Sunday, May 22, 2011

In the room

I sat in a room with 400 others
There was talk of heaven and celebration
When it comes to death this community has it nailed
Heaven, reward, mansions, eternal retirement...

But in spite of the good news there were still tears and misty eyes
Siblings told stories
Mentors and leaders sang praises
Perhaps this person did no wrong

Death stalked and killed quickly
Likely an African legacy
"Craig has gone Home"
A servant whose task was done?

I felt alone
Though I expect there were other doubters laying low
What arrogance to doubt what the room knows to be true
Not just (but mostly) white upper-middle class Americanssome Africans too
Are we capable of self-deception at such a scale?
History suggests: Hell yes!  But our histories fail to challenge the community's truths

I wondered what they will say about me on that day
"He lost his faith and became a doubter"
"Seduced by the wisdom of men"
Perhaps I will get credit for time served

But it really doesn't matter
At that point I'll know the truth, or be past knowing
At one with eternity, or looking at time stretched out forever

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Outside the towers

Leaving the tradition
No longer believing the sacred texts
I sit by the road near my old tower and marvel

My tower promised Truth, forgiveness, and eternal life
And delivers community, rules, endless obligations, and destiny
It’s an elaborate, ornate structure, with a rich history and traditions
Generations of scholars built up its troves of wisdom
Thousands of books, millions of sermons
Creeds spell out the essentials, most questions have answers
The sacred texts are central—but a challenge to make sense of
Even more confusing to live by
The sacred texts say they are inspired—therefore they must be

It’s still hard for me to believe the tower was built with human hands
How can so many people over the centuries be so wrong?
Lives have been changed, saved from disaster
Its rules usually work out so much better than instant gratification
But its claims for Truth don’t bear close inspection
Is it just cultural evolution set on a course
Reflecting older times where God’s hand was everywhere
And God demanded appeasement?

Other towers claim Truth too—it doesn’t help their story
But apparently God is not inclined to set things straight
We are told it’s OK for things to be confusing, otherwise why would we need faith?
It’s part of the master plan, and God’s thoughts are much higher than ours
Or perhaps these towers are Babels—built of burnt bricks, stacked by human hands

The tower of Science is different
Its dwellers know that its doctrines are flawed
Not everything is explained, they look forward to inevitable change
Bringing them closer to reality
I’m a part time dweller there, but sometimes I feel the call to go sit outside
And sit in the dirt

The other towers are not so fond of this late-comer Science
Continually rocking the boat—challenging perfectly good doxies
Alternate stories for beginnings—the universe and life
Rainbows explained
Miracles ignored, genealogies discounted

Mostly I don’t miss living in my old tower
Trying to rationalize doctrines that don’t make sense
Or dealing with rules pulled out of thin air or worse
But I do miss destiny
And the promise that all things work together for good—for those in the tower

God still calls, and I try to answer
I still pray and ask for favors
God no longer demands blood, sacrifice, and worship
But still requires justice, kindness, and humility
And love

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Limitations imposed by language

Languages differ essentially in what they must convey and not in what they may convey.  
Roman Jakobson

An example given in this article demonstrates how  a statement made in English can withhold information that must be disclosed in French. 

Saturday, December 18, 2010


"Eternity is another name of the presence of the present."

Jacques Derrida  "Ousia and Grammē" 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Another direction

Consciousness arose by itself

Awareness of the other was one of the consequences

The unity of the world was lost and the knowledge of death was gained

Our horizon exploded from the moment to eternity

And the search for our beginnings began

Making love was the only way to return to the way it was