OK, just to finish my thought from yesterday. I was listening to disc two and thinking about how it sucks to be emotionally invested in a paycheck and pondering how one goes about avoiding that when Lauryn Hill started to ramble through my car speakers…
It’s like we all think that the gospel is joining church building. And that’s deception. You know? The real gospel is repent, which means let go of all that crap that’s killing you. Life is supposed to be a pleasurable experience, not this torment. You know? And when I realized that I was tormenting myself, it was about my lust. You know? It wasn’t things that I needed. It was just, you know, all these security blankets. I mean the more I acquired the more I became a prisoner.
A friend of mine says that every tub has to stand on its own bottom. You know? And in that respect we all get to do what our passion is. See, that’s what praising God is all about. It’s doing your passion. You know? It’s not useless, worthless ritual. You know? Monotonous ritual where we just show up and can’t wait to see the game. You know, it’s doing your passion. You know? That’s how we’re thankful. That’s how we say we appreciate the opportunity to be alive. You know, I’m just, I’m glad that I don’t have to slave any more.
She goes on like this for a while talking about being yourself and not fitting in other’s boxes and standards and so forth. It’s a little trite I suppose, but I think she means it, and I think she’s got the right idea. How I avoid becoming invested in the ritual and security of pay day is to shift that investment into something I love. I’ll be happier in the eight hour shift and in the long haul.
Happier in the long haul means living with purpose. In my mid-twenties here I’ve started to spend a little more time working on some of my own worldviews. Trying to get a little bit outside of those other-constructed value systems and beliefs. Trying to do a little solo mind exploration. And when I say “started” that’s really all it is. There’s so much to see and read and interact with.
For a few weeks there I was on a big Buddhism kick, picking up books on Zen and meditation and comparitive analysis’s of Christian and Buddhist teachings. And I really was fascinated by what I read. Because it jived was what I’ve experienced and wasn’t just something that an authority figure told me was true when I eleven. I want to know more and can’t wait to jump back into that line of exploration.
Dan and I have had few discussions along these lines during down time at the pool. Nothing too deep, mind you. Mostly just voicing frustrations with our experiences growing up in a rigid Christian reformed setting. Frustrations with arrogance and closemindedness of many Christians we’ve interacted with. It bothers me because it comes across to me as a stupid man’s religion if it shuns other opinions as inherently wrong and doesn’t encourage it’s youth to question (or at least expose the youth to other opinions). Maybe that was just my experience given about seventeen straight years of Christain Reformed schooling and church.
Or maybe it’s that natural human tendency to at some point rebel against what your elders teach you. I complain about the rigidity of Christianity and how I don’t like rules dictating what I should or shouldn’t believe in if I want to keep from toasting my feet in Hell, but maybe if I’d grown up without that outline, I’d be seeking that structure right now. Don’t know.
Regardless, I’m where I’m at and I like statements like Hill’s when she puts out one of great purposes in life as to live passionately. It’s not inherently judgemental and regardless of what religious title you happen to fall under it makes sense. I don’t think you can argue with whatever God or Spirit created you with your own unique gifts wanting you to use those gifts and revel in them.
I’m not close to figuring this all out (just check out the sprawl on those previous paragraphs), but I’d like to think that if I can at least start with this point and at least try to direct my actions to mindfully using my gifts, that something good will follow. Once I’ve got my mind in the right place and can wake up feeling pretty good about the direction my life is taking, then I can starting working on the other half-billion questions that everyone else is trying to figure out as well.
I appreciate and can relate to what you’re saying here…I would be one of those people who is seeking Christianity right now because of a lack of that education in the past. I agree that many Christians are arrogant and closeminded and I don’t agree with their views. For me it’s about making sense of something that I’ve felt my whole life. It’s about communing with God and with friends and realizing that there’s something bigger than myself and my problems and that somehow makes it all better. Maybe Christianity is just my vehicle for this, and some may say there are other religions or schools of thought that would provide the same relief…but it works for me. I don’t expect I’ll ever figure it out on earth, but I’m okay with that.
Yeah, and that’s the thing, I can totally get what you’re saying because there are these huge chunks of Christianity that are extraordinarily beautiful. Grace, sacrifice, rebirth, salvation. I’ve sat through services (particularly around Easter during my college years) with tears in my eyes where I’ve been so overwhelmed by it all that it makes my heart hurt.
And I would imagine that coming at this for the first time from an adult perspective it’d be even better, even more exciting and powerful. It’s just tricky when you’ve spent two and a half decades being told this is what you believe and suddenly one day you go ”wait does this seem right to me because I can really feel its rightness, or is it because I’ve been programmed?” And then maybe you even start to get a little angry because the people who’ve been telling you what’s what for so long aren’t even following they’re own rules.
One thing I don’t question whatsoever (for reasons that I certainly can’t succinctly convey here) is that there is some bigger presence in control. And really that\’s what I’m shooting for, some way to make my life meaningful using that as the baseline building block. There is something or someone out there who I owe a tremendous debt to for offering me a chance to enjoy this life. I want to know how to do that in the most personally appropriate way.
It just doesn’t seem quite right just yet to limit myself to a single belief system (particularly one that pretty clearly states that the only way to salvation is by such and such and such) if I haven’t explored the alternatives. I have no problem per say with the actual Christian faith. I just need to know what else is out there before I lock in.