Random Notes From What I’m Reading

The story of my life is the story of my faith…


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I thought this post was fitting today for obvious reasons. Check out what Rich Diamond says in “Wrestling With God”:

America doesn’t trust anything. We’re hanging in there, and that’s good. We believe in some basic things that we were told all along, and, like the basic lessons a child is taught, those things are good to know and remember. But adulthood is also about facing what isn’t right, what the theories don’t teach about. It’s not about trust, it’s about control. We’re still controlling every freaking thing. We’re too afraid to let go. So we keep building little and big walls. My race is better. My religion is better. My money is better. My body is better. My sexuality is better. My denomination is better. My yard is better. My city is better. My basketball team is better. My way of seeing things is better. But, in a win-lose situation within a family, everybody loses. We haven’t figured that out yet. We still want to be the big winner. We still want to defeat everyone else. But everyone is our family.

The attacks of September 11th, 2001 should make us realize that we’re not Superman. Not only are we not perfectly safe, we’re not perfect. If someone hates us this much, is it possible that something isn’t right overall? It is possible that we have contributed to the world as being an unhealthy place? We didn’t deserve to be attacked. But we’re not blameless either. What the September 11 experience has made so many people feel is that we’re much more right and rightous than everyone else in the world, and that everybody else, especially the people who’ve made us mad, are all evil, the Devil, whatever. That’s not the Spirit that drove us to the desert talking; that’s the Empire talking.

We’re on the edge of the desert in our culture. We have the opportunity to head in, strip naked, find out the truth, and trust something. But we’re afraid. And part of us wants to turn back. We’re afraid that if we head out into the truth, there won’t be anything there, and the whole risk will have been a waste. So we waver. And wait. And avoid the real journey.

But what if, in our desert experiences, we find a way not to run, not to avoid the truth, and not to fool or distract ourselves? What if, at the end of our marriages, for example, we decide to do real soul searching as a way to figure out who we are and what happened? What if we don’t run from our own shadows, but decide to wrestle with them and see what it is we’re so afraid of? What if we stop, just before taking the big promotion, and really pray and listen to our souls to see if that’s what they really want and long for?

The trouble is that it’s terryfing to face what’s inside of you. Demons are in there. Hidden things voices that keep echoing off the walls, old tapes that you can hear playing and rewinding over and over somewhere deep in the darkness. Your enemy waits to confront you about your own appetities and desires for power or control. A monster is hiding under your bed, or in a cave, or behind you. A dragon rustles out in the forest, just beyond the clearing.

Any system or formula for avoiding really facing this dark thing is ultimately not going to work. At some point, we just have to acknowledge that there is what Hamlet calls, “the undiscovered country” that everybody is afraid of. In his case, he thinks his enemy is death, but it’s really his own fear.

I think maybe that’s everybody’s.


Written by Ryan

September 11, 2007 at 12:55 am

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