Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Hello Darkness, My Old Friend


Jesus is God’s ‘revelation’ in a decisive sense not because he makes a dimly apprehended God clear to us, but because he challenges and queries an unusually clear sense of God: not because he makes things plainer—on the ‘veil-lifting’ model of revelation—but because he makes things darker.
Rowan Williams (appropriated from Chris K. Huebner)

8 comments:

anna said...

At a loss for a word to say how good that pairing of word and image is. Reminds me, too, of Rembrandt's "Presentation of Christ in the Temple in the Dark Manner," done around the same time, as he collaborated closely with Sephardi rabbi Menasseh ben Israel. Veils made obscurer and obscurer. Is there a time for embracing un-knowing?

Nathanael Booth said...

Wow. I may struggle with this one a bit; on the one hand, I do think that Christ obscures and challenges our ideas on God, Godhood, and Godliness; He certainly doesn't act like any god one might expect. On the other--and this isn't a rhetorical question--doesn't He also make plain God's nature in His very contradiction of our constructs?

Or is Williams referring less to an objective state-of-being and more to that moment of confusion when all our certainties become doubts and we are left reeling in the face of the God-man?

mjaneb said...

is it from the times of unknowing that we are able to be shown how deeply God can exist or how deeply we can exist in God? How greatly my every sin and death is seen and understood and conquered by him? Is that what's going on?

Strange that not knowing and darkness would be healthy for us. I've always been in darkness. I often think it's supposed to be my goal to fight my way into light-living, whatever I believe light-living looks like at any moment.
Jesus confusing my idea of what is good, what is ok. Freedom to be where I am.

(I don't really know what I mean by any of these rambles, but I hope something is picked up.)

anna said...

Mjaneb, I'm feeling your words-makes me think of the story of the tree of knowledge-and I wonder sometimes if the first fruit of the fall was knowing, and if the knowing was the beginning of distance between Adam and Eve and us and God and word and flesh. I don't know what to do with that, and unknowing is different I think from deliberate ignorance or carelessness-I don't think I can find Jesus not caring.

"Jesus confusing my idea of what is good, what is ok. Freedom to be where I am."

yeah. i think i love that.

And that idea from Nathanael about "when all our certainties become doubts and we are left reeling in the face of the God-man..."

Is it ok to say I'm really digging this?

Segue said...

"We first begin to see God, when we begin to doubt what we first see."

Debs said...

Not being able to see the big picture - everything all at once - can be so frustrating for me. I feel so blinded in this world, and I have since childhood (maybe its the 7.00 farsightedness??).

I want to know! I want to tear through the veil and discover! I'm an unsatiable mess of curiosity.

I love the quote and the image, but, yeah... I just wish I knew!

mjaneb said...

yes yes debs. amen.

Debs said...

Speaking of obscurity and general befuddlement...

David and Sarah and anybody else who reads this,

I'm a voracious reader.. And it seems to be putting me in a tight spot lately. I love C.S. Lewis and Madeleine L'Engle; I'm reading The Ragamuffin Gospel right now; I read David Dark, and, of course, that great bastion of all things True: the internet. (oh, Lord...)

I feel like all of my accumulated knowledge thus far (paltry though it is) is leading me toward a frightening (for me) conclusion. I am leaning more and more toward universalism. Specifically, the idea that God will eventually restore all souls to Himself, which is contrary to the doctrine of eternal damnation.

The problem here, is that my husband is beginning to think that I am a heretic, a label that I sort of expected to receive from some, having been raised in a (very oddly formed but nevertheless) Protestant environment, but it is still painful.

Lovely people, I don't know what to do. I so want to have peace in my home (can you hear the desperation in my cyber-voice? it's there.), but I don't want to cop out to a half-Truth, when my heart cries so clearly for the fullness of Grace. I also don't want to fight dogmatism with dogmatism.

Why should this belief even be so important? To me it has been a revelation, a life-changing shift. This is exactly what he is afraid of - that I have shifted to a heretical viewpoint that down-plays the role of Jesus.

I don't see it that way. I see Jesus as the program as well as the Programmer, God Himself teaching us how to sacrifice our lives to draw closer to Him. But he said "if I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto me" John 12:32

And also "the kingdom of God is within you" Luke 17:21. I choose to take statements like these at face value, but it seems at the moment to be damaging my relationships.

What am I gonna do, man?


Please, somebody, tell me I'm not crazy.... or maybe just a little bit. I could use some good words.

deborah.scheibler@gmail.com