29 June 2015

Thoughts while waiting for a car repair


People seem to use words in different ways. I wonder if there ever was a word that all people used in exactly the same way. I assume that some words have meanings. Maybe all words have the same meaning (this thought frightens me).

I wonder how many ways the word sanctity has been used. And then there is the word Christian. That is a word that I have heard people use in different ways. Some people label themselves Christians. I am a Christian, they say.

On Monday I met a man who labeled himself a Christian, and he told me that God is against certain actions. This made me wonder how one might find out just what God is for or against. I would like to know all of the opinions that God has revealed: I wonder if they can be found out.

But what is God? And where is God? (I forgot to say that God is also a word.) Is God a Christian? I think that Nietzsche said: There was only one Christian and he died on the cross.

So when one labels oneself a Christian, perhaps it means that one does not agree with absolutely everything that Nietzsche has said. But, unless Nietzsche is God, I still do not know how to discover what God is for or against.

If it is true that the opinions of God are very important (or at least somewhat interesting), then I wonder why it is so difficult to find where they are located.

I was recently warned to follow God alone, and to be skeptical of the traditions of mere humankind. Then the same person who gave me this advice quoted the words of the Apostle Paul and attributed them to God. So I wonder if we should say that the Apostle Paul is God.

But then Paul himself uses the word God to denote something other than himself. And Paul talks a lot about Jesus; and he labels Jesus not with the word Christian but with the word Christ.

I understand that the title Christ means Messiah or King. And I am familiar with one ancient King from the Hebrew Bible: his name was David. So I wonder if it is permissible to address this messiah as David Christ.

Yet David himself, as far as I can tell, was not the Christian God; so I gather that the word Christ does not mean the same as the word God.

But, if Jesus is God, it might follow that David is also God. And I wonder how many other kings might be divine.

Apparently the Apostle Paul is not quite God, but the words of Paul in the Bible are indeed the words of God. Yet God also has words in the Bible; I mean, as a character in some of the Bible stories, God speaks directly (as opposed to speaking through a prophet or apostle). Now, if Paul speaks words that are the words of God, I wonder if the words that God speaks are also the words of Paul.

And then there is Yahweh. Instead of voicing that name, people use the title Lord; so, instead of Yahweh God, they say Lord God.

Now I wonder if Yahweh can be called a king. If so, we might say Yahweh Christ, or Christ Yahweh. And I wonder what the difference would be between Christ Yahweh and Christ Jesus.

It is a curious dilemma: whether or not Jesus and Yahweh are the same character. When people say that Jesus is Lord, maybe they mean that Jesus is Yahweh. Now Jesus is called the Son of God, and he often makes mention of his heavenly Father. So if Jesus is Yahweh, then Yahweh has a heavenly Father as well.

And then there is much confusion about the Law of God. I have never been able to find the precise location of the Law of God. If the book of Leviticus alone, for instance, constitutes the whole of the Law of God, then the words that God speaks in the books of Exodus and Deuteronomy would be excluded from this Law.

And it is unclear whether or not the people who call themselves Christians actually follow the Law of God. Sometimes I hear Christians speak of the Law of God as eternal and permanent. Then, sometimes I hear Christians say that the Law has been fulfilled, and therefore the words that God speaks in Leviticus need no longer be heeded. Some say that the so-called Ten Commandments constitute the Law of God; but I can never figure out which set of rules are the ones that they mean for us to follow, because there are at least a couple of different places where Ten Commandments are given by God in the Bible (each with slightly different wording).

Should we ignore the commandment that prohibits representational art? Should we ignore the commandment that prescribes a six-day work week?

Today I heard a Christian complaining about the redefinition of marriage. But was marriage ever officially defined? If such a definition is to be found in the Bible, I have never seen it. Since the concept of marriage means a great deal to certain Christians, it is unfortunate that God remains silent on this issue.

The most revered patriarchs married multiple spouses, and the Bible does not present this practice in a negative light. Adam and Eve never married: they simply copulated without any formal ceremony.

The God of the Bible rarely (if ever) proclaimed stronger love for an individual human than for King David, whom I called Christ David above; yet this King David was far from normative, with regard to Christian morality: he subtly plotted in order to accomplish adultery; he performed a public dance for God in his underwear; moreover, he describes his relationship with Jonathan as “surpassing the love of women” (2 Sam 1:26). – I adore Christ David.

Also I recall a passage where God commands the prophet Hosea to marry what the King James Bible calls “a wife of whoredoms.” I wonder what this has to do with the dilemmas of modernity.

I love many of the ancient stories in the Bible. I love the poetry of the Book of Job; the wisdom of Ecclesiastes; the wild, sophisticated irony of Genesis and Exodus and Numbers and the books of Samuel and Kings.

I care about social harmony; and I am embarrassed to admit that I also care about truth. I am relieved to find that if you study the thousands of words that make up the Bible, you learn that the modern churches are largely mistaken in their doctrines and credos.

It takes time to become familiar with poetry; and the Bible is essentially poetic: it is a difficult book to learn. If one deigns sincerely to study one’s own Holy Scripture, one might miss out on the thrill of hating others.

Good bye, my pasta is now ready to eat.


Anonymous said...

Did you say something about pasta? Amen to that!

Bryan Ray said...

Since I understand its language, I can translate that the pasta just said: “Thanks, O Anonymous—it’s nice to be amen’d to!”


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