June 4, 2010

Leaves of Grass

God(s) and father(s). I haven't rambled in a while.

It's my Dad's birthday. Two days ago we discovered, in a long overdue conversation, that he in his kindhearted Christianity, and I in my supersoft atheism, aren't so far apart as I'd thought. We're both looking for a similar thing: what he calls the Christian God, and I call ______. And we both hold Jesus in reverence. We also both like Hebrews 11:6, which says, "...[God] is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."

I'm still seeking, and never wandering far from home. Hopefully I don't get too flaky. Meh, whatever.

I drew a chalk labyrinth on my apartment parking lot last month. It's on your side, a labyrinth is. No dead ends. No tricks. Just a path, and you know exactly where it's going. So why are you doing it? I dunno.

You do so know why.

I used to pray, but was easily distracted. Reaching, striving, wandering... "oh, sorry Lord, my mind was somewhere else -what did you say?"

"Try the labyrinth, it might help you listen."

"Who is that? I can hear you just fine. Any other suggestions?"

No response. Silence. So I gave God my voice.

"Try, umm, I dunno. Try Leaves of Grass," I imitated. "Thoreau had it as an ally. I know you like him." Was I being sacrilegious? I meant my God-voice kindly, inviting the silence to take over any time it wanted to. No mockery. Only love.

Then God imitated me. "Yeah," he said, "Thoreau was the first person I heard say 'Slow down. You say it only takes an hour by train? You forgot all the time spent saving cash for the ticket. Try walking instead. I only work a couple months a year. Like a fur trapper in 1960s Saskatchewan.'"

Yes, folks still fur-trapped in rural 1960s Saskatchewan. My dad did. He was just a kid, but he remembers families who lived simple lives (what might be called poor) but only worked 3 months a year. "It was a different way of life," Dad told me. I'll bet.

Why work if you don't love it? Pay the bills, then stop. Like Ankh-af-na-khonsu. Like Sylphs. I too am foolish with money. Drop out.

What? Matthew this post is a convoluted mess. *o*o*

Don't listen to me, or anyone. Do what thou wilt.

Don't even listen to that.

Listen? How can you listen? These are letters, not sounds. And the links are nonsense-ish. So you can trust them.


The voice of God and the voice of my father are linked. I can't help it. Noticing that link may have helped me realize God was all in my head. But I like my father's voice, so it isn't that bad.

This post would've been better if I'd misspelled every word. And added more pictures. And begun more sentences with And. And, exactly. Destroy all language. Lovingly. Make words your slaves, not you theirs.

Don't learn old languages. Make up new ones and teach them to no one.

Good grief.




Jon Coutts said...

I liked this.

For what its worth, prayer is like that for me too. I do think you've managed to express my problem with it better than I ever have. "No response. Silence. So I gave God my voice." For me, as you may guess, that tells me more about what prayer is or is not, than about whether God is or is not "there", but you've put it almost perfectly nonetheless.

Jon Coutts said...

When I say "I liked this", I mean what I understand of it. You understand.

Anonymous said...

I do understand. Absolutely.

Strangely, surprisingly, I feel like I am better at prayer now than I ever was before -except it's not prayer as I used to think of it.

I don't know. I don't understand what I'm talking about either. And I feel better about not understanding than I ever did understanding.


Jon Coutts said...

Strangely, suprisingly, then, I'm jealous of your prayer life.

Couple questions: Want to find a place of understanding that leaves and enhances mystery, or just not understand? And, is the potentiality of not being understood good or bad or neither or both?

I'm trying to provoke you back into the online world, obviously. I was mourning your absence. Should you disappear, I will meet you in a pub in Montreal one day and put these questions to you, after you teach me to pray of course.

Anonymous said...

I have nothing to say about prayer today.
But I do want to mention that I actually had a fur trapper come to church on back-to-back Sundays last month. Said he was up in the area to fill an order for 200 beaver pelts.

Plafter a la Cursemazz said...

Strangepolutely! Polutin' you strangely! Strangle the polution that spills in the sea! See the spillutely that strangles ME! Me the stralootely that loots the marquee! Mark the words of the lingual chi!

PLoVDOr Cursemazz said...

Water and oil DO mix! It's true, Boston Pizza told me so!

Problem Christmazz said...

A pown for da slaves of the talkins:

GRAVELGRAVELGRAVEL ROBBELROBBELBOBBLEYBOO BRACKENZEEMACK!!! :::::::::::%^%^%^%^%^%^%^%^%^%^%^%^%^%^%^%^%^%^%^%^%^%^%^%^%^%^%^%^%^%^%^%^%^%^%^%^%^%^%%^%^%^%^%^%^^^^^^^%%%%%%%^%%^%%^%%^%%^%%^%%^%%^%%m$()o#)*(%$r#)(s)(*#e#)(*#c@&!^o#(*!^!d#&@*%()#*(e&*(##@is#&*(*#@#%overrat)(*)(#ed

signed: antiUnplafter said...

eutic eutic citue citue d'a'd'd'y' i's's'u'e's tsol ssim i<<<




When it all really comes down to it, when all is said and done, when you really browse all the fax and figers, and you egsplor all the options.... can you really blame Hitler? I mean, come on people. It's the 21st century and we're still blaming it all on him. Stupid Schpieburg!


Matthew A. Wilkinson said...

Jon C:

you asked, "Want to find a place of understanding that leaves and enhances mystery, or just not understand?"

I don't know. I love mystery, certainly. But only if I feel like I can make progress in solving it.

Or something. I don't know exactly.

I like the idea of a solution so complete that it fills the gap of mystery. Narratively, I think, that's what Jesus is: a solution to the Messiah mystery that is ultimately, completely satisfying. And from an angle you could've never seen coming. I mean, forget about whether he really did the things Christians claim he did, and just look at it as a story. It's incredible. To me.

That's one of the reasons I continue to hold the idea of Jesus in such reverence, I guess.

I guess what I want looks like this:

-Complete, surprising Solution
-Then a new, better mystery

Why do I want a new mystery? Because, as Martin Heiddeger apparently said (I've never read him and probably never will) Humanity exists in the form of a question. I can't rest in a solution. It would be no fun. So heaven is completely baffling to me. Not that I mind being baffled. Which leads to...

You also asked, "Is the potentiality of not being understood good or bad or neither or both?"

Neither and both. Ha. I jest.

I love nonsense. Mostly because it does not ask you to understand it. It just is what it is and that's all. You can take it or leave it.

I'm over-analyzing. But clearly,
"who put the bop
in the bop-sha-wop sha-wop
Who put the ram
in the ram-a-rama-ding-dong"
is some of the greatest rock'n'roll lyrics of all time.

What I don't like is something which presents itself as understandable which, in actuality, is not. That's rude. An unanswerable question is not a question worth asking.

I'm not sure I really believe that. Words are too precise. They lock you in. But anyways...

You've lured me back online. For a while. But you should still come to a Montreal pub, where I definitely will not teach you how to pray.

Jon K:
That we live in a world with fur-trappers is a beautiful thing.

Plafter Christmas:

Jon Coutts said...

I guess I was asking the first question because I thought you were suggesting a preference for non-understanding. as it regards, life, or whatever, i think there will always be more to ask, even after the most satisfying answer. at least i kind of hope so. I suppose Jesus comes off as that satisfying answer to end all questions. I don't feel like he does, but I can see it feeling that way. Maybe I am satisfied, I don't know.

As for the second question, I can appreciate that. I thought plafter Christmas put on a fine display of it, and I actually thought I kind of understood what I was not understanding. And I like that stuff, as art, or expression, or as something that adds to the whole. I just don't think its the whole, that's all. But there is a certain poetry to it, a certain purification (for lack of a better word), like when you shake up the etch-a-sketch to start all over again.

And I totally get you on the bit about "something which presents itself as understandable which, in actuality, is not". A different but similar thing can happen when you have something presenting itself as nonsense, when in actuality it is passive-aggressively trying to say something, and keeping it passive just to content itself in saying what it had to say, but without the risk of having to really hear back from anyone.

I look forward to the pub. My word verification is scism.

Matthew A. Wilkinson said...

"...something presenting itself as nonsense, when in actuality it is passive-aggressively trying to say something, and keeping it passive just to content itself in saying what it had to say, but without the risk of having to really hear back from anyone."

Yeah. Good point. Certainly in myself and the artist-types I have known there has been a tendency to build walls around my/their work which protects it from any kind of criticism.

I think Jesus did provide a new, better mystery: the apocalypse. I mean, that's what Christians look forward to now, right? And it's totally fascinating. The book of Revelation is cool/weird/awe-inspiring -and (to me) wonderfully baffling. I hope the solution to that mystery will be as surprising and out-of-left-field as Jesus was.

I feel I'm over my head here. Which is as it should be.

scism = nice.

Jon Coutts said...

you are not over your head. I feel the same way.

don't take my comment as a critique of artists, per se. it can be used as a smokescreen, but so can everything (including religion).