Dating

I’ve been considering writing this for a while. ¬†And I’d normally think it’d cause me some blowback, but no one reads this anyway. ūüôā

There seems to be, these days, the idea that if you choose who you are going to date based on any criteria whatsoever that is “protected”, then you are a bigot.

Alright, then.  I suppose that makes me a bigot.

Because the honest truth is that I would never, ever date a transgender person.

I don’t have anything against people doing what they want. ¬†If people want to dress up as the gender they were not born with, and even claim to not be the gender they were born with, more power to ’em! ¬†If they want to date each other and “marry” and do whatever, oh well. ¬†No skin off my nose, and I frankly don’t care.

But here’s the deal. ¬†I don’t find it something personally attractive in a partner. ¬†I actually rather enjoy¬†female plumbing – I mean the real thing, not something shaped by a surgeon. ¬†I don’t like the idea of giving up the possibility of having a child of my own just because someone else has decided that my wants don’t matter.

These are the only reasons. ¬†Morality or any other such thing doesn’t even enter into it. ¬†I have not an iota of hatred in my heart. ¬†I simply do not want to be in a relationship where I am not happy, and I would not be happy in such a relationship. ¬†Full stop.

There are some that would not care what my reasons are – the very fact that I would make this statement would have me branded a “transphobe”, or worse. ¬†To that, I will have to take one of the few pages worth taking out of the Trump playbook, and simply say this:

I don’t care.

Activists have had their say, I listened, I understood, and now I reject. ¬†That’s that.

Duality

About a week ago, I was in the store.

I was walking down an aisle, and I felt a little bit emotional. ¬†And as I was trying to hold it in until I got home, I wondered why it is people don’t let that kind of thing show in the middle of the grocery store. ¬†And very quickly I came to the conclusion that the answer came down to judgement.

People would judge me.

And then a few thoughts came through in very quick succession.  Judgement comes from a concept of sin.  Sin comes from law.  And law comes from duality.

And at that point my head started to explode, because at that moment I realized that duality was the root of law.

What is duality?  Duality is the concept of there being two sides to something.  Hot vs. cold is a dual aspect of temperature.  Good vs. evil is a duality.  Morality vs. immorality is a duality.  Beautiful vs. ugly is a duality.  Everything that we use to judge people Рand I mean everything Рis borne out of a duality.  On one side of the duality is good, and on the other side is bad Рin whatever forms those might take.  Truly, the knowledge of good and evil.

But grace theology has a few conclusions that are difficult for those in a dual mindset to stomach. ¬†One of those conclusions is that God does not judge. ¬†At all. ¬†Ever. ¬†Now you can believe this or not believe it (a duality!) but if you are to follow the ideas of hyper-grace to their conclusion, that’s where you have to arrive, because judgement is an either/or. ¬†There is no such thing as a little judgement. ¬†There is either absolute judgement – in which good and evil are judged without exception or mercy – or there is no judgement – in which there is no concept of good or evil. ¬†If you try to come up with any theology that tries to enforce selective judgement, you get theologies like Calvinism – which most right-thinking people think is a pile of horse-shit.

If you, then, go towards the “all-judging” side, God ends up in a situation where he is required to sate his own judgement – and Jesus and the incarnation pretty much comes out of that as a matter of course if you want to have any kind of loving God at all.

If you go towards the “non-judging” side, our theology is very different. ¬†Our theology, then, would imply that since God never judged us, judgement – and thus law and sin as well – must originate with us – or more specifically, originates in the dual nature of the Universe, where entropy and the laws of nature pretty much demand that there are winners and losers in every transaction or interaction.

But the idea of “winners and losers” only makes sense when there is consciousness to make that value judgement.

So it is perhaps the greatest contradiction of all that duality only comes from consciousness.  Or, more accurately, duality is an emergent property of consciousness in a zero-sum world, such as the one we live in.  It is what caused us to evolve, it is what pushed us forward as a species, but when we came to a certain point, it started to hurt more than help  Рbecause, as we internalized duality, we became keenly aware of the fact that something always has to lose.

Sin, law, and judgement are what happens when those imbued with the non-dual, divine consciousness of God become aware of our dual, animal nature, and thus is the full measure of the battle we sign up for the minute we pop out of our mother’s womb.

The minute we say “that’s not fair”, even as a small child, the battle starts. ¬†For suffering is simply the awareness of what we, in our hearts, know should be as opposed to what is.

 

A chain of thought…

Something I posted to my Facebook earlier.

I am about to walk y’all through a very uncomfortable train of thought.

The problem of theodicy – why God allows suffering – is a very troublesome and intractable one.

This train of thought started with a woman a saw jogging while leaving the grocery store. She was wearing a shirt that said “such a nasty woman”.

And then I thought about what she was saying with that shirt. I doubt that she believes that she is nasty herself (though she might) – what she was instead saying was that she is a woman who revels in sinning – in doing things that many people would find disgusting.

But then I thought that, if the hyper-gracers are right, that there is nothing that she could do that would truly *make* her nasty, but that instead the nastiness is in her own mind, *defined* by what she believes is sin.

As I was walking in the store, I saw quite a few beautiful women, and I thought to myself “why is it wrong to want them? Why is it wrong to desire them?” And I realized that it isn’t. If all things are permitted, then truly all things are permitted – the minute we begin to pick and choose is the minute we begin imposing our own rules on God’s creation. If there is nothing we can do in order to be rejected by God, then one must draw that to its logical conclusion – there is truly absolutely nothing we can do. Hitler himself could not do anything sufficient to be rejected by God, as truly all things are permitted. Even his truly horrific acts. This could be seen as “reductio ad absurdum” – and to some degree it is. Is there a certain level of evilness that we could commit that would make God turn his back on us forever? But it could also be the gateway into a theodicy. I will be exploring the latter.

If God does not see sin, why do we still have justice? Why are some things not permitted even when they are permitted? When it comes to theodicy, it’s particularly easy to ignore the fact that nature is, indeed, God’s creation, and by looking at nature we can see what God thinks is good.

Animals rape. Animals kill. Animals torture. Death and suffering is not only permitted, but seemingly enthusiastically embraced. There are animals out there that do truly horrific things – things that if a human were to do it they would be executed faster than you can say “John Piper”. We can’t ignore this – because God created this and said it was good. Why did he say it was good? Why did he create such a (in one sense) lawless world, set animal upon animal, and declare that all is well?

I think this is a necessary consequence of a God who does not see sin. You can’t have it both ways. Either God sees sin, and thus this world he created is absolutely unconscionable and *must* be destroyed – or he does not, and everything – horrific and terrible as it may be – is good in his eyes.

So then where does sin come from?

If God does not see sin, and we do see sin, then sin must come from us.

The consequences for doing something forbidden are earthly. You rape, you kill, you torture, you do any series of things that humanity has – for one reason or other, mostly centered on their animal heritage – deemed to be unacceptable, and the consequences come from *humans*. That’s the order of nature. We have taken the animal world – which is “survival of the fittest”, “dog eat dog”, etc., and instituted our version of order on it. Perhaps sin is our invention – and perhaps justice is *also* our invention. Perhaps when we believe that God wants justice because we are holy and righteous, we play into that false narrative of theodicy, because if justice is to be had in this world, then there must be wrongdoing, and if God wants justice for us then he must have set up a set of moral laws – and he’s already violated them.

For a God who sees sin, for a God who demands justice, for a God who punishes and is wrathful, we are already more holy and righteous than he is. For we see things that he has done, and rightly judge them by his standards, and *find him wanting*.

But, then, how do we address the fact that God wants justice, that God is righteous, that God *does* want the best? Because there’s equal evidence for that.

Perhaps this is because God wants for us what *we* want.

Perhaps he takes our animal nature and, instead of overlaying our nature on his and calling it evil, overlays his nature on ours and calls it very good? Perhaps he sees our cries for justice, and for an easing of suffering, and our desire for all the tears to dry and for the lion to lay with the lamb – not because it satisfies his sense of justice, but perhaps because it satisfies *ours*? Perhaps it is our justice that is the aberration, perhaps it is our idea of sin that is wrong, but because it is our nature as humans to suss out right and wrong, to “know good and evil”, to make sin out of what is not sin, he ultimately grants us justice *in the context of the sin that we ourselves created*?

What if sin comes from us, and salvation comes from God, not because he wants to eradicate sin from us, but because he wants to eradicate the *knowledge* of sin from us? And in doing so, because we already have it in us to create justice and create utopia, perhaps all (or nearly all) darkness in that event will completely… melt away.

Language

I got to thinking about language today.

Language is a very interesting thing. ¬†It is something that requires both a sender and a receiver – and both have to be intelligent. ¬†They have to be intelligent, but there’s something else they require as well – they require a shared worldview so that the concepts encoded in the language can actually be transmitted accurately.

If I say something like “The cat walked into the house”, there are several concepts that are already required. ¬†The concept of a cat – a four legged carnivore that is commonly kept as a pet. ¬†Walking, which is the concept of using legs to ambulate from one place to another. ¬†And pet, which is the concept of an animal kept for the enjoyment of the keeper. ¬†But all of these concepts also require explanation, and at some point the explanations become so granular that they lose all meaning.

But they don’t lose meaning because the concepts stop becoming important, they lose meaning because at the core of language is experience – and language is designed to communicate shared experience, in one of two ways. ¬†Either to describe an experience that both parties have had, or to communicate the possibility of said experience.

In no way does language actually transmit any experience except for the experience of using language.

This becomes important in many ways, but one of the ways in which it is important is theology.  Language excels at transmitting the concepts of religion Рwhich are, at their core, a basic human shared experience which is the fundamental core on which religion is built.  The transmission of the concepts take the idea of the necessity of religion as a given, and instead focus on the conceptual details of that religion:  which God exists, what its nature is, and how you can please (or displease) that God.

Language starts to break down as deconstruction of religion occurs, because at the core of a belief system that has been fully deconstructed, there is no possibility of a fully shared experience, and thus words are completely inadequate or incoherent.

I was raised in a separate culture, a culture which had its own set of assumptions and languages. ¬†Since, as I put forth earlier, one of the major reasons that language exists is to communicate the details of a shared experience (you can tell when this has happened when someone’s words resonate with something that already exists inside you) it is a common and basic human drive to want to share one’s experiences with others who understand that experience.

Except for me, for the most part, those people do not exist.

My culture is gone, and thus my language is obsolete.  And I have nothing in common whatsoever with those who are engaged with the primary shared cultural experience.

So I can talk all I want Рmy words never find a landing place.  My words never resonate.  My words do not fit.

My experiences do not have an outlet.

And this, above many other things, is why I feel so dad-blamed lonely all the time.

 

A poem

Wake up to the morning sun
Things that were, that now are done
And tears flow with the darkness of the sky

Screaming to the heav’ns above
Are supposed to be proclaiming love
And instead it leaves us only wondering why

People come and people go
All the highs end in a low
And the last one out is supposed to turn the lights

But there never is a last one gone
Cause lights go out, another’s on
And the cycle of life and death and joy and slights

Continues on another day
And we can never find a way
To dig a mote of meaning from the static world of sound

Cuz every day we wake and sleep
And laugh and smile and frown and weep
And all that we take with us is a coffin in the ground.

(by me)

Beautiful dreams, horrible nightmares.

This was posted to my Facebook timeline by me on December 24th.

This world is so full of beautiful dreams and horrible nightmares…

In my feed, the death of teenagers is juxtaposed with the birth of children, the pain of sickness is contrasted with people proclaiming joy, my Facebook feed is full of such love and such loss, sometimes right next to each other, and sometimes I don’t know how we do it as a species – I mean even just wake up.

And tears flow like salty rivers… sometimes people being there to dry them, sometimes the rivers join into mighty oceans, and you look out on those oceans, beautiful in their own way, and wonder who will dry those, wonder who will balm the loss, who will give us a reason to get up the next day and the next day in the face of the nightmares that mark our journey as humans…

And as you grow old, you remember the time that you would wake up, unconcerned with the troubles of life, and ready to jump up and go on the next adventure, and that goes away, and soon you wake up wondering what happened and where it all went, and all the dreams and all the nightmares seem in the past, except for the one nightmare that all of us have to face at one point or other. And people around you start to face their nightmares, little nightmares, and big nightmares, and you start to wish that you could have the time back when your biggest dream was to learn how to drive and do things that big people do.

Such beautiful dreams, and such horrible nightmares, and the dreams stay unfulfilled and the nightmares turn inevitable, and then you cry for a savior, not because of religion, not because of what they told you in church every week before you stopped going when you realized they were full of shit, but because the nightmares keep coming and you scream to the ends of the Universe with your last breath, “Is this it? Is there nothing more?” And you realize that no matter how counterintuitive and improbable it seems, there must be, there has to be, or the Universe has pulled one big joke on everything who has ever lived in it and is intelligent to understand the joke.

Because the joke is not funny.

Maybe later I will have Christmas cheer, maybe later I will speak of egg nog and red and green and the festivities that came into being because the winters were long and the food was scarce and humans needed something to help them get through it, a celebration of the renewal of death into life, but today I don’t have any. Because I keep seeing pictures of a seventeen year old girl who accidentally killed herself on overdose, and what do you do with that?

Deconstruction

Deconstruction is kind of a bitch.

here is what the doctrines of grace actually do – they blow theology pretty much out of the water. ¬†Everything that you thought you knew about God turns out to be wrong. ¬†You thought he was angry at you? ¬†Well, turns out he isn’t. ¬†You thought he was going to send you to hell? ¬†Well, turns out he isn’t. ¬†You thought there was a such thing as eternal conscious torment? ¬†Well, turns out there isn’t.

Original sin, the second coming, the idea of a separate heaven… ¬†even the idea of there being sin in the first place, everything that we’ve so carefully built our doctrinal fortresses upon comes crashing down, and not one stone remains upon the other (which is a banner opportunity for the Royal Society for Putting Things on top of Other Things). ¬†And then you sit there, listlessly sifting through the rubble trying to find one theological thing that you can cling to, and it’s all gone. ¬†All of it. ¬†You’re reduced to being like one of those baby sentient robots on “Batteries not included”, futilely trying to fix the mosaic in the building that’s just been leveled by a gas explosion. ¬†It’s even almost pathetic.

As Jeff Turner says, you almost become an atheist, even as you believe in Jesus, because all of the gods you’ve built your life on come crashing down on top of you until there’s nothing at all left. ¬†And there are only two things left. ¬†God, and your humanity.

And when you start to face your humanity, that’s where all hell breaks loose.

We have this innate sense of rightness, of justice. ¬†We build these moral structures on top of our lives, and we impute divine attributes to them. ¬†We think something is wrong, so God must think it’s wrong. ¬†We think something is right, so God must think it’s right. ¬†The first step to deconstruction – and perhaps only the very first step – is the realization that what we think is right is not necessarily what God thinks is right, and what we think is wrong is not necessarily what God thinks is wrong. ¬† But that’s only the first step. ¬†At some point, we come face to face with the fact that God created death and suffering, and that it may be something that is holy. Meaning something that he uses in order to further his goals. ¬†Millions of dinosaurs die, thereby clearing the way for the ascendency of mankind, and that’s just one example. ¬†We are faced with the fact that our humanity may in itself be divine, that our suffering is perhaps required and even good, and than everything that we spend our lifetimes trying to avoid may perhaps be the very point of it after all.

And that’s not right. ¬†What kind of a monster God have we found, when deconstructing from the monster gods we built in our head that actually don’t exist? ¬†Is there no respite from death and suffering because death and suffering are what was ordained in the first place? ¬†If you strip away all of the religious balms and band-aids trying to tell us that things aren’t as bad as we think they are, we start to get a glimpse that things are not only as bad as we think they are, but are worse than we think they are.

And what are we saved from, after all? ¬†Certainly we aren’t saved from death, because we all die. ¬†Certainly we aren’t saved from suffering, because we all suffer. ¬†Certainly we aren’t even saved from sin, because there isn’t any in God’s eyes. ¬†What are we saved from, then? ¬†What purpose it is for Jesus to come to earth? ¬†What good news is it to be given promises that are obviously, at least from our earthly perspective, empty and broken?

Did Jesus only come to earth so he could watch us suffer? ¬†Did Jesus only come to earth so he could participate in our suffering? ¬†Did he come to earth not to alleviate the suffering? ¬†When there is no more sin, when suffering and death are ordained rather than to be eradicated, when Jesus has already returned and showed himself to be seemingly completely incompetent at making any kind of difference whatsoever… what is left to worship?

What is left when everything is rubble and there is no living being as far as the eye can see?