Thursday, November 08, 2012

We're not Negative Enough

Peter Rollins is evidently a Christian progressive [sic] speaker/ writer/ preacher(?), whose videos and blog I recently encountered. Very interesting.

He has a thought-provoking post about Always Complaining? Then try Being more Negative. This caused me to think and dive into the topic, so I commented and then put together this full-blown [you might say, overblown . . .] response.

Eternal Complaints or Eternal Purposes?

Sometimes people think that my work leads to a form of negativity in which we find ourselves lost in a sea of melancholia. The death of the idea that there is something that can render us whole and satisfied sounds, for some, like it sustains and supports a type of eternal complaint against life. But the point is the dialectic opposite: those who constantly complain about their lives are not too negative, rather they have failed to be negative enough. To clarify, I am talking here of a type of negativity that is insatiable. The type of negativity found in those who are never able to enjoy their existence, regardless of what happens.
   Read it all here
I think in Pete's post and the comments following, we are only talking about life here "as we know it", confined within what I call the "cosmic-fishbowl." There are other dimensions to life that give a larger context. We are all stuck within what we call the Universe/the world, whatever -- and if that's ALL there is, then I agree at face-value with the post:
The individual who is able to loose themselves from the notion that there is some ultimate purpose to their life frees themselves from the negative melancholy that comes with being unable to find that purpose (or the naïve optimism that comes from thinking that they will).

(This does seem on further thought to echo the sentiments of eastern/ Buddhist philosophy, not biblical faith) which is a separate topic. . .

But, the other point to be made is that if there IS any purpose, it is only to be found *Outside* of earthly existence. I don't think it's naive to want/believe you have a purpose, only if you think that by self-discovery it can be done. And that's the point of Jesus and the cross.  

What we do here, how we live and love, does matter! But it doesn't "affirm the world", or anymore free us by "acts that enact liberation" - from the confines of our Fishbowl-like existence.

So, as TokenChristian has said it:
"No human being can ever be totally free. We can rebel. We can distribute power. We can abolish property and state. But no human being will ever be totally free from domination. This is the point of permanent revolution."
SO, elections in USA [where I am] for Change & Hope, people's choices/decisions, that inane+criminal Guy Fawlkes anarchy group in UK, etc. -- they are not negative enough! They all still presume that We as humans, somehow can do Anything to change life?!! But what good is "permanent revolution" either? It too is all Vanity, if that's all there is. [ Ecclesiastes.]

Yes I agree that We are the Problem. But God?

References to Job, rebellion continuing, Mr.TokenChristianity:
"Just like every single other person in this world, you are responsible for the violence, the hate, and the oppression. God will not answer your prayers, God will not save you in your time of trouble, and God will mock your calamity.  . . .Whether it be by the trampling seas, the wails of battle, or through pestilence and age: God will smite you down."

Getup Get God
(Photo credit: prettywar-stl
 I don't believe these are the lessons to be learned here. "God will smite you down." HA - the meaning of "smite" is very interesting! Connected to "being smitten", which of course has connotation to being overcome - with intense loving feelings - in love - desiring intimacy. . . that God would ravish us! [ some British poet maybe said this? ]

What are the Real Questions?

Again from Mr.Token:
"Camus once put it this way: the only real serious philosophical question is whether one should kill one’s self or not. That is the essence of permanent revolution. Through rebellion you promote God’s Cause."

NO, the only Real Ques. is really: WHY am I here, and even having the question WHY? -- since no matter what, I live, I die or I rebel, I can't change Anything! But if you are dead, you cant then take "responsibility" to make up for your part in the horrors of the world, can you? [DUH]
". . . I mean faith for me means rebelling against the horrors of this world. Because that’s what I think it means to be a Christian. I’m in pursuit of a world where people will come to love one another as Jesus taught."
And what odd idea is this, that "rebellion" promotes God's cause? Rebellion or slavery- neither one advances anything! Utopianism, and even responsibility for being part of the problem VS. part of the solution--  it's all not enough. We're all still prisoners of humanness-- Who can set us free from our earthly bondage of sin and death?
Nate is another commenter, he refers to songs of Bob Dylan. I like his parallels here about our limitations and longings.

Cover of
Cover of Time Out of Mind [Vinyl]
"Time Out of Mind" seems to be about this tipping point between the depressive melancholy of always chasing the horizon and the negativity you speak of here–that which leads into full embrace of the world. [ His songs bear] striking resemblence to the book of Ecclesiastes where it is said  “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity [hebrew "olam"] into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.”  (Dylan also has a song "Chasing the Horizon", on “Modern Times”)
. . . the ongoing theme, to my ears, is this idea of being in love with the unattainable, [ in this life.]  There is a lot of sadness, regret, and anger. . .  regrets about what he has done to others while chasing it (see the video for Duquesne Whistle), and a renewed energy to, in love, embrace the world fully in the time he has left.
  This speaks to our longing to live free beyond our physical confines- to finally discover and know the amazing creation that God has produced, with so much of it's physical and spiritual vastness still unknown, and out of reach, to us. 

Deep Negativity gets us Outside of Ourselves

MY TAKE:  There is No Freedom apart from God, who Alone is Outside of time & space [ and any other multi-layered dimensional realities of ] existence. There I said it. EveryThing, EveryOne else is confined to a closed system of life, how ever you define it. To have this realization is not ultra-negativity, but gives me hope from outside myself.
True faith connects us with the Outside, though we still live here, and now we work here (not rebel) to re/create & renew life. No offense, but don't believers know and teach this? Isn't this Christianity101 ?

English: Diagram of the chair layout for a fis...
Diagram of chair layout for a fishbowl conversation setup, with room for 168 in the audience, and 4 or 5 in the fishbowl.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
To me, unbelief *masks* negativity that has not been fully acknowledged, maybe the point of Peter's post. What it means to be a Christian is: to be connected to Jesus-God, not be in pursuit of anything else here, however noble.

Each person has to come to a more "deeply negative" place about the end of themselves and this life, BEFORE real change can happen.
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