“When traditional symbols have lost their power” by Paul Tillich

“One can become aware of the God above the God of theism in the anxiety of guilt and condemnation when the traditional symbols that enable men to withstand the anxiety of guilt and condemnation have lost their power. When “divine judgement” is interpreted as a psychological complex and forgiveness as a remnant of the “father-image,” what once was the power in those symbols can still be present and create the courage to be in spite of the experience of an infinite gap between what we are and what we ought to be. The Lutheran courage returns but not supported by faith in a judging and forgiving God. It returns in terms of the absolute faith which says Yes although there is no special power that conquers guilt. The courage to take the anxiety of meaninglessness upon oneself is the boundary line up to which the courage to be can go. Beyond it is mere non-being. Within it all forms of courage are re-established in the power of God above the God of theism. The courage to be is rooted in the God who appears when God has disappeared in the anxiety of doubt.”

from The Courage to Be, by Paul Tillich

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ding, dong, there goes my head!

bring a bath drink with you when you come
I have been waiting all day to see you live
are you awake? I am dead to myself but
alive in another dimension. Capiche?

ding, dong, here goes my thread,
ding, dong, there goes my head,
ding, dong, here goes my thread,
ding, dong, there goes my head!

are you watching? listening?
can you feel the wind blow in your head?
there is never enough bread to go around,
wouldn’t you say? that’s what I’m told, anyway.

there is a lot here in my country,
but not everyone shares it.
only a very few have it,
and they don’t share, usually.

some do, but the others don’t care.
they want to keep all their bread to their selves.
is that moral? is that spiritual? is that Christian?
I don’t think so, which leads me to conclude that

we are not a Christian country, not really.
we help people sometimes, but it is very selective,
and only when our own interests are at stake,
whether it be here, or abroad.

ding, dong, here goes my thread,
ding, dong, there goes my head.
ding, dong, here goes my thread,
ding, dong, there goes my head!

what do you think? comment.
let me hear you sing!!!
shout! louder! c’mon, that was not loud.
you can do better than that.

let’s hear it! loud!!!
at least sing with me when I sing, okay!
I will help you, for a while,
but then you have to sing by yourselves, deal?

okay, it goes like this:

ding, dong, here goes my thread.
ding, dong, there goes my head.
ding, dong, here goes my thread.
ding, dong, there goes my head!

well, that wasn’t bad, but
I think you could do better,
if you were motivated by something.
not sure what to motivate you by, though.

God isn’t working for you, right?
well, I don’t blame you.
sometimes, it doesn’t seem like
God even cares about me.

But good things do happen, occassionally, right?
why is that? why do good things happen?
I suppose you have decided that it is all just
a matter of chance, luck, what have you, right?

I don’t think so. I think good things happen
for a reason, just like bad things happen
for a reason. I know that is hard to accept,
especially if you are not “Christian” or some

type of member of an organized religion,
but, really, aren’t you?
aren’t you in some type of group?
don’t you have friends?

don’t you have people around you,
no matter how few, who care about you,
and agree on at least some things?
well, that is the organization part.

so what is your religion?
ha, now, you say, I’ve got you!
I am not religious, you say.
I have no religion in my life, at all!

ah, but you are wrong their, too, my friend.
for if you are alive, you have religion,
even if your religion is a religion that
does not have a label, a category,

or a mission statement.
well, hell, you say. what is that supposed
to mean? okay, let me level with you.
I think a religion is living your life,

according to a truth, some truth,
that you have decided for yourself,
by yourself, that is worth living for,
or dying for. dying for? you say.

I don’t think so, you say,
I’m not willing to die for anything!
ah, but you are not willing to die,
see, there I have you!

and if you are willing to die,
even if you are planning it right now,
I have you there, too.
for you still have decided that something

is true, something is worth doing something
about. you “believe” in something.
you believe in life, or you believe in death,
that, my friend, is your religion.