like.a.bomb.went.off

the house is a disaster.  the funny thing is that it was clean an hour ago.  then the girls came in from sledding, husband came home from work, and we gave the cat a bath.  i am also out of clean towels.  i logged on to the internet two hours ago to price homeschool cirriculum.  i am still sitting here, but no further in my search for the elusive language arts text i really want for next fall.  oh well.  some days are like that.

the more i read of “the tao of pooh”  the more i realize how the basic principles of the bible match up in many ways to lao-tze’s teachings.  the basic rules in the bible can be summed up as:  love your neighbour, love justice (or, do the right thing), be merciful, hold to peace, trust God for all things… with the exception of taoism’s “self-reliance” angle, the rest of those sound a lot like what lao-tze was talking about to me. 

i remember my friend’s brother reading “pooh” when i was in middle school and wondering what it was all about.  at that point, christianity was the be-all-end-all in my life so i didn’t give it a chance.  i don’t feel that way anymore.  like i said yesterday, there are a lot of things that don’t make sense about the way that american christians practice faith… most markedly their lack of total devotion.  am i one of those christians who lack devotion because i am searching?  i don’t think so.  at least not yet.  my search does not mean that i am as two faced in my faith as so many of the people i attend church with.  i am not running around at church on sunday acting all pious then going home to my new condo with my new car and sleeping with my boyfriend who lives with me listening to the local rock station all week and the christian station as i pull up to the sanctuary.  in fact, i am married, live in a shitty apartment, have a daughter from a relationship that never resulted in marriage, and turn up the local rock station when i pull up in front of the sanctuary.  not that i condemn the people who make those choices. i am simply comparing myself to the christians who make one kind of choice during the week and then come to church and wednesday bible study and act like they are following the tenents of the bible and christian moral ideals the rest of the week.  i admit that i am imperfect.  in fact, i rather like it that way.  for me, putting the religious right on the defensive furthers the debate about what God really wants from us.  and i think taoism comes closer than a lot of things.  at least for me right now.

what i am finding in taoism is that the peace that comes from knowing exactly who you are is what makes life flow smoothly.  my weaknesses are not something i need to erase and change so much as things i need to work with… things that make me individual.  they are things that when allowed space will work out naturally.  moreover, i don’t have to push and pull and struggle against the natural way of things.  life is as it is.  ranting and raving won’t change the fact that the cat shit itself and needs a bath, for example.  i just need to bathe him and go on to the next thing life throws at me.   

that’s why the house is a mess.  i haven’t gotten to it yet.  first, dinner.    

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~ by Erin on 8 January, 2007.

4 Responses to “like.a.bomb.went.off”

  1. Well, as a member of the bashed religious right, I feel the need to comment. 🙂 Ok, not because I’m probably in the religious right, but rather as a friend and a follower of Christ.

    Be careful not to judge Christianity on what Christians do. A lot of non-Christians do that as a way to avoid Jesus. We’re all imperfect, and that will show. But, the biggest enemy of hypocrisy that I know is Jesus himself. Plus, you can be a conservative Greg-type person (as opposed to Dharma) and still be very frustrated with the church. I personally am incredibly frustrated with the church in general, and the American church in particular. My primary mode of fellowship lately has been the house-church–for me it’s the only way I can truly relate to God and others, to be truly real. And I think that’s what God’s plan for Church was truly about. I suggest reading “Houses that change the World” by Wolfgang Simson, which I’m currently reading. I’m finding it an interesting read…

    Ok, one last thing on my sermon…something about “my weaknesses are not something I need to erase…” struck me as….I don’t know, just struck me. Matthew 5:48 says be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect. That doesn’t mean you try to will yourself to perfection (which will never happen) or beat yourself up for having imperfections. God not only loves you, He *likes* you. Rather, and I hope this doesn’t sound like religious jargon, we need to let God work in our lives and truly *transform* them. He’s not in the business of making us feel good, but in changing our lives. The former may follow, but it’s about building a better relationship with God. Everything follows from that, and nothing else matters but that.

    Ok, done for now.

  2. first, it isn’t about the “type” of person you are… i never said that.

    what it is about is not being so “religious” that you leave out the depressed and the poor and the downtrodden in your own neighborhood while at the same time going on a missions trip to somewhere overseas to “help the poor” only to come home and ignore your neighbors all over again while looking at your cool trip photos… (not that i am targeting you, spaugh. i mean to speak in generalities.) it’s about not being so “religious” that you are unwilling to accept that some areas are grey instead of black and white.

    here’s what i am waiting for: i am waiting to hear someone in the mainstream american religious community tell me that my behavior is not what determines my level of faith, and i want that same leader to tell me that God loves me the way i am, and that He will transform me not through my “works” but BECAUSE He loves me and i am willing to let him transform me.

    letting God work in our lives is due to our faith in Him, and the relationship that we have with Him. it is not determined by, i agree with you, our hard work by ourselves, however, we CAN get so caught up in doing the “religious transform my life thing” that we never do the “right” thing for ourselves or other people. even paul had to accept the “thorn in his side” that God did not deem to remove. accepting my weaknesses as a part of who God made me to be, and desiring to have Him show me how to work within and remove those weaknesses to have a life that pleases Him is a part of being human. i am not saying i need not change. i am just saying i need not push so hard to be who God did not make me to be… to change things He wants me to accept. make sense?

    as for your statement that God is “not in the business of making us feel good”, i get that God is not going to give us “warm fuzzies” all the time, but, if i don’t get to live in peace and grace and love and joy now that i am in the family of God, then screw it… i would rather not follow christianity at all.

  3. When you say “I’m waiting for someone in the mainstream religious community…” who would be acceptable? Laity? Or actual clergy-type people? I guess a lot of what you were saying was what I was trying to convey. You have to be careful when talking about works, though. Works don’t get you into heaven or determine how good a Christian you are, but pretty much the entirety of James 2 is “faith without works is dead.” So, works does not determine faith, but if you have faith, there *will* be works.

    As for your last statement, something strikes me wrong about that…not to completely nit-pick and completely miss your point. And it’s somewhat hypothetical because it’s not how things work…the reason to follow God is not to get peace and grace and love and joy–that’s awful me-centered. The reason to follow God is because He’s God. Now, He promised us peace and grace and love and joy, so it’s not like we have to choose… Anyway, I’m probably just being a pain, and there’s basketball to go to soon, so I’ll stop here.

  4. I apologize for any offense I have caused.

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