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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Creation as resistance


7/11
Meghan comes and in and I take her out to the back (recently reclaimed) patio for a conversation. She’s obviously traveled a long road since last we met.  Her conservative Christian background had raised for her all kinds of questions as to whether she could truly commit to an interfaith marriage. But now those questions have been, for the most part, resolved.  What’s at stake now is planning such a ceremony that truly honors both traditions but doesn’t impose one tradition over another. It’s hard to honor the Christian tradition in such ceremonies. If Christ is central to being a Christian, it’s hard to keep him from the wedding. 
When we talk about the traditional Jewish wedding ceremony, I mention that Jesus’ first miracle was turning water to wine at a wedding. And we talk about how a unity candle ceremony can be used to talk about the integrity of both traditions. The traditional banning of Jesus from interfaith events is on the one hand appropriate in that this name was always associated  with the power  of the dominant over the minority.But on the other hand, to maintain that ban only delays the necessary dialectic conversation between Jews and Christians that needs to take place. We are after all, Christians
Eventually, we have been able to talk through these issues  and help Meghan move towards a ceremony  that maintains her  integrity. It will take place in Houston. I won’t be involved. But  have helped her find herself in that conversation. 
John comes in. We talk about Melisa. How we still need her involved. How we need ti make that conversation happen. He’s here for the dress rehearsal of Ludovica’s new play, Final Analysis, set in Vienna, 1910. 
It’s one of those what if plays that brings all kinds of real historical characters who were in the same place at sometime into contact with one another. Gustav Mahler and his wife Alma, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Stalin, Sigmund Freud and an extremely intense angry young man.
It is clever, well written, fast paced and and  engaging  as you piece together the young man’s identity. But the dramatic high point comes when the young man paints a vision of his dreams of apocalyptic destruction should his artistic dreams not be realized.
As I listened to the words, saw the vision, I was transported back to Ground Zero on October of 2001.Riding on a gator with military personnel through the center of the still smoldering seventeen acres, the eviscerated skeletons of nearby buildings, the still falling ash, the smell of burned jet fuel and incinerated human bodies. It was an experience of hell. And at the same time, the ultimate obverse of art. The ultimate power of destruction, deconstruction, death. For the first time I felt its power.
And also felt for the first time that creativity, therefore, creation, is ultimately an act of resistance. That when we create we act as partners with God in the ongoing work of creation, of life itself. And thereby made my commitment to the intersection of beauty and justice and of ethics and aesthetics. That this must always be part of my ministry and any church that where I would serve. Of West-Park. The seeds of the Center were planted there. 

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