I Hope I Never Forget:

“Anything that one imagines of God apart from Christ is only useless thinking and vain idolatry.”- Martin Luther

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


You and I are sitting across from each other. I'm grinning. You're not. (You can see already that the cards are stacked in my favor. But it is my blog, and you, dear reader, as addressed in this Interlude are imaginary. Alas, I'm afraid all of my readers are imaginary ones)

Your pained expression betrays the fact that you're not sure whether you heard what you think you heard nor what it would mean if you did. "Is he serious? Is he sane?" you wonder. "If so,… is that "spooky God stuff" okay to say?"

You study my face. No reassurance there- same 'ole yahoo face. Should you respond? "Is there culpability in encouraging him" you question. You rub your face in exasperation. Then, you begin.

"Let me get this straight…um, we see God in creepy moments."

"That's right, or at least we were meant to"

"You're saying God is creepy, then? Is that what you're saying!?"

"I'm not sure. But I am suggesting that the unease we feel when we encounter spooky, eerie or uncanny places or things was God's idea. He put them there to teach us something about himself."

"That he's creepy? How can you say he's creepy"

"No, I didn't say that he was creepy. That would be like looking around for Divine feathers because Isaiah declared that God lifted him on eagle's wings. Eagles…and foreboding windy black nights point to God, but I don't believe he's a winged creature or a meteorological event."

"But an eagle speaks of strength. A comparison with an eagle says "God is strong." What does a comparison with a haunted house imply if not "Creepiness?"

"I see you're point. I'll try to answer it after I skillfully maneuver your conversation into the appropriate query- that way I'll look in control, but until I figure out how to do that, I'd say that a haunted house teaches not only that he's "Other" but what it might be like to be in the presence of "Otherness." Creepiness connotes creeping, loathsomeness or things foul. I'm not meaning to include them- at least not at this point. What I'm after is the fear of the unknown- the unknowable. I'm not sure what to call it precisely, but it's present in a haunted house. You're not scared because you believe you will be hurt, but rather because you are with something you do not understand, that doesn't belong there, but which you imagine could very easily work in unpleasant ways. It's the effect that unnatural things have on us."

"But unnatural…that's bad stuff. How can you say that God is unnatural?"

"It depends on what you mean by unnatural, doesn't it. If you mean "bad stuff or bad behavior", then certainly God is not unnatural. If you mean distinct from nature, he's certainly unnatural. I could say "supernatural," I guess; but that would create problems that we'd have to clear up later. What we think of as supernatural is really a large segment of creation or nature."

"But unnatural!"

"It seems to me that calling God unnatural is less problematic than calling him natural. What could that possibly mean? Anyway, I…"

"Tell me what I'm to learn of God from seeing my neighbor in a Freddy Krueger mask! It's horrific. Violent, even demonic- Freddy hurt people. Where's God in that?"

"Let me try again. I've been talking about eerie places or things- trying to argue for the positive value of this category as a category. That isn't to say that every individual example of creepiness is positive. I'm sure that sexual desire was first dreamed up by God, but that is a far cry from saying that I endorse everything that invokes sexual desire. Also, Creepy always involves fear. But there are other sources of fear, as well. Witnessing a violent car wreck ought to scare you, but that's a whole different thing. Don't you think?"

"But the whole Halloween monster thing implies violence. You can't have a monster without implied violence"

"Well, I'm not so sure about that, but I do understand that Halloween tangles many different themes into its celebration. I was meaning to start by looking at only one- the spooky, eerie aspect. I think you can distinguish the experiences of being on a lonely tree lined road, or in a windy autumn night, or hearing a wolf's baleful howl- I think you can distinguish those things from the grotesque. Maybe not. But for me that would most likely mean that the grotesque has something to teach us about our God, not that the grotesque should be totally avoided. Anyway, I've had nothing to say about the whole grotesque thing. Let's talk about it next. Right now its all more than I know"

1 comment:

Bil Aslinger said...

It's just too bad this series is going to end soon, Its been the most fun to read of all of them
to date. bill