idle banter

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Your story ... part II

Ok, that was 10 comments more than there should have been on a post. So, I'm now starting a new comment thread here for us to pick up from where we left off, to reorganise our thinking, whateva. But now, I'd like us to get practical:

A little while back in a cell group, I had someone tell the group (when we were discussing hearing God's voice) that they did not have a problem with that. Why? Because God spoke audibly to her. Not just spoke, but met face-to-face with her on a regular basis.

Yep, I can hear it already: the sound of your cynicism hackling up much like a porcupine's quills. Did I hear you say "looney tune"? Stick with me, this is a real example. In such an instance how does one get past, or deal with, or confront, or do what ever you need to do with the instantaneous cynicism we feel when confronted with a story (here I mean both a story told, as above, as well as a meta-Story of one's life) that is so absurd?


  • So, let me get this started:

    I reckon there is a Lowest Common Coherence (LCC trademarked Aiden Choles)factor we sub-consciously agree on as a society. What I mean by this is that in the process of us engaging with each other and agreeing on how we get on, there is a process whereby we somehow agree on what level of coherence, sanity, rationality and emotion is acceptable in the way we communicate AND in the way we view reality.

    Anything said, or integrated into one's story, that exceeds or doesn;t reach it is qualified as wacko or defunct, looney or autistic.

    Case in point: my fair lady in the comment. Clearly, what whe is saying falls way above the threshold of the LCC thus rendering her as a loone. I mean, come one, when last did Ol JC pop around for coffee in your living room?

    Stepping aside formt he narrative isssues, there is also a faith issue at play here: who are we to decide (and we all do it!!!) that her experience of meetign with Jesus did nto occur? If we are to take the Bible literally, in some part, then surely we must know that this same thing happened with numerous characters in the bible. Just because there is a back cover on the bible must not, and connot, mean that the case is closed in terms of these appearances?

    By Blogger Aiden, at 10/01/2006 10:28:00 PM  

  • Aiden, great question. I think our levels of LCC should be adjusted or done away with. Everything I see / hear / feel, exists in two dimensions. Firstly, it exists in the so-called physical realm, the universe of matter and things. What I see exists only for the instant in which it is viewed, thereafter it disappears from the 'physical' world and enters the Second dimension; my imagination. It is in my imagination where the power lies, where the memory is recalled, where I deduct meaning from what I had seen. It is in my imagination that it exists for an eternity and affects my story forever.

    Now, if you were able to make sense of what I said above, you'll start thinking that the true meaning of things are not found in their 'physical' appearance, but rather in their effect on the imagination. If this is so, then even if a sighting of Jesus was imagined, the power is real because it lives in the imagination, verstaan?

    By Blogger Hercules, at 10/02/2006 08:20:00 AM  

  • Herc:

    Whoa, man! Yeah... this one time I was dancing naked in crop circle at the equinox... and I saw Jesus riding a unicorn while aliens were building the pyramids. Right on!

    I'm a little insulted that you would imply Jesus is an object of your imagination. As Christians, we already receive enough flakk for the rep of being closed-minded and pious. Trying to "imagine" we don't live in a very real world that very really needs us is really going to help that a lot.


    I really like that. I think we best find our coherence in empathy. It's very difficult to cohere literally, since, I believe we all want the same things - but we all have a different idea of the form they should take to us. I think part of that empathy is causal diversity: our strongest bond perhaps being the need for freedom to pursue personal visions that fulfill the same fundamental needs - the Creator rubbing the need to create off on his creations.

    As to the based question: I can think of a million reasons why we won't notice or remember such a meeting - and very few as to why we would; most of all being I doubt it would be in our best interests. It would take some of the fear, that it's our own responsibility to face, away. Faith most surely requires the courage to act on faith without confirmation.

    At the very least, it requires we stuggle against our very nature. And doing so is argueably wacko or defunct, looney or autistic. I really don't want to touch on disproving convention.

    By Blogger Stylek, at 10/02/2006 10:19:00 AM  

  • Without digressing too far into debating the nature of reality, this is an interesting question.

    I can't help feeling that her perception of reality diverges further from objective reality than mine does (assuming for the purpose of this argument that there is an objective reality). As to dealing with the story, I don't know where to start. My tendency is to try and understand things, and I don't see a rational explanation for this story, so I would reject it. But that's a fairly arrogant approach- to say that my experience of the world over-rules her testimony. If we accept that human ideas can be divinely inspired, that implies God communicating with people, and certainly in the Bible people saw God, heard God, wrestled with God and ate meals with Him.

    So ... did you ask her to invite you around the next time she meets with Him?

    By Blogger peter, at 10/02/2006 02:29:00 PM  

  • Stylek, our misongenous foray into the diadactic realms over many crusading centuries should prove to you and other Hulcanists (and I use this label very loosely) that imagination as a subtle substance of hypersensory consciousness, can not be denied. In one simple sentence you do exactly that, shame on you!

    By Blogger Hercules, at 10/02/2006 03:37:00 PM  

  • Pete, you used an interesting word "arrogant" i.e. it is arrogant to think/believe that your perception of the story is higher/better/more valid than hers.

    I wonder which is more arrogant: telling her that she is whacked and a loone, or that every one of us sat in that cell group, nodded, hmmmed and tried to listen attentively without letting our index fingers wave around our temples.

    This little incident shows just how afraid we are of validating someone else's story.

    By Blogger Aiden, at 10/02/2006 04:04:00 PM  

  • I didn't deny anything, Herc... I just didn't like the way you put it. (*!*Hypocrise Alarm*!*) ;P

    Aiden, I would not go so much for afraid, as unsure. I have had many friends along the way who have laid some outrageous claims; and who am I to say they aren't true?
    But the predicament stands: who am I to say they are? I still can't.

    It's her path to walk, and I would hope she is telling the truth. Is it a part of our testimony to believe all such claims?

    Thomas is turning in his grave...

    By Blogger Stylek, at 10/02/2006 06:09:00 PM  

  • But here's the thing Stylek: this is at one moment an theological issue as well as an epistemological. What I mean by this is that at one moment it is really a question of how God/Jesus/Spirit manifest and reveal themselves to us today, as well as an issue of how we approach knowledge and how we know.

    This is a prime case of when our udnerstanding of knowledge and knowing impact the way we view God. So, on the one hand how do we view such a manifestation (if we are to believe she is being honest) and how are we to guage whether she is right or not?

    By Blogger Aiden, at 10/02/2006 06:17:00 PM  

  • I had a pretty long response typed up, but then Telkom went incompetant on my DSL. Probably a good thing as far as here is concerned.

    From my side - whoever said doubting a woman who claims to have seen Jesus is them same doubting Jesus Himself. I could claim I saw a white elephant in India, but that doesn't mean you have to believe me.

    I think giving one woman's claim the power to affect your faith is foolish - we all believe He has the power to appear to whoever He chooses. If He chose her, then good for her. In the mean time, I have my own cross to bare, and maybe I will be so fortunate too sometime when it's convenient for Him to do so.

    Am I still missing something here?

    By Blogger Stylek, at 10/03/2006 04:38:00 PM  

  • Okay, so one person's experience in isolation should not hinder our faith or adversly affect us? Is that what you're saying?

    If so, then there is a heavy reliance on common experience as the qualifier for what it authentic or what is not.

    I'm weary of relying too heavily on "common experience" as a marker to my faith.

    By Blogger Aiden, at 10/03/2006 05:46:00 PM  

  • Don't forget to remember that you are discussing this with someone who's faith in his fellow man unchecked is not at a very high magnitude very often.

    Common experience does not ever equate to personal experience as I see it. There are more things in heaven and earth than I dreamed of in my philosophy. We are all looking for a greater mean with which to empathize with each other - a spiritual connection of sort, would you agree? In a case like this, when common experience has not yet appeared possible, I suppose the recourse would be to rely on either the devices of logic or to just trust your heart.

    Our Lord is assuredly out there, and free to appear to whoever he chooses to. With this is mind, I don't see much harm in believing her - even if there were some way of verifying, since the prior is tautology.

    Is there more to gain in believing her? I think so - since even if it is false, it will bring you closer to her as a person for believing her. Aren't those the kind of bold actions that form spiritual relationships - ultimately making this world a better place?

    I would not wish to miss out on the wisdom she is privy, to be her story true. And be it false, if you are sure enough in your faith there is really nothing to lose and clearly still something to gain.

    I trust this more positive comment is to your liking.

    By Blogger Stylek, at 10/05/2006 12:52:00 PM  

  • I know that by saying this Herc will nto be able to resist flying off into his truth monologue, but here it is:

    My background is in narrative therapy. It is well documented that when a client percieves that the therapist is really engaging with their story (with authenticity and trust) that problems begins to dissapear. So, case in point: voices in the head. Typical diagnosis is paranoid schizo or any other concoction.

    Weh the therapist acknowledges the voices as real, the fight against them gets more effective.This is not done to doop the client, but happens from a true point of curoisity that does not judge the voices as not being real : that would be to use my own experience as the benchmark for everyone esle's reality

    So, Stylek, I like your idea of believing her.

    By Blogger Aiden, at 10/05/2006 02:30:00 PM  

  • i think she's a looney!

    By Blogger barry, at 10/05/2006 03:08:00 PM  

  • again, someone displays a profound inability to communicate in more than 6 syllables.

    By Blogger Aiden, at 10/05/2006 04:48:00 PM  

  • B:
    Look who's talking...

    By Blogger Stylek, at 10/05/2006 06:28:00 PM  

  • i prefer to believe that anyone who takes themselves too seriously is a looney. a women who thinks she talks with Jesus, Son of God. Even Jesus discouraged people from calling him that!

    ...or like Stylek who thinks he's close to fathoming the rational basis for life as we know it.

    ...or like this ridiculous discussion thread which reflect the looney ideas of Robin Sharma wannabe's developing gand theories about everything except what will help feed the 2.8 billion people who will starve today.

    to quote the impervious band of Monty Python dimwits, "you're a looney"!

    p.s. i'm adding this thought to my new book which will be published next month...

    By Blogger barry, at 10/06/2006 09:26:00 AM  

  • b, looking forward to how your book spells out how to feed 2.8 billion people.

    sometimes i really wonder if you're a 3.

    By Blogger Aiden, at 10/06/2006 01:21:00 PM  

  • Barry, welcome back.

    You somehow always assume that you are on higher ground and that what interests us mortals is somehow inferior to the elightenment of simplicity that you have achieved. You forget that you own journey (must surely have) included various philosophical searches and theories. Allow us (me) to also follow that path and perhaps in the process humour me coz you might be able to speed up my journey toward the enlightenment that you've reached.

    ok, now to the substance of your comment; could it not be said that poverty is a greatest threat? IMHO, poverty of the soul carries much of the blame for the physical poverty we around us. If that is so, don't you think my own journey toward enlightenment (however I travel) should be seen as part of the solution and not part of the problem?

    By Blogger Hercules, at 10/06/2006 02:10:00 PM  

  • mqnbB, tell me why you are interested in feeding the billions.

    Don't dismiss this question, I am really curious to your reasons for thinking this should be our aim. I am not disagreeing with you, I am just interested in your thoughts. (Dang! You see how apologetic I am when questioning you on this blog, I wonder what that says about the persona you have assumed here?)

    By Blogger Hercules, at 10/06/2006 02:15:00 PM  


    Fnck this, I'm heading for the hills to live out my days as a hermit before his tracts break the seals of armaggeddon!

    Seriously tho. If asking difficult questions, and coming to answers that might not always be agreeable makes anyone a looney - sign me up. Such is a the basis of theorising - proposals that other people destroy with words and ideas until eventually we become so sick of being attacked that we defy our better judgement and try anyway. Come to think of it, that does sound pretty crazy...

    So whip out you guitar, B - and play us a song that feeds people. You can borrow the lyrics from your published works. And I can mix in a little down tempo about how rational basis should never take itself seriously enough to even seek publishing.

    I've always envied you charisma, and questioned your judgement as often as possible - you looney!

    For the record, I did miss you, and it is good to have you back. :)
    Head on down to the video store and rent "V for Vendetta," - it's the brothers Wachowskis' new film (after the Matrix Trilogy) that does an awesome job of explaining the power of ideas. And try to forget this came from me - its also a really good movie.

    By Blogger Stylek, at 10/06/2006 09:09:00 PM  

  • why is 'looney' a bad thing?

    'Looney' means anything that ridiculously subverts conventional wisdom, not? I wonder how many people used the word 'looney' when talking about Jesus 2000 years ago?

    It is the looneys who make this world what it is. Mother Teresa was a looney to dedicate her life to pampering the dying. Bill Gates was a looney to think that he could change the way we work and play. The same can be said of any other individual who has revolutionised our society in good and bad ways. Sometimes todays 'looney' is tomorow's 'visionary'.

    We all spend so much time hiding our looney inclinations in the quest to conform (to what is un-looney and therefore normal) that some of the mystical power of original thought and experience is lost to the world. Our imaginations are possibly the ONLY tool for originality in this world, but when it's expressed it is immediately label 'looney'. Often our dreams and goals constitute pure 'looney', but the label keeps us from expressing it. Writing a book is a looney thing to do but in the context of what i've just said, it is the most courageous thing to do.
    I'd want to say this woman is looney, but I envy, respect and even admire her for it. Original thoughts, dreams and experiences should never be discouraged unless our ultimate goal is a static mass of homogenous and decaying people. (nope, that is not a postmodern thing to say... ok, maybe it is, but I'll deny it if any of you imbeciles ever repeat it.)

    By Blogger Hercules, at 10/08/2006 08:39:00 AM  

  • Herc, people who step in front of speeding cars are looney to, but we don't call them visionary, we call them departed. Merely contradicting popular opinion does not automatically equate with wisdom.

    By Blogger peter, at 10/09/2006 08:54:00 AM  

  • ...and people who step in front of tanks on Tiananmen square are also looney?

    By Blogger Hercules, at 10/09/2006 10:30:00 AM  

  • ..and a man who shoots someone because the voices told him to is being original, true to himself, experiencing the power of his own imagination and fighting homogeneity?

    By Blogger peter, at 10/09/2006 02:03:00 PM  

  • ...and a man who lays down his life for the sake of sinners.

    'looney' can not be the criteria by which we regard certain things as true and normal or not. Perhaps, we are after all, known by our fruit. Some looneys produce thorns, others pears. Perhaps the fruit should be the criteria, because as we can now see, looney is not necessarily bad, in fact, in many cases normal is bad.

    By Blogger Hercules, at 10/10/2006 12:18:00 PM  

  • "...Hercules: 3
    Peter: 2
    Aiden: 1 plus a bonus 1 for the starting play.
    Barry: Still can't figure out how to open the door on the penalty box. Why is he in there again, Bill?"
    "I'm still not sure, but it's clear we are gonna have a tight match on this one - oh, and look at that: Hercules with the interception..."

    By Blogger Stylek, at 10/12/2006 08:25:00 PM  

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