I was considering writing about politics, but I don’t feel its necessary to fill your heads with more hatred and anger (but Gary Johnson for president!). I felt it more appropriate to discuss the power of relationships.
This week I got into an argument with one of my best friends. I’ve known this guy since I began Elementary school. He and I didn’t really become friends until high school, but currently he’s one of my closest buds. The argument was pretty childish and was started by me – I gave a selfish response to him after he had shared something quite serious with me. I didn’t even stop to consider his feelings, so I shared my own. While my comment was true and I still believe it needed to be said, the timing was all wrong. I didn’t give him any good graces, I just said what I wanted him to hear, and it was all about me.
I think many times in our lives, we find ourselves being a lesser man (or woman) because we want to get our word in. We disregard what the other person says. We care only for our input. What we ought to do, is respect our fellow man, listen to what he has to say and do our best to sympathize with them. If we cannot properly empathize, the least we can do is try to put ourselves in their shoes and love them.
Many times, I have attributed the human condition to our selfishness, and I’ll likely stand by that till the day I die. If you make life about your struggle, your expectations and your achievements, you’re going to lose out every single time.
Our calling is much higher than ourselves, we’ve been called with a mandate to “love your neighbor as yourself.” I’d argue this is absolutely the hardest thing anyone can stand to do because if you take a look at who your neighbor is, you might be disgusted. When Jesus presents the lawyer with the Parable of the Good Samaritan, he is literally calling him to love those he has complete hatred for. The Samaritans were completely resented by the Jewish community – they were the enemy. Jesus told a lawyer to go and love someone he ought to hate.
What does that mean for today? Who is our enemy? Who hates Americans as much as we hate them? Fill in the blanks yourself. Either way, we are called to love them.
Now, my friend is obviously not my enemy, but I need practice loving my enemies as well as I love my friends don’t I? If I can’t love my neighbor that is closest to me, how can I expect to love my enemies well? This kind of love is meant to be given without condition. Love is a choice we make, and it is far more than a feeling of affection. Love is work. It sounds impractical and even insane, but it is Heaven’s Mandate, it is Humankind’s Great Commission.
Once I begin to forget,
I was happy,
and then You Return.
I began to think you had left my minds eye,
but You Return.
I dreamt of you once again.
It was a crisp fall morning, in the month of November.
You’ve pervaded my dreams a second time.
I saw Your family,
a family I wish I had sometimes.
I saw my family, as broken as ever.
cries of desperation.
My eyes could not meet Yours,
For my loss was great
my heart heavy
Once I begin to forget,
It’s been an interesting week. I’ve been debating what I ought to write today, and thinking back on the past few weeks, most of my conversations with a close friend have been concerned with how we engage ultimacy (for us, ultimacy is God). We consider his character, we doubt what sources we can trust, we complain because we tend to be confused often. But hey, that’s what you get with asking tough questions about something that supposedly created you.
Anyways, I thought it might be appropriate to construct my understanding of theology from the ground up. With all of these conversations taking place, I glanced back at some of the work I’d done in a class my second semester of college. The title of the course was God, Faith and Evil; it was pretty much a study of the basic ideas that are discussed in philosophy of religion (which in laymen’s terms means the study of religion through the use of reason). This particular class happened to be one of the first in a series of classes that challenged what I fundamentally believed. I can say, these courses have reinforced some of my previously held beliefs, while some beliefs have changed in ways I find to be very beneficial.
Either way, through taking a second look at my work, I remembered how I constructed my idea about how everything came to be with the use of reason. While we can look at creation accounts such as Genesis 1-3 or a mathematical analysis like the Big Bang Theory, I find it even more beneficial to draw it back another step. In order to do this, I think it is best to begin with an argument that was constructed by Aristotle. In Aristotle’s Metaphysics, he constructs an argument for the unmoved mover or the prime mover. Unfortunately, I cannot do the argument any true justice in just a few words, so go and read it yourself; however, in short he states: we live in a universe of cause and effect, so something had to start the chain reaction that got us here. We can’t draw the causes back forever, there has to be something that moved first without it being moved.
With that said, my understanding of how the universe began comes down to three options:
There is no god, all of this is a fantastic accident;
There is a god, it created the universe, but our lives have no purpose;
There is a god, it created the universe, and creation has a purpose to fulfill.
Now if you know me at all, I figure the third option to be the truth; however, I don’t find you to be foolish if you believe any of the options above. Like I said, these are only starting points. They are something to build off of, not the ends in and of themselves. I’d love to know what you think: Is there another option? Are one of the options wrong to assume? Let’s continue to ask questions.
This first post is dedicated to my dad for all the times my dad has said, “Landon you really should make a blog.” So here it is, I hope that you all will find my thoughts as intriguing as I do. I think my goal is to discuss anything and everything. Things that I fear and doubt. Things I appreciate. Things I enjoy.
I find myself in a season of life where I have a lot of questions and few answers, but what else would you expect? I’m 20. Its no secret that I lack a certain worldly experience that wise old men possess. I’m in my senior year of college, and I study religion. My game plan for now is to continue learning; the next step is graduate school, and maybe after the masters degree it will be the doctorate degree. Maybe it won’t. I find that being flexible is the best way to be. Rigidity will leave me disappointed and desperate to reach a goal that may be impossible for me.
For now, I’ll leave you all with this. The most important things I learned this summer are: 1. Lack expectation – you’re going to let yourself down or you’ll likely be let down by other people (because they’re people) and 2. Practice thankfulness – it seems like people are constantly complaining about something. Hell, even I do, but after I had begun practicing thankfulness, my life has slowly changed. It’s incredible how many things I find to complain about when I have so many things to be thankful for. I’m healthy, I live in a relatively safe nation, I have a family, I’m alive, the list goes on.
If all goes according to plan, I intend for this blog to start a conversation. Let’s argue and disagree. This post is obviously not super controversial or “offensive,” but who knows? We may reach that point one day. Hope you’ll join me in a journey through some of my thoughts (and most likely hiking photos), I’d love to have you along.