highlyeccentric: Sign on Little Queen St - One Way both directions (Jesus Called)
[personal profile] highlyeccentric

This is a very rough story I wrote for

[livejournal.com profile] goblinpaladin  tonight. He asked me what I would say to a person in crisis if I thought that evangelism would help them. How do you talk to someone who is at rock bottom? Can you promise them that God will make everything better? What do you tell them about a loving God when they are suffering?
I said that I didn't know, but that I have known several people who hit rock bottom and found God there.

 

me: sighs i don't know what to say to people who are at rock bottom, B
 Brenton: I'm curious as to how those folk who hit rock bottom and 'found god' operated. In general terms, mind.
 me: um... one was a school friend
  she joined a fundamentalist church
  she believed everything got better
 
 me: and although it in fact, did not
  she believed it did, and that was all that was important
21:23 she found a community, which was crucial
  and a sense of being important in the world
  a sense of purpose
 Brenton: nods
 me: of Someone having a bigger plan for her
  and that's still the only thing holding her together, i think
21:24 unfortunately, she became a judgemental bitch as a side effect, and i don't like her much anymore
 Brenton: Yeah, I'm not surprised about any of that.
  That's how I figured it worked.
 Brenton: ...especially, unfortunately, the heinous bitch part. No fanatic like a convert.
me: that's how it worked for her.
  i know others
  but... i can't share their stories with you.
 
 me: not all rock-bottom converts become fanatics
  its... god doesn't pick you up out of rock bottom
 Brenton: they do if it is a fundamentalist church that is there to help them
 me: yes
  but sometimes it's a nice church
  sometimes it's no church at all
21:27 sometimes it's pure, scary-making, i-don't-want-to-hear-about-this-and-i-BELIEVE-in-god revelation.

which i don't want to hear about because it's the easiest to explain away (hallucination!) and yet invariable the most powerful.
21:28 Brenton: nods
  agrees
  Yet it's hard to disagree with.
 me: but... even then. god doesn't pick them up from rock bottom
  they get to rock bottom and they find that god is already there
  aint no mountain high enough, and all that

So then I told a stowy. I have trouble logic-ing God anymore. Critical analysis and deconstructing and writing essays, that's my work now. God is in the narratives.
22:02 me: you are walking in a wasteland.
the sky is black.
the sand underfoot is burning and the rocks are cutting your feet.
22:03 you can barely see
  the ground beneath your feet gives way at crazy angles
  you have no idea where you are going and you've no idea where you came from
22:04 you are fighting to keep upright, but the rocks are loose and the slope is steep.
  you loose your balance
22:05 you fall.
  you don't know how far.
  you don't know how fast.
  you don't know your way back
  but that seems futile anyway, because you didn't know where you were to begin with.
22:06 you have heard of other people who came here before you
  but you have seen no one
  nowhere you have walked even remotely resembles the place you have heard of
22:07 you are alone. you are alone, hurting and lost
22:08 when people go out to the wilderness, they are supposed to achieve enlightenment
  well, fuck enlightenment
  it is dark and you never wanted to be here in the first place
22:09 what use is enlightenment anyway?
22:10 what would be more use to you right now is a fiery angel. a rescuer. Someone to find you and lift you up out of this hell on earth.
  but you get out here and you realise that enlightenment is useless and angels don't exist
22:11 you get up. because you have nothing else to do.
  you slither a few feet and fall again
22:12 you land on your face
  this time you cannot be bothered to move
22:13 the rocks beneath you are cutting into your chest.
  you are all alone at the end of all things
22:14 for some reason, you look up.
22:15 and there at the end of all things, there is another man.
a man of indeterminate age. a man holding a little, dim lantern.
  you look up at him.
  you want to say something
  ask how he came to be here
22:16 yell at him, perhaps. for being here and being whole.
  this whole place must be his fault
  he could be anywhere else on earth
  why is he here?
  you resent him. this was your hell. why should there be anyone else in it?
22:17 and if he must be here, why isn't he any use?
  can he fly?
  can he take you out of here somehow?
  you haven't the energy. you stare up at him.
22:18 He sits down on the rock beside you and doesn't say anything.
  just sits there, shining his little dim light.
  waiting until you can get up.
  waiting until you can speak.
  just waiting.
22:19 for you.


that last line is a shout-out to a wordsketch he wrote at my request a while back, called Eternity. it was pretty. you should all read it.

[livejournal.com profile] lepsdavid, [livejournal.com profile] daiskmeliadorn, [livejournal.com profile] mangelbojangel, anyone else out there: what do you think, guys? what would you say to a hypothetical subject of evangelism in crisis? is there a code of ethics for these things? isn't it manipulative to take advantage of someone's vulnerable state? would you be afraid of manipulating them into faith?
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