Friday, August 8, 2008


Ever noticed how wonder and wander have only a 1 letter difference? I almost titled my blog "words of a wanderer," but wandering is exhausting, and I'm not sure I always hope to be a wanderer, though I intend on being a wonderer forever. However, it may turn out that a wanderer is something I'll continue to be for some time as well.

I am currently at my grandparents house in the Black Hills. My grandmother and I just came back from town, and had an interesting conversation on the way back. It seems I'm quite consistently trying to justify my idealism with real life. It's occured to me that my idealism makes me into a hypocrite.

I was listening to NPR on my way out here on Wednesday. On Dakota Midday the host was interviewing Dick Myers, author of Why We Hate Us. I found the title intriquing. The book is about why as Ameicans we have so much, an abundance really, yet we are cranky, angry, and cynical most of the time. He cited the lack of community as a primary reason for this. My grandma and I started talking about this, and we both agreed that our society has become so dependent on luxuries (cell phones, computers, multiple cars, etc) and this has lead to the deconstruction of communities. Then she brought up an interesting point. "It's impossible to move backward," she said. People aren't going to give up their cell phones, video games, computers, and what not. "There just aren't enough people who are willing to do this." She said all this in response to my comment that many emerging churches are really trying to stress simplicity and commuinity. I was struck for a moment, suddenly thinking maybe we're fighting a losing battle. What's the point if this idealistic notion of simplicity can never be attained?

Then another thought occured to me. I keep looking outward at the "we." "We," being the Church with a big C, as well as society, I think. First, I have to look inward. I've had this constant inner struggle I'm needing to work out that is not letting my ideals make me into a hypocrite. It's true, I'm probably not going to give up my computer, cell phone, or whatever else. But I can use these things responsibly.

It's true, and I hate to admit it, but our society can't go back. won't go back. But as an individual I can live the way I believe life should be lived, and surround myself with others who value those things as well. I want to live genuinely. And I hate using that word, because it's so cliche' right now, but it's the truth. As long as I'm letting my ideals make me a hypocrite, I'm not living genuinely. Thus, it's the every day small choices I make that are the significant ones. I know I'm probably way behind the times here, as most of my friends have figured this out a long time ago, but I think I was trying to incorporate too much. I can't change my whole life without changing small parts first. The choices I make show what I value, and I've not been super impressed with myself in many of these choices, particularly when it comes to sacrificing something I enjoy or think I need. And so, I set out to live considerately, in each decision that I make. And perhaps through these small choices, my whole life will finally resemble the ideals I spout. The whole society will never change, but it's only a losing battle if I join them without a thought....or maybe even with one.


Dianna said...

Very interesting first post, Melisa. I'm going to have to look up that book now. I know precisely what you mean about excluding our community within our churches and even within our individual relationships. When I came back to my new apartment last night, instead of hanging out with my roommate, we both went into our separate rooms and played on our computers/watched TV. It seems we (and I include myself in that we) don't have a clue as to how to operate in community with each other anymore. I've seen this in the church I've visited in Waco - David Crowder's church, UBC. No one came up to us as visitors and introduced themselves. They just kind of regarded us as there and not really a part of the church. I wonder what it will be like when I go back on Sunday.

You've given me some things to think about. Thanks for posting.

Skye Naomi said...

It's about time you started a blog, you thinky thinker, you!
A couple of days ago I had the day off from work and I decided to have a day with no computer. I love love LOVE my laptop, but it's easy to drift from one thing to another online and slip away from any intention I might have for the day. And I wanted my day off to be creative. It really helped me calm down and feel free from needing to be productive. As a result of this attitude, I ended up spending the day in my studio drawing and making prints, with plenty of time at the end of the day to make dinner and lay in the hammock to watch the clouds. Hooray for non-technological pleasures!