Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hello Friends!

Been busy. And I'm a little under the weather. I know I know. Why start your post with that tired old excuse? To be honest, it is better than nothing and the surest way for me to at least post SOMETHING.

A concert pianist friend of mine is coming to play this Sunday for church and I've been trying to whip u an arrangement or two for piano and pipe organ that will break the stained glass windows and blow a few hearing aids.

The weather has been quite euro here in the city and I am liking it: green, cool, lush and pretty.

I've been wanting to write more but between the church and students and fighting off the spring allergy/flu, the time has not allowed. I've been flat-out down for the count since monday.

I've been away from the blog world and haven't had a chance to really read anyone else's blog in quite some time. I have to say... it has been a little refreshing. I suppose partly refreshing because I've been working. But also refreshing because I didn't realize how negative reading a bunch of blogs can make you. I think that the majority of blogs are discourses on things that annoy the blogger, that includes me and my blog too. Sometimes, the things really do need to be said. But overall, negativity, even in small doses, can be a deadly deadly thing. The only problem is that really positive things aren't all that fun to read. I WISH that I cared about hearing about the daily progress of my mom's flower gardens, and I do to an extent... but I'm just not attracted to that kind of reading.

Darned if you do and darned if you don't. I'm not sure that colloquialism works for this scenario, but it felt right to say it.

Oh well... at least I typed a few paragraphs about SOMETHING.

Anyways, here is a post from my Jewish friend, Jenny (a PhD student in Talmudic studies and my guitar student) on the discussion from the "The Eternal Now of Grace" post. I thought it was incredibly interesting:

"A word about Jews getting carried away with "works". You are referring to the Pharisees, as depicted in the Gospels (we have very little knowledge of them outside the Gospels and Josephus, who doesn't talk much about this issue). It would seem that the rabbis, who succeeded the Pharisees as guardians and interpreters of the law among the Jewish people after the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in 70 CE, shared Jesus' concern with an overly rigid or strictly works-centered notion of the law. The rabbis and the early Christians each dealt with the same problem in their own way. Jesus and Paul, followed by the early Church Fathers, stressed less (or no) importance to the practical observance of the law, while the rabbis developed a system of more flexible and practicable law, and concomitantly developed an array of more "spiritual" ideas and practices to buttress the law.

If I may, an example. Deuteronomy 6 says to speak of "these words" (namely, "You shall love the Lord your God...") "when you lie down and when you rise up". The rabbinic response was something like "OK, that's too vague; let's concretize it. Recite these verses ("You shall love the Lord your God...") twice a day - once in the morning and once at night. Of course, if you're sick or incapacitated, or, say, too nervous to concentrate because you've just gotten married and you're about to have sex for the first time [this specific issue, among others, appears in the Mishnah, a rabbinic code of the 3rd century CE], then don't worry about it." The Christian response was something like, "The point of the instruction to "speak of these words... when you lie down and rise up" is to have them on your mind and in your conversation all day long; so do that. Live your life in a way that reflects that commitment and focus." Both the rabbinic and Christian responses have great merit, and each found followers who felt that one or the other response resonated more for them.

Balancing actions and feelings has been on the minds of Jews and Christians, it would seem, for a few millennia. I agree, Seth, that we should just chill about the contrast or competition between the two and see them as complementary and conjoined - even if there are a variety of ways of navigating them. Every love relationship is different; just as every relationship to God - be it Christians and Jesus through the New Testament, or Jews and Yahweh through the Hebrew Bible - is different, and works out its needs, kinks, and manifestations differently."

5 comments:

Tully said...

And that, my friend, is why the media only reports bad news… “if it bleeds, it leads” – because people are more interested in understanding the human condition (particularly people who we deem to be more screwed up than ourselves) than in the cuteness of my dog or your Mom’s flower garden. :)

There is a difference between intelligent discourse and negativity, though. People who just bitch and vomit their negativity all over the web are draining, but I’m always down for a little friendly exchange of ideas. ;)

MamasBoy said...

Most blogs may be about things that annoy people, but cachinators seems to be about things that ammuse him. Perhaps one NOT to drop from the reading list?

Seth Ward said...

Yes... I suppose I should modify that statement. I read a lot of political blogs and entertainment blogs that are not on my list to the right there.

Most bloggers that are my friends are of course excluded from the above criticism. Again, my critical nature bites me in the arse!

Well said.

Chaotic Hammer said...

I've got the ultimate solution to this thing all figured out.

Call yourself a "blogger" but don't actually blog at all.

But how will I know when I've stopped being a "blogger"?

MamasBoy said...

Oh, and Jenny's comment was really interesting coming from a practicing Jew.