Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Sally Morganthaler quote

"If we can't live the sacred journey with Christ daily and are not actively drawing others into that journey - way outside the worship center or sanctuary and outside our stained-glass or silk-plant ghettos - we can't expect to do it in an hour on Sunday morning or Wednesday night."

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Time and space

Went to the Met yesterday for the first time since I've lived in the city. I had an odd feeling being there--that I was sort of a residential tourist. Yes, I only had to walk out my front door and get on a 6 train for about 4 stops to wind up at 82nd and 5th. And I had no backpack, no video camera, no accent from Omaha or Osaka. But even after seven months, I still feel like a guy from Boston walking around in New York. That got me thinking about the odd way that time and space have of playing with our minds. As someone who spent the early part of his life, moving from place to place about every 3 years, I find that it is hard for me to gauge time accurately in a given place any longer. Maybe it's the necessary characteristic of the chameleon that I took on when growing up in order to survive that gives me this wierd sense that wherever I am, I've always been. It doesn't feel like seven months. It feels much longer. And yet, particularly in a place like New York, where you don't earn your stripes and the right to actually call yourself a new yorker until you've been here for 15-20 years, I don't feel like I've been here for very long at all. Maybe it's the New York State of Mind.

And then there's also the ongoing march of adulthood that makes everything seem to go by with mind-numbing speed. As a kid, 7 months could be an eternity. 7 months was the difference between being an elementary school student and a middle schooler, between an eighth grader and a freshman, etc. 7 months was a very serious relationship. 7 months was veteran status on any job.

Now 7 months is a layover at the airport. It's 7 months closer to the empty nest. It's 7 months that I haven't been in school. It's 7 months that I've been moving so quickly and learning so much that I feel like I've gone nowhere and learned nothing.

But 7 months is the difference between being the parent of one to being the parent of 2. Life now seems to be blowing by. I don't want to slow it down, or maybe I simply acknowledge that I can not. I just want to make sure that I'm not missing it, not whittling it away watching meaningless television, not blogging while I should be working...

You get the point.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

When I'm found in the desert place...

I'm trying to figure out what's going on with so many Christians I know. I don't know if we are experiencing a greater freedom to talk about it, discovering new honesty like that described in Spencer Burke's chapter, Hero to Human, but it feels like I know a lot of people of faith who would describe themselves as going through a valley, or a desert place. It seems like it takes all kinds of forms from financial pressure to depression to questioning whether they are in God's will in a new situation to family issues to health issues. It runs the gamut. I'm trying to make sense of what we're all going through.

I know that we are constantly under the enemy's attack and he can be cruel and merciless in his endeavors to take us off our course so that we do not remain faithful. I recognize that Christ never promised it would be easy. In fact the opposite is clearly the case if we read scripture. Trials are promised.

I guess something that the Lord has laid on my heart is this idea of the promised abundant life (John 10:10). It doesn't say trial-free, but it does say abundant. I think for me there's a tension between honesty, particularly with Christian brothers and sisters. I think we have all the reason in the world to let people we trust know what's happening with us. Probably, as Christians, we don't do too well at this. I guess in some ways, it makes me happy that within Christian circles, I feel like there's some improvement here. I feel like people are looking at people of faith to be a community of support when the valley times come. That's a good thing. But on the other side, aren't we called to respond differently to troubles when reflected against non-believers. Sometimes, I think we're far too quick to lose our joy, to have a negative outlook, to take our eyes off the Savior and allow our fears and anxieties to take over and like Peter, we sink immediately and the Savior says to us, "You of little faith, why did you not believe?"

I guess all I'm trying to say is that, although it should never be fake or forced, we, as children of God, should respond differently with a peace, a comfort, a joy that the world doesn't have, but would find attractive. I think about John 16:

32“But a time is coming, and has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.
33“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Take heart, brothers and sisters in the desert place, he has overcome the world.