Monday, March 06, 2006

Blue Like Monday Mornings...

Blue Like Jazz Chapter 8 – gods: Our Tiny Invisible Friends

This chapter really did not have that many standing-out (as opposed to outstanding…HA…whatever that means…HA!) points, to me. So for those of you who are not fans of my longer blog entries, enjoy this, while it lasts. And for those of you who don’t mind the longer ones, know that while next chapter, chapter nine, definitely has more points than this one, I can assure you that chapter 10 will be a LONG entry, as it appears that I have more checkmarks in that chapter than there are pages! HA!

I like how Miller starts this chapter…

Every year or so I start pondering at how silly the whole God thing is. Every Christian knows they will deal with doubt. And they will. But when it comes it seems so very real and frightening, as if your entire universe is going to fall apart. I remember a specific time when I was laying there in bed thinking about the absurdity of my belief. “God. Who believes in God? It all seems so very silly.”

I can’t pinpoint a date of when my doubt started. Or even think of a situation that might have instigated my doubts, but I’m firmly implanted in a point of “doubt.” Maybe my stage of doubt is just a lot longer than some. Maybe one day I won’t doubt anymore; who knows. But, it all makes me wonder about what can trigger these times of doubt in Christians.

I’ve discussed my doubts with friends before and all of them seem to relate to Miller and admit to having their times of doubt. They explain it like it is a phase and it tends to pass, usually fairly quickly; well, quickly I suppose in relation to my potential “phase.”

So is it a state of cognitive reevaluation that goes on that leads one to doubt? If so, does that “light bulb” just seem to go out all of a sudden and the doubt disappears again? Or does one who is under a state of belief the majority of the time in their life, find them self in a state of too much uncertainty when they are in the stage of doubt, so they return to their comfort zone, so to say, of believing. For it is in their state of belief that they have answers, as opposed to doubting, leaving room for uncertainty.

I don’t know, and actually, it’s funny because, my original plans/layout for discussing this “point” from the chapter had no intentions of going the route that last paragraph did, but it just sort of happened. That’s one of the things I love about religious talks, they can be spurred on with so many questions and possible theories!

My original thoughts for this point was merely relating to the part about the phase of doubt feeling so “real and frightening, as if your entire universe is going to fall apart.” Is that feeling of realness in opposition to the feeling of when there isn’t any doubt? As in when one is in full belief of the idea of God. Or are they just as real in both situations, just different kinds of real?

You know, I wonder if it takes truly having felt “real” in one’s belief of God, to be frightened to the point of feeling “as if your entire universe is going to fall apart” when you are experiencing doubt. I say this because, though I am in a state of doubt, I don’t feel frightened, nor do I feel as though my world is going to fall apart or come to an end.


I wish I were the sort of person who liked everybody and everything. I feel so negative sometimes. I have friends who can listen to any song, watch any movie, or read any book, and they think everything is just great. I truly envy people who can do that.

While I obviously do not think it is possible to like “everybody and everything,” I do make it my goal in life to do that to the best of my ability.

I’ve been told I am not one who is quick to judge, whether that is true or not in your opinion, I don’t know. But I do know that I like to give everything and everybody as much of a fair chance as I possibly can. I naturally tend to go into situations with a positive view and have to be influenced to otherwise to sway from that view.

I believe we act and behave in manners that are pleasing to us. I have developed in a manner where I am pleased in positive settings. Seeing the positive in situations. [I say that in full belief that it is possible for people to be pleased in negativity. I believe some people truly are pleased by seeing the negative in situations] With this being the case, I tend to be the one that Miller seems to reference when he mentions his “friends who can listen to any song, watch any movie, or read any book, and they think everything is just great.”

I know a lot of people who can’t listen to slow country songs that are referenced as being “depressing” without getting down in mood. They don’t bother me. I love them! I have cds of total slow country “sad” songs and I love to listen to them. I view them as mellow and calming and peaceful, rather than “down.”

Some of my favorite movies are ones that are viewed as “depressing.” Movies like “Million Dollar Baby” and “Life as a House.”

Though Miller states his sense of envy, as if it is an unachievable state of being, I view it as a matter of perception, in which some cognitive restructuring could direct one’s views in a different direction. Envy in itself is such a negative state of mind! ;)

[Note: All the above text in smaller italic print has been quoted directly from Donald Miller’s “Blue Like Jazz”]


A. Lo said...

One of my friends likes to tell me that you can’t have faith without doubt, and anyone who claims they’ve never doubted is either lying or doesn’t have a mature faith. I think doubt is normal, and healthy.

I don’t know about periods of doubt being generally short. I, too, been in one for a while now, but I don’t usually doubt whether or not God exists. Instead, I doubt whether or not He or She is really as good as everybody says. There is just a whole lot of nasty crap going on in the world that shouldn’t be. And God promises to rescue the poor, but they haven’t been rescued yet. And I know a lot of Christians who are just crappy people who do crappy things, and it seems to me that He or She shouldn’t let that go on, either. (It occurs to me that if those Christians were doing what they were supposed to, then God wouldn’t have to rescue the poor ‘cause His/Her people would’ve taken care of it already.) I’m considering changing my descriptor from “Christian” to “follower of Christ” because Christian just carries a lot of baggage. (Like the Inquisition—and who wants to be responsible for that?)

And I have this nagging feeling that doubt never really goes away permanently. I think we’ll continue to have these periods of doubt for the rest of our lives. Guess we’ll just have to take them as proof that our brains are still working as well as our hearts.

A great writer once said that “the opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty. Certainty is missing the point entirely. Faith includes noticing the mess, the emptiness and discomfort, and letting it be there until some light returns. Faith also means reaching deeply within, for the sense one was born with, the sense, for example, to go for a walk.”

FeedingYourMind said...

Wow. EVERYTHING you just wrote was GREAT!

I'd have to say, VERY nicely put!

Thanks for sharing all of that!

A. Lo said...

You're welcome; I'm glad you enjoyed it!

What a boost to my ego--I'm going to comment on your blog more often, lol!