for those who are in or around sane

Friday, May 26

bubble wrap, part II

It has been overly-long folks… I apologize for my delay of Part II, but I actually had things to do, people to see and food to eat (including an incredible batch of tuna noodle casserole a la littlebmouse).

Some folks have asked me where I’m going with this… I’m not entirely sure. I do know that it stemmed from a long talk about living and learning. How do you use what you have learned in your life to serve you best in the future? The idea of wrapping yourself in your sins, lessons and guilt like bubble wrap came up. At first it seemed like a grand plan. Swath yourself in the familiar, the past. After all, history is doomed to repeat itself if it does not learn from itself.

But I don’t think that’s a very positive way to go through life. It constantly hinders your steps and makes you second guess well-thought-out decisions; it creates insecurities and harbors suspicion. After a long while of contemplating an alternative, I was shocked to find what I did.

It’s a bible verse. I guess, in order for me to explain what I mean by an alternative to bubble wrap, I should have you read it (please?):

Ephesians 6
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.
12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,
15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
19 Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel,
20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

The letter to the Ephesians uses a metaphor to get it’s point across. It takes the main components of a Roman Soldier’s armor and applies them to spiritual warfare. I am game to apply this metaphor to psychological and emotional warfare too. why you ask? Well it says right here: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against … the powers of this dark world”.

I know I’m asking for a lecture here about my theology and hermeneutics, but please bear with me, strictly on a quasi-surface level, ok?

Instead of padding yourself with something soft and ultimately pliable, poppable and ugly, why not take the essentials with you as well-placed, well-formed armor? Armor is not infallible, but it exists to protect your vitals – the things you need in battle ie internal organs, head, arms and feet. Roman armor was designed to be light and strong in order to allow the legions to move quickly.

In this verse, a piece of armor represents a form of defense against, what we’ll simplify to as evil. I’ve read and heard numerous sermons on this particular verse, and how each piece of armor applies nicely to a specific spiritual weapon. I need not go into that right now.

What’s important is that it’s not bubble wrap. It’s holding your head up and striding forward. Smiling in the face of resistance. Comically, it’s looking before you cross the street – not donning an orange reflective vest and flagging cars to stop. Realistically, it’s taking the pain you have suffered from one predicament, reconciling with it and putting it on a shelf to look at when you need to – not putting it in a bag to carry on your back for eternity.

Yes, there may be a moment of weakness where you make a bad decision because you forgot to look on the shelf at your lesson/pain/guilt before you leapt, but that’s how we continue to learn. To err is human, to forgive is divine. To be a better human, we must experience these errs and walk forward. Put another stripe on your shield and press on, lightly.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love it, it's like what God would say if he were your football coach.

Overall I think it's the best attitude to have. Time to kick ass for the lord!

-rhett

3:16 PM

 
Anonymous Lo said...

I like it too. Especially the point that bubble wrap can be popped.

7:30 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like the metaphor to wrapping ourselves in history, that can just create a lot of stress in our lives, and I totally know what you mean by second guessing ourselves. It is a little crazy out there with all the decisions we make.

But I think your hermenutics and your theology is fine, life is not about carrying our burdens (see Pilgrim's Progress - though that isn't actually scripture)

10lees

9:48 AM

 
Blogger dr. gonzo said...

10lees - ooo, good one! i havent read that yet, but it's on my long list of "need to read before i die". i should move it up a few notches.

10:27 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a copy of Children's Pilgrim Progress I read as a child, which I will admit is probably completely bastardized, but it is the story without being in 16th Century language. I don't know if I have ever read the actual Pilgrim's Progress by Bunyan. I should probably put that on my to be read pile too...

10lees

10:04 AM

 

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