Saturday, April 30, 2011

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

"The Sacrifice of Isaac"

Part Three

For fear you will be alone
you do so many things
that aren’t you at all.

Richard Brautigan

Tom Schulz, "Red States, Blue States" © 2008
Gouache, House Paint, Gesso on paper mounted on canvas.

11But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, and said, ‘Abraham, Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ 12He said, ‘Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.’ 13And Abraham looked up and saw a ram, caught in a thicket by its horns. Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt-offering instead of his son. Genesis 22, The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989

Isaac Schulz, "EALL 271"©, 2003
House Paint, Spray Paint on Canvas.

From the Editor: I recently talked with a friend. She shared her story of a recent series of life decisions that have left her feeling (emotionally and fiscally) bankrupt. Her question to herself and to The Universe became both prayer and lament: "What was I thinking?". It made me think of Abraham with the knife to his beloved son's throat. It made me think of Jim Jones and Charles Manson. Susan Smith and Andrea Yates. And I wondered, why was it that Abraham required a mediating agency to stay his hand? Why was he so willing to act out of a concept of obedience? A concept that allowed his perceived directives to supersede his ability to properly judge the ramifications of his actions. Perhaps we should look at our interior Abrahams and ask what precious part of our selves are we are willing to sacrifice. Hannah Arrendt stated that, "The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be either good or evil." Let us not wait for intervention. Or mediation. Let us make up our minds. Let us make up our minds and hearts and interactions to be good. Stay your own hand, pilgrim.

Marc Chagall,
Sacrifice of Isaac, 1960-1965

“There is no beauty in sadness. No honor in suffering. No growth in fear. No relief in hate. It’s just a waste of perfectly good happiness.”
Katerina Stoykova-Klemer

“He learned to live with the truth.
Not to accept it, but to live with it.

It was like living with an elephant. His room was tiny, and every morning he had to
squeeze around the truth just to get to the bathroom.
To reach the armoire to get a pairof underpants
he had to crawl under the truth, praying it wouldn’t
choose that moment to sit on his face.”

Nicole Krauss, The History of Love

This concludes Week Twenty 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.

The important thing is this: to be able at any moment to
sacrifice what we are for what we could become.

Charles Du Bos


Jane Schulz said...

No growth in overcoming fears? While many of our fears are sustainable, protecting us in some way, others inhibit our growth; overcoming them can be growth, faith, comfort.

Tom Schulz said...

So true, Jane. However, we included this passage because we thought it offered an alternative viewpoint.If as a people we believe that suffering and noble sacrifice are essential and necessary to our growth and development then we give short shrift to a process that doesn't include the problem of overcoming. A solution that is not part of a problem operates out of a non-problematic paradigm.