I had a pretty rough day today – a lot anxiety, frustration at not being able to find what I was looking for, and socially-mediated stress. I ended up buying a rotisserie chicken that was more than I could afford, an animal that probably had a miserable life, and yet likely wanted to live. I ate about 1/3 of it, which ends up being pretty disastrous for someone with my health issues.
In its entirety the chicken probably has 7 servings of meat on it,
0.5 g of cholesterol
3.5 g of salt
and a lot of saturated fat
Probably enough for a decent sized clot.
I started feeling sick and stopped at about 1/3 of the chicken. A little later, I ate some I scream. It seems relatively healthy next to the chicken… It was not a good day – pretty much lost time. I had thought that the superbowl would be a good day to review my goals for the year. Maybe tomorrow, maybe tomorrow will be better. I’ll go out into the wilderness for a nice hike or something, away from people. It will be a new day. There’s so much to do this week, and I couldn’t even get on my feet today and check more than 3 or 4 things off my 15 item-list, in spite of a little housecleaning, and a good morning effort at some theology.
We had discussed the atonement theories again, and I had pointed out that in some way, the idea of Jesus atoning for one’s sin, is a question of resolution. That is, if God is far enough away, then sin that is spatially associated with one individual can be atoned by an individual that is not associated with the sinner, and at low resolution, it is perhaps all the same to God. The idea is actually present in Judaism as well as Christianity, just that the need for atonement is not considered as extreme. By the same logic, however, in this theory, someone else can atone for one’s sins – a parent for a child, a friend for another friend, etc. Earlier in the week, the Rabbi had presented the 10 commandments in the context of a framework that articulated that these 10 commandments were in rabbinic tradition not really separated from the 613 mitzvot that one is expected to follow in orthodox Judaism. I kind of disagreed with this as I think the 10 commandments are kind of stand-alone commandments for the formation of a social unit – 10 because Moses and those that could not read or write at the time could use their 10 fingers to teach them to their children. They were important enough that they were inscribed into clay, separate from the others, and the story of their transmission is presented twice in the Torah. The resolution question presented in the context of Christian theology may derive from the Jewish idea that society as a unit is collectively responsible for sin, and that punishment can befall a nation or whole people because of the sin of an individual.
We had earlier looked at the question of Micah’s idol in Judges. During the discussion, I had wondered about the stark violation of Jewish law by the priest, and then, I think, possibly understood it a little better in what may have been its social-anthropological context. At the time, they probably used raw silver for shekels. The coins may not have been printed. If one had many shekels, then, although a violation of Jewish law, it might have seemed prudent to melt them all into one lump and shape it so that if a part was missing, one might notice it. It would have been easier to transport. So, the idols may have been ways of transporting currency during a time when most wealth was stored in animal herds by a migrating tribe. The Rabbi clearly thought Israel was lost at this point. It’s a strange story.
We ended the discussion this morning with indirect consideration of the difference between Jesus and God. Jesus in Christian theology is presented as a path to divinity, and yet, we are admonished by other Christian leaders to leave justice to God. That is, there are certain roles that, even if a Christian becomes God-like through Christ, humans are not allowed to assume. In my mind, the simplest resolution of what I perceive to be this conflict in Christian theology is to argue that Jesus as God’s son, is not God. If we are to consider Jesus to be a divine example of how to be human, then it is an example of how to be God’s son, and not God.
The Rabbi with his usual wit, articulated using a story this week what may be the insightful consideration at stake during this time. It likely presents the central psychological and sociological conflict pretty well. So, here’s the story:
A man is given the privilege of an audience before God and told by God that he can ask for anything he wants. The man states that he thinks it might be nice to be able to wake up every morning to a little piece of warm bread and butter. All of the other religious cultures think that this man must be very holy, because he could have asked for so much, and yet he was content with so little. In Jewish thinking, however, the man should have taken the opportunity to ask to improve the world, a feat that would have been very large for any one man to accomplish. Humility and ambition, or ambition and humility.
It’s one conflict – and important for me to decide for myself where I’m psychologically going to be comfortable on this spectrum. It’s definitely not the only conflict for me.
On this note, and a more mundane level, a Maryland team won the Superbowl. The day ends on a decent note, after a big struggle afterall…