Friday, December 11, 2009

The Dead Fly

A new post is in the works on the incarnation and grace, but I could not help but relay what just happened. As I was writing I paused to reflect on a point when I noticed a dead fly in the window seal. If a picture paints a thousand words, a dead fly in the window seal speaks volumes. Vintage Holy Spirit.

Here are a few of the thoughts that filled my mind as I stared at the dead fly.

• He left it all on his field of dreams.
• Effort exhausts without truth.
• A false savior will kill you every time.
• We can’t invent freedom.
• It’s not up to us to make it.
• Things are not always what they seem.
• It’s okay to stop and rest.
• Listen
• Universalism?

I made a little banner with a post-it note and a tooth pick. On the banner I wrote “I did it my way.” Then I took some small rocks and hoisted the banner above the fly in honor of his Herculean effort.

Post your own comments and I will place them in the main text after a few days.

Thank you Lord Jesus that you found a way to meet us in our darkness.


Anonymous said...

That, is the way it is bro.

timothy parker said...

You seem to be saying something with points about a point, but what is that point - of your next piece - at which you noticed the fly? The trouble is this is bullet point writing, not continuous prose, and it is writing which is not the same as a continuous conversation and until we get the next posting on incarnation and grace, i dont know what 'the dickens' you are 'talking about'!!

timothy parker said...

I thought that the whole point about a fly, a dead one at that, is that one finds an imaginative point which is artistically and analogously related to the condition of a dead fly. Well that could be anything, but i dont see how we can make theological capital out of a poor dead fly unless the reader knows that one has introduced a theology and is needing a point of reference to make a certain point clearer. So what could that point of needed clarity possibly be? Mortality and the need for Grace? The need for resurrection of the body after death? Feeling of being very 'wee' or small, in face of the forces of life and death? The magnamimity of nature whereby the very large (creatures) and the very small, all succumb to natural processes of ageing and accident and incident? That in life you take your chances, that we could end up as a death unnoticed unless we have a 'baxter' to take notice and heed us in our death. The need for a witness to our life's event and end point? The need for someone bigger and more powerful than ourselves as witness to us in our life and in our death? The point is that we need someone, some voice 'out there' who comprehends everything, to tell us that we could be dead, yet by that, still live. A dead fly looks very much like a dead fly, only that and no more and yet, and yet? If there is to be a new earth and new heaven, why do are senses appear to fool us, and leave the sceptic no room to change his mind?

timothy parker said...

is the thinking about one dead fly doing good by remembrance of all dead flies or all the flies of that species, as in a memorial service? Yet, unlike the creative Word, we do not transform the fly by our creative word processes called thinking. i may like to transform the fly into another less unfortuate position, but that is no more than wish-full thinking unless , of course, i think of myself as so inspired by that thoughts of another, Him, that by doing so , am vicariously engaged in that great work of transformation, into what exactly? Is the fly 'telling us' or is it just my imagination, that the pointlessness of a fly is negated whenever we can escape the thinking of closed cause and effect and necessity? I can then positively describe the new possibity for the fly, as a reversal of fortune,can i? How then is it to value the life of a fly, an individual fly? I can feel Baxter tugging at my shoulder telling me it is not flies that matter so much as this poor fly and even if it will become food for someother poor beastie, that is beside the point. However if this fly should live, then how can the cycle of 'necessity', or the cycle of nature continue if the food chain is broken? The spider goes hungry and dies too? Does the analogous and the imaginative have to be so much nonsense? Probably!

timothy parker said...

if you are a fly and to be a fly is really the only thing that matters, well isn't it? If so, then does it make sense to be a bottom-up or even a top down thinker? I want, if i am a fly to be treated as equal to any other creature, whatever the size and complexity, or however long my life cycle is. If i was a fly, i would like someone , also to be a fly, and then i could understand their flyness and i would not be alone. I could possibly manage to cope with somone who had some flyness , some understanding of being me, a fly, even if they might not, through handicapp or whatever be able to fly. Above all, I dont want somone to tell me how pathetic and vulnerable i am as a fly, how short my life cycle is, compared to big creatures. I dont want comparative facts and figures, I want to be the most special fly that ever lived, a fly that can give meaning to all the other flies which have every lived. To be given , as a fly, the opportunity to turn the lives of zillions of flies around so that we get noticed for who we are and not what people think we are.

Bford said...

Fly swatter.

Anonymous said...

Timothy, you said a lot. The dead fly in the window shows me that is how most of us live our lives. We have seen a fly trying to get out through the window and die trying. That fly put everything he had into getting out but died trying. He gave all he had and left it on his field of dreams just like we will. He didn't have truth backing him up. "Fly you cannot get through that window, try the door or something else." That fly saw the window as his way out and it turned out to be a false savior, and it killed him. That fly invented his own freedom. We cannot make it, it's not up to us. Things were not what they seemed to that fly. Why, fly, don't you stop and rest. Listen you stupid fly. We humans are about as stupid as that fly, thankfully God is smarter than us.

Trying to do it ourselves. I can do it, I can do it. I'll try one more time, one more time, one more time. I hope I get more than a post-it and toothpick for my tombstone. I'm trying, I'm trying as hard as I can.

Greg Denholm said...

Stop and let God love you. You can do nothing without him. Let God's rest come into you lest you die trying to reinvent what he's already given you. There is no other life but him.

Anonymous said...

"Stop and let God love you" even becomes a legalistic command - I cannot do even this unless He gives me grace to do so....

For me i am finding that "To love God you must first hate Him"

Doug said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Doug said...

"A new post is in the works on the incarnation and grace..."

Is there no end to these post about the incarnation and grace? - I for one certainly hope not - can't get enough of hearing about the unfathomable goodness of our God.

Keep rolling them out, Baxter.

timothy parker said...

I'm not too keen on the rest in peace type of sticking plaster. Not least because of our psychological, restless makeups which demand our attention in order to put our irrationalities down a notch or too. We still have to address personal pain, personal experience, whatever has been doled out to us and whatever the hand of cards we have to play. All that is a learning experience not by-passed by a catch-all Jesus. For Jesus is the Jesus of our unique experiences (life-histories), and all good experience is Jesus. The renounciation of self, the comming out into the light of life which is Jesus for us, is a great strain. However wonderful Jesus is, he knows that we persist in not 'getting it' so we will, unfortunately, knock our heads into walls, instead of finding the door or the door handle. If i had to write a letter to my younger and more inexperienced self, i would say 2 things, one is that there will be pain and difficulties unimaginable, and two, that in order to meet life's difficulties we need a strength or faith beyond our natural capacities. Without that direction of another we are on a very shakey trajectory and relying on the Other, namely Jesus, is the hardest lesson to learn in life because we are as helpless as our prayers are inadequate and hopeless , in themselves, unless we refer away from our selves to the vicarious humanity of our Lord.

timothy parker said...

Is it by Grace that we are given artistic license and if so, is the result more than mere art? What about a fly caught for all time in amber. That is a finding for scientific reflection and also an object of beauty. Without Grace and the inspiration of what the Holy Spirit is up to, we are a long way from our Saviour on this one, unless what i said earlier is really true, namely that Christ is the intelligible character or imprint on all things and that even experiencing a stone is to experience something of Christ. However, most of the time, the mind of man is the mind of the natural or demarcated, or uninspired mind, and not, as in the original coaxing of the posting by Baxter, the mind of God come to inhabit the mind of man!

timothy parker said...

The most amazing moment in Baxter's comment is that there is the expectation of the inspiration of our minds by the Spirit of God in the first place. IS the working of the Spirit of God, God's art or not, whereby God is at liberty to shine his meaning on an ojbect or event by any analogous, artistic means? God then becomes like an ingenious novelist always on the look out for an ingenious illuminating metaphor etc. An enrichment of the tarnished meaning, like a women who delights in shinning or buffing up her silver!

timothy parker said...

If the truth of Christ is so beautiful, then we need the truth repackaged always. To know again and again the positive message that i am accepted in the sight of God and included in his family, well i suppose it is the least I can do to go on ad infinitum listening to the new 'novel of God' as it comes to us from the interpretators of God, like the indominitable Baxter!? I once asked a pop musician of some standing, about the radio play longevity of pop songs, and the answer came back, about 6 weeks! For me, God has always been identifiable through written language, but am i constraining the creative possiblities of the Spirit by an overemphasis on the written language as opposed to graphic, or picture, or photograph, or sculpture? Something funny is going on in notated languages like speech or music, possibly because of the fruitfulness of ever new constructions of meanings and the centrality of metaphor in all this.

Anonymous said...

It is absolutely amazing how Holy Spirit can draw us to the "dead flies" in our minds and bring about such comtemplative thought to remind us of our darkness in our inclusion with the Triune One! That is brilliance at least to me! Thank you for the bullet points to think about!!

Frances said...

This fly's for you!

Anonymous said...

That fly should have turned around, flew over to the kitchen and feasted on that crumb there beside the fridge; then look for Miss Fly to have some fun with.

C. Baxter Kruger, Ph.D. said...

Brother Timothy, would you pass your pipe to the rest of us?

timothy parker said...

Baxter, i dont know whether to chuckle, or cower in disgrace, but you question took me back some years, to school days, and i felt i was answering an examination question in the English dept. and i got carried away. I hope i dont get barred for my overpresence. But as you can see that fly gets my attention past , present, and future because wrapped up in it, poor fly, is my past, present, and future. So i dont know whether by flouting some hidden ettique, i am supposed to apologise?

Unknown said...

Ode to the Fly

O little fly on my window sill
Lost in your triumphant bliss
Legs upright in fatal surrender
Paying homage to rigor mortis

The pane so clean so clear so bright
Bid you come on through
Again and again the smashing tries
Have killed now even you

The lie of effort to freedom win
A ghastly evil trick
All is bliss within the house
But to the window will you stick

You were let in where food abounds
In a far more tempered clime
Yet paradise lost allure
You’re a legend in your mind

Self reference your undoing
The pane not seen but felt
Is real enough to steal enough
The hand you played you dealt

What peace at last must now be yours
As you rest in still repose
A banner and pebbles to mark your place
The subject now of prose

So farewell to the fly
No more to taste the rain
To struggle against this window
He has not the guts again.

Rest in Pieces.

C. Baxter Kruger, Ph.D. said...

bdfwinn you get the gold star. What a tribute.

Timothy all is well.

Anonymous said...

I'll take a puff of timothy's pipe and muster the courage to follow bdfwinn:

"She Tried"


timothy parker said...

Well, that's a 'fly in the ointment" for me, timothy parker !! I'm seething. He! he! he!
Well at least I tried my hardest - a performance never to be repeated, I hope.

Anonymous said...

Thank god.....I've read some dry "prose" as a student of political science and law, but none that contained such elongated insufficiencies that made me feel more educated in the realm of vocabulary than the recognition of content in the obvious brevity of expression. So...thank you for the new words, but I would prefer bullet points with definitions next time as opposed to the prose I think it would aide in the efficiency of understanding.

2LB2 said...

After thoroughly reading through the comments generated by the “The Dead Fly” post, and then once again with my Oxford theological dictionary, I was once again overwhelmed with the assurance that my decision to not stop drinking was somehow being divinely affirmed. After even further reflection I came to several conclusions & revelations:

• Public school does not prepare you for the disseminations of the intellectually self-absorbed or the epistemologically deficient.
• Man is genetically predisposed to aspire to “flyness”, clearly evidenced by Snoop Dog, Huggy Bear and that dude with the big Afro from Earth, Wind and Fire.
• That a poster with 10 non-replied comments could conjure the phrase “ad infinitum” is… well as a one eyed pirate once said, “that’s what you call ironic”.
• That CBK is perceived by some as an indomininitable, theological flash-in-the-pan with a God complex. Not true. I think his wife could clearly take him… maybe even his little brother, if he had some time to train.
• I learned that “flyness” is a word. Frankly, that alone is enough to fill one with a sense of wondermentness.
• That no matter how many times I see a reaction to a theologian, priest or minister who makes a comment, reflection or God forbid, gives a sermon that hints at the fact that they might be in touch with their ontology, I am always quickly reminded of how deep the church’s scars run in the west.
• Artificial turf is an abomination and football should without exception be played on natural grass. Of course, I am always reminded of this particular point.
• Open door… good. Glass… bad. If your trying to fly through it or even if you’re just skipping stones.
• I have gained a fresh perspective in regard to God & man as artisans. Which, as reading that particular post, reminded me of a quote I once read by Henry Ward Beecher who was an abolitionist among other things. He was raised by a Calvinist Father and despite this handicap, said some pretty poignant things. One of which was in regard to artists, “Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures. Seems like we all have a little artist in us.
• You don’t need to have a non-congruence of the analogous and the imaginative to be nonsensical. The former sentence being a perfect example of this fact.
• I have learned that “Pop” music and “pop” Trinitarian theology have similar life spans. Curious however… was the “pop musician of some standing” referenced in the post John Lennon by chance? Nevertheless, Baxter strikes me as a “Paul” type anyway, probably even left-handed.
• “Fly swatter”… he he… I loved that comment. Very funny. Both imaginative and analogous, and yet sensical.
• It also strikes me how, as humans, we continually feel a need to complicate even the most simplistic, strait-forward concepts. Furthermore, what a beautiful, simple illustration CBK’s “The Dead Fly” post was of the futility of our own effort and the fatal arrogance of our resolve.
• Lastly, and maybe most importantly, I am reminded of the unparalleled preciseness, succinctity and effectiveness of bullet points. However beautiful, I sometimes find prose not unlike foreplay… overrated.

I must stop here. As a lunger once said, “ my hypocrisy only goes so far”. I was just surfing through, first time on the blog, felt the need to throw out a comment. All in good fun don’t take it seriously. I certainly don’t take my self seriously. Heck, it’s a good day if I can get myself dressed. Besides, I had a women… eh… I mean person tell me that I was genetically incapable of rational thought because I was a man (please reference pirate quote). Must be the same gene that prevents me from turning on a TV manually. Forgive the spelling and grammar errors. Not my strength. As my Asian English teacher told me once with regard to a grammar test, “you get F on test”. There you have it. See you guys on the next wave. You can raise the intellectual bar back up. Good stuff CBK.


Boyd Merriman said...

I like the idea that the holy spirit can take anything and bring us to light. Every once in a while, the holy spirit surprises us.

Like Alice, sometimes we get sucked up into the looking glass and are forced to see reality.

The fly never saw it.

The ant was used in the book of Proverbs as something we should study to understand our existence. A dead fly comes a close second.

Keep listening to the buzz of the holy spirit.


timothy parker said...

Oh deary me! I seem to have stirred up the Hornet's nest!

Anonymous said...

All the fly needed was an open door.

Anonymous said...

Poor fly. He died searching for the "seal" of approval.

It is important to keep your fly up.

A fly with no wings = a Walk


bill winn said...

Jebby and 2LB2, Great comments... I died laughing 2LB2 at the "one eyed Pirate" thing. I think this pre-blog post was intended to be light, informative, and fun- bulleye 2LB2 bullseye!

Anonymous said...

Question: Since we know doing things our way will kill us, why do we keep doing it? Why are we so hardheaded? Yes, knowledge we have a little, and that helps, but I'm still trying, as our famous fly did, to get out that window knowing the end result. Oh Lord, help us.

timothy parker said...

I think one of the most inciteful posts is by Bill Winn, when he says: ...[that] this pre-blog post was intended to be light, informative, and fun..."
I certainly had a lot of fun, i just disagree that to have fun means, as a prerequite, lightness!! I wish people would be friends , like Jesus is with me. It is sometimes difficult for me to believe it, but i think Jesus likes me, otherwise i am a complete waste of space!!

Anonymous said...

I was thinking about all this while doing something, & it struck me that if it's true that in Jesus all the lies and deceptive darkness have found their full and complete end, then there isn't any such thing as a 'window pane' anymore. I understand that it is taking the fullness of time to evolve into reality, but I suddenly was struck with the thought that maybe all those 'dead flies' were ever doing was to hone into and bump against the numerous shards of glass laying broken on the window sill/ground.
The agony is in the reality of such stupidity and determination BEING WITNESSED by the light, etc. But such agony also seems to have hypnotic & unanswerable qualities...

tim parker said...

The story of the fly tells me that we need, deparately, the helping hand of Grace, as we are dead meat otherwise. It is no use living by sight instead of by faith as living by sight is to be deluded by and in false knowledge, even of wordly things. Without his faith, shed abroad, in our hearts, we walk as if dead ones.

Robin said...

as i read through these, i realize some people have a lot of time on their hands and some people know some pretty big words. all of which the fly lacks: no time, hands nor vocabulary.
and i also add that, had the fly had any "bullet points," he mighta shot through that glass and been free (and then died outside, seeing as how they live less than a week anyway)

Unknown said...

Robin, in relation to your last point, i nearly died with laughter at the thought of those using long words and having too much time on their hands. But you have not seen the half of it. I happened upon a post evangelical/ emergent theology site with the name of opensource in the name, and spent a whole w/end deciding if was a show-off site, and yes, it was! As for myself, I haven't a leg to stand on, because i became artistic and self-referential here and i should have renounced the self; seriously. contrib. tim parker

Anonymous said...

"'Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me."

Thinking of the fly in the room, I'm thinking that God doesn't say that He will let us out of the room, but that He will come visit us where we are. Were we made for earth, to be resurrected and perfected to rule with Him back on earth? With a flash of a moment in eternity in between... Or maybe our time on earth is a flash and our "moment" in eternity is when He lets us out...

wee9nee5 said...

I'm exhausted!!! My brain is mush! I guess I'm just not very intellectual. I love good analogies, but some of you guys REALLY get into them!! have fun, ya'll! I'm out of here!!!!

Lani said...

Sorry to get the fly thing going again but I am new to Baxter's Blog and am enjoying reading the older and current posts. Since I myself many years ago wrote an "ode to a fly", I had to share. I mean what are the chances you would come upon 39 conversations and a poem about a fly??? So here is mine.

Big fat fly
buzzing round the room,
trapped by four walls
encased within a tomb.

Looking for an opening,
a way to get outside,
he doesn't see the broken string
above his labored stride.

I try to tell him where to go
our souls do not connect.
Your freedom lies in front of you
you silly little insect.

He's calming down,he must be tired,
his thrashing wears him out.
He slowly moves to distant light
to fly a different route.

What waits beyond the window pane
beckons him to go.
What seems to be the greener grass
well, it isn't always so.

To watch this scene brings wisdom huge to soothe my troubled mind.
As I relate my souls despair
to find the exit sign.

I look around for morning sun
that with it brings the path.
I spy a tiny opening
a broken window sash.

The frame is resting on a tilt
which lets the outside in.
And lo my friend the fly and I
realize the secret sin.

The world is full of opposites
what is, is what is not.
If out is where you want to go
then in is where it's at.

The way to find the magnets pull
is stopping to reflect,
that ceasing all the frantic moves
will gravity inject.

Then gracefully begin the pull
towards being who you are.
To open up your eyes to see
the window that's ajar.

Fly through,fly through,
free at last,how silly can you be.
As soon as you give up the fight
The truth will set you free!!!