Sunday, November 15, 2009


This has been a really weird month for me. I guess God has exposed a huge blind spot to me. I have always had a strong internal locus of control. I have always thought that I could control what happens around me. Generally it was not an overt sense of control but when bad things happened to me I always found a way to blame myself. This experience is no different.

The weird thing is that with my family there is no way I can do what I normally do. I find it somewhat disturbing there is nothing I can do or even really blame. God has made it quite clear that he is in charge and I am just along for the ride. If God is not something to be trusted then this is a problem. But I am reminded that God can be trusted and everything good comes from Him.

I know this is affecting work. I am seeing how what I am going through spiritual is what I am talking about. I hope this is not a bad thing. Which may be another attempt to control what is happening around me. This is hard sorting everything out. I feel like everything around me is crumbling, and the simplest explanation is to question myself and my worth. I do not think there is any simple answer to what is going on.

The greatest comfort I have is that I know God will get me through this. I do not doubt that God will get me through life. I guess I am wrestling with my emotions and it may take a while.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

nothing is better, but everything has changed

November always seems to be a terrible month for me. This year it is no different. For the past week I have felt that bad things keep happening to my family. Part of it is that I am learning about issues in my family now even though they have been happening for a while. Half of my extended family is sick and that is crazy to me. I have a small family so it is not like there are a lot of people to begin with. So now that half of them are ill I am not very happy. But what is hitting me is my powerlessness to do anything and I felt that God had failed me. God never promised me safety but I assumed God would take care of my family. I don’t really care what happens to me but I felt that God would at least keep them safe.
Maybe that is the next lesson I need to learn. That God is in control and we have no ‘deals.’ God does not barter or make deals with what people will or will not do. If I had a deal with God that would mean I really did not trust God. It would mean I would have some sort of legal recourse. Instead I have been forced to see that nothing is certain, but God is in control. There is nothing wrong with that. It has reminded me that I need to die to myself and live in Christ. I cannot stand apart from God and tell him how to take care of my family; I can just trust that everything I believe about God is true. And what I struggle with I hope I can say “Lord I believe, help me in my unbelief.”
I also saw that the God I had over my family was not the God I love. For a long time I was frightened to approach God. That If went to God I would only find silence or impotence. I had a god that was more in my image then God. God was patient with me. He even chased after me in this hard time. I have never had a problem with realistically identifying my problem but it is moving on when I know what the problem is that trips me up. I hit my turning point this Monday. Things are still terrible and overwhelming. But I am finding comfort in God. God is not powerless in the face of this problem.
I am not better, I am not happy, and I am not ok with anything. But I am turning to God. I finally used prayer to turn this entire situation over to God. I am finally at a point where I can approach God’s presence and let Him talk to me, not tell Him what to do.
Honestly I think a big part of that are my friends here. In college I learned that if you told anyone about your problems people freaked out. But here friends have gathered around me and let me know that I am cared for. One friend has repeatedly asked if there is anything they can do and my problem was I had no idea what to ask for. Knowing that people care has been great and helpful. I am thankful for people surrounding me and loving me.
As this week progresses I am going to try to get into God’s presence. I am going to seek Him and listen to what he has for me. I am going to open my heart to God because I do not feel I need to hide it anymore. It is wonderful to know when I am being silly God is still there, that I love a God that is ready when I am and does not abandon me because I am in pain. I do not think I have been making great choices lately, but I know that I am not abandoned. God is neato.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A New Thought on the Focus of God.

This last quarter I took early church history. One of the topics covered by this course is the monastic movement. I saw in the hermits and monks people that were afraid of their own humanity. They were afraid that if they saw a woman she would be a distraction. I see in my own fears of sin in their reactions. They became human and I can understand them. As I have noted many times before relationships have been hard for me. Both friendships and romantic relationships. A sharp thorn has been romantic relationships. In the hermits I see that same issue but their response was to run from it. To hide. And maybe that is the best way to deal with it. To get away completely and not worry about it. Because then a person is focused on God and not on the sin that gets them.

I read an article recently that said that the monks were removing themselves to focus on God. That is was not just their sin but it was the things that tempted them. The focus was about getting rid of ALL distractions. If a person got married then they would try to raise a family. In raising a family they would be focused on something other then God. This is another important issue. The monks were not hiding from sin. They were challenging the very things of this world that took them away from God.

I wondering if that is the mindset I should have for God. Those things that distract me from God should be ignored and instead I should focus on God. I was talking a friend recently and I pointed out I have unlimited possibilities. That I can do anything I want with my life. I can move any where and take any job. As long as I pay off my debts my life is open. And maybe instead of thinking about the possibilities I have I should instead think about the opportunities I have. I may never get married, and being concerned with dating may be a distraction for me. Instead I think I am going to focus on taking advantage of the freedom I have, and pursue with more vigor. Heck more vigor and vim.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I had a mystical experience. Ironically enough it was while reading about mysticism. After a couple of weeks of feeling stretched and wondering what is happening something I decided to read during some down time. While reading I started to feel an overwhelming allegiance to God. my beloved lord is the best way to describe it. I was caught up in the moment. I started to crave the nearness to God. I was not watching TV, playing video games, or reading to distract myself. I was in a quiet place that allowed for my love of God to flourish. I was not crushed by my thoughts and stress but I was freed of my responsibilities in that moment. I was connecting to God and to others I have never met in a meaningful way. I learned it is ok to have the temporary experience with God. That I do not have to force it to last but I have to freedom to let it go. Inside of trying to smother it to my bosom I was able to have it and even to look forward to its passing. Because I knew it would pass and I did not have to maintain it I was allowed to have it and then let it go. I did not have to fight with myself to maintain it. And I see now that my faith is not a concrete solid thing that must be built but it is something that I interact with. That I will not be able to adequately use words to describe it but I am able to experience it. I was able to enjoy an experience without guilt or regret in losing it. I was able to speak my love and heart and know it was true. The freedom to have that experience is sometimes missing. Worship at church can seem like just a function, reading the Bible can be just another check mark for the day. But as I, and I hope others, am allowed to have an ebb and flow with God I was able to have that special moment with God. God is good but I may not recognize that all the time I know that I am allowed to have those moments with God.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

good times

Life is really good right now. I have lost weight, I getting into better shape, I do not have not have to worry about money to finishing school, I have wonderful friends, God has been doing some great stuff.

Monday, April 13, 2009

healing relationships

Well in the past I have generally written about the nasty things that happen in the past. But now I get to share some good things about relationships. If you have talked to me about my personal view of dating then you know that I am against the idea. I do not think I should date and I doubt God’s plan for my life involves marriage.

Also it is pretty obvious I got hurt real bad a while ago. But last Thursday there was something that happened. I friend asked me to show a friend of his fiancée around Pasadena. It turned out to be a great time. I am used to women being nervous or scared of me because they think I want to get with them. Which is not really true. Or a woman wants to take it in a direction I do not want it to go. While that is rare it happened. I was not nervous or weirded out by showing her around. We made delightful chitchat. Looked at some interesting stuff. I realized it was a good time. I was really happy that I could spend time with someone and not have any problems it is something I have been needing.

Later I show someone that I had a lot of friction with and I realized I was over them. I no longer viewed them with rose color glasses. I no longer was afraid of them and what they thought of me. I realized that God used that short time to heal me of a gaping wound. I could move on happily with joy. So that is the story of healing relationships. That we meet people and they can affect us for the better. No one is a rock all along. No one is by themselves. Others will impact us hopefully God will guide them in healing our brokenness.

So I am giddy and happy. I will probably never see the fiancée’s friend ever again but the impact in my life with last. God is good and knows what He is doing.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Holy Spirit

So I realized that my blog is kinda the supplemental log to my preaching. So that means this one is about the Holy Spirit. Emil Brunner said something interesting about the Holy Spirit. That there can be no one doctrine or definition of the Holy Spirit because the role of the Holy Spirit is so verified. I was thinking about this and over then saying the Holy Spirit is connected to humans I would agree.

But then I have to think about myself and what role the Holy Spirit plays with me. I figure that I need to study like crazy for a sermon. Not because it will inherently make my sermons better but I want to give as many tools to the Holy Spirit as possible. I know that if someone is ever impacted in my ministry then it is because the Holy Spirit moved in them. I believe the Holy Spirit and human intellect are essential for spiritual formation. So it is not about me delivering a good sermon but delivering the best sermon I can so that the Holy Spirit can then use my sermon to change lives.

Earlier today I realized I was a little impatient with a colleague. I am thinking that I need to spend a little more time reflecting with the Holy Spirit. Not that I acted out in any way but just that I was surprised I had to struggle with my attitude so much. So now I am seeing where I need to turn and it will be fun trying to get there.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A new thought on love

It is a funny thing how I will listen to a catholic or Anglican and my life will be changed by that experience. Maybe not an enormous change, but one that challenges my beliefs about people, and how God wants me to live.

I was listening to the BBC version of All Things Considered and they were talking to a monk. What the monk said about love was incredible. He said that the priest or monk has the ability to love more people because they are not married. And that resonated with me. this is not my usual diatribe about marriage but instead an understanding of how people love. In a marriage the couple feels an intense love for the other person. And they should not feel that type of love for anyone else. That love reaches a passion other people will not be able to see. I will never claim to know the kind of love that can exist in a marriage because I am not married and I doubt I ever want to be married. So in marriage there is the love that is deep but for only one person. But a single person can love many people at the same level. There is no intimate connection binding them to one person. The love they express for others can go as deep as possibility with infringing on a relationship ordained by God. So the single person may never know the intensity of love in a marriage they can share their love with many people unfettered.

Both obviously have good points and bad points to them. for a long time I wondered what is the real role of a single person in the church. Everyone expects me to get married and I get the question of if there is someone special in my life or not. The reason I do not think I am going to get married is that every time I get involved with someone it ends up wrecking me. I get used emotional or something else. Since it really does not seem to by God’s plan for my life I have the freedom to start exploring loving others in great depth. Those who know me well see how funny this statement is. It is something I am looking forward to exploring. Maybe I will finally get my theology of singleness sorted out.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Love of the Bible

Falling in Love with the Bible
I have been writing a sermon on the Bible this week. Which has made me think about what I like about that Bible and what I think about the Bible. In high school I loved the Bible. I carried it everywhere I went. All my pants and shorts have cargo pockets to fit my Bible. In College my faith took a hit. Everyone was Christian and we never talked about Christianity. It was like the faith was handed to us and it was never something we had to wrestle with. We were all Christian so it did not matter. I still viewed the Bible as authoritative but I did not have the same passion I had in high school. I knew I was called into ministry so I went to seminary. While in Seminary I had a course over the first summer about the Bible in pastoral care. I was worried it would be about how the Bible will explain all psychological problems as sin issues and the Bible will fix those problems. Well the course was taught by an Anglican priest and it changed my life.

The professor brought up Psalm 119 and held it up for the class to look at. And he said something that was stunning ‘the psalm was an erotic love for the Bible.’ That the author loved the Bible like he loved a woman. It was amazing. I guess I had not seen someone in love with the Bible for a long time. That started a little kernel of passion for the Bible in me. I started to look at the Bible like I did in high school. I started to turn my emotions to the Bible not just my intellect. I think all Christians should turn their emotions to God as well as their minds. So when my emotions started to get into the Bible I started to see my relationship with God was getting deeper. I was able to turn all of me to God and God started to get more of what He deserved, not just some aspect of me.

So in working for this sermon I am trying to explain how to talk about love of the Bible without being moralistic or judgmental. It seems to be a fine line and I don’t want to say “read the Bible or else” and I don’t want to say “the Bible is nice and you should sometime look at it.” I am still shaping the direction this is going but the highlight for me is going to try to be communicating my love for the Bible.

One a side note I started to use a daily lectionary for my Bible reading but if you ask me I will deny it and tell you how lectionaries are evil.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

me super busy.

What the heck just happened? So earlier this week I was cruising along feelin’ fine and a whole lot of work hit me. I had a paper due Friday that I did not start until Wednesday. It was a fun paper and it was good. So I was working hard at that. Then Wednesday night I got an e-mail telling me I was preaching that Sunday. Now I had started to think about what to do but this meant it was kicked into high gear. So yesterday was research and writing the first draft of the manuscript. Tonight will be practicing it like crazy. The other issue is that I am pretty nervous about this. I really do not want to do a crappy job. I want to do a good job at this church. Well here goes nothing.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's day

I totally forgot what day it is. This is only a problem in that I made a phone call I would not have made if I knew what day it was. I keep forgetting that if you talk to a woman on this day then your motives are automatically suspect. Oh well. The phone call was a follow up to my last post.

Well today is a day for all you coupled people. Enjoy it. Mean, I am watching TV and will maybe do some homework. I have a great day planned. Cheers all you happy people

Sunday, February 8, 2009

A string of broken relationships.

I was listening to some music tonight and it hit me. That some of the relationships that were closest to me where just a long line of broken relationships. I saw that there is a lot of hurt with the people I wanted to be closest to and I have no clue how to respond to that. In high school I had to misfortune of being rejected at least once by every girl I asked out. Often the reject involved them laughing at me. Even from high school I can no longer talk to my ex. We are by no means on good terms. Which I think if funny in hindsight because she was so important to me at the time. It is an odd thing that someone so close can become so distant.

College was no better. I had friends fall in and out of relationship like it was a fad. I rarely keep in contact from anyone in college. I will call a few people every now and then but I realize that we are not close. They are not living life with me and I am not living life with them. I once spent a winter break IMing a fellow student. That was the high light of my day. Then one day she told me she was not looking for a relationship. And a week later she was dating someone else.

I moved more or less across the country and I hoped things would be different here. But there are still the relationships that hold no significance. Although there are people here I have actually connected to. I am able to live out my struggles with friends and those that would do something crazy for me. I realized today that I have some amazing friends that would do something crazy like drive me to LAX. But even here I struggle with those I want to be closest to me. I wonder if there is something wrong with me. I wonder if God made me a little off on purpose or if He is spiting that on purpose. It is something I am struggling with. I desire to be known to something and to know them.

I had a friend tell me recently that my biggest obstacle is me. that is true. My stark terror at approaching someone is pretty laughable. If I am belligerent or angry I have no problem dealing with people. But actually approaching them leaves me self-conscience and insecure. This is where psychological problems and theology are slamming together for me. Because I see that God knows what is going down. I am a firm believer in Psalm 139. I think Psalm 139 sums up a lot of my cosmology right there. I guess I should have no problem then.

I am debating on whether to try to talk to some people and maybe fix a few of these broken relationships. I am wondering If I should and if God will be there trying fix them or if I will be inserting myself into God trying to teach someone something. I guess I am trying to figure out if I push my theology on relationships onto other people. I hesitate doing that because I think people who “know what is right” are generally complete morons and blind to the deficiencies of their views.

Broken relationships are no fun but I look back and see a string of them.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

being nice

Am I a Christian? I have been asking some friends that question recently. Or another way of putting it is “if you did not know I was in seminary would you think I was a Christian?” That also begs the question of what it means to be a Christian. Now I decided not to define Christian because there is no real set definition. Some of the militias in Africa claim to be Christian. And to be honest when I get to heaven I may find out that people who used child soldiers are there too. So if I start declaring who is or is not a Christian then I start to limit God.

But I am still curious to know if others who know me well know that I am a Christian. So far the answer is yes. Yes my friends think I am a Christian. It is nice to know this but it does not mean I can just say I am done. I still need to conform my mind to a better way of thinking. I am seeing that there are a lot of opportunities to be a totally jerk but I actually chose to be nice. Now I think that is informed by my faith. Because I know I can get a much more interesting reaction if I am a jerk.

I also suggest being nice does not get one anything. That even then I find my reaction is to be nice to people it does not earn me friends, accolades or an easier time at anything. Being nice tends to end up being null. I haven’t made any enemies but I did not make any friends either.

But I do not think it is just a matter of being nice but I saying that being a Christian has encouraged me to being nice. I think it is part of learning to love people and such. Now love is the most important thing we get from the Bible. First we have to love God and then we are to love our neighbors and ourselves. It does not matter what I learn in seminary if I do not get the love part down. So I think I am on the right road as a Christian, but I do not think being nice is the lynch pin of that.

Monday, January 19, 2009

star gazing is dangerous

I have come to realize a couple of things. I expect Christians to live up to the Bible. Now I understand that people read and interpret the Bible in different ways. I have no problem with this. I expect then that people live what they interpret the Bible to mean. The goal is still to live out what they think the Bible is saying. For me I read love out of the Bible. I read Grace out of the Bible. I expect that Love is to be central to a Christian. Paul writes in Corinthians that he could speak in the tongues of men and angels but without love it is meaningless. So love is incredibly important. Jesus threw love at people before condemnation.

Now I was star gazing over the weekend. I was going from Orion’s belt to Sirius. Then up to Procyon. I could more or less see the major constellations but not much else. It got me thinking. I started to realize that there is too much beauty in the universe not to live without following my ideology. I needed to take risks and do things that could end up hurting me because of love. If God can create some kickass stars and let me enjoy them, then I can seek reconciliation.

the Thursday before this a I was talking to a friend about how I could not understand why I was rejected so easily and with such finality. I had given lip service to considering the other side but really I feel onto my side because that was the side I saw most clearly. Now my friend said something I had thought before but I decide to pay more attention to it because obviously my position was going nowhere. He advised me to ask if I had hurt someone. And I figured heck I cannot be ignored any more then I already am so I may as well ask them if I hurt them.

I want to hear if I hurt someone. I want them to tell me to my face that I hurt them. My honor demands nothing less than addressing when I hurt someone. It too this experience and being in California for me to realize what my honor is. My honor is the good I like about me. that I do not oppress people knowingly. That I do not manipulate people for enjoyment. Certain situations demand certain actions and I have no other option. But a lot of people think Americans have no concept of honor. I read in a book about how other cultures have a monopoly have on honor but not the West. But I see now coming from a fairly blue-collar background that honor is so ingrained in me I would have to throw a lot away to abandon it. My honor leads me to live for God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.

The point is that I took a risk. I am trying to ask if I hurt someone and I want to hear them tell me how if I did. I trust God to empower me to deal with it as a Christian, with love and grace and seeking forgiveness. I want to live like I read the Bible and follow it. I want to live with Christians who do the same. It will be interesting to see how it works out.
End communication.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

New Year

It has been some crazy times. Being home over winter break was weird. When I got home a lot of people called me and wanted to hang out and such. It was so weird to me. I am not used to people calling me and wanting to hang out. It is the definition of popular for me. Normally people do not call me but instead I normally am the one to call others.

There was also this weird feeling being home. Like I know my parents still love me, but I did not feel the same about their house that I did back in the day. When I got back to school and into my apartment I felt this sense of home. I told this to someone and they mentioned that individuation must have settled in. And I kinda think that must be true. That my place in cali has become home. When I was driving back through the city it had a familiar beauty to it. I never thought I would feel that way about cali.

I am getting my feet back under me right now. Getting back into the swing of school and all the responsibility that brings. I am looking forward to this semester. It should be good and interesting. Weeeee.

I am still dealing with being wrecked last semester. In IL it did not seem so important, but now I am terrified of running into things that remind me of her. Because I do not want to deal with that pain. I feel like I am walking around in an emotional minefield that could go at any moment. That I may run into her and feel all the old crap again. I hate feeling shy and insecure. I hate feeling unworthy and alone. I want to feel apart. That I matter. I have good friends here and I think I would absolutely ruined without them. I guess it is about learning and healing. I wonder if I will ever end up in a healthy relationship. I would like to just be friends with a woman the same way I am friends with everyone. That may sound weird but I do not want to play social games. I do not want to be coy. I want to hang with people who are interesting and teach me. I want to be crack my bad jokes and say my piece. I want my crap to be refuted and I want to be edified by my relationships. I make friends with guys who naturally do this but I find it is incredible rare for a woman to do it. I could be weird or it could be that subcultures I run with. I am just not sure. Well tonight I am going to take it easy

I got a headache. Not sure why, meh.

End communication