Thursday, October 14, 2010

What! You too? I thought I was the only one...

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"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: "What! You too? I thought I was the only one."
C.S. Lewis (via RobGT)


“What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured.”
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr (via Blaine Hogan)


Two quotes that have stood out to me today... that came from disparate sources and yet have a great deal in common.

Two quotes that have really challenged me... and I hope will continue to challenge me.

Two quotes that show me how I can bring God's Kingdom to Earth.

I've been in a spiritual funk of late. I don't fit in at my church community. I've stayed as others have left... and wondered why? I haven't wondered why they left but why I stayed... and why I continue to stay... when things are far from ideal.

I have been unsure of my calling for some time now. I don't fit into the neat uniform mould that my church would like me to inhabit. I'm not big on conforming to their ideals... preferring to conform to my own.

I see in these two quotes the essence of my calling... to be a friend and, in this friendship, build communities that battle the "terrible disease of loneliness".

When I consider the communities that I have been party to building... I seem to gravitate to the "church" ones. I think of S.N.A.C or ((deep)) but don't see, in my woods-for-the-trees myopia, the communities of friendship or interest that I participate in regularly. The conversations over coffee that change me... or the going to places with photogeek chums that I wouldn't dream of going to otherwise on my own.

If these aren't about bring God's Kingdom to Earth then what is?

I consider the Incarnation as being God telling us that we are not alone... that He's in this with us. I find inspiration in this.

There isn't a business model here. This idea won't sell any books or contribute to the Christian-bubble-culture's economy. I won't appear on the conference circuit and won't amass followers on the various social networks.

I've said this before but I believe we should be in this world but not of it. Being of the world means, to me, following the physical, mental and spiritual practices of oppression and depression. Its about destruction, decay and the ways that lead to death. Its about finding joy in the misfortune of others. Its the apathy of turning away. Its about being first and about having more. Its about lonliness and fear.

I love the way Jeff Goldblume describes Heisenberg's uncertainty principle... where he makes the point that whatever you study you also change by way of the fact you are studying it. To be fair, this is more akin to the observer expectancy effect but I guess uncertainty sits better with chaos... seems sexier somehow.

Anyway... imagine if we could, by being salt and light, affect those around us by the very fact that we are salt and light with them... that we are the Incarnation in their very midst. The idea being that people could change because we are with them.

Every. Single. Interaction.

Every time we come into contact with someone... we show them kindness, patience, self-control, humility, honesty, gentleness and... most importantly... love.

For change to happen people must see change is possible... people must believe change is possible... hope, afterall, is simply belief in action.

We are that hope. That sounds grandiose but it isn't. We should be examples of a better way... a way freed from death, fear and loneliness.

The thing is... if we are prepared to reach out... then we must also be prepared to change.

True, meaningful engagement changes all parties involved in that connection. When we come together, we all are changed. Its not a one-way street.

We shouldn't see friendship in the terms of yesterday where we think we can change the person or in the terms of today where we seek to be changed ourselves... but in the terms of tomorrow where we all can be changed. We seek to learn, grow, evolve and be transformed... together.

For when we say "What! You too? I thought I was the only one" ... we are both changed by the knowledge we are not alone... and it is on this awareness that we can build a shared future... together.


1 comment:

Angus Mathie said...

Again I agree entirely and, by coincidence, have been concerned and trying to do something about "breaking the silence" for people who are alone, affected by illness, etc. If you look at Ray & Trixie's ministry you will see how important this is and they exemplify very well what you are writing about. You have a gift for being with people just like Uncle Robert and this area of showing God's love is desperately needed. It needs sacrificial input in terms of time, effort, attention, etc., but it is bringing God's love into every single interaction for Him. God bless you in this.


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