Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Love as Sublation

I have been reading G.W.F. Hegel lately and have been struck by his idea of love as sublation. Sublation, for Hegel, involves a movement of cancellation, preservation and elevation. Love, he says, is identity in difference; that is, the differences between the two people (or more) are overcome in a relationship of love. Some things are cancelled. Some things are preserved. All are elevated.

Lent is, liturgically speaking, a purgative season; a time of cancellation, if you will. Lent is often characterized as a time of dying to the self, but perhaps that is putting it too strongly. Lenten practice is not about eliminating the self but rather purging the self; cancelling some things and preserving others. The goal is resurrection; a time of elevation, if you will.

If God is love, then in Hegelian terms she is a movement of cancellation, preservation and elevation. God, as the active power in our lives, is purging us; cancelling some things, preserving others, and elevating us in ways we could have never foreseen. Let us make room for love.
Entering into this creative process of experiencing the Stations of the Cross has invited me into a spiritual and social exercise. Writing the meditations was a process of "entering in" to the journey or a collective consciousness of what "entering in" means. This will be the first time I have ever entered a Dart Station or taken a ride on it. Ironically I pass one of these stations everyday and scan the faces of those who do and create my own stories about their journeys and what causes them to "enter in." Meditating on the suffering Jesus rattles, inspires and challenges me on a personal, spiritual and social level. How then does the suffering we encounter in community and throughout the world speak to the act of "entering in?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

In working on the guide, I'm digging into the notion of reparation. Growing up Baptist, this was not a word that was used. Sure, there was plenty of guilt, but we just told God we were sorry and that was that. We were never asked to compensate the victim. In fact, we were told that was not possible because the victim was Jesus and nothing could make up for his suffering and death.

Pope Pius XI saw it differently:
The creature's love should be given in return for the love of the Creator, another thing follows from this at once, namely that to the same uncreated Love, if so be it has been neglected by forgetfulness or violated by offense, some sort of compensation must be rendered for the injury, and this debt is commonly called by the name of reparation.
We owe a debt. One of the ways we can repay it is by taking this pilgrimage of prayer and meditating on Jesus's suffering.

Now, I'm not sure I can buy the metaphysics that makes me responsible for something that happened 2000 years ago. However, it's a powerful thing to contemplate the path to the cross. The way of the world is self-interest. Jesus spent his life exhorting people to choose God's way, the way of compassion and justice. These two ways collide in Christ's death.

Have things really changed in the last 2000 years? There is God's way and the world's way. Most of the time, we're not even conscious of a choice between the two or the implications of that choice. Maybe our reparations are in choosing God's way. Maybe we should compensate those who are suffering now because we do not have to suffer. Maybe our meditation should be imagining a world in which compassion and justice are the rule. Maybe we should, in the words of Pope John Paul II, make the "unceasing effort to stand beside the endless crosses on which the Son of God continues to be crucified."

Monday, March 23, 2009

Choosing our Stations

We had a wonderful conversation yesterday at Bolsa taking next steps for this project. I am moving all conversation regarding pairing our 'meditation artists' with their station to the blog to facilitate the process. As of right now, this is where we are:

The Stations:

#1 Jesus is condemned to death -- Mockingbird --lara
#2 Jesus is given his cross -- City Place --genny
#3 Jesus falls the first time -- Pearl --tonya
#4 Jesus meets His Mother -- St. Paul --courtney
#5 Simon of Cyrene carries the cross -- Akard --genny
#6 Veronica wipes the face of Jesus -- West End --lara
#7 Jesus falls the second time -- Union -- tonya
#8 Jesus meets the daughters of Jerusalem -- Convention Center --genny
#9 Jesus falls the third time -- Cedars -- tonya
#10 Jesus is stripped of His garments -- 8th and Corinth --courtney
#11 Crucifixion: Jesus is nailed to the cross -- Zoo -- lara
#12 Jesus dies on the cross -- Tyler --john
#13 Jesus' body is removed from the cross -- Hampton --pl
#14 Jesus is laid in the tomb and covered in incense -- Westmoreland

Here is what we are co-creating: a meditation guide available online for folks to download and use as a sort of prompt while they ride the rails from Mockingbird station to Westmoreland on good Friday. the experience will culminate in a guerrilla liturgy at westmoreland and the group will return together to mockingbird in the same car.

this is really happening people-- yet another indication that God is on the move, literally! This whole project is very lean. just really about inviting people to wake up to their own reality, own landscape, own lives in a fresh way. Ideally, we need to have the poems/meditations in by this Wednesday so Lara Arp can make our meditation guide and we can get it up on our site a couple of weeks before Good Friday.

Friday, March 20, 2009

DART Stations of the Cross. Take 1.

DART Stations of the Cross came out of a salon hosted by CityGallery a few months ago as a way to further engage the city as our gallery. In the past, we have hosted musical performances in public parks, art shows in alleys and tons more. This year, in an effort to create a meditation on Good Friday, we came up with a spin-off of a traditional "stations of the cross" service - as in a moving meditation called 'DART Stations of the Cross'.

A pdf map with instructions and meditations will be available shortly on this site and we welcome you to engage as much or as little as you like. We won't be in DART stations "witnessing" - don't worry. We'll be average riders with an open mind and heart to our beautiful city. More details soon, but for now, mark your calendar for Friday, April 10, 2009.