Self reflection: Who is Mordecai?
“It’s a la-la-lovely day, the sky is blue, the birds are twittering, everything looks so pretty, and I feel like singing a song”. Hmmm … sounds strange, hey! He (is he a he or a she?) is talking a bit funny. Why’s it sound so strange when a guy talks like that? Probably because we look at him and think, “if that’s a guy … he must be queer!” That’s our stereotyping at play. We’d rather that he (if he’s a he) speak of murder, politics and sport, stock market economics, and other macho, uber-sexual semi-aggressive things like that, hopefully resulting on someone (else) getting hurt in a funny way. But, you know, actually, the guy is probably just being gay … in the real original sense of the word.
I was in an online conference call, and it struck me that the people were being more real, more transparent, and much more risky with their thoughts than when I meet them in the real world. Why was that I wondered? How much are we conditioned by the visual image in front of us? There we were conversing across the world, and black or white, fat or thin, big or small, ugly or pretty, clear skinned and pimply, big noses, small mouths, beady eyes, bald, fuzzy haired, paunches and flat trim bodies; none of it mattered. Because the only communication that occurred was through words.
That’s why internet social networking like Facebook is so popular; our physical appearance is forgotten, or at least repainted in the minds of others to become neutral in a world where image is normally everything. What a shock and letdown it must be when these people actually meet. Virtual communication it is like everything else – a two edged sword which we can wield for truth or slice to apathetic death. It’s healthy and refreshing to talk apart from notions and perspectives preconceived by age and appearance, but it can also lead to a distorted reality. On the one hand it draws us to explore the real thoughts of ourselves and others, unfettered by the need to meet appearances. On the other hand it can be a vicious and insidious blood letting that, unbeknownst to us, sucks us dry of the multi-faceted life we ultimately have to deal with. For we are made body, soul and mind, to live in relationship and community with all its dangers and richness. The virtual world, like a cloud, is slowly engulfing our shallow existences.
So here you are, reading Mordecai. Who am I? Male you’d guess. Big or small? Young or old? Am I even one person? Maybe I’m a composite, a few writers being editorially refined by others? Does it even matter? I suspect it’s unimportant. Rather, where does reading Mordecai lead you? Does it draw you further towards a solitary soulless existence, or does it encourage a full-blooded life; an odor-smelling, flesh-pressing, voice-listening, visual full body contact existence. Do you walk away to choose risky living that goes beyond words and reaches into the hurting lives of others, or do you choose an insular security within a virtual life, shielded by the walls of your altered perceptions that’s afforded by the luxury of material comfort.
That’s the choice; for real or virtual community. Virtual community is ultimately a place of helplessness. Who feeds the hungry, who helps the poor, who gives comfort, where’s the hug, the hand on the shoulder, the tear in someone else eye? Where does the pain go when we switch off the electronic universe? Loneliness in the midst of the deluge of busyness, the wash of images; this is one of the biggest scourges of our age.
Who or what is Mordecai? A longing for real community in the body of Christ!