Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Shine on My Trophies

A quick thought, as it is late and I am tired.  A self defense mechanism, that I find in myself, is that if others don't like me or appreciate me then that is their problem.  They have somehow failed to see the qualities that make me valuable.  Somehow, I need to maintain a high view of myself in order to preserve my perception of my value/identity.  Therefore, if someone rejects me or fails to see me as valuable...the problem is with them.  How I esteem myself is connected to how I will be perceived/loved/accepted.  And this is true, both in myself and in the people around me.

But the message of God's love for me in His Son does not work this way.  Acceptance/love/value is bestowed to me in spite of and never because of my gifts/virtues/appearance/work ethic/abilities/accomplishments etc etc etc.

The message of building your own self-image by building up your value and connecting it to things like...you're trying, you're making progress, you're growing, you're learning from your mistakes puts the burden of building my own value into my own hands...the work is up to me. Those are just other ways of saying that "it isn't ok to be as you are...you must be better."  An inspiring concept to people who love the "Just Do It" approach to life, but a message of assured condemnation to those of us who have tried to "Just Do It" and have "Just Failed".

It isn't that we shouldn't be better, it is that the ability of humans to fix themselves is drastically over-rated...emphasis on drastically. I think we are all heavily defined by our weakness and inability to change, something that we are loathe to admit.  The only ultimate end of this self-engineered approach is similar to the situation that so many professional athletes find themselves in after their careers end. They eventually cannot fight any longer and spend their days trying to cement their legacy in a world that in reality no longer cares about them.  And if the world does care about a select few for a while, it is the most exclusive club imaginable.  Not Good News for the weary, the burdened and the exhausted.  Definitely not Good News for me...and probably not for you either.

The Good News seems to always be found in the work of another, not myself.  And it relegates my own goodness/virtue/accomplishments as laughably unnecessary.  Maybe someday I will learn from my mistakes in a way that doesn't put a shine on my trophies, but actually doesn't have anything to do with me at all.  Maybe then I won't even care anymore because I will really believe that I am loved as I am, and not as I should be.

Anyway, that's what I was thinking...but I could be wrong.  

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Ambition and Stuff

Lazy is bad. Ambition is good.  Or it might depend on how we identify ourselves, in which case it is not always good to be good and bad to be bad.  Maybe it's how we justify ourselves once we know if we're good or bad.


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Rated R

Did I mention this one is rated R?  One of my all time favorite movies is Planes, Trains and Automobiles...Steve Martin was being interviewed about the movie when it was first coming out and as to why it was rated R, he said language, but it's all in a row, in a short scene.  I love that scene.



Sunday, February 1, 2015

Redemption Demand

Judgment. Condemnation. Not things that someone who is guilty or someone who has failed wants to face. In a Christian, biblical context, this is what we all face and we are in desperate need of a solution.  In a non-Christian, regular-life kind of way....it is simply the guilt that accompanies failure.  Real failure, like failing to do something right, failing to be the parent that we should be, failing to treat other people the way we know that we should, failure to say something kind, failure to forgive someone, failure to follow the speed limit, failure to say something encouraging instead of something judgmental, failure to give more than we do, failure to see other people as equals, failure to think of others first, failure to care as much about someone else's pain as we do our own, failure to recognize our failures, failure to help someone because we don't like them, failure to like people, failure to be humble, failure to not get angry, failure to be patient, failure to pass a test, failure to show up for the test, failure to not make excuses when we don't show up...

Life and people all come with failure and while most of us would not want to be the person throwing the first stone, how many of us have...thrown stones?  How about throwing stones at the person who threw the first stone?  How many of us want to hold people accountable, but have an encyclopedic-sized book of explanations that the failures are too small or too complicated or too (insert justification here) to throw the book at ourselves?  It is the difference between calling somebody a liar and calling the half-truth that we barely recognize in ourselves a "well, it's complicated."

I don't think judgment and condemnation have personal interpretations...if they do then all the more reason not to ever have accountability about anything.

Back to the Christian context...there are no personal interpretations in which being better than some people means that you have a case to build for yourself.  Nope, the deal is that you should "x" and be "x" and if you fail "x" you are judged and condemned.  Period.  As the Master Control Program said in Tron when he finished stating his position..."End of line."   Judgment and condemnation are a lot like the Terminator...there is no defense...you are to be exterminated.

But what Christianity really is about is the End of Condemnation.  No Judgement.  Free to Go.  The Failures (guilty) are given innocence...immediately and without stipulations or debt.  Period.  End of Line.

Christianity is a place where judgment is trumped by grace and failures walk away scot free, still failures.  Unfortunately, it is also the place that many see as the source of judgment and condemnation.  The message of freedom has been shackled with methods, instruction and a complex book of ways to get yourself out of your own failures.  In other words...you CAN do it...so you SHOULD do it.  Sound encouraging?  And, of course, the problem is that humans fail and always will fail...so humans will never graduate from that program.  It's a Dead End. People who are pelted with the stones of criticism even if in the name of living out their faith or walking with God etc, are being hit with pebbles (sometimes boulders) that are the Death Eaters of Judgment and Condemnation.  If they don't become Death Eating stone throwers themselves, they will only be angry, burned out, and maybe...hopefully...demand the redemption that is theirs.

At least, that's what I was thinking, but I could be wrong.


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Ep 3 - The Art of Vandelay

What do Vandelay Industries and having a Meta-Narrative have in common?

Apparently nothing...but here is me talking about something or other...