Spiral Dynamics Blues (and Yellow and Green and Orange and Red and Purple and Beige)

I don’t buy into Spiral Dynamics completely, but it has helped me see the world in a different way, a way that makes sense as to how people think, act, and interact with one another…

With that being said, here goes something.

***

I am on eHarmony, I mentioned this in my previous post, and things are going swimmingly with connecting with women, finding out about them and their interests and their passions, but then I propose my 3 questions in the dig deeper portion of the guided conversation set up by eHarmony.
I will be gracious in this, I am coming in contact with a lot of women who haven’t given much thought to my questions in an abstract way. Sure some responses I have received pertaining to the LGBTQ Community and God, Heaven, The Devil, Hell are very concrete in nature, but I have grace for them because I once was there as well.

It’s not that my life’s journey is somehow or somewhere better than theirs, I’m just coming from a looking back in hindsight perspective.

Still, I carry on. My roommate thinks I rush into these questions too quickly, that I should ease up a bit before going for the jugular heart of the matter. Maybe I do ask these questions too soon, but frankly I would rather know the answers to these questions, whether in concrete terms or even abstract ones, now then cultivate a possible relationship with someone only to ask these questions at a later time to only, well let’s be frank, cause a rift in our relationship.
I rather take my chances and put my cards face up on the table.

This hasn’t been too hard or too easy, I still feel like I’m baring my soul when I ask these questions to the women I engage with on eHarmony every single time, and I have to sit beside myself after I put myself out there because I don’t like feeling vulnerable; whether that’s something I do to myself or being put in a position of vulnerability.

But life and its wonders and its magical moments, I’m making headway! I know that when it comes to my questions I am not alone, and yet (and this is where the Spiral Dynamics part kicks in) I feel so alone sometimes / a lot of the time because of these things that are of utmost importance to me. I might seem very black and white about these issues, but I think know I want to connect with someone, someone I can evolve with and love, and having someone who’s more of the green yellow turquoise variant will make things easier for us as individuals as well as a couple.

***

Yet I realize there are issues that arise from Spiral Dynamics, it’s formulaic and life doesn’t always go by the rules, this categorizes people, creates/fosters paradigms of people…but still, there is something to how people attract similar minded and hearted people, and I realize in my life that there are people I gravitate to and people who gravitate to me simply because of our commonalities.

Which is why I still press on, why I still ask questions that make or break, still waiver a bit before hitting send but I hit it anyway. I want to believe it will pay off, whether here in eHarmonyland or offline!

Onward and upward,
Nathanael

2 nonnegotiables and a but! Adventures in eHarmony

2 nonnegotiables and a but! What a fun title, eh?

Well as I re-re-renter the dating world (look at me, I’m on EHarmony!) I have self-examined myself as to my nonnegotionables, and here goes something…

***

My first nonnegotiable is that I cannot for the life of me see myself in a relationship with someone who has a firm “I think / I believe” worldview when it comes to matters of an afterlife hell, the devil, demons, and everything in between. It seems to me that when people start telling people they’re going to hell or a particular type of people are going to hell, they’re claiming the moral high ground, that they and their tribe alone are possessors of this capital T Truth.
Furthermore it seems that these same individuals say it matter-of-factly, and that strikes me as very disturbing. It also smatters of elitism, that “we” are in while “you” are out, and this out has implications that are long lasting. I have included “what are your thoughts about God, Heaven, The Devil, Hell?” in my dig deeper questions as a result.

My second nonnegotiable is that I want to find an individual whom is an ally of the LGBTQ Community. The thing is, I am, it’s what God has put on my heart and mind, and I am outspoken about the rights of my LGBTQ brothers and sisters, it is a part of me. With that being said, I want to continue in this with a my significant other and to be with someone who doesn’t want to or is opposed to the idea isn’t someone I want to be with. It’s why “what are your thoughts of the LGBTQ community?” is one of my dig deeper questions.

and yet, here’s the clincher, the “but” of my narrative…

If there is an individual who, like me, holds an open-handed posture towards faith, an individual who might include “well I could be wrong” in what they have to say or similar in what they have to say about these matters, I am more than willing to give them a chance.
As Paul Tillich said, “the opposite of faith isn’t doubt, it’s certainty” and it’s from this that I am okay with wrestling matters of faith, theology, thoughts about the LGBTQ Community, and everything in-between. God knows I have done so in the past, and I still do in the present.

So these are the things that I put out there on eHarmony, which is “too soon and too quick” according to my bro, but they are of utmost importance to my life and everything else is secondary.

~Nathanael~

Praying with my eyes open; a return to finding a girlfriend

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Genesis 2:18 – The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

Queen – Somebody to Love – “Oh Lord, Ooh somebody, ooh somebody, Can anybody find me somebody to love?”

    I find myself constantly in prayer and as of late I’ve realized I’ve stopped praying for a certain someone…a certain woman…in my life. I don’t know why I’ve stopped praying for a girlfriend in my life, I really don’t, and the pangs of singleness are flaring up again. It’s not that I am exposed to a lot of couples who are young (of age, or at heart) and in love, it’s just I realize that with all my passions and aspirations and desires are carried out alone. It’s not to say that I want a girl that will do exactly what I do, but rather I want to share my world with and I want to partake in her world as well.

I have learned…and have relearned multiple times…that communication is vital in a relationship, and not just mere “hey how’s it going, fine and you?” shallow-end-of-the-conversation-pool talk, but the mundane as well as the hard and difficult but real / authentic talks that need to be had. I realize that I have no problems with getting there with others, albeit sometimes I put more out there at a quicker rate than what people are accustomed to but here’s why.
In my first 22-23 years of living, I was a calculated and serial bullshitter! I presented myself in a way that I thought was socially acceptable, a nice and tidy outside might reflect a nice and tidy inside, right? Well, it wasn’t me, and yet I thought to myself constantly if anyone finds out who you really are and what you’ve been through, they’ll stop liking you and even worse, stop loving you. It wasn’t true, but when you hear something often enough or repeat something to yourself no matter how false it is it will be true to you.
So I spun this lie in my head until my world evolved…my comfort zone expanded…and I found out that even when I put myself out there, warts and all, people still liked me and loved me. I haven’t looked back ever since. And while some relationships among some individuals I entrusted my story with have gone belly up over the years, I don’t regret the brief friendships that were based on transparency and honesty to the other person, and so I continue to conduct my life in this way; not holding back, not bullshitting, being transparent, and being the best damn version of myself. I and like the rest of humanity is evolving. And so often we are the force[s] that move us forward or keep us *here* wherever *here* might be. Not saying that *here* is not a good place, but if you find that it is and you want to move forward, it’s time for you to move forward…and if you need it, you have permission to move forward.

***

With that being said, here’s my transparency; I have no freaking clue of how to jump back into dating / I don’t know what my “scene” is when it comes to dating. Real talk, apart from work, my social interactions either occur at bars or in church. I am prone to overanalyze and overthink things…everything…and so I weigh out what either place has to offer, the types of women, and I even check my prowess.
I am not an alpha male, I don’t ooze testosterone and type a-ness, I don’t reek of Brut and pheromones…I’m an assertive type b introspective ambivert who is better at active listening than talking, good at making out, loves God and craft beer, loves word-related games of all sorts, likes to workout but doesn’t regularly hit the gym, has Zach Galifianakis as a spirit animal, tie-dye and weird socks wearing, wish-I-could-wear-shorts-all-year-round kind of guy!

I know this FULL well about myself, and I love myself for it; I thank God for these traits and nuances about me on the daily, but I also realize that too often I am stuck in my head. The insecurities of being liked and being loved sometimes crash over me like a tidal wave; I am the beach and I am pounded by a seemingly unending barrage of doubt and helplessness at times.
It’s because of getting stuck in my head that I don’t venture one iota of courage when it comes to the opposite sex…and therein lies the basis of my singleness. I have dated before, hell I was also engaged as well, but it seems like with every passing day / week / month / year I grow a bit more frustrated. It’s why I am returning to praying with my eyes open, because it connects me with something deeper than myself. It’s not a shot in the dark or a hail Mary play, but as a means to be verbally transparent before God. God already knows me, but remember what I said about communication? Yep, same thing applies here.

So that’s where I am returning to. I may have walked away from this practice for a while, but I know I will get there. It might be cliche to say, but so be it, it’s equally about the destination inasmuch the journey. God bless this journey I am about to embark on, who knows where it will lead, but I am ready and I am willing to go where it leads.

~Nathanael~

It’s not a relationship if there’s no communication – 5/28

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In any relationship, you better put out.

Put out what you want out of it that is (what did you think I meant? ;-))
Despite being funny and perhaps slightly provocative, there’s a lot of truth what I wrote. It is only little kids who can start up friendships on a truly organic level; he has crayons/Legos/Hot Wheels, I do too, let’s share, we’re now friends…But as you get older, you start to realize that friendship isn’t as easy as it once was.

Differences don’t make for a deal breaker in friendships, diversity in all shapes and forms is the spice of life, and it makes for better relationships because it gives you the room to hear from someone who’s on a different path in life. In my own life I recognize that the differences I have between friends has aided to my broader thinking about the world at large.
If there’s truth to Thomas Aquinas’ statement of beware the man of one book in the same turn beware the man of one type of friend; because anything that is outside of that group of individuals norm (self-imposed or not) is going to be mere speculation.

Another facet of relationships is what you won’t do. I don’t think that on our minds from the get-go, but over time we might unless we suppress/”put up” with the foibles and faults with our friends, but there’s a line to that, and if it becomes detrimental and unhealthy for you it might be a good time to call it quits. Now what constitutes a deal breaker? I truly think it varies relationship to relationship, but there are some common threads; you’re taken advantage of, you’re put down, you’re physically/emotionally/spiritually/etc abused, you feel worse after hanging out with that individual than better, you’re not given room to speak, you’re not given room to BE who you truly are…these are some symptoms that the relationship isn’t a healthy one. If you have the audacity to say something along the lines “but I can’t stop being friends with that person, they’re my friend!” Well, here’s one for you, would a REAL friend treat you like dog shit? Would a friend really make you compromise your integrity and character? If it’s not healthy, there’s no point being around that person at all.

Put out what you can in any relationship in a healthy manner, if one relationship doesn’t work out, there will be opportunities for others. 🙂

~Nathanael~

//

30/30 – It could have been worse

It could have been worse

Life isn’t always what it seems and lately I’ve been in a bit of a funk where I’m dwelling on what was and is no longer. If I am honest with myself and my current circumstances I seem to be pining over the past and am not satisfied with my current lot in life.

Things are getting better for me, they truly are, but I think about love and how much I want to give love and be loved…

It could have been worse, had I not been in a place where love was expressed I might not know how to appreciate it or truly live it out. Love hurts as much as it heals, and when you truly love someone you recognize that it will come to an end, not because one’s perspective should be looking at the possible end at the beginning, but if you give your love to someone and they give their love back, someone’s going to pass away and the physical day-to-day in-good-times-and-bad kind of love will come to an end.

Yet I realize that I want that again, even though there is hurting that comes with the healing, I am ready and so I look for my June, I pray for her with my eyes open.

Love is an active thing, it must be acted out in a tangible dynamic way, love cannot coast, either it is acted upon or it is not, there’s no middle ground where it just gets by on its own.

So tragically I do miss loving and being loved, but I am ready for love the next time it presents itself.

~Nathanael~

22/31 – a dark/turbulent moment in my life

A dark/turbulent moment in my life

It hasn’t defined me nor has it made me turned off to ever having a relationship with a girl again, but one of the darkest and most turbulent times in my life came in the season where my fiancee called it quits on “us”.

I don’t like airing my dirty laundry, especially online, but the time after she broke up with me I was in a mental haze, and I second guessed everything that once was us, I felt inadequate as a man, and not only did I lose my then love that day she closed the door on “us” I lost my best friend and to be honest I haven’t had a best friend quite like her since. I do have good friends, but I put it on the line with her with what was going on in my life and as one of my favorite songs by the Australian band Empire of the Sun says in their song We are the People;
“I know everything about you,
you know everything about me,
we know everything about us”
I lost that kind of dynamic in my life, and for what it’s worth I’ve been looking for that ever since. I don’t look for someone to love in a frivolous manner, I’ve found love before and I don’t want to put my heart out carelessly because it is my heart after all. I am guarded, not too guarded but I’ve been wounded in this way before and I don’t want it to happen again.

Love is one of the best and worst things one can ever do; best because you can experience true intimacy with someone else, but it can be the worst when the one you love suffers in a way that you can’t do a damn thing about it, or when it comes to an end by your loved ones passing…Love hurts like hell when all the pieces fall, but love is the best thing and makes everything seem balanced and worth living for.

I will love again, I am looking and praying with my eyes open for my June, these things just take time and it is worth every second.

~Nathanael~

Some things I’ve been thinking about (do different versions of the Bible truly make a difference?)

*This is the majority of a letter I recently wrote to some individuals I met at a Bible study that is in support of followers of Christ reading the KJV only, because they believe it is the most accurate version.*

***

Upon my comparing of verses in the KJV and NIV that were mentioned the other day (John 9:6, 1 Corinthians 12:7, 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, Daniel 7:10, Revelation 20:11, Genesis 1:2, Jeremiah 23:1-2, Matthew 7:22, Matthew 13:1-23, Mark 4:1-34 and Revelation 11:1-2) I certainly agree that there is a difference in language used as well as language omitted. But as I thought about the verses given to me to cross examine, despite the differences surrounding language, none of the verses seemed a deal breaker to my faith.

For instance, John 9:6 is an account of Jesus healing a blind man. In the KJV it says clay, in the NIV it says mud. Regardless of what substance was made by Jesus which was used to heal the blind man doesn’t cause my faith to waiver. A blind man’s sight was restored to him, and whatever substance used to heal him isn’t something to get hung up on. Focusing on whether it was clay or mud instead of the miracle performed is in my opinion missing the point.
With that being said I believe God is big enough to speak to our hearts and minds regardless of what version of the Bible we choose to use.

When it comes to baptism, I view it as an outward symbol much akin to Communion. Baptism doesn’t save you, believing in whom Jesus is and what he did and what he’s still doing, that is what saves you. Personally I don’t like using the word “saved” in regards to my journey of following Christ, as it seems to have the connotation that the saving work of Christ is isolated to one particular moment in our spiritual journey.
I believe that the saving God has to offer us is continuous, that God saved me yesterday and he will save me yet again today. To reduce the saving as a onetime occurrence seems theistic in nature and makes God out to be small, cruel, and actually apart from his creation. God offered up “it is good” again and again throughout the creation narrative, and I believe that he hasn’t retracted this statement despite how horrible we humans treat one another as well as this Earth he has given us.

Another thing about pertaining to baptism, this symbol shouldn’t create a sense of elitism. There was a similar issue in the early church in which there was a division caused male Jewish Christians to consider themselves better than Greek Christians, as they were circumcised while the Greeks were not. Yet Acts 15:7-11 reveals that Peter spoke up in regards to this matter to which he said in verse 11; “But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they” (KJV). It was through the grace, not the external symbolism of circumcision that merited them salvation.

In regards to Communion, I’m in support of an open table, as my pastor Jeffry says; “It’s a table set by God and not by us.” God already knows the hearts and minds of those who come to partake in Communion. Who am I to judge or state that “those people” cannot have Communion? Besides stating “those people” whoever “they” might be fosters the unhealthy paradigm of “us versus them” and I don’t like it, I rather tear down walls than build more or enforce ones that sadly still exist.

When it comes to sharing the Gospel message, I’m in support of evangelization but by no means conversion. The language and history surrounding conversion and converting strikes me as hostile, as if the reason someone chooses to follow Christ is because the ultimatum is some form of punishment. One should choose to become a follower of Christ on their own accord, and not based on the basis of converting or conversion. Some things I recognize as I share the Gospel message with those my age and those in the high school youth ministry I’m a part of is that it all starts with relationship; in order to build the bridges that may lead to someone becoming a follower of Christ, it starts with getting to know the person and being their friend for being a friend’s sake, if it is with the motive to make them into a follower of Christ, one’s plans might backfire and the true motive of that so-called “relationship” may be exposed for what it truly is and it’s a damn shame.

My generation and those slightly younger than me may be deemed postmodern and that truth isn’t spelled with a capital T, that is, “what’s true for you is true for you, what’s true for me is true for me, because truth is relative based on the individual only.” While it might seem like this is a characteristic of living in postmodern times, I recognize that an important part of my generation’s DNA is the importance of story/personal narrative. God certainly uses our stories (testimonies) because they point to his story. Because of the importance of story I definitely see the hand of God using this to help individuals like me reach out to those who are hungering for spiritual food, desiring to know God and to find out what truth and life is really all about.

When it comes to following Christ it is by far the most difficult thing I have ever done in my life, whoever said that it was easy is a liar! I like how Dietrich Bonhoeffer said it; “when God calls a man, he bids him come and die.”
The death Bonhoeffer spoke of is a dying to self and that which was us prior to Jesus moving into the neighborhood. As we grow closer to God as less of us remains and more of him comes to the surface and stays. Following Christ, living unto him and dying to ourselves may cost us everything including our lives but as it says in Matthew 10:39; “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it” (KJV).

With all that being said, the God presented to me the other day is too small, manageable, contained and tame for my liking. May God continually meet you and the other individuals on your spiritual journeys as I’m sure he’ll meet me on mine. For it is as much about the journey as it is about the destination.

All is Grace,
Nathanael