A prayer

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/08/William_Orpen_Mrs_Oscar_Lewisohn.jpgI have no motivation. Today, I shall play on the blog a bit, read a bit, watch telly. I have hardly touched the piano for months. When it is sunny I go for a walk. There are Quaker meetings, and I have to get food in now and then. There is a world outside, and I am dissatisfied, but find no link between my possible actions and getting anything I might want. I might take a photograph of those swallows. In this mood, I consider a prayer.

Dearest Pink, Ark, Violet and Clare:

This is my prayer for each of you. I pray that you “come to Jesus.” I pray that where you have needs, God would meet them. When you hunger, you would be filled. When you are lonely, that you would find sweet friendship. When you stumble, that someone strong would be there to pick you up. When you are hurt, you would be healed. I wish you well. All of you.

The Pink Agendist already has these things, apart from the Jesus bit. I have not, but my initial reaction was anger: I am Christian. Then I thought, I want to communicate with Katy, whose prayer it is. I imagine her secure in her family and church community, secure in her understanding of God- that she opposes equal marriage so stridently because of Christian tradition and the usual interpretation of those Biblical verses, means I can categorise her as that type of Christian. She may be concerned at the state of the world, or reassured that God is working his purpose out.

I want to communicate, and imagine myself completely incapable of getting through to her. There she is,

quiet in conscience
calm in her right
confident her ways are best

I want to quote the call of Isaiah:

Make the mind of this people dull,
    and stop their ears,
    and shut their eyes,
so that they may not look with their eyes,
    and listen with their ears,
and comprehend with their minds,
    and turn and be healed.’

That’s you, that is, I would tell her. Would that shock her into seeing the world as I do, or would she quote it back at me?

I am not sure, and so I want everyone to see the world as I do, that I might be reassured. The mind imposes this framework which it calls ‘reality’. That arbitrary framework has a tendency to be quite independent of what your senses report. Perhaps knowledge is an unending adventure at the edge of uncertainty, and realising one does not know is the way to greater knowledge and all that, and I am pretty sure adopting Katy’s view of truth would be a step backwards.

Hm. No motivation, and something I passionately want, with no chance of getting it and no value in getting it if I did.

11 thoughts on “A prayer

  1. I approach Katy from a different perspective. I think it’s possible and human to not always get it perfectly right; and in some cases people will never agree on what’s perfectly right. I’ve gotten it wrong (many, many times) and I don’t think that should nullify my value as a person (or hers). I’ll make a horrible admission to illustrate my point:
    When the old gypsy woman who begs outside the supermarket approaches me, I run. I literally run in the other direction. Probably the result of my childhood when I heard stories that gypsies stole children… Fortunately Mike maintains his composure and asks her what food she’d like us to buy for her- but I’m still running. I know I shouldn’t, but I run, instinctively. I try not to, but I run.
    We’re all the products of our experiences, environments, educations, cultures, families- not independent agents, as we’d like to believe.
    The sentiments she expresses weren’t invented by her in a vacuum. They’re part of a whole ideology. At one time or another I’ve encountered people and thought: “should I really be associating with…”- but almost universally I decided to at least attempt to understand how/why they were who they were (sometimes through no fault of their own). In that sense I mean people like Imelda or the daughter of the head of the Shah’s secret police.
    I have a feeling Katy’s a dedicated mother and loyal partner to her husband. I love (and have tremendous respect for) the idea someone would jump through an infinity of hoops to adopt a child. I also feel that despite all our many differences, she’s someone I’d happily sit next to at dinner- and who I think would be perfectly at ease at my table, despite disagreements we might have.

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    • “At ease at your table”- that is striking. You find no homophobia there.

      Around transition, when I was terrified- imagine going around in a t-shirt with “I’m GAY” in large letters front and back, all the time- I had two rejections from the church, one from the church I had worshipped in for six years, and one from that for which I had played the organ occasionally. Yet it is my ideology, one of radical acceptance and Love, which Katy distorts to reject me: I could attend if I crushed myself into a box of her lot’s making, which nearly killed me last time I tried. And my tradition is a golden thread running through the history of Christianity which she and her ilk deny and despise.

      If you are a determinist, it is never through their own fault that people are who they are. I am a determinist in the same way that I use Newtonian mechanics: I hope there might be relativity bits round the edges, but for everyday, determinism works.

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      • I’m a determinist because of mathematics- and because as I analyze my own experiences, I don’t see how anything could have possibly gone any other way. Have you ever heard “même la plus jolie fille du monde ne peut donner que ce qu’elle a”?
        It was (probably still is) one of my grandmother’s favourite sayings. Despite always hearing it, I hadn’t quite grasped the profundity of it until a few years ago.
        When I erred, it wasn’t that I put everything aside and set out to do harm- at every point I was trying to figure out the best possible way to move forward with the set of circumstances I was handed. We can only do what we know how to do.

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        • “The seeds of war in our hearts”- what prompts us to destruction and division- are our need to protect and our love and loyalty. What you say is human nature– we are loving and creative, and psychopaths lack perception, and are exceptional.

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  2. Clare, I apologize if my prayer offended or hurt you. I have offered it before and will offer it again: asktheBigot@hotmail.com. I would gladly answer any questions that you have. Often that goes better without an audience.

    I am not confident that my ways are best. When I follow my own dreams or my own intuition I find out quickly that they satisfy in the short term but I am left with long-term emptiness. But I have growing confidence that God’s ways are best and that every word in scripture is reliable for teaching, correcting, rebuking, and training in righteousness. And I am seeking to grow in prayerfulness, gentleness, patience, and faithfulness. How can I better demonstrate those attributes with you? Please let me know if I can, somehow.

    All the best to you, friend.

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    • I am glad to see you here again, and particularly glad that Pink feels he might enjoy your companionship at dinner, which is a good enough test of homophobia. I don’t have much energy for emailing. I want, today, to write of the Matisse exhibition. But this post is not my attempt to get through to you- that verse from Isaiah, Matthew, John and Acts is hardly enough by itself.

      You think God’s ways are best, you say, but you imagine you are following them, with your strident preaching against equal marriage, and your encouragement of poor little PS Pruett, and that I am not. You said I had found some isolated Bible verses to attempt to justify going my own way. Whereas, to me, Newton’s quote fits: we are both playing on the shore, finding a pleasingly rounded pebble or shell, while the Sea of God’s Love lies undiscovered before us. In my father’s house are many rooms.

      I was for years on a wee local Churches Together committee. I came to respect the Anglican, Roman Catholic, and particularly the Baptist and United Reformed Church ministers. I have extracts from Calvin’s Institutes on prayer on my bookshelf, because of the latter. It was not always interesting or productive but we did some good. It helped me see the breadth of God’s church and to value what we share:

      GOD IS LOVE

      You have my email address if you search your comments. If you answer these two questions I will email back.

      What makes you think you follow God's ways and seek God's paths, and I do not?
      What do you think we share?

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  3. Please don’t get involved in private chats with Katy. She’s slippery, sneaky, many faced and worst of all, exceedingly manipulative. We’ve clearly seen that through the breadth of posts and comments we’ve been involved in with her. The problem with her brand of Christianity and the her position as the pastor’s wife is that there is a face they have to present to their congregation, to the world. They are like car salespeople, they reek of varnished insecurities – all glossy on the outside, presenting the face they feel should be presented. Pink is a similar sort of person and that’s why he feels comfortable with her but the difference is that he has a level of open self-awareness and unabashed honesty in his snobbery and insecurities.

    Think about it. What could you get out of private chats with her? She’s never going to change her mind and she can only hurt you by making you feel loved and then pulling out her predictable sucker punch like she does on every post.

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    • Yesterday, I got told that a wheen testosterone might buck me up a bit. Oh right- I’ll gie that a go-

      I like to think that her form of Christianity, under the right pressure, will mature into something more like my own. She imagines she takes the Christian life from the Bible, and I hope that the weight of its contradictions and nastinesses- all that human sacrifice, up to Ananias and Sapphira- and all it and Christians since have said about

      LOVE

      will shock her into thought and feeling. And however bad or uncertain I feel, up to and including my perfect uncertainty, I will not go her way. People have tried to convert me before, and failed. She has words to protect her position and see me as Bad- “The sin against the Holy Spirit”- and despite that, the Holy Spirit may do its work, that she be “born again”.

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  4. Dear Clare,

    I apologise for not being in touch these last couple of days. My blog feed got clogged up with one – very entertaining – blogger who posts lots and lots and lots of pictures and so it takes ages to read anything…..! I also saw this material on The Pink Agendist, and then, too, I wondered what to say.

    What can I add to what is written here? Not much. But, I hate getting caught, these days, on the barb wire of some insoluble controversy. It does nothing for my peace of mind. And, I’m not going to convince those who cling to their opinions in the way they do. The harder I try to persuade, the more they cling, and the more they feel justified in clinging.

    Everyone comes to enlightenment in their own time and in their own way, and your way is good. Respect your way and live in peace with your own knowing. That is enough. Truly, you are a blessing to many, though you may not feel that, some days. For as long as I have known you, you have been a blessing to me. That much I know, and it is enough.

    xxxx 🙂

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    • I know you hold me in love whether you comment here or not.

      It is so strange that the rejection means more than acceptance. What anyone in another continent thinks of me should be irrelevant to me. I am sure I work through my demons. I make progress.

      I am very glad you need an ITIN or whatever it is. Keep on, it is beautiful.

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