Dark thoughts

There may be something to filling my schedule to the point where I simply don’t have the time to think dark thoughts. My own thoughts, which I cherish so much and hold dear, may not really be worth that much. Nor were they ever worth so much. I am not talking about those rare moments when inspiration seems to chisel its way in past my own constantly running inner mouth. Inspiration from God, where I say something approaching profundity, is always welcome, and never my thoughts. For whatever it’s worth, anything I’ve written that helps others, enriches their minds and souls, makes them feel empowered, peaceful, safe, etc.–it’s probably not my thoughts. Which is not to say that I am only capable of writing endless drivel of pure depravity. I am simply saying that my thoughts are like what you are reading in this paragraph–blah-ass crap that I feel the need to occasionally output. When I write enough of it, it inevitably does loop itself around into becoming the product of the ego–and the darkness creeps in.

In filling my schedule to the point where I don’t have the time to write blah thoughts and think dark thoughts, I end up feeling extremely out of my comfort zone–I am becoming a persona of sorts–a personality, a surface being without depth. But, at the same time, my inner depth is being reworked.

Brief moments of anger and confusion rising up

Brief moments of anger and confusion rising up. I still want someone to pay for something. I still think I deserve something, some kind of satisfaction. I still think I am somebody, and other people need to recognize my somebody-ness. I don’t know why. I weep from all of the cracks and holes in me. There really isn’t any way I am going to get to heaven if I expect to just be really nice the rest of my life. It still wouldn’t be enough to make up for all of the times I was terrible–no, I did and thought evil. I crossed over.

Even still, I spend way too much time imagining how lovely it would be to be called to a nice, pitch-perfect Midwestern college town, with just enough diversity to be mildly interesting, but not enough poor people that I actually have to work too hard. The good, soft life of dividing my time between the old folks homes and the library–reading, studying, praying–watching the decline of America continue.

The moment in our history when we become an empire or dictatorship, when we cross that line–it’s almost upon us. We might stave it off for another eight years, but the thought of Trump being President won’t be enough to scare enough people. Too many people are in love with the idea of a clueless loudmouth becoming Commander-in-Chief.

Simplicity

Simplicity. I don’t want this to be so complicated. The process isn’t streamlined enough for me. Will I inevitably seek out some other denomination?

I miss the feeling of community and home. I have been looking for it ever since we moved to Missouri, and my mom chose to go to church in a town twenty miles away.

I don’t care where I live or what my neighbors look like or who they worship or don’t worship. But, I desperately wish I could find that place that feels like home and be there for the rest of my life.

It’s funny how we are presented with two opposite visions of what being a Christian looks like — Jesus, the Son of Man, has no place to rest his head. But the rootless, shiftless who are like chaff and plant their homes on sand, are to be condemned for the fire.

Like anything else, dropping roots can be done inordinately–you narrow your worldview and stop thinking of anyone except those immediately around you. You cling excessively to things of this world, instead of looking forward to your home in the next life. But, being restless spiritually and physically can ultimately lead you to a nowhere kind of life. You never really believe anything, stand for anything, care about anything, and end up being a nobody and nothing.

There are too many moments throughout the day when I am re-humbled

There are too many moments throughout the day when I am re-humbled. I don’t know why at this stage I still get it in my head that I am now to be propelled forward to magnificent heights. Nobody really thinks nearly as high of me as I do.

The lows come quickly and easily, too. Who do I think I am, anyway?

I think I might be tapped into something deeper, though. Or maybe it’s just a sense of do or die. I can’t go back because there is nothing to go back to. I can’t move forward in an inordinate fashion, because nothing fits or works outside of these small parameters.

What is there to be angry about, if you are nothing special or especially deserving of a great reward? You can’t be angry about the way the world is going to hell, you can only help a few souls find their way out of it.

What a weird, seductive thing it is to be temporarily convinced that you can effect change with just your mind! You can’t do anything at all. You are only capable of changing that which God says your particular combination of talents can change. Stop thinking you are the man with ten talents when you are really the man with one. The parable might have been extended to see this other fellow with just one talent who continually overplayed his hand and got nowhere. He was probably just as foolish as Jesus’ man with one talent who hid that talent. You are that fool. Wasting ten talents is terrible, but surely wasting one talent because you couldn’t recognize it for being just one talent is just as bad.

How many times has life somehow managed to get you out of what would otherwise have been a sticky situation, but in the nick of time? Is it really an ambiguous entity like “life” getting you out of these situations?

The will to sin persists. The will to do great evil arises when the ego is especially wounded. What a lovely thing, you think, to be cast into a role like in some Clint Eastwood western, where you have nothing left to lose!

But, were you to lose everything but your own life, you know that becoming a man of great sin and evil would be playing directly into the Devil’s hands–it would be doing exactly what mankind thinks is an appropriate response from a man who has lost it all. Instead, your correct response should be to love the Lord even more–to seek out ways on this earth to live in an even more direct engagement with God. This is true rebellion. The rebellion that the Devil urges you to participate in is a cheap and easy rebellion–it is the rebellion of millions of unwitting souls.

The life of the monk is a beautiful thing. You are stripped down to a nakedness of self that so many poets and artists have craved in worldly ways, but have allowed whatever drugs and worldly things to come their way and carry them off into a hedonism that is anything but stripped down and naked. Surely the best way of being in this world is not the way of being that receives the least amount of criticism from other human beings, but the most criticism. Being a monk garners you criticism from fellow Christians who would want you to be out doing more to help the poor, as well as many atheists who see it as a pointless, navel-gazing exercise. Criminal activities garner immediate and singular criticism–murdering, raping, stealing–these are bad and immediately condemned with little else to say of them. But the man or woman who chooses the monastic life is to be criticized indiscriminately, indefinitely, and routinely from across many human social configurations. Monks simply are not useful, and the fact that a configuration of society exists to support them becomes a bothersome thing for members of the society who would have it be neat, tidy and perennially useful.

But, the humble one who prays may be one of a few who hold up the earth, preventing it from collapsing into the chaos it once knew.

Human beings

Human beings — I still have a strong urge to get as far away from as many of them as I possibly can. Especially after moments like the one today at church new membership class where I said something and it went over like a lead balloon. I was trying to say something about myself–offer an insight into who I was and how I come to the church, but it came off as a critique or disparaging remark about the church I grew up in, I guess. Or, Ps really are just a cold bunch who need a lot more warming up to get them to laugh.

The entire process of getting involved with the church in such a way that they see you are interested in doing more than some random, mostly passive thing once a month–it baffles me. On one hand, they talk endlessly about being called to leadership, on the other hand, it has been intimated to me that I am not vocal or proactive enough about expressing what it is I want to be doing.

The church itself is kind of a great mystery of which only the lifelong members of a given denomination seem to really know what to do. I guess after that, you have people who are just generally good at understanding social norms and cliques, and can navigate such things. Then, you have people like me, who want desperately to be more involved in any way I can, but I always seem to end up falling short and being asked to go get some iced tea. It’s not that I have any problem whatsoever with doing the little things that need to be done. I would gladly do them all day long. But, it’s also true that I hear greater needs constantly communicated, and I am pretty sure that I am capable of doing more than just fetching iced tea now and then and operating steam cleaners once a month.

Today, the way is not so clear.

Today, the way is not so clear.
The things I want to do have evaporated, and I am unsure of what God wants me to do. I can no longer pretend that I am actually somebody great waiting for the right moment, because I’ve met and talked to a few people. I’ve lived enough to see that underneath the mediocre false self was a mediocre true self. This isn’t depressing. I’ve been depressed and I don’t feel depressed. Instead, I feel incredibly blind.

I was always blind, but now I know that I am blind. If I am ever going to see, then I will need a little more direction from God to point me toward the right pair of corrective lenses.

I get moments like this–sometimes only a few minutes alone. Sometimes I am at my absolute best, most of the time not. And I know I’ve had all kinds of things I want to say, that nobody else really cares to listen to.

And then, I sit down here, and it all disappears.

Or, I start trying to write something–anything at all–and it reads like me repeating myself for the hundredth time or more. The truth is, I do want to change and I don’t want to go back and relive the past and I don’t feel a need to be reborn here on earth and I do want to go out and help people and not just read books. But then, life seems to have a way of presenting any number of barriers–things that I must do first before I can actually go out and do good things.

So, writing becomes a compromise. Maybe if I write something that is at least halfway inspired or inspiring, it might one day be read by someone and help them. This is the grand illusion that has kept me going for so long, but it is now at its end. The only person I’ve been writing for–the only one who will ever take the time to read what I’ve written–is myself. And honestly, I don’t care much for a lot of the things I’ve written. They were written in moments of great pride or wrath.

The idea that humanity would be better off

The idea that humanity would be better off if we all cooperated with each other. What’s weird is that there are at least two times in the Bible where this appears to be a very bad thing — the Babylonians are all working together to build a tower to reach God, and the people in the end times come together as one world with one language. And yet, the concepts of Christianity and Judaism depend upon communal worship and fellowship. Christianity especially is intended to be share among all of the nations.

If we presuppose that there are higher dimensions than the ones we access via our senses, we should be able to conceive that it’s possible for there to be one or many godlike figures who could wipe us all out with the flick of a cosmic wrist. Our very being here in this realm is predicated upon God remaining pleased with us. We would tend to think that God would want us fighting less and loving Him and each other more, based on the most important commandment, but we could also suppose that God could become pretty jealous, or simply stop caring about us, if we came to the conclusion that we could get by just fine forever in this universe without any interaction with God.

All of this is mostly just me trying to figure out how should be spending my time, once I leave seminary. Should I be primarily focused on my church and taking care of the flock, or see my local and global communities as being equally important?