Today Billy’s in a good mood. He’s off to the farm! Leaving the big city to embrace the farm life. For just a little while, of course. After his flight touched down, he ran out and hopped into the farmer’s truck. Then together they sped off. Upon reaching the farm Billy quickly became properly acquainted with the ducks, the chickens and the cows. When Billy had at last met the last cow he turned back to the house, only to be interrupted by a loud ‘MOOOOOOO.’ He turned back, when to his great shock he saw the monstrous animal take another swipe! ‘What is happening?’ He shrieked. In response the farmer put down his stick and said, ‘It’s okay son, next time she’ll know better then to protect her calf.’ To this day Billy can be found among the shit, defending the powerless.
Hello friends we’re back with episode 2 of Remixing my Mennonite Heritage.
In this post we’re mixing Caputo’s ‘A Taste for the Mystics’ with Yoder’s ‘Trial Balance.’
In short we’re discussing the impossible wrapped within the possible. Which is what we’re calling, ‘The Im/possible.’ Whereas the last chapter was an invitation into the ‘Without Why,’ this chapter aims at embracing the im/possible. Pushing back against the possible to make room for a ‘something more’. Mind you, this post is not about what exists, but rather that which insists. The call to courage and compassion, whether or not they be possible.
Take for example the famous rose which blooms where it is planted simply because it is planted there. This beautiful image pulled from Caputo’s chapter rings of awe and wonder. And yet, we obviously know, that this is not the full picture. It would be impossible for the rose to bloom, at all, without the possible. It will need dirt, water, minerals, etc. Yet, within the possible, the rose does the impossible and blooms without why.
Now let’s take a look at the example of Jesus. The impossible figure. The infinite within the finite. The ultimate’s withdrawal from their safety, and their embrace of the mundane. The seed that had to die, to show us a new, better way.
This is not simply a new code of conduct, not just a new dress. My goodness no! Nothing remotely interesting there. No, this is a whole new thing. The invitation into ‘The Im/possible’. I’m talking about CHRISTMAS!
That magical moment when ‘G#d’ embraces the material world, afterwhich nothing can be as it was. For both ‘G#d,’ as well as for ourselves. The advent of the im/possible
Now, I know, this is not quite the story we’ve been told about Christmas. Christmas has become so choked; so strangled in commerce on one side and castrated by rigid hermeneutics on the other. It’s practical impossible for the Im/possible to get through.
But we can’t, of course, leave it there! This can be a truly magical time, the story of the inauguration of a new way. The invitation to also become seed. The call to give up everything, to place everything on the alter of compassion. Then fall, helpless, into the arms of grace (that place in which you can finally accept that you’re accepted, without proving your worth).
Now, I can understand how all this ‘give up your life’ stuff can feel quite dark and disturbing. But, and I’m sure you’re already here, in order to experience the resurrection, you first need to die. To live with hope, you have to embrace a certain sort of hopelessness. ‘Hopelessness with a comma,’ as Cornel West said recently in a conversation with Slavoj Zizek.
Well. Happy Christmas! 😉
Just kidding. Kinda. Let me close with a beautiful quote from the theologian Paul Tillich, ‘Grace strikes us when we are in great pain and restlessness. .. .Sometimes at that moment a wave of light breaks into our darkness, and it is as though a voice were saying: “You are accepted. You are accepted, .. .(When this happens) Simply accept that you are accepted.’
May you find yourself in the embrace of the im/possible, and therein find not just life, but life abundant. In the very act of giving it away.
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