Thursday, July 20, 2006

Faith is both the dreaming and the crying

There will always be some who say that such faith is only a dream, and God knows there is none who can say it more devastatingly than we sometimes say it to ourselves, but if so, I think of it as like the dream that Caliban dreamed […]

“Be not affeard, the Isle is full of noyes,
Sounds, and sweet aires, that give delight and hurt not;
Sometimes a thousand twangling Instruments
Will hum about mine eares; and sometimes voices,
That if I then had wak’d after long sleep,
Will make me sleep again, and the in dreaming,
The clouds methought would open and shew riches
Ready to drop upon me, that when I wak’d
I cried to dream again.”

[…] Faith is like the dream in which the clouds open to show such riches ready to drop upon us that when we wake into the reality of nothing ore than common sense, we cry to dream again because dreaming seems truer than the waking does to the fullness of reality not as we have seen it, to be sure, but as by faith we trust it to be without seeing. Faith is both the dreaming and the crying. Faith is the assurance that the best and holiest dream is true after all. Faith in something – if only in the proposition that life is better than death – is what makes our journeys through time bearable. When faith ends, the journey ends – ends either in a death like my Father’s (suicide) or in the living death of those who believe themselves to be without hope.

Frederick Buechner

Thursday, July 06, 2006

There is nothing so capacious as a fugue

Robert Jenson has emerged as one of the few American Systematic Theologians of which we all should pay attention. Hopefully I will be posting a little more on The Triune God (I know, it's ridiculous how much this costs. Shop around, you can find better). For now, enjoy an excerpt from the last few pages.

"One transcendental remains: God is beauty; to be God is to be enjoyable. In that the triune conversation is righteousness, it is the perfect harmony of the triune communal life. And the harmony of discourse taken for itself is its beauty; more precisely, its music.

The necessary doctrine here is analogous to that about God’s truth and goodness and need not be developed at length; God’s beauty also is not a dispositional property, waiting for our action, in this instance for our enjoyment. God’s beauty is the actual living exchange between Father, Son, and Spirit, as this exchange is perfect simply as exchange, as it sings. The harmony of the Father, son, and Spirit, the triune perichoiresis, transcends its character as goodness because it has no purpose beyond itself, being itself God. And the harmony of a discourse thus taken for itself and for the sake of itself, is its beauty, its aesthetic entity.

Correspondingly, our enjoyment of God is that we are taken into the triune singing. Perhaps we may say we are allowed to double the parts. And here too we must insist on concreteness. That the proclamation and prayer of the church regularly bursts into beauty, indeed seems to insist on music and choreography and setting, is not an adventitious hankering to decorate. A congregation singing a hymn of praise to the Father is doubling the Son’s praise, and the surge of rhythm and melody is the surge of the Spirit’s glorification of the Father and the Son […]

[…] All such beauty of the creation, now or in the Kingdom, is constituted by ‘sweet mutual consents’ with the persons of the Trinity, the supreme Harmony of all. Thus the holiness of god himself is a ‘sweet conjunction’ of greatness and mercy, with nothing in it but what is ‘ravishingly lovely’ […]

[…] To conclude, we may invoke Thomas’ maxim a last time: the discourse that is God is not other than its sheer occurrence as the divine perichoresis. Therefore the discourse that is God may be thought of not only as singing but even as ‘pure’ music. It is the peculiarity of the aesthetic that in apprehending beauty we abstract from the content of discourse without becoming abstract in our understanding. God, we may thus say, is a melody. And as there are three singers who take each their part, as further specification suggests itself: the melody is fugued.

We must note what has just happened. The apprehension of God as beauty, in its concrete abstraction, has led us to another proposition of the same character as those in the preceding chapter, in which we sad that God is an event, a person, a decision, and a conversation. The phrase ‘the one God’ directs us finally to the sheer perichoresis of the Father, Son, and Spirit, and that is to their communal music. We close the doctrine of God with this evocation of God’s being, beyond which there is no more to say: God is a great fugue. There is nothing so capacious as a fugue."

Robert W. Jenson

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Just because it's awesome

Enjoy this video!

"There is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path" -Morpheus

Matt. 21: 23- 32 (NRSV)

23 When he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, and said, "By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?" 24 Jesus said to them, "I will also ask you one question; if you tell me the answer, then I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. 25 Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?" And they argued with one another, "If we say, 'From heaven,' he will say to us, 'Why then did you not believe him?' 26 But if we say, 'Of human origin,' we are afraid of the crowd; for all regard John as a prophet." 27 So they answered Jesus, "We do not know." And he said to them, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 28 "What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, 'Son, go and work in the vineyard today.' 29 He answered, 'I will not'; but later he changed his mind and went. 30 The father Ý went to the second and said the same; and he answered, 'I go, sir'; but he did not go. 31 Which of the two did the will of his father?" They said, "The first." Jesus said to them, "Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him.

The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.