Identity – The Dark Side of Who We Are, Like It Or Not.
Okay. We’re a good person, right? We shop local, eat organic, bend over backwards like Circus Soleil on steroids to keep from offending everyone and choose roommates who grew up free range. So where does this disconnected sense of groping around for God knows what come from? In the face of the experts and studies that show that guilt is worthless and/or nonexistent, why does it keep popping up like a helium balloon stuck in my windpipe? Why do I disappoint myself by failing to live up to what I say I believe? Why do I carry shame like the smell of smoke on my clothes from an off-campus party? Why do I screw up in some of the most important things in my life? Why do I feel like a loser? Why am I the only one? Why does even the thought of God make me uncomfortable, really jag me?
The answer comes in a tiny nutshell – sin. A lot of people just throw the word out if it doesn’t taste right. A lot us choose spirituality without sin the same way we choose frozen yogurt without anchovies – a nasty side flavor easily set aside. Remember in the first post I said we will be looking at things that could be true even if nobody believes them. This is that. Think cancer… a lot of people either have no idea or don’t want to know they have it, even ignoring major symptoms. What difference does that make to the cancer? It does what it does.
Look at all the evil, disasters, misfortune, tragedy and suffering not only in the world today but throughout history. Is this the way it’s supposed to be? Doesn’t something seem deeply profoundly wrong? In Genesis 3, all creation hits a huge speed bump right after Creation seems complete, God proclaims everything very good and everyone does the happy dance. Centering on, but not limited to, Adam and Eve, humankind turns its back on God not just in belief but with our will exercising control over every important thing in our lives. And this sends destructive convulsions ripping through all creation from the far reaches of the cosmos to the fabric of DNA. We all are infected.
The result? The core (read soul) of who we are becomes a black hole inhaling everything true, good and beautiful about us into its maw. One put it this way. “…the people of this world moved about in an armor of egotism, drunk with self-gazing…in dread of all appeals that might interrupt their long communion with their own desires.” Nobody can tell us anything. We only understand the voice of God when our mouth is open. In the immortal words of that great spiritual mystic St. John of Calipari, “There’s poop in our ice cream.” Our own. And we’re going to hurt other people in the course of our lives because of this – probably a lot of them. In college, I did the marching band thing. We practiced on a field having no permanent yard lines. Somebody rigged these long rubbery strips every five yards. We high stepped and quite often someone would drag a foot and kick up one of those yard line strips. Not only the foot dragger but two or three people on either scene would take the plunge. It looked like a scene from the movies. What the Bible describes as our sin not only wounds us but always takes down others. Some of them will limp for a while, maybe a long time. Sometimes some don’t get up at all.
So where does this leave us? In all these “identity” posts, I’ll be suggesting a book or two in each post if anyone would like to dig around in each topic. For this, a guy once decided he wanted to write and got some good advice. Somebody told him to write on something he knew about, really enjoyed and was good at. So he wrote about sin. This guy rocks the sin thing; he’s good, has a long lifetime of experience really. You can find him here and here. FULL DISCLOSURE. The author makes no money from these books and no college students were harmed in any way during the writing process.
If anything here provokes a question, if we have our own questions or if we’d just like to know the existential reasons as to why the purple hair dye didn’t seem to frost our hair but dried on our skin, send it along to firstname.lastname@example.org. Any question, anytime, about anything. You don’t have to include your name. I do reserve the right to ask clarifying questions to better dignify your question with a respectable answer.
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Please return your seat to the upright position and give your infrared night vision goggles to the attendant as you exit to the rear. See you next post at geezeronthequad.com.