Day 880 – NEW ZEALAND: Ground Beef

Who’d have thought that a blog about a cycle journey from Japan to England would end up saturated with a fella’s musings about his struggle with God.

If you came for the cycling and deserts and frozen beards, and are getting annoyed with my inward searching at present, I apologise. But it’s all part of the journey baby, and that was my intention from the start…to record and share my journey.

So, some revelations of sorts today…

I came to some of these revelations while I scrubbed shower stalls and toilets at work at Dreamland Hostel, and some while I walked in the hills with a gun-toting hare-shooting Kim Peters (Pastor at Lincoln Baptist Church).
God is a fair and just God. If someone chooses to live a life that works towards the truth (truth meaning all those good things; honesty, integrity, humbleness, generosity etc etc…), that strives for the truth, then surely God will not reject them, even if they haven’t ‘prayed that special prayer’ that you have to pray to “become a Christian”.

The idea that one must ‘accept Jesus into their heart’ via a predetermined reciting of a particular line of words in order to be saved from damnation (either in the ‘you go to hell after you die’ sense or ‘your life and relationships on earth are bad and will be crap forever until you die’ sense) is absurd. Absolutely absurd.

So does this mean that some good people (who aren’t ‘followers of Jesus’ in the ‘I am a Christian and go to church and have prayed the ‘salvation’ prayer’ sense) may go to heaven after all?

I remember clearly a Christian tract that went around when I was part of a Christian group on campus when I was at Uni. It clearly stated ‘Why Some Good People Won’t Go To Heaven’. The basic gist of it was that you either ‘accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour’ or you will go to hell. To accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, just pray this prayer. Right now, here in your heart….

In other words, if you pray the prayer, you’re part of the club. You’re in. Skip past jail and go straight to Go. You’re on the inside now, and all those other poor people that are on the outside…well…our heart grieves and we’ll pray for them to see the errors of their ways.

If this is the God I have to believe in in order to be a Christian, then count me out. It just doesn’t make sense.

But, what also doesn’t make sense is the idea that perhaps us humans, through eventual collective awakening, will one day reach a point where there is peace on earth and everything is ‘restored’ to the original design (relationally, environmentally). I just don’t think it is possible for us humans to get to a point where every single one of us is practicing pure self-sacrificial love for one another and the earth. We could conceivably get to a point where most people are awake to the fact that there is more to life than what we see in the mass media. Where we awake to the fact that fear is a tool used to manipulate us by the powers that be. Where we awake to the fact that the Afghani taxi driver murdered in Christchurch the other day is just as much human as the guy that killed him. We could conceivably get to a point where most people on earth realise this.

But we’d never get to a point where everyone reaslied that. It’s just not possible. Why? Because we have the power to choose between things that aid others and ourselves to become the best version of them/our-selves they can be, and things that do the opposite. And so often, choosing things that do not aid others and ourselves to become the best versions of our/them-selves possible, is the path of least resistance (in the moment).

There will always be some element of ‘missing the point of life’.

And I have a sneaking suspicion that this where Jesus, God, and that Holy Spirit thingee comes in.

There are dots out there, and they are slowly being connected.

I have a sneaking suspicion also that the dots can and will be connected by way of what is written in the Bible. There is way too much good stuff in the Bible for it not to all make sense in it’s entirety.

I am also open to the idea that I may be wrong. That perhaps after all my searching I will come to the conclusion that actually, the Bible is indeed just another way. A way. Rather than The Way.

Either way, things are looking up.

In other news I did an Enneagram Personality evening last night with my Mum and Nana. Nana is a bit of a legend with this Enneagram Personality thing. Baiscally it allocates a personality type to a person based on statements that you either agree with or disagree with. The results were incredible. I ended up a Type 3 and it describes me to a T!

Type 3 Description (from Wikipedia)
The Three’s attention goes to setting goals and hitting their targets, to success and creating the “right” image in the eyes of others, and to doing rather than being. Type Three is the prototype of being identified with a persona. Thus, they often mistakenly believe that they are their façade. Although all the types do this to some degree, Type Three’s character is formed around this mistaken identification with a desired image. The defensive coping strategy driving the Three is based on an early experience of being valued for what they did, not who they were. They perform and achieve in order to earn the approval and respect of others. Being preoccupied with doing, Threes can often be unaware of the fact that they numb themselves to their own emotions, because feelings can get in the way of doing and achieving. Strengths: Threes can be industrious, energetic, and attractive. Challenges: They can be workaholics, unaware of their real feelings, and unable to slow down and simply be. Major traits include an excessive focus on work and tasks, concern with image and the approval of others, and a competitive striving for status and recognition.

Ego fixation: vanity
Holy idea: hope
Passion/Vice: deceit
Virtue: truthfulness

Another really short version:

Outer Image: Competent, accomplished, sure
Inner Feelings: Frightened, have feelings of inadequacy

This describes me so well it’s funny. Indeed I did laugh. Out loud.

How many times have I tried so hard to go along with other’s wishes and requests and ideas in an attempt to be a certain person for them. And then of course burning myself out because I realise that that’s not actually the way I want to go, or am unsure whether that’s the way I really want to go.

How often I have felt totally inadequate beside people that I am closest to.

This also explains my amazement at how easily I detatch from people. Completely detatch, that is. No emails, no phone calls. I spoke to my parents on the phone maybe twice or three times during the entire 2.5 years I was on my journey. I was singulary focussed on the task at hand. And how this tendancy is disturbing when contemplating close relationships, especially girlfriend/boyfriend relationships. I have in the past totally freaked out at the idea of becoming emotionally involved with a woman. “What if I get an urge to focus on something else? What if I end up hurting her because I am suddenly all focussed on the next adventure or job or task? How can I support a relationship and study/work/play at the same time?! Whatever I am focussed on is what consumes me!” These are real fears that I had\have when contemplating an emotional attachment, or the pervieved emotional attachment of someone to me.

This also explains my utter and complete inability to just do nothing for a week after my arrival back to my parent’s home in Christchurch. The very next day I was at it…searching for something to focus on next. I haven’t taken a complete day off since I arrived home. Madness.

This is all stuff that I realised about myself about 6 years ago. I was at the end of my third year at university when I got depressed. Like, I am lying in bed in the morning physically paralysed by fear, indecision, and anxiety. I break out in tears with no apparent reason. I was on anti-depressants for 6 months. I called them Barney pills. Barney is a large, extremely happy dinosaur that sings silly songs and makes children laugh. Barney is purple. My Barney pills were purple. You get the idea.

During that time, I went to counselling. It was a huge wake-up call. I discovered more or less the stuff that is written above in the Type Three description.

So, where do I go from here? It appears that while I did learn something from my previous bout in the ring with depression, I still haven’t conquered some unhelpful parts of my personality.

I have another Enneagram appointment with Nana some time next week to see if I can sus some strategies out.

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6 thoughts on “Day 880 – NEW ZEALAND: Ground Beef

  • Aunty Lyn

    This is very interesting, Rob. Today with my ladies at the temple we were talking about the meaning of Christmas – not snow, trees and presents galore – and one asked me how do we know which way is the right way? Like you, I don't think she is going to hell because she hasn't accepted Jesus. She believes the buddhist practice of "making merit" will relieve her bad karma, though other buddhists have told me there is nothing that can take away your bad karma. You have to do millions of reincarnations and get better each time. Anyway we talked about what Buddha's ideas were and then what Mohommed came up with and I told them the story of Jesus coming to do what we humans can't do for ourselves, however hard we try and that is 'be good enough'. I agree with what you had to say the other day about heaven not being important. It is about how we conduct ourselves here on earth, bringing in God's kingdom where his will is done. Anyway it is a good issue to spend time searching out. Jesus is recorded as having said: "the gateway to life is narrow and the way is hard and few attain it". Hard words, eh? And "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me" More hard words. We search out these things every day living here in Thailand.

  • Thomas.S

    Rob, I hope for you to find out, that there is actually no need for any religious belief. This life is all yours, it is all about you and nobody else. This life is all here, right in front of you and not in some metaphysical realm. It's about you loving someone, you doing things with others that feel good.

    You can put labels on your life as long as you want, the outcome is the same: It's what you do. Thinking about your actual plans and deeds is alright.

    But I have the feeling, you are trying too much to get things into some global scale, which is completly unneccessary. Please accept reality, don't geht all spiritual. (People will call you a saint afterwards anyway, if they want to.)

    (Since english is not my primary language, i hope I didn't put anything wrong.)

  • wendy

    Rob I have followed your incredible journey from the start and prayed every day for you. What a journey on every level of who you are! Thank you for sharing the heart one too and pondering "out loud" these things that are so worth wrestling with.

    For me Jesus being the Way the Truth and the Life is about his good teaching and example of how to live with the grain of the Universe, but so much more. Its Knowing Him now, His presence with me because he has made his home with me and its beautiful. Showing me the way as I live. Response to Him in relationship rather than responsibility. Expectancy rather than expectation. Its so alive and so real. His truth that sets me free as I live in His kingdom, in his reality.For me it wasn't about saying a prayer but a heart reponse to understanding who he is and what he has done to bring me home. Awesome

    Have a delightful Christmas with your family!

  • Katey B

    How's that Kiwi summer weather treating you?

    Fired up the barbecue yet?

    In response to your post I think you were looking for something when you left on your trip. The fact that you're now pondering spirituality doesn't surprise me. As you say it's part of the parcel of what you did.

    When it comes to big things like this I think it's always good to go back to basics.

    Keep taking care of yourself, eating well, sleeping, and exercising. Smile.

    If something is not right you either have to change it or your attitude to it or separate yourself from it for a while.

    I think it's important not to let yourself spend all your time thinking. If I have an issue I need to deal with I try to give myself some time each day for a certain length of time, and a goal/goals to achieve. If I don't do this I seem to just go round and round and get nowhere fast or go backwards:( Of course I also sound off on various people close to me and ask for advice-nothing like some 2nd party comments to jolt your thinking.

    However, at the end of the day it's your thing. Trust your gut.

    She'll be right:)