If that didn't make any sense maybe this will: I'm slowly grasping what form of spirituality is pertinent to my life. So, while I continue to distance myself from the institution, which may yet prove to finally institutionalize me for good, still I can't help but hold doggedly to certain aspects that were instilled in me at a young age, and as the proverb says I find that I cannot now depart from.
- Scripture Study and acts of faith
This was a mainstay back in the day. I was one of those people who would pipe up in class about how I could feel a discernible difference in my life by making this a daily practice. I now reserve such self-congratulatory statements for this blog. Of course I can never go back to the BoM, which after all this time, in my mind, has proven itself to be no more than chloroform in print.
The scriptures are like the placebo effect and Pygmalion effect rolled together into a nice hallucinogen inducing joint. Aren't all belief based propositions? Your faith tells you that fulfilling this obligation will lead to ostensibly favorable treatment from your preferred deity. With your attention firmly fixed on full alert for any and all corroborating evidence, minute "miracles" mysteriously materialize (overuse of alliteration: another unfortunate effect of my upbringing). Things like the notorious God helped me find my keys while millions starve in Africa story start to make sense. Dangerous territory. However, perhaps belief when directed toward less insane outcomes can still be useful.
My inertia is a greater stultifying deterrent to action than physical paralysis, performance anxiety, and the stock piling of nuclear armaments for the purposes of staving off a nuclear winter. Combined. To counteract this unfortunate condition, I need constant encouragement and an occasional kick in the pants. Enter reading material that in my limited wisdom and with dubious authority have pronounced holy. I search these things, wrestling with them to discover and at the same time create whoever and whatever the hell I am. I need this. As I (and you) do these things I testify that...blah blah blah. It helps, maybe only because I believe it does, but hey, who can argue with results even if they are only in the eye of the beholder.
It's an effective practice to take a moment each week to reflect and rededicate yourself to your chosen path. I am a writer, which means that my highest priorities are browsing the net, engaging in non-productive tasks like alphabetizing my wardrobe and continually challenging my laptop monitor to contests of who can look the most blank (which it routinely wins, but it's always close). I am a writer is like saying God is love. It's only part of the story. If these self-definitions were to correlate with real life output than I'm a shiter would be a more accurate statement. I'm a product of my time, my environment and any other number of factors. Kipple's always trying to get in and distract me (or gift me with raw materials for my work). Wading through the mire and focusing on what's important once in a while keeps me from taking up my true calling as a beach bum whose surfing is strictly limited to the interwebs. Heh, never mind.
Speaking of what's important. The more things change the more they stay the same. Service has had more lip service sent its way than the back seat of every teenager's car, ever. Boy we'd talk this up at church. Did anyone act on it? I don't know about everyone else, but I sure didn't, not in an especially dedicated way. Zig Ziglar's favorite saying is "You can have anything you want in life, if you help enough people get what they want." Sure he loses some credibility points, because he's a salesman, but he might be on to something. It may be disconcerting that this maxim suggests that helping people is ultimately a selfish act. You know what? I can live with that. To stop thinking about myself momentarily, even if it wasn't purely motivated by charity, well, that would truly be an act of god and I'm fond of those despite my current (non) beliefs.