The one about Agape and Tattoos, Part Two.

 

So, I had a mystical experience.  And I wanted to always remember it. Given I’m a vegetarian I am not going to cut animals in half and dance around in the middle of them, I decided to get a tattoo instead.

And you know what I found out?

People love their opinions.

I actually wanted to get it 6 months before I actually did. I confided my plan in a work friend, who told me that tattoos (in the place I planned to get it) were ‘trashy and bogan’, and I would look like a skanky whore.

YOU DONT WANT TO LOOK LIKE A SKANKY WHORE, DO YOU???

Well no, I really didn’t, thank you very much. So I decided not to get it. Phew, lucky escape!

(Although whorishness would be quite biblical, now I come to think of it)

So I didnt.

But I really wanted to, you see.

I suppose I hadn’t quite realised how much I worried about what other people think of me. A lot, apparently.

And the irony of being given a manifest example of God’s unconditional love, yet still tying myself in knots about what one person thought of me, will be apparent, of course.

Anyway, after a little chat with my soul, I went ‘Fuck it’. And I’m really glad I did.

I love it so much. LOVE IT.

image

(In your face, Leviticus 19:28)

And when I told my friend about it, she said ‘Well that is very ugly. I was right’, and then she enlisted some other people to laugh about it, and tell her how funny she was, and agree with her that it was the worst decision I’d ever made and omg what is wrong with me, don’t I have any sense of humour at all, just relax jeez.

So after various other machinations that are just too exhausting  and ridiculous to recount, I told her that didn’t really want to spend that much time with her anymore. And that, in turn, caused her to spiral into a fairly unstable mess. Which I do feel bad about, because I never want to be the source of anyone else’s distress

I suppose there are a few things that could be explored here. We could examine the fact that, despite God’s overwhelming love, we all act badly sometimes. We could look at how hard it is for us to believe in ourselves. Or the fact that just listening to someones idea and supporting them is usually the right thing to do and telling people that their tattoo is ugly is always a bad idea, because they are kind of permanent, you know?

But probably, at this moment in my life, the thing that I need to really think about is that, despite the fact that I think I actually experienced God’s manifest and unconditional love, I still worried what people would think of me, and I still didn’t act in a very forgiving manner towards someone.

Seriously though. The ultimate creative energy that formed the entire universe thinks that I am pretty great, and some woman that I didn’t even know that well completely threw me off my game, and as I result I acted in a pretty unloving way, because my ego was hurt.

My ego calls far too many of the shots, I’m afraid. It’s the worst.

Fuck, we are just so very human, aren’t we? Just so incredibly moral, so much of the time. Of course, though. Of course we are. We’re supposed to be. That’s the point, isn’t it.

But is standing up for what is ‘best’ for yourself, but at the same time hurting someone else, exactly the opposite of the love that we are meant to show for other people?  Surely a learning experience that started with my discovering the ultimate source of pure love should not have ended with me wanting to have nothing to do with someone ever again. I don’t want to have to go all Luke 6:29, but I can’t help but think that this was the sort of thing that was being referred to; showing unconditional acceptance, even in the face of exactly the opposite.

Maybe I’ll do better next time?

But, as Richard Rohr says; ‘The ego hates losing – even to God’.

Hmmm, maybe that quote should be my next tattoo…

 

 

 

Slightly awkward.

I wish that I was vaguely skilled at writing book reviews. There are so many books that have been important to me on this whole ‘spiritual journey’ caper that I would love to be able to honour and do justice to. But sadly my review writing skills atrophied at about age 11 and will never move past ‘a great book for girls of all ages who love ponies and adventure!!’

But of course it’s been a series of fits and starts; reading one book that stated firmly and authoritatively that if you couldn’t accept substitutional atonement then there was no place for you within the faith set me back quite a bit, believe me. But eventually I came to see that what I thought was my own substandard and cobbled together theology of ‘less original sin and more moral influence’ wasn’t just ‘mine’ at all, and if fact actual (gasp) real Christians had thought along these lines for hundreds of years. The voices that are evangelising the loudest within our culture at the moment aren’t necessarily the bearers of the ultimate ‘truth’, apparently.

Who would have thought it?

There are a great many different schools of thought amongst those who are, at the heart of it, ‘followers of Christ’ and some of the elements that I’d thought were deal breakers are, in fact, not. But, just like a marriage, even if you don’t like bits of it, it’s the whole that’s important, isn’t it? If you get too bogged down in the detail of what doesn’t work, then you miss the overwhelming completeness of what does.

Reading ‘Convictions‘ by Marcus Borg in early December brought all the ideas that hadn’t quite connected yet together for me, and helped me realise in a quiet and unspectacular way that first, I actually am a Christian and secondly, I’m not embarrassed about it. I’ll let you decide which of those is a bigger deal…

Anyway, this is a bit awkward. Let’s just pretend it never happened and carry on as normal except for the fact that I’m a christian now, ok?