Thursday, March 04, 2004

Continued Remarks and Observations

After I shut down my computer at work and went home for the night, I started to think about the last post. What I had written, and whether it had truly communicated what I believe. I started to worry about what people would say. I wondered if I had been too militant, too severe. I considered if my tone could be perceived as self-righteous or arrogant.

Last night, I read part of an article by John Fischer, in the latest issue of Relevant, in which he says the two virtues that have seemed to have disappeared from modern Christianity since the advent of 20th century fundamentalism are kindness and gentleness. He said that when Christians take it upon themselves to be the "guardians of morality in these dark times" they become militant and can easily fall into self-righteousness. This idea hit home. I have seen this done, and I have seen myself do it before.

Yesterday I gave you a lot of my beliefs about the world and the culture I share. Many of these statements are true about my values. Some, like my ideas about art, are still being formed in my own mind. When I wrote the art statement, I was thinking of the recent obsession with reality television, which is low on taste and high on spectacle. But then again, I thought later, do those who create this type of entertainment consider it art? Or is it simply spectacle to them as well? So, as I said, I'm still working on this.

But with kindness and gentleness in mind, I will submit to you one final belief, which covers all the rest.

I believe I am a sinner, totally flawed, unable to be holy or righteous on my own. I am a broken creation. Paul the apostle, considered by most to be the greatest and most influential Christian in the history of the Church, called himself the "chief of sinners." And this is the attitude I take as well. I don't claim to be perfect, or better, or even good. But I'm trying. I'm striving. I make it my goal to fight the good fight, against my own nature, against my own will. And when I say that something is wrong according to the Bible, I do not make that judgement myself, for I have no authority or right to do so. I only try to convey truthfully what I believe the Bible says, because I believe that the Word of God is the moral authority to live by, and that it has the right and the power to slice through all the posturing and relativism, like a two-edged sword dividing joints and marrow.

When I write about social or cultural topics, I have a little difficultly. When I talk about morality, it's hard to not approach it from a Christian perspective. I could try to make arguments from another approach (the social benefit of moral absolutes based on anthropological and historical data, for example), but it would take more effort and time than I can afford to give it on my lunch breaks or after work. So I am only able to "preach to the choir" as it were, concerning these things. And I know some of you are either not believers in Christ, or prefer not to hear anyone's attempt at sermonizing (which I try to sidestep, but cannot guarantee complete avoidance of). But that's why I wrote what I wrote yesterday, and why I'm writing this now, when I should be working. My little rants forthcoming are mostly grounded in my faith in Christ, and my arguments for some things may be arguments made by this Christian to other Christians.

If this does not apply to you, in fact or by your preference, that's your choice. You are still welcome to listen and respond.

I'm not quite sure why I'm belaboring this point. I think part of it is that I want what I write to be interesting and relevant to as many people as possible. I want the average websurfer to stumble across my page and be able to relate in some way to what's being written. And this is still going to be a fun site, I promise those of you who have been with it a long time. Who knows--after these brief rants, I may be so tired of social issues that I'll do nothing but talk about music and Playstation for the next month. But that may not be the case.

For some strange reason, I feel the need to step it up now. There's an unusual urgency in my mind as of late. And this urgency demands that I spend as much time on things that matter in the long term as I do on things that are fun in the now. I could be chatting it up about how ridiculous it was that the "winner" picked on "The Bachelorette" broke up with the girl for having dated Fabio. But ultimately that doesn't matter. Not one bit.

The word I've been repeating like a mantra the past few weeks has been "perspective." And that's what's still in my mind. I need to make sure my perspective on things is correct. I need to reassess what I value and why.

There's always time for jokes and general chit chat, and I will still make time for it. But I owe it to you readers and to myself to also make time for more vital things, more influential things.

My upcoming rants aren't gonna be very long. I've already stolen some of my own thunder with these last two posts. But I do want to touch on some issues over the next week. Things that are important to me for some strange reason.

So on Monday, we'll hit Issue One. Stick around. It may be interesting.

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