I am concerned for my generation because prevailingly, we believe that tinkering with our governmental and economic systems will create the definitively just world. For many of us, we believe that if equal opportunity and equal resources were provided, we'd arrive at utopia.
As a Christian, I am a stranger to the world, an alien, a sojourner. I find common cause with people working for a more just world, and I work alongside them. But I only believe in a better world than the one we've got, not a perfect one.
I am rarely surprised when fellow bloggers like
Mike Friesen and Lydia Schoch mention foul experiences amongst Christians. I recently had a long conversation with an Italian friend who wondered why I could possibly be both a Christian and an advocate for social justice when Catholicism has brought so much intolerance to Europe. He considered that intolerance must be the core of Christianity itself, because this has been its fruit.
Nonviolence. Ahimsa, "not-hurting." Gandhi proposed another word, satyagraha, or "truth-force."
I have given nonviolence trainings where people believed that any form of property destruction, strong disagreement, or disobedience of authority was a form of violence. For them, nonviolence was ahimsa, or not-hurting. It is easy, using this negative concept, to negate any action at all, from the carnage wrought among ants by the walking person, to the car emissions fueling planetary climate change. In the face of such an full negation, Ahimsa leads to quietism, inaction, and support for the status quo.
is a hell of not having
of infinite desire
laid over the world
on a screen
there is no resolution
to the seduction
of the symbolic
an impossible exchange
the object of desire
does not exist.
as you are
and have sex
when one woman
is not too tired.
but what you have
through the trade of yourself
really the only currency
worthy of another.
this is the beauty
to remove the shades
from your eyes
and view yourself
and your love
by the funhouse lenses
of the impossible.
how we have grown the impossible!
in ways beautiful and terrible
in images we create.
but let us make love
as we are
flesh to flesh
this is the way
we have trodden
mercy we call to god such a small thing we ask! god you are good but we don't understand bear her away to mercy
My cousin's newborn, Mercy Joan Mertes, died tonight of encephalocele and spinal cysts.
Despite all odds, when little Mercy came off the respirator, despite breathing trouble and dire predictions, she lived a full day and a half. No baby was loved more with such concentration as family gathered around her. It was as though she fed on love, as babies, in fact, do.
Sometimes, I have a hard time with the soul. Consciousness, the flesh's awareness of itself, is enough for me most days. I wonder what is meant by "soul", some sort of non-matter that occupies matter like a demon or ghost.
Some of you may know that I am recently recovered from a 5-year illness that caused me chronic fatigue. With problems relating to energy levels, it is as though the color has been washed from the world: all things are dimmed. Mornings are a sort of apocalypse, the end of sleep.
Before my digestive illness contracted traveling in Central America, I was ravenously health. Addicted to my own sense of well-being, I glutted myself on health's joy. Entitled, I did not understand why others lacked the energy or will to walk long distances or push through pain.
It is inevitable that all sufficiently intelligent systems will confound their creator-gods. Tron's story is the story of the war of angels from Paradise Lost, which is in turn the narrative of what it means to create a child, a being differentiated from the self, with a will that can confound the will of its creator. The very framework of the universe, mathematics, was confounded by this problem of created freedom, which was the stumbling block that ended the quest to ground mathematics in formal logic.
I suppose all of you have heard rumor of amazing spiritual forces at work in dark, sardonic me: a Stretch Armstrong, if you will, caught between the forces of good and evil. For those of you who have recognized my divided nature this may come as no surprise. For some, it is a bearded Marx or Kropotkin sitting on the one shoulder in a posture of buddhist peace—the picture of the earthly utopian vision, while upon the other shoulder a horde of televangelists twist and writhe in a heaving mass of snakelike coils and snatch at my rarefied (strictly metaphorical) soul with lizard tongues.
For the Buddhist, hell is very tangible. The unenlightened life is hell. Souls continually recirculate through hellish life after life until enlightenment, upon which they escape to a state of oneness, infinite compassion, etc. This infinitely repeated cycle of life, death, and birth is called samsara: the Wheel of Suffering.