tag : bright yellow-green apples: clothed adrape

"I see little point in persisting in a discussion with one so obstinate as you" Martin White

Monday, September 06, 2004

clothed adrape


figure 14.8. Jesus then and now

A quick initial proviso. Can you anonymous people use some different names, please? We all wear internet masks, that’s true, but at least if we wear different ones it helps me in considering and dealing with what you say over time. Ta muchly. Now onto the feature, a reply made to me in secular saints:

“JC, if he was really ONE person, WAS a social revolutionary. In his time, in his society. Now, today, the only interp. I see by you and others, is metaphysical. You are no different, at all,to the layman, than the most staunch catholic supporter. The traditions, the liturgy and yes, sorry C. the dogma. You still are dealing in the currency of the church, pick and choose all you like, your buffet is still Grimm.”

I’m not quite sure how being accused of Catholicism is seemingly an insult, but the rhetoric here is very interesting so I’m going to run with it and see what happens.

Who claims and uses Jesus Christ seems to be a strongly fought thing, many people seeking to appropriate him for their cause from the Marxist Pier Paolo Pasolini to the entrenched conservative Southern Baptists. I would hope that this could be flipped round, such that he is able to speak to us in our varying situations equally pertinently. To me, my own encounters with the divine through Christ mean that metaphysics is in some way inevitable – because what I have met in him leads to a theological consideration, he has brought a God vision which affects how I live and view the world. This does not mean that I cannot see the specificity and real humanity, the revolutionary aspect which you talk of; Geza Vermes has shown it admirably with his own analytical writing.

Preemtive caveat. I should not need to be apologetic for having a different voice to yours in itself. The very diversity of humanity shows that difference is intrinsic to us. Maybe that welcoming of variety in the Church and wider society is the “pick and choose” you admonish offhand, but that I will not be apologetic for any more than I would wish you to be apologetic for being different to me.

But, and yes there’s always a but. The charge of language is where I do probably have to hold up my hands. Yes I am a purveyor of dry faded roses, small kitsch fragments. The “currency of the Church” is in many ways a self-indulgent thing, we talk to each other in our ways and then try to foist that upon others, assuming that they will connect. Grimm is putting it mildly, to some people what we do just makes no connection at all, purely apathy inspiring, and my being brought up within the Church subculture means I'm very prone. But be patient with me, I'm learning on this journey from others as much as (if not more than) seeking to give out a message. Looking for divine sparks lodged in the world. So stick around, for my sake, and I might be able to listen as well as spout.


Blogger Andy said...

I think you and I must do some serious bumping into each other on the astral plane without noticing it. I have just been thinking about how we can see Jesus in both theological and non-theological ways. As I liberalised my faith, I found that the theology died away somewhat. Jesus became a social prophet, interested in helping others more than finding God. However as I became more involved with mysticism, I found the theology came back. The resurrection and incarnation returned. I guess this is summed up by Jesus himself when he is asked about the greatest commandments. Love God, and then love your neighbour. We have to balance our spiritual lives between the socially active part and the theological and mystical part. To remove either one of these is probably to deny Christ - he was a loving and caring human being just as much as he is the Son of God, the Word, the Bread of Life.

Since the metaphysical speculations on Jesus are taking a battering here, I will stand up for them. Perhaps our Anonymous friend takes Vermes' non-theological view of Jesus, however even if we don't see Jesus through incarnational goggles, we can't ignore the profound spiritual truths he said. These truths are meant to bring us closer to God, (the first commandment) and in doing so we discover how to love our neighbours (the second commandment). Now I will be so cheeky as to quote some 'staunch Catholics':

"It is in deep solitude and silence that I find the gentleness with which I can truly love my brother and sister" - Thomas Merton

"God is the friend of silence. Se how nature, trees, flowers, grass, grow in silence. The more we receive in silent prayer, the more we can give in our active life" - Mother Teresa

It seems the contemplative life, one of more theological and metaphysical implications perhaps, sets us up for the social action that Jesus intends us for. We can't bring the Kingdom among us until the Kingdom has arrived within us.


8:57 PM  
Blogger camille said...

ah yes, what a gory subject this is - the divine, the messianic, the...? Jesus.
so, of course, being who i am, can't stay away from these soulful meanderings....
i think our dear anonymous, who must come up with some sort of identifier (i agree), seems to have the opinion that one cannot pick & choose...
perhaps all mysticism is Grimm to him
i say, hurrah
some of us are inclined towards the mystical, the layer beneath the layer, so to speak - maybe, to be accurate in these discussions, the personal v. universal truths -that which leads us on a journey through all spiritual landscapes - even those that are uncomfortable or, yikes, ugly
do i, in particular, accept the divinity of christ?
but nor do i condemn those who do
that being said, i do, with my whole being, condemn those who use these ideas/books/values/pick a word, to commit crimes of humanity...which, unfortunately, many 'churches' 'religions' (break it down how you will) historically seem to be quite proficient at
the economic value of the soul is quite high and sadly, many theologians, academics, thinkers like to bury themselves and evade such uncomfortable truths
...ah, must leave....
continue on with the talks tho...facinating all around

12:13 AM  
Blogger postliberal said...

Excellent replies from both of you there, no superlative would be a better word, adding and revealing new layers to our collective experiences of meaning (be they so varied and in wonderful tension). The astral plane works in mysterious ways - sorry to anon., but mystical type language is inevitable in articulation.

1:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, silly, silly, Do not deny me the mystical Camille, you know better. Funneling transcendence through jesus for ulterior purposes, the game of ages. The claim of religion to support evil? Ditto. I merely seperate original intent from modern applications. Personal experience doesn't count for much it seems in this discussion, individuality is at cross purposes with what P.L. believes (atomisation? bizarre...)but reveals much. The sheep require a shepherd, some can fly planes, others merely guide them. Trivial sectarian I may be, the glory of the Universe is not known in your feeble diatribes. Oh, and Radiohead sucks...(Only a euro contest would pick a band called Franz Ferdinand as winners, can't wait to hear them)!

8:51 AM  
Blogger postliberal said...

& what a game. My own experience is to have encountered the numinous through Jesus Christ, I’m in no position whatsoever to have ulterior purposes – what could I want to do? I’m already on the margins of Church as it is, in no position to play any control games. And yet you try to use the straw man of considering me out to get you in order to bash me as a sell out of my mind. Now who’s being naughty? You see I believe in community which is to the left of uniformity, in communal relationships with variety intrinsically accepted. We’re not islands, no matter how much Thatcher et al. might have succeeded in nearly convincing us so. Personal experience is key, but is not the enemy of relational existence any more than two people experiencing meaning in something can fairly be called sheep.

ps. diatribes is a fantastic word, do keep using it and other such evocative english please - we need more quality language around, cos I'm not all that good at deploying it! :)

11:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I ascribe no ulterior motives to you, personally, how could I? You misunderstand, those motives were keen amongst the men who wrote jesus. Control games? The ultimate. To bastardise a rebellion into a religion by revisionist writings concerning prophecy et al., was the purpose, jc was the hapless salesman. That purpose ended quite some time ago, though the power has never been let drop by those who seek to use it for there own advancement. You are welcome to your epiphany wherever you find it, just realize the source, and intent of those who created it. My point about picking and choosing, broaden your pastures.

9:20 PM  
Blogger postliberal said...

It might be just a little disingenuous to go and claim that all those who have interpreted religious & spiritual experience, and left something of their encounter to us, as having a detrimental agenda. We all filter our life through interpretative back reading, and nobody would claim we’re all at controlling, stifling, games. I do not deny the worst, who could with any pretence to being aware, but. Revisionism is, to some extent, the stuff of life, and our memories no better than the stories and tales of the writers and compilers of religious texts you seem to be decrying. Nice rhetoric, though, keep it up.

1:59 AM  
Blogger Brasil66 said...

"Interpretive backreading." Hardly a definition of revisionism.You give too much allowance for noble intent. I do not. An intentional re-writing of a life to appear a reflection of mythological prophecy, given to those who craved any hope of freedom from their bonds is a deceitful and fully cognizant attempt to hi-jack a philosophy. A later overlay of mystical attributions to place Someone on a higher plane than his predecessors is left for biblical scholars to uncover to reveal a foundation for divine faith. An ancient,unfortunate evil, we pay for today.

4:09 PM  

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