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Monthly Archives: August 2011

I think it’s best to refrain from being creative when emotionally inspired.

As humans, we are surprisingly incapable. Of course, there have been many grand feats accomplished by the glory and industry of mankind. It doesn’t take much research to look down the long list of inventions and ideas which have come to fruition as a result of this gloried tenacity and devotion. One can get all teary eyed reading an Ayn Rand novel–a beautiful adventure and victory of the human spirit, the drive, the good willed indifference, and the talent. Our thirst for advances of the mind, new technology, new art, new ideas to assuage human suffering, new versions of the categorical imperative spoken with a tone of regrettable condescension and dismissal of the spiritual, and let’s not forget the reverse of that–the appeal to spirituality for the cure all. (We have tragically forgotten the words of Pascal who gracefully made the case for the inclusion of both reason and faith).

But ultimately, we are essentially incapable. We know nothing of true value, because true value is masterfully hidden from us. True value is transformed to appear absurd and pathetic. The health of the soul is dismissed and made a mockery of. It’s so easy to become dramatic with grandiose appeals for cultural progress–peace, love, fairness to all people regardless of income, race, or faith. But what do we know of peace, love,  or fairness? We know nothing.  Despite our genuine attempts and well-meaning projects, the soul will remain eternally sick.  The soul cannot be cured through global initiatives, and until the soul is healed, these global initiatives will merely be coats of paint, a temporary fix, a reason for investment (All very necessary, and all fleeting). The value of these projects lies within the transformation of an individual. Success is not exclusively linked to achievement.

I’d like to ask what we are celebrating. The trenches of our psychology go untouched by large events that celebrate a good cause while inflating the wrong vessels.

(a narcissistic turn)

And me? I am no cure.

Ultimately, I am a weak individual who sees aspects of myself in everyone. I’m not even me. I would claim that I am not a true identity, just a creation of one, born from the conditions of my development. Each opinion I have can be traced rather easily to some passing event from my youth, or perhaps an eloquent book I read in college.

So therein lies the dilemma–I do not know myself. I do not know what I am capable of. I don’t know my soul. I do not know what drives me. I only know that I am a narcissist. I am selfish in that I seem to equate value and production. I am part of that new generation that can’t see the connection between hard work and success. I am part of that new generation that has successfully merged altruism, fashion, and ego–while leaving the soul out of the picture altogether.

“Every human existence not conscious of itself as spirit, or not personally conscious of itself before God as spirit, every human existence which is not grounded transparently in God, but opaquely rests or merges in some abstract universal (state, nation, etc.), or in the dark about itself, simply takes its capacities to be natural powers, unconscious in a deeper sense of where it has them from, takes itself to be an unaccountable something.”–Kierkegaard (SUD)

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Jesus is the opposite of every thing. He is counter to our understanding of love, he is contrary to our understanding of happiness. When we assume he should love, he is just, when we demand justice, he forgives.  Jesus is the opposite of our existence. There is no relating to Jesus. I can not identify with Jesus. He is a reaction against the secular as much as he is a reaction against the spiritual as much as he is a reaction to the Christian. There is no way to understand it because it involves such a radical, stubborn, and vulnerable subjectivity.  There can be only a superficial parallel between you and your peer regarding that which is unable to be communicated–faith. Any attempt and subsequent claim on a systematic floor plan which hopes to explain how Jesus (not Christianity) is to be appropriated into a more diverse environment requires an approach that needs to be de-clawed and tamed..it requires a dishonest approach, one which purposely shields a potential believer and a skeptical public from the impossible ideas.

A true embrace of Jesus can only be an embrace willed by the most intimate and courageous corners of a man’s heart, and once that commitment is made, it is constantly vulnerable and never attains a certainty that can be expressed externally. To speak faith into a discourse is to expose its timeless and dependable liability–your error. Any action which is undertaken as a motive of faith must be protected through a vow of silence of your very personal claim.

When one holds faith in Christ to be advantageous, then it is in danger of being expressed as a boast, an enlightened understanding of the soul and its function. On the contrary, to work out your faith with humility is to reduce your importance and redirect that attention towards that which wills you to act. There should be an arduous attempt to mute your existence and your will. We can not run with the grace of God and arrive at a complacency which focuses on a rationality that aims to neutralize the difficulty and forgive our obviously flawed nature which you or I are not directly responsible for. There can be no apology. To assimilate the Christian faith into a discourse which capitulates its difficulty (specific truth) in order to align it with a more humanistic and ethical understanding (an appeal to populism) is to undermine the true and uncomfortable, uneasy, incomprehensible person that is Jesus.

This is not about focusing on wrath and difficulty more than love and forgiveness, it is more about constantly reminding yourself that you don’t matter in this picture–what matters is that direction which can only be understood personally.

(While this is somewhat paradoxical, I should assert that my aim is to reduce certainty of one’s beliefs in that external context where vultures wait to pounce upon all of that which does not truly matter.)

To be active in your faith does not have to include pre-emptive defense of that faith which expresses itself in an over-compensation– it does not identify itself as part of a privileged and holy collective which claims an exclusive lucidity– it does not express itself as any sort of title because it is a faith which supplants your existence. To make claim on something, to explain, support, encourage something, it requires an awareness that your conscious recognizes, harnesses, molds…and in that way, it is something external, which can be controlled in relation to your identity. Although, after committing that holy leap…what becomes of your identity? If one is alive in Christ and dead otherwise, then where is the gray area? That gray area is protected by your will (by whatever means necessary) and appropriated in order to insulate you from the roll which you so proudly claim to affirm–it allows for distance.

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“The matter is quite simple. The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly. Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. My God, you will say, if I do that my whole life will be ruined. How would I ever get on in the world? Herein lies the real place of Christian scholarship. Christian scholarship is the Church’s prodigious invention to defend itself against the Bible, to ensure that we can continue to be good Christians without the Bible coming too close. Oh, priceless scholarship, what would we do without you?”–Soren Kierkegaard

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I was driving today and I was lucky enough to witness that age old representation of God in the sky–when the spotted clouds roll in front of the son so that it peeks through the holes and is understood as an image of heaven peeking through the clouds in all of its glory, bursting forth. Yes, inspirational indeed! Although, the moment those clouds do disperse and make way for the onslaught of the sun’s heat and blinding rays, then we would recoil into some near by shade to gain cover from the discomfort—and that is just as it is with God. We pretend within the company of others to thirst for God, for Jesus, for that intimacy, but just as the unbridled sun is something we seek reprieve from, to be intimate with God is that one thing which we merely claim to desire. To be in front of God is to die, it would be a horror to the truth of our will emerge in the presence of He who can cut us off at the knees and expose us is that same divinity which we require–and it is just that exposure which is the only thing that can save us, because rationality and reason folds back onto itself and evolves to a functioning madness, an insanity which repetitively  hopes for a new outcome after centuries of having faith that our own ideas will turn out differently, might this time be for the greater good! Well, perhaps they are, and surely we will bloat any initial blessing which might happen upon us individually or as a society. There is no interest in betterment, merely convenience–a world bent to our own ideals, not the ideals which will set a world in right motion. Ego masquerades in many beautiful and inspirational forms.

So what! I will implode into my own depths all of my ideas except those which enable my mouth be silent. I will mute myself. I don’t have the right to say anything, for as Paul said, I am not righteous. And if I am not righteous what do I have to offer the world other than my broken understanding of God’s love which, being that I am in a constant and obstinate conflict with it, shall never be so bold as to proclaim it to an audience. Perhaps you have faith in that idea which relies on God to make right all that is wrong (your public folly), and if that is what you find comfort in, then what is that to me? But I feel that my faith in God should be expressed in the opposite idea which relies on all that is not foolishly and recklessly communicated to be revealed by God to the individuals of this world when the moment is ripe.

Ultimately, I do not know, nor do you. Wouldn’t it be agreed that those things which we don’t understand should be those things we approach with the most humility and respect. I will not scream about economics if I my knowledge of the topic does not exceed a general understanding of Adam Smith and Keynes. I will not scream about love and world peace if I am still out for myself and call it self-preservation and self-respect. I will not scream about Jesus if my only association with his ethics are displayed when the spot lights are on.

Is faith in God to be expressed by desiring a change in the world for the better, or is faith in God expressing your gratitude for the world you do live in and those who love you, and is it expressed by thanking God for the state of everything knowing that nothing will happen that is not in his design? Isn’t that tenacious mindset and mission to change the world also an expression of your judgement on God’s creation? Were the disciples sent to change the world?I would say that they were sent change the individual. What do we know about the world and our own ideas? So much as to assume that our will shall fall upon the lives of millions of lost individuals who merely want to live (survive, cope) and engage in what they understand as love? Does faith render us immobile? Perhaps faith redirects our attention to ourselves before it is directed any where else.