Monday, February 25, 2008

In Loving Memory

"Rest In Peace"

As soon as it begins,
Life can take a tragic end.
In the blink of an eye
The beautiful smile vanishes.

We will miss your humor,
And the story that is your life.
You taught us all to laugh,
And how to be ourselves.
Through times of pleasure and strife.

Rest in peace my dear old friend,
I know I will see you once again.
On the other side of our dark death,
There is the Light of Life
Shining down on you and I
Tell us all is right.

Your memory will live on
In the hearts of those you knew.
You left a legacy,
And we will carry it through.



In case you didn't figure it out... I had a friend pass away early this morning. Fell asleep at the wheel and drove off a ledge. Sad day. Rest in peace friend, see you on the flip side.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

A Real Fine Wire

You know, I did have this vague post in my head, but then decided it really isn't worth posting, and then I thought about posting a bunch of random stuff, but decided that... that too would not really be worth posting so now I'm stuck with questions and random thoughts.

So I've decided that every time I see the words "Word of God" in scripture that it is referring to teaching what Jesus taught. Ironically, I bet a lot of conservative scholars would agree, the difference is that I'm looking at Scripture from a whole different angle than most people I know do. I've also decided that I really enjoy reading the Psalms, and anything else that is considered to be in the "poetry" section of the Bible. I love poetry in general, but to see that art form presented in the Bible makes me happy, and I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that I too am poetic, even if the poetry isn't that great, and so I enjoy looking for and finding the different poetic styles all throughout that section of the Bible.

I've also decided that having friends who live off campus makes getting laundry a lot cheaper, as in free. Also, being able to hang out with the friend for a night is also a plus, especially when that friend's mom makes brownies for us. Yummm... Speaking of brownies... I have finally found a form of exercising that I really enjoy. I like to walk for about an hour after doing some sit-ups and push-ups. This makes me happy, because I'm pretty sure I run on a deficit of the happy hormone.

Life still presents itself with the thousands of questions I seem to be asking myself, and most of it is consistent with just trying to get back in touch with who God is and how I connect with him. Such is life.

That's all I can really think about that might be remotely interesting, see ya.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Friday, February 8, 2008

Cold Hands and Warm Hearts

So Valentine's approaches, as does spring, birds, bees, and the thousands of couples that apparently find each other's faces delicious. I really don't mind people kissing, just don't have heavy make-out sessions in public. I understand the pleasure of being with someone you care about, but please... keep the face eating to a minimum.

Speaking of relationships, what exactly holds me back from initiating one? Why DO I need to wait? These really are a kind of rhetorical questions, so don't panic, I'm not jumping into anything without thinking it through, but still that desire to connect with someone is so great. It's not that I am not content with being single... at least I think I am, but these desires can really be bothersome. Am I to wait because I need to discover myself? To firm my beliefs? Do I merely use that as an excuse? An excuse for what though, is it fear? If it is fear, then why am I afraid? What am I afraid of? My friend's opinions? Why? Because I respect their opinions, and know that some of them have had experiences and wisdom in areas of life that I have yet to reach. Is that the only thing stopping me from moving on? Is there other fears? The fear of it not working out in the end, or causing hurt or being hurt myself? My head is swarming with questions, and I can't seem to make many of them coherent.

Perhaps it is merely things that I need to get out of my life before I can bring someone else into it. Perhaps, I really did feel hurt at the end of my internship, but decided to hide it behind apathy. Maybe, I was a little bitter, and I am just now at the point where I can approach that area of my life, and work through it, sifting out the good and the bad, and then taking the good while leaving the bad behind. Perhaps, it is because I still don't know what I am going to do in my life. What is my calling? I can see myself doing, and enjoying, many types of ministry because I do know I am called into full-time ministry, and that it involves remaining here in the U.S. but beyond that, I can't see what it is. Is it as a traveling speaker, book writer? A song writer/performer? A church planter *shivers*? A fictional writer? Youth Pastor? Program director for events such as LIFE or camps? I can put myself in most of these options and can totally see myself doing them, so what does that look like if I had to put it under one title?

I need a job, but it seems that all the jobs on campus have been taken, so I guess I don't NEED a job, I would just like one a lot. I might stay here over the summer and just work, maybe take some summer classes... I'm sure Josiah will be happy to hear that, but we'll see.

My beliefs are starting to come together. All the issues that I viewed as major are beginning to become my own, but I am not prepared to defend them yet.

Thus life moves on, I grow a little more, I learn a little more, and I am freed a little more.

The chains are beginning to break, soon I'll be able to soar with freedom.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Darkened Days

So, I've decided that I probably won't be posting my thoughts on my beliefs until I am ready to defend them, because someone pointed out that this is probably being a bit too public and I agree, so I will put my final thoughts on scripture and what I have been working through as this. First, these are THOUGHTS and not beliefs about Scripture... these are things I'm working through and deciding for myself. Second, just because I may be thinking that Scripture is not the Word of God but rather words from God, doesn't mean I think it is any less important, I just see the importance differently that is all. I still believe it essential, just not in the way that I was taught all my life. That is the final piece I'm putting up about this until I'm sure I know what I believe and why.

Moving on...

Today has seemed so dark, and I'm sure a lot of it has to do with the way the day has presented itself with it being rainy and eerily quiet, but I think there is something more. Today at lunch there was something that passed by me that almost had me jittery. I could feel it, as if a demon was just lurking around me, staring at me, and pondering what it wanted to do to me. Nothing happened, thanks to God I can only assume, but it definitely was a bit disconcerting to feel it so strongly. *shivers* There is something about this campus that always feels off, but I don't know what it is. Is it the elitist mindset that so many have? Is it this atmosphere that says, "be this or you aren't a Christian" (which is appalling by the way)? Or is there something more, or something I haven't seen? Whatever it is, it sometimes presents a bizarre feeling when I'm walking around.

Yesterday was really sunny and the temperature was probably pretty close to 71F which is awesome. It was good day, but there was also some foolish things that I did that I had to own up to. Those things are obviously not going to be disclosed on such a public setting, so get over it. This week has been slow, and very tiresome as well... I guess part of that comes from the World Missions Conference atmosphere, but there isn't much I can do about that.

I have loved having it raining these past couple of days. Rain is so peaceful, usually.

In Church Truth and Destiny class today we discussed why revelation from God is not considered be authoritative why the Church is. Obviously there were verses to back it up, in 1 Corinthians and 2 Thessalonians I believe. We discussed that sometimes there are two contradicting revelations, and I have to wonder, why would God contradict Himself? If God is a God of order and not chaos, which I believe He is because of what I have learned from being in a relationship with Him, then why would he send mixed messages? To cause confusion? Why would He want to cause confusion? To make us rely on Him? But weren't we already looking to Him and relying on Him in order to get that revelation? If so, then why? Why confusion? Food for thought I guess.

Only one more class today, and then an evening chapel *sigh* I am so sick of chapels... I feel like I'm going to church every day, which in itself wouldn't be so bad if the speakers weren't being so shallow with their messages. I know that someone must be getting something out of it, or at least I HOPE that is true, but for me it feels so boring. Where is the deeper concepts in it? Tomorrow, Men's Choir is going to do some singing, which should be fun, but I need some brown shoes that aren't sneakers >_< I forgot mine back home, haha. I sense a wal-mart run soon, if I'm lucky. If not I'll just wear some black pants and black shoes. Also, I think I figured out the problem with my speakers... I think there is a short in some of the cables, I will test this theory later today, and probably do some chapter summaries, although the ones due this week are already done, w00t.

So I leave you with something I aspire for,
Shalom.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

No Modernity

Wows, I am up by 7:00am today, but then again, I did decide to go to breakfast.

It seems to me that my mindset is changing ever so slowly from what it used to be. Things I use to consider firmly set in stone, no longer seem to make sense. Well no, they do make sense, but only if you look onto the surface of the issue and not how it pertains to me personally. For the concept I am trying to communicate I would even go as far as to say that my mindset is becoming less fundamentally rooted in modernity, and the beliefs that follow it. Not to say that if someone is a "modernist" that they are wrong, but merely that I am beginning to see something that is beyond these theological presuppositions. At the same time, I don't think that "postmodernism" would fit this mindset either, not because I don't like postmodernism, in fact, I encourage it to those who would wish to have that mindset, but because I do not think I have reached that point. Of course, using titles is, in actuality, silly and pointless, because titles merely helps our ability to judge one for their "beliefs" before we even get to know that person and learn what it is they really believe.

So again I present the biggest question that I keep coming back to. Is the Bible really the "Word of God" and the sole authority on everything, or is it a stepping stone into the deeper knowledge of the true Word of God which is Jesus? Isn't the Bible really just here to help us in our understanding of who God is, and how He loves us? I'm beginning to think so, and with that comes the understanding that though the Bible is good, and is beneficial for understanding God, that it is not, as it is too often coined, "the Word of God." I've even heard people refer to it as the living Word of God, and if that was true, that would make our Bible, Jesus, and in turn, God. So if Bible = God, doesn't that equal idolatry? Do we worship a "Magic Book" instead of the God who spoke the words in it?

As a friend recently pointed out, John 1 talks about the Living Word of God. It talks about the Word being with God, the Word was God, and that this Word was there in the beginning. Afterwards it states that the Word became flesh, etc. You guys have all heard these verses too many times for me to need to quote it to you verbatim. The point is, the Word is Christ, and if the Word is Christ, wouldn't that make him the Living Word of God? And if the Word of God is truth, that would make Jesus "Truth", and that the Bible is only a recording of what Truth has said to us throughout history. Which if it was pulled together in a nutshell would be, "I love you."

And what does that love look like? The cross? Yes, I think it is represented very well in the Christ, but God's love is spoken about long before the cross comes into play in the Bible. He had a chosen people, and He made a covenant with them. A covenant, that if you looked at it the way the Hebrews do, or at least they should, then you would see that this covenant was very much like our "vows" in a wedding. All throughout Scripture we see that God relates our relationship with Him as a marriage, and it is one of intimacy, passion, love, and desire. God's love is so much more than the cross, and yet it is all wrapped up in it too because people are worth dying for, and Christ makes that abundantly clear to us through His own sacrifice. So then, why are we worth dying for? I do not think this answer can be answered satisfactory. In my experience, humans are not perfect, and in fact we are quite a mess. We rarely do things right, we keep screwing up our lives, but God still brings us out of the darkness we set ourselves in and continuously guides us to this greater thing. So, the only answer I can really come up with to this question is that, we are worthy of love only because God decides that it is so. Not by our own means, but because He deems it to be so. And who can dispute with that? I mean, it's God, He does whatever he stinkin' wants to do!

I am still learning, and growing, and coming to my conclusions about a lot of things. I know I will never know something to the absolute because Truth is infinite because Truth is God. And this is also where I am really having to stretch myself. I need to change my world of bricks to a world of springs (for all of you who don't get this reference, read Rob Bell's book Velvet Elvis it's a good read in my opinion, though apparently he seems to be among the many things that are widely disputed among denominations and the Christians therein).

One day the wall won't be there, and the springboard to the higher understanding will. I know I will never stop growing, and I probably will have to go through this whole mindset mess at least 30 times every decade (I'm being positive, it will probably be more) but that is OK because my opinion on aspects of Christianity does not affect what I have learned about God, and my perception of who He is through that learning.

Love

Grace

Peace

Shalom.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

In Your Eyes

I sit here with nothing left to give. I don't feel drained, or stretched out, I don't feel like things are going everywhere but the right way, in fact I don't feel anything at all except peace. I am merely existing right now.

I've had a lot on my mind lately. I'm trying to discover myself in a new way. To really truly learn who the real me is. Where he exists, what he thinks, how he responds to actions, and where his heart really lies. It is a dark road, full of twists, turns, cobwebs, scary trees, headless horsemen, ghouls and the like, but there is also a light. That light seems so faint but I can still see it, and I stumble my way towards it, knowing that if I could just reach the light the hidden things would be revealed, and thus the trek to the innermost part of my soul begins. Of course, it all begins and ends with God, because He is my creator and knows me better than anyone ever will, but there is still the effort on my part to not simply give up when the harder parts of the discovery come around. It is so easy to quit a good thing when it seems to get too hard, but this one thing I don't have the luxury of quitting, nor do I want to. Too much is at stake.

To go along with the discover of the self-concept, there is also the emotional end of me that needs to be addressed. What arouses anger, sadness, joy, excitement, despair, etc? What causes me to get defensive when someone makes a simple comment? Is it merely my personality or is there something hidden behind the mask I seem to have constructed without my own knowledge? And then there is my attraction to an amazing girl, and though I don't feel my motives are wrong, I also don't think that sharing that information with this girl is appropriate at this time. Not just for my own benefit, but for hers as well. There is a lot of growing that I know I need to do, and I can see the need in her life as well, thus it goes unnoticed to all except God (and probably a few friends).

What drives me? What is my passion? What do I like to do? Do I do these things because I actually like them and enjoy them, or because I was told that is what a Christian should do?
Is my innocence really just ignorance? Have I really been just doing what I feel God is telling me, or have I actually been conforming with all the non-conformists? Why must my relationship to God be based on what I feel, rather than what I know about God, however limited my understanding of that knowing may be?

Was the Bible meant to be the sole source of our answers, and to be "The Living Word of God", or did God intend it merely to be a stepping stone into something higher, better, deeper, and lead us to the true Living Word of God which is Christ? What does doctrine have anything to do with the way we treat people? Why do Christians become so dogmatic that we forget the beauty of simplicity? The simplicity of relationships, of taking things at face value, of love. Existential existence... we are all connected aren't we? Why else would our drive for connection exist? Why would we have this need to be in communion with one another and with God if we weren't? Isn't that why that "girl" won't leave her "jerk boyfriend"? Isn't it because at least he acknowledges her existence, even if it is only for a moment? Isn't that why people do so many things that seem unwise, just so that they can, if only for a moment, feel like they matter, to feel the excitement that is life? Isn't that why most people fear death more than anything, because they've been dead all along?

There are so many questions bouncing around in my head, and there are no answers at this point. I know that there is only one place that I will find the answers (not that ones I want, or the ones I am hoping for, but just the truth as it is... bare), and that is to meet with God, and see Him "Iris to Iris". Though the truth may never be absolute in my mind, at the very least I will begin to see the truth in our "truth".