Primitive religion is not believed, it is danced!

Arthur Darby Nock

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Browning

Friday, August 2, 2019


“The human mind isn't a terribly logical or consistent place. Most people, given the choice to face a hideous or terrifying truth or to conveniently avoid it, choose the convenience and peace of normality. That doesn't make them strong or weak people, or good or bad people. It just makes them people.”
Jim Butcher

“I could deny it if I liked. I could deny anything if I liked.”
Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest

 “How 'bout a shot of truth in that denial cocktail.”
Jennifer Salaiz

I’ve been thinking
I know!  Shocking isn’t it!?
But I have been thinking about denial

In addictions treatment we talk a lot about denial
About that powerful mechanism that keeps us
“doing what we are doing and expecting a different outcome”

That makes denial a form of insanity

But denial isn’t really insanity
It is part of the human condition.

We don’t like the uncomfortable
We don’t like the painful
We don’t like seeing things that collide with our values systems
We don’t like feeling small, or deficit, or weak, or sinful

And so we do most anything we can to avoid
Those inconvenient truths

About our planet (its dying)
About our nation (its not exceptional)
About ourselves (I am insecure and seek to compensate by getting people to admire me, which makes me seem arrogant.  I’m also a little too tied to things, and yes, I am opinionated at a level that is probably not healthy).


Call it what you will

And we attempt to accomplish this profound act of lying to ourselves
In all kinds of ways

We tell ourselves that what is true is not true!
We reframe so that what is ugly and sordid is no longer ugly and sordid
We justify, and rationalize, and excuse

Caging children is about safety
Destroying the planet is just good business

Sometimes this attempt to move into an alternate reality doesn’t really work
We see the earth dying
We see ourselves behaving poorly
We feel our personal deficits at our core

And it hurts
So we medicate
We play, we drink, we smoke, we eat
We have sex

Sometimes we bring God, or the Sacred into the equation
We try to use God to excuse the inexcusable
We take one or two verses in huge book, and use them to exclude, and judge, and hate
While ignoring the huge preponderance of passages that tell us we can’t
Exclude or judge or hate

We turn a God who is love into a God who is wrathful and cruel
We turn a God who warns us about accumulation of wealth, and misuse of power
Into a God who gives us wealth and blessing our use of power

We turn a God who is revealed as a power that comes and disturbs and roils
A god of wind and fire
A god whose very nature is to uproot us from where we are
And blow us to someplace new

Into a God who simply looks on benignly as we perpetuate systems
Of inequity and injustice

There is perhaps one more form of denial
Some people see clearly what is happening
They see the hate and the fear
They see the greed and the lust for power
They see abusing immigrants as immoral
The destruction of the planet as evil

They feel real pain
When they hear lie after lie
When yet another protection for the planet is removed
When yet another policy is put in place that is intentional cruelty

They are offended (being offended is not bad)
When they see economic injustice
And racism

And they deny the fact that they are helpless
Instead they dive in
And they write their legislators
They post things on FaceBook
They speak out
They vote
They work in soup kitchens
They give time and money to non-profits
They act with kindness and generosity

Their way of medicating the pain of living in a messed up world
Is to engage in the process of trying to change that world for the better
Even when those efforts seem ineffective
Even when at times, they feel powerless

This is a profound form of denial
It denies the power of evil
It denies the power of evil people to destroy our country and our planet
It denies helplessness

And this is when denial
Becomes expectation

The expectation that God is
That God is present among us and in us
And that God can use people
People like me and you

to change the world
or at very least to change the space
which surrounds us

to change our family
our church
our community

for the better

I am in denial

No comments:

Post a Comment