Two punks switching the spark plug wires of a '79 Suzuki GS 550 as a prank.
Jesus telling the rich young ruler to go home, sell all he owns and give it to the poor.
What do these things have in common?
The point was made to me that our fears are fundamentally linked to our idols. i fear confrontation, i fear pain, i fear failure because my god is comfort, security and people thinking well of me. When i perform, it is not just for someone else's benefit. i can't even lead worship without serving the god of praise for myself. That's how sick i am, how entwined with the temple prostitutes i have been. i want people to be wowed by me. i want to be significant. i want people to think i'm special. It's why i have to prove i'm right when i argue and it's why, when i argue, i try and use humor to keep it friendly. i learned to be moral because the people i respected valued that and it kept me out of trouble with my folks and a righteous God who demanded it. Heck, it's why i blog.
Well, that's only partially true. i would do this even if no one read it. But that's a different issue. But it's why i check it every day to see if someone left a comment.
When i was a kid, i was not cool. i'm still not cool but i'm a middle aged, white guy going to seed, and a lot of that pressure is off. But back when being cool was cool, i was not. Nor was i able to figure out what made one cool. When i tried to be cool, i failed miserably and actually became more of a laughing stock. Eventually i moved and thought this would help, no one would know my past, i could reinvent myself. It might have, a little, but nature shows through, a dweeb by any other name still reeks of fail. By stroke of grace, i was taken as a disciple of the Keith. The Keith was cool, you could tell because he had to be bussed to a different school much further away because he'd already been kicked out of ours. The Keith didn't care what people thought of him. This, i learned, was the epitome of cool. i began to stop caring what people thought of me too. i grew my hair long. i got an earring. Cuz that's what us guys that didn't care what you thought of us did.
If your irony sensors are going off it's cuz you are well versed in Greek Tragedy. Yes, i cultivated an entire personality around the disdain for what the world held dear and celebrated my freedom from society and what "they" thought. Only, i did care. i cared what the Keith thought and i cultivated an aura of apathy carefully because i realized i gained a certain amount of respect from it. On senior day, when other sophs were being called out of class to be tormented and hazed, i stalked by, bored scowl, pony tail, knee high moccasins and trenchcoat, unmolested. i was not loved, but i was left alone. It was a runners up prize i would accept because secretly i feared i was not lovable anyhow. Not by those i wanted to be loved by. Many other folk who weren't as cool as they wished thought i was kinda cool. My idol devalued the love i of friends i truly did have and caused me to focus on those who would never accept me as one of theirs so i learned to devalue them. i was worthless, my idol made my own friends worthless and my hurt made everyone else worthless.
Cynicism runs strong in my family.
After i graduated i discovered motorcycles. i became obsessed with the idea of becoming not just a motorcyclist, one who rode a bike, but a biker. It had to be a lifestyle, a personality. The black leather, the two foot long mohawk, saddlebags and a horizon became my dream and i wasted days, months, years on it. Really, i have the sketches to prove it.
i used to have an expression, "God likes to kick out crutches." i formed this idea around the concept that God want's me to lean on Him alone. A crutch is anything that i use instead of Him. While essentially accurate, i think, it is a false portrayal of Him and His motives. When Jesus kicked a crutch, the person walked, not fell down. The ten commandments mention pretty early on that God is a jealous God. He won't tolerate that which is rightfully His being given to another. We often portray this as petty. God is this angry guy who gets tic'd off at being dissed. Or he's some kind of megalomaniac who thinks that it's all about Him. What does He think He is? God? i know, right?
But what if He's a husband who isn't too keen on sharing His wife with her abusive lovers? What if He's a father who doesn't sit idle as his kid takes up a violently destructive and dehumanizing drug habit?
The first thing that had to go was the motorcycles. My first one was sabotaged. After that, i could never spend enough to keep it running for long. My second stayed running just long enough for my brother-in-arms Wayward to earn the right to kick off society's training wheels and then it died too. My third bike is another post altogether. Every time i tried to take step one in fulfilling my dream, they died and i became the dangerous image of a two year old's tantrum in a one hundred and sixty pound monkey frame. Eventually i got the message and one by one they all disappeared from my yard.
Around this time i started noting that my once enviously luxurious mane was becoming a partially shucked corn cob. There weren't enough vines clinging to the pumpkin to merit a rake anymore and eventually i did what every self respecting man ought to do at that point, i got out the clippers and finished the job. It felt weird, it felt naked. i was exposed for what i was: a pencil necked dweeb.
When Jesus told the rich young ruler to go home and sell all his possessions, we are told that he went away sorrowful, for he had many possessions. i had given up what God told me to give up, my freedom, my dream, my identity, both metaphorically in getting married, and physically in getting rid of the bikes. i was obeying, and yet, i went away bitter. i wonder, did any of the disciples follow Jesus around with a bad attitude half the time? One that had given up everything to follow Jesus and was feeling like he'd gotten the short end of the deal?
Probably one, Judas. Fortunately for me, God wasn't done with me yet...