God loves...

'Jesus loves you' is a common rhetorical derived from john 3:16-18; the phrase has been adopted as a mantra by modern evangelicals for the encouragement of outsiders and insiders alike, supplementing the equally popular 'God is love' (1 john 4: 7-16).

maybe the most troubling thing about this concept is that it can't inherently mean anything to the hearer. if we assume that Jesus is God and 'God is love,' then 'Jesus loves you' in the strictest terms only means that he is consistent with His character. His love has nothing to do with you in any practical way.

i drew this sketch to illustrate the trouble.

so next time you're tempted to tell a stranger that 'Jesus loves' them, you may want to re-think it. a more effective strategy might be demonstrating the love of God, if that's in the cards.

as ever,



"when we awake each morning, we hold in our hands, usually weakly and loosely, but a few fringes of the tapestry of lived life, as loomed for us by forgetting." - walter benjamin

(a poem from last november)

pillow hair and morning breath
the silence kisses me to say good morning.
and though they say that opposites attract,
we both lay together -
holding down the floor and out the cold -
'til morningsongs and afternoonishchats.

skyline in a box


'to keep our metaphysics warm'

i wrote this post. deleted this post,
rewrote it.

it's not poetry. ok?
i just got done with an remarkably fascinating conversation with pedro about life, God and the possible connections. pedro thinks i'm wrong; right to be doing what i'm doing, but wrong.

it's really earth-shaking to be called wrong. i'm going to savor this moment.


i love conversations. they can be a phenomenal way to have my worldviews shaken up. they are the best way to learn that i'm wrong. wrong.

we get to talk a lot, the world and me. mostly we are fumbling through the bare basics of affirmation of somebody or somebody else - patting backs and shaking hands; stepping on toes and apologizing.

it's hard to get through the formalities; and even when you do, there is always the possibility of a fatal incompatibility of core values. this can manifest in an equally deadly shallowness:

shallow in all the wrong ways, we talked gucci, light beers and mcdonald's menu items for half an hour. "life's a bitch!" she concluded, up to her ankles in the most carelessly polluted puddle of it.

sometimes i think, half serious: 'there goes our life together; into the need-driven self-affirming worship of personal preference.' or something....

but people like pedro have this liberating influence on my curiosity. it's very important that i'm able to work with thoughts in a social setting, my thoughts and other peoples'; i need to be told i'm wrong about things.

this might give you a sense of why i so intensely value intellectual debate.  i love it more than bob dylan. in a few very important ways, this blog is one such conversation. and here are a couple more:

life stories in sentences and symphonies. this blog is a trip. michael's prose is engaging, and his poetry is achingly visceral. personal tone pervades every second, as he attains fervently to vulnerability. the resulting beauty is resolutely human.

melody's postmodernist prose and textmessage poems (formally wonder/wander) is such a great triumph of conversational style. she's not explicitly assumptive, but she sure doesn't explain herself either. there are contained within her posts deep metaphysical mysteries that she thought of while riding her bike to the store or sipping wine out in the garden. melody doesn't even own an ivory tower, but if she did she would be sitting in the window, playing music for the birds.

this bike and i took shelter from the rain storm at the park.


room for God

time present and time past
are both perhaps present in time future,
and time future contained in time past.
if all time is eternally present
all time is unredeemable.
- t. s. eliot (burnt norton, 1935)

so here's the idea - that time isn't real in the first place; that it's an semi-arbitrary abstraction - first of the mind (moment to moment), next of societal standardization (of agricultural utility, of use in keeping records, etc.) and at last of material ends ('i'm on the clock'; 'time is money').

but if time isn't real, only effectively a mentally synthesized, socially engineered and societally manipulated organization of matter, then how can we understand reality or grasp at possibility? how else might we organize all that there is?

what if the past isn't actually a continuum that effectively culminates in the present?

if we aren't moving towards, maybe we aren't in motion at all. maybe our minds are simply organizing temporally homogenous data into a continuum and simultaneously facilitating the illusion of a progress toward some "moments" and away from others. maybe.*

assumptions of progress are over-believed, if not over-trusted, noted eliot's contemporary, himself a german jew between the wars:

"the current amazement that the things we are experiencing are 'still' possible in the twentieth century is not philosophical. this amazement is not the beginning of knowledge - unless that knowledge is that the view of history which gives rise to it is untenable."
- walter benjamin (theses on the philosophy of history)

what if we can't organize the past around the present with certainty, can't safely assume that we've made any progress in terms of knowing or discovering what is?

in contrast to eliot's claim that "all time is unredeemable," benjamin's elaborations go on to frame the search for cohesion and meaning into an infinitely inquisitive hopefulness. he resolves to possibility instead of resolution, claiming for each generation a "weak messianic power," proclaiming them as the possible carriers of the redemptive moment, from which we will understand all others, by which we can know a less than arbitrary significance of present, past and future...

there is now effectively room for God; and the moment that He Is redeems all other moments. any thoughts?

as ever,

the city poses one of several well-articulated implications
 about the relationship between time and reality.
- 'where is this all going?'

*organizing by moments or events is also problematic, as you might have guessed. these seem very likely to be a trick of the mind. do we learn to think in terms of moments and objects in the same way we learn object permanence? not sure...