Saturday, February 23, 2013

What do you trust you'll regret?

Matt here.

I hate feeling stupid. In that sense, moving to Japan was probably the worst thing I could have done two years ago. I didn't understand what it would mean to live in a thoroughly foreign culture (this despite having lived in Europe and South America, which as it turns out are not that different from the states when compared with the difference between the states and Asia), so I hopped in without thinking twice.

When, as occasionally happens, I wonder whether God is real and homosexual action is indeed sinful, I remember the awful, awful times I've had here. That time when I understood just enough Japanese to tell my co-teacher was telling a joke about Americans not bathing and then forty students laughed uproariously The many times when the group conversation was going along at a normal clip (read: too fast for me to follow) when suddenly everyone stops and looks at me expectantly and I have no idea what question was just asked. The times when I've misunderstood the school lunch system and taken someone else's food by accident, and then had to ask the explaining principal to repeat himself three times before I understood. Any time the word 'girlfriend' comes up in conversation.

The thing is, the awful times don't make me regret coming here, being here, and doing what I've done.

I have the feeling that if, at some future time, I come to believe or know that I've been treading the wrong path in regards to homosexuality and religion, I won't regret what I've been doing. I have the feeling that all these experiences shall be for my good even if, in the future, I come to see them as awful sin. I'm willing to trust that the discomfort that might come from action now will be, all things considered, worth it.

What's interesting is that this same mode of thinking works for people who stick with the church. They're willing to trust that the discomfort they feel now will be worth it.

We're all acting on trust; it's just that we have trust in different things.


I am in an unpleasant mood this afternoon because tonight I'm going to my last kendo practice in Japan, and I am not very good, and all those smiling, sword-swinging people speak full Japanese vocabularies too fast for me to understand more than one word in five, and I will feel stupid. Still, I'll go. I trust I'd regret it later, not going.


I saw this video on TR's blog and immediately wanted to share it with everyone everywhere.


  1. yeah! - props for the shout out. I thought the same thing about the video. Didn't really fit in with anything on my mind but worth getting out there.

    Also - I like your frame of mind.

  2. I love how I posted retroactively and then read your post and we shared the same video. It's pretty amazing!

  3. What a great video, right? I subscribed to the guy's channel, I'm looking forward to seeing what else he does.

    If you're into angry poetics, this is less (but still) satisfying, a poetry slam from 2002:

    TR, I like my frame of mind too! Took a lot of work to get here. Keep on blogging, yours is a pleasure.

  4. I felt sad to see the seeming implication of the two propositions being mutually dependent in this phrase: "When, as occasionally happens, I wonder whether God is real and homosexual action is indeed sinful"...

    Other than that, good thoughts. I agree with the thought on trust and _love_ the paragraph on not having any regrets in the future. I think that's truly the best anyone can do. My favorite definition of "sin" I've encountered is in C.S. Lewis's _The Screwtape Letters_ and is something like 'anything you cannot do wholeheartedly." Sooo true. If we can be wholehearted, then there's really no reason for regret later.

  5. Video reminded me of this excellent post:

  6. Interesting, isn't it? In my heart-of-hearts secret place inside, the God I believe in when I believe in God sees homosexuality as an earthly thing, a stopgap. Maybe that would change if I believed in God more.

    That post _was_ excellent, too.

  7. I love the intensity of your feelings Matthew. You're a good man with a good and honest heart. All of these things will, indeed, be for your learning and benefit. As for trust, I've discovered that it's best to trust reason and logic since there are many people of honest, sincere faith who "trust" in completely different gods honestly and sincerely. Make sure you tell me when you are home. It'll be time for a nice meal and a long conversation about your adventures.

  8. Thanks! I'll be back soon.