Saturday, June 27, 2009

Summer Summer Summer Summer Summer Summer

Woooooooo-ee this summer has been crazy! Emotionally, it has been a bit of an up and down type of living, but its all good. Below is a blogpost that I began to write about 2 weeks ago, but i got so frustrated by the situation that I never finished it...
The mind numbing purposelessness that I am enjoying this summer is starting to get to me. Today I wrestled with my dog for a long time. That was probably the most exciting thing that happened.
I'm thinking about what gives a routine purpose and meaning. Why is it that going out into the community and doing something (even shopping!) is more fulfilling than watching movies all day?
I know that lazy people are called fools in wisdom, but what happens when the hard working person doesn't have anything to do other than read and exist?
All butterflies and sunflowers, right? Hah! Hardly. Since then a lot has happened and a lot of different things have begun to challenge me in ways that I didn't expect.

For one, I think God was pulling me to a place of extreme comfort (and therefore, discomfort) for a reason. I'm a people oriented person who basically interacts only with my parents, or no one for long periods of time. Tomorrow my parents are getting on a plane and flying to Australia to see their first grandchild born, leaving me behind to watch our house. I don't have any idea what I'm going to do for THREE WEEKS. I'm becoming more and more oriented toward social justice and the gospel, but I find myself in a wealthy white suburban neighborhood. Ironic? I'm almost always one of the people that "gets in" with something that i work toward (this is applying to a job- I had an internship lined up), but i have found myself unemployed without any real source of income.

All of this has been fleshed out to show one main thing- when God wants to get your attention, he can completely move around the things in your life that are comforting to you so that he will become numero uno once again. whether it was my relationships, my pride, my ideas, or my future, God moved them all so that I would be broken for him once again. Since i've realized all of this, I've appreciated things about God once again.
  1. His never-ending, always abundant grace. Sitting in a communion service I was struck in my heart about my sinfulness and how much I had turned from God. It was ever so gradual, but deviation from God's way is the wrong way. Thanks for reminding me big guy.
  2. With hard work comes fulfillment. I can't just sit on my hands and wait until the last minute to finish something. I could have healthy relationships with the people in the area, but my mentality of "this isn't my home- Taylor is" gets in the way of community with the church. Looks like I'm the knuckle-head that missed out on all of the life happening around me. Stupid me!
  3. When God is center, my life's orbits are correct. Trying to make Bethany the center or my employment or my future will always leave me feeling let down and cheated. Only Christ can re-calibrate my motives so that I become the man i'm supposed to be. With Christ as the sun, my life's planets are in alignment. (SUCH GOOD PLAY ON WORDS OMGOMGOMG)

So, here's to tough times when we don't have any idea what God has in store for us. While I don't get everything right all the time (most of the time, really) I know i'm a work in progress and that what i'll be for the rest of my earthly life.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Growing in the Garden

This past week I have been doing quite a bit of yardwork. Since I couldn't find a job for the summer, my parents graciously employed me as their personal handyman for the next couple months. It isn't a bad gig at all, just a little humid sometimes. :-)

As I have been doing yardwork, there has been an inordinate amount of time to think over different things in my life.
  • Why is it that I sin?
  • What does it mean to "desperately pray?"
  • In what way should the government of a church be formed and operated?
  • Is there a limit to familial accountability?
  • Do I have a worldly view of success or a spiritual view of success?
  • What was the last joke that I told to God?
  • If I don't completely rely on God in this next year, I'm going to muck up the Student Body President position in a royal way!
All of these questions and misgivings rattle through my head and rarely find a symbolistic exit into the real world, but last week a little plant gave me some clarity.

My mother wants me to plant things in lots of different and new areas throughout our yard, and that means digging lots of holes. I mean LOTS of them people. I'll just say that I've dug so many holes that my foot has a permanent indention of the top of a shovel in it. So here I am digging up dirt for some seagrass, and I stop and look at one of the plants that I am planting.

It has to be one of the ugliest little guys that I have ever laid eyes upon. I mean, it might have been a decent seagrass at one point, but it was looking a lot like Britney Spears when she was at her worst: BAD. The blades of grass were dry and lifeless, with no color and no vitality. It was crispy and curled on its edges, and it probably wasn't even worth saving! I saw this little plant and thought, "Why should I plant this? It probably is going to die soon anyways (if it isn't already dead!)" Despite my own misgivings, I was ordered to dig and plant, so dig and plant I did...

After I planted the little guy, I started thinking about it. I'm that little plant in God's eyes. I have all of the facilities to become a vibrant seagrass, but I still suck at doing things the right way majority of the time. The big difference between my reality and the application that I'm explaining is that God is the gardener, and He doesn't plant me in the ground because someone told him to. God plants me in his ground because He believes in me and loves me. While I might be dead or dying, the water that he brings can re-vitalize me in a way that my little seagrass mind can't even begin to comprehend. I mean, do you think the seagrass thought that putting himself in dirt and splashing some water on himself would bring him life? No, obviously he did not. Only God, the gardener knows that.

*SIGH* What a good application! I thought that to myself as I jovially dug some more holes. Soon afterwards, my mom came outside and saw the state of the little seagrass. "Jordan, this little guy is done for, so lets dig him up and throw him away, okay?"


I had subconsciously connected my own spiritual growth with the growth of that little seagrass! I stubbornly refused to dig it up, much to the frustration of my very exasperated mom, but now it is growing. I'm hoping to see much more application from the garden throughout the summer.

Until next time sports fan, I humbly submit this video for your viewing pleasure... Tony Hawk posted this video on Twitter a couple days ago. Ha!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Is it possible to not sin?

Last summer I decided that I was going to read straight through the Bible for my quiet time. Once I had read through the entire thing, I would start at the beginning once again and do a study of each chapter. It's been an interesting and challenging goal so far! I just finished up with the book of Proverbs this morning, which means that I am totally halfway done with the Bible! Crazy!

As I read through the book of Proverbs, I often felt like I was drinking from a firehose. There is so much wisdom seeded throughout that book! I feel like I could read a single verse everyday and I'd still be constantly learning something new. Many of the proverbs that are in the book deal with ways to avoid living in a sinful and foolish manner. Applicable to everyone, no?

Well last night at the young adults Bible study that my parent host, we talked about sin. My dad proposed the question, "is it possible to not sin?" As I'm sure you could guess, everyone's reaction to that was a resounding no(!), but lets stop and think about that.

Of course we all are already sinful from the moment we are created. We come into the world with a sinful nature with makes us separate from God. But despite my sin nature, from this moment on could I no longer sin? Hypothetically the answer is yes. If I became the closer to God than any other human ever has, somehow became extremely disciplined, and avoided all temptation I could not sin. In 1 John Paul expects for the christians to be aiming toward "no sin", not "less sin".

As we discussed this one of the fellows that was at the Bible study said something that I think is true and completely sound. he said, "the true mark of a christian is their reaction to sin." Think about that for a minute. I think that is true!

Whenever a christian hears the gospel for the first time, they become aware of the weightiness of their sin. What will they do with that knowledge? Some repent and become awestruck by the grace of God while others shrug their shoulders and keep living in a sinful manner. What happens when a christian falls back into sin? They repent of the sinful actions that they have committed and work proactively to change how they will react to that temptation in the future. Now this isn't something that is completely based upon the christian: God still has the biggest hand in this reaction to sin.

Where would a believer run to if they wanted help from sin? They would run to Christ. When a believer want to act proactively in dealing with a temptation next time, they begin leaning upon Christ more for support. Christians go out and evangelize because of the grace they were given. They were given grace because of how they reacted to their own sin. I never had looked at christianity from this angle, but I think it stands up underneath our faith.

What do you guys think?

Monday, June 1, 2009


Do you think that we should remove the ideas of denominational backgrounds and just have one "christian church?"
-We should follow what the Bible says, not what this former church father has said about the Bible.
-We focus on the wrong issues in the church. If we focused on the correct issues, then we wouldn't need denominations.
-Groups of people that think the same way should band together.
-Ever since the reformation, churches have been splitting into smaller and smaller sections. Its time that churches should start meeting at a middle ground once again so that we can help the oppressed and the poor in the world. What the church needs is organization.
-Legalism kills the unity that the church is striving for. Oftentimes people don't think that legalism is a problem.
-In history, unity has been attempted by the church, but it hasn't been implemented well. This lack of organizational focus caused those movements to fall, and fall hard.
What about having different worship services, but the same sermon is preached? Wouldn't the church body be separated into those different church services?


Dr. Blogabopolis has entered the building...

Sometimes, when I read what other people are writing, I feel like a proud friend. In movies, the protagonist will be all chummy chummy with someone back from their "college years", only to hear about the success of that person later on in life. There is a sort of swelling of pride in the face of the protagonist. They are happy that their comrade could succeed in life. 

Thats how I feel when I read blogs. 

Blogs have become a very important place within the life of a 20 something year old college student. Blogs keep our friends and families informed about our lives as we live, keep our lives from becoming entrenched entirely in the stresses of life, and most importantly, they allow a place for external process with like minded people. It is that final purpose that makes a blog so invaluable in our time.

We live in a society that is focused upon empirical data and swift clean answers. We don't often get the opportunity to chew on something and think it over. We are required to assimilate and regurgitate. This obviously is a more than lackluster form of education, and it is because of this implied system that blogs are quickly becoming crucial in the life of a developing thinker. 

On a blog, a blogger is able to present their half formed ideas or their "broadly stroked" dreams. In the blogging world, whenever a post is submitted to the blogging community the author is saying, "please read what I am thinking and push back". In reality, it is a shame that discussion like this has been transferred to the security of digital interaction with ideas as opposed to face to face interaction, yet this interaction is a necessary thing for our growth. 

When I read my friend's blogs, I see that they are learning and shaping the ways that they are thinking. Look at this, or this one, or even this guy's blog. They all are putting their ideas out for everyone to see and they are benefiting from it. 

I would challenge all of you who might read this to get someone else to start blogging. The more people that are willing to offer their viewpoints up for discussion, the stronger our own topics will become. I promote that the ethereal blogging community that we have found ourselves in should gain some substance and definition. I'm asking for us to not just go to our own blogs to talk about what we think and feel and want and believe, but also to talk about it with others.

Once we do this, enrichment will follow.