Sunday, December 13, 2015

Christmas Story (date unknown)

  No, don't "fix" it, that wreath is supposed to be egg shaped. That's the one Aunt Sally sat on, it's a keeper for sure! That perfectly round one you saw down at Macys is just a thing, a mere object. It has no character, there is no family legend to attribute to it, and brings nobody a smile when they remember her big eyed surprise at what she had accidentally done.
  You can try (if you'd like) to frame a "perfect Christmas" with one of those utterly conical  green things which never lose a needle on the carpet . . . but I tell you, the stinker is still leaning!
  Think back with me, those family stories you recall best; don't they involve those pesky trees which not only refused to stand erect, but finally came crashing down on the magical day that Sam the dog came roaring around the corner? The tree-in-motion, which was to have been "the-rooted", now that's memorable! Nobody recalls the "perfect" one, which just stood there, and never did anything interesting.
  Our little stories are connected-to, and ultimately based upon the one Real Story. Our constant urge to "repair and dress things up", our chronic fixing of things just doesn't tell the story right.
  The grand tale told, of a peasant-baby "pretending to be food" (asleep in a manger) ends with Him becoming the "true food" for our souls. It would just ruin the story to take the tyke and place him in a "proper and decent" bassinet.
  The real saga of He, without beginning, popping suddenly into our crazy world is hurt not helped by our insisting that He was nevertheless always-with us. He, without end, all just and true, dies miserably at the hands of rotten men framing Him on false charges. The story told is supposed to be messy! To prettify it, to make it smooth is no longer jarring, and it is we who slumber at noon, who are thus not called awake by such "repairs".
  The One who died friendless and alone, had nothing in this world but the clothes upon His back, and those were promptly stolen and gambled away! He the Friendless One, then proves to be the only True Friend we have ever really known. Out of His naked-ness we are clothed, out of His violent suffering, we are calmed and cared for. If we take out the ugly sections, the pretty parts end up making no sense at all for our sore and tired lives.
  He calling for help, goes unheard, and so the calling upon our lives is ratified. We then, called anew, out of our stupor, out of our pointless busy-ness, called out of our soul devouring acid loneliness; we are called alive, by Him-Who-Died! It's not supposed to be a pretty story, it's way too real for that kind of stuff. "It" (He actually) is the new thing in the world.
  So, He The Rememberer, and incidentally The Inventor of dirt, shows up, and is buried in the stuff and promptly forgotten. And as He verbally repeated, predicting His Own return from the dead, not a soul "heard" it. The utterly expected, becomes thus the ultimate. . . Surprise!
  The Perfect Son is joined to a deeply flawed bride, and He is not ruined in that union, but she is lifted up. Perhaps it might be a bit like Mark Twain "entering" his own story, so to meet in person those rascals Tom and Huck. And all this, so to bring them "back up" with him, back to the real world?
 So don't you listen to all that moping over the "ruin" of the holiday. All of that caterwauling over there about the shabby materialism, the crass tinsel and shallow merchandising; just forget it for the day. Let it go! The day was never really intended to "be perfect"! You, by your own self can't fix it, but you can become a grouch. Who wins there?
  Let's face it, the dinky lights are charming, amid the schlock and spiel, the music yet remains haunting. The ever-new, the evergreen day doesn't need repair, for it is part of what is repairing us! You needn't fuss over things, for He is The One fussing over you!
  This transformation, this rebuilding shows up as a kind of glad boldness in His folk. He is the new "thing" in earth, and He relieves our fears that everything has been ruined. Do you see? He was The One-ruined, and He emerged on the other side of that disaster fiercely loyal, and strangely lively indeed! The First-born of the dead, is transmitting this very same mighty conquest into we-dying. He, always and always The First, amid and at the heart of what shall prove to be an uncountable multitude of the likewise fiercely loyal, and strangely lively, is glad of it all!
  I tell you, the story is true! The new creation has commenced, it is begun just here; in our sad, stupid and lonely hearts. From there, it shall spread out to a whole new Making! A whole new reality is in the works, this one founded in justice, rightness and joy, I tell you, He is unstoppable!
  Your hearing heart friend, your listening center is the priority (His priority I mean), the new beginning starts in the lowest of the low, even me! And once He has your heart, once He has that, ALL-else follows.
  So, I (for one) am going to let the ACLU continue to make their snarky, cheap-shot attacks on "dangerous manger scenes" this year. I am going to let the "outraged and offended" leftists whine about what a terrible "waste" this ritual is. Heck, bring on the Muslims, Hindus and every cadre of the complaining. Drag in the combined powers of hell and all earth for that matter, NOTHING can deter Him! He is our Champion, and shall prevail, for the excellent reason, that He already has!
  He crashes every barrier, leaps every wall, and busts down every prison door. Upon His Own honor, He will not halt! . . . Until He finds every last one of His lost lambs. He ceases not, until the day that the very last crazy rebel, hating Him for no cause (the one that He foreknew!), comes out with his hands up! The story isn't the thing that is being fixed, but our sad and wretched lives and hearts.
  It's all right there in the story. See? That wild looking wreath is supposed to be egg-shaped!
                                                                                         Merry Christmas to all!
                                                                                          Love, M.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

That Jonah Dude (a.k.a. Christmas 2015)

  Well, it's about that time again. Thanksgiving is past, the FM radio stations are playing Charlie Brown Christmas music, and you are seriously considering going to the Bahamas for about six weeks, until "the season" is history.
  Okay, I made up that bit about the Bahamas. For a lot of people, "the season" is actually something they look forward to? My guess on that score is that such folks likely have some active link to short people.
  Christmas is much moreso a "kid" holiday than most others, and if you have links to little people, then the feast (as NASA would say) " is a go". If, on the other hand, you have no kids; and your nieces and nephews are themselves parents, then the holy-day takes on an altogether more "sinister" aura. Well, sinister is likely a strongish term, dreary maybe?
  I say dreary in that (to me at least) the concept of "cheer" is ordinarily the result of something, not the cause. The emotional strong-arming effort to have you join-in, so to likewise spread "cheer"; appears to be founded upon the premise that if enough of us do so, then peace and order (or happiness?) will somehow or another result. The premise that feeling good generates good, can work to a degree, but such normally requires other persons. It is not the sort of thing you would busy yourself with, if stranded alone. So then, as practiced; Christmas is a celebration of ongoing "successful" marriage, and for that, you need girls.
  Not wanting to overly offend the fairer sex in this diatribe, there is a nostalgia related to objects built of wax; and tiny ornamental fixtures, which the ladies appear to find interesting. Most guys are not precisely on that page. The day-holy has some sort of link with the DeBeers consortium? Diamonds are actively marketed, although I can't say why a poverty stricken couple giving birth in a barn, to their firstborn; has any natural connections to an artificially controlled demand for clear and hard rocks. But, my point is, the chivalrous, the "women and children first" ethic, is basic to the day as observed; and who can argue with that?
  Positionally then, I am in a statistically improbable "place", with a view to 25 December. I like small children well enough, and observe that the "romantic" aspects of the day, have strong internal impetus for the many, but basically, am not much interested in acquiring either of the assets involved.
  Which, in a roundabout fashion brings us to my first point of discussion. I hear lots of people decry the "materialistic" acquisitiveness (it used to be called "greed and envy" I think) so prominent in our era. There is a sort of "product status" which is clearly present. It is not good enough to give a $60 wristwatch, they "need" a $400 one. Designer names on shirts speak of a social pecking order, an "upness" to be had, and a lot of people resent the heck out of the "class" distinctions that are thus being made. Product stuff is sold with words like "exclusive". Uh, who exactly is excluded? Well, the people who either can't afford, or actively reject the "offering" I would guess?
  So, we get this weird sort of "not-wanting", an inversion of the generalized; because to want (the exclusive) is to say that you are so shallow that you are seriously considering yourself "superior" (to un-named persons?) by the mere owning of the "trinket of the week"? And who wants that kind of shallowness anyhow?
  This type of consideration tends to blowback, and in the (neo) desire for a simple and unaffected holiday, one just oozing with humility, and such; kinda boomerangs? But, this boomerang effect, this disdain for shallowness per se, next becomes the chic, the new "must have" commodity? It's kinda like brain gymnastics for the emotionally bizarre? It is depressing to watch others caught in this loop, and far worse to realize that I am not immune!
  Christmas becomes in this matrix, an informal police effort to guarantee "good intentions" in even the harshest and most hardened souls. It functions as a war in time, against the ravages of time. It is a retreat-from, the constant beating-down of life. It is an artificial hub-bub, featuring tremendous busy-ness; which drowns out (temporily) the actual tensions of the rat-race.
  As such, the way I see things, if a Nintendo or a Rolex is what might temporarily assist a person from growing ever more cynical about, and leery of humankind, then maybe they should have one?
  Be that as it may, it just isn't too important whether a "perfect Christmas" is produced or not. The way I view things, Christmas is a lot more like Jonah-dude in the Bible, than some sort of yearly delusional elevation of our opinion of humankind.
  Jonah might not seem (at first) to be a very good role model for "our youth", and any links made back to the Nativity, could well appear slender indeed! I won't bore you with a sermon on the guy. If you would like to bored that way, you will have just to go to church yourself I suppose.
  The guys from Ninevah got thrown out of the Hells Angels for being "antisocial". The Nazis wouldn't have them, because they were "insensitive". But the mind bending brutality of these goons certainly did make other city-states think twice before messing with them. They were awful!
  The Almighty tells Jonah to go down there and announce that their "inner child" was crying out for relationship! He was being sent to build their self-esteem, which would naturally cause them to embrace compassion. . .
  No wait; wrong theology! He was told to go warn them that The True King was going to turn them into hammered dogmeat, pronto! Jonah-dude did the reasonable thing, and said "You've got the wrong Hebrew! I am outta here." And it's not like Jonah was all appalled at the notion of these psychos getting whacked, in fact, he was kinda looking forward to it. And if we buy the idea that he would have probably gotten skinned-alive by these murdering pukes (which they considered "good fun") for his troubles, it makes tons of sense for him to go the other wày. If we can just remove the verbal warning, then it becomes a sure thing! There is no chance of them escaping Judgement, if he keeps quiet, and so he kept his mouth shut and split. How hard was that to figure out anyway?
  If, in the modern world, The King informed you likewise to march into the ISIS headquarters and announce terms (acceptable to Him) for uncondional surrender, and you knew that if you refused, the hammer would indeed fall, so to take them all out in an unannounced and violent fashion, where is the motive to go?
  You see? The old testament does not exist in order for us to pretend at some "spiritual superiority" to our elders in the faith. Usually, the story of Jonah-dude is told as a kind of cautionary tale, and kiddos, don't let this happen to you, always obey God; as the "moral of the story".
  Our hope is not built upon the schmaltzy premise, that we the "latter and evolved" have mastered a prissy and knuckleheaded optimism about human nature in the abstract, which the ancients were ignorant of. Our hope is not that "caring" formats as national foreign policy, rightly grasped. A "don't let this happen to you" kind of spiritual superiority complex is retrograde ballast which has to be jettisoned, prior to launch.
  The story of Jonah is preaching (in part) Christmas! It is not the full-tilt-bozo treatment of St. Luke, but it is "there' for all the world to see; nonetheless.
  When the self-esteem gurus of Messiahs' time demanded a sign of Him, He said; "No dice, unless you are thinking about the sign of Jonah." That same sign goes mostly unread to this very day.
  The content is basically; "Come out with your hands up!". The context is that; The Judge of all has found you evil, and will no longer abide you wasting His air. The running of Jonah is human wisdom at its best, saying; "I am getting out of the way, let the hammer fall!". But that, that wisdom of ours is not, and never has been enough.
  The deliverance from the fish (i.e., the rising again from the dead); points at a new thing in earth. And here, Jonah, like David, like Sampson, like Moses, like Abraham (like us!) is just not up to the task of fully carrying out the work of the anointing, and he, like the Master; is (post death) freed to participate!
  The background never shifted. That great and terrible day surely coming remains as the context. But, Jonah unaided; is not "empowered to speak" by that new thing in earth (resurrection power to be had), prior to getting swallowed by "death-fish". His emergence from the maw of death escapade is prefiguring the genuine article Christ, The LORD! The firstborn from the dead, is like-Jonah; but moreso, so to speak. The True-Jonahs' adventure is declaring in bold-face that new thing in earth, which was hinted at, in the pre-figure. Here, the Man-singular has paid the Ninevite debt! Now, reason declares that there is a meaningful and actual purpose for us to come out with hands up! He means us good.
  Previously, God "overlooked" the high treason of Adams' seed, but now a new thing is breaking forth. Whispered by the fish, the actual death of the new Head of the race is the sign awaited. Hope lives!
  Indeed He do! Christmas is a high holy feast, a remembrance, a celebration of His current Presence, and a firm confidence that all ends beautifully well, not because of some moronic "optimism", but because Mr. Almighty Himself has come to meddle in our affairs!
  Jonah-dude was pretty bummed out when the demolition show was canceled. I have always thought that he must have had a fine sense of humor.
  "Why did you drag me all the way out here to watch You NOT destroy these animals? I could have stayed home, and enjoyed myself, if You intended to let these nut jobs off the hook in any case!". It is humor we see, and of all that annual "cheer and tidings" jazz, this is the real deal, of which ours is but the faint shadow.
  The difference between Jesus and Jonah is that the True Jonah, the True David fully completes the trip without giving the Father any lip, whatsoever. Now, that is amazing! But the part of the sign of Jonah which we keep, is that he did stand-up, he did finish the task, and it was not out of any "innate compasssion" on his part. He had no alternative, AND was empowered to speak, it is both/and, not either/or.
  It is the language of freedom, which Paul so loves. He is freed to be compelled! In that slavery is liberty, and in that speaking of the True Jonah, hope descends to the depths, even so low as me!
  Messiah is robbing the enemy blind! He is turning the worst of the worst, the Hells Angels, the Muslims and Nazis (even "acquisitive" Americans!), men from every "tribe" are being compelled to live in that very same deliverance Jonah first experienced. And oh, what a difference the turning makes! It is what Christmas is, the original gift . . . life!
  Look back and remember well. Look about you and "see the invisible hand" faithfully guiding back to sanity and self-control. Look ahead, to that wildly glad embrace of the True Dad, surely to come!
  Dec 25 is Him saying; "I Personally guarantee it!".
  Have a Merry Christmas indeed, 2015!

Your friend,

Sunday, November 15, 2015

November Thoughts

  I haven't written anything like an essay in weeks. That darned facebook thing has become way too much of a time sponge, and much of my writing comes out as barbed statements, snide commentary and such like stuff. True enough, I do enjoy making punchy loaded statements, but too much of that kind of thing is unwholesome. Facebook is a bit like television, a sort of chewing gum for the mind.
  A second reason for the hiatus is that I often conclude that nobody actually likes my writing anyhow, and so, why do it? But, the fallacy here is that I do not (in fact) write in order to entertain or inform others. I write because I enjoy laying out ideas, and making snarky comments now and again. It's fun! Yet, it does remain true, that a bummer-spiral wherein I just quit trying is pretty darned accurate, as an estimate of my "character", so it does remain as part of the big quiet. So anyhow, lame excuses aside for now, I do enjoy writing, even if nobody enjoys the reading! So, on we roll.
  My November thoughts are not yet a full set, cookies which are cooking are not yet fully cookied, nor are they still but blobs of dough; they are midway. These comments are a bit like those mid-cookies, we can't yet taste; but we can sniff, and we can get the gist. There is a strange tension inside Christianity which I would like to discuss today. It is linked often to escathology, also it shows up in the talk of "victorious living". Sometimes, a general "take" on sanctification causes the topic to bob to the surface.
  In my mind though, there is a problem in speaking about this idea-set; from any of those viewpoints. The main reason being, that we have so muddied the water that we often forget what the topic was. Such an approach normally yields quote and counter quote of scripture in a "can you top this?" ascending disorder. I have no interest in that.
  So, let's us try a more roundabout method to see if we can spot the topic, and stick with it for ten minutes eh? There is an American train of thought, you would immediately recognize. We see it in sports, it shows up in gossip magazines, politics is heavy with it. Strangely, it is almost everywhere and at the same time; we normally don't take much notice of it.
  In this land, kids are taught from their earliest years to want to be a winner, to become a success, or alternatively to become a "somebody", that is; to seek fame and fortune. The very undesirable inverse of this, is being a loser. The language is in the form of a threat; "What? Are you some kind of drone, just another nobody?". In politics it is about being popular and wielding power. In sports it is about prowess, agility and smarts. The link of money to success, although nowadays somewhat muted, is still the clearest marker of whether a body has attained "somebodiness". It is a divide in our culture, our families and our own minds. I call it a "polarity". Imagine a world with no middle but only poles, what kind of world is that? It's our kind!
  This polarity in us, and manifesting around us; has frequently caught my attention over the years, but it is only this month that my spinning brain has begun to gel on the matter. The polarity shows up in our world, our minds, our churches and we almost never think about it, because it gets very confusing, very quickly. As an indirect route of inquiry then, let us consider war to the death!
  Think of three famous battles and what they have in common. Dien Bien Phu, The Alamo and Thermopylae. In all three, the "good guys" are wildly outnumbered. Each features a defensive posture for the guys in white hats. In each case, said defensive position is finally over-run (but at tremendous cost) by the hordes invading. These battles have captured the imagination of a lot of writers over the years, and perhaps one reason for that is our polarity issue we have in mind here?
  In these battles, who here is "the true winner"? Or perhaps, how do we go about determining such? See? In this type of scenario, the advance knowledge of certain death does not sway the warriors from continued fighting. Santa Ana really did sweep the Texans, but who has the final victory? Which side, the Persians or the Spartans is remembered by a hundred generations? To fight to the last man, fully aware that none shall leave alive is a different kind of war making than we are used to. There is a third dimension creeping into our flatland, and our simple win/lose framework cannot hold the freight.
  I don't know about you, but so often, the "extra reality" of this sort of "dimensional" look is lost on me. S.O.P. in my brainstem decrees that I prefer to see things as a "flat" layout, wherein the victor is the victor, and discussions to the contrary are a waste of time. Simultaneously, I am also dissatisfied with my own attitude? It is like; "Very strongly disagreeing with myself . . . in principle!". There is an un-ease in me, a pesky discomfort at the thought of a "flat polarity" being the real deal, either "out there" or "in here", and yet I very much function as if it were really the interpretive guide to favor. Weird.
  Perhaps a similar discomfort in others has spawned the industry of "participation trophies", wherein "All of our kids are winners!"? Beats me.
  So, there is something both desirable and also undesirable to each leg. If we bifurcate reality into an up-down schema, then neither is "fully" what we want, nor is the undesired completely without merit. And so very nearly immediately, there is talk of "compromise", or that; "things are not so black and white as all that". Recall that I warned of confusion here.
  There is a lot of material flowing from this tree, but most of it is pretty lousy stuff to try and file in the brain. We are thus, in search for a "captcha" which will allow for a victory-in-loss so to speak. Or perhaps conversely, we are interested in that mysterious rich man who somehow remains humble and accessible?
  Not being able to locate these, we collapse again backward into speaking of diversity, and of overcoming challenges and whatnot. Much of that talk also rotates around this button. We are trying to get to "a place" in which success (but not too much of it) compensates for our fear of going un-noticed or leading a pointless life. So, we try to blend up with down, or left with right in order to get to "the place" but ordinarily, you just can't get there from here.
  The problem with success is that it makes you one. Money bends people, and power twists men. There is no end to success, one cannot have "too many" billions. And to us down here at the bottom of the food chain, it seems to require the loss of money-power (often) for a man to possibly resume being human, after having been bent by power. So, there is it appears; a kind of "failing" which is better than mere success, but it (the better option) is not something we would be in a position (as a success) to ever desire! I have spent much of my life in one fashion or another examining this set.
  For years (no, that's not true; for decades!), this mess has just never really settled into a recognizable shape in my thinking, except that I was quite confident that I did not want "success". And that was simply because of what I saw it doing to people.
  In the mike-book, I reject the notion of pop psychology which asserts that; "The abused become the abuser". The simple knowledge and memory of what it was like being at the bottom, ought prove strong enough fuel for me to nix the offer of up-ness. This sort of analysis may not be altogether true, nor do I fully execute it; but something very like it has guided much of my life.
  This sort of reasoning is why I chose to begin with battles-famous, rather than a discussion of the "prosperity gospel" versus orthodox faith. The topic (lately, this month) seems clearer to me if we focus upon loyalty and courage to the death, rather than whether a "prosperity" (or not) is in the offing. Next, the whole messy bag of various spins on the end of the world also displays the polar thing but so sloppily! This same winner/loser scheme; which is so "America", is clearly also in the church. But, by the time we doff our Sunday best and brush up on dogma, we can easily forget that we agree-somewhat with both ends of the spectrum! By then it is too late, and compromise becomes a dirty word.
  Everyone loves a winner, but nobody loves an arrogant one, yet by definition he owns bragging rights. By gaining the desired, he himself becomes undesirable, and this, applied to theology is just a mess. The real issue at hand (says the plumber), is courage. Yet, in the theology end of things, that C-word has almost been emptied of meaning.
  In our era, the feminine push to (forever!) treat the central axioms of scripture as "developing relationship" (gaack!) and "working toward true intimacy" just has no place in its' lexicon for any such thing as a blood and guts, fierce warrior ethic. There is no file available to find the tab called "courage unto death" in our system. And I mean certain death!
  In this school of ours, The Almighty is verifiably NOT "A Man of War", and so (says me), the only working solution to a flat polarity (which is loyal courage to the death) is permanently out of reach for us. We cannot find a way out of the maze called "does God want us to succeed or fail", so we keep getting muddled with some sort of homogenized mental gymnastics until it tires us out. Whether we are to rise or fall, to live or die is war talk, and in this plenum, the answer (in Christ) is "Yes and Amen!"
  The actual situation on the ground down here is that we live in a war zone, and the same poison which ruined angels and men is still active in us. As it stands, none of us are getting out of here alive. The usual exception being unless (of course) we are here to greet the Maker upon His return. Now, for purposes of this discussion, we will discount (for now) that exclusion clause. I flatly assert; "We are all going to die". The question has never been whether we will die, but crucially; shall we die well?
  Twenty centuries and more of faithful men and women doing just this, leads us to believe that He certainly has an interest in the matter! There is a peculiar statement by the King referring to Himself. We have either a stone which is stumbled over, or a rock which crushes. We have the Psalmists' lament that; Your people are being led like sheep to slaughter. We have the Saviour talking this odd upside down riff where the high are the low and vice versa, the last are the first.
  My basic take on the schmeer in question over the years has been to "opt low". If the basic premise; "You cannot serve both God and riches/power" is guiding our thought, then to be a "failure" is clearly better than its' opposite. But the polar flat layout itself crashes! At this point, I usually throw up my hands, and announce to Him; "I don't get it. You (Sir) appear to be telling us to aim low, except not, aim high? Am I following the drift here? Go down, which is to say, up? So, the dimensionally flat paradigm yields flat contradictions or pointless paradox, and hooray for that?". The missing element, the Anointed One is out of the loop here, and minus Him, we get nonsense, but shouldn't we have been able to predict that?
  Think then of the three tossed into the seven-fold heated furnace. They went willingly, and were joined in the heat by "A fourth, which looks like a son of the gods!". The premise here is that death comes to all, and the way "out" is not escape-from, but deliverance-through. So, the three become social zeros by not bending, and also become rulers by submitting willingly. In the Coming One then, both poles are Personally occupied, redefined and reapplied. And I say it is in the war construct, just here; in the bloody pointless death of good men, that victory is won. This is weird, let's face it!
  We get results in our lives when we walk by faith, and left to ourselves we will never walk by faith, both are true. The key here is that we have not been, are not now, nor shall ever be, left to ourselves. Moreover, we are to personally see to it that we do not! Both/and, not either/or is the drift.
  It doesn't really matter how hard you "try" to live gody in Christ Jesus, if He ain't present, and we request His presence. It is both. So, the third dimension is a uniting of abstractions back to The Person. He is uniting us back to abstract things like; home, truth, peace and safety. Oddly then, the safest thing is to waltz into the meatgrinder. The peaceful option is reached via a warring unto death with the foe. The truth is found when we freely admit our lies, and half-truths. Home is realized in the cauldron of a nomad life, ever-wandering. He is the One who binds the opposites into meaningful patterns, with Himself at the ends and in the middle.
  With this sort of gist in mind then, the November thoughts are to this effect. The pursuit of orthodoxy, if correctly executed ought yield objections by others of cultural, familial and ecclesiastical high heresy!
  In light of the cultural, the plain rejection of greed, of sly dealing, of sneaky personal empire building; makes His folk seem downright bizarre. The inexplicable is that when an opportunity to personally benefit is purposely overridden, we are violating the cult-ure around us.
  Likewise, to be a familial heretic might best be seen where Christendom has only begun to capture hearts and minds. A typical Muslim converting in Muslim lands becomes an insult, an embarrassment both in the community and pointedly in the family, not to mention possibly getting murdered in the deal. These two, in our favorite polar fashion, format the norm, but what of being named heretic amid the congregation of the faithful? Here, just here is where "the fourth man present" is mainly ignored think I.
  Although for publicitys' sake, the phenomenon does not officially exist, there remains a definite insider/outsider model at work in the Kirk of the Living God. May as well deal with it? There is a most favored status inside the organization, and so there must also be "invisible" persons present as well. Hey, I can testify to that for sure! Here, a flat and polar scheme would generate (I presume) a disgruntled demand for inclusion on one hand, versus a professional form of patience-with, or a discipling-up tendency. And here (especially!) The third angle, the surprise of the fourth man amid the fires gets lost, forgotten and unapplied.
  Now, my previous stategies on this type of thing have included a bold, and in-your-face rebuttal occasionally, sometimes a weak retreat and finally a quizzical kind of amusement at how very strange humans really are. But, the November spin is to point out that all of my previous copings with the polar flatness in the Kirk also themselves defy and deny the fourth man amid.
  As a kind of thought experiment then, in hopes of courting an aggressive; "You are a heretic!" charge from one of the insiders at church (so to ratify orthodoxy as it were), think on this.
  The three axis approach is always and about union with The Messiah. There lives life, there victory wins, there death dies. I hope you get the idea? With this in mind then, consider the future.
  The apostolic tri-axial emphasis of faith, hope and love are bandied about as if we were to "get good at them" for fairly certain! And it appears to me, that it is precisely here that the flat and polar index is at its height. Some claim to have "mastered" the three you see? The pre-December insight then is to reconstruct presence just here.
  My tentative first atttempt then will be to blow the sucker out of the water (as usual). And with this, I shall let the matter rest for another day, and another C.P.E.
  I have noticed that I can cause the innies at church some real discomfort by talking about faith in a certain way. The norm on that topic is that we are to have faith "in" Jesus. But what then of the faith "of" Jesus? Simply said, out of the entire race there is found precisely one faithful man. He grants to us, a measure of His faith, and so we do indeed believe! That is disturbing que no? But when we apply this same personal interference model to hope, it becomes downright obnoxious!
  We have become so used to the God-Man assertion central to right doctrine that we have made the King into an omniscient man, which is to say; not a man at all. In our model, it really doesn't make much sense to speak of Jesus walking by faith, even though He flatly asserts that He does so. The problem here is our unfounded belief that in humbling Himself to be joined to man, He yet retained exhaustive knowledge. Sorry, but you are going to bust a braincell or two if you try that! Here and there, He confesses His ignorance of certain things. He does not know it all, and (like us) trusts! This, we profoundly ignore. But, the even worse message is hope.
  We do not know how far and how deep our transformation will be. What a "celestial man" is like, is clean beyond our ken. But hope asserts that when we see Him, we will be made like Him. The bizarre result is that Jesus hopes, because if He didn't we couldn't! The rebuilding of us from the ground up (the resurrection coming), will display the "new creature"; us! Hope is here, and He is here, awaiting us. We are joined to His hope!
  This then is preaching a profound and unthinkable reduction voluntarily undertaken by God, the Son. He has put Himself in the pickle of utter dependance upon the Father, to the point that He trusts and obeys! With Him, in Him, we walk also in faith (His), and expect good to come (hope) from disaster. This can mean but one thing!
  He is the One hoping, and we are invited to join Him in it? Boy, if this doesn't get me trouble with the innies, nothing will!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

It's The End of the World! . . . Part 17

  Just kidding about the "part 17" up in the header. I used to write these things out longhand (on graph paper) and circulate a few to friends in person. Normally, I would pass out some (ten or twelve?) to folks as they were heading into church. Years ago, there was this old guy named Edgar, and he would hand a copy of the church bulletin to people as they came into the sancuary. He died of natural causes, and for some reason or another; I took over for him.
  I can't really say just why I do the job. I describe it as; "I've got to go stand around and pretend I like people". But, however the position became (more or less) mine, it was a great choke point in the traffic flow. Some people at minimum pretended to enjoy reading Crazy Pants Essays in those days. I figured it wouldn't do them any harm at least.
  So anyhow, back in those days; there were several of the  papers which were titled "End Of The World!" . . . part 3 or 5 or whatever. I just choose a number. There are not 16 more of these monsters floating around somewhere! But please do not think that in these we intend to mock or minimize the importance of the eschathon. No, it is far more like a church I vaguely recall in Albuquerque years ago advertising thus: "You can hold the Scriptures in one hand, and todays' newspaper in the other; and actually see (!) prophecy being fulfilled! Come to the XYZ conference, as Pastor Bob teaches us how".
  It is that sort of thing I hoped to blow out of the water with some humor on the topic.
 Now, we will not overly tax your patience with some plan, or scenario about some proposed "millenium". The short version is that there are "pre" (two flavors), "a", and "post" (about nine flavors). Of the many "post-mill" spins, I (willy-nilly) toss in the "preterist" speculations, and don't get me started on that! The short version please? My take on the millenium runs; "Millenium? What millenium? Where, ever; did you get that idea?". This makes me (I think) an "a" which is pronounced "ahh", as in ah-ha!
  The short and sweet a-mill position lines up with several of the Messiahs' parables, but the one I have in mind is the wheat and tares (go look it up). So, both the kingdom of God, and the kingdom of man are present on earth until a rude interruption from outside earth ends the story. As the bad are getting worse, also true the good are gaining traction, and "doing exploits". Both develop simultaneously, and are directionally opposed, got it? So this is "where" this C.P.E. is "coming from".
  This essay is spawned at least in part, by my recent viewing of "The Age of Ultron", the latest installment of the Avengers series. This is not a movie review, but it did seem striking (to me at least) that some of the sub-texts of the film were near matches to the regular day dreaming that I do. Plus that, it was on the same day that I went for a ten or twelve mile walk, and concluded (prior to the viewing) that AI cannot possibly be a good cultural developement.
  This Artificial Intelligence theme I was taught to lowball as a probability by my software genius friends Dave and Larry. In brief, a binary switching (on and off, one and zero) cannot ever, ever "come alive". The logic and the instructions of the program assign adding and subtracting tasks, at a high rate of speed, but under no circumstance can such ever become "aware". This would be true it appears to all binary switching. But, neither of my friends was speaking of "Quantum Computing" either.
  I do not pretend to grasp the theory or practice of qc, but in brief, it breaks the rule of two. One guy descibes it as a tri-phasic process. As such, it might yield a yes, a no, and a maybe. The valuation could be one or zero, or "both or neither". This is an entirely different scheme than what we are used to. And importantly (for the purposes of this essay), such a new tech solution might (one day), prove basic to an actual functioning AI device.
  Now, as an aside; I would suggest that you go read "That Hideous Strength" sometime soon. The extremely abbreviated version is that a 1950s era story features a machine with tubes (remember those?), levers, knobs and lights. That would be the quantum device in question. In the story, a decapitated head provides the mapping protocol, the directional processing occurs via established brain pathways. But, in the Lewis story, the thing cannot come to life until a "bent eldil" inhabits the contraption. Somehow, C.S. Lewis saw what I see, or vice-versa. In order for the final blasphemy to arise, a "three-ist" structure must fuse tri-disparate legs. 
  We get a proposed device, but that is not enough. The processing must follow routes of coherent and recognizable thinking, so a human mind becomes the template. But that is not enough, because we are still talking about a bunch of wires and circuits. For such to actually "live"; there must be a spirit, and the Father of spirits would never assign one of His own into such a monstrosity. Therefore, a kind of demonically "inspired" habitation is required.
  Now, before we move on I would like to interject an idea which has arisen somewhere else amid these essays. We like to imagine ourselves as modern and sophisticated, very unlike our simple and primitive ancestors who worshipped blocks of wood or statues. 
  This is a highly biased premise of ours, in that what was actually going on then was a magical interface, a mediated contact. The goal of ancient priests was to "chain or bind" a spirit to a place and an object via incantation and blood sacrifice. The petitioner approached the idol and asked of it, but that thing (the idol itself) was an "inefficient telephone" to communicate with the entity which resided (was bound to) "in" it. The basic problem of the occult then, is that you do sometimes get results! So, the artifact, plus the priest plus the oppressive ancient entity operating via the array is not (definitely not!) a new idea. The main difference I discuss today is signal strength, clarity of contact and the continual rather than intermittant nature of the "animal". But, let's return to the movie for a moment eh?
  The Age of Ultron (more accurately, the two and a half weeks of Ultron) touched upon some of these themes. But watching the film is akin to drinking from a firehose. Too much is happening, too many witty and zany lines are spoken. No, it's not there we look. The movie has a theme which I have been mulling over for nearly thirty years.
  The only way to get warring mankind to finally or ultimately unite is by a dreadful enough common enemy. Simply said, a threat from outside the world is the only working human motive which would be powerful enough to overcome our constant sniping at, and destruction of; each other. So for a true "End of the World!" scenario to logically function, the return of the Captain at the head of His armies must be viewed as a true threat, a dire future indeed! Of course, such a ploy would never mention Him by name, (except to the inner circle) and instead a proposed "alien invasion" is my guessed-at future strategy proposed to the "masses". Frankly, I spend altogether too much time (usually around dinner time) mulling this over, so trying to see better. This threat incoming (no mention of Messiah), the movie writer got pretty much correct it seems to me. The metaphor is dual in the flick. A very heavy object crashing in from above is one angle, and also, a foreseen (privately) threat alternative to, and far worse than the big rock, is the idea in the film.
  In brief, the prophecies about the un-man indicate this kind of duality. No one can (effectively) war upon him, (Ultron dressed up as the anti-christ) He is the dropper of the rock, and through dread of him earth is prepared for a much much worse danger "from above". He (Ultron) is the threat, and simultaneously ensign of a far greater danger-coming. 
  Interestingly, the prophet spoke also of a three, the beast, the false prophet and "the image built, which speaks". So, we derive a man like Hawking or some other genius type being the template. The false prophet (computer designer) does the mapping of the genius brain so to configure the "circuitry of the (itself) three-ist machine". The device speaks, but not of itself, for that voice is the voice of the dragon.
  So, it could be, we surmise; a working possibility sometime during our "natural lifetimes" (whatever that is) that such tech could produce  something along these lines? But recall that C.S. Lewis "saw" this sort of thing sixty-plus years ago. He died the same day that JFK was murdered. So, there is a "stretchy" time feature to this sort of speculation. The tech-flubs, boneheaded mistakes and the usual dead ends do not work by our schedule. It could take another century and more to build the final blasphemy, this "new creature" which the foe proposes. Or it could be here in less than twenty? I just don't know about the clock function in this type of thing.
  What we do know is the theme, the narrative and the finale. In brief, it reads; "God wins . . . bigtime slamdunk!". The enemy is simply forced into an idol-strategy of some kind. Since ancient days, the interface project has been his recurring plan of operation, because it is the only route open to him. 
  Do you see? The genuine artice, of which that fraud the anti-christ is stupidly trying to best, that real deal is unbreakably sound! Christ is joined to mankind, that the "new man" be joined to the Almighty. The results of that astounding transformation coming in us, are not at this point imaginable, but we do have some hints. We understand in part, but then we shall fully know.
  The New Man has a human body and a rational soul. As such, He is "One with God", and nothing is impossible for Him. He passes through walls like we pass through the air. He speaks, and life returns, He touches and the blind see. But He is not a one of a kind exactly, but rather; the First of many! We "are one with" Him! So, to what extent in the age to come, extraordinary powers manifest in His folk, I am in no position to guess, but I do guess, almost every night at dinner time!
  The dream of transit of the heavens, flying to worlds unknown, even our hymn writers buy that much. But here is the point, the eschaton coming, is come! We have (today!) become junior partners in a never ending dance with the Bridegroom, and I guess He shall teach us some fancy steps indeed in future days. Already, we are noticing alarming differences between the two races. 
  The living are freed to courageously die, and the dead are terrified to get near the grave. The living sing songs of gladness in the darkness, awaiting the true light, and the dead are never truly happy. These are small but yet astonishing fruits of His already-operating in/with us.
  We have been sheared off from a huge catastrophe, the certainty of Judgement! The devils? They are hammered dog-meat in that coming overthrow, and they know it. There is zero hope for them, and their rage is great because of it, their time is short. But the humans can (yet!) be turned out of that path! The link, the union He has established, is a rich and never ending source of vitality, of welcome and of understanding. It is a life fully good and grand, with no terminus!
  The miserable hatchet job mockup of this, which the enemy proposes, cannot begin to equal the real deal. And this is why eschatology is really so important. That coming-age has arrived, it has commenced, and there is no authority in heaven, earth and hell combined which can reverse it! An eschatology of hope is a meaningless phrase unless we define the word "hope".
  Our coming transformation is certain for the excellent reason that it has already fully occurred in our Head, and begun in our bodies! He the fully transformed, is permanently "moving in" with us! And we are being rebuilt in that image. The everlasting and infinite God, is today and evermore also a Man (or more correctly, The Man) and that (already and not-yet) one-ness with Him, is going to be a mighty and wild and good thing, Yes-Siree!
  Hope has meaning because He Who Is (our hope) is alive and well, having busted out of the tomb, there is no going back to it . . . ever!
  For Him, or (one day) for us! So says the plumber.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Plenum

  It is too bad that you can't get inside my head. If you could, we could save a great deal of time. This C.P.E. is a difficult one to discuss because a mental state can only be indirectly described. So be it.
  If words were oranges, then we would know just the right ones to use. Think of a navel orange, one of those big juicy and sweet ones. Now imagine trying to verbally describe the flavor to someone who has never tasted an orange. Or how would you go about correctly describing, to a man born blind; that royal blue which appears briefly in a clear sky overhead, just after the sun goes down?
  It seems to me then, that a shared context and parallel sampling are our usual methods so to direct the attention of others to the point in which they say; "Ah! I know just what you are talking about.", otherwise it remains pretty tough sledding.
  Often (it seems to me), when we are thinking about the state of mind of another person, we are actually referring to a state of emotion. Yesterday, a woman was going berserk because our plumbing crew was "making noise". She was irrational, angry, loud and rude. We did not inquire as to her mental state at all (inferring that she is insane), and focused almost entirely upon her tirade of anger. This sort of estimating is more or less normal I would guess, humanly speaking.
  Of the mental states I recall hearing described, such as confusion or clarity there is enough experience with my own mind to be able to more or less grasp the idea. The plenum (my descriptive term coinage) is another type of mind state, and the only similarities which pop up in the vocabulary today are in the "mystical"; category-wise.
  I certainly do not think of myself as a "mystic", and so there appears to be an orange type of problem involved in this essay. Whether I surmount the difficulty is up to you to judge.
  Have you ever read any "awareness" type of literature? I have looked over a few things, and a word which frequently bobs to the surface is "oceanic".
  I have never been on a boat in an ocean, but have stood by the shore a few times. There is a kind of noise, and there are motions and colors at the seashore which (in me at least) induce a very calmed and yet "ready" state of mind. It is an "up" similar to caffeine, minus the jitters and excessive talk. If you know what I am talking about, then you might agree that it seems at oceanside as if one doesn't need sleep, or one is in a repose better than a nap? Does any of this ring a bell for you?
  The plenum is similar in some facets to an oceanic, but not precisely so. If you were to compare the flavor of ripe cantaloupe, as a known; with that of a tree ripened peach as an unknown that might serve as a parallel? The plenum is something I find myself "in" occasionally. It is an awareness yes, but I generally distrust urges or imperatives which tell us to "raise awareness" in any case, so that is a dead end.
  In my book, there is nothing special about being aware. This can only mean that one is temporarily unaware elsewhere! When you stub your toe in the middle of the night, your awareness is quickly raised sure enough. But in those moments, you are (by definition) deeply unaware of the vast screaming majority of everything else. So, if awareness is a Boyscout flashlight, then we typically move it about in the dark in order to notice now this feature of the real, and next that one. The premise that we can and ought (morally?) raise awareness generically speaking has just never made much sense to me. But, there is an aspect of the plenum which also rings this bell . . . lightly.
  The feel of the state of mind might trigger words such as "transported", but that seems a bit iffy. "Here and not there", so to go from one to the other is not actually that acccurate a telling.
  So, perhaps we could get Mark Twain to sit down with John Calvin for a cup of coffee? The story teller meeting with the man-giant, so to speak; might be the gist?
  A recurring theme in my writing and thinking is the meta-story which theoretically could arise if Mark Twain ever met one of his own characters. The idea of cognition such that Huck or Tom realize (somehow) that Twain is their author and that they have never done and shall never do anything "not written" fuses with their memory of having "freely chosen" their deeds. It would be a tough book to write, that much is certain! But, this crosslinking function of John Calvin vigorously defending the "destinating" of the "pre" variety, comes into play; just here. Simply, what if the Twain type of scenario is in fact the reality of which we partake? If so, what then describes this fruition of insight (outsight?) in terms of human language? I am calling that "The Plenum".
  How many times I have entered this mind state in the past is really just a few. When a tyke is yet small enough for the Dad to hoist him up overhead, the little guy is being carried, and he remembers that. The idea of "carry" seems like a good enough way to convey this to you.
  You are somewhere where there is "much busy", call it walking beside a crowded highway, or attending a colorful and loud football game. Recall the seaside with the constant motion, color and sound. You are "there" and not there. A kind of "lift" occurs. And one of the problems of the oceanic description is a mention of "timeless". That is not this mind state at all, but rather a kind of effortless swinging to the rhythm of the seconds as they pass? The plenum is not "disorienting" in the least, but rather a rooting down, a real and solid orientation briefly enjoyed.
  The mind state never lasts very long it appears to me, but yet remains quite memorable. It becomes like a breadcrumb left on the trail which can be viewed from miles further down the road? If you have any memories of sitting snugly in your mothers' lap, as she pointed out words to you in a childrens' book (I have one or two), it is a bit like that. You are learning, you are grasping ahold of the patterns and connections of the actual world, by using a mirror of it.
  There is nothing infallible or permanent about such connections, a small boy both understands "everything" and not at all, at the same time. We are larger and older, that's all. No, I am not talking about some type of guru-like last word from heaven kind of thing here. It is more like the difference between reading a driving manual, and doing the driving yourself. Suddenly the rules which were memorized "come to life". And with all this said, I shall now atttempt to describe from "inside the plenum".
  Lifted now, I see. There are persons, the flags are waving, the noises of cars and birds and children giggling, I detect. All of the motions, of all of the atoms, just here in this moment in time were written beforehand. Every aspect which I can notice, plus all of the others; were more than "predicted", they were decreed!
  Each beat of each heart, each flash of smiles between friends, every eye following the focal points of range, this entire thing is a kind of "drama"! The Playwright has built the sets, written the lines, laid out the plot, and also, (and also!) each character feels very strongly that all which they do is because they have so chosen, and so it is! The plenum informs thus, that free will and destiny were never foes, but glad partners in a strangely eccentric dance.
  One partner outweighs the other by an infinite range, and the dance is merry indeed. One Partner calls all of the steps, writes all of the dialog, and the other spontaneously joins in. I hope I am speaking clearly for you, so to grasp the concept?
  The plenum is that state of mind, after lift in which we briefly grasp that this high level awareness is not really about the activity about us at all. We have a moment, a shining wink of time in which we turn to the Master of the play, and so to speak "introduce" ourselves! The plenum is an awareness yes, and we are aware also of the Twain entering to speak with the Huck. But this conversation in the plenum, is also of the plenum. That is, this lifted moment is part of the pattern preset, and for a whisker of time, even I can see it! The plenum lift was decreed prior to things, and in it, we are freed to thank the Author, in person!
  A gift is a gift, and the youngster who so enjoyed the brief hour with Mom "learning all about things" is not in a position to make demands. That is, we cannot (at least I can't) summon, we cannot make the plenum "happen again" at our own direction.
  On a dark and moonless night, the flash of lightning off in the distance allows in a fraction of time, the view of "everything", and then dark returns. I did not make the light flash, but I can (more or less) navigate afterwards upon the basis thereof. The plenum shares some similarity with lightning in this sense.
  The problems with mysticism are many, but the main one of which I object to, is the premise that in this sort of mindset we see that "all is one". Hogwash!
  The uncountable aspects of everything which is just this second occurring each remain distinct. If image we want here, then the wildly differing man to woman being shaped into a new harmony would serve far better. The plenum is much more a feast at a marriage supper, with all the guests and the banners and the music and dance. Somehow The Author conspired from prior to things to "join" not only them to them, but them to Him!
  That is, there is a hugeness, an alarming aspect here. When a second grade girl sets her sights on a second grade boy, and boldly announces that one day they shall marry, the boy has the option to beat feet and get lost pronto!
  But this joining which we speak of here, this lifting does not have an "escape clause", and as such, is the original arranged marriage.
  At this time of our development, we are unable to say with any pungent clarity what the joining will (one day) "be like". This (I think) is because we have it backwards. It will not be like anything we know, for the excellent reason that everything of which we know, is but vague whispers and hints of it! The original versus the copy directs us away from finding what the original "is like", rather; the copy is only a bit like it.
  To describe a three ring circus to a three year old as; "It will be like when you jump up and down on your bed" would be entirely misleading. But after having gone to the circus together, you might say; "You little acrobat, you are just like the tumblers we saw last night!", and that would be correct (enough for now).
  That is, the plenum is directional. Like time, it flows one way, and it brings to mind occasionally that there is an omega point, a goal to which things and persons are being directed. The plenum then is a bit like a dress rehearsal, a finding of the steps, a reciting of the lines, with solid conviction that we are learning such; for good cause!
  Our schools flounder, and our students end up confused in the study of things which will never again in their lives have any application. The plenum is the opposite end of that spectrum. Our ancestors taught their young to plant and to harvest, to aim and to shoot, not for love of trivia but to raise them up into the order of adult life. The plenum is that . . . on steroids.
  Some folks speak of mountaintop experiences, and perhaps that would be the overlap in your experience, so to better grasp the plenum? The problem I have with the term is that such episodes appear to me to be discussing an emotional release, a peace and joy. Gosh, who could be opposed to that anyhow? But, the plenum is a mind thing much moreso.
  We are suddenly astounded when we first realize that the Father Almighty actually does hear us when we call for help. Why are we surprised? And in my opinion, it is the busy-ness, it is our getting lost in details which is so completely normal for us, that we begin to surmise that; "Nobody is out there".
  We begin to believe the lies we tell ourselves;  that (for instance) the insane woman "needs medication", and not an hour in her Papas' lap as He reads the words aloud, pointing at each in sequence. We confound self-talk with conversation, and we lose the delight in hearing from the Other.
  The plenum restores delight!
  If you could get inside my head (it would be a tight squeak) then you would know what I discuss. But until that day, trust me as a friend; we not so much find, as are found. We not so much know, as are known. And we are more and more coming to know this.
  And to know that we are embraced!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Gee Whizmo! (Date unknown)

  Thinking back some, and reflecting upon these essays; I have noticed something. Rarely (if ever), do they discuss the cultural "gee-whiz factor". I think you know what I mean.
  Back in the 60s, we were regularly treated to a "march of progress" type of material. One venue for it was "documentaries", and there were also plenty of books published to boost the concept. It was a premise that "this generation" is seeing changes in science, technology, earning power and education which are unlike any previous. Progress (whatever that is) was "marching" indeed, and the wonders of our age yadda yadda yadda were in some special sense forming a kind of distinctiveness to the "modern age" which shamed all of our ancestors' doings.
  I was never really that impressed by such talk, but when you listen to old people talking about farming using teams of horses, and how exciting it was when electricity came to the county, we begin to realize something. Techno-change, machines, then electricity; followed by aircraft and orbital space craft all sequencing in a three generational period; is pretty odd historically speaking.
  When gee-whizism actually began I wouldn't know. The use of steam power began in earnest about two centuries ago. Internal combustion engines are a century-plus old. I am old enough to have been "wowed" by jet aircraft. But all of these combined cannot begin to compete "change-wise" with the digital revolution, nor with the sciences as they plot out genomes for instance. Some people speculate that we may see genuine "artificial intelligence" and physical immortality manifesting in under 50 years?
  The; "Gosh, what are they going to think of next?" type of thought appears to be getting swamped lately by simply a glut, a regular torrent of innovation tech-wise. The rate of change is changing dramatically!
  Reading these C.P.E.s, one might (correctly) guess that I frankly just don't much care about such stuff. Instead, what interests me is that across the culture there appears to be an "inevitable" aspect. There is an unquestioning acceptance and a blind embrace of "progress, and of all things modern". It is an oddity worth investigating to me; that folks endorse "progress", and never once think to inquire "where" it is heading!
  Hey, I'm just a lowly blue collar working stiff, a mere construction worker. I am just another termite in the nest, but even I take a look occasionally at the blueprints to find out what it is, that we are so very busy building. With all the digital doo-dads employed, with all of the new materials to build with, with all of the excitement over the project as it "goes up", how come nobody seems to know what the structure is, or its' purpose? And I have found that if you are silly enough to ask what all the "new platforms are for", you get a sneer, a dose of derision, or worse; no answer at all . . . dialtone time.
  Oddly indeed, not only does the question remained unanswered, the asking is treated as if some "Roberts Rules of Order" moderator has already deemed such to be "obviously out of order". Now, my interest is really peaked, this "not-saying" makes things so much more interesting! Clearly then, we are dealing with a "blind spot", and those are always tons of fun.
  Offhand, I would guess that the classic blind spot of modernism . . . would be (ahem) "modern"! The premises of such may be many, but the central axel is that we; "the mods" have (amazingly enough!) dispensed with "myth".
  In order to grasp mod thinking; just listen to what is said about myth. In usage, it is a synonym for "a lie". But way beyond being simply an untruth, myth is unfit for mature adults. So then, only congenital idiots, children or "primitives" buy into myth from this perspective. Far contrary to the pathetic numbskullery of myth; we "the sophisticated" have done away with the dependancy and immaturity in ourselves. In brief, we have "evolved".
  Even a child could see that what is meant by such talk, is that the myths which our ancestors lived by, simply are not the same as ours. But in "living-by" axioms, those become (defacto) the current mythos. Furthermore, the arrogant folly of assuming that our (currrent) myth is not classsifiable as myth means something quite obvious.
  Obviously, the myth of "progress from primitive to (us)" has been swallowed hook, line and sinker! Witness the emotional outrage, the shunning and loss of position for a tenured professor who offers even the mildest of challenges to the "orthodoxy" of Darwinism. The modern myth speaks volumes just here.
  Said dogma proposes a "slope up" as the very bedrock of knowledge and truth. Now, never mind for the nonce that such a slope would be an entirely meaningless one if chance plus time equals reality. We shall allow the mods the luxury of their thieving of the concept of "high versus low" for now.
  Using it, we get a cosmology and an anthropology which is "uppish" generally speaking. Gases "tend" to form solids, and such solids "usually" spontaneously combust into stable fusion reactions. Dust "migrates" into orbit about these, and "often forms" planets. Water (from who knows where?) "attracts" amino acids which "occasionally" rearrange into life. Said primitive goo "struggles" up the "chain of being" into life; first as amoebas, then guppies, trout, dinosaurs and lemmings. Well, what with one thing and another, these uppity organisms just don't know when to quit, and "naturally" become gorillas and then you and me. The "modern" mind buys this type of moonshine by the metric ton! And if "all is from chaos to order" then (of course!) what the termite builder wants a look-see at, is the blueprint for the "next step up".
  Now, this man to super-man theory is obviously a religious doctrine, and cannot possibly be denied as part of the modern myth. Yet, modernism is dead set against religion. I think that this is due to the historical connections made with its' application in the Third Reich. As such, it is not a topic for polite audiences. But supposing for a moment that it even makes a little sense to think that a chance plus time randomness produced us, then our sense of "right and proper" and thus of "progress" itself; are clearly products of chance. An egg fell on the floor. So what? And if by mere happenstance, we have come to fancy one thing over another, how so the; "Poof, it becomes universally valid" gig? Okay, let us play along in this game for a few minutes.
  Let us pretend that if you orbit a C-5A long enough over the plains of India, and continue to randomly toss bricks out the tail end (for long enough), that you will eventually build the Taj Mahal. How is it that such a structure could ever be deemed (importantly!) "better" than the rest of the debris of the experiment? Debris in stacks is still debris, and what can be made of that?
 And I'd say that the "what" in question, is that "mod-new-man" is destined for the stars, and that stack of bricks down there is none other than a superluminal craft! The object being built is an ark to flee our world before the earth dies! People believe this, it is their religion.
  So, the next obviousness to the modern myth is thereby "clock pressure". Moderns are nothing at all, if not hurried. Most of the current behavior of human-kind is impossible to decode minus a clock function. We are on a deadline down here, and the project we build "must go up soon"! This feature is part of why we find it so dreadfully interesting that the rate of change is changing, and why the speeding up of innovation is so very intoxicating for us. The logo involved here is the "countdown", and surely very modern; that! Likewise, the doom and gloom of "warming globes" urges us onward, away and off planet before "it is too late!".
  In this religion, we require no Savior for we are are own saviors, and the deliverance we promise is a flight from a doomed world. Uhm, why would it be "important" for hairless apes which arose by chance in the first place to continue to exist? Why would that be a "good thing" to have happen, especially considering that we were the ones (supposedly) responsible for the demise of our home, and also the ones who invented the notion of "good" randomly ourselves? Why spread this cancer called "man" to other worlds? A meaningless and malignant growth, nothing but a tumor, but you gotta admit; it's BIG!
  So, we are thus deriving an upwardly mobile organism which is a world burner. This aggregation of randomness is on a deadline to escape the rewards of its' own doings, and how shall that be done? Why "narually", with panache, swagger and verve it goes! Pointless it is, but to be carried out with style and flair.
  That is, the third aspect of the mod man is a love of wealth, of fame and notoreity. Power and money and sex appeal all with a "fan-base", there we see modernity. Thereby, our "mission to the stars" features our own homegrown stars. Ophrah, the Beiber and Kanye West become astronauts (so to speak) in this system, We "propel them upward", and so character and loyalty and courage mean zip in this mode. Instead, being flamboyant, loud and obnoxious (provided the "risee" is rich!) is in this case an "asset".
  When I was a kid, being a millionaire was pretty hot stuff. Nowadays, we yawn at mere billionaires eagerly awaiting the worlds' first trillionaire! And if that person turns out to be just another vulgar rap-star, or crooked politician, all the better! So the mod-myth is proposing a fame at any cost. In this system, the soul is definitely for sale, and such power as this is thought to be unassailable. It is the best kind of "safe and secure" in that it is pre-disastered! It is already condemned, and so nothing worse "could" happen! This is the shape of the mod brainwave as I see it.
  So then, those outmoded and "primitive" ideas of sin or of indecency are the new taboo. We the evolved, are way too "sophisticated" for such as that! Sin is the norm in the mod myth, and so there is no shame in being found out as a liar, there is no sanction against corruption, for the "big-new-man" is "far above" such petty concerns . . .
  So, let us step back for a moment and fit the key into the lock. We will open this door, and see if any of this mod-myth ties back into the "outmoded and primitive" myth of the past.
  Our spontaneously combusting organism which "tends upward" wishes to flee to the stars does he? And furthermore, this is on a clock-based fear of a coming crash of the system eh? This evolved-one thinks he cannot be condemned because he spurns all standards of kindness and humble friendship does he? Hmm, have we heard something of this sort before somewhere?
  How very interesting! The ancient way also spoke of this very thing. A Warrior Champion coming with "armies of bright ones" to shatter the world, this; the dire threat of those days. And to escape this calamity, the (lookee!) lowly and simple are lifted to the heavens. How's about them apples? The ancient way spoke of man purposely forgetting his origin, and inventing foolish stories to substitute for it, so that they would not be bound by conscience to his Mighty Maker. How flukey is that anyhow, all these parallels?
  That path taught that wicked man beside being a liar, is a thief and he tries to hijack the excellencies above as if he had invented them all. It was as if he were the one to determine all on his own; high from low, good from evil; and true from false. Isn't that a remarkable coincidence? The tycoon sheltering in his palace from the storm, the "stars" (high ones) fleeing from the wrath coming. It certainly appears that all of this material has been "borrowed without permission" to this termite.
  I see it thisaway as one termite speaking to another. The true gee-whizmo isn't really the race using all of its' wits to build "safety" in that coming day. The actual and authentic Gee(sus) Whizmo is the one shelter which He has built with His blood and body. The "true Ark" far more certain than Noahs' boat, the "true Blood" above the doorposts to ward off the angel of destruction, this the actual gee-whizmo. See the True Son and Inheritor of all; freely sharing of His riches with beggars, this is the stunner! This is the "remarkable development" of history, for it happened one day on a miserable hill.
  And in that day, lifted up with Him we shall be, we the lowly, we the nobodies, and in that day; sprinting to other worlds bearing glad tidings indeed.
  "The Mighty Maker . . . is become a (The) Creature! He, sitting upon His emerald throne, dwells bodily upon our re-made home-world, come and see!" The true New-Man, forged in union with a mighty host of the glad (and friendly!). They (we, I mean) shall then move worlds, and dance upon the air shouting the fury of love in the brilliance of His fierce welcome.
  And they shall shout; "Thank You Sir!".
  That glad throng clad in immortality, light and joy will only "have eyes for" the One who loved them, and gave Himself for them.
  So now, who is "the primitive"?

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Fb Annex A1

  There is some sort of protocol it appears over in Facebook-land. It is not a formal thing, but to some extent we do have a time limit, or perhaps a word limit in place. Have you ever read any posts in fb that exceed a few pages in length? I don't know how to describe the feel of it, but a kind of rudeness or impropriety lurks around in my brain when reading longish items over in that format. So then, we affirm that there is an unspoken unseemliness to essay length responses to; "What up?".
  One of my friends on fb posted something like: "How do you express emotion and feelings without ridicule? A question I've asked for years."
  I responded with; "I am not certain that I understand the question. Do you mean #1 "How can emotion be expressed, and one not receive ridicule from others?", or do you mean #2 "How can one express emotion without simultaneously also expressing ridicule?".
  He indicated that the former was at issue, and I asked for an example. He sent back; "Oh wait, here is one, a depressed person says they want to die and wish it would all just stop. The responding person basically calls the hurt person a baby, or a bitch, or some genital reference that essentially means weak or useless".
  I responded that I would mull it over some, and send back later a response if I could think of one. The problem is that the response appears to require an essay for length and breadth, and so it would be an unseemly entry indeed over in the fb universe. So then, I deem that this particular C.P.E. shall function today as an annex to that other part of the cyber-universe. So there!
  There are at least two issues which crop up right away in my brainstem when thinking along the lines of why-so, of how-come people express hostility, or ridicule or disbelief when a person expresses emotion.
  But before we go there, the disclaimer here is that my basic "take" on emotion and or weakness (when detected in myself at least) has historically been to symbolically or spiritually shoot it in the head. For years (well actually, for decades), I was the world's worst emotional guy, and did not even try to get any good at being emotional, or expressing feel.
  It just was never on my "to do list".
  Furthermore, I find it not a little revolting to have certain (un-named) slobs grousing about "transparency". It makes me want to puke, for the simple reason that such is manifestly NOT transparent in the least! To say; "I struggle against desires to destroy myself and everything else", may turn out to be "transparent" (I don't care if it is, or not), but to agitate for mere "transparency" instead is very clearly a manipulative hiding, an hypocritical "saying but not doing" kind of thing in my book.
  And also, that much being said, the exact reverse is also true! I have often used "the sense of" or "the aroma of" things, in order to describe. In practice, I use feel all of the time, but only very very rarely, is same employed to mean "feeling about myself". Is all this quite clear for you? "Clear as mud", you say? Very well then, let us move on!
  Well, I am glad at any rate that the topic did arise, because I have been trying for days to cobble together a weird C.P.E., somewhat along these lines and was just stuck. I had gone off into a mental cul-de-sac. It was something all about language usage, and specialized expert patterns which we employ, and I could not figure out how to get back to the main idea; which is clearly depression!
  Part of that not written essay of the crazy pants flavor was to assault our normal Christian usage of the word. For example, our church right now is featuring a six week class on "depression". I don't think I will attend. And one of the main reasons is one of the two items that I intend to discuss below. In brief, it is that there is a very valuable truth to be had in being "down".
  Whether the person who is depressed is myself or another, two things come to the surface fairly quickly, but this first one is a "keeper".
  So, the first thing which we notice right off is the one which my friend mentions. There is a harshness, a "shut your face" kind of drill which I employ upon myself when I am down. And in my opinion, we normally deploy same toward others also. The philosophical problem at stake here is that the depressed one is uttering a universal condemnation.
  In myself, it usually sounds something like; "It just doesn't matter what I do, nothing really matters anyhow. I am just tired of being exhausted and doing pointless things for people whom I don't like". Very badly, we want off of the merry-go-round-from-hell which has no meaning. The entire exercise if futile and destructive, if it is built upon a lie, and satisfies nobody, why keep doing it?
  But, that assessment itself is also a lie, in that the sound of it is "as-if" I personally have conducted a thorough and exhaustive search. As-if I have inspected all facts, all options and all history and have thus deduced that there is no meaning available, and thus any efforts to make sense of things is technically a waste of time. But clearly, clearly, no such search was ever conducted. My assertion is false. Now it may remain true in any case that no hope of meaning exists, but my claim to have done the search is obviously an empty one. So then, I think that our usual response number one is to simply shut down depression as a logical falacy, based upon a presumed (and flawed) position.
  It certainly is understandable, and of course, this strategy never works! It is our human standard operating practice and as such, makes a bad situation . . . worse!
  One of the reasons that it never works is that if one is thereby challenged to produce some inherently meaningful aspect of things either at large, or in particular, the answers come back uniformly "flat or shallow". If ones' heart is in the process of falling to pieces, such "medicine" simply inflames the sore. "Cheer-up" is tremendously depressing to hear!
  The sounds of this sort of approach are more or less; "Well, there is your family to consider, what about them? And don't forget, you are young, your whole life is before you". This attempt to minimize the sorrow and grief over what a mess I have made of things, only serves to point out that in addition to a general and particular meaninglessness at large, I am also an ungrateful jerk to boot?
  Generally speaking then, to try to cheer up a depressed person usually just starts another fight. True enough, that fighting might itself help pull someone temporarily "out" of the dark, but it is also a huge giveaway that there is something we are just not discussing here.
  I remain quite firm in my belief that "negativity" is itself not necessarily a negative thing. If you were dealing with a lifelong drunkard who also loved laughing gas, who was hooked on adrenaline rushes, and pushing black pepper up his nose so to convulsively sneeze; if such a person, was always and always seeking to find a distraction, a buzz, a fury (an anything at all!), and he suddenly woke up one day without the buzz, without the clutter and the busy-ness which he always and always uses to "not see something", if that person wakes up depressed, I am all for it! Pardon the run-on sentence while you are at it!
  For once, for a twenty minute spell amid a months long jag of "substances"; for 1200 seconds; the man can see? Who in their right mind could be "against" that? Sure, what he sees is "dark and depressing" so what? It is real, and I (for one) say; that makes all the difference! For a few minutes I can actually see that my usual chemical bombs of nicotine, caffeine and sugar only cause me to talk too much. They are no "cure" at all for hopelessness. For less than a half hour, I am actually able to notice that my shuck and jive, my tap-dancing with words to amuse others (whom I do not like) is indeed a hollow and useless thing which only adds testimony against me, besides irritating them? This is a keeper!
  That is; the truth of depression is that I ought feel this way at least occasionally. Down is but the opposite end of up, and neither can answer the basic question involved. My strategies to cope-by are (let's face it) junk, and can do nobody (including myself) any real good. To see them as empty is to see them as they are! And this is the entirely valid point of depression which we get right. Keeper!
  There is no "cure", no chipper and invigorating "up" message can even begin to make a dent here. Such "up-talk" only makes things worse. Depression is about what is true in us. We really and truly are are vapid, and mean. We actually do blunder by endorsing nonsense, in my case nearly all the time! Depression sees this in us, and says; "There is no hope". And considered strictly from "in here" we are right to so say!
  Our problem with dealing with this sort of assessment, is that it is both true, and simultaneously insufficient. That is, our grasp of truth means that we hang onto it (we must!), but we rather tend to forget that this very same grasp of the true is built upon a fragment or section of the stuff, never the entirety thereof.
  So; "for the depressed person to to say that they want to die and wish that it would all just stop", as my friend mentions, the correct response is a kind of "two-fer". In the first place, you are seeing entirely correctly to so adjudge things, and so, ought be commended for your deep sanity. Alternately, you ought be informed of something, and is a "something in your face" which remains quite odd once we notice it.
  In short; if meaning did not mean anything, if significance was just a pointless blip of static on a statistical screen of noise, then for us to "miss it" would be deeply irrational indeed. But it remains entirely rational! What then?
  If we attempted to deal with air in a similar fashion to the way we do with meaning, we might wonder at it more. "Air, is simply an evolutionary hiccup which our ancestors (foolishly) believed kept them alive. In fact, a paternalist bias informs here, and we all need to get over our 'airist' bias and prejudices". Newsflash, in order to destroy air in this fashion . . . requires air!
  We cannot "get over" the premise that life was to have meant something, nor can we abide the premise that we ourselves do not need meaning, for the excelllent reason that such surmising would (itself) "mean something"! We smuggle in meaning in order to rid ourselves of it? We require air in order to say we need none of it? What madness is this? This; "in your face" we often do not notice at all!
  Alone and unaided, all that we can say is that we need hope, and cannot find it. All that we can deduce is that life was to have been otherwise than it presently is, but how to repair or rebuild this obvious flaw is beyond our ability to say or do. Focus here because this (in itself), is more valuable than a mountain of solid gold. And also it remains true that we usually just thoughtlessly toss it aside. This "is us"!
  So then, getting back to the fb post for a moment, the reason that feeling and emotion is met with hostility, is that it must! Our desire to just quit this world of misery, lies, pretending and stupid futility is honest enough, but it can never be the whole picture. To embrace sorrow as a friend, to grasp ahold of, and welcome the grief which so haunts our steps is a kind of walking "which makes no sense" to us. How could it?
  A kind of individualist and then a collectivist suicide is what we "must" build provided that we see no further than "the me". If I know nothing at all in this world of folly, I yet know this! Philosophy will carry us this far, and it is never far enough, not by a long shot!
  There is a great line in "Til We Have Faces", the 'god' says; "You must die . . . before you die".
  Back at the trainwreck of Eden, we were sort of turned "inside-up", our sense of color became a mathematical error so to speak, our hold on the true became a death grip, and never any more the exchange of a friendly handshake. It was along those lines I think which we went off the rails. We as creatures, became wildly distorted, and as such (now) must see ourselves "at the center". But, at that "center" there is only a hole in the ground awaiting . . . me! We became crazy gamblers who have-to (now) "let it all ride" upon the flimsy and absurd premise that we can (and ought!) be "something special".
  We see, and are not seeing correctly. We hear, and only listen for certain parts. We are wrecked by the damage, and also must continue assembling the parts for the big collapse. This "is us". We kind of "vaguely recall" that life wasn't supposed to have been this way, and for the life of me I cannot say how it was to have been!
  So, we complain.
  Nobody likes complainers, and nobody enjoys being around "needy" people. At minimum, I don't! But what other option is there for us if we remain alone and unaided? If my friend who makes no bones about his rejection of Messiah complains; I suppose that I can "understand" to some degree the issues involved. But I cannot fix either the world, nor him nor me. In a sense then, we conclude the matter with hunger.
  Food is like air, we cannot get along without it. Hope is like food. We cannot last without it indefinitely. All that we can safely say then is that we require the stuff, and cannot locate it by our own selves.
  A kind of "inversion" of things then would "predict" (after the fact?) that it is Hope which locates me! There is precisely nothing in me which Hope could find "worthwhile or meaningful". There is zero aspects of my life, doings or intentions which would, or could ever "recommend me" to the Captain of Hope. This much is certain. This is our emotional reality, and also, the reality is that I do indeed have hope! Something new has entered the world.
  The center has been relocated outside of "the me", and I wasn't the one who did it! He Himself becomes a kind of "food", which like the waybread of the elves ain't much to look at, but yet has marvelous staying power!
  It was in the saying, and in the telling Him precisely what I thought of His idiotic little dump called "reality", it was in my expressing rage at Him, that I found something unexpected. The gift is life! But, I didn't want that; I wanted truth and meaning! Uh, those are tossed into the deal gratis, deal with it.
  We have to find our "bottom", we must locate the ground in which we shall one day be buried, and stand just there, shouting our wrongminded hatred of all things. Say what is in you, it is ugly . . . and true!
  I did not "find" God, He arrested me! I did not "choose Jesus", He mopped the floor with me! To speak of "the me, 'making' Him Lord" is just more hopelessly stupid blather.
  He is the Maker whether we like it or not, but if we like it, there are benefits undreamt involved. Our truth takes us to the edge, His truth takes us to life, to death, and then to life again.
  It is either that, or complain, to grind the teeth and to rant at the darkness. but of our own selves we (privately) prefer the darkness. That "is us"!
  Hope is built here, we are not, have never been and shall never be; of our own selves. The True Self has seen to that! And so, with hope anew comes desire anew. It would shock the pants off of my dear old Mom that I (nowadays) actually enjoy asparagus!
  With The Captain comes a new "want-to". Long live the King! Our hope dwells in Him.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Auto-destruct Sequence

  Back in the late 60s, when I was a grade schooler, we would come home about three p.m. from Bel-Air Elementary. On TV, the reruns included such stuff as Gilligans' Island, The Beverly Hillbillies and whatnot. But the real action was the reruns of Star Trek! Now, there is some entertainment for an eleven year old boy!
  It is odd (now) to watch those old shows, they seem so shallow; or is it insipid? I have a hard time trying to regather the emotion, the "oomph" of just why I found the program to be so powerful as a sixth grader. Really, one of the few ideas which showed up in the show (occasionally) which has stuck in my cerebrum (or where-ever) for 45 years is; "the auto destruct sequence"
  You know the drill, some dire strait or another in which Kirk & Co. have landed, gives them no choice but to blow the good ship Enterprise to smithereens! So, the chief officers, one by one go through the protocol (talking to 'computer') to verify and authenticate the legitimacy of the process. Of course, this is attended by a Cape Kennedy type of countdown, and what with one thing and another, the crew finds a last ditch reason to over-ride the command. But, we knew that was going to happen. To my young ears, this was compelling stuff indeed!
  We were talking in the Sunday school class today about "the beauty of failure" of which I ought be some sort of expert at by now. I still (by in large) do not "get" the concept. Failure is one of the very few things in this life that I am really any good at. And even there, we get mixed results. That odd occasion of sometimes getting something more or less correct, ruins my "streak"! So, if the goal was to become a uniform and consistent failure, well I'm no good at that! A failure at being a failure, how depressing is that?
  Some folks find (I believe) this sort of rumination to be "negative" or "too hard on myself". I haven't the froggiest fig-newton of why they think so. It seems darkly humorous to me, a bit like being unable to consistently recognize your own image in a mirror. The auto-destruct sequence is basic to "who we are" or at least who we were.
  We, generally speaking; much prefer to "not-look" at this type of dynamic in ourselves. When others begin the countdown, we attempt to put them off of it, to distract or perhaps compliment them into a more sanguine mood. It (our strategy I mean) is like Scotty trying to amuse the rest of the crew during the computer count down with a joke, and dancing a little jig.
  The auto-destruct sequence has many faces, and appears to be one of my favorite strategies. As a mental image, picture a pilot of a fighter-bomber "having a thing for" hitting the "eject" button, perhaps?
  If one is even able (questionable) to look at life realistically, the ideas of "hope" and of a better tomorrow seem pretty darned vapid. The beauty of drinking isn't so much the glamour of stumbling around and making a fool of yourself. But rather, the sharp focus of seeing what a crazy dump we live in (and keep rebuilding!) is temporarily fuzzied. By drinking, we are actively trying to ruin things. But what we forget while in the process of drinking is the next day.
  The interior wreckage, that physical exhaustion, plus the familiar sense of feeling like crap on a windshield (the next day), is what the drinker is so busy building. This, we forget, and it is but a variant of the auto-destruct. I think I can grasp the intention of why we build that. People say that; "Nobody wants to feel bad about themselves", but the fact is that they already do! The "problem" to be solved is much more along the lines of; "Why do I feel so chipper and glad, given what a trainwreck I have made of things? Shouldn't there be some evidence of the mayhem?" So, we build hangovers to verify who we (think) we are! Or, at minimum, that is what I used to do.
  The auto-destruct is a slow motion thing, a type of half-hearted suicide. We might deem it a self authored tentative eviction notice mayhaps? There is something terribly wrong with ourselves, and with the world. We are quite certain at this juncture. The thing begins to balloon at about the same time that we identify "the problem area". It is as-if we were going to utter a repair strategy to "fix things". It doesn't much matter what we identify as the "source" of the troubles, in that the process uniformly breeds in us a superiority complex. We end up thinking; "Why can't people just be more (fill in the blank here as you like); and things would be so much better!". This type of brain talk guides us infallibly to the conclusion that the real problem is "out there", and moreover that if and when "they wake up"; things shall improve and not otherwise.  I did this sort of head trip for many years, and it never made any difference how hard I pushed "the fix", people would just not learn! Shocking, ain't it?
  The auto-destruct sequence lives somewhere in this neighborhood. To validate hopelessness "out there", is to unwittingly validate it also (and stronger!) "in here". I (technically) become a "failure" in this case, at waking-up others. It's just that I am not really very good at it (failure I mean). Hit the "eject" button . . . again. Our interior chaos has oddly predictable patterns, we keep building the same thing over and over.
  For at least twenty years, as an "adult"; I used to say; "You want to know what I want out of life? I will tell you, I . . . want-out. . . of life!". Strangely, this was not well received. Life seemed like a bizarre game in which you can only be penalized, a sort of ever downward spiral, such that even what you try to do right is only more evidence against you? And I (for one) concluded that the basic premise then would be to do damage control soonest, and cease adding to the deficits! "Just show me the EXIT sign already, and I will cease making things worse, it ain't much; but it is the best I can do." and that; was the decades long brain noise I built.
  Now, our normal heart furniture tends strongly to disallow this type of response, and next thing I knew, I became the one "tut-tutting" my own self in order to shrink or contain the auto-destruct which (in reality) was the best answer I am capable of. I came to strongly disagree with myself "in principle"! Talking to yourself isn't so bad, the arguments are worse . . . but  worst of all, when you lose the argument!
  I am convinced that The Almighty knows this about us, He is well aware of this habit of ours of creating wrecks. In my own opinion Of Him (which was far too low) I thought He was on the "chipper" team. Those pastors with the over large crosses about their necks, saying things like; "That's just super" about things like growing radishes, kinda made me want to puke. The whole "encouragement" drill seemed to be awfully pasty and thin if it didn't have any courage or guts to it. This feminine and squishy nice guy theory just doesn't wash. We end up with a "god" who kinda loafs around until we decide (all on our own) to take our finger off the trigger? We end up with yet another voice telling us to; "Try harder", and this garbage is supposed to somehow qualify as "good news"? "Park it where the sun don't shine pard, ain't interested", was (and still is) my response.
  The way to get past the blender is to go through it, the path leading into the meat grinder is the correct one. This (in part) explains our fascination with extreme sports, and with death defying stunts. Life is inherently "unsafe", start there. Because (you see?) we know something about ourselves. We can hide from it, we can temporarily forget it due to distraction or stupor, but it won't go away. Death is "the answer" as far as we are able to see. It is simply this, He sees farther!
  That is, He is not "against" our auto-destruct sequence in the least. It is just that it does not go far enough! We have one piece of the puzzle, and it is a keeper, but it ain't the entire picture. The reason we (or at least I) keep rebuilding a collapse, a failure, an offense to others is that it must come! "And if Mr. Almighty upstairs hasn't the wherewithal to whack me for it, I shall manage it myself! So, let me get this right, I have to do my job, plus His too? And this is the same Guy telling me; 'To be perfect?!'. An Almighty loafer nice guy, just what we needed. . ." This was the sound of the brain racket in me for years! And that was about as far as I could see, before He came to meddle in my affairs. But hear me, I was right . . . but never right-enough.
  He doesn't take away from the truth we know about ourselves, He corrects by filling in the parts we cannot see. The auto-destruct sequence itself is destructive not because it is wrong headed, but because it is incomplete, and a half-measure.
  Our grasp of things is inherently "negative" and we (stupidly) attempt an over-ride with the "positive" as a sort of check or balance to keep ourselves from going too far. I have no beef with that inner strategy, except to note that it is a stopgap. It is like pouring molasses on sand, it slows the motion downward, and maybe that is alright. Perhaps it was more time which we required after all, but time for what?
  My Dad used to say things like; "We shall all stand naked before God to give an answer". This sounded like a terrible idea to me! Yes, he had "stand" right, and also "give an answer" correct; it was "naked" which was never enough. To complete the picture, to find the missing pattern, we need clothing. It was the best that Dad could do, and it was never good enough, in this; he "is us". My look at this sort of thing led me to conclude; "If things are that dire, the sooner I can cease adding evidence in the case against me, the better!". I was right and it was the best I could do, and it was never enough. That "is us".
  The good news of the auto-destruct sequence is that He built and owns the sucker. In His hand, it is applied correctly, for our good, and to His praise. Does that sound odd to you? What then of the testimony; "I tell you the truth, I die daily, it is no longer 'I' who live, but Christ (Jesus) who lives in me"? In Him, our concept of the "finger on the button" gets pushed; as JFK would have said "with vigah!".
  If back on the U.S.S. Enterpise, they once had carried out to the end the auto-destruct; I suppose that would have been the end of the series? But they always drew back, "just in time". He does not draw back, and applies the death sanction to us. The beauty is that on the "other side of death", is a life we have not yet guessed at. Gospel asserts boldly that this process is already begun! We agree with that testimony. The end of me is not "the end", but rather, a surprising new kind of beginning.
  One of the mind sets of the hip generation includes the phrases; "Getting your 'stuff' together", and "getting your head screwed on right". The unspoken premise is that one can (and ought!) get ones' proverbial poop in order, that is; it is do-able. And as long as we are stuck in that miserable rut, we personally guarantee the auto-destruct to manifest in our actual doings. Through bitter experience, I say so!
  Is it drugs or sex you would rather fail at? Or, how about some combination? Is it driving while drunk, or doing a crooked business deal in which you shall surely be caught which you prefer to build? Somewhere, somehow we are determined to apply negative sanction, to exhaust and ruin . . . ourselves. We must, because it is the right thing to do! "And if God is too gutless to smack me down, I'll do it!", this is the sound of our misery. Gospel predicts correctly instead that the auto-destruct  finds its' true home when we "go low".
  When we agree with our pride and ambition being scuttled, when we embrace our loneliness and sorrow, when we die to any hope of ever "getting it together", then into the meat-grinder we walk. . . gladly! The central axiom of the good news has two legs. One, Jesus is Lord (as in Lord GOD) whether you like it or not, and two, that He has busted out of the tomb. These combined, alter the shape of reality; by addition and by an abundant overflow. It does not say; "You are wrong about everything". It says; "Keep what is true, and add to it!".
  This sort of talk is "man-talk". The three being cast into the fiery furnace possessed "balls". And it is just here that I find our western church to be so lacking. We have forgotten the connect between courage and loyalty to the death, with our flimsy, and girlish usage of the word "encouragement". A man never "backs down on what is right"! That is just the way it is, deal with it. Our problem is not an unshakable insistence upon "right", but rather that we have been blinded, that we live in a dark world. We see not-far at all.
  He knows this about us.
  As the True Owner-Operator of the auto-destruct sequence, He is not "saddened" by our conclusions. He is not "surprised" at our patterns of rebuilding the wreck. It is simply that we are unable to wreck deeply enough. Our puny hangover, our lousy disputes with the "ex", do not ever cut deeply enough! It is for lack of passion, not the excess thereof He scolds!
  Individually and collectively, we build a future collapse. And whether it is a war, or an economic depression, whether a bad needle habit, or chronic emotional depression we of human-kind shall keep on finding ways to crash.
  We must!
  The beauty and innovation, the sheer genius of Gospel is simply that death "in Him" is survivable! The King of the Jews is the evidence, the Guarantor of life, the Executor of the sentence and the Redeemer back from destruction. We provide the destruction, until He gets here, and does the job right!
  The way out is down, the way home is in being lost. The way of gladness is to embrace sorrow as friend and counselor. There is a new thing in earth!
  He, the Aroma of Life, He the Captain Brave, He the Lily of the valley, Fairest of ten-thousand.  He is "the new thing"! The one Loyal Son has pledged Himself. . . to the death, and beyond!
  Unthinkably, far and far beyond.