Competing versions of Christianity in the early church distilled into Roman Catholicism. The distillation process did not make the faith more pure as the flames beneath the beaker were money and power, lucre and death. An early version of Christianity — Arianism (not to be confused with that Hitlerian perspective about “Aryans” not the same thing at all) — saw Jesus as God’s son. There was none of this abstruse business of the “three in one” (which really does sound more like Twix — chocolate, caramel, cookie — than anything believable). God is God. At some point he had a son who is AWESOME and worthy of lifelong attention, and came here to help and redeem us, but who is NOT God the father.
Think of all the conclaves throughout the history of Christianity that attempted to explain the Trinity, all the blood shed over that (completely made up) question. This alternative view was labeled “heresy,” and as has happened throughout time, the label superseded the reality (“Sleepy Joe”). What IF Arianism had won out. The three Abrahamic religions wouldn’t be so far apart — all three would be worshipping the same Abrahamic God, and two would have their cool prophet, chosen by God, to help them.
I don’t think there is much that is truly spiritual in these religious competitions any more than I think there is much that is truly spiritual in today’s “Christianity.” I’m not saying that Christians are not spiritual people — many are. But no “ity” or “ism,” no conglomeration of people, can ever retain the intense focus of a spiritual life. Their elevated quest for God will always be dragged to a stop by the drogue chute of buildings, bank accounts, internal disputes, competition, interpersonal conflicts, the drive for consensus and approval from others.
Which is why so many of the early Christian saints went into the wilderness; why Jesus went into the wilderness. The elemental imperatives draw the human mind away from petty quotidian disputes.
History — like my own personal life — is full of turnings like that one, turnings where if things had just gone the other way, this moment would be different. Under everything in history (and my life) it seems that the trajectory of actual events resulted from ONE decision, ONE choice at each turning. Much as I dislike Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken,” way does lead on to way. The “temporal” world is the world in which time is boss. The word means “world of time.” That basically means that once a decision is made it is in the past and we are blocked forever from re-doing that decision. Hindsight might reveal what an idiot we were, but it doesn’t matter.
16 thoughts on “Labyrinthine Trap of Time”
Two days in a row that I listened to Edith Piaf. I like this one.
She was so good.
This is the whole “change the past” think. I have mixed feelings about it. I think we’d have wound up where we are anyway — although if Garry had taken that job in San Diego … which I wanted him to take …
I figure the only way I could have changed/fixed the outcome of my life would have been not to be born. That’s not cool. I would’ve missed some good stuff.
thing, not think
Choices…we make them, follow a path, perhaps make more choices…I always wonder, was there a “right” or “perfect” choice that would have proffered alternatives we would have enjoyed more? It’s curious.
I rather like “The Road Not Taken.”
Everyone assumes the meaning but most do not read it closely. Rather clever trick on Frost’s part.
Good for you. 😉
So much of the past has been sanitised or ignored. Giving voice to groups that were silenced in history, I still want that.
It’s impossible. They aren’t around to speak and we’re going to hear what we think they said. And individual voices are drowned in the mob. It’s like the leper in 13th century Europe. We know the truth about them now but people really like the idea of a leprosy epidemic so the real story is irrelevant 🙁
We are hearing more of the history of the Australian First Nation people. They have a strong tradition of oral history. In her book, “Position Doubtful”, Kim Mahood wrote about the research that she was involved in to work with the elders to trace the stories in the landscape. I can’t remember the timescale for those stories. I guess the further you go back the more interpretative it is. It’s archaeology but the stories passed down with the elders are often very consistent. That’s my understanding anyway. Did Elizabeth end up getting that book?
I don’t know if Elizabeth got the book or not. I’ll ask. It’s true — the further back you go the less there is. Paleo-archeology is a wonderful thing, though, and DNA research for bringing facts to light. Still there’s no one universal story even for the semi-close history like the Japanese internment camps in the US during WW II. Part of it is finding what we look for.
History is always incomplete as it is recorded with bias. I do think that we make choices for the better or worse. I like to think I’ve made some good ones and dodged a few really bad ones…
I know for sure I have made one good choice in my life. 🙂
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