Friday, July 31, 2015

Holy Man

  Wowsers, some C.P.E.s are definitely more trouble to write than others. I think that at least two rough drafts of this thing, plus a couple of false starts, makes this Holy Man essay one of the most difficult I have ever attempted. I do not ordinarily  pay much attention to "writer's block" as an explanation or excuse for why things do not get written; but it certainly seems valid today! Our hectic lives are missing one crucial element, and I keep finding it nearly impossible to discuss.
  We can all agree (I think) that we live in a wild time. It seems that the amount of data, information, rumors, and mindless trivia with which we are hourly and daily bombarded is making the the real into the unreal. It is like an electric charged caffeine buzz, built upon nervous twitch reflex. It is "real" enough, but we forget due to excessive involvement in the mess, that it is a man-made construct. The floating feel, the never ending rounds of input, always spiraling downward and in, it all looks so dire! And like a slot machine junkie, we get so "into" the turning wheels, and the action that we cannot recall the source of it all as we ourselves!
  Along these lines then, can anyone correctly guess where to begin, so to accurately describe America, circa 2015 A.D.? You know what I am talking about, this sense that something very like the collapse of the Roman Empire is being duplicated before our eyes, but in record time! What once took a couple of centuries as far as rot and moral decay goes, to obviously manifest as dire scandals, lies, and double-dealing treachery in ancient history, is being duplicated in weeks or even days before our eyes? Everything culturally American appears to be falling to pieces, pretty much; all at once. And yet, for all the doubt and chaos in evidence, these collapses barely scrape the surface of the sense of things just now.
  The fears of an unknown future, the redefinitions (galore) of what is past, and all this, as part of an unrecognizable present generates a sense of dislocation. It is a kind of dreamy and floating unreality which we here note. Further, all these changes are linked to an inhuman rate of knowledge intake, a regular Niagara of facts, volcanos of quotes and ideas exploding on every side. We gorge upon perspectives, gallop through viewpoints, and exhaust ideals about as rapidly as they can be hatched.
  Very clearly the times, they have a changed, and nearly unrecognizably so. One of the main points to consider is that as things shift away from old norms, they also do so predictably. Any deviant form, any alien ideology, any inhuman misery, all are considered "normal". The short version is that people are nowadays not afraid to claim to have been born homosexual, or that they are in fact "star children" seeded by aliens; or perhaps that they are in contact with some ancient, unruly and invisible power? In our time, to admit being addicted to some chemical, or to have a destructive vice or a perverse love of the dark side, all this blends right in. People are not at all bothered in the least that satanism or witchcraft might be (in this hour) socially "legitimate". Militant atheism in our world barely generates a yawn any longer. So, the wide deviation from the old norms is clear enough, but it is also followed by a severe impossibility, and Ì believe that would be the holy.
  Our era might believe just about any idiotic thing, but the one thing it cannot and will not abide is the idea that what we humans must have more of is "holiness". Now, as a side note to my reader, I promise not to use quote marks again through the remainder of this essay for the word holy. But I did it just the once, to help illustrate how unthinkable, how truly undesired, and unimagined the holy nowadays really is.
  Just listen to what people say; "We need relevance, or we need power!" And let's not forget the needs for education, dignity, a living wage and fairness too, eh? It turns out that we humans have a regular grocery list of all the things which we "need", and those items are the ones which we believe or imagine might make our lives, our culture, our world "better". That list appears to be endless.
  I can, as a plumber however; certainly affirm that I have never once heard another human assert that what we really (and actually) require during this present upheaval is the sacred, what we need is a big dose of the holy. That answer just does not (and predictably so) arise . . . ever.
  And really, I am not even so very certain what the word holy means, except to say it is related to our verb "to cut". So, think of; "To make a separation, to divide", as the idea here; but how or why such would ever arise to the top of the human wish list, in order to make life livable remains unknown, and remains to my knowledge mainly unthought.
  And in this plumbers' opinion, I think holiness has gotten a bum rap. Listen sometime to those Christian shows on T.V. or radio. The holy guys have a regular way of talking. All of the vowels are kinda softened and rounded. Is that a semi-southern accent we detect? The use of the rising inflection? Turns everything into a question? The "indoor" voice is king (queen actually) and holiness becomes a pose, a predictably unruffled outer smiley face gig.
  Part of the pose is a seemingly boundless vault of good advice, mixed with a prudish sort of stance on things "moral". In brief, if that mess is in fact holiness, nobody in their right mind could ever surmise that this is the junk which is what the race requires, ever!
  This radio type of holiness and sanctity tends to posit a rather odd premise. But, nobody really believes it. It proposes a kind of semi-glow-in-the-dark type of looking down upon others. It is an insider's view, a kind of "helpful" and patient enduring of those; the unenlightened and ignorant. In brief it is just another superiority complex. We already have way way too much of that garbage around here. Trust me, it is not more of that which we need. So, we end up with the one thing on Earth which is in dire shortage (holiness) being so wildly misrepresented, and poorly characterized; that nobody could really ever get around to wanting it!
  I don't do well at describing the holy for the same sort of reasons that I usually fail to well describe the real. Uh, the real as opposed to what? And it seems to me there are only two classes of the unreal to consider. There is the consciously unreal, as in the imaginary. And whether we speak of novels or fables, or any fiction worth its' salt, there can be a "private reality" of the mind or heart. Think of the enjoyment of a well told story, the smiles a good movie brings. But, the other unreal is not conscious, and this is our main problem here. In describing unreality of this sort, we have forgotten something crucial. Incidentally, it is also the very same problem in discussing the topic of the unholy!
  For instance; in a dream, you are often too busy, or too involved in the action or the mystery to halt yourself in mid-dream; and remark; "Hey, it doesn't really matter about any solution, since the entire framework of the drama is a fake!". The busy-ness of business as usual helps us forget that the schema, the entire environ in which we are attempting to solve, is one hatched by, and maintained by we ourselves.
  So, if holy corresponds (in this case) to the really real, then it is nearly impossible for me to discuss that reality, with persons deeply involved in their own daily psycho-drama. Is it a work addiction, or money-security fear which seems "realer" than the real to you? Is it girl troubles, or mysterious aches and pains? Whatever it is, while we are in that loop of our own making, the solving-for trumps all other claims.
  Have I lost you? Here is an illustration, go in sometime to a casino, and observe the gamblers as they interact with their machines. They are deeply focused, they ignore all else around them. We observe them mechanically repeating actions over and over. We can clearly see that their reality is a lessor real one than the actual, but they themselves are far too busy to notice such things! These little realities of ours require constant attention, input, and maintenance. These "worlds" are a bit like those folks who "cannot miss" their favorite T.V. show. There is a pattern established, and it "must be" maintained. The inner and small drama has somehow become equal to the outer and actual reality (or seemingly so). And my guess is that the hook, the reason we find such mini-worlds so compelling, and small realities important is an if-then premise. Managing small drama argues that we could (possibly) master realities in general and so, once we get good at it; perhaps we could make the major and actually real "manageable"!
  In the dinky-real, we can filter out the ugly, we can feel better about our efforts as we order our own tiny domains. And this, as the second type of unreality, I think is far the worse of the two, in that we forget that it is we who have built and maintain the sucker. Being so casino-like focused, we end up confusing what we have built with what actually is!
  Do you grasp the concept here? In my book, the holy is precisely of this sort. Whatever holy is, He Is Holy! He is the Is behind Am. Think of the verb "to be", He is that, In Person! The Holy Name, comes out something like "I Am He Who Is". The angels and elders in the book of the Revelation are shouting something. "Holy, Holy, Holy! LORD God, the Almighty, He Who Was, and Is, and Ever Shall Be!" I say that we have no good way in our language to correctly join the elders.
  In Mike-speak, it sounds something like; "He Is, and because of His speaking power, all else which is, also is. But, nothing exists, unless He made, directs and sustains it. There is (literally) no-thing to contrast being to!". There is no "un-being or anti--is". If something is not God, and if something is not part of His creation, then it is either no-thing at all, or yet another lie. And lies will (one day) end. But I wander from my point!
  I say, the one thing we actually need is the holy, or more accurately; He, The Holy One as Author of Is (and there is no "opposite" to Him); it is He we need! The astounding miracle, the whopper grand-daddy marvel of the ages, is that He spoke, and what is, came to be. By His word authority, that which is, coheres and remains and is directed to its' end. The whopper fact which we are unable to notice is the facty-ness of fact, with Him as the sole guarantor. Things are real, but never "of themselves".
  If we return to the image of the dream for a moment, He is the Dreamer, and we are the dreamt, except not. We are the real, in that He (The Real) so says.
  I hope some of this is making sense? What the world needs now is the strong and unshakable, what it needs is the meaningful and the true. What the world needs is hope of significance, and security from all fears. We the weak, we the wishy-washy, we the confused and sad, we the failures, cannot locate within ourselves, nor within creation; the rock solid joy we must have. And so, we stupidly assume that such joy "cannot be real"?
  Therefore, such is obviously not in, or of us, nor is it "part" of our world. It is "cut and made separate". But that doesn't make it unreal. Rather, we are thirsty for The Real (Himself) who is coming into the world! True, it is "cut". Yes, it is "separate" from things as-is, but that is the same as saying; "Hope lives!".
  A tree "knows" that it needs soil and water and sunshine, but it cannot "make" any of them. A man knows that he requires meaning and truth and gladness, and he is like the tree. Something "separate" from him is shown best by its' lack.
  And so, the King says things holy. "Blessed are you hungry, and blessed are you poor", but why? Is there something grand about skinny broke guys that we don't know? No, but the central Rock, the mountain which is unmovable, He, the Personal underwriter of all fact, He the Owner and Guide of every scrap of history, He the Builder and Maintainer of the real; it is He we require. Both the real, and the holy; shout that we must awaken out of our small money worries, we must leave behind our workaholic fables and ditch our ambitious little soap operas. The grand vista of Is beckons! It, the unshakably real, is; because He Is. We, coming to this knowledge, find rest.
  The canoe of life has an outrigger to steady it, and His Name is Jealous! He Personally "takes an interest" in our lives, our deaths, and so too our living again.
  He is so "cut" that death itself is no boundary at all for Him. He roars His fierce welcome-home at His childrens' return from the grave!
  We have no good way to describe holy for much the same reason that we can barely define the real. But without these, life means nothing, history is just a lot of bad people doing stupid things, and death reigns supreme over the hearts' cry for meaning.
  But the Holy One is saying that, that very cry for meaning was placed in there, on purpose by Him, that one day we would find in His smile, and wildly glad embrace, our true home!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Way Of Things

  When you get to be an old guy, your opinions on things begin to be more set. You quit fooling around with pointless, dead end idea projects, and begin repeating yourself. Well, maybe not everybody does so, but if you are a guy, I would guess there is a high probability along these lines.
  Presently, I am 56 years "young" (only old people talk that way), and what keeps cropping up in my brainstem of late, sounds like a serial repetition. On old vinyl records, if there was a bit of damage, they would sometimes "skip", and keep playing the same line in the song over and over. My brain appears to be skipping!
  The interior chatter, that self-talk we do, is topically indexed it appears. For some guys, the loop sequence is "sports", for others it is "girls". One occasionally chats with a gun and ammo guy, or perhaps an automotive lover of some flavor. I am normally able to dip into these private universes far enough to comment, or ask a couple of questions maybe, but basically, I just don't care that much about such stuff. Which introduces my first observation along these lines.  Simply said, whether you are ga-ga over soccer or WWII fighters bombers, very few (if any) people can care about it, the way you do. They might act enthusiastic enough, to get by, but frankly; once the discussion is over, you (not they) are the one jazzed by the talk. Now, the brain guck that resides in me, has almost no appeal at all to others, and I have a tough time even getting the fake "tell me more" request. No, the norm is "Do we have to talk about this?", or even less tactfully, a "You're depressing." squeaks out. That topic orbit which keeps rotating around in my skull is "The way of things".
  Gosh, a guy might imagine others would be all agog to discuss the nature of nature, to shoot the breeze concerning factuality itself, don't you agree? But, to be fair to others, my version of facticity itself, is a tad dire.
  What keeps looping in here is a projection of future America, or of future world. I love looking at all that conspiracy theory material available on You Tube, and whether Billy Bob McGee (or somebody) is in fact; THE ANTICHRIST!! You can see the way of things.
  People are scared, the future looks either plainly bleak, or so alien a world, as to be unrecognizable. So, the way involved just here is to find a trail, to set up markers so that others can navigate through here. Theorists of the c-type, believe that they are offering a service, you see? Now, the little matter that it is a service that only a few folks want, is beside the point.
  What then is the way of things in 21st cen America, how are things? You probably know that in the past, certain persons kept diaries, of their lives. As far as I know, only professional historians ever try reading such material, but clues as to the times, the feel of what life-then was, such is perhaps meaningful to somebody.
  This is not a diary, I can't imagine why people bother writing them anyhow, but maybe, just maybe, some of the feel of our era might leak onto the page? Perhaps a history buff 200 hundred years hence could glean an insight or two?
  On we march! The way of things might best be summed up by a crazy man named Phillip Wylie. He was writing about 60 years ago, and he was speaking of our land. The basic concept is "Mom-ism", as coined by Mr. Wylie. Mom-ist thought, was a kind of inverse (or converse?) to the "fatherland" drivel of A. Hitler.
  So, whereas Germany got lost in a masculine power model, and was all about hard, and tough and fearless, Wylie predicted back when; that a kind of soft totalitarianism, a squishy, feminine police state, was the inevitable result of overthrowing a masculine version of same. The push come to ugly feature here, is that he predicted it, not of Germany, but here. The phrase he invented which I so love, describing that way of things, is; "An iron fist, inside a velvet glove". Ain't that a gem?
  The way of things is what pundit Rushbo calls; "The chick-a-fication" of the nation. It is (ostensibly) all about "sensitivity, tolerance, and inclusion", which is plainly hogwash. It is about those up until you disagree just once with one of these wildcats. Then they will tear your lungs out (politely).  In regal terms, we are building a unitary super-state, but ruled by queens, not kings, it's like that. So, is this the part where you say; "Do we have to talk about this?". The iron fist is there, we have rules upon rules, laws out the wazoo, and the result? Chaos. The velvet glove is showing, soft fuzzy and warm!
  The way of things now is to introduce, "The outrage of the week" through electronic media. A shooting here, multiple kidnappings over there, pubic "servants" caught with their pants down (again) , oh; say an earthquake every now and then? The idea, is to keep chatter alive, to fuel buzz. And the point of that would be? Well, naturally, to introduce yet more laws!
  Nowadays, when a child falls off of a swingset, the police are called in to investigate. When perverts want to "marry" each other, or "change their gender", a cry of "hurrah" goes up? Why so? Duh, to make more rules!
  The way of rules, is that they exist in two forms. There is the codified version wherein one may be jailed or fined, and then there is the "pc" garbage. The pc bilge is normally manned by the young, in that as a maternalist schema, "kids are our heritage". So, they are expected to quickly grasp this week's outrage, run with the ball, and invent on the fly the "correct" (politically that is) perspective. This is enforced through group-think, to the point that people claim that they are ashamed for previously thinking otherwise than this week's up-to-date, "inclusive" concept.
  We are building then, a type of police state yes, but the cop on the beat, is to be you! You are to be the one who is to be all about love and good feelings, and if you're not, then you are "a hater". Okay, it's insane; but one does have to admire the efficiency of the chaos, the remarkable energy of the mental lethargy involved!
  So, the way of things is to value supremely "unity", which is to say; a guaranteed divisiveness is the natural product. Idols function this way. One starts out in favor of love, and then blows the girlfriend away. A person sets out to be humble, and then begins lecturing on "my humility", which is a damnably arrogant thing. In brief, we generate, not precisely, but close to the "opposite" of what we (so to speak) "intend". In Mom-ism, intention is all that matters. The small reality that Hillary has blood on her hands for the murder of an ambassador and his staff, is "obviously!" unrelated to her "good intentions".
  From a Christian perspective, I see things this way. We in America, are sectioning off, we are re-dividing up. The feminists over here, the luddites over there. The Buddists this way, the Bible believers that direction. Each group becomes a "community" which is a way of saying either an enclave, or a ghetto. Simply, we are constructing a series of future ghettos. Oddly it would seem, the prime ethic of unity must generate divisions, and tons of them!
  As Schlossberg aptly said; "We build idols. for our own destruction". This is what American "values" are actually about! Is this the part where you begin with: "You're depressing."?
  Nobody I know seems to be interested at all in this. The way of things is plainly an item to avoid. Now, I don't plan to leave off the cycle just yet, there must be hope . . . somewhere! And in brief, it is not intra-cosmic.
  There is nothing at all in the world, or in us as humans which prohibits "the worst in people" from manifesting. As a genuine "hater" (and "bigot" might I add?) the hope for us, is not from us, it is crashing in from "the outside". But not from outer space!
  The way of things is thus. People are stupid. They believe that the covenantal structure of scripture formats something along these lines.
  Once upon a time, God made (or didn't?) all things. Man screwed the pooch bigtime, and so He "made a deal" with mankind. The deal is roughly speaking; "Straighten up, and fly right (or at least occasionally try to); and if you (as a people) do well at that pointless task, then maybe I will reward you with a pointless heaven". Of course, heaven is this weirdo destination, with people sitting on clouds and forever blissfully halleluja-ing while playing crummy little harps. There are these fat-kid angels hanging around, and so you are supposed to be just pleased as punch to be there?
  The result of the blather is that we derive a destination, that nobody wants to go to, built upon a sketchy demand for having good attitude, which nobody could or would develop. This insane mess is rejected out of hand, and then people congratulate themselves for "evolving". What a bunch of boneheads we are!
  The way of things is that, yes; the covenant is basic. But, it is not "cut" between God and some abstract committee called "mankind". That group is covenantally dead! So, why strike a bargain with a gang of stiffs anyhow? No Sir!
  The deal is between the Father and the Son. This, my friend changes everything! Just listen to the looney hijacking of "love" by the pc mob. By golly, they are all in favor! But, to them, love is a static valuation of "feeling loving". It is like a certain brain drug, which is deemed pleasant. NO! The Father loves the Son, and the Son does all the Father's will . . . gladly, and rightly. That is a huge difference. Love is not a feeling, it is an active service unto the death. The way of things is that the Son is set a task. He performs it, and is welcomed back from that love-unto-death.
  He is crowned, all real estate, every ocean, the sum total of worlds and galaxies is deeded to Him, and He gladly returns the present to His Pop! The way of things thus, is that we have a concrete hope surely enough, but not from here.
  The welcome is for lawbreakers, for failures, for liars, frauds and drunks. The embrace is for those who turn from the path of their destructive idols, to cry out to their Maker for assistance, for friendship, and for meaning! He hears.
  The way of things is that the Guy who invented ears, hears. Who woulda thunk? The way of things is that He has determined to bring in a mighty host from earth, an uncountable and awfully glad "tribe". The way is that no power of earth and hell combined, can halt or frustrate Him in it.
  The way of things is that we keep offering editorial comments to Him as to how better to run things, or how best to govern reality; supposing He is actually serious about the job? The way, the real way; is the way of the cross.
  The hopes and dreams of things finally working right, the Messiah is come! The dizzy ambitions of a new and better tomorrow, all that shattered in one bloody, shameful day of misery, betrayal and pain. And just there, right at the absolute bottom of the barrel, He rotates history, He inverts the pyramid of power, He begins a new creation. The gutless heartless failure is mine, and (God Bless HIM!) He took that package upon His own self, right to hell. And then, He trades the Father's lovely coat of many colors for my rags? He covers me (?) with a right-ness which is not mine, and also, now is considered mine!
  Hope lives, because He lives. Ascending on high, we find that even today, He intercedes for us; and perfects our shabby prayers. The way of things is much more like a volcano for warmth, and a lightning bolt for fun! The way of things a complex dance even the worst stumblebum begins to learn the steps to. The way, a man, or truly The Man, pledging Himself now to us . . and again unto the death!
  But death cannot any longer touch Him. A new vista is opening up, a glad and a fierce, a wild and an old. But what oldsters they are, evergreen, vibrant and finally at peace in their own heads!
  The way in brief, is that the the new creature shall be built, and the foe who is no creator, but merely a bad slave, must "try to" duplicate that many-as-one. That way lay destruction, and out of that destruction comes the Almighty loud shout of Our Captain to wake the dead!
  He is coming, sure as shootin', He is coming, and the enemy is (rightly) terrified. The way of things is that the dragon, unable to kill the child born, and unable to snuff his mother, went to make war upon her other children. Pssst, this is where you come in.
  And I saw the enemy war upon the holy ones, and he prevailed against them, and they did valiantly by the word of their testimony, by the blood of the Lamb, and that they loved not their own lives. . . even unto death.
  Now, that is love! Why is nobody interested in this?