Monday, March 05, 2007

uninformed and unaffected


"I can say for a fact 'the truth sets me free' - in the sense that I see clearly my faults and human weaknesses - and I go through the valley of death/pain - just to get to the point where I accept that truth and then deal with it honestly and sincerely" (societyVS)

so here's the thing. i'm out for breakfast with this guy and he's talking to me about this bible study that he is beginning to attend. the group is studying the book of romans and he is just really loving the time that is being spent in the scriptures and how much he's learning from it all.

after listening for a bit, i ask
'what part of romans do you like the most?'

i know, i know... dumb question. it's a totally heavy book which doesn't really fit into 'like/dislike' thinking. it's full of really strong counsel on how to live life as a follower of Christ.

anyway, he begins to quote romans 12 really really fast...

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.

what makes this all rather tough for me is that there are many aspects of the life being lived that directly contradict this memorized and recited moral soundbyte. we have spoken of so many things, but all i can think of is that once again these scriptural words are being quoted from one whose life continues to exist uninformed and even unaffected by them.

honesty and truth must go together. it's not the loving of truth that bears the fruit of freedom, it's the living of it.

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17 Comments:

Blogger bjk said...

keep asking him the questions....

3/05/2007  
Blogger Cinder said...

"what makes this all rather tough for me is that there are many aspects of the life being lived that directly contradict this memorized and recited moral soundbyte. we have spoken of so many things, but all i can think of is that once again these scriptural words are being quoted from one whose life continues to exist uninformed and even unaffected by them." (jb)

i guess i have a hard time, in the fact that if i was to only claim scripture that i was living, i don't know that there would be many i could actually claim. isn't it a continual process...one which is much longer and winding for some than it is for others? to me, part of that process is the fellowship and love of people walking alongside you and gently helping you to see the contradictions and short-comings happening, that you very well might not see. that's why we aren't supposed to walk this life alone...right?

"honesty and truth must go together. it's not the loving of truth that bears the fruit of freedom, it's the living of it." (jb)

this is very true. i don't think you can simply love or believe the truth and find freedom in that...you have to live it. but before you can live it, i think you have to come to a place of being honest with yourself. if you can't accept where you are or who you are, then you won't ever truly find that freedom.

i claim all of romans 12 as being fundamental in my life. but i don't claim to have it all together or to be living it completely how the Bible speaks it. but i also don't claim to not want to change how i'm living either. i think we have to be careful sometimes, 'cause we can never truly know where a person's heart is, based solely on their actions. but as bjk said...yeah, keep asking him questions. for me personally, it's the questions asked by those closest to me that brings me to my knees and to a place of deeper reflection and change.

3/05/2007  
Blogger SocietyVs said...

"honesty and truth must go together. it's not the loving of truth that bears the fruit of freedom, it's the living of it." (JB)

Or maybe acceptance of the truth. Some things cannot be lived but still they are the honest truth. For example - being abused in the past is not something we can actually 'get rid of' - but we can come to grips with the brutal honesty of it - that we didn't deserve it, we are worthwhile peoples - in that we face up to the offender (in our own hearts) and learn that maybe the hatred we have is something we also helped to nurture.

Now I don't know torchie or his situation but I have found a commonality amongst every human - we react out of our hurts and the impressions they leave upon us. I admit is hard to face up to our own 'hurts/brokeness' but if we want the truth - well, a good look inside our own minds reveals a lot. How can someone be honest with the a book (external) about faith in God when they can't even be honest with themselves (internal)?

3/05/2007  
Blogger jollybeggar said...

"How can someone be honest with the a book (external) about faith in God when they can't even be honest with themselves (internal)?"

yes, that is the question driving this post.

important to clarify something...

torchie and my breakfast buddy are two very different people on similar journeys. whereas torchie is dealing, my other friend is dodging.

3/05/2007  
Blogger hineini said...

"Some things cannot be lived but still they are the honest truth" (societyvs)

and maybe things can be lived regardless of "truth". Discussions of truth have always made me nervous because each individual has their own idea of truth, even "THE Truth". And when push comes to shove, this is something that people often feel justified in picking up a gun for and "enlightening" those around them.

I'm not sure what I make of "the truth will set you free". Maybe its as simple as trying to get your beliefs to correspond with each other and avoiding living in "bad faith". Maybe truth is simply the mundane "facts" of everyday life but what kind of emancipatory potential is in that? I'm just not really sure if discussions of "truth" bake much bread anymore. Maybe we can move onto something a little less hegemonic and violent. Maybe we could just start talking about what kind of people we want to be and where we'd like to see our communities (however broad we want to define this) going.

3/05/2007  
Blogger SocietyVs said...

""THE Truth"...and when push comes to shove, this is something that people often feel justified in picking up a gun for and "enlightening" those around them." (Heinini)

Man is that funny but 'true'. I get what you are saying here Heinini about the word 'truth' - as an absolute and if someone breaks it - well...there is on telling where that will end (usually in violence).

But as for 'the truth will set you free' I am using the word truth in the context of finding out 'the truth behind the lies' type idea. As for absolutes - well I think they exist on some level but they are not unbreakable....yet we have to bare the brunt of those choices - which is where I use this meaning of 'truth'.

But faith is a personal thing anyways - don't expect me to ever get so offended that I pick up anything in violence and try to hurt you - that's just not something I would take joy in (basically you have my assurance on that)...got that from the Hebraic teachings of Matthew of all things (lol).

Just be free! (by free I mean uncumbered).

3/06/2007  
Blogger jollybeggar said...

something has been bubbling around in me since i read it the other day.

it's the bit about the things that cannot be lived, but are yet the honest truth. (societyVS paraphrased)

the one thing that seems to often happen among the victimized and the exploited is that one particular truth about a person's experience is permitted to speak for all... to eclipse everything else. i guess what i mean is that, although intensely painful experience is the God-honest truth, there are other truths about a person that can be lived and in fact must be lived and acted upon in order for 'unencumbrance' to be a hopeful possibility. i believe that it is these truths which set one free, and the challenge of perspective is to be able to, as thom yorke sings, put 'everything in its right place.'*

perhaps the truths that are too painful to be lived are to, in fact, be outlived.

*yep, major plug for radiohead's 'kid A' album. listen and weep.

3/06/2007  
Blogger hineini said...

why is unencumbered good again?

3/06/2007  
Blogger Cinder said...

"perhaps the truths that are too painful to be lived are to, in fact, be outlived."

i like that one. the complexity of it though, is that everyone reaches a level at various times...especially when talking in this context.

i agree that you cannot live a life which is unencumbered from painful experiences until you allow them to no longer colour every aspect of life. but, you also can't force it upon someone either, until they're ready to face it.

it's a complex issue with, no one right answer or way of achieving things.

3/06/2007  
Blogger SocietyVs said...

"perhaps the truths that are too painful to be lived are to, in fact, be outlived." (JB)

Outlive a painful experience, interesting. Like as in 'forget about it' or 'deal with it'? I am not sure what you mean by the sentence exactly? You can't outrun painful experiences - this I know all too well. But perhaps 'putting them in the right place' as you suggest is the highest ideal to shoot for - as in 'dealing with the hard part of life' and making that a piece of the paradigm you learned from.

I agree with you Cinder - to each in their own time. But if we ever wonder why someone 'goes by the wayside' in our churches - well 'feel good-isms' can only do so much for someone with real emotional problems to deal with - and to be honest I don't think any of us can help them in this process except ask the questions they may need to hear. But I am hard dude that way (in some regards) - I just think we all are capable of dealing with our own hurts (in some context).

3/06/2007  
Blogger Cinder said...

"But if we ever wonder why someone 'goes by the wayside' in our churches - well 'feel good-isms' can only do so much for someone with real emotional problems to deal with - and to be honest I don't think any of us can help them in this process except ask the questions they may need to hear. But I am hard dude that way (in some regards) - I just think we all are capable of dealing with our own hurts (in some context)."
(societyVs)

in the same sense that i believe we all journey at different stages, i think we play with fire when we lump all churches into one category. there are a lot of churches that don't expect you to feel good all the time...that want you to live a life which is real and not fake.

it's because of the church i'm at that i can agree with what JB is saying. my church is one that allows you to come, be real and to heal...not only to heal, but at whatever rate that might be at. i never thought i would truly face or come to a place of outliving some of the painful experiences from my past, but i am and it's because of the support of my friends and family.

yeah, we are all capable of dealing with our own hurts, but we aren't called to deal with them all on our own. a lot of times, it brings forth a better understanding and healing through not going the road alone.

3/06/2007  
Blogger SocietyVs said...

"through not going the road alone." (Cinder)

I love that line. I agree 100%. Ever truly listen intently to U2's song 'sometimes we can't make it alone' - it is truly humbling. I would say "I have realized what you're saying is true' - no one can make it alone and the proud figure it out the hard way.

3/07/2007  
Blogger bjk said...

I keep reading and rereading this thread....nothing to add other than an appreciation for all that provokes me into thinking deeper here...

3/07/2007  
Blogger Cinder said...

hey society...i need to say thx for those lyrics...i haven't listened to them, but did intently read them yesterday.

funny thing about blogging...we come, read, banter and talk, often not knowing where people are at. i think that's why i end up here and some of the sites i go to...like bjk said, i read and reread, not necessarily commenting, but i dig deeper and to new levels.

you couldn't have known how much i needed to read those lyrics...but i did and they were humbling, so thx for that inadvertant butt-kickin'.

3/08/2007  
Blogger SocietyVs said...

Cinder your welcome...the song is even better than just reading the lyrics (does that make sense).

3/08/2007  
Blogger Cinder said...

being that music's that hearbeat which is huge in my world...yeah it makes sense that i'm going get even more from listening to it...i just have to find it and download it.

3/08/2007  
Blogger Bill Scott, Sr. said...

Thank you for writing this. I will need to ponder this for a while and digest it.

3/15/2007  

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