I Finally Did It

It’s taken quite a long time. And it’s not just been since I started writing, but since I started writing this particular story, even. It was a little over 4 years ago that I started writing it. And, almost exactly four years (it would be tomorrow, in fact), that I changed it a little bit to make it  much more like the story that it is today. But, finally, after nearly four years (in which I’d just barely graduated high school when it started, and I’ve now graduated college), I have finally published my first book.

I’ve to some extent awaited this day for a long time. Ever since I started writing, I always imagined having something published. Of course, at that time, I don’t even know if self-publishing really existed, though it probably did, but it certainly wasn’t something big. However, it’s quite a bit less stressful than I could imagine sending it into a publisher and awaiting a response would be, and for that I’m thankful. I honestly don’t need more stress now. Of course, there is some stress that comes with even self-publishing and wondering if anyone at all will like it. It scares me a bit of what the comments might be.

But, for right now, I’m thankful. Not only am I thankful, but I’m hoping that if some people will buy my book, then it might really encourage me to finish at least some of the hundreds of other stories that I’ve started, or at least planned out. Because honestly, I enjoy writing. It’s about the only thing that I have much of a passion for. And to be publishing something is really great. It means that I have finally accomplished the long process of writing and the reading over and trying to make it something that others might want to read (and I’m very thankful for my dad’s help in reading it over for me and making some suggestions for me).

I honestly don’t know where my life is going to take me, but this is a very big step. Writing is something that I want to be a part of my life well into the future. So, for me this is a step in that direction.

So, if you want see it, at least check it out, or even buy it, it’s available on Amazon. And, you can view a portion of the story there (I think it’s a part of the first 6 chapters) to see whether or not you might be interested in reading it.

So, thank you for reading this post, as well as the other posts that I have made on this blog. I know I haven’t written one in a while and I hope to write more soon, it’s just been a long and stressful year as I have graduated from college and am now moving on with my life, still completely unsure of where I’m going to be in a year. So, I thank you for your support, your views of my posts, and even more so the likes and the comments. It has been a great encouragement for me.

P.S. The book is titled One Way Out.

How Should We Celebrate People?

It’s been a while since I’ve written a post. School has been stressful for quite a while and I just haven’t quite gotten a chance to write or really think about what to write in quite awhile. But, early this week, on Sunday, some thoughts began mulling around in my head. One’s totally unrelated to what this post is about, and I hope to write more on it later, but I figured I might as well as least start by giving a brief description.

For starters, I’ve recently switched churches for the second time since I’ve been at Bible College. I was at the last one for almost two years. I wasn’t doing much there, and because of some other circumstances, it just seemed like the right time to change. Plus, it was an even smaller church, which I have truly come to like a lot. Anyways, a few of the people on the music team have been sick recently. And, while at the music practice early on Sunday morning it didn’t sound great at first because of their sickness. It didn’t really make a big difference in the actually service, but it got me thinking. Would it really be such a terrible thing if we didn’t do music one week because of sickness, or for any other reason that would make it hard to do? Would God really care that much?

In short, my answer would be “no,” but that comes from a lot of other thoughts and study on what the Sunday gathering is really supposed to be about and isn’t for this post, but hopefully another time.

Anyways, later that Sunday while having lunch with some of the people from the church, including one of the elders and the current preacher, a thought came up near the end that really got me thinking. It’s been a thought that I’ve had for quite a while but never really been able to put into words or anything like that.

What was said was that it’s interesting that farmers (and ranchers), those who provide the majority of the food that we eat, can struggle to get by while these sports athletes and actors, actresses, and singers can get paid more money than anyone really needs to get paid just because they entertain us. I can’t help but think how sad it is that this is what our society has become. I honestly don’t believe that anyone needs to be making over a million dollars a year. There’s just no reason for it.

Of course, that whole thought can probably lead a lot closer to socialism than I’d want to go, but that’s not my point. My points is that all of our priorities are really screwed up. For whatever reason the people who get paid the most are those who “entertain” us. At the same time, people who help provide us with our basic needs can struggle to make a living.

I’m at a loss of words for all of this.

I have grown up my life watching sports and for the most part listening to music, though neither are really that important to me anymore for various reasons. However, for the longest time I’ve found it ridiculous how much they make. The skills that it takes to do some of those things is pretty amazing, but in the grand scheme of things, they don’t offer much to society. That’s not to say that they shouldn’t necessarily be paid for what they do, but they shouldn’t be making ten or more times more than those who are actually supporting society.

With sports it disgusts me with how athletes will just go to whatever team will pay them the most money. That is there driving force. Nothing but money.

I read this story the other day. I found it interesting to see a professional athlete who actually wanted to return to where his family was. He didn’t want to have to go for the money, but instead he wanted to go to be close to his family. It’s much more stories like these where I see people to be celebrated than stories where a player breaks records or gets the contract with the most money on it.

That brings me to the question about the title. How should we celebrate people? For me, this is a little bit of a difficult question to answer. So many times I want to celebrate those stories of people who do nearly the exact opposite of what most people celebrate. It’s not the famous people, or those with extreme conditions that need to be most celebrated, but those who are normal and never get celebrated for anything. But, that’s not quite right either. Instead, each and every person should be celebrated in their own ways. Everyone is wonderful and adds something to society just by being who they are, and for that they should be celebrated.

HUMAN Lives Matter

“There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal.”

–C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

I’ve been trying to avoid the whole Ferguson and New York City debate and how the trials were ruled and what happened. It’s not that I don’t think they matter; it’s just that everyone is writing about them and giving their opinions and it’s doing little more than annoying me to death. I feel as if at least half of the people who have written or made mention about it on social media sites know very little about what actually happened.

The best post that I saw on the Ferguson case was where the writer said to go, here, and read about the trial for yourself and decide for yourself what really happened. It was nice to see someone not trying to put their opinion over as fact. It irks me when people, writing second-hand, try to pass what they say off as fact. The truth is, second-hand accounts are always littered with opinions. Rarely do they ever have the actual truth.

The first thing that I’ve noticed is that racism seems to be the number one point taken from this whole entire thing. It seems more people are concerned about racism than they are even that two people are in fact dead. Though racism is certainly a problem, and there is a problem with cops and people of other races, it seems ridiculous to try to pass that off as the sole, or even biggest problem in either of these cases.

I did read one post, written by Voddie Baucham, that didn’t take racism as the main point and then hammer it to death. Instead, he points out that those who are dark skinned have far more to fear from those in their own race than they do from cops, or those from other races.

That’s about as much detail as I am going to go in about what other people are saying. That isn’t the point of what I am writing, but I think it is important to note. The biggest thing that people, especially Christian bloggers, are taking away from this is racism and that white people need to stop being racist and instead stand by those of other races and support them completely.

On Twitter recently, #blacklivesmatter was trending. I noticed it one day when I was seeing everyone posting about Ferguson and New York City. And of course, giving their opinion about how whites are racist and need to just admit it and start fixing it. It’s funny enough how those writing those were white themselves and didn’t seem to think that they were part of the problem of racism. I’m blowing that out of proportion a bit and probably was reading them wrong, but that’s exactly how it came across to me.

The truth of the matter is, basically everyone who has lived is prejudiced! Not necessarily racist per se, but sexist, or just prejudiced against some people of their own race and sex (i.e. prostitutes, drug dealers, porn stars, etc.). It doesn’t matter who we are, we’ve all done it at some point in our lives, and many times continue to do it unintentionally. But the thing is, it goes far beyond racism or sexism, or on sexuality which seem to be at the top of the list in the modern-age.

Prejudice is a form of injustice. And injustice seems to be what most of those Christian bloggers are talking about. It seems to be the hot topic of right now. The thing is, injustice goes far beyond prejudice. In fact, it includes nearly every crime that you can think of. It includes nearly every, if not every, sin in the Bible. It consists of everything that takes away a person’s life or something in their life to make their life less.

Injustice, no doubt, needs to be stopped. It will help make the world a better place. And that’s what we’re all looking for, right? It sure seems to be. Of course, for the most part, people are really just looking out for themselves, but to at least some extent they have this wish for injustice to be gone from the world.

What happened to both Michael Brown and Eric Garner are not doubt both tragedies. Those two men lost their lives. It is always a tragedy when a person loses their life, not matter how old, or who they are. It is always a sad moment. Death is never a good thing, no matter who it is or how it happens. And when they are killed by another person, accident or not, it is certainly an injustice. Probably the biggest injustice of all. No one deserves to lose his/her life at the hands of another. No matter what they have done.

It seems like the most often response that I see to all of the injustices that happen in the world is to fight them with more injustice. It seems like people try to right a wrong with a wrong more often than not. There is no grace or mercy. It is that justice must be served, even if it has to be done with more injustice. And this is the completely wrong way to fight it. Creating a prejudice against white cops isn’t going to solve anything.

I want to go back to the #blacklivesmatter hashtag that I mentioned earlier. I saw something on twitter of someone complaining about another person who used the hashtag #alllivesmatter. The person described that hashtag a few different ways. One of them was of someone going to a funeral and saying something to the extent of “I’ve suffered that pain too” and about how rude that would be. That is true. But the same logic could be used with just black lives mattering. What about the girl who lives in your city that died the other day and wasn’t black. Does she not matter as much as Michael Brown or Eric Garner? Because her death didn’t happen in the same manner as those two men’s death, her death isn’t important? I just don’t understand. Why is it that whatever is the “current issue” is the most important? Why is it that every other injustice, or other ways that same injustice is played out are just pushed aside as if they don’t even matter at that moment?

I’m going to just come out and say it. All lives matter! Human lives matter! Every single person. They all matter exactly the same. It doesn’t matter how bad anyone has had it, their life isn’t more important. It doesn’t matter how great a person has had it, or how famous they are, their life isn’t any more important. Every human life is just as important and should be treated as such.

I’m sick and tired of only hearing about deaths like those of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, or the deaths of celebrities. It’s as if those are the only deaths that should move us. But the death of some “no-name” in our community shouldn’t even matter. But the truth is, if someone dies in our community, it should move us a lot more. They have had much more of an impact on our lives than celebrities or people hundreds or thousands of miles away. Even if we’ve never met them. They still had an impact on our community. And that certainly affects us and those around us. I don’t understand how people don’t see this.

It seems people are so caught up in the deaths of those two men that the thousands, or hundreds of thousands of people that have died since then don’t matter. That that hundreds, or thousands of women or even girls, that have been raped or molested don’t matter. That all those who are being bullied in every way don’t. Or at least they don’t matter as much. Why? Why is this?

I mentioned the response post by Voddie Baucham earlier. In his post he mentioned that everyone was expecting and basically assuming that it was his responsibility to write a response to what had happened in Ferguson. And yet, he hardly knew anything that had even happened there. This has become such a big deal. Everyone is supposed to care and be completely outraged. Why? It is certainly true that an injustice was done, but how is it the job of those that are hundreds, or thousands, of miles away to comment? I think sometimes people tend to be too globally minded that they aren’t concerned at all for what is going in their own community, at the local level. It seems to mean little to nothing to them. But what good can we do with fighting injustice at a global level if we can’t even fight it in our own communities, at the local level? It’s too far out of our control.

A lot of people have claimed that the problems with Christians and their response to these two tragedies is that they don’t care. Whether or not that is actually true isn’t my point for stating that. I certainly care what has happened. I find it sad that those two men lost their lives. My problem comes is when it seems like people automatically make it about racism. I see no evidence to support that either of the cops was racist. But yet people have not problems placing what they believe were the motives onto those cops. I find that totally wrong. When most people look at it they see white cop kills black man. What I see is the all too common case of a cop killing a civilian. And ones who weren’t even armed and shooting at them. I see that as the major problem. It almost seems more racist to me to assume that racism was the motivation than racism actually being the cause. It says that the first thing those people see is the two races of the people. If racism is supposed to be dying out, shouldn’t we be to the point where our first thought isn’t to notice the race?

Again, I don’t doubt that racism, and all kinds of prejudices exist. However, to assume that since a guy is a white cop, that he is racist, seems very stereotypical. The whole situation seems to just ooze with stereotypes. The responses by some Christians saying that other Christians don’t care because they aren’t reacting the exact same way is just plain ridiculous. We aren’t supposed to all react the same way. We are completely different and have lived different lives. We have different perspectives. We should react differently! But we should react with the drive to get rid of injustice. However, I don’t think it should be done the way most people are calling for it.

For starters, the past is in the past. We can’t change history! As much as there are some things that we could certainly benefit from by going back and changing, we just can’t do it. However, I have read from a Christian author once about apologizing for what the church has done. Apologizing for such things as the Inquisition and the Crusades. I can see people saying the same thing about white people. We should be apologizing for slavery and the racism that has gone on. I completely disagree. How should it be our job to apologize for things in which we have never done and took absolutely no part in? Plus, what is it actually going to accomplish? For starters, it’s highly doubtful that people are going to actually accept some, basically pointless, apology. Besides that, what is it going to accomplish for us by apologizing for things we have had absolutely nothing to do with? Yes, some people still carry racism, but that stems beyond just whites. We aren’t supposed to change or apologize for the past. Our job is to live in the present and do our best to make the future as bright for everyone else as possible. And that is what we need to be focusing on. The future. Not the past.

The first place that we can start in getting rid of injustice is with ourselves. If we can’t stop the injustice that we do to others,[1] how are we going to be able to help others stop it, especially without being, or at least looking like a hypocrite?

After we get rid of it, or at least begin to really understand injustice and begin the process of getting rid of it, then we can begin to help teach, and model for, others what it should look like. And then we can begin to get rid of it in our society and make the world that we all want, which is free of, or at least less littered with, injustice.

But there is one more thing that we can’t forget. Not only are we supposed to do our best to get rid of injustice for others, we are also supposed to forgive those who commit injustices against us. We have all committed so many injustices against God and He has chosen to forgive us for all of those, which can never compare to the small ones others commit against us. We are called to forgive. And that’s exactly what we need to be doing. We need to forgive injustices against us and help stop injustices against others.

Every human life matters just the same. We need to stop making big deals about certain injustices or against certain people. Every other injustice and person to whom it is done against is just as important. We need to see all people through the eyes of God, as people made in His image.

As C.S. Lewis said, and I stated at the start, but I want to say it again, “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal.”

All humans are unique and equally important!

[1] This takes more forms that we sometimes even realize. Injustice comes in the form of bullying, all types of tearing people down. It comes in the obvious forms of murder, rape, and racism. It comes in the form of all types of prejudice, where we judge others and deem them unworthy of being our friends. We ALL do it! There isn’t anyone who can claim they aren’t part of this problem. We all need to work on it!

Where Are You, God?

Where are you?

Are you in the darkness?

Are you in the light?

Do you notice me?

Do you see me struggling?

Do you see me hurting

Do you even hear me?

Hear my cries?

Hear my thanks and adoration?

Why do you seem so far gone?

Why do I seek and never find you?

Where are you?

Are you right here with me?

Is that why my seeking comes up short?

Am I looking in the wrong places?

Will you come and reveal yourself to me?

Will you show me that you are still here?

Or do you even know who I am?

Why do I feel like you are missing?

Why does your absence feel so strange?

Where are you, God?

Pulled Apart

There’s a constant force

Pushing me towards where I’ve always been

There’s an opposing force

Pushing me toward new beginnings

I’m being pulled in opposite directions

By constant opposing forces

Which side is going to win?

Will I give in and change or continue to move alone?

Is there a stronger force?

One that looks more desirable

Or do they look the same?

Both desirable despite their differences

The forces push and pull

The equal yet opposite forces keeping me in equilibrium

But tension develops within

Tension which won’t go away

Two forces

Pulling me apart

The will to stay the same

Versus the will to change

Everyday the tension builds

Everyday nothing changes

But once the tension becomes great enough

I will break and never be the same

It Takes Two

Friendships are important. There are few people who would doubt that. I would totally agree. Life is certainly missing something when you don’t have friends.

In one of the chapels earlier this semester, one of the speakers started talking about this. But he took a bit of a different approach that sort of frustrated me. He didn’t just say that they were important, but that we needed them. Again, I don’t disagree that they are needed, but it was the way he came across. It felt like a slap to my face. Not because it was something new to me, but because I was trying. I was working really hard at trying to make friends. But he basically just said that it was my fault that I didn’t have friends. What? I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. And I just began to become even more frustrated with him and every word that he spoke. That if I don’t have friends, it’s my fault. Never anyone else’s. It’s only mine.

So, apparently, he thinks that I control everything and everyone. Or, at least that’s how it come across to me. That if it’s not working, I need to control it and make it better. Now, before I make the speaker sound like some Christians who believe the phrase “God helps those who help themselves” and that as a Christian we basically have the power to do everything and will have amazing and perfect lives with many friends and much stuff, he wasn’t like that. Though, it certainly seems, looking back, that he was getting close to it. But that wasn’t his point. He was just telling us that we needed to be around friends and have mentors who could help us as we went along in our lives.

Back to it being my problem. I have to say, I’m still not over what he was saying. It still frustrates me. As I’m writing this and remembering what he said, I can’t help but feel frustrated.

What if it’s not all my fault? What if there is another factor in all of this?

It’s like the phrase goes, “It takes two to tango.” It certainly takes two people to make a friendship work. (Unless of course you are having a friendship with yourself, but that’s a totally different story.) I can’t control how other people respond to me. Yes, I can to some extent change how I act so that some won’t find me repulsive. However, there comes a point where I’d have to completely change who I am just to get a person to accept me for who I am. And I do not believe for one second that God, or anyone else for that matter, is calling us to change who we are just to have friends.

What good is a friendship where a person can’t be him/herself? How well does a friendship last that has no transparency and where both parties are hiding who they truly are so the other person won’t think any less of them? The simple answer is, they can’t. You can’t change yourself just to be friends with another person. Of course, you have to know how to treat them, or they’ll never want to be around you, but you shouldn’t be changing your overall personality or your appearances or anything like that just to please a person. That’s just going to start a friendship that’s built upon lies.

So, back to what I’ve been trying to say all along. It takes two people, being themselves, to make a friendship work. I can’t be friends with someone who doesn’t want to be friends with me. It just can’t ever work. If they reject me for any reason, then they’ll never want to see me, or have any connection to me. And what is a friendship without connection? Well, it’s basically nothing at all. It makes you and them at best acquaintances.

The truth of the matter is that it’s not always my fault if I don’t have friends. If I put myself out there and treat everyone in the right way, but still get rejected and turned down, it’s not my fault anymore. There’s nothing I can do about how they respond to me. All I can do is treat them right.

Now, if we want to be truthful, it is somewhat my fault that I don’t have any real close friends. I don’t go and put myself out there because I do have a fear of rejection. I also can’t go up and talk to a person out of the blue. I don’t know what the underlying cause of that is, but I know it’s there. I just can’t do it. I’m also terrible at having conversations and knowing what to say, so that certainly make it hard for me to ever want to approach anyone. However, I find it completely wrong to still place the fault all on me. How is it my fault that no one ever approaches me? That no one ever cares enough to know how I’m really feeling? That no one ever shows an interest in me?

You see, a friendship takes two. Not one, but two. If both people aren’t on board, there will never be a friendship. It is important to have friends, no doubt. But it’s also ridiculous to place the fault on simply the person who doesn’t have any friends.

All we can do is treat others the right way. How they respond is up to them. Some will become acquaintances. Some we will never see ever again. Some may become enemies. And some will become friends. Sometimes we have to wait it out for a while before friends finally come. But all we can do is seek. We shouldn’t blame ourselves, or anyone else for that matter, when it’s not going our way. Instead, we should just accept life as it comes. Sooner or later it’s going to change anyways, whether for the better or worse, in usually a week (or maybe even a day) at the most, something is going to change.

Free: Transparency Before God

I’ve started to try something new. I’ve started to become transparent before God. What I mean by this, is making an attempt to talk to God about everything, even those things that it seems wrong to ever talk to God about. Of course, God already knows everything, so it’s not telling Him anything He doesn’t already know, but it’s me opening myself up and trying to lay everything out there of what I’m thinking and feeling and just allowing God to listen to me.

This is certainly a scary process. Telling the Creator of all things about how you’re feeling, even when it’s something you know that He might not necessarily like. Even when it’s just complaining about the way things are going. Sometimes it’s just as simple as humbling yourself, and saying, “life sucks. I hate how things are going. I really wish that You had made things go a different way. I know I don’t know how it’s going to turn out and that You know much better than I do, but I still feel that way. This isn’t where I want to be.” It may even be using strong words that might seem inappropriate to say to God but so well express what really needs to be said.

As I was praying the other night as I was working, I began to ask God a question. I asked Him basically to give me a free pass to sin and mess up and make tons of mistakes without feeling the quilt or the shame for what I’ve done. I asked Him to do this and to allow me to intentionally do some of these things as I continue on the process to find myself.

I know this in unconventional, and maybe even wrong, but I felt the need to ask the question. If I was going to be transparent, this was something that I needed to ask. I want to be able to sin and mess up and make mistakes. I want to do the wrong thing as I search and try to find myself. I need to do it. So I asked Him. I can’t say I know the answer. Maybe it’ll take a while for me to not feel guilty. Maybe I’ll never reach that point. Maybe I’ll reach and it and lose God in the process because I’m so focused on me and wanting to do whatever I want. But maybe, it’ll happen and I’ll find myself and I’ll find God in the process and I’ll grow closer to Him and eventually it’ll be as if none of it ever happened and I’ll reach the point where I’m not sinning any more.

I don’t know the outcome, but I asked God to allow me to sin and basically defy Him, and right now I’m working on feeling no shame for it. Truthfully, I expect for Him to say no. But I’m not going to let myself feel bad for asking Him. He’s God, we can tell Him anything. We can talk to Him however we want. He can take it. He wants us to talk to Him. We need to not hold anything back. That’s what I’m beginning to learn.

It’s likely I’ll look back on this and wonder why I was such an idiot, but for now, it’s just part of my process. I’m not going to regret doing this. I’m not going to regret growing and learning and trying to grow closer to God. Sometimes it will happen in unconventional ways, like this. But I’m ready for things to be weird and unconventional. I’m tried of the normal and how boring it is. I’m ready for a crazy life.

I’m learning to be transparent with God. Without transparency, I’ll never be free. And I need to find freedom. I know it’ll be a wild, windy path ahead of me, but I’m ready to do this. And I’m ready to have God by my side every step of the way even when I’m screwing up. Because that’s when I’ll need Him the most to clean up my screw ups and help guide me forward.

Free: How Free Am I?

I’m just slightly less than six months away from graduating from college. I’m 21 now and will be 22 by that time. As I look back over my life, especially my time in college, I begin to wonder who I really am. For the most part, it tends to be college where people really find themselves and determine who they are and then from that determine where they are going to go and what they are going to be doing with the rest of their lives. For me, I’ve been asking myself what I am going to do with the rest of my life since before classes began for me. And the question has never gone away.

Though I have some ideas of what I want to do, I know I’m not certain. Nothing is set in stone. I can already tell that things are going to change. I’m expecting to fail. I’m expecting for things to not work out and everything be reworked as I try to find the direction that I really need to be heading in. But the question I now wonder is, how free am I?

I’ve spend the past 3 1/4 years or so in Bible college. How free can I really be? There are rules to be followed. Restrictions that can’t be ignored. The Bible is the main guide, and we basically are supposed to uphold it perfectly. I don’t say this to complain, or put down Bible college, but it’s just the truth of the matter. There is a sense as to where our freedom has been taken away from us. Of course, it’s basically all for our benefit, but sometimes it doesn’t feel so free.

As I look back, I want to take a moment and really look over what I may have been missing by heading to Bible college. I certainly didn’t go for the same reason most go. I didn’t go in search of ministry or to go work in a church once I was done. I went to determine what I was supposed to do with my life and hopefully find God’s calling and make good (and lasting) Christian friends. I basically failed miserably.

Not only is my “life calling” still unclear, but I feel like by the time I’m done, I’m going to have lost nearly 4 years of my life. Years that I was being told what the Bible says and what’s truth and never being able to do much searching or investigating for myself. I never got a chance to look and see if what I was being taught was what I truly believe to be the truth. Of course I believe the Bible is the truth and I was learning that, but I never got to see another perspective. I never really got to learn other people’s point of views. Though it is certainly my fault, I’ve had nearly no contact with anyone who isn’t a Christian in the past 3 years. I’ve just been around Christians.

I missed going out on my own and searching and stretching myself and trying to see what the world is really like. I’ve missed failing and being able to take any risk. I’ve been held back. And I wonder how free I really am. I’ve spend these years learning about God and how to tell others about Him. That’s about all. That’s certainly not bad, but it has kept me away from so much. Sometimes I feel it makes me unable to relate to people very well. I feel awkward telling people I don’t know and who are not Christians that I am at Bible college. I’m afraid they’ll associate me with what too many people really think about Christians, things that certainly aren’t good. I’m afraid they won’t want anything to do with me. I’m not afraid that they’ll hate me because I’m a Christians, but that there will be no respect and I’ll never have any chance to actually get to know them. I don’t feel free at all.

I want to know what other people think. I want to know what they believe. I want to meet and be friends with people who are rather opposite of me. I want to have these experiences. But I want to have them in an environment where I am free to fail and free to mess up and makes mistakes. But yet, I don’t feel I have that. I’ll be a Bible college graduate. Everything that I do reflects that I’m a Christian and how people see me may determine how they see other Christians. I don’t want that. I want to find who I am. I want to be able to have some doubts. Truthfully, I do have some doubts. But I don’t want them to be hidden away where I have to keep them a secret so that no one can know that I have some doubts. I don’t want it to ruin who I am, a Christian who graduate from Bible college. I’m not supposed to have any doubts. I’m supposed to be some kind of leader in the church. But that’s not what I want, or even feel I need.

Over some more posts, I want to explore this more. I want to document some of the things that I do as I search and see things that are outside of Christianity. Of course I still have bounds considering I’m in Bible college, but there is still some wiggle room that I can search and begin to see how I might be able to come to conclusions on my doubts.

People Not a Group

What is the Church? It depends on who you ask to what the answer might be. To some it is simply the building that they go to every Sunday (and maybe a few other times a week). To others it’s the people in a congregation. Still to others, though maybe fewer than there should be, it’s the entire body of Christ, all of the people who are Christians.

For the most part anymore, church is seen simply as the meeting place, or maybe the people that meet together. It is seen at a congregational level but rarely is it ever seen at a global level. Most Christians say that they go to church. But do they really go to church at all? The early Christians never seemed to think so. They met, but didn’t “go to church.”

Something is certainly wrong in our culture when we think that we have to “go to church” every Sunday. It would take too much time that I really don’t have to go into the number of things wrong with that statement. For starters, all Christians care about anymore is Sundays. Yes, Hebrews 10:24-25 talks about meeting, and Acts 20:7 makes it clear that the early Christians met on Sunday, but that’s certainly not the only times they met. Acts 2:42-47 talks about what they did daily. The second problem wrong is the “go to church.” There was no going to church. They came together. They fellowshipped. They met. But they never “went to church.” They were the church!

The Church is the body of Christ. It’s not where people meet, or even just who they meet with, it’s all Christians, on all seven continents. But somehow this fact has been lost. All the church seems to be to people anymore is a local congregation, or the congregation meeting place.

Not only has the church been misrepresented, but so has the term “Christian.” For starters, it’s now an adjective used to describe everything under the sun that is in some way associated with God, or especially with Jesus, or “Christian” practices. “Christian” is now used to describe a group, or a group of ideals as opposed to people who are followers of Christ.

Christians are people, not a group. They are flesh and blood people made in the image of God and adopted into God’s family. People who aren’t Christians are just as much flesh and blood people made in the image of God. They are just as important to God. Yet, we prefer to label people and put them into groups.

Christians have two favorite groups, Christians and non-Christians, and you are either one or the other. People are so much associated with groups that they mean nothing as people anymore. Their label says everything about them and who they are isn’t allowed to say a single thing about them.

This isn’t how things are supposed to be. Christians and non-Christians, are all just people. They aren’t two groups of people. Until the final judgment, there is no separation. Yes, some have their name in the Book of Life and others don’t. Yes, some will go to eternal reward and some to eternal punishment, but that’s yet to come. Right now, people are people. People are individuals. Each person is unique and one’s own self. However, we have to group people into categories and then based off those categories we can make assumptions and say whatever we want about them.

I’m convinced that each person is not defined by facts about him/her, especially facts that are associated with the groups that one can be placed into, but are instead much more defined by his/her story (I know that the real defining point of a person is that he/she is made in the image of God and that our identity should be whose we are, not who we are, but that’s not the point I’m trying to make here). You can know much more about a person just by listening to his/her story and what he/she has been through in life than you can ever hear about him/her by him/herself, or others, telling you things about him/her.

The church is made up of a huge number of individuals. But they are people, not a group. Each person is special and important. That, however, is forgotten. Instead, the church ends up dividing itself into even more groups and programs and forgets how important relationships are.

The church instead needs to be what it was meant to be, a united body of numerous individuals who are all striving to be more like Christ.

Stagnant Words

The spoken words are true

They come from the heart

They are an expression of the whole being

Yet they are stagnant

They do not move

They stay right in place

They are lacking in action

They are stagnant

“Actions speak louder than words,” you say

“I try but I’m stuck right in place,” I respond

My attempts always fail

My words are void of movement

My steps are out of sync with my words

How do I fit them together?

I don’t want it to be this way

Yet my words are stagnant

I want to show you how I care

I want to show you my love

But it’s left on my lips

It doesn’t always show up in what I do

I’m a failure at being who I’m supposed to be

I’m a coward trying to do my job

I say the words but don’t prove them

I only speak in stagnant words

You shouldn’t believe my words

They will lead you astray

As hard as I try

I can just never live out my words

I feel nothing but shame

How can I do this to everyone?

Why can’t I get it right?

Why must I speak only with stagnant words?