The most wonderful thing about the concept of blogging is that it is mine. I can say what I want to say. And people can choose to read it – or not. I am not on a deadline. I have no editor or publisher to answer to. I have no set topic I have to cover. As I have stated in past posts, a blog is like having a diary open on a desk and anyone can walk by and take a peek at it. I am not in the business of blogging. I make no money from blogging. I blog because I have this need of self-expression. And I am a housewife, home all day, homeschooling her son, with no car. And one who has always loved words – words on a page or words spoken. I play word games all the time. I read constantly. I rarely have less than 5 or 6 books I am reading at the same time, depending on my mood. The library in town is my favorite haunt (next to hanging with my grandchildren!) or getting coffee at the local coffehouse – Jitters! Love the name. And at Jitters, they have people come and read poetry or their own books; even discussions on books. And they serve wonderful scones! Perfect place! Back to blogging…I blog mostly about my journey in faith, because it is, for me, the single most important thing in my life – my walk with God. Second is my marriage, followed by my children (daughters-in-law and grandchildren included)…and on the list goes. But truly, our faith is our eternity and I struggle daily with my walk. So I usually blog about it. And here I am today…posting about posting!
I wrote some things yesterday that apparently set people off. Claiming that “God and man are one” really irritated some fellow Christians. Hmmmm…I quite honestly did not see that coming. As I sit here, sipping my morning coffee (thank you, sweetheart for not making it overly strong!!) I find myself irked at the fact that someone took umbrage to what I said. And I realized that I was letting a reaction cause a reaction – both of which were negative. And I have never thought of myself as ego-driven enough that someone disagreeing with me would make me, well, irked. Not angry, just annoyed. Sort of like having that darned pea in my mattress and not being able to get comfortable. Because I have set lots of goals for myself to accomplish today, and I have to deal with this first, or my list will tank and I will get nothing done. (Just a side note for those who do read these posts, I organized my office. You can see the floor, I swept the dog hair away – shedding English Springer to blame for that – and have all my papers in organized piles on a shelf. Next step is going through said organized piles! But I made significant progress!).
“Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division; for from now on five members in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three. “They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” (Luke 12:52-53)
I cannot expect any less. Christ warned us that He was not bringing peace, but a sword (Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. Matthew 10:34). And still the division is unsettling. I belong to several communities on Facebook and the web itself. They are mostly eastern communities, most of which are concerned with unity with Rome, as well as unity with the Orthodox. And even within the groups that purport to have the same goals and heart, I find such deep division. Very often the division is quite overwhelming. People can be so nasty with their words. I post my blog posts on various sites, and many sites pick it up and post it, as well. So every so often, a post is picked up and read by more people than I could imagine. Wherein comes the commentary I often receive.
I find it interesting that one particular comment can get under my skin. And the one that really got to me, of all of them, was a simple statement that said, “No they are not.” That’s all. No explanation, no further commentary; short and sweet. The reaction was to the title, I believe, because if someone were to read the entire post, they would see that I was quoting someone else’s words, Elder Thaddeus. And the quote was discussed in the post itself. Still, assuming (ugh!) the person read the entire post, they disagree. And that is okay. Truly, it is (I’m talking to myself here!!). My dad is fond of saying, “I’m right until you can prove me otherwise.” And that has always annoyed me…I think he knows it, too. Ha-Ha! But I thought this morning, “Am I becoming my dad?” That I cannot brook another opinion lightly? That I am becoming set in my way of thinking and cannot broach even a smidgeon of another point of view? Man oh man, I hope not.
And part of what I think happened is that old west/east breach of theology. Because it is different. Regardless of what many commentators on the various sites hope for, there is a marked difference in approach when you compare east and west. Being raised in a culture where western thought is foremost, I know the western view. I was raised with it, was instructed in it in college, and was taught the philosophical and theological views from a western perspective. I totally get that perspective. At one point in my life, it was all I knew. But I have grown since then. I have been instructed in, and introduced to, eastern thought. Not Far East as in Asian, but eastern as in eastern European; east as in Constantinople. From there, I traveled (metaphysically) further into Russia. And explaining how eastern philosophy affects me, and how it affects what I think and believe is where the rub comes in. Because many of those who read my posts are not familiar with eastern thought, and so right away they assume heresy or wrong thinking. They toss it out. “No they are not.” Automatically, when a western thinker comes across an eastern comment, it is wrong, because it is different.
The word, “catholic,” means universal when used as an adjective. When you capitalize it, you are referring to the Church of Rome. When we think in a truly catholic or universal way, we have been able to see things from a different perspective. I believe that my education in history and forensic anthropology, as well as biblical archeology, really helped to form in me a more catholic, universal perspective. Different does not frighten me; it intrigues me. I want to know more. I think I shocked a priest once when I told him I loved Zoroastrianism, and that if I had not been a Christian, it’s where I would have liked to have wandered. He was blown away because I am sure he automatically assumed I was on the verge of paganism. Not at all. I was just open to many of the philosophical tenets of Zoraoster and felt that it was a classical representation of good vs. evil and the struggle we all have. I could never leave God and His manifestation through Christ His Son, so I was not walking away from the the Church. But I was intrigued by the depth of other views out there in the world. And I am sorry that I may have scandalized someone who is not familiar with the writings of some of the eastern philosophers and men of great and deep faith, who are not familiar to others. For me, it is what caused me to read Elder Thaddeus’ works in the first place. “Who is this guy? He says what?” So rather than having a knee-jerk reaction and automatically dismissing it, I read more. My spiritual father was right on the money! And perhaps that is where many of us get this whole thing wrong….we go off on our tangents with no guide other than ourselves. Spiritual direction is a healthy thing to have in your hip pocket when you try to delve deeper into your faith. So many people have such poor formation, done without a guide or someone to bounce ideas off of, that they spew commentary and ideologies they heard once from some guy and now it’s law! Trust me, I am totally of the “jack of all trades, master of none” category. I skim and when my curiosity has been satisfied, I am good. Often I get to the end of the book or the course or the major or the chore, but more often than not, I get it mostly done. And that is where we all err. We cannot get this issue of faith “mostly done.” It needs to be a thorough journey; a fact-finding journey; a life-long search for God and His truth. We only cut ourselves short in the eternity-project if we do not see it through.
Prejudging someone based on inadequate exploration of the subject or a swift glance at something, skimming for highlights, and then commenting and fomenting an opinion, does neither of us any good. Thoughtful discourse is a wonderful thing for all parties involved. Jabbing quick and running out doesn’t serve any purpose but making the jabber momentarily satisfied.