a manifesto from my soul right now

June 29, 2005

Sometimes I sit down here with a little time on my hands, knowing I have to update my blog or likely lose the last of my readers, and I haven’t even decided what to write. Last weekend I went to Chicago to see Mary, check out [in progress] down a bit and to the left of your screen. It was a great weekend, my first days off from Qdoba in two weeks, a little time away, relaxing, enjoying things.

On Saturday we spent some time at Chicago’s indoor garden conservatories at Garfield and Lincoln Park. It’s so relaxing, calming, refreshing to walk about God’s amazing creations without all the confusion that humanity has thrown into the mix. Just seeing the diversity of the flora, the colors, shapes and detail. It’s clear that the creator is showing us something in all this.

That’s really about where my faith is these days. If I sit down to read the Bible, I get through about five verses before I get an almost gagging, suffocating feeling. When I read something “Christian” in nature, even if it’s sincere and insightful, I start thinking about how much rhetoric is out there being spewed based on ignorance, hatred and worse, pure capitalism. I can’t separate my intense confusion from my remaining detached relationship with God. I can’t pray without my thoughts turning to all the carnage in Iraq or the “lostness” of the billion people in China or India.

If Jesus really is the “One” for all of them, then what about the huge majority who have never had an encounter with Him, who have never even seen a church, couldn’t read the Bible if they had one, and have never known a Christian in their lives? I know I am supposed to believe that they will all have an opportunity to hear about Jesus, but I have been to these places, and that is about as realistic as shit actually hitting a fan.

Seriously, when I did missions work for a few years during college, I really tried to believe that what I did made a difference. And maybe I helped a few people here and there become more spiritual, more enlightened people, but what about the billion that don’t know. During my time in India, China, Thailand, I tried to convince myself that all these people would know about Jesus through some means in their lifetime, but you know what, I never really could get that. It’s not possible given the current state of the world. First of all, they have their own religions, which for the most part, they are quite happy with. And second of all, there is not even close to enough Christians in these places to actually convert people to Jesus, assuming they wanted to convert. But considering the opinion toward the West in most of the East, I seriously doubt how many would be interested in converting.

This is all, of course, very faithless thinking, but God for whatever reason, made me rather rational. My soul doesn’t mesh well with stuff that makes no sense whatsoever. I can believe in miracles. I can accept all the crazy stories of the Bible, Noah, Moses etc, but I see the world around me today, and I don’t see God intervening to “save” people. So do they need to be “saved” in that redemption Jesus-saved-me sort of way? I don’t know. I really don’t know. And if you aren’t sure about something, you certainly shouldn’t attempting to preach it and follow it.

And if God can create orchids, mangoes and 150-foot palm trees, he certainly doesn’t need me to help him figure out humanity. I don’t know why I think like this. Certainly millions of people are perfectly happy being Christians, but I don’t know how to do it anymore, I just don’t know how.

So much for a quick blog entry. Please comment.

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stems leaves and flowers

June 12, 2005

I know it’s getting old to say this, but my job really is crazy. I’ve been working a lot and although things in the restaurant are better, there is still a lot to do, and we are stuck working a lot of hours until our shift supervisors are properly trained. This is indeed the challenge of my working life so far, and I’m trying hard not to burn out.

I did get off early today and had some daylight hours {after the sweltering heat toned down a bit) to do a little work in the garden. Something about seeing tiny seeds tossed into the ground turn into cilantro or golf-ball sized bulbs planted six months ago sprout huge purple flowers, it’s a reminder for me that life goes on. I don’t think I’m so self-absorbed to not actually realize that, but in some ways I am so caught up in my job lately that I hardly realize that time is passing, the world is turning, and it’s going to be alright. Whatever happens. A few hours in my garden and things seem right and level and even again.

In one way my job is stressful right now because for the first time I really am majorly responsible for something. Ultimately, if something goes wrong in my store, I take the blame. Of course I have superiors and people that work for me, but in one sense it comes down to me. My training of others, my supervision, my attitude, my example for my staff to lead. I suppose that’s why the sight of something that I started, but then the soil fed, the sun enriched, the rain watered, gives me a new burst of energy. All that’s left is to pull the weeds, add some fertilizer, and anticipate the results.