Blah Blah Blah

It's been a busy few weeks, but today I've got about half the day off, so I'm at the Seattle Central Library. On the walk here, I passed a man attacking another person--delivering three violent elbows to the face, a flurry of rabbit punches to the stomach, and a series of karate kicks to the knee. Fortunately, the victim of the attack was either invisible or a figment of the aggressors imagination.

Behind me was another seemingly schizophrenic individual who was shouting incoherently. When we arrived at one of those red "don't walk" hand symbols (at Madison and Boren), he got down on his knees, clasped his hands in prayer, raised his head to the sky and started shouting "Blah Blah Blah!", rythmically, until the whitish-green "walk" figure appeared, and we were back on our way.

I wasn't planning on blogging here at the library--I'm picking up a book I've got on hold--but I'm trying to integrate this morning's events into the theological frame of mind that I've been in for the last few days.

The "Blah Blah Blah!" guy can of course be easily transformed into a great crude metaphor for religion at it's worst, if you're feeling pessimistic. It's a bunch of crazies shouting nonsense at the sky, "playing Jesus to the lepers in our heads", while ignoring the fact that people with real problems are living on the streets attacking invisible aggressors. That's a temptation for me, wrestling as I am with our corporate form of Christian religion, and my own numb priveledged apathy.

There's another idea that pops to mind though, having just attended a lecture on the theology of the Cross by the muse for my thesis, Jurgen Moltmann. Moltmann's contribution has been in pointing back to the notion that the Cross signals that Christ is present in the suffering of the destitute and the alien--and also, by extension, the lunatic shouting at God on the corner. Maybe that guy was a unknowing prophet--a sort of iconic Christ, smelling of urine and shit--pointing out that God is with him, in the nonsense, just as much as with us in our own nonsensical comfort and willful ignorance.

Or maybe--after attending an Anti-Racism training last weekend--the crazies should serve as a wake-up call about race and class in America, and the fact that those without political influence are so ignored by our society and government that many have nowhere to go for treatment or housing. Maybe it's a call to social and political action for the Church, in a time when change might actually be possible in a disillusioned post-9/11, Katrina, and Iraq society. Stop with the "Blah Blah Blah" and do something.

Or maybe it's just all meaningless, and the most logical response would be to follow my first instinct, which was to laugh. Laughing is better than crying, after all.

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