Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Waves of Meaning

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."--Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love

I was invited to church, once. It changed my life. I found myself telling that story, today, one of the few times I’ve really opened up and shared it. It’s difficult, sometimes, to share the deepest parts of yourself, the moments that so changed your life. There’s a sense of protectiveness, a sense of no-this-is-mine. A fear of someone else ruining it, scorning it, abusing it.

I told the story, and my listener said, “That’s such a cute story.” She liked it, thought it was fitting of who I am. I learned something, as a writer and a person: what resonates with me will resonate with others. We are not, in fact, nearly as different as we think.

Like so many things in this world, it started with a girl. I know that’s a cliché thing to say, but most clichés have some grounding in truth. I was young, and idiotic, and worst yet, a hopeless romantic.

“How can I prove it to you?” I said. “I’ll do anything you ask.” This, I’ve realized five years later, was easily one of the dumbest things I’ve ever said. The request was simple, however. Come to church with me. Be a part of this little section of my life. A small price to pay, I thought, for an opportunity to be with her. I enjoyed it, despite myself.

CS Lewis uses an illustration in his writings about his own coming to Christian faith. He describes it for him as being in a suit of armor, paralyzed, and gradually finding himself free to move about. The first few months coming to church, I felt something like that. I heard people talk about this Jesus fellow whom I didn’t really believe in, and something within me stirred. I began to look into it, have discussions with my (at the time) girlfriend about religion and Christianity. I remember it now as a dim haze of impressions and images.

I do, however, remember one conversation somewhat vividly. I can’t now recall when it occurred, if it was before I started coming to church, or after. The simple idea was this: God had something planned for me. My friend told me this, told me she knew, just knew, that God had an intention in my life, had something important that He would not stop until He accomplished. I was bothered, intensely unsettled by this concept. I wept in abject horror, not wanting to understand why. I do understand, though, and I think I did then. The truth is, we don’t want to be noticed. We don’t want to be meaningful or strong. When you open the cellar door, the rats scatter. The reason the rats scatter is because they don’t want their actions, or even their very presence, to be seen in the light. Being seen in the light would be a tragedy, because it would mean their actions were perceived and gained significance. The owner of the cellar would, of course, drive them out. My sentiment was similar. Being noticed brought responsibility, brought fear. Who am I to matter to God, or anyone beside the handful of people around me?

As scary as that was, I kept finding power at my church. My insides lurched in response to the words spoken by my pastor, my youth minister, my Christian friends. It goes against all the intellectual fiber in my being to say this, but I accepted Christ purely from the gut and the heart, from the emotional response that this was doing something to me, was reorganizing me, was filling me.

I was speaking to my Youth Minister yesterday, and I shared with him a little bit of my philosophy, a philosophy I've learned and dealt with for the past five years, at least. It really comes back to the quote at the top of the page, one of my absolute favorites, a sort of existential mantra that I repeat to myself often. We are powerful beyond imagining, and that scares us. That scares us a lot. I believe God pays attention to all of us, all the time, and all of our lives have meaning. I’ve seen too much, done too much, to not believe this. I have seen my best friends grow and develop over the years, influenced by those around them and influenced by what they’ve been taught or what they’ve discovered, and become different, greater people. It has impressed upon me the deep truth that we have power. Our lives work on a ripple effect: our actions disrupt the waters of other people’s lives, whether in massive waves or tiny jets of impact, and those ripples go on to change their actions, which ripple outward themselves, and so on. The way we treat people matters, because it could affect them forever. An encouraging word, a piece of advice, the simple act of listening, could keep people from doing drastic things. Or change the course of their day, leading them to do things that they wouldn’t have done before. Or, in my case, lead to them darkening the door of a church they now call a family.

We can choose to either help people in their struggles, or hinder them. Our smile can bring them one step closer to life; our sneer can bring them one step closer to death. It’s extreme, but I believe it’s entirely true. The people who do rash, and terrible things, do so egged on by the way people respond to them (or, perhaps, don’t). The people who do great and mighty works, who help others and change the very course of their worlds, do so encouraged by those who love them and believe in them.

A friend of mine once started talking to me about an experience of sexual abuse they had gone through. I was, frankly, horrified. I had no idea what to say to them. I count myself as a mature, experienced person, but in that moment I realized what a sheltered, happy life I lead. I have had almost no encounters with issues that big, that complex, that… horrific. I sputtered out a few words of encouragement and support, but mostly I just listened, nodded, a lot of that-must-be-terrible’s and I-see’s. It was over an internet chat client, so they fortunately couldn’t see me as I squirmed and prayed and generally wished to be somewhere else. At the end of the conversation, however (it didn’t feel like much of a conversation to me: I wasn’t contributing much), they thanked me profusely and seemed genuinely better off for the exchange. I believe in that moment, by simply being available, God was able to use me to send positive ripples through their life, to express love and sympathy. To give them a chance to tell their story. That was, really, all that it took.

We have so much power that we know nothing of.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Famous Last Words

"I know you are here to kill me. Shoot, cowards, for you are only going to kill a man."--Che Guevara

The old anecdote goes that that's how Che responded when he was finally caught in 1967. The opposite story is that Che simply begged to not be shot. Most sentimentalists, and most communists, would prefer you to believe the first story.

Che Guevara is a figure that almost everyone is familiar with, but not many people truly understand. We know him because his face is iconic: his image is plastered on t-shirts all over the world, with captions like "Viva La Revolution". Most of these shirts, though, don't have captions: they just have his face, calm, staring at you from the wall, his wild head of black hair wreathed by his starred beret. It is the figure of a revolutionary.

Che is known differently in other parts of the world. In Latin America, especially in Cuba, and among communist agitators all over the world, Che is an almost messianic figure. As a lifelong rebel who took part in the Cuban Revolution and stirred up anti-capitalist sentiments in half of South America, he is the premiere revolutionary idol in the world.

In my mind, Che is the bordering line between two opposing ideas, and marks the destruction of one half of that ideological equation. Che is the ultimate revolutionary figure, sold as merchandise. Think about it. His lifestyle, his value system, is the very antithesis of capitalism. He fought his entire life for everything that capitalism isn't. Now his face is marketed at Hot Topic. This, to me, marks the ironic reality of global capitalism and the intimidating power of the market.

Capitalism, in my mind, is the ultimate thief. It takes invention, ingenuity, creativity, co-opts them, and uses them to make a profit. Invention, nowadays, is an entrepreneurial activity. Instead of exercising creativity for the sake of making life better, we invent in the hopes that the market will steal our invention and, in the process, we will get rich. The same thing happens with ideas and value systems. Religion, politics, philosophy, pre-packaged and sold to the highest, or any, bidder.

This is where Che comes in. Che, as I've said before, is a personification of the Revolutionary, the Insurgent, the theoretical Foe of Capitalism, a Nietzschean overman for the communist ideal. But the market has stolen him as well, taken his image and his ideology and packaged it in the form of one headshot on a t-shirt. In this act, capitalism also reveals why it is such a formidable, intimidating, and, so says some theorists, unbeatable force: it can destroy what it steals. In the process of stealing Che, of stealing Revolution, it has destroyed the very idea. Revolution and rebellion have become the territory of stupid teenagers buying t-shirts. To read the revolution ideal, you have to go to a market-based bookstore and buy a book that is only on the shelf because high demand keeps it there. You have to buy the internet service to discuss your beliefs. Revolution is utterly destroyed and castrated due to the permeation of the market and the capitalist style of thought.

Is this, then, capitalism?: An all-consuming force, like the Borg from Star Trek, that takes everything novel and creative, everything above its current level, and assimilates it, in the process forever morphing it and making it a non-threat? As subversive ideas become more and more common in our culture, they are stolen and redirected by the invisible hand, and in the process, they become no longer subversive.

Eventually, will capitalism make all meaningful acts of rebellion against itself impossible?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Love is the Movement

"Love is the triumph of imagination over intellect."
--H.L. Mencken

The original story is about a girl named Renee, in Florida. A girl hurt and harried by evil, plagued by depression and self-inflicted pain and no self-confidence. I've read the words written here over and over again, reflected on them, prayed about them, been brought nearly to tears by them. But this story is not only about Renee.

This is a story about me. This is a story about my friends. This is a story about the girls I know who yearn only for the gentle touch of love to replace the cold of applied steel. This is a story about my parents. This is a story about my brother and sister, my mentors, my heroes. This is a story about love and pain and the reality and beauty that can sometimes come from that pain when God uses it.

I find myself so overwhelmed with desire whenever I reflect upon this story or read it in any of its many incarnations on pages and faces. My heart leaps and my imagination springs to life. I am compelled by creativity and pain and longing to create something constructive, to be everything that I'm not and everything I should be.

I am overwhelmed by a desire to become love. I want to act, rush to the frontlines and push my hand against the wounds, the tourniquet of the world around me. I want to volunteer and serve and throw myself headlong into the fire, I want to burn alive in this.

Love is the ultimate expression of both the divine and the human. It is God as He always is and always has been, and it is Man as he ought to be. It is our calling and our creed. Love, while such a powerful force in our world, is rarely understood. When called to love, people see the vestiges of youth movements of the sixties and images of hands wrapped around defenseless sycamores. What they do not see is the strength, the vibrancy of agape. What is rarely mentioned and even more rarely believed is the reality that love is the founding principle of the world. Love is the greatest strength there ever could be. Love can move mountains. Love is the warm-hearted and unthinking sacrifice of a devoted mother and the coolly compassionate dedication of a strong father.

Love is the great liberator and the foundation of every great freedom ever gained. Love is the fulfillment of Christ's call in the Gospel of John for us to become one with Him and unite with our Father.

Love is something I don't know how to reach. My imagination is captivated and enticed and aching, tugging my soul along with it. I realize that rushing to the frontlines and traveling to some foreign warzone is by no means necessary. The battle is everywhere. Evil fights against love at every turning, in every household, every school, every church. Love relies on simplicity and dedication. I pray love can move me.

I believe God works in love, speaks in love, is revealed in our love. I have seen that... and honestly, it has been simple: Take a broken girl, treat her like a famous princess, give her the best seats in the house... Tell her something true when all she's known are lies. Tell her God loves her. Tell her about forgiveness, the possibility of freedom, tell her she was made to dance in white dresses. All these things are true."--Jamie Tworkowski

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by exertions of better men than himself."--John Stuart Mill

The thing about great works of art is that they make you want to create greatness. You can tell proper art by the desire you have to emulate it, by the all-consuming fire of creation stoked within your soul. This is also how you discern the soul of an artist.

We live plush and comfortable lives here. Right now I sit on a cushy, comfortable couch, in silence, the only sound the whir of my overhead fan and the tapping of my fingers on my laptop's keyboard. A small lamp illuminates my room romantically. I am warm. Comfortable. Well fed. I pause in my writing and reach for a sugar-and-caffeine-laden drink to satisfy my shallow thirst. Where did that sugar come from? I wonder. Who grew the sugar cane? Who picked it? Where was it processed?

I wear expensive corrective glasses.

I am, above all, contradictory. The question on my tongue is, "What would I fight for?" I can't say I fit in with the American political climate. I'm an evangelical Christian but I loathe most forms of political conservatism. I embrace the doctrines of the liberals but lambaste their leaders as scarcely able to bring about half the good things they promise and perhaps sincerely desire. I have a desire within me to fight for the poor, the needy, and the oppressed, groups all swept under the rug and ignored in our world of decadence.

But do I? Am I not as decadent as my world? What would it require for me to live out my ideals? What form would that take? Perhaps my commitments and ideals are all shallow and weak, pale in comparison to real love and compassion. Perhaps I do not have what it takes.

I look at the soda again. I look at the blanket wrapped around my legs, bought from Walmart. Walmart which buys from Chinese communist-capitalists (the ultimate contradiction) who in turn pay minimal wages to their politically oppressed workforce to mass produce their products. I wonder what would happen if we stopped buying such things. Maybe the people would be freer. Maybe they would just starve to death. Where does the money really go? Are we truly financing the oppressors or the oppressed? What are the wages of the Chinese who create our products?

Complexities upon complexities, riddles within riddles. Too much to puzzle out. The list of things I need to read is infinite. How long is this research project going to take? I don't even have a thesis. The teacher tells me the due date is a surprise.

My title page is of a man standing in front of a line of tanks. Another series of mysteries. I do not know why that man did what he did. I wonder if he had a family, if he had a job. I wonder if he was executed, exiled, imprisoned. What did it take for him to do that? Where did he gain his courage or his freedom?

I sit in my name-brand shackles and ponder that foreigner's brief intersection with my life. What would he say to me, if he could? Perhaps he would tell me to find something to fight for. Find a battlefield. Follow the call wherever it leads. Or he would tell me that his greatness is exagerated. That he was nothing, no one, until circumstances brought him to Tianamen Square that day. He would tell me that the real hero in the story was fate that put him on that road, was the God who gave him the strength to stand still.

The Islamic fundamentalists hate us for being apathetic, decadent, irreverent. They're right. We live in self-imposed prisons, running our pet ant farms while reality passes by.

I have no conclusion. This is the beginning, not the end.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Alive or Dead?

“[W]ho, in fact, are fundamentalists? To put it simply, a fundamentalist does not believe in something, but rather knows it directly. In other words, both liberal-sceptical cynicism and fundamentalism share a basic underlying feature: the loss of the ability to believe in the proper sense of the term. For both of them, religious statements are quasi-empirical statements of direct knowledge: fundamentalists accept these statements as such, while sceptics mock them. What is unthinkable for both is the ‘absurd’ act of a decision which installs every authentic belief, a decision that cannot be grounded in the chain of ‘reason’, in positive knowledge.”
--Slavoj Zizek

Zizek is a fascinating author. He's not very easy to find in Barnes and Noble, and I've to date only read one of his works, a strange series of essays related to September 11th, 2001. He is a postmodern leftist philosopher who, unlike most philosophers, does not have any overarching theory or methodology to his work. His body of work seems to balk at normative statements: every piece from a different theoretical perspective and a different subject, the only normalizing factor being Zizek's insight, wit, and brilliant use of culture, philosophy, and literature to enliven his writing.

Zizek seems to bring the issue of choice into his writings. The variety and profundity of his ideas, the radical views he oftentimes brings to the table, the odd wit that plays along with it; the reader is constantly presented with the choice to accept his ideas and bring them into focus with his actual life, or reject his thought as the absurd ramblings of an old Slovenian philosopher.

The quote I chose for today's post echoes Soren Kierkegaard's views of Christian faith, that it inevitably required a leap of faith, something beyond reason, something that separated you from the whole of man around you, something that pulls you from the line of faithless pages and into a true "knight of faith."

Basically, as the Wachowski brothers put it, "everything begins with choice."

People like to live under the illusion that their highest beliefs, their philosophies, their religions, are based on concrete fact and knowledge. In an age of reason, we like to think that we are reasonable. In fact, I submit we want to believe our reason surpasses everyone else's reason: we are right, and we know it, but you don't. The Democrats are reasonable whereas the Republicans aren't, and vice versa, depending on who you ask. Capitalists are pigs and socialists want to take over the world. Christians are fools and atheists are going straight to hell. Some of our most cherished assertions, yet none is based on pure reason. We like to think they are, and no doubt many of us refer to reason in forming our beliefs, but that is not the entire truth. The truth is we leap into our ideals, passing the area of reason into the area of life-shaping and world-changing belief.

In most things, I am a materialist and a rationalist. For a long time I was obsessed with proving my faith, with accumulating evidence and proofs for Christianity, argumentative structures that made it undeniable. I still value these things, although I admit, for better or worse, that my reading has shifted. Yet that is not enough. It has struck me that there are as many arguments for Christianity as they are against: depending on what sources you ask and how you value them, both sides have merit. We form our opinions about who is right and who is wrong, but without a leap of faith those opinions mean nothing. They do not solve the issue for us or anyone else, and they do not produce the necessary reaction to an acknowledgment of truth.

Imagine Schrodinger's cat. In the thought experiment, there is a cat in a box attached to a gas valve. The gas valve may have broken, it may have not. To truly tell whether there has been a leak or not, we must look in the box, at the cat. The cat may be alive, it may be dead, poisoned by the gas. Until we look, it is impossible to know. In fact, says Schrodinger, until we look the cat is in a superimposed state: it is alive and dead, the two states overlapping and indistinguishable. In Schrodinger's thought, the problem is solved by opening the box and looking at the cat. In our thought, the problem is solved by choice. The debate over who is right and who is wrong, and every action connected, can only take place when one chooses to believe whatever side seems most reasonable to them. One must open the door. There must be an action to reach out and claim the truth, to separate the superimposed states. Until this happens, nothing at all can be accomplished.

Political action cannot be taken until one not only educates themselves on the issues but chooses what they believe to be the truth of the issue, until they pick a side, be it someone else's or one all their own. Problems of faith cannot be resolved until someone chooses to believe or not believe. As Augustine said (forgive my paraphrase), "Unless you believe, you will not understand; Unless you understand, you will not believe."

I'm quickly reaching a separation in my life. My old life will be cut from the new as I go on to new education and a new place. There, for perhaps the first time in my life, I will be presented with real choice. What will I follow? What will I believe? What will I put feet to? I have for long held certain beliefs and ideals sacred, but I've always been entangled too far in my own life to truly practice them in full. In the near future, I will have that power open to me to become whatever my ideals pull me to become, if I choose to follow them. The option to open the box is right in front of me.

Alive or dead?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Extent of Knowledge

This is a blog I've been wanting to write all week, but only now, Saturday night, do I find the time and energy to write it. Writing and I have a love-hate relationship. I am thankful for the propagation of blogs in our internet culture today: without this, I probably would not write at all. I haven't written fiction in a long time because I simply haven't found any creative ideas I've wanted to pursue. The ones I do have are too drawn out, and not yet developed enough, to be written into any work at this point in time. I have enough things I'm trying to get done without writing a novel.

The desire to write this blog came last Sunday. Or, rather, the thought that prompted what I'm writing now came last Sunday.

It was early in the morning. Late enough for the sun to be up but early enough that no night person is awake without a good reason. I had a good reason: church. I was sitting in the upstairs of my small church building in a lavishly comfortable orange chair, my habitual spot and my territorial claim as the eldest in my study group.

We were going over the book of Romans. Now the book of Romans is one I'm quite fond of, if only because I don't quite get it. The things that I find boring to read and hear are those which I understand and already know. One of the reasons I am so dismissive of so many preachers and teachers is because I already understand what they're trying to tell me. It's hard for them to keep my attention. Sometimes, I'll admit, that happens in Sunday School. I don't act on the matter because I know full well that I'm the oldest in the class and know more than the seventh graders who make up half of it: it's fully reasonable to ask me to sit through lessons that only half interest me for their sake. Besides, I had a history teacher who said that a person had to hear something seven times in order to fully remember it. A little repetition never hurt anyone.

So, we were studying Romans. We were reading over the second half of the first chapter (reading at such a slow rate, I'm honestly wondering if we'll get through the book). Now, this chapter deals with Paul's explanation of the anger of God (wrath is his word) at mankind for their sins, and how they fell into sin. It's a very generalized version of the fall of mankind. He argues that all of mankind has an innate sense of God, however all of man distanced themselves from that knowledge and embraced sin. God, furious and frustrated, allowed it to happen. One of the unfortunate results of free will is the capability of doing a poor job.

He starts out his exposition with a bang:

For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.--Romans 1:20 (NIV)

To paraphrase, if you reject God, it's your own problem, no matter who you are. This raises some theological difficulties. For the Christian, the only true revelation of God is His own self-revelation, namely in the form of Jesus Christ. Since Jesus came and since His disciples are all over the world, people are expected to hear and recognize that divine truth. If they refuse, there is only so much that can be done for them. God leaves the choice of whether to accept or reject Him on free people, and the people who offer the choice are the people of His church, like Morpheus in The Matrix, holding out a blue pill in one hand and a red in the other.

At least, that's the standard view. The impetus for accepting Jesus is always put on the one who has heard. But, what if he hasn't heard? What if he, say, lives in the Amazon and has never had contact with any Christian? Is he still responsible? It is not as if he has heard anything from anyone. How can he be expected by God to know? Yet Paul says he is without excuse for his sin and for not knowing God.

How does one reconcile that?

I think it is worth noting, in a cautionary manner, at the context of this passage. This is at the opening of Paul's argument. His purpose is to establish a premise for the book. His real aim is to reach discussion of Jesus and the church. As we often say, Jesus is the answer, but an answer to what? First we must propose a problem. The problem, in the Pauline view of things, is man's wickedness and wholesale rejection of God. At this point, Jesus has not been mentioned outside of the introduction and greeting. So when he says man is without excuse, the object of this is not knowledge of Jesus, but knowledge of God. Of course, any Christian would counter that God is Jesus, and Jesus is God. He must mean the unique Christian revelation. He is, after all, Saint Paul.

Perhaps, but perhaps not. Remember that for thousands of years the Jews had a conception of God that did not include Jesus. They were not uniquely condemned for it. They were not expected to know Jesus, for He had not been revealed to them. That is why the tradition exists, based on a scant few biblical verses, that Jesus went down to Sheol (the Hebrew conception of the underworld) after his crucifixion and freed the faithful Jews. They, in that specific sense, had an excuse.

The question, it seems, is as regards to the knowledge of God. What does it mean to be aware of God's qualities, and what responsibilities does that entail? Reading on in the passage, Paul says, "For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened." (v. 21) The responsibility of knowing God is, accordingly, to recognize God and be grateful to Him. Paul directly connects this to a specific standard of conduct, as when man refuses God, God gives them over to "sinful desires" and " shameful lusts." This passage ends with Paul listing all the sins associated with ungodliness.

So we know the direct responsibilities. Recognize God and avoid evil. Note that Paul doesn't mention any of the specific laws unique to the Jews or even to the Christian: he doesn't quote or reference any of the Hebrew Scriptures, and none of Jesus' teachings. The things he condemns are pretty basic and agreed upon standards of evil: "murder" "envy" "strife" deceit" "[disobedient]" "heartless" "ruthless". (vv. 29-30) The fact that he doesn't draw on Christianity's specific interpretations is telling. For instance, he doesn't blame them for not loving their enemies or any of the things we uniquely associate with the teachings of Christ.

So maybe the awareness Paul speaks of is less specific than one can initially think.

Consider this analogy: You go to a local franchise restaurant, pick out a normal-looking man of perhaps thirty-five years of age, and ask him, "What caused the Civil War?" He doesn't look stupid, but he doesn't have the airs of someone who is particularly educated either. It's likely he is no expert on history. His muscular appearance indicates he might be involved in some kind of manual labor for work. Perhaps he's in construction. It's hard to tell. With a thick southern drawl typical of the area, he says, "Why, slavery caused the Civil War." Fair enough. That's a pretty good answer. Now you go to a liberal arts university on the other side of town, and ask a history major, "What caused the Civil War?" He nudges his glasses back up his nose, straightens the pens in his pocket and the laptop in a bag at his side, and says, "Well, the Civil War is a culmination in a conflict of civilizations between the industrial, increasingly liberalizing and expanding North and the conservative, aristocratic and agrarian, slave-owning South." That's a great answer. The college student's answer is better than the one given by the man in the restaurant,. but both are probably true. The only real difference is in the amount of detail each man gives, and that can easily be attributed to what he has been taught. One wouldn't expect someone without a fresh history education and interest to be able to tell in great detail the events leading up to the culmination of the Civil War, because if he did learn it, it was a long time ago and probably at a simpler level than a history major or buff.

What I'm getting at here is that, based on what people are taught and what level of information they have access to, they are held to different standards of knowledge. Perhaps the same holds true with God. When seeing the native in the Amazon who has never been told a thing about Jesus, God's test may not be the specific revelations of His Son. In His mercy, perhaps he will call for something simpler, something more in keeping with what the man has been taught: the divine qualities and nature of God as revealed to the Amazonian man, and what he has done with them. Now, when seeing the Christian, God's test will be the revelations of Jesus and what the Christian has done with them. As Jesus Himself said, "From everyone who has been give much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." (Luke 12:48b)

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Saturday, March 8, 2008

Something Personal For a Change

"Loneliness is never more cruel than when it is felt in close propinquity with someone who has ceased to communicate."--Germaine Greever

No idea who this person is. Was browsing a quote site and found it. Liked it. Spoke to me. That's one of the things I like most about quotes. It makes you conscious that, at some other time, someone has felt exactly the way you are feeling right now.

This isn't a post I expect a response to. In fact, I think I prefer not getting any responses. Feels more private in a public sort of way.

Loneliness is something that I feel most distinctly when I'm around certain people. There is one person in particular that makes me feel lonely.

Part of me truly despises her. She's moody. Crabby, never has a smile on her face without a damn good reason. Loud, boisterous, gets into fights over nothing with no one. She's private. Too private. Never really shares her feelings. Never explains her bad moods or slights. Ask her why she didn't talk to you that day or week or month, she said she was just having a bad day/week/month. Never really lets you in. Never approaches you.

At least, not me.

And yet malice is the least of my feelings toward her. In truth I adore her to a strange degree. She has the ability to make me happy in a way that most people can't. Hearing her voice can brighten up my day and talking to her on the phone is a rare bliss. One I haven't experienced in far too long.

I have trouble coping with not talking to her. I'm not entirely sure who I blame more, me or her. I pushed her away but she made me angry enough to push. Now we rarely ever talk in person. An email correspondence is all we really get, and she responds sparingly even to that.

Talking without talking is one of the loneliest of businesses.

I'd call her if I thought she wanted to talk.

But I don't think she does. I have no idea, actually. What does she think of me? Maybe I'll find out some day.