You can look at my thoughts from the past few years in a few ways. You can see them as meditations on ambition. My desire to do triathlons, marathons, kick boxing, novels and finding love can be seen as a desire to stand out and accomplish. In refusing to sit back and live a "King of Queens" or "Everybody Loves Raymond" kind of blue-collar life of beer league sports and reality tv, you may see me as a pretentious hipster. My jeans are certainly tight enough.
You can see my thoughts as preposterous navel-gazing. Just why is it that I think about my own biography so much? There is a limit to how self-absorbed one can be, no? Just how often do I need to think about my past relationships?
But really, in my own eyes, this blog has been about life.
Writings like this one encourage me and help me think that I haven't gone insane. The body and the soul have a deep, intimate connection. Traditional Chinese Medicine sees it this way. Their embrace of psychosomatic treatments have profoundly changed my worldview. Reductive anatomical medicine has conditioned me to think that a psychosomatic problem was somehow a lesser issue. The body is not physically wrong so there's nothing wrong. It's all in the person's head. My first steps into TCM (thanks to my wonderful girlfriend) have changed my views completely. A psychosomatic problem just means that there are two problems and reductive anatomical medicine has no means of treating one of them. If a house has problems with both the wiring and the plumbing, shouldn't both of them be addressed?
Western Christianity taught me that souls are real only when we're talking about death. Souls are only real when we're talking about Jesus and his atoning, substitutionary work on the cross. What I've been fighting for these past few years was my soul. I wanted to take it back from the butchers in the pulpits. Eternity is longer than your mortal life so spend your life to further the glory of God. What does that mean? Win souls. What does that mean? Tell people about Jesus and then get them to tell others about Jesus. Your suffering in doing this is glorious.
The practice of Western Christianity as I have seen it contains a deep line of hypocrisy. We teach the reality of the soul and the impermanence of the body. We live the reality of the body and the low value of the soul. Was your flesh martyred for the cause? Excellent. You have a reward in heaven. Did you give up soul-nourishing activities so you could give out tracts? Stop whining. Did a body go beneath the waters and emerge a Christian? Excellent harvest. Did your soul experience renewal and life when you heard an aria, read a passage, saw a photo, watch a ballet, spat a flow, played a riff, or breathed the rarefied air of purer worlds? Better talk about Jesus or we'll talk about how small your experience was.
I heard my soul echo in life's empty darkness. These blog posts of the past 3 years have been an attempt to give utterance to the institutional, doctrinal violence I suffered. My joys, my heart, my passion was crucified on a cross of evangelism and mission. If it doesn't manifestly lead to conversions, then what I do doesn't matter. If I don't apply my talents to racking up conversions, then I'm living in rebellion.
Their words affirmed that creation was made for joy, for our relationship with God but when I wanted to meditate on nature, on beauty, I found their hypocrisy. C'mon, hurry up! Get to the Jesus dying part! They have to know about that! What's with all this sappy crap about your own soul's experience? Joy? Joy without meditating on atonement? Blasphemous. That's not important. Quick before they leave, tell them about Jesus. Every time you talk to someone, you have to mention this!
The soul is real and it can die while a person lives. Rob a person of their means of joy and you do worse than kill them. Take from me my races, my words, my ability to spread my wings and you fetter me with chains of adamant. I feel alive, I feel nearness to God when I run, climb, swim, jump and free the body to do all it can do. I feel affirmation and confidence when I can write and create. Why don't I evangelize and be more plain with my Christian affiliation in my writing? Because that's exactly what stifled my spirit for so many years. I have little love left for movements of missionary zeal. I still support them selectively but they don't have the carte blanche on my heart they once did.
It may have taken me 3 years, but now I can give my heart utterance. It may have taken me two heartbreaks, and a number of hard journeys, but I know who I am. I know what I'm fighting for -- nothing less than my own soul.