September 20, 2012

A Philosopher's Prayer

I'm intrigued by this prayer. It was written by James Smith (I kind of like this guy if you haven't noticed). Being the philosophy scholar he is, he reads strange foreign texts and then attends obscure seminars to discuss complicated ontological matters, and the like, that only those gathered can understand--at least, this is how I imagine them.

He wrote the following words as the "Opening Prayer" at the Continental Philosophy Seminar back in Spring 2003:

"Lord God,
Creator of earth and matter,
You both dazzle and hide,
You call both light and shadow to be.
You dwell on mountaintops
And in the nooks and crevices of the mountainside.
You speak in both fire and whispers.

Your very material creation--
With all of its dirt and blood,
All of its smells and tastes,
Is a playground for thought.

And so we--graced, privileged, and called--play
At what must seem to you, sometimes, just games.
Is God to be found in the trace? we ask, almost serious.
Is the world the folding and unfolding of God's immanence? we     inquire.
As we try out our questions, surely you chuckle, Lord--
But I think that you chuckle because you like to play along--
That you are glorified in our play, even our serious academic     play.

Only you, Lord, God of a richly folded creation,
Could be found in a place like Deleuze or Badiou,
Could surprise us in the pleats of French philosophers,
Could whisper in the creases of continental ontology.

Lord Jesus, you "sunk yourself in matter" for our sakes,
That we might be pulled out of our flat absorption in     immanence--
To be the "charged" material image bearers of divine excess.
Help us, then, Lord, to be your disciples above all--
To discern what these texts mean for our discipleship,
For our being-in-the-world,
Our being-for-others,
And our being-before-you.