dis-peptic

There are two reasons to write. Both greatly influence the qualities, as they determine the goals, of the products.

The first is personal gain — I wanted to limit this to money, but have to admit authorship requires enough pride to devote yourself to a task for an extended period. Mostly I have wanted to be an author (read: to have authored/to enjoy the fruits of writing), and therefore an expert. Within this range, of course, is a determination to achieve social status/fame, or to improve cash-flow.

The aim then is to give the audience enough of what it demands to receive whichever combination of status, power, and financial securities is desired.

The second I’m inclined to offer as ‘nausea’. Something needs to be said, and it can no longer be kept down. Whatever the results precisely, here the author can hold back no longer.

Noise – Noxia – Nausea

Engulfed.  A sea of noise drowns out all competitors and so plunges thoughts below the surface.  Be carried by the current or struggle against it at your peril.

My wife won’t stand for commercials.  They grate on her classically trained ears.  I feel my best chance of returning to the ‘sunlit lands’ above the waves is to ignore them.

We each have cultivated sensitivities which require focus, and focus must be protected.  As Schopenhauer relates, a diamond divided into shards loses all value.  So too with thought or the serenity which accompanies its careful manifestations.

The city is no friend of the sound-sensitive, or smell- or sight-sensitive for that matter, but we are on the subject of sound.  For Schopenhauer, it was the heedless and unceasing cracking of whips — a sound which paralyses the brain.  Its current counterpart would be the car-horn: counterintuitively it demands another go when the sound screams halt.  And so it has not the desired effect, resulting in a chorus of replying honks.  Or, an incomprehensible blaring of directions must be shouted at us until the warning it is meant to deliver is blocked out with all other such noisea.

As a teacher I have well marked that my best chance of regaining control of the classroom is not to shout over the students, but to grow quieter and firmly signal my intent to speak.  A nudge effects more than a shove, unless we are living in a world of shoves.

Nausea

But thought, if it is to be fruitful and worthy of discourse, must be checked and re-checked.  New pathways must be explored and old ones unearthed.  Most cultural output is too ready to speak and shows it has not listened.  It cannot listen for it is merely shouting over the din and so becoming part of this oceanic violence.

Getting our attention for a fraction of a moment is considered just cause for violating our peace.  My thought and your thought is not worth protecting when profit is to be made.  It is everyone’s job to entertain us long enough to be marketed to.

But books are little better.  Publishers, academic or otherwise, are less interested in the value of their product and its usefulness to the audience than in making a profit despite technological challenges.

That which is most helpful often is whispered, not shouted, and for the listener ear and ground must draw closer.  But so long as profit is to be made from noise it must remain the primary occupation of thinkers to escape long enough to produce something.

Anti-religious religiosity: insufficent complexity in a theology of sufficiency

“We cannot understand religion or religious expressions in terms which are overly simple, and we ought to have a deep, abiding suspicion for explanations of religious behavior which fail the test of sufficient complexity, whether those explanations are given by academics, politicians, members of religious communities, or some combination of all three.”

That’s from my friend, Zack.  I have been thoroughly nauseated in the past few weeks by this ‘Jesus>Religion’ video.  Sorry, I ‘m not going to address this substantively (and sorry Zack for letting the word ‘nausea’ creep a little too closely to your name, they aren’t associated in my mind), and I ‘m not going to pat Jefferson Bethke, Driscoll-iple, for “starting dialogue” or upholding authenticity.  I ‘m happy to hear that some people have been blessed by it – but my stomach churns when I listen to such items.  My heart mourns for those who are being and have been abused by Mars Hill.  I wish I could separate these two thoughts, but for the moment, I can’t.

Simple answers harm.  I believe, simply, that the problem is looking for a simple answer.  Even hearing Bethke admit openly that he was not condemning the church does n’t abate the nausea.  Using a term deceitfully in order to uphold your own view is poor form, especially when that form fits our preference for that which makes agreement a simple matter.  ‘Religion’ for religious people (and those who follow Jesus are by nature ‘religious’) intersects with innumerable aspects of their lives.  It intersects with the political (Jesus came announcing the establishment of his kingdom, interject a study of mishpat in Isaiah), with the communal (the very nature of the church in Acts coupled with the missing priorities extolled in Corinthians and James), with the sociological (uh, people are involved), with the historical (it happened in time – even claiming that others have got it all wrong requires that you acknowledge history), with the phenomenological (stuff happened), etc.

In short, it’s irreducible.  The straw man (straw women are n’t respected enough to be rejected in Driscoll’s overt teaching, which is all that his work can be judged by for most of us) is easily dismissed.  We hit ‘like’ and are lumped in with them or we ignore it, shake our heads, and don’t agree with them.  I completely fail to see how substantive dialogue develops when terms are chosen so poorly.  For me, these concepts fail to deal with issues in sufficient complexity, whether those problems are in the church, marriage, sex, identity, leadership-models, abuse, or counseling.  Explanations can only be applied insofar as they are helpful – I fail to see how anything substantive has been added to the discussions.