Posts Tagged ‘pain

14
Dec
09

Fire and Pain

Now how’s that for a provocative headline, eh? Probably going to talk about hell and damnation today, right?

Nah…

I don’t know how many of you are into metallurgy, but when you’re putting ores and additives through the process of making some metal or alloy of metals, as I understand it, you end up with something called dross. It’s kind of like the scum you get on top of the soup you’re cooking, except with metal, it’s a lot more important to scoop that crap off unless you want buildings falling down and cars falling apart.

So to refine metal, to get out its impurities, it has to go through the fire.

Nothing new there. Nor is it new to apply that philosophy to life. The bible talks about putting people through the metaphorical fire to make them into something stronger. It’s a philosophy that also exists outside religion: “No pain, no gain” and “You have to pay your dues” are just two examples.

Generations X and Y have been accused of laziness and complacency at times. It’s true and it isn’t. (I’m an X, by the way…nice to meet you). It’s said that we rely too much on our parents and that we aren’t willing to work responsibly or work hard.

The truth is more that the world changed, and X and Y got faced with entirely new economic dynamics and new rules that don’t always respond to the solutions that suited Baby Boomers and their immediate predecessors.

But in there is also some truth in the criticism, and I see it more the older I get. Members of Generations X and Y can be a bit quick to want recognition and reward, before they’ve proven themselves. They can be fabulously self-centered in ways that are distinct from the often self-absorbed and sometimes self-important Baby Boomers.

But one thing about the Baby Boomers is that they were able in many cases to achieve and build nest eggs and help their progeny get going in life. They may have been less religious and less dogmatic than their parents, but they still often saw value in religion and in seeking God.

I wonder, though, if the increasing way that people are distancing themselves from God, especially in the younger generations, has more to do with the way the world is going and the way we X’s and Y’s see the world. And perhaps less about reason and science making religion irrelevant.

You see, too often, we young-ish folks (if I can still call myself that at 41) want results with minimal work. We want answers and solutions now. We don’t want to wait on God. And so when God doesn’t respond to us immediately, and we look back at history and say, “why does he let this crap happen” we decide that He must not exist. Because if He won’t just give us what we want now, how could He?

Too many of us don’t value the notion that we are works in progress. That our time on this planet is less about getting what we want and more about learning lessons. It’s a lesson that even atheists should take to heart more often. Because particularly for those who don’t believe there is anything beyond this life, there is precious little time to grow up and make something useful out of oneself.

For those who are agnostic, or those who, like me, are in a faith walk with God, it’s time for us to realize that we are put through a fire. We are meant to feel pain. It’s terrible when some people have to live with almost nothing but pain and stress and misery, but we humans aren’t alone in that. We like to think we are, but we’re not.

Whether you want to credit evolution (genetic and social both) or God’s will…or a combination of the two…a pristine, trouble-free world isn’t the kind of world that will push us to become something stronger or smarter or more useful to ourselves and others.

Pain is necessary. Whether we like it or not, we must all pass through the fire, some of us more often than others.

We need to pay our dues. We need to see the value in that and make something good out of it in the end. Or at least as good as we can.

If we don’t, we remain children. We don’t grow. Not in this world, and not in God’s plan.

24
Feb
09

Two-fer Tuesday: Comfort by Deacon Blue

dock1God promises us comfort if we keep the faith. For some of us, though, that comfort may not come in this life—or it may be fleeting when it does.

That’s the thing that sucks about life. Whether we’re on this planet to “serve time” or to grow spiritually or to pass through a stage before some next transmogrification (which may itself simply be another step in God’s chain toward something even better) or “just because,” we won’t always be among those who find comfort regularly.

It’s a sobering and even disheartening thought.

But it’s truth, and we would be mad to deny the truth, whether we are among those who believe in God or among those who don’t—or even those who are on the fence.

But I think that we can find comfort. If we stay strong in our beliefs (and atheists have them too, obviously, non-deistic though they may be) and those beliefs are grounded and centered in a moral and healthy place, we can tap into wellsprings of comfort, at least for a time. If we choose our friends and spouses well, and we raise our children well, we can have comfort.

Ease, perhaps not. Constant comfort, probably not. jesus-christ-w-lamb

But nothing in life is constant, not even life. Comfort is there. There is strength to be found if you look. I encourage you to cultivate much of that comfort through God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

Many of you won’t, because that’s not where your beliefs lie. For those people, I’ll pray that you have comfort where it is needed in your life.

And if you don’t believe my prayers have power, well, that’s OK. It’s the thought that counts, right?

Be comforted, folks.

03
Feb
09

Two-fer Tuesday: Peace by Miz Pink

pink-kissNormally, it’s been Deke talking about Hell ’round here. Damnation is something I just don’t feel comfortable talking about because I do have trouble trying to figure out where the love and forgiveness and eternal punishment intersect and make sense. I’m sure it does make sense and I believe there is a hell but I just don’t like to talk or think about it much.

Maybe that’s sticking my head in the sand. probably is. Oh well.

But I was thinking about some of what Deke has said about people choosing hell in most cases instead of them truly being sent there. And when he told me today’s topic was “peace” it got me to thinking.

I think a lot of people don’t really want or like peace.

I mean few and far between are the people who want constant bloddy horrible awful conflict and volatile relationships filled with hate. But I wonder if an awful lot of people just think existence is too boring when peace is involved.

Alot of people I think see heaven as some boring place with nothing but prayers and sitting around staring at clouds and learning to play the harp and crap. I think they assume that there is nothing pleasurable or fun in heaven. I think they expect that peace will mean a mind numbing eternity instead of contentment. I don’t think as many people as I would like to really think we’ll be doing anything productive in heaven.

So I can totally see people choosing to reject heaven because they are afraid of peace.

It sounds funny but human nature is a funny thing. We want moments of peace or long periods of peace, but I think most of us would cringe at a lifetime of peace. We would wonder where the spark is. We feed on conflict whether its personal or whether we see it on TV or whatever.

The fear of peace I think is what will drive at least some people to hell. And it makes me wonder how many other hangups we humans have that send us to hell, and not, as we assume, the will or desire of God.

21
Jul
08

Pain or Suffering?

I know the usual phrase is “pain and suffering,” but I’m going to challenge all of you with the title of today’s post to shed that notion. To embrace the idea that they don’t have to go together and you can make a choice. I would further put forth to you that you while you should realize that you are going to experience pain that you purposefully try to steer clear of suffering. Jesus promised us that we would, as his followers, experience tribulations (pain), but he died and suffered so that we wouldn’t have to—so that we can turn to God and tap into the Holy Spirit to get through pain and bypass (or at least drastically shorten) the suffering part of things.

I was inspired to talk about this today when I saw a statement on a Christian issues-oriented blog by a commenter that went like this:

In life pain is inevitable, suffering is optional

Now, ain’t that a kicker? I’ve heard a lot of aphorisms before, but never that one. I did some Google searching and it seems it’s a Zen and Buddhist philosophical statement. I found a lot of stuff related to that phrase, but here are a few things that expound upon it a bit: a sermon here from a Unitarian-Universalist church, a blog post here, and a post at a grief discussion group here.

Let it never be said that I don’t tap into non-biblical sources for my inspiration. Zen Buddhist folks can teach a lot about life and how we view it. The key is to remember that we have another life beyond this one and we have to tie the two together. This aphorism about pain vs. suffering seems key to me in understanding what kind of bullet Jesus took for us and how he would want us to conduct our lives when the defecation hits the rotary oscillation device.




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

_________

Jeff Bouley

To find out more about me professionally, click here. To find out more about me generally, click here.

_________

E-Mail

You can reach Deacon Blue/Jeff Bouley at deaconbluemail@gmail.com.

_________

LinkedIn

For my public profile, click here.

_________

Tales of the Whethermen

My superhero fiction blog, click here

_________

Raising the Goddess

My parenting blog, click here

Copyright Info and Images

For more about images used on this site, and copyrights regarding them, as well as usage/copyright information about my own writing as posted here, click here.

Deac Tweets

Archives

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 833 other followers

July 2022
M T W T F S S
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031

%d bloggers like this: