Scary stories from a lovely place
(Today’s Opinion piece is by an anonymous, guest author.)
Nothing. I have nothing to say. Do you think much anymore, and when you do, is it about spiritual, meaningful things or about worthless trivialities? Has your life over the past years been a whirlwind?
I eat, I sleep, I watch TV, I iron clothes, I clean and at work I prepare project proposals, present solutions to clients, resolve system issues, etc. When will it end? I don’t know!
Most of what I read is political news on the internet. I spend hours reading news on the internet only to come to vague generalisations about political philosophy and no doubt I’ve sided with no one 99% of the time. There are times when I don’t necessarily agree with the conservatives but the liberal alternative is always much worse than the conclusions I made about conservatives. I’ve found that politics can be a religion of sorts. Politics is frustrating and confusing. Everyone is just making promises, but I always enjoy some political humour from my homeboy Julius Malema.
The other political development is to be between ANC and DA in the upcoming Local Government elections – or will it be Julius and Helen Zille, “a racist little girl”. From the readings I have done online, no one has been able to explain to me clearly and convincingly why I should vote for either of them. Most educated people complain about the ANC. The recent contentious issue has been the failures in education and so on and so forth. I was always under the impression that the government worked under a system of checks and balances. Why blame the “ANC Movement” for everything? I don’t know, maybe I need to read a liberal book or watch a Michael Moore movie.
Maybe I’m blind as a bat and maybe I don’t understand what goes on behind closed doors. I don’t even understand the “promises” Zuma has made. Studying politics will make you apathetic. Politics is a big conundrum with many inconsistencies and contradictions and an emotional fervour that many a time overcomes reason and rationale. I think politics is important and I would like to understand it but I’ve come to the point where I have nothing to say about politics. People who argue politics, argue in circles. I’m somewhere on the right, spinning in a circle.
I realise coming to the Bible is like that old, tired cliche: “You put nothing in, you get nothing out.” I have nothing to say because I don’t even read the Bible as much as I would like to. It’s frustrating reading the Bible now. Just when I start to peel off some fascinating thing in the Bible and begin to search and ask questions and try to make connections and look up information, I realize something I forgot to do or I end up leaving it and I never come back to it. A lame excuse I know. All excuses are lame. I hate excuses. Excuses are an infection. They start off small and inconsequential and they blow up into a fully-fledged disease. Excuses are a cancer that rots your whole body until you’re dead.
I’ve been in the working world fully for 40 months now. I find myself like most Christians; inundated with the world. It’s not a good feeling. I don’t care for it all. It’s a depressing feeling. It’s a stressful feeling. I might compare my life in Christ to a great epic story that began almost 9 years ago. Of course Jesus would be the epic hero. And after years of battling with my soul as a teenager and encountering stubborn opposition at every moment, He won the battle in my heart and, for a season, enjoyed a place there that no other thing could match. A triumphant entry and a rout of all other idols that would dare come near. God created in me a radical allegiance to his throne. I’m by no means perfect. The blazing, radical allegiance can sometimes feel like a cold complacency.
In time, I chose a profession that I thought God would use me in greatly. More and more I find it is that very profession that is using me greatly. I don’t think about anything like I used to, my mind is trapped in this little box of technology. Who really gives a shit about how a bar of soap or toilet paper or sanitary pads ended on the shelves at a local Pick ‘n Pay? I cannot find anyone. I often ask myself, when will it end? When will God come back? Why is He putting me through this? Am I really doing this for Him, or for me? My profession has made me dumber on a grandiose scale. I’ve stopped putting effort into answering questions about the nature of God or how to convince atheist existentialist liberals of his relevance and authenticity. Now I put most of my efforts into answering questions from clients. Can I increase my vehicle utilization up to 160%? How can we increase our warehouse inventory accuracy? Are you coming to the stocktake this weekend?
My boss always says it is important to remember that what we do has a high impact on our customer’s customers. It is important for us to understand, what is the value that our customers are seeking for their customers. Sure, these are clients that I talk to and help run their businesses better. I don’t talk to them about the gospel like I thought I would. I talk to them about that project design session. I talk to them about a number of other things that don’t really matter. I thought God would use me in this profession to change the world, to shape the way a generation thinks about Christianity. It’s hard to find many who want to think about anything.
I sometimes think this must have been how God felt when Israel would never listen. God kept telling Israel what to do and it had little consequence for them. I suppose I was intellectually spoiled in varsity – I was around educated people all day and educated Christians, people who liked to think. I look at my life and I must admit I’m that shameful Christian person that I never really cared for before I came to know Jesus. The most disturbing thing is that I don’t know how I got this way. Maybe it’s the stress of this job and the daily pressures that come naturally with it. I don’t know.
I was chatting to my mother about how I felt about work. She shared the same feeling as a teacher. The government wants them to educate kids who don’t really give a shit about learning anything. They want them to control a classroom full of kids with no rules at home. She constantly worries what these little assholes are going to do with their lives – not only do they not have Jesus but they don’t have any worldly means of succeeding either.
I look around and I’m not the only one. Of all the things we could blame for the plight of the Christian enterprise – I think I’ve narrowed it to one, vague, general thing – an inundation. We’re all just overwhelmed with our responsibilities and our own desires and ambitions and we have no time to focus on what is truly important.
I’m hopeful that it will end soon. I’m not going to overburden myself with stuff. It’s not worth it. That’s not why God has us here. That’s not why Jesus saved us. That’s not why God has you here or me here. God has us here for something else, not this bullshit we get caught up in. I’m confident God’s going to do something because I’m sick and tired with nothing and I think God is too.