Friday, April 09, 2010

CONFORM OR CONFORM


"You can't heal your sick shame filled worried mind with your sick shame filled worried mind.

We are healed by grace.
Where sin abounds grace abounds.

The five rules of human life in America:

1. You should not have anything wrong or different about you.

2. If you do have something wrong or different about you, you should fix it.

3. If you can't fix it you should fake it. Pretend your okay.

4. If you can't fix it or fake it, you should just stay away because it is just too painful for everyone to be around you.

5. If you insist on still coming around you should at least have the decency to be ashamed.

With that being the human experience, it is a radical act to just show up"


It was Anne Lamott I heard say that a few years ago. Anne is right about her observation in regards to this being what life in America is like. And I actually think she is being kind. It's much worse than most are even willing to admit. Maybe it has to do with people not even recognizing something is terribly wrong? So many have been so shaped by the mistaken notion that this country we live in is God's gift to the world...it's easy for people to just believe it's the way it's suppose to be...and that it's good. If you have the courage to step outside it all to take a critical look at it, the harsh punitive behavior that is typical of the culture actually fits pretty well with the god that is presented by the dominant religion of this culture also.


We're all responsible to some degree when it comes to the very hostile/harsh/illusory environment we find ourselves in. Whether it is the politicians who can't ever be honest, or other's who desire positions of power, or if it is our children, spouses, friends, employees, employers...etc. etc. etc...we get what we have built into people. People are afraid to be real because of the punitive environment and those that do take a chance with it are branded rebellious/disrespectful along with many other things. While listening to some music earlier this week this line from a U2 song, a song about two people caught up in drug abuse, stood out to me.

Two souls too cool to be
In the realm of certainty
Even on our wedding day

The realm of certainty is a real tough place to live for those learning to be or desiring to be honest. Have you ever given any thought to the possibility that people who get caught up in drugs or other forms of "checking out" might just be people who long for more reality...not less? Now I'm not saying that drugs create more reality for those who use them. What I am suggesting though, is that this realm of certainty is in reality so opposite what it claims to be, which in turn makes it incredibly superficial....it's a space which is really difficult to live in for those who long for something real, something healing, something redemptive, and find it impossible to conform to what they see the culture demanding of them in order to be accepted.

The harsh environment, defined by the punishment/reward paradigm, will either produce conformity that leaves people juggling countless masks depending upon who they happen to be with at any given time, or it creates people who act out in many destructive ways towards themselves or others. It never sets a heart free. Now if you want to talk about Grace, that's a completely different story. It opens up possibilities beyond our wildest dreams.


3 comments:

Kent said...

Here's a good article to go along with this. A friend posted it this morning.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brian-d-mclaren/why-do-evangelicals-disli_b_517094.html

Moriah Conquering Wind said...

Excellent blog, Kent. Really enjoyed reading this. If you've ever seen a film called "Everything Put Together" -- a film about a young mother-to-be who loses her first child, and what she goes through -- it illustrates #4 in that list in the starkest terms imaginable.

Kent said...

I haven't ever seen that film Moriah.