Notes In The Life

Getting through the mess is the only ‘proof’ of religion.

Existential discourse is a commentary on lived life, life lived by persons. It is thus a commentary on story-telling.. A kind of second order, or meta, storytelling. The life lived by the person tells a story, and in commenting on it, another story is told, speaking of the edges, gaps, abysses, latent in the primal story.

Theology, even if mystical [Eastern], not rational [Western], is too abstracted out of life.. Life is ambiguous and a mess. God does not design for us ‘the best of all possible worlds’, but almost the converse. God dumps us in the worst of all possible worlds, yet is with us [if we allow it] in the worst.. Thus by struggle, doubts, clashes, lapses and recovery from lapses, we proceed through the moral and existential maze.. It is the journey and battle ‘through’ that matters, because that decides where we get to in the end. Where we get to in the end, as a living being, as a personhood of heart with will and freedom, is the key thing. You could say only arriving there ‘proves’, even ‘articulates’ much less ‘explains’, what theology is ‘really talking about’ [too abstractly, too cleaned up, too shorn of life’s chaos].

So, as ideals are no good because they cannot be incarnated, and romantic tales too imaginative are no good because they pretty up far too much the actual struggle on the ground over an abyss, so theology is no help in ‘getting through.’ Wisdom teachings, like those from the sages, are helpful because they are ‘notes in the life’, notes about the struggle, talking of traps and temptations on the road itself. Living is our hunt for, and tussle with, the God whose “understanding is inscrutable” [Isaiah, 40, 28]. Any religion, but Christianity especially, has to prove itself on the road, or the devil has won the gamble he made with Yahweh in The Book of Job. Theology gives a spurious impression of victory before it is actually won in [and for] this world; and it is a fair fight, because it might not be won..

This existential commentary, delving, investigating stories deeply and by this creating another story out of them, the story at their heart, the story fought for, suffered for, paid for by blood, sweat, and tears — this is Jewish. This militates against gracious and subtle Greek Orthodox theology no less than all the cramped and mean theologies of the West.

And of course, it goes without saying, that it is where we all get to, as a togetherness, that is truly key. That too is Jewish.