Imagine or Die

Thoughts from Brueggemann’s Hopeful Imagination: Prophetic Voices in Exile pgs – 23-25

1. Poets have no advice to give people. They only want people to see differently, to re-vision life. They are not coercive. They only try to stimulate, surprise, hint and give nuance, not more. They cannot do more, because they are making a world that does not yet exist beyond their imagination; but their offer of this imaginative world is necessary to give freedom of action. The poets want us to re-experience the present world under a different set of metaphors, and they want us to entertain an alternative world not yet visible…

2. Poets speak porously. They use the kind of language that is not exhausted at first hearing. They leave many things open, ambiguous still to be discerned after more reflection. They do not pretend to know the future, but they offer the present as a shockingly open and ambiguous matter out of which various futures may yet emerge. They do not need to see the end of their words or all the implications before they speak….

3. The purpose of porous language is to leave the poem and the reality to which it points open for the experience of the listener. Poets do indeed trust other people to continue the image, to finish the thought out of their own experience. But that requires the kind of rich metaphorical language that is open and polyvalent. Very often people who hear poets want an explanation, which means to slot the words into categories already predetermined and controlled. Such an act, however, is the death of the poem….

pg 26-27

In our day many in ministry are caught in bitter exhaustion because people seem so resistant. That resistance, I submit, comes from a frightened, crushed imagination that has been robbed of power precisely because of fear. Indeed, one can note the abysmal lack of imagination in the formation of policy about either internation security or domestic economics. We can think of nothing to do except to do more of the same, which generates only more problems and more fear. When we are frightened, we want certitude, not porousness. So the voices of religious certitude and the advocates of political domination seem persuasive….

The practice of such poetic discourse is very difficult. It is difficult because it takes more energy than our conventional prose which is predictable and accepted on all sides. It is difficult, secondly, because it will be very much misunderstood. We are not accustomed to such communication. But the risk must be taken. Jesus’ parables stand as witness that the kingdom comes by imagination, by poetic discourse. Such a way of speech creates vitality in ministry, because it keeps possibility open in the life of the community. Where there is not speech which keeps possibility open, we are left only with necessity. That is what the rulers of this age may want. But that ends in death.

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Death

Why do we die?

A virus.

Some cry, some sigh

some shrug and say ah well.

She made good cakes didn’t she?

We should cry.

Death is horrible.

Asking why allows a basic truth through.

Death is unnatural.

A man on a cross said, ‘Remember me…’

The other said ‘Today you’ll be with me’

Ey? What does that mean?

Truly moving or manipulated?

Did you see this?

That woman is definitely quite amazing.

But but but but but

She’s surrounded by media vultures and flesh devourers. Even the journalists who are so called sympathetic to Susan Boyle call her ugly and crow praises on her ‘despite’ her ugliness. True spit(e) that is. The privileged middle class Brit media are showing yet more signs of their living in their self made pie in the sky.

I don’t think she’s ugly. I don’t think she’s pretty either. I also think Julia Roberts is ugly.

I think Susan Boyle has awesome personality. But you can see how this is milked to the extreme. I felt emotional watching the video but I was pushed to that emotion. The producers squeezed every camera angle juxtaposed with the music for maximum teariness and throat lumpiness. Susan Boyle’s voice is not that amazing. It is good no doubt but it’s not as distinctive as Paul Pots the winner a few years ago.

And of course the reaction was no where close. It’s because she’s a woman who doesn’t conform to society’s idolatrous worship of physical beauty. I pray for her that she won’t sucked up into the evil that is around her.

On the other hand this was truly beautiful

This is a sign of the kingdom for me.

And to make some sense of it all this was so good.

Followed by this and this

Artificial Intelligence and Wall-E

Right. I’m no movie buff. It’s just too emotionally heavy. But I do get impacted by them and I know they present powerful lenses to this world we’re trying to wade through. So here goes some thoughts.

Wall-e and Artificial Intelligence are centrally about love. Quite obvious in the case of AI where it’s all about the little robot wanting its mother’s love and more subtly in Wall-e where the little robot and Eve get togther in a jig.

In comparison AI actually doesn’t say anything about love. We’re given all these subtle images of love between a mother and child with hugs, birthday cakes, hide and seek etc. but what do we know about love from AI? Love wants, love almost gets, love is satisfying. For a bit. Of course in the morning it’s gone. But the memory is enough. It almost feels like the paradigm of a one night stand thrust onto what is a commonly held holy relationship between mom and son.

Wall-e? A lonely one learns through outside sources love, music and dance. When a possible companion appears he tries to communicate. Cares, protects. And in the end is willing to give up his own existence as well. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love will sacrifice itself. Love is curious. And love is astonishingly creative forever and growing.

And here is the odd thing. In AI love is a programme which is planted. In Wall-e it’s something he evolves to do. Which is quite interesting with creation evolution screechings occuring in madhouses.

Though I must say for AI that the real relationship which does actually shine through is between David and Teddy. Faithfulness, hope and eternalness. That’s what teddy is to David.

So there you go, no wonder when you preach about love you so often lustify it with love relegated to a small corner of the bed.