Thursday, January 7, 2010

For Max

Not mine. Kipling's. But, I appropriate it for my dog.


Master, this is Thy Servant. He is rising eight weeks old.
He is mainly Head and Tummy. His legs are uncontrolled.
But Thou hast forgiven his ugliness, and settled him on Thy knee...
Art Thou content with Thy Servant? He is *very* comfy with Thee.

Master, behold a Sinner! He hath committed a wrong.
He hath defiled Thy Premises through being kept in too long.
Wherefore his nose has been rubbed in the dirt and his self- respect has been bruised.
Master, pardon Thy Sinner, and see he is properly loosed.

Master, again Thy Sinner! This that was once Thy Shoe,
He has found and taken and carried aside, as fitting matter to chew.
Now there is neither blacking nor tongue, and the Housemaid has us in tow,
Master, remember Thy Servant is young, and tell her to let him go!

Master, extol Thy Servant, he has met a most Worthy Foe!
There has been fighting all over the Shop -- and into the Shop also!
Till cruel umbrellas parted the strife (or I might have been choking him yet),
But Thy Servant has had the Time of his Life -- and now shall we call on the vet?

Master, behold Thy Servant! Strange children came to play,
And because they fought to caress him, Thy Servant wentedst away.
But now that the Little Beasts have gone, he has returned to see
(Brushed -- with his Sunday collar on) what they left over from tea.


Master, pity Thy Servant! He is deaf and three parts blind.
He cannot catch Thy Commandments. He cannot read Thy Mind.
Oh, leave him not to his loneliness; nor make him that kitten's scorn.
He hath had no other God than Thee since the year that he was born.

Lord, look down on Thy Servant! Bad things have come to pass.
There is no heat in the midday sun, nor health in the wayside grass.
His bones are full of an old disease -- his torments run and increase.
Lord, make haste with Thy Lightnings and grant him a quick release!

by Rudyard Kipling

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Friend of God/Cheerleader

May God bless
Each and every one
With a friend
So very special
Someone close
Who sees to your heart
Someone dear
Strengthening your hand
For your task
Which you have defined
Spurs you on
To your chosen goal.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Ode to Lemon Meringue

My brain quit functioning about two hours ago.
It hiccoughed, sputtered, and wheezed to a rolling stop.
Although I’d love to tell you how it came to be,
I simply can’t until my brain returns from leave.

So let us have a ditty about that mad cow
Who flew over the meringue to Jersey for eggs.
She jumped off the plate, gave a penny for my thoughts
And resolved my head into amorphous oatmeal.

I have resolved with twelve impudent syllables
Each thoughtless line to write. Or perhaps I doodle.
Writing takes thought, but I find none in this warm space.
Word doodles must suffice for cognitive symptoms.

All lullabies stem from a mad cow and meringue.
Sing this one to those monkeys you call your children
They will thank you one day with your own little room
In a geriatric restaurant in Jersey.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Evolution and Christology Part II

An imperfect analogy:
My parents love me very much. They raised me from before I was born, and they paid my tuition through academy, and supported me through college. Also, they have told me that they love me. My father and mother love me, even though they did not build me. "Wait",you say, "they created you!" And, so they did. But indirectly. They did not carve me out of a piece of stone, or sculpt me from clay. What they did was initiate a chain of events that resulted in me. They each donated a gamete, and my mother donated space and resources. They came together and made a miniature big bang that had in it all the potentialities for life. But, they did not decide what gender would result, or what color of hair, or what physique the life would have. They had no control of the personality. They simply created circumstances that resulted in the formation of a zygote.
Now, in order for me to mature properly, I had to be protected. From my mother. Somethings called a placenta and umbilical cord formed, serving to shuttle resources to me and to protect me from my mother’s immune system, which saw me as an invader, a parasite. The placenta and umbilical cord: my lifeline, my shield. It’s not that Momma wanted to kill me. It’s just that I was (and am) a distinct entity and her body recognized that. Also, at that point my own system was not mature enough to defend itself. I could interact with her only at a very primitive level: I kicked. But even though I couldn’t understand what she said to me, couldn’t respond to her or converse with her on any advanced level, she loved me. She had no idea what I would end up being like, and she loved me.
Later, I was born. With jaundice. Nothing severe, but an imperfection nonetheless. It was quickly cleared up. It could have been something different, something worse. I could have been born with Downs. I could have been born premature, or even stillborn. I might have come out breach. Even after my birth, I might have died of SIDS. There are thousands of things that could have gone wrong.
My parents had rules for me that were imperfect. As I grew, the rules altered subtly and sometimes disappeared. My parents hadn’t been raising me poorly (at least, I think I had a great upbringing), it’s just that it was easier, simpler to give a simple, but imperfect rule when I couldn’t understand the complexities of how to cope with being alive with other people. Now, they set very few rules, possibly none. I don’t actually know if they have any rules. I haven’t been told that I’ve broken one in a very long time. I get these disappointed looks once in a while, but no scoldings.
My parents are like God (and, to set the record straight, my dad is way stronger than your dad, and my mom makes way better potato salad than your mom). God (possibly) sparked the Big Bang, and built into it all the potentialities for life. God (possibly) separated Itself from us, from the Universe, even, to allow it and us to develop into our own being. Otherwise, we would have been overwhelmed. God (possibly) chose not to know or control what we would be like: superficially, what our appearance would be like; more importantly, what kind of music and art we would make; what kind of dysfunctions we might develop. God might have left in the possibility that we might be stillborn. Perhaps somewhere out there, up in the black, there was a sentient race that destroyed itself, or was destroyed by an outside agent (disease, really big space rocks, etc.). It seems, though, that God has gifted sentient creatures with at least a primitive mechanism for interacting with It. Call it conscience, or consciousness, or whatever. People seem to somehow sense the divine. It’s not clear how it works, or what it means (thousands of people have interpreted it in thousands of ways), but God seems to be talking.
Yeah, my parents are like God.

I recognize that this is only slightly about evolution in many places. However, it is consistent with all the other stuff I wrote about in Part I?. More to come?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Evolution and Christology (Part I?)

This is in response to a question asked in discussion of an article posted on Spectrum.

“Why does an evolutionist seek salvation? Moral evolution is warmed over Elile Coue de Chataigneraie (ism) "In every day and in every way I am getting better and better." If man emerged by trial and error from primordial ooze--he grew up not "fell" down! Thus is no need for a salvific "Sabbath" anymore than a creation Sabbath.
The concept of a final generation necessity to vindicate God, is a warmed over "Sanctification" model of Eile Eoue's infamous mantra. Don Matzal calls this the theology of Glory --the consequence of "Once Saved, Always Saved". He contrast this with the Theology of the Cross. He see the difference between the two as: The Theology of the Cross defines repentance as contrition and faith while the Theology of Glory sees contrition and human determination.
Moral evolutionists are of the Theology of Glory taxonomy. Christians are of the Theology of the Cross. Dr. Edward Heppenstall captured this distinction in his seminal article in Signs of the Times of about 1964--"The Centrality of the Cross." Paul was an affirmed apostle of the Theology of the Cross--It was his Alpha and his Omega.
That evolutionists need rest, there is no doubt for they are flesh. Where, how, and why are based on entirely different premises that those of the Seventh-Day Adventist's 28 Fundamental Beliefs. It seems academic that the how and why are as significant as the when? No Creator, No Fall, No Seventh-day Sabbath according to Fundamental Beliefs.
Certainly Saturday and Sunday work out as being the best two days out of the seven in which to "rest" in Western Economy. The merit is in the renewal of mind, body, and spirit, not in any salvific sense. One could rig up a prayer wheel for that.”

My reply isn’t exactly a reply, just some thoughts on the value and meaning of Christ and human divine interaction (among other things) in the context of evolutionary development. Thanks to Tom Zwemer for sparking interesting thoughts.
Surely the beauty of the incarnation of the creator God (however God chose to create) transcends the evolutionary process. Why should it be that God who created the potential for life in the first fractions of a second after the Big Bang is barred from interacting in such an intimate way with the life that resulted?
Furthermore, creatures with freewill are likely to develop traits and habits that are unhealthy and hurtful. Also, anyone familiar with the New Years Tsunami, the Lisbon Earthquake, the Black Death, etc. will surely grant, with Voltaire, that this is not the best of all possible worlds (why would God create a world that is not the best? That is, in my opinion, a theodicy question, and theodicy, like the poor, we have with us always.).

Polkinghorne has an interesting free will argument that I find appealing. He suggests that God grants free will to all of his creation, not only sentient life. This results in some ugliness, but is, perhaps, viewed as being better than a constrained or limited creation. So, Polkinghorne argues that a change is necessary, eventually. There must be a New Creation, one that is the best of all possible worlds (when? Perhaps when this creation has matured? I know this smacks of Andreasen’s Perfect Final Generation theology, but there may be other angles one could take that would remove the legalistic perception).

I contend that no one really knows how salvation occurs, or what the requirements for salvation are. Some say belief in Christ. But it strikes some of us as unfair that people who have never heard of Jesus should be lost. Others add the condition of a “graced” or “repentant” life, where the evidence of a saved life is a reformed and holy life. “If you love me, keep my commandments.” However, there seem to be people who have less control over their actions (psychopaths, etc.). Should people be punished for things they had no control over (I include the notion of punishment of the wicked because I know that jettisoning that would bring heap big outcry too. I admit that I see no purpose in resurrecting the wicked just to lord it over them and then torch them.)? I submit that we do not understand human behavior well enough to have any clear notion of what “qualifies” someone for “heaven”. It seems clear to me as well (and several theologians and religious thinkers whose names I don’t remember) that a radical change would be necessary for every human, maybe even the Buddha and Gandhi, to be able to have stable interactions with each other and the Divine of the quality attributed to the Trinity, what we might imagine the quality of relationships might be in a New Earth.

This is certainly an incomplete answer, but maybe it’s a good start? Or, at least a start. Bad theory better than no theory, right?

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Beard is Gone

The Beard is gone. Long live the Beard. And, I’ve felt naked all day long. But, just but, I’ve this feeling the Beard will return, reincarnated in some form (perhaps as a goatee?). The face calls for it, and I think I can hear the Beard respond.
This grand experiment, like prohibition, methinks, has gone a-rye. The good-old-boys, who fain would be drinking, are, instead, seeking their razors for to hide. And they be rye-less, and some, whiskerless. But some mothers and some sweethearts weep, as Rachel, for faces obscured by obscurantist puns. And they weep too, for men fled to the Egypt of the hunting camp, where whiskers wear well with womanish warrants wax weak, whining wistfully, windborne, whimsical and most certainly out of bounds. Yes, the freedom train breaks for beards, though tickets are required. The currency is rare, and the exchange rate steep enough to frighten even the most seasoned investment banker. But some pay it. Some pay it. And some wish they had. But others find the Beard itself to be currency of worth and think, laughingly, chuckling, of their comrades of old in Egypt, cold and bathless, while his arm slips softly asleep ‘neath the shoulder of she who holds the warrant on his beard. He chuckles and follows his arm to lovely dreams.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Different Kinds of Hell

One night I wandered, dreaming
And stumbled into Dante's hell
suffering AMDG*
"God wills it" writ on every face

Next came I to Hades plain
Elysium's citizens call
"Are we remembered by you?
"What of immortal Achilles?"

And through the frozen north
I shivered my way to Hell's courts
Her grasp lets not one escape
No, not yet beloved Baldr

I could not find dark She'ol
Nor could its Shades direct me there
Rustling restless in the night
Never more knowing anything

But Atheists slept softly
Oblivious to their neighbors
Adventists, too, were silent
And are eternally extinct

*AMDG: ad majorem dei gloriam. Means "to/for the greater glory of god". Jesuit motto. For the record, I have tremendous respect for the society of Jesus. AMDG was convenient to use here and its use is not in any way meant to be disparaging toward the order.