Tuesday, October 23, 2007

"What the hell is IT"?

"When you eat right through it you see everything alive/
it is inside the spirit, with enough grit to survive/
If you think that it's pretentious, you've been taken for a ride/
Look across the mirror; before you chose, decide/
IT is here. IT is now"
-Peter Gabriel/Genesis "IT"

"Charles Wallace, come away from IT; I love you!"
-Meg, in "A Wrinkle in Time"

Among the many unintended, unfortunate legacies of the King James Version,
the "It-ness" of the Holy Spirit (or Holy Ghost, of course, another huge problem)

The Jehovah's Witnesses  do nor capitalize Holy Spirit, as they teach that he is an impersonal influence, not a Person.

No need to debate the finer nuances of Greek grammar (I have a Greek grandpa, too!)
modalism, and trinitarian theology at this point. Suffice to say that Jesus clearly intended us to understand the Holy Spirit ("another helper just like me") as personal, and thus a Person.
If you want some extracurricular fun, I can talk with you about the modern concept of personhood as applied to God (I had a fantastic seminary class with Larry Wood dealing with this; see especially Moltmann's amazing "Trinity and The Kingdom")..

But right now I want to talk about ITness...specifically the character/personage/Person (?) named "IT" in two works of art(book and music) I would hope all would be conversant with:

Madeleine L'Engle's
"A Wrinkle in Time"


The (albeit a bit bloated and pretentious...which may be the point) Genesis CD/production/rock opera (written by Peter Gabriel):

"The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway"


Of course!

It would be overly reductionistic to say "IT" in "Wrinkle in Time" is the Devil,
                               and "IT" in "Lamb Lies Down" is God...

..but that interpretive grid is what got me thinking about ITness itself. In both works, IT is an impersonal force, but one that is definitely aligned with Satan or God.

A quick googling of "itness," (he laughed, knowing someone has smoked, drinked and philosophized thusly) doesn't catch much.. ("Did you mean: 'fitness'?," Googlegod asked me)

..so I'll start stroking me beard and pondering Davelike into what is so spiritually significant/troubling about Itness...starting with the obvious impersonality that characterizes ..uh, much of institutionalkklesia..

(Here is the wikiscoop on "Wrinkle" and here are some annotated notes on the Lamb, as well as a nod here at its fairly obvious Christ figure and Christian implications) embedded Matrixlike throughout)....

Join me as we ask that million dollar question that the classic Saturday Night Live skit asked; namely
and literally:

"What the hell is it?

(video here)
And as we pursue that task, may the Force...uh, Holy Spirit...the Person be with you.

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Hey, thanks for engaging the conversation!