This is an unusual post as I am writing it late at night on my laptop and will have to transfer to the computer that actually has the internet working. Fortunately the other computer was just updated with DSL (no more dial-up!), and once I get back to school – soon – I will have Ethernet capabilities once again and will be able to use my laptop to update the layout of my blog (something I’ve been wanting to do for a while).
So normally I wouldn’t write a post unless I have the “publish” button at the bottom of the page to allow me to publish immediately. I don’t like to pre-meditate a post, and I don’t like to publish any time less than immediately writing because it almost always turns out that I later want to make changes or contemplate posting at all.. and as I’ve said many times before, that’s not the point of my writing: grammatical correctness, editing, etc.. none of that. Haha. I –know- I can write very well by rules and audience, but I choose not to for the sake of my intentions with this journal.
THAT ALL SAID.
A lot on my mind lately, but only most inspired to write about things after reading a different post by Jason. He brings up a lot that I’ve struggled with in the past surrounding what it means, in some eyes, to be a Christian. He appropriately labels a type of person with this faith as a “Christian Clone (CCs)” and it’s very true. His journal is very candid as he speaks of the true clichés surrounded around what it means to a lot of people to be a Christian. I have sometimes wondered myself if I am a hypocrite in my claim to be a Christian, but I always come back to a point where I feel fine with my “walk with God” (again a very cliché phrase used by CCs, but I’m still going to use it as it is the best way to put it). Despite my small appearance in church this summer, not exactly hanging out with people CCs would approve of, not dating with the intention of marriage, and a multitude of other things CCs would generally approve of.. I find myself happier and on a more honest path in my faith than ever before. I wrote a fairly lengthy comment in response to Jason’s post, and it really wraps up how I personally feel about my faith, and it’s worth reading if this sounds at all confusing as how I could not view myself as a hypocrite and still on a “more honest path in my faith.” And when I say honest, it’s not that my values are any less, but that my actual faith reflects the test of experiences and through a process of better discovering who I am. . and I never would be at this point had I not pulled the plug on the CC crap. I do things for my personal relationship with God… NOT for any other people to approve or judge me… I’ll leave that up to God, thanks.
Anyway. It is a sensitive topic because I find myself in situations that I sometimes question as legit according to my faith: last night being a perfect example. As a celebration of our last day together, all of my co-workers went out on the town in the evening to just have a good time and relax. We all agreed that this job is probably the most energy, responsibility, time, etc. we have ever had to dedicate to a job before, and I can’t say we got through it –without- a lot of tears and grief at some point. We all let loose last night and basically just had drink after drink as we socialized. I can handle a lot of alcohol, for whatever reason (and I wouldn’t say it’s due to tolerance or weight?), so I know when I feel like seriously puking (which has only happened 3 times?.. although I take some weird pride in the fact that I still have not actually done that.. and that even in that state I am still not drunk – only with wine does that happen) .. well I know that I’ve gone –way- over my limit. I would say I am a responsible drinker – making sure I have a DD if I plan to really drink, not drinking to the point of drunkenness, and not drinking to the point of puking, and staying responsible for my actions. Still . . this comes back to the whole topic of what it means to be a Christian, because some might really criticize my actions as very “un-Christian-like,” and I would probably be very offended because they know nothing of my personal relationship with God.. and just because I go out and drink with friends.. I hardly see that as a “bad” thing and I truthfully don’t feel like God is looking down on me and shaking his finger. I –do- feel that way when I drink to the point of being irresponsible, and I really do then have to ask for forgiveness.. because I know that it is not at all pleasing to God when I am completely out of my right mind.
So I was just thinking today, with a pretty bad hangover, about last night. It –was- a fun night, and I don’t regret any of it. We all got a little carried away with how much we drank, but we all were able to get home safely and one of my co-workers was gracious enough to let me stay at her place. I recalled in disbelief about my sick state last night, and how my drunk co-worker basically came to my rescue and was –so- hospitable when she was probably feeling just as sick as me (and she had to wake up at 7 in the morning to go run a 3 mile race at 8). Maybe it sounds ridiculous, but it really opened my eyes to what a great person she is. I already knew she was a great person, but last night helped me appreciate her that much more. It’s a silly example, maybe, but it’s things like that which actually help me see God’s greatness. What great friends I’ve been blessed with… an amazing job working alongside people I never imagined would have to actually take care of me.. thanking God for our safety… I don’t know…. .. maybe it would be the same with CCs, but I really just don’t feel like it would. I’ve found with CCs that it’s hard to be their friend because they’re either really hypocritical (even though it shouldn’t be my place to make that call.. I’m just going to say how I feel) or so set in one mindset that their perspective seems disillusioned (hence the election of the President …. I might have gone too far with that suggestion, but seriously.. it bothers me).
So.. what it comes down to… I’ll hang out with CCs occasionally, but for the most part I gravitate toward people who are more down to earth (something I think CCs would shudder at – to be “part of this world”??? … that would be terrible). I’m not going to lie – I have friends who do drugs and I really don’t judge them as lesser people in any moral stance. –I- personally won’t do drugs because it would be me out of my right mind, and then I would deliberately be compromising my relationship with God, but other people.. my friends.. it’s their call.. I’m not going to try to change them either.. and as long as they can respect my values and not force anything on me, I can completely respect them as people.. and perhaps I can be an example.. but I don’t feel it is my duty to change them.. I am by no-means perfect, and some areas I could really work on (such as “giving without expecting anything in return”), they completely excel at. For example, I told one of my co-workers recently that I needed to go “find a TV,” something I actually think I was silly enough to pray about that I would find, and she said “just take that one” .. and points to the absolute perfect-size television with a remote. Apparently it was given to her freely and she felt it was just one more thing she could do without. How cool of her was that though?? Very awesome. Anyway.. my point being.. I really just feel more judged by CCs in general, and I’m not sure their judgment is very accurate at all. I also feel more true friendship among non-CCs, as they accept me more for who I am, and I don’t have to feel accepted just because that’s what God would want them to do since I’m a member of their church. I’ve also had a couple of bad experiences where I was just blown away by a CC’s judgment on me .. that’s when I stopped going to church for a while.. and started going back to church once I felt a calling, and although I had some hesitation… I also felt it emphasized that I couldn’t –not- go just because of her.
Alright, sleepy. Just going to end it here. I’m not sure what my point is with this post. I guess I just wanted to emphasize that while there are definitely CCs out there.. there are others who have managed to live a fulfilling life while still maintaining their spiritual guidance.. and that the most important thing to remember, with this in mind, is to not judge people upon immediately meeting them. I’ve especially learned this lesson throughout everything.
And to clarify, I’m not saying that CCs necessarily don’t live “fulfilling lives”.. if the CC way of life is fulfilling to a person, then that’s great.. I just hope they’re always true to themselves and that they really have a personal relationship within their faith.
I hope I iterated this well?.. not sure.. blasting music while writing this, so who knows.. although all of this –was- heartfelt.