If you want to learn more about me, you might want to have some scones and tea – I have been known to wander down rabbit trails…
*Direlda offers you some tea and scones
Now that you’re satiated… for those of you who don’t have patience and don’t really care much about getting to know me – I’m an imaginative, eccentric and eclectic Christian. You may now leave with a smug feeling that you now know exactly what sort of person I am and what I believe (you would be mistaken, of course, but shhh, we wouldn’t want to spoil your warm fuzzy feelings).
*Direlda takes a sip of tea
I’m glad you’re still here. Now where was I…? Oh yes, I’m telling you about myself. Hmmm… what would be important to know…? Aha! My name is Direlda, though you probably guessed that already. Hmm? Of course I have other names, but let’s not be too hasty – Direlda is a fine name and it means “Watcher of the stars” in Elvish – at least, that’s the name some Elves gave to me, though it seems they might have some dialectical differences from standard Sindarin as well as some loan words from Quenya (which is a separate Elven language rather than dialect because of the removal of time and difference – similar to the Germanic tribes coming to England and eventually speaking a different, but related language). Unfortunately they have sailed from the Grey Havens and will never set foot in Middangeard again, so I will never know if it is dialectical or if I simply misheard them. In any case, Direlda is what you may call me, as many have throughout my wanderings.
*Direlda nibbles a scone while staring off into the distance
I’m a storyteller and a teacher, which tends to make me an adventurer as well. I’m currently teaching ESOL in South Korea, though I’ve also taught archery to Cub Scouts and Creative Writing to some of the homeless in Seattle. I’ve learned a lot more about God, the world, and myself from teaching others, than I’ve learned in many of the classes I’ve enjoyed over the years. Perhaps it’s because I love listening to others’ stories, though I think it has more to do with the nature of teaching than anything else. So my advice to any teachers – be open to learning from your students! As for stories, they’re all around you – even this here is a story in its own right. The kind of stories I enjoy telling tend to be fantasy and/or inspired by folklore. I hope to be able to edit some of my stories to the point of publishing, but we’ll have to see about that, won’t we…
I’m a furry, which you might have guessed from my vulpine appearance, but what that means varies from person to person. For me, it indicates that I enjoy anthropomorphism (Greek: ánthrōpos = “human” and morphē = “form/shape”)in all forms of art and that I use it to help me better understand and see the world around me. For instance, by taking on the form of an anthropomorphic fox I am able to better understand what humanity is and what it isn’t. Sometimes you have to lose something in order to truly find it. And while the notion of losing to find might seem strange to some, as a Christian it makes perfect sense to me (i.e. dying to self so that one may truly live). By wandering around in a half-transformed state, I have been training myself to see people, to not presume to know who they are based off their garb, cleanliness, or physical appearance. I’m still getting the hang of this (it will be a life-long pursuit), but singing Be Thou My Vision as a prayer helps.
*Direlda takes a long sip of tea
I realize you probably are growing tired of me blathering on, so I will try to be brief (those of you who know me well, don’t laugh too much – I’d rather not have tea spray all over the place ) in covering the last two bits about me that I want to share.
I’ve found that I cannot escape from being liminal (in other words, “being in between,” “belonging neither here nor there,” or “being in transition;” limen was an old word for the threshold), though by no means am I solely liminal – I also exhibit hybridity in my being. I am liminal in a variety of ways. As a Christian, I am liminal in that I am in transition between heaven and earth – for while I am in this world, I am no longer of this world (no longer belong to it), though with the Kingdom of God coming down to earth (both already in Jesus and yet not yet), the earth itself will be renewed (but I digress). I am liminal as a foreigner teaching English in South Korea because I don’t belong to the culture here, but I don’t quite fit in with the culture I left (for a variety of reasons). There are other instances, too, but I don’t want to bore you… Suffice to say that my connection to foxes is rather apt, for foxes are liminal creatures in many ways.
Most importantly of all, I am a Christian. And as you can see by now, it isn’t something that is compartmentalized away for Sunday or when I’m hanging out with Christians. No, being a Christian permeates my entire being and is integral to who I am. It is because I am a Christian that I seek to lend my oar to the work of reconciliation, that I am opposed to torture (we were created in the image of God, which is tied up with our humanity, and torture dehuminizes both the victim and the perpetrator, thus torture is an affront to God), that I do my best to serve others. I realize that how I seek to live my Christian faith may not be your experience of Christianity, for which I am truly sorry. Please forgive me (and my fellow Christians) for the times when I (and we) failed to stand up for the oppressed and against injustice, for the times when I (and we) have supported or created injustice and especially those instances when I (and we) deluded ourselves that doing so was God’s will, for the times when I’ve (and we’ve) been self-righteous and full of myself (and ourselves) – believing that I was (and we were) perfect (which isn’t the case) – and for all other sins that I (and we) have committed. To roughly quote Father Zosima from The Brothers Karamazov, “We are guilty before all, of all.” In other words, I am (and you are) personally responsible for all human sins. This might make more sense in light of what Desmond Tutu has to say about ubuntu:
It is to say, “My humanity is caught up, is inextricable bound up, in yours.” We belong in a bundle of life. We say, “A person is a person through other persons.” It is not, “I think therefore I am.” It says rather: “I am human because I belong. I participate, I share.” A person with ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed, or treated as if they were less than who they are. (No Future Without Forgiveness 31)
Thus, we are intertwined with each other, such that what happens to someone I don’t know at all still affects me and my humanity. So to return to Zosima, the interconnected nature of humanity means that on some level we are responsible for the sins, the injustices of others, even if we aren’t aware that that person exists. It is therefore imperative that we choose to love and to bless others, for we are as guilty as they are, if not more so, in creating hell on earth. God loves to work through his creations, so we need to do what we can to usher the divine into the earth, to pour out love instead of hate, to heal instead of hurt, to act like servants instead of masters. If you have followed what I’m saying, then you have glimpsed into how, with God’s help, I seek to live out my Christian faith.
*Direlda stares into his empty mug
I’ve kept you long enough. You’ve probably had enough of listening to me talk. Go ahead and explore some more. And feel free to take some scones with you!