Often I feel like I just don’t care.
“Don’t care about what?” you may retort.
Well, a whole lot of anything, according to how I feel. Getting out of bed. Going to work. Interacting with people. Thinking.
More often than I care to admit, I’d rather just take a nap or read books or watch movies or play video games to escape from the perceived monotony of life necessity.
Call it the curse of living in a technologically advanced and affluent society where people like me have the luxury of allowing our minds to journey to such places instead of just, you know, being forced to focus on actual survival day in and day out.
But, I’m sad to report, I do actually care about a whole lot of things for reasons that are somewhat mysterious to me, things that a lot of us in Western society remain largely apathetic toward.
Though I’m often annoyed and dumbfounded by them, I care a great deal about people and what happens to them, whether they’re able to have a quality of life both economically and emotionally that I feel each of us inherently deserves.
As a broad philosophy, I care a great deal about truth, because I don’t want to waste my time believing in things that aren’t true or – subsequently – being a detriment to things that are true because I mistakenly have been supporting falsehoods.
So, I care a whole lot about whether life actually has any meaning, because if it does, man, that ought to have a big influence on how you and I go about living it.
I can’t tell you why I really care about that as much as I do while, seemingly, most of us go about our lives not giving a rat’s ass and just doing whatever we feel like or want day by day without further thought, but I always have.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I follow my desires and base urges a decent bit, myself, principles and beliefs notwithstanding, so I’m not trying to make myself out to not be in the same boat as everyone else, just that I have an overarching care that does curb said desires and urges far more than they would be without that care.
So because I do care about people, about truth, and about whether life has meaning, this blog has (mostly) been a result over the last five years (!) in an attempt to share whatever little nuggets of wisdom I feel I stumble across as I go through life (the vast majority of which are not at all original thoughts by me) and hopefully influence more of us to care about these same things.
But I’ve been rereading some books that were massively influential to me recently and have thus remembered some lessons I’d forgotten, primary among those being ideas in and of themselves rarely (not never, but rarely) change people’s opinions and lives. The thing that does accomplish that most often are other people themselves and our relationship with them.
So I can give you a list of books I think you ought to read, and I do think you’d acquire a whole lot of wisdom from them if you actually read them, possibly enough to influence who you are. But not a lot of people actually read whole books (I’m lucky if I got readers for these short posts).
It occurred to me, therefore, that because the readership of my writings is primarily limited to people I know in real life and about 150 bots, the best thing I can do for you in an attempt to wake up your level of care is to share my life – which, I mean, I’ve been doing throughout, but I mean to share my life in a particular way.
No surprise to anyone who knows me, but I’m a Christian, and a lot of what I write about revolves around Christianity, but I haven’t done a great job of telling you how Jesus actually saved me (I hate using that phrase because it’s loaded with negative, stereotypical evangelical connotations, but if you can look past that initial interpretation, it does mean how my relationship and interaction with Jesus has healed me of debilitating personal weaknesses and freed me to live a fuller life).
And I want to share that because, at the end of all this, because I believe what I do, I believe he can do the same for you, too, if you let him, and make life better here and now, not just that whole “life insurance” thing where you don’t want to go to hell when you die (which, I mean, true enough, but that’s loaded with other negative, stereotypical evangelical connotations I’d rather avoid, plus, a while back, I decided for myself if God was really God and really existed and all that, he better damn well care about the life I’m living right now and not just when I’m dead, or he’s not really great about this whole God-thing).
But I’d only want to encourage you to do that if I thought Christianity were true and if I thought it really did help in life now. So happens, I believe both those things, but I have to share my life to get you to see why.
What ensues is, thus, what I anticipate to be a series of four posts, God knows how long it’ll take me to write: this one, in which I provide the thesis statement; a second where I share a summary of what I think are the pertinent aspects of my life story; a third that summarizes why I think about things the way I do; and a fourth that spells out how the trauma (emotionally and experientially) I share in the second post have been healed and continue to be healed because of the things I think from the third post.
My hope is that I come across as genuine here because, well, I’m sharing myself, so it’s as real as it gets, but that in so doing it cuts across all the negative associations people have with the Church in our American culture and what they’ve often done with Jesus, which is to ram him down people’s throats in an attempt to control them in an effort to get them to join their “side” in a perceived culture war against those who have a different view of morality.
Which is a shame because the actual Jesus lived in the midst of a Jewish culture war when several vying sects within Judaism were contending with one another on how to properly interpret their religion in light of the yoke of oppression being experienced under the rule of the Roman Empire. Jesus promptly pissed off every one of those sects by bluntly telling them how they were all wrong (and, well, they killed him for it), and I’m confident he’d say the same thing to each of us in our current American context.
In Jesus’ day, people were trying to use God for their political advantage, and today, people are trying to use Jesus in the same way.
Jesus’ response then, now and always is to not give a fig about people’s power plays but instead point to how to get people right in relationship with God and each other.
I hope to talk about that Jesus, not American Jesus nor Morality Police Jesus nor the Way Church People Have Horribly Abused So Many of us in the Name of Jesus Jesus – but the real, walking and breathing Jesus as described in the New Testament.
That’s the Jesus who can help us, not the other ones. The other ones need to disappear in light of the real one.