For some reason, it appears that I am unable to start a blog without some kind of formal introduction. Problematically, I’m not interested in making one, so I’ll keep this short in order to get on with my actual purposes.
A Note on My Blog Title
The title of my blog is “Re(-)petitions.” The presence of the parentheses is important here. In my short philosophical career, one theme keeps repeating–repetition. The biggest problem with being young, it seems to me, is a lack of necessary time and seasons. That is, the ideas that I am only beginning to encounter have not had enough gestation time to give birth to something recognizable. I lack the necessary experience and knowledge to produce healthy fruit. Instead, I am bound to the posture of unknowing rather than knowing. I find myself haunted by the same ghosts that have always plagued my philosophical inquiry, that is, the problems related to God, suffering, and love. Thus far, I have never been fully equipped to actually answer the questions that continue to crop up in my imagination. Rather, I have only been able to formulate and re-formulate them. This problem led to my culminating interest in the phenomenon of repetition itself. Being unable to answer the problems, I have investigated the problem of repeated problems. Having investigated this phenomenon, it is now time, I think, to return again to these problems that remain restless in my thinking. These problems, however, are not complete aporias. Rather, they have offered, strangely, the ability to engage in many protests, or, more positively, petitions (hence the parenthetical dash). Thus, in the course of my blog I hope to investigate these problems not purely for the sake of abstract thought but for the sake of positive and constructive petitions–to live a life informed by God, by suffering, and by love.
A Note on the Title of this Blog Post
To begin, I must note the presence of the ellipsis points. This is because my blog currently lacks a definitive beginning and end. I am blogging in the midst of thinking; my blog is much too late. It enters a discussion that has already started and is already continuing on. As such, this post is in the middle of it, following much consideration and anticipating much more. I hope, however, it can help function as a certain hinge, making the restless problems come to peace (which is different, I think, than coming to “rest”).
To date, I have identified at least three inter-related problems, but the precise grammar of articulating these problems is difficult. I have done my best in the title of this post to utilize the symbols available to me, but I recognize it is not entirely clear what I am getting at. Allow me to explain.
God, suffering, and love. The title of this blog post puts brackets around the commas in that list. To read the title with commas is to break the main problem down into three distinct areas of inquiry. God, with all its complications, is one. Suffering is another. Love yet another. Of course these areas are complex and will require much discussion over the course of this blog. Though they are broad, I think they are also specific enough to rule out other problems and bring particular issues to the fore.
To read the title without commas is to highlight the very statement that binds them together: God suffering love. In other words, God’s experience of love appears to manifest itself in suffering. And, indeed, God calls us to the same activity. As a member of the Christian tradition, I am only able to understand these three terms as unified in the concrete and particular life of Jesus Christ. If I can be permitted a tangential but crucial observation, the combination of these three problematic terms is especially important in the life of Christ. In Christ, God Suffers and God Loves. Christ Suffers God and Suffers Love. In Christ, Love and Suffering are Deified. Of course, all of these statements are frustratingly complex, and perhaps I will need to abandon or rework them as things progress. Nonetheless, I feel comfortable saying the binding statement: God suffering love.
With all of this backdrop in place, allow me to repeat my complicated title:
…God[,] Suffering[,] Love…
Proceeding With Problems
These three issues make for many sticky situations. How is one to define these three elusive and terrifying terms? What is their function in thought and life? In what ways are they bound together and in what ways must they remain separate? What sort of power and motivations are lying dormant in these concepts, and can such momentum be utilized for transformation in individual lives and thought?
These questions are the kinds that have plagued me for quite some time. Only recently, however, do I feel I have finally begun to emerge from a certain cocoon of questioning into offering possible solutions. Via this blog, I intend to put such suggestions forward tentatively. Surely the beginning will be fragmented, but I hope this space will archive my thoughts in a way that will be meaningful to others as well as myself. Of course, I hope to achieve a more personal tone as well, something this initial post regrettably fails to do. It is a terrible thing to be confined to the spaces of academia. As such, I will do my best to put forward problems and solutions in ways that are meaningful to more than just “philosophers” and “academics.”
With themes such as God, suffering, and love, I expect much dissension. But I hope to investigate these terms with peace. I invite you to join me in this journey as I try to put together the fragments of thought that remain floating in my mind and heart.