Monday, May 25, 2009

Default to Real Life

Underlying the very non-mainstream and counter-cultural-seeming decisions that I make is a practice that few others themselves undertake to explore. Because so many issues come up on this blog and in my life where my decisions seem rebellious or unnecessarily difficult to others, I thought it might be helpful to share the philosophical process in short-form that I use to determine my course.

When a question arises, I immediately default to another set of questions which form the foundation for my philosophical examination. These questions are the following:

  1. What is the anthropologically established norm (AEN)?

  2. Does this conform to the anthropologically established norm?

  3. Is it beneficial, as in does it meet authentic needs?

  4. Is it personally beneficial, as in does it meet needs in the way that the person for which this is being considered will appreciate?

  5. Does it improve upon the anthropologically established norm? (I've NEVER seen this occur that something outside of the anthropologically established norm leads to true progress, so it is a theoretical question that I keep for the purpose of allowing for a missed understanding on my part)

Some definitions are probably helpful to others who don't know the particulars of my loaded questions.

'Anthropologically established' means that human beings are observably built for and have predispositions that anticipate the meeting of such needs as are also observable. These needs are not limited to but include aspects of the human being that we would label physical, emotional, spiritual, mental, intellectual, instinctual, creative, expressional, etc... So, it is a wholistic evaluation of the needs and expressions (also evaluated through needs assessment), which is always open to expressed needs according to timing and maturation, circumstances, etc...

It is my macrocosmic view of a microcosmic organism relative to the universe. It is primarily an intuitive and instinctual assessment that I confirm through study, and not the other way around, which would obviously completely defeat the definition if it were reversed that way. Abstract enough? I'll run a test demonstration later in this post.

'Beneficial' means that the decision would yield an affirmation of or realignment of a wayward quality according to the AEN.

'Authentic need' means that the need is established as essential to the well-being and functionality of the human being within context, and that context includes the proper order of the human being- family, community, etc... Human beings have an essential need for community which is demonstrated by the qualities we possess that anticipate response- speech, creative expressions such as music, art and dance, etc...- and the more visceral utter interdependency of the human race for its survival.

'Authentic need' is distinct from 'manufactured/synthetic need' which includes things like weight-lifting shoes, which are not an authentic need, but reflect the synthetic grasping after what would otherwise be the authentic need- to use our bodies for physical work. Case in point: fire-wood collecting in the woods leaves little necessity for weight-lifting exercises at the end of the day. Can you imagine collecting straw and clay and sand all day to make bricks and then thinking, 'well, I better do some weight-lifting or my body will be weak'? So saying, weight-lifting is a synthetic substitute for an authentic situation and need, and so the shoes 'needed' to support the outsides of the feet to prevent ankle roll-overs are also a manufactured or synthetic need. This would not pass my test.

Because Sunday School is becoming and has been for over five years in my life, a hot topic, I thought I would use it as my example of how this works for me. Please understand that this is not comprehensive, so you're going to have to trust that in the past six years of my research and study, contemplation and observation, I may have already come across the accepted and mainstream defences of Sunday School's presumed merit. You'll see at least a portion of why it doesn't pass my test in the following:


What is the anthropologically established norm (AEN)?

Human beings need beneficial education.

Human beings receive beneficial education through common experience with parents first, siblings, family and bonded community members.

Human beings need to worship God.

Human beings learn continuously and are innately equipped to do so in the most efficient and beneficial ways.

Human beings worship spontaneously and are innately equipped to do so .


Does SS conform to the anthropologically established norm?

It does not provide a common experience for the parents, siblings, family and community except in retrospect. It requires the subdivision of the parents from the children and the children from their siblings in most cases and the family from the community.

It does not provide worship; this is a human expression and does not come from anything not specifically human such as a curriculum or program. Worship will happen there; worship happens everywhere and is not limited to location or activity.

It does not connect to or seamlessly coincide with and work within the natural learning rhythms of the human being, given that it is a time set apart and includes outwardly prescribed activities that the participants do not choose and may or may not be (likely not) relevant to the authentic needs of the participants.

It is like 'school' in all ways and for this reason any defence of SS is also a defence of mass schooling- both being completely outside the anthropologically established norm.


Is SS beneficial, as in does it meet authentic needs?

If it does, it is incidental and in spite of its utter inefficacy to meet the individual and communal needs of the human being. A human being's needs are met through relationship and that within family and community. SS doesn't offer either, and requires the separation of the child from the family and community as they spend their time elsewhere, excepting the 'teacher' who is not an adequate substitute for the richness of relationship that naturally occurs in a family and community. The education received under this circumstance can't be better than utterly inadequate.


Is it personally beneficial, as in does it meet needs in the way that the person for which this is being considered will appreciate?

Not authentically, but most people's manufactured needs are met in this way.


Does it improve upon the anthropologically established norm? (I've NEVER seen this occur that something outside of the anthropologically established norm leads to true progress, so it is a theoretical question that I keep for the purpose of allowing for a missed understanding on my part)

Absolutely not.


The anthropologically established norm is easily observed in the order of the human being. S/he is born from the mother whose body provides his/her nourishment and comfort, temperature regulation and heart rhythm regulation, amongst other hugely important aspects of well-being such as security through emotional and spiritual confidence and openness, etc... The child and mother are meant to be skin-to-skin as much as possible and both experience stress when this is not the norm or it has been stopped even for a few minutes. The father and siblings provide a support and network of interesting and familially/culturally relevant information and acceptance to the child.

As the child grows, s/he chooses to wander in increasing increments from his/her mother's body. The distance that occurs in every way establishes first independence in the child from the body of his mother and her direct control over his/her activities (since they do everything together initially), followed by the mature phase of the human being which is the consciousness of and contribution to interdependence. There is no phase-skipping. If the child is removed from his/her chosen incremental increase in space, the child loses the ability to learn and mature in that phase. A child who is required to separate from his/her mother will not gain independence, but survival coping strategies which are not at all the same thing. This child will not move into an understanding and maturation that is encompassed by the consciousness of interdependence until and unless s/he can pass through the phase of independence first. This doesn't ever happen out-of-order. It may take 12 or 56 or 99 years or never, but the order remains and the human being is meant to have moved through these phases in the opportune time when s/he is primed instinctually for such maturation- as in the earlier years of his/her life.

Any action of society or the surrounding community must reinforce the bond and purpose of the individual family units within its context, and where that doesn't occur, where the importance of marriage and the bonds between parent and child are not recognised as primary for the well-being and survival of the community or society, a break-down of both family and society or the community is inevitable.

What are the mechanisms by which a family is reinforced in its primary role in the nurturing of both its members and the community? Firstly, it is assumed that the family remains as a whole- nourishment, education, skill-building, socialising, creativity, play, all occur as a wholistic and integrated mechanism of the natural outflow of the family dynamic simultaneous to the contribution of the community toward the family. In other words, when the community has a party, everyone is invited, not as special thing, but as a matter of course. Nobody says 'you can bring your children' because there is no opposite, nothing that relates to the separation of children from their parents, not to mention the obvious problem with if the children were left at home, who else would be assumed to be uninvited while looking after them?

Education comes from being in the presence of parents doing real work and building real relationships with the people around them. This means that the children also learn from the other people. The potential for education is then exponential. No school of any sort can provide anything that even merits comparison to this.

Nobody learns anything of true value under constant duress, except how to cope with constant duress. That seems a sad goal for a human being of immeasurable worth and potential for love and expression such as we are. Schooling has nothing better to offer than duress, and it cannot because the essential bonds that provide the security within which the human being learns most effectively and happily are assumed to be absent and strategies for coping with this are abundant, but still woefully lacking in substance since it turns out that there is no true substitute for parents and community.

This topic for me is vast and to really give it the time and justification for the years of my life that I've spent studying it, warrants a book, so I'll leave off with a simplification of the practice that I find so useful and effective in determining the natural course for myself and my family.

When something is presented to me, my question is not 'why shouldn't I?' as is generally asked of me when I deny something mainstream, but 'why would I?' Why would I send my children to Sunday School? Why would I give them antibiotics and flush out their gut flora? Why would I force them to wear shoes? Why would I feed them boxed white flour pasta products with chemical approximations of the flavours of real food? What would the potential benefits be? Why WOULD I?

I presuppose that the human being is equipped to live a human life. I wasn't born with a disposition to receive disconnected instruction or to have my natural gut flora removed, but rather strengthened, so when I ask the same question of the naturally occurring way, I come up with the answers that make sense. I would and do eat microbe-rich foods because they keep me healthy, those microbes being interconnected with my own body within the larger living organism which is our home- earth. I would and do go barefoot because the human foot is our equipment for walking and does so superbly well. I educate my children as we walk along the road, as I go about my work, as I sit with them observing our geese's foraging habits, as we eat free-range organically-raised roasted chicken, etc... They are continually cognizant of the gift that the Lord has given us in whatever we are enjoying, and even suffering.

Default to nature, not to the mainstream. Ask questions that probe to the core, and not just to below the surface. That's not deep enough. Not even close. At least not for me.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow, excuse me while I choke on my microbe dead corn meal muffin! I joke… sort of. I was eating a corn meal muffin from the Java Connection when I read this latest entry. I've spent almost a decade rebuilding the flora in my intestines after two decades of penicillin use for chest infections.
To be brutally honest, if you don't mind me speaking from my heart, I can see why some might have difficulty with the intensity of this blog. What other forum, other then through your own published work, would you be able to write with such strength and clarity of conviction and purpose and hope for anyone to read it without bleeding out first at the revelation of their own wretchedness. I must say that I agree with you on every point. I hold the same convictions on SS, children's church, youth groups, etc., though without nearly as much intestinal fortitude as yourself, microbes included. Perhaps I am more like the begrudging participant in a cruel regime whose hope is to reshape the nature of the regime from within. It could be a vain hope.
I have, as an elder at Grace Community, resisted the temptation to rush to provide programs that isolate and separate children from parents, or even youth from parents. I think I can safely say that Grace, on a basic, almost microbe-like level, acts from the position you have posited here. We don't push Sunday school, we offer it if anyone is interested. Should we? I think you would probably say that no, we shouldn't, because it doesn't really meet an authentic need. I can understand and even agree with that stand. I believe what you have presented here, by way of clarifying your "non-mainstream and counter-cultural-seeming decisions", might present such a diametrically massive move away from the mainstream that few will understand the meaning or intent of your decisions. What you aspire to live to has, tragically, become so far outside the "normal" of Christian and even non-Christian Western culture that you may find yourselves among the brave and the few. A stranger in a strange land, perhaps.
So, without wanting to be too personal on a blog dedicated to impersonal debate, how would you, other then standing alone as an island in the polluted stream of what has become accepted as normal — shoes or not — hope to interact enough with those around to affect the changes necessary to assist your "neighbours" to return to a place of defaulting to nature, or to what God originally created as normal? How would you accomplish this without coming off as an unintelligible pundit? Or maybe, to put it more simply, how do you present what you have written here without scaring the "bemicrobes" out of your readers?
Here's to defaulting to Real Life!
Cheers,
Wyatt

Anonymous said...

Maybe there are churches who do want to separate people. I don't know. I have not belonged to a church with that heart.
The groups I have belonged to have wanted to provide biblical teaching -- roots that will give people wings.
And, as I mentioned before, I was a small child sent to Sunday School. My parents were not believers. I sensed nothing but love and acceptance from those adults that taught me, and God planted seeds in my heart. Those seeds grew when we moved to a farm 100 miles south of the city where we lived and I could no longer go to Sunday School.
I would walk for miles and talk to God. That may not have happened. That little girl might not have known that Jesus loved her and was her friend, except for those teachers.
I am not saying that there shouldn't be choices. I am fine with having children with us in the worship service and during the preaching time. As I said, all of life is worship.
I know, as a parent, that it is important for both parents to be in agreement even if they don't do everything right.
No parent will raise their children without making mistakes.
I made plenty.
As a teacher, it is not my heart to remove children from the worship service or from their parents or families.
And I agree that parents should be the best teachers. They are the most-natural ones.
Who is Sunday School for? I guess I could leave you with that question.
I do believe it meets an authentic need -- and that may depend on the child and the family.
We have to remember that this is a broken world we are living in and we need to do what works in this world to reach out to people.
J

Sarah said...

Wyatt, lol. Thanks for the encouragement. I expected a scourging at best, but you gave some of your own scourge-worthy stuff too! ;) Thank you!

You wrote:

So, without wanting to be too personal on a blog dedicated to impersonal debate, how would you, other then standing alone as an island in the polluted stream of what has become accepted as normal — shoes or not — hope to interact enough with those around to affect the changes necessary to assist your "neighbours" to return to a place of defaulting to nature, or to what God originally created as normal? How would you accomplish this without coming off as an unintelligible pundit? Or maybe, to put it more simply, how do you present what you have written here without scaring the "bemicrobes" out of your readers?This has been and still is the greatest social issue for me in my life. It began for me as an infant, and hasn't let up. I clearly don't have this part figured out. I regularly come off as an unintelligible pundit, lol. That's happened at this blog, too, and 'unintelligible pundit' would have been a step up from what I was called, lol.

I don't know, honestly. The difficulty amongst many difficulties for me is that I cannot return to my own vomit. As I acquire new understandings, it isn't an option to just relapse for a while to suit the lack of knowledge or understanding of others (ugh, I seem like a snob; I'm really not- I'd love if I could just share with everyone openly and there was no bridge to gap. I'm really the opposite of elitist. I generally believe that people are far more able than they even see in themselves and hope for them that they can live the life that reflects this).

By way of example, I cannot give antibiotics to my children even if others would do so or insist. I know too much about how our bodies work to damage them in that way, also having the knowledge and ability to reinforce, balance and heal gut flora problems, with experience. Giving antibiotics to my children at this point in my life would be the same thing as or worse than blood-letting for strep throat. It would be absurd.

Much of what I believe and upon which I base my decisions is like that- so utterly different than what is 'normal' now, but it's as if I've gone too far to even recognise the place from which I came, like the grown child of a land from which I fled as an infant. There are next to no cognates in that old environment relative to the one I live in, and so the best I can do is to shout into the air here and there, 'Is anybody here?' and hope someone responds.

Do you have any better ideas? It seems like you may be cautiously responding, "...I... ammm....." ;) I'd love to have a better ability to bridge the gap. If you do, please do share!!!

:) Oh, and I wrote an article here called Rotten Tumadaz that has an explanation and recipe for fermenting vegetables that is fabulous for healing gut flora and very tasty too. :)

Sarah said...

J,

I probably responded with much of what I would here in the comments for Children and Worship (An Old Article), but I hope that what I share here might continue to help to clarify what I believe.

Some things are obvious, like that I will and do make mistakes. I do every day many many times and ask forgiveness almost as often I ask for anything else, lol. I'm wondering if you have just included that as a reflection or if you are alluding to my views about SS as being one of the mistakes I'm making with my children.

I also think that the generally held intention of SS and public school and daycare providers is not to separate children from their parents. Of corse, if parents didn't separate from their children, none of these would even exist nor would they be appealing or useful if they did. I know that teachers in general have a heart to provide children with education that they think is useful to the children in their care. I make no negative presumptions about the intentions of anyone offering their time and effort to meet what they perceive as the needs of children and families.

If you've read 'Brave New World,' you'll remember that like with Stockholm Syndrome, the residents/captives really adore the people who are oppressing their innate abilities and humanity. In BNW, the people doing the oppressing really believe it is for the betterment of society and that everyone is well-cared for and happy, that their needs are being met. It is plain from the outside that those needs are manufactured by the system, and not authentically human in nature.

All forms of socialist/communist education either begin or end up this way and our society's version of 'education' is no different, imo.

Your question, "Who is Sunday School for?" really must be answered by those who offer it, and not by me, unless you can accept that the answer is that it is for the upkeep of a system that runs roughshod over families and the innate order of the human being made in the image of God Himself.

We all know very well how much He enjoyed and preferred separation from His Son! ;) His Son seemed equally happy about it. I don't think that those moments in time when Christ was tragically, though willingly tragically, separated are the example of human life intended to guide our course in raising our own children and communities.

In tragic situations when children must be separated- life-saving reattachment of limbs surgery, for instance- we let go for that short time expecting to be reunited as quickly and deeply as possible (something like God the father and His Son). Nobody wants that to be the routine or course of life. At least I don't.

Yes, we live in a broken world, and it just doesn't address the brokenness to perpetuate it with more of the same, no matter how sweetly. Just imagine for a moment the immense beauty in reaching out to the whole family and doing whatever is necessary to do so. Imagine just patiently waiting twenty years for a whole family to accept your invitation to supper and another ten for them to see your love and that it's real. Then even longer before they want that same thing and longer before they seek it themselves. Imagine waiting sixty years for all of that. How annoying, right? Sunday School, public school, church and daycare all seem to reach out with greater efficiency and effect than all that 'empty' space, right?


cont'd...

Sarah said...

blogger deleted the second half again

I might be done with this...

:(

Sarah said...

Short form for what I just wrote and lost:

God waits as long as we need. There are no shortcuts even for Him, so trying to make some with artificial means such as SS and PS and daycare etc... doesn't ever truly address anyone or anything.

The heart is deceiptful above all, so should we not seek some sort of acid test to discern whether what we do truly affects the desire we have in our hearts?

Most teachers are teachers because they think they provide value to the lives of children, but they are already beginning several times removed, so what they offer may bring value to the life of a child but not by virtue of the post. It is some little consolation for what is missing for that child, and not an answer to why the child is missing what s/he needs authentically.

This is so inadequate. I'm sorry. I am very distracted at present now and didn't have the time to spend re-thinking and recalling and re-typing, so please ask if there is something that still isn't clear.

I have to go, so I'll check in later.

I am beginning to detest google...

Anonymous said...

Google ... where would we all be without it? The wonders of its search engine never cease to amaze me. Let me count the ways ... oh, maybe not.
You get an A++ for passion, but then that would be me judging you.
Seriously, though, I applaud the passion of your convictions.
And I always appreciate the intelligent, kind way in which they are communicated.
To answer your first wondering, "No, no, no ... I was not saying that keeping your children out of SS was a mistake) and Yes, yes, yes ... it was a personal reflection ... my mistakes ... hmm, let me see -- or, let me count the ways ...
Impossible. But I have forgiven myself, just as our children have forgiven me.
I think I am getting the picture more and more as you share. I'm a tad dense -- could be the result of my CO-addled brain. Yikes.
I agree with some things, but still maintain that churches are acting in a broken world.
I don't believe SS is broken. There are some programs I have seen/heard that I believe Jesus would throw out unequivocally, but that others seem to love -- go figure.
I do not believe competition has any place in church, so I have an instant dislike to any program that encourages that in any way.
And, I admit, it's hard to find a one-size-fits-most Sunday School program.
So I decided to take just one verse and do something with that (and try to use as many of the senses in experiencing that verse as I could).
That falls short: it's too abstract. The verse gets lost somewhere in what I am doing.
And I wonder ... Dear Lord, can you take this simple thing I'm doing and touch the heart and mind of a child?
Yes he can.
I keep mentioning it until I feel like a stuck record (for those of you who don't know what records are, they are plate-sized discs ...): I am thinking especially of those children who do not have parents like the two of you. They may be in care; they may have parents who are unbelievers; they may have wandered in off the street ...
Those children.
There is one father who comes to our church because his little girl came first.
Aside from that, I see the eagerness of the children when I have them. And I love it.
Am I embracing something broken? I hope so. Because if I embrace it, maybe it will be a little less broken ... Jesus and me (to sound corny) loving those children for all they're worth and more, while I have them for that half hour.
It's just half an hour.
If parents think that time is better spent worshiping as a family upstairs, I think that's absolutely wonderful and I know that God will give those little people what they need from their parents ... and because we know they are not lacking anything they need.
I wish all parents had the zeal that you and Chris do.
I think you are seeing this mainly from your own experience, which is natural. But I believe there is another side that you may not be seeing.
I understand a little more of what you are saying, even if I don't understand completely.
I like that saying I sent you that if you find yourself in a hole, perhaps you ought to stop digging.
So maybe I should stop digging for tonight ...
Blessings,
J

Anonymous said...

Sarah...
From one unintelligible pundit to another, I embrace your frustration. (And a pox on anyone who calls you or Chris anything worse then that!) I applaud the opportunity you have to actually live life as close as possible to what we were designed for. However, swimming against the mainstream requires a singular dedication to ones beliefs, regardless of the cost. I have learned in my experience that it is most difficult to return, as you so aptly put, to the vomit I once believed.
Sadly, I have no insightful or particularly remarkable suggestions, other then perhaps to become a saboteur in the country of "normalcy.” The views you and Chris articulate in your blog have affected my views, and I will affect others, and so on. Maybe that is the way "back" — "one heart at a time." You have four precious children who will grow up with the knowledge you have given them, and they will pass that on to their children, and so on.... and, who knows, maybe one of your sons will affect BIG change by becoming Canada's first libertarian Prime Minister...or, would that be an oxymoron? Do libertarians actually want to govern... I mean, less government and all, right?
Back to the discussion... I often feel caught between two very opposing forces. One is obviously no longer satisfactory for my life, but the other requires so radical a change on so many levels within myself and without that I am more prone to be inactive rather then proaction. I am not so full of stalwartness as yourselves as to not “relapse for a while to suit the lack of knowledge or understanding of others”. On your part, it isn’t snobbery, it’s conviction. Conviction, however, invites debate, and I am not much of a debater.
During my 20’s I envisioned a church leadership structure that did not have the “pastor” as the head. It was clear to me that scripture pointed to an elder led leadership. I tried talking to my pastor about this concept. He was not enthusiastic about my thoughts (go figure). Discouraged, I hid my ideas away and hoped that my children might see such a day. Ten years ago I found myself in a position, with other like-minded people fortunately, to be able to begin to affect changes at Grace towards this leadership model. So, there is hope. Small steps. However, for you and Chris, I can see that you are more pioneers then quite saboteurs. Pioneers often strike out alone without a whole lot of support, but they often cut the road for others to follow.
C.S. Lewis once said that “God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.”
I believe this thing we call the Christian experience has a lot of “there is no such thing(s)” in it. Manufactured needs that seem so necessary, even spiritually necessary, that to suggest otherwise is offensive and sacrilegious to some.
Cheers,
Wyatt

sarah said...

J,

Lol, before we spoke the other day, I thought you were referring to your Coconut Oil brain (CO) and wondered what manner of detox was occurring for you while taking it. :)

Thank you as always for also being so kind in expressing your own thoughts and convictions- especially knowing that we both have much invested in this particular topic as it relates to our lives.

I wanted ro respond to the following from your last post:

I think you are seeing this mainly from your own experience, which is natural. But I believe there is another side that you may not be seeing.Of course, everyone sees from their own experiences.

I do think it is possible to intuit a little about the experiences of others. For instance, I have observed in our eldest that he learns well from the experiences of others. His brother touched a roasting pan straight out of the oven and burnt his finger. He didn't have the same experience, but seeing the result and intuiting the reason for that result, he was able to make a decision that benefits him, even without the direct experience of burning his own finger.

It is very much this way for me. I did not attend a SS. I did attend PS and then college. I have watched SS taking place with others' children and have read SS and PS curriculums. I have been in the sort of environment that encourages children to participate in the ways that curricula engender (which is common to all curricula given that they are all curricula). I have children and raise them with my husband without the support of relatives or 'care-providers' or 'carers' as they are sometimes called. I see how my children learn and grow from an intimate position in our life together.

None of this is the same as placing my children in the care of a SS or PS or daycare provider, but given the experience I have which is much like a scaffolding to the decisions that I make regarding my family, I am confident that this surpasses even the experience of having done so directly. The reason I am confident about this is that I have had contact with many of the 'carers' and their materials and their philosophies, which fall far too short of my own understanding to be acceptable as superiour, even if by experience.

All of these things have been offered to me and insisted upon by others and they have generally been shocked to recognise that my views are based on a greater understanding of what they themselves do every day than they themselves possess, and not just in theory, but in practice as well.

I agree that there is no substitute for experience, but experience can take many forms, and in this, I am happy to use cumulative evidence as equal to experience because that evidence is richer than the potential the actual experience in this case has to offer at the outset.

It is the difference between eating refined white sugar and eating raw, unprocessed honey from a wild hive. I can easily intuit the vastly less-satisfying and nourishing qualities of the sterile, refined white sugar based upon the vastly richer and more efficacious experience of eating the wild honey. Eating the wild honey is therefore my experience, but it isn't inadequate as an informative perspective to determine my views of or decision to avoid the refined/sterile stuff.

Cont'd...

sarah said...

Cont'd...

All that said, I am not a cradle christian, and I did attend a catholic kindergarten that did leave a lasting impression on me. I am well-acquainted with being left on my own as a child, emotionally abandoned and spiritually damaged. I know the walking alone for miles feeling and I know that I looked for God as a small child. It wasn't until 2001 that I believed and was baptised and began my relationship with Christ anew (it was obviously always there, just that's when I joined in, lol).

I can relate to the need for adult company and guidance because what I received was neither anything that here is reflected in my writing nor in my own life. If I were judged according to my relatives, my children would have been removed from my care, iykwim, and I'd be in jail. As it is, they are immensely loved and cared-for in ways that are literally foreign to anyone in my family of origin.

Besides all of that though, experience is a tricky thing. Everyone's experience is existentially alone. I experience everything from my own point of origin, just like everyone else. And the harder part is that even if I share my view of what seems like the same experience, it is not, and if it were, we would have no way to verify it, but it can't be anyway given that a point of origin is singular by definition.

Experience as an expression of veracity fits into the same place as proof for me. Rgardless, it will always boil down to a point of origin that cannot be expressed as such. It can express the thing, but not be the thing at the same time. The expression is not the thing itself, and that leaves us all having to trust one another in a way that few acknowledge, or recognise. The lack of recognition leaves us ignorant in ways that make it even more difficult to experience connection.

On the other hand, being that everything is connected, we are all experiencing everything anyway however indirectly it may come... but how I view it is what is contended, so it's the expression that is called into question, and the veracity of my experiences as being adequate for understanding of further experiences.

I guess to sum it up, we have to trust that the cumulative expressions of the un-repeatable cumulative experiences of the individual, if expressed with an effort toward accuracy and insight, are going to have to be adequate for communication. Otherwise, we couldn't ever discuss anything, let alone make decisions to not jump off of high bridges onto rocks.

Everyone's experiences are unique and unverifiably so, lol. How's that for clear? Lol.

Oh, and while digging makes a big hole bigger, there really isn't any other way to get to the bottom of it... ;) I say keep digging. What other way is there?

xo

Anonymous said...

Hi,
I have always liked the idea of being a quiet saboteur ... the kind that brings about change that is a blessing.
I got derailed somewhere along the way with my ideals.
I wonder if being an idealist in a broken world makes it harder to effect change -- or if it just makes us more frustrated or impatient.
When your ideals get battered about, sometimes you have to relinquish them -- or at least concede that perhaps your ideals are not very realistic in this journey.
I'm not saying that yours aren't realistic for your journey, Sarah. I have great admiration for your heart, for your love for children, for your desire to study and learn.
And now I know the secret to how you read so fast ... photo reading.
Convictions are a good thing. I agree with Wyatt: they are not necessarily an easy thing. The path will get very bumpy at times ...
Don't get discouraged in sharing your convictions. I think you know when it is safe to share them.
I have already learned so much from what you have shared with me ... things I would never have thought of. I have a grandchild on the way and I will do things differently than I did with our own children.
I will tell them things about God that I never heard, even into my adult life.
Of course, best of all, I will love them for the little individuals that they are.
I agree again with Wyatt: your boys are precious. I am so blessed to know you both and to see how you interact with the boys. And I just love being around them.
I want to talk more about those "shoes" -- the ones that you mentioned in one of your replies.
We're always trying to find the right thing for people.
But, is that not a way of honouring those people?
Much to think about.
Blessings all around.
J
J

Anonymous said...

I'm going to look for Sunday School materials for pundits and see what I can find ...
;)
J

sarah said...

Wyatt,

When I read your comments, I hear your voice in my head saying the words on the screen. Lol, it's almost like real life. ;)

A former co-author on this blog once asked Christopher about me, “So, what is she doing with her life then?” assuming a responsibility to the greater good based on quantified aspects of my innate traits... ;) I'm trying to be cryptic and hoping it's still clear enough to give some context. Eek.

I am crestfallen when people have said this to me or about me. In my view, what greater thing is there to do in this life than to share the love and convictions of the heart (well-sifted as is possible at each new level of understanding, of course)? And with whom can I better share this than with a family? Surely there cannot be a better project than the little people who actually believe what I say, right? Lol.

I suppose it might seem more like I'm changing the world for the better if I drew a salary and public spectacle for what I do day in and day in and day in and day in... But as it is, I am of the same mind as you've expressed. Real change is always within the core, and anything else is just appearances, so if real change, real love and real convictions are going to exist, they have to reside there, at the core, and be the source from which all else springs.

My core was completely replaced a while ago, but I know how much it hurts to have it removed and another bigger and differently formed one slammed in there in its place, so with my children, I really do consciously attempt to help them in the building of the core that can keep growing instead of need replacing later on. And since God is right in there, working diligently even while we sleep, I know I'm assisting the best mechanic there is, and that when I mess up, He knows and makes the necessary corrections as He goes. I have seen this time and time again, and with four children, whatever lessons I can learn are exponentially increased, which is great for me because I really need the reinforcement, lol.

I love that you've had the patience to wait as a quiet saboteur. I have often wished I'd done that. I've even tried, but since having children it has amazed me how much and how often it is not me pioneering, but rather standing firmly in place with a big stick- not in a threatening way, but certainly increasingly as a deterrent, lol. In the more private aspects of my life, it is easier to forge ahead, breaking ground for roads, which I think happens primarily in the raising of our family. Where others are involved, there are less roads being built and more molotov cocktails to deflect, it seems. I know you've defected a number of those yourself.

Cont'd...

sarah said...

Cont'd...

I really would love to produce/create a docudrama about the habits and habitat of the human being in its natural state. I'd love to actually live that way. There are just so many steps between this and that and I am not always sure how to go about it when the primary context within which a human being functions is community- village, clan or tribal life. I have considered that with another 10 children, that problem would be fairly solved... lol... Christopher's eyes glaze over and roll at this suggestion. ;) Mine too, lol.

I agree with the Lewis quote you shared and your evaluations. I have sometimes felt like Jonah in my life, and not so much like a stalwart pioneer, lol. I used to call us brick-receivers. We're much better at taking cues than we used to be. God would first tap our shoulders, then give us a nudge, then a little shove followed by a bigger shove, then a smack upside the head- a few times- and finally, a brick. A heavy, hard, unpleasantly roughly textured brick. It hurt, and it was the brick that we needed and which, many goose-eggs later, illuminated all of the gentle urgings that we couldn't sense. These days, we are more attuned to shoves and nudges and occasionally the shoulder taps too. I just can't go back to the bricks knowingly. So, I guess if I'm going to be a pioneer, it's by attrition followed by some maturation expressed as enthusiasm for what's to come, rather than by career choice. :)

Anyway, I also prefer to not debate, and it's only by being drawn out that I find myself doing so. Certainly it must be by preference that you don't debate, Wyatt. You are obviously very capable and articulate, and you must have a little bit of fire for something at least akin to debate given that you engage in publicly viewed satire! In any case, it is so relieving to have a friend who relates; it's not a necessary qualifier for friendship, but such a true and extra blessing when it happens. Thank you, Wyatt.

sarah said...

Lol, J. I actually do read very quickly without photo-reading, but I do that when the book I'm reading has little or very infrequent bits of valuable information scattered about it.

Most of the time I do read straight through, but my eyes naturally skip over prepositions and punctuation, which is assumed by context. It also depends on the book, how quickly I can read it. I read a book about brain function in an evening and day. It was 400 pages, but The Continuum Concept took many hour-long sessions over the course of a week because it required so many paradigms shifts and deep meddlings to really understand it deeply, which that book warranted, and the former one didn't (and TCC was half the length).

I'll respond again to your comment, but I have to go haul water...

:) xo

Anonymous said...

Sarah,
This is the last day I will be on here for the rest of the week. Five days with no e-mail, no Internet, no cellphones and no work. Sounds like a dream.
Life is a continuum, a journey wherein the parts are so intrinsic to the whole that they are almost indiscernible -- like the punctuation that your eyes see but do not single out because they are regarding the whole, the context.
I wonder if God looks at us that way.
I know he relates to us in "real time" and that gives me great comfort and joy. He is aware of every detail, but I am sure he regards us in the bigger story of our lives.
He believes in us.
I want to communicate to my own children, ongoing, these things that have settled into my heart but are not stagnant. I want to be a living current that carries his love along with it wherever it goes. That is the deepest desire of my heart for however long my feet still leave their prints on this planet.
I'm rambling a bit tonight.
There have been some interesting and troubling things of late, but in the midst of wondering what is happening, what plan there is, God does something that no one else would recognize but me -- something that could never be coincidence -- and I wonder how anyone could not believe in such a God.
I am so glad for the transformation in your life, but I am not surprised.
I am surprised when people seem to think people will not change. It is more than possible; it is part of the greater story that we find ourselves in as his children.
Each journey is unique and to be embraced and treasured.
Your children are on an amazing adventure with you both.
And it is good to have spiritual friendships along the path.
I have much to tell you when I return. Pizza Hut?
God bless,
J