I feel like we all hit a place in life where we realize we don’t actually know much of anything about anything. Sometimes it’s a process that takes years. My journey has been about a decade of learning what I believe and don’t believe that started right before my 20s and has now come full circle as I’m entering into my 30s. It took a complete collapse of my beliefs and deconstruction of my faith to make me realize that I didn’t actually know anything about what I chose to accept as “truth” or “fact”. It was the best thing that ever happened to me. So I thought I’d lay it out for you, since you are most likely going through something similar, or have in the past. If you haven’t yet, your time is hopefully coming. I say “hopefully” because I wouldn’t wish an entire life of existing in blissful ignorance on anyone. It can be the most painful thing someone can go through, but also the most enlightening, educational, and humbling experience you will ever have.
Separation Of God And Church
I’ve touched on this in past blog posts. I thought I knew what I believed. I thought I understood God enough to be pious and arrogant about it. I was sure I knew more than most. That carried me for a long time and helped me justify my behaviors. But it wasn’t enough to protect me from having everything I ever knew destroyed, with me stumbling through the ruins, shell-shocked, trying to pick up the pieces. Something really bad happened to me that involved the Church, and I kept going for another three years, thinking I could make myself ok again if I forced myself to feel something I no longer did. I never let myself heal, and it all caught up with me eventually when the full extent of my deconstruction had run its course. I was left devastated, but much happier. I realized I didn’t have to be bound by the chains of my former self, empty rituals, meaningless politics, and unloving people. I no longer felt like I had to be any person other than myself. I felt like what I thought about Jesus and the Church was now broken, separated into two distinctly individual things. I know that’s not “Biblical” in and of itself, but I actually think it allowed me to see a bigger truth: The church in America has become the present day temple or synagogue. Pastors are the pharisees, the congregation are the pious zealots, the Crusaders on the front lines, bearing crosses and killing in God’s name.
If Jesus were to have arrived on earth today, He would be killed by the church that claims they know him so intimately. And I was a part of that Church. I thought I had it all figured out. I thought I knew enough to never doubt what I believed. I guess I was wrong.
This was my biggest lesson in humility. I stopped being so pretentious. Though I’m sure I still come across that way sometimes on this blog. I try really hard not to be pretentious or feel as though I am somehow better than anyone else. Quite the contrary actually. I feel much more so that I am lesser than most in my knowledge and growth. I acknowledged that I had so very far to go, and the only way to grow is to learn from the knowledge and experience of others. And that’s where it started.
Choosing A Life Of Color-Blindness
I think another time I realized how wrong I was had to be in the last couple of years of digging in and learning more about racial discrimination. We are currently living in an era of culture where a great deal of people are making the conscious decision to go backward in thinking and choose a very distinctly racist mindset.
As I’ve said in a previous post, I never considered myself racist, but I was guilty by association when I never took on the responsibility of standing up for anyone of color. White Supremacy is real and prevalent in our society, and as a white male in America, it is my duty to spread a message of anti-white supremacy through my words and actions, standing up for the rights of those who have been marginalized, discriminated against, and had their rights robbed from them by the U.S. government, and every person of power in this country.
I used to blindly and ignorantly believe that black people brought the violence and racism on themselves due to their violent and reverse racist acts on everyone else. I believed the lie that racism was dead in white America, and that the greater black community was just making a fuss about nothing and can’t let go of the past. But I certainly learned my lesson on that one. I couldn’t believe that lie any longer. When there is such overwhelming evidence to support the violent oppression of the black population of this country, you can’t just keep changing the channel, closing the browser, turning off your phone, and stop reading the news forever. Eventually the truth becomes far too clear.
The issues of racism in America were a huge wake up call to me. I honestly had no idea how much I had totally been ignorant of our society. It completely changed the way I think towards ideals, situations, and most importantly; people.
The Ever-Present Music Reminder
I rarely talk about music on this blog. It’s a bit ironic since music is the primary thing I spend my time doing. But I thought it fit nicely here. Music is this constant in my life. But what goes along with music is the ever-present reminder that someone else always knows way more than I do. Music consistently serves to remind me that I am never good enough, I can always grow, there’s always more to learn, and there’s always a whole slew of musicians, artists, and writers to look up to.
I guess you could say art does this in general. Creativity forces our brain to think outside of the boxes that we use to store our every day life in, and instead, we think inside the boxes we store imagination, dreams, ideals, faith, God, whimsy, and all things impossible. Creativity is the true presence of humility. Creativity will constantly knock you down, only so you have the most opportunities to overcome an obstacle that can be given. It’s a beautiful relationship we are offered with Creativity in this life. I believe we are all creative in some way.
For me, music is the default means of expression for my creativity. Writing is a close second.
Music is always teaching me to not give up, to be humble, not think much of myself, always work to be better, always adapt, be ready for surprises, and be willing to improvise when the situation calls for it. This may feel a bit lame of a point compared to the other two points in this post, but I think it’s important to note the small ways we can be reminded to be humble. Music is certainly that reminder for me.
If you want to make something good in this world, be humble, loving, selfless, and sensitive to the world around you, and great art will follow.
If you want to be something good in this world…It’s the same recipe.