Thursday, October 29, 2009

Jesus, Language, and house of Being

Martin Heidegger famously called language the house of being. Meaning that language is how we shape being. The danger with this thought is the same as with some of the New Age thinking, or in the Word of Faith theology. If language shapes being, the thinking goes, then if we learn to speak the right way, we control life. The silliness of The Secret takes this concept to its limit. It takes a truth and fashion it into magical thinking. Yet, reality is beyond us to create.

Language does call forth the world out of the vastness of experience and creation. It does not create being but shapes being. It makes a container for reality. Naked reality remains untamed by language. As such, language begins as a response to reality. I understand this better as Baby Tito is starting to learn language. He learning to shape his experience, and the shape of the experience then creates his world. Mama means love. The raw experience of Lace feeding him and caring for him precedes his word Mama.

In the old debate about essence and existence, it came to shaped by a chicken and egg problem. Plato framed it with his love of abstraction and claimed the forms proceeded reality. The Early church took on the Platonic categories and made essence come before existence. They then made the Platonic essences of ideal forms in the mind of God. By taking such a stance, it only was a matter of time before the Church view this world with suspicion. The irony of many who attack the church for being other worldly as opposed to Hellenistic world is that the Church became Hellenistic in its outlook. The church ran away from life becuase of Greek thinking. Jesus rush toward life, and since he is with us until the end of the age, still rushes toward us in this life.

Mount Olympus were filled with Gods who only dealt with the world through their own desires and the Fates were indifferent. Judasim on the other hand always had God deeply concern and engaging man, calling to a better place. For Christians, God is both beyond the workd and intimately with the world. This is unique.

Not a year goes by where there is some pseudo scholar say the Jesus was nothing new. Osiris offered his blood to give life to Isis is one popular claims the Jesus is made up. But Osiris gave his life for another God and not humans. Jesus gave his blood for new life to humans, and the verticality of the Divine-Human is unique. Jesus precedes our words to shape the world, much like Lace's action for Baby Tito shape his understand of Mama and love. God became incarnate and as such touched existence. Existence, indeed, precedes essence, and it is the existence of Jesus. Jesus reveals the sturcture of life.

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