Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Kierkegaard and Christianity - Belief or a Means to Change Existence?

Have not been able to do any sustained reading these past few weeks. A couple of nights ago I picked up John Caputo's book on How to Read Kierkegaard. Forty years ago when they talked about him in school, I had absolutely no interest and no regard for him as he was emotional, subjective, and mushy. But I've changed. I'm fighting to get out of the robot rationalism of my younger days of , say, before age 50.

Caputo in one place has this pithy thing to say. He says that K, and these are Caputo's words

"had written that Christianity is not a doctrine supported by evidence but a command to transform existence that can only be witnessed."


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Utterly Humbled by Mystery

This is from a beautiful "This I Believe" segment on NPR. The author/narrator is Richard Rohr, the founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, N.M.

"When I was young, I couldn't tolerate such ambiguity. My education had trained me to have a lust for answers and explanations. Now, at age 63, it's all quite different. I no longer believe this is a quid pro quo universe -- I've counseled too many prisoners, worked with too many failed marriages, faced my own dilemmas too many times and been loved gratuitously after too many failures."

The rest is HERE.

Friday, August 07, 2009

What An Oak Tree Can Teach Us

Ah! I like this. From Hillman's The Soul's Code: In Search of Character and Calling

The essence of the oak is all there at once. Theologically, the acorn is like one of Augustine's nationes seminales or seminal reasons. As far back as the Stoics, Gnostics, and Platonists such as Philo, some ancient thought held that the world was filled with spermatikoi logoi - word seeds or germinal ideas. These are present in the world from its beginning as the primordial a priori that gives form to each thing. And these spermatic words make it possible for each thing to tell of its own nature - to ears that can hear. The idea that nature speaks, especially through the voice of a talking oak, remained a vivid fantasy through the ages and was still a subject of paintings a hundred years ago.

Trees fascinate me. When we were looking for a house 19 years ago, mature trees on the land were a requirement for me. Their meaning reaches deep inside me. Hillman's book is an extended discourse on one metaphor or teaching from the mighty oak.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

The Acorn Theory

From the first chapter of The Soul's Code by James Hillman:

"We dull our lives by the way we conceive them. We have stopped imagining them with any sort of romance, any fictional flair. So, this book also picks up the romantic theme, daring to envision biography in terms of very large ideas such as beauty, mystery, and myth."

And Hillman promotes the acorn theory of human biography.

"In a nutshell, then, this book is about calling, about fate, about character, about innate image. Together they make up the "acorn theory," which holds that each person bears a uniqueness that asks to be lived and that is already present before it can be lived."

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