what is it that defines who we are and how we view ourselves? Most often I think it is other people. We compare ourselves to other people, to the social scale, to the style of clothing, to the professions, the interests, the hobbies, the religions of other people. And when we find our identity in any or all of those things, it is never certain. We never know if one day someone will like us or if one day our clothes will be in fashion or whether someone else's religion or way of thinking will become the consensus. We feel the need to prove we are better than others so that we will stay in that 'accepted' minority at the top and we feel the need to defend ourselves and our beliefs and our clothes and our lifestyle and we will do whatever is necessary to do that. What we forget is that we are loved unconditionally. We forget our identity in Christ. If I know and understand in my heart that Christ loves me unconditionally, I don't feel the need to destroy anything, only to build it up in others. Because I am safe. Because I know I am loved, I feel free to love others unconditionally, and I have an example of what that looks like and feels like. I don't feel the need to tear down anybody's sense of themself, only to build up in them Christ's view of them. And in turn, they will feel safe to do the same with me and with others. THAT is how we truly foster community. We LOVE PEOPLE. Because we understand that in the end, it isn't that important whether we are what our government or society or peer group or religious majority tell us we should be, we are what Christ tells us we are and who He is making us. And from another angle, we recognize that it isn't that important that other people are any of those things either, or for that matter, it's not that important that other people are what I think they should be either. They are who Christ says they are, and who He is making them. And we will be ok to let them be who they are and to be who we are, and in the end, as we all grow closer to who God made us (because essentially we are changed beings, the goal of life for a Christian is really to be more and more who they are), we will find out that we feel safe. And if we are always seeking that, we will find it very natural to feel a strong connection to other humans (christian or not) rather than a strong antithesis or antagonism.
I will never stand for anyone who promotes a political agenda by putting Christ's name on it. I will never stand for anyone who thinks they will change the world by forcing everyone to behave in a certain way, because I believe a person's behavior comes from their heart and not the other way around. I will never stand for someone who sees the american government, or any government, as a way to instill morality in a culture. If we rely on our government to tell us what morality is, we are all lost.
Essentially politics is a great way to divert your focus from where it should be - loving people. I don't care if I have the right to free speech or the right to religious freedom, to be honest... God never said to fight for those rights. Not that they are a bad thing. But I can love someone no matter what rights of free speech and religious freedom exist in my country. I can love someone whether homosexuals are allowed to be married or not. I can love someone even if Christianity politically is shunned and even prosecuted. So why are we trying so hard to protect our morality in the political system? We are just wasting our time on a battle that doesn't need to be fought and turning our energy and our focus away from everything we should be doing, which is to show people that Christ loves them no matter what they believe about anything. Because everyone is broken in one way or another, and nobody is going to change anything unless their brokenness is fixed. And there's only one way for that to happen and it's not for the US Government to institutionalize Christian morality into the law system.
Love people. That's all. Please. And actually think about what that means. Look at Christ. How did He love people? First, He rebuked the religious people who were hounding them about their morality and said things like "if you are perfect, go ahead, throw stones." Then He turned to the person and said "you are forgiven". THEN He said (after he had won their HEART), "now don't do that anymore, it's harmful to you." Why do we feel the need to fix the behavior all the time? Maybe because it's easier and it hurts less than actually getting into someone's real problems. Please, just love people.
"particle man, particle man
doing the things a particle can
what's he like? it's not important
is he a dot, or is he a speck
when he's underwater does he get wet?
or does the water get him instead?
genius... pure genius.
when I post something that someone else has written, it doesn't necessarily mean that I agree with everything they say. More likely, I thought it made an interesting point or made me think about something I think is important. Though in some cases it is possible that I do agree with everything they said :)
another something interesting from The Wisdom of the Sands :)
I mind me of that sour-faced, cross-eyed prophet who one day came to visit me, in high and gloomy dudgeon.
"It were best," he said, "to destroy them root and branch."
Thus I saw he had a craving for perfection. For death alone is perfect.
"They are evildoers," he said.
I held my peace. I seemed to see under my eyes that steely soul of his shaped like a sword. And I thought: This man lives but to war on evil. It is on evil that he thrives. Without it where would he be?
"What," I asked him, "would bring you happiness?"
"The triumph of virtue in the world," he answered.
But I knew he was lying. For this "happiness" he wanted would mean the idling and rusting of his sword.
And then was revealed to me, little by little, a strange yet patent truth -- that he who loves good is indulgent towards evil. For though the words seem at cross-purposes with each other, good and evil interlock; your bad sculptors are a forging-bed for your good sculptors, tyranny tempers valiant souls to fight against it, and famine leads to the sharing of bread between neighbors -- a sharing sweeter than the bread itself to hungry lips. Thus those men who had hatched plots against me and, hunted down by my police, cut off their hands, had sacrificed themselves to something other than themselves and willingly faced danger, durance, and injustice by reason of their love for freedom and justice -- those men always seemed to me invested with a special beauty and a radiance that glowed on the very scaffold, like a flaming cloud above them. Therefore never have I cheated these men of their death. What were a diamond but for the hard rocks that must be bored and broken before it can be won? What is the value of a sword, if there be no foe; of fidelity, if there be no temptation; of homecoming, if there be no absence? That prophet's "triumph of virtue" were but the triumph of the stall-fed, docile ox tied to his manger. And I count not on the stall-fed and the sedentaries.
"You are struggling against evil," I told him, "and every struggle is a dance. You get your pleasure from the dance; in fine, from evil. But I would rather see you dancing for love of love."
"For if I stablish for you an empire in which men's hearts are stirred by poems, a day will surely come when the logicians fall to arguing thereon and wordily apprising you of the peril to which the poem is exposed, from its opposite -- as if there were the 'opposite' of anything whatever in the world! Then will you see police officers arising who, confusing the love of the poem with hatred of the 'opposite,' will now devote themselves to hating instead of loving. As though love of the cedar tree meant the destruction of all olive trees! Then will you see them haling off to prison musicians, sculptors or astronomers, invoking absurd arguments, built of words that weave the wind. And thus will perish my empire; for the cult of the cedar need not involve the ruin of the olive groves or an embargo on the fragrance of the rose. Instill in a people's heart the love of sailing ships, and it will draw into itself all that is fervent in your land and transmute it into sails and rigging. But you, my man, would wish to take the activities of the sailmakers in hand and foster these by denouncing, persecuting and wiping out as heretics all who do not see eye to eye with you. And you will have logic on your side, since by logic you can prove anything you like, and all that is not a sailing ship can be shown to be the opposite of the sailing ship. Thus, from purge to purge, you will exterminate your race; for you will find that each of us loves something else as well. Nay, more, you will end by exterminating the sailing ship itself, for the hymn of the ship becomes on the nailsmith's lips the hymn of nailmaking. And once you have thrown him into prison, no more nails will be forthcoming for the making of the ship."
"Thus is it with him, too, who thinks to favor the great sculptors by exterminating the bad, whom in his foolish parlance he denounces as the 'opposites' of the former. And then, my friend, surely you yourself would be the first to forbid your son to choose a calling whose prospects looked so black!"
"If I have understood you aright," snarled my cross-eyed prophet, "you would have me tolerate vice!"
"Not so," I answered, "You have understood . . . nothing!"
an exerpt from "The Wisdom of the Sands" by Antoine de Saint-Exupery - after having caught one of his sentries sleeping while on guard, for which the penalty is death, and musing about that penalty:
Then was made clear to me the solution of the difficulty whereon I had often pondered; which was the quandary that afflicted me so cruelly when I, the king, was gazing down at my sleeping sentry. The cruelty of taking a youngster lost in happy dreams and pitchforking him, as it were, into death, aghast during those last terrible moments at being made to suffer thus at men's hands.
For as I gazed at him he awoke and drew his hand over his brows; then, not yet having recognized me, proffered his face to the stars, with a little sigh at the effort of picking up again his heavy weapons. And then it was revealed to me that here was a soul I had to win.
Standing beside him, I, his king gazed down upon the sleeping city, breathing-in seeming the same effluence -- and yet it was not the same. And I thought: There is no means of making clear the tragic import of this moment. No course that would avail is open to me, save to convert him, and disclose to him not these things which he sees, breathes in, appraises and possesses even as do I, but rather the vision shining across these visible things -- that God-made knot binding them all together. Thus, too, I saw that we must distinguish between conquest and constraint. To conquer is to convert; to constrain is to imprison. If I conquer you, I set a man free, but if I use constraint on you, I crush you out. For my conquest is a building up of yourself, through you and within you. Constraint is but the heap of stones aligned and all alike -- from which nothing will be born.
And I saw, too, that all men should thus be conquered and won over. Those that watched and those who slept, those who went their rounds on the ramparts, and those who were guarded by my sentries' rounds. Those who were rejoicing over a newborn babe and those who mourned their dead. Those who prayed and those who doubted. What I name "conquest" is building up for you the structure that befits you, and opening your mind to a fullness of understanding. For lakes there are to slake your thirst, so but you be shown the way to them. Thus will I instal in you my gods, so that they may enlighten you.
And assuredly it were best that in your childhood and betimes you should be conquered; else we shall find you casehardened and no longer capable of learning the language of the spirit.
do you ever feel like you're somebody else? sometimes when I think about life, I think I must be somebody other than me, because I feel like I know very strongly who I am now, but when I think about who I was and how much life has changed me... when I look at me from 2 years ago, I feel like I'm looking at someone else, not a memory of myself. and it all happens so subtly... I think that helps the feeling. because it's not like you are one person one day, and another the next. you just change bit by bit until one day you wake up and realize that you are totally different than you were last year or whatever. well, anyway... on with the change and on with the me.
this is not a poem about life but a life about poems which doesn't make cents or dollars and often doesn't rhyme and lives upside down in a tree or a cave and feels inspired by darkness and trees and sparkles and dreams and sometimes it wants sometimes not but it always feels so much no matter whether it wants or not and it can't help but live for poems and songs and joy and life and people... PEOPLE! are so beautiful and soft and when you really know one you know there is nothing like it and when souls hold hands it makes everything right
"Her I protect who does not love the spring in its diversity, but one particular flower in which all springtime is incarnate: a woman who is not in love with love, but with that one and only form which, for her, love has made its own."
-Antoine de Saint-Exupery