Posts filed under Religion

Thinking of what's next

I went to lunch today, was going to meet with a pastor friend, and when I get to the restaurant table he says, "What's up, bitch?"

It totally made me laugh.

That's how I know I'm meeting with the right person. We talked about Star Wars being purchased by Disney, his church, the election, Tim Keller, and a little bit about what it means to be an "atypical" Church-goer or Christian.

The most poignant dialogue was:

He's just trying to figure out how Christianity plays out in his life.
Aren't we all just trying to figure out how Christianity plays out in our lives? In how God has uniquely made each of us?
R6L new 1012_Nov-102.jpg

Now if you don't know me, then by "God" and "Christianity" I'm referring to a mode of providing language to what I perceive. We all have a worldview, both influenced and structured by external and internal forces. Everyone has a belief system, even if it's atheism, Buddhism, agnosticism, or don't-care-ism. And, to a degree, there is absolutely choice in that. But I repeat the above dialogue to mean, simply, that aren't we all trying to work out what it means to exist? To live? To love? To dream?

You know, I tried to be a typical Church-goer, it just didn't work out for me. There were lovely people at my last Church, but the people politics of being correct, in the end, drove a wedge where I don't think I could go back and be a good, docile pew-sitter. Granted, it was, and never is, a one-sided affair; I could have spoken up more, I could have tried a different approach, I could have done a million things. But like many relationships, the season changes and the wind blows you elsewhere. Does that mean there is no reconciliation? Because people shouldn't necessarily be treated analogous to culinary preference as at a local diner. It's not the same as having roast beef for lunch every day for years and then deciding you've had enough. People relationships aren't like that. Marriages and divorces and emotional relationships, they aren't like that.

The politics of the building with the name I no longer sought to war with, is all.

I just want to be with people who are fucking real. I don't care if you're gay, left wing, right wing, lonely, fulfilled, skinny, fat, black, white, hispanic, martian, from the future, whether you do cosplay, or listen to emo music --- whatever. Just be the most honest version of you, and when you aren't, fess up. But just because we're honest with each other doesn't mean we're going to be best friends or never have any conflict. AND THAT'S OKAY. Let's be free of trying to people-please as if trying to earn acceptance.

I guess that's what I'm getting at when I talk about being atypical. I'm old (relatively speaking). I'm tired of fluff. I don't want the platitudes, or formalities, I just want to tell the truth and be told the truth. Not in a way that we wield the truth like it's our weapon of manipulation; I've seen people hide behind "the truth" and stab away at each other all the while claiming, "I'm just being honest." 

In every instance it was always a case of insecurities trying to be covered by lashing out at another. Instead of hiding behind someone else's truth, just tell the truth about yourself.

Here, I'll go first: I'm needy, socially awkward, broken, sad sometimes, sometimes desperate for intimacy, funny, serious, not serious, wise, foolish, a total douche-nozzle, surprisingly likeable, persistent, well-intentioned, surprisingly polite, callous, hard-hearted, insensitive, puerile, immature, clingy, uncaring, distant... I guess I could keep going on, but I imagine you get the gist of it. 

I pretty much suck at life - but I'm beginning to be okay with that. And moving on. I mean, that's my playground, and you're welcome to play there, but that's the kind of playground it is.

But with all that, I guess I'm just thinking about what comes next. Maybe nothing. Maybe something. Maybe everything. Trying to figure out how my belief and world view - how it all works out with how I am - well, how I am just me - and how dreams, love, and life play out in it all...

Posted on November 13, 2012 and filed under Religion, Moments, Letter.

Bartered Love

They will love you - and they talk a lot about love - but only if you agree with their doctrine and conform to their standards. (1)

Isn't that what we do though? We barter love...

I was watching a movie not too long ago - it was questioning, simply, the art of beauty - and at one point the protagonist says:

Crush. It's funny how the same word for the feeling of disappointment can be used for the feeling of attraction. The Oxford English Dictionary states one of the meanings for the word crush as "a strong and unreasoning, but transitory attachment." (2)

I'm beginning to wonder if "crush" and "emotionally attached" are what we mean when we say we "love" people... I mean, I get it, I get the excitement of liking someone, the rush and heightening of senses from simple touch, the almost nostalgic aroma that washes over you when moment after moment of interaction fills the Twitter-like feed of your mind.

Or, for you non-Twitter people, I would have written that as: "when moment after moment of interaction fills the puddles of your conscious thoughts". (Hmm, I think I like that better, scratch the earlier comment about Twitter.)

Emotional Attachments

But I understand the idea of crushing on someone, and the idea of emotional attachments to someone; but those aren't really love. The limitation I feel with the word is, perhaps, a negative towards the English language, because we have to throw modifiers at the word: true love, young love, bad love, false love, brotherly love, romantic love. I wish we could just have different words, it'd make it easier. 

Transient

For a long time, I would talk about love, but I would always treat it as a currency, a karma currency. If you do well, I will treat you well. If you aren't inconvenient to me, I will accept you. But WOE TO YOU if you begin to be an inconvenience. 

I guess I'm beginning to see that's not love, and I should stop calling it that. Then I think about divorces, and break ups, and parents abandoning children, and all these instances that teach us that love is bartered; but it's not love that's bartered, it's the emotional attachments. Love is reserved for something deeper, something that is an expression, an expression from something that isn't tainted or corrupted by "transitory attachments". 

This delineation I think we see in a scene between Aragorn and Éowyn, in Return of the King (2003) 

Éowyn: "Why are you doing this? The war lies to the East. You cannot leave on the eve of battle! You cannot abandon the men."
Aragorn: "Éowyn..."
Éowyn: "We need you here."
Aragorn: "Why have you come?"
Éowyn: "Do you not know?"
Aragorn: "It is but a shadow and a thought that you love. I cannot give you what you seek... [But] I have wished you joy since the first I saw you." (3) (4)

Aragorn experienced emotions for her, but he loved another, and he always would.

And that deeper sense of emotional attachment, that's what I think we should begin to consider when we throw out so easily a word like "love". In whatever circumstances, convenient or not as they aren't the issue, there is this underlying deeper thing that causes expression to rise to our external actions.

If you love your girlfriend/boyfriend, and if you break up, the change in circumstances, shouldn't cause love to cease. And if it does, I don't think you were experiencing love. I don't think there is a true sense of the action of love being in a past, but no longer, present tense.

I loved... but love no more

Consider this: "I loved him, but I love him no more." I, to my deepest core, don't believe it works like that. The emotional attachments may change, they may mature or dissolve, but the wishing of the other person's highest good, I think, never meets cessation.  

And, to be honest, I think that's part of the Shadow of the Divine within us all; the capacity to love - or to express it with a modifying clause - to love beyond our transitory, and often self-seeking, emotional attachments.

Just an evening thought to ponder...

  1. Steve Brown, Three Free Sins: God's Not Mad at You (New York: Howard Books, 2012), p. 210
  2. A line by Ben Willis, played by Sean Biggerstaff, in the British movie Cashback (2006); a Sean Ellis film: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0460740/ 
  3. Aragorn, played by Viggo Mortensen, and Éowyn, played by Miranda Otto, in the Lord of the Rings: Return of the King; a Peter Jackson film: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0167260/
  4. The scene is on Youtube as well: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHLXGwjpVqw
Posted on October 26, 2012 and filed under Literature, Religion, Moments.