Auburn Mortality

The browns of Autumn are always outshined by other vivid hues. Scarlets, oranges, yellows, and violets with a prettier tune. Burnt auburn left to wither, unappreciated until the greens of spring return. Some things die and we marvel at them, other’s pass away with a passing glance. Auburn left to fill the space until there’s something worth staring at. Value assigned, Drab Vs. Chiché, yet the trees expire the same, slumber over their leaves.

“I don’t wanna talk about death, I don’t want to focus on the Macabre.”

“Pearly gates and golden streets, I’m building my treasures up in Heaven. Rust and decay will never touch me.”

“Live in the moment, life flits around like a canary, all yellow and exuberant. Death is still, lazy; don’t waste away pondering such things.”

I think it’s fear of death that drives faith. I’ll do anything to feel like I’ll live forever. I’ll tithe my last cent, grind my teeth to dust just to keep moving.

“Oh busy, busy bee, walking to and fro. What if we close our eyes? What if we don’t wake up?”

What if we don’t wake up? I tried to cling to hope, tried to swallow fear, hoping that there’s an afterlife with every tear. So many stories, so much lore, always ending in some deity conquering death through resurrection or reincarnation. I used to pray because I was afraid of what there might be after. Content with worshipping a god I didn’t fully believe in. I used to cry into my mother’s arms, pleading with her to save me from rot and decay. 3 years old is early to worry about death. So I put my faith in a story, written by someone many years ago, just like I used to put my faith in Grover when he told me “There’s a Monster at the End of this Book”.

There’s a monster at the end of every book, and it’s weird to think that Sesame Street taught me just as much about humanity and death as Christ or Buddha did. I used to believe that monster was death, that that monster was sin, but the monster is humanity, and death is Van Helsing, coming to put a stake in our hearts as we crumble to ash. “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust”, made of the earth, buried there too.

I think the Greeks worshiped so many to distract themselves, a nation constantly at war in their adolescence. Aphrodite, Eros, Apollo, Athena, making any concept transcend it’s form. I think the Christians and the Jews wanted the same distraction, but focused it into one super-being. No respect for death, no dignity in decay.

Samhain is around the bend, and winter there after. They’d slaughter their cattle, harvest their grains, and offer up a bit to death to ensure they made it through the frigid, white doom. We’ll wear masks to hide from malignant spirits, going from door to door, begging for treats. Feasting for the solstice, avoiding any tomb.

Scarlets, oranges, yellows, and violets wither just as Auburn does. Auburn has the hardest task of all: ensuring all the other hues burn out bright, while she just burns out.

I’m not entirely sure what I’m trying to get at, other than death is an inevitability. We won’t escape. Maybe I just don’t want to be afraid anymore? Maybe I’m tired of putting my faith in possibilities and probabilities? Maybe I want to stop alloting life’s value to extraplanar beings and just let life’s value stand on it’s own? I don’t want the harvest to come to anyone or anything but mine own. I want to bask and revel in the responsibility for the things that I have sown.

Inspired by:

Claude Monet’s color palate

Bahamut of the Platinum Cadre

The Chariot’s “Your”

Grover of “Sesame Street”‘s, “There’s a Monster at the End of this Book”

Greek mythos

The Gaelic festival of Samhain

The autumn foliage

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Zeal: Pride’s Humble Brother

We took Christ right out of his own house.

I’ve had a lot of time to contemplate things lately. Jesus has been throwing a ton of interesting thoughts and concepts onto my plate. It almost feels like being an indecisive eater stuck in Golden Corral. Luckily, I have a super rad friend, Austin, who has the same craving for truth about Christ as I do. We’re searching for answers because we have a void that can’t be filled by, “That’s how I was raised” or “Well, I heard it in a sermon”.

I’ve been seeing a ton of religious talk lately. About the exclusion of the LGBT community, about Evolution, about the well groomed-bearded-flannel-donning-attractive Christianity, and it’s all incredibly heart-breaking to me. Here’s why:

Christ is in none of it. Christ isn’t the focus at all.

Before I dig any deeper, I want to take a look at Pride and Zeal.

Pride often gets confused with Zeal, only because people try to make Pride look humble and call it Zeal. Zeal is a great thing. It’s much like passion, like motivation, like desire. Pride is like that, only Pride is about the betterment of ourselves whereas I would associate Zeal with such things as Social Justice and compassion.

So, with those things in mind, we can get back to the affore-mentioned religious talk. The LGBT is constantly being ridiculed by Christians, whether in Government, the private sector, or, even more abominable, the Church itself, Evolution is viewed as Satan’s biology project, and our church communities have been not-so-slowly shifting to talking more about coffee and clothing than Christ and Cross.

My heart breaks every single time I look at social media. I read an article just the other day about a Christian campus group that is pushing for a law that would allow them to keep the LGBT out of their groups, and not just a campus only thing but a national thing. I saw that groups at Duke were trying to get benefactors to withhold funding because a Muslim group was praying during their meetings on campus. I’ve had many friends claim that anyone who would believe in the myth of Evolution are deluded and unintelligent. I’ve been to so many churches lately that talk more about their favorite coffee shops than the reason for even having Church in the first place.

It makes me cringe.

Why?

Because we’re focused on ourselves. (I say we because I am included. In no way, shape, or form will I ever write something that’s critical and not include myself. Mostly, because I really suck as a human too.)

We took Christ right out of his own house. “Here’s your eviction notice Mr. Christ, could you take your Grace and Mercy with you? We don’t need that anymore.”

Just to be clear, I’m not saying that if you wear flannel and love coffee that you don’t love Jesus, I love flannel and coffee shops. I’m not saying that if you aren’t for Evolution that you’re unintelligent, I don’t agree with Evolution, but I can’t say I know exactly how and what God used/did to create. I’m not saying that if you’re a little unsettled by the LGBT community that you hate them, I personally love the gay community and admire their ability to support their peers through Hell and high water.

What I am saying is this:

We need more Grace.
I need more Grace.

We get so caught up in discussing airy topics, in discriminating, in trying to find fatal flaws, in explaining things away, in being right.

I was a part of several really awesome communities, life happened, and then I left those communities. Once I was on the outside, I started seeing flaws in those communities. It soon became my goal to rip those things apart. I was consumed with Pride, that my way of doing things was 100% correct and theirs was not, and we couldn’t let that happen because my way was Jesus’ way and theirs wasn’t. But the simple truth of the matter is that I was wrong. I was merely hurt because this community full of people that I love didn’t bother to try and see my side, they didn’t see the merit in the way I went about things. The same was true for me. I didn’t see anything from their perspective either. Jesus let me know that. He let me know that my Pride had become bigger than him.

I started to evaluate why this had happened. I found out that a lot of my friends were only friends within certain buildings. That my role as a church leader wasn’t as important because I was young. That even after countless years of pouring my heart and soul into several ministries, trying to ensure that Christ would remain the center, that he would call me out of it and I would watch one die and another change completely.

I’m still hurt by it. But I’m hurt even more because I didn’t have the Grace to try and see those people’s perspectives. If I had Zeal, I would have made an attempt to stay a part of those people’s lives. There’s people whom I love very deeply that I don’t even speak to because I’m too wrapped up in my pain and could care less about their perspectives.

That’s the incredibly sad, brutal truth.

So how do we get back to what Christ wants?

How do we be intentional with those who’ve wronged us? How do we forgive ourselves for doing the wronging? How do we try to see others complexly? How do we try and put ourselves in their situation and feel their pain alongside them?

I don’t have the answer. It’s different for every person. Christ is obviously a common denominator, and a huge part of the answer, but I can’t lay out details. I get it wrong all the time.

Austin and myself have had several talks about Grace and Love lately. About how we’re focused on so many different things that don’t matter. It opened my eyes to see that I was focused on me. I didn’t have any Zeal in me, only Pride. Hopefully, Christ will grant me some Zeal, so my heart isn’t just a calloused mass anymore and I can start loving people again.