I enjoy articles on and research into the "dark side" of matter. Here is the latest.
I like to think of communicating with the dark side as awakening our unconscious. Tap, tap, tap. Who's there?
I have been reading Thomas Lynch's book, Bodies in Motion and at Rest, On Metaphor and Mortality. He is a poet, born into a family of undertakers. I enjoyed the meditative movie about him, at the MVFF, which can be seen under the title The Undertaking.
He has this wonderful way of looking at life and death, both irreverent and reverent.
He brings up things I certainly never thought about. Here is an example:
This morning I was reading the letters of Paul. The one to the Romans is about circumcision, about faith and works, about sin and the law. No wonder he seems to go in circles a bit.
He's telling the Romans that they don't have to become Jews to become Christians. The earliest Christians were Jews, of course, including, it is worth repeating, Jesus Himself or himself, depending on your particulars. Guilt and shame are ecumenical and have always worked for observant Christians and observant Jews.
Specifically, Paul is telling the Romans that they needn't be circumcised. This is good news on any given day, at least to the men of the congregation. There's a concept they can get behind. Then, as now, women were given to wonder about the things men worry about. The laws about diet and fashions and keeping of feasts are easy enough and all in line with the rules of good living. But circumcision is a deal breaker and Paul knows it. So, he's trying to tell them it's not all that important after all. He's floating this option of "spiritual circumcision." It's a talking point and the numbers look good. Then, too, he doesn't want to offend the brethren in the Promised Land, who are, as is well known, his kinsmen and the Chosen People. If he devalues the old deal made between God and Abraham, the Old Testament, that early covenant of blood, he's going to lose the very ones who have bought into his take on the Nazarene - the part about Him being the Son of God. Try telling some coreligionist who just had his foreskin removed that it really wasn't necessary and see what happens. This is where the faith and works come in, that part that is so important to Luther fifteen centuries later when the Reformation begins. By deconstructing that section of Genesis where God and Abraham cut their deal, Paul is able to coax both Gentile and Jew in the direction of his version of things. Here is a man who is able to make both those with foreskins and those without feel good about themselves. It's a bit like watching a game of Twister, but it is a deft little exercise in the use of language.
I hope I am not offending anyone with this, but I think we are seeing in Obama a bit of Paul. He will need to do a bit of "deconstructing" as to how things have "always" been, and he is trying to bring different people together with one goal. I remember years ago a lovely woman we knew who had seven or eight children. I could never keep track as they ranged in age from adult to new baby. She was clear that as much as she loved each child, the Pope had certainly better not change his mind on birth control now. We are currently involved in a huge negotiation to change the paradigm in which we live. May Obama continue to use language wisely and well.