Murmurs and Antagonisms

Orthodoxy via Heresy

Month: February, 2014

Futures

Been thinking lately about my goals in life, where I’m gonna end up after college, grad school, and whatever other degrees I choose to pursue. I don’t have a clue what I want to do as a career. And I guess that’s okay. I do know that I don’t want to, should I end up within the mighty world of intellectuals, be another one who sits on my throne of privilege, a privilege inherent to that career. I don’t want the sacred cow of privilege and then critique it from a pathetic state of privilege in which my critique means nothing.

More pointedly: I really don’t give a damn about the American lifestyle. See, nothing about the typical, run of the mill, find a job you love, settle down and have a family idea appeals to me. It seems so inane and empty. Adventure is not what I desire. Rather, I desire to know God more deeply by living beyond what the nice American lifestyle is. Now, in fairness, some are so called and bravo to them. I happen to be restless and in want of more than being a privileged (potential) intellectual. Fundamentally, I want to die having done good for people and others in a way more meaningful than what I could do from the pulpit or lectern.

Anyways, my thoughts. Take them for what they are: rambling and empty.

oh.

tiny incisions grace full and screaming

at ever(y) word that which comes out

wrongly put. words hurting causing innocent

ones bloodshed and memory eternal of

pain and roughshod paths walked formerly

of those who knew and died knowing

pain. wisdom words spoken always without

ceasing God ward. whatever God ward speech

likes to look like. Amen

On the Privilege of Meaning

Us wise men and women in the Western world are so fond of talking about meaning. So fond of talking about the meaninglessness of life, too. But the odd thing is, these things can only be said from a position of privilege. (This isn’t to say those statements/ideas are false). From privilege, where we have the comfort to talk so wisely, we can speak words and declare the world empty and void of meaning or rich and vibrant and in waiting for meaning to be found. Either way, the difference between these thoughts and the lived life of people is this: the average, droll, day to day human being, in their absolute understanding of place, wake up and go to work and do their job. Sure, enjoyment may be lacking. But I wonder if the privilege of meaning is one which is counteracted by Christianity. Christianity seems more inclined to say, “This is where you are now live accordingly.” It’s not about searching the stars or newspaper or the Great Books for meaning. It’s, fundamentally, about living. Living provides more true meaning than superficial ideological agreement. I can look to wise men and sages all I want but at the end of the day meaning is found in living. Privilege sits above true life and makes ominous declarations. Moving past privilege is moving past the inane nature of the question of meaning in the world.

America as Church

America has its creed – the Constitution, specifically the Amendments.

America has it’s own, Credo! – the Pledge.

America has it’s own worship anthems – the National Anthem, America the Beautiful.

The only real, true difference between the Christ’s Church and America is this: one uses weapons of war and violence to maintain its liturgies and habits. The other follows the way of a dead (risen) King who throws away violence and instead offers his Body and Blood as the way in which our habits are maintained and formed.

Part Two: Naming

Part 2 of an ongoing series on the death of God within a biblical framework.

…that language is murder, that is, the act of naming things, of substituting a name for the sensation, gives things to us, but in a form that deprives those things of their being. Human speech is thus the annihilation of things qua things, and their articulation through language is truly their death-rattle: Adam is the first serial killer. (p.62, Very Little…Almost Nothing)

In the story of Jesus’ Incarnation we find a moment when he is named. Of course, he’s already been named Jesus, thus cementing him as a human being and further distancing him from the Godhood which is self-ascribed later on. But, more startlingly, in Matthew 3:13-17 we find God giving name to who Jesus is. This is the first moment in which I find Isaiah’s statement, God speaking via Isaiah, to begin to be fulfilled – “But the Lord was pleased/To crush Him, …”. God is naming Jesus as his son, as the child from his loins. But, as Critchley argues, if this is God’s son then naming him as such is a deprivation of that being. In stating that Jesus is his son God the Father is removing from Jesus the title of being God and his son. Ultimately, this is found in the forsaken moments of Jesus upon the cross. Here, though, in the baptism, we find Jesus beginning his death as God. Baptism into his own death.

Minority Status

The question, from Scripture, asked by sexual minorities everywhere: Here is water, what prevents me from being baptized?

The Politics of Chest Hair

Society sets up an absurd standard for women to meet. Whether it be a basic leggy, skinny model of beauty with perfectly toned thighs and abs meet tanned skin or the notion that a woman should shave her pubic hair, it’s all done from a male oriented/dictated ideal of beauty and what a woman should look like. However, to a lesser extent, the same goes for men. Go to any high school in America and ask any female who their favorite male celebrity is/which they find most attractive and 3/4 of the time it will be a man who has little to no chest hair, specifically. (Male pubic hair is generally seen as socially acceptable more than female pubic hair, something which I fail to grasp, quite honestly).  Why is it okay for society to ostracize a natural occurrence among men as they grow up? Look, if a guy wants to shave his hair and be clean shaven all over, go for it. But society shouldn’t posit some idea of the man that’s utterly preposterous and out of touch with reality. Most men are not clean shaven hunks. Chest hair is just as taboo as pubic hair. And both are not unnatural or wrong. And no one should feel like they need to meet some standard for their partner or society of what is or is not attractive.

words made holy unware

empty the words
enter the stomach
exit through by
the internal pathway into
the soul. by the by the
end of beginnings is the
beginning of ends and no
longer do words
said in jest or anger
frighten me. i can sit
under the wrath of people
inhuman and worldly
religious. i can sit and
sympathize with their
meaningful inanities. nice
people scare me more
than cruel decency in
times of trouble. words
mean stuff mean things mean
to mean something mean to
me. though sensitive i
may be i least have
a soul(less) heart.

God: The Bastard

The following post is a jumping off point from a post I’ve previously linked to (so if you haven’t read it you should since my meditation on this passage finds it origin in his thoughts, I’m derivative I know) at Matt McCracken’s blog in which he points out the curious phrase in the book of Job where it states that Job’s friends and family “…came to him all his brothers and sisters and all who had known him before, and they ate bread with him in his house; they showed him sympathy and comforted him for all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him; and each of them gave him a piece of money and a gold ring [Emphasis McCraken’s].”

The passage does what too many evangelicals are afraid to do with the book of Job: foist responsibility of all the evil done (and it was evil) upon God. Too often when Job is being dealt with we say God allowed this evil to happen. But really? As if that absolves God of any responsibility for what occurred. The text, it seems, makes things less simple. More bluntly: the text itself clearly states that God had an active role in bringing evil upon Job.

(Note: this is not some singular cherry picking because the context is within a larger framework of a book, a story which clearly affirms the statement in this passage.)

What is this passage even about? Simple answer: God does evil things. End of story. Of course every Calvinist agrees with this statement (or should if they have any desire for intellectual consistency) but most people don’t like the idea. For good reason, even. But let’s take a moment and consider that earlier in Job the main character gives to God the attribute of being the one “gives and takes away” and then in Lamentations we see the poet decrying God’s apparent injustices. This type of mourning and anger permeates the Psalms and can even be found in the cry of Jesus upon the cross. What are we to do with this? In all honesty I’m not sure. I want to say God is not evil but God obviously then goes on to commit the greatest atrocity by planning and enacting via human agency the murder of his own son. So, maybe the odd beauty, the disturbing nature of the cross is that it forever separates us from God all the while bringing us near?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Quote

That God is tainted and Job vindicated; that divine crisis gives way to divine indebtedness (as the excessive gifting and the naming of Job’s new daughters suggests); that Job’s integrity is furthered by his refusing to be anything other than what he is and, in this way, more than God.

Matt McCracken