Today in the coffee mayhem (and was it ever mayhem), the Milk Guy handed me his copy of Dostoevsky's Notes from the Underground, whether because I mentioned I love Dostoevsky, or because he can't bear to pollute my ostensibly pristine and faith-filled mind with the likes of Nietzsche, which is what I actually asked to borrow, I don't really know. I shall ask him about that presently.
Anyway, I'm still trying to gauge his openness to actual discourse about things of faith. It might be kind of "safer" and easier and nicer just to keep lobbing books back and forth at each other without actually talking. But I'm still thinking about the charge of arrogance, so, as promised, here are some of the thoughts.
First I would like to admit that I think there is often a fair amount of arrogance communicated (whether or not it's actually felt by the communicator) through proselytisation. There are a lot of angles from which the arrogance could come and I don't want to diminish that fact, but, since this is my blog and everything, I am going to ignore it for a minute and take another tack.
The tack is this: the Milk Guy said that the idea that there are consequences for not getting to know Jesus means that "most of humanity is condemned." Which isn't funny at all, obviously, except in an ironic sort of way, because I actually agree with him. Only I would say all of humanity is condemned.
And see, here's the thing I find even more interesting: to me that sounds about as un-arrogant as it can get. It's only arrogant if the person saying it (me, for example) is putting herself outside of the premise. But I'm not. So instead of arrogance being at the root of that premise, I see it as extremely equalising. We're all in the same boat, and we might be bailing water, but it would appear that the combined weight is driving us under. The only way we can be saved is if someone pulls us out. I believe that there is someone to do it, and that it's Jesus, but that He's the only one who can.
The thing I find arrogant, conversely, is the idea that some people are better or can make themselves better. I mean, the premise that we're not all in the same boat. Who decides? Who says what's better? Why do we have to compete or compare at all? It's Survival-of-the-Fittest, Level 3--the Spiritual Level. Or something like that. I happen to know I'm not the fittest.
And if the Milk Guy were to argue (which he might) that it isn't survival of the fittest, and that everyone's okay, well then, what's the point of living an exemplary life (which he has, at some point, cited as a value) at all? I mean really--who cares? Or maybe I mean someone like me on a lower level, who is more selfish (but why is that of lesser value, in this system of arbitrary inequality?), surely wouldn't care.
How could this system not be survival of the fittest, in the end? That's a basic premise of the natural world which is, according to some, all there is. I'm not trying to be stupid, and I'm not trying to be offensive or mocking--and certainly not arrogant. I just really truly genuinely feel and see and believe that when you take Jesus out of it, the entire system falls apart. It's futile, and plus it's exhausting. It wears me out just thinking about it. I don't want to have anything to prove. I don't want it to be just me, trying hard to do something I'm not quite clear about. I'm not a very relaxed person, but at bottom, I'd rather just rest and allow the Person I'm often so at odds with to lift me to safety anyway.