12/8/2016: To Teach Or To Learn

The desire to write something that someone learns from, in an abstract sense, seems as steeped in pride as anything else in my life. I want them to learn because I want to be mighty enough to teach.

The true teacher doesn’t want to teach in an abstract sense. They want to help those whom they see as not having learned. I have felt that at times. And when, at my best times, I speak with someone who needs information I have been given, I try to give it, and I do so with as much grace as I can so that 1) they learn and 2) they aren’t belittled by not knowing. Typically, only when it seems like reasonable teaching has not led to their learning (and without an apparent, valid reason for it not doing so, like age) do I become annoyed.

The desire to impact persons seems similar. Is it? Do I desire to impact them with my profundity, with my wit and craft? Or do I desire to explore God and his cosmos with them, that it might impact us both? To subcreate, that it might enrich our common reality—that is, theirs and also mine, but not as individuals but as the community of man.

Should I then seek to be taught in my works as much as to teach others? It would seem so. And at my best times, I feel like this is the case. But just as we are simultaneously sinner and saint, the other side sits at the same table.

This made me think of something else, though it’s just a breath in my mind. I thought of it while doing dishes, forgot it, then remembered fragments of it. The reason the separatist church cannot create art is because they do not see themselves as a part of greater humanity. They see themselves only as teachers of humanity. As Not Humanity but something greater. Not part of the community of man, and perhaps even its enemy. Not someone who walks beside man and seeks with him the truth but someone who has it and speaks it down to man.

True teaching is not the desire to share one’s own greatness, insight, information, wit but to help an ignorant person (in the neutral sense, not the pejorative sense) or persons in need. I feel I should correct this. “True teaching” is not enough. The pursuit of truth, perhaps. Perhaps that is enough. And not just the pursuit of truth but the pursuit of moving the community of man toward the truth. We teach, and we listen to teachings, as long as both move us all—all whom we can—toward truth. As long as they move us toward faith and hope and love and toward God most of all. (1/19/2017 It’s relational, as I’m reminded again and again all good things are).

Likewise, art, as the desire to express oneself and to further the progress of the community of man, cannot come from a place of superiority. It comes from a place of communality and vulnerability. Tolstoy says, “…the purpose of our human existence is to afford a maximum of help towards the universal development of everything that exists.” I agree, and I believe God does as well.

By grace through faith.

The production of writing can become its own idol. I have written all this about how writing is basically an act of love, an interrelation between me and the world, and I have failed to connect the progenitor of love with writing’s production.

Found this quote somewhere. Seems to fit.

“When I teach my brother it is not really I who teach him, but we are both taught by God. Truth is not a good that I possess, that I manipulate and distribute as I please. It is such that in giving it I must still receive it; in discovering it I still have to search for it; in adapting it, I must continue to adapt myself to it.” – Henri de Lubac


12/3/2016: Insecurity

Stems from a lack of value and faith in the grace of God through Christ.

Leads to a desire to be something other than myself—something that matches my idea of what it takes to meet the standard (the highest standard only Christ has met).

I spend my time reading what it takes to be an artist, hoping to find a description of myself, because I have come to view artists as that standard to meet.

If only I valued and believed the love, the imputed character, the eternal hope of the one who met the only standard worth meeting. Insecurity would have no place in me. But only by grace through faith.

So as it stands, until he returns and calls me home, I remain insecure (to the extent that I lack faith).

But such is the nature of God’s work. He uses the weak to demonstrate himself. He allows me to remain weak in order that the greater good be accomplished—that he be seen both by me and by others through me.

Him being seen for who he is is the most important thing in life. Worthy of my pursuit. But also worthy of my continued insecurity. For me to believe in this, I must also commit to the continuance of my insecurity. For the glory of God.

9/3/2016: The Joy of Writing

I have forgotten the reason, or reasons, to write. I have forgotten them, or they have been displaced.

I now seek to win the tournament. Snap kick him in the neck. Go for the cut eyelid. Drive yourself until you bleed sweat.

The scoreboard drives you: How are you doing now? What about now? Not good enough… Still not good enough… What about now? What’s wrong with me? What’s wrong with this game?

Because I love to whistle new tunes, I whistle new tunes. I daydream tunes. And they’re often good (I like them, anyways). When I love being good at whistling tunes… It all stops.

Because I love to play games, I play games. I daydream playing. And I’m often good. When I love being good at games… It all stops.

Because I love to create new worlds and to make new ideas and to do it in a way the impacts readers, I write. I sometimes daydream writing. When I love being good at writing…

My love is a fickle thing.

How do you forget love for one thing and remember love of another without merely attempting to win the love of the first by manipulating yourself to love the other (as if that could happen)? When I played Battlefield, the easiest way was to find the fun things to do that didn’t have anything to do with doing well, and then go do those. My brother and I would drive jeeps around the outskirts of the map looking for perched snipers to run over. Or we’d drive through super intense areas just trying to avoid being hit. Or we’d find jumps. Or we’d get into a chopper and do back flips and barrel rolls. Or whatever. It didn’t matter as long as it was fun and pointless. At some point while having fun, I remembered that fun was the point of the game, and the desire to do well, or at least the love of it, left, replaced by the love of having fun. I tended to do well after that, but I sought the fun more than doing well.

So perhaps I can find the fun parts of writing that have nothing to do with whatever my standard of “doing well” is in hopes of remembering the good bit about writing and displacing the love of doing well.

I really love to do well. It distracts me like nothing else. Always has. I suppose it’s a central idol. Fettered Fett and Frackalurch were fun. So was Fatherhood (though perhaps fun is not so much the word). Indeed, it isn’t always the fun of writing that’s the thing. It’s the rawness of the writing that’s the thing. When I tap into some idea that moves me. When it clicks and an idea closes its circle.

(3/29/2017 Sounds suspiciously like fun replaced vanity as my idol of choice here. But there’s something to be said about writing only in the vein of personal aggrandizement vs. writing for other reasons. There’s also something to be said about feeling free to write [fun] and feeling constrained to [fear of failure]. More development on this later…)