Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Dissapointment, judgement...and I'm weird, evidentally.

Let me start by saying that the point of this post is not my eventual thoughts of this situation, but of my response to the situation; and as a christian, being challenged in the sort of response I have. This just happened to be a rather challenging event to my views and judgements.

So I hung out with a few guys recently, some from church, some not. And...it was rather uncomfortable. Not because I didn't know the people; actually, the ones I sat with I knew pretty well. But because I wonder how different that room of guys looked from the rest of the world... Language, good dose of alcohol...and a few seemingly benign consequences along side of that, too. Now, this doesn't bother me when I hang with people who don't give a whoop about Christ and His calling; why should they *not* act this way? But we as Christians are called to be in the world, not of it... So yeah, having a event to have a bunch of guys over is great way to build community and relationships...but I feel that even there, I wonder the benefit if we can't be told any different from the guys we, as followers of Christ, are hanging out with.

And then on the flip side of this, I wrestle with judgement; that oh so narrow line between that which I am uncomfortable with and "feel" is sin and that which is actually sin. Do I really have a place to judge from my limited perspective and limited intelligence of the situation? Should I just get over it, forget it, and get okay with it? As with all things, I feel pulled between knowing what is right for me and knowing what is right...and trying to figure out which is which.

I don't know that I really have an answer to this, other then to take this case by case and figure it out as such, and try to ever sharpen my discernment and limit my judgement. I do know that ultimately, I still love these gentlemen, and still have a large respect for them. Perhaps not in some ways that I had before...but I think I'm okay with that.

And by the way, I think I'm the only guy I know who does NOT enjoy smack talk, smack downs, or general bloody decapitating...yeah. Weird, huh?

Thursday, April 3, 2008


So after washing the first "load" of our mountain of dishes by hand and drying them the same way, I decided to take a break. So I sat down in our small, well lit, heated apartment at our plain but sturdy table, opened our large control climate unit (keeping it's contents at a balmy ~0 degrees), pulled out a carton of elegant french vanilla ice cream (that I bought, didn't make), got a similarly chilled bottle of liquid chocolate, dabbled a bit on top of a single large-ish scoop of ice cream in a (now nicely washed =P ) desert cup, and sat down listening to my cell phone/mp3 player/organizer play a song that I downloaded from a server somewhere in California after I payed for it with a piece of plastic that automatically navigated dozens of secure protocols, passwords, and verifications in the blink of an eye, never asking me for more then a printed number. Now, I could go on and on about how nice it will be to not have to do the dishes by hand, to have an automatic dishwasher do them for me. Or I could go on about how I should feel guilty about having so much stuff when so much of the world suffers. I could also go on and on about how technology is running ahead of itself, offering too many compromises in security for the speed we take for granted. I could even talk about how I should enjoy it while I have it, because our planet is quickly going to pot while we try to maintain a blind and destructive illusion of maintainability.

But honestly, I am going to talk about being blessed. As I sat with my ice cream, I was struck to take small nibbles, slowly. Not just eat it; but actually savor it as if it were a homemade cheesecake made from scratch served in a beautiful medieval castle in Vinton County (www.ravenwood.com). I recognize that I take a lot for granted; so much small stuff. But not that I felt guilty (though I do, plenty often enough); simply blessed. Stuff like chocolate on my ice cream. Stuff like the ability and resources to contemplate and wrestle with the small parts of God that I "get". God has been good to me; not because I seem to have a (supposed; it's really a hoax) intellect that enjoys the problems of modern engineering; not because God has blessed me with a co-op and parents allowing me to graduate with little/no debt. Not because I have a loving, beautiful wife. But because I have ice cream with chocolate. Because I sit in a sturdy chair. Because I have good music to listen to ("Everything" by Lifehouse). Because God has been good, so good to me, in so many little things because I get too caught up in the "big" stuff He is or is not blessing me with. So next time you get a chance, stop and enjoy the smell of a camp-fire or house-fire on the breeze. Pet the puppy that comes running up to you and gets your pants all muddy. Recognize that God loved you so much that He would do and give you small things far beyond your ability to see them all; that a large portion of, even the majority, will go by unnoticed by you or me. Tomorrow, feel pressured, guilty, anxious, or worried, or excited about the big stuff; today, feel blessed.