Mere Christianity

November 28, 2009

No, I’m afraid I mislead.  This is not a comment upon the work of C.S. Lewis.  Rather, it is a comment upon a response to C.S. Lewis.

I’ve been perusing my book shelves in search of something to write on for an upcoming literature term paper.  One that I should write tomorrow, yet I still cannot decide upon a subject.  I realised that if I spent less time alone I would read far less than I do, thus I wouldn’t run into the problem that I do; a vast too many ideas.  I thought I had it settled.  I was going to write about music.  Specifically, Sufjan Stevens’ album, Seven Swans.  I should probably mention that this literature class is one that looks at the Bible from a literary perspective.  I should say, the Bible and Apocrypha.  The term paper assignment is to take a piece of literature, music, or work of art and discuss how the Bible has influenced it, why its creator chose to present this work in such a way, etc.  So here I am, running through my head with a thousand million ideas.  Sufjan Stevens, Regina Spektor, Joan Osbourn, William Blake, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Flannery O’Connor, and C.S. Lewis.

While reading through the works of Lewis, which I am leaning toward more and more, I stumbled across a reaction from the New York Times Book Review.  The quote states that:

C.S. Lewis is the ideal persuader for the half-convinced, for the good man who would like to be a Christian but finds his intellect getting in the way.

My problem with this quote is the last part.  Why must intellect be an issue when it comes to conviction of religion?  It is a problem that has always puzzled me.  As a child, I remember asking my mother whether it was okay for me to want to be a scientist and believe in God at the same time.  From childhood, there was always some distinction between the two, and not of my own creation.  These thoughts were fueled in me through outside sources.  The church I was attending attempted to inform me that science was not of God and that an interest in it was not correct.  In school I was informed that there was only science and to believe in a God was foolish.  This seemed to propel me to discredit both ideas.  I have always felt that science and God move together.  The brilliance of discoveries has to be that of God.  The presence of mystery, the need to explore, the need to find and believe in something bigger than ourselves; how can these things not be of some greater authority?

It is a challenge I still face.  Every day when I hear a fellow Christian discredit science as preposterous, and vice versa.  Today, a friend attempted to discredit faith.  He stated that it was humanity clinging to an archaic system doing everything to discredit reality.  I disagree.  I agree that there are some who fit this reality, but not all.  I believe in science.  I revel in science.  I didn’t become a Bio-Chem major in High School for hating science.  Neither did I enter college as a Geology major for hating it.  Science is beautiful and graceful.  The study of how things work and why they are irresistible to humanity, and I don’t think it should ever be stifled.  It never has been.  It always finds a way to move onto the next discovery.  Faith should never try to stifle discovery.  Neither should science stifle faith.  No one’s intent should be to point a finger and say, “You’re wrong and I’m right.”  How is that constructive?

Why, I ask, must intellect get in the way of faith?  Some of the greatest minds in history have been great theologians.  Saint Augustine, Sir Thomas More, Martin Luther, Soren Kierkegaard, Muhatma Ghandi, C.S. Lewis, and so many, many more.  Why should presence of intellect prevent the presence of faith?  This statement seems puzzling to me, especially when some of the greatest and most faith-filled people I know are extremely intellectual.

There are bumper stickers that I often see which say ‘Coexist’ spelled out in various religious symbols.  I often question the presence of bumper stickers.  I’m not a bumper sticker person, especially when it comes to politics and religion.  By pasting something like that to your car you are essentially placing your faith into that statement.  I don’t put my faith into any politician.  I exercise my right to vote, but more often than not, the candidates do not completely represent the things that I believe in.  I don’t agree with the people who place the fish symbol upon their cars because I wonder if the people within the car truly live their lives as that fish suggests; they certainly don’t drive as I believe Jesus would.  So this ‘Coexist’ sticker; do the bearers truly live like that?  Or do they shun certain ways in favour of their own?  The people I have met with those stickers have been rather disdainful of my opinions, telling me that I am just another stupid follower, blind to the world that surrounds me.

I am well aware of the world I live in.  I believe in the power of it.  I believe that the Earth moves and is capable of change in every form.  I also believe that I am not alone upon this earth.  That there is a greater purpose for me to live for.  I believe in love.  Love above all other things.  That love does not come from things of science, but of something ever more powerful than my own being.  Bigger than that which beats within my chest.

I believe in love.


La Beaute d’Entropie.

April 25, 2009

There’s a tee shirt that’s sitting on my bed that bears those words; a shirt that GracefullyPunk sent me for my last birthday.  I wear it often, it’s one of my favourites.  The beauty of the design gets me, but also the words.  Words from the language I’ve fallen in love with, words that I understand, and words that make me think.  La beaute d’entropie.

The beauty of entropy.

The beauty of disorder and chaos.

This is the beauty that I find in my life everyday.  I’m constantly reminded how much of a mess I am and how broken I am, and I find that beautiful.  Through the giant mess that I find myself in everyday I cannot help but fall in love with my mess because its the only mess I want to be living in.  I fall apart sometimes while I try to piece my brokenness together, but though that, I end up bumping into some sort of revelation that makes everything so worth it.  Does that make any sense?

The truth is, sometimes I forget that its the random chaos and disorder in life that makes everything so worth it.  I try to remind myself of it, but sometimes someone or somthing lands in my life that points all of that out without me actually knowing it.  When that happens, something inside of me moves.  When something goes unexpectedly perfectly, beautifully, and wonderfully, something happens in me; a spark is ignited, the butterflies flutter, and the world feels lighter.  Maybe these feelings or thoughts are elevated so much more because only I know about them; they’re mine and mine only.  It’s a secret.  It’s secret I want to shout from the rooftops but can’t find the sounds to do it, so I just sit and I enjoy the feelings.

I enjoy the beautiful chaos.

Find it.  Find your chaos and fall in love with it.  Wait for it.  Wait patiently for that chaos to interupt your habitual life.  Disorder knows you…you just need to find the beauty in all of it.


To the sleepless, this is my reply.

September 12, 2008

I switched on the TV, attempting to escape the pangs of heart burn that seem to have consumed my chest and made it, nearly, impossible to breathe.  I’m not sure if these are symptoms of the onset of an ugly asthma attack or not.  They hurt.    Trying, in vain, to find a position that will make the pain go away for a second or two, I flip absently through the stations, landing on the History Channel.  When in doubt, there’s always something on there.  Too distracted to really realize what I had flipped to, I gave up on the remote and tossed my body in the chair, until I looked up and noticed it.

It wasn’t just a documentary.  It was rough footage taken from a hand-held camcorder, by an out-of-breath man, running in the streets of New York.  Running from two, smoke erupting buildings, who’s existence, no longer grace the skyline.

And I cried.  I sobbed.  I wept.  Because I never really understood what happened that day, and I still don’t.  My mind wrapped around the loss of life.  The loss of sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters.  The consuming hatred of so many taking physical form.  I wept, because I was in pain, but not in as much as what was unfolding in front of me, again.  It still feels real.  It still hurts.  And that explosion in my chest, it was forgotten for a little while.

Unable to watch anymore, I turned it off, and I thought.  I sat down, and here I am, writing.  Possibly, the same thing that I did on that day.

It scares me.  It’s frightening to know that there are people so consumed by hatred and declaring it in the name of God.  The same God that I love and am constantly seeking after.  It scares me that there is evidence that God condoned murder, now recorded in my Bible.  It scares me to think that there are people that hear something that they decipher as ‘God’ telling them to murder in His name.

Once again, I found a clear explanation as to why I see Christ as my savior.  I know that God can get angry.  I know that God is heartbroken, when I do things that I know that He doesn’t want me to do.  I know that He’s sad when I try and run away from Him.  But, I know that He’ll never be mad enough at me to hate me.  In the same way that I know that I can make my parents mad, I know that they’ll never hate me.  They will never not love me.  And I like to think that God feels that way about everyone.  He has hope for everyone, like I have hope that He’s there.

The reason I know that he doesn’t hate me, is because Christ became the symbol of everything that God might hate in me, and all of that was destroyed, in a perfect person.  I have to believe in the cross, because I can’t believe that my God would hate me.  I can’t believe that, in the same way that I can’t believe that my parents would ever hate me.  I grew up knowing and feeling love, constantly.  I was always reminded that I was loved.  My mummy loves me bigger than the whole universe.  My daddy loves me more than any other little girl.  For me, that love is not questionable.  And growing up, learning about this God that loves me so much, I learned that he wants me to love as much as He does.

So, I’m scared when I find that there are people that hate.  I’m worried when I find people that hate in the name of the same God that taught me how to love.

These people aren’t just in one place.  They’re not just in Afghanistan.  They’re not just in Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Cuba.  They’re everywhere.  No army can wipe them out, and I’m not sure if that’s what we’re supposed to do.  I don’t hate the soldiers that are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.  A few of them are my friends and family.  I pray for them.  I love them.  And I know that they love in the same capacity that I do.  I’m unsure if I can put my complete trust in any politician’s hands.  I don’t know what the right course of action is.  I know that God knows.

I pray for those people that have found so much hate.  I pray that they find love.  I pray that they find it before it’s too late.  Yeah, I’m scared for them.

I’ve been listening to Jack’s Mannequin all day, almost non-stop.  It hasn’t grown old.  It changes meaning with every song.  I listen to the words of the song that I watched Andrew sing to me.  He sang with that piano, and every line was coated with emotion, and passion.  A passion for life.  A hope he found for love.  He says to swim.  And that’s what we do.  We swim through all of these scary days, and we run through these terror filled moments, hoping that there’s something better at the other end.  And there is.

And while I read a book about one young man’s disappointment with humanity, I can’t help but to feel that this is all of us.  While most of us don’t retreat into the wilderness and cut ourselves off from human contact completely, we do it in some form.  We run to the bottle.  We go to work.  We retreat to the backs of our minds.  We lay in bed.  Hatred is scary, and it leaves the ones that we need to have contact with sad, heart-broken, and confused.  While he learned, too late, that human error happens, and that we don’t like everything that everyone else does, we do need love.  All we need is love.  It’s cliche, but true.  That’s all there is.  When we’re alone, we crave it.  When we’re together, we feel it.

While, I view hatred as barbaric, I know that people have the ability to love, and that’s the best ability that they have.  I hope and I pray that that is seen.  That it’s found.  Because without that, it’ll always be scary.

And that’s why I hope.  That’s why I need to believe.

That’s why I have faith.



May 21, 2008

I love a good revolution.

I love the idea of revolution. The idea of a complete change; a different cycle; a new way of thought, of government. It’s a fascinating concept, and one that has implemented change for the better, but also for the worse. It’s interesting what the human idea of revolution is, and how they often handle it. The revolutions that have gained the most noise and attention, are the ones founded out of violence, and indeed, many founded out of peace can often turn violent.

But when you look at the word, revolution, has love buried within it. Revolution. Rloveution.

My question, is why. Why, when the word seems rooted in love, does it bear connotation of violent uprising?

My answer is, as humans, we retaliate with violence, anger, and frustration when we’re face with something out of our control. We like to be in control, because we seem to be so in control of our own little worlds, that when the outside world shares it’s opinions, we’re put on the defense of ours. We get caught up in what is going on in our own head, that everything up there is right, while the peripheral is wrong.

When our ideas, or our control is violated, most of the time, we attack.

It’s like the modern ‘fight or flight’ reflex.  When what we believe is compromised by someone else’s thought, we back away or we fight.  Usually, when these cases arise they pertain to the ever dreaded religion and politics discussion.

Fight or Flight.

You either meet people who will stand and argue it out with you, or you will meet people who will quickly change the subject.

Mainly, right now, I’m getting at the fight people.  There are times where the fight instinct comes in, and for many, strategy does not.  Profanity, abuse, and hate can come out of frustration, weighing down the credibility of your argument.


Recently, I watched a confrontation ensue, in which one party was very much on the defensive about their opinion, flailing out with accusations, all over the board.  The argument?  Donating money to a cause.  While the person was arguing the need to donate to this cause, their argument was rooted in hatred, with profane abuse being flung all around.

I question this.

I question how someone that is so engrossed in loving humanity and supporting charity to help a cause in a time of need, could be so slanderous toward a fellow human.  The attitude of ‘give, or else’; I question where the love is in that.  When violent acts are being shown or threatened and names are being called, in the name of being a better person, I wonder where the love is.

This brings fuel to a superficial front.

How, can someone so open to loving people (the environment, animals, etc.), show so much hate and disrespect toward another with an alternate opinion?

I know I’m hopping on the Gandhi bandwagon, and yes, I realize many may not like what I am saying.  But, to love is to love.  Love humanity in all forms.  Show concern, not hate.  Tread with respect, even when there is a difference in ideals.

Start a revolution with your ideas.  Be a change.

But be a revolution of love.


Walking Contradictions

May 15, 2008

I’ve been trying to find my place in things. I’ve been trying to find my place in God. I’ve been trying to find my place within this body. I’ve been trying to find my place within my heart and my head.

And for all that this is, I’ve found all the tumultuous things, that I shouldn’t be a part of.

I was recently accused, by my room mate, friend, and fellow church-goer, of not having a correct relationship with God and my heart being in the wrong place.

As a Christian, I find it extraordinary that a fellow Christian could tell me these things. That they believe that they have the authority to judge, in any way.

Yes, I find that this whole situation is frustrating and sad. But for all of this, I find it interesting. I find that I’m still learning. I’m still learning that people are hard to trust, and because of these judgements that they seem to make, they have a hard time trusting too.

What worries me, is this constant need for noise. This constant need for speed, the rush, the feeling, the physical. I was accused of all of these things, because I’m a firm believer in silence. I am a private person. I love the things that fly through my head, and I love writing about them. I love being surrounded by quiet, and I don’t like when my silence is disturbed.

Not only is it disturbed, it is often judged.

From the same group of people who have actively told me over and over, that God loves all kinds of worship, I have received the most judgment for my stillness.

Perhaps this is a societal thing. People have grown so used to being loud, open, and all about physical sense. In a nation where one can barely escape overhearing someone talk about their debt problems on the telephone, whether they really wanted to hear or not, silence, it seems, is no longer golden.

Perhaps, this is what the ‘American Dream’ has come to. We’re running after a world where every single thing that we do is in the physical. Physical touch, physical conversation, physical proof of wisdom. In this case, I find it ironic that there is even a call for the spiritual, especially when those that claim to hold a need for the spiritual side of life, are so, desperately, wrapped up in this need for the physical. It leaves the idea of ‘faith’ some where between a rock and a hard place.

And I find that silence is now seen as a symptom of some kind of mental illness. As if, simply, because someone likes the quiet, they are secretly planning a violent communist takeover (through bodily fluids, of course). People are consistently uncomfortable with silence, constantly asking me what I’m thinking about. The point of thinking is to keep your ideas private. Society has become so engrossed in telling everyone everything, that the idea of ‘being alone’ ranks in the top 15 of fears among people.

In my recent experience, my need for the quiet in my mind and my love for the privacy of my thoughts has found me trouble. I have been told that I am a manic depressive and I should consider counseling because of my silence. I do love how everyone I seem to know holds a degree in psychology. If they could, I’m sure they would prescribe me happy pills, as well. So out of this, I enjoy that the same people who have told me that freedom of any form of worship is encouraged, are telling me that my heart is in the wrong place because of my silence in the presence of God…because they’re not in on everything that I am thinking about with the Big Man.

Because I am not being convicted of physical expression, but rather quiet, I am, obviously, doing it wrong.

As people we are easy to judge what is different than us, which can be dangerous.

With this, I encourage calm. I want to see people taken away from the physical need, and rather, finding that reflective quiet inside of them. I encourage understanding and love, not judgment, for those that are quieter than you, because there is no place for outside opinion when it has not been sought.

And for all these things, I pray for less contradiction.

Be still. Be calm. Be quiet.


The Perspective Transformed

May 14, 2008

I am a writer. I am a believer.

I am increasingly finding that faith is present in every aspect of my life. In order to free the things that I feel, that I know, that I am shown, I need to write. I need to write to the world.

This is my perspective, and this is my transformation. I am a writer, I am an artist, I am a human, and I am exposing the truth about what I feel through my walk in faith.

I believe that true transformation cannot occur without expression, and this is mine.

This is the perspective of transformation.