the pain of becoming alive again…

i given up any on any idea that i can present to you a clean, compact package of what’s going on right now…so here it goes.  the painful, messy ramblings of a pilgrim trying to make it home.

we watched The Mission together today in class.  since this isn’t a movie review blog, i won’t bore you with the details or my many (many!) thoughts and reactions.  but in a quick overview, the movie is about a rag-tag group of Catholic priests who’ve set up a mission in the jungle of South America to provide as a sanctuary for the natives who have been captured and sold as slaves, as well as a place for them to come to know God.

the usual questions came up after:  is this our mission as a community of believers?  to spread the Gospel?  was God not already present among these people?  do we, just as the priests did, have something to learn from those around us who don’t seem to know God?

toward the end, the mission is under attack and two very different perspectives are provided as one priest chooses peace and the other chooses to fight alongside the natives he’s come to love.  as i wrestled with which one i would be in the situation, it occured to me i might be asking the wrong question.  from my journal:

“it is all ugly….
perhaps the question is not “how do we best respond to such hatred?” but “where do we find the capacity for such ugliness in ourselves?”

as you can see, Training School brings up deep, hard questions.  we are in the thick of it, but i am learning to be more ok with being exhausted.  with walking through the pain of exploration.  the pain of becoming alive again….

the truth is, lately, i feel more at home with the honest questions of those who struggle with the church, in the angry, soul-filled cries of musicians like Kings of Leon, with the tattooed, broken, hurting people i find in my life.  i am a land-mine of contradictions at the moment…both feeling whole and broken, running two miles in the morning then smoking a cigarette on the way to work, continuing to embrace this place that God has given me while simultaneously wanting to board the next plane to California.

i’ll leave you with a favorite conversation from the Mission.  it is being had by an archbishop and a slave trader, after the archbishop has made a decision that resulted in the slaughter of nearly all the natives.

Senor Hontar: You had no alternative, Eminence.  we work in the world.  the world is thus.

His Eminence:  No Senor Hontar…thus we have made the world.

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