Jump to content

"objects" And "directions/goals"


tariki
 Share

Recommended Posts

There is a book I have always loved called "The Spirituality of Imperfection" sub-titled "Storytelling and the Journey to Wholeness". It contains a multitude of stories from the various "faith traditions" of the world. Anyway, I was dipping into it, and it mentioned a guy called Farber, a Psychoanalyst, who mused that our will operates in two distinct realms. The realm of objects and the realm of directions/goals.

 

Objects, or specific entities, we can directly choose. But goals cannot be directly chosen, and in fact can even be distorted - even destroyed - by overt attempts to control them.

 

Some examples are given.....

 

We can directly will.........

 

knowledge. But not wisdom.

 

pleasure. But not happiness.

 

congratulations. But not admiration.

 

reading/listening. But not understanding.

 

meekness. But not humility.

 

going to bed. But not sleeping (!!)

 

This confusion of objects with goals/directions can lead to anxiety, and is doomed to failure......"The harder I try to fall asleep, the wider awake I get." "The harder I try to make myself happy, the more miserable I am."

 

Just so, the Bible calls upon us to love God and neighbour. But it would seem, at least to Mr Farber, that love would fall into the category of that which cannot be commanded. Yes, we can give to others, actively help others, but......love?

 

I just wondered what others here, with our various stories and backgrounds, make of this distinction. Agree with it, disagree, all views welcome......

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fascinating.

I may be fudging my math a bit, but I think that the conflation of objects and goals would likely make one approach Pelagianism. Pelagius essentially argued that humanity can learn to identify what is good, how to strive for the good, and successfully attain the Good. It's a proud and triumphant moralism. Putting aside questions of God for a moment, that suggests a perfectability of man I don't really buy into.

 

The object/goal divide you describe highlights the fact that humanity cannot be, in the end analysis, in control as such. I think a discussion of grace would fit neatly in the space between objects and goals.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would agree Derek with the portion of his work you have shared. I also think as Nick that grace fits in very well.

Also it seems to me, that the direction of objects, eventually and sometimes through much pain and suffering, leads to grace and the goals.

 

Joseph

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the input, Nick and Joseph. I was undecided where to place this but eventually decided on "Other Wisdom Traditions" because the questions raised do come from a book that encompasses various "traditions", and also that it did not seem to have an exact fit anywhere else!

 

I'm glad others have recognised how the idea of goals we are unable to will necessarily opens to, and points towards, "grace".

 

Some time ago now, when I would spend my time exclusively on Buddhist forums, there was a thread that spoke of a centre in Sri Lanka where those who signed up for a particular class were "guaranteed" to gain "stream entry" (a particular stage of progression within the Theravada tradition) in a fortnight. Maybe this was when I first began to have my doubts! I remember posting something about Buddhism not being a sausage factory. I remember too giving some sort of analogy with the production of a pearl, between pearls produced naturally by nature, and those that are "cultured". Which led, within my own wayward mind, to the verse of the Bible that still remains closest to my heart..... "For the earth brings forth fruits of herself". This verse comes within a short parable of the kingdom, which bears reflection.(St Mark 4 26-34) It speaks of "harvest time", and for me when such time comes it is either seen to be of grace, or we remain with our "works". A Pure Land guy said its about "doing what we can do" then "waiting for heavens will."

 

Anyway, Nick, I agree with what you imply. That any search for "perfection" can be soul destroying. "Perfection" can be seen as some objective - even an "object" itself" - which is outside of ourselves, something we must "attain", which itself leads to our devising techniques to attain it. My experience is, looking at myself and at the sad antics of others, that this can all lead to one big mess, part of which can be downright hypocrisy and another part, pure judgement of others who are not striving quite as hard as ourselves! As Bruce Springsteen sang in "The River".........."Is a dream that don't come true a lie, or is it something worse?". Something far worse, I would think.....

 

Well, I can't leave without a few words from Thomas Merton, who speaks of these things in his little essay "A Study of Chuang Tzu".....

 

The way of Tao is to begin with the simple good with which we are endowed by the very fact of existence. Instead of self-conscious cultivation of this good (which vanishes when we look at it and becomes intangible when we try to grasp it), we grow quietly in the humility of a simple, ordinary life, and this way is analogous (at least psychologically) to the Christian "life of faith." It is more a matter of believing the good than of seeing it as the fruit of one's effort

 

All the best

Derek

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I must confess a degree of envy at your ability to quote Merton, Tariki. I really need to get versions of Barth's Romans and Evangelical Theology that has searchable text that can be cut & pasted. B) But jokes aside, I agree with you: treating perfection as a potential human achievement gets dangerous, and any tradition worth its salt likely has a lot to say about the dangers of hubris.

 

 

Also, seeing how this is in the other traditions forum, I have a question, though I apologize for how badly this question is going to be worded. You seem to regularly deploy the idea of grace in your posts, Tariki. What concepts 'native' to Buddhism (Pure Land or otherwise) are comparable to Christian understandings of grace? I'd imagine there's something, but that something will likely look rather different considering how different the two traditions are regarding questions of theism.

 

EDIT: Also, I admit smirking a little at the whole "stream entry in 14 days or less guaranteed!". In the US, where Buddhism is often wrapped up in unfortunately orientalist/exotic notions of mysticism, such a seminar sounds shockingly legalistic. My double take is based purely on the level of superficial depictions, and I'm not making any claims about Buddhism as such. IMHO, the pop-culture depiction of Buddhism often has less to do with Buddhism and more to do with a certain "photo-negative" of a sort of Christianity, but that's a discussion for another thread.

Edited by Nick the Nevermet
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nick, I will get back to you on this. Its a very complex thing, simply because so much of Christianity is associated with its Conservative/Fundamentalist/Reform/Biblical Literalist trends/expressions (what on earth can you call it without causing offence?) Grace here is often expressed more as aa exchange between a Deity "up there" offering "salvation" to us "down here" if certain conditions are met ( my apologies for expressing it as such, but nevertheless, this seems near the mark given my ten years on various forums exchanging views with those of the Christian Faith). Anyway, in such a sense there is no "grace" in Buddhism, which is not theistic, as you say.

 

Once we begin to look at a more "catholic" Christian vision, and, again, the Christian mystical tradition (particularly the Apophatic - the negative way of "unknowing - as per Eckhart and St John of the Cross and others) correspondences can be found, not only with the Pure Land tradition, but with much else in both Theravada and Mahayana.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Take your time; I'm very curious what you'd have to say. On the one hand, I was pretty sure that grace couldn't be unproblematically "ported" into Buddhism, due to the theist issues I mentioned. On the other, it does seem to be a concept you post in relation to with some frequency. Given those two point, I became rather curious.

 

Beyond that, I'd quibble on the word 'exchange', but I get and agree with the point you are making about grace, God, and humanity.

 

Also, I personally tend to use the phrase conservative Christian. Evangelical, fundamentalist, and Reformed all have more specific definitions, and I think of biblical literalism as more of a symptom than a root problem, but this is definitely a discussion for a different thread. But my point is I can't imagine that the term 'conservative Christian' is particularly insulting compared to some things I can come up with ("Fundie Bible-Thumper" is one that comes to mind that definitely is offensive, IMO). However, given the fact I live in Godless Academia , I rarely have an opportunity to offend people who think Left Behind is a work of inspired genius, let alone the opportunity to choose not to offend them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nick, interesting that you would quibble at my use of the word "exchange", as I changed this from "business deal", which I assume would have caused even more of a quibble...... :D . What I was seeking to express was the idea that the Divine's relationship to us is perceived to alter "within" time, this caused by our "acceptance" of, and our fulfilment of, certain conditions. For me, this would be a salvation of "works". For me, "salvation" is more the recognition of that which "is", and has always been. We change, the divine does not.

 

Which leads on to the realities of grace. As I see it, searching for the same words within two traditions is the lowest form of dialogue. The words may be the same, yet the context is obviously different, and often context is everything. That the word "grace" is not found in Buddhism means nothing, at least to me. It is at the level of religious/spiritual experience that correspondence can be sought and, I think, found.

 

Buddhism is not theistic, it knows no ultimate "creator"...........though "Gods" abound in many texts, both Theravada and Mahayana. Yet these are always seen as subordinate to the Buddha, as "enlightened". Yet the Theravada texts do contain the following.............

 

There is, monks, a not-born, a not-brought-to-being, a not-made, a not-conditioned. If, monks, there were no not-born, not-brought-to-being, not-made, not-conditioned, no escape would be discerned from what is born, brought-to-being, made, conditioned. But since there is a not-born, a not-brought-to-being, a not-made, a not-conditioned, therefore an escape is discerned from what is born, brought-to-being, made, conditioned.

 

And moving away from the various depictions of "God" in the OT, there is the idea at the heart of Catholic Theology.....that of aseitas - Latin, meaning, "the power of a being to exist absolutely in virtue of itself, not as caused by itself, but requiring no cause, no other justification for its existence except that its very nature is to exist."

 

And leading on from this, the possibility of a consciousness derived not from the self aware subject (per Descartes), who must necessarily see God as Object (even as Idol), but from Being itself, ontologically seen to be prior to the subject-object division. (I am indebted to Merton for much of this, who always manages to express certain things as simply as it is possible to explain them, when not experienced as such)

 

It seems to me that much Christianity necessarily begins with the I-Thou relationship, yet has the potential to evolve into a more "non-dual" sense of reality, "Not I, but Christ lives in me". Pure Land Buddhism has the self same potential, in as much as there is a wide spectrum of understanding - from Amida being "out to the West", totally "other", whose "vow" saves the devotee, and where the devotee goes to the Pure Land after death.........to Amida being taken as "Reality-as-is", and where - it is said - there is no "self power", nor "other power", there is only Other Power.........and where the Pure Land is NOW.

 

What I myself found astonishing as I studied up on the evolution/history of the Pure Land way, was that Nagarjuna, who is associated with the deepest and most central philosophy of Buddhism - a philosophy detailing and involving a complete "non-dual" reality - actually wrote hymns of adoration to Amida , and saw no conflict. Which seems to hark back to some words from the Vedas......"Thou art formless, your only form is our knowledge of you", and also indicates what needs to be emphasised each time "non-duality" is mooted - that it is not the opposite of duality, but in fact embraces the opposites.

 

Sorry, I seem to be going around the houses, and perhaps getting lost in verbiage.

 

I'm really a very simple guy, and live a 100% secular life. I'll end now, but hopefully I've managed to lay down some necessary ground work. I'll pick it up again another time.

 

:)

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hopefully, what has been posted gives some sort of credence to the idea that Christianity and Buddhism can inhabit the same spiritual climate, if we can escape from pure Biblical Literalism/Fundamentalism.....which I suppose could be seen in the light of some sort of insistence that just the one end of the Pure Land spectrum - i.e. as that which sees Amida as "out to the west", the Pure Land as a destination following death, with the Vow saving us at a particular point in time - as being the "sole" means of salvation, a narrow way.....and any other a way of death!

 

As we deepen our faith, live it rather than debate it, there can be a movement in Christianity from "I-Thou" to "Not I, but Christ lives in me". If not actually non-dual, then mighty close! Merton quotes Eckhart - and says that this is perfectly orthodox and traditional Christianity - as saying....."In giving us His love God has given us His spirit so that we can love Him with the love wherewith He loves Himself." The Zen man, D.T.Suzuki, "quotes this with approval". Suzuki also speaks of Buddhist "emptiness"/"suchness", and says that it is not a matter of "acquiring" emptiness, or of "becoming" empty, but of recognising that we are empty from the beginning. Yet here we are, nothing has changed! (Empty, which has affinities with the Christian idea of kenosis, the self-emptying of Christ)

 

Such "recognition" is the closest I can get to "grace", grace in this non-dual climate. (I say climate, more to allude to the thread I started on "Buddhist Images", where rather than just give a breakdown of The Four Noble Truths, or The Noble Eight Fold Path, etc etc, I sought instead just to present a kaleidoscope of images that conveyed more the ambience of Buddhism)

 

Well, again, to end with my mate Merton,a quote here taken from a letter to D T Suzuki, as given in "The Hidden Ground of Love" (sub-titled "Letters on Religious Experience and Social Concerns")

 

..............we are in paradise, and what fools would we be to think thoughts that would put us out of it (as if we could be out of it!). One thing I would add. To my mind, the Christian doctrine of grace (however understood - I mean here the gift of God's life to us) seems to me to fulfilll a most important function in all this. The realization, the finding of ourselves in Christ and hence in paradise, has a special character from the fact that this is all a free gift from God. With us, this stress on freedom, God's freedom, the indeterminateness of salvation, is the thing that corresponds to Zen in Christianity. The breakthrough that comes with the realization of what the finger of a koan is pointing to is like the breakthrough of the realization that a sacrament, for instance, is a finger pointing to the completely spontaneous Gift of Himself to us on the part of God - beyond and above images, outside of every idea, every law, every right or wrong, everything high or low, everything spiritual or material. Whether we are good or bad, wise or foolish, there is always this sudden irruption, this breakthrough of God's freedom into our life, turning the whole thing upside down so that it comes out, contrary to all expectation, right side up. This is grace, this is salvation, this is Christianity. And, so far as I can see, it is also very much like Zen.........

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I hope this post is keeps enough with the intent of this thread. But the title itself, about "objects" - "that which can be willed and that which cannot", really touches something that has entertained my mind for some time now.

 

Derek wrote,

 

And leading on from this, the possibility of a consciousness derived not from the self aware subject (per Descartes), who must necessarily see God as Object (even as Idol), but from Being itself, ontologically seen to be prior to the subject-object division.

 

The "object" mode of thinking seems to be a natural way of relating to our experience, but in modern thought - and you mention Descartes pertinently - it dominates our thinking excessively, almost exclusively. Descartes developed a very explicit mind-matter dualism, and though dualism has fallen out of favor, we have kept the dichotomy alive, tacitly, in materialism, in which all of reality is externalized and objectified, and the universe is thought of exclusively in terms of the object. Somehow we've lost mind but kept matter, and now everything, including mind, must be explained in those terms.

 

In the modern West, knowledge has, therefore, become synonymous with "control" (note how this relates to the scientific method), that which is beyond control/manipulation is not knowledge, or likely not even acknowledged.

 

I think we definitely need an awareness of that which goes beyond object-manipulation.

 

Peace,

Mike

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow

 

Thank you so very much for all that, Derek. The idea of grace as recognition is a fascinating idea I frankly don't have time to think through as much as it deserves right now. There's something very compelling in there.

 

I apologize, but I am compelled to go off on a tangent: I've been thinking about for a while that I've been calling "pantheism blackjack." A great deal Christian mysticism plays a game where the mystical theologian tries to get as close to saying "we are all God" as they can, without going over the line. Institutionalized Christianity has a long history of reacting harshly to people who remove the humanity-divine duality too much or too quickly. Meister Eckhart, Andreas Osiander (I really need to read him), George Fox... the list goes on and on. Pantheism is apparently something to avoided in (lower case) orthodox Christian theology.

 

...And yet, the name of the game is not "Avoid Pantheism like the Plague," but rather "Pantheism Blackjack." Human creativity is often spurred forward by contradiction, paradox, and tension. What I am flippantly calling pantheism blackjack is an example of such a creative tension (whether or not one thinks such a tension is necessary is another question all together). Theologians (mystical and otherwise) always push up against that line. I'm currently making my way through a group of theologians who view Calvin as an under appreciated master of pantheism blackjack, but that's for another thread.

 

To bring it back to the thread topic: I have a suspicion that to the degree someone is interested in pantheism blackjack, one is interested in grace. The more legalistic forms of Christianity ("If you do X & Y, you are saved, and if you don't, you aren't") don't have a particularly robust theology of grace in everyday life. These are forms of religion which, as you said in your OP, conflate objects and goals, naively assuming that perfection is attainable. These people don't play pantheism blackjack, but if they did, they would "stick" at 9.

 

Buddhism isn't pantheistic, but there's a parallel (I think?) between Christian pantheists and Buddhists in that both wish to remove a duality. They aren't interested in playing pantheism blackjack because they don't see a reason to stop at 21 (AKA, maintaining the duality of humanity & the divine, or the created & creator as Iraneus put it).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mike,

 

One of my favorite social theorists, Bruno Latour, has a lot to say about objects and materialism. He relies heavily on the semiotic term "actant," or that which acts or is acted upon. In doing so, he problematizes the subject/object binary in some interesting ways. Unfortunately, he usually words things in an overly provocative way, making claims about 'objects having agency' and what not, but what can you do? He's a French academic; polemic wordings are required by law at that point I think.

 

At any rate, this creates some interesting questions. His central question about subjects is "what allows that to act?", focusing on how forms of agency flow through material semiotic relationships. I admit to doing some creative misreading, but I find an interesting parallel in NT Wright's argument that one becomes 'more human' the more the Holy Spirit acts upon and through him or her.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nick, really I have no idea of the worth of anything I say. It seems in some ways that the simpler things seem, the more difficult they are to explain. For me, the main thing that I carried over from Theravada were the various scriptual exhortations to refrain from metaphysical speculation (there are actually four main forms of speculation that are regarding as "senseless", as not leading to nirvana. They are "that which cannot or should not be thought" and have nothing to do with the "holy life") As I understand it, such is carried over into the Madhayamika (the central Philosophy of Buddhism that I referred to before) and results in the actuality that life can be lived/experienced, but not "thought"....."thought" always ending in some form of contradiction - or conclusion - that only serves to preclude "realisation". This is why, at least as I see it (or don't see it!), why attempts by some Christians to define Buddhism as "pantheistic" or "atheistic", or even "nihilistic", are missing the mark. Whatever, the point is that living can be as simple or as complex as we make it.

 

Anyway, as the question was about grace, my old memory cells were jogged into remembering some words of Marco Pallis, where he spoke of grace within the Buddhist context.(These are actually quoted in Merton's "Asian Journal") Pallis relates the idea of grace with the Buddhist "touching the earth" mudra (hand gesture), where the Buddha is depicted as seated on the lotus on the waters, the waters symbolising existence and all its teeming possibilities. The Buddha overcomes "samsara" not by mere denial but by showing forth its true nature. His right hand points downward to touch the earth; the other hand supports a begging bowl - symbolising acceptance of the gift, grace. In the two gestures displayed by the Buddha-image the whole programme of our spiritual exigencies is summed up......an active attitude toward the world and a passive attitude towards heaven. The untutored person does the opposite: passively accepting the world and resisting grace, gift, and heaven.

 

Pallis goes on to say that grace functions to condition our homecoming to the centre from start to finish. It is the very attraction of the centre itself....which provides the incentive to start on the Way and the energy to face and overcome the many and various obstacles. Likewise grace is the welcoming hand into the centre when we find ourselves at long last on the brink of the great divide where all familiar landmarks have disappeared.

 

Or, as St John of the Cross has said......when we enter upon the kind of way where we leave all ways and, in some sense, get lost.

 

Well, back to the simple life. Just doing exactly what the wife says......

 

:)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tariki,

 

I agree with you that Christian attempts to put Buddhism is pre-existing categories (nihilism, pantheism, etc, etc, etc.) are problematic at the best of times. That was the reason the comparison I made ended up being so ... acrobatic: Buddhism and pantheistic Christianity are similar in that they wish to reject something, but why they wish to reject it and how they wish to reject it are quite different. The last thing I want to do is make a positive claim about something I don't know particularly well.

 

I really love that description of grace you posted. And I agree lived experience must remain central.

 

And in about a month, I get to start doing as my wife says. Until then, I must suffice with doing what my fiancee says.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Nick,

 

Mike,

 

One of my favorite social theorists, Bruno Latour, has a lot to say about objects and materialism. He relies heavily on the semiotic term "actant," or that which acts or is acted upon. In doing so, he problematizes the subject/object binary in some interesting ways. Unfortunately, he usually words things in an overly provocative way, making claims about 'objects having agency' and what not, but what can you do? He's a French academic; polemic wordings are required by law at that point I think.

 

At any rate, this creates some interesting questions. His central question about subjects is "what allows that to act?", focusing on how forms of agency flow through material semiotic relationships. I admit to doing some creative misreading, but I find an interesting parallel in NT Wright's argument that one becomes 'more human' the more the Holy Spirit acts upon and through him or her.

 

I think for Buddhism in particular the subject/object problematic is paramount, the implications of which have, over the centuries, been explored with every nuance. Nonduality developed as an epistemic tool and, ultimately, an ontological realization, and for me it has served as something of an antidote to the over-objectification that characterizes popular Western thinking.

 

I'm not familiar with the philosopher you mention, but he sounds interesting, though at the same time I am not too interested in purely academic philosophy, because, at least to me, it tends to promise fish but offer stones. I take more to your creative misreading. :D

 

In my view, subjects are not related to objects as objects are to other objects. Subjectivity and objectivity are two different dimensions, two sides to the coin of reality, and not causally related. Even when we think we are in control, it is the Spirit that moves, and moves us.

 

Thanks,

Mike

Edited by Mike
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mike,

 

I'm using Latour a bit on my dissertation. As such, I am deeply tempted to write a much longer post than anyone should read. The short, short version: he's a sociologist of science who studies how truth claims are constructed with a strong interest in dissolving classic binaries in sociology (materialism/idealism, society/nature, subject/object, and actor/structure). You'd be surprised how little I had to distort his theory to make it work with the Holy Ghost. For him, agency and subjecthood are emergent effects created by the association of various actants and mediators in various ways.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've encountered a concept in Christian Ethics (I'm thinking off the top of my head right now, that Paul Ramsey touched on this in his Basic Christian Ethics, of Christian love, the love to which God calls us, as "Obedient Love". As such, Christian love is a verb, and action word, and not a feeling or emotion. An "obedient love" calls for loving action whether you feel like it or not. Consider "pray for your enemies"....hardly something we any of us are likely to "feel" like doing!

As such, Christian love as an obedient love, which places love as a verb, an action word, would make it an object. You may not feel it, but you are to do it, even as you keep working on the feeling part!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jenell, you make me think of a line from Shakespeare......."Assume a virtue if you have it not for use can almost change the stamp of nature". Yes, I think there is much to be said for "doing ones duty".....when someone wishes help in crossing the road they are interested in getting to the other, not in whether our act of "charity" stinks in God's nostrils or not! ( :D )

 

It is just my own experience that love as an object, or perhaps, as a objective to obtain, and our own attempts to act in the appropriate manner, can lead to what is called in Christian circles "pharisaism", which more often than not appears to involve the judgement of others, who do not quite measure up to out own noble standards.

 

Also, just thinking (not always a good thing) but there is a way of seeing that recognises ALL things as more verb than noun.

 

Anyway, hope you are enjoying the waters....not too nippy I hope...

 

:)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As John Searle has said ... "Know thy conditions of satisfaction". The satisfaction sought by knowledge is a truth condition, or "knowing that". Wisdom adds other important elements, such "knowing how" and judgements which may be "correct", "incorrect" or "suspended" (the satisfaction). Willing, at its best, makes use of what is available to an individual at a point in time to fulfill (the satisfaction) a purpose or subjective aim. In addition, If by "objects" it is meant "things", "events", "states of affairs", etc., then we have a more robust language to share with each other.

 

There is also the matter of "direction of fit". I feel awe and gratitude when I observe the altruistic actions of others. I feel, from my own experience, the suffering of others. I feel a sense of mastery when, after spending forty years looking for my lost shaker of salt, I suddenly "get it."

 

(and so on ... its a process)

 

From Searle:

 

... having an intentional state requires the capacity to discriminate conditions which satisfy from those that do not satisfy the intentional state. ... one must be able to tell the difference between satisfied and unsatisfied intentional states. ... beliefs and desires are embedded not only in a network of other beliefs and desires but more importantly in a network of perceptions and actions, and these are the biologically primary forms of intentionality. (Searle, 2002, p. 67).

 

 

Myron

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This view supplements my previous post. It is from Paul Valent, a Holocaust survivor:

 

Various types of happiness and unhappiness may [be] hypothesized at various depth axis levels. For instance, physiological and survival strategy level satisfactions may be called basic or simple pleasures of life. Their opposites are basic human nightmares. The pleasures and unpleasures of higher levels are felt ever more spiritual. Yet because they subsume the previous levels, they symbolize lower levels in a vital way. Therefore people may sacrifice themselves for instance for honor principles and beliefs as if they were essentials to survival and fulfillment.
(emphasis added)

 

Myron

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jenell, you make me think of a line from Shakespeare......."Assume a virtue if you have it not for use can almost change the stamp of nature". Yes, I think there is much to be said for "doing ones duty".....when someone wishes help in crossing the road they are interested in getting to the other, not in whether our act of "charity" stinks in God's nostrils or not! ( :D )

 

It is just my own experience that love as an object, or perhaps, as a objective to obtain, and our own attempts to act in the appropriate manner, can lead to what is called in Christian circles "pharisaism", which more often than not appears to involve the judgement of others, who do not quite measure up to out own noble standards.

 

Hmmmm....good thought...I see what you mean. I guess it gets down to motive in some ways.. to me "duty" implies alliegance to someone or some authority, doing something to obtain favor, or at least acceptance, and yes, obedience love as I used it here could be taken andpracticed as that. Certainly if one makes a public display important, as in the pharisees that made sure others observed or knew of their pious acts, or a Christian so as to demonstrate superiority before and over others....

 

In thinking about this one, I think I have, at some level, a degree of trust, I think it is an element of for me, my faith, that what God would have us to is not just becasue He arbitrarily wants us to, that obedience is for the sake of obedience, which places God in the role of a power game player, but because it is what "works"... or is "best" for us, even if we don't fully comprehend how or why. In which case, the doing becomes for sake of what doing actually accomplishes in some practical way.

 

Thinking in that direction, what might I think doing, in this case, trying to practice obedient love, may actually accomplish? Perhaps by doing, acting, out of obedient love, I'm actually retraining myself to really be (loving) in the process of doing (doing the loving thing)? Perhaps I'm justifying, validating, my own feelings, knowing the pain of having felt judged in some way by some other harshly and unfairly? And I'm recognizing, acknowledging, that if I act in a way that violates obedient love toward another, O may be makingthat same mistake? So in a way, to try to abide by obedient love is part of meprocess of forgiveness, of myself as well as another? I'm statingthhese as questions, becasue while that may be how they seem to me, I know how self-deceptive our mind can be, I'm acknowledging I can't be fully sure these are really my reasons.

 

As for the idea that it is the action itself that counts, regardless of feelings or motivations, if it meets a practical purpose, that purpose is met without regard to motive, perhaps there are reasons both for ourselves, the doers, what effect it has in ourselves, as well as some external purpose. Even if practicing obedient love helps in no other way than in helping develop self-dicipline, that is useful in other ways and times, giving us what we need to carry through in other things that are hard to stay with, we have gained.

 

Jenell

 

Also, just thinking (not always a good thing) but there is a way of seeing that recognises ALL things as more verb than noun.

 

True.

 

Anyway, hope you are enjoying the waters....not too nippy I hope...

 

Not at all.....I feel like I've happened upon a cool water hole after a long trek through the hot dry desert....hope I'm not splashing around too exhuberantly!

 

Jenell

 

:)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had a whole long reply typed in to several of your points, but when I posted, all that made it was about the water!!! I don't know where the rest of it went, but I guess the cosmos decided it didn't really need to be said! :/

 

Jenell

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had a whole long reply typed in to several of your points, but when I posted, all that made it was about the water!!! I don't know where the rest of it went, but I guess the cosmos decided it didn't really need to be said! :/

 

Jenell

 

Ah, I see it above your last post...........never fear. Myself, I've lost countless pearls of wisdom (or not!) by pressing the wrong button........just ask Joseph... :D )

 

I feel like I've happened upon a cool water hole after a long trek through the hot dry desert..

 

"For the garden is the only place there is but we will not find it until we have searched everywhere and found nowhere that is not a desert." (W.H.Auden)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

terms of service