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spiritual renegades of the St. Herman Brotherhood

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Heaven [May. 9th, 2010|03:53 pm]
spiritual renegades of the St. Herman Brotherhood

sthermanorphans

[createdestiny]
I was talking to a friend last night and a song by the Talking Heads came on called, "Heaven." She said she loved the song and I told her that while I love the Talking Heads, that particular song bothers me, because of the lyrics: Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens.

She said that she thought that was a true statement, that nothing ever happens in heaven. I disagreed and told her that I think that things are always happening in heaven, that all beings are continually in motion drawing closer to God who is infinite and therefore A LOT is happening in heaven.

I realize it's pretty stupid for two people to argue about what it's like in heaven but we weren't arguing so much as having a discussion/debate about whether or not "things happen in heaven."

She said that she believes that once we are in heaven, there is no need for change and that after death, change is not possible, therefore nothing ever happens (or changes) in heaven.

While I could see her point, I continued to assert that heaven is a place where much (as opposed to nothing) is happening. Then I remembered a talk one of the priests from Santa Rosa used to give about "Sanctified Time" and how human beings on this planet live in time, in a dimension where things change, and that change is only possible in time. His main point was that we are given time on earth to repent (change).

I know this is borderline ridiculous, but do you think that nothing ever happens in heaven?

Also, this discussion made me think of something else. You know that saying, "God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow?" This saying is often used in conjunction with the argument that "God never changes." If it's true that "God never changes" then how do we look at the incarnation of God in Christ. Is it true to say that at one point in time God was not incarnate, and then a time came when he was (incarnated). If he was once not incarnate and then became incarnate then is this not a change? If so, how can we say "God never changes?"
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Comments:
From: jafnhar
2010-05-10 03:33 am (UTC)
In general, the Abrahamic religions (not to mention Plato and his disciples throughout the ages) share a revulsion for the fickleness of pagan gods and for that reason, I think, monotheists see god as eternally unchangeable. If you don't like Zeus messing around, if you want a moral god, and you start conflating omnipotence with supreme morality, then your own morality must be unchanging and eventually you yourself must be unchanging.

Clearly, the world keeps turning after you die (unless you happen to die in a supernova) and even when you're dead you're a part of the world - at least what's left of you. And if you believe in the resurrection, then you'll have a body and I guess that can move about and change. Christ walked around the planet after his resurrection so I guess we all will too, but I've always wondered where the resurrected body of Christ is right now. He ascended into heaven. Is he on Jupiter? Of course, he shows up in the Eucharist, but shouldn't he be someplace else too?
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[User Picture]From: createdestiny
2010-05-16 07:18 pm (UTC)
I had never considered how the the fickleness of pagan gods would make people want a omnipotent God who never changes.

I asked Fr. D once about Christ's body. I asked if this third person of the trinity remains incarnated for all eternity, or if at some point Christ schluffs off his body (having served it's purpose). If I remember correctly, he said he didn't know. I wonder what they teach about this in Seminary.
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[User Picture]From: createdestiny
2010-05-10 01:23 pm (UTC)
???
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From: lamesuperhero
2010-05-12 03:26 am (UTC)

In Heaven, Everything is Fine

Create-D

Some of the best abiding questions in life come about through pop songs. Its sad in a way, but then again, why not? We can't escape our environment so at least its cool that we can respond to it on different levels.

I think your friend is right. Nothing happens in Heaven. That is to say, our way of thinking here doesn't happen and so from our perspective in time under the curse of death, Heaven is an exceedingly boring place. There's no juke box.

Yet if you've ever experienced the pleasure of stillness - that often fleeting moment when nothing matters and its ok - maybe nothing, being a rough opposite of the always changing 'something' in our everyday experience of the fallen world, isn't so bad.

We cling to this world because its what we got and we measure everything by our experience in it. Scientifically, this is both reasonable and ridiculous. There is plenty of evidence for the existence of things in this reality that we cannot comprehend because we have never experienced it before. If we acknowledge heaven as a fundamentally different reality from what we know in the fallen world ruled by the premise of death, this takes the metaphor a step further - heaven is an unimaginable world for those who haven't experienced immortality or purity.

Or is it? If God is Love and this is the one attribute of God that is tangible in this life, then heaven must have something to do with love. I find this love in the quiet moments of nothing, but it is also in my wife's eyes and in unexpected moments here and there. It is fleeting, to be sure, but I don't think it unreasonable that God would grant a foretaste of heaven in this life. After all, what is our hope based on other than everlasting, true and blissful love?

I once overhead a conversation in Church in which several people were arguing about whether or not there are animals in heaven. Reasonable speculation about creation and God's love gave way to nostalgia about the eternal welfare of former pets. One woman said, "I want to be with my dog in heaven" and many agreed. Another man replied, "It would be great if my dog were there, but I'd rather be with Christ."

His remark sort of destroyed the whole mood, but I was actually very grateful for it.

There will be no Lameness in Heaven

Lame





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[User Picture]From: createdestiny
2010-05-12 04:11 am (UTC)

Re: In Heaven, Everything is Fine

Hmmm, well, your thoughts on the subject made me think of the saying, "The only constant is change." Since this world is transient, perhaps heaven is static. Whatever it is, all my hope is there.

Fr. D used the say that everything that has breath, has a soul, and therefore there will be animals in heaven (or at least the souls of animals...whatever).

The funny thing is that in the Talking Head's song, "Heaven" is the name of a bar, a really boring bar where nothing ever happens. Whatev. That song will always bother me!
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From: lamesuperhero
2010-05-12 05:14 am (UTC)

Re: In Heaven, Everything is Fine

Create-D,

If Heaven were static, why would God bother to create a new Heaven and Earth after the demise of this world? Now I'm thinking, too.

This world is passing, but will there be time in eternity? Man was created and existed in time before the introduction of death, so it stands to reason that time is not a fixed concept, i.e. that it has aspects in eternity as well as in our mutable world. This ambiguity is clearly present in the speculation about time in the '6 days of creation' issue and other issues about the nature of time in the pre-fall, antedeluvian and post flood worlds that many Fathers spokle of and which occupied Fr Seraphim.

Whatever morphed versions of time exist, have existed or might yet exist, it seems probable that even though eternity will not contain death or suffering, there will be some kind of time or means of perceiving things as 'past' and 'not yet'. Perhaps time will be like memory, a vision of things that are not 'now'? It seems reasonable that eternal bliss would superceed the need to chat about stuff that hapened before one was born into eternity or ask questions about the future, but then again I can't imagine eternal bliss so these things seem important now and I might be projecting. As my Buddha nature often says when I get this convoluted: Mu.

In the New Testament, the Lord speaks about accomodation (i.e. mansions) in heaven and other states, like the absence of marriage, pain and sorrow (interesting little cluster of topics there!) and I suppose this is what the Orthodox theology about heaven is based on, but I don't know that stuff. All I have to go on is that being with Christ is Peace, and so being with Christ in eternity is Peace 'that passeth all understanding' (Philippians 4:7).

God is Good and this world is shit. This is simplistic, but this, among other reasons, is why it is an Eternal Unchanging God of Love is appealing. Heaven is all that this world of suffering is not. I hate to say 'good enough for me' but, well, it is.

Lamestupidhero





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[User Picture]From: createdestiny
2010-05-13 03:24 am (UTC)

Re: In Heaven, Everything is Fine

Mu! Ha! Yes, let us unask the question. Thanks for playing, Lames.
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[User Picture]From: createdestiny
2010-05-15 06:56 am (UTC)

Re: In Heaven, Everything is Fine

The world IS shit. And rainbows. And genocide. And butterflies and beautiful rivers and birth defects and serene forests and child prostitution and perfectly formed newborn babies and rotting corpses and the bliss of being in love and a seven year old child killing song birds with his new bb gun. And...and..and....... You've seen Koyaanisqatsi.

For me personally, the SHIT part, trumps all the world's beauty EVERY time. All the damn flowers and rainbows, the fucking grand canyon, and the stoned drunk joy of being is love, is NOT WORTH THE HOLOCAUST or the pain suffered by an infant dying from a ruptured colon because her father anally raped her.

One thing (among billions) that disturbs me about this world being shit, is that for many Christians this becomes a justification for trashing the planet, because after all, it's not our true home and God is going to destroy it anyway. Is this what you were getting at?

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[User Picture]From: createdestiny
2010-05-16 01:22 am (UTC)

Re: (cont.)

I really like what you've said here, especially, If this world is shit, then plant seeds in it.

Fr. D has said that man was created to be a link between the spiritual world and the physical world. The purpose of man was to be a conduit of sorts, to sanctify the world, to manifest godliness in the world, to raise up the physical world to God. According to this perspective we are not called to treat the world as a trash can, but quite the opposite.

The fall (which I believe happened) fucked everything up and Christ came and corrected the fuck-up. A favorite quote of mine from a movie called "13 Conversations About One Thing" comes to mind: "Life only makes sense when we look at it backwards. Too bad we gotta live it forward."

Yes, Christ has conquered death by death, but I look around and see death everywhere. I see death everywhere, because I am living life forward and it makes no sense. (Funny little side note: the Talking Heads song, "Heaven" that sparked this post appears on the album called Stop Making Sense).

I often think about how Christ said, "Unless you hate your own life, you cannot be my disciple." I do fiercely hate my own life, but probably not in the "correct" way that Christ meant. There's a part of me that hopes that maybe it will be worth it someday, maybe God does have wondrous plans for me. Of course I imagine all these "wondrous plans" taking place after my death (and that's another problem with Christianity--it gives me little hope for my life on earth, I'm just stuck in this fallen state, waiting for death for free me).

Til then, the battle continues even though the war has been won....



Edited at 2010-05-16 01:23 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: createdestiny
2010-05-16 04:21 pm (UTC)

Re: (cont.)

None of this is coming off judgmental or critical. Your comments in this post are actually very kind and I appreciate it. Thanks for the Desiderata link.
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From: rabutill
2011-04-15 12:13 am (UTC)
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