One of those though provoking blog posts that I just happened to read. It’s entitled, “Does Personal Bible Reading Destroy the Church? (Paul Penley).” The blog post states that apart from denominational splits, one could equate biblical interpretation as an equal source for church splits. That certainly escalated during the Reformation era, which was spearheaded by Martin Luther.
Authorities were misusing their power to bend a certain way of reading the scriptures. They were manipulating the masses with their interpretation. This was the thing that got Luther all fired up. And then the rest is history. The ongoing conclusion that Penley states out is that, the Reformation which often stresses the importance of the bible being read and interpreted by everyone actually is responsible for divisions.
It’s an interesting article. And by that I mean, “I never really thought about that, but I’m not a 100% with you but I want to see how the argument goes.” And so, although it does raise some good points, I’m not fully convinced…just yet. I’ll wait for his other posts to be more in agreement or not.
This poem is my attempt in interpreting the of story Bryon Widner. This one really took awhile to write. The story echoes a narrative of what I’d call “second chance.” As much as I’m interpreting what I read, there are parts where this poem is auto-biographical as well. It is my hope that you resonate with the tone and emotions depicted in the poem.
…are hard to come by.
The PAST is at times like bloodstains on white colored fabric.
one that would never go away
Remaining on the surface.
A disfigurement of a former glory
even after washing
fading still remains.
Like seasons where a caterpillar weaves up into a cocoon,
an anticipation occurs,
ugly takes a makeover,
in the form of a whole transformation.
Call it evolution
Call it rejuvenation
Call it a reincarnation
call it metamorphism
call it redemption
to be HUMAN.
Widening the chasms of the past,
…who i was, a fire breathing dragon.
to who I am, now inhaling back the flames…
…is not always easy…
…Even if it is as far as the East is to the West.
Erasure? is it even possible? of one’s disclosure, of an already written story, the past forever. To one being written, the future an unraveling.
“But Jobs’ discussion about God with Isaacson later in his life leaves us wondering: Did Steve Jobs accept Christ before he died?” (Read the rest of the article here.)
The article was going out well until the part I quoted above. It’s just like saying, “I care about you, really. But only until I know for sure you “accepted Christ.” I don’t think we really do care at all, and that’s how (not) to speak of God.
The title you read above is a short article I wrote that my good friend Kurt Willems posted on his blog. Below is a little snippet of the it:
“Last month I went to the movies and watched “Contagion.” in short it was a movie depicting a wide spreading virus, which was unknown, and untreatable. Well that’s until they found a vaccine to somewhat contain the virus from spreading virally. I am not intending to give my review of the movie, on whether it was great and you should watch it, but there is something that got me thinking about the words “confinement,” “viral,” and in some sense how it relates to Christianity.” Read the rest of the article by clicking the link here.
“in the event of my death”
“please bury with me my dream.”
“why…” was the response
given to his request
“…would you do such a thing?”
the question beckons him,
“it would be good if you would shared it,
cause then your dreams,
it would live on,
now wouldn’t that be bliss,
it will forever be taken in?”
He repilied, with a cynical smile,
I don’t think that’s my thing,
I’d rather be buried with it in tact, cause only i would know,
for dear God, the value of my dreams!”
then years passed by,
and reaper came,
to take those whose time
the man who wished,
to be buried
with his dream,
his lifeless body clutching,
if he could,
his dreams from,
if you want to know,
the ending of this poem,
read up now by clicking this link,
and you will know,
the moral of this story,
dreams were meant to be shared.
If you hold too tightly to your dreams and not wish for others to cherish it by giving it away…chances are, someone else, a stranger will pry it from your resting place. True Story 🙂
what is it that keeps them going?
when they walk their lives,
having guns to their heads,
each day when they wake up in the morning,
and do their menial routines,
meet friends on the streets,
send their kids off to school,
just like all mortals do,
show love to their wives or husbands,
tend to those who are needy,
to live a life that dream dreams,
make enough to feed their families,
I wonder how they sleep at night,
to have the knowledge that,
at any given moment,
when they least expect it,
the trigger could go off,
at any given moment,
gone just like that,
in just a split second?
and yet no one would care,
because for these folks,
spoke about things of importance,
but not for those in the government,
who care more for paper,
stuff to fill empty pockets,
but whose pockets were empty?
except for those poor and needy.
is it worth it?
to lose your life fighting a system,
that seems to keep winning?
make sacrifices to keep forests intact,
only to have people,
paying bounty hunters,
to slaughter your voice becoming,
something of a thorn,
in the side,
of those who live as though they don’t seem to care,
but for them to act in a particular way,
in hating the very utterance of your tone,
guilt must be a constant nagging,
and to silence their conscience from constant reverberating
pay to end it from its continual ringing.
is it worth it?
and your voice keeps telling me,
“I’ll keep fighting. It won’t do it to give up.”
but then until when?
“Until awareness is awakened,
and people see,
and what they were meant to till for just needs,
become the very conviction,
to kill of this greed,
before it in turn,
pulls the trigger,
to the future,
the lifeblood of all our seeds.”
Note: This poem is inspired by the story of two environmental activist who were gunned down for their efforts in speaking against deforestation done to Amazon rain forest. I am marveled by their perseverance even in the face of knowing that death awaits them on every corner. Other activists also live in the same condition as if breathing their lives in the constant threat of having a gun to their heads.
in all of us, though we may be full of grace and loving, there, hiding and lurking, is still a monster living.
Note: Though we might think that we’re not as bad as the other person, and we pride ourselves in our potentials and capabilities, we have to acknowledge that we do have a tendency of monstorocity. The short poem above was inspired reading this piece by Peter Rollins.
We hear much of what madness meant when watching 300. Leonidas was a little on the mad side when he lead just 300 men to fight the Persian army. He saw what was coming when surrounding nations went for what was called submission for peace. You know the movie too well for me to give a good synopsis but there’s something about this type of madness that we need from leaders.
A little madness would do the world much good after all.
But, somehow we’re obsessed with getting leaders who have the look of success and stability. We don’t want those who are depressed and who do not project the aura of what we picture as leadership material.
The argument Ghaemi puts forth following Dukopil’s understanding is that “what sets apart the world’s great leaders isn’t some splendidly healthy mind but an exceptionally broken one, coupled with the good luck to lead when extremity is needed.”
But Ghaemi does not say that all madness is good. Dukopil is quick to comment here that, “(t)he good doctor isn’t saying that all mental illness is a blessing. Only that the common diseases of the mind—mania, depression, and related quirks—shouldn’t disqualify one from the upper echelons of public life, and for a simple reason: they are remarkably consistent predictors of brilliant success.”
And he also explains that Ghaemi is not the only one who has made connections between madness and leadership, others have also gone that was as well, but notes where Ghaemi went further in his studies by finding trails of mental disorders in political leaders such as “business leaders (CNN founder Ted Turner), social activists (Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi), and military commanders (Union Army Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman), as well as Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and John F. Kennedy.”
The article ends with this following conclusion which I found very interesting,
So should we bring on the crazy in 2012? At the very least, we should rethink our definitions and stop assuming that normality is always good, and abnormality always bad. If Ghaemi is right, that is far too simplistic and stigmatizing, akin to excluding people by race or religion—only possibly worse because excellence can clearly spring from the unwell, and mediocrity from the healthy. The challenge is getting voters to think this way, too. It won’t do to have candidates shaking Prozac bottles from the podium, unless the public is ready to reward them for it. Amid multiple wars and lingering recession, maybe that time is now.
So, what I’m getting from this article is that we should not be too quick to write off certain people based on their health records, if we have them, and just concentrate on those who know how to have the normative and popular “leadership look.” It simply tells us that we can’t just write anyone off because of ailments. There might just be something that these people have in store to offer the world.
So, again, echoing the statement I made, a little madness would do the world much good after all, if you come to think about it.
This thus give us a good critique of what we view as marks and traits of greatness because we so often have our views trapped in a reductionistic position. What can this understanding tell of our view of leaders in Malaysia? What about the church? Or in general, what of how we view leaders? It gives us some potent restructuring in how we think about what is valued as good might not be of good benefit on a larger scale. It also might tell us that a little madness is good after all.
call them what you want
just “harmless” opinions
voicing out positions
for the good of everyone
probably the nation.
like you do with colors
our chasms are all but simple
for you make them others.
now crimson is the state at hand
all because of words of men
no word just leaves without demand
for hate breeds hatred…
who would have thought would steer this end.
Chuang, Chua How. “A Missiological Appropriation of the Motif of Suffering in Kitamori’s Pain of God Theology.” Mission Round Table: The Occasional Bulletin of OMF Mission Research (December 2008 Vol.4 No.2)
These are just scattered scribblings I jotted down and some quotes from the article above. I hope to do a full article reflection on Chuang’s article soon. To be honest, I haven’t read anything like it and hence my excitement. I guess that’s a rather lame excuse to make. But I’m glad I get to read some good theological reflection by a Japanese theologian. I haven’t got Kitamori’s book but that will be on my wish list now.
All the quotes below are taken from page 19 of the article.
According to Chuang, this is Kitamori’s thesis of his theology, “Divine pain is constitutive of divine grace.” Kitamori’s reflection on this is directed to God the Father, where in the suffering and death of his son, God himself suffers pain.
Kitamori’s definition of forgiveness “the act of forgiving the unforgivable.”
“…divine love is not a smooth and easy love, for it is “the love of the enemy.””
“The fact that this fighting God is not two different gods but the same God causes his pain.”
“In sum, the divine hospitality offered to us in Christ comes to us through divine violence.”
Reflection: This view somehow responds to the western notion that largely sees God’s sending of Jesus to the cross as cosmic child abuse, where God sacrifices his son as atonement for humanity. But taking Kitamori’s explanation, it did not eradicate a feeling of pain that God would have felt himself. In fact the very act in which God sacrificing Jesus in our place causes him much anguish because he is sacrificing his beloved son in the place of those who should have been put in that place. God’s conflicting love for both humanity as a whole and his son infuses his pain in placing one above the other for the benefit of humanity. We must not lose the perspective that Jesus is the son of God as well lest we also fall into the trap of thinking this act as a cosmic child abuse. The nature of the one doing the act of abuse is that the person is detached from his act whereas in God’s case as Kitamori explains, God suffers pain in his sending of his son.
Another important element when reflecting this article on a theology of pain, is the overemphasis that the west And Asians for that matter because we digest a lot of their theology, has predominantly set it’s focus on love. It is out of the motivation of love that one tries to argue a case for God to people in general. But love, left alone to itself puffs up. When it avoids the reality of pain, a focus solely hinged on love comes into stark criticism. When the act of Jesus suffering and dying for humanity comes into the picture, the depiction of a loving father in God is tarnished. But putting Kitamori’s proposal one is able to redeem a more comprehensive view of God. God is conflicted in his love for the unlovable and his love for his son as well. Conflicted in a sense that to love the other means to punish his son in an act of redeeming humanity.
But another thing must be reflected in this sense, can a divine being feel our suffering with the knowledge of his son being resurrected? But does a prerequisite in knowing obscure the emotional tangle of pain? Yet having his son take on a mortal state, living in the arms brace of danger and is required to take on life like a human being by living in obedience, this would negate a felt position of having pain.
The only thing that I find as a problem here is, the NT largely does not make any mention of God the Father suffering pain. Now I might be wrong but to my knowledge nothing comes to mind at the moment. With that, does that mean that Kitamori reads too much into the text? I’m still trying to grapple on this. So at best these are just scattered thoughts at the moment. I hope to do a more thorough post on this soon. I guess that’s one thing I like when writing on my blog. This post at best are just some sort of reflection scribbled down in haste, more like some sort of experimental musings.