Archive for December 9th, 2008

09
Dec
08

Two-fer Tuesday: Outside the Box by Deacon Blue

floor_cubed1Sometimes, I wonder—as I suppose many of us do—what my life might have been like under other circumstances.

What if I had been raised in a mostly white city or state instead of being raised in the Bay Area of California, where Asians and Hispanics abounded? Had that been the case, I might not be the kind of person who, for the most part, doesn’t focus on race (mind you, this isn’t me tooting my horn; my relatively high level of color myopia—because no one is color blind—isn’t some great achievement; it’s just who I am, and it can cut in bad ways as well as good ones, like when I don’t notice a racial slight against my wife by someone). In which case, I wouldn’t have my current wife most likely. Or children.

What if I had been born under greater or lesser economic circumstances than what I have been? What if I couldn’t conceive of being able to ever pay anything? Might I have turned out to be a hard-assed criminal to get by instead of a goofy nerd? Might I have embraced the idea of fleecing the system and using other people, like some people I have known casually and been related to? If I had been born rich, would I see people in need as worthless leeches instead of, well, people in need?

And in terms of my faith, would I still be a Christian in name only, and empty in terms of my actual walk with God, if I hadn’t met Mrs. Blue, back in the days before she had my last name tacked on with hers? That might be the biggest “what if” for me. I spent so much of my life having been born and raised Catholic, but with God almost never on my mind.

It wasn’t until I started going to church while dating Mrs. Blue (at her father’s church, mind you) that I started looking at the Bible again and really reading it and thinking about it. Viewing it with a fresh set of adult eyes and instead of just viewing it with skepticism, really looking into the underlying themes of separation and redemption and seeing how it made sense, really.

Thinking outside the box, if I hadn’t started dating Mrs. Blue, I probably wouldn’t be born again. I probably wouldn’t be thinking much about God. And for those of you out there who think it’s foolish for me to think of God as a real being, know this: I am a better person for having started my faith walk. Not a perfect person. And, frankly, I wasn’t a bad person before. People liked me and I was a pretty decent sort. I had compassion and lots of other positive qualities.

But the way I approach life is different now, and more deeply humane I think. My ability to weather the storms of life is better now that I can lean on the Holy Spirit for strength as needed. I still get knocked on my ass, but not as much as before.

Faith has given me reservoirs of love and endurance that are above and beyond whatever I had before. A person can knock my Christian faith as silly supersition all he or she wants. But faith is something that, properly harnessed, make a person something more than they would have been otherwise.

I’m thankful that I can think outside the box and only wonder what would have happened if my wife hadn’t been an example to lead me to seek out Jesus. Because there are many people who are still stuck inside boxes. I hope they can not only think their way out of them, but feel their way out through faith.

For the record, and as an afternote, yes, I can (and do) think outside the box of my own faith to consider the notion that I might be wrong about my beliefs or that there may be no God. I am inexorably drawn back to a firm grounding in my faith and in Jesus for many different reasons. But I’m not so rigid that I cannot carry opposing viewpoints and thoughts in my skull along with my long-established ones.

09
Dec
08

Two-fer Tuesday: Outside the Box by Miz Pink

pink-dress-with-gift-boxSo today I’m supposed to write about some sort of ‘thinking outside the box’.

At first I thought Deke was just getting silly or running out of ideas but it does go along nicely with something I’ve been playing around with in my head lately.

I wanna talk about the possibility that the idea of many paths leading to God might not be so crazy. I’m not saying that all faiths are correct and Im not saying all paths are good or valid ones to take on the spiritual walk. I still tend to believe for alot of reasons that Jesus Christ is THE path.

Deke and me have talked about this some…the idea of all religions being equally valid (for folks who believe in a higher power but don’t have much faith in religious institutions themselves). And our talks have often come to the idea that SOMEONE has to be right and most everyone else has to be wrong because there are too many irreconcilable differences between alot of them.

But I’ve been trying to think more creatively and broadly about things and to think outside of my own faith beliefs. What I’m about to say ISN’T me stepping away from Christianity or trying to get people of other religions off the hook. Like I said I still believe in Jesus as the guy who we need to go through to get to God. But in the spirit of thiking outside the box, here is an interesting little theory I have that would allow for all faiths (or most of’em anyway) to coexist and be valid paths to heaven.

Here goes…

What if the defining godly attribute isn’t just faith but also imagination? What is the creative mind is what the creator is looking for in heaven? If anyone has seen the flick “Defending Your Life” the idea was that you keep being reincarnated and going back to Judgement City and basically having your life put on trial until the heavenly courts decide that you have conquered your fear. Fear in that movie is what keeps humans on Earth from advancing to whatever the next level is in the afterlife. I don’t know what emotion or whatever they have to overcome thereafter, if any.

What if imagination is what God is really looking for? He creates. He manages a whole universe and maybe even more than just the universe. He supposedly created us in his image. So what if what he wants is for us to expand our minds to a point where when we die we are beings that have enough creativity and imagination to be enough like him to move on to the next level. Maybe like in the movie we get recycled until we get it right.

I’m just saying. It’s an interesting idea. Because if it were true, and it probably isn’t…but if it were, it would mean that religion isn’t so much about getting it right but being able to conceive how God and spiritual things fit into our earthly lives. The act of being able to imagine a God and how we would fit into his/her/its design on a complex and deep level is what the goal really is.

Just a thought.




Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

Jeff Bouley

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