Friday, July 07, 2006

218. blog break

No, I haven't been posting much recently. But there are reasons.

I'm going to start working again on a screenplay that I had on my iBook before it got stolen back in '03. It's a really promising idea, and I really think that a screenplay (as opposed to a short story or novel) is the best vehicle to get it out because it has to do with three characters, each with different points of view and I don't want to make any one of them the main character. I want each to have strengths and weaknesses and I want to try and give them equal weight. I suppose a stageplay would work as well, but I haven't seen a lot of theater so I don't quite know how to go there. I have read a couple books about screenwriting and I've taken a couple film classes and so I'm going with a screenplay.

But that's not the only reason for the break. It also, I think, has to do with me reformulating the way I see and understand Christianity, because it's in transition and it's exciting but it's very unformed and thus hard to put into words. It's funny, there have been ideas that I've been working with inside my head and they seem promising but when I try to share them with friends, they just give me this blank stare. And I think that's because the ideas aren't fully formed yet and so they come out sideways when I try to express them and people look at me like I'm talking backwards or something.

It's almost like learning a new language. You learn a few phrases and you try them out but because you're just aping sounds that you learned, it sounds disjointed and awkward. And even after a few months of practice, the language is still cumbersome because it's not a fluid, natural part of you yet. And so even though you can hold a garbled conversation, it's still mechanical and some of the words are in the wrong place or you're using the wrong conjugation.

That's how I am right now with this new (for me) understanding of what it is to be a Christian. I've read these books (see blog 216), it's like I'm learning a new language and I don't want to converse with it until I have at least a rudimentary grasp of it. That's why blog 216 was so full of questions - because questions are all I have right now.

I'll be back soon to share what I'm wrestling with and what I'm coming to understand.

Thanks for your patience and understanding.

"Oh, come on. Throw us a bone, at least."

Okay. Here's something I'm chewing on right now.

If you believe in god, there are three basic ways that you can understand how he relates to our world.

One, god is everywhere and in all things - rocks, trees, animals, and certainly in you and I. Problem with this approach is that it offers no hope for deliverance from evil since agents of evil are part deity.

Two, god is completely separated from us - in another, inaccessible dimension if you will. The most common analogy to forwards this view goes like this: god is like a watchmaker. He made this intricate universe of ours, set it in motion and is now watching how all everything plays out. As I understand it, this is the view that many of America's forefathers held - Deism. With this in mind, one might say that America is a Deist nation rather than a Christian nation...but that's a topic for historians and religion professors to iron out. But again, the problem is that if god is inaccessible, then what good is he?

Third, you have the view of God that Jews had at the time when Jesus came on the scene, some two thousand years ago. In this view, God's realm and the world we live in overlap and in some places, they intersect. For the Jews, the Temple was a place where heaven and earth intersected (kind of like the wormhole in Star Trek's Deep Space Nine).

According to N.T. Wright, one of the things accomplished by the work of Christ is that the intersection of heaven and earth takes places not just in the temple or in churches, but within each and every follower of Christ (because your body is a temple - 1 Corinthians 6:19). And in part, that is how the kingdom of God disseminates - through the making of Christians through faith in Christ.

And again, I don't completely understand how that works or how we're supposed to use this bit of insight, but it's a lovely thought, don't you think?

"That's it?"

Well, you asked for a bone and I gave you one. You'll have to wait a bit for me to flesh it all out. (Sorry, I was watching a rerun of The Mummy on cable while eating my dinner, thus the bone and flesh imagery).

(Oh, and no matter how many times I see it, I still can't get over how much that movie sucks.)

(I need to watch less television.)

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