Friday 27 May 2016

Duck soup doodlings

Dark matter makes up 80% of the universe, but where is it? American scientists now think they’ve found the answer: 11250 Waples Mill Road, Fairfax, Virginia.

“Hope is the thing with feathers” (Emily Dickinson). Despair is the asshole behind the duck blind with a 20-gauge double barrel shotgun.

There is nothing like a presidential election – this one in particular – to rescue from desuetude the imprecations of the Psalms.

So Neil Young, Elton John, and Adele are pissed off that their music has been hijacked by the Trump campaign. Imagine, then, the velocity of the spinning corpses of Charles Albert Tindley, Louise Shropshire, and Pete Seeger when the GOP starts singing “We Shall Overcome” at the Republican National Convention in July.

General Relativity for Reformed theologians: Calvin tells Barth how to move, Barth tells Calvin how to curve.

Einstein, of course, was right: God doesn’t play dice. He plays cards: Solitaire with Unitarians, Go Fish with Evangelicals, I Doubt It with Liberals, Old Maid with Roman Catholics, Spite and Malice with Hyper-Calvinists, Follow the Queen with Anglicans, Hearts with Universalists, Bridge with Ecumenists, Gin with lapsed Methodists, and Stud Poker with Promise Keepers.

The doctrine of predestination is no more a doctrine than the ontological argument is an argument. They are brilliant theological gags. If you get them, you smile, blissfully; if you don’t, you turn to tortured – or torturing – explanations.

Marilynne Robinson is such a thoroughgoing Barthian humanist – her childlike delight in creation, her suspicion of a logos asarkos, and her affirmation of a costly universalism – that one might call her writings a poetics of Bruce McCormack.

Time moves slowly in Hell, but the 14th-century sign at the entrance – “Abandon All Hope, You Who Enter Here” – has finally been replaced. The new sign, above an arrow composed of flashing coloured lights, reads “Follow the Money”.

Many evangelicals who declare that “America is a Christian nation” remind me of George Lindbeck’s crusader who cries “Christus est Dominus!” The only difference is their weapon of choice.

Where there’s a will, there’s a prey.

Writing for the Church Times (15 April), Andrew Brown observes that xenophobia and nationalism in Sweden have “taken a religious expression in paganism, not Christianity.” So just like the US and the UK then.

I hear that Liberty University is offering a new module in Russian literature. It features Chekov’s Uncle Samuíl, Tolstoy’s War and Piece, Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Kalashnikov, and Turgenev’s Fathers, Sons, and Womenfolk.

It’s déjà vu all over again. Ever since 9/11, the US and the UK have repeatedly backed tinpot allies in the Middle East who they claim can form a government yet who are hated by the local population, while the Saudis, “our friends” (i.e., our business partners in arms and oil), remain the (wild) elephant in the region. Sisters and brothers, can I get a Yemen?

I think of the pulpit as home plate and therefore suggest that preachers should dress like umpires. If they preach the gospel, eventually they’ll need protection.

Jesus said, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, one or two will piss off and start their own church” (Matthew 18:20, Original Autograph).

Jesus said, “Where two or three thousand gather together in my name, please accept my apologies for absence” (Matthew 18:20, Another Original Autograph).

I walk into a coffee shop. At the counter is a kid wearing a name badge. Zack asks, “Can I help you?” “A cappuccino, please.” “Awesome,” Zack replies. “With an extra shot.” “Awesome,” Zack adds. “And a chocolate top.” “Awesome,” Zack repeats. A hat trick of semantic vacuity. You know the worship ditty, “Our God is an awesome God”? Take it from the top, all you Zacks out there.

“No problem” is another word-wreck of a reply you often get from a waiter/ waitress/ waitperson/ waitbeing. As if in taking an order of burgers and fries he/she might suddenly find him/herself addressing an incident on Apollo 13.

The good news is that the truth will set you free. The bad news is that the truth will set you free.

What is salvation? The past catching up with you – and the Future snatching you from its grasp.

Jesus went to the territory near the town of Caesarea Philippi, where he asked his disciples, “Who so people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “David Berkowitz, of course.” “‘Man’!” Jesus shouted. “‘Son of Man’, you idiots!” (Matthew 16:13-14, Original Autograph).

“Just be yourself” goes the psychomantra. Really? And which “self” would that be? And even assuming you manage to locate and isolate one, why would you want to be him/her/whomever? Are you work-shy or just unimaginative? Have you never prayed?

The bewitchment of language begins with the hocus of “I” and the pocus of “me”.

I’m 67. Do I miss the old days? Not really. I’ve taken the good stuff with me. (And contrary to boomers who were no less senescent then than they are now, there was a heap of good stuff.) What I miss is the young days.


Fernando said...

What, no card game for us Lutherans!?

Alan K said...


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