common experience?

One of the strongest memories of my youth is of an orchard next to our house. Maybe it was not really an orchard but more of a hobby garden. at the front of this garden there was an apple tree that grew into the street. My strongest memory of growing up is hiding in the garage and eating the apples on a warm summer afternoon.

green or red? sweet or sour? big or small?

As you read that story (and be honest) what was the image of an apple that you had in your mind? Was the apple large or small? Was it sweet or sour? And was the apple green or red?

For the record the apples were green, small and extremely sour. When I hear the word “apple” that is the image I have in my mind.

So here is the “moral of the story”: can I assume that my experience of the world is anything like your experience of the world? I know I experience the world but can I abstract a common experience from my experience. Or is it an act of faith?

SK and Merton – winning!

I stumbled across this in my Reader:

It is said that one of the most terrifying things that can happen to us at the final judgement, when we stand before God, is that He asks us this one question:

“Why did you not become the person I had created you to be?”

This Is How Kierkegaard, Merton, And An Obscure Book On Spinoza Helped Me Become A Writer

Now the post has SK and Merton – so we are winning right from the start. But seeing my journey reflected in other people’s journey is always an amazing experience.

I would love to be a writer but I know deep down that I will never be one. Nothing to say! Yet the post has reminded me that other’s have struggled with the same things and they have come through to the other side. So keep going!

There is another post I will check out later:

This Heartfelt Letter From Merton To Jacques Maritain Will Make You A Better Writer, Artist, Human Being

Where to?

I have been thinking about where I am intending to go with this blog (and hopefully the podcast). I really do not want to convince anyone of anything. I have no product to sell, no idea to proclaim, no party line to defend. I have absolutely no authority except my lived experience. Yet I know that life comes with many questions and many different answers to these many questions. And somehow I would like to be in that mix – helping finding answers rather than giving answers. So where to from here?

So while I was reading I came across this quote from SK about his task as an author:

“I dare not call myself a Christian; but I want honesty and to this end I will venture”

Søren Kierkegaard

THAT IS IT!! Be honest with yourself. I want to be honest with myself and I want to help people be honest with themselves. I really do not care where you stand (right, left, gay, straight, theist, atheist, Catholic, or Protestant) simply be honest in your own position. And make it that – your own position! I do not accept negative positions – “I am [X] because [Y] is wrong”. But I do accept that all positions have a sense of paradox and individuality to them. So “it is right for me” is an answer and a reason.

So there it is! A new year and a new direction. So this year I hope to post a little more regularly and a little longer posts. And, of course, I will post some new podcast episodes.

Some SK insights

I read a great article on SK and possibility this morning. It is especially useful since I am reading Sickness unto death. Anyway, here is a quote:

The important step for Kierkegaard is the concept “before God”. This is a Christian concept. He sees this actuality, standing in prayer before God, or becoming contemporary with God, as the highest for any Christian. Here the possibility of the offense is present, and must be ever-present. But here also the possibility of being able to become a believer  is present and is ever present.

SK & Possibility

The great risk in possibility is also the risk in faith.

Asking questions

One of the moral diseases we communicate to one another in so­ciety comes from huddling together in the pale light of an insufficient answer to a question we are afraid to ask.

Thomas Merton, No Man is an Island.

The pastor at the church that we attend likes to use examples from modern movies to illustrate his point. He does not actually listen to the questions being asked (by the movie) but rather is looking for validation of his point. They are not the question that the particular movie is asking but rather a “this person agrees with me” type of thing.

I think Merton is right – we are afraid to ask the difficult questions because asking it may reveal something about us. We like, rather, to gather around easy answers to difficult questions. Or, we like to escape the question by simply gathering round cliches. Or maybe we hide behind an “authority” and simply call for “blind faith”. 

Anyway …

I do not believe in Christianity

Recently I have been confronted by statements that people “believe in Christianity”. I must say that upon reflection I do not believe in Christianity – I believe in Jesus.

SO here is a Kierkegaard quote:

The conflict about Christianity will no longer be doctrinal conflict (this is the conflict between orthodoxy and heterodoxy). The conflict (occasioned also by the social and communistic movements) will be about Christianity as an existence. The problem will become that of loving the ‘neighbour’; attention will be directed to Christ’s life, and Christianity will also become essentially accentuated in the direction of conformity to his life. The world has gradually consumed those masses of illusions and insulating walls with which we have protected ourselves so that the question remained simply one of Christianity as doctrine. The rebellion in the world shouts: We want to see action! (Soren Kierkegaard, Journals and Papers 4185)

To the above very-well phrased quote from Kierkegaard let me add: Christianity is not a doctrine, and not action alone, but a person! That is the paradox, the mystery, of the Single Individual – I am called to surrender myself to another person, I am called to a radical relationship to the Absolute – Jesus.