Thursday, March 4, 2010

Reflections: Music of the Blogosphere

I have recently been visiting the blog of a woman who has evidently encountered in her life (about which I actually know almost nothing) personal trials that might be filed under some of the same headings as a sampling of my own. My visits to her site have been productive, already having resulted in a couple of new poems. These you can find linked in the sidebar, under Rodak’s Writings.

What follows here is an excerpt from a book that I am currently reading, followed by a Simone Weil quote which I have cited before, but never tire of contemplating. Each of these seems--in my mind anyway--to relate to the thoughts and feelings which visiting the blog mentioned above has given rise to:

The idea of God reconciling the world to God’s self represents a departure from the prevailing understanding of reconciliation in Hellenistic-Judaism. There the standard interpretation was that the fall and the subsequent human sin has so angered God that God must be appeased. The human sinners must therefore take steps to reconcile themselves to God and to propitiate God’s anger. Against this background, the Christian creedal formula reversed the roles and understood God to be initiating this cosmic reconciliation. Furthermore, the Christian formula suggests that God effected reconciliation by “not reckoning [humanity’s] trespasses against them,” thereby canceling the debts of moral depravity humanity has piled up in God’s ledger.
~ Power in Weakness: the Second Letter of Paul to the Corninthians by Sze-kar Wan, Associate Professor of New Testament, Andover Newton Theological School

Wan elaborates on this point by quoting verse 18: “All things come from God who has reconciled us to himself through Christ." Recalling his earlier discussion that Christ had died for all (5:14-15), Paul reformulates the role of Christ as effecting the cancellation of the sinners’ debts by means of his dying on their behalf.

Simone Weil, by contrast, sees this reconciliation not as an outright gift, or as an end-in-itself, but rather as an opportunity. We are given the Cross; but then we must--of our own volition--take it up:

God wears himself out through the infinite thickness of time and space in order to reach the soul and to captivate it. If it allows a pure and utter consent (though brief as a lightening flash) to be torn from it, then God conquers that soul. And when it has come entirely his he abandons it. He leaves it completely alone and it has in its turn, but gropingly, to cross the infinite thickness of time and space in search of him whom it loves. It is thus that the soul, starting from the opposite end, makes the same journey that God made towards it. And that is the cross.

Or, we could just oil the pocket of our baseball glove and bitch about paying taxes. It is March, after all.


William R. Barker said...

All I know is that Frank...

(er... God)

...doesn't seek our worship.


Rodak said...

Psalm 14:1-3 The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none that does good. The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any that act wisely, that seek after God. They have all gone astray, they are all alike corrupt; there is none that does good, no, not one.

Rodak said...

Stanley Fish say.:

"While secular discourse, in the form of statistical analyses, controlled experiments and rational decision-trees, can yield banks of data that can then be subdivided and refined in more ways than we can count, it cannot tell us what that data means or what to do with it. No matter how much information you pile up and how sophisticated are the analytical operations you perform, you will never get one millimeter closer to the moment when you can move from the piled-up information to some lesson or imperative it points to; for it doesn’t point anywhere; it just sits there, inert and empty."
HT: Camassia

William R. Barker said...

Apparently you've never considered the possibility that Stanley Fish is full of s...



Rodak said...

Be that as it may, he's spot-on in this instance.