December 1, 2008

Thought for 12.01.08

When one is heading in the wrong direction, more and more difficulties arise, which are harder and harder to explain. When one is heading in the right direction, points which once created difficulty now fall into place and guide ones progress. If one is headed the wrong way on a trail, a tree becomes an obstacle: from the other side one sees that there is a sign hanging on it. When seen in the wrong way, even the goal itself can appear to be an obstruction. When one is headed in the wrong direction, the backside of a signpost appears to be an obstacle.

How did the anthem go? “Turn back, O Man, forswear thy foolish ways...”

An Advent thought from Tobias Haller BSG

4 comments:

Doorman-Priest said...

I wish I could say that has been my experience but me and guidance are pretty largely strangers still.

PseudoPiskie said...

My favorite wedding hymn...

I try to be sensitive to signs that I'm headed wrong. If I'm undecided about something I ask for obstacles. If none appear, I go ahead. The real difficulty is knowing whether obstacles are to be taken as a warning or overcome as a learning experience. Never easy, is it?

JCF said...

Sung by a woman dressed as a flapper, w/ a Mae West accent (I refer to "Godspell" of course)

Tobias Haller said...

Thanks, all. PseudoP, you've got it down. How to tell if one is going to hell in a handbasket, or down a slippery slope, as opposed to exploring territory with many obstacles? But I'll tell you where this thought came from: my research on same-sexuality. I found that as I examined the "obstacles" it turned out that time and time again I found they were actually not obstacles, but helps. To take one example, as I was researching the claim that "porneia" had to include same-sex sex (esp. when used by Jesus, as a way to disarm the claim he never referred to same-sexuality). One of the venerable NT Greek dictionaries insists that porneia includes "unnatural intercourse" and gives a selection of citations. So I took the time to look up the citations, and in fact they don't refer to "unnatural intercourse" -- though a couple of them refer to Sodom, which begs the question that Sodom represents same-sex intercourse; which in fact it doesn't (at least not to most of the ancient world, where in these contexts the primary sin is assault upon angels as a different order of being. So yes, it is unnatural intercourse, but of the type committed by the "sons of God" who slept with human women in the ancient times). One example in particular demonstrates the problem. The dictionary cites the Testament of Benjamin 9:1, which refers to the "porneia of Sodom" but in the rest of the same verse refers to "actions with loose women" -- the ordinary definition of porneia as "resort to prostitutes." So what appears to have been an obstacle to my argument (that Jesus did necessarily mean to include same-sex relations when he referred to "porneia") actually becomes further evidence in my favor. And I have found this to be the case with most of the "anti-" arguments. This is why I think I'm heading in the right direction.

Thanks again for the thoughts -- and the reference to weddings! I'd forgotten that joke.