It is Christmas Eve and I am in a motel room alone. I am working this Christmas, like many before, because my chosen occupation has always been drilling, either water or oil. I am grateful that my injury has healed enough for me to do so. I am grateful for all of the great people I met this year filming Lies of Omission. My life has always been split between my creative endeavors and my love of machinery and physical labor.
Mostly, I want to address the part of this blog that is Christian. I explained to the owner of a rental property in California that I am a Christian largely, because it makes me a better person. When I said that he reacted fairly strongly that I was not a "better person" because I was a Christian. I didn't understand where that came from until I realized he thought I was saying I was a better person than him. I wondered how many times this is mistaken and how many times it has caused the same revulsion. What I meant was that I was a better person as a Christian than I was when I was not.
When I was not a Christian, I maintained the same integrity that many would identify as a quality of mine. I was just as honest then as I am now, but before, I did not care for my fellow human beings. Their misfortune meant they were weak. It was a more Darwinian perspective. I thought that Christians were just weak-minded and were searching for some way out of death, some escape route through the Lord.
I did not come to Christianity through my darkest days. Though I believe now that He was both the cause of my darkest days and stayed with me through them, at the time I thought I did it all on my own.
God came to me through my political beliefs, as I was searching for information about this country, this nation. He put into my hands a book by Thomas Paine called "The Age of Reason" and He did this through my search for Thomas Paine's "Common Sense." When the small bookstore in my little town had only The Age of Reason on the shelf, I bought it thinking that I would be able to glean a little about Paine's perspective from this unwanted work.
As soon as I read the first page, I knew everything in it. It was, except for the defamation of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary, my views exactly, from the same complete thought process. Had I written down my beliefs about God, it would have been the same as what I had just read. The rest of the book was the same and I became a deist as a result. It was a while later that I actually came to Christianity, but that book, under those circumstances, is what changed my mind. As a deist, I wasn't much different from when I was...well, whatever it is that I was.
When I came to Christianity through an employee of mine, Tony, with whom I had numerous contentious arguments and debates about the existence of Christ, I did so with complete understanding of what Christ brought to the table. Where God is the manipulator, the engineer of the human soul, it is Christ that is the compassion and the merciful. You can be a deist and still be a cold, unfeeling and uncaring individual (I know, I was), but it is through the understanding of Christ's kindness and mercy that one changes. To emulate Christ is to recognize the unfortunate and maligned and seek to ease their suffering and offer consolation. Christ is the giving part of Christianity that is not present in a deist.
So, this Christmas Eve and tomorrow at work during Christmas Day, I will consider, as I do every year, whether I have been as good of a Christian as I strive to be. I always come up short and I will again tomorrow. Because I am not a good Christian. I try, I work toward it and I am much more charitable than I used to be, but I know I could have done more.
When we get back to politics in a few days and I don't curse and call some commenters foul names and berate them for their stupidity, thank Christ.