- ikon, lessons in evanDelism, '08
i've been listening to david's talk at ffm 09. which is about as frustrating a thing as a person can do for pleasure of a rainy sunday. my brother said he enjoyed it because it's like having david in the room. a comfort in a familiar voice. and that's why it's frustrating. david peppers all his talks with, does anyone have anything they want to throw in on that?
and david means it. which is one of the reasons i like him so much, why he's one of my favourite people to be in conversation with. he's got, what seems to me, something like an instinctual Ricoeur thing going on. it's all about the space inbetween, in the exchange, in the Q&A, the back and forth of that inbetween where things get electric. that to me is the space of divine happening.
so i'm speaking to the laptop. saying, yes, i do... i wanna talk about this. wonder around this. i want to see the space spark and breathe. i want how i envisage it to be expanded. see its edges perforated, where my limitations only now see solid boundaries. i want cracks to appear so that more light comes in... but all i have is the laptop and me responding to an audio recording...
perhaps when we have a space in between that's closed, small... claustrophobic, only reaffirming of what we already think or finding ways to reaffirm what we desire to achieve, then the possibility of divine happening is being squeezed out. it's the kind of space in which politicians sit with lawyers and find doublespeak loopholes that will make, pervert, justice to be synonymous with brutality. that's a space that's not opening up room for revelation, for truth. in those spaces, people become bodies. and we become God, rather than G-D being revealed... and i don't know what to do with that... not a fucking clue other than to pray... and praying to G-D i pray is outside of my head... the G-D that suffers here:
david quotes Marx,
religious suffering is at one at the same time the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering.
religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature the heart of a heartless world and the soul of souless conditions.
the man who also said, "religion is the opiate of the masses"... and david poses a question about how we define religion. global consumerism as religion perhaps...?
and so i'm there speaking back to the laptop and asking, what happens if we say it's democracy that's the opiate of the masses? or maybe, the drug's a two party system played out in the media as a false dichotomy of left v. right, that reduces what should be moral action to mere party political?
what is it that's keeping us asleep?
because religion, when it's weak, when our G-D is weak, by which we might mean self sacrificing, might help us speak to power... i'm trying to make sense of how interrogate everything without adding to the brutality... faced with this cross, what do we stand for...? what will i stand for?
i was reminded of this:
If anyone asks: "How did Jesus raise the dead?" kiss me on the lips, say:
- Rumi, Like This, translation from Rumi's Divan by Fatemeh Keshavarz
when i heard this:
justice is what love looks like in public
- cornel west, ffm09
that's about as religious statement as i've ever heard. we need this space for the apocalyptic, for the conversations from the war room to the campus to the check out aisle to the hospital room waiting room to the prison to keep being broken open with our questions, out interrogations. i know i need it, 'cause i don't know what to do with all of this.
and so by way of cornel west and solomon burke and all the other poets, i find those edges of the conversation that david and others keep bringing to the table, that i talk to as i stand at the kitchen counter with coffee and scrambled eggs... those edges are pushed out wider for me... this, i say, i believe:
it's not the religion of Jesus that keeps me numb... that's what keeps me hoping there's something impossible around the corner... that justice, which is beyond any impeachment, but looks like heart rending change in the name of full force goodness... it keeps me questioning everything, even when i'd rather sleep easy and not have to look this cross in the face.
this i used to believe. 4 very different stories on this american life. all worth hearing.
edited to add: as is this sobering conversation between bill moyers and co-creator of the wire, david simon on the truth about what he calls the war on the underclass.
"If you don't need 'em, why extend yourself? Why seriously assess what you're doing to your poorest and most vulnerable citizens? There's no profit to be had in doing anything other than marginalizing them and discarding them."
thy kingdom come
thy will be done
(photo from this in the daily dish.)