Monday, April 6, 2015

Jesus Christ, Savior, Sloppy Story-Teller

Religious men were beginning to feel put off by Jesus's constant eating with local miscreants. They believed a sinners' sins tainted Jesus more than Jesus' goodness tainted them. Turds in a Divine punchbowl. (Luke 15)

So Jesus told them three connected stories.

He asked the religious men wrinkling their noses if they were owners of a hundred sheep, wouldn't they naturally leave ninety-nine of them behind in order to find the one that had been lost. And when the one lost sheep was found, wouldn't that be cause for a party?

He followed it immediately by asking which of them wouldn't turn their house upside down to find one lost silver coin until it was found. And then when the coin was found, wouldn't that be cause for a party?

Jesus caps the trilogy with a story of a man with two sons, one of which asks for his inheritance before his dad has even died. The boy squanders it all in a foreign land, realizes he's living at a lower quality of life than his dad's hired servants, and so goes home to grovel. His dad scoops him up in a rib-cracking hug and throws a party for the ages at his boy's return.


Who lost what?
The parables were a challenge to the pharisees' pious self-righteousness and their dedication to the purity rules. Nowadays Pharisee means someone who loves rules more than people. The term was an honor then. It's a slam now. One that mocks a low view of the power of the Divine Punch against any turd dropped in it.

But there is a second layer of challenge.


"Oops. I guess the sheep, and the blame for losing him, go on my shoulders."


In the story of the man and the lost sheep, it's the man who loses the sheep. Sheep don't lose themselves. Sheep are either wild or they're part of a herd watched over by a shepherd. The story puts the responsibility on the man who calls the sheep his.

In the story of the lost coin, the woman loses the coin. Coins don't lose themselves. This story also puts the responsibility on the owner of the thing, not the thing.

In the story traditionally called the Prodigal Son, the irresponsibility of the son is in view. He acted on selfish impulse. Then stubbornness. Then, drained of most of his ego, he shuffles home. This story puts the weight on the boy's silly young shoulders. Accepting of course that the father gave in to the immature boy's outlandish request.

This is really sloppy story-telling if the main point is calling sin, "sin", and assigning that sin to the right character.

But the stories hold up just fine when we put the overachieving mental pharisee on leave and hear Jesus teaching us that, in reality, reunion is the point. If we disagree that Reunion is the point, we probably prefer to stand while Jesus and the sinners enjoy their meal.


The Table is for everyone
Doesn't Christian art typically depict Jesus as the one finding the lost sheep? Sheep that he, the Good Shepherd, was responsible for? If this realization bothers us as some kind of blasphemy, it might be because we believe in a God who is dedicated to God's own reputation more than us. A cosmic pharisee of sorts, rather than the eager Pursuer Jesus depicted. But Jesus doesn't seem too worried about blame. He's trying to drill the-celebration-of-two-becoming-one into the heads of people whose entire identity is based on who's in and who's out.

Perhaps Judgment Day has God asking us all, "Who cares about whose fault this or that is? We've managed a reunion! What was apart is together again!" A hard lesson is tacked on to the end of the Prodigal Son. The older brother is pissed that the little brother is "back in" after such a short season of purity at the father's ranch. He likes a good guy table and a bad guy table separated, with faults and rewards properly assigned, just like the pharisees who incited this parable. But the Father loves the sons more than house rules. So the energy was spent on the homecoming. Like the coin. Like the sheep.

The reunion was more important than sin. That may not be the case with detached judges who preside over a courtroom. But it's always the case with Family.

If our Christian faith is understood as a penal loophole that gets us out of wrath, then we're likely to subtly believe we value us more than God values us. That is, we feel tasked with worrying about our selves as God immutably protects the perfection of the Law. The coin must find itself. The sheep must must reintegrate itself. The prodigal must come home and work off the debt. The whole enterprise becomes an adventure in self-righting rather than Reunion- certainly not anything unique among world religions.

But our being found, much to the dismay of the protectors of religion, is the inevitability of every version of Jesus' stories. Because we are loved by Love. Reunited by Oneness. Valued above any rule ever given to us.  So we scoot over and keep adding other objects of pursuit to the dinner table, letting pharisees miss out on the reunion as long as they believe they must. Whenever they're ready they can have their sins deemphasized in light of Reunion too.




Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Our Culture's Powerful Obstacle to Culture

Are you thinking what I'm thinking, Pinky?
        

Mice enjoy attacking mice.

That’s what scientists from Vanderbilt University said their 2008 research suggests. They were able to determine that mouse brains, like human brains, secrete dopamine, an internal chemical reward which is released during sex, eating and the use of drugs like cocaine. 

A male and female mouse were placed in a cage. Once tiny rodent romance was established, the female was then removed and a male was introduced. As you’d imagine, fighting ensued. When the intruder was taken back out of the cage, the first male would “engage in behavior that he learned would bring his target back.” Like a drunk banging on the other guy’s camaro, trying to get him to come back out of the bar for another go. It turns out aggression is its own reward, even when it doesn’t produce different outcomes.


It's Not a Bored Room
The season premier of The Apprentice aired Sunday night. Two hours of it. Donald’s tender heart drew me in at about the fifty-five minute mark.
After about five minutes, the halfway point of the show, the teams finished their challenge, which meant it was off to the boardroom to discuss results.


"Friends, let us speak peaceably.
People want to see you collaborate, not fight."
If you’ve ever seen the show, then you know that what happens from here is the gradual untethering of a team into individual survivors, each disassociating his or herself from anything that went less than perfectly. It’s an all out war that culminates in a firing and a sheepish trip by a former contestant to a limo waiting in the alley.
I realized half an hour into the boardroom segment that I had been glued to an argument. That's really what the whole last half of the show is. Men and women in varying measures of aggression, fighting over facts, intentions and performance. Multiple people were in tears. Multiple buses were given bodies to drive over. The show is in its 14th season of presenting essentially this formula, incidentally. That is to say, the show successfully, season after season, holds viewer’s attention by showing us a room full of people fighting.
Why would it be entertaining to watch strangers argue? Is aggression so rewarding that we don’t even have to be physically involved?



Cage-Fighter Christ
Jesus spoke from a boat when the crowd thickened. The water, as you may have personally experienced if you’ve fished just off a lakeshore, carries sound rather nicely. 

But why didn’t Jesus just skip the boat ride and raise his voice for the growing assembly?

Who knows. But I suspect it was in large part because he didn’t want his audience to get the wrong idea about the message, or the messenger, like people often do when leaders get loud and foreheads get veiny. In fact, it may be that many were drawn to Jesus initially, and then later lost interest, because he was just too lamb-like. They were looking for someone with his hair on fire and a bullhorn to his lips. This Jesus kid was talking about losing on purpose and leaving swords at home. I’m reminded of a prominent pastor’s bemoaning words about many in our society's misunderstanding of Jesus:

“Jesus is a prize-fighter with a tattoo down His leg, a sword in His hand and the commitment to make someone bleed. He is saddling up on a white horse and coming to slaughter His enemies and usher in his kingdom. Blood will flow. That is a guy I can worship. I cannot worship a guy I can beat up."
In other words, the Son of God must be properly understood as more rodent-like, dummies. Jesus is dragging his sword across the cage bars, beating his chest and begging for another round with a sinner. 
After all, we can only worship the chief aggressor. 

What’s it like to have a giant hand place you in a position to get high on the dopamine of your own anger and aggression? To be trapped in a cycle of believing down to your most basic physiology that the best option in a given situation is to keep the fight going even if it didn't make things really any better - what would that be like?

That’d be a hell reserved for lab mice, right?
Or would it be what makes television work?
Or would it be the chemistry of politics?
Maybe what we'd call the "Spirit stirring" for defending sound church doctrine?
Perhaps is would just be what keeps us angry until we get what we're owed from anyone and everyone?

Peace: Out?
I’ve lost a bit of my optimism that people generally, actually, want a life of peace. It seems that old idea of “shalom,” which literally means completeness and intactness - a way of no longer needing aggression, is exactly that; An old idea.

It seems we’ve settled in to enjoying our wars.
Settled for being addicts. 
Rodents even. 

We pray for and sing about peace yet want to dress up Shalom Himself in our armor and make Him fight like us, even accuse Him of liking it.
How do we have peace when aggression is what sells papers, defends imaginary borders, convincingly conveys truth, so clearly demarcates the sides, makes customer service relent, entertains for fourteen seasons in a row and actually rewards the monkey in our head with dope?


As I drove in to the office this morning amid so many anxious drivers making their way through the maze to their cheese, I wondered if they knew dopamine is also released when we play an instrument, catch a fish, learn to ski, swim, exercise, teach a kid to ride a bike, paint, laugh, ride roller coasters and make a great meal, among a billion other things that comprise a good day. I wondered if they knew that Christ got famous for a different sort of power than what we currently find entertaining. I wondered if peace is possible in a society that subsists on its absence.

"Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The Foundation of such a method is love." - MLK 





Friday, July 25, 2014

Words for Boaters and the Married

I took my family boating a couple days ago. I have neither a boat nor the means to get one to water, so in order for the paternal heroics of that first sentence to have happened I had to borrow a truck from one friend and a boat from another.

I have great friends.

It has been many years since I've driven a truck with a boat-trailer hitched behind me. Over the last couple of decades I have grown very accustomed, on the level of instinct, to driving down the road as a single vehicle rather than a connected two. As I towed the boat behind the truck I found my mind really resisting having these well-rutted instincts overridden. When pulling a boat, the stopping distances take a very different sort of consideration and caution than when it's just your car or truck. Simple turns take far more attentiveness and care. Parking, even just to run in and get ice, is a complete inconvenience. And backing up requires the patience of Job and some witchcraft.

It took me a bit to get used to it all and frankly, it would take several days of it for it to feel normal again.

I once read it requires approximately a decade to a decade and a half for a married couple to begin thinking of themselves naturally as a pair. That's ten years of marriage, or even more, before one or both of the individuals in the relationships begin to instinctively think of not only themselves in any decision, plan or act*. Until then, each person continues to use to some degree the mindset of the unmarried, driving their individual car down the road wondering why he or she has so many problems now that there's a trailer back there.  I give this example often: at noon on a Saturday, when my stomach growls, I think "I need to eat." It's a normal response. But when Kristi's stomach growls she thinks, "It's time to make lunch for the family." This is also a normal response, but it fits the circumstances far better than my response does. It's more attuned and more mature, and speaks of her others-centered love against my continued self-interest. Though I am improving, I still think primarily in "I". Kristi thinks in "we". Note how I naturally took credit for taking my family boating in the first sentences of this post when in reality, Kristi was just as much involved. Old habits die harder in some I suppose. Sometimes I wonder if I might just be a chimpanzee with a blog.

Many couples don't make it to that sacred union of the interior. That me-to-We transition. Most don't even know such a thing exists. They have their wedding. They have their honeymoon period. They have their bumpy but bright early years. And then after five or seven or ten years they end up saying things like, "This just isn't working." "It shouldn't take this much effort if it was meant to be." "We used to have something, but I feel like we have fallen out of love/grown apart, etc." They believe on some level things would just start clicking, and unconsciously gave themselves far too few years for that to happen. Often times, and I'd argue most often, relational troubles aren't caused by some impossible circumstances that separate a couple. Most often it's individuals refusing to allow their now connected souls to learn to necessarily adjust to new ways of getting down the road. You watch as individual sports cars go zipping by, the semi-trucks who make hauling trailers seem effortless, and you can't even turn into the gas station without doing a 23-point turn and cussing. Something down deep wants to unhitch to make it easy again.

In a way, that's exactly what it would be. Easier. But would we really expect something than begins with vows to be easier? What else do we think we're vowing - pledging - at the beginning of a marriage but to resist the urge to go back to when it was easier to stop and turn and change lanes? What else is a marriage but a mutual oath against selfish instincts, that we will work to make two separate vehicles one and allow all the years necessary to make it a new, sacred normal? Aren't we vowing to push through a season (or several) of wanting to unhitch because we believe something holy will be found in the commitment to the other?

Perhaps if you're engaged or are in a rough patch, you need to be reminded: All acts of love are difficult.  That's why we're commanded to do so. Only things we resist must be commanded. The difficulty in your marriage isn't necessarily a sign of failure or breakdown. It is the consequence of two single people working against their own nature to become one. That's why we hang out with other married people who have been married longer and talk to each other and go to counseling and all that. So we can learn how to gradually make individual components, with time and practice, get down the road as one. A new natural, with new habits, called family.

Being married is no more beautiful than being single. They both take many, many years to master. But should you choose to marry, may God grant you wide turns and a strong hitch, and all the patience required to get the hang of it.




*I've seen it take twenty or more for some couples. Don't think that you've failed if you're a longer study!


Friday, March 7, 2014

Considered.



Cold, dark vacuum in every direction
Suns and worlds trapped in spiral collections
The sum of our knowledge a hilarious fraction
What am I that you'd think of me?

Incalculable heights and depths and weights
Meaningless chaos ordered neatly in place
One plundered planet in a universe yet chaste
What am I that you'd think of me?

Seven billion hurts and hopes and fears
Seven billion faces stream with tears
Seven billion prayers but only two ears
What am I that you'd think of me?

Monday, March 3, 2014

You cannot create tomorrow.

"I could take a photograph from the exact same angle every hour one day."
I had many ideas for the old building. It seemed to lean against itself to stand, silently begging me to immortalize it as I drove by. I was the only one with these wonderful ideas in my mind. I was the only one it begged. It was 2006.

"Perhaps I should paint it on itself. One of its own boards with its image painted on."
Its warped, decayed siding glowed deep red, the white trim flecked with mold and rot. Windows, mostly shattered, served as trellises for ivy which worked to camouflage the whole. I was driving past again, as I did everyday. I admired it. Not a ninety degree angle left- stubbornness held it up. The roof was falling in on itself but still sheltered the building enough to assure me a history lesson and a face full of webs awaited me inside. It was 2007.

"A photograph every season. One with leaves turned. Then one with snow. Then spring rains."
I knew where I'd hang the art in my home. I thought of my mother, and a photographer friend. They would definitely want copies. I drove by, admiring the old-timey soda advertisement cocked in the window. Large painted letters, though bleached and pale, were still visible on the side of the building with the lowest bushes and scrub. It was 2008.

"What if I shot time-lapse photography? People posed motionless all day as a clock advanced in a whir beside them?" I wasn't sure what I would do with this video. I wasn't sure if it was my best idea. No matter. I had many other ideas. My mind was a veritable Salon. It was 2011.

I drove by my dilapidated building today, ready to look to the right and be begged by it. It was gone. An asphalt scab striped with the muddy prints of heavy construction equipment were all that remained. The wood, the stone, the ivy, the rot, the begging. Gone.

"Crap," I protested as I drove. "I didn't get a chance."

Friday, February 28, 2014

IN THE BEGINNING. Genesis 2/16-17

Tree of Knowledge
Sebastian M√ľnster (1489 - 1552)
"And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, 'You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.'” Genesis 2:16-17


Good and evil? 
Good, sure. But evil? What evil? This is Eden.


First, a few observations:

"In the day" here once again shows us the yoga-like flexibility of the word day in the Hebrew mind. In one more chapter, Adam will chomp down on forbidden fruit and yet ripen to 930 years old. That's one heck of a "day". So, not to beat a dead Eohippus, but those six days of Creation in Genesis one, if they're even interested in the argument, seem really comfortable with indefinite swaths of time. Not just 24-hour days.

"You will surely die." Not to split hairs, but this is a very different phrase for Elohim to say than "I will kill you." Perhaps this distinction isn't satisfactory for you, but consider; when I am telling my kids to look both ways before crossing a five lane highway, I'm not saying "or I will kill you". Lovingly, I am cautioning them about intrinsic consequences of not looking first. Tangentially, I'm also a bad father for making children cross the highway. The story most likely depicts God warning Adam, not threatening him. The question is, what is the nature of the warning?

"Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.Special trees pop up in many ancient stories. There's a Babylonian bead from about the 22 Century BCE depicting a man and a woman and tree (and even a snake). Egyptians had a Tree of Life. In Greek mythology men and women sometimes turned into trees. This tree in Genesis is interesting because it possesses the ability to impart knowledge. Just what kind of knowledge I find interesting, because there's not supposed to be any "evil" yet at this point in the narrative for Adam.

"Good and Evil" (or as it can be translated from the Hebrew, "Good and Bad") is considered by many not to have so much a moral connotation but the scope of knowledge the tree gives you. This is called a merism. A merism uses two or more ideas to encapsulate everything between them. Such as Elohim creating "Heaven and Earth"- we know from this brief phrase Elohim created everything, and not only the sky and the planet. We use merisms in english. You can "search high and low" for your keys and we'll all know you scoured your whole house in your search, not just the ceiling tiles and the carpet. The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is unlikely to be a tree that makes you a savvy saint/sinner hybrid who God must dispatch, but a Tree that imparts the knowledge of all things. And for some reason, that much knowledge is ultimately bad for Adam.

Why?

We can't know for sure, although theologians have interesting (and often compelling) assertions to the contrary. For my part I'm interested in how the same knowledge can bring both blessing and curse. For example:


  • The knowledge of metals and how to forge them into various, pointy shapes has had its good and its evil, and surely death has followed. 
  • Black powder dazzled 9th century China's sky with fireworks, and then propelled wads of lead into men's chests. 
  • The process of fermentation has been part of how people enjoy eating and being together, and has also destroyed people's live and entire nations.
  • Human flight puts people into the air to travel abroad, and continues to make them more and more efficient long-range killers. 
  • Atom splitting has thus far proven to be knowledge we mostly aren't ready to have, despite the blessing the resultant energy can be.


In these and a million other examples over the course of history, it's not that the knowledge is bad. Or even good I guess. It's that we humans have proven to have a penchant for turning knowledge into a way of making life hell for ourselves. We surely die. Every time.


I'm reminded of Paul's words to the Corinthians: Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. It's not that true spirituality shuns technology or knowledge. This is, after all, not an Amish blog. Perhaps Paul understood that all these things we learn have the capacity to make one's sense of self bigger than one's sense of being connected to others. As our heads swell with knowledge, our hearts empty of love. We have a history of using what we learn not to unite, but to divide. And that division, that separation, is death. Even if we live another 900 years, if we aren't learning to unite, we're learning to die.

Friday, February 14, 2014

IN THE BEGINNING. Genesis 2/8-15

After two hours of being coached in the company's product catalog, I was invited to make my first couple of calls. This was day one at my new job. I was to call existing accounts and upsell them our latest barcode scanning guns, apparel tags, pricing stickers and service plans. From 8am to 5pm, I'd be required to make at least 80 call attempts and at least 60 actual contacts. My assigned desk was tucked into a claustrophobic gray cubicle within a hive of gray cubicles, in a mustard yellow brick room with no windows and florescent lighting. Soulless voices murmured from behind the short cubicle panels. My new coworkers, cranking through a list of supply managers I'd soon discover never wanted to talk to us about the content of our catalogs, pitied me with their eyes. I was the new inmate.

"Go ahead and call a few on this list and I'll come check on you in a bit." My new manager handed me a headset as she spoke and walked out the steel door. I sat down, staring at the catalog and the stack of over-xeroxed price lists, company history and FAQ's. Out of nowhere, I began weeping.

I needed the work. The pay was far more than the work in radio I had been doing, and the rock-n-roll, anything goes culture hadn't been great for my new faith and morals anyway. This is an improvement, I tried to convince myself as I strapped on the headset and wiped my eyes. 

When you need a job, you don't often get the luxury of doing what you always dreamt. I often encounter men and women who put their families in a bind because, even in the absence of income, they continue to hold out for the career of a lifetime. On the other side, I have a lot of respect for those people who do what they gotta. I have a buddy who, when hard times fell, worked four jobs for a season. It sucked. But they dug out because he put his dreams on hold to do what needed done. They key is what we mean when we say "need".  Some I know have real needs. They're broke. This isn't a disclaimer, it's an acknowledgement of real people. Yet, more often than not I observe most of us having a high-cost way we decide we want to live, a want typically rooted in the soils of comparison with others, and then we come to need accordingly. Thus, we enslave ourselves, having to take jobs based on income. 

I wept not because it was hard work. I wept because I wasn't in any way connected to the work and didn't want to be. I didn't care about what I was doing. I didn't care about the mission of the organization. Alas, I put on my headset and did it. I got promoted a month later to a room with windows and my income nearly doubled. I forgot soon after I didn't care about any of it. But I still didn't.

He who tills his land will have plenty of bread,
But he who pursues worthless things lacks sense.
-Proverbs 12:11


I know a man who got depressed after a sermon. When it was over he seemed ill. It turned out to be because one point of the message suggested there will be work for us to do in heaven. Whatever the Life to Come looks like, the sermon pointed out, we will have work to do because that is what we're made to do. The man hated his job so much, spending 50+ hours of his life doing it every week, that he couldn't imagine work and heaven going together positively in the same sentence. Like finding out you have to swab the deck on a cruise-liner, he felt tricked and angry.  He was so good at so many things, from cooking to anything pertaining to audio/video, home or auto. But what he did for a living incorporated none of that. He worked to make money, and with his leftover life, tried to shimmy in what he actually was. This, we have unabashedly pronounced, is the American Dream.

I want to stress again that there are, for most all of us, seasons and years where doing something you're soul feels connected to is more a luxury. I understand this. But how much less a luxury might it be if we lived our own life, rather than trying to keep up with others'. How much more happiness is there for people who work according to their own design, rather than the template handed to us by others? How much more happiness is there for us when we do what we're wired for, rather than what keeps us from veering from the well-trodden, secure path?
But Steve I'd be poor. 
Really? Is there anything richer than un-enslaved people being what they are all their waking hours? Even if you had to move to a simpler place, in a simpler house, and lose whatever this crazy competition is we've all signed up for; is there anything less poor than a man or woman living their week in accord with what they actually are?

"And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil...The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it." Genesis 2:8-15 

Here is Adam- made from earth. Made for earth. And he's working! His life has only just begun and God thinks he'll find Edenic pleasure in a job! He can find it because he's being what he is. He can look a tree in the eye and say I know where you’re coming from. Me too. In fact he can say this to all the animals (Gen 2:19). He’s connected to his work because he understands he is connected to his world and his work is about his world and where it’s going. Adam was made to work and keep the garden*, not do work under duress so he can buy stuff with the little bit of time and energy he has left and wish retirement came sooner. 
For you it doesn't have to be a garden. And it probably shouldn't be done naked. But do you see the heart of the story under the details? Adam is doing for a living what he was made to do, based on his awareness of what he is how the world works, not simply what he's forced to. He's free.
To my young brothers and sisters. High school. College. When you choose what to do with your lives based on keeping a soulless cultural machine running, you will be miserable, even if you forget you are because of the income. The machine doesn't dispense the rewards it promises you for becoming part of it. You are made of soil after all, not metal. You simply weren't made to love what you don't, no matter the compensation. Find a way to honor your parents and what you really are, and find work that is meaningful to you, not just lucrative. Don't strive for money, or security, or cars or houses. Work at something that matters to the most mature part of you. If what matters to you happens to come with a large income, praise God. But don't avoid the field if the pay is comparatively terrible. I promise you you'll never be poor if you do what you are. And I promise the world becomes a better place when people work from their own heart, not someone else's.
To parents. As you guide your children to think of work and their careers, make sure it isn't all duty and responsibility. Those are obviously critically important, but those things are osmotic and are mostly transferred to children by example, not words. Some of the most unhappy people I speak with are those who tell me they do what they do because their parents outlined success for them, even against their actual wiring. There's little to be gained by someone choosing a career field for the financial gain. Even if you find it threatening and strange, help your kids choose something that resonates with what they actually are. And they'll be free. One of the highest parental reviews is raising children who turn out free.
To everyone else. If you're already in a job that drains you more than it fills you because, ultimately, it has nothing to do with who you are, step carefully. But take steps. Think soberly about what holds your feet to the fire. You may find, like so many people have, that their entire life is secured to the tether of their mortgage. Easier blogged than done, but would you be willing to move if it meant you could be freer? What emotional, or even logical hurdles pop up when you entertain that? Or entertain a quality, but less expensive car(s)? What is it that gives you the sense you're trapped doing what you're doing? It may be legitimate. It may simply be the season you're in. In that case, do it exceedingly well. (Colossians 3:23, Ephesians 6:7) But you may find other reasoning. Or no reasoning at all. Terrifying as it may seem, you may have more control over the situation than you realized. You can take the blue pill and go on variously miserable and resolved most of your waking hours, or the red pill** and start living the story God wired you for, even if others think you're nuts for all that comes with a decision of that countercultural magnitude. Have the conversation, especially with the others in your home, and make a plan. 
That's enough for now. Back to work.


* In the Hebrew "work" is abad. This word means service, and actually puts Adam in a very humble role toward his environment. He doesn't dominate it, but serves it out of an understanding of it. "Keep" is shamar, which means to observe, watch-over. This not only has huge implications for what it means for spiritual people and how they treat the environment, but also in thinking about our careers. Can we find work we believe in if we're not the leader who's gazed upon by others, but are the server and the observer.
** If you haven't seen The Matrix, this reference may make little sense. Rest assured, I am not advising people feeling miserable navigate their situation with color-coded pills.