God in the Machine

Literally "God in the machine", Deus Ex Machina originally referred to Greek plays, where the "gods" would be lowered onto the stage with ropes in order to provide a quick resolution to the story. Today, Deus Ex Machina refers to any improbably and/or overly convenient character or mechanism that comes out of nowhere and saves the character(s).

Name:

"I don't get it, Big Dan..." -George Clooney in O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Monday, May 24, 2004

Gay climax achieved! Now, for the torture!

Speaking, of course, of the new topics for debate at Iron Blog.

9 Comments:

Blogger The Chairman said...

You, sir, are my hero.

TC

9:52 PM  
Blogger Lii said...

This... is entirely too entertaining. I salute you! (Finally, an interesting Christian. Ahem.)

11:28 PM  
Blogger Joel said...

What's the torture? Going back to straight sex?

12:13 AM  
Blogger urthshu said...

No no, it's *supposed* to be the other way 'round.....

12:14 AM  
Blogger Danielle said...

Another visitor from Iron Blog. I've been reading around here, and I'll check back more often.

I'll be honest- if more christians, particularly the clergy, were like Big Dan, I might not have left the religion. (Though this may cast some doubt on the legitimacy of my vocation.)

The first thing that I ever read, at the age of four, was an unabridged bible. (In french, I forget which.) As my family lived isolated in the (canadian) countryside, near a church and convent, I grew up discussing the bible with nuns and priests, and I wanted to grow up to be like my grandparents, who believed deeply in the New Testament, particularly regarding the passages on loving thy neighbor and leaving the passing of judgement to God, and made of their lives an example of compassion in the hopes that others would be inspired to do the same. And I thought that all Christians (Catholics included) were like this.

But we moved away from the countryside, and I realised how wrong I was. Debating the bible wasn't tolerated. Questioning inconsistencies was viewed as an act of rebellion, not a wish to reconcile opposing viewpoints. Not only that, but the churchgoers and those around me seemed to be hateful, close-minded people.

When my grandparents died, it seemed that my vocation - I had wanted to be a priest from as early as I could remember, but that was forbidden, and I considered the convent, but it felt wrong - went with them.

I moved away from my hometown and to the US, but I never found that feeling of love and acceptance and tolerance from any other church- and I've lived in nearly a dozen cities and states. The one that I used to go to as a child still stands, but those nuns and priests are long dead.

And even this past week, I've been posting on political discussion boards, something that I'd sworn I'd refrain from doing again. Post after post, I read posts by conservative Christians how gays are going to hell, liberals are going to hell. Quote as I might from Matthew and John, my posts would be ignored, or I would be insulted, or I would be told that Leviticus trumps the bible passages on compassion. Some would say, "My father is a minister," or, "My minister said-" and that would be that. This depresses me deeply.

So- after all of this blathering, I have to say that I wish that more people, both disaffected readers burned by too much hate and Christians who seem to have forgotten Christ's teachings of mercy and forgiveness, would come read and post on this site, because it shows that there are still those who remember what is _good_.

1:15 AM  
Blogger Jay Bullock said...

Ah, Danielle, you must remember the first commandment (according to Frank Herbert): Thou shalt not question!Thanks for playing in the sandbox over at the Iron Blog, Big Dan. Your comments were insightful. I meant it in my closing when I said that the commenters were a definite highlight of the debate.

I guess you could say you all helped me achieve climax?

Jay/ folkbum/ IB Dem

6:31 AM  
Blogger Big Dan said...

Danielle,

Thank you for your kind words.

People get in trouble when they read the letter of the Bible above the SPIRIT of the Bible. I tell my congregation all the time that I know the Bible well enough that I can support ANY argument I want with it, but my goal is not correct doctrine (as with fundamentalism), my goal is to learn to love. So when someone is using Scripture in a harmful or exclusive way, I compare that with the spirit of the Bible, which is God's all-inclusive love for every single human, not just the ones who follow the right rules or tie their shoes in the holy way or whatever.

I also never try to impose my beliefs on anyone. If asked or if they apply, I will share my beliefs, but never expect others to believe the way I do just because that's how I believe. The negative to this is that many people in the world today view sharing religious views as some form of conversion attempt. Not to mention that many folks these days see any form of disagreement as persecution.

This is why I like Iron Blog. You can post a belief without people spitting venom at you just for saying what you think.

I hope that helps, and it only cost me 10 bucks to say!

6:57 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

Danielle, ma chère, you were doing it exactly right when you were growing up: it's the big-city folks and the maniacs who are increasingly in charge of the Catholic Church that are getting it wrong. God gave us our minds; I can only presume that we are therefore to serve the God that gave us those minds by, you know, using them. Let me encourage you to have a look at a couple of passages from the documents of the Second Vatican Council: Gaudium et spes No. 16 (The Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World) and Dignitatis humanae No. 14 (Declaration on Religious Freedom). Consider, too, the teaching attributed to no less an orthodox thinker than Thomas Aquinas (though I'm still trying to track down exactly where he said it), that it's better to die excommunicate than to violate one's own conscience.

And Dan, sir, you surprise me. I caught no whiff of the clerical state in your Iron Blog postings, but I'm happy to learn there are yet shepherds of the flock who are more interested in preaching the Word than using it to browbeat their people into submission. Grace to you, and peace, from the One who is, the One who was, and the One who is coming (Rev. 1:4, my translation).

7:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One could do worse than doing it Aquinas-style. :)

8:48 PM  

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