Dufflepud Theology

I was happy this week. It's been a while. It was Senior Co-ed Camp, I was an "Assistant Director" (part choreboy, part deadweight) and my director was a dude. In terms of fun this was maybe the best week of camp ever.

I started reading Les Misrables again this week (I'd gotten about 800 pages into it before going off to camp) and it's awesome. Hugo says these amazing things that just stop me short. Here's the latest: there's a revolution starting up and these people steal an Omnibus (some sort of carriage, I suppose) to barricade a street, and they let the horses go. Later on, another guy finds the horses wandering the streets, and Hugo mentions how they "no more understand the ways of man than man understands the ways of providence." I started thinking about how interesting that is if you turn it around.

A horse only knows about eating and pulling his cart. Suddenly crazy things start happening, his carts gone and he's wandering in the streets. He's trying to make sense of this in terms of work and food but it's just not adding up. He can't possibly understand why some person would want to take his cart, or this strange concept of a barricade. Then there's the whole idea of warfare - human beings acting violently towards one another, not to mention ideologies, governments, social structures, philosophies, nations and patriotism, freedom, honor and glory, and so on. There are so many levels here that are hopelessly beyond his understanding, all he knows is that something is very wrong in terms of work and food.

What if that's the way things are with God? I mean, I know all about the sheep analogy and how God's ways and thoughts are higher than mine and all this, but I tend not to think of it very much. I guess I act like God is just a little bit smarter than me, like some really brilliant person, maybe a nuclear physicist. I feel like God knows things I don't know, but only because he's smart and can see everything everywhere through all time.

But then I started to wonder if it wasn't deeper than that - not that God has reasons that are hidden from me, but that God has reasons that I could never understand. God (if you're a literalist or whatever) wrote the Bible to tell me about himself and his plan, but how dumbed down and anthropomorphized and incomplete is it? Maybe God's got stuff going on - I mean stuff like values and logic - that is totally beyond our comprehension. I've always sort of looked at the word of God as being along the lines of Nuclear Physics for Dummies, but maybe it's more like Revolution for Horses.

4 comments:

Bigger than Jesus said...

Your brilliance astounds me.

Also, yay for Gnostic heresy!

uno extranjero y peregrino said...

God only tells us what we need to know.

Fable of the Bees said...

I'm sorry for commenting on a comment in your blog, Jacob, but I'm doing it to promote dialogue.

Could you extrapolate on that, Mr. Haas? I mean, I think I understand what you mean by that and I think that I would sort of agree; however, when we say that "God tells us" something, doesn't that offer the same sort of metaphor-taken-as-truth that got us into a rut in the first place? "God tells us" seems to imply a voice, it seems to imply some sort of immediate transcending of the infinite distance between a Wholly Other God and me... but maybe it doesn't imply that. Maybe "telling" is just another way of saying "communicated." I think I can probably dig it if that's what was meant.

Jacob, I think that you are bang on with this thought. I do the same thing myself with the whole not recognizing God's absolute alterity, although sometimes I pretend as though God is not quite as smart as me: boy, does that ever get me in trouble!

uno extranjero y peregrino said...

I meant that God has communicated to us (through the inspired authorship of the bible, specifically) all that we NEED to know to become and live as his child.