Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Hebrews and Celts Help Our Sexy and Violent Prayers

"In regard to 'the Kingdom,' whatever the rabbis understood by it, the feeling was so strong, that it was said, 'Any prayer which makes no mention of the Kingdom is no prayer at all.'"
-Edersheim, "The Temple," p. 118.

What a delightful and loaded quote with which to springboard  into our discussion of Hebraic-Jewish and Celtic paradigms for wrestling with



 (Ah, at last, Scott Jones says; finally a post about both sax and violins).

First, though, why is the quote loaded and leaded? For one, it assumes Kingdom/Basilea is "felt" before it is intellectually "understood" (if ever). No need to rehearse in this context the appropriate and necessary warnings about overemphasis on 'feeling.' Points well taken, but the point that's hardly ever shaken is how fundamental feeling/emotion/psuche/heart is to the process of being "enKingdomed" (Tom Fuller's delightful term).

"A feeling's so much stronger than a thought," Bono has said and sung. In the song "Vertigo, " God's love is not only "teaching me to kneel," but providing "something i can feel." (okay, "feeeeeeeeeeeel!!") This is no throwaway pop culture theology, even though it is purposely embedded in an unusually pop-py song for U2 (this is a group who stealths some of their deepest theology into ridiculously unlikely vessels...witness the ponderings on the search for God/Kingdom via sexualty of "Discoteque," and the classic pop ditty based on and modeling eloquently an ancient rabbbinic form of sexuality-elevating prayer, "Elevation.")

Secondly, it of course reminds us, as Dallas Willard (and Len Hjalmarson here)has articulated so well, "the gospel is not that Jesus died on the cross for my sins; it is the Gospel of the Kingdom." (Heresy hunters, read Willard and context, and memorize Matthew 4:17 three times before firing shots).

On to the promised implications for sex and violence.

Either a thoroughgoing Hebraic understanding/feeling of the Kingdom, or a Celtic understanding/feeling of the same Kingdom (are the two the same phenomenon? Len needs to pursue that thesis, I will buy the book) will refuse to separate what God has joined together:

 Kingdom and sex.

 We are not gnostics! We must dual against dualism! It's time (kairos) to return (per Alan Hirsch, "The Forgotten Ways," pp 84, 91) to a holistic "following of Jesus in the light of the Hebraic understanding of life. And it all starts with Israel's basic confession, called the Shema ['Hear, O Israel, the Lord..is ONE..']...The Hebraic perspective draws a direct correlation from any and every aspect of life to the eternal purposes of God...To say this more explicitly, there is no such thing as sacred and secular in biblical worldview."

When we...as good evangelicals must..stuff and sublimate sexuality, such will surface somewhere less appropriate, more violently, and well, less kosher. Is this why we in the Western church are obsexxed? Does this explain our pastors' habitual "committing adultery in the heart" with the woman in the 22nd pew

Why are pastors/evangelists such sexperts? And does this exegete all too well why we are inevitably violent and lusting/seeking empire/conquest at all costs?

John A. Sanford:

In the thoughtful book 'Eros on Crutches,' (the author) suggests that psychopathic behavior comes from a deficiency of Eros, hence an inabilty to love, with a resultant lack of personal or social morality..

..It seems that (Hitler's) mother's physician was a Dr. Edward Bloch, who was Jewish. Dr Bloch, acting largely under pressure from Hitler

Before you discount Sandford as being overly Freudian, consider that the thesis may not be Freudian, but Hebraic/Celtic...and biblical. Sometimes a cigar is a penis...or a gun (same thing?)

And consider if this provocative and popular thesis should be weighed when wondering why two of the groups which most facilited much of the Holocaust were:

Protestants and Catholics!

And wonder if this is why Wolfang Simson seems so right: "Orphans rule the world!"



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