The Unbearable

New York Times suggests 11 ways to be a better person in 2017. Its first suggestion is to live like Bill. Bill Cunningham was an American fashion photographer. He also wandered around on his bicycle and took some immortal photos. Times asks us to live by his words: “Once people own you, they can tell what you to do. So don’t let ’em.”
But is it ok? Don’t we wish to be owned? Don’t we wish to have a sister or a friend who ask us to be careful while drive? or ask us to tidy up the room or not to be out in the night too long? What sort of life you have when you don’t belong to anyone? What is preferable, your total independence or being owned by someone?
Being owned means a heaviness. You are not a feather in the air. You may be a kite in the wind but someone is there down holding the string. Being independent means a lightness, you are a free bird, no strings attached. You are not answerable to anyone, you don’t send your map location to anyone, neither there’s someone to locate you. What is preferable, heaviness or lightness?
This is the problem with which Czech novelist Milan Kundera opens his greatest novel, The Unbearable Lightness of Being. It is a shame that Kundera has not yet received a Nobel prize. The Unbearable lightness is enough to be worthy of Nobel.
Kundera examines the position of Greek philosopher Parmenides who lived in the sixth century before Christ. He saw the world divided into pairs of opposites: light/darkness, fineness/coarseness, warmth/cold, being / non-being. Which one is positive? Parmenides responded: lightness is positive and weight is negative. Milan kundera asks, “but is heaviness truly deplorable and lightness splendid?” It is true that heaviness crushes us and pins us to the ground. Kundera reminds us that in the love poetry of every age, the woman longs to be weighed down by man’s body so, “the heaviest of the burden is also simultaneously an image of life’s most intense fulfilment. The heavier the burden, the closer our lives comes to the earth, the more real and truthful they become.” The absolute absence of burdens makes us light. We can leave earth behind and its gravitational pull and be winged. Kundera says that with this lightness we become only half real. These movements are free as they are insignificant.
Responsibility is something that makes lives burdensome. The moment you take up the responsibility, you feel a burden on your shoulder. You can’t but worry about that person, you are compelled to sacrifice everything for him or her. You toil and die because you are responsible. What is bearable?
Kundera’s answer is that burden is bearable and lightness is unbearable, the unbearable lightness of being. However burdensome, we all wish to belong and belonged. Like a character in Sartre’s drama, we all long, “if I were indispensable to someone!” Everybody is in search of such an indispensable person. Your meaning of life depends on that person. Your life is worth living because of that person. Happiness means I’m together with someone.
But as you are with that person, you feel the agonising aspect of love which pulls and repels at the same time, don’t you also run away from her or him? There is that secret impossibility of love which makes no one indispensable You know that even the greatest love will become a skeleton of feeble memory as time goes by. You feel that push and pull of love. You may be like Musil’s Ulrich who says, “I fled thousand miles away from the woman I loved, and once I felt safe from any possibility of really embracing her, I howled for her like a dog at the moon.” Perhaps, love flourishes not in the presence of the lover but in the absence.
David Foster Wallace looks at the issue from the another perspective. He says, “you don’t have to think very hard to realise that our dread of both relationships and loneliness has to do with angst about death, the recognition that I’m going to die, and die very much alone, and the rest of the world is going to go merrily on without me.” Death is the force that pushes us to love because tomorrow I may not be here to love. I should love today, what if there is no tomorrow? Death is the force that pulls us away from love because tomorrow I will die. I can’t be forever with the person I love. He or she will live on merrily without me. I must learn to be lonely to die alone.
It is better to have a married life and live with its bearable burden. Still, there are people who live a life of unbearable lightness. A monk must live this hard life of lightness. Of course, this life has no particular meaning. Meaning is not everything, we can also do some experiment with life. I prefer to observe life than to live because thousands are living their life. Why can’t I be an observer of passing clouds? Perhaps, one who swims in the sea doesn’t know what is sea, but one who gazes for hours from the shore may know what is the sea. He grabs a meeting point where he dissolves his soul into it. He must train himself in solitude and loneliness. But should not let loneliness to eat away his soul. Your heart must be as vast as the sea, then nothing can destroy you. You are here to live alone even if it’s not good for man to live alone.

The Religion

What are the fundamental confusions about religion? What if the region is not about belief? What if religion is not about truth? What if religion is not about God? What if the religion not about other life, heaven, faraway place? What if religion is about renewing, recovering, and reforming? What if religion is about intimate loving relationships? These are the questions Bruno Latour tries to deal in his extremely provocative book, Rejoicing: or the Torments of Religious Speech. It is both a satisfying and scandalous book, intriguing and scandalizing book in a way only a masterful work can do. The greatest influence on Bruno Latour is Michel Serres. Both Bruno Latour Michel Serres think that religion must be understood from its complex etymologies derived from relegare (to read over again), religare (to attach, bind, tie together) or religiens (care, carefulness). In this sense, religion is not about belief but about concern. This can make religion secular, mundane and worldly. For Bruno Latour, religion is historically and materially embedded phenomenon. It means that “religion does not speak of things but from things.” Bruno Latour is a practicing Catholic, still, his notion of God has nothing to do with the mode of existence we call as scientific. He is God is purely imminent one, “a God that does not exist outside the procession and rituals that make God present.” Says Graham Harman. Bruno Latour specifies this God as G. It is to neutralize​ some of the dogmatic categories that have been accumulated upon it by centuries of theistic tradition.
Latour laments the fact that the religion doesn’t mean anything real today. Religion has lost its tonality, regime of speech and utterance. He is ashamed of both what he hears from the pulpit and of the incredulous hatred or indifference of those who laugh at anyone who goes to the church. He wonders, “what monsters metamorphosis makes what one had so much meaning became absolutely meaningless like blast of words freezing on the lips of convicts in the Siberian cold.” As a result, neither belief nor non-belief distinguishes those who talk about religion from those so do not. In this discussion Latour doesn’t care about what is in the beginning and what counts for him is what comes just after that. Latour strikes hard at the fact that words have lost their meaning. How? We could have kept the meaning only by changing words. Clerics piously prefer the words at the risk of losing​ the meaning. “They have left us, the rest of us, we late comers, ignoramuses, starters, equipped with the words that have become untruthful for the purpose of recording the real things we hold dear to our hearts.” An example is word, God. Latour thinks that it could have been translated as “indisputable framework of ordinary existence”. If not, we will be pitting God against non-God and translating the same everyday reality as God, substituting one word for another thus making it a scandal. In the beginning, the word God did not make anyone to stumble when it was shared as the starting point of all discourses. But today it does stumble. Faithful did not recognize​ the fact by keeping the world intact, they were abandoning the meaning: thus making the word God synonymy of non-God. In an attempt to save the word, we lost have the treasure, the meaning: “whoever will save his life shall lose it” (Matthew 16:21) If this word, God has become synonym of God, then atheism is the preferable point of departure from God, since it provides an indisputable framework for common action and thereby more closely resembling the expression ‘helpful God’, from the days when people raised their hands towards the heaven in the presence of misfortune than any current invocation to God whose life form has passed.”

If everything is upside down in such a fashion, what should we do? Latour has this yearning “what I really need is something new, I need the psalter no one has set to verse, the collection of songs no one has compiled, of holy pictures no one has coloured in.” Who doesn’t have such a thirst? Who doesn’t earn for a renewal? We all know the great fact that the church is collapsing in many countries, centuries ago we stopped rebuilding to prevent this collapse. Our mountainous deficit is increasing day by day. Latour knows the answer, all that is left is two gaping ruins the one for sheltering the people on the inside, the other only good for expelling the people on the other side.” The church was failed terribly to hold people together, to keep the meaning of the words. Look at the horrible situation of the sermons, they multiply words which don’t have any meaning. We, overburdened listeners wish to run as fast our legs can carry. We cannot give genuine interpretation without renewal. For that word must not be taken seriously because it doesn’t circulate, only meaning circulates. The faithful have betrayed the meaning. The transformation is possible only through the translation that keeps the meaning intact, not the words.

Latour gives the example of how to preserve the meaning by changing the world. He says that, even if we have to turn it, skew it, or project a cube down inside the space of a descriptive geometry, none of its relationships will be lost; even if appearances are drastically altered every time. Same is the case with the computer assisted design, movie special effects, GPRS. Their form goes different but content remains the same. But a map is quite different. Religion is quite different from a map. They don’t give access to a familiar turf. They don’t hold. “No treasure hunts, no reversible paths, either.” Unlike the science which is possible without imitation and faithfulness, religion can’t convey anything without transforming it from top to bottom. What science gives us is a transformation and information while religion tries to give transformation and translation.

What is this religious speech? There is no other example of its other than that of a love-talk between lovers. But as soon as we talk of lovers the letter and the spirit part the company. In love talk, we don’t map out any reference instead we seek to produce something else entirely: the near and far, closeness or distance. Just like the amorous talk the aim of the religious talk is not to distill information through the chain of graduated documents, each of which serve material for making the next one, “the thing is that, with these sentences, which are mysterious as they are banal, we hope to get closer and not move further away. They don’t provide any access, they don’t teach anything about anything, they don’t drive, they don’t form holds we can get any kind of grape on. You don’t go anywhere with them.” We will be able to dispose of the superfluous burden of belief once we decline to look for access to the distant. But if we want to get closer to the person you are addressing, and then what you gather will never be information. Belief in belief can only make the revival of religious life impossible because it engenders the illusion of another world to which religious discourses by some miraculous somersault, would provide exclusive access. There is no spiritual world but only a material world. If there is a spiritual world it will be of science. The big bang theory, oceanography, number theory, all have the spiritual characteristics.

The religious speech must bring profound disappointment in this regard to the faithful. Because we can never use them to proceed to secrets superior to the secrets of science. religion doesn’t help us to unravel the mysteries of the universe. Instead, religion changes us. Latour following Michael Sarah’s understanding of angels says that “angels do not convey messages; they change those they address. what they transfer is not an information content, but a new container.” Angels transforming the interlocutor establish a communication, ‘you are wanted on the phone.’

So we have to go through the fundamental disappointment, religion leads nowhere because there is no other. We can fill up our frustrations with the spectacle of higher truths, we can quell the anguish of death with the invocation of another world. But they are of no use. Science may hear our prayers but not the religion. In religion, no questions will be resolved and no mystery revealed. Then what? Only this fact will be given,” He has risen, he’s not here. behold the place where they laid him.” (Mark 16:6) Resurrection does not give any sign, no answer to the great questions of existence. The world is high enough, transcendent enough, full enough, aired enough. By depriving ourselves of another world, we stop deceiving ourselves. We need to accept the fact that we are in the world known to science, and inhabited by common sense, “to have a chance of talking precisely about religion, you have first of all to love the science with all your might, with all your heart, with all your soul and the respect the worlds they leave in their wakes.” The world of the science is enough for us to be religious, it provides us with several ways of living. We don’t need any up words to live such a life but a down world moves to the linguistic acts that transform interlocutors without in any way diminishing out thirst for knowledge. Religious speech transforms us right down, right now, the very moment they address you. Just like love talk, religious speech transforms someone distant into someone close. Which is a conversion.

Mystery, faith, conversion, these things are obscure when placed in a transcendental realm. But in imminence they are clear. So, “mysterious does not refer to what is hidden, obscure or coded, but to what is risky, clever and well done.” Religion is not about unfathomable mysteries. Latour’s idea becomes more clear when he speaks about Pentecost. The Scripture says that at the Pentecost everyone understood the glad tidings. To hear this good tiding, the people didn’t shed their ethnicity. All those diverse people found themselves gripped from the word. It placed on them only one difficult demand: conversion. Once they converted, they all understood the same message in their own tongue at Pentecost through the intercession of the Holy Spirit. But this Pentecost is far away from us now. It is not near anymore, and there is no transformation either, so, the message is equally foreign to all tongue, to all people, to all times. Latour asks, “how can we not cry bitter tears before this reversal of the figure of the universal, all the forms of catholicity?” For a transformation, we need a reversal of looking for what is stable across space and time. We need to change the way we put space and time together. Pentecost was not GPRS, the GPRS allows to know where we are in pointing of latitude and longitude. But we have a kind of exactitude and truth when we understand what is having the same glad tidings in our own tongue, “information and networks have their grandeur, their importance, their efficacy, their spirituality, if you like, but in the end, they don’t amount to a Pentecost. The Apostles did not adapt their message to all different tongue. What people had owned that pleasant day was a different form of progressive universalization​. The word placed on them one demand to convert them to be part of the same people, to be faithful of one tradition, to be trustees of the same message whose meaning would be spoken to their tongue.”

Latour asks “can we produce this kind of emotional shock ever again? How can we save religion?Latour says we need to go back to the utterly banal example of the Lover’s dialogue. We know that lovers repeat their ‘I love you’ thousands of time. Still, they will ask each other ‘do you love me’, to get back the same love everlasting over time. We preserve these ‘same’ not by maintaining a substance over time and space. Neither it comes down from the past to present. Rather it takes off from the present and goes back to past, changing and deepening the past’s foundation. Pentecost did the same, to produce the same unity, unification and the universal which converted the people gathered for the feast, when they heard the same message in their own tongue, it made them a lot closer, for the first time, deepening that the same feeling of belonging. “The strangers with their strange customs, actually turned out to be our brothers, in spite of the diversity.”
If it doesn’t happen today, it is because we began to assume that behind every story, regardless of its twists and turns, there is a unique substance, impervious to changes, which remains always what it was on the first day, would explain the diversity of the acts of conversion. Latour shows courage to say that the constant universal God, the substantial God, that standard God is mere artefact, mere pseudoscientific proposition. He is “scholarly hope, castrated- libido sciendi interupta.” Latour says that God is not substance but love, the ever-changing love which turns enemies into lovers. Perhaps he is as fragile as love because one wrong word can put love into crisis. Then love becomes a folly, because this crisis puts love to flow from past to present. But as soon as lovers come close the again, all the moments of being apart seem​ like a moment of incomprehensible madness to them. Then love through a retrospective movement begin to flow from present to past.

So it is present that is at issue, not the past. The religious utterances shall not fall heavily from past to present. It springs from the present to revive the past and open up the future. It is then the unity and identity and union of people find itself reformed. In our time religious utterances are evaporating because the words which are supposed to give life are set in a different history, space and culture to address the people in remote. Thus they are not addressed to us, here and now but to those in very ancient times. We feel them as ranting, ridiculous pomposity, crazy make-believe. We have been inventing all sorts of unconvincing compromises between access words and words of salvation, without managing to benefit from the advantages of either offer. Again those words, “don’t have the slightest effect; mediocre, they slide off our lives like rain on a windscreen.” By hearing these torrent of insanity, we cannot form a holy nation but only a group of strangers, sometimes enemies as if nothing can bring us together.” Latour calls his quarrel with the religion as lover’s quarrel. He still sticks to his pew because he believes that behind all this in infelicity conditions lie the facility conditions intact. But in all these quarrels, he feels divided, at war with himself, “when it comes to the kiss of peace, I become a monument of flash dedicated hypocrisy and blasphemy polluted by mental reservations like unto a whited sepulcher​.” Latour clearly diagnosis the situation of clergy who perform all sorts of advertisements and dodgy compromises. Why we can’t resist this waywardness and go for a purification? Why do we forget the fact that, “the most solid looking fortifications no longer offered any more resistant than a simple line drawn in the sand with a finger.”

The religion now spreads everywhere without shocking anyone. Rather it applies to offer some myopic consolations like a more ideal, a feeling of the infinite, a call to one’s conscience, a richer in the life, access to the great all. Then “what, a lot of poppycock that God is!” This is not a Pentecost but anti-Pentecost which does not address to me right now, but everyone, anytime, anywhere. “By trying to serve the religion from the fire of criticism, we have transformed it into a bland universal that doesn’t even have the solid networks of physical constants to back it up. By trying to preserve something of this long religious experience, in spite of everything, we have lost everything. As always, purity is indeed the vitriol of the soul. The supreme temptation that must be resisted.”

How to be faithful once more and how? Latour laments the fact of empty churches of Europe. In the name of holy freedom, Europe destroyed the institutions that brought them into existence. He is sure that one day it will have to hold accountable, the spoiled, rotten, rotting, spoiling generation of ours. It is time we worked days from heaven to look and appreciate the world. We should be worldly again because “if revelation there is, it will come from below, in the very thing our intellect seeks to explain, and not from above, shedding false light on it.” It is the past that dwells upon heaven but the present is the matter of the below. The Past drastically differs from the present, so the new talk must differ from the talk of the past. It doesn’t mean that we have to innovate. We need only to represent the same. Latour here proposes the ‘the repetition of renewal’. One of the things that remove the freshness and efficacy of the word is the solid state of tradition and its moral weight. The tradition forgets the fact of truthful machinery which produces religious expressions, produces within the tradition of the word. What looked truth may become lie to the flow of time, if we repeat the word from being a conduit to become an obstacle, the lying truth. So, “to mark the transfer from one time to another, the words have had to be made to undergo minor but violent to twisting. This twisting is not adaptation, deformtion, adjustment, modernisation, but total transformation, since, instead of referring to the distant past, it forces us to refer to the present.” Now, how such a radical transformation is possible? The answer is “by grasping it in such a way that it becomes inappropriate for all other uses.” We must efficaciously revive the tradition to bring forth the present. We should make all exegesis equal to a mundane and tedious expression of, ‘I love you.’ Thus a dazzling tension is added to the worn out words by putting them in the process of making sense again. As if in a love talk, all the unbearable lies will become dazzling truth again.Truth knows only the present, when we relegate it to in the past, it is a lie. Even history becomes truth only when it moves from present to the past.

Latour likens religious speech to the fabric Dante speaks about in Paradise, which keeps shrinking: “for it to keep its length, bits have added to it endlessly.” Lies and elaborations are constitutive components of religion, since utterances and rituals must always be brought forward or backward if they are to continue to be true in the present, and we can’t perform such sliding, such shaking movements or drifts except by twisting venerable words round, wrenching them from their past context to get them to say something topical that they have never signified.” Inspired phrases always inspire something new. All the sacred text are on the way to defeat death by their rhythm, cadence and structure. The enemies of this text are not lies or embellishments but the banality of sentimentality. Science opts for naked truths. But religion opts for truths warmly dressed in its veils of padded velvet. Deleuze has similar opinion. He says that philosophy does not consist in knowing and it’s not inspired by truth. Rather, it is categories like interesting, remarkable or importance that determines success or failure.

Latour turns his attention to the Apostles Creed, what it means to us today? Do they deserve much attention? Can we ever simplify them? The Apostle’s Creed is smitten by the demon of rationalization​. “In giving the impression of talking more logically, they stripped from a mystery of cleverness to a mystery of absurdity. This paradox-no, this diabolical trap-is something we have to outsmart.” What it means when we say that “Jesus has risen”? We all know that it is a connection passage. We don’t actually understand it. So to understand it we add an equally non-understanding episode, the empty tomb episode. Its proof is the shroud is lying on the floor of the tomb. The resurrection is not so much a miraculous event but to produce a meaning of it, we indulge in handing out miracles and we rationalize​ it as if it is a scientific event. In everything devil triumphs. Then we will never understand what actually it is.

The expression ‘virgin mother’ has been incomprehensible for a long time. Then came a rationalization​ and their dogmas which claim that ‘Mary was born without sin existed for all eternity and did not know the original sin of Eve’s children, a divine plan hidden from the mankind and kept her in reserve so that she should become immaculate. All these rational gymnastics only to cover up the fact that, ‘God has been born of a simple woman which is incomprehensible to logic.’ He says that “it is not irrationality that makes it untruthful but excess rationalisation.” Another way death and the devil have destroyed religion is to make it belief in an all powerful, all knowing God who is outside history, absolutely stable an enduring standard and yardstick of values and assets. Sacred text is overloaded with footnotes, interpolations, exaggeration and elaboration; except the original impulse which alone is capable of producing new meanings. Once we have the original impulse, there can be deformation, information and elaboration which must work on the original impulse. But when we rationalised everything to avoid misunderstanding, the misunderstandings only mushroomed. So we have to come closer to the original source but the original source “is not in the past but in the present, always in the present, the only asset we have.”

Even if all the expression of the church is going headlong down, Latour says that he wants to belong to the Church. we are seduced by the symbolic reading which allows us to tuck the letter and spirit conveniently away. When the Scriptures are judged immutable and holy, felicity conditions of their utterances are detached from them forever. They become, then clumsy, patchy, deficient and unresolved. Then we try to make it modern, another folly, because we have never been modern, “the more you make religion modern, and acceptable, soft and digestible, the less you are faithful to its specific order of difficulty.” Christianity, forgetting its original beginning began to squander itself in a salvation through arts, the motets, the baroque Angels, the tympanums, the gold chasubles, the solemn procession, the children’s choirs ringing out under the Roman vaults in clouds of incense. Of course, there is some resemblance between religion and artistic regiments of utterance, but, “Art does not save or resurrect, except through metaphor. It can transform but not convert.” Art is too spiritual to accompany the religion for long in its meandering. “Religion must disappoint aesthete every bit as much as the scientist.”

What makes the religious tales, rituals truthful are not themselves in their literal expression, allegory, logical consequences but truth will reveal itself through their, “rough bits, their deformations, their stitches their similarities, through all that make them inappropriate for normal information consumption, unfit for any literal reading, dangerous for any form of aesthetic digestion, incomprehensive for any communicator.” He was dead, he has risen means it did not happen in the past, rather the meaning must be sought for me here. To feel it present we need to be faithful inventors. That faithful invention must know the fact that religious tales seek to convert the distant into the near. Let us not draw our gaze towards Palestine, towards the Roman Empire; let us become attentive to the text, ” listened in vertical series, it tells us how we have to understand any story of salvation, so that we can produce new ones.”

The resurrection in this sense presence us the tales of today, the life and death, presence and absence. the resurrection is not endowed with any information but with a warning, that you should repeat it, starting from now to the future. Gospel is usable for any information, communication, entertainment, aesthetics, and wonder. But it appears to the present with dazzling clarity. So that “we may finally take our turn reviving the rhythm of the whole sets of Legends, by reviving what they have always strived hard to get us to say properly and represent properly. Once revived the text to begin to purify, resurrect and redress its interlocutors again, the old and the new, the humble and elaborate become equally truth. Having become present once more, it will form the same people confirmed in its vocation of Pentecost.” These people will increase every time in time and space. Ultimately the Gospel, “transforms the absent into the present, the dead into the risen.”

Latour repeatedly is entangled in these questions, can we speak once more about these things? Is it possible, with a tiny flame of personal love, to rekindle the fires of religion? Latour says that in itself the expression ‘Jesus’ is meaningless if it is a substitute reality, and there is no sense the substantive ‘Jesus’ without the movement of translation. If Jesus is a word it must be uttered anew and must be begun again. As Jesus says, “I am which is, and which was, and which is to come (Revelation 1:8) This means in other words, “the one who rises is once more, permanently present, not unutterable through distancing, but through proximity. Too close, too intense to be looked in the face.”

Latour has been always accused of relativism. Latour accepts that accusation and says that relativism is more right in the matters of religion, “it speaks of relationship, scruples, and contemplation as accurately as the word religion itself whose various etymologies speak of the bringing into the relationship, attachment, care and contemplation.” His relativism is evident when he says that what has been called God in certain place, in certain time, can be called today in another vocable such as, “the thing that begets neighbour.”

With his thinking that so much focuses on the present, he finds it difficult to believe in eternal life. He says that it doesn’t make any kind of sense today, especially for those who weep before the open grave where the loved ones lie. But the time we experience as decisive, definite in love, no longer passes. Instead of eternal time, it is this kind of time we should held on in our short lives. Thus we will be able to direct our attention, care and cautiousness, “towards what lies prone before us now, the love we so painfully regret not acting in time.”

His next attention is on the dogma, incarnation. Latour thinks that it cannot make sense today when it descends from substance to attributes. Then it is neither right nor false. We may turn it into an object of belief, that’s all. It has no touchstone, “but as soon as we put it back on its feet, by taking it right way round again, starting from the attributes and going back to the substance, it becomes accurate again since it retrieves all truth values. Once again it is true or false, open to proof, to verification, guarantee, authentic fiction.” Then it is not remote but close, not spiritual but the carnal, not dead but alive “it alerts us to a presence which is temporarily permanent because “the time is fulfilled.” (Mark 1:15)

About salvation, Latour asks, “what was on high came down here below,? What was for absent from now one percent? Latour believes that truthfulness of it depends on the sequel, not on the beginning. Clerics based their sermon on the weakness of man, to proclaim the grandeur of their Lord but they forgot the world has been delivered from all sorts of mastery., “There is no control and all powerful creator, either-normal God than man. But there is care, scruple, cautiousness, attention, contemplation, hesitation and revival. To understand each other, all we have is what comes from our own hands, but that doesn’t mean out hands can be taken for the origin.” Then we will be able to traverse through translation, the distant into near, the absent into present, the spirit into flesh the next world to this world, the transcendental into imminence. It would also mean that the return to religion will not mean a return to the old amalgam of people, administration, records, economies and the laws, and no to a totalitarian life form. Clergy then has to recover their freedom of speech. So that they can speak about the world.

Religion need not sums up all sorts of existence. But need to add its own tonality which would make neighbour made present to each other, time would be fulfilled, history would not be passed in vain, death would not triumph. The communion of saints would mean that “the buried truths of words revived in the mouths of the living.” Church then “is the contested repository of lies, elaborations, selections and revivals.” The institutional religion will recover its stature by making it comprehensible and salutary for each of its new interlocutors, making it a relative to the language of those who were supposed to hear it. Though Latour doesn’t believe in another world, he does believe in the virtual world. He believes that the virtual catholicity of people must be resurrected. This fulfilled time disrupts usual, habitual, deadly course of action and brings as close to the particular time that is fulfilled. It is not a transcendental world because nothing up there. He is not there, “behold the place where they laid him.” (Mark 16:6)

Unlike science, religious speech deals with perfectly objective phenomenon which produce new forms of subjection. Then all the sermons, all the preachings, all the rituals will become sacramental again. They will stop to become poor advices of psychologists, “all narratives can be useful if we launch them properly and renew them often.” We don’t have any universal at the back of us but ahead of us. Then catholicity does not mean to spread the good news to the end of the universe. But it should seek in advance the virtual people “who will make up, at the moment of revival those who feel they have been brought closer together,saved,resurrected and redeemed.”

I have only paraphrased the book of Bruno Latour. I strongly feel that he’s thinking can revive the church or religion altogether.His thinking can help us to shun the supremacy of the religion and make it relative to the human life and to the world. With this thinking religion can be attentive to the world and to the flesh.We need to protect religion from God, spirituality and transcendence. Ultimately we need to protect the meaning and not the word. The gospel must be read again and heard again with its all embellishments.

The Prophet

Prophet inherits misfortunes, says Paul Ricoeur. What misfortunes? Perhaps, the weight of God’s demands. Ezekiel inherited God’s delusions, Jeremiah inherited His monotonous murmurings, Jonah suffered God’s belatedness. For Ricoeur prophet is a figure of exception and transformation. Exception prevents him from becoming like others, he must stand aloof. But only exceptional people are capable of transforming himself and others. Ricoeur observes again, “prophecy consists in deciphering future history by giving it in advance a meaning relative to the ethical life of the people.”
Maurice Blanchot develops some ideas of the prophet which have far reaching resonances. According to Blanchot prophecy is not just a future language, more than discovering certain events to come, prophecy digs deep into the relation of language to the time. What language understands is that it can announce only an impossible future, “because it announces it, something impossible, a future one would not know how to live and that must upset all the sure of given existence.” Prophet doesn’t install a future, rather it takes away the present, “and with it any possibility of firm, stable. lasting presence.” Even the eternity is removed from the present. The Eternal says,”I am not your God.” Then the prophet presents us with the desert. His speech also becomes desert-like, “this voice that needs the desert to cry out and that endlessly awakens in us the terror, and memory of the desert.”
Prophetic speech seeks desert because it is the wandering speech opposing all stillness, all settling, any taking root that would be rest. In rest people become possessors, dwellers, and masters of empty space, so there would always among them, “a remnant that possessed nothing, that was the desert itself, that place without the peace where alone the Covenant can be concluded and to which one must always turn as to that moment of nakedness and separation that is at the origin of true existence.”
The ultimate catastrophe of prophetic speech is that God himself become impossible, God himself is negative, “for you are not my people and I am not God for you.” But the prophetic speech which tells the impossible future also introduces the ‘nonetheless’ that breaks the impossible and restores time. “Indeed I will hand over this city and this country to the hands of the Chaldeans, they will enter it, they will set it on fire. and reduce it to ashes, and nevertheless, I will bring back the inhabitants of this city and this country from all the countries where I have exiled them. They will be my people the and I will be their God.” So, the impossible would become possible for the people who are stripped of their power and separated from the possible (the widow and the orphan)
Andre Neher speaks about the most persistent traits of prophetic existence: scandal and argument. “No Peace,” says, God. This ‘No Peace’ is in contrast to the priesthood which offers consolations and solaces. Priesthood can function only within available time and space. Prophetic speech which gets over time and space becomes scandalous. Prophet himself is scandalous. He becomes the other. ‘’Jeremiah, gentle and sentimental must become a pillar of fire, a rampart of bronze, for he will have to condemn and destroy all that he loves. Isaiah, decent​ and respectable must strip off his clothes; for three years he walked naked. Ezekiel, the scrupulous priest who was never lacking in purity, feeds himself on food cooked in excrement and soils his body. To Hosea God says “marry a woman from whoredom, let her give you prostitute’s children, for the country is prostituting itself.” Prophetic speech is dangerous. it is not his heart that speaks but his fiery tongue. While false prophets amuse the real Prophets threaten, “prophetic speech imposes itself from Outside, it is the Outside itself, the weight and suffering of the Outside.”
Andre Neher points out the refusal that accompanies the calling. Moses: “Send whomever you want. Why have you sent me? Erase me from the book you have written.” Elijah: ” Enough.” And Jeremiah’s cry: ”Ah, ah, Eternal Lord, l do not know how to speak, l am just a child. Do not tell me ‘1 am just a child.’ But go where l sent you and speak as l command.” Jonah’s refusal is pushed even further. It is not only the calling that he flees, it is God, dialogue with God. If God tells him: rise and go toward the East, he rises and goes toward the West. In order better to flee, he takes to the sea, and to hide himself better, he goes down into the ship’s hold, then he sinks into sleep, then into death. In vain.
Blanchot condemns the symbolic reading as the worst way to read the text. We say a text is symbolic when we are troubled by its too strong language. Prophetic speeches reachability confirms the fact that they are neither allegory nor symbol, “but that, by the concrete force of the word, they lay things bare, in a nudity that is like that of an immense face that one sees and does not see and that, like a face, is light, the absolute quality of light, terrifying and ravishing, familiar and elusive, immediately present and infinitely foreign, always to come, always to be discovered and even provoked, although as readable as the nudity of the human face can be: in this sense alone, figure.” Blanchot makes the another bold observation that “prophecy is a living mimicry. Jeremiah does not content himself with saying: you will be bent under the yoke; he gets hold of some cords and goes under a wooden yoke, a fire yoke. Isaiah does not just say: do not count on Egypt, its soldiers are conquered, taken, led “barefoot, bare-bottomed,” rather he himself takes off his sack and sandals and goes naked for three years. The prophet brother of Ahab demands that a man strike and mutilate him in order better to portray the verdict he wants the king to understand. It tells us that the things are all literal. We are unable to escape from the overwhelming meaning that chases us always, “as a present in absence, speaking in silence.” Prophet speaks such a way as to shackle everyone in an impossibly of escaping, “If they burrow down into Sheol, my hand will seize them; if they rise up to the heavens, I will make them come down; hidden under Carmel, already I find them there; if they think to take refuge in the deepest depths of the seas, there 1 make them bitten by the Serpent.”
The prophetic speech comes down with such a force to interrupt our life and to hear what is laid before. It seizes every movement and rest and makes ‘death vain and nothingness sterile.” This force makes us hear the impossible, and in this hearing, to “awaken us to ourselves.”
Still, prophet falls short​ in becoming a messiah. He can only prepare the way for the Messiah. Prophet’s vision sees Messiah but not see like a Messiah. TheProphet is unable to heal the wounds. As Harold Bloom says, “The Prophet does not heal the wounds he only exacerbates.” Another problem with the prophet is that his concern is to build an ethical mansion. He acts like a mason. Mason looks where he can place a brick while a carpenter looks where he can place a door and a window. So the Messiah must be a carpenter. It is where the Messiah departs from the Prophet. It is where Jesus departs from John the Baptist.

Against Binaries

One of the greatest understandings I ever had of salvation came from Nagarjuna . Nagarjuna says, “as long as you are capable of distinguishing between Moksha and Samsara, you are in Samsara.” Salvation is a situation where you know that the thin line of separation that existed between things have evaporated. Salvation is possible, perhaps only when we ease all the binaries that are binding us. Fall of humanity must be defined as a fall into two possibilities of one reality. We are always confronted with an either/or. Is there a way to embrace all the possibilities of a reality ? At least is there a way to not be in binary?
What are the stifling binaries we are confronting every day? These are the monstrous dualism we see around: Body/mind, man/woman, young/old, self/other, pure/impure, part/whole, Being/being. These are the categories that prevent us from achieving the wholeness we destined to achieve. The value of sacraments lie in abolishing the binaries: Baptism makes everyone children, marriage makes man and woman of one body. Philosopher Julia Kristeva appreciates this sacramentality of religion. She recommends, In Strangers To Ourselves, that “we surmount the theocratic dualisms of pure and impure, Saved and damned, native and stranger; for she argues, such dualisms lead to sacrificial scapegoating and war. The big work of our civilisation is to fight this hatred – without God.”
Our identities become a slavery when they confine us to a category diametrically oppose to another category. It is something Susan Sontag, a hugely influential writer, senses. She writes, ” The young-old polarisation and the male-female polarisation are perhaps the two leading stereotypes that imprison people.” This polarisation denies us two ways of perceiving and feeling and constrain us to single cottages of existence stitched with safety pins. When our fluid existence is intransigently flattened into a label, it becomes a violence to another mode of living. Sontag resist this stereotyping because of its inherent violence, ” the values associated with youth and with masculinity are considered to be the human norms, and anything else is taken to be at least less worthwhile or inferior. Old people have a terrific sense of inferiority. They’re embarrassed to be old. What you can do when you are old and what you can do when you are young is as arbitrary and without much basis as what you can do if you’re a woman or what you can do if you’re a man ”
when the word continues to divide itself along racial lines, nationality, religion and culture , we have to grasp the fact they are inventions made to exclude others. Binaries are exclusions. Sontag turns against this exclusive nature of binaries, ” For people to understand themselves in this way seems to be very destructive, and also very culpabilizing. These stereotypes of thought versus feeling, heart versus head, male versus female were invented at a time when people were convinced that the world was going in a certain direction – that is toward technocracy, rationalisation, science, and so on – but they were all invented as a defence against Romantic values.”
Derrida attacks the insidious predicament of binaries. As a poststructuralist, Derrida condemns the belief that all the binaries are natural. Derrida’s Point is that they are imposed and they are the reasons of hierarchies. Light is before dark and right is before left because they are inherent in a given structure of a given culture is the idea that light is better than dark and right is better than left. This is absurd and this is a human construct. Derrida thinks that by destroying the hierarchy, we can erase the line between the binary oppositions.
In his essay “The Restricted to General Economy” he emphasizes that a “master” cannot exist without a “slave” and that in some sense because a slave is no longer bound by the responsibility to maintain life like a “master” he is actually a “master” while the “master” becomes a “slave” to those things that maintain life! He goes even further by showing that these binary oppositions are absurd because you would never understand master without slave, white without black, light without dark, etc.
Derrida uses ‘deconstruction’ to expose the wrongful preconceptions and contradictions buried in our use of language. Smith defines deconstruction as “a deeply affirmative mode of critique attentive to the way in which texts, structures and institutions marginalise and exclude ‘the other’, with a view to reconstructing and reconstituting institutions and practices to be more just”. Along with deconstruction Derrida uses another concept,’ presence ‘ which means “what is most real, true or important is what is most Present.”Most language will speak of generic human as “he” For Derrida, this Signifies that the language has horribly fallen into the trap of believing that there is certain ‘ideal’ that must be followed. In this case, masculinity would be the Ideal over against femininity. This is absurd according to him. There is no concept of “he” if not for the equal and opposite “she.” Therefore , masculine pronoun as the ideal pronoun signifies a mistaken concept of “presence.”
According to Laruelle The Real which is also the One is an instance which is beyond the dichotomy of Matter and Idea, beyond the dichotomy of Body and Mind. Laruelle renounces the philosophy of Hegel which progresses on the confrontation between thesis and antithesis. Laruelle knows that nothing good will ever come from confronting its own anteriority.
By seeking to destroy binaries and dualisms, we don’t annul the difference that exists between man and woman or body and mind. Dual is acceptable because it provides an avenue for thinking about two-ness without resorting to relationship. What is not acceptable is a binarical nelahonship which glorifies one at the expense of the other. According to Laruelle twoness is overcome by oneness; the transcendental is overcome by immanence.
Hardt and Negri sensed the calamity that lurks through a unity that is created by the working of binaries,” The old three part dialectical, which would make a unity of two conflicting subjectivities will no longer work. Its claims of unity and integration at this point are just false promises.” Mao’s One becomes two is also deplored by Deleuze as ” the most classical and well rejected, oldest, and wearist kind of thought.”
When we speak against binaries, we are speaking against the grand narratives that have fixed things forever and have sculpted the formation of two. All these fixations have done a lot of harm, they have made us forget the flux we are in. they have denied us the changing propositions that we need to acquire. Even God changes, He/she laughs away her tears.
How can we be a whole? or more than a whole? This prose poem by Anne Carson may be of help:
“It was a blue winter evening, the cold bit like a wire. Isaiah laid his forehead on the ground. God arrived. Why do the righteous suffer? said Isaiah. Bellings of cold washed down the Branch. Notice whenever God addresses Isaiah in a feminine singular verb something dazzling is about to happen. Isaiah, what do you know about women? asked God. Down Isaiah’s nostrils bounced woman words: Blush. Stink. Wife. Fig. Sorceress— God nodded. Isaiah goes home and get some sleep, said God. Isaiah went home, slept, woke again. Isaiah felt sensation below the neck, it was a silk and bitter sensation. Isaiah looked down. It was milk forcing the nipples open. Isaiah was more than whole. I am not with you I am in you, said the muffled white voice of God. Isaiah sank to a kneeling position.”

How To Be A Reluctant

The title can be added with further implications: How to withdraw, how to abscond, how to shorn off, how to be undecided, how to let go, how to wait, how to dissipate and how to resist.
There are two sorts of people, people who are ever ready and people who hesitate, people who seek an opportunity to involve and people who barely try to be present. There are leavers and involvers. People who belong to the first group are called active, dynamic, strong, powerful, Flamboyant, passionate and etc. They are the visible people. People who belong to the second category are called lazy, inactive, and etc. They are the invisible people.
In the Religious circle, majority belongs to the first category. Only a fractional majority belongs to the second category. Most of the religious people are ever ready to assume power, they are reluctant only to exit from it. They do everything to cling to the golden threads of appropriation. Their crimes are the crimes of the decision. Those who assume power as if it’s their birthright will misuse their position. Their decisions will be decisions stained with nepotism and corruption. They will make division among people to perpetuate their power. As Simon Leys says, “Half of the misery in this world is caused by people whose only talent is to worm their way into positions for which they otherwise have no competence.”
I am not endorsing the second category but we need a third category who shall save us from the fallacies of decisions. Jesus is a proponent of the third category, the category of a reluctant doer. Jesus says, “What do you think? A man had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ The boy answered, ‘I will not.’ But later he had a change of heart and went. The father went to the other son and said the same thing. This boy answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but did not go. Which of the two did what his father wanted?”
“The first,” they answered.
Jesus seems to know that hesitation is a mark of genuine willingness and readiness is a sign of deception. The one who said ‘yes’ is conscious of his option ‘no’. One who said ‘no’ is disturbed by the ‘yes’ he could not say. Every great invention was made by people who were reluctant , who were not sure of what they were doing. Einstein showed that light is made of packets: particles of light. Today we call these ‘photons’. He wrote, in the introduction to his article that explains his discovery:
” It seems to me that the observations associated with blackbody radiation, fluorescence, the production of cathode rays by ultraviolet light, and other related phenomena connected with the emission or transformation of light are more readily understood if one assumes that the energy of light is discontinuously distributed in space.”
Italian Physicist, Carlo Rovelli writes about reluctant sentence with which Einstein begins:
“These simple and clear lines are the real birth certificate of quantum theory. Note the wonderful initial ‘It seems to me …’, which recalls the ‘I think …’ with which Darwin introduces in his notebooks the great idea that species evolve, or the ‘hesitation’ spoken of by Faraday when introducing for the first time the revolutionary idea of magnetic fields. Genius hesitates.”
It’s true , Genius hesitates and fool hurries up. Remember the famous phrase, “devils rush in, where Angels fear to tread in.”

We are charmed by the capitalism of decisions. Decision uses digitisation method to differentiate one from another, effecting in all sorts of exploitations. Then why can’t we experiment with indecision? If decision means to “cut out”, indecision means to “don’t cut out.” Because indecision is an analogues event. Alexander R. Galloway observes, “as radical non-cutting, indecision integrates entities as one, and it does so at the level of the generic facticity of being. This holds for humanity, but also for the generic facticity that binds the human together with chimp, mouse, or microbe. Indecision binds humanity together with massively macro events like climate change, as well as micro events like the intimate mutual recognition of self with other, or the acts of mercy, love, and sacrifice ” So Indecision shares nothing with that kind of cowardice and corruption, the worst kind of lifelessness, barely concealing a contempt for the world and those living within it.
Tiqqun declares , “The more I’m anonymous , the more I am present.” All our efforts to promote ourselves to visibility will be tragically defeated by death. Trying to become present is political and trying to become anonymous is ethical. By becoming anonymous I am giving chance to someone to be present who could otherwise never be present .
To be present means to be monitored and fall under all sorts of surveillance. Tiqqun writes, ” from now on, to be perceived is to be defeated.” Galloway adds further prophesy, ” to be perceived is to be identified, and to be identified is to be removed from life.”
How can we defy the powerful and exploiting emperor? This is the question Hardt and Negri rise in their book, Emperor. They say by ”exodus and “desertion.” “Whereas in the disciplinary era sabotage was fundamental notion of resistance, in the era of imperial control it may be “desertion.” Is it a sort of escapism? Is it not allowing the emperor to flourish? According to Hardt and Negri in the biopolitical contest exodus is the form of class struggle, “this exodus doesn’t mean going elsewhere. we can pursue a line of flight while staying right here.”
Our existence should not be an insult to one who failed to exist. everything that could have existed, exist in a virtual world. Our presence can be a failure if we don’t respect their non-existence. A heavy existence, a presence that is an occupation will be erased without a trace. while a fleeing existence or nomadic presence will be preserved, new stories will be added to it, new beauties will be sprinkled on it.
Jesus embodies this hesitancy. He hesitated almost thirty years before his redemptive work. He was reluctant to do miracles though he did it. He was reluctant to die, more than death he loved life. Now he is reluctant to come back, we are waiting for centuries.
Hesitancy is genuineness.

Letter To A Priest

Dear Priest,
I am also a priest. But there is a hell lot of difference between our priesthood. From your appearance, I presume that you are someone who is destined to be a priest. It is your birthright. You somehow inherited those high, solemn clerical gestures. I am just someone who bechanced to be a priest. If you are invited, I might be called. I always wonder how could I came to be a priest! I have a nagging sense of guilt whenever I do my priestly duties. I suppose that you are quite comfortable in your wardrobes. I always disliked this “destiny.” I wish to wash away everything of ‘destiny’ which is instilled in me by nature. Destiny is inhuman. I am a fan of ‘spirit,’ The spirit that does not destine anything to anyone, instead, engage itself in a playful game of chance and haphazardness and make things happen.

In the beginning of ‘Ulysses,’ the question is asked: “What is God?” To which Stephen replies: “A cry in the street.” I think you don’t like this definition of God. Your God cannot be a crying God. Your God is the triumphant God of judgements and accusations. Perhaps your God may be just like you, full of assertions. Now there is an excessive demand for priests like you, the preachers of the word of God. Still I wonder how your word of God preaching fail to announce Christ! Christ is not merely Bible. He is far greater than Bible. There are situations when one can really confuse Christ with the bible. Do you belong to a new crop of priests who does not read anything other than Bible? They seem to have made Bible a book of sufficiency and betrayed its call to the imagination.I heard that a current famous preacher says to priests to not to read anything other than Bible? If he got this order to issue fatwa against books from his holy spirit, I really feel sorry for his holy spirit. There are many people who missed God by reading bible alone. Their interpretation of whole life in a godlike manner contained within itself revolt against God. They could not practice an atheism which has a redeeming power to purify faith. Their ever-readiness for salvation pulled them to damnation. Their faith was so solid that eating up that same solidness came up the worms of mistrust and evil.

Last time when I heard, you were erupting like a volcano, because you were dealing with a hot subject: sex. You told the congregation how horrified you become when you see girls in miniskirts and jeans. You chastised the girls who wear churidar without the shawl. Your background energy was some extra pious people who confessed to you that they can’t pray when those girls are in the church. In the name of God you condemned and judged milestones around the neck of all those who made men stumble. You were furious against the human body which fails to be a body of the religion.

Why your God is so sexually obsessed? Why can’t he be less impertinent and less hypocritical with regard to sex? How masquerading we become in our hate against human body!The problem is not in the miniskirts. We should be horrified by the way people are exploited and left as garbages than by the sight of a female breast. It’s not nudity but dress which is the indication of the shame we have inherited.Levi Strauss, the famous anthropologist discovered an aboriginal community which had no relation with outside world. They were roughly four thousand people. He found them naked but handsome and happy. By the time he went to study them again the christian missionaries had already reached there. Now he found them all dressed but ugly and unhappy. We destroyed them making christians which is not of the Gospel nor of the Christ. You have by-hearted the Bible without grasping its spirit. Bible is God’s endless and despairing struggle with organised religion which cannot survive without witch hunting. In new Testament Jesus clearly counts priests as the enemy of people.

In his phenomenology of the spirit, Hegel wrote that evil resides in the very gaze that perceives evil around itself. This is what Slavoj Zizek calls as reflexivity:the standpoint from which we perceive a state of things can be itself part of the state of things. Jesus did not fell into this trap of reflexivity. He was not censorious like us. To the woman caught in adultery, he said: “Neither do I judge you.” Jesus was accepting the fact that as a human being he did not have the right to judge another human being.
As Paul Ricoeur informs, “christianity doesn’t believe in sin but in the remission of sins.” If we loose hold of this truth, the accusation philosopher Deleuze levels against St. Paul may become valid. Deleuze accuses paul of “inventing a new type or priest even more terrible than its predecessors”, because Paul relies on the doctrine of immortality to intensity guilt and sin in order to create “doctrine of judgment.” one of your serious problem was that girls wear the dress of boys! Technically this is known as transvestism. But do you know catholic church has a saint who is a transvestist? Her name is St. Joan of Arc. They burnt her at stake because she wore boy’s dress. Bernard Shaw wrote a beautiful drama about her. At the end of the drama agnostic Shaw asks a tragic question,”O God when this world will be ready to accept your saints?” This world will never be, as long as there are priests who are in search of heretics to burn at stake.
Jesus was a man on the road, settling on nothing. But his church is stagnant because of the immovable and bureaucratic clergy. They take themselves too seriously and imagine themselves to be the custodians of truth. All our intimidations from the pulpit have managed to destroy the reality of messianicity. Thus in the hands of priests, Christianity became a yoke of vicious circle. Preachings in shalom T.V amount the vicious circle we are entangled in. Recently I watched an Irish movie, ‘Calvary,’ which tries to show a good priest. In the movie we see the confession of a young man who suffered unspeakable sexual crimes from an evil priest. Now the young man wants to kill this good priest because he feels that his revenge can be equal only if he kills a good priest of the church. He finds no use in killing a bad priest. The good priest revolts against this injustice placed upon him. And his life is toppled over. He hires a gun for his self-protection. At the end of the movie we see him in a beach unarmed accepting his fate. The young man comes to take his revenge and he points his gun at the head of the priest and asks whether he has any regret in life. To which the priest replies “Yes I have, I could not read Moby Dick.”

At the end of the day, these may be the only regrets haunt us, that we did not converse with the great art forms of the world. Reading is an excellent way to practice ‘transcendental homelessness.’I like the writings of a Jesuit priest Boris Gunjević. There is rare charm in his writings and there is flipping of the coins in his writing to decide what is good and bad. He wrote placing his trust in books as a way to be part of humanity, “Someday when we get around to writing a genealogy of our failures, inadequacies, and disappointments, an important place in such a study will be the books we never read, for whatever reason.” Every book we have not read reduces our horizon and shows how pitiful we are. Boris Gunjević has this revelation, “The books we never read will be one of the indicators of our anachronisms and our flawed humanity. When our imagined defence systems crumble and we are betrayed by our own mechanisms of denial, only then will reading preserve the dignity of the loser.” Isn’t it something scary?
God did not create the world with any functional end in view but simply for the love and sheer beauty of it. God is such a beauty crazy that he rebukes anyone who passes without noticing the subtle pink colour of His recent flower. Anyone who believes in such a God will not touch a flower without its permission and will not rebuke however naked it. At least art can save us from the worst situation of being megalomaniacs.
Being a priest is a dangerous thing. If you don’t guard against yourself, you may fall into most abominable crimes. There are some who go to any extreme to destroy the reputation of his brother priest to perpetuate to their own power. The whole effort of Jesus was to eliminate the elements of power, the power of God and man. So that he may reinvent himself as Christ.
Literary critic James Wood narrates the contradiction that a priest may get into:

“Growing up in a religious household, I got used to the sight of priests, but always found them fascinating and slightly repellent. The funeral uniform, supposed to obliterate the self in a shroud of colourlessness, also draws enormous attention to the self; humility seems to be made out of the same cloth as pride. Since the ego is irrepressible—since the ego is secular—it tends to bulge in peculiar shapes when religiously depressed. The priests I knew practiced self-abnegation but perfected a quiet dance of ego. They were modest but pompous, gentle but tyrannical—one of them got angry if he was disturbed on a Monday—and pious but knowing. Most were good men, certainly less venal than the average; but the peculiar constrictions of their calling produced peculiar opportunities for unloosing.”

Dear Priest,
You know how to be a priest. But you don’t know how not to be a priest. That is the heart of the matter. I know a priest who knows how not to be a priest. He does it so artistically. His name is Jijo Kurian. He has no time to measure the length of Mini Skirts instead he engages with various social issues defying all establishments. God is ready to appear before him as a cloud or tree with all His magic so that he may photograph him. More than being a priest or bishop lets be human beings accepting our predicament and frailty. Jesus detested self-righteous and loved sinners. Jesus message is that God is on the side of sinners despite their viciousness and he calls his Father who is neither judge nor an accuser. We, human can never achieve self-righteousness but only self delightedness. Let us engage in a project of self-transformation which is never possible without the unfathomable source of love and art.

A Poor Man

Jesus never seems to has famished, other than his fasting in the desert. He even had a treasurer. But St. Francis’ poverty is an extreme option. His followers took it to a level of anarchism and church had to intervene and suppress certain Franciscan movements. When St. Francis insisted that one shall not own anything, St. Thomas Aquinas proposed a moderate version. According to St. Thomas whatever you have is your own but when you see someone in need, give him what is yours. From where St. Francis got this extreme notion of poverty? It came from his biggest revelation that, ‘God alone is enough, rest can be abandoned’. Francis was afraid to miss God, what if He is hidden behid a piece of paper or a pin? Francis relingished everything that could hide God, however subtle it is. He was even ready to abandon heaven for the sake of God.
In St. Francis’ frugality, Paul Ricoeur sees the logic of Superabundance. Francis doesn’t advocate frugalness as a means of being virtuous, but Ricoeur thinks that Francis is performing a more radical act. According to Ricoeur he “overturns the underlying hypothesis of the modern world driven by exclusive possession, fear of scarcity, in short, the economic.” St. Francis’ frugality is a way of passing on to others what is not one’s own. Ricoeur thinks that Francis sunders the meaning of gift by a sort of metanoia, “because it has been given to you, you give in turn”. So St. Francis makes a rejoinder to superabundance with frugality, a gift should remain as a gift for another.

Camus wrote, “My poverty was full of sun rays.” He also said, “I will bow my head only before a man whose head is immersed in lofty ideals and before a man whose head is high even in his penury, in-between lies the society which I disdain.”
We all need a saint, a saint whose eyes are full of tears because he is not poor enough to deserve God.