Archive for the ‘the aftershocks’ Category

Forming a Messiah

Present arms! Demonstrate your loyalty. If not to the State, to the Spirit of the people of the Land.

Simeon's Song of Praise Breath-taking. Leaving, again. This child had first been born in a trip to Bethlehem. And now a trip to Jerusalem. Leaving, like Abram, only in response to another Call. Per the Law of the Land, every first-born male must be consecrated to the Lord. What did it look like to the neighbors, if you did not present your son to the Temple?  After the first Call had been from, ironically, the State. To go to Bethlehem. Behold the connection of leaving to the sacrificial. The next Call was to the Church/Temple. With all of this suddenness, from a perspective of an infant. “Let’s go!” Move. Let go! Sacrifice. Get to Jerusalem . . . with The Urgency, as background. Like another due date. So within a certain number of days, did Joseph and Mary invite any relatives? Like the ones back in Bethlehem? Or did they tell their parents? That they were going?

THE ART is “Simeon’s Song of Praise” by Rembrandt

The PRESENTATION. According to the Law – the Supreme Law – with the concern about purity, and the portals, to let a son in. The barriers were erected with 613 laws. To prove your worth, observing the law of Moses. Within a certain number of days. And so the story as the parents take Jesus to the Temple, to present Him to the Lord, according to the Gospel of Luke. But clearly Jesus would not be an Orthodox Jew, at least in the perspective of all these Gentiles accepted into the Church of the Apostles. So had this been on the 8th day, or the 40th day? What do Christians know about the tradition about the arrival as the day came to purify? What do Roman Catholics know about the significance of the 4th Joyful Mystery, of their rosary? Because hadn’t it been their flight to Egypt, which followed the visit by the Magi? But it is said that even though Herod was looking for the Messiah, according to the Gospel of Matthew, the parents took Jesus to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. And according to the Gospel of Matthew, Joseph kept his family in Egypt until Herod the Great had died – which was in 4 BCE at the age of seventy. And one of these Evangelist had to be like a second cousin once removed, because both stories could not be right.

Note the TWO in the story, of The PRESENTATION. Simeon was named for the second born son of Jacob and Leah. And to offer a sacrifice, per the Law of the LAND, there were a pair of young pigeons. Now this guy named Simeon – whatever his name had come to mean – was in Jerusalem, waiting. It had been Simeon that the prophet Joseph took hostage so that his brother might return with Benjamin. To Egypt. As if Mary and Joseph had not already had enough displacement if not disruption since the conception of this child, in their lives, behold the mystery connected to the Law and to Simeon who takes the baby into his arms, and shares his God! In his tradition, Simeon felt CALLED to the Second Temple that day. So the old man whose name means “he has heard” disrupts Mary and Joseph, as they tried to fulfill all the prescriptions of the Law. The real meaning in the story is about Jesus’ first time in the Temple, before their RETURN home. From Bethlehem, from Jerusalem. Maybe from Egypt. Until he set eyes on the Messiah, Simeon would not die, he believed, saying: “Now, Master, you can let ‘your servant’ go in peace.” So the significance of this birth is related to his own death? Somehow. Joseph with Simeon who had tried to destroy his brother Joseph, before the first born son of Jacob had saved Joseph. In a family that had obsessed over if not purity, the obsession to the birth right, which becomes somehow connected to “saving.” So Simeon’s presence was to point out to the parents how they would be so personally threatened, from having been immersed into a culture at the end of this gestation period, when purity became, in the conflict of private and public lives, an obsession greater than life itself? Behold the purification? For the Authorities at the Temple. Behold the Temple. And did you ever think of the wisdom of Solomon who built the First Temple, suggesting to resolve an argument over a child, a baby might be split? Locate Abraham in the story of two women who lived in the same house, both of whom had an infant son but one woman claimed that the other, as both claimed to be the mother of the living son, coming to Solomon for a judgment. After accidentally smothering her own son while sleeping, one had exchanged the two children to make it appear that the living child was hers. After some deliberation, the King called for a SWORD to be brought, to him.

Behold this joyful mystery, connected to the Fear of the Lord – a fear at this point of life, in creating, for each parent! With all the concerns over purity? So had Simeon been a Pharisee or a Sadducee who did not believe in Resurrection? What had become obsessive to the Pharisees, when there was only one way to think, to worship, would become the threat of the very same human condition, over purity, as Church and State now co-existed uneasily, within the Roman Empire. Behold Simeon who felt that he could take the baby into his arms? And did you think back to in the story of two women who lived in the same house, both of whom had an infant son but one woman claimed that the other, after accidentally smothering her own son while sleeping, claimed this infant? Though the event had occurred in the First Temple.  How did Joseph respond to this Simeon whose name also is connected with the idea of ‘miscegenation’?  How exactly was this Simeon God’s servant, telling Mary, “And you yourself a SWORD will pierce,” which left most readers gasping? In this incredible story of The Presentation, there is her companion, Joseph, wondering in the conflict over to whom Your son would belong, over who would be saved, with involvement – some kind of personal involvement – as the formation process of – a “given,” based upon what you don’t know or think that you do, about the MYSTERY – the Messiah begins. So from where did Jesus originate? How do you form a Messiah? As one of us! And what would your child look like to your neighbors, as you returned home?

Consider that first day back home on the job as the parent of a Messiah. With the entire tradition resting upon purity, washing, dinnerware, bloodlines, in this great unsettling Presence … in The Spirit of the Lord. With what you had grown up.

Narrative tension is primarily about withholding information. In any relationship, as your place of birth blinds you to the outside world, with language directed at intimations of attachment, This Spirit from where you come … founded on the back of sacrifice. There is the issue of undivided support as Joseph seems forced to take a vow of chastity, living in the house with Mary and the Son of Man. This theology of Purity, ever since the time of Abraham, with Sarah, his half-sister, passing on something to your first born son.  Born into a tradition, of mostly the Sacrifice in the story, with the same kind of dreams as Abraham, as Joseph the prophet.  Being somehow saved by giving up something like your own son, with a certain amount of this protected status … in the beginning, closest to home somewhere in Israel. In a story when both Mary and Joseph had the tradition, what has become of the command given to Adam to cleave? “Therefore, a man shall leave his father and his mother, and cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Though Joseph had, in his calling, representing the entire tradition of the House of David, here he is still cleaving to his perfect wife perhaps out of the prejudice that he had about the outside world. Like Abram.

When you left home for a census, in a certain Call, when your God is not restricted to one place, one land, with borders. And then, from this tradition of a nomad, passing on SAVING, after being saved, uncovering the mystery, through story.  Mary and Joseph meeting Magi, and strangers in the Temple who have come looking for their son.  In their return to the Promise Land, behold the sacrifice to come, with the fear in the story, as doubt always is at the center of either mystery or faith which moves THESE STORIES beyond the power of imagination.

Locate the personal boundaries in the story, with violations of individual if not communal boundaries in the story of the Presentation. By Simeon, for one. Note the conflict over power in the story, when surrounded by so many of your kinsmen, the very same human condition, whether as the last person on earth — or the first — and feeling so all alone? Behold the need for a coverup, living with exception to these kinsmen, with Mary and all the strangeness of her Virgin birth, through the things not physically shared – the torture of her ability to carry the Living God of Abraham to the next generation through this child.

Behold the Lamb of God, identified by the shepherds, in the beginning of! Behold all the human interest in times of trouble, between Church and State, at about the time Herod the Great has died, after the split in the two kingdoms as the Romans had moved in. Living with the invisible loss of your own language, as PLACE is used against you, after PLACE claims you again as its slave? In the eyes of the Romans, with their Latin, like the English brought their language to Ireland? So how old were, how blind were, how oppressed were the eyes of all? Behold the human meaning in the story about a Messiah in the RETURN home after the first time in the Temple. If you get the small details wrong, with all the fear in the story about power over me involving splits, in the LAND, the bond which came not from suffering but from the sacrifice, you will get the big picture wrong – affecting if not your land and your own displacement, from your place of origin, then at least the life of your son.

Breath-taking! The PRESENTATION. Note the TWO in the story, of The PRESENTATION with a sacrifice of a pair of young pigeons. To offer a sacrifice, per the Law of the LAND, with this sense of urgency, within a certain number of days.  There is reference to Egypt in the sacrifice for the redemption of the first born son. “Every firstborn of man among your sons, you shall redeem. And it will come to pass that if your son asks you in the future, saying, ‘What is this?’ you shall say to him, ‘With a mighty hand did God take us out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. And it came to pass when Pharaoh was too stubborn to let us out, God slew every firstborn in the land of Egypt.’”

Passover.  Why does understanding, about Jesus, Mary and Joseph look so inevitable? Why do you steal the mystery, about the lingering conflict over power and shared dominion, in another story with mystery? Before these young parents finally returned home.  Did you ever behold the System Substitutions, by Abraham, by Moses?  Note the circumcision, only after Abraham went and fathered a child through his wife’s handmaid. So in the science of consequences, his first born son was a slave. If you did Algebra I. And that led to stories of generations of servants and handmaids and slaves in Egypt.  In an apparition, there is suddenly the unexpected, like a banishment, or like an attempt at genuine sacrifice.  And with all the unexpected, these stories just seem to be repeating themselves, however with the hovering ghosts of ingratitude toward Hagar, as Sarah at least banished her handmaid and her half-Egyptian son.

What is apparent to me in my religious tradition somehow acquired through Abraham is that every tradition of the Abrahamaic religions – Judaism, Christianity, Islam – has a need for both a story and a real living human body, in order to pass on the method of prayer. Hagar had conceded forever not only her status but that of her son, but with the far off hope that something would one day change? About her servitude? To connect the dots about Hagar, about intimacy, about unconditional love, to Mary and Joseph, like Abraham has sacrificed his purity in the same way Adam had, to appease Eve. Would Mary sacrifice her purity, like Hagar had her own, to Abraham?  For her Masters.  

“Mostly they are the same lives. The same stories, over and over,” wrote David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker. When we endow our lives with stories. Mostly the same stories, generation after generation. When your relationships at their foundation were so alive, but with a great restlessness. When you prayers were so alive….and you wanted others to then have the same experience. Even sometimes you had to be looking for a place to escape. In a start?

There is always the unknown in the present age about all the “givens” a child had been born into, like the suspense lost when you knew the end of a story. “The givens,” lost like a first born son might think that his inheritance could be. If you ever spent the time to try and see, did you notice a greater suffering as the living VICTIM went missing, for over a number of years, like in the case of Joseph the prophet? With so much emotional attachment … did you note the missing part, like the long-forgotten first born son, Ishmael? When he left the home of Sarah and Abraham. And wasn’t there the fair degree of Fear of the Lord whenever a child went missing? Who could ever forget the firstborn son? In the stories of missing it is the ultimate VICTIM of hood-winking who goes missing. Like first Jacob, from the perspective of Isaac, and then Jacob’s son, Joseph. Behold this birth right, connected to the invisible if not to the missing. With all the Spirituality connected to what first seems missing, for a while – like in response to “Where is the Lamb” question. In these stories of the missing behold Jesus, like the prophet renamed Israel, surrounded by people who he could never really trust – even his eldest son by Leah, who he thought betrayed him. And did you witness in the stories of Jacob & Sons, all of the violence over trying to be One? Again. And so the invisible fear connected to the God of Jacob, so distinct from the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, as Jesus grew up.

“The story begins with Creation which, as we have seen, is the story of the acts of distinguishing one thing from another. It ends by alluding to the most crucial distinction of all … wrote Daniel Mendelsohn in THE LOST. It was hard enough to be the Son of Man the first time – only the perfect son this time.

 

Hadn’t it been fear of something that moved people here in the first place? For a place to worship freely? What is most true about the law of Moses and Jewish theology but the portals of life and death – over who belongs. Who is one of us? With all of Abraham’s walking. Using purity as a means to an end. The importance of Movement. Toward a goal. But sacrificing purity one day. But underneath it all, there was still the basic fear. At the portals, with still a concern about purity, and the theology of purity, as you tried to create a normal life, with the blood of the lamb on your thresh-hold that provided a sense of identity, that was connected to having been saved. And now living with all of this purity. Trying to laugh and be normal.  After  demonstrating your fidelity to your God.

“And at the center of all that drama – for Rashi goes to no little trouble to explain that it does indeed stand in the center – the mysterious and somehow moving symbol in the garden, a tree that represents, I have come to think, both the pleasure and the pain that comes from knowing things. -from Daniel Mendelsohn’s The Lost

Or is it both the pleasure and the pain that comes from knowing God? This is, after all, a love story. Ever since the time of Abraham, the center of all of this drama is love and the children of Abraham dealing with love and sex and fertility. With, according to the Book of Genesis or the Qoran, these relationship stories. And in all of human history, no one has ever told a story without having some kind of agenda — like passing a relationship on, with all of the pleasure and the pain from knowing God or just each other, when love divides. There is the Jewish prayer about survival in the shared belief since Abraham about the sacrifice called The Akedah, involving his son and the future of the world. Were the words heard that day of the Unetaneh Tokef, the prayer about the perils of the year to come – the perils which are all around us, with the perils in my land and the values in this land, as the value of all currency, of the things that help sustain illusion, are threatened?   Like Jews in so many places, Christians in Iraq, or Muslims in the United States:

How many shall pass away and how many shall be born,
Who shall live and who shall die…
Who shall be at peace and who shall be pursued,
Who shall be exalted and who shall be brought low…

Like at the symbolic sacrifice at The Presentation – the Abrahamic concession is that love divides. Joseph and Mary conceded forever not only her status but that affect of sacrifice on her son, like ever since the time of Sarah and her half-brother Abraham.  Like what the message about the affect of sacrifice is in The Warning, of Simeon or like heard at the conclusion in the Beautitudes.

This joyful mystery after all is called a love story, about existence. The mystery, like Sarah’s. Like Elizabeth’s. Like Mary’s. These Alumni who feel compelled to demonstrate their love, like Abraham. In the sacrifice. With birth instead of death. On a different end of a sacrifice.

As they left Jerusalem, with an equivalent fear to an over-forty year old Jacob stealing a birthright, did you hear the “piercing” in the cryptic words of the prophet Zachariah: “….and they shall look on him whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him as one mourns for an only son, and they shall grieve over him as one grieves over a firstborn.”

 

How would you reach or teach a child the story of Isaac, with all the waiting by Sarah, with then the sacrifice on Mount Moriah? With the covert sacrifice that the father Abraham would have told no one?  Real people wondering, puzzled, with if not doubt, perplexed?  Dealing with the Everlasting, since the beginning … and all of the past. 

Love? Sacrificing me? In the relationships, in stories about unconditional love, behold the boy Jesus – so much like once the boy Isaac!  After the long wait, as seen in the cousin named Elizabeth.

“Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you….” An 89-year old woman pregnant? Then a virgin birth!  Who would believe, when it would come to pass — like THE TRADITION on — that if your son asks you in the future, saying, ‘What is this?’  With speechless hearts and waiting minds,there is this Simeon guy reaching for your infant. . . in the Temple, of all places.  After this virgin birth had come between the betrothed couple, what did this man named Simeon represent, to anyone named Joseph?  And living in this land, did you ever get the sense, maybe like a newly emancipated adult, about the burden of tradition that so many were giving up, like the separation between Israel and Judah, or between a father and a son?  And for those who tried to keep hold of something, there was a feeling that you really could not afford to move, but you could not afford to stay.  And who would ever believe a kid whose parents one day told him of his own virgin birth? If he dare tell anyone.

“If anyone wishes to come after me – like I came after Ishmael, as I came after Isaac – he must deny himself … daily. And follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; whoever gives life, sacrifices their life [by giving life], will save it.”

It is all in The Presentation, like my sister once said while reading a book by Martha Stewart. With a certain amount of joy.  And in Rembrandt’s “Simeon Song of Praise,” doesn’t the Temple look to be the main character, in The Presentation?  Or is it the Light? 

Copyright © 2016.

Paying the highest price possible.

Larry Gillick, SJ

Related. https://paperlessworld.wordpress.com/2015/08/26/behold-the-handmaid/

The Lost

It is generally acknowledged that the greatest of all biblical commentators was the 11th-century French scholar Rabbi Schlomo be Itzhak who is better known as Rashi.  His concern for each and every word of the text he was studying was matched by only a cramped terseness of his style. …both scholars acknowledge the difficulties of translating the very first line of the text of Bereishit – bereishit bara Elohim et-hashamayim v’et ha’aretz.  Contrary to the belief of millions who have read the King James bible, the line does not mean  In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  What the Hebrew literally says is, In the beginning of, God created the heavens and the earth…  After an extended discussion of the linguistics issue, Rashi eventually solves the problem by adopting certain parallels from other texts in which bereishit is followed by a verb rather than a noun, and it is this that allows us to translate the first crucial words as follows:

BostonGarden2

In the beginning of God’s creating the skies and the heaven – when the skies had been shapeless and formless, and darkness had been on the face of the deep, and God‘s spirit was hovering on the face of the water – God said, “Let there be light.” -from Daniel Mendelsohn’s The Lost

There was some excitement within when something grips you. It happened when you came across a great epic, or when you were involved in creating something or someone.  Like in a marriage, or in a daughter.

Language and money are things which connect us.  In every day life.  As do stories, in speaking of attachment and/or belonging.  Or their opposite, abandonment. 

Mindful of the subtleness of human language and its power, the subtleness of language is one reference point for what divides me and my community from outsiders. The significance was when people gathered to say together words with a living language which defined themselves to each other.  Words to people somehow connected which had recognized meaning. Here! So why do languages, like currencies – like Latin, or the Irish punt – die?  If you ever get to Killarney, stop in the pub called O’Connors and see if P.J. is around (he owns the place.) And ask him the question. 

The key issue for Rashi, is that the wrong reading suggests an incorrect chronology of Creation: That God created the heavens and then the earth, then light, and so forth.  But this is not how it happened, Rashi says. If you get the small details wrong, the big picture will be wrong too. -from Daniel Mendelsohn’s The Lost

Born into something: given life by someone. And one day set free from your home and your homeland. With songs learned about land and liberty. Born into something, with a common language. Note the things which allow a nomad to travel: food, money, prayer — sometimes wheels. These often were the things which gave a nomad the means to retire. And so the movement in the story.

Currency. Currency exchanges. To transact. When places are for sale? To be transformed. Did you ever feel a strangeness of foreigners, with their different valuations and their funny looking money? The subtleness of humans was so often lost in the business world of money, without a common language or a common currency or the the shared words of people somehow connected — back home. When places or people are for sale there, and the sales had an affect on you?

To realize the holiness of what I was doing — without charge. But the conflict when someone else did not recognize my holiness, or did things in such a strange way. To read from beginning to end, or from left to right. Before meetitng the strangerr who reads from right to left: Yes, Biblical scholars acknowledge the difficulties of translating the very first line of the text of Bereishit – bereishit bara Elohim et-hashamayim v’et ha’aretz. 

When all along the goal of a good translator on a dead language – a lot like at a currency exchange in a land so foreign – should be to promote quality services of its people reaching for some kind of union. A literal interpretation of the Hebrew Bible is not in keeping with the living Jewish tradition. And so Midrash, with the conversation like prayer, debating the Biblical issues in order to come to a deeper understanding about life.

“Look what I have created!” It is a a natural human response. But after you created, there was the formation process – of yourself and then of others. Recognizing the theme in the first chapter of Genesis “to separate,” note from the stories how heroes attempt to separate “my creation” from the rest of creation? And thus the developing concept of “CHOSEN” from all the rest.

Friends say that they will accept the other’s struggle to accept what they are learning about themselves, in the ambiguity and mystery of their own great epic, when involved in creating something or someone. Maybe a lot like in the period of time early on in a relationship— like when God‘s Spirit was hovering on the face of the water — there was this hovering spirit within that somehow had to get out.

And at the center of all that drama – for Rashi goes to no little trouble to explain that it does indeed stand in the center – the mysterious and somehow moving symbol in the garden, a tree that represents, I have come to think, both the pleasure and the pain that comes from knowing things. -from Daniel Mendelsohn’s The Lost

There was a wisdom on display which comes from hearing about other people’s suffering. To reach the acceptance level, after going through all the emotions of denial, fear, anger. After reaching the acceptance level, “we will want to give what we have accepted even though there will always be more to learn about the mystery of ourselves,” writes Larry Gillick.  “God saw that human beings would search for completion, satisfaction and saw this searching as ‘very good.’”  

In all of human history, no one has ever told a story without having some kind of agenda.  And if you get the small details wrong, you will get the big picture wrong, like in the stress in facing beginnings and endings. When first your money, next your land and then your life was taken away – to sustain a kingdom, with the goblins in the closet – over the unity of Germans in the 1930s, when there was so much currency disorder.

The Holocaust. To realize that you could be born into a living nightmare. The theme in the first chapter of Genesis is to separate, so things can be good, in the way of fertility. The confusion between the separate species: of men and women, of Muslim and Jews. With the struggle in the attempt to so tediously translate. And so the human response in the way of killing what you did not understand, in the translation:

As I have said, the first thing that happens in Bereishit is not, as many people think that God created the heavens and the earth, but rather in the beginning of his creation of the heavens and the earth, when everything had been a stupefying void, he said, “Let there be light.”  This is, in fact, the first act of creation that we hear about in Bereishit.  But what is interesting to me is that every act that follows – light and dark, night and day, dry land and oceans, plants and animals, and finally man from dust – is described as an act of separation. What did God do when he saw that the light was “good”?  He separated it from darkness, and then proceeded to go on separating ….The story begins with Creation which, as we have seen, is the story of the acts of distinguishing one thing from another.  It ends by alluding to the most crucial distinction of all, the distinction between Good and Bad, a distinction that becomes apprehensible to humans only by eating the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, a tree about which the Torah tells us that it was (like light) “good”,  that it was a delight in the eyes of Eve, and that it was desirable for comprehension,” and it was because of this goodness, this delightfulness, this desirability that Eve ate of it. -from Daniel Mendelsohn’s The Lost

There was something exciting within when something grips you. It happened when you came across a great epic.  “In fashioning ‘woman,’  writes Larry Gillick, “God gave the man a closeness to himself, but just not quite, and this form of separation or distinctiveness would form the framework for the real meaning of human love; a revelation of God’s love, but not a substitute or replacement for that love.”

Writes Larry Gillick, “I pause to insert a quotation meant to stimulate, confuse, and accept. ‘There is not a woman in the world, the possession of whom, is as precious as that of the truths which she reveals to us by causing us to suffer.’”

Narrative tension is primarily about withholding information.  With a fear in the story.  When doubt was always the center of either mystery or faith, which moved THESE STORIES beyond the power of imagination. With all the fear in the story about money and women and suffering, if you get the small details wrong, you will get the big picture wrong affecting first your money, next your land and then your life.  When all along the goal of a good translator on a dead language – a lot like at a currency exchange in a land so foreign, or maybe a lot like in the ongoing family relationships after a divorce  – should be to promote quality services of its people reaching for some kind of union. About shared belief.

There was an unsettling fear associated with power, and trying to grasp greatness.  When you proved your greatness in a relationship.  And then in the world.  When your power grew out of relationship. 

Exploring relationship — like the currency in circulation — as further dislocation could conceivably lead to social unrest and geopolitical conflict.  Like what happened yesterday in Athens, with the fear in the story, if you dwelt nearby.

Piecing together broken fragments.  If you get the small details wrong, with the Fiat Monetary System, the big picture will be wrong too. The Central Banks of the world could inflate together, create a massive feudal system of peonage on a global scale and maintain both political and social controls over the various populations of the world without very much restrain or limitations.  The problem is that central bankers and governments appear to believe in the system which they created for these purposes. . . herding the population into neat, controllable groups for convenience, taxing and regulating to maintain their political controls…moving in Europe for an international paper unit that would fluctuate through an independent fiat monetary system around the world.  World wars are historically bred from economic hardship, from currency which a government has declared to be legal tender, despite the fact that it has no intrinsic value and is not backed by reserves.

In all of human history, no one has ever told a story without having some kind of agenda.  Our brains are wired for narrative. Piecing together fragments, to try to keep possession. With all the fear in the story about money and women, if you get the small details wrong, you will get the big picture wrong affecting first your money, next your land and then your life.  And I was such a coward about taking a chance.  Because there was an  insane volatility in equities, credit, commodities and currencies – and women. 

Rare events. The complex thing I can’t seem to know in this world. Not in five minutes or 45 minutes, in the Duomo Museum in Florence, after an extended discussion of the linguistics issue: power versus powerlessness. To miss the reality in the present, as the woman vote had determined the outcome of another election.  The anger of women at men, or at all the others who collaborated. Maybe a lot like what came out of the relationships after a divorce, when there is no emotional attachment connected to replication –or reproductions. When you no longer were possessed.

“When one is in love, one always begins by deceiving one’s self; and one always ends by deceiving others. That is what the world calls a romance.”  -Oscar Wilde

Missing the black swan. There was something exciting within when you were involved in creating something or someone. You feel ashamed discussing the black swan in public, because black swans just did not happen in the real world. There also was an unsettling fear associated with the power of money and/or love.  

And at the center of all that drama – for Rashi goes to no little trouble to explain that it does indeed stand in the center – the mysterious and somehow moving symbol in the garden, a tree that represents, I have come to think, both the pleasure and the pain that comes from knowing things. -from Daniel Mendelsohn’s The Lost

Could you identify the Post Traumatic stress which had come first out of the story of Adam and Eve, and then Noah, just as it had come out of the story of Cain. Feel the difference, listen for all of the wisdom which comes out of seeing other people’s layer by layer suffering, in the difference between those who want to remember with those who need to forget. We discover and peel away superstition, fantasies, ideas of grandeur, levels of confusion, of anger, of hate, in order to experience the people and the world around us – and my life in the world – as directly and clearly as possible.  But when more and more single people, even if they believed in resurrection, just wanted to avoid the suffering.  

“And every act that follows – light and dark, night and day, dry land and oceans, plants and animals, and finally man from dust – is described as an act of separation.”   -from Daniel Mendelsen’s The Lost

“… and God‘s spirit was hovering.”

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The Chicken or the Egg?

So Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road? And how far did the chicken move, on the other side of the road?

So what came first, Dr. Seuss? The chicken? Or the egg? A woman had to know. Because in the creation process, she alone had the eggs.

“I do not like eggs in the file.
I do not like them in any style.
I will not take them fried or boiled.
I will not take them poached or broiled.

I will not take them soft or scrambled,
Despite an argument well-rambled.
No fan I am of the egg at hand.

Destroy that egg! Today! Today!
Today I say!
Without delay!’”

So what came first, Dr. Seuss? I was still working on my dissertation about the rationale for the chicken to cross the road. Concentrating more about the rationale of why a chicken ever crossed the road in the first place. From there I would get to a conclusion about the egg.

In the history of chickens, wasn’t this just the same old story? About what was now called free range chickens. Only now all of the over-educated people were putting a new spin on chickens in the competitive world of globalization? Figuring out all the rules and legalities, after being taught or learning just what personal limitations were. The ones that could be caused by egg production. When people, strangers, wanted your eggs. For breakfast. And there was so little concern about the individual chicken. And where the chicken was headed. If the journey would be safe.

“Where am I going? What am I gonna do?”
“You don’t know either? No one ever knows at your age.”

The old nomadic ideal of the free-range chicken. Freedom inside and outside the tribe when the sky was falling. And so much like an isolated people on the other side of the road. Away from the tribe.

“Why did the chicken cross the road?” Had it all just been one large Grade A mistake? That ended up in the creation of all this corporate farming?

Who really cared why the chicken crossed the road, any more? Being cognizant of a viewpoint of the road in the story. As to who really cared about the chicken and the road? Well, when lifetime decisions, in years when the census was being taken, affected public policy, there was the Environmental Protection Agency. Then the interior department. And the department of defense, if not Homeland Security. And if not quite health and HUMAN services, maybe the justice department. And of course there were all the insurance questions. If you would have coverage, especially after leaving the corporate farm, over the age of 23.

Notice the quiet presence of that damn road in the story. The one that young chicks took so much for granted. And the concern now about the inner structure, with all these budget cuts. Whether in this economy if the road would be rebuilt with tax dollars, should it be washed out. And what would happen to the chicken if the road would be washed out? Caught on the wrong side of the road, when borders changed. And all the worries about the eggs tomorrow, if the road was washed out. If the chicken could ever go back to the other side. If those wings could really work. And then if the chickens on the wrong side of the road would be considered undocumented, if not just illegal.

No fan I am of the egg at hand. To say nothing of those tomatoes. The ones which seemed to be manufactured, not created. So why had all those chickens ever crossed the road, in the past? Were these crossings affecting taste? Or the lack thereof. Who really cared? Did Publix or Winn Dixie, Safeway or Alberrtsons? Not Hyvee. Not Cub Foods or Rainbow. And not even Whole Foods. And was there even a Hinky Dinky store left.

Just like a woman had to decide. In this age of corporate farming, man, there were a lot of chicks. And eggs. And roosters in the world. Who could care about just one? It was, in this world, all about the reasons why the chicken crossed the road. And the eggs.

When as a way of life, farming had once become a culture. Not just a job, but part of every moment of your life. Like some kind of religion, from sun up to sundown. About the living arrangements, day to day. In a world where so many, chickens any way, were having a hard time with those living arrangements.

Free range chickens. As organic farming was making a comeback, after a generation of corporate farms. Having to decide. Hatching a plan. In such a fragile world of eggs. Decisions. Trying to decide. Not so much how all these chicks got here, but being cognizant of the repercussion –all those repercussions–once the chickens were here. About the future. And the affect of one chicken on the world. In a world concerned about YOUR eggs, and not the chicken.

In a world concerned if there would be eggs in the morning? All the demands for eggs. Was this the irony when farmers’ kids left the farm and then one day came back. So many farmers’ kids or grandkids who had become involved in cramming, chickens into cages, with an over-crowding like in the city. With the self-created punishment. The repercussions which came from putting all your eggs in one basket.

Why exactly did a chicken cross the road? Or an ocean? In this age of diversity, with so much conformity, what exactly was the attraction? And if she should elect to cross the road, would it all be worth worth the risk? The movement in the story, in an election year, when people were always led so much by their fears.

Deciding whether to cross the road. Like a chicken had to, a woman had to decide. Early. Because chickens laid their eggs early. And someone had to gather the eggs and make a decision what to do next — the decision with all those repercussions affecting every sleeping and waking moment. Those decisions about crossings, whether one day there would be some kind of epiphany. How would your chicken crossing affect the world? After having to then put all of your eggs in one basket.

Decisions, after once picking out the location, deciding when to cross. And after the personal decision as to where and when, how to live with a passion. And should you cross the road alone? Someone had to decide. Would it be good for the eggs, to cross the road?

To carry the future forward alone, or with others. And where the chicken was next headed. If the journey would be safe.

So who had time to wonder, to really care any more, why had the chicken cross the road? Was it all just about belief? So the reason why the chicken crossed the road was based on belief? Or a hope for a better future? With greater opportunity? When so many young chickens wanted to hold on to their independence. Or just travel and explore, discovering the answer in other cultures. Until you weren’t just sure what you believed about the entire process. In this age of diversity, with so much conformity, all the chickens back home all cooped up….by those living arrangements. So to take a chance on being a free-range chicken. Like the world should end up with less stress, for the chickens? with all this diversity, like it was something brand new?

The migrant. The exile. The refugee. Why had the chicken cross the road?

As an instrument becomes an extension of me, like the Land one day would. Did you note all of the misnomers that hide the ‘refugee’ in flight, including an emigrant who thinks that she/he needs to be invisible in order to survive here.

Leaving…..wanting to go back. Will I be welcome? There. These 800,000 refugees who were welcome into Germany would be the cream of the cop, with the resources and courage to leave. The educated one, for now, had crossed the road.

To a place to be determined. To a place you do not know. On the “wrong” side, where people think that you were an invisible threat. Like Cain, the first born son, born outside the Garden. So why did the chicken cross the road?


Leaving…..with the Fear of the Lord. Not knowing. And now exposed to this new invisible Fear of the outsiders. Who were these outsiders? Will I be welcome, by the outsiders? Will I expose my own so personal fear of the invisible Lord, in some how carrying a Presence.

So did it come down to one story, one personal story about a chicken –a grade A chicken–to know the answer? To discover the answer about what came first? The past or the future? The chicken? Or the egg.
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The Gravity of Money

It was the question of the year. How could home values go up or down so quickly? Where were the rating agencies? These were just opinions? Credit worthy? Fluctuating values. “Systemic risk.”

The changing valuations. The fluctuating currency value. Amidst the change in equity. In my house.

Equity markets. Falling equity in my home. When everyone felt secure with equity. It was as if equity was the purpose of life.

There were commissions involved with security. And commissions involved with exchange. Where had those commissions been?

That Filipino guy the other night. That guy, wanting to have sex. The nightclubs were filled with people like this. Just sex. Without concern with equity in a relationship. Without concern for real love. Without any real gentleness or compassion about a mate.

Slavery. Whether it was the Hebrews in Egypt or Africans sold for a cotton plantation. We were all descendants of slaves. Sex. Slaves to sex. But with choice. The choice beyond just having sex with someone in a relationship. The choice to marry someone. How many times?

How to teach the souls of the young? Teaching that “gentle” part of “gentlemen.” The graciousness. Learning the kind of God to believe in through religious education. And about that sanctity of marriage.

Searching for love. Little had changed from the past. The restlessness amidst all the change. I felt it upon my own college graduation. I wanted to get out of there. And make some money.

Memorial Day. Remembering the past. The great tradition, amidst all this change. And amidst the change, searching for God.

As to those outward signs: you had to be looking. A lot of people passed them by without a clue as to what was going on.

There was the rhythm of work. Lolling us. Investment bankers. Mergers & Acquisitions. Equities.

In partnerships. Keeping behavior in check. With liabilities assumed in partnerships. But behavior was not kept in check with the change to stock companies. There were dangers of greed. “Wall Street is a very dangerous place.” It was worse than polygamy.

Amidst all the change, to keep making money. Once the norm has been relativized, there was no obvious way to declare a way of life beyond the pale. Former Treasury official John Taylor, who had devised the “Taylor Rule” as a formula for rate-setting based on the outlook for inflation and growth, said the Fed’s growing balance sheet is a “systemic risk” because it may be difficult to unwind quickly enough without igniting inflation. Since last September 2008, the Fed’s balance sheet has more than doubled to about $2 trillion as it purchased government and corporate debt to help unfreeze credit markets and support banks’ demand for cash.

“Systemic risk.” Rate-setting. Rating agencies. Searching for value. Communal belief in value.

Communal beliefs were more than just opinions. Communal beliefs in action were more than just opinions.

Was there honesty in this work? At work? In the currency? In the trading? Was there honesty in my words? Or was there a lot of passing of the buck, the way government works.

Was there honesty in my words? In my prayer? Which reflected my actions? Was there any prayer by these people?

Falling valuations. Where was the honesty? Some got lost in the search and gave up.

Values. Opinions? These were just opinions? Or beliefs? Communal beliefs. Community’s norms.

Communal beliefs in action were more than just opinions. As to those outward signs: you had to be looking. A lot of people passed them by without a clue as to what was going on. Relying totally on those rating agencies. Passing the buck.

Searching for love. Searching for shelter. Amidst all the change. Searching for belief.