News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: September 2008

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Cages of Birds in a Fat House

Like cages full of birds,
their houses are full of deceit;
they have become rich and powerful
and have grown fat and sleek.

Their evil deeds have no limit;
they do not plead the case of the fatherless to win it,
they do not defend the rights of the poor.

Should I not punish them for this?”
declares the Lord.
“Should I not avenge myself
on such a nation as this?

“A horrible and shocking thing
has happened in the land:

The prophets prophesy lies,
the priests rule by their own authority,
and my people love it this way.
But what will you do in the end?
--- Jer. 5:25-31

In a recent poll, 90 percent of Iraqis expressed growing despair in what's become a civil war in their country. Their psychological distress no doubt reflects what some have described as hell. (Also, see this essay on "The Creation of Hell.")

What is even more apparent, though, is that the US public has little comprehension of the daily terror and uncertainty of this life in Iraq. Perhaps many think of Iraq's civil war along the lines of America's own ghettos where gangs fight over turf and where innocents are killed.

I have argued in the past that many Americans willingly suppress their awareness of these realities. Perhaps it is out of apathy, busyness, or even a malicious disregard for the suffering of those we consider the enemy.

I would argue, though, that all of these excuses are manifestations of a form of despair that is spiritual and ethical in nature and that represents an evil so great that it creates the conditions for greater evils.

Talk of what led up to the war rarely broaches issues that you can characterize as spiritual. Even those religious commentators who don't simply spout the rhetoric of Xtendom facing down the enemies of civilization and Christian culture usually frame their discussion in political terms that reflect a liberal vocabulary that seems empty to me, if simply because that vocabulary is spiritually vacant.

The spiritual malaise that led to this war originates in fear and the reaction that people exhibited at the 911 attack exhibited little public virtue, as the Machiavellians might put it. Instead of facing such atrocity with any semblance of courage, the country's leaders responded as so many bullies whose worst fear had come to light: their own feelings of inadequacy and weakness.

Nor did they exhibit anything that you might call religious courage. To speak of a religious courage opposed to an ethical courage may appear odd, yet it is easy enough to cite examples of this kind of courage. The early Christian church martyrs exhibited just such courage. In the face of immense oppression and persecution, not to mention torture, these martyrs faced the possibility of extinction with joy and hope. They did not react in violence, nor did they band together to wreak vengeance.

As much as Americans hate to think that there's any meaning to corporate sinfulness—relying instead on some corrupt image of the monadic individual--this war and its aftermath must bring to consciousness exactly that realization of sin perpetrated by a horde. After all, the majority of people in the US backed this war until it started going bad. Many voted for the man who perpetrated the fiasco.

Until Americans begin to plumb the depths of their spirits and acknowledge their complicity in this monumental crime against the Iraqi people, they will never solve the problem of terror.

In all the religious rhetoric that the Xtian preachers spout--even those from the Left--few invoke the words and message of the Hebrew prophets. This is shameful. For those prophets like Jeremiah inveighing against imperial pretensions and injustice made in the name of a nation state point not simply to the leaders but also the corrupt and spiritual blindness of an entire nation.

These words might seems to echo the more fanatical cries of the Jihadis. I can only say that Americans must stand up to the hate-filled and unjust violence purveyed by these fanatics. But to do so, they must take the road of faith and repentance, with an open heart disciplined by failure and the experience of imperial folly. But not only must they hear the fanatics in the street outside but they must also hear the voices of those they invite into their own homes.

Americans must begin to see their world as larger than the environs of US borders. They must begin to see themselves as world citizens where the actions that they perform in their food market or gas station can potentially affect the lives of others. Americans must reject their narcissistic egotism that sees the world in their own image and begin to see that others are different and believe differently.

True justice demands not that we see the world as having the same desires, needs, and dreams as we do. It demands seeing ourselves in the nothingness that is common to us all in our most painful and powerless moments. It is embracing that nothingness and taking it into our hearts and forming our will around the contours of its freedom and liberating breath.

As the prophet Jeremiah reminds us, any God that’s worth its/his/her salt demands justice. If that justice does not include the less fortunate and those forgotten by us in our busyness, then that simply means that we refuse to listen to the calls for justice.

It is obvious that the leaders of this country—whether left, right, or center—borrow an old grammar and vocabulary whose story will result in instituting the machinery of injustice. For the new world that is taking shape through war and struggle, the old stories do not work any longer. They are fairy tales that the nation-state nanny tells its cowed and fearful children to keep away the terrors of night.

But the terror is real; the boogeyman does have teeth and does eat children. Like so many stories of family and personal tragedy show, often the perpetrator is someone known, a relative and no stranger. The beast sits in the heart of the very fathers and brothers and mothers who are meant to protect us but whose hearts have been warped by temptation and corruption to betray and terrorize their own.

Indeed, the prophet is right. The prophets lie, the priests rule in their own name and we do indeed love it.
Read more!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

American Neoliberalism: Intro to Demonology 101

Talk about demons appeals to the popular consciousness. Numerous works of fiction and film exploit the idea that we humans can be inhabited and made to do things that we otherwise would not do. Evil things--evil things so horrendously heinous and terrible that we'd despair of some presupposed innocence that we're born with.

Of course, the most spectacular of these films was Peter Blatty's potboiler, The Exorcist. The film based on the book made huge bundles of cash for Hollywood and spawned two sequels. The most recent, The Exorcist: The Beginning just played last year and is now on HBO.

I watched this most recent installment the other night. Beyond the obvious absurdities, and the still quaint notion that evil inhabits another woman, what struck me most was the indefatigable tenaciousness of the priest who doesn't believe in God anymore. His spiritual journey back to faith is played out against the backdrop of his loss of faith occasioned by the massacre of innocents by Nazis. While the special effects are decent, and the story is often compelling, the movie is not very convincing in showing the true meaning of the demonic.

Two recent articles show the Catholic Church's unwavering war against demons, however. Working on empirical data that demon possession is on the rise, the Church has revamped its book of exorcism, enlisted a cadre of new exorcists, and made public pronouncements of its unerring belief in the reality of the Devil. ...

In an interview with Sign and Sight one exorcist, Rev. Pedro Barrajon, claims:

Cases of possession seem to me to be the evil flip-side of miracles, which are equally inexplicable, but which we can also observe. The devil is present everywhere that evil things happen within the normal laws of nature. In anyone who says: I don't accept love, the love of my brothers and sisters, the love of God. And in many places, in all massacres, in every murder, in physical catastrophes, in every concentration camp, in all evil. Sometimes he shows himself, strangely, but also in cases of possession. But he's much more dangerous where he doesn't let himself be seen, where he can't be done away with through exorcism. No question.
Such expressions, of course, meet with a skeptical guffaw from the intelligentsia. A scientific age cannot and will not believe in anything that cannot be subsumed under the aegis of empirical study. But the empirical is exactly what the demonologists work with. As innumerable ethnographic reports will tell you, demon possession is real--for those possessed and for those who witness it.

The point, of course, is that these cases are simply manifestations of psychological problems that proper psychiatric care can dispel and cure. Or so it is said. For anyone familiar with the incapacity of modern psychiatry to truly effect cures in the mentally disturbed, such claims as cure and returns to normal are irenic at best, self-delusionary at worst. If you think that prescribing powerful anti-hallucinogens and mood-altering drugs is a cure, then perhaps we need to redefine the concept of cure.

I am not saying that cases of possession aren't symptoms of deep and profound psychological problems. Indeed, I believe that modern psychiatry and psychology are correct in identifying the mundane causes of these symptoms and taking them out of the realm of the supernatural. No doubt, more people have been helped--however relatively--by the psychological treatments than by medieval treatments for possession. Again, however, this statement must be put into context. Traditional and indigenous methodologies show an amazing ability to cast out demons and integrate individuals back to social normality.

I've intentionally conveyed the impression here that I am skeptical of both the religionists who use demon posession to cover up their own connivance with power structures as well as the brainiacs who think that the demonic is simply the distorted manifestations of superstitious minds.
In a recent post, I quoted Martin Matustik's characterization of Kierkegaard's understanding of the "diabolical." Contrary to every received opinion of Kierkegaard as a thinker, he was intimately concerned about the political and social events of his time. For Kierkegaard, from his post-Xtian perspective, the demonic manifests itself in ways that traditional religionists would reject and rationalists would find offensive.

In the context of US foreign policy in Iraq, Matustik identifies the the desire of Americans to appear innocent to themselves and to their friends and enemies. Matustik writes:
Known to [Frederick] Douglass but lost on most contemporary Americans is the danger of an even greater evil: what Kierkegaard called the human capacity for acting “diabolically.” The “diabolical” is anyone who wills oneself to be good without having confronted one’s capacity for evil. Such a person must cling fast to false innocence because this person despairs over the question whether he or she truly is innocent. The politically “diabolical” is any regime that in despair wills its false innocence. The desire to be the innocent source of one’s power - a phenomenon we can call the despair of America - can be confronted, says Kierkegaard, by the breakdown of the false ego and its attachment to power.

Matustik calls to attention the innate tendency of Americans to impute to itself an inherent innocence when it comes to dealing with others. In a country where difference means everything yet is itself to be erased in the great melting pot, the erasure is supposed to return us to a commonly shared humanity that short-circuits the influences of tradition and cultural conditioning. But this supposed dimensionless region of individuality is a con job since it abrogates the obvious effects that environment and socio-cultural institutions and life-forms have on humans. You can’t, at the risk of becoming wraithful non-beings, abrogate personal history or the general history of your society.

The pernicious notion that society or culture does not affect an innate innocence produces individuals who are tragically unconscious of their own responsibility for evil. We go through life believing that we are simply atoms borne about by chaotic and ultimately unknowable forces. In the popular imagination, this state produces an anxiousness about the unknown that continually beckons from fictional accounts of evil forces inhabiting otherwise decent human beings. The mass production of horror and slasher films and TV programs indicates the uneasiness that many feel about their place in the universe.

On the obverse side of this coin, the scientist attempts to reduce the anxiety to physiological processes that only a scientist or expert can understand. From the notion that we are hardwired to do what we do to the idea that environment determines all our actions, the scientific lack of imagination believes that it can explain human life and thereby serve as the keystone is an edifice of a yet-to-be-determined socially engineered utopia. That the theory changes every few months based on new studies and new data; that the final explanation of the data is always put off until more data or new instrumentation is available; all this does not deter the rationalist mind from pronouncing that the end of the search for who we are is at an end.

The ethico-religious implications of this confusion are obvious. In the face of the general uncertainty about what humans really are reinforce the demand to follow rigidly defined dogmas and a nihilistic appeal to a mealy-mouthed fideism. This fideism is not the leap into the absurd of a Kierkegaard or Camus but is instead an act of despair that ultimately bolsters the prevailing machinery of power and self-interest.

For the social engineers, the uncertainty is equally unsettling yet blinded by the starry night of scientific promise they simply point to a future age when the anxiety will end. Hoping to usurp the role of oracle and prophetic office that religion served in the past, the engineers can at least point to concrete and hardcore results that supposedly prove their truth. Yet it is a truth that benefits the demonic eye in the sky that ensures social conformity and comity. It steels the mechanics of control, feeding in to the spiritual and socio-cultural fears that no psychology will ever erase but only repress.

And in their repression they combobulate and fester and breed the swirling crimes of personalistic nightmares: the serial killer, nice guy who lives next door, the consumerist queen who will kill to stay on top of the mass production fashion hill, the angst-filled adolescents stalking the halls of revenge.

For Kierkegaard and Douglass, according to Matustik, the demonic is a massive con job, perpetrated by individuals in their denial of a self beyond self-interest, as well as selves that desire to hide from themselves their own potential for perpetrating evil acts while seeming innocent.

Kierkegaard's take on evil and the demonic is situated in the individual and his/her journey to true selfhood. Given the propensity for lying to oneself and covering over one's true motives, this search often involves outright rejection of the Good simply because it is the good. Yet, the more insidious forms of the demonic, according to Kierkegaard come in the form of those who espouse religion while secretly using it to bolster their own cherished rejection of the true demands of what the Good demands.

In its wraithful obsession with denying the other, in being like the others better than them, in fearing that someone else more rights or more things or more beauty, Americans have become the walking dead crack ho of the world. Possessed by all that it denies in others and its dreams of pie-in-the-sky happiness, we stalk the stage of history like those brain-dead zombies in George Romero’s films. For as much as Americans want to be different they are just as much envious of anyone who might find a source of life-filled meaning that does not measure up to the criteria by which we gauge real success and real equality. Read more!

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Babel and the God’s-eye View of Reality

In a recent posting, biblical scholar Ben Witherington reviews the new film Babel. For Witherington, Babel’s power comes in its ability to provide what I will call the God’s view of reality by showing how seemingly random events fit into a higher, more ethical universe of meaning. The filmmaker seems intent on showing the ethical implications of actions that are disjoined by time/space.

I have not seen Babel yet, so my comments will revert to other movies, especially Crash, although I could have just as easily mentioned Syriana or Traffic. These two movies do not necessarily have the same subtext—dealing with actions and their ethical repercussion, but they do share the intent of providing a view of reality that shows the interconnectedness of events and human behavior. …

In the biblical book of Job, the apotheosis of the action is without doubt the vision that Job has of God speaking from a tornado. In his questioning of the rebellious and straight-talking Job, God questions him about his ability to see the world as God the creator and sustainer of creation does. God sees all and tends all; God sees how all things interconnect and views what no human could ever see, not to mention understand.

Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind: "Gird up your loins like a man; I will question you, and you declare to me.
Will you even put me in the wrong? Will you condemn me that you may be justified? Have you an arm like God, and can you thunder with a voice like his?
"Deck yourself with majesty and dignity; clothe yourself with glory and splendor.
Pour forth the overflowings of your anger, and look on every one that is proud, and abase him.
Look on every one that is proud, and bring him low; and tread down the wicked where they stand.
Hide them all in the dust together; bind their faces in the world below.
Then will I also acknowledge to you, that your own right hand can give you victory. (Job 40:6-14)
I have chosen a passage that stresses God’s purported justice and His ability to bring to justice those that human laws cannot or will not bow low.

The passages preceding this one emphasize God’s omniscience, as well as His omnipotence. In the modern audience such passages might elicit something of a titter, especially if you’re disposed to a healthy skepticism. In terms of His omniscience, anyone who watches National Geographic or Animal Planet could answer God back and say, “Yes, we have seen those hidden things that once were hidden to human eyes.”

As to omnipotence, the scientist would point to the fact that physicists do indeed understand the workings of the forces at play when the cosmos was created. In fact, their knowledge is so profound that they can actually create the conditions and circumstances of that birth in the laboratory.

With these remarks as background, it is not difficult to see why filmmakers believe they can provide exactly that type of cosmic vision that God gives Job. The camera eye seems supremely made to depict reality “as it is.” For this task, the camera does not filter the information that it spies. Unfiltered, naked fact speaks from every frame since the camera cannot lie. As the truism goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Indeed, what better testimony to the ability of the camera to capture truth than those videos in which criminal behavior is caught on tape and then used in court, as in the Rodney King case? The attractiveness of the camera to capture the unseen crime, the hidden truth behind the fa├žade of custom and human pretensions, has made its way into TV programs such as COPS and its spin-off spawn.

There is the difference, though, between a film and these videos, as well as their filmic grandparents, the documentary. The most notable difference is the staging that goes into any dramatic film. As every student of Film 101 learns, every scene contains exactly what the film’s director wants us to see. Every color, every thing in the film, not to mention the actions of the characters, are dictated strictly by the director.

Even given these dramaturgical and technical details, however, we could say that God does the same thing. If God is indeed in charge of time and history, then He arranges things as he sees fit and therefore can be seen as a film director writ in large letters.

Yet, the details of any film will always be limited by the human capacity to reach that state of ex-stasis (ecstasy) or point outside of time wherein s/he can view the entirety of events and their interconnectedness. Indeed, as you will know it takes several Cray supercomputers to handle the amount of weather data and perform the chaos theory formulae on it to get what anyone—including systems architects—would call information.

But there’s more to the story than this simple inability of the human bio-computer to handle the plethora of data that world events, and their apparent chaos, entail. This issue relates to the ethical dimension of events. That is, the power of Job’s vision is that God has the frame-of-reference, so to speak, within which to make sense of the seeming injustice and meaningless suffering that humans endure and inflict on each other. Indeed, it is God who makes sure that that cosmic balance and justice are somehow maintained.

The film Crash is perhaps a film that has the more modest goals in this regard. Through inter-related stories that switch back and forth between present past and (the illusion of) the future, we see how the actions of each character bring about tragic consequences. The film’s ability to travel through time, as it were—gives us a feeling of transcending those very boundaries that capture us in their confines. Isn’t an attribute of God called omnipresence? Isn’t this power of the artist to transcend these boundaries and take us with him or her in that shamanic journey an exercise in the theophanic vision that placated Job’s rage against his own and others’ unjust suffering?

For Witherington, Babel at least examines this moral dimension of the world and its interconnectedness—not in abstract sociological terms, but in specifically ethical terms. Witherington writes:
So what is the message of this film? Interestingly enough the director seems to be making another Biblical point, [sic] and not one connected with Babel. It is that bad actions always have negative consequences somehow, for someone. This is true for the person who fired the gun, and it is equally true for the nanny who takes the children across the border, when she is illegally in the U.S. So, are we being told that despite the fallenness and the chaos that there is a moral order to this human connnectedness, or at least moral consequences to immoral actions? Yes, I think that is part of the point. But this is a movie which one needs to watch several times to catch all the nuances.
For Witherington, then, the power of the film Babel shows that despite the apparent chaos ruling events and the world as we encounter it in the news, for example, there is indeed a structure and coherence to it. The panoptic vision of the film then is able to show us that structure because of its ability to span time/space and present the intricacies of each action in the very historical, social, and cultural circumstances in which they happen.

Isn’t this what God shows Job? That despite Job’s limited perception of reality—especially as seen through his own suffering—there is indeed a cosmic structure and ethical/spiritual meaning to the world that engages us often as chaos?
"Can you draw out Levi'athan with a fishhook, or press down his tongue with a cord?
Can you put a rope in his nose, or pierce his jaw with a hook?
Will he make many supplications to you? Will he speak to you soft words?
Will he make a covenant with you to take him for your servant for ever?
Will you play with him as with a bird, or will you put him on leash for your maidens? (Job 41:1-5)
Leviathan here is the ancient symbol for chaos. Borrowed by the Hebrews from ancient Mesopotamian creation stories, it represents the primeval chaos from the creator-god forms order and all that we see and use in the world.

I just want to add one more remark in what is probably an overlong posting. This question relates to the issue of what’s to be done once I see the film? What happens after I witness the God-view that a film like Crash or Babel might give me? I want to suggest that the danger in any aesthetic artifact such as a film is that they might give the viewer the feeling that once they “experience” the God-view then they have nothing more to do. There’s no reason to change anything—in yourself or the world—since the act of being a viewer is enough.

Since I have the film, what else is needed? The film serves as a replacement for action. Knowing about something takes the place of action, whatever that might be. The options here might include a stoicism born from a feeling that “in the big picture it all makes sense so what I must do is accept it and do what I do.” There’s also the possibility that the satiation of the aesthetic experience may itself seem to satisfy any other ethical response, whether for moving on to practicing justice, say.

Not to put too fine a point on these random remarks, I respect and admire the artistic vision that tries to expand the limitations of artistic renditions of the human condition—expansions that attempt to create a bridge to the ethical dimension of our lives. Much like their literary doubles The Divine Comedy, War and Peace, August 1914, these films in their striving for the epic crash on the rocks of what the old-timers called the human existential condition. That contradiction of being beings in time capable of transcending time in glimpses and intimations but always called back to finitude and the anxiety that it inspires. Read more!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Man of Constant Sorrow

Driving home early in the morning from my other job one Sunday, I turned the radio to the local AM channel. I don't listen much to AM radio except to listen to sports events, but I hit the Scan button and the first channel it landed on was the local one.

I guess it's a Christian station for it was playing Christian Bluegrass songs. I don't know how much folks on this forum know about American music, but Bluegrass is one of those more traditional musical genres that has its roots in folk songs brought by Anglo immigrants to the US. Remembered and nurtured by the hills and dales of the Appalachian mountains, the music thrived for many years only in the minds and souls of some of the more destitute and dispossessed of Americans. ...

The more religious songs were a staple at that uniquely American phenomenon of the tent meeting Christian celebrations. Very emotional and evocative these meetings were the brainchild of Methodist circuit riders. itinerant preachers who wandered the wilderness of America bringing the salvation experience to those Americans who had no church nearby. The music recently gained some exposure as the musical landscape of the film, Oh Brother Where Art Thou.

I have a close place in my heart for this music since my mother would listen to it on Saturdays, a day off from her job as a hospital receptionist. She'd spend that time cleaning and arranging our lives to order and cleanliness. She's was not and is not a religious woman, so I imagine that the reason she listened to it is for its melodies, beautiful harmonies, and simple but evocative lyrics.

I never knew that the music was anything special until many years in college when friends played the music. From upper-class backgrounds, their interest in the music was as connoisseurs of a music that could legitimately call itself traditional American music. It had, after all, influenced many of the popular folk musicians of the 60s like Bob Dylan.

On that Sunday I drove home from work, one of my favorite melodies was on. It's gained much notoriety from the Oh Brother film. In one of those small epiphanies I am prone to, the song was especially evocative for me this Sunday morning. Its story of someone who has no roots and is enmeshed in unspoken sorrows brought home in a simultaneous moment the drift and weft of much of my own life.

I am a man of constant sorrow
I've seen trouble all my days
I bid farewell to old Kentucky
The state where I was borned and raised

For six long years I've been in trouble
No pleasure here on earth I find
For in this world I'm bound to ramble
I have no friends to help me now

It's fare thee well my own true lover
I never expect to see you again
For I'm bound to ride that northern railroad
Perhaps I'll die upon this train

You can bury me in some deep valley
For many years where I may lay
Then you may learn to love another
While I am sleeping in my grave.

It's fare you well to a native country
The places I have loved so well
For I have seen all kinds of trouble
In this cruel world, no tongue can tell.

Maybe your friends think I'm just a stranger
My face you'll never see no more
But there is one promise that is given
I'll meet you on God's golden shore.
Those words of a person wandering without roots and neither place nor home to lay his head describes several times during my own life. The loveless existence and the sorrows that you bring on yourself or into others' lives ring still true to me. And the feeling that only in the end will all find resolution and meaning still hover about my thoughts as I try to put shape and form on all I have seen and felt in my life.

In my thoughts were also some of the things I had written here before concerning the rootlessness of modern existence. The words of the song do indeed seem to embody the experience of that rootlessness that some might say is the bane of modern life. For without roots in tradition, culture, and the land what are we humans but sad wraiths looking for a home that is not of this earth?

It does seem in many ways that it is this rootlessness that defines the so-called American experience. For, as immigrants torn from the social, cultural and physical matrixes that human societies have formed to anchor the search for meaning, Americans undergo a kind of levelling that looks upon all those things as old and useless.

The uniquely American, it might be said, is the power to cut yourself from all those old life-forms that define the old world, thereby opening up the possibility of a new world. In this new world, it's believed, we create out own reality, relying on nothing but ourselves and the innate genius and character that nature bequeathes us.

This, at least, is perhaps the message that that eminently American writer Emerson hoped to bring as the good news to Americans. It was perhaps also his vision as the meaning that America itself might represent for human history, a message that others who groaned under the burden of slavery to social, political, and cultural constraints find themselves in.

Emerson was not oblivious to the potential for anarchy inherent in this experience. Rootless and without an anchor in anything except self-reliance what was to keep people from simply living out their own selfish, brutish worst selves? Emerson, I think, believed that we must understand ourselves as creatures of nature, interconnected in wonderful and ingeniously complex ways. Doing so, we could salvage a sense of purpose that transcended simple self-centered behavior and realized itself in a kind of mystical bond with all beings, human, animal, and non-human.

Many will perhaps see this Emersonian vision as naive. How many, for example, have the time or inclination to overcome that seemingly selfish nature that exhibits itself in all cultures and all times? I think that Emerson felt that the republican values instituted by the American constitution had solved many of those problems. Indeed, I believe that Emerson saw American democracy itself as a type of religion that would replace other religions. In fact, I imagine that for him this was an inevitable result of the arc of history.

I think that Emerson is the uniquely American philosopher. I say that since people from many political persuasions count his writings as support for their philosophies. Yet, in my own experience, the Emersonian vision has fared poorly when regarded in the light of that very history he perhaps identified too closely with natural forces. Instead, history has shown that to disregard the human dimension of history is to disregard the potential for death and destruction that those who idolize it wreak.

I will leave these thoughts here for the moment, as I have to go off and cook dinner. I'll finish with the following thought: the rootlessness I know in my own life and that brings so much sorrow may form the kenotic basis on which a deeper awareness of realities beyond this one have yet other dimensions of life to reveal. Read more!