Sunday, April 12, 2009

On Jesus and Dancing (which could well be the title of every post)

What has so far been the greatest sin here on earth? Was it not the word of him who said, "Woe unto those who laugh here"? Did he himself find no reasons on earth for laughing? Then he searched very badly. Even a child could find reasons here. He does not love enough: else he would also have loved us who laugh. But he hated and mocked us: howling and gnashing of teeth he promised us.
Does one have to curse right away, where one does not love? That seems bad taste to me. [...] Avoid all such unconditional people! They have heavy feet and sultry hearts: they do not know how to dance. (Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Fourth Part, "On the Higher Man")
Zarathustra seems quite certain: Jesus wasn't much of a dancer. A dancer is limber, yielding, light on his feet, and Our Lord and Saviour was lumbering and unwieldy.

I guess that cross was too damned heavy.

Where Zarathustra crowns his laughing one with a rose-wreath, Jesus had a crown of thorns.
But perhaps these are not so opposed as they first appear. I'm taking it upon myself in these next two weeks to explore the similarities between the rose-wreath and the thorns (or at least this will linger in the background of my explorations). Those who would wear either of these crowns are not those who seek to dominate the marketplace or the empire, but those who hear something above the noise of the mob. What they hear (a call of some sort?) leads to hardship, but not necessarily to heavy feet.

Zarathustra denounces the spirit of gravity: this burdensome dwarf weighs us down with alien words and values like good and evil so that we are unable to know ourselves. Does not Jesus also denounce the burden of alien words and values? Don't we call this grace? The marketplace and the empire cannot colonize a soul that has ceased to feel the weight of anxiety, calculation, and comparison--in other words, a soul that has truly heard the good news of Easter. Jesus did not curse that which he did not love. Rather, they find themselves cursed who do not love him, who are unable to put down the load and live in this grace, who are unable to join the dance of the light-footed.

For all the accusations of violence leveled against Nietzsche (I'm looking at you, Milbank and Bentley Hart), Zarathustra at least seems interested in a similar sort of grace.
You higher men, the worst about you is that all of you have not learned to dance as one must dance--dancing away over yourselves! What does it matter that you are failures? How much is still possible!
Sounds sort of like an Easter message to me.

And, I'll leave you with a dancing Jesus that places rose-wreaths on the heads of his disciples. So there, Friedrich.

Whew. That's a pretty substantial first post. I promise not to talk about Nietzsche and souls next time.

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