Friday, March 18, 2011

"The God and The Universe Conversations". Week Seventeen.

"The Sacrifice of Isaac"

"Apogee and Perigee Reminders"© 1999
Oil on Wood

“How long will we fill our pockets Like children with dirt and stones?
Let the world go.
Holding it
, We never know ourselves,
never are air-born.”


"The Quality of Boundaries"© 1999
Oil on Wood

6Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together. 7Isaac said to his father Abraham, “Father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Genesis 22, The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989

Weisiger Chapel, Presbyterian Hospital, Charlotte NC
Concrete and Black Walnut Altar, LED lighting, etched Acrylic Panels
In association with Hospice and Palliative Care 2009

From the Editor: A common contemporary definition of sacrifice is: to forfeit (one thing) for another thing considered to be of greater value. In ancient Hebrew, the root of the word for "sacrifice," korban, is kuf, reish, beit. This root means "to draw near." Let's look at Abraham's and Isaac's dilemma in that regard. To draw near. Even as a child, I thought that Abraham's obsequious acceptance of God's dictate was admirable. But flawed.Yet, what I have only come to understand of late, is Isaac's relationship to these dueling 'fathers'. Isaac was capable of toting a load of sticks up a mountain. So he was stout. Surely he could have rasseled down his old man and avoided getting trussed up beneath a drawn knife. But he participated. He drew himself into proximity of a life threatening and yet also transformative situation. He said, "I see the wood." Then asked, "Where is the lamb?"
Rather, we should ask, "Where is the would?" Where is the motivation to take a stand and place oneself in a sacrificial posture - to draw near?
And instead of ramming towards altars, should we be considering alters? The Third Way; the Unimagined. And in community, could we become an alterNation? A collection of specific entities willing to be sacrificed and yet ask, "Where is the would?"
In The God and The Universe Conversations, God states that, “Anything that serves as a catalyst for novel invention is invaluable in God’s view”.
Where is your WOULD, Pilgrim? What draws you near?

Workers prepare to assist at the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant."We are not in a position where we can be optimistic. We must treat every development with the utmost care."

The birds don't alter space.
They reveal it. The sky
never fills with any
leftover flying.

Li-Young Lee Book of My Nights

This concludes Week Seventeen of
"The God and The Universe Conversations".

All art and writing by Tom Schulz unless otherwise noted, or unless it is so cool
he will try to get away with claiming it as his own."The God and The Universe Conversations" are based on Tom's protracted reading of Process and Reality, by Alfred North Whitehead.

"One man gives freely, yet gains even more;
another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty"



Anonymous said...

Daily we are sacrificing our lives for meaningless things... usually things we give value because we think others value them.

Tom Schulz said...

Maybe instead of seeing sacrifice as a negative 'giving away' based on a system maintained by others, we can look at sacrifice as an intentional giving. A drawing nearer to that which we understand as having positive meaning.

Jane Schulz said...

Tom, I love your word associations: wood/would and altar/alter. That could lead to a lot of thought! Perhaps I'll try it.

Tom Schulz said...

Let us know what you come up with, Jane!