It is easy to believe one thing passionately, to fight and die for that one thing, even. History is littered with the corpses of nameless people who believed one thing passionately enough to die for it. But it takes another breed of person entirely to passionately believe opposite things at the same time.That wishy washy person in your life might just be deep.
Is all sin the same?
You know when you’re really getting at the truth, because it often takes you in two completely opposite directions at the same time. Take, for example, the perennial Christian question, “Is all sin the same?” The answer to this is very clear. Yes, all sin is definitely the same. And no, it absolutely is not. It depends on how you think about sin, and — despite what many people will tell you — becoming the kind of person who can passionately believe both of these opposites at the same time is far harder than simply believing deeply in either of them. Sometimes people we call “flip-floppers” or “wishy washy” are just those who have learned to embrace mystery and paradox, which allow us to see the truth in completely opposite beliefs about the same thing.
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Intimacy and self-protection are mutually exclusive
It has occurred to me recently how often my clients and parishioners are living in a defensive mode, trying to protect themselves from perceived attack/abuse by a loved one. This is a natural instinct, of course, but ironic, since self-protection kills intimacy. Intimacy comes from vulnerability, willingness to open one’s self up and share one’s thoughts, feelings, and experiences. In defensive mode, one person is intentionally keeping themselves from being vulnerable to the other. Oftentimes both partners are doing it.
Empower your partner to ruin you!
I tell clients that if you’re not sharing enough with your partner that they could completely screw you over and ruin your life if they chose to, you’re not being vulnerable enough. It’s a paradox. We often argue because we are not connected. As we argue we hurt each other and as we hurt each other we take defensive and isolated postures against one another. This may effectively keep the other partner’s grenades from landing and doing further damage, but it also prevents each partner from the very behaviors, attitudes, and emotions that create the intimacy they lack, which may be leading to arguments to begin with.
Why therapy is hard
That is why therapy is so often difficult and painful. A person who is hurting in a relationship and wants to not hurt anymore will often be dismayed to find that they may have to let down their guard in order to have any hope at all of moving towards intimacy. No doubt there are situations where this is not advisable (all cases of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse, and most cases of addiction), but anytime it is not contraindicated (strongly advised against), it will have to be done. Laying down one’s shield is difficult when one knows the other is still flinging arrows one’s direction. But a person of good will will not continue fighting for long once their partner lays down their shield.
Self-protection kills intimacy. If you’re hurting so bad in your relationship that you cannot imagine that you could stop protecting yourself, get help as soon as possible. As long as you keep fighting, your probably will too.
Note: Before reading this post, you might consider reading the one before it that deals directly with the issue of men who don't work.
One of the TV’s at the gym this morning was doing a feature on women who get involved with convicted serial killers and marry them after they go to jail. It turns out that murderers and rapists are chick magnets. Who knew? Of course they only attract a certain type of woman, but I think it is that type of woman I’m talking about when I refer to women who love men who won’t work. A man who doesn’t work, or one who rapes, or kills, is like catnip for some women — they just find it irresistible.
Some may cry “unfair” that I lump all of these categories of men together, but I think it’s safe to say that all of these are considered bottom feeders in our society, and usually for good reason. While I’d be the first person to extend a break, and true compassion, to any man really trying to change, regardless of his offenses against society or any individual, I also believe in calling a spade a spade. Men who don’t work generally are bottom feeders, and commit social murder (or at least assault) all the time by sucking life — emotional, spiritual, mental, financial — out of others and using it for themselves.
So what is it that attracts women to men who won’t work? There are many possibilities and it’s different for each woman.
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“Girls, come downstairs! Mom and I need to talk to you.”
Our three teenage daughters bounded down the stairs and took seats in the family room two summers ago. Christy and I launched into our carefully planned lecture.
“Don’t get involved, girls, with men who won’t work. There is something deeply wrong with a man who will not earn a paycheck. I know you all know kids whose dads are lazy, and who always have an excuse for why they won’t get a job. But this is not normal, it’s broken. If you ever meet a man who tells you he’s ‘looking’ for work, wait until he finds it and see how long he keeps working. Don’t ever hitch your wagon to a man who won’t work. Avoid that like the plague. There is a brokenness to men who refuse to work that goes far beyond simply not working. It shows a complete lack of self-respect, and a man who does not respect himself will not — cannot — respect you.”
There is something wrong with a man who won’t work.
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image from skeptoid.com
Read this apology from Kickstarter, and be sure to read several of the comments after it.
This is what hard hearts and gracelessness look like. While most people are very cool, some actually articulate, “Until I get answers to (x and y), I’ll have to assume you were up to no good.” Or “Too little, too late.”
It’s good to do research. It’s good to ask people to be accountable for their actions. I hope Kickstarter DOES respond to some of the questions being asked. But the attitudes are disturbing to me. As a leader, it makes my stomach hurt to be reminded that people are really out there who, despite acknowledgement of mistakes and a humble and sincere apology, still assume wrongdoing and want to see someone hang.
I have to meditate and clear my head when I see stuff like this, or I get sucked into that kind of sick negativity — not sucked in in terms of becoming graceless in that way, but in terms of allowing an equal and comparable negativity to grow in my own heart towards graceless people. Which is, of course, the great spiritual irony and leads to self-righteousness and pride.
I will do the work in my heart and head that is required to not become part of the world’s negativity. Still — I just do not understand this at all.