Christian Life in the Spirit

I’m about to embark with Catherine Keller into a theological quest forged from process thought. I hold On the Mystery: Discerning Divinity in Process. The book cover is kind to touch. The cover has a great finish. The smell is fine, fine in the cultivated sense. We’re off to a good start.

There’s a bit more to flesh to this context, Catherine Keller has been recommended to me by Sam Mickey. His blog is Becoming Integral: Existence in the Planetary Era and can be found here: http://becomingintegral.wordpress.com/  I have fondly followed Sam’s scholarship for some time and I find his directions inspiring.

I pick up Keller’s book the quotes are luring and thick:

My distress is great and unknown to men.

They are cruel to me, for they wish to dissuade me

From all that the forces of Love urge me to.

They do not understand it, and I cannot explain it to them.

I must then live out what I am;

What Love counsels my spirit,

In this is my being: for this reason I will do my best.

—HADEWIJCH

Later in Keller’s chapter, “Risk the Adventure” she makes reference to A.N. Whitehead’s worship of God as a “flight after the unattainable.” I imagine this is why the above remarks begin with distress. What I seek is beyond the horizon of possibility, yet still I make my way. This is how I have felt in relationship to mine own dreams. In relationship to Glide, a Planetary Ministry of Liberation. They are dreams. That’s their purpose… to remain a lure, to hold the charge of adventure before me. The felt sense of judgment that we encounter is a consequence of this pursuit. Whitehead says that, “The worship of God is not a rule of safety…” We loose ourselves reaching toward the perfect day. Our ships sails get caught in cross winds out of our control and we feel the waning flow of our own creativity; at times we feel this as judgment and in others grace, but nonetheless it is our connection with God.

 

Glory Be to God,

Amen.

 

Advertisements

Obama

Obama won. I was moved to receive this text message tonight. I strangely identify with his presidency more than any other. Perhaps I am of age to care. I sense this generation more mine own.

A few months ago a good friend convinced me to see a recent film about Obama, “2016: Obama’s America.” The film tilted toward a conservative audience arguing that Obama will inevitably weaken America. The main argument paints Obama as an “anti-colonialist,” and continues at length to connect Obama’s decisions in office with his life long wish to please his father… indeed, to carry on the, “Dreams From My Father.”

This perspective is thorough and convincing. Obama studied under Edward Said, a strong scholar of post-colonialism. Post-Colonialism is a method of critical scholarship that thinks the matter of colonial rule, its history, and especially is ongoing legacies. Generally, the discourse centers the liberation of people’s formerly under colonial rule and imperialism.

The US is an imperial order, an empire of global proportions as well as a nation, with all its constitutional powers, etc. thus, naturally, one familiar with colonial rule and its exploitations and one equally interested in “justice for all” should position themselves as “anti-colonialist.”

What struck me most powerfully about the film was not the accurate analysis of Obama’s political ideology, nor the insightful connection that this ideology was the fulfillment of his fathers beliefs… what struck me so powerfully was how the film twisted these insights toward conclusions of national weakness, loss, and danger. I found the film built around the attitudes of alienation, racisms, and ultimately fear.

The US is powerful and fear is a pitfall. But this power means something specific. It means that the US has tremendous sources of energy, reservoirs of energy of all kinds. Most fear the lost of energy, but energy is neither lost nor destroyed; it merely changes form, shape, hands, state. In my humble opinion, Obama’s post-colonial leanings are right on. The “US” must learn to share, to be of service in a world desperate to end poverty, leave pollution, divorce inequality. Our people have yet to collectively learn that we have the permission to be loved. Democracy-to-come, Freedom-to-come, Justice-to-come… these are the living perfections unfolding before our eyes as Obama takes his seat as the President of the United States for the next four years.

It is a Full World Order now. The World is not in the US; the US is in the World. I love the recent facebook hit I received before the election ended today. It gives “us” a glimpse into the will of the world:

 

So let “US” journey forth… To Be the change our world must see…

 

The Institution of Future

I am reading After the Deluge by Chris Carlsson. The book is of hybrid category: sci-fi, social commentary, drama set in post-economic, post-earth quake, post-deluge San Francisco. The scene’s include feats of bio-engineering fit for futures in SF. Organic, genetic mastery has yeilded new forms of nature/culture communities. The human dramas are still familiar so one wonders about what a book would look like that could (W)right the subjectivity of the future. It is incredibly provocative. I am provoked. I have been in need of encouragement, a bit of prodding and I believe this work is doing it.

The institutions of the future out number our ability to dream them. Those infinite spaces of leeway are the corner stones of our children’s inheritance. We are made and unmade by our power to commune with the future. If a subject was made for the future, whose name would it call? Where would it call home? With what kind of interconnected affiliations would it commune? Would it be born?

Navels are weird. Like the image within the Matrix and with all the force Heidegger can muster, we are thrown into our experience moment by moment, and we are bound by the cords of our past, the life-lines of our lineages. The institutions of the future traverse this ground without cause. They betray our comings and goings. Our futures, predicted, expected, forthright will fade. Our experience will die. Our trust borne of kinship will give way to roads of infinite grace – strange grace.

Deluge means a heavy down pore or to be over run by some force or flood. Navel means, umbilicus or (and this I really like) the central point or middle of any thing or place. I think these words are super fresh, SF Mode ching. The vision After the Deluge presents is a San Francisco after global warming, after the predicted rise of planetary sea levels and the expected crushing earthquake. San Francisco is more organic, more farmed, more horticultured and greened and localized than ever. San Francisco is boated and biked. It is walked. Vehicles are no more. San Francisco is celebrated circus culture, everything that makes San Francisco culture unique and cool in the present, its arts, its neo-hippy liberation, its biotech, its music, its post-economic leanings, all is exponentially developed. It is a beautiful vision but a vision that lacks a people, a subjectivity and interiority that matches its environment.

San Francisco is the center institution of the future. It is a navel and a passage way. It is not “smart” it is clarified nature. It is spiritual. Only after the deluge can its potential rise to meet the future. It takes change. And change is coming. It is called the institution of the future.

 

 

 

Missing

The past is a silent voice. I am missing. I miss much. I often count it grace. I also count it tears. These passing years are built for mourning. My tears treat my lost heart. The moments of my life spent with people now missing. For people who miss me. Life drums on.

It is interesting resting in the presence of protection. On the bus, or in the bed room trust beckons… I rest most in the presence of others whose acts of sincerity convince me beyond doubt. Those spaces I feel the freedom to live through loss. Those spaces are sacred, the people are grace.

I do not know whether CIIS will accept my application for a Ph.D. I’m not sure I wouldn’t rather sue the institution for their multi-form betrayals.

I wonder about the bicycle law suit I have initiated. I believe in standing up for myself.

I have been thinking more and more about a woman I formerly dated named Eva. I miss the effection I received from her. I miss love.

I will be taking my things out of storage this week. There was a precious man I knew in the storage unit across from mine named School Boy. He was God. I have stories about this man. He was my mirror and my friend. I remember coming into the storage unit this summer after a long stint in TN and finding his unit empty. It gave me such great hope because I new he had made it off the streets, had a job and roof over his head. I knew that I would follow in his footsteps very soon. AND now that week has come. I do hope I will see him again in a better place.

There have been events in my life where God intervened with a strength and clarity that would awe onlookers… AND I have forgotten them. I am missing them. Great movies have captured this sentiment.

I dream of making a great movie. Almost called the “Lion’s Tale” – the story of evolutionary power, the process of disempowerment and kinship and God. One of the central stories in the film would be the story of Daniel in the Lion’s den. We would also see the very first time a proto-human beat a lion in a fight, and the evolving relationship between human and lion as lion is dethroned throughout evolutionary time and eventually becomes the adornment of the human, experiencing species domination just as they once dominated. That inter-species conscious connection would be the en-living thread exemplified in the tale of Daniel as the lions refuse to eat him because they sense a common bond of captivity and in not eating Daniel perform a refusal to conform to the powers that subject them to imprisonment – which is the grace of God in experience – for the sake of Daniel and the legacy of God’s promise.

There’s already, always more to miss…

Transparency

Transparency. Diaphaneity. It is a delicate form. Refined from natural experience, adapted to increase value and the powers of interconnected experience.

Earlier my roommate came in subtly proud and announcing the completion of his fifth step. The Fifth Step of Alcoholics Anonymous reads:

Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

The cultural critiques of institutionalized confession are countless. Nevertheless, the therapeutic value of sharing one’s most intimate experiences with another person is outstanding. The tradition of “confession” or transparency in action extends through every living religious order to date. The experiences connected to completely opening up to another human being often achieve the label mystical.

I, boldly, slightly auspicious, asked him what his most challenging share included. He told me that he had struggled with sex addiction and that he had been going to massage parlors. At this I became super curious!

His former Catholicism, myself deeply connected with Christian practices of sexuality in the form of virginity, celibacy, masturbation, guilt, shame, and sexual repression – the conversation was primed with “excitement” … of the healing sort… the sort that flows from mutual learning, similar experience, and trust. Sexuality is one of Western culture’s most hidden, most repressed, twisted, conflated, confused, and idealized institutions. It is of no wonder that Catholic priests both create and are created by victimhood in the form of pedophilia. It is of no wonder how connected the use of meth and sex are in the Castro, an area holding the highest concentration of both gay and culturally Christian/Catholic. I personally know a Catholic gay man whose only relationship to sexual experience is found within the context of meth parties. His sobriety becomes an increasing struggle the longer and longer he goes without sex. When I suggested that he masturbate, he scoffed – as if he was to good to masturbate. I understand this…

One day I’ll pick up this conversation in detail. It was miraculous. But because I know some people actually do read this blog I will abstain from the inevitable judgment I would receive to “bare-all.” Some experience are built in sacred container that only God can prepare. Still, my roommate and I had a deeply heartfelt, consciously connect exchange about our most hidden, shameful, experiences and they all had to do with sexuality. AND, in telling our stories we learned that we were not alone. It is completely liberating to find out that your most shameful experience is normal, shared, even expected. In that space healing happens. We hide no more and we feel free to carve new paths, discover better roads, well lit, well attended – transparent.

During our conversation I discovered something that reminded me about how powerful we are as humans. During our conversation we were experiencing flow. We were healing together. Our bodies resonating together, our interconnection felt. I was about to relaying an experience that we had shared together and all the sudden I had the knowledge of our connection and I know that he knew what I was about to say. I stopped immediately and asked him if he knew – which caught him off guard because it was so unexpected. At first he wasn’t sure, but then he answered exactly what I was about to say. Unbelievable connection. Conscious power. Our minds exist separately but we can entertain experiences so powerful that we unify our minds, our bodies resonate, our memories connected, our emotional state clear. Profound Transparency.

Anyways… That’s it for tonight.

Work

I heard a woman at a party tonight ecstatic about an blueprint for an outside garden that included a compost area. She commented that since it was created in 1992, it was, “ahead of the times!”   What kind of culture is this that understands one of the most ancient horticultural practices, damn near as old as agriculture itself, as “new in 92?”.

At the party we roasted a whole pig.

I served the party for $100 and with that duty came the subtle but continuous feeling that I was beneath the guests that I served. The catch… this is not only a projection.

Tomorrow I go to continue my training at the Gap. I am not happy about this.

My cough and sore throat have persisted for over a week now. I am not well with this…

I finally have a little money and I am not sure that the work it took to earn that money was worth it. Bad sign.

I love substitute teaching.

I pray for work that honors and encourages my strengths.

 

Astronaut Experience

I have posted a really cool section from an article that came to me via Jonathan Davis’ facebook post. It’s from FAST COMPANY, http://www.fastcodesign.com – titled:

What Astronauts And Toddlers Can Teach You About Consumers

The fascinating little segment below is about the experience of astronauts judging distance on the moon. The failure of their mission was in part due to over information. I believe that -PAUL VALERIO- is right to use these experiences to benefit every thing from marketing strategies to ethnography. I know I have something to learn here… without further adue:

First, the astronauts. One little-known quirk of the Apollo moon landings was the difficulty the astronauts had judging distances on the Moon. The most dramatic example of this problem occurred in 1971 during Apollo 14, when Alan Shepard and Edgar Mitchell were tasked with examining the 1,000-foot-wide Cone Crater after landing their spacecraft less than a mile away. After a long, exhausting uphill walk in their awkward space suits, they just couldn’t identify the rim of the crater. Finally, perplexed, frustrated, and with the oxygen levels in their suits running low, they were forced to turn back. Forty years later, high-resolution images from new lunar satellites showed they had indeed come close–the trail of their footprints, still perfectly preserved in the soil, stop less than 100 feet from the rim of the crater. A huge, 1,000-foot-wide crater, and they couldn’t tell they were practically right on top of it. Why?

It should have been easy for them, right? These guys were trained as Navy test pilots; landing jets on aircraft carriers requires some expertise in distance judgment. They also had detailed plans and maps for their mission and had the support of an entire team of engineers on Earth. But their expertise was actually part of the core problem. The data their minds were trying to process was too good. All of the “noise” essential to creating the patterns their minds needed to process the data accurately was missing. And patterns are the key to human perception, especially for experts.

Consider everything that was missing up there. First, there’s no air on the Moon, so there’s no atmospheric haze, either. Eyes that grew up on Earth expect more distant objects to appear lighter in color and have softer edges than closer things. Yet everything on the Moon looks tack-sharp, regardless of distance. Second, the lack of trees, telephone poles, and other familiar objects left no reference points for comparison. Third, since the Moon is much smaller than the Earth, the horizon is closer, thus ruining another reliable benchmark. Finally, the odd combination of harsh, brilliant sunshine with a pitch-black sky created cognitive dissonance, causing the brain to doubt the validity of everything it saw.

 

For the rest of the article:

http://www.fastcodesign.com/1671100/what-astronauts-and-toddlers-can-teach-you-about-consumers

 

The journey of the philosopher is like that of the astronaut attempting to judge distance on a heavenly body for the first time. The horizons have shifted, cognitive dissonance sits in… references are lost and what was assumed relevant data is completely useless – these are the traits wisdom requires for acquisition, proximity, even for the search itself. The process of liberation is at the same time a process of atmospheric change; it is a morphing process where new eyes unfold a new territory of horizons.

I like astronauts!