"You have never written a truly spiritual novel," the cop told him. He spoke slowly, enunciating each word with care. "It is your great unrecognized failing, and it is at the center of your petulant, self-indulgent behavior. You mock the God who created you, and in doing so you mortify your own pneuma and glorify the mud which is your sarx. Do you understand me?-Steven King, Desperation
Johnny opened his mouth, then closed it again. To speak or not to speak, that was the question.
The cop solved the dilemma for him. Without looking up from the wheel, without so much as a glance into the rearview mirror, he placed the double barrels of the shotgun on his right shoulder and pointed them back through the wire mesh. Johnny moved instinctively, sliding to the left, trying to get away from those huge dark holes.
Although the cop still did not look up, the muzzles of the gun tracked him as precisely as a radar-controlled servomotor.
He might have a mirror in his lap, Johnny thought, and then: But what good would that do? He wouldn't see anything but the roof of the fucking car. What the hell is going on here?
"Answer me," the cop said. His voice was dark and brooding. His head was still bent. The hand not holding the shotgun continued to tap at the wheel, and another gust of wind hammered the cruiser, driving sand and alkali dust against the window in a fine spray. "Answer me now. I won't wait. I don't have to wait. There's always another one coming along. So ... do you understand what I just told you?"
"Yes," Johnny said in a trembling voice. "Pneuma is the old Gnostic word for spirit. Sarx is the body. You said, correct me if I'm wrong --" Just not with the shotgun, please don't correct me with the shotgun. "-- that I've ignored my spirit in favor of my body. And you could be right. You could very well be right."
He moved to the right again. The shotgun muzzles tracked his movements precisely, although he could swear that the springs of the backseat made no sound beneath him and the cop could not see him unless he was using a television monitor or something.
"Don't toady to me," the cop said wearily. "That will only make your fate worse."
"I..." He licked his lips. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to--"
"Sarx is not the body; soma is the body. Sarx is the flesh of the body. The body is made of flesh -- as the word was reputedly made flesh by the birth of Jesus Christ -- but the body is more than the flesh that makes it. The sum is greater than the parts. Is that so hard for an intellectual such as yourself to understand?"
The shotgun barrel, moving and moving. Tracking like an autogyro.
"Thought of it that way? Oh please. Even a spiritual naïf like you must understand that a chicken dinner is not a chicken. Pneuma...soma...and s-s-s--"
All of which is to say: the body without spirit is flesh. The spirit, if it exists without body, is a ghost. The soul is the shoreline where the body meets the spirit. It is only in the joining of spirit (or perhaps you prefer to call it will) with body, that we see the emergence of soul.
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You may also know that I have been uncertain where this fits into a biblical framework, and while this does not bother me excessively (I'm not manning any pearly gates) it is still a bit unsettling.
So, I came across a rather interesting discussion on Catholic radio the other day.
The guest was saying that the mistake those opposing gay marriage make is in allowing those who are pro-gay to define the bounds of the discussion. She pointed out that if you accept the premise that marriage is about the happiness of the individuals, then it becomes difficult to argue that gay marriage should be illegal. However, if you back up a bit, and recognize that marriage is not about the happiness of the couple, but about the commitment to having and raising children, then her position for protecting heterosexual marriage becomes (in her view) inevitable. This is quite compelling.
But these things have a way of sticking in your mind, and the next morning I was mulling it over again and I realized that her new premise is invalid.
1 Corinthians 7: "1Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry. 2But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband. 3The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. 5Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 6I say this as a concession, not as a command. 7I wish that all men were as I am. But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that."
So to summarize Paul: Want guilt-free sex? Get married.
I cannot imagine how that concession from Paul could not apply to homosexuals.
And I'd like to thank Catholic Radio for helping me resolve this properly.
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Piper, you have the right to decide what's good and what's bad? Sorry, I still think that's God's prerogative. And since you believe we have the right to judge each other, I call down judgment upon you and yours.
...or does that sound just a little strange?
Seriously, I do not hate you and even if it were in my power I would never condemn you. Piper, you don't have the right to judge because you don't expect to be judged. Unless you're saying you've already earned your salvation on your own? I wonder if you believe in grace. It's not just a sound bite, it's the word of God.
1"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, `Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye." Mathew 7:1-5
BTW, I re-read acts since everyone was focused on the food side of things. The issue is not food, but people: "You went into the house of uncircumsized men and ate with them." --Acts 11:3 They weren't angry about what he ate, and neither are you. You'd judge me by the company I keep.
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