Lenten Experience 2012   Leave a comment

Introduction

Over the course of my Lenten Fast from Facebook, having participated in the Spiritual Exercise of Detachment a few issues have come up. The First has to do with my relationship to New Ageism and to an extent the Psychological and Theological relationship to which I held on to, they say that sometimes novelty is a good thing, but in trying to continue down the path I have been on, I am left to conclude that the person who can also be most progressive is also the person who knows when to turn around. The Second issue has to do with my relationship to electronics and social media, for I am announcing a personal Declaration of Moderation to which I intend to hold on to for a few reasons. The Final Reason comes from something of a desire for Reconciling the past 9 Years of my life unto my Reversion back into my Catholic Faith, while I will not pour out everything to the public I will share a few insights that I can only hope people will be willing to share and apply in their own lives and interactions with others going forward.

An Overturned Table: The New Age, Carl Jung, and Catholicism

When I began that long road home back to God and His Church, my bridge was the writings of Carl Jung who looked in favor upon religion as opposed to his teacher Freud who looked upon religion as a neurosis. I believe that Jung was right in doing so, but the bridge itself consisted in the perspective that Jung offered that I never thought was possible at the time, that theology far from being a legalistic and moralizing thing could actually be more philosophical and psychological, but as I came further down the road I realized that “If we merely wanted a moral code with which to conform to then philosophy in its concerns over ethics should be sufficient,” however theology needs to offer something more if it is to be True Theology, something metaphysical certainly but something that can change us ontologically as well, or in the depths of our being. Eventually I would run into a Church Motto spoken in Latin that went like this, Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi, Lex Vivendi.” (The Way We Worship, Is The Way We Believe, Is The Way We Live) But I say Right Worship and Belief concerns itself over the Right Theology we possess. Therefore, if there is a Theology that concerns itself with legalistic moralizing it is incomplete since that can be gotten from the world as well, only a Theology with a grounded metaphysic and the ability to change a person at their ontological core is something that comes closer to True Theology.

Nonetheless, how is that even for a person such as myself so stubborn in his self-righteous ways, can inevitably be called back to Christ and His Church, to have both The King and His Kingdom? Inevitably the answer provides itself to all people not just me, and that answer lies in the virtue of surrendering in humility and love to Him who has been with me all these years, even when I personally despised Him myself. When I was a child, I sought first to Hide from God, for my religious education was poor and childish and I felt confined and limited by God based on the metaphysic I had received from said poor instruction which was found lacking and limited me squarely to legalistic mercantile moralizing. When I was a teenager I sought to defy God and in effect appropriate His Power [which He already gave me as He gives all of us] thinking I knew what was best for me, however my life was one marked by confusion and isolation; elitism, individual [and worldly] exceptionalism, and exclusivism.

I have tried to Run and Hide, by either cowering in fear of a God Image that was man-made or pretending that He wasn’t there. I have tried to Defy Him by either pretending He wasn’t there or knowing that He was there, do what I wanted to do, despite that. I have tried to Appropriate Him by either trying to force His Will into my will or take part in occult rituals that would try to give me what I wanted. There is only one option left, if you can’t force Him and can’t hide from Him you can only Surrender to Him and that is what I have done, knowing that I in my limited mental capacities do not know what I need and knowing that, getting what I want can be detrimental, to making me a better person that so many of us say we seek to become.

I remember watching a film, “Waking Life” and in it an older man poses a question to a younger man, the older man says, “Which holds back human achievement, is it fear or laziness?” To this day I am still not entirely sure, but I wager in light of my own experiences up to this day, I believe it is fear. A fear of not knowing what we need, a fear of who we are meant to become, a fear of having to admit our wrongs, a fear of life and love as well as commitment, a fear of not knowing, a fear of making a mistake in front of others. The Modern World is rather quite seductive in its remedies to these fears however: It tells us that my wants are synonymous to my needs, It tells us that what I want to become is who I am meant to become, It tells us that there’s no objective moral standard so no one has to admit they are wrong, It tells us that life is a radical hedonism, It tells us that love never involves patient suffering, It tells us that commitment is enslaving, It tells us that we can know everything with our limited capacities, It tells us that if something involves suffering [whatever degree] then we should give up on it. When we wonder why evil exists in the world and why the life and mind of humanity is burdened this is why, for the modern world is only the Fall playing itself out either by trying to Appropriate or Hide from God.

“I know of men who believe in themselves more colossally than Napoleon or Caesar. I know where flames the fixed star of certainty and success. I can guide you to the thrones of the Super-men. The men who really believe in themselves are all in lunatic asylums.” — G. K. Chesterton, philosopher, Orthodoxy, Chapter II: The Maniac, 1909

It is exactly because I know:

– That my Needs are different from my wants.
– That What I Am Called To Become is so much more sublime than what I want to become.
– That the prospect of a free and prosperous [let alone stable] society will never come about without an Objective Moral Code that all are willing to adhere to.
– That there is No Life in being a slave to satisfying every demand and whim of the lower impulses.
– That True Love requires patient suffering for all involved.
– That Commitment liberates our ability to focus and have determination to see things through even when we doubt.
– That I cannot know all things and that anything I know is but a puzzle piece to a larger mystery and that it’s okay to not know-it-all.
– That Suffering is the work of transformation and maturity and that rather we should embrace and learn from it.

That I am a Christian!

A Facebook Declaration of Moderation

It has occurred to me over the years that our Liberty Movement is not as uniformed and single-minded as I once idealized it to be, with this awareness comes a more grown-up perspective of the multiplicity of our Movement. Nonetheless, our Liberty Movement at its least common denominator is a Liberation Movement against the Global Elite [e.g. Governments and Corporations] and for the creation of a Free, Prosperous, and Open Society. Having befriended many people from many corners on Facebook I believe that I can offer a unique perspective and critique of our movement. At the time of me writing this, it has recently come to my attention that the Hacktivist Network called Anonymous attacked the Vatican Website and what they did is 2-Fold: (1) Launch Denial of Service Attacks and (2) Posted Popular Militant Atheist Richard Dawkins on their website, there justification was that they found the Church and Her Beliefs to be old and antiquated and for punishment against the Church for the Sex Abuse Scandal.

Anonymous, in light of its recent actions, is the prime example of a factor that led to my reversion back to the Church. The Liberty Movement from all corners [if it is to be truly called Liberty] must allow for toleration and acceptance of all belief systems, we cry “Coexist!” yet certain people on Facebook celebrate the actions of the Hacktivist network for attacking a religious organization over its “old and antiquated beliefs,” who made Anonymous final judge and arbitrator over this? We cry “Coexist!” yet certain people on Facebook celebrate when one of the cult evangelist of New Atheism wants a body of people to uniformly [almost like a religion] act in the same manner – as if they think with one heart and mindby mocking people who do not have what they have. Yet we cry “Coexist!” I see people celebrate the Occult and New Age, yet do they not know that this movement is tied to the very enemies they sought to fight against? It is inconsistent it’s like someone wants to beat up their enemy but they keep punching themselves in the face because they’re the first enemy that could be found, an irrationality I am guilty of as well from my past.

“Reason is itself a matter of faith. It is an act of faith to assert that our thoughts have any relation to reality at all.” — G. K. Chesterton, philosopher, Orthodoxy, Chapter III: The Suicide of Thought, 1909

My point is, these Contradictions and Double Standards must be checked before we lose the essence of what we originally once were, a movement of Liberation designed to rise against the Financial Oligarchy and their minions that have a stranglehold on the worlds resources and to create a Free, Prosperous and Open Society. If we lose our essence then they win, they win because we are divided hating each other because we are strongly Anti-[fill in the blank] but so and so is strongly Pro-[fill in the blank], the only thing that the Liberty Movement needs are people to talk strongly about Pro-Market, Pro-Peace, Pro-Individual Liberty. When this crisis in the world is solved that’s when we talk about other things, once our fellowship is dissolved, whatever happened to the days when we said, “I may disagree with what you said, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it”? These days the hatred and double standards I see on my own Facebook Network seems so strong that I feel as if people might as well say, “I disagree with what you say, you’re on your own, and I hope you die.” Yet this same network of mine, posts stuff about Love and Reason.

Ultimately, it has been my belief [and still is] that an individual’s friends are almost like aspects of his own psyche, his own mind. But what happens when the individual changes his mind about things? Does this mean he must change his friends? If my past is an example then yes he ought to, but if I had learned anything since doing that back in High School it is that it is profitable [for both parties] to keep in touch then forever to depart each other’s company. Therefore, my Declaration of Moderation is stated with this in mind, for I have changed and I wonder how many will continue to change for the better [as I understand it]. I will not delete anyone and people know that my wall sought to conform itself to the principles for which it sought to hold to. But the anxiety and contradictions which frustrate me so, which I experience nearly every time I am on Facebook will need to be moderated upon, whether it is the news that is posted or certain people who post things that I disagree with.


Examination of Conscience and Reconciliation

As promised I said I would give a general mention on my examination of conscience and the hope of the future that I have, it is my hope that everyone on my Facebook network would be able to take something valuable away. When I was younger I fell into Idolatry, some people have heard me call it an Idolatry of Ideas [the point where abstract ideas stop serving their purpose as tools and we start serving the tools instead], and I was seduced by the notions of Power through the ideology of Machiavellianism and to an extent the Will to Power of Nietzsche’s Nihilism. I allowed my simple doubt to foment into a Hatred for God at one point in my life when He did not hear my childhood prayers when I thought they matter most and so for a time became Irreligious. I allowed myself to believe in State Socialism and it manifested itself in my relation to the workplace and how I perceived and treated people.

After a brief passing of time I fell into Pride, from which point, I presumed in my ability to arrange all things according to my will in all ways and in all places, by any means necessary, again a kind of Will to Power Nihilism. From this presumptuous demeanor I encouraged others to go out a seek revenge and lord their own personal power over others and get whatever it is they wanted by any means necessary as well. I was very persuasive over others and encouraged others to see things as I do, my own elitism and exclusivism I believe, I see now more than ever in others through picking up the things I once believed, and the things I once believed came through how I worshipped, via the Occult.

In the end after my coming back to Christianity, though not Catholicism I saw that I essentially Hated everything I once was, I hated fundamentalism because I once was subscribed to it, I hated the militant anti-theism because I once held that same contempt in my own heart even if on the outside I just seemed to doubt, I hated materialism [of the cultural kind] because I was once aware of my own shallowness and ignorance. What was worst was not just the –ism which I hated, but worse still those who still held to the –ism, to this day I am trying to disassociate the person from the –ism, but it is hard.

Looking to the future in light of going and receiving The Sacrament of Reconciliation, my fears and faults have turned into hope and cause for virtuous desires. Where once there was Idolatry, I can hope for Adoration of the Triune God and the Proper Use of Abstract Ideas. So where there was a Will to Power, cunning and manipulation of others for personal gain I shall seek to become more honest and sincere in my interactions with others and if I am given any position of power I shall remind myself by whose Grace I have been given said Power and learn to cultivate the Virtue of Detachment beforehand. Where there was once a Hatred for God, only an Intuitive Trust and Love in the Triune God who led me and answered [and continues to answer] my constant prayer to Know and Love Him, from this Loving Trust stems Celebration and Gratitude for the Good which I have in my life, the recognition of the bad, and the encouragement to others to celebrate what is Good in their life, this also undoes the envy that I believe would be found in the idolizing of State Socialism.

Where once there was Pride, I can hope for Humility, not the façade of self-hating piety but a grounded recognition of talents, weaknesses, my own capabilities, and the need for Grace. From this stems a hope for learning the Right Way to Commune, Surrender to God’s Will, and to be Perceptive to It. Again rather than lusting after power over others, which is inconsistent with my own Libertarian beliefs, I would aim toward being chaste when I know I hold influence over another and honest in the advice I give to others, so that I may uplift them for their own sake. From my participation in the Occult, my hope is that I will be able to partake in the Tridentine [Traditional] Latin Mass or the Divine Liturgy of Byzantine [Eastern] Catholics, into the future.

Where once there was a near Perfect Contempt for those around me, I can hope for a near Perfect Love and Reconciliation with the various perspectives [and the people who currently hold it] that I have once held in contempt because I felt near shame for holding it myself. Therefore, elitism and exclusivity will be undone with willingness to accommodate [although not to the point of being dishonest to self and others] and inclusivity as well as to non-violently resist specific individuals who refuse reconciliation, for their position is indeed a lonely one.

Conclusion

Many things have called me back to Christ and His Church, the journey has been largely intellectual, but I am a slow learner as I have learned as I reflect on the past 9 years or so of my life. The books and the information I take in today will only be truly known and understood as I go into the future. As an example, intellectually I rediscovered Catholicism in Summer 2011 I have only physically – through The Sacrament of Reconciliation – come back to Catholicism at the end of Lent 2012, this is how much of a slow albeit contemplative learner I am it takes me about 9 months to really understand the significance of something before deciding on whether or not to adopt it, I can only hope that moving on into the future the learning curve will be shorter.

Where once there was error and confusion, there is now reason for reconciling and reintegrating. Where once there was idealizing and placing my hope in movements and people, there is a grounded realization of the errors of men and placement of my Trust and Hope not in men but in the Eternal. Where once there was an inordinate attachment to and constant anxiety in trying to answer all things from all people there is now a peace that has long since been lost to me. Where once there was ungrounded elevation and justification of me and my actions, there is now a grounded awareness of my foolishness but also a deepened sense of humility and appreciation of how God works in my life.

In Christ,
Jim Andersen

Advertisements

Posted April 8, 2012 by jimbo9889 in Spiritual Autobiography, The Objectives

What Do You Think?

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: