Saturday, November 21, 2009

POV: frankenstein?






















(the journal page above by austin kleon appears on a whole nother blog by kind permission of the artist, and can be found in its original context here. dig around and see if you can find it! hint- it's from 2007)

"Perspective is everything" (SVS)

isn't it, though?
i think that the previous brief piece had everything to do with perspectives- two of 'em in particular:

1) that of the one person seeing the other as a monster of some sort.

2) that of the monster, dealing emotionally with the perceptions of others.

i remember reading a thing that marilyn manson had posted on his website years ago. it was so rich and insightful that i used it as part of my arts education program for many years as part of the work i did within the public school system. the most exciting thing about that was not giving the notes to the students and inviting them to guess who the writer was, it was presenting this same material to the parents on 'meet the creature night' (school open-house, typically taking place in early to mid-september) and gauging their responses once they learned who the quote had come from.

(note: a picture of the actual typewritten note, and some baloney i wrote in response to it is found in the blogpost artists and the things they say.)

and yet, when my own son began reading 'the long dark road out of hell' (manson's autobiography) i was suddenly uncomfortable and this bothered me.

was i being the hypocrite? was i allowing fear of monsters to keep me looking into the darkness for things that weren't even there? was i, in my turn, wearing the same face that i had seen on other parents? was it okay for me to value someone like brian warner's place in the larger scheme of things, but as soon as my own son began to explore it did i default to the religious-right's knee-jerk response to this media-seducing frankenstein that had come to be known as 'marilyn manson?'

well, whatever the motivation and resultant attitude, i found my perspective challenged. although i agree that, in some cases we have some control over how monstrous we become, there are other cases when others' defaults place us squarely in a box that we don't really want to inhabit, with a label we don't appreciate.

take the word 'pastor' for example.

depending on one's experience, this label can be incredibly negative or incredibly positive- and both reads on it are difficult for the one wearing the namebadge. on the one hand the positive label is flattering but is LOADED with expectations and pedastelization that cannot possibly be lived up to; on the other, more negative, hand the label is LOADED with mistrust projected from heartbreaking past experiences and relationships onto a real person who was not present or involved in any of it.

then there's the problem of basic poor self-concept or self-loathing which can somehow spike someone into defaulting to the ludicrous notion that the voices in their own head are actually the words of the pastor or are in some way being reiterated by this big 'spiritual authority figure' in the most innocent of remarks or actions.

i know this last, because in the previous week it's happened to me (or, more correctly, ABOUT me) at least twice that i know of, arriving back on my doorstep like a flaming bag of dog crap left there while those who rang the doorbell find a place to hide in the darkness. the door opens and the stamp stamp stamp of a foot breaks the silence of night.

yes, perspective is everything, for now i need to figure out what to do with the perspectives of others as they impose themselves upon my own motives and actions, shaping for them what i REALLY meant. God, i'm glad i'm not famous or this would be even more distracting to me than it already is. i wonder how people like brian can sleep at night.

i don't know- perhaps 'stereoscopic vision' has to do with being able to see reality from both sides- yours and mine, his and hers, ours and theirs- simultaneously?

19 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

everybody's human, including those around us who are pastors, leaders, etc.....especially as i've sat through dialogues with people who voice that they need their leaders to be strong & perfect, the remembrance on a daily basis that we all are HUMAN has become important for me to remember on a daily basis. that remembrance of human nature isn't meant to take away from the importance of leaders in my life, but is important so as to make sure i give them a break, realizing it's not fair to place unreal expectations upon people. does it mean i never forget? no, because the reality is that often the voices of the past, a lot of times without my clear recollection, take over and cause me to drop flaming bags of dog crap at peoples' doors.

bless you as you continue to faithfully lead, while in the midst seeking to figure out how to deal with the imposition of others' perspectives upon that which you do.

11/23/2009  
OpenID societyvs said...

"1) that of the one person seeing the other as a monster of some sort.

2) that of the monster, dealing emotionally with the perceptions of others." (JB)

One thing we can control is what 'we will do' in light of this acknowledgement. We cannot control another's perceptions of what we have said or done - we only know what we were thinking in that moment...and we build from there.

I know many times where I may have said something or done something that may have offended another person - yet - I did not intend such an outcome. I usually talk to the person and try to rectify the situation - heal it if possible - since this is all we can do...let the voices be heard and the chips fall where they may. At least you will be aware you 'tried'.

"there are other cases when others' defaults place us squarely in a box that we don't really want to inhabit, with a label we don't appreciate." (JB)

True. I find people love labels - and need them for their own paradigmatic brains...'he fits in this category and she fits there' and so on. People are really letting go of being creative and imaginative...they want the easy work and labels provide that.

I don't mind labels - people can call me anything they so as much please - I am comfortable with who I am. When asked 'who I was' was by a local reporter he just replied 'who do you think I am?'. I am comfortable with the unknown.

Do not let the things people think or say become your definition - as troubling as their misconceptions of you may be...address them. Take a cue from political campaigns - whenever anything with any slight disturbance to their image is revealed - they address those things and try to comfort the viewer.

"i don't know- perhaps 'stereoscopic vision' has to do with being able to see reality from both sides" (JB)

Try that pair of shoes on - see how they feel. Isn't the goal of sustaining relationships just that - being able to walk a mile in the shows of your friend, your spouse, heck even your parents.

11/23/2009  
Blogger jollybeggar said...

ha ha- labels DO help us as we sort, organize and ultimately frame our reality and provide definition in that otherwise unfocused blur of colours and indiscernable shapes with which we attempt to engage daily.

to allow these labels to be part of another's inference, rather than one's own identity- there's the challenge for the more sensitive people-pleasers in the crowd.

11/23/2009  
Blogger M.A.C. said...

Hello,

I hope you don't mind answering a couple of questions I am asking all believers everywhere;

Do you believe that God sent His only Son Jesus Christ to start a new religion called Christianity?

And Where is the text in the bible that supports the popular Christian belief that God sent His only Son Jesus Christ to start a new religion called Christianity?

12/09/2009  
OpenID societyvs said...

"Do you believe that God sent His only Son Jesus Christ to start a new religion called Christianity?" (MAC)

Likely no, but the Gentiles moved in that direction because they had no place in the synagogues (except as God-fearers). It is what it is I guess.

"Where is the text in the bible that supports the popular Christian belief that God sent His only Son Jesus Christ to start a new religion called Christianity?" (MAC)

So what was started in your opinion - by Jesus?

12/11/2009  
Blogger jollybeggar said...

ha ha- mac's questions are pretty loaded but sure, i'll bite:

Q: Do you believe that God sent His only Son Jesus Christ to start a new religion called Christianity? (MAC)

i don't believe even for an instant that the point of Christ's coming had anything to do with starting religions. religion is a structure, much like science, that allows us to organize our observations and our experiences against some locally developed criteria, that we would somehow be able to get a grip on the things that we feel are too big to hold onto without it. religion is man-made, and although man is God-made, i really don't think it logically follows that religion must therefore be God-made. perhaps the plight of the ages has to do not only with the redemption of fallen humankind, but also with the redemption of our theology as it's applied to everyday life.

Q: And Where is the text in the bible that supports the popular Christian belief that God sent His only Son Jesus Christ to start a new religion called Christianity? (MAC)

again, i'm not aware of a text. john3.16-17 speaks of love being the basis for all that sending (and is backed up in phil2.5-8 on the Jesus side of the sending) but 'whosoever' is a word that carries a lot more inclusivity than exclusivity in it. sadly, religion has become a system whereby heaven is given borders which are vigilantly guarded by the pious.

this is my view, anyway.

bruxy cavey wrote a fun book called 'the end of religion' that heads in this direction. i don't have it nearby- maybe i'll quote something from it later.

i'm interested, as well, in a MAC response to SVS' question...

12/12/2009  
Blogger M.A.C. said...

Hi societyvs, jollybeggar,

The question in and of itself is ridiculous and perhaps somewhat controversial. But then so was Jesus Christ controversial in His spectacular ministry to the people of the world.

Jesus Christ came as the bible prophesied to take on the sin of mankind so that anyone who believes in Him might be saved. Over the ages the belief in Christ' ultimate redemption went from a persecuted belief to a persecuting religion. That is continued through the practiced system of denominational divergence unto today.

The question is also designed to open other questions that reveal the gospel as it was meant to be.

For instance;

What comes first in a believers life repentance through Godly sorrow or salvation in Jesus Christ.

If we as believers can understand the simple basic foundational message of the gospel of Jesus Christ we can move one step closer to ending denominational divergence and apostasy in the church today.

So what was started is the fact that we must repent from our sin to receive the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. And that we are the true temple of the Lord not the brick and mortar buildings of this temporal realm.

Click on my name and look at my entry "The Bad Christian" project if you want to know more. Also keep in mind, just like renegades such as Bruxy Cavey my project is a work in progress that can change as it is fully developed through the helping hands needed to accomplish such a huge project.

12/12/2009  
Blogger jollybeggar said...

Q: "What comes first in a believers life repentance through Godly sorrow or salvation in Jesus Christ." (MAC)

wesley systematized this theological question into a nice package which can be summarized as follows:

"According to Wesley, salvation from original sin begins with justification, continues in sanctification and ends with glorification." (taken from a nice little essay found at http://www.shol.com/featheredprop/theo4.html)

in my understanding of the wesleyan tradition, salvation in Jesus Christ exists in the perpetual now, inviting trust and acceptance of grace from outside the realm of the temporal (as in 'that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us' rom5.8) so i guess i would say that, outside of our chronology, salvation through Christ Jesus simply IS. it doesn't fall before or after anything, but during all things. timeframes and successions probably matter much more to us than to God because we are bound by time and space whereas God is not.

in my view, this is one reason why we can continue to come back to the cross, having failed in our commitment to 'never sin again.' it is how we have hope of an ongoing salvation.

12/12/2009  
Blogger M.A.C. said...

jollybeggar,

Salvation is not a license to sin although we still could have some temptation.

Lets look at Paul as an example he asked three times that his thorn be taken away but Jesus said My grace is sufficient for My strength is made perfect in weakness.

12/12/2009  
Blogger jollybeggar said...

"Salvation is not a license to sin although we still could have some temptation." (MAC)

didn't say that. sorry if it sounded that way.

12/12/2009  
Blogger M.A.C. said...

jollybeggar,

You did say;

in my view, this is one reason why we can continue to come back to the cross, having failed in our commitment to 'never sin again.' it is how we have hope of an ongoing salvation.

The cross is a symbol and instrument of death do you crucify Christ over and over again?

Instead we need to take up our own cross and be like the master in our devotion to the plan of salvation... The gospel does not say repent and continue to repent. Rather after you have repented you are in God's grace and it says sin no more.

Look up cross in your concordance and see how many passages relate to us bearing our cross for Christ.

Also consider that as we become effective believers in the body of Christ the enemy wants to shut you down, shut you up, take you out of the game. Your sins were covered once and for all by the blood of Christ.

However if you continue to sin then I suggest reading Romans 6 in its entirety and meditating on that word.

May...

The Lord bless and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up his countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

12/13/2009  
Blogger hineini said...

"I hope you don't mind answering a couple of questions I am asking all believers everywhere" (M.A.C)

phew! sometimes it pays off to not be properly counted among the "believers" because then you needn't answer such "questions". Welcome here M.A.C. Its nice to have new people pop in from time to time, just so we aren't tempted to stay in our bubble(s). Bubbles are a bit isolating really, and no one likes to be lonely which maybe leads me to one of my own "questions"
Why have you chosen such an exclusionary text to take on as a name sake M.A.C.? I know we each have one but I always like hearing the stories about how a certain text (or texts) becomes important to an individual.
I have to be honest M.A.C., you came across as a bit lonely, much like your underpopulated heaven (if I'm hearing you right) but then I had my own personal epiphany, that I'm a pretty lonely guy too so I suppose we are together in this :) Anyway, once again, welcome, I hope you make yourself at home and let me know if you need anything.

Peace in this peaceful season

12/14/2009  
OpenID societyvs said...

"But then so was Jesus Christ controversial in His spectacular ministry to the people of the world." (MAC)

I notice you call Jesus - Jesus Christ...one small and meaningless question - do you think this was his name?

"we can move one step closer to ending denominational divergence and apostasy in the church today." (MAC)

I am with you on this one MAC - unity amongst the churches.

"The cross is a symbol and instrument of death do you crucify Christ over and over again?" (MAC)

Interesting theology - I am guessing you are a Universalist?

If Jesus died, he died once - and whatever was accomplished at that point of time is non-negotiable or changeable...it's history. As one of the gospels writes 'It is finished'.

However, how do you interpret that death and it's meaning? If someone is saved - is that something that cannot be reversed for example?

12/14/2009  
Blogger M.A.C. said...

Hi hineini,


Sometimes I feel like Noah and there were times I have felt like Job. So perhaps there is some inherent loneliness within me searching for God's people everywhere.

As for M.A.C. Jesus calls us all to excellence within the body of Christ. An excellence that is not from us but from God and that excellence is Love not our love but God's love. Consider 2 Peter 1:3-11 that is a map for the believer of the way of Jesus Christ.

Hi societyvs,

I notice you call Jesus - Jesus Christ...one small and meaningless question - do you think this was his name?

Yes that is the way we say it English. Is there perhaps something I am missing?

Interesting theology - I am guessing you are a Universalist?

I am a Christian being when I use the word Christian I certainly mean a follower of the way of Jesus Christ. Consider this post on my blog titled "The Christian Being" http://whatisthechristianchurch.blogspot.com/2009/09/christian-being.html

If Jesus died, he died once - and whatever was accomplished at that point of time is non-negotiable or changeable...it's history. As one of the gospels writes 'It is finished'.

However, how do you interpret that death and it's meaning? If someone is saved - is that something that cannot be reversed for example?


The death of Christ was given to us to bridge the gap between us and God. His death was sacrificially given. Because our sin must be paid for which it was on the cross. It is not a symbol of our acceptance, it is a symbol of death because of our sin.

Yes you can think you are saved and not be saved consider Jesus' words at Matthew 7;

Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'

Sounds like Jesus is talking about church folk here. Church folk consider they are saved but the bibles teaches than we are not to judge that way.

Consider; Revelation 20;11-15

Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the BOOK OF LIFE. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the BOOK OF LIFE was cast into the lake of fire.

So it not up to us to say who but Christ who will sit on the judgment seat and judge us all.

12/14/2009  
OpenID societyvs said...

"Consider 2 Peter 1:3-11 that is a map for the believer of the way of Jesus Christ" (MAC)

I like the sermon on the mount and the gospel of Matthew as a good reference on Christ-ian ethics.

"Yes that is the way we say it English. Is there perhaps something I am missing?" (MAC)

Christ is not a name - it's a title - meaning messiah - which in turn goes back to 'anointed one' in the Tanakh (in reference to a king usually).

Point is, Jesus Christ is not his name...Jesus from Joseph of Nazareth would be more accurate historically. Or as the gospels have even said 'Jesus of Nazareth'.

As for the title 'Christ' - it would be Jesus the Christ or Christ Jesus. I am starting to think there is some logistical interpretive errors from the Greek to the English on this subject or human error in the Gentile communities about the term 'Christ' as a someone's name.

"The death of Christ was given to us to bridge the gap between us and God...It is not a symbol of our acceptance, it is a symbol of death because of our sin." (MAC)

Propitiation is really in questio in my opinion - it has at least 7 views - and a few more to come in the next few years. That being said, I do find meaning in the death and resurrection of Jesus.

You say the cross is a symbol of death - and not acceptance...but isn't really both? You have Jesus briding a gap to God (ie: acceptance) and dying for people (ie: death). I can see aspects of both in the teachings of Jesus - and in fact - the good news seems to be about acceptance w/God.

"Sounds like Jesus is talking about church folk here. Church folk consider they are saved but the bibles teaches than we are not to judge that way" (MAC)

In fact, that passage teaches us to judge someone by their actions - and not their words. Which is in fact the best way to not be lied to by someone.

I wiil also mention, the bible does not teach us not to judge - to do so would be impossible (we make judgments everyday from the type of food we eat to the type of friends we keep). It only teaches us not to judge in a manner that causes uneven weighting - like what you do is more excusable than what another does...it in fact is teaching us to be more merciful in our opinions of another.

"So it not up to us to say who but Christ who will sit on the judgment seat and judge us all." (MAC)

Well we cannot judge who makes it and who doesn't - why anyone would think we could is really beyond me - we have absolutely no eternal instincts whatsoever not knowledge of such a realm...that's really a God thing.

12/15/2009  
Blogger jollybeggar said...

"The cross is a symbol and instrument of death do you crucify Christ over and over again?" (MAC)

the prayer chain, one of my favourite 90's bands ('christian' or otherwise) put a similar question in the chorus of a song called 'whirlpool'

I saw you hanging on the wall
Rusted and gathering dust
a symbol of love and understanding
A lone figure, just like on the cross

Do you have to die again
for me to understand
What you mean to me
And what I mean to you

My feet burn on hallowed ground
even though I'm thinking of you
The WhirlPools swirl around my feet
A holy man's tears comfort me

And some men say that God is dead
some men say that God is dead
And sometimes I believe them
And sometimes I laugh at them
Because the rosary beads are worn
and no one is praying at his feet

The peace dove flies above my head
a merciful man died for me
but the stained glass windows
and the holy water condemning me


I guess I just don't understand
just a confused young man
that no picture, no book
no statue, no man
can help me understand
what it means to be born again
(the prayer chain)

12/17/2009  
Blogger jollybeggar said...

"The gospel does not say repent and continue to repent. Rather after you have repented you are in God's grace and it says sin no more." (MAC)

i'm well aware of this, as i am aware of how regularly 'the old rugged cross, the emblem of suffering and shame' is something that we are, in response to all that God has done on our behalf, challenged to bear.

again with the lyrics, i'm reminded of a particularly poignant lyric by matt redman in his song 'the way of the cross':

I've given like a beggar but lived like the rich
And crafted myself a more comfortable cross,
Yet what I am called to is deeper than this,
It's time You had my whole life;
You can have it all.
(redman)

the problem exists not in the desire or the intention, but in the followthrough. people like matt and others join with paul in romans 7 when they pen lyrics like:

Jesus Christ,
I think upon Your sacrifice
You became nothing
Poured out to death
Many times,
I've wondered at your gift of life
I'm in that place once again
I'm in that place once again

And once again I look upon the cross where You died
I'm humbled by Your mercy and I'm broken inside
Once again I thank You,
Once again I pour out my life

Now You are
exalted to the highest place
King of the Heavens,
where one day I'll bow
But for now,
I'll marvel
at Your saving grace
I'm full of praise once again
Oh I'm full of praise once again

Thank you for the cross
Thank you for the cross
Thank you for the cross, my friend
(redman)

the song is called 'once again' and seems to record the prayer of one who knows the truth and finds himself at the cross again. not a 'prayer of conversion' repentence, but that of a repeat offender. i know that matt redman and i are not the only people who have found themselves seeking forgiveness and peace, having broken our pledges to, by power and for God's glory, never sin again.

with the heartbreaking fervor of a frustrated saint who finds himself, against all his better judgement and best intentions, failing to live out in real time his most deeply intoned prayers and most eloquent sermons, paul explodes with the words 'what a wretched man i am! who will rescue me from this body of death? thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!' (rom7.24-25)

i can only speak of my own journey (but use that word intentionally, rather than poetically) when i say that each day is fortified with new wisdom and hope, built upon both the triumphs and tragedies of the day previous. i would love to say that romans 6 is my reality and that i no longer sin. however, saying so would be the kind of compound failing, adding lying to the list. the best i can manage is that i'm working on it by God's power for God's glory.

recently a very humble and very godly (they often travel together- ever notice that?) friend of mine said something that i wrote down in my notebook:

'we are not sinners.
we are saints who sometimes sin.'

love that.

12/17/2009  
Blogger jollybeggar said...

"Well we cannot judge who makes it and who doesn't - why anyone would think we could is really beyond me - we have absolutely no eternal instincts whatsoever not knowledge of such a realm...that's really a God thing." (SVS)

i love the notion of eternal instincts. speaking of perspective!

the thing that i do not think about as much as i once did is this whole business of 'who gets in.' if we see the kingdom of heaven the way Jesus seemed to repeatedly refer to it- as the redemption of pain and the restoration of God's shalom in the here and now- then the implications of his words in matthew 7 may have more to do with the tree and the fruit borne of it than doors being locked. the idea seems to be that the fancy talk, miracles and wonders, don't matter to God as much as active participation in the will of the father.

if Jesus is to be our model of how the work of the father was to be carried out, then we need to make sure that we take note of who he was serving and how; who he was walking with and how; who he was preaching to and how.

12/17/2009  
OpenID societyvs said...

"if Jesus is to be our model of how the work of the father was to be carried out, then we need to make sure that we take note of who he was serving and how; who he was walking with and how; who he was preaching to and how." (JB)

I am sooooo with you on that!

12/18/2009  

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