Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Anthony Delbanco on 9/11

"I think Sept. 11 brought home to me and to a lot of people I know the fact of how fragile and contingent our lives are -- how you say goodbye to your spouse and children in the morning, and you can't blithely assume that they'll come back in the afternoon.

"I was mercifully spared from that experience. But my children all knew people who thought their parents or uncle or aunt or cousin [were] going to work that day just like any other day, and didn't come home. So everybody that afternoon had to start coming to terms with this face in a very direct and very, very personal way. ...

"I live on the other end of Manhattan Island from where it happened. But the smell, this acrid odor, was in the air for weeks after that morning. You got used to it, sort of. But then, every once in a while, you would realize that you were smelling, among other things, the odor of burning human flesh.

"And for many people, it was the flesh of people they knew. So one had to be really pretty locked into one's own little world not to think in a new way about what mattered in daily life. ... It became real, as it had been for many generations. But it hadn't been so real for our generation. ... "


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In this my personal Christian blog, I hope to be discursive and now and then critical. What I write here is tentative and tensive. I post thoughts, feelings, and observations somewhat randomly and often in immediate response to current events and posts on other blogs.

"Serendipitous Creativity" from Gordon Kaufman

"I suggested that what we today should regard as God is the ongoing creativity in the universe - the bringing (or coming) into being of what is genuinely new, something transformative; …

"In some respects and some degrees this creativity is apparently happening continuously, in and through the processes or activities or events around us and within us(…) is a profound mystery to us humans(…) But on the whole, as we look back on the long and often painful developments that slowly brought human life and our complex human worlds into being, we cannot but regard this creativity as serendipitous …

"I want to stress that this serendipitous creativity - God! - to which we should be responsive is not the private possession of any of the many particular religious faiths or systems …

"This profound mystery of creativity is manifest in and through the overall human bio-historical evolution and development everywhere on the planet; and it continues to show itself throughout the entire human project, no matter what may be the particular religious and or cultural beliefs."

Gordon Kaufman, Mennonite Life, December 2005 vol. 60 no. 4

Melville is a rational man who

"Melville is a rational man who wants God to exist. He wants Him to exist for the same reasons we all do: to be our rescuer and appreciator, to act as a confidant in our moments of crisis and to give us reassurance that, over the horizon of our deaths, we will survive." (John Updike)

And that is a problem for me.

Fragmented Notions

Fragmented Notions
Copyright © 2007 Jean and Alexander Heard Library, Vanderbilt University

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