Friday, May 27, 2005

The 3 Wise Men

Recently I’ve been honored to discuss religious stances with some friends. I very much enjoy a good discussion and believe it or not, I’m ever more fond of religious ones than most others, however, it DOES depend on who I’m having the discussion with. What I mean by that is that there are two kinds of individuals I would rather not talk religion with those are: close-minded people and “holy rollers.” Let me define both…

Close-minded people (apparently in my opinion, though not in some others) is different from stubborn people. A close-minded person won’t listen to the “other side.” This individual won’t give the “other side” the time of the day. This person would be someone that refuses to listen to someone who is talking about something they disagree with, so this person might get up and walk out. Someone who doesn’t give the “other side/view” a chance. A stubborn person, in my opinion, is very set in his/her ways, and the willingness of this individual changing his/her view depends on their level of stubbornness. While a close-minded person IS stubborn, a stubborn person is not necessarily close-minded. It is possible, in my opinion, to be stubborn, and unwilling to change, but open to listening to the other side.

So, with these definitions, how would I define myself you ask? I believe I’m usually a pretty stubborn person, though I believe I am a pretty open-minded individual. I’m always willing to listen to other views, stances, sides, but I can be hard to convince. While I might be in disagreement, I am willing to listen. And in all actuality, I think being open-minded and listening to the other perspective is one of the best ways to learn, grow, and stretch our inner being, especially to look at things from a different perspective, whether you choose to accept it or not.

Now, back to my original topic, let me define “holy rollers.” These are the people that, in my opinion, are religion pushers. They belief their religion is right and you need to accept it, or at least try it (in some occasions) and their life seriously revolves around their religion. Now I’m not saying it’s wrong for your religion to be the biggest part of your life, I’m simply saying that people whose every word out of their mouth is about their religion, and every blog/email/away message/buddy profile/etc. is about their religion or is bombarded with scripture it annoys me. Now realize that just because it annoys me, doesn’t make it “wrong” per say, it just means it’s a pet peeve of mine. For example your pet peeve might be how long my blog entries are, but that doesn’t make it “wrong.” Soo, these “holy rollers” get on my nerves, for one, and for two they are normally the people that are just pushing their religion on you and you aren’t allowed any “if, ands, or, buts” about it—not my type of person to discuss religion with. HA!

So, after saying all of that I’m going to somewhat switch gears and talk about one of the conversations about religion I had with a dear friend of mine.

[Janaye I’ve broke this “long” blog into two sections so you can read one section one day and take a break and read the second section a different day since I know you can’t get through my long blogs…but this one is for you kid!]

So, as a stubborn person, I’m one that is VERY hard to convince of things. And as strange as it might seem, I can’t even convince myself sometimes of things, for example, religion.

As one who is skeptical on religion, my body many times says yes, and I’d LOVE to believe, however, I am unable to get my mind in accordance. I have yet to convince my mental side of me to believe religion.

As I am a thinker, I have gone on mental missions to “find” the convincing evidence my mind needs to “believe.”

Confession: as one who does consider herself to be intellectual in many areas, I have high standards for changing my views, therefore, on my missions I have always been WELL aware that this “convincing evidence” would need to come from one who I considered of greater knowledge than I, someone who was wise, and, consequently, someone with whom I held great respect. Unfortunately, though, this makes for an awkward combination because, as one who views herself as intellectual it is difficult to admit to “searching” and to ask questions, and in this particular situation it would require that, but not only that, but asking questions of the ones who I look up to the most, which makes it even harder, because you always want to look the most impressive in the eyes of those that you look up too, and feeling as though asking questions makes you “weak,” it makes this situation hard.

So, it all began my senior year in high school. I did it! I mustard up the courage to ask (well, I emailed him) my favorite preacher back at home. I admired him, but even more his wife, and they had two kids with whom I loved as well. It just happened that they were moving away and switching churches, so I knew this might be my last opportunity (about a week before they left), so I did it, I emailed him. Well he was cool, he stopped me one night at church and said he had gotten my email and he gave me a thick stack of papers and said for me to read over them, it was some good information he had printed off the internet for me to look at. Well, I took that stuff home, but honestly, it was real over my head and not really what I was looking for anyways. Well, they moved away, but it actually turned out that he was not so cool, because he ended up cheating on his wife and left his family, which was really sad. So, my first attempt at convincing myself with Wise Man #1 didn’t work out.

So then I tried again. It was either at the end of my senior year or maybe over that summer, I don’t remember, I decided to confront another gentleman with whom I had great respect for from our church. This man happened to be an elder there, as well as my best friend’s father. He is a very wise man! So I was like, he can do it! ;) Once again, I started off with the email. To which he graciously responded and we corresponded a few times via emails. Then while talking just in passing while at church he suggested a book for me to get and read, which I immediate went and checked it out like a day later at the library. I began reading immediately. It was very interesting, however, it still wasn’t doing it for me. Unfortunately, though, after losing our previous preacher (the one mentioned earlier) and this elder not being pleased with our replacement, he and his wife switched churches in the area. Also, I ended up heading off to ACU not long after that, so my correspondence with Wise man #2 fell off and I still was without the “answers.”

So years went by. I would have GREAT conversations with my friends at ACU the first few years that I felt comfortable opening up about religion and questioning it, which was socially a “no-no” for a student at a Christian university it seemed. I actually would say one of my best friends I have today, our friendship blossomed from our religion talks. Those were fun!

So it wasn’t until the summer after leaving ACU that I decided to address Wise man #3. I went about this one in a different manner however. No, I’m not referring to the email part, because yes, I sent him an email, but in the email to him I never admitted to my searching and questioning. I wasn’t brave enough to bring up that “vulnerability” of my intellect to someone I looked up too so greatly, just yet. I instead sent him an email with an attached document of “tough” religion questions asking about his views and faith and beliefs. I had recently been asking them of some of my friends, just out of curiosity, and thought, oh how I’d love to get his answers. Maybe, just maybe his answers could be what I’m looking for. That convincing information! So I sent the email on its way.

Immediately I got a response and though it didn’t have answers to the questions it did invite me to get together with him sometime and he would gladly share his responses. This was cool with me. I understood how the type of questions I was asking would be much easier to answer in person than in an email, so I was still excited. However, as times usually go nowadays, excitement can die down as things get pushed aside while other things come into play, and in this situation, that was just the case. Unfortunately, I never got those answer to those questions. As life might have it sometimes, Wise man #3 passed away before I was able to have that religion discussion with him.

So here I am today. I’m still waiting for Wise man #4. I don’t know when or where he might come about. Nor do I know who he is, but I hope #4 is my lucky one.

Whatever the case, isn’t it interesting how in Matthew 2 it talks about the three wise men? Hmm…maybe for me it just takes more than gold, incense, and myrrh! ;)


Holly said...

Interesting post. Here are my thoughts...

It makes sense to me that you look for knowledge from those who you feel are of greater wisdom and knowledge than yourself. Who doesn't? I do. However, I also think that we are each wise in our own ways and each know things other do not -- despite our age, our job, our goals. Also, we each have a different "knowing" of our religion. What are the deciding criteria you are using to determine whether you feel one person you talk to about religion stuff is of greater knowledge than yourself? (I suppose sometimes it's easy to tell -- i.e., a preacher maybe, but not always, especially when we have yet to find answers. And -- religion is a subjective topic.) How are you deciding whether the religious person you talk to is "wiser" than you or not? What are your criteria for this wise enough person?

My questions:
Once you find this wise man, and do get to talk to him, do you think he will be enough to convince you? What specific convincing advice are you looking for? This might make for a good blog if it isn't already one.

FeedingYourMind said...

I'm sorry...I can not tell you that (or else I would have to kill you!) ;)