Tuesday, October 07, 2008

On Finding Your Celestial Parent

I'm still cogitating on the question of "where do I begin?" It's difficult for me to answer, because it's very much analogous to asking "how do I fall in love?" You can get all kinds of advice on the matter, but in the end, it will probably just catch you by surprise. Some things you can't arrange, only allow.

In my book I tried to discuss it in as abstract and universal a manner as possible. Once you are convinced that there is a higher reality -- whatever you wish to call it -- then naturally you will want to be in communion with it. It's as simple as saying that there is O and there is (¶), and we want to establish an open system between the two. Once the open system is established, then "evolution" may take place.

I'm thinking of puberty. All of a sudden, it dawns on you that girls exist. Then, you say to yourself, "I want one." How can I establish a relationship with one of these mysterious creatures? What do they want from me? Why does it seem so easy for others? Why can't I have that one?

There is an adage to the effect that disagreement between the sages is a divine mercy. Perhaps God has given the different revelations -- or even the different inflections within each -- because not everyone can fall in love with the same one. For some, it's love at first sight. For others, more like an arranged marriage, in which you marry first and fall in love later. Many people only pretend to be married, with no real passion at all. How do you maintain a passionate marriage?

That's a different question. But is it? I have mentioned before that when Bion saw a patient, he didn't want to know anything about them up front, for example, whether or not they were married. Rather, he wanted to decide that for himself. You see, many people are married, but not really, not in the deeper sense of the word, only in a conventional sense. My parents were "married" for 40 years, but not really, certainly not the way I am. Or, to the extent that they were, much of their bond revolved around what I would call (-p), or "minus passion," the same way our scientistic jester is married to this blog. He's not here to love us, but to argue with us, which is every bit as "binding" as any other passion.

This is not to say that my parents didn't love each other. They did the best they could with the material at hand, but it's very obvious that mind parasites with agendas all their own were also married to one another, in a mutual dance of projective identification. Bion noted that there were three main links between subjects, L, H, and K (or love, hate, and knowledge, plus their "minus" versions). Obviously, in approaching the Divine, we want to do so with the links of L and K. In contrast, the obligatory atheist has just as passionate a relationship to O, only it is through an H link, or often a -K, which accounts for their invariably foolish metaphysics, which only other atheists believe -- and which they believe in order to maintain the passionate H or -K link.

As with marriage, it hardly needs to be emphasized that many people who claim to be religious are not, at least as far as I am concerned. What then are they? Well, it's not just confined to religion. Most people aren't anything, not in any coherent and consistent way. There is no real "center" to them, except perhaps in the vital sense. They have a lot of appetites and sentiments, and that is the arbitrary and shifting center out of which they operate. And even then, "center" is the wrong word. They have a "middle," but no true center, because the latter implies a dynamic, self-organizing interiority which they lack.

Religion very much involves locating your center -- which resonates with the ontological center of being -- and living out of it. In so doing, it becomes more "robust" while becoming both deeper and higher (which amount to the same thing). But again, it can only take place in dynamic rapport with O. One must have a living relationship with the nonlocal order, not merely a "formal" or conventional one. Prayer, meditation, lectio divina -- again, all of these are merely the means to establish and deepen the link to O.

I suppose this is where I part ways with the traditionalists, as my main concern is not so much with maintaining strict fidelity to authorized forms of spiritual transmission, but with establishing the transmission "by any means necessary," so to speak -- although great weight is given to established doctrine, and for most people, this will be their best bet.

As a matter of fact, my doctoral dissertation touched on this subject, as did the second academic paper I published back in 1994 (seems much longer ago -- like several lifetimes). That paper was entitled Psychoanalysis, Chaos and Complexity: The Evolving Mind as a Dissipative Structure. It demonstrated the striking parallels between Ilya Prigogine's theory of dissipative structures and Bion's theory of mental development, or "evolution in O."

In hindsight, one can often see the same recurring "deep structure" in the work of a scientist, artist, or thinker. Now that I look back on it, this would obviously be one of the central threads that runs through my work. In a way, it is as if I had a number of "realizations" in 1985, and the rest has involved working out the implications.

It is a cliche -- but nevertheless true -- that our wounds are often the portals through which we may exit ourselves. In the lead is the gold, as the alchemists used to say; our defect is often a gift (just as every gift carries a curse). In my case, I was aware from the earliest age that something was amiss between me and my parents. No, they weren't abusive in any sense of the word, nor was I materially deprived in any way.

However, it was clear to me from the age of five or so that there was a lack of chemistry. Quite simply, they did not understand me, not in any deep way. It was as if I had landed in the wrong family. They still "related" to me. They weren't at all withdrawn. It's just that it wasn't "me" to whom they were relating. Thankfully, I never became that person. Many people do become the person to whom their parents relate, and then go to a psychologist to fix the problem when they reach adulthood and can't figure out why something is lacking in their life. What is lacking is their true self. Fortunately, I found other ways to identify and develop my true self, but it wasn't easy.

In one sense, I can't say that I blame my parents, as it would have required very unusual people to understand me, and that itself might have had its own downside, as eccentric people often have a lot of baggage. I'm running short on time, so I don't have time to go into all the details, but because of the lack of connection to my parents, I have a heightened awareness of this whenever I experience it in life, which is quite frequently. Indeed, I can now see that one of the reasons I started this blog was to connect with other people who are "like me," and who share the same idiom (idiom being a psychoanalytic term of art that has to do with the people, ideas, and objects we require in order to articulate our true selves).

In any event, if we transpose these ideas to the key of Spirit, we have to imagine God as a good father who -- being good -- wishes to establish an open system with us, in which we connect at our deepest level. In this regard, I can see how different my relationship is with my son, as compared to my father's relationship with me. In the case of my son, from the very start, we have been very aware of his unique subjectivity and idiom, and have tried to respond to him in such a way that he won't feel that sense of alienation that occurs as a result of being unable to locate an "interpersonal world" that corresponds to our deepest self.

Back to the question before the house. O is like a multifacted jewel. It is one, but has diverse modes that correspond to the deepest nature of those who approach it. Locate your center -- your psychic being -- which is "behind" the empirical ego, and is the blueprint of your true self. It is like a bead on a celestial string that descends from God to you. Find the divine language, the logos, that speaks to this true self; in a sense, the two cannot be separated, for to find the idiom is to locate the Self and therefore God. Then it's just a matter of deepening the conversation.

55 Comments:

Blogger Niggardly Phil said...

wow, that really resonates with me - my own father is someone I love immensely, but he had three sons, and his emotional sensitivity is different from my own hypersensitivity. I never felt the same psychological oxygen from him that I have from other people in my life.

Now with my own son, I am careful not to live in the past, force on him something I didn't have but he may not need, he may be more like my father than I am. Heck, he's only 3 1/2, but I don't think I myself have changed that much since 3 1/2. I'm more determined I guess, having made the choices I have, but not really changed.

Which brings me to the whole habit thing - is it possible to overemphasize habit in human life? So many times we focus on decision, and habit is left off of consideration, when it plays so big a role - as if a conversion were a once-in-a-lifetime thing, and not just the start of something, a very enlightenment (and dare I say Protestant) idea.

But seeing religion as a habit, a virtue under justice, something to be done, and not just a change of mindset or a set of beliefs, but something one puts on through actions - choosing to go to Church, to do this rather than that, not just being prepared to do it but doing it and building a habit, which then becomes the basis for seeing more, by which you guide your life and build more habits.

Habit is overcome by habit, as the Imitatio Christi says.

10/07/2008 08:28:00 AM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

Huh. I wonder if Van would consider Prigogine a 'determinist' or not.

"Instability resists standard deterministic explanation. Instead, due to sensitivity to initial conditions, unstable systems can only be explained statistically, that is, in terms of probability."

(BTW, 'married'? At most, we're in courtship. Heck, we haven't even been together long enough for a common-law marriage. :-> )

10/07/2008 08:54:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

I just realized how lucky I was with my own parents, Bob. They didn't understand me (still don't, but that's okay), but I was very fortunate in that they mostly didn't try to make me into someone I wasn't.

Phil, I think the key with religion as a habit is to make it a habit of awareness. That is, I know a lot of people who go to church by rote, because that's what they've always done. But they don't take that habit into the rest of their lives, and even while they're there they're wishing to be somewhere else, somewhere more vital.

10/07/2008 09:04:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Julie:

Same here. Basically left the house in the morning and came back for food and sleep.

10/07/2008 09:15:00 AM  
Blogger Niggardly Phil said...

yes, totally agree with you Julie. A habit must become second nature for it to be real, not just an external add on. You hit on the core, intention. Don't get me started! I think that's the essence of contemplative life, pure intention. It's the only way to continue meditation into activity.

Although I have an abiding respect for the crusty old pastor who has day in, day out, unsentimentally carried out his duty in a way that might be judged "rote" by others. No man knows the heart. There's gonna be plenty of surprises for everyone at the end.

10/07/2008 09:19:00 AM  
Blogger Niggardly Phil said...

The road to heaven is paved with good intentions.

10/07/2008 09:21:00 AM  
Anonymous popemobile said...

Agreed. But the good-intentioned individual will force himself not to believe that. That is, good intentions cannot be the goal of good intentions. A good intention aims at good results.

The road to perdition is paved with good intentions.

10/07/2008 09:36:00 AM  
Anonymous popemobile said...

(Intentions pave everything, methinks, heaven or hell.)

10/07/2008 09:37:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Ray said " I wonder if Van would consider Prigogine a 'determinist' or not."

I don't know anything about him, but this from the wiki, seems to indicate a 'no',

"In his 1997 book, The End of Certainty, Prigogine contends that determinism is no longer a viable scientific belief. "The more we know about our universe, the more difficult it becomes to believe in determinism." This is a major departure from the approach of Newton, Einstein and Schroedinger, all of whom expressed their theories in terms of deterministic equations. According to Prigogine, determinism loses its explanatory power in the face of irreversibility and instability."

Perhaps a little more concern about your own thoughts would be in order? Maybe there's a lever you can pull?

10/07/2008 09:38:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"The road to heaven is paved with good intentions."

"The road to perdition is paved with good intentions."

Hmmm... sounds like assfault.

;-)
(sorry couldn't resist)

10/07/2008 09:44:00 AM  
Blogger Niggardly Phil said...

heh, yes. But like Julie said, intention is the salt of the earth, the yeast for the dough of everyday life. If salt goes flat and so on. She just called it awareness. Ok, she never said that but I still think it fits the spirit of the, uh. Lot of ins, lot of outs, lot of strands to, uh, keep in my head.

bonum ex integra causa, but the end is what makes an act good or bad in itself, and the intention is the subject's side of that.

Fortunately, I'm adhering to a pretty strict, uh, drug, uh, regimen to keep my mind, you know, uh, limber.

10/07/2008 09:44:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

There's an interesting process of habit and active reasoning involved in developing virtue. High fallutin' thoughts, even if true, if not habituated, I think remain ineffective as far as having any real affect and relation to your life.

Thought doesn't seem to really take root, unless tamped down with repeatedly thinking it and extending it and acting upon it in deeds done, again and again. Eventually, you'll develop it into your character. However, if you are successful in getting the habit ingrained, there is a risk that it becomes a mere mechanical activity, it's a challenge to actively tap in to the thoughts you are thinking and acting upon while you are acting through them.

10/07/2008 09:59:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

A review of Maher's atheist crockumentary.

10/07/2008 10:06:00 AM  
Anonymous popemobile said...

niggardly phil:

Sorry.

Just wanted to make sure everything was explained for us slow folks--we're not all driving at the same mph, you know.

10/07/2008 10:19:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Phil - love the Dude impression. :D

10/07/2008 10:22:00 AM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

Bob said,

"However, it was clear to me from the age of five or so that there was a lack of chemistry. Quite simply, they did not understand me, not in any deep way. It was as if I had landed in the wrong family."

Bob, would you say that this inability to relate might spring from ones own lack of self awareness brought on by an aversion to or lack of interest in the discoveries?
I can relate to your story and find that for myself, the more self knowledge I gain, the more I can see my past or present self in others. Effective relations then become possible though not necessarily easy.
Also a forgiveness of parents at some point for where they were then insures that resentment doesn't drive a person to be either a clone of the parents or a 180 degree whackjob in the other direction.

10/07/2008 10:32:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

From the Maher article,

"Maher asserts that there are a slew of uncanny similarities between Mithraism and the worship of the Egyptian god Horus, on one hand, and Christianity, on the other, and that these beliefs, which predate Christianity, were bastardized to make up the foundations of the new religion."

When I was in college, studying the history of Roman art, there was a bit of emphasis placed on the similarity between Mithraism and Christianity. In fact, intentional by the professor or not (I really don't know), it was one of the things that helped to further push me toward atheism. Combined with the Jesus-willies, I actually thought I knew more about the origins of Christianity than the average Christian did. Of course, that's what happens when you put your faith in the tenured.

10/07/2008 10:35:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Van said-
"However, if you are successful in getting the habit ingrained, there is a risk that it becomes a mere mechanical activity, it's a challenge to actively tap in to the thoughts you are thinking and acting upon while you are acting through them."

Aye! That's why it's important to question our motivation and what causes it.
Motivation is directly tied to intent. We need motivation to carry out our intentions which is what Phil is talkin' about (correct me if I'm wrong, Phil).

This is why (among many reasons)Leftists constantly fail, because they never question what motivates them, just as an atheist doesn't question his motivations, since they proceed only from himself or other men. He may give them a cursory glance but there's no reason to pursue the roots or the consequences since he is the highest entity in his life.

If motivation doesn't come from God; absolute Truth (whether we realize it or not), how good can our intentions be?
Only good enough to pave the road to perdition...or perhaps purgatory. I gno, I used to be there.

10/07/2008 10:36:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Bob,
Same deal here RE my parents. I couldn’t have described them better myself. No hard feelings. They did what they were supposed to do, which was fine. The rest was up to me.

Get this. My son gets most of my home made jokes. He makes his own and they are wonderful. We’re joking our own language and sometimes its hard to keep up with him. I’ll tell you (sniff) it doesn’t get much better than that.

10/07/2008 10:38:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

"would you say that this inability to relate might spring from one's own lack of self awareness brought on by an aversion to or lack of interest in the discoveries?"

I think what happens is, due to a lack of parental empathy or resonance, the child never discovers their own interior center, so that they are more or less incapable of locating it in another when they grow to adulthood.

I am blown away at how clueless most people are in this regard. On numberless occasions, after a psychological evaluation, I have been told words to the effect that I am the first person to have deeply understood them. I don't think that's so much a statement about me, but about the person's inability to know himself, and then to surround himself with people who also cannot deeply know him.

"I can relate to your story and find that for myself, the more self knowledge I gain, the more I can see my past or present self in others. Effective relations then become possible though not necessarily easy."

Yes, one of my faults is being hard on people for believing the moronic things I used to believe, eg, atheism. Then again, perhaps if someone had been harder on me, I wouldn't have believed the idiocy for so long.

"Also a forgiveness of parents at some point for where they were then insures that resentment doesn't drive a person to be either a clone of the parents or a 180 degree whackjob in the other direction."

I never consciously blamed my parents, partly because the idea that they could have really understood me was a bizarre proposition. They would have had to have been entirely different people. However, I still do get the occasional dream in which I am quite frustrated with them.

10/07/2008 10:47:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Another potentially important consideration: I don't think I made a lot of spiritual progress until I stopped trying to fit in, and instead, let my freak flag fly and accentuated my individuality. It was extremely liberating, and unleashed all sorts of hidden energies. Which makes sense, because those energies are just yourself, only unrepressed.

10/07/2008 10:51:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Then again, perhaps if someone had been harder on me, I wouldn't have believed the idiocy for so long."

Through my most turbulent years I thank God there was always someone around, usually a cantankerous Chief, smacking me upside the head and ordering me to get my ass in line.

God is quite humorous in the many ways He chooses to motivate me.
And sure, I could choose to rebel but I've been there, man, and it sucks. :^)

10/07/2008 10:57:00 AM  
Blogger Warren said...

Julie,

Don't know if you've read much C. S. Lewis, but he often referred to the similarities you mentioned between Christianity and various pagan traditions - except that he used them as a strong argument FOR the truth of Christianity. Apologetic jiu-jitsu at its best.

10/07/2008 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

GB says: Another potentially important consideration: I don't think I made a lot of spiritual progress until I stopped trying to fit in, and instead, let my freak flag fly and accentuated my individuality.

That's what I'm finding out.

To me, though, it is a difficult path. I do need a circumcision of the heart, but it can't be done with a cookie cutter.

10/07/2008 11:58:00 AM  
Blogger Robin Starfish said...

"Wrong family" parents seems to be a mark of the raccoon. Certainly in my case as well. But I had the great fortune of having a wonderful pair of paternal grandparents that did know what I was about, including a spiritually eccentric grandmother that drove my folks nuts. I spent a lot of time over there exploring her strange and verboten books ranging from Theosophy to St Germain to UFOs. Although I treated it much like sci-fi, she helped me keep my balance until I could leave home. And hunting and fishing with my grandfather, well that was just a taste of heaven on earth.

And like Ben said, since then there has always been someone around, usually in an unusual role, to point me in the O direction. Always on a JIT basis, too.

10/07/2008 12:02:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10/07/2008 12:18:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Ben said "Aye! That's why it's important to question our motivation and what causes it. Motivation is directly tied to intent. We need motivation to carry out our intentions...This is why (among many reasons)Leftists constantly fail, because they never question what motivates them..."

Yes, and what does motivation require? Having a response to something, a judgment of some sort, even "Wo!" or "No!" of "ehhh...", and that requires some form of evaluation, that you identify a valuation in regards to some fact or action - that it is good, bad or indifferent, and that there is something you should think or do as a result of that.

One of the core principles of leftism (special thanks due to Kant & Hume), is that an IS does not imply an OUGHT. That there is no direct relation between any particular fact, and your proper response to it, or even that there can be a proper response to it.

Ever wonder where the lefts mania for 'Tolerance' comes from, and why they are so opposed to any judgment towards someone’s bad deeds?

"Yes, he bombed the Pentagon... so? He teaches English now, so?"

Sounds like assfault to me.

10/07/2008 12:22:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Robin, speaking of JIT...
so yesterday I was frustrated with the book I had read, and today I got back to another chapter of MOTT (the Wheel, finally). And there on the last page of the chapter (265, for those playing along at home), is pretty much where I'm at, particularly in relation to that book.

!

For a while I've been annoyed with myself for not getting through MOTT more quickly (I've had it for more than a year now, sheesh), but now I suspect I'm actually reading it at exactly the right pace.

10/07/2008 12:32:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Today’s quiz (inspired by BM’s film):

To what does the following refer?

“I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint.

My heart has turned to wax; it has melted within me.

My mouth is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death.

Dogs surround me, a pack of villains encircles me; they pierce my hands and my feet.

All my bones are on display; people stare and gloat over me.

They divide my clothes among them
and cast lots for my garment.”

Correct. It quite clearly refers to the crucifixion of Christ. But strangely enough, Psalm 22 was written 1,000 years before the event described and long before crucifixion was invented. It was also written well before the other religious traditions to which Christ is compared – Mithraism, etc.

Thankfully, the story didn’t end at the cross. I like to boil things down…so did brother Paul.

10/07/2008 12:38:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Speaking of parents and their "weird" kids.

10/07/2008 12:57:00 PM  
Blogger James said...

Bob,

Unlike you I never figured out that I could live my own life on my terms. I have been trying to fit myself into my parents expectations for a long time now. I have been trying to figure out who the man is behind the mirror for awhile now. It's hard, old habits die hard. Thank you for putting into words something that I've been feeling all my life.

10/07/2008 01:00:00 PM  
OpenID kaffepaus said...

Julie said:
“I just realized how lucky I was with my own parents, Bob. They didn't understand me (still don't, but that's okay), but I was very fortunate in that they mostly didn't try to make me into someone I wasn't.”

Same goes for me here. Love my parents, and I don’t think they have ever really understood me, and I think they know that very well, and also know they can’t do much about it. They just love me as I am. I think that’s how it has to be sometimes. Maybe that’s also how God look at us humans sometimes whishing that we will “get each other” sometimes sooner or later. Until then, He can only love…

/Johan

10/07/2008 01:06:00 PM  
Anonymous christopher said...

Memory

I remember me
Then, standing in lonely doors
Staring at my Mom
Who was hoping my Dad knew
Who was hoping my Mom knew
And me hoping too.

In fourth grade I learned to hate.
It broke my young heart.

10/07/2008 01:31:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Unfortunately, it seems Maher, though a fool in many ways, knows the best way to attack Christianity. Since Christianity is primarily spread through the witness of persons, the ultimate way to attack it is not to make a logical argument but force people to meet a bunch of people in a way that makes Christianity seem bad or ridiculous.

... may God have mercy on his soul.

10/07/2008 01:47:00 PM  
Anonymous christopher said...

River, that is a tremendous point. I know this but it would have taken me many more words to say it. I agree, Christianity does better when apology is relaxed and Witness emphasized.

10/07/2008 02:06:00 PM  
Blogger Robin Starfish said...

Julie - MOTT's a strange book. I couldn't read it either at first, for quite a long time. Very frustrating. Somewhere along the line though I discovered it was reading me and it suddenly opened up. But at its own pace, not mine.

10/07/2008 02:27:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

That's funny, I didn't get it either the first time around. But when I came back to it a year or so later, there it was. Or I was, rather.

10/07/2008 02:33:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

I'm glad it's not just me. I devoured the 100+ pages in that other book yesterday afternoon, no trouble, but with MOTT just reading half a chapter can seem daunting. But it's definitely flowing more smoothly now than when I first got it.

10/07/2008 02:45:00 PM  
Anonymous christopher said...

Thanks people.

10/07/2008 03:35:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Mark Steyn's Song of the Week
Body and Soul

10/07/2008 03:57:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Ximeze, from the article:

"The would-be composer had quit a clerical job in his uncle’s brokerage house. “I was lying in bed one night,” Green remembered, “and I suddenly got introduced to myself. ‘What are you doing on Wall Street?’ I asked. ‘You’re a musician.’ The next day I walked into my uncle’s office and told him I wouldn’t be back after lunch.”"

10/07/2008 04:10:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Julie,
"and I suddenly got introduced to myself" was the money quote

10/07/2008 05:54:00 PM  
Blogger PSGInfinity said...

Not that it matters, but as I read the comments I was overwhelmed with the sense that my Dad and stepmom were performing parental first aid, so wrecked was I.

I got the precious chance to have a last conversation with my Mom over the summer. I got to be able to take the chance, and forgive her for committing suicide. Can't begin to tell you how much it's helped. Part of me is even starting to wonder if 37 years really was the right length of time...

10/07/2008 07:19:00 PM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

Bob,

Thanks for the response.

10/08/2008 12:18:00 AM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

Van - One of the core principles of leftism (special thanks due to Kant & Hume), is that an IS does not imply an OUGHT. That there is no direct relation between any particular fact, and your proper response to it, or even that there can be a proper response to it.

Thankfully, I've argued against that before. Not in a Van-approved way, of course, so it doesn't count, but well, y'know.

10/08/2008 04:31:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Ray said "Thankfully, I've argued against that before. Not in a Van-approved way, of course, so it doesn't count, but well, y'know."

Glad you see it my way.

10/08/2008 05:08:00 AM  
OpenID kaffepaus said...

"That's funny, I didn't get it either the first time around. But when I came back to it a year or so later, there it was. Or I was, rather."

I read it last summer but I really found myself "pushing" through it, rather than "floating" throw it... Very dense waters. I think MOTT was a to early read for me, think I'll give it another go maybe this Christmas.

/Johan

10/08/2008 05:39:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Well, Apology was a means of defense - against heretical attacks - not a means of really spreading the faith. The first Apology - written by, I think, St. Justin Martyr, was not a witness but a defense of what he believed on philosophical grounds.

Treating apology as a witness is making Christianity philosophical first and foremost, when what comes first is the Second Person of the Trinity.

Most of Christian philosophy and dogma is designed to break error and not so much to establish a bunch of things you can hit people with. This is a struggle for a flatlander (I had a good chance to speak to a well-intentioned and quite intelligent one last night) because it seems that Christianity is philosophically inconsistent, especially if you see all philosophies as just philosophies and that's that.

The paradoxes are designed to first break your ideas and then break you and make the higher third appear from that wreckage.

Ker-POW!

10/08/2008 06:06:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Actually, I think it was Tertullian who wrote the first apology. Apologies...

10/08/2008 06:07:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

I identified with both my parents.

They were both authentic, Spirit-filled Christians, though. Not perfect parents, but certainly good.

10/08/2008 12:55:00 PM  
OpenID ropata said...

Bob,
Something about this post brought a tear to my eye. My true self doesn't come out to play much these days. I followed up 18 years of atheism and being misunderstood by family with 18 years of evangelicalism and being misunderstood by Christians. Still haven't found what I'm looking for. Always hope the answer is "just around the corner" but never reach it. Meaningless, meaningless etc.

I think I need to go see my shrink again :P

10/08/2008 03:41:00 PM  
OpenID ropata said...

Robin/Julie
What is this MOTT book whereof you speak??

10/08/2008 03:54:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Meditations on the Tarot: A Journey into Christian Hermeticism, one of the most profound spiritual texts ever written.

10/08/2008 04:01:00 PM  
OpenID ropata said...

Thanks, I appreciate the kindness and wisdom floating about here. :)

10/08/2008 08:19:00 PM  
Anonymous austracoon said...

"They have a lot of appetites and sentiments, and that is the arbitrary and shifting center out of which they operate."

Deu 28:14 And thou shalt not go aside from any of the words which I command thee this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.

10/09/2008 09:16:00 PM  

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