Sunday, March 30, 2008

You Call That Prayer?

What does prayer really look like? I mean, the good, authentic, "this is my heart, and I'm bearing it all to you God" kind of prayer. Does it really look like the many times I've seen it presented as? This "Dear God, please help us with this, and that, and Father God, I would like this..." It just seems so boring. When I hear people say things like that what I really hear is "I want to feel comfortable again, so give me the things I want." and that's not how God works at all. Has our prayer turned into something superficial?

We talked about prayer today at church, and it got me thinking. Does prayer really have to be this drawn out thing? Do we really have to use the word "God" like the word "um" in our prayers? Can't we just talk to Him like normal human beings? Why can't our prayer be more like talking to a best friend? Is it really disrespectful to talk to God and call Him "dude"? Because if it is, then I've been disrespectful for a very long time.

When I think of prayer I think of having a regular conversation. There are days where I've gone "Hey God, how you doing?" There are days where He is very sarcastic with me, we joke around with each other. Is that not prayer? Does it always have to be the "God this is going on, and it concerns me"? I do talk to God about my problems, but sometimes my problems aren't really anything to worry about, and I just want to spend some time with Him. Have I lost my mind, or is this the kind of praying that Jesus did when He spoke to the Father? He'd have to have some kind of relationship with the Father that was similar to that, because I can't see praying for hours on end that sounds like "Father God, we just would like to, God, thank you for, Father, everything, Jesus... etc." I know I'm exaggerating a little, and I'm sorry if I sound cynical, but I really want to know why is prayer like that? What good does it do?

Maybe I'm just different, and I can't pray like that. Maybe I'm just too practical to think that being so formal about prayer to be effective. Honestly, sometimes my prayer is thinking on something with this sub-thought that says, "Hey God, I'm kinda concerned about this," but there aren't really any words to it, just this... sense... for lack of a better term. *shrugs* I just don't know.

Maybe it's just me... maybe it's what I'm coming out of, but I feel like Christianity is becoming so superficial. Maybe that's what people mean by the "Christian Ghetto"... What has happened to us? I feel like Christianity, as the institution it has become, has fallen quite a bit from the way the early church was. What happened to being authentic? What happened to love? What happened to accepting people for who they are, not for what they've done, or for the things they do?

Maybe I'm just tired of seeing people get stuck in this endless cycle of hurt, get bitter, hurt others, get hurt by others, hurt. Christians!!! Not the "world", no I expect them to act that way, because that is what they know, but Christians should be above that, yet they aren't... what has happened to Christianity? Am I going crazy here, or have I caught on to something and it has pulled me out of this superficiality I used to call my religion? Am I finally starting to see what Jesus meant when He said, "follow me"?

Just some thoughts, you are more than welcome to give me your opinion, but keep it clean, k?

Grace and Peace.

P.S. My birthday is in 24 days... weeee!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Emotional Communities Have Cold Showers?

Yesterday had a new feeling for me... as we were traveling to the campus I came to the realization that I felt like I was coming home. Usually, I feel like I'm leaving home and going a trip (an extensive trip, albeit, but a trip nonetheless), but not so yesterday. I have come to realize that TFC has become my home. I actually walked around for a while contemplating it, and I think the main reason that I feel like I'm home is not because wherever I am I try to be there 100%, but rather the idea of community that is beginning to permeate the campus. I feel comfortable here; I am surrounded by people who are all trying to become the men and women they feel they need to be. Granted there are those few who do not do well in community, or at the very least, the one presented here at TFC, and they cause trouble for others, but that is just another part of living in a community. It's been really good for me to be in a place where there are people I can talk to that aren't the average Christian. It has been good to feel accepted for who I am, and not for what I do, or what people have expected of me. I know that those elements are still there, but I feel like the pressure is weakening. Maybe it's just me not caring what other's think as much, or maybe people are beginning to be more accepting of others, or maybe I'm just out of my mind, and none of it's true, and I've become blind to what the reality has set.

Despite all the things about TFC I find annoying, I have to admit I enjoy being here. I like being able to walk around, enjoying the night air or the sun shine, and sitting on benches, or swings to just relax a little. It is very peaceful to just sit on a swing overlooking the river and just exist in the silence. To no think, or to process information, but just to be... so peaceful.

I've also come to see that my relationship with God is becoming less emotionally based. Which is nice, because it means I'm getting past this unhealthy neediness that seems to dominate most of my life. I am coming to the point where I know that Christ died for me, that He rose on the third day, and saved me from my sin, but I don't have to get emotional about every little detail. Don't get me wrong, I still have moments where things hit me hard and I can become emotional. But daily operations are becoming more "Do what you think is right." I think, that is part of what God has been teaching me lately, to use my brain and the intelligence He has given me to make decisions about anything ranging from what I am going to wear to the woman I am to marry. It's all about doing what I think is right, and then God will correct me when I am wrong, which is part of the learning process of what is right. It's really a fascinating concept, and very practical... yet another way God is talking to me directly.

I used to feel God all the time, but then I realized that these "feelings" are really just my emotional "highs". It is OK to get emotional sometimes, but to keep a balance is so much essential. We can't let our lives be ruled by our emotions, but rather by our God. "The heart can be deceptive."

Just some thoughts....

My mom is coming in today, which makes me happy because she rocks.
Also, our dorm seems to not have warm water currently, so I had to take a cold shower. *shivers*

That's all for now. I had to cut my thoughts short because I have class in ten minutes.

Grace and Peace

Sunday, March 23, 2008

It's Easter, is it?

The thing I find the most ironic about the easter holiday is that the we celebrate both the pagan and the "Christian" parts of it. We unknowingly, or in denial, celebrate the goddess of a fruitful womb and harvest, with our painted eggs and chocolate rabbits, but at the same time we will go to the buildings we call church and call upon the name of the Lord and worship Him, all the while standing in "awe" of the resurrection that occurred so long ago.

I guess I'm sounding cynical, but I'm not trying to be, just stating a fact that I found to be ironic and bit contradicting to our culture I'm sure. Though, I'm sure that I would not stop getting chocolate bunnies, and what not, denying to myself that I am celebrating the pagan side as well, but I think there is something much deeper here then any Christian really takes notice to. I'm not saying that we can't have chocolate bunnies, and paint eggs, and laugh at the commercials that have clucking rabbits, but just to keep in mind that there was a reason behind these things and it should be important to let our children know what that reason was, and explain to them why it isn't the correct viewpoint. I don't even have kids though, so what do I know?

I guess this is really just a few of my thoughts on the whole think... have a good Easter Sunday everyone.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Ramblings of 20 year old.

Despite the fact that I'm tired of getting told how I'm worthless on a regular basis, I wouldn't change my time with my friends for anything in the world. Despite all the crap they give me, and 90% it is just pure joking around, I wouldn't exchange that friendship, because it pushes me to laugh at life, it forces me to rely on God, and they are great friends when it really counts. I guess I just get frustrated from time to time, but in the end, I am ok, life could be worse, and I have to thank God for the blessings he has given me.

This spring break has been slow, which is nice in one aspect, and pretty frustrating in another, but I have enjoyed my time off from campus. I am ready to get back to be honest, I don't know why really, because being away from it is much more relaxing than being on campus but I am ready to be done with the semester at the same time, so I guess it is understandable that I would want to get back to TFC and get this semester taken care of.

Classes have been alright but I feel like I am not doing as well as I had hoped. I mean, I'm doing what I can to get good grades, but when all my grades are coming from mostly tests, I feel like I can't make more than the average C, which is frustrating because I want "A"s and "B"s, and I want to feel accomplished in something I do besides music, though I suppose I should be content that I am good with it, or at least I feel like I'm good with music, and that's more than I can ask for considering that in reality I am nothing compared to the God who made me.

I'm still taking my beliefs and working them through as the issues arise, and I'm still discovering who I am in a way that makes sense to me... and these are things that I can see myself doing for the rest of my life, because I always want to know more about who I am and my relationship with God, and there is no way that I will learn everything there is to know about me, when I was created far more complicated than I probably realize.

But all in all, life is good, even when it is filled with sorrows, and I wouldn't exchange the things I've learned from both the good and bad experiences for anything. I am glad to have met the people I have, I am content with the fact that sometimes things won't be OK, but I will be, and I'm thankful for the way God has blessed me in it all.

And so life continues, with no one any wiser than the day before on the happenings of another.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Today made me realize just how much I hate the way I'm treated. There are so many times when I feel like I am being walked over, run over, shot, and thrown down... and I'm tired of it.

I'm tired of being told how much I fail at life each day...

I'm tired of being accused of lying when I'm not...

I'm tired of people telling me that I need to stop being someone else, when all I am really trying to do is be myself...

I'm tired of the fact that I rarely if ever get any encouragement. Despite popular opinion, I do need to be encouraged from time to time...

I'm tired of people looking at me with this look of disgust...

I'm tired of trying to live up to everyone's expectations...

I'm tired of having to fight myself daily because I don't want to lose friendships...

I'm tired of being the "good kid", can't I just be Austin?

I'm tired of being angry over stupid stuff...

I'm tired of feeling like I'm fighting for nothing...

I'm tired of being told indirectly that I am worth nothing, that I have no purpose...

I'm tired of caring...

I'm just... tired...

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Another Update

Since it's been a while since I updated, I figured now would be just as good a time as any, especially since the internet at home is much better than the one at TFC. So, that being said, yay spring break!!

These past few weeks have been pretty crazy. I had two tests in the same day Thursday, feel kinda like my brain exploded. Classes have been going good though, despite the lack of motivation to get things done half the time. In my Church Truth and Destiny class we have been talking about eschatology (and I actually know what it means! *pats self on the back*) The more I look at the stuff the more shivers I get. I'm not sure why though, maybe I'm afraid? I asked my professor in that class if people were worth dying for, because it is something I think is true, but only after looking into it some more. He thinks so as well, which makes me happy. I mean just look at John 15:13. And for the very fact that Christ died for us. I'm not saying we deserve the gift God has given us through Christ, no no, but, if for no other reason than the fact that Christ deemed us worthy of His blood, I think people are worth dying for. Even if that worth is just the furthering of the message.

I forget how dark the campus of TFC can be until I leave campus and retreat to the peace of my home, or the homes of my friends. It's not that this semester hasn't been peaceful, on the contrary, this has been the most peaceful semester I have had at TFC to date, which is quite a feat, but much needed, since this has been a good time to rediscover myself, and really think through the things I believe. I need to stop being so impressionable. :)

Now it's Guitar Hero III time, woohoo! I guess I'll updates later when I think something pertinent is happening in my life. Later.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Just Wanted To Say Thanks

-I never thanked you for that one time in choir where you encouraged me with a simple comment, and you will never know how much it meant to me.

-I never thanked you for sticking up for me all those years

-I never thanked you for praying for me endlessly

-I never thanked you for listening to me during the hard times, and laughing with me through the good times.

-I never thanked you for supporting me regardless of the lack of wisdom the decision may have had.

-I never thanked you for acknowledging my existence, even if it is just to torment me :D

-I never thanked you for loving me unconditionally, even though our relationship is over now, I will never forget you.

-I never thanked you for pushing me beyond what I thought my limits were, and stretching me in a way that made me who I am today.

-I never thanked you for all those talks, even though I hated them then, I appreciate them now.

-I never thanked you for accepting me just the way I am... a complete mess trying to find some truth in life.

-I don't thank you enough for being my friend.

-I don't thank You enough for pulling me through the hard times.

-I don't thank You enough for the good things, the beautiful things, the crazy, silly, hilarious, sad, joyful, lovely things.
*In fact... I don't thank You enough for anything. Thanks.