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View Diary: Do I Look Fat in this Dress? A political meditation (148 comments)

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  •  as I said (4.00)
    There are myriad sources of body hatred in our culture. And w/o a doubt, in the New Testament, the fact that God is manifested as a body, it seems to me, would be an opening to a compassionate politics that would seek to alleviate the sufferings of all bodies. And many Christians seek to alleviate the suffering of others based on their understanding of "passion".
    And yet. There are many who do not. And I'm trying to understand this. But the Terri Schiavo case was hijacked by certain people who identified themselves as Christians. And certain Christians use the Book of Leviticus to threaten the rest of us. Bernardino of Siena used the book of Malachi to threaten those cities which tolerated sin within their walls. He's not unlike the prominent televangelists of our day who declared that 9/11 was a punishment from God for tolerating sin within our borders.

    I don't have all the answers. As I said. This is a meditation. I would love to be proven wrong, to be told that Eve is not believed to have been the portal of original sin into the world. And so i ask. What was her sin? And what was the punishment? And how is that punishment still playing itself out in our politics?

    •  Absolutely, absolutely (none)
      I merely offer some additional observations.

      An important strain in Anglican theology is the incarnation of Christ - the fact that God achieved radical proximity to the human condition by becoming fully human.  Incarnational theology calls on us to see Christ in every person.  And, given that Christ is mediator of Creation and Redemption, that means seeing in human beings both the sorrow of suffering as well as the joy of createdness, and, ultimately, the hope of transcendence.

      As for the primordial couple, I think what we have here is an etymological tale.  "Why," they asked around the campfire, "is bringing new life into the world so painful?"  "Why is it so hard to get food to eat?"  "Why don't snakes have legs?"  Why?  Cuz you disobeyed a divine command, that's why!  It's unfortunate that this got theologized out of all proportion.

      It reminds me of a liturgics professor who once asked us why we had candles on the altar.  "To symbolize the old and new testaments?" suggested one.  The prof shook his head.  "To symbolize the light of Christ?" suggested another.  He shook his head again.  "No," he replied, "they were put there to provide light."

      "The state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation." - Pierre Trudeau

      by fishhead on Thu Mar 31, 2005 at 02:06:01 PM PST

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    •  Oh! Oh! I Know! Call On Me! (4.00)
      And so i ask. What was her sin? And what was the punishment? And how is that punishment still playing itself out in our politics?"

      I've long thought the most important, and most forgotten, aspect of this story is that the two ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

      By partaking of the "poison" of eternal moral reflection we forced ourselves out of paradise of innocent animal life and into a new quantum of existence -- intelligence, as big a leap past biology as biology was past mere matter -- and with that came the eternal pain of always considering the moral consequences of our actions.

      That said, you are right -- the very first moral consideration we made related to our bodies.  God realized we'd eaten the fruit only when he stopped by and saw we'd put on clothing.  The first words out of his mouth were "Who told you that you were naked?"

      Overcoming our bodies, avoiding the "sins of the flesh" thus became the very first tenet of Judeo/Christianity.  But the notion is just as prevalent in the ascetic aspects of Eastern religions, if practiced more wisely in the flavor of at least occasionally overcoming all distractions of the flesh in order to obtain greater spiritual clarity.  Although the Mideastern religions have long now perverted the lesson into an obsession on sex and guilt, some glimpse of the purer notion of simply sometimes rising above our bodies remains.

      I think we're all reaching for the fourth quantum now.  Matter -> Life -> Intelligence -> What?  And when I think about that, I'm reminded of the other thing everybody forgets about the Garden:  The other tree.

      The Tree of Life.

      We're becoming gods, and as it should that scares the shit out of people who haven't even mastered their humanity.

      (Well, now, that was a ramble, wasn't it?)

      "Tugboats and arson. That's all I ever get from you guys!" - Janitor

      by Irfo on Thu Mar 31, 2005 at 08:00:19 PM PST

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      •  tree of life (none)
        and if they had eaten of that, then they really would have been gods.
        Thanks for a great response. I appreciate it.
        •  We're Taking Our First Bites Now (none)
          We can make handfuls of sun, and drop them on cities.  We can recode DNA.

          Thank you for your thought-provoking diary.

          "Tugboats and arson. That's all I ever get from you guys!" - Janitor

          by Irfo on Thu Mar 31, 2005 at 08:45:18 PM PST

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