In Corbyn’s hour, pt.2

That much astonishment met Corbyn’s insistence on achieving peace through dialogue – rather than a readiness to use nuclear weapons – shows above all the enduring audacity of peace.

Arms manufacture being what it is, if we don’t believe in peace, we believe in annihilation.

Do we believe in peace?

One important text in our shared religious heritage is the prophesy that one day people “shall beat their swords into ploughshares.” In what sense do we believe this? When – and who – shall do this?

If we pray with St Augustine, “O Lord, help me to be pure, but not yet”, we can be sure the help will come sooner than we thought.

It would not be difficult to end the production of weapons. That would be a good step in the direction of peace.

But if we don’t want it – yet – peace might be established later by the small group of people who survivor the nuclear bomb-fire.

And if not them, then new species will, over millions of years, emerge, and they will enjoy peace on Earth again.

And if not them, then as long as it takes – “but not yet”? Or now?

 

 

Critique 3: critique of critique

What judgment does life offer the culture of critique?

Environmental catastrophe

Abortion and euthanasia

Despair

Nuclear weapons

Breakdown of the family

Arms manufacture

Overproduction of shit

 

What “values” are suggested by this judgment?

Peace

Solidarity

 

Are we to repent or to progress? Have we gone too far – or just not far enough? He who puts his hand to the plough of progress and repents is not fit for the future, but eternity.

 

 

 

Critique 2: The value of critique

The value of critique – ?

Will critique help us create the values which affirm life? Who cares, because the affirmed life is a life not worth living.

God – call it life, purely, if you’d rather – requiring my affirmation? As if my values should do anything to life.

Was the idea to create the values which affirm life, or the values which life affirms?

Let my values be judged by life – or God if you’d rather. Thus, it is disingenuous to talk about creating the values which life affirms or condemns. If they are to judge us, we cannot make them, unless we wish to make ourselves defendants to ourselves as plaintiffs, and what could be more slavish and miserable than that?

What we have is the judgment of life – or rather, God – over us, and this is the judgment from which all value originates: Amen.

Critique 1: The spirit of critique

Deleuze wrote that, “one of the principal motifs of Nietzsche’s work is that Kant had not carried out a true critique because he was not able to pose the problem of critique in terms of values”.

“True critique”? Nietzsche starts by addressing the value of truth, so I do not know what he would have made of the adjective true critique. We would better ask: What is the value of critique? What spirit critiques? Who is the one who critiques?

Is it the spirit of a child running to the sea shore or digging a sand castle? Is it the spirit of a child discovering the flow of water and the resistance of sank banks? Is it the spirit of a child celebrating her castle: look mummy!

Or the spirit of the adult, who scans the text for mistakes?

Or the spirit of the one who says the unexamined life is not worth living, or has no value? Critique – the measure of all things, even life itself? No! Life is the measure of critique. A lifeless examination is not worth the examining.

 

 

No-Theology Day

By the time you get to Easter Sunday,

You have no desire left to pray,

Say responses, sing refrains

Or ever go to mass again

No reflecting on theological things

Or the message the gospel brings

No introspection, no confession,

No angels, saints or intercession.

For

No rituals befit the Risen One

It’s finished, the work’s been done,

What’s left is what the angels said:

Why seek the living among the dead?

Jesus on the Rampage (Mat. 8)

“When Jesus had come down from the mountain”,

All hell broke loose for all those around him:

First he chose to make a leper clean; it was done.

At Capernaum, he was asked to say the word, just one –

And wallop! A servant was healed. Now that’s belief!

The faithless we’ll leave to the gnashing of teeth.

At Peter’s house he healed all manner of riff-raff.

Foxes have holes, birds nests, but what’s his gaff?

There’s no time to rest,  ‘cos we’re not yet dead

The dead? They can bury themselves, he said.

Then from a boat he stopped the gales and the raining:

“Who’s this that even the winds and seas obey him?”

Some demoniacs said that he was ahead of his time,

So he pushed them off a cliff with a herd of swine.

On hearing this, the locals came out, on the double:

Crying, stay away, please! We don’t want no trouble.

Now, did all this really happen? It’s a bit far-fetched.

But how good is the truth, if it can be stretched?

Source: Matthew’s gospel, chapter 8