Tuesday, April 29

Plastic Bags

When I bought some scruptious Judos del Valle yesterday I asked not to receive a bag, as always. The clerk pretended not to hear me and I didn't want to make a big deal out of it.

China is banning plastic bags starting June 1 this year. Sometimes they really know what they're doing. Kudos to Uganda and Ireland as well.

Monday, April 28

Self image

I would love to look like this woman, Antony Hegarty.

Sunday, April 27

When God Meets Hades


I'm very interested in the concept of the Coincidence of Opposites - it is the the peculiar act when two things which are diametrically opposed in their essence enter into a singularity. I love discovering it in modern mythology - Gandalf surrenders his fate to the demonic balrog; Obi Wan Kenobi to Darth Vador; Neo to Agent Smith. In Christianity the prime incident of this is Jesus laying down his life on The Skull - the Creator of Life is consumed by Death.

Suffice it say, at that point the Opposites change each other fundamentally.

There is second, at least, Coincidence of Opposites in Christianity that I hadn't realized until today - in Revelation 20 where God meets with Death and Hades. The details are sparse: the dead souls are vomited back into consciousness and "Death and Hades is placed in the fiery presence of God, in the "lake of divine fire", it is destroyed, because it is in the very presence of God, death can not exist when God is present." (This blog inspired by this article, btw.)
This leads me to an obvious question: At the Coincidence of Opposites, the True One undergoes a sacrifice and in their resurrection they undergo a great transformation: Gandalf the Grey becomes Gandalf the White; Obi Wan becomes "more powerful than you can possibly imagine," Neo gains mental powers, and Jesus appends the Divine Female and can walk through walls. So when God adjoins with Death and Hades, what is the sacrifice? Will God, the entire Godhead, die? As heretical as it sounds, it seems the only possibility. And what is the transformation? The thought awes and titillates me.

I don't know how (or even "if," really) God's own self would transform, but I think it must have something to do with the transformation of all Creation occurring around the same point: fire and mountains falling from the sky, the earth rumbling, the seas exploding, the earth burning - sounds fitting for the Death of God. I wonder if God will bring us into that death as well. I don't know from which side we'll enter, though. Will we, as dead people, enter with Death and Hades consuming God or next to God and consumed by Death. Or some of both; the dead or sinners with Death and the still living or saints with God. I am befuddled that in myth, the True/Good/Hero/Light/Righteous One does not consume their Opposite but allows their violent Opposite to consume them. It's unanimous. But here, Death and Hades are the passive party.

The transformation, apart from whatever happens to God, I can only guess means for the rest of us the final and full sanctification. I've always wondered at the teaching that we humans die and then become perfect so simply and so easily. Of course Scripture, our Experience, and Revelation are all silent so there's little to know, but I don't assume the silence means there's nothing to bother talking about. I'm confident it must be agonizingly difficult, painful, messy, and just complicated because that's how Christianity is; that's how the Cross is. And beautiful. There is this assumption that at the Apocalypse God will throw off pretenses of peace and powerlessness and slaughter everyone God doesn't like without restraint like a schizophrenic. This was not God's method before, during, or after the Incarnation and I find it inexplicably out of character. God has always used Power Under in place of Power Over and I see no reason God would change except for the lack of imagination of some bloodthirsty Christians.

The birth of the New Earth and New Heaven come, too. I never thought of if this before either, but if Heaven must be resurrected, and Heaven is synonymous with God, then this implies God has died and resurrected as well.

On the other hand, I write all in this in the utmost humility knowing that I don't understand a lick of Revelation. Nevertheless, I fully expect if anyone reads this to be burned at some stake.

Saturday, April 26

Wesleyan Quadrilateral

I was asked to describe my thoughts on the insufficiency of the Wesleyan Quadrilateral which simply says that a Christian's authority of truth is four sided: Scripture, Tradition, Experience, and Reason with Scripture the largest of the sides. It's not a bad model, per se, but it's drastically oversimplified to the point of being unhelpful. It is only two dimensional, after all. I appreciate Matt Zahniser's pentilaterial which appends Creation as a fifth side. Even so, these "sides" are misleading because they don't merely connect at their ends as the following prototypical quadrilateral implies:
In reality, all four (or five) are a huge jumble of intersections and overlaps. I think the following Venn diagram (in no particular order) is a little more telling:
This is oversimplified too, but it's a start. Allow me to dissect the elements one by one. Experience This is perhaps the only element that can exist independently. (I say can, not should.) A person outside the Bible or Qur'an probably lives without scripture. If they live in the West, the probably live without Tradition. If they're an idiot, they live without Reason as well. Nevertheless, they're religious beliefs are always influenced by Experience. Experience is ubiquitous and influences every facet of our life. Everything you believe, think, feel, or do is influenced by your individual, previous experience. If a person has experience, even just a little, with seeing, for example, mercy, their beliefs will include mercy. If they have no experience of, say, discipline, their beliefs will not include discipline unless influenced by the other elements. Reason Nearly everyone will let their Reason influence them as well. (At least this is true in my post-Enlightenment experience; like everyone, I cannot live outside my own experience.) I use my Reason to determine that God acts in history, but only because I have experienced God acting in history. Usually I encounter an experience, filter it through my Reason, and then say "that experience is an authority for me." This happens in reverse as well: Experience acts as an authority for or against our Reason. I may use my reason to think war is allowable, but the amount of authority I give that belief will change once I experience war or the belief may change altogether. Tradition Here's where things get interesting. Tradition could also be called Communal Experience and/or Communal Reason. The purpose of Tradition is pass down the Experience and Thoughts from one person to another and one generation to the next. This means Tradition creates Experience in the soul of the next person. "What does God feel like?" "How do I pray?" These are answered by Tradition. Tradition doesn't create Reason, but it does demonstrate Reason. "How do I understand the Trinity?" "What is the paradigm for divine justice?" Tradition can demonstrate how to use Reason to approach these thoughts. And again, all this work in reverse. Tradition doesn't come from thin air; it is born from both Experience and Reason. "How do we communicate God's smell?" "What is our Communal Reason regarding the Trinity?" Experience is the raw material and Reason is the mold from which we convert Experience to Tradition. It might go like this: We reason that God is holy and we experience holiness by music. Therefore, let's include music into our Tradition. A person comes to a church, experiences music, and reasons that God is holy. Scripture This is actually very simple when you realize that Scripture (to the horror of Protestants!) is simply written Tradition. Like everyone who makes Tradition, they use their Experience of God or Reason about God as a catalyst and then their Reason both as a filter and as a toolset. And like all Tradition, the community of believers must take the proposed Tradition and approve or reject it. Does it fit their Experience and their Reason? If so, it is canonized and passed on to become the Tradition of the catholic Church. When we hear the Scripture, we hear it within our entire Experience; when I hear "God is holy" I have a previous experience of who God is, what "holy" means and even what "is" is. Then we fit it together using our Reason. Now I think there's one major element missing from this model. Revelation Revelation is a kind of Experience - the experience of God. This should really be first and I think warrants separation from all other experiences. Without Revelation, authority is only human. I include Zahniser's Creation as a form of Revelation. Besides Creation and those burning bush revelations, there is the revelation of the Holy Spirit who potentially through all Experience - Rick's "miracles ordinary proportion," the wisdom of Community, the inspiration of Scripture, and things like that.

Wednesday, April 16

gcee-shirts

I was thinking of bring a Greenville shirt or two to wear while I was down last weekend. Kyle told me he had one. I have
  • 4 Agape volunteer tees
  • 2 All College Hike tees
  • 1 Walkabout shirt
  • 2 dorm tees
Incidentally, neither of the dorm shirts were for the places I lived, I didn't go on Walkabout, and one Agape shirt wasn't originally mine. Tonight I made some progress and threw out that Agape shirt so I'm down to only 8.

Monday, April 7

Traveling preparation

I started getting ready for traveling to Greenville tonight. Even my plannings must be queer. It first consisted of caching maps in Google Earth. You just never know whether or not you'll need some satellite imagery. Only later did I think to look up directions. I started picking out clothes, but that got confusing. I've felt like a boy today, which was confusing enough, so I kind of loss my sense of what I'll want to wear. I hope that doesn't last long - I only have a couple days in Greenville and if I was a boy the whole time I'll feel I'm not making the most of it.

Then I thought, 'I need some traveling music.' I remembered most of my GC collection had been lost in the great rm -R * disaster of senior year with just Augustana, For All the Drifters, and BDA. I was honestly surprised I haven't rm -Red BDA on purpose, but I was actually grateful to see it. Big cheers to Angelface, Nova Child, and especially Pedalboy for putting their music online and big jeers to Blackboard Records for not even having a website at all. I've reached 525 MB which is far more than I hoped. So then I started gushing seeing old pictures of Katelin, Luke and other old friends. I'm stoked to see Katelin.

Then I found some stuff on a ... err, other ... err, person. While I always feel queer, seeing my own queerness in the face of someone else is another sensation entirely. Like being your own subject. I never figured out if gushing about my namesake was appropriate or not. Actually I think I did, but it's been so long I forgot. Actually I didn't forget, I'm just being conservative. I think I'm too conservative with relationships. I'd certainly be less nervous about this trip if I wasn't so. Part of my conservatism is a hestitancy to be too queer in front of others. Goodnight,