Friday, May 30, 2008

seattle

I read some of Genesis recently, and I'm always enamored with the idea of God. In terms of the whole bible, the task of internally coming to a place where you can reconcile God with Jesus is not easy. The two, who are the same, and yet not the same, the ongoing paradox of Christian theology. Also, I've been thinking about the idea of God in context of feeling and acting on emotions that we as humans can understand, more specifically the emotion of regret, or remorse. In Genesis, Chapter 6, verse 6 it says that, "The Lord was grieved that He had made man on earth and his heart was filled with pain", in just that one example, God was not happy with what he had made, so unhappy in fact, that he wiped all of mankind from the earth, saving just one "prototype". In my head I can just imagine God drawing out the design of life, and at a certain point, realizing he was moving in the wrong direction, so he started over. God made a mistake!? That idea is comforting to me. I don't fall in line with those who get all up in arms when someone questions the actions/motivations/behaviors of God or Jesus. The idea of God experiencing human emotions only validates him. A friend of mine mentioned the scripture as metaphor and should not be taken literal...I wondered about how we will always chose what we want from the Bible. I think I should go back to school and learn all about Theology. All this talk about Reverend Wright and his contextual theology. If contextual theology is validated, and I think that it is something to be taken into account, then what does that mean? And to what ends to we take it? Does the story of Christ change slightly depending on what race you are, what time period you grew up in? And if you say no, then how do you align your personal experience with those of other people, other cultures, and all come to an agreement. As nit picky as that may be, it creates conflict, which is the poison of man's intellect and arrogance, fragile and shallow faith. I had a discussion the other day with a man who was almost 20 years old than me and we basically going back and forth, arguing/discussing politics which led to discussions on human nature, and this did nothing to eradicate, or even shift my outlook on the cycle of living. I mentioned that theories are as worthless as ideals. That comment comes off as ridiculous, but I don't mean it in the same brazen manner in which it sounds, there are contexts here. But by the end of the conversation, we had dug ourselves so deep into the understanding that if human life, at this time, in this country, is only an act of survival and preservation, and ambition, then what is it going to take to everyone on one page moving towards one goal? Do we even need that? Well, I'll tell you that it won't be done through Capitalism, because the idea of capitalism undermines a communal aspect of existence, unless you count the common idea of pursuit of wealth, which creates shallow partnerships and deep fractures, I think it ultimately divides more. You only need to look on the news to see its evidence. Am I a socialist? No. What are we conditioning ourselves for? What are we preparing our children for? What can you even afford to do? What time do you have to do it? The idea of "distraction" is a sleeping giant that will never let you alone long enough to break from its grasp. This is not national, it is global. it's 98% vs 2%.

Hmm, but what else! We're in Seattle for a wedding of a good friend of ours, and I'm excited to be here, although, I'm not too motivated to go out tonight. I'm a glorious 5th wheel in this situation and I'm not sure I want to be around so much affection and love and hopeful futures as I will be tonight, and this weekend. But that is not to say I am against the idea, I am merely envious, and fortunate. I'm in a hotel bed watching Nascar on mute. I think I'm going to write a friend of mine a letter, and explain myself to her, not because I need to, or because I owe it to her, but mainly because it's comforting to write letters. And it is very easy for the recipient of the letter to ignore said letter, by just throwing it away. I feel like I'm being more productive when I express myself to another person, that way it puts in an objective context and there is more a chance for you to hear how ridiculous you might sound, or it might validate your position more. It lets me move forward. Do you think it's depressing to realize that the problems you experience have been being dealt with for years, and those problems are nothing new, nothing more valuable or unique than any others? Or would it be more depressing if your problems and issues were unique? Would it make you feel more validated while you complain and sulk? I think I prefer the former, it encourages a non dramatic existence, and forces you to live and not dwell. How unfair it is that when a loved one, or any person dies, the world continues to spin, and maybe at first you are appalled and unable to even imagine going back to living your life, how insensitive you might think it seems, but unless that world didn't keep spinning, you might just die yourself. Maybe your heart couldn't take the pain for too long, the world is spinning mercilessly to kick you into gear and keep you focused, because the last thing the deceased want is for the living to lose sight of what is important, and not give up the beauty and joy of living. It's a crazy thought, bodies just shutting down. I was going to write something, but I lost my train of thought. I think that your life, and your emotions are validated by those you love and those who love you back. I am not a person who employs a solipsist thought. I am not interested in the cosmos, parallel existence, the science of dreams...as fascinating as all of those are. I am more interested in interaction and the mystery of humanity and their social/mental architecture. The true slant of human nature.

I went to a bachelor party last night and I felt like I was in a parody. Not to fault the company, it was all very surreal. I have only my parents to thank for my dwindling rationality and my social manners.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think this is my favourite blog that I have ever read. Honestly.

And I think I like that no problem is new, because it gives reason for community, and for people to share information (traditions, books, films) and a basis for relationships.

This post reminded me of this music video http://youtube.com/watch?v=L4sa2HoXpsE
The song is nothing new and the video isn't that well executed, but it feels raw and the lighting fits really well. Plus, the first couple seconds are pretty cool.

linds

2:00 PM

 
Anonymous emily said...

A few thoughts on Genesis 6.

1. History is God's path to an appointed future meaning that the purpose to accomplish had been put in place before the beginning of time and thus God's providence of all events serve that goal.

2. The NT explains the OT. If people think God made/make mistakes then I fear that they are ultimately looking for a past cause and not a future purpose.

3. By destroying unrepentant sinners God did not surrender his purpose in creating humankind. Even after the flood the condition of man's heart does not improve (even Noah fell after the flood), but the end result was Noah was saved by grace and God gave three new provisions, the most important one being the convenant He made with Noah.

How does that appear as though God began to realize that he was moving in the wrong direction and so he started over? Is it because God's self-disclosure is made evident by using human language to suggest showing human emotions and affections? Why do people feel it necessary to exchange the glory of God for an image of ourselves by transforming God's anthropomorphic self-disclosures of God into literal portrayals of himself, but doing so in our likeness. What other language could the scripture writers use to distinguish God's emotions from our own while yet continuing to make sense to us.

My opinion (if you care), is that while it is true that Scripture says that God is said to forget, to be surprised, to show remorse, to act and react toward his people in both blessing and punishment, the scriptural language should be recognized as being metaphorical or symbolic and NOT the actions of a god with limited knowledge and power.

And I thought that an open theist would believe that I would be the one to be too biblically literal! :)

2:24 PM

 
Blogger AJ said...

I'm more than halfway through a book by William Young, entitled "The Shack," that my friend passed along for me to read. The author's creative portrayal of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit and His/Her expression of (and response to) human emotion and behavior has challenged and expanded my image of God. I would love to hear your responses to the book if you are up for giving it a read sometime.

10:09 PM

 
Blogger Melanie said...

I'm not sure if that passage means that God made a mistake taken in the whole context of the Bible since you mention context. On the other hand, I don't purport to understand or know every nuance when it comes to matters of God. The one thing I do get continually is that His ways are higher than our ways, that He is incomprehensible. This bothers a lot of people. I've given it great thought, and I think that a God I could comprehend would be too small for me. I don't think the Scripture is a metaphor, although there are metaphor's in it, and some people get rather lost trying to tell the difference.

Something about this blog rather reminds me of Eccliastes There is nothing new under the sun.

I think most people find it more depressing to think that they are so different than anyone else in what they are going through, although sometimes people act as though they hate the idea of "being" unique, but cannot fathom that anyone else really understands. Maybe that is a paradox as well.

And I can definitely relate to this feeling:
"I went to a bachelor party last night and I felt like I was in a parody. Not to fault the company, it was all very surreal."

I'm not sure if it's exactly the same thing, but it rather describes how I feel when I am in a place and somewhat disconnected. Oft times I don't know anyone, don't know what to say and nothing is clicking. It's no one's "fault" it's just what it is. You feel like an observer rather than a participant and not always comfortably.

BTW, I read The Shack and liked it because it does force you to think a little differently about God - rather outside the box we often "put" God in. I'm now reading, "The Pilgrim's Regress" by C.S. Lewis. I am rather enjoying it. I have a feeling you'd find it at least interesting if you haven't read it yet.

I hope you found someone at the wedding you can connect with. It makes things so much more pleasant and less surreal.

6:29 PM

 
Blogger David said...

1. History is God's path to an appointed future meaning that the purpose to accomplish had been put in place before the beginning of time and thus God's providence of all events serve that goal. --This does not matter in context of what i posted, i am not challenging God's will by analyzing this story. For even if God made a "mistake" as I so flippantly put it for the sake of this blog, it still would not affect His will.

2. The NT explains the OT. If people think God made/make mistakes then I fear that they are ultimately looking for a past cause and not a future purpose.--I don't really blame people for wanting to find reason or justification in past cause, because I think that affects how you accept the future purpose. I do not believe God is bothered by the search either. God's existence and truth is not in question, what is in question is the faith of the person searching, and whether he/she accepts it, and God's existence and truth does not live or die with this person's findings. People's decision to follow Christ should be based on something very deep, not shallow, or not on a whim that never gets question, or not on a conditioned upbringing. It should be a choice made outside of any influence, because in that way, it will stand strong no matter what outside influence the person may experience.

3. By destroying unrepentant sinners God did not surrender his purpose in creating humankind. Even after the flood the condition of man's heart does not improve (even Noah fell after the flood), but the end result was Noah was saved by grace and God gave three new provisions, the most important one being the convenant He made with Noah.--I did not mention God surrendering his purpose in this blog, again, I merely brought it up for analyzation and thought. I will say again, no matter what God's intention, should it not be justified (according to christian thought) simply by his divinity? I think the hard part is building your faith in God and his truth, amidst His way of implementing it, or exemplifying his will in humans. I think a person desires to believe in an ultimately just and loving being, and I think that some of the stories in the bible contradict that, and building a faith to see through it all and find meaning in these stories is the challenging that shouldn't be easily overcome. I think that when I bring that up this fact, people dismiss it with a response like, "oh, of course", but I think they don't understand or grasp the depth in which you have to accept God's truth, even against your own idea of logic and understanding which is hard.

How does that appear as though God began to realize that he was moving in the wrong direction and so he started over? Is it because God's self-disclosure is made evident by using human language to suggest showing human emotions and affections? Why do people feel it necessary to exchange the glory of God for an image of ourselves by transforming God's anthropomorphic self-disclosures of God into literal portrayals of himself, but doing so in our likeness. What other language could the scripture writers use to distinguish God's emotions from our own while yet continuing to make sense to us.--"Why do people feel it necessary to exchange the glory of God for an image of ourselves by transforming God's anthropomorphic self-disclosures of God into literal portrayals of himself, but doing so in our likeness."--I think that is simple, it is because God made us in his image, so the anthropomorphic idea (while it may be presumptuous) is understandable. Genesis 9:6: Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man will his blood be shed; for in the image of God, has God made man" The reason for the post was to merely bring the paradox to discussion. I personally think it is a presumption to confine God in the context of anthropomorphism, but then again, the bible reaffirms that, just as it affirms God's mystery and grace which will never be understood. And what else are we to make of the language provided in the bible, I think that this is a case of selective choosing. Is God a mystery, or is he openly and accurately depicted in the bible? I would chose the former, therefore calling for a long investigation into how you fit into God's will, and what it means. 


4:41 PM

 
Blogger Melanie said...

"It should be a choice made outside of any influence, because in that way, it will stand strong no matter what outside influence the person may experience."

I'm not sure this is even really possible. I do think we have to make our own choices despite all of the influences around us, and it has to be our choice, but I don't think any of us really live enough in a vacuum to make any descions sans outside influence. Or perhaps I'm just misunderstanding.

BTW, I think God is definitely big enough to handle our questions. :)

12:53 AM

 

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