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Understanding Infantilism (.org)

The meaning of BitterGrey

"The caribou and the wolf are one, for the caribou feeds the wolf, and the wolf keeps the caribou strong."
- An Eskimo proverb.

Consider Moses, the Lawgiver set in motion by his guilt of murder (Ex 2:12). Consider Peter, the rock that had ran away (Mt 26:71-75). Consider Paul, who bravely faced persecutions as a Christian, knowing that he had once led the persecution (1Co 15:9). Consider all those with a dark past, who bear the scars of the human need of a savior, the gruesome marks of the substance of Christianity.

These marks forbid those who bear them from taking on an empty faith, it is no longer an option (Lk 7:47). They can no longer be "OK." They can no longer pass as having lived a "good life." These scars are part of the makings of an extraordinary Christian, because they preclude being ordinary. However, to gain these scars, one must first survive the wounds: Many do not.

Several years ago, I wrote about the side of myself that did not have the option of being normal. Its teeth and claws were doctrinal, of course, but they guarded an underlying pain. In hindsight, the debates about acceptance of the imperfect church hid the fact that I was unable to accept myself. I was flawed in a concealable but dire way. This side of myself came to be characterized as a black wolf, soon to be known as BitterGrey. It was the burning hunger, something wild that had to be harnessed for the service of God, the only one who could offer it acceptance and peace. Otherwise, it would need to be destroyed, and I don't know how much of me would die with it.

Of course, there was the option to hide from it all, and pretend to be ordinary. The Bible tells of many who had done so. They denied their need of a savior; they left their wounds untended, and died from them. It seems all too easy an option. But in some silent moment, there would be a denied thought, watching me with glowing eyes. I am not perfect. In this life, I will not be. I am saved by grace alone, and there is a part of me that will not let me forget this fact. Unable to deny it, the only other option was to harness the pain. It would mean giving up being normal for the pursuit of the exceptional.

The first step in this pursuit was the building of a Web page; a place where those who were equally imperfect could go and know that they were not alone. The page was intended to comfort the isolated, to offer discussion to the misunderstood, and to draw in the outcast. It was as guardian of this page that BitterGrey was named. However, there is still a sense of hiding.

Since I have moved, the Christians around me know only my clean-shirted facade, not BitterGrey's desperate, burning passion. The next step is to make myself known among them in some appropriate way. To do so would be to hunt for something I cannot ask for. It may seem a raw deal. It may seem unfair. I feel the need for the support of other believers, other believers who know about my hidden side. In exchange for their understanding and support, they will loose their options. They will first loose the option of thinking me ordinary. While learning about me, they will come to know my scars. There is something about wolves with black, nylon collars that disrupts religion-as-usual. I risk rejection, and they risk facing dark beasts within and without. There is nothing I can offer that can replace what I ask. But perhaps there is nothing that can replace what I offer.

This brings us back to the nature of Christianity, of debts that cannot be repaid, of acceptance nonetheless, and of provision in the cold forests.

- Updated:30 March 2011     

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