In Memoriam: Posthumous Lessons from my Boston Terrier, Jax

My little boy kept going over to the blind, opening it, and peering outside, to see if it had really happened.  His mother would come behind him and close the blind again, trying to put a salve on the curious wound that had now been opened.   He would not be deterred.  Again and again, this happened, for several hours, until the night swallowed up the day and the empty pavement was no longer a distraction.

A few hours earlier, Jax, my Boston Terrier, had been hit by a car.  This 11 month old puppy, with whom I had not even shared a birthday, his or mine, was dead, his lifeless body lying at the head of our driveway, motionless.  There are three little boys to whom this dog belonged.  One had been told to bring him inside only moments earlier.  Moments earlier, Jax, was being himself.  He was on the porch wrestling with his favorite play thing, the cat.  All was normal.  Jax was being himself and the cat was on the receiving end.  They let him remain on the porch in his usual style with his usual best animal friend.

A minute later, another one of the kids was asked to bring Jax off the porch.  He goes over to the door, looks out the window panes on either side, and Jax is missing.  He was just there, now, he’s gone.  The boy goes outside, looks around, and suddenly rushes back in the door and exclaims, “Something is Wrong!”  All the children run outside with their mother only to find that death had snuffed life from the place where it once resided.  What was offered as a few minutes more of playtime had turned into a tragic tale of a dogs love for life proving his demise.

We are not sure what happened.  No one saw it.  It happened too quickly.  We surmise he was on the porch with the cat, whom was not faring so well, and the cat took off running across the road.  Jax, for whom caution was no obstacle, most likely dashed toward him, while an unforeseen vehicle driving much too fast on the road in front of our house, was dashing toward him.

There was no sound, no screech of wheels.  There was no remorseful driver that made their way to our front door, dog in hand, apologies falling from lips.  There was just our small puppy who had brought himself up the driveway going to the only place that he knew could help him. 

I hold many powers, but resurrection is not one of them.

About this time, I get a text, “Jax was hit by a car.  He’s dead.  I’m so sorry.” 

My reply “No. No.”

How could this little guy who had just played hide and seek with me only hours earlier be gone?  This little dog who kind of sorta smelled like Fritos and would wait for his turn to lick out the remaining contents of my morning yogurt container, gone? 

This news hit me like a punch to the gut, instant pressure and breathlessness moved over my chest as the suddenness began to overtake my senses.  This was a little guy that I took selfies with, and if you follow me anywhere on social media, you know I don’t take selfies…but now, I’m glad I did.

My favorite memory of him was the neurotic way he obsessed over my hands.  My hands were his favorite play thing because they contained the magic of the man/dog wolf pack of two that we had created together.  He liked to play rough and he liked being pushed and shoved and tapped on the nose with lightening speed.  He’d growl and nibble at my hands, and he would sound ferocious, but he’d never bite me and if I stopped playing rough, and went full silly voice, his ears would go back and he’d lick me until I needed another bath.  He was so obsessed with this way of playing I would often come home, sit on the couch, hands in my pocket, and he would come over to me, begin to nudge my pockets and attempt to dig my hands from their lair.  He would not be deterred.  I possessed the greatest toys around.

My wife moved him into the garage, wrapped him a towel and placed him in his bed.  She turned out the lights.

A few moments later she noticed one of our kids going to the garage door, looking through it and turning on the lights, the same child who was earlier opening the blinds.  She asked him what he was doing and he replied, “Jax doesn’t need to be in the dark.”  He loved his dog and he wanted to make sure that he was ok, that he wasn’t left all alone; he was hoping Jax would get back up…he was hoping for a miracle. 

When everything feels dark, it’s only natural to turn on the lights.

Two of my boys are huddled on the couch crying together, wrapped in a blanket, and the other sits with his mother and says, “I sure wish magic was real so I could bring Jax back.”

All three kids are crying, not able to concentrate on homework, not able to play or be kids because Jax is in the garage, dead. 

I step into the house and the absence is palpable.  I get home and find them all in their room, attempting to do the impossible: sleep.  This just doesn’t feel right.  I, for one, am speechless.  Not that I don’t have words; I just want to keep them inside.  I don’t have much time.  Jax needs to find his final resting place tonight, but I want to the kids to have one more opportunity to say goodbye.  We ask them if they would like to do that before I go and take care of Jax.  They all say yes, climb out of the bed in their pajamas, make their way into the garage, and stand around Jax still not sure what is happening but knowing that whatever this hurt is, it is real.

I was at work all day.  The last time I saw him I put him in his cage, told him he was a good boy and left the house, fully expecting him to be excited to see me hours later.  Instead, what I found was a poor little puppy, wrapped in a blanket, rigor mortis set in, his eyes open peering into mine, as he lay in his dog bed.  Animals this small begin the death process quickly after they breath their last.  I really hoped I’d find a softer puppy I could pick up, look at and hold, but he was too stiff and his body was cold.

He had died around 3:50pm.  I did not get home until 9:15pm.

I find a box that is suitable for him.  Put on my hat, gloves and goose down coat, and carry him in his box into the yard, the cold biting my face but my face not even flinching.  I have parked my car at a slant facing the part of the yard where I will bury him and I turn on the headlights so I can see.  I choose a spot right next to Bailey, his predecessor, and our family dog of 11 years.

What made burying Jax so difficult tonight was the fact that we had just buried Bailey last April.  Bailey was our Westie we had gotten the week of college graduation, Spring 2003.  He had been the dog that was home through our first milestones: babies being born, 3 different apartments, 2 different houses, moving out of state, and sat by my feet as I wrote many papers for seminary.  Jax was brought into our home 3 months later.  He was supposed to be the dog for the next 10-15 years, the dog the kids would leave with mom and dad when they went to college, that their High School girlfriends would pet, the dog they would really remember as their own.  And now, in an untimely fashion, I was burying him feet away from Bailey.  Losing him seemed like losing Bailey all over again, only now with a year of memories to boot.

I understand that having a pet will mean dealing with loss and I am totally “ok” with that loss happening once every decade.  I can deal with a gaping hole that is more loyal than most humans happening to me once every 10 years…but twice in less than a year just sucks.  I promised myself that all the things I didn’t do with Bailey, or the ways I would sometimes think of my dog as an inconvenience, I would not do with Jax.  Jax was my redemption, my next attempt at being the owner that Bailey deserved when I felt like there were times when I had not loved him as much as he had loved me…and that’s why losing Jax hurts…because I was a good owner and I loved him the best I could and he loved me…and now he’s gone, so I have lost the dog that knew my voice for the past 11 years and now I lost his successor much too quickly.

I picked up the shovel and began carving out a 1 ½ x 3 size square into the ground.  After 35 minutes of digging in the dark, taking brief pauses for emotional moments, I opened the box and looked at him one last time.  I cried.  Actually, I wept.  I touched his face.  I apologized to him.  I told him I loved him.  And I thanked him for being a great dog.  I closed the lid.  Placed him in the ground and covered up my newest best friend.  With what remaining strength I had left at the end of the day, I padded down the dirt, leaving a mound for the ground to settle…walking away, I looked back, still not sure of what I had just done.

Funny thing is I used to not be a dog person, until I was.  Bailey and Jax did that to me.  They made me love them because they loved me.  Even when I didn’t realize it, they were working their magic on me and I only realized how successful they were when they were gone.

It seems ridiculous to be hurt and tore up over losing an animal.  I used to think so myself, until I felt the hole that is left when something you love so deeply is gone.  No, they are not human…but when they live in the house with you they become one of your creatures, part of you, and something you consider when making decisions.

The reason it hurts when we lose humans close to us is because they were close to us, not because they were human.  Humans die every day and none of us care.  Humans in our families die, humans that we didn’t see or talk to much, like our “moms dads cousin” and many of us have been to their funerals, offered condolences, but it hasn’t kept us up at night.  But humans that live with us, humans we share life with, humans that are human with us, those humans matter and when we lose them we are inconsolable.  And truth be told, we never really get over that loss.  The loss remains and we know it.  We just learn to incorporate the loss into our lives and learn to live a life of loss under the charade of healing.   But we all learn that part of living is living with losing.

Jax’s absence is already salient because he lived with me.  He slept in my bed.  He followed me around the house.  He rode in my car.  He would greet me every day when I got home from work.  He would bring me his toys and he would lick me to death if I’d let him.  He was the creature that would get my copyrighted stupid voice every day because only he would be entertained by it.

What makes us value those creatures, human and animal alike, is our interaction with them, and for many of us who are pet owners, we can literally have thousands of interactions over the course of a lifetime with our animals.  The interaction we share with God’s creatures will often times dwarf what we share with most other humans, even the ones in our family, so it makes sense that we value these relationships and it makes sense that it hurts when they are stolen from us.

Our connection with our animals also indicates that we are created to be in harmony with both the human, and non-human, creation.  We want relationship with people and creatures…it taps into something that tells us we are not so different even though we tell ourselves we are.  This is why we are able to become attached so quickly.  Within a matter of days of bringing a dog home, he is already part of the family.  Once this belonging has been established, removing him from the family can in no way be undone without causing trauma, even if it is only a slight wandering of our mind toward “what if?”

The loss of our animals hurts because they are a gift to us; very literally, they become a grace to us, giving us forgiveness, acceptance and affection when we do not deserve it.   Grace is an unmerited favor bestowed upon someone without cause or purpose; grace is typically preceded by an unconditional love.  Jax, and all our animals, teach us many things, but perhaps the most important is that love can be given without condition.  Our animals love us regardless of how we treat them, what we buy them or how often we even give them attention.  Dogs, and I’ll go on a limb her, are perhaps one of the best examples of incarnational love in the animal kingdom because they truly, in essence, embody the love of the Christ toward us…a love offered by God, without stipulation, toward us, in order to save us from ourselves and our own damnation.  And they do it without thought for personal gain. They just want to love the world one lick at a time. I don’t know about you, but on more than one occasion Jax saved me from my own pity and loved me even when him licking my face was the last thing I wanted at the moment.

So I write these words and these thoughts in memoriam to my good buddy Jax.  I am thankful that he reminded me my heart is not rocky soil and I am thankful for the grace that he was in my life.  I sure am gonna miss him.  If God is ever going to be in the business of renewing creation like scripture says, Jax better be there or me and Jesus are going to have words.

Jax Napier.  In Memoriam: March 2014 – February 2015

IMG_0360

IMG_0361

Sex is Divine: Zizek, Jayadeva and the radicality of Incarnation

Jayadeva

When the falsely innocent Christlike figure of pure suffering and sacrifice for oursake tells us: “I want nothing from you!” fails miserably – we should not forget that these are the exact words used by the Priest to designate the court in Kafka’s Trial: “The court wants nothing from you.”  When the falsely innocent Christlike figure of pure suffering and sacrifice for our sake tells us: “I don’t want anything from you!,” we can be sure that this statement conceals a qualification “…except your very soul.”  When somebody insists that he wants nothing that we have, it simply means that he has his eye on what we are, on the very core of our being.

 

Wondrous dwarf, when you cheat demon Bali with side steps

Water falls from your lotus toenails to purify creatures.

You take form as a Dwarf, Krishna.

Triumph, Hari, Lord of the World.

 

The incarnation is the perverse core of Christianity and the perverse core of the perverted god’s that desire the absolution of a person for the sake of their own divine egos.  The incarnation has historically been the doctrine of the divine overtaking the human form in the person of Jesus and using this medium to exact divine revenge and quench the thirst for the apparent ontological masochistic necessity that the God of the Bible seems to display.  What sort of God is this that takes over our way of being, the form of our human flesh, and uses it to appease his own ineptitude of not securing a tree in the Garden that would not be violated?  Could we not have saved our flesh had this God not created this obvious temptation?  This is what a pervert does and this is the practice of perversion.  The pervert sacrifices the innocence of another person in order to gain something from them, typically sexually.

Sex and violence have always been partners.  How useful is a doctrine of the incarnation if it is continually used to reinforce a theology of perversion and furthermore place the object that it sacrifices, humanity, into
the debt of the God that asks for the sacrifice?

This is the string that is attached.  Christ has died, and in this required death, we are in debt, even though God does not need our currency.  If this is the case, than why require the currency of flesh?  Sigmund Freud was right, we do owe death a debt.  Only the debt we owe, as so finely articulated by Zizek above, is the debt of our being, our flesh, because the Christ figure has given us his being, his flesh.  There must be an alternative way.  The divine has always been playing games that have not limited their play to the fertile crescent.  Jayadeva also plays similar games of violation and psychologically twisted debtful obligation.

I will argue below that by reading the incarnation through the work of Zizek and Jayadeva, one is left with the incarnation as a sexual ethic that is embodied between two people.

Zizek argues for the end of the incarnation as a transcendent referent and for a more embodied discourse that takes on the Pauline insistence of ethical living.  Jayadeva makes very clear that the incarnation is the articulation encounter one has had with the Big Other (read God) that typically occurs under the auspices of a sexual encounter.  While the encounter that Jayadeva describes is thoroughgoing sexual, one needs to penetrate beneath the sexuality to the core that pushes the encounter to occur in the first place.  This is known as the drive or Freud’s Trieb, even though this methodology may be a trifle anachronistic (we all read from somewhere).

The trieb is not only the locale that cannot be localized, it is also the thing deep within oneself that longs for the fulfillment and rest that can only occur, according to Jayadeva, in the encounter with Hari.  When the trieb is left empty, it is sorrowful and lacking.  It is the mourning Rada.  The body demonstrates outward signs of mourning, until the Divine, or Hari, once again comes home from wandering and offers a temporary place of rest.  Then the ankle bracelets may resume their ringing, though briefly.

Jayadeva unmistakably articulates the necessity of sexuality for human being/becoming in relation to the divine, particularly as that experience that is best known as jouissance, or painfully pleasurable arrival…or what most Christians call heaven.  Thus, the incarnation is a sexual ethic that is to be lived between people, between two subjects that might not know one another exist.  This is evident in the amount of failed relationships that occur, not because love and sexuality is not present, but because an incarnated sexual ethic is not embodied.  If Jayadeva were writing/righting today, perhaps he would suggest that the only Big Other (read Lacanian sense of Other that is not oneself i.e., structure of language, trauma, or the feminine) that is left is the other of the person.

For Zizek, questions of divine culpability go to the heart of the Christian God.[3]  For this reason, Zizek argues for a radically different approach to a doctrine of the incarnation than may be found in Athanasius’ De Incarnatione.  Zizek spots the perverse core of Christianity, and in so doing the pervert Christianity historically calls God, and calls for the forging of a new direction not located in transcendence.  For Zizek, the incarnation is not a statement about the importance of transcendence, but a statement about the importance of the body, the immanent reality of living people caught in living structures of truth seeking and fulfillment.  God needs the world and drains transcendence in the process.  Jesus, known as the Christ, is the desublimation of the transcendent God of Judaism.  Judaism could never bring God to where it was/is, thus it negated any sort of anthropomorphic identity to the Supreme Creator.  Zizek argues that this negation of anthromorphic concepts, however, necessarily places Judaism on the road to making God man, on the road to Christianity.

Zizek describes it thus,

“it is the Jewish religion which remains an “abstract/immediate” negation of anthropomorphism, and as such, attached to, determined by it in its very negation, whereas it is only Christianity that effectively “sublates” paganism.  The Christian stance is here: instead of prohibiting the image of God, why not, precisely, allow it, and thus render him as JUST ANOTHER HUMAN BEING, as a miserable man indiscernible from other humans with regard to his intrinsic properties?”

For Zizek, what occurs in the incarnation is not the propitiation of sins in the form of a human being or the restoration of the divine image that was lost at the fall, but the handing over of the world to humans.

When Christianity asserts that the divine THING has come in/as Jesus of Nazareth, the THING that is beyond, known as God, is shown to be absent because Jesus is present.  Zizek interprets Jesus as a figure within the symbolic order or the drive/thing/law schemata, wherein the drive toward rest is always directed toward the thing that is supposed to give rest, i.e., God, but such rest is always prohibited from fully resting because of the prohibitions from the Law separate a person from the THING or destination.  Jesus, however, traverses the Law and makes the divine present and therein ends transcendence.  He makes the destination of the drive apprehensible, thus offering a place of rest and an end to the excess of sin that is produced in seeking the relationship with the divine via attempts at becoming divine.

This means that the event of the Christ is not an event that brings one into relationship with the BIG OTHER God.  Christ does not do our work for us and pay our debt through his divine threshold of pain.  Rather, the incarnation, the coming of God to humanity, the shrinking of transcendence, is the event that gives us the chance to be free from our excessive quests for the unattainable THING, God, for in Jesus, says Christianity, God is with us.

Yet, Zizek writes, “Christ is not the contingent material embodiment of the superasensible God: his “divine” dimension is reduced to the aura of pure Schein.”

The Incarnation, therefore, is a statement about the end of transcendence into immanent transcendence in the Christ figure, Jesus.  Jesus as the incarnation is not the living apprehension of an ontological other, but the dismissal of that Other and the freeing of humanity from its haunting and obsessive quests toward something else.  In turn, Zizek argues, this freedom from the excess of looking for the THING that is present in Jesus allows a person to love and act ethically.

What is most important in the incarnation, therefore, is the possibility to embody agape and to act in loving ways toward the opposite sex, abolishing all sexual barriers.  The power of the incarnation to release one from metaphysical whims produces a reality wherein there is no Jew, nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female.  No wonder the “Christ was a traumatic scandal.”

Zizek offers readers an alternative reading of the incarnation.  In so doing, he offers readers a different kind of incarnation resulting in the adaptation of an ethic of agape that destabilizes dominant worldviews and begins a constructive theology.  The incarnation is the event that makes true ethical behavior possible because God is (us) with us.  Jayadeva will finalize this embodiment for us.

While Zizek and Jayadeva could be juxtaposed,  together they provide a coherent synthesis and ground upon which incarnation can be expanded to the embodiment of a sexual ethic.

This essay began with the quote, “You take form as a Dwarf, Krishna.”

Krishna, like Jesus, is an embodiment of something.  Both are individuals that come from elsewhere.  Both are individuals that interact with humans and seek to satisfy the excess of the human quest for the place from which Krishna and Jesus come.  Krishna is the coming of the THING.  Unlike much of Christian tradition that places a Law between the THING and the person, Jayadeva is the wall effacer.  There are no restrictions in Jayadeva that could prohibit the person from experiencing the THING of God, except God’s wandering ways and lustful lies.  Jayadeva wants to make St. Teresa’s “coming” a reality, but in so doing one realizes that one cannot really “come” because Hari is never always there, he is always already never there when he is there.

 

When Hari and Rada are together, their experience is beatific and mystical, yet, it is one that does not last.  It leaves both Rada, and Hari (even erstwhile he is promiscuous) wanting for more.  If they had found fulfillment in one another, then the trieb of Hari would be of no consequence.  One cannot help but notice as the poem moves that Hari must be dreaming of others, which he does in fact pursue, “The wondrous mystery of Krishna’s sexual play in Brindaban forest IS Jayadeva’s song.  Let its celebration spread Krishna’s favors.  At the end, however, Krishna exclaims, “Glance at me and end my passion’s despair.”

The poem may be read as the story of unquenchable desire that simply exhausts the ability of the other to end passion whatsoever, particularly the passion of the god’s.  Who/what, after all, can quench a divine libido?

Therefore, one is left with an incarnation of Jayadeva as linguistic explanation after the encounter one has with God or one can argue that the incarnation is the ethic that is not expressed in Jayadeva, thus reading against the texts sexual obtuseness, while at the same time reading with it.  If the incarnation allows for a real ethic, as proclaimed by Zizek, this ethic must look different than is described in Jayadeva, particularly in that Zizek challenges Jayadeva’s insistence on questing after the suppression of passion by attaining the THING, Krishna, God, one’s rest!

If Jesus as incarnation is the power to free one from the excess of trauma, than what does this say about being free from the traumatic effects of the relationships the gods have with people, particularly Rhada?

Reading Zizek alongside of Jayadeva indicts the Gitogavinda for its sexual hierarchy, yet it does locate the place of heaven and incarnation as being between two peoples in sexual encounter.  The sexual encounter is brief and simply complex, but the insistence on its placement in the development of Krishna as a God, and Rhada as the subject receiving the impalement, testifies to the inability to fully describe a REAL sexual encounter, one that is ethically responsible and fulfilling for both parties regardless of the passions that are quenched.  The dialectic is that the moment initiates more moments in hopes of finding the real one.  Rhada and Krisha fall together, they fall apart and then back together again, but they never arrive.  Zizek, however, suggests that this arrival is already here making the journey null and void.

 

 

 

 

 

Zizek reads the Bible: Thoughts on Incarnation

nietzsche quote/

The incarnation is the perverse core of Christianity and the perverse core of the perverted god’s that desire the absolution of a person for the sake of their own divine egos.

When the falsely innocent Christlike figure of pure suffering and sacrifice for our sake tells us: “I want nothing from you!” fails miserably – we should not forget that these are the exact words used by the Priest to designate the court in Kafka’s Trial: “The court wants nothing from you.” When the falsely innocent Christlike figure of pure suffering and sacrifice for our sake tells us: “I don’t want anything from you!,” we can be sure that this statement conceals a qualification “…except your very soul.” When somebody insists that he wants nothing that we have, it simply means that he has his eye on what we are, on the very core of our being. (The Puppet and the Dwarf, 170).

The incarnation has historically been the doctrine of the divine overtaking the human form in the person of Jesus and using this medium to exact divine revenge and quench the thirst for the apparent ontological masochistic necessity that the God of the Bible seems to display. The recent History Channel Series on the Bible shows at least this much…but let’s ask a few questions:

What sort of God is this that takes over our way of being, the form of our human flesh, and uses it to appease his own ineptitude of not securing a tree in the Garden that would not be violated?

Could we not have saved our flesh had this God not created this obvious temptation?
This is what a pervert does and this is the practice of perversion. The pervert sacrifices the innocence of another person in order to gain something from them, typically sexually. Sex and violence have always been partners, even when it comes to ideas of salvation.

How useful is a doctrine of the incarnation if it is continually used to reinforce a theology of perversion and furthermore place the object that it sacrifices, humanity, into the debt of the God that asks for the sacrifice, while simultaneously setting it up? This is the string that is attached. Christ has died, and in this required death, we are in debt, even though God does not need our currency.

If this is the case, than why require the currency of flesh? Sigmund Freud was right, we do owe death a debt. Only the debt we owe, as so finely articulated by Zizek above, is the debt of our being, our flesh, because the Christ figure has given us his being, his flesh. There must be an alternative way.

For Zizek, questions of divine culpability go to the heart of the Christian God.

Zizek writes, “God as omnipotent is a perverse subject who plays obscene games with humanity and His own son: he creates suffering, sin and imperfection, so that He can intervene and resolve the mess He created, thereby securing for himself the eternal gratitude of the human race.” He later asks, “For which authority above Himself – is God himself forced to sacrifice his son?” (The Fragile Absolute, 157-158). For this reason, Zizek argues for a radically different approach to a doctrine of the incarnation than may be found in Athanasius’ De Incarnatione. Zizek spots the perverse core of Christianity, and in so doing the pervert Christianity historically calls God, and calls for the forging of a new direction not located in transcendence.

Zizek’s questions are strikingly difficult, emotionally stressful and piously challenging…yet the questions remain despite our incessant need to hide behind the pages of scripture that actually raise these questions through an honest reading of text.

For Zizek, the incarnation is not a statement about the importance of transcendence, but a statement about the importance of the body, the immanent reality of living people caught in living structures of truth seeking and fulfillment. God needs the world and drains transcendence in the process. Jesus, known as the Christ, is the desublimation of the transcendent God of Judaism. Judaism could never bring God to where it was/is, thus it negated any sort of anthropomorphic identity to the Supreme Creator. Zizek argues that this negation of anthromorphic concepts, however, necessarily places Judaism on the road to making God man, on the road to Christianity.

Zizek describes it thus,
“it is the Jewish religion which remains an “abstract/immediate” negation of anthropomorphism, and as such, attached to, determined by it in its very negation, whereas it is only Christianity that effectively “sublates” paganism. The Christian stance is here: instead of prohibiting the image of God, why not, precisely, allow it, and thus render him as JUST ANOTHER HUMAN BEING, as a miserable man indiscernible from other humans with regard to his intrinsic properties?” (The Fragile Absolute)

For Zizek, what occurs in the incarnation is not the propitiation of sins in the form of a human being or the restoration of the divine image that was lost at the fall (contra St. Athanasius) but the handing over of the world to humans. When Christianity asserts that the divine THING has come in/as Jesus of Nazareth, the THING that is beyond, known as God, is shown to be absent because Jesus is present.

Zizek interprets Jesus as a figure within the symbolic order or the drive/thing/law schemata, wherein the drive toward rest is always directed toward the thing that is supposed to give rest, i.e., God, but such rest is always prohibited from fully resting because of the prohibitions from the Law separate a person from the THING or destination. Jesus, however, traverses the Law and makes the divine present and therein ends transcendence. He makes the destination of the drive apprehensible, thus offering a place of rest and an end to the excess of sin that is produced in seeking the relationship with the divine via attempts at becoming divine. This means that the event of the Christ is not an event that brings one into relationship with the BIG OTHER God. Christ does not do our work for us and pay our debt through his divine threshold of pain. Rather, the incarnation, the coming of God to humanity, is the shrinking of transcendence, is the event that gives us the chance to be free from our excessive quests for the unattainable THING, God, for in Jesus, says Christianity, God is with us.

Zizek writes, “Christ is not the contingent material embodiment of the supra-sensible God: his “divine” dimension is reduced to the aura of pure Schein.” (On Belief 95).

The Incarnation, therefore, is a statement about the end of transcendence into immanent descendence in the Christ figure, Jesus. Jesus, as the incarnation, is not the living apprehension of an ontological other but the dismissal of that Other and the freeing of humanity from its haunting and obsessive quests toward something else. Zizek is basically arguing that freedom from the excess of looking for the THING (God) that is present in Jesus allows a person to love and act ethically. When we are no longer looking for the BIG OTHER, we are free to look at one another as Christ does his disciples. What is most important in the incarnation, therefore, is the possibility to embody agape and to act in loving ways toward others. The power of the incarnation to release one from metaphysical whims and produce a reality wherein there is no Jew, nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female. No wonder the “Christ was a traumatic scandal.” (The Fragile Absolute)

In reading the incarnation as such, Zizek offers readers an alternative reading of this important theological concept. He offers readers a different kind of incarnation resulting in the adaptation of an ethic of agape that destabilizes dominant worldviews and begins a constructive theology. The incarnation is the event that makes true ethical behavior possible because God is with us…and for Zizek we are therefore released from God. Perhaps the mystics were right. The only prayer we should fully pray is “God rid me of God” so that I can be released to myself and the world…Just as Christ was so released into humanity.