Thoughts on words, and some other bits and pieces
This fellow political-theologian, highly critical of Christianity that he is, is more than thrilled about this theological turn in your writing.
Do keep going, please. :)
We easily forget the importance of theory in a data obsessed world. Theory not only allows for, but demands imperfection to progress. I always feel the need to p amuse if my work is described as first rate because it suggests I’m not being curious enough...
I understand your reasons to explain (although you have given fair warning since you started the Substack). As for me, I like the cultural pieces best. But one "follows" a writer because they enjoy the experience of engaging with a lively mind, they want to see where he goes. You provide that path. While I may not always want to "drink from the well", I can appreciate being led to the water.
Ever since I found out that you had become a Christian, I've been waiting for you to focus on writing about being a Christian. I enjoyed your work on the Machine so I was concerned about the switch, but your new path is healing and wonderful. We need to write what God asks us to - thank you for listening to God and using the skills he gave you to his glory.
Having shared a bit of your journey over the past three decades, I found this post particularly moving. I can second what you say about your having been a religious writer all along. It was there from so early in our Dark Mountain conversations – and I remember you probing curiously at those of us who had a background within Christianity, so it doesn't surprise me that you got there in the end.
In my own writing, I've become aware over time of the very different things we can be doing with words. I've come to think that one of the best things we can do with them is to make a shelter in which the wordless might just be at home – and it seems to me that this is what you are doing, more and more.
Even though I know we all ought to be harmonizing with His voice as we sing (or write) in our own pitch, with clear consciences.. well. Sometimes it just feels lonely doing something new, especially when the majority wants just one subject from us. Thank you for this. Thank you for being so honest, openly.
As a devoted reader of your work about The Machine (and earlier writings), and not as devout when it comes to your pivot and current ideas, I’m nonetheless grateful for how you’ve navigated honestly this terrain.
I understand completely where you're coming from.
My compliments are not coming in order to praise you. They're coming from a place of the spirit because I understand exactly how you feel to be honest.
As far as Bob Dylan becoming a christian, i was one of the only people I knew to purchase that CD and I love it ‼️
People change throughout their lives and we are supposed to change. We are supposed to grow and have new ideas and question everything and I think you're doing that and it's an amazing journey for you and my opinion.
Ram Dass once said.. we are all just walking each other home.
A sort of ties in with what you're saying in my opinion.
Complacency is not a good thing. Questioning is everything. Our journey on life is ours no matter how we do it. Whether people approve of it or not, we need to stay true to ourselves.
Thank you once again for a heartfelt essay.
I am curious to see where the words will take you, Paul.
Much of what you just said resonates with me. I observe that the words around us are carrying us away into some unexpected places, and sometimes on a large scale.
I think that it is unfortunate that the word "critical" has now become pejorative in most contexts. That is a big problem in my opinion. Looking up the etymology/history in French, I am interested to learn that the word has different, nuanced meanings according to whether its "genre" is masculine or feminine...
In any case, it refers to "judgment", and was initially a masculine word (as the judge was pretty much exclusively a masculine figure or a man).
It is related to the word "crisis" : "decision" "judgment".
What I have noticed around me is that we are not supposed to judge anything or anybody...it is not politically ? religiously ? correct.
That makes me rather angry, since I observe that what is laboriously pushed out the door tends to come back in the window, disguised.
But I very much agree with you that we need good stories, right now, told in an embodied language that will ressuscitate our deadened.. flesh ? minds ? souls ?
Thanks Paul I’m enjoying the journey and definitely the direction of travel 🙏
Very much enjoyed that episode of Plough. It reminded me that I want to establish a tiny house commune somewhere in the rural scape of Mississippi.
Where else is one to go after glimpsing the Machine but to the Wells?
"I have felt for years that the sphere which is inhabited by politics, debate, ideas and abstractions is not only inimical to spiritual development, but is an abyss designed to swallow it."
This was the itch that told me to get out of the newsroom. While I've not gotten nearly as far away from "the world" as I'd like, God is so good that he keeps pointing me back to the path.
Grateful for your past work, Paul and the turn you've made. The shift comes at an appropriate time, personally as I've made it a point to learn more about saints and the ancient church. This protestant has a lot to learn.
Words are great fun, as are arguments (at least while one is winning them), but if they did any good this era—where colossal quantities of words and arguments zip around the globe daily— would see society thriving as never before rather than collapsing into rancor and violence and despotism. At this point I can't see participating in talking/writing/arguing as any different than spending the day playing video games. It's an abuse and waste of time.
I keep coming back to a conviction this culture is simply trash and—as products of that culture— our minds have been hopelessly adulterated by trash. I find the plastic detritus circles left by dead seabirds on Midway island (https://scx1.b-cdn.net/csz/news/800a/2019/pacificbirdr.jpg) to be more or less perfectly illustrative of where we are culturally, spiritually, and biologically. If there is anything to be done (and there may not be) it probably involves some sort of prolonged detoxification.
More likely, as with the case of those seabirds, the only "solution" is dying.
Paul, the blade of truth may be two-edged – hewing a path of reality using words (lit with Spirit), revealing structures and pits that may hinder the saint in his or her trek to the City of God, as well destroy the unwary if unwarned of them.
The Lord Jesus said to the Roman governor forced into trying Him, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice” (John 18:37).
Not everyone who reads you will continue hearing your voice. But some, whose paths you have lit, will continue – even as you shift "dimensions". I, for one, like both realms you speak of. I especially like hearing of – or seeing with the eyes of the heart – that One whose name is Faithful and True (Rev 19:11). A glimpse of Him is better than life (Psalm 63:3).
Christ and the Gospel have a long history of upsetting people (“upset” is a major understatement really). Routine history. I’m still with you