I Saw the Future

In the past two weeks I have visited a number of seniors in my congregation.  I have to say that the experience has been a little unnerving.  In these visits I encountered paranoia, gibberish and sexual frustration.  All the while I walk the halls to find a particular room and a particular person and in the process pass by men and women sitting with their heads tilting back and to the side staring at the ceiling or staring at nothing at all.  Some moan.  Shouting can be heard coming from some rooms.  This, I imagine, is the fate of the majority of westerners; that is if they are lucky enough to be able to afford one of these places and can get in.  There is nothing absolutely nothing in nature to preserve our mind and body.  It is the natural order to become decrepit and crazy.  One woman was fondling my hands continually repeating it would be wonderful if my hand could be outside . . . could my hand be outside . . . do you think my hand could be outside.  This is the culmination of life.  There is no dignity ahead.  Know that now.  Let that inform you now.  These people are not becoming less human they are becoming more human.  They are returning to our original essence which is formless and void.  Hold on and reinforce all you want.

Really, though, these people are crazy . . . and we accept it.  It is more human to be crazy than to be not crazy.  I remember one piece of graffiti I saw which read all of god is insane.  It was the ‘all’ that got me.  But they are not crazy and god is not insane.  We build out of ineternal materials and so we slow down the flow of divinity thinking it will cease, reside, rest but the Tent must always move.  And when a middle aged person acts like any single person I am referring to above then we fear.  And at times for good reason for they are still strong enough to enact this strange divinity.  They are in step with the speed and we cannot keep up.  No I am still wrong.  We are all crazy.  It is simply a numbers game.  How many people are convinced of which truth.  Love is what differentiates.  Love is what cuts along the the arbitrary horizon of sanity.

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7 comments on “I Saw the Future

  1. Maxwell says:

    I know what you mean David. The work I did this summer at SMC had significant visiting duties attached to it… I know exactly what you mean.

  2. My wife and I (approaching 60) absolutely love camping and especially primitive camping where we must provide for water and all services for a week – which we do each spring in the great Southwest.

    Anyway my point is that we have been improving our technique and getting better and better at camping all during our 30+ years together and yet I have begun to ‘see the future’ a little myself and realized that this is one of those human tragedies in the making, where the year will come when we simply cannot do it safely anymore.

    Material life, as you say, has these built in limits – a person rises to mastery and optimum strength and flourishes until . . . he starts to lose it, and eventually everything that is materially satisfying is taken away from him.

    For a person of faith It’s another subtle ‘argument’ for listening to those countless teachers who have spoken of a spirit life which must, through all, and after all, survive (with God’s help).

  3. I am beginning to wonder if natural death is what in fact is unnatural here. Are we meant to be mauled by a bull, infected with leprosy or burned by the stake well before our expiry date? Maybe. There is something of ‘spirit’ that does need to be addressed her but again it must be a deeply material spirit where even dry bones carry the full, though latent, form of life.

  4. David, if I understand that last statement of yours, you’re saying that some old folks are so far gone mentally that their ‘spirit’ could only remain in a form which is thoroughly sunk into some kind of reserve state. In my one close lay ministry with a stroke victim, the issues of life were perplexing enough, I could see.

    But ‘deeply material spirit’ I don’t understand.

  5. I suppose that last comment reflects the recent influence Sergeii Bulgakov has been having on me as well as some notions of immanence. Bulgakov (I don’t have the source with me at the moment) draws on Paul’s language in 1 Cor which speaks of the imperishable body. My allusion of course was also to Ezekiel’s dry bones. Though in that scenario the ‘dead’ bones respond to the breath of God. ‘Spiritual’ life then is material life in a particular form, expression or relationship.

  6. OK I always interpreted 1Cor 15 ‘imperishable’ to be referring to a post-material or super-material life we die into rather than a re-invigorated version of the obviously perishable thing we die inside of.

    I don’t think you could find anything in Paul that supports material resurrection even for Christ himself. I think Paul was immunized against this later-appearing dogma (which gets into Luke and John about 40 years later)by the nature of his own experience of the risen Lord as Spirit (even on the Damascus Road).

    Your thinking (and Bulgakov’s and millions of others’) is completely understandable from the standpoint of the dogma of bodily resurrection, but I would say NOT on the basis of anything from Paul (which I guess amounts to my rejection of Bulgakov’s use of 1 Cor if you’re right about that).

    Thanks for writing.

  7. I am basically thinking as I write here. I would have spend some more time with the questions at hand to respond more substantively. It does seem to me that 1 Cor is indeed an important question then with respect to Paul. I will have to look back at Bulgakov and see how he develops it (and look at Paul as well!).

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