TRIPPING OVER JOY
What is the difference Between your experience of Existence And that of a saint?
The saint knows That the spiritual path Is a sublime chess game with God
And that the Beloved Has just made such a Fantastic Move
That the saint is now continually Tripping over Joy And bursting out in Laughter And saying, “I Surrender!”
Whereas, my dear, I am afraid you still think You have a thousand serious moves.
Common sense tells us that human beings don’t, as liberal theory seems to presuppose, sprout out of the ground and only later encounter each other. Rather, we come into this world in a state of irreducible dependence, unceremoniously pushed or cut out of another person with whom we subsequently have a relationship that we will never fully come to terms with, never be able to submit to clear concepts or rules. Such is the joy and burden of being human—we will never really be free individuals freely entering into contracts. As Heidegger tells us, we are “thrown” into this world, which means being thrown into our relationships as well. What this means is that gaining access to this utopia of mutual enjoyment—unmediated by those social orders that in the last analysis serve only to separate and exclude—is simple: we just need to admit to ourselves, and induce others to also admit to themselves, that it is where we already are.
when did we replace the word “said” with “was like”
When it occured to us that “said” implies a direct quote, while “was like” clarifies that you mean to communicate the person’s tone and general point without quoting them word for word.
A part of human experience, at least in Western societies, is feelings of inadequacy and anxiety in fairly ordinary situations. The Protestant churches here in the city that I don’t like very much — the ones whose Gospel is infected, perniciously, with secular self-help ideology — recognize this, and respond to it by reaffirming people continually: God loves you! Believe in yourself!
Now I have found great comfort in God’s presence in times of trouble. But the only thing that has ever assuaged my quotidian self-doubt is a reminder of God’s majesty and power. To remember that the great reconciling of creation to God will happen no matter how limited my own abilities, to know that I am invited to bear witness to and consciously participate in this great reconciling — that pulls me out of myself. It removes the focus from where it shouldn’t be — on myself — and places it on others, on people I love and on God.
It’s hard not to see the constant affirmation of the self-help gospel as a vain attempt at justification, in every sense of the word.
"[V]iolence does not consist so much in injuring and annihilating persons as in interrupting their continuity, making them play roles in which they no longer recognize themselves, making them betray not only commitments but their own substance, making them carry out actions that will destroy every possibility for action."
— Emmanuel Lévinas, Totality and Infinity: An Essay on Exteriority (translated by Alphonso Lingis)
I have a problem with people saying that “strongly religious” means “conservative Christian” and that the best way for Christians to do life is to just be really casual about it because that assumes that
- religion is Christianity
- conservatives are Christians
- the problem with conservatives is that their beliefs are strong as opposed to that they are shitty
- that secular society has healthy interests that don’t need to be interfered with
- that my job as a person of faith is to be quiet about it
Hey for anyone wondering
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