Life Update

March 28, 2017

Haven’t touched this blog in awhile. I was recently encouraged by someone close to me to write, so here goes. If I’m being honest, my life has been an incredible roller coaster ride as of late. It has had its ups and downs, but like the late Roman Catholic Saint Augustine reminds me, I have the power to suffer differently because of the hope of my salvation. It’s funny, throughout the past few weeks, I have experienced many great highs through a pure and beautiful enjoyment of the Lord; however, I have also experienced some lows. And while they have not been near the lowest I have been, they do pain me all the same. These different struggles that I’ve bumped into have come to me through a variety of avenues, be it through relationships, school, personal beliefs, and the list goes on.

Thinking back, I’ve found that the past few years have been a very difficult yet rewarding time in my life. I am often reminiscent of high school, the simple life and simple faith I had then. There was nothing wrong with that season of life and neither is there anything wrong with this. It is clear to me, that as I grow older, I question things more and I grow far more curious. I almost feel like a child, constantly asking, “Why?” to his parents, never truly satisfied with any answer given to me. I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with that, and I don’t expect to grow out of my fascination with this world and this life. And while this constant state of inquiry has its benefits, it also has its downfalls.

I often find myself asking questions that scare some of my friends. Questions that often challenge ideas that they cling to with their whole life. A big question that I have been wrestling with that seems to terrify the evangelical crowd I spend most of my time with, is the question of Biblical inerrancy (in other words, the Bible contains perfect words from God Himself). I find it difficult to reconcile seemingly conflicting ideas, concepts and passages within the Bible’s 66-book canon, and when I express my concerns, I’m often softly berated or criticized and told that the Bible HAS to be inerrant and IS. I apologize if this is the view you currently hold, and I don’t mean for you to think otherwise. Frankly, as far as I’m concerned, I would rather hold no view on this matter (it would definitely save me a lot of time and stress), but when I hear the God of Love, seen through the example of Jesus, preached in the pulpit, I tend to question why would that same God command the handful of genocides we read about in the Old Testament, and this isn’t where my questions stop, its just an easy example to use to make my point. Often times, the answers I get are unsatisfactory and disappointing, so I’m stuck here wondering what to believe.

This line of thinking resurfaced this week when I was having a conversation with a professor after class, and to my surprise, she told me that Biblical inerrancy was NOT a commonly held view in Roman Catholicism and Mainline Protestantism. This knocked me off my feet because the place I had grown up spiritually had taught me that the Bible is the “Word of God” and that’s a scary thought considering how messy that collection of books is. I mean, think about it, the “Word of God,” that’s an incredibly nuanced thing to say – it has so many layers in that 3-word phrase. What it says to me is: the Bible is perfect, it cannot be questioned, you worship its Truth. And while this may feel settling to many people, it has the opposite affect on me.

I’m not claiming to be right on this subject, but I’d encourage you wherever you may fall on your standard for what is true, dig a little deep and maybe consider alternative views (not saying you ought to adopt them, but consider them, you might learn something) before you condemn them outright. No clue how you all feel about the subject, but that’s a process that the Lord has faithfully and patiently been guiding me through. Ultimately, if the Lord reveals to me that the Bible is in fact inerrant, then so be it. Who am I to question God? For now, I’ll keep asking questions just as the numerous followers of God have throughout the many books in the Bible.

With all that said, it is of the utmost importance for those of you that claim to be followers of Jesus, not to have the right belief on matters of theology (the church has never agreed on these things), but to have the right practice and right trust (i.e. the two things the church shares). Let your legacy be known by your trust in the true God and your faithful commitment to Jesus’ practices.

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Poetry Monday

November 21, 2016

Now I want to leave you all a note before you read this. At first glance it might seem incredibly offensive, and while it’s not meant to be, you could still struggle with what I’m getting at. I would suggest you pay attention to the meanings of the vocabulary I make use of, and I hope that you can appreciate a different perspective on this very serious and very sensitive subject.

Depression

A languish luxury
of the First World kind.
Afforded to those
that have the time,

to sit and think
to laugh and rhyme,
with every convenience
that makes life sublime.

They reside in the west,
men and women, depressed.
Leaving their coddled shell
feels like a difficult climb

even when there are stairs
conveniently cut,
but they would complain,
“They are covered in slime!”

It’s depression
and it feels like grime.

It’s depression
a languish luxury
of the First World kind.

Arguments, Sympathy and Love

October 14, 2016

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.