Sunday, February 28, 2010

Living a Mystery

In my recent blogpost with my alter-blogger-ego as a popmusic blogger, I noted the trend towards all things 90s. It's true, friends. The 90s are now VINTAGE. College students were born in the 90s and didn't live through the flannel fashion and angsty Alanis music like we did, and so they are BRINGING IT BACK.

I recently went on a "retail therapy" shopping (mini- only 1 pair of boots and 2 dresses ON SALE, mind you!) spree with my popblogger in crime and I had to notice all the RUFFLED shirts that were everywhere. Not quite the peasant shirt from 90210 days, but the sight of the ruffles definitely indicated to me, I am perhaps starting to re-live a decade that did indeed start, 20 years ago.

I couldn't find a pic of a peasant blouse from the 90's perse (but you KNOW Andrea Zuckerman wore one, okay?) and can we talk about Brenda (Shannen Dougherty)'s outfit here? I'm pretty sure both my friend and I were trying on the fitted dress over leggings yesterday. (Which leads me to question: Is it okay to do the trend if you've already done it the first time around?! You can get back to me on that one..)

I'm reading for one of my classes about Mystery and this seems to be a very "acceptable" topic (to continue tying in our Lenten theme ) and thinking about the 90s...what song comes to mind when hearing the word: Mystery??

If you answered anything Wilson Philips or Expose or Soundgarden, you get points, but you are wrong.

Sarah McLaughlin, of course! (OH! And I also went to karaoke yesterday to celebrate a friend's birthday, and in TRUE karaoke fashion, there was "that woman" who picked the most awesomely bad/ironic song she could possibly sing and managed to not hit ONE of the notes at all. This woman for us last night sang McLaughlin's "Angel". Oh, yeah. Picturing it, are you? Best part about it was, she sat for the entire song and sang from her booth. She was just that. good.)

(Here's a friend and I giving karaoke a go. We sang "Total Eclipse of the Heart", in case you were wondering).

Anywho, "Building a Mystery"...

In that song, Sarah references many religions and talks about how a man uses them to "hold on" and "hold it in". That he "chooses carefully" and "feeds off his fears". He's building his own mystery.

The readings I'm doing for school describe mystery, of course, as something we can't hold onto or create, and that they are actually a gift from God. Mystery is a way that He reveals His love to us, in fact.

I know these thoughts are all linked with my recent reflections, but how often do we try to 'build our own mystery' rather than live the one we've been given?

The articles I've been reading speak about how we struggle so much as a Church with the symbols of our liturgy because we try to define them or figure them out. Symbols are meant to simply invite us into the mystery of our Church and of God- not figure anything out.

Something I'm struggling with right now, of course, is living this mystery God has given me. I'm just putting together pieces of the puzzle as they come along, and while that's all fine, I would LOVE to see at least SOME of the puzzle in plainview.

The early Church fathers, when teaching newcomers to the faith about the mysteries of the church, would have them take part in parts of the Mass and the liturgy (like we do now for RCIA candidates) first so that they could experience and reflect on the mysteries for themselves. Then do the explainin' later. I guess the part I'm having trouble with right now is just taking in the experience, rather than trying to assess everything, and/or waiting for someone to EXPLAIN it to me.

The way we teach the faith most often now is the latter- we try to explain rather than leave people open to mystery and personal experience. As a youth minister, it was a struggle because kids do have so many questions and want answers. But sometimes it teaches them more just to admit to them we don't have all the answers and, well, that's part of the beauty, the plan.

Easier said than done, of course. I myself want answers and am not always satisfied with the mystery.

I'll leave you with this quote from one of the early Church fathers today:

"Indeed it is better for the light of the mysteries themselves to have inundated you as a surprise than it would have been for us to have given an explanation beforehand" - St. Ambrose

And also, a blast from the past with a quote from the book I was obsessed with last year: Abandonment to Divine Providence: "The more obscure the mystery to us, the more light it contains in itself."

Here's to not building our own mysteries, but living the ones we were given as gift.

I know sometimes I want to go to Jesus and say, "um, thanks for the gift, but you really shouldn't have." OR "how 'bout I get one in a different size or color?" OR "How 'bout some Cliff's notes, perhaps?"

But as we media majors like to throw around from Marshall McLuhan: "the medium is the message" and the medium of mystery is gift.


1 comment:

Jeremiah 29:11 said...

Good stuff... I'm always on the same page as you! ;)