Thursday, February 22, 2018

To be Human as Jesus is Human.

Was reading today about Jesus during his final preparations for his ministry. It's interesting to note how Jesus chose to be baptized even though he knew he was not in the same spiritual state as the others who came to receive the baptism of John. This radical solidarity with sinful human beings, instead of an assertion of his own spiritual superiority is what leads to the public, audible, and visible anointing of the Spirit. Yet even after this, Jesus doesn't decide to play up this great blessing. Instead he chooses to go deeper into the desert, separating himself from the possible adulation of the crowds, perhaps to contemplate on the full import of what this anointing means. He meets the devil 3 times out here, according to the story, and these encounters with Satan, these temptations, seem to have been  about whether to live like a human being as a servant of humans, trusting in the Father in the same way that he hoped his fellows would do, or to use his extraordinary power to live a superhuman life of self reliance, which being God he was surely entitled to do. Jesus chooses to live that life of uncertain, but faithful, service to God and man, throwing off the prerogatives of divinity to enter into deep solidarity with us and to be an example for us. One of the great questions that I have in my life is what to do about my future? I'm on the cusp of making a decision to be a social worker, something that I could be good at, if I were willing to be vulnerable, work hard, and live a life of service. I hope to pursue the ministry as well and to live it the same way. The problem is that I'm not sure how secure such a system will be for myself. I've lived so long barely getting by, cut of from others and my dreams, it's hard now that I'm at the cusp of escaping this situation to imagine living a life of solidarity and sacrifice and vulnerability for God and others. It's hard for me to accept how deeply I've changed as a person since dropping out of college 7 years ago. Especially in the negative ways, despite some good faith efforts not to. To become a better, more loving, wiser, more mature version of who I was at my best, means that I have to make myself more dependent then I've been in a while on God and on a wider community. But I have a great example in Jesus who,
"being in very nature[a] God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.

And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death
        even death on a cross!"
(Phillipians 2:6-8)

I hope to remember this.


Friday, February 9, 2018

I’m reading a poem by Chen Chen about an incident when he was 13 where he ran away from home after telling his mother he was gay. It was haunting, beautiful, sad as such poems can be. And my primary reaction to this beautiful poem is; are you happy now? Did you get to enjoy your life so far?
I think things like that. Deep thoughts about peoples happiness. I'm pretty sensitive in this way. I'm always wondering after the happiness of others, or at least that's what and who I am at my deepest core level. A boy who looks at the world and wants to see everyone smile. 
I think that I've been trying to harden my heart to survive the pain of sympathizing/empathizing with others for the last 10 years or so. I got my soul ripped out and then twisted and stomped on by life and learning, so I've been trying to fight the pain and sadness by numbing myself to the worlds problems. My most authentic self is a person who is drawn to the pain of others, who thrills at the poetry of longing and at the grand gesture or sacrificial deed. Nothing pleased me more deep inside than to empathize with the suffering of others or to help alleviate said suffering in some way. But increasingly my toleration of this is fading. As the fantasy of others pain has become more of a reality, and as the sufferings of my own life have become more noticeable and acute, my willingness to tolerate anything that would evoke emotional pain has diminished. 
I think the bargain my soul was prepared to make in life was: let me accomplish certain goals (education, vocation, love) and in return for these I'd bear the pain of the universe and sacrifice myself for everyone. Let me be fulfilled in these ways and I'll pour out my self as a living sacrifice. A martyr if necessary.But instead, my shortcomings and failings and weaknesses and lack of opportunities seem to have outweighed my virtues and talents, such that instead of doing and being great, I'm living a life of drudgery. And I think a life of drudgery is the thing that my psyche most loathes. It's the thing my soul cannot bear to live a life of drudgery doing things that I don't find enjoyable or inspiring, for a paycheck for the rest of my life.
What happens when a loving, sensitive, melancholic, people pleasing, empathetic little boy has all of his hopes and dreams, all of his verities and certainties and expectations crushed by life and his own failures? That's me.
I often feel like a ghost, like a shell, like a half of a person. i'm desperate to lose myself in something greater than my self. To lose myself in the pain and pathos of others. To represent something powerful and meaningful and good and true and beautiful. But I can't find a place where that's possible. Everywhere I look is half of what I want never the whole. And I'm sorely disillusioned.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

Right now I'm feeling tired and hopeless and confused and irritable and lost and sad and annoyed and frustrated and all around discombobulation. I feel like a sad pathetic loser. I almost feel a headache coming on. I feel alienated from God and humanity. I feel like a creep and an atheist.

I'm going to be 28 next month. This August will be the first anniversary of my first year of college. What a fiasco. A whole decade of my life wasted. That's how I feel. I gained, but I also lost so much.
I should have two Bachelors Degrees and a Masters by now. I should be transforming the world. That was my destiny when I was 18. I'm 28 and I don't have a degree, I don't have anything. I've got ungrateful strangers living in my fucking house, I've got a job that beats the shit out of me each day, I've got a religion that's a fucking nightmare. No friends, no love life, a silent or oppressive and unjust God, annoying and homophobic family.

Sometimes I wish I were the type of person who was suicidal or something so I could see my way out of this feeling. But I'm not. I'm just a guy who endures. That's all I am, a fucking endurer. I just take the blows of life and because of who I am, I get no comfort from it. I have no choice BUT to endure. I'm incapable of giving up! And sometimes I want to be able to throw in the towel but my soul would never allow me to do that.

This is what my future looks like best case scenario 10 years hence. I'll have graduated from college. 20 YEARS after I started college,k I'll have graduated. BEST CASE SCENARIO!!!!!! I'll be just starting my fucking life at age 40, probably struggling to take care of aging parents. Spending my time at fucking funerals.

The only thing that makes me happy is food, fantasy books and sleeping. Nothing else gives me even a modicum of pleasure or joy. I'm completely joyless. ALL I have is the hope of knowing that at some point in the distant future, if nothing major goes wrong, I'll have the CHANCE at a good life.

SO now I'm going to fill my body with junk food and endure another day.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

When the glory comes, we'll tear your kingdom down.

I've been thinking a lot about DACA this week. And as I reflected on the horror of what it is Republicans are trying to do, the rank immorality and evil of their immigration policy, and the lives of people i know who would be directly affected, I couldn't help but to despair of this country. But as I worked the Lord gave me some songs to bolster my courage. The first was "Glory" by John Legend, the second, "Satan We're Going To Tear Your Kingdom Down" by Rev. Shirley Caesar. Both of these songs are songs of hope and defiance, letting the Republican doers of evil know that though our hearts may be broken our souls never will. And that God himself will come down from the heavens to fight for the rights if the foreigner, the widow, and the orphans if need be.
      And we'll cry "Glory"........

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Short thought.

Was just reading Hebrews 8 this morning. Something that caught my eye is how much Hebrews 8, especially the last few verses,  seems to have affected Quaker thought and rhetoric. I also noted that these particular passages are a quotation from Jeremiah 30 in which god describes his New Covenant. In it, God's laws are put in peoples minds and written on peoples hearts, nobody tells each other about the Lord because "they will all know me from the least of them to the greatest". This all leads me to think that the primary sources of Early Quaker thought were the General Epistles, the Gospels, and the book of Acts. I see little reliance on the Pauline Epistles in Quaker theology and thought. Which is probably what makes it so heterodox.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

On my Mind.

So, I was searching for a glimpse of the almost boyfriend yesterday, and I came upon a dating site which featured a person I knew from high school. He listed himself as bi, and into casual sex, and my first reaction was deep lust. I crave giving someone pleasure, and I crave being in a relationship. I crave sex in a way that I wouldn't normally crave it. It's weird. All stemming from the fact that the person I'd like to be in a relationship with is nowhere to be found. 

My New Years resolution for this year is to become the kind of guy that would seem like a catch if you met them. So that means improving myself physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I need to take this year to work on myself, build up my body mind and soul and transform it. I need to lose 60 pounds, start regularly paying tithe, transform my diet, create a consistent spiritual discipline in the manner of Friends, And start paying my alma mater back. It's a tall order, but I believe in a living God who has power and will help me to accomplish all of these goals. So I lift up all these goals to him.

My main motivation is preparing my heart soul and mind for a life of service to God, but I'm also motivated by living in anticipation of finally meeting Will at the right time in his life and being able to offer him a  relationship with a godly loving person who is healthy. I don't know why I care so much about doing this for him, but I do. I really do. I guess because I think about the first time I told him I was gay and how scared we were, and you know what? I think we deserve to be as happy as possible.We deserve it.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

I just thought of the fact that Early Quakers were radical because they decided to live like they believed the disciples of Jesus lived. Would I be willing to live such a radical way of life? The answer is probably not, I'm not sure I'm up for that type of radical life. But I'm willing to serve. And perhaps that's the best I can do as a friend and follower of Jesus right now. Just be willing to serve. And maybe over time, I can be transformed in heart and mind to such an extent as to become more and more like the Valiant Sixty, or John Woolman or Bayard Rustin. But for now, Lord, make me a servant.