CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith from a Place of Winter for the Years of Winter… ©
HEALING THE WOUNDS OF SELF-HELP 7-14-17
It was my own fault. I know better than to comment on anything on Facebook. On top of that, I’m in a year-long theological fast. I’m trying to see if I can be a real Christian instead of a just professional Christian. I can’t think theologically for a year.
But this person on FB really swerved off of grace and into salvation by entitlement. I pointed that out. Not very well. Facebook is not designed for long and intricate and nuanced discussions of serious issues. She misunderstood what I tried to say. Her feelings were hurt. She was disappointed in me. She thinks I’m a bad person now.
Upsetting her would not worry me as much if she were a mean person, but she’s well-intentioned and sensitive and self-absorbed and fragile. She is very much into self-help. I describe her thus not as criticism but just as reality. She has good reasons for being as she is.
The problem arose because I didn’t know it was she who made the Facebook post. I did not see her name. I thought it was one of those general pop psychology posts. If I had known it was she I would have kept my mouth, or my typing fingers, shut.
Of course, that is the real problem; I just couldn’t keep my discontents to myself.
Now this imbroglio has bothered me all day. The equanimity I have tried to achieve through my theology fast is all gone. I know that trying to continue to explain will only make it worse. She needs to cling to her entitlement grace as a drowning man clings to wreckage. It would be stupid and destructive and non-graceful of me to try to pull that away from her. But it really bothers me when… it makes me so mad… don’t I deserve a little understanding, too… it makes me so mad… round and round… it especially makes me mad when I know it’s my own fault.
I think it was psychologist Bill Schutz I heard tell of how he went unwillingly to a party. He didn’t want to be there. He went only out of obligation. He had lots of more important things to do. It was really boring. And then on top of that, he felt a sore throat coming on. So he made a decision. “I’ll stay only fifteen more minutes, and then I’ll go home and take something for this cold.”
A strange thing happened. Immediately he felt relieved. He started to enjoy the party. His sore throat went away. He really appreciated the other folks there. He was the last one to leave.
No, he didn’t use those fifteen minutes to get drunk! He made a decision. It wasn’t momentous. It was simple. But it put him back into control of his own life. He compromised with himself.
So I shall make a decision. Making a decision gives you control, remember. I’ll compromise with myself. I won’t try to make my Facebook friend understand, I’ll just do something that satisfies me…
I’ll write a book I always wanted to write, that’s my decision. It’s called Healing the Wounds of Self Help. It will be a self-help book. But, I guess that’s oxymoronic and ridiculous, isn’t it? But I love that title. I really want to use it, especially before some title-stealer uses it. Okay, I’ll write it as a novel. But I’m too old to write novels now. I’ll die before I’d ever get it finished, and nobody would publish it anyway. [There is a lot of ageism in publishing.] Even if they did publish it, they’d want me to do the marketing, and I’m too old and uninterested for that. So I’ll write it as a short story. No, I have no reputation with magazine editors; no one would print it. Well, I guess I’ll just have to do it as a blog post…
Yes, I know I promised to stop writing for a year while I try to be a real Christian instead of just a professional Xn. But this isn’t very professional, is it?
The “place of winter” mentioned in the title line is Iron Mountain, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula [The UP], where life is defined by winter even in the summer! [This phrase is explained in the post for March 20, 2014.] We no longer live in the land of perpetual winter, but I am in the winter of my years, so I think it’s okay to use that phrase. I don’t know why I put that © on; it’s hardly necessary.
I tweet as yooper1721.
Katie Kennedy is the rising star in YA lit. [She is also our daughter.] She is published by Bloomsbury, which also publishes lesser authors, like JK Rowling. Her new book, What Goes Up, comes out July 18. It’s published in paper, audio, and electronic, and available for pre-order even now, from B&N, Amazon, Powell’s, etc.