Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Something serious, something silly

When I read something and it moves me so far that I am sitting crying at the keyboard, I think probably I should share it.

This man's blog may be one of the most honest and moving things I've ever read.

Now, those of you who know me know that there's no way I could be called Christian in any orthodox sense of the word (and probably not in most unorthodox senses either). I do feel like I'm living my life well if I can honor Christ's "summary of the law:" "Love God with your whole heart and soul and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself." But I've utterly rejected the "Christian sub-culture" that RLP describes in the post linked above. And I can't imagine myself leaving the UUs. (Unless of course I started my own church, as I am wont to do. But it'd only be because the UUs are so very Apollonian and sometimes I need more ritual, and sometimes more down-and-dirty emotion, than what you find in most UU churches.)

But I do still wonder... obviously what moves this guy is the need to share compassion, healing, and hope. All pretty darned admirable qualities. All things that I consider my core values (even when I am less-than-perfect at embodying them most of the time). Yet to me, those are the core values of any religion. What is different about each religion is the "trappings," the practices and rituals and dogma and theology (or lack thereof) surrounding those core values. And it seems that he's rejected the "trappings" of Christianity. So why does he still feel the need to work within Christianity? Why is it not possible to share compassion, healing, and hope without worrying about what religious label is on it? For that matter, why put any religious label on it? Why is that not just part of being a good human? (I guess the reason I'm a UU is that I automatically ask questions like this. Have all my life. Hopeless, that's me. :) Yet I feel the existence of Something Else too, which is why I'm not strictly a humanist. I accept that I am a paradox sometimes.)

That said, I honor this guy's honesty in telling his story. Having gone through my own "dark night of the soul" a few years ago (which I ought to write about sometime, about feeling like we were all just "meat robots" driven to produce more "meat robots" and that everything else about self-actualization was meaningless... not a fun experience, but necessary to go through) I know how hard it can be. I honor that he shared his own experience; that's even more difficult than the experience itself, sometimes.

(And incidentally, I got a personal "answer to prayer" out of his discussion of that, about "love is not something you feel, but something you do." I would add that the correlary is that saying the word "love" isn't as important as *doing* the word "love." I needed to hear that right now; it answered a personal concern. Don't you love it when the universe gives you things like that?)

And if more Christians were like this guy, I think there would be a lot more Christians. I'm not saying I'd be one of them, mind you. But I think --regardless of the label-- that the Entheos I honor and the God this guy worships despite his doubts, if they're not one and the same, they surely are drinking buddies.


Oh, the silly? Spamalot got 14 Tony nominations! Yay Monte Python! Yay Tim Curry!


Anonymous said...

From Real Live Preacher,

Hi there,

Obviously I follow my referal links. It's addicting and I enjoy meeting people this way.

First, thank you for your kind words about my faith. I pray that I live up to the spirit of what you've said.

Second, why stay a Christian if I reject the trappings of Christianity? Actually, I see this differently. I see the trappings as not being Christianity, but a bunch of cultural crap that has taken the place of the essence of the message.

So in holding to the central message and calling of Christianity, (God loves me and Christ died for me and I'm to live as much like Jesus as I can) and in dropping the trappings which really aren't a part of the historic message, I see myself as participating in a liberating and wonderfully historic spiritual tradition that dates back 2000 years. I'm committed to this path and really, no one has much time to try out too many paths. I mean, you have to pick something and stick with it, mining it for all the meaning you can find. I've been working Christianity hard for 25 years and I'm just beginning to understand.

I'd like very much to think that you and I are worshipping and serving the same Creative force behind the universe. That's above my pay grade though. So I'll serve and worship in my way and respect and love your freedom to do the same.



Suzanne said...

Thanks for the commentary - I was going to e-mail you a link to my post out of courtesy, but was running late for work already when I posted it. :)

I do want to clarify that when I was asking about staying Christian, I was not meaning that in any way as a challenge to your faith, or as any disrespect to your choice. As a member of the "all paths lead to the same center" camp, I can respect anyone's spiritual choices. The question was instead genuine curiousity about the thought process behind the choice, and mild amusement at myself and my constant need to question.

Interesting point about picking a path and mining it for meaning. I think there are two points of view on that subject - for that matter, they're two mindsets that people tend to take on any number of subjects: either (a) you pick one thing and specialize in deep knowledge, or (b) you pick up knowledge that is more shallow, but spread across a wider variety of subjects. My spirituality is more from column B, although I do like to think that I've got pretty deep knowledge of a couple different faith traditions.

*above my pay grade* - Hey - how did you figure out how to get PAID? I just got told, "Listen, you'll like this assignment; you'll get to meet interesting people, see an interesting planet... Compensation? Oh, we'll discuss that later..."

Never trust the planning office when they tell you an assignment will be "interesting"... :) :) :)