Friday, March 28, 2008

Jeremiah Right ...

"God's wrath will go forth like fire, and burn with no one to quench it, because of the evil of your doings" ... hm, just wondering what would have happened if Jeremiah had been videotaped saying such things about the beloved mother country back in the day. Wonder if that sounded pretty much like "God damn Israel" to the folks who heard it? Just asking. Oh, I know, context is everything, but I bet old Jeremiah was a pretty wild looking guy, and a clip of him preaching about unquenchable fire would have played well on cable.


L.A. said...

Reverend, I invite you to compare your thoughts to the torah portion I read in temple this week:

Chapter 10
1 Now Aaron's sons Nadab and Abihu each took his fire pan, put fire in it, and laid incense on it; and they offered before the Lord alien fire, which He had not enjoined upon them. 2 And fire came forth from the Lord and consumed them; thus they died at the instance of the Lord. 3 Then Moses said to Aaron, "This is what the Lord meant when He said:

Through those near to Me I show Myself holy,
And gain glory before all the people."

And Aaron was silent.

I spoke about this "strange fire" in terms of the risks of technology---as if even such powerful priestly authorities as the sons of HaKoen HaGagol Aaron could be held accountable, divine accountable, for what fires they unleash into this world. There was more discussed, comparisons to the nuclear threat today, and so forth. So imagine my surprise today to stumble upon your blog after searching for some stuff my friends are up to at bet tikkun in SF.

Sometimes a strange fire can be a healing ointment, a catalyst for empowerment and change. For forgiveness, and for growth. Sometimes a fire, so strange, can provoke outrageous speech, and sometimes, perhaps even for a long time, we are left only with the silence of Aaron.

But I trust you will keep speaking out in your same idiomatic voice--perhaps you will bend your own strange fire around what needs to be said:

p.s Of course, it is also Opening Day. How do you like the Braves chances this year. They seem to be a very strong team, and lo and behold, the prodigal son, Tommy Glavine, has returned.


Christian Wright said...

Strange fire, indeed. The question, as always, I suppose, is: what, precisely, needs to be said in any given moment when one attempts to bend fire.
Oh, and the Braves will be choppin' again! Hey, it's April, so hope is springing.
(Am curious, which temple, which LW -- as I know a few?)

L.A. said...

On the one hand, the one who, from the hebraic side of things, has been silent for a long time--like this silence of Aaron in the parsha, and perhaps for the very same reason.

On the other hand, the one who, from the Greek logocentric side of things, has remained, like Hegel, always, *in there*.

And as far as baseball goes, I have been following this steroids controversy with quite ironic interest. There was a time for me too, around the time of Sosa and McGwire, when I too felt compelled to be all steriodal, for fear of losing my batting eye. This would perhaps be around the time we last spoke. I never lost my batting eye though the risk was real, but steroids likely caused me to lose many precious things, in some sense everything---as remains true for Sosa, McGwire and Bonds. But once I went off the steroids, everything pretty much went back to being same as they ever was---

In fact way better than they ever was. In the Hebraic tradition, as in so many wisdom traditions, certain people enter into a crisis, a trial by strange fire, and if they *survive* it, end up with a certain type of insight, a better batting eye. In Judaism, this is called a _galut_, an exile. You could look it up. The Tzaddikim who somehow return from their -galut-, let's just say, they return with a much greater sense of Tikkun Olam, world-healing, a much better batting eye.

Some place Jesus in that very pathway of -galut- and return, but I will leave you to be the articulate one at that.

As for other details of my personal life, as you might recall I am reserved, especially publically online. Yet I posted my email in the previous comment, and while I'd appreciate you treating it with confidence, you are invited to correspond with me there.

Beyond that, and for public reading here, let me just say things are quite well, balanced and focused in all regards, and I would even go so far as to say I am happy. That was one purpose for this unexpected communication, just to let you know that. The other really was the delicious coincidence of stumbling upon your blog
at this very moment in the parsha cycle, in this very season of easter-passover, so close to such an important MLK day. And with the Obama drama about to transform things in ways that you and I have been preparing ourselves for our entire lives.

RedeemedbyGrace said...

Perhaps you are correct about Jeremiah playing well on cable.

Do you think that the current Jeremiah (Jeremiah Wright) is speaking prophetically when he says "God Damn Amerikka"?

Did you also think that Jerry Falwell was speaking prophetically when he spoke of God's judgment on America? It seems to me that Falwell's message was also along the lines of "God's wrath will go forth like fire, and burn with no one to quench it, because of the evil of your doings...."