everything belongs

There’s nothing like having everything you cling so tightly to challenged…and then cracked…and then slowly eroded away.  Admittedly, “everything” might be a bit of an overstatement, but as with all “life changing experiences” the fallout is never as evident in the beginning as it is decades down the road.  Seemingly meaningless events, words, and images have a way of psychologically snowballing, and I think an open-minded perusal of Everything Belongs by Richard Rohr could be a catalyst.

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I read a book before getting married called His Brain, Her Brain.  According to Amazon, there are 7 left at the moment, and if you are lucky enough to snag one, you will not regret it.  It basically puts together (in potentially offensive means…not from the book, but from people’s ego driven reactions) the biological differences that separate men and women, but that consequently, make us harmonious relationally…if we are smart enough to recognize them.  Being a Christian, I found a great deal of intrigue in the idea that since woman came out of man, man is not complete, and neither is woman.  Made in God’s image, yes, but two parts of the whole (don’t worry, I’ll get back to Everything Belongs).  I am very personally guilty of elevating certain characteristics over others.  I have frequently boasted about my ability, when necessary, to be the disciplinarian, to say what needs to be said, deal out punishment, and do so effectively.  No sad puppy eyes making my heart melt…execute the mission like a soldier.  Or the fact that I tend to be the quiet one who observes, but then when I talk, it’s usually something deep (not my words).  Why feel the pressure to fill the air with words, like silence is a disease that must be kept at bay with hourly, minutely doses of small talk?  Aaaaaaaand back to the book…

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I always felt, and still feel, a tension.  The tension of opposites.  Now, if the idea is to end up at harmony, in the middle, you have to stop defending the extremes.  You must encourage the extremes…not because the opposite verifies the other, but because they are the same.  (I know, I know…sounds weird…I’m still in the ‘milk’ phase of digesting this Sirloin steak of a book)  I was baffled by how easy it was for the Japanese people I talked to to accept Christianity…and Jesus…and Buddha…and Shinto.  I CANNOT wrap my mind around the Eastern mindset.  But Rohr presents the idea that Jesus came into a uniquely inspired mindset and sociology: a melting pot of Eastern and Western minds; Romans and Greeks.  And while my Western mind needs to define, categorize and evaluate, the Eastern mind, from my understanding, can make peace with the tension.  My Western mind, for example, needs to take shots at the chit-chat and emotional overload of the feminine mind (I know, even the description sounds demeaning…) and justify the efficient, scientific precision of my male comrades (…but to my defense, why is efficiency hailed as a virtue?  Especially when dealing with human beings).   Jesus was a brain-frying, stereotype-uprooting, counter-cultural hornet’s nest of opposites.

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If I have a point in all this, it is that we are missing the point.  I could write for days about identity, personality, religion, superficial motivations and a myriad of “-isms”, “-ists” and “-ology”s, but the truth is, somewhere in the middle is a balance only an agenda-free mind can find.  I didn’t give specifics about this book because I think I would inherently twist them.  This post is simply the fruit of a seed this book planted in my psyche, which allows me to unabatedly say that I am growing and have grown.  It is nearly impossible to navigate this swamp of information we have available, but let me assure you, this book is growth.

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