The Jacob Syndrome

Jacob’s overnight encounter with the angel is one of the most dramatic and interesting episodes in the Old Testament for me. The Genesis trickster throws down in what must have been a memorable effort until the angel merely “touched the socket of Jacob’s hip” and ended the bout in underwhelming fashion. Jacob, impaired, will not be left empty-handed: “I will not let go unless you bless me.” He receives the name Israel, a fitting end to a long night.

Jacob is a new man: Israel. A name can be, in many ways, a prophetic forth-telling of an individual’s future, bestowed upon them by their parents. Israel is an interesting name if only for the fact that Jacob was not what you’d call “a changed man” when he “struggled with God and with people and have overcome.” It does, however, point to the fact that God works in the world in ways that we don’t expect.

The way that God dealt with Jacob–blessing him amidst his tumultuous traversing the desert, not overlooking his faults but dispensing his grace to him in spite of his faults–is the same way he deals with us. In fact, the way he cares for Israel is the same way he cares for us, the way a Father cares for his children whom he knows by (a new!) name. “At just the right time, while we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly” (read: those who were in opposition to God’s will, i.e. in sin); that is, while we were still “Jacob,” Christ comes and declares, “you are no longer Jacob, you are a new creation. Behold! I make all things new.”

We are conditioned in our guilt/consequence society to look first and only for the Jacob in others while flaunting and assuming other (only) see the Israel we think we are.

But there is a caveat: in the Genesis narrative after chapter 32, in different instances, Israel is referred to by his old name, Jacob. This can be read in different ways through different critical apparatuses; I am edified by the reading that Israel retains his old self after his christening. For us, even in light of the work the Father is doing in us through the Spirit, that old Jacob remains an active reality. It disposes us to also only notice the Jacob syndrome in others, too, so that not only do we wrestle with Jacob, but we more often see Jacob in others than not, but wish for others to see Israel in us. We define ourselves by who we are being made into, and others by who they are being freed from.

In chapter 33 when he meets his older brother from whom he stole the birthright, he is apprehensive because he knows that other people don’t forget “Jacob.”

When Israel met Esau, he sent caravan after caravan ahead of him in order to appease whatever animosity remained in Esau’s heart from the past. Esau, however, asks his brother, “What is all this? Why did you do this?” And Jacob replies saying that he did it “to find favor in [his] eyes,” to which Esau says essentially, “I got mine, keep yours.” The past was the past, water under the bridge–Esau treated Israel with grace, not the way Israel expected, which was to pay an eye for an eye.

The Jacob syndrome is not our name, and does not define who we are in the eyes of God, nor should it define who we are in one another’s eyes. May our response to one another be this way: to encounter and bear with who we are being freed from, and speak truth and love to one another, in word and deed. In other words, “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.” 

Briefly, On Terence Crutcher’s Murder and Our Storied Lives

[excerpted from a status update on my Facebook profile, Monday, September 19, 2016]

“The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the pavement.” Gen 4:10

“Mourn with those who mourn.” Rom 12:15

We are narrative creatures. We resonate most strongly with stories. The facts we receive and deliberate about fit into a space–or spaces–in the story/stories which resonate the strongest with us. When I hear about a black man being gunned down by the police, I respond in ways that are responsible to the stories that I resonate with, as well as those which I have heard that resonate with others whom I love, and also those that resonate with the people associated with the people I know and those that I love.

I know the story of black people in America. I have read and studied it, but most importantly, it has been told to me by others. In their voices, I’ve heard anger, pain, frustration, displacement–but I’ve also heard laughter, strength and resilience, a righteous self-love-and determination, and hope. I respond with anger and frustration at the deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of police officers because the story of a people has become my story. I am in their story now.

I also know and have studied the story of Anglo Americans. I have read and studied it, but most importantly, it has been told to me by others. I have heard pride and a sense of appreciation for their storied past, a family pride for their accomplishments throughout history, a deep creativity and work ethic–but also an anxiety, a sense of loss of identity, defensiveness, a feeling of being attacked, and disenfanchisement. When I hear the call to protect police officers’ lives, to advocate for the good cops, I understand where these sentiments come from, because I live in this story as well. What I have learned is that to know, be a part of, and understand both stories is not mutually exclusive, that to empathize with one is not to exclude/deride the other. Each story enhances my (in the words of a resident of mine) eternal perspective. It is from being a part of each story that I can empathize.

Terence Crutcher was shot and killed by the police in Tulsa, OK, on Friday evening. I have waited to respond because I wanted to weigh my words carefully. Gen 4:10 comes to mind as I think about the story of black people in America particularly, and the chapter and page number in which this brother’s life came to an end. It is a long, painful story of loss, but also a story of rugged and sweet faith. Despite their resilience, their struggle today is still a deep one; Crutcher’s life continues an index of names that have been snatched away by white supremacy, stillborn in a world of anti-blackness, de/sub-humanization, and death. When I see his death, I recall the pages in the story which I have read and heard, I remember the faces writhing at the loss of a loved one. In this way, Rom 12:15 resounds: “mourn with those who mourn.”

At a time such as this, those who follow Christ must mourn with those who mourn.

We, however, have been taught, and are being taught not to mourn, but to be “sicut Deus,” “like God.” To be “infallible,” “impassible”–come what may, we will not be moved, not by life or by death. In this way, however, we are not like God, but are like Cain. God was numbered among the transgressors, sat in the house of sinners, is a shepherd to his sheep who wander without guidance and instruction, crowned with the oil of joy. Jesus Christ came to show us how to be human: “Jesus wept.” What does it mean to mourn? To weep? It means to enter into a story, to be a part of a people, starting on the outskirts, on the margins, and being humble and teachable, patiently waiting to enter closer and closer to the middle. What does it mean to mourn? To weep? It means to love the people who Jesus loves. The people who Jesus loved caused people to ask, “Why do you eat with sinners?” Why do you eat with people who support Black Lives Matter? Why do you eat with Blue Lives Matter folk? Why do you eat with Trump supporters? Why do you eat with Hillary people? Or with NRA ideologues? Or Racists? Or Liberals? Or Fundamentalists? Or LGBTQ? Why, Lord, do you sit with them?

Let us remember that Jesus also sits with us, and many wonder why. But neither death nor life, the present or the future, neither Black Lives Matter nor Donald Trump, neither white supremacy nor patriarchy, nor any power, principality, ideology, can separate us or the people that are not in the “us” from Christ’s love. What does it mean to mourn with Terence Crutcher’s family? To weep with them? It means to love the people who Jesus loves. What does it mean to pray for the officer(s) who shot Terence? To place vengeance in God’s hands? It means to love the people who Jesus loves.

A Short Reflection: Christian Love – There is No Exceptional

[Extracted from my Facebook profile, posted: 07/28/2016]

I saw a sermon excerpt that was on race, with a caption below that went to the effect: “yea, we went there.” And I thought to myself, why is it that the most violent and aggressive injustice to human bodies is an exceptional topic in gospel preaching? Why is it the exception to the rule to speak prophetically against injustice? Further, why does speaking about the subject cause one to feel exceptional? It’s 2016, allegedly the dawning of the post-racial era. If that is the case, if it truly is a post-racial society we live in, race should be an old demon subdued and destroyed, making it a toothless oppressor that can be cast down effortlessly in gospel (i.e. Christ)-centered preaching. But that is not the case.

My mind transported me to the Charleston tragedy in a new way as I reflected on this state of affairs. The Charleston 9 and Emanuel AME Church are forever hallowed in church history for their supernatural, extraordinary witness to the essence of the Christian life, whose testimony is prophetically speaks to the current normative standard of life together. The Charleston 9 welcomed a stranger into their midst, into their most cherished inner sanctum–for who shall the Church of Christ turn away? Mother Emanuel displayed the audacity and sheer foolishness of Christian love by forgiving that young boy (and the world which created him) who snatched away their precious loved ones, gaining absolutely nothing for their granting forgiveness–except strange looks, criticism, and eternal life. These beautiful black sons and daughters of the King of Glory who have had to mourn in the public eye; weep while the cameras flash; take the first step in granting forgiveness to a murderer, a thief–they have proclaimed to Christian churches a prophetic witness to the normal Christian life. In America, to welcome the stranger (the black man, the gay couple, the poor white woman, the privileged son of a millionaire, the promiscuous man or woman, the politician, the police officer, the hustler) into our most sacred, safest spaces (churches, homes, countries); to love our neighbor (the black man, the gay couple, the poor white woman, the privileged son of a millionaire, the promiscuous man or woman, the politician, the police officer, the hustler); to forgive our enemies (the black man, the gay couple, the poor white woman, the privileged son of a millionaire, the promiscuous man or woman, the politician, the police officer, the hustler); to accept one another (the black man, the gay couple, the poor white woman, the privileged son of a millionaire, the promiscuous man or woman, the politician, the police officer, the hustler), just as Christ did, to the glory of God (Rom 15:7)–this is the normal Christian life. This is the simple command; this is the impossible command. But God…

“I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high…the world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you…But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Primer: A Very Short Catechism on the Lord’s Prayer and Race

“Our Father, which art in heaven”: what does this mean?

It means that the One on whom we call upon is not a distant Supreme Being who is uninvolved or uninterested in the lives of his creation. It means that God is our Father, and his love towards us is one which is for us; it is a love which is gentle in times of sorrow, stern in correction, and courageous in times when his children are powerless.
It means that we are his children – all of us. It means that those who are made in his image are his children; also, it means that his children bear his image. Those who feel or are made to believe that they are less than human; those who are treated like they are less than human – they, yes, they bear the image of the Creator. To each human being, “Our Father, which art in heaven” means that God says to you, “You are my child, and I am here for you. I want you.”

“Hallowed by thy name”: what does this mean?

It means that God is not a human being. It means that he is perfect and trustworthy, because he cannot lie, nor can he change. “Be holy, for I am holy.” He has all power in his hand, and is not defiled by human evil or sickness, but stands above all powers and principalities unhindered in his purpose. He is holy: he is Light, and his Word shines in the darkness, and it is not overcome.

“Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven”: what does this mean?

God’s kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. Before the world of Cain began its reign of destruction and violence, his kingdom already was, and is. His kingdom is not awaiting a permit or a plot of land to begin its construction, it is already a reality in heaven. This means that it is already complete. When we pray for his kingdom to come, we pray for a perfect kingdom which has been inaugurated by Jesus Christ. “The kingdom of God is in your midst.”

What is God’s will? His will is peace, his burden is light. His will is justice and reconciliation. God’s will is for us to be one, just as Christ and the Father are one. God’s will is for his kingdom to be manifest in the earth, bringing healing and peace where there is death and war; his will is to bring together murderer and victim where there is injustice, greed, and violence; his will is for his glory to cover the earth like the waters cover the seas. God’s will – his good, perfect, and pleasing will – is to heal us, to bind up our wounds, to revive and restore us, “that we might live in his presence … As surely as the sun rises, he will appear.”

“Give us this day our daily bread”: what does this mean?

God knows our needs long before we express them. Not only our needs, he knows our desires. He knows we need food, clothing, money, friends, intimacy, community, comfort, joy – he knows our needs and the things that bring us joy. He knows that art makes us feel alive; that celebrating a goal with our favorite team is an expression of human connection; that comedy and laughter are the best medicine for many ailments. He knows it all, and he is looking at our lives, and has placed our bread, clothing, friends, joys and comforts in place for us to receive them in time. God knows our needs, and meets them on time – he is never late. He is always on time. Our daily bread comes in different forms for us, because we’re all different. He knows that, too, and he has been working (“My Father is working even now”) to provide for us.

“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors”: what does this mean?

This means that we all stand before God as creatures who are upheld and preserved by a great God. “forgive us our debts”: this word reminds us that we are always in need of forgiveness. As human beings, we are never totally right, never totally good – “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked, “No one is good – except God alone.” This word is the gospel word which declares to us that, even though we are in need of forgiveness at all times, that forgiveness has come! If it was not available, we would not have been commanded to ask forgiveness. He says, “Ask and you shall receive”; “You do not receive because you do not ask.” We are given here a way to freedom and self-acceptance, a place where we can submit to God and allow him and his strength to raise us up, so that we are made strong and courageous by his Spirit.

“As we forgive our debtors”: the two questions that arise here are: how do/can we forgive? and, who are our debtors? The truth is that we cannot forgive on our own self-determination. We cannot truly forgive unless the Spirit moves us. This does not mean that true forgiving only happens in the church; this means that the Spirit is moving in the world, which is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof. By God’s Spirit we are empowered to forgive; we are given the power and freedom to die, so that we might be raised again. In forgiving others, we crucify our pride and desire for vengeance, and place that unbearable burden upon the altar of our Father, who has the power to mete out justice in full measure.

Who are our debtors? This is the hardest word in this whole prayer, for it is the ultimate surrender of self-will. It is total submission and death to self. Our debtors are those whom we look upon and say, “You did this,” “You will pay for this,” “Why did you do this?” “What have you done?” “I hate you,” “I’m going to kill you,” “Go to hell,” and every other curse imaginable under heaven. To these, Christ has given us a command which we cannot mete on our own. This is beyond our power and even our interest. But he has made us to be free; he has made us to love and to live in his presence. “It is for freedom that he has set us free.” We are to find those in our lives and in our hearts upon whom there is a curse and a promissory note for retaliation, and return to them the shackles they have placed on our futures by keeping us in bondage. It is giving them over to God, who is able to carry that burden of pain, guilt, anger, fury and rage. Our debtors are those who have killed our children; raped us; abused us and taken advantage of us; those who have killed our brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, and have done so legally; our debtors are those for whom justice is a commodity for whom they deem acceptable. As we give them to God, we are not releasing them from responsibility or judgment: we are releasing them to responsibility and judgment. What is more frightening than to find that you stand as a sinner unrepentant in the hands of an angry God? Where will you run? To whom will you call upon? Will  your money save you? Your influence? Your prestige? Where will you run to when you stand before not a man or a woman that you took advantage of, but the God of all creation, who has your life in your hands? We release our debtors into the hands of God for salvation or condemnation.

“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil”: what does this mean?

God does not lead anyone into temptation. He does not cause any person to indulge in sinfulness behavior: “When someone is tempted, they should not say that God is tempting me.” This is not a plea that God would spare us from a pre-ordained or whimsical fancy where we are forced to undergo something ungodly. No, this is a prayer asking God to keep us on the “straight and narrow”; it is a prayer that we might find the narrow way, the “ancient path” and walk ye in it. This is a prayer that, whatever come our way, that we might not be derailed or discouraged to continue to serve, proclaim, and witness to the resurrection life in Christ Jesus. This means that we do not fear that God might lead us into temptation; it means that we rest upon his promise that he is our shelter in time of need, into which we can run into.

We pray also that God would deliver us from evil, and the evil one. This world has been affected by sin, and groans for redemption. It is also ruled by “the prince of the air,” by powers and principalities which are objective realities apart from moral imperfection. This world is more than a series of bad mistakes and individual consequences: there are objective realities which set themselves up against the kingdom of God, which seek to destroy human life and wellbeing, which have their own inertia. We pray that God would deliver us from the evil which comes from without, which seeks to demolish us, to steal our joy, hope, love, peace, and love. God is our strong tower to which we run; he is our salvation; our present help; our deliverer; our Lord. Injustice, oppression, possession, greed – we pray recognizing that these realities exist, but that we have the victory through Christ, who is our peace. We do not despair, but pray with righteous indignation against evil and the powers of darkness, thanking God that he holds our lives in the palm of his hand. We pray thus, “it is not a question if you will deliver us – we rejoice for you will deliver us, and indeed, you have already done it.”

“For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever”: what does this mean?

Jesus Christ is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. Before all things were, God is; when all comes to an end, God is. This final word of proclamation is that God, the Creator, is the king of a kingdom which knows no end; that he has power in his hand, even in the midst of a fallen world which seems to be filled with violence and chaos; and that his glory is not diminished or supplanted by the powers of sin and evil. The kingdom of God has been established by God, and therefore it is not subject to decay or destruction: “God builds his own house,” and the Holy Spirit vivifies the church in the world, so that we can proclaim in the most dire circumstances, “His kingdom knows no end.” When racist and unjust institutions endorse and perpetuate the slaughter of human lives, it is still said, “His kingdom knows no end.” When the might begin to lose their strength, and the world they have created begins to crumble, leaving many to decry the end of the world, “His kingdom knows no end.”

And his power and glory remind us that he is working in the world and in our lives today. What does the power of God look like? It is disappointing, because it is not the kind that invades like a conquering army, nor is it the vigilante kind which disregards the law in order to achieve the law’s ultimate aims of justice and retribution. The power of God is the Word in the beginning which spoke “Let there be light,” and there was light. The power of God is this Word, this eternal, creative Word, “become flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father.” The power of God is the resurrection. The power of God is that though “we are hard pressed on every side, we are not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” When Jesus saw the community mourning the death of Lazarus, he wept. When he sees communities broken by violence, by injustice and inequality, he weeps. When a young man with a family is executed in the streets by law enforcement who deny him due process because of a pernicious narrative of racial superiority, he weeps. When law enforcement officers are gunned down because of their profession, having done no harm, he weeps. When a truck explodes in a crowd killing innocent lives, not allowing a community to heal from a previous tragedy, he weeps. This is the power of God, to create the world from nothing, and to be our God, for us.  

This is also God’s glory, to be God-for-us. The Lord’s Prayer reminds us that God’s glory includes his Fatherly love for his children. He made us, he has carved our names in the palm of his hand, and he has not forgotten us. He loves us, and despite the nature of the world after Genesis 3, John 1 reiterates that “God’s look” is still upon us, and that that look is our surest hope. Jesus Christ is God’s Word of promise to us that he still says “Yes” to his creation. And that “Yes” is the simultaneous “No” to evil, sin, and the forces which oppose his kingdom. We who hear his voice, and obey him hear, “Yes. Enter into my rest.” His kingdom, power, and glory are forever. We are not abandoned, and we do not lose hope. God’s power is not weak, his glory is majestic, we are his children, and we are loved by this great, merciful, holy, loving God.



Learning New Names

There is an assumption that one’s name is not difficult to pronounce. My name is Muoki, and for the first twelve years of existence, I never had to pronounce it for someone else, or find approximate words to aid my acquaintance in not making a mistake. I was afforded this blessing because I lived in Kenya, where I was born. It wasn’t until I came to the States that I was bequeathed with the anxiety of first encounters where I had to always be mindful of the trouble American/Western thinking beings had in pronouncing my name.

In school, at church, at high school soccer games when they announce the starters–I developed an anxiety whenever my name was to be called because I knew that no one knew how to pronounce it. I became accustomed to prefaced remarks like, “I’m going to butcher this, so forgive me…” “Umm…” “Oh my goodness, how do I say this…” followed by (if the person was in close proximity, an investigative scan to see if anyone likes like a “Muoki.”

American and Western people have always struggled to pronounce my name, but I rarely encounter an American or Westerner who has considered that people outside their context struggle with their names. English is the lingua franca or the world, and as English speakers we (may) take for granted that this dialect of human language does not come easily for many. The other day I was at a dinner gathering at a friend’s house, and a Ghanaian friend of mine was sharing about his life, and although I had no problem comprehending his English, I was surprised by how much my American friends did not understand. This isn’t to denigrate anyone, but to point out that speaking English is not easy for everyone.

There are Christian scholars who point out (and, I’m sure, thoughtful citizens who are becoming more aware) that, in America, we as Christian leaders are yet to develop (in a friend’s words) a “cohesive vision about how to navigate a pluralistic, multi-ethnic, globalized world.” There are readily available reactionary options available, but none which witness to the shalom ethic of the Kingdom of God. The cohesive vision will have to include Jesus’s charge to his disciples in Mark 10: “whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave of all.” The Christian community is a reality of quiet force, of perpetual discipleship to Christ and to each other.

The Gemeinde is a community of humility. Humility is one of the most important characteristics of learning/discipleship. Another one is courage, the resolve to take a risk. What greater risk is there in a pluralistic, multi-ethnic, globalized Western world than pronouncing a non-Western name! The basileia theou is God’s “Yes!” to the world, the affirmation of Gen 1:31. One way to say “Yes” as a Western Christian is to offer the invitation for correction, allowing the Other to be my instructor, my mentor, opening myself to experience God’s blessed creation in a new way through the experience of learning a new name. [1]

One of the key elements of a Christian vision of community and fellowship is a mutuality in learning, a willingness to be taught. That posture is one which is humble and courageous: in the same way that we expect our Western/Catholic names to be pronounced with ease, so, too, we venture to say people’s names and stand corrected when we are wrong. Being wrong is not a virtue, I don’t think, but it is an opportunity to learn. The Christian community must be a space where those who have received the short end of life’s stick can be welcomed in as disciples and as fellow teachers.

Christianity is not a project of domination or triumph in the way the world understands victory. Our victory is already won in and by Christ; ours is ministry, in the reality of the Kingdom of God. This kingdom is wholly other, described in the gospels as a seed and as yeast. It is a “stealth kingdom,” which witnesses to Christ’s resurrection and the Spirit’s work in the world.

For Christians, our “Yes!” to the world is the invitation into the kingdom we offer with our words and deeds. Our “Yes!” is an active word, a verbal noun, so to speak, which speaks in doing. It is progressive in that it not stagnant or defensive; it is dynamic and active. It is an affirmation of the good creation, of the goodness of creation; it is the affirmation of the goodness of human life, of the imago dei in all its hues, origins, and expressions. It is a powerful word, for in the proclamation (Luther comes to mind here), our “Yes” to the Kingdom of God is the simultaneous “NO” to the Kingdom of darkness and the enemy of God.

[1] The tradition and meaning of naming is almost completely lost/obscured in American dominant culture. One of the beauties of blesséd global/pluralistic community is that we can keep the tradition of naming alive by being in proximity to those for whom it is alive and well. Here in America, we don’t have to look far: our Native Indian communities have a rich history of naming, a profound sense of tradition and spiritual connection to nature and land, which all culminate in the naming ritual. I am no Native scholar or descendant, but from what I can gather from some previous conversations is that names are not arbitrary, but are infused with meaning, prophetic meaning.

Ode to Solitude

Spiritual Friendship

Photograph of Igor Stravinsky by Irving Penn. New York, April 22, 1948 Photograph of Igor Stravinsky by Irving Penn. New York, April 22, 1948

A single man, like myself, confronts solitude every day as patient friend or relentless enemy, as cure or ailment, as mountain vista or obscure cave. The 20th century Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda, experienced these binaries in his own life. Without solidarity, solitude is unbearable, as Neruda said about his foreign service in Rangoon, Burma: “Solitude, in this case, was not a formula for building up a writing mood but something as hard as a prison wall; you could smash your head against the wall and nobody came, no matter how you screamed or wept.” With solidarity, however, solitude is not only bearable but even productive, as he said in 1971 Nobel Prize lecture:

There arises an insight which the poet must learn through other people. There is no insurmountable solitude. All paths lead to the…

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Journal Entry #1

Note: I will occasionally be unearthing old entries from journals as a looking back exercise, old entries which stand out to me for one reason or another. They are verbatim. 

3 March 2014

We are a culture of sleepwalkers and answering machines. We believe what we are told; and spew rehearsed responses without second thought—for if X says “abc,” it is true—it must be true. Why should I doubt it? We live in a dream created by lies and unrealistic expectations. We want what others want because we want to win. Is anything true or real? The answer is yes, but the follow-up question is, what is the real? How deep within the fabric of our lives must we dig to find that precious gem? Or is it a turn of face, and if one is to turn around, will the view be that of a trail of destruction, a catalogue of disappointments and bitterness that is left in the wake of one who has been swept up in the lies and the unrealistic expectations?

Is the truth, then, a light which illuminates the darkness of our hearts and brings the chaos into view? In this case truth is a light which reveals what is already there in the darkness; it functions as a guide which leads the weary wanderer towards the end of his life, indeed the beginning of life—that is, eternity. It would seem to some that Truth is cruel and heartless. It is true that it can be difficult to bear sometimes; but the hemming is for our sake, to remind us that we are not gods; that Truth stands above us, and not the other way around. He who desires her must first surrender to her.