Life is The Matter

I am a very positive person for some reason – and the way I view life reflects a lot of that. I am into bantering about scripture and anything concerning the church – yet these things are passions of mine – I really do very little concerning them in my actual day to day existence…why…no avenue for it + who would respect me in this theological game (no church I can tell you that)?

But it’s all good you know. Life is about perspective and I choose to see the enjoymemt I have with theology and it’s importance to me – if I never get respect for my work – so be it – I did this for me.

I had a chance to watch a documentary called ‘global metal’ yesterday – which was about finding metal-heads all over the world – including China, Japan, Indonesia, The Middle East, Norway, Germany, and Israel. Loved the show, was and still am a fan of metal music, and it really was a study in cultures worldwide. One thing really stuck out to me…this is about ‘life’.

They interviewed some Israeli metal bands and how this effected them – and I had to laugh at the truth one of them spoke. The person said the stuff in these metal songs does not scare him, he laughs at them really (ie: demons and what have u)…because real life is much scarier. Poignant, yes.

Real life is the issue – it’s the heart of the matter – and worrying about some unknowns and unseens and focusing attention there is a ‘waste of time’. See, what we got here is a failure to communicate…religion is faulty in the sense of focus/perspective. It’s not solving world problems – because the world is beyond repair anyways or is only something to conquer. Religion – for all its talk of hope – is rather hopeless in some regards.

But this is why theology is a passion of mine – not my life – a passion of my real life. Because in real life I have to deal with real issues and not suppositions about heaven, hell, or the unknown…if God wants to stay unknown – good for Him. I have to deal with life and not un-attach from it – which is a huge religious problem – one I had to break free from/rehab from for a few years.

My quest now is – is religious unattachment from this present realm and planet actually helping destroy it?

11 thoughts on “Life is The Matter

  1. yeah, i never got the unattachment part.. if one reads the Bible, the Prophets and Jesus are very much concerned about the here and now.. equal rights, justice, distribution of the wealth, etc. etc.

    i don’t get why so many Christians have become hopeless and focused on the “sweet bye & bye.” here and now is what my theology speaks to.. it’s pratical, ethical, and a constant guide in my considerations. i have to say that the unattachment is destroying the planet.. without at doubt.

    great insight dawg. RAWK

  2. Jason,
    You’re painting kind of a broad brush there with the use of ‘religion’ rather than perhaps one specific religion, or perhaps even just a certain segment of that religion, which you have in mind? 🙂

  3. Since there are segments within all three of the monotheistic religions that view this world as nothing to be concerned about perhaps you are right in putting the blame on religion.

    I would place the blame elsewhere, however, because what I see is that the people who strive to be the closest to God are the ones who lose all interest in this world. It’s not religions fault, but the fault of people who take it all too seriously. I think there is a reason we only were required to go up to the Temple three times per year. The rest of the time we needed to be involved in living our lives. And the Kohen Gadol who only went into the Holy of Holies once per year? That was enough for him as well. He had other things he needed to do for people rather than spending every minute of his life hanging out with God.

    Even though Torah contains many rules about the sacrificial system, when you read the text you come to realize that most of the rules were about living life and building a just society. And of course there was no talk about living for some next life since this concept is totally absent from Torah.

    When I think of the ones whose only concern is their own and other people’s souls, or even just their own little segment of society rather than looking out for the stranger as well, I am reminded of Nadav and Avihu who offered a strange fire to God and were consumed. One teaching is that they were so consumed with their desire to be as close to God as possible, they overstepped all bounds. Their ‘strange fire’ was perfectly acceptable in the right time and place, but this was not the time or place. They should have been off doing other things rather than trying to approach God.

    I look at is as if you have some close encounters with God along the way, cool. They are indeed awe inspiring moments, but they are rare. What is common is living life every day, the mundane. Seeing the image of God in the people around us, seeing the hand of God in creation, isn’t that enough? I guess I don’t understand why some feel the need to have constant affirmation from God. God gave us the world to take care of. We haven’t done such a great job so why don’t we do our ‘chores’ first rather than thinking we can sit and watch TV with God all day while the world around us crumbles? Does God really need me slobbering all over God constantly?

    I like this teaching from Talmud: “Better that they abandon Me [God of course], but follow my laws.” “Through living by laws they will come to me.”

    And what are those laws? Just society: taking care of the widow, the orphan and the stranger. When you cut the 613 mitzvot down to just 10, all you are left with is ‘God and me’. Add in the rest and you have ‘God, community and me’. What good is it to just have God and ‘me’. When it was just God and Adam, God told Adam it wasn’t good for Adam to be alone, and this was with God right there!

    People are what matter. When we focus on taking care of each other, we don’t have to fret about our souls and God. Everything will fall into its proper place.

    Just a Jewish view to it all….off my soapbox.

  4. yeah.. i gotta go with Yael’s critique. can’t lump all of religion in there. many early christians didn’t care about heaven and all that.. just look at Thomas Christians and the Gnostics. and today, even among the literalists, you have the red letter Christians. so keep your blanket statements nice and tucked away in your closet.. cause they don’t fly every where 😉

  5. Funny thing, Yaels words remind me of this Taoist saying.

    “Before enlightenment, chopping wood, carrying water. After enlightenment, chopping wood, carrying water”

  6. John,
    12 words make the point so much better than my 2,650,436! I’ll have to keep working on that….

    Just to be clear, I wasn’t on my soapbox berating you at all. Aside from your use of the broad stroke with ‘religion’, I’m right there with you.

    It is interesting how many ‘heretics’ there have been throughout history, isn’t it?

  7. Sorry about getting a little general on the word religion – I am usually good at catching that kind of stuff. But I wrote it from the idea that this idea does pervade many religions causing some weird to demented behavior.

    My point is good theology should make good behavior – useless theology will make useless behavior and so on. Theology is really not a defining label per se – because it depends what someone does with their view of God that matters – the tangible is what I care about these days and I am quick not to forget this when I am in any religious crowd.

    For example, I have seen over the years on blogs some Christians treating others in a certain way – which I would call downright rude and ignorant – for the sake of making a point (or being better than them). Then the movement to judgment for some icing on the egotistical cake. All this says to me is that person needs to give some serious thought to what they believe – because whatever it is – it doesn’t work in social situations nor is it actually kind.

    And I think seeing enough of that convinces me that one’s beliefs about God – no matter how sound – come down to one’s simple existence and treatment of another. Someone can tell me all day how much they ‘love God’ but if they treat people around them in questionable manners – they are lying and their theology allows for it.

  8. Sorry to get in late on some of this. I’ve been training hard for a few days that I had off work and pretty much just rested in my down time. Plus, it was Karmen’s birthday so was focussing on her as much as I could.

    I just commented over on Yael’s blog similarly. I agree that Christians get too focused on “the sweet bye and bye” as Luke says it. I have heard too often that this world doesn’t really matter as it is a staging ground for “heaven.” So our focus then is all about leaving this world behind. So we do what we think we have to do to get into heaven which is basically avoiding sin. Well when we are completely focussed on avoiding, we are then not focussed on doing so taking care of the weak, the downtrodden, the sick gets relegated to a few who are willing to do it, and we just give them money and call it good. I like NT Wright so much partly because he emphasizes the here and now. He explains that God’s kingdom is continually revealing itself here and will eventually fully realize itself here, not somewhere else in some corne of the universe. So how well we do things like social justice and care for the downtrodden right here and now actually does matter because the more of that we are about, the more of God’s kingdom is revealed. I like the way that fits together with community and inclusion rather than exclusion.

  9. “He explains that God’s kingdom is continually revealing itself here and will eventually fully realize itself here, not somewhere else in some corne of the universe.” (Doug)

    Now if only an idea like that could become the known standard of religious belief (and I stress within Christianity) for the betterment of…the environment lets say…or caring for the poor and sick…or just basic daily living as a neighbor.

    It’s kind of funny but enough religious thought can take you back to the basics of having none.

  10. It’s kind of funny but enough religious thought can take you back to the basics of having none.(societyvs)

    Maybe thats the problem, sometimes while were too busy looking we miss the obvious.

    Luke 17:21 (English Standard Version)

    nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”

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