A Day in the Times

CWNew York Times.jpg
¢â‚¬¦actually yesterday in the times; New York Times.

Ask why Madonna is drawn to Kabbalah, and true Jewish mystics despise its American pseudo version? Go not further than an add for Michael Berg’s “Becoming Like God Kabbalah and our ultimate destiny.” The latest in his series of faddish, bogus marketing ploys the book promises the revelation of a “4,000 year old secret” based on “the world’s oldest spiritual wisdom” that could “transform your life instantly and end pain, suffering and death forever.” Makes you wish there was an FDA for books to filter off the snake oil.

Then there is the elevation of erotic literature and its idolizing of sex as a spiritual connectivity to God. Don’t get me wrong, there are connections between physical ecstasy and spiritual ecstasy but in Toni Bentley’s “The Surrender” they reach new hyperbolic melodramatic heights.

Examples? “Bliss, I learned from being sodomized, is an experience of eternity in a moment of real time” and “The penetration is deeper, more profound; it rides the edge of sanity. The direct path . . . to God, has become clear, has been cleared.” Or how about this? (A lot of this writing, with its billowing waves, its dark abysses and searing flames burning the soul to tinder, is nonsense, of course, but it’s sometimes splendid nonsense, and every now and then, when she’s not talking about crotchless panties or how she collected her lover’s used condoms, Ms. Bentley hits the grand rhapsodic note, as when she writes) “I became an archetype, a myth, a Joseph Campbell goddess spreading my legs for the benefit of all mankind for all time.”

I want to teach a class on the art and science of integrative thinking, the practice of taking every thought captive to faith. The New York Times would be our daily text.

The power of art, however primitive is captured in a beautifully evocative phrase emoted by Albrecht “Durer” when first he saw Aztec art, “In all my life I have never seen anything that gladdened my heart so much as these things. Indeed, I cannot express all that I thought.”

The gladdened heart. Sounds refreshing and these days rare.

One more note. In fundamentalist homes kids were told that dancing was forbidden because it was simply a simulated sex act performed vertically. Any decent kid chafed under such nonsense, and dismissively rolled the eyes. Now In the movie “Shall We Dance” Jennifer Lopez’s character says of ballroom dancing that it is “a vertical expression of a horizontal wish.” Score one for the fundies.

Yours for the pursuit of God in the company of friends, Dick Staub.

PS. And remember, “these are the best of times and the worst of times, but they are the only times we have.” (For Now).

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    Posted in Staublog in October 16, 2004 by | No Comments »

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