The Gospel of Walter, Rick, and Jax.

I have become quite a fan of “The Sons of Anarchy” and “Dexter” and “Walking Dead” and “Breaking Bad.” These shows have their fair share of violence, sexual content, and other stuff that isn’t particularly good for people in large doses. There are as many differences among these shows as there are similarities. But right now, I am thinking about the light they shine on the human condition. There is a fundamental world view that I think is accurate reflected in these shows.
I know that lots of Christians might be tempted to offer some version of the statement “people suck and God rules.” For the record, I am not sure an analysis like that would be 100% wrong.
But that’s not the world view I am thinking about right now.
In differing ways, all the protagonists in each of these shows is stuck. There is something about the world that placed them in a position where they regularly do things that they know aren’t right. And there is something broken in each of these characters that likes the bad things they do.
But Jax finds himself longing for life outside the MC. He finds himself wondering if his dad was on to something and if he can follow that path. As Dexter forms a more and more convincing cover story-family around him, he begins to wonder if he can’t lose himself in the cover and just join the family. Rick longs for an escape to the tough choices he has to make as leader of his group in a zombie infested land scape. And Walter time and time again, finds himself pulled back into the meth business that he is trying so hard to get out of.
I think half the appeal of these shows is that they write in large print the desperation we can feel in our every day lives. (The other half of the appeal is the production values, and graitious violence.)
Don’t get me wrong. I love my life lots of the time.

But sometimes, don’t you feel stuck? Don’t you feel like that there is more than this? Do you ever do things, that a part of your broken-ness loves, but that you know is dead wrong?
We can be like Dexter, and try to use the badness in us for a greater good. We can be like Walter, and revel in the fact that we are so amazingly good at something which doesn’t do much good in the big picture.
No matter how we do it, though. We live with this suspicion that there is something better. And we live with this fear that there is no getting out.
Or maybe it’s just me.
When I am at my best, I hold on to this hope that I can be rescued. Not just in the next life, but in this one. I can transcend my past of my present, I can even be bigger than a future that looms so large I can’t see beyond it.
But, of course, I couldn’t do these things alone.


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The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

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