Friday, March 5, 2010

Paradigms shift like tectonic plates

...another post on much the same thing...

I tried to explain to my ex about paradigms, used hear to refer to metaphors I use to understand my self and the world around me. How shifting them around was so disquieting to me, and while he was the locus a major paradigm shift, the dis-ease on my part was largely from interior sources -- much bigger than him.

I adopted a rather ascetic, Hellenistic, and disembodied paradigm in late high school, because it gave me some space to breath and be myself. It completely removed me from the CofC paradigm of reproduction of the church in which women are "saved through child-bearing." This ascetic idea gave me some degree of spiritual independence and freedom to use my mind and my logic, and damned be the person who would tell me a I couldn't because I had a particular body.

It was also simply replacing one extreme with the other and ultimately left me with some strong mind/body integration issues that I'm still chipping away at, but largely fell apart over the past year. I am much more at home in my body these days.

I've been operating in another paradigm of being a scholar of theology, but not a believer. Again, largely a matter of overcompensation. No, no, I'm not a prudish Christian. I curse. I drink. I commit other various "sins." I am not going to tell you that you're going to hell. I study faith, dammit, don't confuse that with person of.

And once again, the paradigm I was using to understand my self is falling apart. Not in a way that is bad, but in a way that is certainly disquieting.

I don't know if I'm a different person per se. I'm not a prudish Christian. I curse. I drink. I commit various other "sins," and am not particularly repentant about it. And I have little to no interest in telling you that you're going to hell or in bringing you to Jesus.

But I also can't deny at this point some deep seated belief in a transcendent something which may be properly referred to as God. Is this what they call faith? And slowly, slowly I've been developing a need for religious structure and community. A system that is something more than myself. At the same time, I've found a structure than meets my needs, and gives me room to breath and be my self. The prospect of letting go of the paradigm of "exile" and "refugee" and applying for citizenship still overwhelmes me.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Theological Refugee

It has been a strange year. For now, I'll leave it at that.

I've written in the past on doing theology from a place of exile. I walked away from my religious homeland. For the past year, perhaps two, I've been doing theology as a sort of refugee in the Orthodox Church. Moving in a theological world where I am a foreigner, day by day improving my command of the language and learning to pass in the culture.

I am once again faced with the task of discernment. Do I become a citizen of this world? This world that has welcomed me in such surprising ways? This rich, beautiful theological tradition that gives me air to breath and food to eat? This highly conservative, androcentric church?

The Orthodox Church is not a perfect fit for me. But there isn't a church or religion that would be a "perfect" fit for me.

I was recently assigned Augustine's Confessions for a class, the three chapters leading up to his conversion in the garden. This is at least the third time I have read this particular section of the Confessions, but this time, I found myself copying sections out into my journal and identifying so strongly with Augustine. Almost, I'm almost resolved, but not quite.