weapons

I was listening to the song “White Flag” by Chris Tomlin on my way home tonight. The pre-chorus goes “we’re laying down our weapons now.” That got my mind racing. What are our weapons? Could it be a literal weapon? And who is our enemy?

And then the Chorus hit me, “we wave our white flags, we surrender all to you, we wave our white flags, the war is over, love has come, Your love has won.” The enemy we use those weapons against is God. Why else would we need to be surrendering to Him? I think too often we think about how our sin is against God’s will and how it’s something we shouldn’t do, but we view it as a harm to ourself. What I thought about tonight, and probably have before without the language to put to it, is that we use this sin as a weapon against God. All of our pride, lust, anger, theft, lies, etc are weapons we have forged to attack God.

When we do these things, we don’t realize the statement we are making. If we know what we are doing is sin, then we are telling God, “the way you have called us to live is foolish.” We take the actions we are committing (or omitting) and use them as a specific revolt, we are waging war against a specific way of living that God has set as beneficial to all.

Our anger is war against the goal of loving our neighbors and enemies.

Our pride is war against the goal of serving others before ourselves.

Our lust is war against the beauty and sanctity of each individual and the dignity they possess as a child of God.

Our theft is war against the idea that God will provide what we need and plays into the pride that somehow we are entitled or deserve something as well as harming our neighbors.

Our lies are war against the ability to live peaceably with others around us by building up walls of dishonesty.

Our literal weapons against our fellow man are a war against the idea that Jesus came to save all and that we are to serve others beyond the same concept of forgiveness that unbelievers have, but love them until they are perfect.

Our sins are a war we choose to wage against God. Our apathy towards what we know we are doing is shot fired towards the Almighty and we need to reconsider what side of the war we want to be on. I believe God to be a merciful God who makes room where we fail to see His grace for others. However, I think we need to realize that while we should be hopeful that God has mercy on others, that we know that judgment comes for ourselves. It is not enough to say, “Yes, God, we are on your side” while still fighting him. Instead, we must relinquish the weapons we have used against God. We must be reconditioned, transformed into a type of people that surrender to God and allow His view to overtake ours.

There is a concept that says “God became man so man could become God.” This is not to say that we become a god, but that we learn to take on the characteristics and nature of God in our actions. In order to become like God, we must forfeit all that is against His will. 

Long rambling? Yeah…but I needed to get it out there.

On homosexuality and the best chicken sandwich I’ve ever had…

Sad to see christians thinking buying a product shows their faith. We’ve bought into the idea of consumerism more than the idea of love. Whether you agree or disagree with gay marriage isn’t the point, the point comes down to the idea of love. 

If you love those who are gay as Christ has commanded us to love all of our neighbors, then why would you go out of your way to to buy something in a way that shows nothing but vindictive motives. It does not show support for traditional marriage, it shows support for a marketing campaign while reinforcing the idea that Christianity support bigotry.

If you are opposed to the message said by a man when asked about his view on the issue, remember first that he is a man before he is a COO of ChickFilA. Whether you agree with his stance does not help those who are employees of ChickFilA, especially those who are both Christian and gay. I do know some of these and they hold conflict within themselves, not over the fact of being gay. But of being accepted neither by a large portion of Christians or the gay community.

When will we abandon these tactics that purposefully seek to divide? I’m a follower of Jesus and that means I must love all. Straight/Gay/Lesbian/Transgendered/Celibate EVERYONE. I must love Republicans and Democrats. Christians/Jews/Muslims/Atheists/Hindus. I must love Buckeye Fans and Wolverine Fans. Browns and Steelers Fans. The love of the servant king is not concerned with popular opinion, socio-political stigma, or anything else. It concerns itself with loving all neighbors.

It’s been a while…

This semester has been crazy.  Lots of work that has led to a culminating point with my social policy paper. Still going to be finishing tomorrow, but after Thursday it will be over.

As soon as this semester is over, I fully intend to re-initiate the use of this blog for the purposes of discussing the Christian faith and issues of the world through that lens….as well as random ramblings.

It’s been almost a week…

…but there is good reason. It’s been a busy week. No, seriously, I promise!

Over the weekend, I was blessed to spend time with the church youth group at a weekend retreat. Man, I missed those while I was gone. While I stopped at a few during the year I was away and co-led music this past winter at another, there’s something different about the individual relational growth that is able to happen. There was definitely a moving of God’s spirit across the youth and the leaders (who I feel lucky to count myself among). Brokenness and healing seem to always go hand in hand. Its one thing to be broken, it is another to admit it. That is something that I feel this youth group is actually somewhat effective in conveying. Cara’s leadership is phenomenal in this.

Besides the weekend with the youth, I’ve spent time working on a few projects for school. Spring break? Yes. Work break? Eh.

Song that is currently spinning around my mind = Kristian Stanfill – Always

Exciting Day

Wednesday – 45 days

In a few hours, I am going to get LASIK on my eyes. Looking forward to a return to not needing glasses or contacts. Looking forward to not needing to consider the activities I do in advance based upon what vision enhancer I’m using. No longer worrying about how allergies affect what I’m wearing. So, excited!
Tuesday – 46 days

Today, was a long and interesting day. Loved the conversations I had with some folks in my political science senior seminar class in regards to the nature of government and the approaches taken by the Christian Right or Left. Loving this book we are reading (whether I agree with the guy or not). There could be more discussion on this topic later.

ps – Jenna made cupcakes for a leap day celebration at her student-teaching school. They had green icing and she used marshmallows and licorice to make a frog face. Looking forward to eating mine.

3-days-in-1

I had an extremely busy weekend where I didn’t take the time to write about each day on that day. However, I noted the days the things  I wanted to discuss from that day. Here’s the breakdown of my weekend and today. (ps – if someone actually reads this and would like to throw out some thoughts or whatever, feel free!)

 

Monday – 46 days

I’ve been wanting to write about class today since it happened. There was a discussion that really got to me. Not so much in any person got to me, but an idea got to me. I don’t blame anyone for confessing this idea throughout the conversation as it is the dominant belief in our culture and pushed on us through media and conversation. We were talking about marital infidelity in a social work class and a few times people mentioned that men are more likely to cheat than women. Now, I’m not trying to argue whether or not this is true and I’m not meaning to discuss people’s own personal experience with cheating (personal experience does not create a fact) and I’m not wanting to dismiss anyone’s experience either. However, I find it very dangerous to suggest that men are more likely to cheat.

To me, there seems to be a few flaws in this…

1. Does it truly matter?
I think that sometimes we try to find statistics to point to a certain conclusion so that we can address a situation through generalities instead of what is in front of us. I’m not sure that it is okay to address the idea of cheating from generalities. Every circumstance will be different and to lump them all together ignores the nuances of the human condition and the idea of everybody being unique.

2. Historical issues
While some believed that males being more prone to have a marital affair is related to the man, traditionally, being out of the home more and therefor had more time to cheat, I don’t buy it. If we look at the traditional gender roles that saw the husband outside of the home, we have to realize that conversely the wives had that time where they were home without their husbands. It was just as easy for a woman to have a man into the home as it was for the man to venture somewhere else. Secretaries were brought up to show the idea of the man’s ease of use to cheat. I present the idea of the milk and mail men.

3. Media exposure
I almost wonder how much of this mindset is truth and how much comes from a Hollywood storyline that has been bought by the masses. In movies and literature it is easier to write the role of a cheating man due to the issues discussed in #2. We find it easier to call a single woman a slut or a whore than to label the married woman as the same thing. We don’t have a problem labeling the married man with the same thing we label a single man. There’s almost a protection of the married woman, and mother, through society from the ramifications of marital affairs. It is almost like the idea of a teacher-student affair. When it is a man, the reaction from the public tends to be one of a repulsive nature. If it is a woman, there are jokes questioning whether the teacher was hot. There is more of a willingness to vilify men than women (not arguing whether that is right or wrong, just an observation). If we are willing to vilify men in these situations more than women, are we actually perpetuating the idea that men do it more without realizing it?

4. Future ramifications
Due to perpetuating this mentality, I wonder if we are actually setting up women to be accepting of cheating men. This is not necessarily in reference to the idea of who cheats more, but is a separate thought. Have we begun condition girls and women to think that it is normal for a man to cheat and even expect them to? There’s almost a constant paranoia that becomes inherent in relationships due to constant wondering if “he’s” cheating. This may be what leads girls/women to be more willing to do what they think it takes to keep their “man” from cheating. Also, it may be what gives women reason to dismiss cheating. If a female has been taught her whole life that men cheat and then the man cheats, they blow it off since it was what they were taught should be expected of men. Seems like a positive view right?

There was one other comment made that really struck me with the idea of how much women have bought into cultural stereotypes. The idea that men do not have a emotional strings tied to sex. Let me clarify this now, completely false. Any guy, in an honest conversation, will share with you that there are issues they deal with. The problem is that men have also bought into stereotypes that they should not discuss their emotions. You see, we are all made in the image of God which requires us to have emotions and attachments to those we share intimate connections with.

These are both concepts that I really hope that some can move past. Not that I have the right answer to either, I just think we need to be more careful in how we put people into these boxes. We are going into a profession that requires us to see everyone as unique children of God. We must abandon these preconceived notions and treat everyone as unique and not part of a stereotype; to serve the individual and not a statistic (if true or not).

 

Sunday – 47 days

I woke up early, yet decided to skip attending any worship activities. I knew I had a young adult leadership meeting and decided that I needed to prepare mentally. Jenna and I spent some time getting coffee and grabbing a few items for my niece’s birthday before heading to the meeting. While what goes on in the meeting stays within the walls, I do have to say I am excited. We don’t all always agree, but we are striving to do what is best for the community we have been given the charge to oversee. Since I can’t talk about meetings, I don’t have much to write for today. I am just exciting and looking forward towards our next steps.

 

Saturday – 48 days

Most Saturdays tend to be days I get to sleep in, but once a month I give up that. The young adult leadership team at church decided that we wanted to dedicate one Saturday a month towards a specific service towards the greater Canton community. For the 2012 year, we have been serving Centro San Jose, a part of the Immigrant Worker Project. Centro serves Spanish speaking immigrants in the greater Canton area through English lessons, legal documentation, and other areas of need. We have spent time doing cosmetic repairs to the facility over the first 2 months.

Both times, I spent time working in the men’s bathroom. For those who have not spent multiple hours in a public restroom, there is something that is inescapable… the smell. The stench of urine radiates through the walls. Reflecting on the day later, all I could think of is the idea of Jesus lowering himself to serve those he met. We think of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples and lowering himself, not just in reference to his physical state in comparison to those whose feet he washed, but in humility to a cultural taboo for any normal person (let alone the son of God). I think sometimes we, the white-protestant-middle-class church, think we are above certain actions. Jesus’ example is a deafening rebuttal of our own pride.

There’s something else about the story of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet. When Peter tries to stop Jesus from washing his, Jesus tells him that unless he washes his feet, Peter has no part of him. This is an interesting thought… unless Jesus serves the needs of others, they are not a part of each other. I wonder if that relates to us Christians and those who do not belong to the CHURCH. Are we not truly welcoming others to join with us and be a part of us without serving them? Everyone who has been at Centro may go nameless to those who walk through its doors, but I have to believe that in laying down our time and pride and being willing to be humbled into the service of God to the benefit of others, we have invited others to be a part of us and have taken another step towards bringing the Kingdom of God to this fallen world.

Again? (49)

I’ve been pushing the idea of starting another blog/journal/whatever you want to call it again. When Xanga first came out, I wrote at least every day. I explored the questions of my faith and my world view, reviewed my day, but mainly celebrated success or complained of failures with girls.

In the past 6+ years, my world has changed. I no longer I play in a punk or hardcore band. I don’t have much to complain about when it comes to girls, though I am all about celebrating the joys of my relationship with my amazing girlfriend, Jenna. I have re-entered college and I am a year away from graduating with a degree in Social Work. I have also found a passion for the teachings of Jesus.

While I grew up in a Christian home, was raised going to church, and knew the stories of the Bible I never quite grasped the magnitude of what it meant to follow Christ (not that I actually “get it” now). I went through my own reformation and found that Jesus was not begging people for a One-On-One relationship; Jesus was asking that those who claim to love God also love all of those around them. It blew my mind. Christianity is not about my own personal salvation? To discover that our relationship with God is mutually tied to our relationship with others.

This blog may not be something that makes sense to most people, in fact, it doesn’t quite make sense to me either. I’m still unsure of my purpose. I had been struggling to decide what to give up or take on for the season of Lent. I came to the conclusion that I would both give up and take something on at the same time. There is a darkness inside of me that leads me to thoughts of objectification of females, my sisters created in the image of God. I have decided that in my time of striving to give this up, I would also take on the goal of writing to take place of the void in my mind. Much like drug addicts and alcoholics need to find something to take the place of the time used for alcohol and drugs, I will use this blog and the required thought process planning to aid in my cleansing.

Through the entirety of Lent, I will blog once a day (and I will add on for the 2 days that I have missed while still trying to decide). I know that Lent is traditionally viewed as 40 days, not including Sundays. For my purposes, I will include Sundays in my count of days of Lent. With all of that said, here is to the remembrance of Christ and his 40 days in the desert and the temptations that he encountered.

49 more days of writing, 47 until the celebration of the Risen King.

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