Tan: Raw Reality

Rev. Arnel Tan

NEVER again shall I underestimate the statement "The human soul cannot accept too much reality." This comes from the idea of how our parents tried their best to give us a safe environment. Today, they call it "child-proofing." They see to it that the whole surrounding contributes to our security. Then, as we grow up, depending on our exposure, we begin to see the raw reality of life, pain, disease, aging, conflicts, death, hypocrisy of religion, prejudice, politics, etc., and as the list expands, the trauma becomes intense. Can we really handle reality?

TV series and movies have become so graphic that they leave little room for imagination. "Reality TV" is so much in demand today, so with sermons from the sacred pulpit which helplessly bow to the demands of the modern congregation that is addicted to entertainment rather than spiritual depth. Again, can we handle reality?

While both Hollywood and religions cry for the pleasure of "reality" entertainment, they have also found ways to shield themselves when their craving for what is real is now brought to their doorsteps. It is here that it becomes so painfully personal . . . your turn or your thorn!

We cry for the censorship we despise when situations now concern us. When we feel the pain, we ask for the anesthesia we deny others. Somehow, our craving for raw reality catches us unprepared, so vulnerable that we learn the lessons of life the painful way. Well, before we lament our regrets for the rest of our lives, it really is a great help for me to list down and learn from the raw realities which have been exposed to me. Here are some samples:

1. You cannot censor everything. It is more beneficial to be taught how to be responsible.
2. You don't handle life alone; we have to learn to get along with others.
3. Death is just a news item until it concerns someone you love.
4. Life is short. People get tired easily and quickly.
5. Too many voices; I hear too many secrets; too many mistakes, too few chances to correct them.
6. Justice is for the wealthy. Religion has a selective conscience.
7. Grace is still abounding in Jesus Christ.
8. Redemption and being REDEEMED is real. The chance to change is a daily gift.

Before I bore you with my list, I hope I have encouraged you to be equipped with Hope and Honesty to face your appointments with raw reality. The meeting is not a time to negotiate; it is a time to admit we need help. We need others, a community to be exact. We need to trust the "Someone" who died many years ago facing the raw reality of man's cruelty at the cross then rose again to tell us the reality of life and eternal life. The Good News of Jesus is just a news item until it gets personal. Hope again, my friend.