This post is to alert you to a problem, and is also an invitation.
When I write, it is from the perspective of looking out from the inside of my eyes. I see things with my eyes, I instinctively try to make sense of them from my experience, external and internal. I don’t have your experience. We might interpret the same experience, quite differently. But again that is my experience.
I am an older male. I grew up with one brother, and a mother and father. I never was exposed much to the female perspective, though my mom tried. Then I was married for 10 years, and again, my wife tried to help me understand a female perspective (and if it sounds ludicrous to try to have male and female buckets for perspective, I agree that it sounds ludicrous. But this is an illustration, so please bear with me.) Older women from the church where I began to develop in my love for God, and for my fellow Christians, also tried to help me understand that there are some things that men and women experience very differently. The first thing was our wedding. I had never really thought about it. There was stuff to plan and do, and lots of invitations to write and track, but I hadn’t dreamed about it. I didn’t have a clue as what to do to make it beautiful. Later, when we experienced a miscarriage, infertility, and failed adoptions, my wife took it much harder than I did.
So, I began to learn, that our experiences were different, and even though I loved her deeply, I couldn’t be her. The best that I could do is love her the best I could, honor her by listening first, and then by communicating who I was and my experiences. I have to admit, if you plotted listening and empathy vs age, when I was young, I was pretty self-centered, and was not terribly bothered about it.
It took a long time, and some direct communication from the Lord Jesus Christ for me to understand how limited my understanding was. I am very intelligent, college educated, with an undergraduate degree in mathematics. I have done graduate study in 5 fields. But after a week of frustration at what I thought should be a simple task, I asked Holy Spirit what was wrong. He told me that I was “profoundly ignorant”. He was right. He showed me how much I knew about Mathematics, relative to the whole field (I know nothing about Banach spaces, other than their name). There are hundreds of thousands of things like that. I haven’t scratched the surface. Things are worse in the other fields where I have done graduate work, and worse yet in the fields that I have not studied, or that are not being taught as fields of study. And then He finished with one word “women”. My marriage lasted 10 years before officially ending. That was over 15 years ago. My total number of dates in those 15+ years, I could count on 2 hands. And I don’t have any daughters.
So, when I write something that you don’t agree with, ask yourself if I am being mean, foolish, arrogant, … or just suffering from an astounding lack of experience and understanding.
And, if you find it in your heart to give me grace. Then ask yourself if you need grace too. After all, you look out through your eyes, and try to make sense of things from your very, very limited experience and knowledge, just like me.
I follow Jesus. Although, the bible records when followers of “the way” first started to be called Christians, most people would assume that if I said I was a Christian it would be a cultural or family thing. That is not what I mean. In fact, the western, “enlightened”, institutional church has caused both hurt and confusion in the world at large, and has encouraged believers (from my experience), to settle for meeting God on their terms.
I believe that Jesus is who He says He is, the son of the one true and living God. At least, that is what I believe, looking out through my eyes, and through the experience of how love and forgiveness, and grace have come to me when I most needed it, and didn’t come close to deserving it. CS Lewis in “The Four Loves” says that agape love is the only love that we need to taught to receive. It is unlike the other loves in that it does not come because of anything that we have done. It is a pure gift.
Now you know some of where the loved comes from in the name. Busted comes from the fact that I have a whole lot of brokenness. In sharing my heart, you will no doubt see some of that brokenness. Fortunately, when Jesus started his public ministry, the scroll handed to Him in the synagogue was Isaiah 61, and He read that the Messiah / Christ was going to bind up the brokenhearted, set at liberty those who are captive, and proclaim good news to the poor. Yes, please. All of the above. And not just for me.
The problem with my “I”s came from something that I have a problem with, in spite of my having been told and taught that I am profoundly ignorant, sometimes I want to avoid the pain of rejection, disdain, accusation, etc, and switch from “I believe” or “I see” to words like “We all …” or You make me feel. Or worse. “You are mean.” A new age men’s group that I was a part of, had a signal, the sign language gesture for “I” when someone got out of talking about themselves, and started to infer things about someone else. Rather than saying “You are wrong”, to say things like “I am afraid how much considering your perspective might cost me in terms of examining a whole lot of my beliefs.” So, if I get off, and try to talk about what are behind your “eyes”, please tell me to watch my “I”s.