Dangling Part-Disciple

September 27, 2010

This isn’t the return of the prodigal blogger, by any means. I’m just trying to make a token effort in fulfilling my mission, which is to transmit information to whomever is listening (reading), and receptive. None of my ideas are mine, purely. They are little bits of of a bigger picture that my receiver is picking up.  Much of it pertains to my particular experience. Some of it is information I will never put to use- even though it sounds like I’ve actually done it.

For instance, the issue of faith. I tell people all the time that the universe will support them in their endeavors. They just have to step off the edge and see what happens. The universe is a friendly place, and why wouldn’t things turn out ok?  Stop living in fear, and follow your heart.

Sounds good, right?

I have no intention of stepping off that ledge. Do I look stupid? There are no guarantees. There are better, purer, more deserving souls on this planet who will never catch a break.  So I will not be tempting fate, not with my shitty karma.

Here is my dilemma. And truly,  it’s only a dilemma if I entertain the possibility of actually choosing one option over the other, and I’ve made my decision, but the thing is, I hate my job, and should have quit two years ago.

I have no respect for my bosses, and my workplace is a source of tremendous and overwhelming stress, frustration, rage, and fear.

All indications – making mistakes at work, adrenal burnout, nausea, contempt and that scoured-out empty feeling one gets when one’s soul has been filleted from their being–all are signs that I need to vacate the premises.

But I’ve stayed and put up with being treated poorly, having my modest raise taken away, enduring insults and condescending remarks, having to work under impossible scrutiny, and wondering if I’m going to be fired.

I’ve realized this year that the fewer things I have, the fewer things I have to worry about losing, this includes my job. But this is a hard economy, I don’t have a college degree, I’m 40 something, and have lots of debt. Without a solid backup plan, it would be imprudent to just walk away from a job that at least pays my bills.

As a pilgrim whose job and mission it is to test the friendliness and resources of the so-called Source, I just can’t bring myself to follow through on this assignment. I understand, wholly, that this is the point of my arriving at this juncture. But I’m so fearful that if I follow my heart and just depart from this situation I would be left dangling – jobless, penniless, and would lose my home, belongings –everything.

I know what I’m supposed to do.  I just  don’t believe that I’ll be ok.


About Sides and Signs

May 9, 2008

I stayed up late the other night watching The Messenger, one of the many versions of the Jeanne D’Arc story.
Dustin Hoffman played her Conscience, and the dialouge between his character and Milla Jovovich’s Joan was a revealing, naked account of what Catholics and Christians would certainly interpret as the sin of doubt, and dwindling faith, and what I would call critical thinking.

Joan was trying to justify the events that had led to her circumstances, second-guessing her defense to the tribunal’s interrogation. Of course she had done the right things, of course she was on the correct path, she had seen the signs, and obeyed the divine directives.

“The signs? What signs?” presses her Conscience. “The wind; the clouds, the bells!” says Joan. You can see doubt darken her expression as she realizes how nebulous these phenomena are as signs.

“…the sword! The sword in the field–surely that’s a sign!” She’s found her irrefutible sign from God…she thinks.

“A sword in a field a sign from God?” her Conscience disparages. “It’s a sword in a field.” Hoffman goes on, postulating some of the different ways the sword could have wound up in that field. “For every action there is a cause; nothing exists in a vacuum.” Of course, this would be terribly sophisticated reasoning for a 15th century illiterate peasant girl. But at least in this film, she couldn’t refute the logic; her bubble was burst.

And the whole Joan of Arc story is about bursting bubbles. The English needed to find her guilty of heresy to restore morale and faith to its Catholic soldiers. If God is on France’s side, how can we, the English faithful, believe that he hears our righteous prayers? This conundrum might cause one to question how many side God can take, and if he would choose one faithful adversary over another, what then is the point of belief? And if one cannot make sense of religion as a team sport, then maybe the rest fails in reason also. Here is the slippery slope of doubt that the Church and England wished to avoid with Joan’s trial and execution.

If you find a sword in a field, it’s just a sword in a field.


Seeking vs. Following

September 14, 2007

 I will have faith in man

that is hard to understand.

Show some humility,

you have the ability,

get right with me.

                             Depeche Mode

I watched a news story last night about Bishop Carlton Pearson, the Tulsa Pentacostal minister who burned bridges after declaring that homosexuals are not going to hell, as a matter of fact, no one goes to hell. His argument, in a nutshell, is that if God is truly an entiy who loves humankind unconditionally, then such an entity would not subject the very human and fallable objects of this agape affection to eternal damnation. His minsitry changed course from the age-old fire and brimstone, repent-or-else, salvation through Jesus or nothing messages to one of inclusion. He realized that God is everyone’s god, and such a great being would not, could not stipulate such parochial and limiting conditions for acceptance into the kingdom of heaven.

For this groundbreaking declaration, the bishop has lost friends, mentors, his congregation, and his credibility, and has been labeled a heretic among his former contemporaries, and the God-fearing faithful.

He understood, one day, that to be God-fearing was to be in a dysfunctional relationship with God. If one is seeking closeness to Christ, then the fear, the limitations, the conditions and stipulations must be disposed of. This man has experienced a rare event–rare in it’s occurance among fundamentalists: He had an epiphany. This sets him apart, as it should from his evangelical brethren and colleagues, because he truly and deeply sought, as pilgrims do, the closeness to his creator. His seeking spirit opened his eyes, opened his life, and he understands that if God loves us, then he loves us. Period. He doesn’t love us if, or doesn’t love us when, or but or because. He loves us absolutely. There is no cruelty in this love, no bargaining, no culling of earthlings based on faith or standing or degree of sacrifice, or who wears the biggest hat with the most flowers to church this Sunday.

So, I say to Bishop Pearson, bravo, good work, don’t back down. Jesus’ message and example of inclusion wasn’t popular either. You’re in good company. You’re being punished for refusing to follow a fear-based and hateful teaching. Wasn’t it Jesus who said something about a prophet not being accepted in his own land? Followers are not courageous and will never discover anything, about themselves, about the world, about God.

The seekers are the lonely and reviled lot, who in their hunger for truth will eventually know God.