Wednesday, November 2, 2005

a rare intellectual post (the actual post)

There are 2 Nyl’s that I have to live with. One is the one you probably know best. He’s always wired, never resting and likes to chant “I’m a kinesthetic learner!!!” repetitively while flapping another person’s appendage (preferably an arm). He flunks subjects just for the heck of it. He does a lot of things he knows he shouldn’t and has very little self-control.

Battling with him is the quiet Nyl, although the latter always seems to be at the losing end. He’s the writer, the Sunday school teacher, the loving son, and everything that stands against the extrovert Nyl. One look at this picture and you’re probably thinking I am out of my mind.

No, that’s not my handwriting on the label that reads “Pastor Neil”. I actually attended a dinner for pastors today and they assumed I was a pastor, too. It was at that dinner that I finally brewed some thoughts that I have been holding on to for several months now.

Plastic. Two-faced. Hypocrite. Backstabber. Fake. These are some of the things that I’ve often been accused of. Admittedly, I do tend to bash people when I think they deserve a good bashing and of course feel horrible right after (though I don’t show it) but lately I’ve been thinking, don’t we all have our moments like this?

This evening, I had dinner with my mom in this benefit thing for pastors. On the way there, my mom was talking to her officemate about how the president of the seminary they work in has really bad decision making skills and how he was going to hire this student with questionable morals to be his secretary. It’s kind of a long story which I’m not sure if I’m at any liberty of talking about but to make the long story short, I came to this conclusion. Even super-closed minded Christians talk behind backs.

It’s inevitable. It avoids conflict. Once you’ve vented, you rarely feel the need to confront. You feel better when you’ve released all that negative energy, especially when the person you’re talking to feels the same way and is more than happy to contribute to the conversation. When you lay it out like that, talking about someone apart from his presence actually does more good than bad.

This makes me think of this next question: Is talking about someone’s errors behind their back called ‘backstabbing’? It’s the truth, right? So why should I feel guilty when I talk about it.

There’s this show called America’s Next Top Model and two of the most prominent characters, Camille and Yoanna (who eventually bagged the first prize) got into this really huge fight at the start of the show. Yoanna did really poorly on this one challenge and Camille started talking about her with this other chick. She wasn’t lying. She wasn’t defaming Yoanna’s name. In fairness, she was saying the truth but then Camille became this villain which everyone grew to hate in time. Is saying the truth behind someone’s back considered as backstabbing? I really don’t know.

We had this school play and at times, some of the members would talk to me and would semi-bash the other members for not doing this or for doing that when they weren’t supposed to. If I felt that these members were in the right, which I did at that time, I would join in and say what I felt about that person. But when that person arrived, I found myself perfectly fine and even chummy with her. Was I being a hypocrite then? I searched high and low for the answers to my questions but I couldn’t find them. They weren’t there.

I came to this conclusion: I can be mad at this person for the stupid things that he or she might have done. I could be mad at this person for failing me and the group. But where would that lead me? I would just hate someone who wasn’t even there to defend herself. So I looked deep inside and found a possible reason. Could it be that I was mad at what the person was doing and not at the person herself? Yes, theoretically it is possible.

I told one of my friends about it and she said it’s hard to separate the person and his actions. If I think that person screwed up, inevitably that person becomes a screw-up in my thoughts. I cringed a little, showing how I didn’t think it was so. Plasticity isn’t my sin because I don’t hold it against the person when he or she makes mistakes.

We do a lot of things that we aren’t proud of and I think I am not one in saying that not all our actions reflect highly and accurately of our true personality. Maybe it’s true. Maybe it is possible.

There are a lot of things in my life right now that totally goes against my faith. I’m a Christian, many people know that but what’s funny is many are surprised. Most Christians are super straight and prudent while I am at times ambiguous and foolish. I once asked myself if there was something wrong with me. Why do I get into the worst situations when I’m supposed to have God with me? Am I being plastic to my faith? Do I pray before meals to soothe my soul and not to thank God? Do I go to church to be rid of guilt and not to serve the Lord? Do I teach Sunday school to feel righteous and purposeful and not really to be a part of His ministry of salvation? These questions really bug me at night when I’m lying on my bed wide-awake, trying to figure out where and at what point did everything start to plummet downwards in my life.

So am I plastic? Am I a hypocrite? Do I have 2 faces? I really don’t know. Only He can judge me and so if all I said in this post were untrue and I really am a two-faced buck-weed, then I guess I should deal with my consequences. After all, if we should ever do a lot of stupid things in our lifetime, God doesn’t punish our actions. He punishes us. I guess I should know better and I guess I should thank Him and serve him honestly with no ulterior thoughts or motives. But change comes slowly and it comes from Him. Until then, all I can do is think about what I’m doing with my life and where I should go with it.

I hope these words find some meaning in your life.