A DALLIANCE WITH ATHEISM

Atheism, the Greek alpha privative applied to God

As if a letter could negate

The Word

But fashion has the apparent privative power

Belief is hard come by these days

In my day I’ve dallied with atheism

More as an academic posture, professional pose, poseur

Pretty important position to impertinently profess

To be unprofessional regarding the confession of God

As fashion

Quite unlike my younger years, when I didn’t know

In my gut

I didn’t know and I don’t know now, but believe

It’s hard to keep faith in mind and heart and life

In your gut

With a thinking mind, overthinking, ubermentation

Entertainment of doubts

It’s quite a thing to believe in things unseen

Unseemly, in fact, out of fashion

As if my mortal soul matters as does a hemline

Lifeline to eternity the believing mind, heart, life.

 

God whispers

 

Aethereal evidence

Evidence acquired through prior assent alone

Solipsistic criteria, a cry in the wilderness

That is this world, this world view, this zeitgeist, the spirit of this age

The Spirit and Words that give life

Life in a time and place in which belief is optional

Optimal

Words, Spirit, life, script for acting good, scripture

Inscribed on the heart, covenant, conformity to script

Information for theological formation not logical formulation

 

God whispers

 

We hear only with prior assent

Ascent out of that which is for this world

That which Is

That which makes this world

Faith in a doubt-filled world, the denial of the world, self-denial, other world

COMMUNION, COMMUNITY, AND AUTONOMY

We touch, talk, give and take to different degrees

Sacred, social, solitary, self-interested

Communion, camaraderie, cut-off, conceited

Bars, sports clubs, cocktails with co-workers

Church, sacred space, congregation, Communion with God

Caring, caritas, charity, spiritual love

All-giving, other-oriented, mutuality

Couples, partners, children, family

The afternoon card-party with a couple serene and sober

Nighttime in the club, the regulars, high and drunk

Broken dialogue, semblance of camaraderie

Familiarity, unhallowed ground, stabbings at connection

A handshake, a wave, watching out for one another

We meet, touch, talk, connect, care

Contingent on our commitment to community

Contingent on the levels of self: hallowed, hollow, sincere, serene, solipsistic

Ascending and descending the soul’s ladder within the social spectrum

FOR EVERYTHING YOU ARE

I have been alone, but haven’t felt lonely

You have been single, but with a family

Now we are together, now my life is full

For everything you are, I am ever grateful

 

I am grateful, too, for all of your support

When I go through trials, you give me comfort

Your voice is always, “Yes;” you won’t allow me doubt

You assure me everything will all work out

 

I give thanks to God for everything that is you

In an uncertain world, you and your love is true

I just wanted you to know the way I feel

My love for you and faithfulness to you are real

You make my world complete through all you are and all you do

OUT THERE

What do you do with time

We shared, when we are no longer we

Those memories of us, photos of us

Places we went together

Time when we shared when we were we

 

How does an individual repair trust?

Broken trust, broken heart

What does an individual do with broken love

Innocence lost, admiring, trusting innocence

Echoes of expulsion from the Garden

 

I can hear blues even in The Ode to Joy

Guess I won’t be happy for a while

There is redemption with God,

Peace in religious systems

If feeling better isn’t cheating

 

I try not to get mad at everybody

They have done nothing to me

But from this place, place of downcast dour

I can’t find equanimity, the civil speech

I must maintain with everybody

 

And so I wait in the darkness

Without hope, for hope would be for the wrong thing

Without will, for desire would be misplaced

There is only the waiting and the darkness

Which shall be the darkness of God

A VANTAGE POINT

I don’t know if it was four days of Tylenol

Or fever

Or four days bedridden, . . .

But I saw my whole life in a vision

In a critique

God tried to touch me

I fear I don’t have the strength

To sustain God’s touch

Slipping back may have consequences

Too dire to contemplate

I had a glimpse

I have a vantage-point

I see where I have been

A part of me won’t be the same again

SOMEBODY OUGHT TO PAY

Who do I get mad at?

Ordinarily, somebody would pay

What it did to me

What I went through:

Uncontrollable tears

Whole week-ends spent in bed sleeping

Trying to work through sedating meds

Fighting to live, pay the bills

Someone ought to pay

 

But . . .

But did it break my contract with the world?

Point me to other import

Than making it to the top

Making it

Other matters do matter

Did it teach me that?

Break my ego

(Which is always a good thing)

Humility

Something I never knew

Until it happened

Did it teach me?

 

I’m more sound today

And I look back

To how I was

What I went through

How well I feel, now

Someone ought to pay

Or is there another way to see it?

God only knows

Truth, Fact, and Meaning

The things we are most certain of mean the least to us.  The things that mean the most to us, we are least certain of.  The difference is between fact and truth.  We are certain of facts, we believe truths.  A chemical redox equation can be duplicated anywhere, any time, and the results will be the same.  A redox equation is fact.  But does it mean anything to us how may electrons switch valences?  Of course, the batteries that depend on redox equations power our cars and cell phones, and they matter a great deal to us.  But the certainty of the equation itself doesn’t matter much to me.  On the other hand, the fact that there are eternal consequences to the way I live now matters a great deal to me.  The truth that there is a loving Creator watching over me, leading me, guiding me towards eternally lasting happiness matters a great deal to me.  But the existence of God is a belief, not a provable fact.  The reality of eternal life is also a belief, not a provable fact.

I grew up in a family that thought only science was truth.  Even art was devalued.  Math, engineering, chemistry, mechanics–these were the things that mattered.  These were the things they called truth.  The meaning a person finds in a poem, was not considered truth.  In fact, it wasn’t considered at all.  In the Turgenev novel I’m reading, the nihilist Bazarov deprecates belief, the arts, and aristocratic values.  He believes in nothing.  This abandonment of belief thrusts him into science.  He thinks that only science is certain.

But there is much truth in poems, like Robert Frost’s The Mending Wall.  “Something there is that does not love a wall.”  There is a feeling in us that wants connection among fellow humans and doesn’t love walls that come between us.  But Frost is an artist, not a scientist.  I don’t think it can be proven that there is a human antipathy to walls that come between us.  But I agree with Frost.  I believe he is correct.  The Mending Wall means more to me than the existence of quarks.  Quarks can be proved, Frosts truths can’t.  Neither can God’s love for humanity, nor the reality of afterlife.  But even if the things that matter most to me can’t be proven, my life is more fulfilling when I act upon the truths I believe.  I don’t see how science can direct me to a full and fulfilling life, even if the facts it discovers are provable.  The things that matter most to humans are not provable; the things that are provable hold least meaning to us.

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