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The Umbilical Cord

TO CHRISTIANS




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Birth is an extraordinary experience, all emphatically declare. It is the moment when life finally achieves independence. For the first time, the infant’s mouth will open, air fill up his lungs, and his navel close up when the midwife cuts the umbilical cord. However, and we are well aware of it, this experience is not unique in one’s life, quite the contrary. Natural birth is indeed like a prophetic scene that tells the child, « From now on, life will shape you through that same gesture », meaning, to the rhythm of constant cuttings of the umbilical cord. To exist means « to be in the process of becoming », doesn’t it ? It does very certainly. And the process of becoming does not imply returning into the mother’s womb but leaving it so as to becoming completely free from it ! The newborn baby will have to fight all his life in order to be born into his independence and assert the particular individual he is called to become. Time and again he will have to tear himself away from his biological parents, gain his autonomy, away from all nests, and break every fetter. And at each one of his « births » he will feel the air of his newly gained freedom fill up, expand and burn his lungs as he suddenly utters a victory cry. Life here below is a long birth. The biological birth that sets this process going is like a whip lash, carrying all the symbols of this life race. It teaches us, moreover, that every birth presupposes a death, and that « the mother’s womb is actually a tomb » because the baby who is being born is also simultaneously dying to the embryo he was.

This constant process of « becoming »  towards which life pushes us, this obsession she has of making us an independent being, a Man - that is also a death process life skillfully handles. Life puts to death and condemns, she destroys our dens in which our fears lock us up, as change and novelty scare us. Life tears our cords apart then proudly leaves a mark for her gesture in the form of a beautiful scar. In short, life knows from the start that our nourishing cords will eventually wind around us and then – smother us !

The same goes for the spiritual birth evoked in the New Testament, which is a constant uprooting of the being. Here also, it is all about cutting the umbilical cords that tie men to various addictions and determinisms. However, while the usual existential process of becoming is about untying an individual from their various ties (their begetters, culture, nation, this or that doctrine or inherited lifestyle, etc.), the spiritual birth that Christ means is in fact an altogether different one. Breaking the umbilical cord in that case means a separation from Nature itself —  a complete separation ! Therefore, the metaphor of the « mother’s womb being a tomb » now refers to mother Nature ! In the New Testament, cutting the umbilical cord refers only in a lesser and indirect way to what we commonly call « flesh and blood », by which we mean family, religion, society, or some ideology and its dogmas, ethic and moral codes, etc. Christ means to reach to the very source. He wants to liberate us from our very Nature, from the human being as we know it and that we personally and individually are. Such a future is out of any common sense and rationality, be it scientific or religious. It is sheer madness. For, in the same way the infant’s cord is snipped and then he dies to his embryo existence, this birth process is about tearing man away, not only from his present life, but furthermore from the death towards which that same present life leads him !

The topic therefore is resurrection, that is to say a birth out of man, an exit of the homo-sapiens. We are now considering a future, a « becoming » that is infinitely more than one of those transformations human evolution is able to trigger. That future is excessive to man. It is a road that has got nothing to do anymore with that traditional existential progress into which any human wisdom can lead men. It is, from now on, about having man being newly born, awaken to an identity that is impossible to reasonably conceive, an identity whose evocation is a nightmare to reason, considering that reason’s eternal truths will one day have to bow down before this new man. Christ abundantly talked about this being to come, using for that matter the term Son of man. By so doing he shed light on a phrase that was already used in the Old Testament. Furthermore, he pretended to be himself the perfect incarnation of a Son of man ! And to add to the scandal, he declared that this identity was merely the very nature of God , thereby making himself God’s equal !

This is a far cry from the way the wise and the religious portray those who stand beside their divinity in the after life. Those are usually portrayed as angel-looking creatures whose obedience is perfect, that is to say, they are pure consciences, they no longer have personal desires and consequently know no future — they will never « become ». Between those Sons of angels and the Son of man, the homo sapiens’ verdict will of course be as rational as it will be radical : « It is in the logical course of things to be born a Son of angel, says he, but to be born a Son of man is contrary to reason ». It does not matter that the Sons of angels are beings whose nature is actually totally inhuman, what matters is that they are just exactly what the evolutionary and sanctifying process of reason produces whenever a human being surrenders to its mechanisms. Reason shapes a Creature that is refined from every passion and from any proper liberty, a Creature moulded into perfect obedience so as to be turned into a pure conscience. All this is happening in the midst of a world of peace where everything stands in the absolute and final stability of the divine law that sets it.

Let the reader have a clear understanding of the key matter at hand. Which is, that the Sons of angels have no need whatsoever to cut mother Nature’s umbilical cord because what they become in the after life is only the normal process of their first and only birth, its mathematical process. This is why they do not need to be born spiritually. Nature, who is their nature, slowly leads them into the Unity of her perfect Law, into the immutability of the divine and into its immateriality, thus, into her logic of disembodiment. This here is not being born again, it is rather the successful end of the first birth and of the priorities it pursues. The gods that govern this birth lead everything towards what Reason calls eternal beatitude, and what man calls death. In opposition, the Sons of men are really being born again since they are clothed with another body, indeed, since they are resurrected ! This is why their lifestyle is to cut the umbilical cord of mother Nature, to get out of her origin and to reach their Father’s horizon which is the kingdom of heaven. Whereas the Sons of angels’ lifestyle is to be in communion with their umbilical cord, to follow its way so as to return to their mother’s original womb that they see as heaven or as the nirvana.

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Oddly enough, it seems that up to today the various strands of Christianity basically agree with this stance on resurrection, with the idea of the new body it promises and of the break from the first one it implies, down below. The Church generally approves of this fact and pretends to firmly believe in it, at least in a theological manner, on paper. So it may be that I am actually only sharing truisms and ideas that other theologians and thinkers have asserted a thousand times, here and there, in the course of Christian history.

Nevertheless if Christianity so much loves the Resurrection then why, for centuries and in its vast majority, has it been so much attached to this world ? Why has it been so much absorbed by current events ? Why such a determination on its part to serve, to love and to better mother Nature ? And why has Christianity taught men that to drink from Nature’s best juices and to avidly suck her breast was a divine reward in response to their virtues ? Our « succulent reality » yet is the world’s womb out of which God is determined to take man. What is more, the world is this double fear, this « Egypt » Scripture talks about : fear of living and fear of dying. In the face of such an existence, God offers enfranchisement and liberation. From then on, why teach men - in God’s name - that the silver cord of our biological and reasonable life is a man most precious possession ? God’s work is precisely about setting us free from that earthly cord our fake-life is, and his Spirit wants to teach us not to fear mother Nature’s Torah, which runs the universe. As a consequence, any spirituality that, « in the name of the Divine », teaches men to drink from the world’s breast as a form of spiritual reward - there precisely lies the diabolical. The delicious and appealing diabolical has always promised men milk, honey and fat as a reward for their wisdoms. These here are all the spiritualities of the peace prophets, the ones Scripture constantly labels ‘false prophets’.

And yet this is the very spirituality that, in practice, traditional Christianity preaches to its people. Why ? Because like all religions, the Church has always wanted to conquer the World and to rule over it. Hence her insistence, her enthusiasm, her ardour to discuss politics, sociology, ethics, justice, the various institutions, culture, public health, and all sorts of policies. Hence her will to discuss the laws that rule our civilizations and her pretence to better them. Hence her intention to develop a discourse, in our technological times, on Ecology ! That matter is so much topical that the Church, opportunist as ever, understands how much the issue can be instrumental in helping restore her image. This is why, these days, we can see a certain strand of Catholicism discoursing on some « divine ecology ». The naive will declare that : « the Creation is a temple of flesh and a living house in which God might come to dwell ». In short, Christianity has always been utterly focused on man’s happiness here below, it has always thought to be on a mission to manage things « christianly » here below so as to bring happiness and prosperity to its fellow citizens. From that the Church’s splits, which always got her in extreme difficulty. On the one hand, she wants to uphold a philosophy that teaches men the « divine techniques » needed to extract the world’s best fruits from its breasts, on the other hand she can see God precisely engaged in the very opposite work  ! On the one hand, the Church strengthens the cord of rationality through which the « earthy people » are the head of the world and not the tail, and on the other hand she sees God severing that cord and teach His own to abandon rationality, to have no fear of offending the motherly soil and of losing its temporal blessings.

However, from the midst of her unhappy imbalance, the Church is perfectly aware of her situation. How then will she be able to hide it ? How is she going, for one thing, to go on preaching the new birth, seeing that her existence is founded on this spiritual fact, and for another thing, how will she be able to never cut the child’s cord ! Indeed, she fears the moment when the child reaches maturity and becomes passionate about the resurrection more than he is about the Church. In which case he might cut loose and put the ecclesiastic structure in danger. The Church’s answer to this dilemma, we must admit, was splendid and craftily devised : « Let us make sure, said she, that we infantilize the individual, but this time on the breast of another mother than mother Nature, who anyway must be put aside theologically. Let us then carve the dogma of mother Church. Then, as pagans do with mother Nature, let us say that the Church is sacred and possesses a divine body. Then, every new birth will be consecrated to us and no one will ever dare cut loose from our breast ! »

In consequence, Christianity may from this point preach the new birth in a secure manner since its midwives are expressly trained to never cut the umbilical cord. In an altogether different fashion, the cord will even serve as a spiritual diadem. Some will use it as a proof of their spiritual birth, others to boast the special intimacy they have with the divine. As for the oldest, they will see in the cord a sign of their great spirituality and a trophy for their near-sacrificial bond with the Saintly Mother Church, a bond every Christian is called to possess ! We are therefore in the presence of Christians who have been faithful believers for twenty, thirty or even forty years, but who are still entangled in their umbilical cords. And though they try to deceive their own by turning the disability into a spiritual crown, those Christians are actually spiritual autistic individuals, social cases of a sort. They are psychiatric invalids unable to take on the independence Christ came to offer them. If we could see them just for a day through the transparency of the Spirit, they would surprisingly look like men and women of twenty, thirty or forty, but who are however mentally five or ten years old, and the less affected would look like teenagers.

Still, no one ignores the fact that, one day, the scalpel will work on the skins of us all and the last cord binding us to the living will then be cut for good. On that day Mother Nature will forsake her children to death, and the same will go for all mothers — Science, Nation, Philosophy, Morality, Mysticism, the Church, etc. Or simply for the mother who birthed and raised us. That one, though a human being, is invested with the same powerlessness than the others, and the most heart-wrenching cries of her child being swallowed by death will be to no avail. No mother is strong enough to resurrect her loved ones. Why ? Because resurrection is precisely that wedding ceremony the Scripture talks about. It features two persons only, God and the individual, that is, the particular Being each of us is. It is that being, it is him alone (or her) who will enter resurrection, just as the bride enters the « Bedroom[1] » on her own. This is how Scripture reveals it in the parable of the shepherd : « Christ calls his own one by one, each by his name, and He takes them out. » (cp. jn 103).

He who has received this bonding relationship from God is then a happy person for he is on his way towards his resurrection. Is he not saved by this particular intimacy he has with God ? And what about those who deny such a freedom to Christians ? What about that Church for which a person and another are linked together more than every-One is linked with his or her God ? That Church who thinks God does not lead his own « one by one and each by his name », but that He is leading a herd through a system of harness and yoke forcing all animals to march along the same furrow. That ecclesiastic body who poetically and proudly thinks itself a mother will know the same end than all mothers. The Church will not save her own because she is wrongly persuading herself for centuries that she is « God’s womb », because she promises to give birth to men’s spiritual life. Moreover, she herself will not be saved, that is, her concept will have no existence in the resurrection. In the world to-come, the Church professional members will put their hand upon their mouth and be confounded, because the Ekklesia will confirm once more that « in your mothers’ love, life makes you a promise at the dawn of life that it will never keep.[2] »


ivsan otets


[1] In reference to the Talmud which uses the expression « Bedroom » to evoke the « holy of holies », referring to the O.T. Temple.
[2] Romain Gary, Promise at Dawn.