Sunday, February 12, 2012

Complimentary Opposites

"To be a Christian, is to claim truth wherever you find it." -Rob Bell

I've been thinking about the Yin Yang concept lately.

The idea of complimentary opposites. Many Christians tend to dismiss concepts outside the Bible, as if there's no truth to be found outside of the weekly small group but I, as you know, tend not to take that approach.

There's much truth that exists beyond church, or the bubble of Christian religion, that's intricately linked into reality.

For example, yin yang. People in the west tend to believe that it symbolizes good vs. evil, but this overly simplistic view actually does a disservice to the whole philosophy. I can understand how that concept could pop into mind, after all, one part of the circle is dark and the other is white. What more could we need?

But yin yang is actually quite a different animal. It's the idea that "forces" that would seem to be in contradiction to one another are, in fact, interconnected and interdependent upon each other.

This makes sense to me, and is surprisingly insightful, and complimentary to my life philosophy as a Christian. Now, I realize that yin yang often refers to the natural world, but there are real life applications and truths to be found, in this concept, outside of nature.

For instance, I can be a pretty selfish person, and as much as it kills me to admit it, it's true. Humans tend to love, and prioritize themselves before others (some more so, but we all do it). Christianity teaches that this is our nature and, from my experience thus far on this planet, I would tend to agree.

So, I go to church.

A place that is charged with adhering to the teachings of Jesus, most of which revolve around altruistic ideals. Love your neighbor and enemies, as you love yourself. The first will be last, the last will be first. To lead you must serve....that kind of thing.

'Me' becomes 'we', if you will.

What happens when a selfish person, like me, enters this kind of community is one of two things; either they will be repelled, or convicted. I tend to end up convicted, and not in a bad way. It causes me to reflect upon my own selfishness. It causes me to check myself as I begin a new week, and it makes me want to strive to be a better person.

This is a complimentary opposite.

How about poverty?

Poverty, one of the world's curses, can actually affect people in a positive way. It causes people to take action. It causes those who experience the suffering of others to become more acutely aware of their blessings. It can form bonds between humans that may never have been possible in a wealthy society, where ungratefulness, and pettiness can begin to dominate thought. Instead, it causes humans to join together, in solidarity, against this hardship.

Now, I wish poverty and hunger were non-existent. I really do.

I'm simply acknowledging, as a realist, that the reality of this world is that it isn't Utopian. There's much suffering that needs to be relieved. But, it's because of suffering that people begin to appreciate things like family, friends, food, water, and life even, in a way they previously hadn't.

The contrast of poverty and wealth is a complimentary opposite.

How about relationships?

Want to find "contrary forces"? Look no further than a man and a woman.

True, we have loads of technology designed to match you up with someone who is the perfect mate but, if we're honest, many women don't understand men 75% of the time, and most men don't understand women at all.

The whole idea of marriage is as legitimate a case study in complimentary opposites as there ever will be. Marriages test even the most steadfast at heart, as the differences between the sexes cause conflict, and have to be worked through.

At a glance marriage seems anything but synergistic, causing the casual onlooker to question the wisdom of such unions. Marriages that make it through those processes, however, often end up with both individuals thriving in ways they never would've imagined prior.

It really is incredible to witness.

On a personal note, I find that I could have never experienced the complete joy and fullness of life, and and a loving God, without first being broken into pieces.

It was the lowest of lows, that taught me that there was a high waiting to be discovered.

It was night, that helped me see the morning.

It was death that brought me back to life...

Yin and Yang.

Life isn't accidental. Things do have relationship to each other. Even in the midst of tragedy we find new beauty every day. Things to celebrate, things to create, people to share with, life to be lived. Each heartbreak gives way to newfound love, fresh and new. Each new love more authentic than the last...

I don't think we're alone. In fact, I know we aren't alone. There is one who holds this balance together. Who is crafting a story beyond compare, deftly and masterfully.

He hasn't left us alone, and He will bring things right. But it begins with us, first and foremost. Here and now.

It really is funny the places you can discover, or begin to learn, life's little lessons from. Today it's an eastern Taoist principle that I discover affirming my Christian faith. Tomorrow? Who knows?

But truth is there, waiting to be claimed by any bold enough to pursue it.

2 comments:

Kylee said...

Josh- Loving your blog. Just what I needed to read right now. I am so lucky to have you as a great friend and inspiration in my life.

Josh said...

Thank you so much! That means a lot! :)