Let's Go Hit Rock Bottom!
I'm reading an awesome book, Leszli Kalli's Kidnapped: A Diary of My 373 Days in Captivity. The young Leszli boarded a plane in Columbia to go work on a kibbutz in Israel. She never made it because the plane was hijacked by a leftist guerrilla group that lead her to a life in the jungle for the remainder of her captivity. I'm impressed with how early her wisdom kicked in:
My strength is slowly fading. I feel as if I'm sinking little by little, as if there is no way out of the huge hole I have fallen into. I just keep on falling and falling. I think the despair will taper off when I finally surrender to the situation and touch rock bottom.A little later she writes:
I wish I could turn back the clock to tell them how I feel about them (friends and family), and I regret not having expressed my feelings in the moment... I swear that if I make it back, I will express all these things: who I am, what I feel, my fears and my truths, my joys and my sadness.This confirmed to me something we try to practice in our community: honest appraisal of our condition and honest authenticity within it. I encourage people to hit rock bottom. And we promise to stay with them while they do so. We also encourage people to be vulnerable and real. And we'll be vulnerable and real with them. We try not to withhold our affections in the midst of all this trauma. It's a powerful reality that results from this determination. I don't think these two revelations are mutually exclusive. They are partners. I've seen it here at our church: the more honest we are with our condition (i.e. my life SUCKS!), it creates the atmosphere for authentic expression, which is chaotic but also beautiful. It's real, let me tell you! To be honest, the people I mostly am in contact with, who are attracted to my blog and to our church community have mostly experienced the encouragement of denial towards life and pretense in the midst of this denial. This isn't just a religious problem, a Christian problem or a church problem, but a human problem that finds its greatest expression in religion and the church. It is a beautifully contrived escapism. The sooner we realize the truth of our condition, authentic living can be released in the midst of it. This is the way through. I was also reading Oswald Chambers the other day in My Utmost For His Highest where he writes:
Sorrow is one of the biggest facts of life; it is no use saying sorrow ought not to be. Sin and sorrow and suffering are, and it is not for us to say that God has made a mistake in allowing them.Something about Jesus, for the joy set before him, endured the cross. That about says it for our community too. So get used to it quick. Then find joy in the midst of it. This is what I believe is immediately necessary for honest, authentic and joyful community life. The fine art photograph is the amazing creation of my friend Jorgen Klausen and is from his Mask Series.