Gonna try to keep this short, probably need to post a bit more often. Posting's alot like exlax for me, keeps the shit from backing up. Sorry. But ( no pun intended) I got alot to purge out here, so hang on. Daddyman and I exchange emails encouraging each other as we both wrestle with strongholds and addictions in our lives. In one of his emails the other day he mentioned he had reread a post of mine regarding Gandalf, and offered some really cool thoughts about Gollum as the addicted and Frodo as the Christ figure offering mercy and kindness and help. As I read what he had to say my mind immediately went to a very specific scene as played out in "The Two Towers". Shortly after Sam and Frodo foil Gollums attempt to get the ring and "capture" him, pressing him into service as their guide, Frodo confronts Gollum but does something different, he calls him "Smeagol". On film it is a brief moment but the response and emotion so expertly captured on the face of the creature is stunning. Someone had called him by who he was supposed to be, a river hobbit with friends and family and a love for fishing, instead of spitting out a gutteral name given in derision for his addiction infested noises. Part of what we are doing in studying the Wisdom literature at church is allowing ourselves to get a Biblical view of what God says about things like alcohol, sex, friends, and work, and how all of these begin and end in our relationship with God. Most of these subjects are shrouded in denominational preferences and conservatism, which are far too often in opposition to the scripture. I confess I don't know how it should practically play out, but if we're gonna take scripture for what it says, then one of the things it says is that we were born to be something beautiful. "I call you friends" Jesus says, "new creation", "dead to sin", "free". It didn't fix everything for Gollum, he had loads of difficult choices, and he failed often and ultimately, but it was an incredibly important starting point that gave him a chance. I can tell you that I need to hear Jesus call me by a different name, either by His Spirit or by His church. So where do I, where do we, go from here? In a flash of restraint and wisdom I'm gonna leave that for my next post.
A great friend is pursuing one of the ancient disciplines in response to struggles she faces. There's something real important about that, and my mind is running rampant with it, so stay tuned.