Faceless in a Selfie World

Sometimes when I scroll through my more recent pictures to see what I’ve essential recorded in history. Sometime while I’m looking I think to myself: where am I?  I’m just like everybody else in this modern age, I’ll take a photo of myself (now called selfies, used be called polaroids -just saying-), because I want be recorded, remember, or sometimes…just seen.

Pictures are amazing; photography (believe or not) is still an art. A beautiful, expressive art. I don’t just want my face or a place where I was recorded. I want some sort of beauty, isolation, joy, jest, contentment, some amount of invisibility recorded. I want someone to know what it’s like to be me. …but not so much for my own sake, anymore. But because I understand my life is so similar to so many.

If I feel this way, then I am not alone.

Sometimes I do feel like a picture is a way to relate. It’s not just about me, where I’ve been, or something incredible. Selfies aren’t always about vanity, peer pressure, or feeding the social media machine, but sometimes they can still capture something more. Sometimes they capture a light, or a missing light, within someone’s eyes. Sometimes the person is saying “I’m strong and confident” but I can see the loneliness of wanting to be seen, or wanting to be treasured, or wanting to share this life with other loved ones, or missing the actual nearness.

Our whole lives we create memories. Only a few are captured by pictures. Social media has allowed us to project an image of ourselves. Photo editors have allowed us to remold that image of ourselves. Likes, hearts, comments, and shares have allowed us to assume some companionship in a single moment that we didn’t actually share with all who participate in the this post-moment posting & commentation.

It’s like we can still attempt communal. Even when communal is just as lonely as it has always been …on our own.

In my own collection of pictures, I see that I get lost. I see once in a while my husband likes to tease me with a photo he snaps where I’m glaring or being goofy. …Then he post it for the rest of the world. I can’t convince him that no one else in the world thinks that I’m cute or beautiful in the way that he sees me. It’s unfathomable to him. Yet the when my face receives significantly less “likes” then a sunset picture or a goofy joke, what is one to think, but that I must be right? That I am more faded in the world of our “friends”.

Yet even with this… my pictures make me wonder how much am I participating in life? Or how much am I just a side observer myself?

In our modern age, we can connect to people miles away, but we can’t always stay connected to those who are geographically close to us. Old friends who aren’t social media savvy can fade, and new friends who socially stalk in-friendly-terms can seem better antiquated than what’s truthfully there. Yet it’s not just social media.

I can spend multiple days a week at my parents house, and barely know more than seeing my brother a few times a month or my other brother a few times a year. I can live an hour away from friends, and not see them for years, but make a special effort to see friends who live multiple hours away from us.

Community doesn’t just happen. We choose it. Capturing moments in life isn’t just the luck of being there, it’s being aware of the moment your in already. Cherishing what’s already in front of us.
Memories are made all the time, but we don’t always put them to mind. I am always here, but I can still feel as if I don’t exist without some acknowledgement of my existence.

Can I deal with less selfies, so that I can take more pictures of sunsets, long drives, quirkiness of nature, and a moment I lived but yet it didn’t involve me?  Can I deal with people saying “wow” “That’s beautiful” “awesome”  to those moments, when those same people don’t say “I miss you” “you’re beautiful” “I love my friend”?

It’s not a modern problem. It’s only a more instant problem in our modern age.

I think I can do this. I think I can acknowledge that I am here, even if I am unseen. I think I stand, even if it’s awkwardly, in a room in a moment in the isolation of the crowd. I think I can make through this day whether or not anyone else cares that I am here. I think that okay for today.
I’m not going to think about if I’ll have strength for silence tomorrow. Just today.  And if I need cheap friendship, I can always repost a meme.

But I want to be strong even if the world is silent towards me. Maybe just today…I can. This will be a memory: I made it.

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Dream Dreamer

I want to start talking about what people perceive “church” to be. I want to talk about how the feminine and/or romantic side of religion. I want to talk about the maternal instincts of both church and God. …and how the LORD God isn’t a single parent (so to speak). But this is going to take a few steps at a time. Do you have the patience for this? Do I?

Before I even get started with an introduction, I can hear Stevie Wonder sing, “Isn’t she lovely? Isn’t she wonderful?” playing in my head. If you don’t know this song, I’ll just tell you that it was written for his new baby girl when she was born. The thing that puts the song over the top, IMO, is that Stevie Wonder is one of the great musicians known also for being a blind-man. This man didn’t have to literally look at his baby girl to know she was lovely, he just held her in his arms, and he knew… Life was never going to be the same.

There’s differently a few lessons we could all learn here.

I readily acknowledge that I live in a culture where the best of us long for the stories of true love. Not just “true love” of romantic stories, but even within the family, even with best friends who can & do stay true friends. Whether fiction or real life stories, we long to hear about people who might actually live outside themselves and regard the well-being of others, maybe even more than themselves. Stories where people benefit by giving one to another fearlessly, in love (or because of love).
It’s what to true romantics desire, not just romantic love-stories, but something even deeper than romantic sentiments. A chord striking all the way down to the depths of one soul where one’s core-person must respond with truth or totally cut themselves off of truth all together.  Deep calls to deep, and I particularly long to hear it!

Yet somehow, there are a multitude of people who can live without even flinching over these deep truths of love, fearlessness, self-sacrifice. As a matter of fact they’ve written these things off to fantasy, chivalry, stupidity, romantic-notion, unreality, idealism.  I might boldly wonder aloud if it isn’t these types of “realist”, who can’t enjoy these depths, may actually have contributed to incarceration of those who do dream, hope, and seek. Because if the story is too much to even entertain in one’s mind for a single moment, than how much worse to actually participate in such things in real life? Maybe a different system could be built to confine such foolishness and even write it off as “romantic notion” or better yet maybe we could just subjugate a segment of those who think like this, blame them, and then rewrite what “the rest of us” should practice & believe!

Sound like a bitter conspiracy on my part? Well if you like conspiracies hold on, I’ve got a good one for you. But for this moment I’ll use the simple riddle by an old band called GS Megaphone, back in its day.

“A ship on a voyage could sink in the deep.
A ship in the shallow could crack on the reef.
But only ashore is it safe where it is built
And only ashore is it useless.

Imagine the world without romance.  Imagine the world without music.  Imagine the world without someone imagining.”

– GS Megaphone

We need dreamers. We need the romantics. We need people who can and want to imagine more. WE are still needed in church, religion, faith, relational spiritual matters, and in seeking truth. And we need to not be hurt or afraid or offended by all other who think differently than we do. I personally know dreamers, romantics, idealist are as soft as we’re always made out to be. We have our rough edges. The only people who don’t come with rough edges are those who live in a bubble. We need to be fearless. We need to rediscover the beauty of intuition, and we need to courageously engage forgiveness (because what’s a love story without forgiveness?). We need to shed division.

It strikes me how many times God says in the Bible that he will “drive out your enemies” and yet we think it’s own task. We must believe the LORD God has our best interest in mind. The Bible says that “perfect love cast out fear” How cool is that? Love makes imperfection disappear. Strength comes from right-living, also known as righteousness. We need to understand who we are and not be afraid to live it. What God created is still Good.

Are you ready for this..?

Who left the what?

The best thing about my married life is that I can & do talk with my husband for hours. And I mean hours! We recently traveled hour a 8-9hr trip and I think we talked the nearly the whole time. Worst part about this sometimes we forget that other people don’t actually think/believe like we do. …and I can’t tell you how many downfalls that brings. We are that couple that when people meet us, they love us at first, but then get sick of us seemingly just as quickly. We’re kind of a novelty item. 

This probably shows up the worst for things we believe in the most. 

We are Christians, and we don’t go to church buildings for Sunday, Saturday, or any other midweek services. So… Mostly that makes us outside “the church” …apparently. We’re ok with that! There’s a lot of work to do out here! Yet we find that lots of people begrudgingly even considers part of the Christian faith because of this one thing. Apparently we are being a bad example. Good Christians “go to church”, but my husband & I have no idea what that means. So we asked some people!

We asked some good Christian people what “church” is… And they told us: the people! 

We thought this was great news! We love meeting with people and talking about life and God and where we are in modern history, ect. But apparently that’s not church, either. We simple misunderstood and/or asked the wrong question. If one is to “go to church” one must ask a Christian “What is a proper expression of local church gathering within the confines of modern understanding of the forebears of ‘church’ history and interrupted through modern day theologians and promising statics?” 

Unfortunately my husband & I were too simple to understand what we we’re suppose to ask in order to receive the correctly mapped out answer. However we weren’t too stupid to know to check the answers. After asking “what is church” we sake those same people to describe their church (you can try it, this is fun!) and those same good Christians began to tell us about programs, events, low-level hype, and maybe conceptual rules of engagement. …but never about one living person, let alone the living system of people which supposedly all engaged in these events & programs.

  It happened every time and without a thought. These good Christians were trained to a cue that we didn’t even mean to trigger, and they had no idea of the unrelated-ness that was spewing out their mouth because they were trained. 

Years later…

My husband recently wrote a great article about how we “left the church indefinitely”. I think it went down really well. People started asking questions, questions lead to more questions, more questions lead to accusations, accusations lead to… Oh well actually we’re still dealing with it and not sure what will come next. It turns out we sent forth a different kind of cue this time. It turns out we do not define church as many others might define church, and this is has to be corrected …apparently.  

So the issue of “what is church” now hides under the identity of “what is local church look/act like”.  Yet I find this to be like those kids movies were the bad guy (or good guy) disguises himself with a hat & a pair of glasses, and somehow no one recognizes him. Or how about the idea of “healthy fast food”?

The disguise is weak. 

We are still justifying programs, events, and concepts and saying that proximity to other people counts as fellowship of the believers, which is basically close enough to the original idea of “church”. Seriously? 

If healthy fast food is all the more you want to do, then I cannot convince you of the joys of gardening. But I assure you, I know something you don’t know. 🙂  I’ve worked food service, I’ve worked “church ministries”. I’ve “worked” multiple gardens, I’ve lived & tasted life outside the buildings, programs, and glib concepts of self-declared “church”. The proof is in the taste.

Changing the wording does not change the issue, I assure you. The issue is the concept and practice do not match… and apparently everyone is ok with that! This isn’t about hypocrisy, it’s about sleeping on the job. It’s about sleeping while Jesus weeps because the hour grows nigh, and we didn’t even notice something different about this time. 

Ask me about God. Ask me about the Bible. Ask me about sports. Ask me about my husband. But don’t ask me to call that systematic machine “church”.  I love the church, she’s my mother, and that is not her…