A Curious Girl

The musings of a girl who is curious in both senses of the word. Life, God, and York. Oh, did I say York? I meant Bradford!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

More general observations on life

Some thoughts for your consideration:

On the envy of certainty

It was mission week for the CU this week - actually it technically still is, there's one more meeting to go. I accidentally ended up at a meeting on Thursday morning. Yes, accidentally. I came across some CU people and realised they were planning the rest of their mission.

It felt more like observation than participation for me. I wasn't really supposed to be there - it turns out I'd turned up too late to share breakfast and ended up listening to the rest of their plans. It was strange watching them because I could tell that they were really excited about all that had happened, and I really wished I could be like them, with more answers than questions... God seems so silent right now, and try as I might, I can't accept their views on damnation. I know they're loving, and I know they mean well... But I don't see how they can be so certain and so at peace.

On the persistence of questions

Speaking of which, I went to a CU talk on Friday on the love of God. There were a lot of questions afterwards. All the old classics came out - about hell and forgiveness and choice and why God created us at all. I asked about why every knee will bow and every tongue will confess. After I got my answer I wondered why I'd bothered asking. I suddenly wondered if I could really ask any hard question and it would be similarly answered and dismissed. There seemed to be some non-Christians and a few malcontents who asked the same "old classics" as have been asked for centuries. I wonder what was going through their minds? Do we still have these questions because there really are no good answers, or because we can't accept the good answers? I felt quite comforted by one thing - there were people who seemed genuinely spiritually hungry, but unsure of the truth. It appears I'm not the only one ;)

OK, that's weird, Pandora's playing Yesterday Girl by The Smithereens.

I never wanna find an answer
'cause I don't like the truth
And if I find just what I'm looking for
I've something to lose
So please don't go and ask me questions
I just won't feel the same
And when I think about religion
Well, there's no one to blame

Please tell me I'm not that bad...

On the power of perception

Look at this - what is it?

If you said that it's a rectangle overlapping another rectangle, then you can marvel at the wonder of perception. There is only one rectangle in the picture - the other shape is an irregular hexagon. Since the picture only has 2 dimensions, it is impossible for one shape to overlap another.

But our brains are very clever and can work out that two such shapes are far more likely to be overlapping than simply very neatly lined up. It amazes me to think about how much we see based on previous experience (Have you ever wondered what it must be like for a baby seeing for the first time?). This is obviously extremely useful... but in a sense it also pre-conditions us to see exactly what we expect to see. Perception is a funny thing.

On the comfort of solitude

I'm sitting peacefully in the computer room listening to Pandora.com, partly because at home Kate has a number of her friends visiting. Yes, I really am that anti-social. The nice thing about solitude is you don't have to pretend you're having a good time. Kate asked if I could take her Christian friend to church tomorrow. I occasionally attend the evening service at St. Mike's so she'll probably have gone home by the time I go. Sounds crazy, but I'm kinda relieved. Kate seems to have the very sweet idea that I'll get on really well with her friend because we're both Christians. She has no idea. :)

On the fear of self

But seriously, I realised that perhaps the first step to getting courage would be to stop being afraid of myself and the idiotic things I say in social situations, the occasional embarrassments, and the very great likelihood that I have indeed failed all my January exams (the results are out, but I avoided them). I realise that having the courage to look at my own exam results is not exactly a celebrated feat of bravery, but perhaps I should walk before I can run.

Oh no, I'm beginning to sound like I'm Alice (I think).

But anyway, perhaps a really brave thing to do would be to tell Kate's friend that actually I'm disillusioned with church and am seriously reconsidering what the Bible says about salvation and eschatology.

On the offensiveness of unconditional love

A final thing that occurred to me. I thought of this a while ago, actually, when I wondered why people say things like "I don't want your charity!". People are offended by unconditional love! We frankly think we are far too good to get unconditional love. I had a friend at primary school who once confided in me that she liked me but didn't like my other two friends. I then dedicated much of my time to remaining this girl's best friend, when I should have told her to go away and come back when she'd learned to like my friends. But exclusivity is so very thrilling. Who wants to be considered just the same as everyone else? We want exclusive membership! We want to be considered worthy of love!

On the escapism of blogging

I'm off to face reality again. See you soon.



  • At 1:23 pm , Blogger Dave K said...

    Random but interesting stuff that.

  • At 3:49 pm , Anonymous Tiffer said...

    Certainty - You are grappling with some quite central issues about the character and nature of God at the moment - and it is my belief that you will come to the correct(!) conclusions and be all the stronger for it.

    These CU people, although many probably haven't grappled and won't be as strong in their faiths, have at least in part come to an understanding of God and the nature of God which is temporarily satisfactory. That's all.

    What you have to do is to not ignore your envy and stop searching - many people seem on the way to working something out with God and then they get distracted half way through and sort of set up camp there. Don't do that. That bad.

    Questions good. Ignorance bad. I think if someone asked me why every knee will bow and every tongue will confess I would be pretty stumped - so don't be too harsh on them. Particularily as the nature of your question wont have been understood. Just find other people to ask the questions! I find online forums good places to do that.

    I just don't get the perception bit, but then I only got a C in Maths A-level.

    Solitude - you make this sound like a negative thing - I wish I could lock myself away for hours without any human contact - I just can't do it. Nothing wrong with wanting to get out of someones hair - don't beat yourself up about it.

    Fear of self - this takes time obviously, but the theory goes like this. God loves and accepts you the way you are including all your foibles and social issues, and the rest, so you should aim to also. This helps when other people are regularily loving accepting you and you are doing the same for others, and comes in time. Still comes up occasionally tho.

    Unconditional love - one of my arguments with universalism is to do with this. Pride vs love. :)

    Hope you don't mind me giving you comprehensive comments :) shoot me if they annoy you.

  • At 12:50 pm , Blogger Helen Louise said...


    Why, thank you, sir!


    I love comprehensive comments :D

    Thanks, your comments are very encouraging. I can tell you'll make a great vicar :D

    Oh, the perception thing was just something that I realised when doodling overlapping squares. There are some fun optical illusions that explain the point better. I guess I was saying that we don't look and say, "oh look, a collection of shapes and colours!" we look at say, "Oh, a picture of my friend" or "Hi Bob" :) There's a type of blindness that is when the eyes work perfectly but the brain lacks the ability to unconsciously interpret all the shapes and colours into meaningful patterns. I saw a programme about this where a man with the condition said that he could still play football because he remembers that the white round thing is the ball. I guess it would be like looking at the word
    "tree" and having to work out what all the letters were and how they sound out separately before understanding it.

  • At 5:51 pm , Anonymous Tiffer said...

    Thanks :) Well Amy kind of helped me out with the squares thing - I thought the one square was the white canvas!!!


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