Monday, April 11, 2011

peter mulvey and my wonderful little brother

Yesterday I got locked out of the apt. After hanging out at the park, I separated from Lacy for several hours only to find that I had left my keys inside the house and she was gone to see a friend. But it was 85 yesterday so no complaining--I sat on the porch and talked with my brother on the phone. I love him. I love talking to him. I appreciate the friendship we have. I shared life stuff; he shared life stuff. We shared advice and we sat quiet in each others questions. We learn together and we sit in mystery together--I really value that. There's not much fear of the hard, uncomfortable questions as we wrestle with what it means to know God and follow him; to live well in this world and care about people deeply and out of ourselves.

At one point he said, "do you ever think back to when we were kids and decisions were made for us?" I laughed, "yeah." "Sometimes I miss it." "Me too," I said. "I guess I just miss the innocence...or even some of the ignorance, you know?" Yeah, I know. It made me think of The Kids in the Square by Peter Mulvey--a beautiful song that speaks to some of these same things: a child's 'innocence/ignorance' in the face of the world's hard or mysterious realities. Whenever I listen to this song I can't help but think about faith like a child and why it is so important to Jesus that we understand life, to a certain degree, and faith from the perspective of these little ones. I think about it, too, as I nanny. I observe children an awful lot. What is it about their ability to give themselves over to believing something--even something that might seem "absurd"--that seems so wholehearted and wonderful? The other day C told me (in absolute seriousness) that Mountain Dew is actually Mountain Dude. He then proceeded to ask me if I preferred Sprite or Mountain Dude. I could hardly keep a straight face. But he was 100% serious because a friend of his at school has a "Mountain Dew" shirt with the logo changed to "Mountain Dude."

My brother and I grieved the reality that, to a certain degree, we are all corrupted by the world. We can't maintain that innocence or ignorance. Sometimes it's downright harmful to try to. At other times, we ought to remain innocent but we can't or won't. It's like my previous post and the idea of a "tangled up world." Here's another thought from that same chapter (a little long but very insightful):

"...we must be honest enough to say of ourselves that both the church and the world are here with us today. Both the church with its vision and the world with its fear are here today, and they are in our guts. I am tangled up with the values and priorities of the world, and so are you; it cannot be otherwise. Part of the hatred of the world toward the church is within my own body and within yours. It has to do with coerced parts of my person in conflict with the vision of joy that sustains me. And that conflict tears at me. We are all of us making up our minds about that deep conflict between yearning for shalom and wanting business with the world to continue uninterrupted. You and I will not likely rush madly to that new vision of confidence, but it is possible for folks like us to keep the tension alive. In the midst of a relevant, actionist church, it is useful for us to ponder what it means to be in but not of the world, in but not of the grimness and the defensiveness, in but not of the joyless holding action. Or turn it around: of but not yet in the kingdom of the beloved, of the vision of a healed future but not yet in it. We do not have to be controlled by our in, but can be claimed by that which we are of. The struggle for the church, if it takes society seriously, is to get its in and its of very clearly in tension with each other."
(Walter Brueggemann, Peace)

Luke and I eluded to some of these ideas. Mostly we acknowledged, together, the tension of seeing things in the world that we know we want to do differently while wrestling against the pull of things that seem like good but turn out to be harmful or unhealthy.

The thing is, and I've been learning this in stages over the past few years, as much as I am more and more aware of that "lost innocence/ignorance" (or however you want to term it), I wouldn't actually want to go back. Because even though life might be a bit more difficult when our eyes are opened and aware of the harder realities/responsibilities, life is also richer. Wisdom, maturity, and growth have a price...but they are worth the price. At least I think so. Sometimes when I watch the kids play I think, "wow, you are so unaware of the things going on 'out there.'" And I have pieces of news headlines running through my mind...Libya, Egypt, Japan, the Ivory Coast, a government shutdown...But then I watch them as the tricycle magically turns into a motorcycle or the police car turns airplane and starts flying around the room: "it's ok that you don't know about all of that. It won't be ok forever but right now it is and it's refreshing and it's beautiful."

C has been really interested in WWII recently. He asks so many questions about war. You see, this is just the beginning of a maturing mind. Life will demand lots of hard thinking and believing from him. We talked about Hitler and he asked how he died. "He killed himself."
"You mean, he suicided himself?"
"MmHm, he did."
"I think it's weird when people suicide themselves."
"Yeah, me's very weird. It's sad."
"Yeah, it's sad."

but those kids down in the square
are dancing like they just don't care
i think they know it all washes away
in the morning rain
in the morning rain

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