18 August, 2009

Covering up the messy?

I just found this on a friend's/colleague's blog: "I have yet to find the story of a fully healthy and functional family in the Word of God (the Bible). So that we wouldn't lose heart or hope, God graciously made sure we'd know that in things pertaining to the sons of the earth, abnormal is more normal than normal. That doesn't mean we should surrender to dysfunction. It means we don't have to hang our heads as we surrender to God and let Him sort out our tangled mess." It is from a Bible Study called "Believing God". Don't know much else, except my family fits well into an abnormal mould, if such a thing exists! I think evangelical Christians spend a lot of time trying to pretend they are normal or trying to project an image of normality. By doing so we put up walls that hinder us from having deep relationships with others. And probably we limit the relationship we can have with God. If we admit the "tangled mess", then we can get on with living, rather than hiding the mess. Last week we watched a weird movie called, "The Talented Mr Ripley". Basically it is about an average kind of guy who gets mistaken for the friend of a son of a wealthy man. Oddly enough the man offers to pay Tom Ripley (the average guy) to go and persuade his son who is fooling around in Italy, to come home to America. It turns out that Tom will do anything to get a leg up in circumstances. He ends up killing the supposed friend, but it is made to look almost like an accident in the movie. He covers up the death, not telling anyone, indeed on occasion, pretending that he is the other guy. He also took money out of his 'friend's' account and wore his rings. He perpetuated the myth for quite a while, including forging letters from his friend. Then kills another who is getting suspicious of the lies and a third right at the end. It is really a strange movie. But what I came away with was the cost of lies. He could be honest with no one - to perpetuate the lie of a wealthy life, he had to kill anyone who got close to discovering the truth that he was a nobody who used to tune pianos. But we do the same. When we cover up the truth of our messy lives. When we try to pretend we are better than we are. We kill relationships. We alienate ourselves from others. Okay, off my soapbox and onto supervising homework.


Anonymous said...

Yes. That's something I've been thinking about (in connection with my blog post about personality types). Part of my introverted-ness is simply the fact that I do need space...but part of it is too often that I am not only awkward and sinful...and I'd rather not let anyone see that too often.

Or at all.

Anika Q

Anonymous said...

*awkward BUT sinful (too)

(And not very good at proof-reading. :P)

-J said...

Amen! and the last thing I want is a year full of alienation. Hope you'll have lots of safe places to take your walls down this year. God gave me a delightful time yesterday with a new friend who discussed this very thing and which was very refreshing!

Ken Rolph said...

The Ripley stuff was originally written by Patricia Highsmith. If you look into her work you will find that it is particularly amoral in a consistent way.

A friend of mine also studied the Bible looking for heroes of the faith who had brought up kids who emulated them. She was disappointed. It seems that the Bible is not a manual of simple family values. You would wonder how many of those who cling to the family values line actually read the text.

Wendy said...

Ken, I guess that we like to have formulas - especially people like to write books using the formula "this is how I did it and look at my wonderful kids - therefore this is the only way to parent". It drive me crazy. I don't read parenting books like that anymore.