Thursday, March 30, 2017

Communication, Values, and Identity in Christ

There is introduction. There is body. There is conclusion. They are all separate, and yet, they form a whole. They form a whole so well that you might overlook these chasms of identity. Even words are reducible to lonely letters; they mean nothing on their own, except in particular circumstances. What drives me to communicate? It must be something I'm craving ... some rich chocolate mousse and a glass of ginger ale. Unless one is ill-mannered, they will use a fork or spoon to eat their cake and a glass to drink their ginger ale from. Likewise, when I communicate, I'm not all about the communication itself. I have a tool at my disposal to ascertain that communication. I suppose it's all a little different than eating because communication involves the interpersonal. Emotions are very important here. What can I pry from the other when I am angry? When I am happy? When I am forlorn? There is manipulation in the communicative process, and not necessarily in the negative sense.

I think I just need to quit. "But your cake, monsieur! Your ginger -" No, no. No, thank you. Meaningless, meaningless, everything is meaningless. A good taste never lasts forever, though you might wish otherwise. When I grant God the Father lordship over my senses, they have a standard by which they must adhere to if they are to be in proper order. And yet, it's ironic because I'm writing all this for sense-based reasons (or, non-reasons).

Maybe I don't need to quit - maybe somebody else does? Maybe a lot of people need to quit? But why I am concerning myself here with that? They don't see my cocoon, my pain, my worry. I guess sometimes I wish people wouldn't be so petty ... so aesthete-oriented ... so prone to deception ... so political.

But by my own standards I ought not be in the business of telling other people what they should do because that is political. I can either watch the vanity or turn my back on it. If I do the former I'll become vain with the crowd, and if I do the latter I'll become vain in myself. Humans are meant to be among others ... but to what point should this hold precedence over personal values? It can't be argued that one's personal values are actually just picked from the collective as if picking grapes from a vine because the collective is terribly ambivalent on the matter, quite unlike a vine which has facticity.

This is why finding identity in Christ is important - because there's an actual standard there. What does finding one's identity in Christ mean though? I like what Thomas Merton has to say about this: "Every one of us is shadowed by an illusory person: a false self. This is the man that I want myself to be but who cannot exist, because God does not know anything about him ... The secret of my identity is hidden in the love and mercy of God."

Nowadays, it seems that many hold this false assumption that being made in the image of God means that you, as you are, are made in the image of God. For some time, I have doubted this because a perfect God making something imperfect is incoherent. But as Merton points out, the amazing paradox is that who we are is not who we are! Perhaps so many 'contradictions' really turn out to be paradoxes if we search for long enough?


  1. When I got to the final sentence, I heard a Beavis and Butthead-esque chuckle in my brain.
    Of course, your Ecclesiastes mention, along with food brought to mind "A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God"

  2. That Beavis and Butthead reference is hilarious! Truth be told, I've never seen the show but I found a video of it. Also, I feel like that would be quite a ... grating sound to get stuck in your head for too long ha ha! XD And that reference - also apropos.