Thursday, April 3, 2008

th Xtian Xemist

[ =@@@@ Ajmak :: Nine Sinner ]

I met tonight a Christian Chemist, & we had great conversation sharing our similarly different realities w/ one another!

I played at Tea Essence open mic my '5 songs of fish.' After, she approached me & asked what my song "is about." I told her, "fish." She explained how she tried to make sense of it: "First it seemed like a metaphor comparing people to fish, but then it got political, & I didn't get th part about th scales," etc. I told her it didn't mean much past th words themselves, altho I did explain that th "Ho Chi Minh" in th song refers to a goldfish I used to live w/, & not any historical human. She seemed a little troubled by th idea that a song could not mean anything.

She noticed that I had assembled little "comic book" things (a new project of mine that I worked on at Tea Essence tonight) & inquired about them. I showed her. More nonsense: each panel comes from a pool of tiny meaningless drawings I had come up w/ & glued onto pieces of cardboard. Some panels contain ambiguous objects, others characters doing ambiguous things, & some have speech bubbles containing whatever happened to come into my head at th time (or perhaps some words borrowed from books that I opened up randomly). This really seemed to confuse her, but she seemed fascinated. Why intentionally create nonsense?

I told her I think people take themselves too seriously. We make meaning out of whatever gets thrown our way, we force things to fit together whether they want to or not, & we can stretch our minds a little bit & conceive of a very weird world. I intend to make lots of these little comics & eventually spend a day wandering Chicago & giving them out to strangers on th street. Sowing th seeds of Chaos. . . .

She asked what religion I follow, & I said none that has a name. I told her I think th world contains as many religions as people, because everyone creates their own. I like to look at many different traditions, poke around & find interesting things that seem illuminating. After all, humans have come up w/ thousands of religions. Th Christians have something to say, but so do th Buddhists, th Animists, th Hindus, th Ancient Egyptians, th pre-Colombian Mesoamericans, & so on & so forth. I find it hard to believe that one book out of so many has all th answers.

She told me about her relationship w/ God, that he guides her life to help her do right, to make good decisions. She had a wonderful way of expressing th philosophy of Jesus/love: We are all gifts, gifts to ourselves & gifts to each other. If Jesus said only that & stopped there, I'd like him quite a bit more! (& if so-called Christians w/ a different perspective than hers didn't so often take Jesus & twist him into something ugly & destructive.)

She also said that as a chemist (w/ a PhD no less!) who does very logical, rational, analytical work, she doesn't think she could allow Chaos of th sort that I do into her life. When her home gets cluttered, her work gets cluttered, her mind gets cluttered, & she can't do her job. She had a very clear concept of who she "is" & who she "isn't," what her essence "is". She said she can't be a square & a circle at th same time. Not having her job (or her life), I couldn't argue.

To me, figuring out how to function as th Square & th Circle at th very same time seems like a worthwhile endeavor. I've thought more & more recently about how to combine rational, analytical, honest skepticism w/ raw, chaotic, magickal Living. Th Art of Science, th Science of Art. 1 + 1 = 1. Left brain, right brain, in full communication. Answering Zen koans & laughing w/ abandon. Acknowledging th Full, Unadulterated Complexity & Divinity of Everything. "Getting it."

She doesn't think you can get into heaven if you haven't found Jesus. Jesus saves. She didn't try to convert me. She honestly wanted to hear my side of things. But ultimately, because th book says so, & because she "knows" deep down, she believes I (& billions of others) will go to hell. But God is love.

To me, that seems like such an absurd contradiction! Not just, th Love/Hell thing, but th Rational, Analyzing, Scientific work that she does paired w/ that kind of Blind Dogma. Why can't she apply th scientific method to her faith?

Obviously, I can easily talk. I don't see thru her eyes, nor she thru mine. I didn't convince her of my agnostic approach & she didn't convince me of her Christianity. Jesus remains to me one of many fascinating creatures in our world's mythistory. He had some great ideas & a few fishy ones, if you ask me. If she finds meaning in her faith in him, I wouldn't ever want to get in her way. But I don't much like getting condemned to hell, either.

I gave her one of my comics. She said she'll put it up in her cubicle at work.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How great it was to perform for an audience who "got it". We took some chances with some new things, but all went well... sort of...might be the last time I toss a glowstick at the audience! LOL. You should have seen 'em duck! Someone told me they saw it glow and thought it was a fuse for some sort of explosive! All turned out well in the end though. The glowstick wasn't a bomb, and neither were we.

Gary Forney