Friday, October 12, 2007

where are the christians?

I've been mucking about in Second Life now for a few months.

I have had...and am still having... a good time in there too all things considered.

One of my more disheartening observations about SL though has been the total lack of other people of my Faith background!

Sure! There ARE "churches" in Secondlife but nearly everyone I have visited has been of the hyper fundamentalist pentecostal type (and no actual people)... or are empty "old fashioned" churches more for quaint pretty appearances than any real centres for gathering and meeting for fellowship and worship.

The closest I have come to feeling "at home" in a church in Secondlife is the Danish State Church's own SIM and not a lot of stuff there is actually in English and I've only met one other person there...and she was the Pastor! :)

The other day, a friend who calls herself "Archer", attended a Meditation session on the new SIM called "Owo Kun Meditation Resort". 39 people attended!!!!! This is a sort of meta-faith place with lots of old religions re-packaged and adapted to modern people who cannot accept the tenets or practices of the traditional christian church. It's probably easy to just classify it as 'New Age' but that seems unfair really.

You'd have to go to the public sex beaches to find that many people in one place in Second Life! (and yes I have gone to have a look at a public sex beach! Once to see it ...the second couple of times because I didn't believe it the first time! hahahaha)

In my own travels in the vast world of Second Life, I've met one person, in 6 months, for less than 3 minutes, who could be called another Christian like myself! That's pretty shocking when I think about it!

I am musing on why it is that my brothers and sisters of Faith would be so rare in Second Life. Here is a VAST canvas of potential for sharing and fellowshipping with like-minded Christians from around the globe...probably the first opportunity we have ever had to be able to meet with other Christians in real time from around the world we have ever had. But why don't we?

I am quite sure there are many, many Christians in Second Life! But I suspect that perhaps we are either too scared to admit we are of this faith, or we are really not that interested anymore in the traditional forms of expressing our Faith! Perhaps we are lapsed. Perhaps we just don't care enough. Perhaps we don't want to be "picked on" because of the assumptions of those outside of our Faith.

Let's face it...Christianity is NOT cool right now! In fact, it's downright silly given the idiocy of some of its proponents in seats of power and prestige!

Second Life demands a much, much more relaxed approach to Faith and its expression than any conducted in our mainstream churches in the past century or so. Second Life absolutely demands that one be very accepting and tolerant of a vast number of behaviours that would be considered "sinful" by many traditional Christians too...and that is hard!

Some of my Faith would suggest that I am being too "worldly" to engage in such activities as Second Life. That because there is so much "sinful" behaviour within its UI that its prudent to steer clear of it out of some pious sense of duty to being kept "pure" in the Name of Christ!

That's bullshit!

What a load of utter nonsense! How will Christ EVER mean anything to anyone if we aren't his eyes, his hands and particularly his ears in the places where the ordinary people HE LOVES congregate????

This xenophobic attitude in Christians is exactly the reason our faith is perceived as being on the decline!

But here is a huge ministry waiting to be tapped into! People in Second Life come to be enthralled, entertained and to meet with other people; to lose themselves inside a world similar but also interestingly different to their every day life. They don't want to be missioned, just accepted for who they are and how they present. They want to be private, but also connected. They want to play but also learn new things. They want to explore but also have their own creative ideas valued and understood.

A good part of the problem comes from the other side of Christianity too I think. For too long the Universal church is perceived as this declining entity of little use and purpose to the everyday man. Much of my faith is seen to be about obligations and that's just plain wrong and sad that its seen as such. And the Gospel literally doesn't make sense to people until they see it through the Spirit's Heart and eyes! Thing is...they can't do that unless they actually HEAR the Gospel and they won't want to hear it if they don't see anyone actually living it!

Its a dilemma!

The danger I see with Christianity coming to SL is that it will be the radical fundamentalist pentecostal sects who adopt SL as their harvest grounds! Yes! They are Christians but I do wonder sometimes at their marketing techniques in bringing people to faith! Sometimes, it seems more about preaching "Believe in this God and you can be rich like us" stuff to me.

Unfortunately, I don't ever see the reasonable, strange but very practical and lovely faith as made understood by dear old Martin Luther being The Next Big thing in SL. All of which makes me very sad, because such a place would make my Second Life even more useful and satisfying really.

I suppose I could always learn Danish though :)

the dance of relating


Dear Steve! :)

I am catching up with my overdue reading on Bloglines and Mr Pavlina has written a wee gem which has resonated with me quite strongly today.

Okay! A bit of background to why. :)

For a few weeks now I have been stressed out and frustrated by a few of my close relationships. There has been angst, anger, frustration, arguments and a lot of discord and disharmony in the relationships I hold dearest to me.

I had to do a lot of soul searching and inner work on MY responses to what was going on. It has been a tough but rewarding journey of discovery and growth.

You see, taking responsibility for our relationships is about OUR response to what we bring to the partnership. It's not about demanding or seeking gratification from the other person.

A lot of the angst I've been feeling was my own reaction to things happening. I felt like a huge chasm was developing between me and my nearest and dearest. I worked out that a lot of it is perhaps due to my tendency to live out the "What if's?". My reactions were due, in a large part, to my believing that what I imagined happening in the future was inevitable!

I still struggle to live in my Now!

Steve reminded me today that its how I respond in my Now that matters, not reacting to my future hunches.

Of course this is an analogy for life. When you’re obsessed with what’s going to happen next, you’re stuck in reaction mode. The terms of your experience are being dictated. You’re trying to control the future by tensing up in the present, and this knocks you out of authenticity.(Steve)

A part of living outside of oneself is to let go of Ego-based thinking, which is about the selfish desires and petty wants we all seek for personal gratification. A better path is to just allow to moment be itself for its own reasons without forcing any potential dramatic outcomes just because you've imagined they are possible!

When you stay centered in the present, you trust that your natural response will be just what you need. You remain authentic, allowing your creative self-expression to emerge without forcing it. (Steve)

By letting go of my selfish wants and panic and just accepting things as they are in the Now of my life, its been a whole lot more pleasant experience.

A lot of emotional pain could be alleviated within me if I could be more comfortable in accepting things just as they are. But, I am somewhat given to imagining the worst outcomes despite claiming I'm a "glass half-full" type! Perhaps I am not so much afterall.

I think maybe, that I imagine the worst case scenario in my most wanted relationships because a part of me believes its not that possible or allowable for me to have them! When we get to the nut of what we really think about ourselves...we often tend to harbour deep beliefs that we are really not that worthy/lovable/wanted/desired/pretty enough/able enough/capable enough/intelligent enough to be allowed to have such a powerful and wonderful relationship!

It's weird that!

Our Ego self demands and craves all that attention but then tells us we are completely and totally not worthy of it. We want it soooooo badly but then smack ourselves over the psychological wrists for even thinking that we are allowed to have it or that its naughty for us to want it.

It's that small me stuff again!

Over inflated Ego's are actually very very fragile things. The bigger the balloon, the thinner the skin and the tiniest prick will deflate it immediately...and often loudly!

I keep telling myself that I AM worthy of great and lasting friendships and that I AM worthy of being appreciated as well as appreciating. It is not as easy as it sounds for me though.

I react instead of respond in so many of my relationships. My emotional make up is so caught up in the cycle of dramatic reaction rather than flowing coherence. It's not about the other, its about me and therein lies the problem. If I would just let go of "me" and let the moment take over... there would be a world of emotional difference between the ones I love and myself; a calm peace and a better grasp of what constitutes Love.

Monday, October 01, 2007

creative genius

Everyone is a genius really.

From the person who flunked out of school to the person who can do marvellous things with their minds or bodies.

You see, Genius .... (in the sense of a highly developed skill or intelligence)... is mostly about creativity.

There is something that the human being is better at than most creatures under this bruised sky and that is that we Create everyday of our lives. The Human Being is in the business of creation. Like the Creator, she is the the wondering Sage, intent on making a world.

Inside the mind lies the beating machina of creative drive and purpose. We think and we are creating as we think. We imagine and create what we imagine as a real thing which we either bring to the light of day for others to see or we keep inside of our heads as a fleeting idea, a thought or a seed for future reference.

Perhaps what we create is merely a dream that could potentially become possible given energy, tact, principle and a dash of good luck :)

But, no matter how mundane the idea, or how fundamental the need, the urge to create is a strong drive in people.

Creativity is as vast as the human canvas! Where no two people are alike, no two people are creative in the same way. What is the same however, is the drive to create! To make something unique and lasting of our own making be it percieved simple or not!

Never ever under-estimate the power of the Creative Spirit that resides in you. You ARE a genius already just because you have the ability and the potential to make anything you want possible! :)