Sunday, gander, wings

Imagine geese had their own service. Each Sunday they would gather around one preaching gander.

The substantial content of the preaching would be: what a high purpose the goose has, what a divine function the Creator – with all geese curtsying and all ganders bowing when this word was spoken – has chosen for the goose; with the help of their wings, they could fly off to distant regions and blessed realms. The same each Sunday. Afterwards, the convention would split up, everyone toddling home, to their own stove. Next Sunday to the service again, followed by going home - that would be all, they would thrive and become fat, rounded and delicious - and then, they would be eaten on St. Martin's Day – and that's all. That's because while the preaching on sunday sounded that ceremonious, the geese would tell each other on Monday what happened to a goose that tried to make use of the wings the Creator gave her along with the divine purpose he had in mind for her, how she had been, what terrible horrors she had to endure. There were some geese among them that looked like they were suffering, and became thin. Those geese were referred to as bad examples of how you would end up when you take that wish of using your wings to fly seriously. They silently tinker with the wish of flying, therefore they become thin, stop thriving, lacking the grace of God that we have as we become fat, rounded and delicious because the grace of God makes you fat, rounded, delicious. On the next Sunday, they went to service again, and the old gander preached of the divine function which the Creator (here the geese curtsied, and the ganders bowed) had in mind for the goose and of the purpose of the wings.

Translated from: S. Kierkegaard, Diary, 3.-12.12.1854 (1854)

Perceptions of reforms

During an oecumenic event celebrating Martin Luther, a bishop of an Alpine diocese judged the present perceptions of reforms:

“Everyone talking about reforms nowadays is primarily asking: How could a structural reform lead to as many savings in expenditures and staff as possible while gaining as much productivity and output as possible? 40 or 50 years ago, reform meant: You can start something new in the world, you could initiate a project and you'll get lots of money and staff for it.”

In contrast, Hans Urs von Balthasar: “Reforms never originate in glueing together broken pieces. Instead: ‘A sprig sprouts from Isai's stub, and a sapling comes from its root stock.’” mim

The Christo effect

The plannings for the “Floating Piers” by Christo have started more than forty years ago, supported by his wife Jeanne-Claude who passed away in the meantime.

Carefully realised and freely funded, they enabled everyone to stroll on gold-orange panels of fabric for kilometers, over the North Italian lake Lago D'Iseo and through the old town on its island, for sixteen days this summer. “For the first time since humans settled here, the island in the lake is accessible not only via boat, but also by foot” - that's the way the artist describes his project idea. On the water, the strollers took off their shoes and enjoyed the feeling of the movement of the waves beneath their feet through the fabric and the floats. Here you can see the original, underlying idea that the artist's lifework is based on: transforming a location in a surprising way that dignifies it while creating a different experience on a completely new level. Supported by lots of people, the location literally becomes an attraction. Thus, many come to experience it, knowing that the time spent on moments like that is precious. ses

June 27th – international day of scent

According to the new “festival calendar” – which seems to gradually replace the old calendar of saints – June 27th is the international day of scent.

Hearing that, I remembered that Paul wrote to his people in Korinth shortly after Jesus' death: “We are Christ's fragrance for God among those that are saved and among those that are lost.”

Paul says the same as a Jewish Midrash did, comparing the people of Israel who are scattered to the four winds to a toppled and fractured perfume bottle whose scent spread everywhere. ang

Declared mistress

“‘Are Berliners Christians then?’, Signora shouted utterly amazed. ‘Their Christianity is a peculiar matter.

Basically, they completely lack it, and they are too reasonable to seriously practice it, too. However, they know that Christianity is needed in the state to ensure that the subjects keep obeying humbly as well as to ensure that thefts and murders do not occur that much. Thus, with distinctive eloquence, they try to convert at least their neighbours to christianity.’

As I am a friend of state and religion, I hate that monstrosity they call state religion, that satirical creature, originated from the competition between the secular and the spiritual authorities, that mule that the Antichrist's grey horse begot with Christ's jenny. While arguiing  over heaven, we decay on Earth. The only thing that might be able to save us would be an indifferentism when it comes to religious topics.

Religion could not get any lower than becoming such a state religion; that way, its innate innocence is lost, and it will be as proud in public as a declared mistress. The christianity of the first centuries was so beautiful, so divine and charming, so secretly sweet, back when it was similar to its godly donor regarding the heroism of suffering.

The monopoly system is detrimental, both for industries and for religions; they stay strong because of free competition and will bloom again in original glory when the political equality of religious service, in a way a divine freedom of trade, is implemented.”

Translated from: H. Heine, Travel Pictures. Fourth Part. The Town of Lucca (1831)

Sedes sapientiae

“What humanity is for the unreasonable creatures surrounding it, the church is admidst the schools of this world;

and from its beginning just like Adam named the animals, the church looked at the earth, and took note of the teachings it discovered and inspected them.

It started in Chaldea and stayed with the Canaanites, moved south to Egypt and went on to Arabia until remaining in its own country. Afterwards it met the merchants of Tyre, the wisdom of the Eastern Realm and the opulence of Saba before being lead away to Babylon and moving to the schools of Greece.

No matter where it arrived, no matter if it endured hardships or experienced triumph, it always was a breath of life, spirit and voice of the highest of all, sitting among the teachers, listening and asking, claiming their right answers for itself, correcting their mistakes, replacing their flaws, finishing their beginnings, extending their assumptions and that way gradually expanding the margin of its own teachings and explaining their meanings.

We opine that one of the specific methods which destiny uses to bestow the divine cognition on us is the one enabling the church to understand the teachings of the world, collecting it and, both in that and in other meanings, 'drinking the milk of the pagans and nursing at the kings' chest'.”

From: J. H. Newman, Essays (1843)

Unnecessary and dispensable

A community does not own itself. It cannot even afford the pleasure to be elite as it does not generate benefits of itself and hardly for itself. The only thing it gets is the grudge of other people.

It is aware that neither its existence nor its continuity is due to its own efforts, thus seeing itself in constant danger of giving up. It is detached from everything familiar, between the lines compelled to walk on water, able only to hold on to the one that upholds it. A community is a tool in the hand of God, his function lies in the presence of a world that he is that different from that no other mediation could work.
A community should be the sign for God being the only one that earned that name as he can afford being prodigal – doing something in the world, something that nobody waited for, hoped for or needed: The sign that he is unnecessary, dispensable as a perfume in the trash bin.
No one could be expected to do such wasteful deeds in place  of him – who would lend themselves to do something like that? That is the reason God, a free God, mesmerises who he wants to and who wants to be mesmerised. And he promises nothing but his order: do something that is foolish at best, if not crazy.
Isn't the community like a seduced girl following her lover to a secret place, attracted by him promising immeasurable happiness? With creating her, God put his honour at risk, competing with other Gods that attract their servants with sugar and the afterlife and paradises full of harems.
The God of Jesus of Nazareth only offers his closeness and reaches his goal when he finds partners sharing his freedom – instead of servants for money. ars

Who are you? – An answer from the 2nd century

From a letter of a Christian, answering the pagan Diognet's question about what Christianity is:

“Christians do not differ from other humans by their homes, their language or their customs. They do not inhabit their own cities, do not speak a divergent language and do not lead a peculiar life. They comply with the local customs regarding clothing, food and way of life while showing a wonderful and admittedly surprising change in their civil life.

They live in their respective homeland, but they do it as a kind of resident alien; they participate as citizens while putting up with everything like strangers. They get married like everyone else does and beget children, but they do not abandon the born ones. They eat together, but they do not share a bed. They obey the present laws while outpacing them in their everyday life. They love everyone and are chased by everyone. They are unknown and yet judged. They are poor while making lots rich; they are short of of everything while having everything in abundance.” 

around 180 AD

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