it a manner that admits you’re just as much a worthless sinner as they? Because, frankly, all it sounds like from my side of the pew is a bunch of pissed off white Christians who think America is going to hell. They seem to be more concerned with America than with people and loving them. That pesky ol’ second greatest commandment, right? 
    
     So, seriously. Get off your high horse. Get into the streets. Pray. Love. Interact. The Incarnation of Jesus demands that we as Christians live as part of this world, that the bodies we have are clean, that the Creation is healing and groaning to be fully restored, and that we must live separately. And stop focusing on that last point without the others. Because when you do, when you “hope all things” in people they have opportunity and you can grow and learn.