The way that you wish to make meaning of yourself and the world around you

The way that you wish to make meaning of yourself and the world around you is by stitching together your past memories with a You that you anticipate you will one day become in the future after having undergone so many attempts at self improvement and life experiences. You take this kind of way of making meaning out into the world itself, and start to apply little histories to everyone and everything. Everything must have some kind of telos, you think, for better or worse. Everything and everyone must ultimately be moving toward a purpose and participating in an ongoing narrative, because you are.

But, what if your ability to make meaning out of your existence actually comes from some place else, and your will to stitch together narratives to form your self is simply a necessity to survive, an evolutionary mechanism designed to help you not get eaten by a lion while you are stuck in a moment of living in the present? What if your true narrative begins anew with each day, with each kairos moment, with each blissful or tragic little (“little” as in length of duration against the rest of your life, not in terms of significance or value) drama you find yourself caught up in?

What if the history that matters to God is very much the same? The narrative of taking Christ to Constantine and Conquistadors and Calvin, then finding the flow of the more Christlike Christ underneath all of the bloodshed by Christianity’s exporters/importers–this is a narrative that can’t be redeemed in light of the kind of Christ anyone would want to follow. If you say that it is all part of God’s plan, then you are implying that God is okay with butchering native peoples and enslaving African peoples along the way to spreading Christianity to the rest of the world. If you say that all of the transmission of Christianity is not part of God’s real plan, then the way that it has been transmitted historically becomes merely ironic.

But, what if the places where God inserts kairos moments into your own life, or into the world of humanity are little pockets of spacetime, that from where God is sitting, do not hold the same linear connectivity we hold to be true? In other words, God’s epiphany to Paul, St. Francis’s awakening, Luther’s Theses, and Gutierrez’s reclamation of Matthew 25 for the poor–these are all moments in our history that stand in great temporal distance from each other, but to God, they are all equidistant temporally. The same goes for your own life. God is just as close to you and ready to burst into your life and consciousness in the here and now as he was ten years ago and will be ten years from now.

The important thing to consider is that we used to make meaning by constructing narratives out of temporal events happening in sequence with one another, but this isn’t necessarily how a higher sort of plane of being works. Even if you choose to remove God from the picture, you can imagine a being in a higher dimension looking in upon our own world, and being just as temporally equidistant from you as the being would be in relation to, say, Henry VIII or a dinosaur.

The most intense manufacturing of meaning comes in the moment that the meaning is being made. Memories from the past can be employed, but they don’t have to be stitched together neatly to form a convenient narrative. Rather, the very state that you put yourself in where you stack a myriad of meaningful moments on top of each other, even as you seek to inject a sense of great meaning into this precise moment–this is how you achieve an upward thrust into the great space beyond your limited cell of physical self and other confining physical circumstances brought on either by your own choices or simply the environment you were born into.

This is, of course, not the same thing as a kairos moment or epiphany. And, you will not remember this moment in vivid detail without the accompaniment of others.

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