We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Pastor quoted somebody on Christmas Eve - I forget who - but the gist of it was that many people first experience God by His absence in their lives.
Assistant Village Idiot wrote a suberb, short piece on the Christmas of nostalgia. What does it feel like to base your festivities on your past; to be on the outside, looking in?
It's not the usual kind of "Keep Christ in Christmas" piece. One quote:
We are so aware of how many things pull us away from Christ at Christmas that we have forgotten how dangerous it is for those outside to look in. They sense, as we should know but have forgotten, that to step inside might mean never coming back. If emotional distance does not bring warmth, it at least brings memories of warmth, with no danger of burning.
People are afraid to love Him for so many reasons. They know that, just as Aslan is not a tame lion, He cannot be manipulated or controlled. And they don't know where He will lead them.
Just as there are certain unnatural women who do not get mushy at the sight of a baby (I know, I know, many of them have been traumatized, yadda yadda, and can't help being cold), there are certain people who flinch from a powerlessness that conquers all, the power of complete love.
God is a mystery, He is also reality. To look into His eyes is to see ourselves as we truly are. It can be terrifying because it frees us from our cramped and fetid cells. We are afraid of and yet drawn by Him. Remember how Eliot wrote that humankind cannot bear very much reality. Shrinks see this daily as they guide people thru personal jungles sometimes more like Jumanji than like the actual suburbs their patients whine about...
As they say in AA, "our own best thinking got us here..." Our wills are deceptive, wicked, blind, lead us into trouble as the sparks fly upwards. Never hand them over to another sinful human being, but God can do more with us than we can ourselves.
Yeah, we're all self-centered, but we'll overcome that for love sooner than we will for duty or to impress others. I used to work with Catholic nuns who alternated between near-saintliness and almighty crabbiness, who confided in one after years that Jesus was the lover of their soul. They loved all those desperately irredeemable urban kids because they first passionately loved Jesus. The sight, the sound, the smell, the touch of him. We Protestants would do well to learn from them and not make snide pop psychology comments about repressed ruler wielders. It ain't that way all the time...
And not only should we love Him passionately, what can really be more romantic and draw one closer to a member of the opposite sex one whom has just started to love than to worship together!? Kneeling in prayer side by side, a touch, their sigh as the elements are blessed...them godless pagans don't have a monopoly on a religion that sets the heart racing...