I was on the Atheistically Speaking podcast, if you want to listen click below.
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. 🙂
To be perfectly honest, I don’t know what Christ centered Universalism what it implies, universalism, oneness/connectedness to God by way of Christ. It’s a new thing I’m looking into because most of the times I believe in a big God, a God who can handle all my questions (and I have plenty!) and my doubts and my concerns and my realistic/pessimistic outlook on life that I have, I am optimistic in the things God is doing and the good things people are doing in the name of God…which is why I am on this new road of learning.
I don’t know anyone who believes in Christ centered Universalism, I will be asking people I know and trust about their thoughts about this belief system. There are plenty of resources online and I’m sure I will find books that cover this topic. I do want to approach this from an academic/spiritual perspective, because while textbooks speak to the mind and to some degree the heart, people…I like engaging people in questions because I am very much a questioner, it’s part of who I am, Y is my favorite letter…okay maybe not.
So here’s to the new road of learning I’m on!
Ever since my first days as a friend to someone, the I-like-you-do-you-like-me days that were so basic and so simple for starting friendships, in the days when politics and religion weren’t discussed except for the occasional I-love-Jesus-and-God that came from what I learned with my head (prior to faith in my heart and my life) from my parents…
I was deemed the quiet guy.
Except I wasn’t truly quiet, my mind, even then, was busy thinking and thinking, and, you guessed it, thinking some more. For you see I wasn’t the quiet guy…I was constantly thinking introspectively.
Here’s a snapshot from my youth as to how my introspective worked.
At Safety Town, the program some cities have that help teach kids to “look both ways before you cross the street” and “call 911 if there’s a fire” and other necessities, there was a fireman who talked about what he did and then posed questions, but that was followed up with a question to us:
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Despite a large classroom, we were all given room to answer this question that is so often asked of youth. When it got to me I had a much thought out answer to give to my peers, to my teacher, to the fireman even;
I want to be a burglar.
*my heart pounding through my chest, face getting red from the responses, albeit quiet, rang in my ears*
Why do you want to be a burglar when you grow up? My teacher kindly and suspiciously spoke.
I want to be a burglar because he has a lot of things. A burglar also steals in the nighttime and he’s there for his family in the daytime I responded.
Even then at the age of five I saw the underpinnings to the problems that existed in my family. Even then I saw a father who was too busy with work and put his first fruits into that leaving us his family with proverbial apple cores and orange peels. Despite the hectic lifestyle of my father’s overworking there seemed to be times where he…we had a hard time making ends meet. I’m the oldest kid of 4, the only son, and I still got hand-me-downs from other families who got a whiff of the reality of our situation.
So responding that I wanted to be a burglar never seemed like the wrong answer, even now I don’t think I could have given a better answer to this difficult question that gets asked, but the caveat of it comes wrapped in the fact that sometimes the right answer is a hard and bitter truth to swallow. If I could travel back in time to that moment, I would give my younger self a hug, because I needed one that day for being that honest with myself and with others.
That’s how my five year old self internalized and processed things.
Since then I am still the one deemed the quiet guy which I tend to interject that I am introspective, not quiet, I process answers to questions longer than some people. I am choice with my words like a good cigar or a vintage wine, give me time and I will give you an answer that has come from much thinking and mulling about in my brain, and in some ways, my heart as well.
One of the caveats for me however is that some things need to be thought of quickly, and honestly I rather give the right answer in a time frame longer than the first answer that may seem plausible. An example of this happened rather recently when one of my youth ministry students (I’m no longer goal oriented to burglary, but youth ministry) asked me a “what do you think about _________” question and I got back to him…3 months later! Sure the question wasn’t demanding of an answer right off the cuff, but I needed time to introspectively come up with an answer.
Another caveat is that some times when I’m with someone I’m getting to know better of the opposite sex I get perceived in one of two ways; the funny guy who is never serious or the serious guy who is never funny. I am not both, but I do possess the ability to switch gears as needed be, and not in a mental “okay it’s time to be serious” fashion, but I am to give my all to seriousness or being funny as needed be in an appropriate manner.
I guess being introspective has helped me be an ideal type b youth minister; while I may never draw the crowds (nor would I want to) of many youth as an extroverted high-fiveing hand-shaking knuckle-bumping leader of youth, I know how to shape a community based on non-coercive authenticity and love, I know how to lead small[er] groups, I know how to promote and carry out social justice and I know how to actively listen and help develop discipleship leaders.
It is my desire to get into youth ministry full time eventually, currently I am involved with one of my church’s high school youth group and I help co-lead a small group. On my own however I am brainstorming and thinking out a plan for an after school Bible study with some of the students, which I will run by the leaders as I get closer to expressing my intentions for outside of the regular times of our get-togethers with the high school youth of our church.
I believe that God uses the ordinary to do extraordinary things, and I see it coming together in my life and my calling of youth ministry and other things. So if you the reader and I the writer ever meet, keep what I said in mind, because I’m not a quiet guy…I’m just introspective! 🙂