Thursday, October 15, 2015

As the Great 20th Century Theologian, Mick Jagger once said,
You can't always get what you want.

Last night, I was wrestling with the idea that it might be possible for God to purposely, and intentionally drive my pursuits off track. Sabotage if you will. And most likely because he can see down the road and into the future, and has my best interest at heart...but it's not my idea...not what I want or desire. It seems that most of the year, when I was in retirement from music, I was doing so well and almost every area of my life. And then I started working on music again. And then things started going to hell all over again. And I'm not talking about happenstance. I'm talking about straight up weird and disastrous things started happening when I decided to release a new album.

Things like the car breaking down multiple times in a short amount of time, or just deciding not to start, and money not coming through when it was supposed to, and the engineers equipment for computer breaking down. 1 guys computer started smoking, and the other guys software decided that it wouldn't work anymore while he was working on one of my songs. Old folders and files started coming up missing...people would stop answering their phones, or emails...FOR WEEKS. I'd be required to drive out to another city when I didn't have gas money (because my hours at work were cut) and on a day when I had an appointment related to music. People I was supposed to collaborate with started acting erratically and distant. A newly recruited musician QUIT over the idea of using a particular instrument that he decided he didn't want to try.

And all this kind of stuff on top of my 4 weeks of not being able to concentrate (thanks Zoloft), or the writers' block and lack of inspiration before that (thanks Zoloft). But for some reason, all this stuff hasn't broken me, but made me more alert!

If you're stubborn like me, then you might say something like:
This is all just coincidence. It can't be bad all the time. I mean just look at the success you had with those internet radio stations. See? It's all in your head. You just have to try harder, and never give up.

Now, that's usually my first mode of thought. Never give up. Keep trying. Push harder. Work harder. Organize your time better. Manage your finances a little more wisely...All of those little bits of wisdom given to you by everyone through a lifetime.   And yet, it proves to be no match for the onslaught of little inconveniences, small fires, and tiny earthquakes. But then, I gave up, and things got better. So, I started up at it again, and here we are. Its as if all of these seemingly unconnected events happened in conjunction, like the instruments of a cosmic symphony.  And the big question is: Who is the conductor?

Now, if you're superstitious, then you might call it a string of bad luck. If not, you might just say that this is all just a series of unfortunate events that have nothing to do with each other. And if you're religious, then you might be inclined to blame it on the devil.

I am religious. But I am also inquisitive, and People don't like that. Especially Religious People. After all, we don't subscribe to Organized Religion in order to ask the hard questions, but to get the simple answers.

How do I get to Heaven?
How can I be a good person?
Please help me feel better about myself!
That stuff is easy:

Just Say this prayer.
Just follow this list of rules.
Just take this pill.
...and then POOF! All your problems go away! This is exactly where my confusion lies. Its the Hard questions, and the simple answers that cause a lot of the hurting people in the world to chase atheism (or drive them deeper into it). So, why can't I ask questions like this? Well, because it blurs the line we have drawn about God and the Devil, Good and Evil, Pleasure and Pain, and our pursuit of self-fulfillment. Could it be that disappointment and suffering don't always come from the Devil. Could it be that sometimes they are for our own good? If something bad or unpleasant happens to me, it's just the Devil on attack, right?

Well, one thing that I have learned in my theological studies is that the devil doesn't have that kind of power over my life. He may not like me very much, he may a wish to destroy me, but unless God gives him access to my life, there's nothing he can do. He can't touch me. If you're an Augustinian (Calvinist), then EVERYTHING is ordained by God (good AND bad). If you're Arminian, then some bad things in life are actually a test of the WILL.  Either way, the Devil is a tester, not some inconvenience machine trying to make me sick and give me bad luck. And speaking of luck, shouldn't that be considered a bad word for Christians to be using. I believe that "Providence" would be a much better word for someone like me. It's the providence of God that gives me hope. It's the roll of the dice that takes that hope away. I don't believe in luck.

So if it's not the Devil, and it's not a random series of unfortunate events, then it must be either God or I'm just crazy... and I would rather not consider the latter. If (and that's a big IF) this is God's hand trying to deter me from achieving my goals, then there HAS to be a good reason for it. And, if all of the stuff that's been happening in the last few months is somehow God's fault, or God's will, then how can I responsibly reconcile all of this? I mean, isn't it borderline heresy to suggest that God doesn't want me to have what I truly have pursued all this time? Isn't he supposed to be like "the giver of dreams" or something?  Is he protecting me from something? Is he preparing me for something similar in life, but somehow different?

Well let me just say that these questions are certainly rhetorical, as I believe I already know the answers. But before I attempt to educate you on it, I want to take some time to do a little bit of research while this concept sinks into your mind and develops into serious thoughts that you might have on your own. And if you know me, you already know that I want to hear those serious thoughts.

Leave your comments and suggestions. You can even ask questions based on the concept here. Help me drive this conversation a little more, and when I'm ready to speak my mind on the rest of it, you'll be the first to know.


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