Monday, September 8, 2008

The Prodigal Blogger Returns...

My friends, I have a tendency to show neglect to some aspects of my life. I've been accused of being a very single-minded person. I'll focus on one thing for a period of time, getting all wrapped up in it, and then when I'm through with it I move on. I haven't quite figured out how to counter-act this unbalanced approach to life yet (though I'm working diligently on it), but this marks my return to this blog which I love so much. I've said it before, but it's good to remind myself. Without a forum for thought like this one, I'd probably go insane. The immortal words of Peter Clothier will forever be etched in my mind after I heard him him address them to me at Drury two years ago: "How can I know what I think until I see what I say?"

Truth be told, I hold this blog to a pretty high thought standard. I really try to shy away from making it a diary where I sit down at the end of my day and go back over the joys and perils of the past twenty four hours. It seems strange, but there has been too much going on in my life for me to have time to compose thoughts poignant enough to discuss with myself and my readers on this blog. Now, I'm back into a rhythm of life. Granted, it's an obscenely busy rhythm - I'd liken it to an African drum beat or a heavy metal riff - but it is a rhythm, which means I can go on autopilot in a sense. Which means back to blogging.

In terms of personal development, I'm still on the way. Dr. Panza recently published a book, Existentialism for Dummies (seriously, it's one of those black and yellow books) which I've been reading a lot of lately. It's opened my eyes to a whole other way of looking at the world which I really, really like. Reading this book (and a few kind words from Dr. Browning, Drury University Chaplain and renowned scholar hailing from University of Chicago Divinity School) has helped me start wearing my cross again with a new perspective and without shame.

I did use the word shame, and I used it intentionally. For the longest time I felt shame in calling myself a Christian, and for more than one reason. I first felt shame because I was a nefarious Christian, flirting with other religions, being "sinful," never measuring up to my Christian idols (for Christian idolatry, see Joe White). It was a very self-loathing shame. Later, it became shame of associating myself with a group of people who are by-and-large closed/small minded, hypocritical, and the anti-thesis of Jesus Christ's message. I really could have continued down that path for a very long time (and I know a LOT of people who do), but as it turns out I love Jesus's message. It fits very well with what I think the world should look like. Because of that, I can't discard the faith itself. It's been hijacked, in the words of Karen Armstrong, and I want it back. I'm greedy that way.

I've actually found an emergent church to go to around here again, which is also pretty nice. Life is really interesting that way. We all search and struggle and push and pull ourselves, but really it's all a big circle and we'll usually end up back where we started but with a new understanding of what it means. I don't think I could honestly sing the same hymns I used to. I can't pretend the world is dualistic like I used to think it was (for Christian dualism, see This Present Darkness), I can't pray the same way I used to, and I certainly can't read the Bible the same way. But I also can't use religion as a tool for being right anymore. I can't criticize people for their beliefs as blindly as I used to (You're not just like me?! Heretic!!!). I can't live two separate lives like I used to. These are all good things, in my opinion. I'm excited about it all, at least!

Look forward to some more posts about existentialism later on this week! I think more people should know about it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think blogging, and reading what I've just written, clarifies my thinking. Even on mundane things like my everyday life. But I remember a Zen teacher, when I complained about having little quiet tme to meditate because of the kids, saying ot me, "Let parenting be your practice." In a way, I see blogging as another form of practice - a very in-the-moment experience.