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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A Heavy Heart

I must confess: I'm feeling rather weighed down at the moment.

I'm not depressed or anything like that. I'm just stuck in the mud of conflicting ideas. And I guess that's where you end up when you like to look at all sides of issues. It's an unseen consequence of daring to challenge the status quo of everything, including your own beliefs.

It hurts.

But it's a good pain. At least, that's what I tell myself.

And maybe this is one of the reasons I tend to come down so hard and dogmatic about issues: Because if I allow the questions to build up and not just knock them over as they come, I get swamped. Zerged.

Ever feel that way?

Know what I'm talking about?


Maybe it's the feeling that I'm searching for the answers alone.


Alone

'Good grief, Luke. What are you so bogged down about?'

"Nothing. Everything. I don't know." At least, that's what I'd tell my wife.

But I have to soul search more when blogging. And that means that you, including Brittany (hi, wife!), get a more processed response. So the thing that has me down is the tendency for Christian messages to get so warped.

I was reading an absolutely amazing blog last night. In her blog "Et tu?", Jennifer talks about her journey from atheist to Catholic in an incredibly powerful, tangible, and insightful way. But it floored me when she wrote:

[W]hen I heard religious people talk about their morals coming from God, ...I thought that they were basically saying, "we do the right thing because God tells us to," which begged the questions of why they couldn't do the right thing without imagining they were receiving instructions from some unseen deity, and why so many nonbelievers were good people (often better people than the believers). ...

What I discovered years later was that God is not some Man in the Sky who tells us to be good; he is all that is good. To quote the Cynical Christian, when we say that "God is good" we're not describing what God is, we're describing what good is.

Why can't we translate/communicate that for/to people outside Christianity?

Yet this isn't the only thing that has me bummed out. The other side is the internal messages that get so odd. The pop-Christian stuff that gets passed around that isn't Christ-like at all. It sounds good, even has Scripture to back it up, but it lacks depth and reality. It has none of the personable nature of Christ.

I'm not going to link to any of these sites, but they're popular and all things "hip" within Christiandom right now. And it makes me sad.

And so, perhaps, the tears in my eyes are not tears of pain as I initially thought, but rather tears of grief. Sorrow that I am not, as Brittany and I saw so clearly last night reading, a "good" Christian. But it's hard, after a lifetime drenched in grace, to see what it's like to be dry as a bone. And maybe that's one of the many reasons Jennifer's posts are so powerful.

~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Expectant Father

4 comments:

Jennifer F. said...

Thanks for the links!

I'm so sorry to hear that you've been feeling down. I've been feeling rather spiritually dry lately as well. My spiritual director told me something on Monday that has really helped me: she pointed out that in the spiritual life we live the Paschal mystery. We go through all the phases that Jesus went through (though in different ways, of course). We each have our own agony in the garden, crucifixion, moments of crying out and asking God why He was forsaken us, tomb experiences, and resurrections. It helped me to realize that, personally, what I'm going through right now is something of a tomb experience. God is preparing me for the next phase, which leaves me temporarily in darkness.

Just thought I'd throw that out there in case that helps!

Luke said...

Jennifer,

Thanks so much for stopping by! And for the reminder that we go through seasons. Though, I don't think this is a "season" issue for me at the moment, and I pray you soon experience the joy of your next season <smile>.

My heart was/is heavy because of the difficulty of living right and thinking correctly... and the discouragement I feel when I see Christians not doing that (especially when I see it in myself).

Thanks again for your comment. I'm glad to know you're "merely mortal" too <smile>. That is truly very encouraging.

~Luke

agentlejoy said...

I really feel some sympathy for what you're saying here. Somehow shiny, happy Christian pop culture seems to leave something out. (And if I hear one more sermon about how "God is Going to Use The Youth" I think I'm going to gag.)

Maybe part of the problem is people, Christians, who are trying to look like Christians, talk like Christians, and evangelize like Christians, without really trying, deep down inside, to become Christians. To become pure and holy. Instead, are we just trying to ACT pure and holy? Maybe that's why the behavior doesn't stick too well.

Thanks for dropping by & commenting on my blog!

Luke said...

Angela,

I agree that we have a tendency to try to act holy and pure rather than be so... for me, I think it's because it's so hard for me to be holy and pure. Much easier to fake it <smile>

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

~Luke


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