Show Me How To Live

First, an apology. Sorry for not being very active in the blogging world of late. Life is busy right now. Both of my boys are playing football on separate teams. Add to that the final stages of training of for my next triathlon. Then add to that a couple of weeks of being on call. And then add to that keeping the priority of my family in place, and I don’t have much time left. My days are usually get up and train. Work. Support my boys at football practice. Eat dinner. Spend some time with my wife. Get to bed for at least 7 hours of sleep. Not much time for other stuff right now. But, even though it’s busy, it’s a good kind of busy filled with the stuff I love.

I’m still finding some time to read and think though. One of the things I’ve been thinking about is how religion turns God into a formula and teaches us to listen to everybody else’s truth instead of our own inner voice. All you have to do is jump through this hoop of theology and this hoop of behavior and this hoop of how of how to think and this hoop of devotion to the church and this hoop of blah blah and you’re good. God will accept you. But wait. Over there, at that church there is a different set of hoops. Is that the right set? But wait. There is a different set over there. And over there. And over there. We end up looking rather schizophrenic and feeling rather schizophrenic in our minds and souls not knowing who or what to trust. And you know what I’m becoming convinced of?…all that division, all those hoops, teach us to not trust ourselves. It teaches us to be directed by something outside of us, not something from within. And if one believes the Christian story, doesn’t Christ say that a helper will be sent to guide us? That can only come from within.

Audioslave has a song, Show Me How To Live, that in my opinion captures the tension resulting from this schizophrenia. See what you think.

VERSE:

And with the early dawn

Moving right along

Couldn’t buy an eye full of sleep

And in the aching nights under satellites

I was not received

Built with stolen parts

Telephone in my heart

Someone get me a priest

To put my mind to bed

This ringing in my head

Is this a cure or is this a disease?

CHORUS:

Nail in my hand

From my creator

You gave me life

Now show me how to live

Nail in my hand

From my creator

You gave me life

Now show me how to live

VERSE:

And in the afterbirth

On the quiet earth

Let the stains remind you

You thought you made a man

You better think again

Before my role defines you

CHORUS:

Nail in my hand

From my creator

You gave me life

Now show me how to live

Nail in my hand

From my creator

You gave me life

Now show me how to live

BRIDGE:

And in your waiting hands I will land

And roll out of my skin

And in your final hours I will stand

Ready to begin

Ready to begin

Ready to begin

Ready to begin

CHORUS:

Nail in my hand

From my creator

You gave me life

Now show me how to live

Nail in my hand

From my creator

You gave me life

Now show me how to live

Show me how to live

Show me how to live

Show me how to live

Show me how to live.

My take is this: It’s no accident that the DJ at the start of the video talks about freedom of the soul, and it’s also no accident that clips from the 1971 film Vanishing Point, whose main character refuses to give into the establishment, fill the video.V1 jumps right into the tension. All these sources telling him what to do. He doesn’t know which one to trust including whether he can trust his inner voice. He is willing to just talk to a priest to try and get the confusion to stop. In the chorus he cries out directly to God to show him what to do. In V2 he starts to figure it out a bit. He reminds those who think they have it all figured that we are all stained in some way so we better be careful in our claims to each other that we know the truth before we define ourselves by the truth we think we need to impose on each other rather than listening to the truth within us. By the bridge he seems to have found that he in fact does need to trust his inner voice and self more than any other source. This is how his creator speaks to him.

And I believe that, my friends, is how we should be living our lives, listening to our inner voice. God is there. It matters not so much whether you think that God is Christ, Buddha, Karma, Allah, Yahweh, or Nature to understand what I am saying. We should be in control of ourselves from internal sources, not leaving that control to things or people external.

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6 responses to “Show Me How To Live

  1. What you express is very Pauline in nature – which is a good thing )being led by the Spirit of God). I think we all try to attain such a thing – hearing that still small voice in times of needed direction in our lives.

    Love the song also – have it on my Windows Media Player at home. I also have seen a lot of meaning in the lyrics myself – in the chorus I usually get goosebumps…it’s like a man crying out to God. I feel that sometimes in myself.

    As for the Spirit of God – what is it? What is it interested in? What is comprised of? Age old questions – but they need some substance so this spirit can make sense to us.

    I was watching the life and time of Harvey Milk the other night (the doc the movie is based on) and there was a really moving scene in it – real life scene that is.

    After Harvey and the mayor are gunned down in cold blood – there is candle light vigil the next night. There were some like 30,000 people marching together mourning these losses of some respected people…it was very inspiring.

    In that moment – don’t know what else to call this – I sensed the spirit of God. I even wrote a little tidbit on it:

    ‘when the human spirit is most broken – this is where you will find God’

  2. Love the song!! I love it’s honesty and your assessment of it.

    “It matters not whether you think God is Christ, Buddha, Karmen,…..” :o) Funny. Trying to figure out why my name is included in that list.

  3. Something along this line came together in my thoughts just a couple of days ago. I am thinking the frustration so many feel is that one can live, behave, and perform to all the expectations of a particular church and still not find a personally real and satisfying experience of and with God. The teachings of a church are intended to lead people to God. But they may actually become a end in themselves. We assume that acceptance in the church will equal knowing God. And yet, to our disappointment, our hearts are still longing to know him and something seems to come up short.

    In the final analysis I think God seeks us wanting us each to know him personally and intimately.

    I just read a new book by Brennan Manning called, The Furious Longing of God. It’s about God’s intense love for us and our experience of it. Great book! It has helped me personally. I’ll share one quick quote. “The revolutionary thinking that God loves me as I am and not as I should be requires radical rethinking and profound emotional readjustment. Small wonder that the late spiritual giant, Basil Hume of London, England, claimed that Christians find it easier to believe that God exists than that God loves them.”

  4. I have been thinking along similar lines lately. I question the literal interpretation of the Bible. This has really bothered me. How can I believe in God, but question the authority of the Bible?

    I have struggled and felt the anxiety eat at me. I kept trying and trying to make myself believe – it didn’t work. So, I tried something new. I surrendered, and I accepted my beliefs…my confusion…my doubts…and my heart. Is this what peace is? I quit trying to argue myself into theology that I didn’t agree with. I have felt like my beliefs had to be all or nothing. Who believes in God, but possibly not the Bible? To me, the idea sounds ridiculous. Then I decided that I think God is okay with it. It’s okay that I am not sure about the Bible. God knows my heart… and FRT – I agree – God is there. I am following my heart…not that everything I feel or think is necessarily ‘the truth’…but that it is okay for me to be real, open, and honest about who I am. This is the most freedom I have ever known.

  5. when trying to figure out how best to live, Christianity has a strange track record. the cross has a long history of legitimating unnecessary suffering and perpetuating stupid ideas and intolerance of others outside their group as much as it has played the role in liberation and freedom from oppression. some groups show how the cross can become the symbol of a death-centered religion, while others a life-affirming one.

    many focus on the bad parts and i think this is a symptom of our priviledged position in the West, particularly the U.S. i agree that the “priviledged/bad church” needs to come to terms with the illusions it has created. however, i have learned that the cross can help us see things as they are… namely a humanity that crucifies one who brings good news of God’s just and inclusive kin-dom and creates solidarity out of suffering.

    that what my christianity does for me. it helps me include my enemy… those i don’t agree with or even look like or even act like. i include other faiths, agnostics and atheists. why? because to some extent we all experience suffering and injustice. we all see evil. the empty cross and tomb are symbols of victory over evil and injustice through the use of means that look “weak”. the resurrection moves humanity (well, me and those like me anyway) past suffering to pain and struggle. moves me from victim to change agent. this way of Christianity does not encourage passive acceptance of death, suffering or injustice, as you are correct to point out that some forms of christianity do; but it enourages agency, action, solidarity, accountability and sacrifice. this does not mean that we all run out and get ourselves crucified but instead work to end all crucifixions period.

    how then shall we live? in essentials unity (agency, action, solidarity, accountability and sacrifice) in inessentials freedom (focus on which is the most important of these ideas) and in all things love. i think that’s a good start to living ;-)

  6. Wanderer. Being honest with ourselves is the best way to find freedom, and I don’t think God is scared of honest questions. In fact, I think God loves honest questions. Furthermore, I don’t think the bible is to intended to be read like a manual or a science text. It is a story, a narrative of how a certain segment of humanity has experienced God. It’s not a formula. You hang in there. I think you are on a good road.

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