Friday, July 17, 2009

Life As It Appears to Me Now

There is much on my mind, so I will try to share what is on my heart as clearly as I can.

A couple of days ago I had a very soul-shaking conversation with one of the pastors I go to church with. It was one of those conversations where the lights just flashed on and you are left for a very long time waiting for your eyes to adjust; it's like coming out of a movie theater in the middle of a bright summer day after being in the dark for over 2 hours. This pastor is a rare breed. He has a large amount of discernment AND he is extremely tactful. Most pastors are either very tactful and as discerning as a blade of grass or they are very discerning but usually end up putting both feet in their mouth so you really don't hear what they said until weeks later. Fortunately this pastor is both insightful and tactful, as is most of the leadership at the church I go to, so this was a very productive conversation.

We talked a lot about what God's call on my life is and how to go about moving forward with that. I had to confess that I don't have a clue about a lot of things right now as far as life direction, which is at least a starting place of sorts. It felt very good to have my complaints and reservations about different things validated before being encouraged to think about what to do and how to go about doing it feeling the way that I do about certain things.

If this is somewhat vague, I apologize; it is something I want to share but can't fully talk about as I don't quite understand it all yet myself.

A big part of what has moved my soul from having this conversation is that this pastor really believes that God is real and can do incredible things. He is a guy who puts his money where his mouth is. Perfect? No. But he is someone who takes himself pretty lightly and Scripture very seriously, which is something I have a ton of respect for. If I had to be honest, most of the people I know who are professing evangelicals I would not say believe that Scripture alone is our only source of doctrine and practice. When people I meet do go to Scripture and they hold to certain things that a lot of subcultural Christianity doesn't hold to, I respect what they say and truly feel free to talk openly.

I kind of feel challenged to believe that God is very real and can, and will, do incredible things. There is a time to dissent from one's culture, but there is a time to shut up and actually be the change you wish to do. I am much more inclined to be lazy, point fingers, and complain than to actually do something so the tactful prodding I recieved was much needed.

The older that I am getting the more I realize that my parents, especially my Dad, is really not stupid afterall. Going through the teenage years I had this eerie feeling that my parents watched one too many episodes of "Leave it to Beaver" and "Law and Order" to have a balanced view of the world; the whole paradigm of life being very good but the world being a very scary place. My Dad is definitely a lot more Type A than I am, but I am seeing that he and I are much more alike than I would ever imagine. My mom and I are also a lot alike as well, so I would likely recommend that whoever dates me should look at my parents if they want to see what I will very likely be like when I am older. LOL. I am being serious though.

My parents have always been the blood-and-guts of Christianity in my life. They have lived with me, and everyone they cross paths with, in the blood-and-guts of the everyday life and the painful hard stuff that comes up in each others lives. I don't know that I have ever had too many deep conversations about faith with my Dad, but I do not think I have, or ever will, meet a man who is as much the hands and feet of Christ as he is.

Yesterday was an absolutely terrible day. I woke up feeling kind of frazzled, "on the wrong side of the bed", and the day slowly went downhill from there. Nothing seemed to be going as it needed to, which only made by already bad day much worse. I have a pretty burnt out feeling overall in life right now, so I am trying to fight against the sheer apathy that I could easily have right now. I did not plan to go to college when I graduated from high school, as I barely got out of high school. I agreed to try to go to college for a semester and if I hated it I would quit. I ended up continuing with college and graduating, but I honestly feel like it is huge smack in the face for me to actually have stepped out on a limb to try to do something and then end for my first seven months since graduating either not having a job at all or ending up working at a job that I don't need a degree to do and don't get any extra pay for having the degree.

On the whole, I have had a very rude awakening since graduating from college. I have definitely learned that I do not want to ever be in a business field of any kind for a career, lol. That's for sure.

In some ways I feel like I am acting like the older son in the (misnamed) parable of "The Prodigal Son". "I have been slaving for you all of these years and this is what I get!?" I am generally the type of person to not up and openly rebel against God; my sickness is that I try to put God in debt to me and feel like He owes me something. And when things don't go how I think they should, I get mad about it. It is hard to sort through how much of what I am thinking and feeling is justifiable and how much of it is me having a sinful attitude. Who knows.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Hanging in the Balance Part 2

Getting an Article Published

A few months ago I was invited to write an article for a theology journal/international dialogue for the denomination I grew up in. I had mixed feelings about being asked to do this, but I prayed about and decided to do it. I had forgotten about doing the article and recently received an email from the new editor of the journal asking about some things related to editing.

The editor and I have exchanged several emails, trying to work out the details of how to state what I am trying to say in an unambiguous way. This has been a very long and tedious process, but has been/is a good process. Editors have a hard job because they need to help to make the article as readable and understandable as it can be but do it in a such a way that they are faithful to the author's ideas and wording. The editor of the journal I am writing for has managed to do both, which I have been very pleased with. Everything is still in the process of getting worked out before it goes to press, but so far so good.

I have no idea when the article will be released, although I would guess that it will be in the Fall edition.

I also got approved to have writing privileges on a local seminary's blog a few weeks ago. I had made a response in the comment section of a blog post, a rather long response, and have gotten to talk to a lot of people at the seminary because of this. I have not thought too hard about writing an article for the blog, but it may be something I do in the future.

On Becoming My Parents

The older I get the more I realize that I am becoming more and more like my parents. And I am okay with becoming like them, at least in most ways.

I have had a sort of rude awakening into the "real world" since graduation and have come to understand my Dad in new ways. I guess a lot of it is just maturing in general, but I do see and understand their concerns about a lot of life issues in much larger ways.

Both of my parents are by no means perfect or without character faults, as no one is either of these things, but I do see them in new ways.

Church and the State

I have been thinking a lot about the nature of the State lately. I don't feel as though I have much clarity on the matter as to any of the specifics, other than that there is a very distinct role of the State that differs greatly from the Church. In saying this, I must clarify this and state that the State is also God's servant, and God has not given the State the sword in vain. Maintaining this balance is tough, and it is easy to fall into many ideological traps that are thrown at us even though what we are told is the "biblical" way to be in relation to the State.

Enough for now...