Thursday, October 6, 2016

Whoever or Whatever said "Let There Be" and it was so

For a moment high up there, that cloud was a man swimming the front crawl, arm over arm, but gone, disintegrated and drifted apart before I could grab my iPhone to snap it and make it real. Or was it real? Will it only have been real, be real, as long as it’s in my mind’s eye. Or was it my imagination? No, I saw it, it was real. The eye doesn't lie, nor especially the camera.

What is real? From a theology book I tried to finish before returning it to the EfM room Wednesday evening, pondering the reality of God; not of a table, Plato already did that, but the reality of God, “What about the reality of a legal system, or improvised music, or a scientific theory, or a light year, or a smile?”* You smiled at me. Was that smile real? Is it still?  

Or a kiss, is a kiss real? Will it still be real When I grow too old to dream …

Is intellect necessary to reality? Is there music if no one hears it? “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” A smile if there’s no one to see it, feel it, remember it? Is a smile reality -- not my question, it's the theologian's question -- is a smile reality? A kiss if we’ve forgotten it? What if I never forget? You said, "I love you," it can't be unsaid, the sound of your voice is still out there in space and still in my heart and mind, is it real, or only a memory, or is a memory as real as reality? Your waiting on the pier for my ship a million years ago, is that real? Real, or a memory, or are memories real? And God, is God real if there’s no one to contemplate, praise, worship — theologize, fear or feel blessed? Who or what is God? Tell me that story again, "In the beginning, God ... "

How much is real because I want it to be, real if I believe it? Suppose I believe it with every fibre of my being, does that make it so? Who or what is God? Is love real? If God is love, is love real, or does love make God real? Are dreams real, as real as memories?  

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

If memories are real and memories die when we die, does part of reality die too? That star so clear in the heavens: astronomers say it died thousands of light years ago, is it real? Does reality have to be there? Seeing is believing, but are seeing and believing reality? How long before that star will wink out on earth? Will it still be real in a distant part of the universe that can still see its light long after it's winked out on earth? How long before all stars go out? Do we only exist in the mind and Word of God? What if God ceases to speak, will we never have been? Will you remember me anyway? I'll remember you.

There’s a swordfish up there now. No, missed it, it’s a big fish chasing and opening to swallow a little fish fleeing. Nope. It’s an alligator’s head, mouth open, rearing up through the pond's surface at a duck swimming toward it. Go away, Rorschach, begone, you're not wanted here.


* David F. Ford, Theology: A Very Short Introduction, p.38, Oxford. (As with others in this series, it's not truly a very short introduction, it's just that the pages are tiny and the print minuscule)

Isaiah 55:8-9

Baby It's only your imagination 
That keeps you away from me 
Baby It's only your imagination 
That won't let you be what you want to be 
Well it seems that you're always thinking 
You’ve got a busy, busy mind 
But that wasn't me you saw last night 
Your imagination's working overtime 
I told you that I love you 
And you're the only one for me 
So don't let your imagination Run away from reality

Glen Campbell and Bobbie Gentry
"Baby, it's only your imagination" - - what, 1968?

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