Tuesday, June 10, 2014

sin and stupidity

Being a misfit is nothing new. A few years ago I would celebrate this fact with a fellow misfit, we had lengthy conversations about being misfits and it was a true bonding point. But it was right about then I was finding my true ideology as it took shape out of the mire, and in coming to terms with it, well...

Thinking is a dangerous thing. It sets us apart from most creatures on the planet, and even among our species the more you think, the more different you are. It's like being part of a church, finding fulfillment in various kinds of service, among those who also find such fulfillment - then finally realizing, hey, most of them, bless their hearts, are in it for the interaction itself.

What propels one to think? What's the reward? Lovers need someone to love, parents need children, a man hopping as he unlocks his front door probably needs to pee, and thinkers need to understand.
And so as the locks are unlocked one finds even more locks.

I started attending the School on the Hill with an evangelism emphasis. Evangelism, bringing the good news, in the original sense, but in my tradition, it's when a traveling preacher shows up to yell from the pulpit. It's when the altar calls were long and people got honest. As an outsider he or she could really lay it on, speak to universal problems without any personal insight, hence the spirit of revival.

For my part, during the days when I wanted an ever deeper "spiritual walk" I found the church often didn't measure up -

See...all discussions of hamartiology aide, the word "sin" has a way of meaning whatever offends the person saying "sin." By the time my youth group had gotten through high school we had a clear understanding of what the church leaders defined as "sin," which is anything you didn't feel like doing in Sunday School class.

Another facet of a misfit is having standards, those can really offend people, but hey, that's not my problem.

So, after a few years as a so-called adult intentionally trying to find existential meaning in church involvement, with it increasingly obvious that something is broken, the answer must be to get into the pulpit and yell at people myself.

Then a funny thing happened at the School. There's a wonderful feature of a seminary program called deconstruction, where a wrecking ball smacks into whatever understanding you built (or was built for you...) and, if you stick around, you start to reconstruct it. Thing is...heh...how to let an Organization that never earned my trust play a major role in said reconstruction?

Either you love the church, or you don't. 

My issue with the church, or humanity, or myself wasn't willful sin. It's unchecked stupidity. Some may equate that with "original" sin, but I can't.

It comes back to standards. When the Organization, which has it's roots in the theocratic establishment in 4th century Rome, after having been formed around a figure who in turn had met his fate at the hands of an earlier religious establishment - do things ever really change? Not only do we shoot our prophets but we can't see what we really are.

Back in youth group we had a married so-called adult male telling us not to fornicate when it's common knowledge that he was diddling someone else's wife and they were trying to make it a foursome. This fact causes me to short circuit.

I had to move 700 miles from where I grew up to start seeing things from the side, recognizing postmodernism for what it is, meeting folks on the political left with a beautiful, thriving faith, not afraid to champion social justice, and finding that many are realizing that doctrine works better as a conversation than a book, there's no clear answers, just learning to live with questions.

There was no longer a need to go yell at people.

There was also no longer a need to fit in.

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