Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Oh God - Please help me!

Here's the story.  I got pointed to a video.  It was forwarded with the comment "This Kid Just Died. What He Left Behind Is Wondtacular."  It was about a guy called Zach Sobiech who had cancer and died aged 18.  He also became a bit of an internet celebrity for a moment.  He seems a nice bloke and the video is worth watching.  For me, with sentimental ADHD, it is a bit long at 22 minutes but I made it to the end which is some recommendation.

So there you have it.  Now I have my own particular take on things and I am not as isolated in my opinions, feelings and thoughts as some of my adversaries, critics or downright enemies would suggest.  In fact I am not so off the wall or rare as some of my admirers, friends or casual acquaintances might suggest either.  This is, of course, only my opinion but it seems to me quite often people go "Oh - I see what you mean."  The thing is I guess I am out of synch in a peculiar way.  My first reaction is often someone else's third.  I get it the other way round too but I try to avoid those bits.  But I got the feeling from the above video that too many people would have too many sentimental crappy thoughts about this 'oh so fucking wonderful super hero dying kid.'

I am going to have to be brief and blunt here lest I try to explain in so much detail that I do end up writing a tome.  You might think that last remark about the dying kid was unkind but I say it is seriously 'kind'.  It is respectful and honest.  Think God!  Not the God from your little Christian Sunday school who was all mushy and sweet who the bestial vicar in disguise invoked to slimily caress your little nervous ego.  Not the God that floats two inches above the ground with a sanctimonious look on his face that could only be drug induced.  Not the God that "all good children" love and woe betide you if you dared to question, let alone criticise.  Not that wonderful peace loving God that you were obliged to love and respect on the outside because you were in fear of your life and identity on the inside.  Not that illusory manifestation of some fictional warped fantasy.  No - not that one - the real one.

Think of the God that Jesus is purported to be.  The passionate empathetic human.  The lover of life and vitality.  The supporter of free thinking and expression.  The man who appreciated the real human generosity and sacrifice of the real people.  The one who loved the poor and despised the rich sycophants and authoritarian hypocrites.  It was Jesus who reminded the Sadducees "God is not the God of the dead, but of the living." [Mathew 22:32 (King James Bible)] This is not harsh it is just in your face real.  He also said "Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead." [Mathew 8:22 (King James Bible)] emphasising that life is about being alive.  It is not about being dead.  And that is what Zach managed to do - he lived whilst he was alive.  My remark that could be interpreted as 'unkind' in some way towards Zach is precisely not unkind to him but respecting his real life memory and not some sentimentalised sugar coated idealised misrepresentation of his life by people who spend more time worrying about the dead than the living.  So Zach was a nice guy and I am pleased he got the opportunity to live well.

And I went looking around and I found lots of candy crusted remarks - to be fair lots of people were just happy for him and enjoyed the real story and the music.  But I found one comment that rather emphasised one of my major concerns with 'Christians'.  The comment was on Christianity Today and was sort of answering Paul's comment:

Beautiful song. As one who struggled for a long time with depression it is a good reminder that we are all still God's children. And nothing can take that away from me or any of His.

Paul; what a wonderful, loving human being you must be! To make such a comment at a time like this! Reminds me of my sister, as we were driving to say goodbye to my other sister, dying of cancer; and I quote, "What do you think of YOUR GOD now?" I love my living sister, but she is a bitter, unhappy, shadow of a True Human Being! The sister who died? Oh, she was a True Human Being, who had an everlasting connection to the Creator, through His Son, who accepted death as a reality of life, but felt at peace. I tell you the truth: Christ Lives and He stands with open arms to you; "anyone who comes to me, I will in no wise cast out." Peace!

What?  Did I just read that?  Yes I did!  And I encounter this kind of double standards - or are they Inside-Outness - all too often from church going self aggrandising Christians. "I love my living sister, but..."  BUT!  and then he goes on to totally slag her off "she is a bitter, unhappy, shadow of a True Human Being!"  Well shit man! - with a judgemental brother like you is it any surprise she's not doing well and doesn't float on a self sustaining good self image with natural confidence?  And my point is that too many people are so sentimentalising 'love' that they don't notice the real world.  I am sure it is their own bad self image and they were beat on as a kid and they treasure their teddy bear in their own little world trying to hold on to the remaining vestiges of the memory of what once was or should have been but it doesn't change the fact that they are not loving the real reality but rather an imagined reality or fantasy.  It is no good 'loving' someone after they are dead especially if you treated them like shit when they were alive.  But it is hard to treat people genuinely as sublime treasures when they are in your face and in your way.  I do get it - but I don't kid myself about it.  Love is about the 'here and now' and is not to be relegated to a fictional attic to be hidden away and fondled and cherished as a secret possession - that is just fetishistic and a little worrying.

That is what Jesus was talking about when he said "God is not the God of the dead, but of the living."  The really difficult bit is to make it real.  So then I ended up watching another video.  (This internet life is so busy.)  It was much shorter, more easily absorbed and quite entertaining but... it makes an extremely pertinent point.  This is "What Would You Do? Bike Theft (White Guy, Black Guy, Pretty Girl)"

So what has struck me most about this blog subject is that Zach was a really nice guy with a lot of inner strength and confidence.  He was surrounded by lovely people in his parents and family who believed in him and gave him positive regard and support.  He had a safe economic situation with adequate shelter, warmth, food and security.  With all of this he flourished and was able to not only cope with the devastating condition of his cancer but to rise to the challenge too.  This is a testament to him I agree, but it is also a testament to his parents, his family, his community and the circumstances of his life.  The lesson to be drawn from this is that we all benefit most when we genuinely look after each other.

And a final cautionary note:  The UK is sinking into the most dreadful abyss of inequality, poverty, abuse and deprivation.  NO GOOD WILL COME OF THIS WAY OF LIFE.  On the subject of Jesus: he might not have raised a sword or a gun against Iain Duncan Smith, David Cameron, Nick Clegg or any of those fascist bigots (and I would love to) but he would have, and did, raise his voice against them.  You may not WANT a fight but you sure have got to raise your voice against these tyrants and abusers or there will be no environment which will sustain love or peace.

There that's my sermon over for the day.

G'night all.

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