Tuesday, January 28, 2014

eew...I stepped in blog

I'm starting a blog. Gross.

I don't know why. I like writing. I've posted writings on the internets before, sans bloggosphere. Why now? I guess because a blog is slightly better than facebook? Maybe. Let's go with that for now.

I'm not sure what or when I will post. Probably the random theological/sociological musing, or short story if I'm feeling adventurous. I've got a few of each that I could slap up and have everybody clap at. For now, I'll set the theme with something I wrote a bit ago, reposted here because I like it. Tata.

Road Snakes?

June 11, 2013

          I’ve had a number of interesting and impassioned debates, face to face and on the internet, that at times cause me to wonder if I’m argumentative, inflammatory, or just annoying. I thought it best to explain exactly why engaging me can often times result in some pretty heavy discussions.
          The reason is road snakes. We’ve all seen them; not actual snakes waiting to get run over, but rather those wavy strips of black tar on roads. They are a big concern for motorcycles because they can cause bike tires to lose traction on turns, resulting in a wreck. But other than that, the rest of us don’t give them much thought. As it turns out, road snakes exist to fill in cracks in the pavement that appear over time. Without them, the roads would be littered with dangerous fissures, and would need to be completely torn out and replaced. In other words, they are stop gap measures; quick fixes that allow the road to remain intact despite the underlying flaws.
            I bring up road snakes in order to draw attention to something in the lives of those of us that claim to follow Christ. Since I was little, a part of my rational mind has been aware of conflicting ideas that existed between everyday life and Christian teachings. For instance, a longtime dream I had was to be an attack helicopter pilot in the army. But sometime in middle school, I considered the eventuality that as an attack helicopter pilot, I would be required to kill. I asked myself if I was OK with that likelihood, despite my proclaimed Christianity and Christ’s clear message of nonviolence and loving one’s enemies. I answered myself with a fairly nonchalant “yes, I am OK with that”. My rationale was based on years of conditioning that praised courage, valor, and striking down enemies in the name of defending the American Way. The Enemy, I believed, sought to kill every one of us, and it was therefore necessary to kill them first (I was in 7th grade when I made this very conscious decision).
            What I had done there, and many other times in my life, was to create a spiritual road snake. I identified a dissonance between what I believed as a Christian and what I believed as a secular being. I found a glaring gap in the pavement that made up my walk with Christ. But rather than critically examine what caused this crack to form, I threw down a quick-fix, a road snake that covered up the flaw with worldly logic. Once I had done so, I could no longer see the broken part of the road and therefore believed it was fixed. I walked on, contended to never revisit that point again.
            Over the years, I and many others like me covered up numerous cracks and canyons that formed between what Christ taught and what the world demands of us. I did this so often in fact, that it became second nature. If a Christian message seemed to contradict a practice of the world I lived in, then I found a logical excuse as to why that contradiction was OK, and did not consider the matter to warrant any further examination. No matter how many times I became aware, on some level, of conflicting ideals, I was always ready to rationalize and ignore. Another spiritual road snake.
            It was not until I was in my 20’s that I was forced to see exactly what I was doing. I found myself critically reexamining one of my oldest axioms: that killing in defense, even preemptively, was not only acceptable, but justified and necessary in Christian ideology. The result, as you can imagine, was troubling. In identifying this one flaw in my road, I suddenly realized that these metaphorical road snakes were everywhere. They dominated the surface, concealing cracks, breaks, fissures and gulfs that disconnected me from Christ in more ways than I care to admit. They were so abundant, that they had almost become a single, uninterrupted surface of their own; a type of pseudo-faith that I had created for myself.
Since then, I have spent many hard hours tearing away the false logic and lies I told myself, the flawed teachings that I built my life on. It is not an easy task to rip up decades of foundation and structure, but it is necessary. And at times, joyous, because in doing so I have found so many better paths to Life and Kingdom. I have miles to go, but I have also come to realize that this is also part of the process of walking with God. We are imperfect creatures, and it is good for us to reexamine our own Christian pavement. We should be glad to find the road snakes, and happy to tear them out, so that our…motorcycles of faith don’t lose traction…this metaphor is starting to get away from me, so I will wrap this up:
             I cannot put too fine a point on how dangerous these spiritual road snakes, these lies we choose to believe, can be. I would have very nearly justified any act if I considered the logic sound, and would have also tied it into a flawed Christian message at the same time. The capacity in me to do this is staggering, and terrifying. This is the true reason I readily and willingly engage is debates about the Christian life: because I am so very aware of my own potential. Men like me engineered, participated in, and justified the crusades, the inquisition, and the holocaust. Men like me construct, promote, and grow rich from social institutions that put people in slavery, poverty, and prison on an unprecedented scale. Men like me invade countries, wage bloody warfare, hijack planes and crash them into buildings, and praise God when our enemies fall.
             So I spend much of time attacking logical fallacies in faith, as much for other people as for myself. I cannot convince anyone to believe what I believe, nor do I feel it necessary to do so. But God help me if I ever fail to call attention to the blatant lies and falsehoods that plague so many of us, myself included. They can be so common and so old that we may not even realize they are there. I don’t like to be inflammatory, but I hope I can continue to provoke and foster discussions, because the only way to see what needs to be repaired is to look.