Saturday, December 22, 2007

reflection, roadblocks, and rage

as we come to the end of another western calander year, i look back. where i am now is so different than where i was a year ago. which is so different from where i was 2 years ago. so, for anyone interested, here are a couple of december classics for your perusal.

last year.
two years ago.

what's next for us? only god knows. i have begun to share with people that i consider the gatherings in our home as being church. the thought seems to shock them initially, to be replaced by genuine smiles of joy as i explain why. although i am sure that it is only a surface understanding, i hope it will continue to grow as will the gatherings. they are only happening once a month right now, but that seems to work best for people at the moment. and the gatherings themselves aren't the main part as church is not simply a gathering but the lives we live in the world moment to moment. and that is the truly exciting part. bringing the party with you wherever you go and drawing people into it if only for a brief moment.

which makes an offer i received last week concerning. it has been put forth to me that i could receive a promotion. which, on the human-sense side seems to be a good thing. however, it has the great potential to consume my mind and life and priorities with worldly things, and i don't want to see that happen. the times i have tried to hold both in my hands has only torn me apart, and i don't want to go the wrong way again. needing your prayers for wisdom and guidance please.

and lastly, i am filled with much anger as i think about going to my parents' for christmas and seeing the family. not simply because of all the things that went down last year and this summer with my bulk email. there is a shirt... well, here. let me show you.

this is my favorite shirt in the world. i feel much better about myself when i wear it, and it is extremely comfortable, so it also makes it my favorite piece of lounge-wear as well. yet, the last time it was worn at a family get together this summer, apparently, there was talk of indignation and disrespect. i wouldn't really know because all of the talk was done behind my back. no one talked with me directly. so now i am faced with a dilemma which on the surface seems silly, but runs very deep for me. it would be easy for me to simply leave the shirt at home and avoid the whole issue, but i wouldn't be doing it because it is what i truly feel inside. i would be doing it to kowtow to other's wishes yet again, and playing this character of who "jon" is in their minds, rather than them accepting me for who i am. it is that very reason that i wanted to stop attending church. i was sick of having to pretend to be someone else in order to receive love and acceptance. and i don't want to go back there again. more prayers for more wisdom please. as well as peace. because the anger gets overwhelming the more i think about it.

have a great christmas and a good new year.

much love from the peres clan.


Erin said...

I happen to LOVE it Jon. I would wear it, but would also get 6 kinds of grief from family.

And as your last couple of sentences, I'm working on a post about why Christianity (or Church) makes us into such liars. This is why I'm out...I got f'ing tired of lying all the time.

Merry Christmas to you, too. Have a good one. I would say "Don't rock the boat"; but then I'd be a liar.

Patti Blount said...

Jon-I don't think not wearing the shirt would be that you were giving in to a falseness of being someone you are not. Why can't it be about this-"esteem others better than yourself?" Or, if a freedom you have causes someone else to stumble, than we are to resist that freedom we have. As we mature in the Lord, we begin to have His nature of considering other's feelings first. What's so bad about that?

Nate said...

Jon, For me it is a love thing. I show my love in many different ways to different people. My family, I hug and kiss. My coworkers, I do nice things for. My friends, we invite them to dinner and cook them great meals. For my parents, I respect them. Out of respect for them, I do not do things that would offend them. Such as smoke in their house. Throw a porno in for movie night, or do shots on the kitchen counter. These are all things a I have done in the past. And are part of who I am, but to show my love for my parents. I do not do those things for which it would make them uncomfortable. Nor would I do it when invited to anyone's home for that matter. That is just common courtesy.

As for you being yourself, well "it ain't all about you, all the time."

Put the anger away, and put the love in it's place. Because if you were living the love you are claiming to beleive in. You would not go out of your way to offend another. That is not love.
Love your brother,

jON said...

that's the hard thing. i'm genuinely NOT going out of my way to offend someone. i simply want to share myself, all of my true self, with them. i want them to actually know me as i am in my element. the way the rest of the world knows me. and i want this out of love. for them and me. i don't think its fair to our relationship to have me act like somebody else.

because then we don't really know each other. or more accurately, they don't really know me. i have to be a stranger. everything about me is completely offensive to the evangelical mind. but it is truly who i am. why engage in a fake relationship with people just so they can feel fuzzy about something that doesn't really exist?

i know it sounds like i'm an asshole, but it's kind of a shitty subject. and i'm simply trying to look at it objectively. i get why the scant minority are upset and offended.

and that's not what i want to do.

the shirt just helps me get into my comfortable, honest, no holds barred "me" mode. where i am comfortable and free. i can be myself and share who i am honestly without fear of judgment.

and now having found a state of being where i can be me...

it can be difficult, in the presence of family, to feel like i should have to put on old manacles of bondage. of having to pretend and play the part.

i wish they wanted to simply know me and accept me as i am right now.

the way father does.

however, since they don't, it cuts deep. and NOT wearing that shirt just screams louder that its true.

and i guess right now i just don't want it to be true.

Nate said...

What would you do if someone came in your house and mortally insulted your wife?

Their reponse was, "I was just being me."

The thing about it is Jon, you are asking the people around you to lie about who they are if you wear the shirt. If they do not show offense when they are offended, then the are lying. What would happen if they were true to themselves and said, "Jon, that offends me, and if you choose to wear it, you can not be here. You have to go."

I believe you are being a little hypicritical here. You are saying to us, "I should be able to live as I believe, and should be respected for that." Then if you go into the home of someone that has different beliefs, you should be able to extend the same graciousness to them.

It comes down to hospitality and guest rights to me. It is the job of the host to be accomodating. It is the job of the guest to not impose. If you are going to impose on their beliefs, it would be wrong in my eyes. Now if everyone were coming to your home, they may have to put up with whatever lounge wear you choose, and not impose their views on you in your own home.

To me it is a territorial issue and a grace issue. Not so much as a religious one.

Oh, and get used to the fact that our family does not approve of us. I was the first to live in sin before marriage. The first to get caught drinking while at home. The first to leave empty beer bottles in the house. The first to leave the porn collection behind. The first to marry a non-christian. The first to stop going to church. I could go on, the beeramid?

I was the trailblazer, you had it easey in comparison to the looks and crap I got, and get.

I love my mother and father, and I will honor them in their own home. That also is biblical, if you need any idea of where God stands on the issue.

I love you.

Nate said...

Oh yeah, let God have your rage. It doesn't do you any good. Just let it go.

Valorosa said...

Merry Christmas everyone :-)

One Voice of Many said...

so.... what happened with the shirt?

Jon -- I don't quite follow why a job promotion might be a bad thing. We've turned down opportunities in the past because we wanted to remain "available for the ministry" and we're in QUITE the sink-hole now because of it. Is your perspective and experience different on that availability issue?


Valorosa said...

So after thinking about this for awhile ... I was wondering, why didn't your Dad and Mom take you aside and tell you they didn't like your shirt and they would like you to change it. Why the behind your back stuff?

Just wondering ...