Friday, December 28, 2007

Nietzsche is Wrong

It's about God again. I get tired of God-bashers who don't even know what they're talking about. I saw Nietzsche quoted as saying God is indifferent to the Creation and doesn't even consult us. (Review by John Patrick Diggins of "A Secular Age" by Charles Taylor, in NY Times Book Review of 12/16/07, p. 15).

N is quoted thus: "An omniscient and omnipotent God who does not even take care that his intentions shall be understood by his creatures, could he be a God of goodness?" So wrong.

What I mean to say is, if you are going to bash get your facts straight. God does consult us. In Genesis, he tells Abraham His plan to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah: "Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do....? No...." (Gen 18:19a). Abraham objects and gets God to change terms (Gen 18:23-33). The same thing occurred with Moses in Exodus (Ex 32:9-14). In Psalms, God says he wants to lead us through understanding, not as the mule is led with a bridle (Ps 32:8-9). And of course through Jesus (not to mention the numerous healings of the Old Testament; my readers' attention span is short) God demonstrates healing compassion, teaches prayer, and incarnates self-sacrifice (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, passim).

Nietzsche did not understand self-giving Love. He probably didn't have any kids.

P.S. I looked him up on Wikipedia and ended up feeling sorry for him. He was a great thinker who spent his last decade in major mental illness.


Thursday, December 27, 2007

Consider the Birds

Birds. I'm watching them.

My dear Winifred gave me binoculars and I'm outside before breakfast examining the tree where the birds sit. First, two blue jays fly in and perch on the middle right; then a greenish female cardinal lands on the middle left. How do cardinals and jays feel about each other?

Then: whoa! There's the big fat red guy to the far right, on a higher branch. I think he's the boss. I see the big belly, the crest, everything. Soon the jays and female cardinal fly away. Two little fatties- brown with a blush of orange around their necks (great style)--come and hang out, ignoring the big cardinal but definitely aware of his presence. I think they might be some kind of finch.

After everyone's flown, I try and look up the fatties in the bird book Winifred gave me, but I can't find them. Obviously the birds in my back yard tree are so rare they haven't made it into the book. Maybe I have discovered a new species.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Peek at the Dark Side

I hate doing stuff. In this day and culture and social class, one is supposed to have a passion, a sense of mission, and to live w/ a purpose. Even in retirement one must accomplish something. One's identity is tied to one's doings. We are human doings.

So, hating doing stuff equals self-hatred. And doing nothing about it makes it worse until one sits there paralyzed or something. Sometimes I would even envy my mom in the nursing home she didn't have to DO anything. Even back then, I was pretty far gone.

So the corollary of hating doing is that everything I do is the result of will power. I have to force self to get up, walk, get dressed. I hate doing it all. The only thing I don't hate is going to the grocery store; but everything else including writing is hateful. The only near relief is in not moving not doing.

Well hey isn't that what all the meditators say? Enlightenment is not-doing. I don't think having a nap after breakfast is what they meant though.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Baaa Humbug

I finished gift shopping today, in a blizzard of spending at my computer. It just kept going on and on. I sit here navigating through sites, getting snarled up in accounts, having long cozy talks with little girls in customer service.
The shopping season has been a race and a slog this year.

The marketers have developed more power. I am no longer merely enticed, but pressed and forced into consumer activities. This is done by automatically renewing discount cards, by baiting special offers that are going to lure you into annual fees of some kind, and all written in confusionese. I used to be a match for them but not anymore. Christmas shopping now feels the way it used to when closing on a house: just let me know how much you're going to rob me of and leave me a bit in the end. Maybe it's my age; but I'm ending the shopping feeling "fleeced."

I have also been herded into the Christmas specials on TV. The ads and newspaper reviews are perfectly synchronized to make me watch. Christmas stories show attractive people, mainly of the Caucasian persuasion, in disadvantaged situations--orphaned alcoholic widowers afflicted with virtue and near poverty-- who find love and prosperity through the mediation of angels or ghosts. There's nothing else on to watch, and of course I must watch!
Even the book group selection enchains one in fantasy: "The Redbird Christmas" a neo-Victorian tale about a cancer patient who finds community and miracles by moving to Alabama.

Years ago a Roman Catholic priest remarked to me, "Do what you want but call it something else! Call it 'Folk-mas,' call it 'Gift-mas,' Just please stop calling it 'Christmas'!" If I were in my right mind at the moment, I would call it "Advent."