I’ve got to let go of Kenny. South Park has been going on twenty-two years and I’ve been obsessing on Kenny nearly that whole time. Kenny keeps dying and dying and living again. That never bores me actually, but maybe I’ve had enough. There are books to read… I need to take a walk…
On a walk I encounter this-ness, haecceity – you gotta love this God. This tree, this stone in my shoe, the smell of the wet bark. The infinite is lonely and mostly empty space, and before all that lonely and empty space there is just a little matter here and there throughout the universe. Or so we’re told and I believe it. But there is here and now (that I keep reminding you, reminding myself, is past but it feels here, it feels now. It’s not the logically necessary specious present; it’s what is felt, the phenomena. I pay attention: this tree, this pebble in my shoe…)
My complaint against God is that our all-knowing God seems to be such a slow learner. All those millennia where biological beings developed sensory perception and experience, we soon gained the knowledge that pain hurts. Was God just standing outside creation, observing, tweaking this and that cosmos when life began? With life came pleasure and pain. Was that God’s first tickle, first breath, but maybe God was somehow outside of this creation until fully identified with the creation. In Christianity we call it “the incarnation”, when God became one of us, although in all humility we must allow for at least the possibility that there is an ameba Christ, a plankton Jesus.
Christian teachings would have it that the particular human experience is most identified with God, the messy birth, breast milk on God’s infant lips. And maybe only in the crucifixion, when the God-Son experiences personally and intensely and definitively death, that everything was changed because God experienced pain and death as a phenomenological truth – no turning back on this, God. Yeah, death sucks but at least then the pain stops, at least if you’re the one who is dead.
(I think of Mary at the foot of the cross, that she might not have ever got over that moment, how absent she seems in all the resurrection scenes because she didn’t care so much about the magic trick, another resurrection. Okay. Welcome back, son. But they’ll do it all again, and nothing you’ve done changes that for anyone, even for you. You’ve still got the holes in your hands, and the slit in your side, for God’s sake…)
Yet as discussed before, we exist in the present while we can only know what is just past, even if we experience it as present. That’s the difference between us and God, a big difference. We enter into this knowing, or something akin to knowing, when we shut up and are still, quit putting things out there which are artifacts of the present even as we are still working on them, even a single word we speak. The Word is different than our words, beautifully expressed by the Jewish practice of refusing to express it, spelling it with a dash marking an empty space, G-D.