Still not sure why but I can't stop thinking about this. Obviously its a rather novel approach, at least to me. But a successful approach nonetheless.
I'm glad it struck a chord with you Ben; I was going after several layers in this poem:
1. In the Church, is our intelligence "artificial" in the sense that sometimes we lack real intent; we sometimes perform ordinances and make covenants without faith (and works without faith are dead). You may recall a similar theme in my poem "Patron Saint" and its reference to "the Ritual of the Conveyor Belt / with robotic arms and hands."
2. More generally, what is the effect of ordinances (bag of sand quote) when not accompanied by God's "intelligence"?
3. On a more meta-level (or should I say meta-physical-level), how is God's intelligence "encoded" into our spirits? What distinguishes us from robots? How is our genetic code not determinative of our destiny? Is it our capacity to love, which machines are incapable of?
Because of the nature of the poem, I experimented reading it using different "decoding" methods, looking for alternate or spin-off meanings to the overall.
This year I've been trying slough off the standard pharisee-mode we get into, going through the motions, trusting in dead works for some kind of hoped-for reward, either now or in the next life. Each time I remember that slump state, I remember Christ being quoted as saying all those things are done away in Him, that the Law of Moses box-checking is of no use or value anymore (as if it ever was as a "lesser law") and that we have to focus our hearts on Him rather than these dubious works. Of course, as we have come to understand just how dead our works really are within the dogma of popular rhetoric, this point is emphasized even more. But the initiative to create new habits that replace the dead works and indeed supersede those worthless habits with something of actual value: a different creature, a changed heart . .that's the tough stuff since it requires not an external effort so much as an internal. The rhetoric doesn't help much in this regard.
Of course "God's intelligence"/actual participation matters here, and we can see that certainly lacking in our current paradigm given our state of apostacy. But there is also this "agreement with Sheol" practice of, 'I've been baptized so I'm okay in that regard', or 'I've been through the temple so box checked, my eternal relations are secure, just stay on the covenant path', or 'I'll just follow the *prophet* no matter what so that I can blame him for any bad behavior if I find out in the spirit world he's a faker and I've missed the point entirely while in the flesh'. With these common perspectives, Christ becomes a transactional God; 'I'll do *Your will* and you'll give me security', and we all know how that turned out for the money changers in the temple. I think the best any of those examples can hope for is the "depart from me, I never knew thee" approach, though He would certainly convey more charity in His words that those seem to imply.
But instead of imagining value exchanged in such dead works, you'd think we'd all see the evidence glaring us in the face every morning: do you see any change in your countenance? Do you feel the spring of eternity within? Is that not the true measure of value? Reminds me of the IRS, or the corporation of church: we keep work our entire lives to support the piggy bank in every transaction we can name from birth to death, based on the lie that we are receiving value for our efforts, only to witness daily how those funds are actually spent. You'd think we'd wake up and change. But alas, we are trapped, in both regards, by the threat of prison (or a TK smoothie).
Thanks for helping us focus on what actually matters. As for, "How is our genetic code not determinative of our destiny?" I'll have to think about that one.