God discovers Himself through Mankind? – or, my interpretation of Leonard Cohen’s ”Suzanne”

april 7, 2015 § Lämna en kommentar

I have fallen in love with the song ”Suzanne” by Leonard Cohen. It’s an unusual song since he blends the themes of human love and divine love. As if human love is in a way divine, and divine love is in a way human. The song is also very curious since, as a Jew, he sings of Jesus in a very intimate way.

I have meditated a great deal on this song’s lyrics, But then, only a few days before Easter, the second verse of Jesus really stood out. I quote it here:

”And Jesus was a sailor, when he walked upon the water.

And he spent a long time watching from his lonely wooden tower.

And when he knew for certain only drowning men could see him,

He said, ”All men will be sailors then, until the sea shall free them.”

But he himself was broken, long before the sky would open.

Forsaken, almost human, he sank beneath your wisdom like a stone.

And you want to travel with him, and you want to travel blind.

And you think maybe you’ll trust him, for he’s touched your perfect body with his mind.”

This verse brings Leonard Cohen’s own interpretation to the life of Jesus, which could seem to be a bit ”daring”. But I don’t mind that, since any new ideas anyone would have of God or Jesus could be considered heretical by the establishment. Jesus himself was seen as heretical by the Jews of his day; and Leonard, as a Jew, is taking a risk; so I too, as a Christian, will take a risk …

I think what Leonard is describing is Jesus’ own path towards reaching mankind. First he describes Jesus walking on water, or in other words, Jesus lives on top of life’s problems and worries with great wisdom. Jesus then also takes note that other people’s wisdom would carry them for a while, but sooner or later it will fail them. At that moment, Jesus sees that people will be ready to trust the his wisdom, and let Him pull them out of the murky waters.

But then something happens. The dreary human life overtakes Jesus little by little, and the reality of human life even erodes his ability to rely on his godly wisdom. Jesus slowly sinks down into human frustration, disappointment, depression: His godly ideals and wisdom can no longer carry him above the waters. He sinks like everyone else … He shares our humanness.

Jesus’ path is God’s path. Mankind may have lost their way, but it seems that even God has lost his way to mankind too.

But then something else happens: People then notice Jesus’ love to them nonetheless, despite His weakness. It’s not His strength they need: It’s His love they need. And it’s as if Jesus loves them without himself being really conscious of it. They reach for Jesus hand, and Jesus reaches for their hand.

(I came to this last interpretation when hearing the lyrics in verse 1 and 3 about Suzanne acknowledging his love).

It’s almost as if it were Mankind saving Jesus or God. Now that sounds heretical, but what if it helps answer the question of why God made us and the universe? Is the whole universe a way for, not only Mankind, but even for God to learn what perfect love is all about? Or maybe less heretically: Is the whole universe a way for God to discover Himself!? Discover Himself through Mankind!? Wouldn’t that be an amazing Easter message?!?!

suzanne and zoe

”suzanne and zoe”. By judy_and_ed @ flickr. Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/65924740@N00/8560180809/ License: (cc) (by-nc)


What really is the Gospel?

mars 9, 2014 § Lämna en kommentar

With the ongoing clash between fundamentalist and liberal Christians, one ultimately come to the question: What really is the Gospel? This question has not been posed to me in this manner since I became a Christian. And now posed, I realize that my belief in what the Gospel comprises is quite different than when I became a Christian, in many things except Jesus himself.

When I turned to 1 John to find out any clues to what the Gospel is, I was stunned that at least two chapters in the middle of the epistle is dedicated to answering that question! But in a way not expected. Instead of saying what the Gospel is in one sentence, it describes it instead, using a handful of synonyms which then make facets of description to what can be said about what the Gospel is. And it does it in a way to make every description holographic, so it, at the same time includes and infers the other descriptions.

These facets of descriptions taken together give a deep understanding of what the Gospel is, which is both excluding and also very including, which makes it a dynamic definition. This is also what surprised me.

I don’t know why I/we haven’t seen this before. I’ll get back to this in another blog, but as a teaser I can already now tell which these facets are which 1 John wants us to see as synonyms: love, Spirit, only begotten Son come in the flesh, following commandments, God, trusting that Jesus is the Messiah.

Kärleken saknas i den allmänna uppenbarelsen

februari 8, 2012 § Lämna en kommentar

Det är sällan jag stött på en beskrivning av kärlekens natur som i dessa rader av Rumi från hans Mathnawi/Masnavi:

Being a lover means your heart must ache,
  No sickness hurts as much as when hearts break,
The lover’s ailment’s totally unique,
  Love is the astrolabe of all we seek,
Whether you feel divine or earthly love,
  Ultimately we’re destined for above.
To capture love whatever words I say
  Make me ashamed when love arrives my way,
While explanation sometimes makes things clear
  True love through silence only one can hear:
The pen would smoothly write the things it knew
  But when it came to love it split in two,
A donkey stuck in mud is logic’s fate—
  Love’s nature only love can demonstrate:
Sunshine reveals its nature in each ray,
  So if it’s proof you want just look this way!
Shadows can indicate what’s shining bright
  But it’s the sun which fills your soul with light,

[Masnavi, couplets 109-117; Jawid Mojaddedis översättning; Oxford World’s Classics]

Denna dikt och människor i övrigt kan vittna om kärlekens enorma andliga kraft den kan ha på många olika sätt. Den är så stark att människor kan uppleva Guds närvaro i dess rus. [tillägg 2012-02-08-2124]

Det är lustigt att ingen har tagit upp denna teologiska miss (eller har jag missat nåt?): I den s.k. allmänna uppenbarelsen, har man missat att ta med kärleken. Ifrån musik, litteratur, scenkonst, och film, är det helt uppenbart att kärlek är en central tema i människors liv. Varför är inte kärlek med i den allmänna uppenbarelsen? Eller är det uppenbart att kärleken skall räknas som en del av skapelsen eller Guds försyn? Rumis verspar ovan visar att kärleken är värd sin egen punkt på listan. De punkter jag lyckats hitta,  som skall sammanfatta den allmänna uppenbarelsen  om Gud och andliga ting är följande: genom den fysiska naturen; människans samvete, förstånd, och längtan; och genom Guds försyn. Jag antar att det är meningen att man skall läsa in kärleken mellan raderna, men t.o.m. jag som är mästare på sånt har aldrig lyckats göra det de senaste 30 åren. Skulle det alltså vara alltför opassande att ha kärlek som en egen punkt bland ovanstående? Jag skulle säga att det är pinsamt att det inte står där. Min respekt för den teologin sjönk till botten när jag förstod att det stod till på det viset. 😦

Oavsett så har jag aldrig uppfattat att kärleken ingår i skapelsen såsom det uppfattas i den allmänna uppenbarelsen. Varför? Jo, för att när man förklarar vad denna allmänna uppenbarelse består av så får man som t ex djur, natur, och vackra solnedgångar. Jag kan inte dra mig till minnes en enda gång att man nämnt kärleken? Varför? Är det för att det var medeltida eller antika celibata munkar till teologer som uttryckte den allmänna uppenbarelsen? Antingen kom de aldrig på tanken, eller så motsa det deras tro. Skulle va ganska pinsamt om man trodde på den särskilda uppenbarelsen men inte ens den allmänna.

Jag är ganska säker på att, om kärleken var med som en huvudpunkt i den allmänna uppenbarelsen, så skulle dagens teologi och kristen världs- och livssyn se ganska annorlunda ut.


Short summary in English: These verses of Rumi, and the experience of people, clearly show that love (earthly or heavenly) can be an enormous spiritual power in a class of its own, even bringing people into the presence of God. As such it is missing among the examples of General Revelation. My explanation of this bothering blunder is that its theology was written down by celibate monks, and it either never crossed their mind, or was contradictory to their faith.

”An undivided love”

februari 4, 2012 § Lämna en kommentar

This coincidence feels pretty cool: I refered to Leonard Cohen’s new album in a blog, and then about how different love’s are actually different expressions of the same love in another blog post.
Then I listened to Leonard’s song ”Come Healing” on the radio and I hear these words:

O troubled dust concealing
An undivided love
The Heart beneath is teaching
To the broken Heart above

These words remind me of a line in the Lord’s prayer: ”on earth as it is in heaven”, though the song text is more like ”in heaven as it is on earth”? But what struck me was the vision of the healing of love, that the love in heaven och the love on earth need to unite in healing. … [edit] or actually love is undivided, but our troubled lives distract us from this undivided love, and probably distract this love of fully finding its place in heaven and earth!

övertygelse / conviction

december 18, 2011 § Lämna en kommentar

Jag tror att det som görs i kärlek är evig … trots att jag inte har någon bevis för det … ”samla skatter … där varken rost eller mal förstör…”
I believe that what is done with love is eternal … despite I don’t have any proof for it … ”store … treasures, where neither moth nor rust destroys” …

An Architect of a Beautiful Matrix

mars 19, 2009 § Lämna en kommentar

I Metro Teknik, 18-24 mars 2009 finns en artikel om datorspelsmakaren Eskil Steenberg som arbetar på ett MMO-spel som heter ”Love” och har fått uppmärksamhet på GDC Game Developers Conference, vilket bevisas av artikeln skriven av Jim Rossignol på Rock, Paper and Shotguns sajt. Han inleder sin artikel med orden:

Occasionally encounters with human intelligence can be entirely bewildering. Suddenly you’re faced with the fact that other minds move in the same world and speak the same language, and yet have thoughts and intellectual processes going on that are entirely alien – and superior – to your own. That’s certainly how it feels to be shown the work of Eskil Steenberg …

Det som är ovanligt med Eskil är att han har både den otroligt höga konstnärliga talangen och en otroligt höga tekniska talangen, samtidigt. Den spelvärld men går omkring i genereras fram i stunden. Och då är det inte högrealistiska miljöer, utan estetiska miljöer, som att vandra inuti ett konstverk. Han måste ha kommit fram till algoritmer som av sig självt skapar konst. Kolla screen-shot-sidan som Eskil har lagt upp

De verktyg som han använder sig av har han skapat själv, vilket han redovisar här på en manualsida på sin sajt. Verktygen är tydligen även ”fri programvara”.

Den sanna genialiteten uttrycks av Okami som kommenterar sålunda på Jim Rossignols artikel:

It’s stuff like this that makes me want to quit my job right on the spot and hide away in some corner, crying myself softly to sleep, because I’ll never be able to create something like that, even if I’d live a thousand years.

Jag tror det är just kopplingen av både konstnärligt kreativt och tekniskt kompetens som ger verklig utveckling.

Nuf said! …

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Du bläddrar för närvarande bland inlägg taggade LovePataphysics of Simulacra.