Stuck in Middle School

If you know me, then you know that I am rather socially inept. It is something I deal with every day and while it is not something I like, I have learned to live with it to the point of not bothering to change it. I want to relate well with people, but it is so uncomfortable for me that all my relationships end up being shallow and meaningless.

As I say this, I can hear the voice of one of my mentors saying stop focusing on your problems and focus on the provision that is Christ. Some times I wish that voice would just shut up and let me have a good long stew. If Christ is going to provide my social skills, I wish He would do it soon.

Generation Y-outube

Generation Y Ego Trip

“This is a bottom-line society, so students are smart to seek the most direct route to the bottom line,” he added. “If you don’t have a me-first attitude, you won’t succeed.”

Flacks summed up the attitudes he often encounters in students, who expect a tangible payoff from their education:

“The old model was a collegial one in which students and professors alike sought knowledge for knowledge’s sake. The new model is ‘I paid my money, give me my grade and degree.’ It makes me want to ask [students], ‘Want fries with that order?'”

As a student on the UNC Chapel Hill campus, everything in this article is so apparent to me here. It’s all about I gave you the money, give me the grades and I’m gone.

Green and Gray

I’m in a room full of people, hanging on one person’s breath.
We would all vote him most likely to be loved to death.
I hope he still wants it, but it might remind him of when,
he aimed for the bulls eye and hit it nine times out of ten.
That one time his hand slipped, and I saw the dart sail away.
I don’t know where it landed, but I’m guessing between green and gray.
We thought nothing of it, but it still haunts him like a ghost.
With all eyes upon him, except two that matter the most.

He says, “Green is the color everyone sees all around me.
Gray is the color I see around her, and she’s just a blur.”
The more the corwd cheers, the less I can hear
and they don’t really care what I play. It might be for her.
But for now it’s between green and gray.

We paid and we cheered. Now we’re gone and to us that feels right.
But for him every one of those evenings turns into a night.
With another hotel room where he lays awake to pretend
that he’s doing fine with his notebook and discman for friends.

He says, “Green is the color everyone sees all around me.
Gray is the color I see around her, and she’s just a blur.”
Night after night what I hear, what I write fills the room
and my head starts to sway. It might be for her,
but for now it’s between green and gray.

I want you to love me, he whispers, unable to speak.
And he wonders aloud why feelings so strong make the body so weak.
Then he awoke. Now he’s scared to death somebody heard.
If it was you, and you know her, please don’t say a word.

-Nickel Creek

This song is both beautiful and frightening to me. Beautiful because the melody exquisitely projects the upbeat front the subject puts up for the crowd, while the high strains and vocals tell of his loneliness. Frightening because if I were better at darts, this song could be about me.

Pride

Long time since last post. This is partially because my laptop was getting repaired which was taking forever. But also because I just haven’t had anything to say.

Recently I’ve been reading the Ragamuffin Gospel, by Brennan Manning.

Luke juxtaposes the passage of Jesus and the children immediately preceding the verses on the young aristocrat. Children contrast with the rich man simply because there is no question of their having yet been able to merit anything. Jesus’ point is, there is nothing that any of us can do to inherit the kingdom. We must simply receive it like little children. And little children haven’t done anything. The New Testament world was not sentimental about children and had no illusion about any pretended innate goodness in them. Jesus is not suggesting that heaven is a huge playground for Cajun infants. Children are our model because they have no claim on heaven. If they are close to God, it is because they are incompetent, not because they are innocent. If they receive anything, it can only be as a gift.

Perhaps it is different for other believers, but I find that the most dangerous and poisonous sin in my life is pride. Pride that ties my mind into thinking that I can do it all on my own. That I should be doing it all on my own. I don’t trust that God will do anything with my life, or at least anything I want to do with my life. And hey it is my life, right?

Pride seems to be the greatest paradox of all when it comes to forgiveness. God is willing and ready to forgive the sins of all who would come to Him. But what if the sin is the very reluctance to come to Him? If the sin was taken care of before coming to Him, then isn’t everyone saved already?

I don’t have all the answers.

Thank God for that.

Second Coming of the Pharisees

Tonight in the line of the merchandise store
While they were packing up my bags
I saw the pictures of the prophets of the picket signs
Screaming, “God hates fags”

And it feels like the church isn’t anything more
Then the second coming of the Pharisees
Scrubbing each other ’til their tombs are white
They chisel epitaphs of piety

-“Come, Lord Jesus”, Andrew Peterson

So there’s so many good subjects that are brought up by these lyrics. Subjects of hypocrisy and humility; Subjects of purity for Christ and purity through Christ; Subjects of anger and love.

I don’t have time to discuss any of them right now, so I’ll just leave the words to simmer.

Lord, I believe! Only help my unbelief!

No More Faith – Andrew Peterson

This is not another song about the mountains
Except about how hard they are to move
Have you ever stood before them
Like a mustard seed who’s waiting for some proof?

I say faith is a burden
It’s a weight to bear
It’s brave and bittersweet
And hope is hard to hold to
Lord, I believe
Only help my unbelief

Till there’s no more faith
No more hope
I’ll see your face and Lord, I’ll know
That only love remains
Have you heard it said that Jesus is the answer
And thought about the many doubts you hide
Have you wondered how he loves you
If He really knows how dark you are inside…

This song really brought to light for me that there is coming a time when our faith will become sight and no more will we have to long for what is to come. There will be a time when all that is left is love. God’s love for us and our love for Him. This just seems right to me. Faith and Hope are useless without fulfillment and they will be fulfilled by Love when God comes to collect His own possession.

Oh God hast the day when my faith will be sight!! Until that time, Lord help my unbelief!

Judgment

“For I am concious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord. Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God.”
I Corinthians 4:4-5

Theologian

Just in case anyone was curious…

You scored as Martin Luther. The daddy of the Reformation. You are opposed to any Catholic ideas of works-salvation and see the scriptures as being primarily authoritative.

Martin Luther

80%

Anselm

73%

John Calvin

53%

Karl Barth

53%

Friedrich Schleiermacher

47%

Jürgen Moltmann

47%

Paul Tillich

27%

Jonathan Edwards

27%

Charles Finney

27%

Augustine

27%

Which theologian are you?
created with QuizFarm.com

Charity

While standing in line at the checkout counter, the lady in front of me pulled out food stamps to pay for her groceries. I had never seen food stamps before. They were more colorful than I had imagined and looked more like money than stamps. It was obvious as she unfolded the currency that she, I, and the checkout girl were quite uncomfortable with the interaction. I wished the was something I could do. I wished I could pay for her groceries myself, but to do so would have been to cause a greater scene…
I realized that it was not the woman who should be pitied, it was me. Somehow I had come to believe that beause a person is in need, they are candidates for sympathy, not just charity. It was not that wanted to buy her groceries, the government was already doing that. I wanted to buy her dignity. And yet, by judging her, I was the one taking her dignity away.

Pride is my downfall, I’m quite sure. I absolutely cannot stand being in need of the help of someone else. And yet needing God is exactly what He calls us to. I am completely hopeless to bring myself out of this living death, yet even in this quagmire, Christ took care of it and now all I must do is lay down my pride and say thank you.

My favorite teacher at the Bible school used to say that we so often get focused on the problem that we miss the provision of Christ. But what if the very problem I’m facing not being able to accept that provision. Has Christ overcome that problem just as completely as all the others?

Single-Parenthood is Wrong (but don’t you dare get an abortion)

My father likes to read to us at the dinner table after our meal is finished. Usually it’s something political or spiritual. I guess it’s his way of imparting words of wisdom to us. That’s cool, I’m grateful for parents that are trying to raise us to be responsible citizens as well as followers of Christ.

Today he read us an article about the decline of marriage in the US. It talked about how single parenthood is on the rise and how bad it is for society. That’s fine, I agree that to raise truly functional children it requires two responsible people in a committed relationship with one another. But when you look at this in the big picture, how can we hold both this viewpoint and an anti-abortion stance.
What choice do we offer a young woman when we say that it is wrong of her to try and raise a child by herself, and yet also condemn her getting an abortion. This is not the way Christ would go about this situation. The Christ I read about offers hope of a better way instead of condemnation of the paths already taken. The Christ I read about would rather share a meal with a single mother than look from afar and feel good about his own situation.
How often I hear preachers talk negatively of the statistics of abortion and single parenthood. Yet I’ve never heard a sermon that commanded the congregation to reach out and love those parents struggling to survive. Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Paul tells us in Corinthians that we have nothing to do with judging the outside world; at least not in this age. Our only concern is with the body of Christ, and that is something we completely miss when we start pointing the finger “those pagan single parent’s and abortioners”.