Saturday, July 11, 2009

Let's talk about Truth, Baby. Let's talk about you and me.

Okay, the other night Arryn and Angie and I were sitting around talking about the houses we grew up in. Angie was talking about how she is pretty sure that her house in Newton was haunted. She told us all sorts of stories: when she was younger, early in the morning she'd hear some voices in the living room and, thinking that it was her parents, she would walk down the stairs to go visit them. Every time she got to the second to the last step, they would stop talking. She'd go into the living room and not see anyone. She'd, then go to her parents room and they would be sleeping. So, she'd go back to bed. Arryn and I chocked that up to good, old-fashioned children's imagination. One night, her family went outside to get in the car and once they were all loaded up, the light in her mother's bedroom went on. They got a neighbor and searched the house and found no one. Another time, the pull-chain for the light in the bathroom started swinging ferociously, which prompted Angie's mom to launch into the living room with her pants around her ankles. All of these incidences seem explainable--but creepy nonetheless and got me to start wondering. After everyone went to bed, I had to pee. I went to the bathroom and in the middle of washing my hands, the light started to flicker. I ran--ran back to my cozy couch and thought happy thoughts. In the morning, Arryn mentioned that the light has been pretty flickery lately. Good to know.

Anyway, the next day at work I walked into a conversation about Charlie. Charlie is apparently the grandfather of the previous owner of the deli. He died a decade ago and used to bake--I guess. Apparently Charlie shows up from time to time. Kim, my boss, asks us to treat him with respect. She also told us a few stories that employees have had. Some just fleeting--a woman will call your name with a sense of urgency. In another instance, a girl had a difficult time opening the door to the General's Quarters. The GQ is a small section that is often reserved for parties. A girl was going into the GQ to get it set up for a party, she didn't believe Kim about Charlie. She said that it was dumb to believe in ghosts. But this night, she had to push and push and push to get the door open and as she was setting up the tables, apparently she kept hearing a woman ask, "Who are you? What are you doing here?" The woman was mad. The girl ran out and wouldn't go back in.

So, as I said, I walked into this conversation that was taking place between Kim and a high school girl named Amy. Amy said that she has a theory that if you don't believe in ghosts, then they don't exist. Now, I don't know if ghosts exist and I really don't care that much but I do know that statement is the most gigantic load of tripe I have ever heard out loud. I mean--how could something exist but only for those who think it's true?

Kim told her about the GQ incident and Amy sort of laughed at her. Kim asked, "how do you know it's not true? Well, what do you believe?" Amy said, "Well, I believe in God and in the Bible..." Innocently, I asked her, "In the Bible, does it say that ghosts don't exist?" I mean, I haven't read the whole thing but from what I've seen I don't think that I've crossed anything that mentioned it. I really was just wondering. She's got, like, a 4.8 gpa and does very little other than study and go to Youth Group so if one of the two of us would know about this stuff, it would naturally be her.

So I told her, albeit very quickly, where I'm coming from. I told her that I'm a Christian (though would appreciate a different term, since this one has been ruined) and that I (regretfully) just spent five years at a Christian (extended summer-camp) University. I said that if there's one thing I learned--one thing that I took away from that experience that made me into a whole and entire person it was learning that I won't know everything. But more importantly, that there's a difference between what the Bible says and what people have been telling us this whole time. Sometimes people tell us what the Bible says but sometimes Sunday School teachers are just telling us what their Sunday School teachers told them and we listen to it and think that it's what God says. But really, honestly, it's what Great Aunt Gertrude said and we never think to ask where this information came from. Secondly--we think that checking Gertrude's references is the worst thing we could ever possibly do. Questioners are either shunned or welcomed by their own kind--who are also shunned.

"Doubt is not a pleasant position, but certainty is absurd." --Voltaire

I have to be honest with you, I have never felt as secure and whole and even beautiful as I did the day I realized--and was okay with the fact that not only is it impossible for me to have the answers to some questions but that I shouldn't. Moses wasn't allowed to even look at God. What on Earth makes some of us believe that we could possibly be privy his every thought or reason or idea about stuff--even trivial stuff. You know? Maybe he did make ghosts. Maybe they're not real. Who cares? And it's not just ghosts and aliens and vampires--I really couldn't care less about this stuff, it's just what prompted me thinking about the subject. Other subjects though, "What's Heaven like?" "What happens after you die?" "What is sin?" "Does God actually give a shit about where I go to college/ who or if I marry/ if I move to another country/ if I name all of my children after the secondary characters in Harry Potter/ if I sleep with a gentleman to whom I have made no vows?"

On the other hand, very few things offend me more than ignorance. So how do you marry those two ideas? Why keep looking for answers when you know you'll never find them? I don't know. The only thing I can think of is so that you and I can continue to be the types of people that you and I can stand being around. I want to have important ideas. I want to believe things and I want to know exactly what it is that lead me to that belief. Just understand that there's a line between fact and belief.

2 comments:

JD and Jamie said...

Yes, yes. I like this topic.

I always thought it was great to know that you're not going to know all the answers to everything, but to still search. I think the searching makes life interesting...and perhaps, with certain questions, you come to a point of understanding that you will never know the real answer.

Like whether or not you can lose your salvation. Losing salvation isn't what matters...its the HAVING it that is what's important.

But chalk that one up to finding basis between growing up "Southern Baptist" and being thrown into a pool of "Nazarenes".

Belinda said...

Re: Other subjects though, "What's Heaven like?" "What happens after you die?" "What is sin?" "Does God actually give a shit about where I go to college/ who or if I marry/ if I move to another country/ if I name all of my children after the secondary characters in Harry Potter/ if I sleep with a gentleman to whom I have made no vows?"
Libby, There are many things we will not know till we are standing face to face with God, and rightfully so. BUT your "these things does God really give a ---- about"... is something we DO know because He tells us in Jeremiah 1:5, Matt 10:30 and Luke 12:7 for example. He does care about us and He does care about the little things. He cares about how we feel, love and hate. He cares about where we go and what we do. He does not however condem us because He loves us! He loves us so much that he came to earth in the form of man to show us how we should be. Then when He suffered and died for YOU and me. There are many things that religion passes down through the years, like you say, but His love and His care for us is not just that. It is written and demonstrated everyday. OUR job is to study and read, ask and seek His direction and guidence. It is to test all things through His word and the Holy Spirit and then move to where He would have you move. And one day, all those questions will be answered and you will understand why you are being asked to account for your actions while here on earth. And you will be sorry and happy above all measure at the same time. Because you dear Libby will be spending eternity with the Prince of Peace, the Lord of Lords! My soap box is now put away! :-) Love Mom Rehmer

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