Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Smart Problem

Reading Surprised by Joy this morning and C. S. Lewis described a loss in the 'old thrill' of the texts and things that used to give him wonder and joy. He said the whole problem was that there came a change in seeking not the thing itself of which joy was a byproduct, but instead seeking the joy and the "thing" as a means to that joy.
Here in, lies the incredible danger in being told, often, that I am smart and talented. The unforeseen problem of being accepted to study abroad at Oxford University this summer, is that people's automatic remark is "wow. you're smart!"
The danger is that i have begun to believe them. The old pleasure was in reading for hours on end because T. S. Elliot makes me feel things I can't explain. C. S. Lewis opens up doors to rooms in my mind that I didn't know existed but, once entered, feel as if I'd been thinking about them my entire life. I cannot read Plato without suddenly feeling as if the world is a little clearer, a little better, and virtue a little more tangible.
It has slowly and imperceptibly been being replaced by the feeling that i "ought" to read big books because "I'm smart" and because "I understand" the things most people don't understand. If i really remembered my first love of knowledge i would remember that I fell in love with The Hollow Men when i understood about a fourth of it. That i cried when Sydney Carton died.
That i was not searching for the "joy'' in being smart by reading those books. I simply read them because I loved them better than anything. This is my attempt at honesty, and my search to regain my passion which is not for my own advancement, but to seek the thing itself. If going to Oxford this summer is about being smart, then it's not worth going.

Friday, January 6, 2012

I saw Collyn last night- and it reminded me.

I wrote this poem for Collyn when i was 16. I don't remember the poem, except that it ended with

There are so many people to love.
So many, many people.

That line that i wrote has comforted and haunted me at different times. But i always come back to it. Because it doesn't really say that people are required to love me, it just says that there are always people around me who need my love. and when i don't know what to do, when i'm confused and lost and lonely- there are still people around me for me to love.

There are so many people to love.
So many, many people.

Monday, January 2, 2012

What theater kids taught me about belief

Real belief is about a way of life.
Theater is a way of life. No, really. You can dress like a theater kid, listen to Cats all you want, but if you've been in theater at all, you know. Being a theater kid means your sentences are laced with references that are a foreign language to anyone on the outside. It means you say "yes sir' when your director makes you rehearse till 2 am and then you still show up for your 8 am class the next day. It means you are painting sets on your saturdays, you're sitting in the cafeteria watching a basket ball player and trying to memorize the way that he walks so that you can imitate it for your Acting 2 class. It means you fall asleep with shakespeare ringing in your ears.

As an ex theater kid, i am often a mediator between theater kid and the outside world. When a non theater kid gets involved in a production, they don't take it that seriously. deadlines are seen as optional, and the work calls are often avoided. This is like walking up to a true theater kid and stepping on their cat and spitting in their eye. There is no greater insult. I often have to calmly say things like "Sally doesn't understand. Theater ins't her life, she isn't going to be here on time, we just have to accept it. or kick her out of the show, but she isn't going to get it. this isn't her world."
Theater is not about fashion, it's about theater. Theater kids are seen as weird and inexplainable by other people. Because theater kids don't know anything in life except theater.

I have said all of this to say- theater kids taught me a lot about belief. They taught me, for one, that I am not a theater kid, because i can't believe in theater the same way they do. I love it yes, but it is a hobby for me, not a lifestyle. But they showed me what life looks like when you believe in something. I mean really believe it. They showed me that my Christianity was weak and too much about fashion.

If Christians lived like theater kids they would join together. Their minds would be so constantly filled with Christ that they would be able to spot an impostor in a moments notice. If Christians lived like theater kids they would be... different. They would seem weird to everyone else. When God asked them to do ridiculous things they would do them, and surround themselves with people who understand that sometimes God asks us to do these things.

most of the time, when Churches try to be different, they do things like being "relevant". Like have coffee or paintings around. Theater kids never try to be relevant, they just try to be theater kids. and trust me, they're different. I think perhaps all of the "change" and all of the true faith we've been looking for is found in just actually wanting to be like Christ. Because most people don't believe anything at all.

All of this ramble can be summed up like this: Belief is sufficient. Christianity in the west is struggling and everyone has their own solution. Well, here's mine: Christians should believe in Christ like Theater kids believe in theater.