Lutheran Rick Steves criticizes the evolution of luscious passion in Italian religious art, justifiably, then goes on to praise the plain, common man on the street in subsequent Protestant art. How about we call it the praise of the development of the secular state? There is a third option!
How will your passing be?
Like walking through a door at the end of the hall?
Will you be pushed or dragged through?
Will you walk of your own accord, obediently or prematurely?
Will it be locked?
Should this post be here or there? The rule keeper side of me says here, as it seems an exact year should elapse before I post back over there, and that will be Nov. 28. The free spirited, follow your heart, don’t be a pharisee side of me says, go ahead, impulsively jump back. And the title suits a come-back. Then why not just wait 16 more to post this? Wait? When it’s hot off the press?! Are you crazy? Maybe I’ll just double post in 16 days. There.
Back to the Buckaroo Banzai title, or “What is the Nature of Opposition?”. Am I about to say heretical universalist things? We’ll see. The movie quote can imply that you take your problems with you when you go somewhere else. Does that mean that things can’t get better by leaving a bad or unwelcome situation? Yes and no.
Let’s say that souls are immortal after birth, not before. Another presupposition to my hypothesis is that relationships do not depend on proximity, even though the ones we are conscious of started out that way. I wont define proximity because one can have real or perceived relationships through media such as oral tradition, letters, newspapers, and more modern modes. I’ll not even define relationships as those that exist between live, concurrent people, because we also have relationships with things, animals, and even fictionally made up things, which I believe have some ground in real relatable things. So my answer of “things don’t get better by leaving” regards the permanence of the existence of things we are seeking to get away from, and our relationship to them.
Then why do some experience relief at separation from a bad situation? Distance and space can calm a person down. Close proximity can exacerbate negative, or unwelcome responses. This is why an alcoholic can’t have just one drink, but since his response to alcohol doesn’t change, he is avoiding acting on a (mostly) permanent relationship. And I think this is why St. Mary of Egypt stayed in the desert. As soon as she saw Elder Zosima she brought up how she relates to men, after 47 years of celibacy and prayer.
So surely some situations are better than others, and it is best to leave a detrimental one for a nurturing one. Yes, nurturing is the word. This implies growth and maturity. Immaturity is the variable. People are eternal, but their level of maturity is not. A charitable way of looking at dysfunctional situations is to say that negative behaviors are the result of immaturity. But some people may never grow up. This is intolerable because a little kitten scratching and chewing on your hand is cute, but a big, strong cat ripping you to shreds is to be avoided. As a body matures, so should one’s self-control. If it doesn’t, distance may be required, and then one will feel better. But will one’s skill in training cats improve? Not automatically. One may learn from one’s mistakes. It is another matter whether it was too late to learn better techniques with the same cat or to start all over. One can become fixed in a bad habit, apparently. But whether one leaves or stays, that cat will always be with him or her. To keep from getting into the possible immortality of animals, I will switch to inter-human relationships, not that eternal relationships with finite things aren’t also possible. One more thing about maturity, a Saint, a mature Christian, is less scathed by harsh treatment than an immature or disabled (don’t be ashamed) Christian. But then again, animals act tamer around Saints.
The third presupposition is implied from Hebrews 12 (22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, 23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect) and St. Macarius. “Within the heart is an unfathomable depth. There are reception rooms and bedchambers in it, doors and porches, and many offices and passages. In it is the workshop of righteousness and of wickedness. In it is death, in it is life…. The heart is Christ’s palace…There Christ the King comes to take His rest, with the angels and the spirits of the saints, and He dwells there, walking within it and placing His kingdom there.” (Homilies 15:32-33). I suppose it would be universalist to say that we take all of those with whom we have relationships with us wherever we go. But I think we do take the relationships with us, as well as the memories that can spark feelings. Negative feelings that we want to avoid can be diminished by distance, but I don’t think we are healed of them if the memory still causes pain. Perhaps a safe place of refuge is what we need till we are healed of it, and who knows if it will be healed in this life. Let’s say it wont. Then one will be crippled and wounded in the new place, but maybe more comfortable. There is no sickness in heaven. So whether the person at the other end of the painful relationship is in heaven or not, the dwellers of heaven wont be negatively affected, eventually.
Let’s say the person with whom one requires distance is also a member of the heavenly kingdom and is likewise on the path to maturity. Eventually both will be healed enough to be able to stand proximity to each other in a blessed way. This is not to say all negative feelings are bad. Some are probably growing pains and calls to humility, and can thus become nurturing opportunities. But some, whether based in passions, bad habits, blindness, or woundedness, can cause earthly distance. But the relationship to the person in the heart of those being saved is one of future realities where immaturity and weakness will be done away and both will be seen as the beautiful creatures they truly are, or at least, will be.
Here are three statements that are used to express acquiescence to another person’s will, with differences.
1. Whatever. This term shows the most negative of the three relationships typified by each statement. It can easily be said while walking away from the other person in order to let that person have their objectionable way.
2. Not my will but thine be done. While more respectful and humble than whatever, it still shows objection. This person will stay with the other person and do their bidding, but it will be painful. They wish it could be otherwise.
3. As you wish. This person is happily devoted to the other person, and has no commitment to outcomes, only to the other person. What is being asked is immaterial and lightly and deftly obeyed, even if the sayer would never have thought of it on his or her own.
Additionally, I am thinking of going back to my other, more established blog, Words, at bloggingsbetter.wordpress.com. I think I may have accomplished what I first set out to do with this one during the Nativity Fast last year. The title, “Words” is shortened from Hamlet’s “words, words, words.”
I wish Branagh’s “words, words, words”
could have been delivered more like Olivier’s “to be or not to be”
I love the ’40’s style.
Since I began riding this summer, horse behavior has so far taught me 2 things about higher life forms, including humans.
1. When one has performance stress, he can try to anticipate what is required and jump the gun, so to speak. He quits listening to what is being asked, and tries to predict on his own what he believes will be asked, and preempt the command. He must be afraid of a negative outcome if he just stays in the moment and waits for cues. It is a sort of panic, flight reaction. And it keeps true communication from happening. He is afraid of what the other has to say. And it works both ways between horse and rider. If you’re expecting a negative behavior from a horse, you may be likely to get it. But one should be prepared for those negative behaviors, just not act like you’re stressed about it.
2. Then there are the negative reactions to actual negative stimuli, or at least intense stimuli. Let’s say a loud noise makes makes a horse nervous, like a backfire. His first inclination may be to stoically act like nothing happened in order to please the rider. But it introduced a negative energy into his calm composure. He rationalizes that it’s not a big deal, but he can’t let it go. Or it wont let go of him. The natural reaction to a sudden loud noise is to jump and run away. He’s been given conflicting signals. One, stand still, two run away. So he does both. He stays still till he feels an opportunity, then a few seconds later, takes an unasked for bounding canter step or two.
I imagine this is what it is like with people too. Something negative and jarring happens, like unexpected angry words, then a stoic response, then a misplaced reaction. A person can try to rationalize that it doesn’t matter, and that he doesn’t believe it to be harmful, or that flight or fight is useless, detrimental, or wrong, but the negative energy is there. It will suddenly and intensely come back out later, either back towards the instigator or towards someone else.
I’m wondering if it is indeed impossible to keep a negative stimulus from causing a negative, equally energetic reaction. We totally expect a baby to cry if it is hungry. It would be weird and unnatural if he didn’t. But adults are taught to postpone gratification and not ask for satisfaction immediately. But if we stifle our cries over a stubbed toe, for instance, isn’t it with the expectation that satisfaction, though delayed, will come later? We look forward to telling our friend about it, then we can let it go. Interesting how talking about it can replace the equal physical reaction, like getting a steel toed boot on and kicking the offending chair till it shows some damage. We can take out our frustration in other indirect ways.
Religious people are taught to forgive and not strike back. To turn the other cheek. To love offending enemies. To return good for evil. This defies physics. And doesn’t it spoil the offender? What about justice? If one can place the offender in God’s hands for vengeance, what does she do with the pain she feels? Talking about it can be a form of vengeance, since it can hurt the offending person’s reputation. Confession to one’s priest can even turn into revenge, but it must be the solution anyway. As is talking to a trusted adviser, like one’s spouse. That person must have clear sight as well and not become co-dependent neither with the offender nor offended. If one is seeking to be painfully self-aware, she will not be tolerant of her own revealed tendencies towards revenge. She will seek to deal with her pain in a Christian way. Forgiveness is perhaps discerning the most respectful course of action with the other person. If one is wounded, then sometimes they can’t help but seek to escape the cause of further pain. They may not be able to stifle their tears or crying out. Strong, healed, far-sighted people will not panic at the blows, but like Stephen, will barely feel them. Their smile is not forced; it is natural.
But if a person is too crippled to say, “Go ahead, do your worst”? I don’t think they should feel guilty. They may wish they were stronger. And I don’t think they should be made to feel responsible for their weakness. There are many reasons for weakness, and I don’t think personally responsible sin is the only cause. Such as when Jesus was asked, ‘whose sin caused this man to be born blind?’ He said it was for the power of God to be revealed in him, and didn’t blame anyone. Who knows how and when God’s power is revealed in someone? I don’t think there’s a uniform answer. Some people learn to bear their infirmities, some are healed from them. Lord have mercy.