Monday, March 7, 2011

Seeking Order in a Chaotic World

I love talking to my friend, Jane. She stimulates my thinking beyond where I would normally go. Under my "Men Defining Sweet for Women" post we had a lively discussion about Greek myths and how we have inherited some of the ways they think and some of their attitudes in Western culture and how some of that thinking has infiltrated the church.

She brought up the Greek god, Dionysus and some of the debasing rituals that women had to go through to become part of this cult and how that relates today to the porn industry and porn entering the church via preachers who preach on sex and pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable in the marriage bed. She also brought up the link between porn, debasing women, and the teaching of strict gender roles and hierarchy within marriage and church. You can see her comments and her two links under that February 21 post.

And as I said, her comments and connections starts my brain up and I begin to make connections of my own. Because once a person brings up Dionysus, the Greek god of "wine, music, ecstasy, and intoxication," the first thing that jumps into my head is Dionysus's brother, Apollo, the Greek god of the "sun, dreams, reason, and plastic visual arts."

And the reason I associate these two gods together is because of a college course that I took back in the 80s on Aesthetics that used these two gods as opposing forces in the movements of art and music.

Here is a short Wiki explanation of this philosophy:

Now, I actually have more to say on the push and pull of these opposing forces and how they relate to art, music, and literature. But before I get into any of that, if I ever get into that, let me point out how much this thinking affects us.

If Dionysus represents chaos and lack of order, then Apollo represents structure and order. And we humans have a tendency to crave order. Chaos and being unsure of things or not understanding things stresses us out. We always have to come up with reasons for things. And I've noted that Art, Science, Religion, and Literature are all means of making sense out of a world that doesn't always makes sense.

Let's look back at Job whom we talked about last Friday, March 4th. Job's friends suffered from an intense desire to make sense out of a situation that made no sense. From their limited understanding of God and our fallen world, they tried to superimpose reason or order on the chaos that Job suffered. But their reason and order were terribly inadequate and faulty. We can learn from their mistake and not jump to conclusions about situations that don't make sense. That is one of the things that prayer is for. It is finite and limited us reaching out to the infinite and unlimited God who knows the end from the beginning.

The infinite God did eventually answer Job. We can learn this from Job's story as well. There is an answer. One that we may not be able to see but that God sees plainly. This is what faith is for. Knowing that there is a God and that there is One who is in control and Who can answer and Who will answer. And it is God who can bring order to our chaos. But we must make sure that we are actually seeking God's answers and not what finite men with a Western Civilization Apollonian drive say that the answers are.

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