Sunday, November 23, 2014


Perceptive. To see thru—the tv evangelist, the 
holiday commerce, Muslim jihadist, Orthodox 
Presbyterians & Lutherans, fundamentalists 
and atheists, conservatives, holy roller liberals
and libertarians, freaks & bad boys bad boys:
protocols and preferences, cultures, customs,
conventions – horrors & hilarity, hysteria & 
humdrum: iconic is what it is , all of it, all of 
them. See thru. .Transparency. (Ridiculous to 
the savvy. Offensive to the Conscientious.).
Anyone could improve my terms. Begging
you to differ.I


  1. 1 You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
    2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
    3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
    4 Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
    5 You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
    6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.
    7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
    8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
    9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
    10 even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.
    11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
    12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.
    13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
    14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
    15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
    16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
    17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
    18 Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you.

  2. well done, good and faithful servant

  3. about your father's business

  4. Don't bury the talent in the ground.

  5. Your enemies are those of your own household.

  6. Descriptively - you can add the "fortunate" or "unfortunate" as it suits you.

  7. Is transparency not about motives?

  8. This is how David finishes Psalm 139. The abrupt change in tone always startles me. He always had to wage war and try to be just in the midst of politics. Luther always waxed poetically about how much we can learn from these experienced people.

    19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
    Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
    20 They speak of you with evil intent;
    your adversaries misuse your name.
    21 Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord,
    and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
    22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
    I count them my enemies.
    23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
    24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting.

    He wants to be tested and found to be with integrity in his conduct. And in this vein and in his calling as king and protector of his people, he also had to wage war. He is being quite transparent, as much as he can trust himself to be. We are very fallible. He asks God's help.

    1. Transparency is ironic. It's about cover-up.Opacity.

  9. Similarly, in a four year organizational study, Fischer and Ferlie found that transparency in the context of a clinical risk management can act perversely to undermine ethical behavior, leading to organizational crisis and even collapse.[22]

  10. In my post (above) II was commenting on the possibility of seeing-thru and not being blocked by the various extravagances of religions and politics and common sense--thus transparent instead of opaque, iconic instead of idolatrous--is all. I don't understand the Fischer and Ferlie (who are they?) organization study and its relevance to ethical behavior.. "Transparency "is considered a value (the past few years) in school organization and governing as opposed to behind-closed-doors action and administration

  11. Sorry, you wrote "ironic" and meant "iconic". Sorry, I also don't understand this viral difference between "iconic" and "idolatrous". (And sorry for saying "sorry"...). -- I don't know about Fisher, et al., it was just from Wikipedia under "transparency." I was trying to see how the "transpancy" thing backfires because of our inherent defensiveness and problems with motivation, to which we are often blind--willfully and otherwise...

  12. I meant ironic in my reply to you (re transparency and iconic in my post. An icon is something that represents beyond itself--religious icons, for example--that point beyond. Nature is iconic when we see it as pointing beyond itself. A map is iconic in indicating a territory far greater than itself. An idol is the same deal, but taken for itself as if it were what it signified rather than merely a "standing-for" Mis-taken worship: valuing the thing-itself rather than what it represents. An idol is not transparent, but blocks the sense of sight and understanding. What blocks versus what shows through is the issues here. And I guess it's in the eyes of the beholder. that makes the difference.t

  13. A merely academic difference we might say, as we are able to abuse just about anything as idol, and can read innumerable things into about everything. But we might search our hearts about it, seeing what kind of beholder or worshipper we really are... Trying to be transparent to ourselves and our own reasoning, or feeling.

    As an organization we can engage in the same soul searching. We do have to assume something as a priori good or higher.

    But you have a different agenda. You want to label everyone with some sort of certainty, as a fundamentalist, with an idolizing mindset, intellectually and spiritually occluded. Yes?

    When we first talked, you said that you thought I was one of "you" ("us"). It did not hit you for months that I also was a "fundamentalist" because you figured out that Missouri Synod Lutherans are biblically very conservative, at some point. After that, I became one of your "fundamentalist" "friends". An idolator, in other words, or lacking in "transparency", now. Have I got it?

    When David lay on his bed and talked to God, he had words that prophesied Jesus, and Jesus quoted them to his countrymen. We're David and Jesus idolators in lending credence to the actual contents of the guideposts. Should they have seen the whole thing as "spiritual" and not applied it to an "actual" flesh and blood person? Should we rather stick with Emerson's doctrine, that the flesh and blood God should be de emphasized or done away with. Make God iconic, in other words. ?

  14. Makes sense to me--the idol/icon distinction. It's why Jews leave the vowels out and Muslims represent geometrically. So as to de-emphasize the always urge to mis-take the talk and the images with what it is they indicate. As you say, "we are able to abuse just about anything as idol. We anthropomorphize (a word you used on cummings) I consider my self fundamental--but not a literalist. . That might be as crucial a distinction as idol / i

  15. Do you think it strange that God, in your parlance, should be more "icon", rather than "idol"? If an idol takes the place of God wrongly, the God should be more like "idol". And God is not "transparent", he is "immanent", pervading all there is.

  16. The God of the Old Testament, also walked and talked with people, and though he spoke everything into being, man he made with his own hands. He never asked to have the letters left out in the Tetragrammaton. So when Jesus submits even to circumcision, it does not make him any less God.

  17. Our representations are idolatrous when taken literally and not as "channels" or "media" or "indicators." for what is always beyond and more than our representations. Transparency or opacity refers to the media and representation. Not to God. For many, Santa Clause is a representation that stays thru adulthood---better be good, better not pout, Santa Claus is coming to down. (He knows when you've been bad or good so be good for goodness sakes.)

  18. And the whole point is something else: God is Love. And not is some sense of lust, desire, fun or following our hobbies, but in a complete sense, willing to suffer, bear, sympathies, come alongside, take on hard work, dignifying our total being, body and soul. He who "knits together in mother's wombs", also values this work and the results of his creative activity.

    As human beings, too, our individuality is this union of body and soul. You can't rip one out of the other. They are completely and inextricably meshed. And God loves the whole thing and redeems and nourishes the whole thing.

  19. Back to Abraham (father of faith) obeying--beyond culture and convention--responding to what he hears, Not knowing the outcome.."He spoke everything into being; man he made with his own hands. You are being metaphorical and poetic, yes? Iconic?

  20. Knitting. Weaving. Sculpting. Rhyming. Singing. Shaping. All manner of skill, material and care. Maker of things made. Artisan. Artistry. Physics, too, and Biology. Neurochemistry and pain and pleasure. Hormones, genes, and experience...

    Made. By loving hands.

    1. S'all good. Loving hands galore

  21. You know, I am finally getting into my yoga practice. I have a big window upstairs, and I cleared everything in front of it, laying down thick foam. I bought some new age-ey, nondescript pleasant music in Sedona and play it. I warm up with doing the grapevine and other dancing, some bellydance moves, shimmies, arm circles, etc. and then do some poses. I don't hold them forever long, maybe up to a minute. I finish up with sit-ups and push-ups and panos, something's to use all the muscles, at once.

    And it is hard for me, because I am not watching TV, reading, singing, or playing a musical instrument. It is just me and my mind and my body, concentrating on what I am doing. It is weird for me, because it seems indulgent and unproductive. But I need to do this to keep strong and flexible, now. If I quit, I will keep hurting ligaments, etc. in my old age. Things have changed.

    Someone might say, watch out it is Eastern spirituality. Well, for me, it is physical and the pure physicality is what I need to affirm. I need to accept this empty time. Empty of words. Empty of Bach cantatas. Empty of arguing. Etc. There is the simple, empty physicality of the stretch. And the breath, they like to emphasize. I don't worry much about the breath. As a singer I have lots of breath control.

    So, the stretch. The muscle. The ligament. The joint. And nothing else. Nothing else. Nothing, at all.

    And this, too, IS good.

    1. "He spoke everything into being; man he made with his own hands. You are being metaphorical and poetic, yes? Iconic?



  23. Lovely. Very bold. More daring than the Drummer Boy".

    A man who creates a computer program, is he working with his hands? Iconic. Idolatrous. ? I can only use the language I have to describe the unfathomable.

  24. We all can only use the language we have to describe what is always unfathomable and beyond us and more than our terms can represent--flatlanding a sphere, say. Iconic. Idolatrous if we don't know any better and insist we've nailed it, nailed it down--hammer in the morning, hammer in the evening--and we know not what we do.

  25. I have a Brahm's Requiem score in which I have written the English words right above the German words, so an English speaker can know what words exactly are covered by a particular colourful, lyrical phrase of the music.

    I had you in mind. (Another way to use a hand.) I would send it to you if you wanted it.

    Brahms was so strange about the requiem. The music is incredible, the words are all biblical, many of them Christ's own, but he does not tell Christ's story. People were perplexed. I adore it, as you know.

  26. My mother ( the one who delighted in hiding Easter eggs in the lawn and garden), gave me Brahm's Requiem for Christmas years ago. One Easter when Ann was in Durham, I spent half a day listing to Handel's Messiah--expecting epiphany. " We all can only use the language we have to describe what is always unfathomable and beyond us and more than our terms can represent--flatlanding a sphere, say. Iconic. Idolatrous if we don't know any better and insist we've nailed it, nailed it down--hammer in the morning, hammer in the evening--and we know not what we do.following the text. "

  27. Tod!!! Tot!!! Wo ist dein Stachel!!! Hoelle, wo ist dein Sieg! (Supposed to be questions, but really a rhetorical exclamation.) (Death! Death! Where is you sting! Hell, where is your victory!). I think it is the climax of the two hours. Very fitting for a Requiem.


    Min. 5-6

  29. I've lost the point. We were considering the idol/icon distinction and it's implications. We can both agree to love Brahms--no problem. And the nice thing about music, while it may be a vehicle for many, for most it is what it is and not a representation.

  30. Hell! Where is your victory! -- Is a taunt. A certainty. The music says it together with the words. Struggle. But victory. As Bror says: on the deathbeds they are All Lutherans, I.e. Nothing remains except for what Christ accomplished. Maybe even Brahms, thought that. I am not sure. In that struggle we are looking for the light at the end of the tunnel, and we want something solid and we want community. We don't want to be left to ourselves, our experience, or our accomplishments (or rather lack thereof.)-- Death is already vanquished and a shell.

    I have to go see my Seniors and practice Christmas music. I finished standing on one foot, to retrain the proprioceptors, as my daughter told me to do. The left heel still gets inflamed. What a pain in the rear...

  31. Nice to know I'm all Lutheran on my death bed. Takes a Lutheran to think and talk like that. Makes sense. Varieties of Religious Experience--and their idol-to-iconic ratios. "It is finished" (perfect) says Jesus--Lutheran: circumcised foreskin bearing testimony to the sacrifice and triumph. My old man's refrain his last year: "it's beyond me, son." Didn't know he'd be a Lutheran. . Tod Tod

  32. Were you with your parents when they died? -- Mine both had cancer and died at home, in the same room, twenty years apart. We provided all the palliative care, ourselves, with the nurse and the doctor dropping in at times. I gave my father his last dose of morphine. He was already in the death rattle. He was completely lucid and sensible when awake. I held him and hummed his best songs to him. He had a good mind and humor to the end. Terribly difficult, but one of those times in life you don't want to miss. He wrote rhyming poems when he knew he was going to die.

    Death! Tod! -- talking right to it. Cornering it. Showing it its place. I love the defiance in the piece. Love, love, love... the defiance.

    The conductor is fantastic. Sometimes I sing and conduct the piece like that in my kitchen. I can get the heart rate up to 115. -- I wonder if it counts as aerobics. In any case, terribly cathartic. Feel like new born.

    Iconic, idolatrous, transparent... Death is real and he is going to get us, and this will be the end of what we know. What kind of solution can we have. How can I war with death, in this last battle, in this last humiliation? What kind of victory can there be? Not mine.

    Not my victory.

  33. Death isn't humiliation or a "he" (idolatrous)--literally the humus. Dust to dust. It's perfection (literally: done, over, completion, "it is finished" - perfect.) Any time: hope it's before Ann. Will you and Carl share the judgement seat? And then gather around the knees of Jesus? Saved.

  34. It is humiliation. The loss of everything. The wondering if you have done enough. The nausea, the incontinence, the pain, the relying on others, the inability to do anything about anything any more. My father felt it. And I can personify and defy death or satan, any time I like. That I can do.

  35. good for you - to quote an earlier response.

  36. Fred Flatland lectures regularly on Spheres I Have Known--seeing the evidence of expanding and decreasing circles jerking his morning walks. Joe Fish, however, can not conceive of wet--the notion is ridiculous if not offensive. Give me the evidence, he insists.

    1. You describe the sickness unto death--humbling if not humiliating. Death under those humiliating circumstances is a relieve. Savior.A consumation devoutly desired.

  37. If you were to write a requiem, it would be this pretty little thing, something non-description like the new-agey pleasant music from Sedona.

  38. (Non-descript. The program is always changing words.) You love to have an enemy, and you think I am one, but you mistake your enemies.

    1. "An enemy is as good as a Buddha" - A Zen koan. But I don't consider you an enemy.

  39. A pretty little thing:
    "When death is close and utterly sure—and not to be temporized with—then it becomes possible to see wit a new clarity and the mind can soar.
    This state is the result of liberation from appetitive drives and , I suppose, is approximately what the Buddhists call “nonattachment.” In William Blake’s phrase, it becomes possible to look through the eye so that illusions of success and failure, shame and vanity fall away. If all were at the point of death, envy could be no more." (Gregory Bateson: Angel’s Fear: Toward and Epistemology of the Sacred.)

  40. Evidently Luther was always farting, drinking beer and whining, Never the less imagine the falling-off of envy--seeing with a new clarity--beyond good and evil. Beyond forgiveness. Beyond heaven and hell and personified Satan and deified God speaking everything into existence and forming MAN with His own Hands. Beyond. Humbling, yes. Humiliating--no.

  41. I can't stand it now, how would I like it in the hour of death. -- I guess if you are looking for extinction, as in Buddhism, then death is the answer.

  42. I'll think of you and Carl etc hanging out with Jesus. Extinction makes better sense. But you are not alone. Many many believe they will "pass" over to better or worse .Varieties of Religious Experience (and belief)

    Mania was my immaculate conception—twice,
    2 extended periods where I could walk on water,
    read people’s minds, predict the future; radio
    songs and tv commentary spoke to me personally,.
    guessing what was on my mind—god in heavens
    and all was right in my world. For the time being
    slowed: always good and plenty. Some suffering
    in translation. To die for. A consummation
    devoutly desired.

  43. The losing everything in death is not a pleasant thing and not a goal. When we are young, we look forward to finishing the school term, to falling in love, marrying, a baby to be born, a career to develop, etc. As we get older, one thing after another gets dismantled. We are ill-prepared for this. Read Job. I see now why he goes on for so many chapters. The loss is irresolvable.

  44. JOB'S a favorite--were you there when the mountain goats dropped their foal?

  45. The whole thing also speaks to the value of human life, and whether or not we may trifle with it. There are philosophical and practical consequences to the mind-set. Or do you think that is independent?

  46. It's beyond me--a mind set with implications different form a frame of mind for whom it is not "beyond."

  47. I am glad Job is not mentioning his digestive problems, or else you might dismiss him entirely. He also does not recall his circumcision, if he had one (the literature is extremely ancient, maybe before covenant). So, one more for Job! Yes, it is more poetic, but deeply realistic.

  48. I better get on with some work. XO

  49. He is not syrupy or else your fingers would stick to the page and you might miss the jovial relationship of God and The Devil, putting Job to the test. Circumcision seems to play no role in this story--nor does the crucifixion appear as it's manifestation. But you and Carl will have eternity to sit together at the knees of Jesus and come to terms with all this stuff. Beyond--seeing face to face rather than merely a mirror. Imagine.

  50. PS - I think I mostly don't dismiss any of these ways of talk and thought--but attempt to see them as icons, and not nail them down as idols. The more ways of talk and thought the better if not always the merrier. But when they are nailed and I'm dealing with nailers:r that's a course of a different collar.That's when the sounds of dismissal kick in. The ridicule. The mocking.

  51. Do you remember who said "I know that my Redeemer lives, and that he will stand on the earth" ?

    According to my study Bible, Job should be dated extremely early. The Hebrew is very difficult and archaic, the style of sacrifice is pre-priestly. The age of the patriarchs, land of Uz. The money used, the lack of mention of exodus, the great age reached by Job, all point to the earliest dating.

    The story is resolved only by the faith in the Redeemer, a patient waiting in expectation.

  52. I think I mostly don't dismiss any of these ways of talk and thought--but attempt to see them as icons, and not nail them down as idols. The more ways of talk and thought the better if not always the merrier. But when they are nailed and I'm dealing with nailers:r that's a course of a different collar.That's when the sounds of dismissal kick in. The ridicule. The mocking

  53. (The story is resolved as Job realizes he doesn't know squat and his notions of good & evil are inadequate. Goodiness isn't sufficient. Awesome.

  54. Yes, that is the beginning, hence the Redeemer.

  55. o how the nations do furiously rage.

  56. Satan rages but he is also a mellifluous liar and dictator.

    "Nature" corrects things.

  57. Nature gave us a major dump of snow. I am half dug out; the left arm hurts. The truck was stuck, and the neighbor helped me shift it into four wheel drive. Now I feel like baking. Or, hm Yoga, or hm singing Handel's Messiah. Which shall it be. Lunch, that's it. You can bake and sing Handel's Messiah, but you can't do yoga and sing Haendel's Messiah. Nobody really eats the baking except myself, so I should skip that. If I eat lunch maybe the baking impulse will go away...

    I will leave you for Advent. You will be in my thoughts and prayers, as I can't prevent it. Blessings.