Genesis 1:2

Status Report: Stuff is empty and smoky, vanity on steroids: non-stuff flutters and hovers. Between lies a moment, a circus tent, where wonderment begins to see itself through a fogged glass, clearing as it goes.

Above a desert soars a buzzard dreaming life into sustenance.

The waste of wilderness is fertile. Nurture inseparable from nature looks to its own. g()d and G*D are drawn closer, breath by breath, yearning to know and be known. In such a moment there is first future—any past historically moot and only later glimpsed through any of a multitude of lenses, each striving for its own successive weight to carry all subsequent days—carrying its loss within its glory.

This, then, is the when of every story seeking to peel back a wonder of wonder—a something where every nothing has precedence and continuing authority to ban all but itself from ever breathing. With no good reason to begin learning, turning and turning toward others as fully authorized from an uncertain tomorrow with no purposed direction, the bands and bounds of resistance relax just enough to acknowledge that not even a Nothing can remain implacably aloof. It turns out there is no thing that is nothing alone. Improbability engines and unimagined fiddly-bits spark one mundane moment after another even until after time, beyond space, and a cessation of vibratory echoes.

“Not Sure” Improves the Situation

“If you know that you are not sure, you have a chance to improve the situation. I want to demand this freedom for future generations.” ~Richard Feynman, The Meaning of It All: Thoughts of a Citizen-Scientist (p. 28).

E.E. Cummings announces in his play, Santa Claus: A Morality,

Ladies and gentlemen: If you have been
deceived by some imposter—so have I.
If you all have been tricked and ruined—so have I.
And so has every man and woman, I say.
I say it, and you feel it in your hearts:
we are all of us no longer glad and whole,
we have all of us sold our spirits into death,
we are all of us the sick parts of a sick thing,
we have all of us lost our living honesty,
and so we are all of us not any more ourselves.
—Who can tell truth from falsehood any more?
I say it, and you feel it in your hearts:
no man or woman on this big small earth.
—How should our sages miss the mark of life,
and our most skillful players lose the game?
your hearts will tell you, as my heart has told me:
because all know, and no one understands.
—O, we are all so very full of knowing
that we are empty: empty of understanding….

To get out of the built-in traps of every life grown within the limits of any family or society there needs be an appreciation for holding light and lightly in a finer sieve than those of prior generations. To not do so is to constrain self and future generations to the limits of yesterday.

Future freedom is based on that of past and present. The more active observational investigation has been and is, the freer the opportunities we provide to nurture and nourish any who may follow after (contingencies of imaginative sclerosis and ecological disaster also need to be honored).

Our starting spot is the simple one of noting a different point of observation and finding a next metaphor that will not deny but enlarge to the point of moving to a more specific and thus, mysteriously, encompassing set of data and consequences.

Of course, this simplicity is increasingly more difficult than can be anticipated until it arrives and we exclaim “Of course!” and set about dethroning the latest king-of-the-mountain by way of an intentional and innocent affirmation of, “I’m not so sure.”

A Rule’s Exception

“The exceptions to any rule are the most interesting in themselves, for they show us that the old rule is wrong. And it is most exciting, then, to find out what the right rule, if any, is. ~Richard Feynman, The Meaning of It All: Thoughts of a Citizen-Scientist (p. 16).

The appeal to a rule qua rule needs one more look at the observational data—the experience of today’s ability to record observations in a new setting with new tools of measurement.

This ability to hold old data against new data is to have eaten from a tree of knowing outcomes and a willingness to alter them based on new information. When such connections to a new world are outlawed from the beginning, we don’t need to simply wait for some next great shoulder to stand on and with. When different outcomes are dismissed out-of-hand, we can be as certain as ever we can be that it is but a matter of time before the old rule crashes.

Such a crash has never been pretty or sweeping. There are still people aplenty who can only respond positively to a hierarchical structure where they know their place, their rule, and it will always be within a right-wrong binary—Heaven is up; Earth is flat.

Theology, the old queen from generations of incest, is always tested at the point of its current certainty. Ironically, it is its loyal opposition that carries its best hope of reinvigorating its line. The parade of religions seems never to end, like the parade of tectonic plates rising from below and diving deep below—mixing and sifting their moment in the sun, their dance of respiration featuring a coordinating atom of magnesium in chlorophyll and of iron in hemoglobin.

A Beginning that Ends with a Mummy

Alter’s introduction to Genesis has this summary: “Genesis begins with the making of heaven and earth and all life, and ends with the image of a mummy—Joseph’s—in a coffin.”

Alter sees “irrepressible procreation” as implicitly projected beyond this story-line and continuing through every subsequent oppression. As a story continued on to a time of exodus, this carries literary weight. As the experience of many a people whose artifacts have lasted beyond their own very repressible procreation, many questions need raising.

Life of the imagination grows and adapts to its current circumstance. After realizing Life has its seasons of mummification, story can find its way past apparent death—Genesis, Invictus!

Life within political, economic, and religious dicta often finds itself cut off with no advance notice. Such a Kafkaesque reality goes, none-the-less, into Dylan’s “good night” with no Eliotian “whimper” or notice—Genesis, Obliterus!

The Hebrew Bible – Alter

Robert Alter’s new three-volume work, The Hebrew Bible: A Translation with Commentary is going to be a key source for my comments about Genesis. Alter begins with an extended look at the seeming reality that “translation is betrayal” or, within a religious tradition, “heresy.”

A part of the tension scripture reveals is a distinction between written and oral traditions. There is a temptation to smash these two together in an unhelpful or unholy amalgam that can no longer distinguish past articulations and present need—which delays the arrival of a future with a larger present than our current one.

This confusion is found in an appeal to sola scriptura as interpreted by some “holy” spirit. Not allowing scripture to be a record of previous revelations keeps it from playing its part in present questions, even those simply rephrased from the past. Every generation needs to add to a scriptural base and be exempted from it.

Giving scripture its due, but not more, opens us to clarify the questions and revelations of today while also leaving room for glimmers of tomorrow to be planted in today. When these three beginning states (past, present, future) can be engaged on both personal and social life-layers we find a different order of energy not only welling up but overflowing beyond an explanation of a particular translation or interpretation of either an etiology or teleology. Alphas and Omegas become mere metonymies of a fullness of life where we go beyond signing-in to signing-up to choose life in its interface with death.

Of G*D & g()d

I’ve been reading Lloyd Geering’s From the Big Bang to God. The last section wonders if we can still use the old term “religion” for a new commitment to a structured form for meaning in a global setting beyond our fascination with clan. Geering offers no suggestion for an alternative.

The reliance of his text on Pierre Teilhard de Chardin is leading me to transition my usual marker of an evolutionary and mutating G*D to g()d.

This moves from othering capital letters and an asterisk encouraging a reader to look elsewhere for “more” to a more familiar lower case with space for a seed to be planted and evolve as it does (there is less here than we have come to expect).

These two:

G*D    and    g()d

are the current bounds or spectrum within which I find a delicious playground. and invite you to join me in playing with them as a way of sensitizing our awareness beyond cares of every night and noon.

Fair Warning

It is time for me to get back into a bit of more regular writing. I thought of starting another site to do it but figured this might be as good as any to begin.

The main topic will be Genesis with occasional forays into other bits and pieces.

Note that those who use the subscription process always have an opportunity to unsubscribe at the bottom of the email you receive. If there are others you think might appreciate reading here, you can refer them to http://eepurl.com/cqvRmT to sign up to receive postings at 9AM the day after they are posted. If someone wants to taste this series, you can refer them to http://wildernessurgency.org.

First Post tomorrow.

Wesley

Mark – Historical Fiction

You might be interested in a new book by RW Holmen—Wormwood and Gall: The Destruction of Jerusalem and the First Gospel. This is a story of Markos (who wrote the Gospel of Mark).

Holmen uses current historical and archeological findings to give credence to one background possibility for the currently invisible Mark. The lens through which he works is the image used by James Carroll that the Christian scriptures are “war literature”. Holmen uses his experience of being an Army Ranger to inform his telling the time of Mark from the expulsion of the Roman Army to their return and destruction of Jerusalem and subsequent years to the writing of the first gospel. I can highly recommend this telling.

Holmen has also written: A Wretched Man: A Novel of Paul the Apostle and Queer Clergy: A History of Gay and Lesbian Ministry in American Protestantism. I also highly recommend both of these. He has additional books about his Army experiences available on Amazon.