Monday, June 7, 2010

Letter to an Invisible Church: No. 1

Dear Church of the Holy Abstraction:

I can't see you. I'm beginning to think I never will.

The thing is, I don't think you quite understand where I'm coming from--that I have, either by my own unwitting design or not, placed myself between worlds. Basically, regarding you and my prospected participation in your congregation, I will always sound elitist and prideful. Which will then cause me to act in 'humility' and say the opposite of what I just thought/said.

But is that really humility? Am I being humble when I first think that I would go to a church if they had a book club dedicated to reading Joyce's Finnegan's Wake, but then say, no, that's asking too much--the church should be shaping my ideas of it, not me shaping my ideas of the church? It seems that, in order to be humble, you have to expose your pride first.

Don't go turning that into an anecdote in your next sermon.

But really, though: is it possible to be humble when you are constantly aware of this fact? And further, how am I supposed to know the difference between humbling myself and selling myself short? When I catch myself daydreaming about a book tour, I immediately feel that if I'm daydreaming about it, it means I don't deserve it. Then I lament the fact that I'd never be able to sit through another office job whose duty to society was as some intermediary service to something else that may or may not be useful to anyone. Then I think about how egotistical it is to put myself above 60% of the American workforce. Then I feel awful that 60% of the American workforce is working to work. Then I think, who am I?

Then: I don't stop asking that last question.

So: at the end of these thought cycles, what am I left with? Where have I gone--or, have I already disappeared years ago, and when I thought I was humbling myself, it was my spine cracking as I shoveled sand over my head?

Waiting, Always,
a sleeper

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