Friday, July 18, 2014
THE AMBIANCE OF AMBIVALENCE [THE READING OF MANY BLOGS]
Ambiance----"A pervading atmosphere."
I read where John MacArthur once said were he able to parent his children over again he would put a major emphasis on helping them embrace a need for ambivalence. As seen above in the definition from Webster’s New American Dictionary, one would see that a good dose of understanding about ambivalence is needed for the living of life in general and dealing with some people specifically.
For example, I’ve always been a bit ambivalent about autobiographies. A life story undoubtedly has, it seems to me, the exaggeration part of it [which one can only hope would not be out and out lies] buried somewhere in the telling of the tale. How could any of us be the hero of our life story if all we told were the truth? [The point of biographies is to present the main character as something of a hero is it not?] So we shade an incident here, invent a rationale there, leave out a telling detail that changes everything were we to factually state it all.
As someone I read correctly said, I believe, "Is there anything less reliable than a memoir? Eichmann was following orders. Clinton did nothing wrong. Our life story written by us is our greatest fiction so we learn to take memoirs with a bucket of salt.”
While that statement may be a little over the top and, perhaps, smacks of cynicism, I have to confess, my ambivalence about it all causes me to be drawn to the grain of truth of the heroic in it while, at the same time, being attracted to the inside scoop a person gives about some of the shady type of things in that life. I really am ambivalent about autobiographies as you can see. It is that kind of ambivalence that is the pervading atmosphere of my mind and heart when I read many of the blogs on line, especially the comment sections.
No one appreciates the biblical materials more than I do. I’ve spent my life studying them, developing my understanding of them, systematizing them for the instruction of others, proclaiming them, and even defending them. I believe doctrine is terribly important.
I’m drawn to people also. In fact, if I understand things correctly, it is ONLY His Eternal Word and people from this earth that will grace us with a presence in heaven. Nothing else__that is here__will be there. Again, if I understand things correctly, my relationships with people IS the treasure I am to lay up in heaven. The sadness I see in the story of the Rich Fool who had barns and bunches of crops, is that NOTHING is said about his marriage, children, co-workers, or friendships. How poor he really was because people were NOT as important as anything else. You can see__I’m drawn to the Truth of Scripture and people__even those who write blogs defending that truth.
It is exactly at this point that ambivalence must be learned in my life. How bloggers can defend the “Truth” and at the same time often display, it seems to me at least, a total disregard for the feelings of those who will read their blog posts and write as if anyone who disagrees or questions what they have written is an idiot__or worse__is a mystery.
I’m usually drawn, as I said, to one side or other of those doctrinal issues being debated in blogdom whether it is concerning Calvinism’s TULIP or the Free-will of others, women preachers, or praying in tongues, whether baptism can be performed by any christian or only an authorized minister or representative and a myriad of other issues that are being debated via the internet. Yet, while drawn to one side or other on any issue, I have to confess to being just as repulsed at the attitude often exhibited toward people as seen in the comment sections of blogs by advocates on both sides of those issues.
I’ve seen on some blogs and comment sections written words by Christians that display anger, resentment, harshness, or maybe just simply personalities void of any tenderness, and certainly a display of a total lack of training in personal relationships. Then again, and I'm hoping it isn't, maybe it is just a lack of conscience in relating to people in genuine love and respect, all the while appearing to admire their own stand for the “Truth.”
The fact that the “Truth” is another name for a Person, and that this Person is by His example the heart and soul of our relating to other people, seems to be lost on some writing or commenting on some blogs. Whatever the driving force behind their disregard for people, I find that dubious sense of unsettledness [ambivalence] playing out in the recesses of my own being when I read their blogs and especially the comment sections.
So, I wind up battling my own demons of wanting to judge, correct, fix, confront those very people whose blogs I’m drawn to and would do so except I check my own motives. There I find another mixed bag. So I’m back to being ambivalent__about myself. So I sit down to think about it all__and write__and a post pops out about this need for ambivalence in life, for what it’s worth.
Maybe MacArthur was on to something. Maybe it will take the BEMA, where all hidden motives and purposes are brought to light and where the ability to love someone, and yet be repulsed by that same someone, will be brought into correct eternal balance. Maybe until then I’ll just have to learn to live with__ambivalence__loving people where they are__wherever that is. Even those people who write and comment on blogs.