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March 2, 2009

I’ve been taking a bit of a breather into a spiritual paper bag. I’ll let you know when I find my way out of it. It could prove to be more difficult than it looks…

Lent has corresponded with an extended time off (aka “unemployment” but since I “know” I have a job in May, I consider it in bad taste to complain considering how bad it is for many out there) and I hope to use it to retool what I’m doing here. I’ve realized the need in myself to kick the tires of the soul and see how it all feels.

Central to this process is giving up current events for a while. I may write about some general political topics, but I hope to focus on clearing out some old drafts, being more introspective and searching for and confronting that which I must repent of.

I’ve always enjoyed Lent- it’s minor-key tone, the self-flagellation, the attempt at gloom. It’s the only time that church feels more like what I am like inside much of the time. As I’ve grown and changed over the years though I’ve seen how that attitude is somehwhat cheap in a number of ways. Real change, real repentance- these are not easy things to come by. As a wise man used to tell me often “Change is experienced as loss” and if you are at home with loss you are a person without a home in the first place. Still harder is the decision to turn back, turn away from desired thing now blocked from view with an angel with a fiery sword.

So the obverse of cheap grace is cheap self-loathing, a blanket despising of everything that is equally unclear, unhelpful and ultimately unjust as it’s commonly despised relation. The coin of the realm is still blindness and lack of discernment: forgive all, forgive nothing, the result is often rage at those who dare to try to tell the difference between good and evil.

For myself, I know that I definitely need to still some of the voices in my head, voices that may simply be echoes fading away as their originator my have ceased speaking long ago. As is often the case, I need to take a breather and make sure I am living in reality.

Out now to my garden, to pull up weeds and let God continue His work in me anew.

UPDATE: It rained. No weeding took place. Sunny today though!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. hyperpotamus permalink
    March 8, 2009 9:45 am

    Change need not be experienced as loss. C.S. Lewis wrote, in God in the Dock:

    “For change is not progress unless the core remains unchanged. A small oak tree grows into a big oak; if it became a beech, that would not be growth, but mere change.”

    • March 8, 2009 2:39 pm

      Dang, that’s good, and I think gets to the core of what has been proposed and is indeed in the process of occurring in this country: mere change. Which is really radical change, as radical as if the oak became a beech. It’s not about progressing along and increasing and deepening what good we have been built on and in a deep sense are as a nation- it’s about an attempt at wiping it all away and making something new.

      Now change, even radical change, is as American as apple pie, but what seems to be happening now is actually an attempt at doing away with some of the risky dynamism of capitalist society and replacing it with the stasis of the state. It’s a self-destructive impulse. At least that’s how it’s looking to me right now.

      Great thought-provoking quote. I’m going to have to re-read that one, it’s been a while. Come back and see me some time, won’t you?

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