Thursday, November 24, 2005

Walking the Line

Ended up going to see Walk the Line yesterday evening. Very well done; definitely worth seeing, even paying evening prices (although we managed to get to the theater in time for a matinee).

I’d thought about seeing Pride & Prejudice; I asked Seth if he’d like to go to a movie with me, and of the several playing that I was interested in, that was the only one that appealed to him. He hadn’t actually know the basic outline of Cash’s story (the first marriage and the problems with drugs), and he found that very hard to stomach – to the point that that was what he went on about at length when he talked to his mother today.

While I don’t approve of the drugs Cash used, and I also think that marriages should be preserved if at all possible (that’s a big part of why I’m still here), I’m much more able to both suspend disbelief and to realize that we don’t live in a perfect world, that people do self-destructive and/or irrational things. He said two really revealing things during the car ride up here to Dad’s today: first, that he thinks that we have more problems than Cash had in his first marriage (which is a really big comment, given the drug issue!) and a second based on a question I asked about a church building we passed: that since a church like that has nothing else to draw people in, they try to use the architecture (with the background meaning that the only true Christian way is the way defined by old-time Friends).

Obviously, he and I are at a point where, because I’ve tried to be honest about where I am at spiritually, we have great differences. Going back to our basic personality/mental paradigm differences, I’m much more able to live with us being at different places on many things; he, on the other hand, has a mindset very common in non-conformist Protestant circles. Since they believe that the Christian bible demands a pure church, and that believers be of like mind, it is very easy to get to the point of thinking that only people on exactly the path spiritually are following God’s leading. I realize I have a hard time taking him seriously, for a couple reasons:

  • His reaction [he went ballistic, to put it mildly…..] when I suggested volunteering through a referral from the Salvation Army (I was new to the area we were living in, and had no idea where to call to lend a hand, so I thought they might be able to give me some guidance)
  • His discomfort with me attending the Old Order River Brethren (a conservative off-shoot of the Mennonite-related Brethren in Christ, they dress as plainly as the Amish but use cars and some computers); it is the group the closest in many ways to his group on the religious spectrum, and when I was really struggling with God and what I believed, I attended several times, as I was trying to figure out where I belong.

Part of it is that – whatever group I am a part of – I will be the equivalent of Modern Orthodox; I think it is ok to balance faith and the resulting practice with participation in the secular world. He, on the other hand, has a Haredi/ultra-orthodox (in Jewish terms) or a hardline Wilburite/Maulite (in Quaker terms) view of the world. I may feel some dismay at much of modern culture but I can both realize that people don’t always do the right think, and that, since I want to be left to live the way I feel lead, instead of by what is the majority culture, I need to allow for other people to do the same. He, conversely, feels that everyone should be where he is on lifestyle issues (no divorce, no alcohol, and all sorts of other similar views).

I’d known when we got married that he was further to the right/less flexible in outlook than I tend to be (and I can argue for hours about whether it is true faith, nature, nurture, something else. or some combination of those), but I thought we had enough respect for each other to live with the differences. While I’m not where he is, I do admire his desire to do what he thinks God is leading him to do, and his attempts at consistency across his whole life. I really struggle because I’m not sure he has the same respect for me and my journey (since, according to him, it isn’t ending where his is, is wrong by default; that God only leads to one end point).

Well, anyway, enough about that. We had a good trip up here (only a bit of snow, for 15 miles, right were I predicted, between Cortland and Syracuse). Had a nice afternoon with dad, and then went out for dinner to a restaurant he likes (and that had a vegetarian entrée for my brother). Ted and I had done up a huge Thanksgiving meal last year (Mum had invited guests, at what ended up being 2 weeks before she died) and going out this year seemed to be the best thing to do.

When we got home, Ted and I cleaned in the kitchen. Mum would be appalled but not shocked – she’d given up on Dad keeping the kitchen clean long ago, to the point that we’d talked a year ago about the fact that Ted and I would need to clean like this when we came to visit.

Tomorrow, I may get up early and do a little shopping; I didn’t even finish the question when all three of my guys said no, they wouldn’t go with me. I am sooooo outnumbered.

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