The Chair and the Desk, 9/22/15

From the chair:

Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” 62 And Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”

-Mark 14:61b-62

Despite having read many opinions to the contrary, I still believe that Jesus said this, knew what he was saying, and said that this will “happen” in the way that normal people use the word “happen.” It’s dangerous to shave off parts of the gospels until we have something that’s easy to believe without any sort of inner conversion from our old way to the new way. This is a major part of what I believe and why I believe: Jesus was raised from the dead, he will raise us from the dead, and we will be with him.

From the desk:

“There has not always been, therefore, nor is there always and everywhere, nor will there always and everywhere (‘with humans’ or elsewhere) be something, a thing that is one and identifiable, identical with itself, which, whether religious or irreligious, all agree to call ‘religion. And yet, one tells oneself, one still must respond.’”

-Jacques Derrida, “Faith and Knowledge” in Acts of Religion, ed. Anidjar, p.73

It was a very dry and difficult afternoon of reading, but I think I understand and agree with one thing Derrida is saying: “Religion” is a word that comes from Latin, which suggests that it comes from Christendom, which suggests that to talk about someone’s “religion” other than Christianity (using the word “religion”) is really asking, “what is your Christianity.” To which others should respond, “I don’t have a Christianity,” by not accepting the word “religion.” Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, etc. all have similarities with Christianity in how they impact people’s lives, but they aren’t just multiple-choice answers to a question that everyone innately has (“what is my ‘religion’?”). I hope I understand what Derrida means, because now I’m taking it to go on and say something he doesn’t mean: When we think about reconciling others with God, we should think beyond replacing their religion with our religion, because Jesus Christ is neither absent in nor equivalent to our religious doctrines and practices.

“The chair” is the one Annie aptly chose for the corner of our living room, and it’s where I am committed to daily hearing from God’s Word–the Word I above all else hope to speak to others. “The desk” is the one by my coffee grounds and spare charger (if I get to the library early enough); it’s where I have the privilege of reading and thinking all day, where I intend to learn for others’ sake.

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