I may have pointed out before how defensive we become when someone or something challenges our worldview. Doubt creeps in around the edges. Could I have been wrong all along?
It kinda started with the preteen anxiety, at the end of the elementary years when conversations become more sophisticated, nuanced, and those with natural social graces begin to stand out, leaving those without social graces to also stand...out. Some of us live in our heads, and the prevalent attitudes and insecurities don't respond well to ideas, inventions, theories. And with a bend toward frayed nerves in the cold months, it times it can lead to a crash, an implosion. Some of us can't express ourselves well, so we squeak out what we can.
Toward the end of fourth grade I accepted Christ and stayed away from secular music for a couple years. That's what it means to be "right."
Eventually I realized that secular music was a way to connect with others, the ones that mattered. But there were still limits, walls. During a big evangelism at the fairgrounds my peers found need to have a smoke fest, and I took the side against that and was shunned, setting up a long, pensive summer.
During early college years some of the girls I worked with were advised against me, I was too "religious." But what else is an idealist to do when the ideals are such and you don't have a lot of reason to challenge those?
Back then the big thing was music, heavy metal reflected the inner fury, the conflict, war with the world that doesn't get it. Church folk accepted rap but not metal. Now, to their credit, you had white middle class evangelicals accepting a predominantly urban black form of expression - that in itself is awesome. But even suggesting a youth group trip to a Christian metal concert a couple counties away, "I don't believe in that." Well, then I don't believe in you.
In my late 20s, a young lady told me I was "obedient," in the context of a "spiritual walk." I have no idea to what she was comparing my life, and it doesn't matter. After a while one would hopefully notice a pattern. "Religious," at least in the common sense, doesn't hold out on a long-term girlfriend who wants to start planning a family and can't figure out why certain forms of intimacy are off limits. Offspring and the responsibility they bring are just not an option, so why risk it?
In my late 30s I finally took a drink, after researching and planning accordingly. One bottle of Guinness over 2-3 hours, and I lived to tell about it. I had grown up under the shadow of a little black book that says the Church does not permit alcohol consumption, then the School on the Hill pointed out how that verbiage came from some upper-Midwestern fundamentalists that essentially bargained that in for joining the denomination, teetotalers, nannying gone awry.
People, we really need to learn what's behind all the "becauses" and "spose to's" we've come to revere so much.
Many times it's right behind a green curtain - not the mysteries of life and being and faith, but for me, the nagging questions of why tradition and Scripture are oft at odds, when "the way it is" is not the answer.
Based on the barrage of social media postings it's clear that a lot of folks don't truly worship God, but rather, their doctrine or ideology.
What's my motivation? Far as I can tell it's to create, to build, to explore and many times to question. If you get in my way I'll go around you, and if you stay in my way I'll go through you.
And I'm realizing, we're all like that to a point, just not always so intentional in the pursuit of truth.
The past few years have been challenging to watch my dad deteriorate into dementia. Aside from his strength of conscience waning, the hardest part was seeing him struggle with unresolved issues, such as his relationship with his mother. There's no way to cover it up now as the angry inner child comes tumbling out into the living room. Or banquet hall.
Deep down we're nobody's fool, like the phrase, action talks and bullshit walks, as a dog or young child can sense deception in someone, when we're off calibration deep down - things just aren't right and neither is the world around us.
So, what to do? We persevere, some to an early grave, needlessly, but others, hopefully many, to a grand adventure, upward and onward.