discourse, writing, exposition… Answering at least trying to answer a question by talking it out, writing it out, having a discussion about it.
This is my personal blog. I have just accepted that fact. I would love for it to be a lifestyle blog or a photo blog, but really, for all intents and purposes, this is the place where I come to share and discuss and chew on the big questions life throws at me.
As followers of this blog know, I have a sort of strange relationship with religion. I am active in a church community, I use words like “God” and “spirit” and “kingdom” from time to time, and I discuss faith and belief quite a bit on this blog but I also rant against organized religion, and institutions quite a bit too. Once a year or so I find it helpful for myself and for everyone else, really, to do a statement or manifesto if you will, on what I believe.
I have to do this once a year because what I believe doesn’t always stay the same from year to year. Honestly I think that is a sign of evolution and growth and not of indecisiveness, but what do I know?
That is has been the big question for the past year or so, “What do I know?”
Finding the delicate line between what I believe and what I know has been this year’s biggest challenge. As it turns out, I know very little, and what I believed and thought I knew, mostly turned out to be, well, wrong. So here is what I believe, right now.
I Judea Jackson, being of somewhat sound mind and body hereby issue this statement:
I do believe in some sort of higher power. I do not claim to know how involved he is on earth. My suspicion is that he/she/it is more present in life on the earth rather than puppeteering from above it.
I do not care how you pronounce the name of God. It does not matter to me. Call him the name you know best, call him or her or it, by the name he or she or it gave you to call him by.
I think holiness and divinity are imparted in all of us, we are all made of the same energy as everything else, and we all have a right to own that dignity inside us. I do not believe that people are born good or evil. I think people are born with both the tendency for order and the tendency for chaos but that it is the same energy. Everything flows from the same energy and it can either be directed and harnessed and put to use or that energy can be undirected, unleashed and destructive.
I do not believe in Good vs. Evil. I believe in progress, and that the tension from the meeting of order and chaos can spring humanity and all living things forward.
I do not believe that everyone is born with equal talents or societal worth. I think societal worth is frankly very important on the micro-level and very unimportant on the macro.
I believe everyone is born with the inalienable right to dignity, and just treatment, and access to opportunities for growth and advancement as human beings.
I believe that “sin” simply means to do a half-assed job.
I believe the point is simple: enjoy life, make that easier for pretty much everyone else around you to do too.
I believe that the Bible has a lot to offer whether you believe in God or Jesus or anything at all, because the Bible is about people not about God.
I believe that the Bible and the Torah and the Talmud and the Theravada and the Koran and the Rig Veda and the I Ching are different translations of the same big truths and questions, and should be treated with dignity and reverence.
I believe that community is good, and even better when you can agree on some priorities, especially if those priorities involve making life suck less for other people.
I consider myself a practicing Christian, meaning I realize that there is something to be gained by being a member of the Christian community, though I don’t necessarily believe in all of the main tenants of faith.
I believe that I will always wrestle with my beliefs about God and religion and control and faith, I do not trust in things I have not experienced.
I am a wrestler, not a prayer. I look God or Whatever in the face and say “bless me or kill me.” This is something that is very inconvenient and causes a lot of grief and heartache and pain, however I am coming to accept the fact that this is something about myself that will not change. I have to believe that if there is a God, he created me to wrestle him, even if it means me leaving the ring with a limp.
I think the redemption of the broken world is in our equally broken hands and that any joy in life is a miracle and that miracles are ordinary and daily and wondrous and completely irrational.
I think love is certain chemicals and that those chemicals are magical and somehow those chemicals transform the very inside of our selves.
I believe in the soul. The ineffable extra that is present in a living body.
I believe that thoughts have mass and can physically affect the universe.
I believe in the Doctor, and in Jesus and in Buddha, and in Thomas Aquinas, and in John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin, and in The Force and Frodo and the Fellowship, and in Dumbledore’s Army and in Harry. I believe in The Beatles and art and holding hands.
I believe in science and stewardship and evolution and creation. I think there are plenty of ways, no matter what your world-view, to reconcile these ideas into a reasonable system.
I believe in praying to the Saints or going to a therapist or hanging out having a beer with a good friend and sharing your heart. All People need confession and benefactors and routine and safe places and safe people.
I do not believe in Hell, I am almost certain I do not believe in heaven. I prefer the idea of universal recycling. I do not care what you believe about these things, I do not think people without the threat of hell become shitty people, I do not believe that people with the promise of heaven become better people.
I believe in story and the power of words and thoughts and narratives and scenes and characters.
Most of all, I believe in people. Crazy, messed up, confused, broken, stubborn people because we are what we have. Even if God is real, he left it to us. He wrapped himself up in us, to shine through our cracks and holes, so if God believes in us, then I believe in us, and if he isn’t real, what else is there?