on poets and theologians, of which I am neither
September 22, 2014, 5:45 am
Filed under: Stuff | Tags: , , , , , , ,

I’m trying to think of the reason I do this. Why write on this insignificant corner of the Internet? Sometimes it’s to get something off my chest. Other times it’s because I feel compelled to speak up. More often than not, it’s because I want to be a writer and don’t know how, so this is the only outlet I know of that’s available to me. Mostly, it’s to feel alive.

I feel like my writing & thought process is caught between a mix of poet and theologian, but I fail more often than not on both fronts. I don’t have enough energy to back up my theology consistently. It would require too many internet arguments, and I already waste too much time there. My poetic ability consists of ‘roses are red’, so I try to construct sentences that are meaningful and beautiful…but often they just feel like a jumble of words that could never adequately express what I’m truly feeling. So I keep writing, feeling stuck in this nether world of half assed poetry with a mix of half assed biblical interpretation. I know what I know and I know what I want to say. I’m just not sure how to get that out.

I feel like a fraud. What if my writing is trying to present an image of myself I can’t possibly measure up to? (hint: it is…)

The truth is I know who I want to be. A child of God, content in the love and grace that comes with that. I want to be well read and passionate, fighting for issues that matter to me and that are close to the heart of Jesus. But the truth is, I’m about as far from content in my relationship with God as I’ve ever been, and my passionate self extends about as far as football scores these days. I know who I want to be, I just don’t know how to be.

When I think about racial injustice in Ferguson, Missouri, or at home here in Canada towards Aboriginals, my blood boils. When someone uses the word ‘fag,’ or another evangelical packages ignorance and hatred as the love of Christ to my LGBT brothers and sisters, my passion to fight injustice is stirred. What feels like a prophetic anger rises up in me. When I hear about the beauty and goodness of God, I 100% believe it’s real. But I don’t know what to do with that. Or if I do, I’m too easily distracted. I’m not sure how to live my passion and belief out consistently. I can write about it and share articles on Twitter or write all the blog posts in the world…but I’m so tired of feeling like that’s all there is. Is that all there is? Twitter arguments and blog posts? I know there’s more. There has to be.

I feel like I’ve been sucked into a vacuous vortex of distraction. YouTube videos of random weirdness and sports highlights pull me deeper into a dark nothingness, void of meaning or substance. So when a Ferguson comes up or the Holy Spirit makes it clear that I need to act on sin in my own life, I get mad and determined to act for a time…then sink deeper into the distractions, minimizing the call to more.

So why do I do this? Why do I write randomly about nothing and everything at the same time? Why don’t I just give up? I just need to be reminded of who I am; who I want to be. I need to say out loud the things I know in my head to be true that I struggle to believe each day.

God does love me. I don’t have to do more to make God love me. My mistakes don’t determine Gods love for me. There is more to this life. There is hope for a better world. God wants me to play a role in that plan.

I’m a phony trying to be more than I’m capable of being on my own. Writing reminds me that there’s more going on than the empty, consumer rat race we’re all caught up in. That’s reason enough.

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on bad news and “what next?”

What the crap is going on? Seriously, people. Some have buried their heads in the sand and think it’s just another day, like any other. Fox News argues one narrative while MSNBC argues the opposite. Pick a side and move onto the next controversy. But it’s not just like any other day. As the brilliant philosopher Lloyd Christmas profoundly pointed out, “we got no food, we got no jobs…OUR PETS HEADS ARE FALLING OFF!”

That’s about all the humour I have in me today. It feels like everything in the world is falling apart, and I’m struggling to find the hope that’s always lifted me out of the pit. I’m not even in the middle of it. I’m far removed from the chaos, or at least I feel that way.

The cracks started to show in my heart and soul with the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Even before that, the Russian oppression of LGBT people brought about fear and frustration in my soul. Russia just brought the full court press the past year. I successfully squashed that anxiety by telling myself it’s far away, and doesn’t really impact me, sad as it is. Then a country was invaded. And a plane was shot down with 300 innocent lives on board. It’s not so easy to ignore.

Then the conflict between Palestine & Gaza reached a boiling point. They always fight, right? So why should this time matter to me, a 30 year old Canadian kid with no ties to the conflict? Then Israel invaded and destroyed buildings and towns and people. The death toll is above 2000. That’s not a number that is easy to ignore. Christians and much of the west blindly support Israel, to the point that they ignore the violence and overuse of force against vulnerable civilians. I’m not saying Palestine is right. But that doesn’t make Israel right, either.

Then Mike Brown was killed in Ferguson, Missouri. And I’m losing my mind. Because I have no idea what it must feel like to be scared to walk down the street the way every black individual in the USA must feel. I’m losing my mind because this is all bullshit. Every new piece of information that comes out of this is worse than the last. Coverups, brutality, media suppression…a kid is dead because of his skin colour. And the talking heads on the cable news distract us from the fact that a family is grieving and justice is broken. Ferguson is a small example of the underlying tension felt all across America. Don’t even get me started on Aboriginal issues in Canada. Different culture, similar stories. No trust or peace. Our police aren’t nearly as heavy handed. If anything, this situation makes me respect our police more. But the racial tension is alive and well.

Then Robin Williams committed suicide, and my heart breaks. Not because celebrity deaths are any more tragic that the stranger down the street. But because he brought so much joy with his humour and deep soulful acting, yet was as filled with darkness, which stole his life in the end. My first date was to go see “Jack,” about a boy whose body aged 4 years for every year of real time. So he was a 40 year old 10 year old. I held hands for the first time to Robin Williams frenetic, childlike energy. I cried watching him develop a relationship with Matt Damon’s character in Good Will Hunting. “It’s not your fault.” Seems rather like an appropriate statement in this circumstance. And people are calling him selfish and a coward. And Christians are suggesting that the only cure for depression is prayer and Jesus, and real Christians don’t get depressed. Christians continually make depression out to be a result of “sin” or a “lack of faith”. These sort of asinine voices make me want to just quit. As someone who fight depression and has prayed and read his bible and has struggled to grow my faith these past 10 years, I know these false ideas to be damaging garbage. Robin Williams death is not as important as what’s going on in Ferguson or Gaza, but dammit, it sure is depressing. And if feels like the cherry on the turd sundae of this weeks news.

The first couple stressors are concerning situations, but distant enough that on their own, I can distract myself from the horror. It requires intentional distraction, but we in the west are good at this. I am good at this. The next story hits closer to home. We all know someone who could have been Mike Brown. But I’m just a white, middle class Canadian. If it was possible, I could ignore it. But it’s not possible anymore. I am so tired of it these stories. It’s too much. White people can no longer stand by and say these stories don’t apply to them. We are all human, regardless of our skin tone. But I feel so powerless to do anything. The depression angle hits closest to home. That could be me without the support system I have. That’s been people close to me. I’m watching someone I love fight the battle of their life right now. It’s not as simple as “have more faith.”

Life seems to be falling apart.

Kyrie Eleison. God, have mercy.

Romans 8 is about the only place I can land on days like this. This world is broken and I’m crying out, but the world groans with us in our pain and desperation for redemption. And while hope seems to be lost, the promise of God is that we cannot be separated from his love. We can’t. Nothing will stop it. And that’s all that’s keeping me going these days. The promise that Gods love is greater than the mess we’ve created. Neither angels nor demons, height nor depth, rubber bullets in Ferguson or the helplessness of depression. NOTHING can separate us from Gods love.

The way I see it, there are two options. 1. Put our headphones in and listen to another mindless pop or worship song, pretending all is well and right with the world.
2. Wake up and start paying attention. Participate in Gods Kingdom.

If you are like me, you will feel overwhelmed and helpless at times. So what? How do the people with bombs flying over their heads in Gaza feel? How does the community of Ferguson feel today? Being overwhelmed doesn’t give us the option to disengage the brokenness of the world. If the children and families dying in Gaza can fight for hope, we should be able to as well without falling into the pit of cynicism and despair. So I can be sad. I can mourn. But I can’t give up.

People ask, why doesn’t God do something? Tough question. Shane Claiborne always says something along the lines of wondering why we always ask God this when he looks right back at us and asks the same question. So will we do something? Or will we keep blaming God for the mess we’ve created?

Stand up for justice. Don’t mindlessly pick a side in the ideology battle. Stand for what is good and noble and right. Bombs in Gaza are not right. Neither are bombs in Israel. Fight for justice on both sides. Suicide is not the best option. But neither is someone feeling so alone and hopeless they feel nothing is worth living for. Don’t blame the victim of depression, be the voice that gives them a reason to live. An eye for an eye in Ferguson, Missouri will not solve racial injustice and abuses of power. But neither will ignoring injustice that has happened and maintaining status quo. As a white person, I may not understand their fear, but I can stand beside them and demand justice for those who are oppressed. We are all humans on the same voyage. It’s time to wake up and get involved. Speak up. The world is going to be set to rights someday. Let’s join the work God has called us to. Otherwise, what in the world is the point of all this? God is a Godnin the business of making beautiful, new things. I have to trust in that. Otherwise, I have nothing.