Saturday, October 31, 2009

Clay IV.16

If there is some part of God in the human soul, then the emanationist theory of creation presented in the Gnostic myth is in some respect an allegory of the truth. But where the Gnostic Christians would have the being of man stolen by the Demiurge Creator, I believe the being of man was given by the true Creator God.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Clay IV.17

Often in writing I refer to the world. But I am ambiguous about this term, and use it mainly out of habit acquired from others. That the world has already come to an end is obvious to me. And so my usage of the term the world is to some extent obsolete.

Our planet: that is a different story. The planet persists, spinning on and on after the end of the world. And inhabiting our planet, this wreck of the world, billions of men dig their trenches in preparation for a future that recedes to nothing. What can their future be? So much tells us that their reward will be death, chaos, suffocation. That they will suffocate under the stench born of their own labors.

Is there any way to avert this end? The tradition tells us that there is in the redemption. When it writes of "a new heaven and a new earth," I understand this new earth to be what I mean by world. Thus it will be a "new world." How can we conceive of this? We make our suppositions, as St. John of Patmos made his. And we hope that the redemption will succeed.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Clay IV.18

I conceive of God as the ground of being, but I cannot conceive of God as omnipotent and omniscient as regards the universe we live in. At least not omnipotent and omniscient as these are normally understood. To do so is to project God as a tyrant and ourselves as something like automata.

There are many mysteries in the Christian faith, but this particular mystery, namely that of theodicy (i.e., how an omnipotent God created and rules a world wracked by evil), is one that shouldn't be upheld as such. I do not consider it a mystery, but rather a falsehood.

Clay IV.19

Regardless of their fallenness, it nonetheless remains that thought and language are the privileged signs of our being created in God's image: they are the marks of our closeness to God. Anywhere one encounters thought or its traces one may sense a sign of God's calling to man and of man's closeness to God.

Thus it is that I sense the miracle of the creation far more in an individual utterance, or in a written text, than I do in any of the scenes of outward nature. For me, the vault of the sky is a far lesser miracle than the discourse of two children overheard in the park.

* * *

It was in 1989 that I began to be drawn down this path.

There was a voice I heard at first, and it became a matter of not losing that voice.

The traces of the voice are there as writing. Writing is what is done so that the voice will not be lost.

I do not consider writing just another technology. Rather I think of writing as a special gift from God, or as a mark of God's greater gift.

Let the other technologies abuse and be abused as they will: only let writing remain as this gift.

I have given texts to others in hopes of finding some who will realize that writing is a sacramental activity.

Of course I know there is much writing that is not part of the sacrament. Witness the billion words of nothing being dashed out everywhere around us. That writing falls into nothing even as it is written; its writing is already the pull of nothing.

Never has so much writing been done as now, and perhaps never has so little Writing been done.

I hope to find those who realize writing as a sacrament.

* * *

Am I part of the body of the Church catholic? Different readers will answer this question differently. I myself will say: Yes, I am a Christian. And: Yes, I am part of the body of the Church. These assertions on my part should be clear from everything I've written.

I would like to say I am part of the Christian Duration. I would like to say I am a Durationist. What this means I will try to make clear in my writing from here on.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Obama is the Antichrist: An Open Letter to the, um, Scholars Behind the Video

If you haven't seen it yet, here's the video:

An open letter in response. . .

Dear Fellow Concerned Christian Scholars:

First off let me say that I was delighted to learn from your short video that our current president, Barack Obama, is actually the Antichrist. I'm guessing when you first discovered Obama's name in Luke 10:18 that you were drop-jawed in amazement, flabbergasted.

I try to imagine how it happened. There you were, in Abilene, or Lubbock, or Arlington, just minding your own business and practicing your ancient Hebrew by translating Gospel passages into that language--when suddenly, Wow, there's this staggering utterance from Jesus himself:
I have seen Satan fall like Barack Obama.
It's amazing really, and it must have left you in awe. I don't know what I'd do if I suddenly ran into a line like that. I'd probably light my hair on fire and run from the house screaming.

I know there are some will probably claim your discovery only came to you because you were looking for passages to demonize our president. Let these liberals say what they want. I would never attribute such low motives to you. And why not? Because I can tell by the honesty and warmth in the faint southern accent of the man narrating your video that you are good Christian people and are thus not likely to spend your time going out of your way to demonize others. Especially not a man who has dedicated his life to serving his country.

In fact I firmly believe you yourselves must have been deeply disheartened to discover that your country's elected leader, the man representing you to the world, is actually an incarnation of the Evil One. Probably at first, after making your discovery, you were tempted to keep quiet about it out of shame before the world. And out of a sense of patriotism. But you believe in truth, and truth will out. So finally you had to come forward. Yes, I really feel I understand you.

Though your scholarly methods in this video are excellent all round, I was a little surprised by your assertion that Aramaic, the language Jesus spoke, is "the most ancient form of Hebrew." Of course Aramaic is not the most ancient form of Hebrew, but a different language. Probably as scholars you know this, but your presenter, nervous in front of the microphone, just slipped up temporarily. Whatever.

Also it's a little strange that you take Jesus' words, presumably spoken in Aramaic, and give them in Hebrew. I understand that in Aramaic the phrase "lightning from the heights" wouldn't come out sounding like "barack o bama" and that your whole video would be pointless if you used the Aramaic. But I think I get your deeper meaning here: Jesus, though he spoke Aramaic, normally thought in Hebrew, Hebrew being his Father's language. Jesus held his Father's language in greater esteem than his mother tongue. I'm guessing you guys are Protestants, aren't you?

Of course another little problem is that "barack o bama" in Hebrew wouldn't mean, as you say, "lighting from the heights" but rather "lightning and the heights." It's a minor problem I know, I'm sorry to bring it up, and who needs such nitpicking anyway? Your heart is in the right place, and that's what counts when doing linguistic analysis of ancient languages, no?

I'm in full support of your implied assertion that New Testament references to "lightning" are really references to Barack Obama. Actually when I first saw your video, I was really excited by it, I couldn't sit still, I was hopping around the living room gesticulating. Ask my wife if you don't believe me. It's not every day I see such a major breakthrough in scholarship presented in four minutes on YouTube. I was giddy about it, so I took your ideas and went looking around elsewhere in the New Testament. Though not a scholar of the caliber of you guys exactly, I do know my Bible pretty well. And I wanted to see what else God might have said about President Obama. The first passage I came upon was Revelation 4:5, which says the following:
From [God's] throne came flashes of Barack.
Now that's really interesting, I thought, what to make of it? Of course here I've translated the word lightning into our president's name, just as you do. So the text of Revelation seems to say that Obama was sent by God, or that "flashes" of Obama (maybe televised speeches, or appearances on Letterman?) come from God Himself. Almost like how God sends his Son, or the Spirit.

In truth I was kind of uncomfortable with this idea, because, hey, though I respect our president and all, I'm not about to start calling him the Second Coming of Christ. So I decided to go back to the Gospels to see if there was anything else that God said about Obama.

Let me tell you it's pretty amazing what I found. It's actually World-Altering maybe. It's going to change Everything.

In the same Gospel you used, the Gospel of Luke, in chapter 17--really I'm surprised you didn't notice it too--Jesus is talking to his disciples, warning them not to go after false prophets, not to be taken in by those who are not the Real Thing. Then Jesus, in describing his Second Coming, says he will be like our current president. He says it right there in the Bible!
For the Son of Man will be like Barack, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other.
Of course Jesus doesn't say here that he will be Barack, only that he will be like Barack. But what the heck? If it's permissible, as you do in your video, to say that "lightning and the heights" really means "lightning from the heights," why can't we just get rid of the word like in this later passage of Luke? Or why can't we change it to a similar word, namely as? I mean, if when Jesus is talking about lightning he's really talking about Obama, isn't he here saying that he will come back as Obama?

If that isn't enough to convince non-Bible believers, I mean the skeptics who don't read the Bible seriously like we do, then there's this verse, Matthew 24:27:
For as Barack coming from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
Now Chicago is kind of in the east, don’t you think? And Barack is truly visible all the way to the west--with TV he's visible anywhere really. So again we have the same implication here in the Gospel of Matthew.

I don't know about you, but when I think that our current president, Barack Obama, is really Christ come back to earth I get kind of teary eyed with emotion. I mean I get teary eyed that it's happening now, in my lifetime. That I myself had the choice of voting for Christ or voting Republican (i.e., against Christ) and I voted the right way. Because I voted Obama. Or, as you might say, I voted from the heights.

Come to think of it, this last election was maybe the great winnowing and sifting Jesus speaks of in the Gospels--that those who voted Obama will be gathered into the granary, but those who voted Republican will be burned up like chaff. And there will be a great wailing and gnashing of teeth.

As for me, I'm anxious to go back to the Old Testament and begin looking into all the prophecies and revelations about our current president. I really can't thank you enough for your scholarly acumen in setting me on the right track. I'm now starting to think that maybe, since Obama is actually the Second Coming, maybe McCain was the Antichrist. You think? Or maybe it was Cheney. To be honest I'm guessing Cheney is more likely. I'll have to look up how to say Dick in Hebrew. I also kind of suspect, in this fascinating new End Times scenario, that maybe Sarah Palin is the Whore of Babylon. You think?

I invite you or anyone else to comment below on these remarks about our current End Times predicament.


Eric Mader