Sunday, October 26, 2008

hold the sentimentality. and i'll take extra cynicism

I took a break from God relation sometime back in May.

To an extent, I got to the end of my neurotic Christian rope. There was nowhere else to go. I had plumbed the depths of sentimental/tortured narcissism. I had sinned horribly. I had glided on clouds, mistakenly believing that something “real” had happened to me spiritually in March. I read Wesley’s sermons and concluded, with only a smidge of doubt, that I wasn’t saved—I wasn’t a Christian.

I mean, I always had my doubts—but I was too ignorant to put myself firmly in the unregenerate camp. So I stopped trying. Scrapped the accountability partnership (though to call it that is a lie—it was one sided partnership for months, with all the, albeit meager, effort coming from my end), uninstalled my internet filters, stopped seeing the therapist (he was on the school’s dole/I was no longer a student), and stopped confessing to my Christian friends.

Parts of me want to ask for help. Other parts think that’s a farce. Ask for help? I already did. God and friends didn’t help. They both gave the only advice they really can: man up, work for it, do it yourself.

I used to think others could help. But they have their own problems—some simply don’t have time for others and some don’t even realize how crippled they already are—their advice hardly even assuages their own consciences; it’s not going to help me in the slightest.

For years, I’ve been acutely aware of my neurotic need for contrived affirmation, acknowledgement, and friendship. So I try not to pursue those—for even if I get it, it’s just a band aid or deeper problems of self-responsibility that I need to work out on my own, or worse, I risk entering some unsatisfying co-dependent relationship with another broken person that deepens my problems.

Well, I’m redoubling my efforts to act and think as normally (read unsentimental) as possible—hopefully those interactions born thereof will be reparative. Plus, my slavishness and occasional pretentiousness induce cringes when I think about them later. No wonder they don’t work; they’re fake. Psychically unhealthy people don’t care and the well adjusted don’t see it in other normal people so they don’t know what to make of it.

So I’m cynical. I know I’m still putting myself in the center. I recognize this as just another variety of over-dramatizing my life’s condition—“if I can’t be healthy, I’ll be special.” --Breaking the mold and doing pre-Christian life my way.

Well that’s that for now. I hope this explains why I’m not going to church anymore nor praying. It’s probably true that my heart’s hardened. But let me also suggest that maybe my heart is just too mushy. Love and grace run through me like champagne—the God of those I can’t engage with because the sinful parts of me cling to warped reflections of those.

No, the God for me now is the God of systems, of theology—of sin and hell, of the condition of man, of clouded visions of heaven. Emotive commitments don’t slay neuroses. Real friendships do. Old-school harsh psychology does. Self insight born of new philosophies does. When the scaffolding in my head it sturdy, perhaps I’ll begin to unmoor from cynicism and allow more emotion into the project. Please love me in the meantime. Oh, wait, don’t.