Wednesday, May 25, 2005

pedestal or pendulum

'annie' left this comment on another Jesusblog long ago:

we all know who God is.
you are just like those highway signs with the word JESUS on them.

get a life.

spirit flows naturally. no need to help it along if it's authentic. religious people would more effectively 'get the word out' by living their life as they believe 'He/She' would want them to.

show by example, not by mouth. i believe God (or Jesus) wouldn't have wanted their name splashed onto bill-boards along the highways or bandied about on computers, or even on

how utterly gross.

well, i don't know. i mean do we all actually know who God is? i've made it my life's work to try to get to know this God person, but there are days where the best i can manage is a benevolent idea or a being that is at the centre of the 'intelligent design' theory. on those days i'm not sure what kind of an example i am. do people really want the real deal, or is it just going to get awkwardly honest?

it's not that i ever doubt God's existence- i just sometimes fade in and out of the ability to relate to someone who is everywhere and capable of knowing and doing everything, but chooses to remain invisible to my physical eyes and silent to my physical ears. there are days when i have to cling to the promises of God like a drowning man fearful of being swept away by the waves of life that continue to relentlessly cascade, splashing over the blessed assurances again and again, making them too slippery for him to stand upon.

on those days, the 'WWJD' bracelet doesn't quite cut it... everybody can tell when i'm pretending- i'm just not a very good actor and i don't play poker for fear of losing everything with the first attempt at a bluff. however, i believe that Jesus had those days too, and we read that during those times he would withdraw from public view to sweat and to pray. the horror comes when i am discovered by another in my moment of spiritual desolation. i'm not very good company when i'm trying to do some personal open-heart surgery, and the well-meaning words and verses of other saints simply serve to heighten my feelings of growing distance and aloneness. like struggling with some form of stomach 'bug', i find myself unable to remember what being healthy felt like and antagonized by the warm smiles of the unafflicted. the philantherapy of others does little to bring me along on such heavy days.

what does bring me along is permission.

permission to acknowledge that there is a tunnel and it is real and it is all around me and i am allowed to stumble through its darkness in order to step back into the light on the other side. it is immensely liberating to be free to be human, failing to have any answers at all other than 'Jesus saves... i hope.'

people place other people on pedestals sometimes, requiring them to be ridiculously infallible and then withdrawing the faith when the pedestal people turn out to be human too. although i don't believe that annie was implying it in her comment, i know that far too often some confuse authenticity with flawlessness, integrity with perfection. what makes this even more tragic is when the pedestal people allow themselves to aspire to this. instead of authenticity, pedestal people live lives of perpetual, well-maintained denial, rising to greater heights where they are to view and be viewed by those who place them there.

problem is, or course, that the taller the platform, the greater the distance to the ground and hence the greater the possibility of vertigo.

i think that i prefer a swing to a standard.

sure, with a swing there are lows which seperate the highs in the same way that valleys define mountains, but there is no need to be able to balance on a swing... there is always something to hold onto. although the seat of the swing has its own gravity caused by the centrifugal force of its pendulumic semi-orbit around the top bar, this gravity changes depending on the position that i hold on the arc and is therefore one more trippy physical thing to master which is not an issue on a high platform. however, holding onto the ropes ensures that once the instant of weightlessness passes i will remain in the arc, in partial orbit around my life's centre whether i am looking at it or not.

there is also the assurance, when playing on a swing, that even at the lowest low the rider is safe... and is still the same distance from the bar as he or she was in that instant of thrilling weightlessness when it felt as though human flight were actually possible.

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