Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A Confession

With such a title the The Society Devoted to the Ending of Evantine Thought sits up and takes notice. Could it be that the Oracle became a Calvinist? Maybe he can say St. Francis' name without the addendum of "the Sissy". It is nothing so dark. Calvinism is still stupid where it stands. And Francis, I can only quote the classics here, "Lighten up Francis."

No, this is more real and more burdensome. My confession? Pets seem to like me. Small children and youth seem to as well. I have built a life out of having no pets. They don't interest me other then that, unlike rocks, they move about. I like rocks more than pets. Small children give me a jabbing pain running from my jaw to the top of my head. You can understand a certain Pavlovian antipathy the Oracle would nurse in his bosom. And youth, I didn't even like myself as a youth. And anyone who attempts to "relate" to the young produces a definite need to update Dante by adding another ring midway or further down in the Inferno. I am not supposed to relate to the youth. They are suppose to relate to reality.

But pets seek me out. Small children smile up at me, with silly cherubic grins festooned across their jowls, and seem to beg for that special Oracle/baby moment. And the last person who ought to have a Bible study for high school students, pulls in 30 of these hormone cripples a week. I push them away. They draw closer. Maybe they sense fear and wickedly hunt me down. Perhaps I have taken on, regardless of my held positions, a certain image of comfort, developing, as I have, into a mattress-like slab. With the pets it is probably the comfort or, because I don't care, they feel they have found a kindred spirit, another animal with animal disinterest. Regarding babies, (dare we think it?) I might be what they want. The saccharine cooing of adult women freebasing baby-bliss while unwrapping shower gifts maybe an actual Hell which none of us remember. Dressed by these maternal madwomen in the silliest clothes (which the children never suggested they like nor would we ever see on another human being other than a clown) babies might look out of innocent, tormented eyes for the semblance of the sane. The Oracle might seem an hopeful anchor. The Amazing Missus commented last night on a commercial advertising a children's show, that they always seem to draw retarded drawings for children. Same idea. The average baby fan draws a picture or procures clothes they wish to see the child with or in, and assume then that babies like badly drawn pictures and going out in public dressed like Paris Hilton's Pomeranian. I know I sound like I'm justifying and your temptation is to run into the streets singing "Pets and babies like Evan! Pets and babies like Evan!" I'll wait until you get back to explain the youth vote.

.... dum-de-dum-dum....

The youth are idiots. Youth leaders treat them as sages-of-the-ages and labor to be just like them. But the youth value "cool" above all things and somewhere in their slightly developed brain stem they know that any youth that thinks he or she is such a sage is at the bottom of the cool pool. ("Cool" has been authoritatively defined by the Oracle as "the perception of knowing in the area valued by the set".) The youth seem to know that they are in a play and their role is "the know-it-all". It is more cool to know you are playing a role then believing you know it all. Average high school students know that it is all a temporary farce which only the "thoughtful" teen and the youth leader seem to believe. Instead of merely "suspending disbelief"in order to play a part, the prigs believe.
The Oracle doesn't believe it and so he tells them. They laugh because they knew it already.
The Oracle has become an object of wonder and contentment and cool to pets, babies, and teenagers.
I am sorry.

19 comments:

Matthew N. Petersen said...

This post makes me smile.

I really liked your paragraph on dopy children's cloths and drawings etc. You sound like Tolkien in his dislike for preachy children's tales. :-)

But I do have a question, you say "I am not supposed to relate to the youth. They are suppose to relate to reality."

Now I dislike contortions before youth in order to make us respectible to them, but it seems they have something of a point. Didn't God Himself say "I'll come down and be like them." Isn't the whole point of the Incarnation that God doesn't expect us to relate to Him (who is Reality), but rather becomes like us, and relates to us as us?

Or to say the same thing in a slightly different way, "children obey your parrents." And "Honor your father and mother." Christ Himself has submitted to those commands, and honors his mother Mary, and at least for a while, submitted to her. (And I have heard you say even adults should submit to their parents, if so, he continues to do so even today.)

That is to say, the highest, the man to whom all should submit, submits to a woman.

The Oracle said...

Matt,
That is true. Christ condescended to be a man and with man. Romans tells us to not be arrogant but associate with the lowly. I think you would agree that the Christ did not play the fool with us in our folly or sin with us in our sin. He revealed God to us, for in Him the fullness of God dwelt bodily. Your comments are a good reminder to still allow the pet, the baby, and the adolescent into my life.

Matthew N. Petersen said...

hmmm...

Fair enough, though it seems, if you are willing to talk about hierarchy, that last comment challenges your whole idea of hierarchy.

Are parents superrior to children?

If so, Mary is superrior to God.

If not, (or if an exception is made here) Christ's subjectivity to Mary (which Luke says he was at least as a child, and not merely as an infant, it was when he was twelve that he returned with them and was subject unto them) is a horrible monstronisty. She who should be submissive not only to the man, but also to God, was suddenly God's lord.

You object to Dante because you don't like a man submitting to a woman like that. But the Man to whom all submit submits to a woman.

It is not merely the case that Christ associates with us, but makes himself inferrior to us. The man to whom all submit, submits to a woman.

Would you submit to your wife or your child? But God Himself submits to a woman.

You distinguish between upward-looking love, and downward-looking love. But He who is highest, looks up to his mother.

The man to whom all submit submits to a woman.

Jeff Moss said...

Ephesians 5:21.

phil said...

Evan,

I remember you had a cat...

I'm not sure I remember its name. But you had a painting of it and your strat in your living room.

Thoroughly entertaining post.

phil said...

Matthew,

Arre yourr typewrriterr keys sticking? I had a similarr prroblem on an old Corrona

;-))

arosebyanyother said...

Laughing so hard my sides hurt! Thanks Evan!

The Oracle said...

Bless Rose under whatever nomenclature she functions in real life.
Matt,
You have a point either against something I hold or for something you hold but I do not wish to presume that I understand where you are going with "Christ submits to woman"
Briefly state your thesis regarding Christ's obedience to his mother.

The Oracle said...

Phil,
You remember aright. It was the Amazing Missus' cat when we married named Eric Clapton. The painting was called Stratocat and I sold it a few years ago for much needed money to a friend in Sandpoint. My son Davis just posted a picture on his blog of me sitting in front of it.
At
http://lincolndavis.blogspot.com/
Scroll down around four posts.

Evan G. said...

Being a youth, I think it might be the free lunch. or it could be the jokes that they think you are making about their friends, but its really towards them. Or maybe they really do care what the bible has to say.

Matthew N. Petersen said...

As I understand it, you say that all things on the great chain of being are required to offer upward looking love to those above, downward looking love (condescention) to those below. So for instance, it is good for parents to spend time with their children, but they must remember that they are superior to them. Similarly children must regard their parents as superior to them.

(I'm not yet making any conclusions, I'm just trying to restate what you believe.)

It would be a revolt against the very priciples of things if a superior offered upward looking love to an inferior (like on your reading Dante does to Beatrice) or if an inferior offered downward looking love to a superior. (As in your example where your wife said (regarding smoke) "I don't let my husband do anything." Wives who let their husbands (in that sense) do something are offering downward looking love to their husbands, their superior.)

Now the chief, the highest good, the one who is only due upward looking love, and not downward looking love, is God. So it would be a monstrosity if you submitted to your children, or even your wife. Even more so (infinitely more so) it would be a terrible monstrosity if God submitted to a human, let alone if the masculine God submitted to a female.

But God so humbled Himself that He submitted to a woman. He to whom all submit submits to a woman.

And moreover, our loves are to be imitative of Christ. So if we are superior, we should love by becoming inferior.

Thomas Banks said...

Matt-

I think you have a good point that might require other examples:

On the one hand, you can't say that Beatrice is "Inferior" to Dante. She is already among the saints, he is "In a gloomy wood/ Astray gone from the path direct." Also, while I agree with you(both?) that husbands are hierarchicaly superior to their wives, women are not by necessity inferior to all men.

On the other hand, Beatrice is the agent of the love of God, (or perhaps the love of God itself) and fulfills a symbolic purpose as well as a simple one of character.

For your consideration,
Best, etc.

phil said...

I was going to hazard "Eric" or "Clapton" in my comment, but I hate being wrong.

Nice painting. Shame you had to let it go. I checked it out on LD's site.

Many years ago, I basked in the verbal abuse of the oracle. I doubt that much has changed much since then. Evan's willingness to spend time with us and take our juvenile problems seriously, spoke much louder than his occasional reminder of our yet undeveloped brain stems and raging hormones

What attracted me at that time (and probably many, today) was being treated with kindness, the willingness to engage in intelligent discussion on a variety of topics, the absence of pharisaical rules with which many evangelicals try to govern their youth, and last but not least, the amazing Missus' cooking.

The Oracle said...

First clarification: The Great Chain of Being is not a link to link single expression of hierarchy.
Second: My view is that while superior/inferior actually and objectively exists it exists as an espression of Will, both the will of the ruler and the ruled.
Third: Some relationships are more naturally necessary like husband wife, Parent child, Citizen state.
Fourth: Christ also submitted to the State
Fifth: Although I am an American, if I visited Germany I would place myself under their law. Christ became a Judean, hence he placed Himself under the Roman law. Christ became a child placing Himself under a parent. If I will be a child I will need a parent. If I will be a wife I will need a husband. It reminds us of that changing relationship in I Corinthians 11:8-12
[8] (For man was not made from woman, but woman from man.
[9] Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.)
[10] That is why a woman ought to have a veil on her head, because of the angels.
[11] (Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman;
[12] for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God.)

Matthew N. Petersen said...

uh...so?

Matthew N. Petersen said...

My view is that while superior/inferior actually and objectively exists it exists as an espression of Will, both the will of the ruler and the ruled.

hunh? It exists externally to me, but only because I chose that it exists? So if the child or wife choses that she is ontologically superior, and her husband agrees she actually becomes so? But then it would be tyranical and wrong if he were to lead, and there would be nothing wrong with the situation. I'm not sure your statement makes any sense. Please clarrify.

Some relationships are more naturally necessary like husband wife, Parent child, Citizen state.

So. I have no idea why this would be relevant.

Christ also submitted to the State

Which only makes my case stronger. But I would prefer to talk about his relationship with his mother becaus that is more personal.

Although I am an American, if I visited Germany I would place myself under their law. Christ became a Judean, hence he placed Himself under the Roman law. Christ became a child placing Himself under a parent. If I will be a child I will need a parent. If I will be a wife I will need a husband.

Do you care nothing for personal relationships? Why do you insist on talking so distantly. Christ was a child look up to and loving his mother. Why do you abstract from that?

But its really aside the question here. Again, I don't understand your point. "If God would be a man, he must become ontologically inferior to his mother. He must look up to her. He must cry when she leaves the room. He must give to his mother the very personal love of a child for his mother. He must honor his mother." But then isn't this tyrany?

Could you possibly give me a better example of tyrrany? Not only is the king submitting to the peasant, not only is the husband submitting to his wife, not only is the parent submiting to his daughter, God Himself is submitting to a woman. Denegrate Mary if you like (its not scriptural by the way) but it only makes my point even stronger.

It reminds us of that changing relationship in I Corinthians 11:8-12
[8] (For man was not made from woman, but woman from man.
[9] Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.)
[10] That is why a woman ought to have a veil on her head, because of the angels.
[11] (Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman;
[12] for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God.)


I suppose that's probably because St. Paul is talking about the fact that although the Eve came from Adam's side; the new Adam, Christ, comes from the woman.

Matthew N. Petersen said...

Tom,

I used the example of Dante because Evan has said before that he is dislikes Dante because he is submitting, offering upward love etc. toward a woman.

But if The Divine Comedy is not clear because she is still in heaven, consider La Vita Nuova.

Or again, the fact that she is in heaven makes her superior at the begining, but it is her femalness not her heavenliness that Dante admires, and that remains even when he has reached heaven. Though Bernard may be a good guide, he is a different guide form Beatrice.

Beatrice has her position not by virtue of being in heaven, but by virtue of being female.

The problem with saying "not all men are superior to all women, only husbands to wives" is that it either 1) implies husbands cannot be lovers of their wives, Dantean love for Beatrice is necessarialy extramarital, or 2) throws the chain of being out of whack by saying the husband is and is not superior to the wife.

Matthew N. Petersen said...

For other examples:

Una and the Redcrosse knight. (The Faerie Queene)

Portia and Bassanio. (The Merchant of Venice)

Curdie and his grandmother. (And perhaps the princess.) (George MacDonald's Curdie books)

Bertram and Helena. (All's Well That Ends Well)

Beren and Luthien. (The Silmarillion)

Lamia and Lycius. ("Lamia" by Keates)

Palamon (or Acrite) and Emelye. (The Canterbury Tales "The Knights Tale")

Graelent and his Lady. (Marie de France)

etc.

Diana Moses Botkin said...

Loved the post, Evan. Perhaps the babies and pets cannot resist the fascination of cigar smoke and sarcasm. And cats always gravitate towards discriminating persons, as they are particular creatures themselves, unlike dogs who have no qualms at all about taking up with anybody and everybody.