Come Holy Spirit

When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled,
they were all in one place together.
And suddenly there came from the sky
a noise like a strong driving wind,
and it filled the entire house in which they were.
Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire,
which parted and came to rest on each one of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit
and began to speak in different tongues,
as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.

Acts 2:1-4

This past semester, I took a course in Catechetics which required me to read and summarize the entirety of the Catechism’s teaching on Christian prayer.  I won’t tell you how long I procrastinated on the assignment, but I will tell you that, though strenuous, there is a great richness of knowledge to be obtained by this manner of study.  One of the most spiritually beneficial things I gained from it, however, was being reminded of just how integral and foundational the working of the Holy Spirit is in our life of personal prayer, and indeed our life as Christians on the whole.

The Holy Spirit has always been, to me, the most beguiling figure of the Holy Trinity.  Often we hear or read the Father’s words to us in Scripture, and the innate human tendency is to imagine a face to go with this voice, even if it’s nothing more than the stereotypical majestic and humongous old guy in a cloud.  Christ Himself took on human form when He descended from heaven to proclaim the Kingdom to us.  But the Holy Spirit?  I rarely imagine Him as human.  The imagery the Church has inherited falls more along the lines of a dove, the wind, tongues of fire, an invisible, silent, but no less powerful or divine Spirit on whose behalf the Father speaks (Matthew 3:16-17).  Not the kind of being we easily imagine ourselves having a relationship with.

But the Holy Spirit is, nonetheless, clearly important to our life of prayer, as St. Paul reminds us, “for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words” (Romans 8:26).  And, as we hear in the readings for this Sunday, “no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:3). “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God?” Paul asks us (1 Corinthians 6:19).  This Holy Spirit is not some cosmic force we have to go wrangle or summon by some elaborate means every time we want to pray.  The Spirit quite literally dwells within us, every moment of every day.  This means, for one, that we ought to act like temples of the Holy Spirit.  But it also means that we need never fear that God doesn’t hear our prayers.  If He is within us, His ear is inclined much closer to our supplications than the Tempter might want us to believe.

If ever we need a reminder of just how powerful the Holy Spirit is in the life of the Church, we need only look back to the day on which it first received this Spirit and came into existence.  This Spirit which dwells within us is the same Spirit which caused the believers in Jerusalem to speak in tongues.  And not just in a couple different languages, but a pretty substantial bunch.  This is the same Spirit that Christ promised would guide the Church “into all truth” (John 16:13).  And it is the same Spirit we receive in Baptism, the Spirit who brings each new believer into life in Christ.  It’s a lot to wrap one’s head around, but God does tend to be supremely generous in His goodness, so far beyond our wildest dreams, so far beyond our understanding, but still absolutely true.

Take a moment to thank God for the gift of His Holy Spirit which guides you in prayer this day.

Lectionary readings for Pentecost Sunday:
Acts 2:1-11 | 1 Cor. 3b-7, 12-13 | Jn. 20:19-33
You can find these all in one place here.  Pax vobiscum.  🙂

Post-Mortem

Autopsy report conducted December 31, 11:50 pm EST.

Subject: Anno Domini Two-Thousand and Fifteen.

Cause of death: it’s compicated.

Other notes:  It would appear from preliminary examination of the body that the subject died of natural causes.  However, death may have been hastened by a number of causes, including but not limited to severe depression, distraction from electronic devices, and meme overdose.

What am I saying?  You can never get enough memes!

Look at it long enough.  You’ll see it.

Every time the end of the year rolls around, the first thing I think to write about is the fact that New Years celebrations are really kind of arbitrary.  Important things never happen on New Years or birthdays, only on dates of entire randomness and seeming insignificance.

On the other hand, one of the things I’ve realized more this year is that even if celebrations like those are arbitrary, that doesn’t mean they’re not important.  Even if one has to deal with annoying people singing annoying songs on stages with flashing lights and such.

The eve of a new year stands as a sort of moment of collective mindfulness.  Mindfulness of the fact that time passes more quickly than we often think.  It’s a moment when for once we slow down, take stock of where we stand and who we are.  Am I on the path I truly believe I’m meant to be on?  The path that God wants me to be on?

Of course, New Year’s Eve and our own birthday, fine and dandy as they are, i’m gonna keep typing the same thing over and over and see if mom notices.  I’m gonna keep typing the same thing over and over and see if mom notices.  I’m gonna keep typing the same thing over and over and see if mom notices.  I’m gonna keep typing the same thing

There is no denying now that you can read what I’m typing mom, because you started laughing, so don’t tell me it looks like a blur because you’re not wearing your reading glasses.

Haha.

This is our family.

Anyways,

Of course, every day of the year should be dedicated to this kind of mindfulness.  New Year’s Eve and our own birthday are fine and dandy, of course.  I, at least, sometimes have a tendency to shove mindfulness to the back burner of my head so I can focus on more important things.

But really, can we focus on important things if we’re not mindful of what “important” means?

Maybe you’re in a place where you’ve got the hang of mindfulness a lot more than I do.  And if so, that’s absolutely wonderful.  I’m just thinking out loud here.  🙂

To be honest, I have no idea what 2016 will be like.  We’ll get a new president, which should be interesting.  And we’ll have an extra day of February, which should be fun.  Beyond that, only time and people who know more about the world than I do can tell.

It’s been the best of times.  It’s been the worst of times.  I feel like I’ve seen the flag flown at half-mast many times too often this year.  It’s a terrible world out there.  And yet there is such beauty in it.  One has to wonder how the two things can exist simultaneously; beauty and evil, goodness and pain.

I suppose we can only trust in God to reconcile the two in the end.  And ask Him for the strength and wisdom to further His kingdom in this world as we advance towards the next.

So here’s to another year of advancing.

And here’s to those moments when you’re bored, your iPod is out of batteries, and it’s late, but you stop and take the time to be thankful for being alive, for the fact that you’ve just come from church, that you’ve gotten to stroll briefly around downtown Manassas, VA, and that you’re listening to U2 with your dad.  (It’s been a long evening, but a good one.)  Moments of unusual, healthy, necessary silence in an otherwise cacophonous world.

That’s all I got.  To all of you my dear followers, I love you.

But it wouldn’t be a new year if I didn’t quote this song…

So everybody put your best suit or dress on
Let’s make believe that we are wealthy for just this once
Lighting firecrackers off on the front lawn
As thirty dialogues bleed into one
I wish the world was flat like the old days
And I could travel just by folding the map
No more airplanes or speed trains or freeways
There’d be no distance that could hold us back

– “The New Year”, Death Cab for Cutie

To anyone and everyone reading this, I wish you a merry Christmastide, and a blessed new year.  Peace to you.

In Terra, Pax

“What ever happened to White Christmases?” is kind of a silly question where I live, because they never existed in the first place.  To be honest, I hold nothing against any of the people who enjoyed a nice 6-inch-think sheet of snow outside their houses as they sipped their hot cocoa and opened gifts this morning…  But even I think that a high of 70 is a bit ludicrous.  Evidently it’s just not in the town budget to afford snow on Christmas Day, which is understandable.  It’s definitely in high demand this time of year.  As long as we get a respectable amount in January and February, I’ll be happy.

So, it was fog and not snow through which the streetlamps shone in the streets of the town below as I stood in the church parking lot last night.  And it was strange.  But I was kind of okay with it.

Funny how the more you think about things, the more sense they seem to make.  Because as I drove slowly through the ethereally backlit clouds of mist on the way home, it occurred to me that what I found so enchanting about misty evenings is being limited in how far you can see.  When the edges of reality are hidden behind a sheet of monochrome, one imagines that anything could exist behind them.  You could be on a cloud, or somewhere in Europe.  Or in an uninhabited, vaguely magical carbon copy of your own hometown.

And it occurred to me that this visual handicap is an appropriate metaphor for Christmas.  When Christ the Lord was born in Bethlehem, two-thousand and sixteen years ago, give or take, how few people realized the implications of his coming.  For though He appeared but the average child of a poor / middle class young family, His coming was heralded by an army of heavenly splendor, and a fantastical star illumining the sky.  And at the edges of reality, shrouded by the mist, lay His future, His Passion, death, and Resurrection: the future of the whole human race.

That such awe-inspiring power and divinity came down to earth contained in human form is a mystery we will never entirely understand, though many have explicated its essence well.  It too hangs over our lives like a mist, and is equally as enchanting and mystifying…

Just some thoughts this Christmas Day.  Or night, that is.  I hope you, dear reader are enjoying your evening, and I wish you peace, and joy, and a very merry Christmas, and pray to God to bless you abundantly.

But what would Christmas be without the annual Window Philosopher Christmas Playlist?  (And there is still plenty of time to enjoy it, right?  Epiphany’s still a ways off.  🙂

God bless, and good night.  Christus est natus!  Gloria in excelsis Deo, et in terra pax, alleluia, alleluia!

Like Wine Pairing, but Not Really (Also, Hi Again)

Heyyo, peoples of the internet!  So… how’ve you been?  *sigh*  I hate being so busy.  I rather feel as though I’m neglecting you all.  But I’ve got a moment now, so I thought I would post something to cap off the evening.

An idea came to me the other day, you see (well, really two ideas).  The first is, since I am an avid listener of independent music, and, by His grace and blessing, a follower of Christ, to combine these two aspects into something interesting.  (Maybe.  Hopefully.)

The other idea is to post small pieces of Laudato Si, reflect on them, and open a space for discussion.  So that will be coming soon.  In the mean time… well, it’s probably easiest to just show you.

I thought I would take a look at what’s at number one on the Christian charts…

… and pair it with something indie.

Why?  Because I think these two songs offer some interesting contrast to one another.

Let me start off by saying I was pleasantly surprised by “Brother”.  Family and supporting one another are both awesome themes, and the song makes deft use of its genre.  I don’t understand why the Christian station near my house doesn’t play this kind of stuff.  I might listen to it regularly if it did.

Then we have “My Body Is a Cage”, a number vastly more subdued in tone that finds its crescendo two minutes in. Arcade Fire’s songwriting and ability to inspire emotion are not in full force here, but it’s still a fine song with some fantastical instrumentation, an anthem that in fact bears a lot of similarity to our first one.

The most obvious connection between the two lies in a single word: cage. Both songs speak of being locked inside a cage; Bear Rinehart has dropped the keys face down in the desert, while Win Butler maintains that the key is in his mind. They’re tied to each other by a desire to transcend the limits of this prison.

Still, a few things set these two songs apart from each other. The setting for “Brother” is a wilderness, while “My Body Is a Cage” takes place on an empty stage. Despite the implied barrenness of such a landscape, salvation is only as far away as the chorus for our first suffering hero, whose brother is by his side to help lift him up. And we all have someone like that, don’t we? It doesn’t matter how much of an introvert you might be. We need people; we need community. That’s part of what church is all about. You could go and worship God on your own terms, under a tree or somewhere cliché like that. But how would you know if you’d fallen? With whom would you share your moments of joy? After all, “Where two or three are gathered in My name”…

(I had to. I really did.)

Does salvation come at all in the second song? It ends almost like a cliffhanger… but I like to think so.

Though the two bands bear absolutely no relation to each other in real life, one could almost view “Brother” as a sequel to “My Body Is a Cage”. Butler cries out at the end of the song, “Set my spirit free!” He exists in a surprisingly Christian world, “living in an age that calls darkness light”, and like a puzzle piece, his last realization is that sometimes the key in your mind is not enough.

And then Rinehart appears walking out of the desert, reaches out his hand, and sings: “Brother, let me be your shelter”.

Quietude

Irony is everywhere.  Take, for example, the irony of my supremely irregular posting schedule this summer after I looked forward to having more time to blog all semester.  (I’m just really really good at wasting time.)

But enough about me.  Let’s talk about you.  I hope you’ve been well, whoever you are that’s reading this.  I’m in the mood for writing something lighthearted today.  Let’s see…

Sitting here, I happen to smell something burning upstairs.  It’s quite amazing, the noses God’s given us.  I’ll admit to being a little jealous of our dog sometimes, but it’s remarkable that even my sense of smell is capable of assuring my brain it’s someone’s food that’s burning and not the house.  Of course, I could be wrong.  You can’t always trust your senses, and that’s assuming said food and house actually exist.

But we’ll shove Descartes back into his cupboard for now.  To be honest, the argument that it’s possible nothing exists but me, myself, and I has always struck me as a tad arrogant.  But I really can’t see any way to counter it.  So, maybe you’re a figment of my imagination.  Or maybe I’m a figment of yours, and if so, I apologize if ever I am annoying or disappointing.  Personally, I think I have a pretty good track record for a figment.  Any of my flaws are really the fault of your own defective imagination anyway.

I actually don’t think the English muffins are burning though.  Just well done, which for baked goods is generally the way to go.  Cookies you can eat à la tartare, but I don’t recommend eating your pancakes rare.  May I just add that if you’ve never had homemade English muffins, you absolutely must.  Find a good recipe and to your nonexistent kitchen with you.  (Many thanks to Mom, head baker.  You’re the best.)

Then again, I could be wrong that those are English muffins I smell.  Or that England exists.  Or that the song I’m currently listening to exists.  But then, that would be really sad, ’cause it’s a beautiful song.  I’m not gonna make you listen to it, but you get extra credit if you do.  Like 3 free points here on your final grade, no questions asked.  (Ugh, I’m so not ready for school to start yet.  Thank God for our beach trip next week, and I mean that with all my soul and to the credit of His name.)

It would be hard to say I’m excited for the beach (clever transition, eh?), because Cape Hatteras isn’t the kind of place you go to find bright lights and oceanfront hotels… that (*spoken with contempt*) kind of beach.  It’s literally a beach.  Dunes with grass on them.  Lots and lots of water.  No cars on the sand.  No lifeguards, even.  You can take your dog on the beach.  And if you’re that member of the family that isn’t really fond of the beach proper, there is a mini-golf course / ice cream parlor, two thrift stores, and an even less-developed neighboring island.

It’s really a beach for people who like the beach.  And it’s not something I’m excited about because I don’t get excited about quietude.  But it is something I am looking forward to a lot.  Quietude is something that only gets harder and harder to find.  It’s something I need.  It’s something we all need, really.

Unless, of course, Cape Hatteras doesn’t exist, but I choose to believe it does.  It’s too awesome not to.

Even if it’s not possible for you, dear reader, to visit the ocean any time soon, I encourage you to get your daily recommended dose of quietude today.  Close your door.  Meditate.  Pray.  And then venture forth into the world to be awesome.  😉  You got this.

While we’re making lists, stay hydrated.  Can’t tell you how important that is.  Make sure you eat something (healthy), find something that makes you smile, tell your best friend you love them.  Give yourself a break from the internet, maybe.  In short, dear reader, take care of yourself.

Assuming you exist.  But then, you are at least as awesome as the beach, so I don’t doubt that.

Be sure to drink your Ovaltine quietude, and God bless you.

Here’s a little something to go with your quietude this afternoon:

Pax vobiscum,

Luke

Thoughts and Introspections, Part 1: Voices from the WordPress Community

The past few days have seen a lot of thinking on my part about the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in all 50 states.

I usually make a point of not prompting political discussions here at WP, if only because they so easily devolve into raised tempers and polemics.  But the issue at hand is not political.  It is social.  It is ethical.  For people of any faith, from atheism to Christianity, it is also spiritual.

This is an issue about which I am still not finished praying and thinking.  I cannot disagree with what is in the Bible and the Catechism if I truly believe them to be the divinely inspired Word of God and the definitive reference of what can be interpreted from it, respectively.  Nevertheless, I don’t believe I have grounds to object to the Supreme Court’s ruling.  We do live in a country based on a secular, democratic civil government, and I cannot expect the State to adhere to my religious beliefs.

Really, that’s no longer relevant.  What has been decided has been decided, and it ain’t gonna change.  What is important now is how we, as Christians, respond.  I hate that the issue has already passed from the 72-hour span during which our intellectually crippled mass media is capable of remembering anything that has ever happened in the world, but it has taken me this long to formulate a response.  I post this because there are still questions I need to ask myself, and perhaps that others have yet to ask themselves.  In the hope of formulating at least some sort of guideline for beginning to answer these questions.

With that in mind, I would like to introduce several viewpoints from other bloggers I have found throughout the WordPress community.  My method of researching these opinions was, I admit, not very thorough.  I browsed through the “Christianity” tag on WP a few days back, curating posts written across roughly an 8 hour time span.  As such, there are probably many other thought-provoking posts I haven’t read.  So, if you like, I encourage you to browse through looking for posts on the topic as well.  You may come across some real gems.  I also encourage you to read the posts I quote below in their entirety.  They are most certainly

What follows are three points made by some fellow WP bloggers on the subject of Christianity and the legalization of same-sex marriage that I found novel and/or thought-provoking and which approach the issue with understanding, with a few more to follow in my next post.  They are points I probably wouldn’t have thought about otherwise.  We all gaze from a window at the same vista, as it were, but we often see it more clearly through others’ eyes.

Without further ado:

1. Understand What Compassion Is, and Practice It

Emmy Potter, of The Art of Making Art, writes:

“This is the moment, like the one I had with my best friend all those years ago, that Christians have a choice in how we respond to those who are reaching out to us, and I fear many of us are going to choose the wrong response. Some of us already have.

“Being compassionate doesn’t mean you are condoning the words and actions of another. It doesn’t mean you have to agree with anything. Being compassionate means putting someone else’s feelings above your own. It means listening and seeking to understand another person’s sufferings as best as you can totally free of judgment.” [1]

Compassion.  Oh, compassion.  I really believe this is essential to approaching all the complicated social, economic, and geological quandaries we are faced with today.

Potter’s definition of compassion is as accurate as it is well-written, and, as she goes on to note, it is this type of love — compassion — that Christ best exemplified when He sacrificed Himself for you, for me, for all of humanity on Calvary.  We are called to the same.  Even if one is against the Supreme Court ruling and feels as though the world is against them, Potter writes, “The irony is that is exactly how the LGBT community has felt for hundreds of years. It is how I feel sometimes as a woman in this country. It is how my African American friends feel. We’re all in this thing together, and the sooner we start treating one another that way with true compassion, the better off we are in the end.”

2. Recognize Our Shared Brokenness and Continue Our Mission of Love

rab0325 writes:

“I don’t really care about your supposed sexual identity or whether you are straight or homosexual or black or white or Latino or Indian or some other race or culture. When I look at you, yeah I see all that stuff and I’m human so I have first thoughts and first opinions, but I start processing immediately and working to set all that aside. Because when I look at you, when I really look at you what keeps me awake at night… what I lose sleep over and think about day in and day out and cry over and worry over and constantly go to God with… is your life, is your salvation, is your deliverance, is your healing, is your faith, is your forgiveness, is your broken heart, is your unfed soul, is your broken spirit, is your lost loved ones, is the thing you weep over, is the thing you hurt most for, is the pain and suffering you have endured… I could go on and on because I know it’s tough out there and this is a cruel world in many ways, but what I break over the most – and this is me being me – it’s your identity in Christ.” [2]

This very much goes hand in hand with compassion.  We are all broken; there is no denying that.  Compassion should lead us to this next step, which rab0325 describes so passionately: solidarity.  Ministry.  Reaching out to hold the hand of our brothers and sisters.

“Your rights won’t save you. New laws in your land won’t save you. New “love” or a rallied around flag won’t save you. Oh, and by the way, your church won’t save you either” rab0325 goes on.  “Our hearts still need to break and bleed for the lost. So join with me again, let’s take our eyes off the rainbows and the running colors of old red and blue conspiracies and let’s join hands and get back into the battle for souls. The hurting and the needy didn’t go away this past month, they went unnoticed.”  We can’t ignore issues like this, but we can’t get caught up either.  We’ve got a mission to do.

3. Stop Acting Like Bratty Schoolchildren, No Matter What Side You’re On

Cody Paige writes:

“I saw people reduce themselves to bratty schoolyard children and felt disheartened on so many levels. There was very little pure respect and compassion for others, that I witnessed. It was just so hateful, even if you were happy with Gay Marriage being legalized. No one could see past the passion of their beliefs to see what was going on.

“It was like now we all have to fill out a checklist of things we agree with or disagree with to be friends. Don’t agree with me? Well then, I’m done with you.” [3]

Fellowship, compassion, solidarity…  These should not be based on some checklist of beliefs.  And there were without doubt childishly mean-spirited remarks exchanged this past weekend.  But perhaps the most damning line (and rightly so) I have read in anything written on the subject was this:

“Yesterday wasn’t a victory in my eyes simply because of how we treated each other. Our true colors showed, and it wasn’t a pretty picture.”

Whatever side you find yourself on, no matter the issue, loses when compassion is forgotten.  Ouch.  It’s a reminder I know I could use.  Heck, it means I even have to show compassion towards people who don’t use serial commas, and that’s sure asking a lot.

I agree.  This can’t be seen as a victory when its aftermath was so… unloving.  The good news is that we are always, always given a second chance.  So let’s learn from our mistakes, and move forward in love.  Let’s not repeat this.

This has been a long post, but I’m so grateful to you for sticking around until the end.  I sincerely hope you got something out of this endeavor in making sense of my thoughts and the world.  If there is anyone of LGBT identity reading this, I understand that the world, orthodox Christians included, is often unkind to you.  Be patient with us, try to understand where we’re coming from, and you have my word that I will do the same for you.   Disagreement may or may not be erased, but it is only ever resolved through dialogue, gentleness, and respect.  That, I am convinced, is truly when love wins.

And above all else, pray always.

Pax vobiscum,

Luke

Works Cited

1.  Potter, Emmy.  “Life, Liberty, the Pursuit of Compassion.”  The Art of Making Art.  28 June 2015.  Online.

2.  rab0325.  “Battle Lines Made of Rainbows, Flags, Hearts and Souls… Thoughts for the Journey.”  A Journey – Life Should Be a Journey.  28 June 2015.  Online.

3.  Paige, Cody.  “We Are a Bunch of Bratty School Kids.”  Cody Paige Blog.  28 June 2015.  Online.

Jesus, Etc. (An Analysis)

One of the most interesting things about works of art is the people who experience them.  Our individual differences, subtle though they may be, result in countless interpretations of the same work of art.  How does one figure out which one is right?  Is there even a “right” interpretation of art?

I don’t know.  Even if I had more than a vague familiarity with aesthetic philosophy, I doubt I would; art just boggles the mind and slips free from every attempt to categorize or explain it.  But it is fascinating that two different listeners of the same song could take away two entirely different messages from it.

Sometimes the difference boils down to a single word.  Take, for example, the song “Jesus, Etc.” by Wilco:

Lovely little tune.  But it’s the first few words that got me thinking: “Jesus, don’t cry / You can rely on me, honey”.

Is the name of Jesus being used as an interjection, or is Jesus being addressed?  Let’s assume the former for a minute.  It’s the usage one would immediately suppose, this song coming from a secular artist.  In that case, the song is probably addressed to a lover experiencing some sort of grief.  Casting the song in a non-religious spotlight, some have gone so far as to interpret the line “Our love is all of God’s money / Everyone is a burning sun” as “effectively stripping God of his might while empowering us to recognize the value of our relationships while we can”. [1]

Things become much more interesting, even a tad uncomfortable,  if we assume that Jesus is the one being addressed in this song.  Who calls Jesus “honey”?  Seriously.  And yet, there is something to be said for this.  Shouldn’t we be that intimate with Jesus?

The aforementioned line about God’s money is also entirely redefined by reading it through the lens of religion:

 “Our love is all of God’s money,” Tweedy sings – meaning, of course, that the sum total of love in the world is what God’s got to work with. We set the limit on it – it can be as finite or infinite as we want it to be, depending on how loving we ourselves are. It is almost as though the song suggests that God’s strength is somehow the strength of human beings – that the two forces are one, and thus God has a strange sort of reliance on humans (for their redemptive work performed on His behalf), just as human beings need to rely on God, on the Love which represents Him.

-Sam Buntz | The Muted Trumpet  [2]

Buntz goes on to note the role reversal of the singer offering comfort to Jesus instead of vice versa.  Crying is a part of being human, and Jesus did weep just as we do (John 11:35).  But in this song, says Buntz, “Christ then appears as a figure standing in the midst of apocalypse, affected by the very catastrophes that are befalling creation: ‘Tall buildings shake / Voices escape / Singing sad, sad songs / Tuned to chords / Strung down your cheek / Bitter melodies / Turning your orbit around’”.

What we have then, are two separate conclusions.  By the end of the song, are we saved by the love within us apart from God, or is, as Buntz suggests, “the love that burns in human beings” Christ Himself?  Which did the songwriter intend?  Which is the valid interpretation?

In the end, there’s no way to answer that.  (The anti-intentionalist school of thought goes so far as to argue the author’s intention is totally irrelevant and should not be considered.)  And if we can’t even agree as to whether the songwriter’s take should matter to us individually, then perhaps finding an objective definition of an inherently subjective thing (art) is a wild goose chase.

Still, I think the song takes on a much deeper meaning when interpreted from a religious perspective.  Anyone else is quite entitled to their own opinion.  In fact, I encourage you to listen to it again.  I haven’t touched on all the lyrics, so think about them.  Draw your own conclusions.  (Is it implied that Jesus is smoking, for example?  What could that mean?)  And by all means, comment with your thoughts.  There are so many questions to be found in every single thing we encounter that one could easily get lost.  Still, discussion is the thing that keeps wisdom alive.

Just a little amateur philosophy for a Saturday night.  Next on the to do list: calling in an order for Chinese food.  Maybe in the next post we can talk about whether it’s okay to name a kind of chicken after a military officer despite it having no connection to him whatsoever…

Works Cited

1.  radiocures.   “Wilco – ‘Jesus, etc.’ Meaning”.  HubPages.  26 February 2010.  Online.

2.  Buntz, Sam.  “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot: Desire’s Apocalypse”.  The Muted Trumpet.  18 November 2012.  Online.