Friday, October 13, 2006

Kissing Thinkers

Today I came across a few funny blogs that explore the kiss through the mouth of the philosopher and the theologian. The ones that I have here posted were very sensual for me (brought laughter). I have provided some of my favorites, as well as the link at which I found them, for your pleasure. At the end you will get a glimps of some of my own kiss-life:

From Cynthia Nielsen's blog:

Aristotelian kiss. A kiss performed using techniques gained solely from theoretical speculation untainted by any experiential data by one who feels that the latter is irrelevant anyway.

Hegelian kiss. Dialiptical technique in which the kiss incorporates its own antithikiss, forming a synthekiss.

Wittgensteinian kiss. The important thing about this type of kiss is that it refers only to the symbol (our internal mental representation we associate with the experience of the kiss--which must necessarily also be differentiated from the act itself for obvious reasons and which need not be by any means the same or even similar for the different people experiencing the act) rather than the act itself and, as such, one must be careful not to make unwarranted generalizations about the act itself or the experience thereof based merely on our manipulation of the symbology therefor.

Gödelian kiss. A kiss that takes an extraordinarily long time, yet leaves you unable to decide whether you've been kissed or not.

Socratic kiss. Really a Platonic kiss, but it's claimed to be the Socratic technique so it'll sound more authoritative; however, compared to most strictly Platonic kisses, Socratic kisses wander around a lot more and cover more ground.

Kantian kiss. A kiss that, eschewing inferior "phenomenal" contact, is performed entirely on the superior "noumenal" plane; though you don't actually feel it at all, you are, nonetheless, free to declare it the best kiss you've ever given or received.

Kafkaesque kiss. A kiss that starts out feeling like it's about to transform you but ends up just bugging you.

Sartrean kiss. A kiss that you worry yourself to death about even though it really doesn't matter anyway.

Russell-Whiteheadian kiss. A formal kiss in which each lip and tongue movement is rigorously and completely defined, even though it ends up seeming incomplete somehow.

Pythagorean kiss. A kiss given by someone who has developed some new and wonderful techniques but refuses to use them on anyone for fear that others would find out about them and copy them.

Cartesian kiss. A particularly well-planned and coordinated movement: "I think, therefore, I aim." In general, a kiss does not count as Cartesian unless it is applied with enough force to remove all doubt that one has been kissed. (cf. Polar kiss, a more well-rounded movement involving greater nose-to-nose contact, but colder overall.)

Heisenbergian kiss. A hard-to-define kiss--the more it moves you, the less sure you are of where the kiss was; the more energy it has, the more trouble you have figuring out how long it lasted. Extreme versions of this type of kiss are known as "virtual kisses" because the level of uncertainty is so high that you're not quite sure if you were kissed or not. Virtual kisses have the advantage, however, that you need not have anyone else in the room with you to enjoy them.

Nietzscheian kiss. "She/he who does not kiss you, makes your lust stronger."

Zenoian kiss. Your lips approach, closer and closer, but never actually touch.

Piggybacking on Cynthia's various kisses, another link:
Note: Some are from the comments secion, hence the doubles.

Augustine: You awaken me to delight in your mouth, and my lips are restless until they’re kissing you.

Luther: If the Word of God tells me to kiss, then I will kiss—and let the pope, the world and the devil be damned!

Adolf von Harnack: Jesus’ own simple teaching about kissing was immediately eclipsed by the early Christians’ Hellenistic approach to kissing.

Karl Barth: “I kiss you.” There are three related problems to consider here. I kiss you. I kiss you. I kiss you.

Hans Urs von Balthasar: Kissing is not only true and good, but it is beautiful.

Hans Küng: The Church’s approach to kissing is in urgent need of the most radical and most far-reaching reform.

Wolfhart Pannenberg: One’s first kiss is a proleptic anticipation of all that is still to come.

N. T. Wright: Every kiss is a dramatic enactment of our return from exile.

Billy Graham: Will you walk down the aisle and kiss me tonight? Will you do it tonight? You many never have another chance—you might be dead tomorrow!

Calvin: Even though you don't deserve me, I chose to kiss you.

Jurgen Moltmann: A kiss is a present promise [ring] of the future hope [for marriage].

Thomas Aquinas: "There are five ways to prove the existence of a kiss...."

Stanley Hauerwas: "In the community established upon the principle of nonviolence, the question 'whom should I kiss' never arises - since to refuse to kiss is itself an act of violence. We kiss not because Jesus recommended it, but because in Jesus we discover that God is a kisser. So you'd all better damn well pucker up."

Meister Eckhart: I kiss God and God kisses me. We kiss with the same lips.

Thomas Aquinas: Kissing is an occasion of lust unless it is the custom of the country.

Anselmian Kiss: The kiss that than which a greater cannot be conceived.

Now, from this third and final link:

Ignatius of Antioch: I can’t wait to kiss those lions!

Justin Martyr: Greek kisses and Jewish kisses were preparations for The Kiss.

Irenaeus: Those ridiculous Gnostics have invented 30 crazy ways to kiss and not one of them is the True Kiss.

Tertullian: There will be no kissing! But I can provide you with a whole new Latin vocabulary on the subject.

Some of my own kisses:

Derridaian: There is nothing so far outside the kiss that it can kiss the kiss. You will, however, continue to try and kiss the kiss, but you will find that there is no Grand Kisser kissing you so all that will be left with is each individual kiss as a closed signifier of the kisser's love for the kissee. A kiss with Derrida is like following the funny trick of a kid who doesn't really exist but who wants you to kiss his bubbles as he blows them.

Sextus Empricus: "I know I'm sexy while sunbathing nude, but you're bothering me. Stop trying to kiss me. You won't be able to anyway."

Dionysius the Aeropigate: "You will best learn how to kiss me by not doing so."

Aristotelian: The great power of the potential of a kiss actualized in a temporal and spacial moment.

Wittgensteinian: A silent kiss, with your eyes closed.

Martin Bumerian: I kiss thou. I kiss me. Thou kiss me. Thou kiss thou. We're a happy in The Same House without walls or dimensions.

Platonic: Every kiss is a mere shadow of the ideal Kiss. So the all poets must immediately stop kissing; meanwhile the philosopher king may kiss away, with temperence, but he will know that he will never really kiss.

Sarteian: You just start kissing whoever's available, but you may never learn nothing about the essential kiss.

Pythagorian: A kiss with someone with whom you can suddenly afterwards tell has already kissed like everyone whose ever lived since him in the West, but you realize that most of them probably either missed it or forgot about it, even though it was so Ground breaking. The ones who remembered you find now to be the best kissers.

Meister Eckhart: "The best kiss is while she is whispering sweet Nothings in my ear. "

Descartian: A kiss with the ugly (in your own estimation) chick whose lipstick is all over you and you can't really remember everything that happened, but you wonder what you must have done! Soon your friends barge in the room and start screaming at you about it...You feel lost and you doubt your ability to decide whether to get out of the bed entirely or kiss her again on the forehead as a concialatory gesture.

Focault: Descartes secret boyfriend who only visits between midnight and five a.m.

John Locke: "It appears that everyone is kissing. It must be a good idea."

Lyotard: "Just cause everyone else is kissing doesn't make it a good idea."

Jaques Lacan: "It's almost as if my eventual kissee is staring at me in a blank mirror."

Freud: "All kissing is sexual."

Heisenbergian: You kiss everyone at the party just to make sure you've covered all your first bases...and just when you think you're finally done, Heisenberg rings the doorbell.

Newton: "Can anyone find the doorbell? There's gotta be a front door to this party where I can kiss Jason."

Einstein: "Look dude-man, there's no front door! You're already at the party! And see, everyone's kissing each other."

Louis XIV: "Welcome to the party! Kiss me!"

Copernicus: "Whowah, dude man. I think I just stepped outside the party for a second."

Neitche: "We didn't have any real reason to kiss. We just did it 'cause we wanted to."

Zeno the Stoic: A very passionless kiss in which we approached slowly over thousands of years, and then turned and walked away from each other just as slowly.

Neo Platonic: Each kiss on one part of the body is a mere glimpse of the great Smooch of Giant Lips as if on the whole body at one great burst of a lack of sensation.

Unitarian: "What's a kiss?"

Zen Buddahist: The substance of a kiss might just as well be a smack as far as the kiss is concerned, so watch out. But if you actually choose to kiss someone, do it very compassionatley, while suspended in mid air.

Marshall McLuhanesque: A kiss that's all about atmosphere, some candles, some good mood set the tone. Once in the mood for kissing, the kiss becomes an extension of that loving fragment of yourself out onto another's lips.

John Howard Yoderian: Not a very ruccous kiss, but controversial. Even amidst the controversy, however, its a quiet and peaceful kiss outside a restaurant in a public square while waiting for our eternal table. Love is an embodied presence in our kiss. Others walk by and say, "Now, that's true love!"

Moses: "Thou shalt not kiss thy neighbor's kissing parner."

Pentacostal: Lots of tongues with lots of feeling.

Baptist: No tongue! But underwater in the hot tub is fine.

Methodist: No tongue! But in a shower with very little water pressure is fine.

Catholic: "What, you don't want to kiss me anymore? What happened? Did I lose my appeal? Are you mad at me? I think there's been some misunderstanding!"

Emergent: "Can't we all just kiss and make up?"

John the Revelator: "The real Kiss is with a sword of flames!"


Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Confessions of a Young Man Free to Trust

When my Dad died, it was easy to accept. It was abundantly clear that I couldn't change the outcome. When he's the next room over, on the verge of "the rattle", it's fairly clear it's out of my hands. At this point, too, based on recent expereinces in God's presence, it was fairly clear that it was in HIS's hands. In deep prayer the transformation in my soul that occured by trust and acceptance of God's hand and plan in my Dad's death was not so much a change that occured in me as much as a newfound freedom to accept the reality of the God-happenings. I knew at this time, actually, that there would come a time when it would not be so abundantly clear to me that things were in His hands, and that it would not be so "easy" for me to assent to God's Reality.

I knew that there would be times when I would remain in the illusion that I could change and manipulate the situation to suit my percieved needs and desires. I knew that there would come times when I would thereby hope and expect to gain the freedom I had earlier found in assent and acceptance of God's doings over which I clearly had no control. A time such as this has come.

I am part of a recently formed small group of study and fellowship in my church. I quickly entered into a relationship of sorts with our leader, who I eventually came to percieve as very "modern". Now, for the purposes of this blog, it is nearly irrelevant just how "modern" he really is, or even what that means. What is relevant, however, is that this percieved modernity of his rubbed me the wrong way. I proceeded to enter into numerous long and arduous conversations with him over email about the various issues and topics involved in the situation, of both modernity and small group. Eventually it came out that he was uncomfortable with what he percieved as a personal issue toward him. Now, I actually like the guy, but I eventually then realized that I actually did have some strange dark spiritual cloud over me in regards to my relationship with him. What exactly could this could have been?

I dunno, could it have been that I was under the illusion that I had freedom in my grasp through the measure of control over the situation (OK, not "situation", but God's very reality as well as this very person, this human being) afforded me by my role in these very email conversations in which he and I were engaged, rather than accpetance of the reality of the situation of both his "modernity" and of the environment at small group? Clearly, this is a false freedom, as I had already both learned and warned myself when my Dad died. I did not pay heed. In prayer, then, after my issues and/or tensions with this friend/leader of small group had been resolved to some degree (at least the ones that I had separated out as personal), I felt lead to reread Traveling Light, by Eugene Peterson. And a blessing it has been.

In the midst of discussing Paul's horrible ailment and the Galatians satisfaction taken in ministering to him in that time, Peterson writes this: "Packed into a single word satisfaction is a vivid reminder: freedom does not come by getting control of things or people but by freely assenting to the reality of being, whether that being is a stranger's illness, or a crushing disappointment, or an incomprehensible failure, or a futile desolation." (p. 130). Freedom does not come by my ability to or hope for changning small group to fit my own abilities or hopes.

"We discover the meaning of the free life in acts of compassion and loving service, not in running after people who make big promises to us...Freedom comes from trusting, not manipulating." I now see more clearly before me the path of humility, service and self-sacrafice, the pathos of God given through His Spirit. I see it in regards to a particular issue that has in the past brought to me great frustration, anxiousness, bitterness and even at times anger. I see that I must accept. I see better what a third party helper from God said to me, "my simple advice is to you is 'humility' ... pursue the way of the cross .. (Phil 2)...My suggested course of action is allow them their modernity ... " The key word there is ALLOW.

FURTHER, I see now that I WAS one of those people who manipulate or control to "get what they want"; I WAS making a mockery of freedom and abusing the dignity and rights of not only my friend but all the people with whom I've engaged with on the topic of "modernity"! I have done this in the name of the freedoms stolen from us by modernity (how ironic now are my comments on the ironies of modernism?)! This is my confession. I am sorry. Even in sayng it I sense God's mercy, love and forgiveness...and a rush of freedom to ACCEPT! Not that I would have described it at the time as manipulation or coercion; I even would have been conscious of their possibility. But I was blind to the illusion which I had forseen previously as my Dad was about to get "the rattle".

"I was blind, and now I see." "Freedom comes from trusting, not from manipulating..." It's not a question as to whether I was actually "manipulating". It's a bigger question that points ultimately to acceptance and trust, or a lack thereof. "Few people are willing, or able, to accpet us just as we are and then to encourage us in being who God created us to be and who we can by by his mercy."

As The Message version of Philippians 2, to which my third party helper from God made reference, says: "If you've gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don't push your way to the front; don't sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don't be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand."

In my freedom to accept those with whom I don't necessarily agree, I am filled with the humility of Spirit not to "manipulate" them to suit my own fancy (which I'm sure doens't fit them very well), but to encourage them through "lending a helping hand", to "encourage them in being who God created them to be." "...allow them their modernity ... It is the ones who are crashing and burning under the weight of a depleating modernity that people like you can and should minister to ..." It becomes a quesiton of free acts of service, compassion, love and kindness rather than an issue of "Us vs. Them", of some modernized, abstracted, "Right vs. Wrong", "versus" over which a dark could is bound to hang. Heading toward his dying act of a freeing (for us) trust on the cross, the sky became dark for only a few hours. How can I "be deep-seeded friends" with "Them", who is against the "Us"? It is not possible, necessary or called-for. There is a deeper calling at the heart of what Is-simply-Real.

In praise I would like to end this post with a quote from my previous post from yesterday: "Where I pray on this tree between the earth and his feet is the line between being ripped to pieces, shamed and separated from God, and...? I pray with my staff and my staff is my prayer. In what chapel is the marriage of slavery and service? I pray that my heart would do the dance of understanding given by the supplications of the Spirit. May my heart be filled with a humble need for the God of Holyness and Freedom. May I catch a glimpse of the shining imagless-image as it catches me along its yellow brick path."

Monday, October 02, 2006

Freedom Shines

At one point I was considering leaving LA. I sat down with my former boss to tell him about it, and he felt that I was making a rash decision. He said that I was probably just missing out on intellectual stimulation. At the time I wondered at the truth his statement. Now I see that it wasn't necessarily that I needed intellectual stimulation; I just didn't want to be identified with the part of myself that slaves away like a donkey pulling the weight of the world with all of its fears and insecurities. I wanted to be a free human, fully alive in all of himself rather than fighting like a CAD monkey the beaurocratic flies from the tasty bannannas in Cancun. This may involve the exercise of some intellectual gifts, but that is not my desire. My desire was simply to be free and whole rather than enslaved to the limp inherent in the role given by the laws of the land.

At one point a friend, with whom I was in the midst of a conversation on topics grounded in the Western philosophical tradition, suggested that I get a masters degree in philosophy. I had been fighting out of a percieved hole in which I had been placed, a hole dug by Descartes the cogito-man. I fought to emerge from this hole, and as well fought against the advice to pursue a degree in philosophy. Now I realize that I simply did not want to be identified like "The Hand" from The Adams Family by my cogito. I simply wanted to be a free human, fully alive in all of himself rather than detached and aloof from the rest of his body, whatever funny powers are gained, like those of "The Hand", by such disembodiment. There are certain limitations to being merely a hand that skirts along the floor. Similarly, there are certain limitations to being identified merely by a mind that arches across the infinite expanses of the universe.

Christ gave me more. I have been made in the image of God. I once was appalled at how buildings had to fit a certain limited set of preconcieved images for the ends and goals of the Real Estate market. I once was similarly appaled that the church had confined itself to a certain limited set of possible images in the hopes of what it knew, based on its past images, would mean success. Now I see that I have simply been created anew in Christ Jesus, made whole and free. A man. The man I was made to be; this is this man. I have been freely created into a whole new man.

Now I see that part of what it means to be free might be for the Unknown to be interwoven with the many options before us, as His breath brought life out of Nothing. Now I see that part of what it means to be free is to live in the limits given by the God who set them as He makes the world into a mirror of Himself. Now I see that the roles set in place by the laws of the land do not just accuse me of failure, but are bound to set us all upon a cain with a limp. Now I see that I simply saw His image shining through the me and those who set me up in in a different, smaller, truncated image of a slave to these laws of accusation and failure. "You aren't good enough for...Here, go do..." "And He saw that it was good." Shine.

Shall the image be one of a cain of handicap or a rod of authority? I shall remind myself that this image of authority shines from one who had the freedom to be nailed to a tree. Where I pray on this tree between the earth and his feet is the line between being ripped to pieces, shamed and separated from God, and...? I pray with my staff and my staff is my prayer. In what chapel is the marriage of slavery and service? I pray that my heart would do the dance of understanding given by the supplications of the Spirit. May my heart be filled with a humble need for the God of Holyness and Freedom. May I catch a glimpse of the shining imagless-image as it catches me along its yellow brick path.

This line on this tree somewhere between earth and foot, between slavery and service, does it lie in the direction of the boat belonging to impoverished Louisiana shrimp boaters, for whom a helping hand might mean more life? Does it lie in the row of crops of the poor Spanish farmers who might just like to know they are loved by someone outside their little lesser village? Does it lie in the line of verse spoken from the mouth of the once-beautiful young leaprous woman, now dying, "Come now my love, my lovely one come"? The conforming regularity of dark and rusty prison bars? The gaze of the retarded adolescent upon the famouse Princeton professor in question as to why he missed the community's dinner last night? Is it in You. In me...shine. The rectilinear un-gated prison streets of Skid Rowe's homeless and addicted inmates. The aim of the furiously hurting school rampaging lunatic who, by killing himself, never made it to prison. The five mile walk of the Ugandan children wanting to escape the "People's Liberation Army". Where? Is the line. Shine. "You will know the truth..."

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