Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Johnny One Note

   Re-reading these C.P.E. s, a feature thereof emerges. We observe a kind of perspective in these essays. In thinking it over some, and to "find out" if I agree with my own bias, it appears that a "Johnny One Note" grasp of things IS "me". Who knew?
  Old guys easily get in a groove (or rut) in which their commentary on things is "set". There is a great line in "The Silver Chair", in which Puddleglum, in speaking to an "earthman," gets frustrated. The little guy has a dreary refrain; something along the lines of "...and few return to the sunlit lands". Puddleglum, sick to death at hearing it yet again says: "Well, I can clearly see that you are a chap of one idea".
   We prefer (I think) to see ourselves as decidedly NOT single-minded. We'd like the descriptions "eclectic, sophisticated", you know? "open-minded"! Now others, (especially old white men), now those other people might well be "set in their ways", oh; let's say "narrow, parochial, and that bad brain stuff. "They" may be chaps of one idea, but NEVER us! We are way too "sophisticated" for one thing.
   The problem area here, is that this device bites itself in the butt. This mono-mania for "non-narrowness" can (very) easily become the NEW "One Note" in our lives. In "escaping" one-note-ism per se, we establish it! It is the sort of trap we build when in the flight from "absolutes," we embrace "relativity". If everything (indeed) is "relative," then such an assessment can only be "relatively true". It soon, to be outmoded as "quaint" we gather? The premise "there are no absolutes" is a violation of itself, in that it is to be taken as a true; and absolutely-so, assertion!
   My idea then is that our minds are "haunted" by "one-idea", and we simultaneously fear it, in us! The reason it is not trusted is that most of it's manifestations are one-idea, all about me! We have all met those, for whom "Me, and my power", or "Me, and my accomplishments/glory" send listeners running! If the central idea of my life is "me", then I have lost my audience in the telling. The thing is biting itself in the butt, it is the luggage our parents carried out of Eden, and it is heavy and awkward to move around.
   The abuse of a thing is never a sufficient argument to outlaw it's proper use. If one-idea-ism is the pattern we keep generating, and me-ism is it's (flawed) product, such is not necessarily invalidating the one idea. If the Sun is the center of the solar system then (apparently), the Earth is not! But because the Earth is not central, to void "centrality" itself thereby, is an error. If the "Sun" is Christ, and the "Earth" is the church, then we would EXPECT a "One Note" theme to appear in that community. It is (now) "Him, and His power, Him and His accomplishments/glory". And we could end this C.P.E. right here! But, you're not getting off that easy...oh, and by the way that stands for "crazy-pants-essay". Clever, no?
   Each, as individuals, each in our time, our life, each in our weakness; formats a unique "reflective surface", to the true "Sunlight", which is Lord Christ. So, (maybe) in your life it's all about patience? In her life (over there), it's all about security, and welcome? Each of us then, playing our part in the symphony, brings and plays our own "chap of one idea" note. And far from being tired and passe', now baptized, now resurrected, now transformed, it proves to be the "true me", and that "me" is all-about Him!
  Think of Paul or Peter. How about Luke and John? Each with their own gifts, strengths, and blindspots bring the one-note entrusted to them into the orchestra He directs...We really do not expect Paul to sound like the others, nor do we await him to endorse "non-narrowness" as a kind of unqualified "good".
   To the best of my ability then (which is small), hear the "One-Note" in my life! It has been there for years, and I can't make it go-away, in any case, so let's hear it Bub.
   Basically, it's a riff on the "indecent" meekness of Jesus. You know the material: "When your foe slaps you on one cheek, turn to him the other. When the enemy demands your coat, volunteer your umbrella to go with!". Okay, I made up the umbrella part.
   As a boy, I just never "got" how such talk could be thought of as "loving". If you (actually) cared for others, wouldn't you HELP them stop-being jackasses? Isn't "good;" that (moral?) effort that HALTs evil? So, in my book, when the enemy slaps you on the right cheek, blow his freaking kneecap off...he won't do THAT again! When your foe forces you to carry his junk one mile, set it on fire, and run away! Maybe, next timer he will carry his own? I just want to be part of the cure here!
    The "Johnny One Note" theme of my life has been to assess the blatantly "bad advice" of Jesus Christ. What possible motive could be driving this? It's clear that He's not nuts, so; what is He saying? For most of my life, I simply rejected the "love" angle here. If "love" over-rides dignity, justice, truth, and honor, then isn't it (in fact) just another criminally negligent form of irresponsible self-promotion? But, how does that kind of assessment describe Him? I simply ran from the "Jesus is such a fabulously nice guy, that it would be ever-so-marvy if we were all just like Him" school of thought.
   It sounded to me that Jesus the nice-guy-wimp, Jesus-the-effeminate-loser, would do well to grow a backbone. His "ethics" meant only more guilt, and guilty of being insufficiently gutless? Like I needed that? Who COULD care about such drivel?
   No sir! The Bible speaks of Him as LORD (commander) of "hosts" (heavenly armies). One angel, in one night, whacks 180k bad eggs? Sign me up! And He, Captain of HOSTS of such fierce warriors? Wow, my kinda guy. Moses sings "Our God is a Man of War!". I tell ya, you have GOT to love this stuff!
   So, the johnny-one-note-ism of my life has been to reconcile the "terrible advice" of that Warrior King, to the reality OF same. To my thinking, the only working solution, is to couch the "bad advice" in light of that coming WORSE day!...Saved from sin? Sure, why not? Saved from evil? Okay, I'm with you. Saved from ourselves? Yawn, this is getting squishy. See? The message is, He is saving us...from Him! That (coming) devastation is so total, so unendurably bad; that even He blanches! The result is a kind of garbage dump for souls, one that is ON FIRE? Drastic steps, from His end ARE being taken! Pssst, this is where the gospel story comes in. All that stuff about the one sacrifice, Him TAKING that wrath-coming....
   If we refugees of the garden know nothing, we KNOW "what goes around comes around". There SHALL be an evening of the score, all debts shall be repaid. Evil just cannot go on forever unchallenged, and unmolested. We know this in our guts, we "know it" in our bones. And right "here", in the face of evil, instead of cursing in return; instead of threats, the King (God Bless Him!) brings His "awful advice"!
   THAT DAY, in which the little red wagon called "reality" is burned down, (and it's wheels blown off), that day, a mind-blowing fiesta of pain, shame, dread and catastrophe AT HIS hand,  that day I would not "wish" upon my worst (human) enemy! The powerful signal, that I am refusing to "throw down" with these blind men is the strongest message we can send! Everything "in us" calls for revenge! That is the one-note smuggled out of the garden, the one-note contraband we refuse to mention. And only the dire threat of His (horrendous) return, (which is the context for the "terrible advice" in question) can smoke out our smuggled one-note.
   As such, we say (with actions) as "loudly" as we can; "I am not the threat. Life is not the threat. Death is not the threat, Jesus, the Nazarene! He's the problem: He IS the threat! And through the human motive of FEAR, He is dragging to safety, a (human) "host". Fishing is a matter of well thrown nets. Fish are dragged in, and not-frequently asked their opinion...
   Do you see? Until they are given eyes to see the actual threat to their well being, they MUST mistake you as the threat. They MUST mistake the world or death as the threat. And so, their un-aided view MUST be a johnny-one-note about "my-glory". But that is what the fall was all about. He is shearing us off from our slave masters, the devils. Those guys are hammered toast (on-fire!), they have zero hope. But the human slave can be sheared-off, and turned, before it's too late. The brief version then is "We are on the clock, and almost out of time". Zeal then, "is okay". "A chap of one idea" is allowable, even welcome!
   My chap of one idea...idea is then: His motive for how to treat evil men is "loving"; yes. But it is first a love between Father and Son, in which dreadful oaths are uttered to guarantee the human "host's" future. He is (thus) advising us to treat them as those "deaf and blind". Filled only with themselves, filled only with the "glory" they generate, they are (technically) insane, in that by their "wisdom," they are cut off from reality! The "bad advice", the insanity, (as I viewed it) of returning blessing for cursing, of praying for those wronging you is a LAST DITCH effort to (at all costs) "get through" to evil men. If you cannot hear my words, observe my actions, and even you (!) will be able to understand that; "I am NOT your enemy, the world is NOT your enemy, death is NOT your enemy. Your enemy, IS your Maker! His judgement, (when it does come) shall be swift, sure, and terrible to behold, but most importantly for you...unsurvivable!
   We are "loving them", but not because they are "lovable". Face it, they are not even mildly so. Yet it is their very ugliness which testifies that they have not-yet faced Him. And that means there may yet be hope for them! Our only hope as men is that "somehow" we die before we die. He alone is sufficient for this. The one note is His, paid for, free and clear, it's His and has become, by gift, ours too! Love (His) is more powerful than death!

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