Saturday, July 18, 2009

For There is Nothing Either Good or Bad, but Thinking Makes It So...


Alas, the weekend is halfway over. This is one of those existential "glass is half full/empty" moments for sure. Am I bummed that Saturday has come and gone? Or do I rejoice that I still have a whole, entire Sunday ahead of me?

WARNING: Bob, I'm going to wax religious for a bit. Feel free to skip down exactly 5 paragraphs.

You know what I wish I could do? I wish I could pass away, go "over" to the "other side", sit down with the Lord for a while, and get a really good feel for the reality of what everything is all about. Strip away all of the mystery of this life, see what it's supposed to be about, hear why God is so distant, why They are running things the way They are. Confirm some suspicions, dispel some myths, see exactly and honestly where it all shakes out. See examples of people that actually figured it out in this life, and adjusted their lives accordingly, and conquered as a result. See people that did it right, that understood. People that God looks at and says, "Well done, etc."

Then I would come back here and live more. I hate feeling like I'm living in a spiritual fog. We all seem to have slightly varying ideas about what God is doing, what we are supposed to be doing, how "serious" we are supposed to be about certain things, etc. We all think we have at least some sort of clue. And we spin out our days, in all likelihood fruitlessly... at least compared to how we would have spent our minutes/hours/days if we had a true, clear picture of what God expects.

That's another thing, expectations. Are God's expectations impossibly high, or are they thoroughly realistic? Do they vary from person to person, does He expect different things from different people? Does He expect the same thing(s) from everyone? Do we set ridiculous expectations on ourselves, call them God's, and then live a miserable life by constantly failing to meet them? Does God have much more realistic expectations for us? I know a popular doctrine is that God sets high expectations for all of us knowing we will all fail, just so He can show us we need a savior. I kind of balk at that. That's an excuse to fail, if you ask me. If you tell a runner that finishing (or even actually running in) the race is impossible, then why would he/she put forth any effort to train? "Run the race, but you are guaranteed not only to lose, but you won't even finish. Just accept by faith the race trophy, since Jesus ran and finished for all of us."

Bleh. It's similar to the concept that we are all created hopelessly corrupt, thoroughly evil and lost, and if it wasn't for God's illogical mercy, we would all get the destruction we deserve. There is no sense in that approach to me. I hear that, and I wonder why on earth God would create billions of worthless, hopeless people and then "save" some of them if they believe the correct ideas, regardless of how they live, simply to show how great His love is. I think it's more likely that He created each of us as wonderful, worthwhile people full of eternal potential, but put us here in a separated environment that encourages "doing it our own selves", to show us all first-hand the consequences of not dancing through life with God. It's a mess. He loves us, and wants to teach us in the best, most thorough and effective way possible the benefit of living with Him instead of against/apart from Him. We all have to taste both sides; then that knowledge will be eternal, knowledge you can make a solid, clear choice based on. Book knowledge is like tissue paper... you can blow your nose with it, but don't expect it to bear up under any sort of weight.

Am I right or wrong? I have no clue! That's why I think it would rock to have a sit-down with Jesus, where I could see/talk to Him, lay it on the table and see what's what. Maybe the first explanation is right. Maybe my ideas are closer. Maybe the truth is something I have never thought of before. But I think what we believe about these things directly impacts the way we live each day - and if I know anything for sure, it's that God is interested in how we live each day, not just in what we say we believe. The whole Bible seems to be God's reactions, in one form or another, to the way certain people behave. Things they do, and God's response, good or bad.

Man, I was just going to hit this briefly... here I am, 5 paragraphs later, and I feel like I'm just getting started. Sorry Bob. I'll shift gears a bit and move on...

Today was pretty mellow. Got plenty of sleep, hit the mall twice, got a little work done, and played me some Half-Life 2. Love the bridge level... there's a giant railroad bridge that stretches over water, and you need to traverse it (back and forth) using the underside only, the girders. The wind is howling, the bridge shakes occasionally from trains going overhead, and there are precarious obstacles, soldiers and hovering gunships trying to kill you. I wish I could explain it better. Hey, hold on, let me go see if I can find a video of it on YouTube, brb...

Meh, this is the best I could find, it's not very good. If you want to watch it, skip to the 3:30 mark and watch for about 60 to 90 seconds, that's all... no need to watch any more than that, unless you're ridiculously bored....



Anyway, it's a very tense level. The reason you can't just cross the top of the bridge is that it's blocked by a force field (how convenient!) and the place to turn it off is at the far end of the bridge. So you cross the girders, get to the control room, shut off the force field, cross back to the other side on the girders, get your buggy (which you left behind) and then drive across the bridge up top. I know, silly... still, doesn't really matter to me why it has to be done, because it's so fun to do it.

See, I spend time playing a "fun" game like that... do you think I would be playing that game if I was able to have that sit-down with the Lord on the "other side", and then come back here to live again? Would playing games be the farthest thing from my mind if that happened? Or would playing games still be a perfectly fine and acceptable way to fart away the afternoon? How different would my life/daily routine be if I could do that?

Sorry, Bob... had a theological aftershock there... it has passed...

Better hit up a Funny Picture... actually, it's a newspaper clipping, but it's funny, I think.....


Well, I might as well try to keep the humor rolling. I heard this next clip years ago, and for some reason I just thought of it, so I tracked it down on YouTube. It's really just audio only, but this guy put a still shot of a car as video filler, so he could turn it into something YouTube would accept. Give it a listen, I guarantee you'll laugh...



Man, I love that. So hilarious. I gotta tag that so I can save it in my faves.

Looks like a standard, traditional Sunday lined up for tomorrow. Which means you can probably pull up any post-Sunday thread I have up here and it will be similar. Maybe I'll try to do something wacky so I'll have something worth reading to write about tomorrow. We shall see...

I think I'll pass on the movie quotes tonight, beyond the default 'title/conclusion' quotes, if that's OK with you all. I'm just not feelin' it, sorry. I'll pick it back up tomorrow... until then, remember, to be honest, as this world goes, is to be one man picked out of ten thousand.

8 comments:

Avari said...

Title = Hamlet

John. said...

I like the religious bit, I actually have no interest in sitting down with God at this point and hashing out certain things. I guess I just have a sort of respect for faith, afterall what fun would it be without trial, error, resistance and developing a closer bond with God through that. I guess I figure all the answers will come in its time.

As far as what God wants us to do I can only speak for my view which is basically life is about the parable of the talents. Most people are given many talents, some are given few, but none of that really matters. You make a choice at some point to take whatever God has given you and develop it. Through developing your talent you encounter resistance and you either lean on yourself or you lean on God enhancing your relationship. Never quit and you will be ok.

I would have no problem coming before God because I feel I am giving everything each day in order to increase what He has given to me, and grow in Him through the trials brought on by my path. At the end of the day if He says I made the wrong choice Im fine with that because I looked at my options and proactively chose a path rather than having it choose me. And never gave up.

Maybe that's wrong, but I sleep fine at night with that logic so it works for me (:

Avari said...

Ending Hamlet

Avari said...

Omg, hahah too bad there wasn't a video of that audio Dave! That is soooo funny hahaha. Hit him with a bible. 4 foot nothin. Hahaha. Dude old women rock! hahaha.

ok, so, I'll give you my feel on the religious bit. I feel like there are a set amount of rules that everyone is required to follow no matter what, like the ten commandments. And then after that it depends on the calling God has placed on your life. Obviously the ones he chooses to be in his elite group will not be able to do the same things as those who are not called to be elite or are in some other various category.
May if you ask him these questions long enough, He will reveal to you the answers. It couldn't hurt.

Avari said...

Oh! I forgot to say, I absolutely love your top picture. Great Picture.

David Wagner said...

Great input John and Shannon, thanks for taking the time to write that.

10 points for Shannon, for the two Hamlet quotes.

By the way, I snagged 9 points for the 3 unidentified quotes on the July 16 post(s). "God didn't do this, we did!" was from I Am Legend. "And now for something completely different" is from the Monty Python movie of the same name (thought that would be easy points for someone...) and "From up here, you all look like little ants" is from Bug's Life.

Speed Round on the July 17th quotes is in play! Still several left, go for it, Bob! Time to play catch-up on Havah!

Paula Titus said...

Great thoughts, thanks for sharing. What you said about running a race is interesting because I often think of my spiritual life in that way. I don't think God expects us to fail, but rather to realize we can be successful if we don't give up. Of course, there's going to be times when we feel like throwing in the towel - so we look to Christ for that second wind and stop pretending like we can do it ourselves.

We have to keep pushing forward, even after those times when we fall way behind. Wouldn't you agree that finishing well just means you kept running until you reached the finish line? For me, this means commitment and focusing on the goal, taking the hurdles one at a time and when I fall flat - getting up and starting over. If we truly believe the "prize" is worthy, why would anyone do less?

Very cute "funny picture" btw. :)

Abbie said...

just a small comment... I think that God sets realistic expectations and goals, and they are not going to be the same for everyone. I've heard that if we do what God asked us to do that day, we are perfect for that day, and I've also heard that God knows what we can handle and only gives us tasks to do that we can succeed in, with His help for the most part. I guess I'm under the impression that God wants us to realize that we can only survive if we do 1) what he wants and 2) do it with his guidance and help. We really are nothing and we were put here for his pleasure... Thats the hardest part for me, to realize that i'm just here because he wanted me here and I really am not as special as my conceited heart wants to think I am... but, every day holds new lessons.

I finally watched that recording... hysterical... but doesn't seem realistic... how on earth could he read that her bible was an NIV?? or rather, as he put it, an "NVI" :) haha, but it was funny, thanks for that laugh...