Friday, December 7, 2007
The criticism is simply, why are Christian communities so destructive? No wonder non-believers want nothing to do with church and Christians. The church is where they feel least accepted, most judged, most looked down on. With exceptions, but as a whole: That is the message we are sending.
Why is it that the Christian community is so destructive? Of all places, shouldn't a Christian community as small and close knit as Houghton be uplifting and loving if the majority of the population claim to be Christians? It is sad to me that I can honestly say I felt more acceptance at my public university than here. What do I mean by unacceptance?
Here are some norms I've seen at Houghton:
A lot of the students on this campus seem incredibly naive. "The Houghton Bubble" is not the faculty or staff here--who really are dead on with their stances most of the time. Those bubbles are brought from home by students who maybe grew up in their Christian bubbles and failed to notice that it is a fallen world. (Even among Christians. We are all fallen.) We all have struggles. Why do some Christians like to pretend they do not exist? When they meet someone with a REAL struggle, a serious one, be it alcoholism, depression, cutting, porn addictions or something else, they do not band around that person and help pull them out. It's like they think Christians do not sin. That sins that big are shocking and rare. As a body they ostracize them. WE OSTRACIZE THEM! Are we not called to love others and help them through real struggles? Why is it that they are avoided? Why are we shocked? Why do we run the other way?
There seem to be a lot of people afraid of talking to these people. I understand the importance of surrounding yourself with good people. Your closest friends that you take advice from and really draw from should be ones who lift you up spiritually. Of course. But Jesus hung out in the bars, with the alcoholics, with the whores. He loved everyone. He did not dodge people because they might bring him down, or they didn't want to be seen with that person, or whatever. Those are the people we should be going to.
People are not born liars, whores, priests, heros, acoholics, theives, etc. Their lives take them there. And you will not understand why they are at this low in their life unless you take the time to talk to them and get to know them. Everyone has a story worth listening to. I have to believe that these are the people who need Jesus the most. And that it is our responsibility to LOVE THEM! That was God's greatest command - love one another. And believe me... All people crave is love. Compassion. Acceptance with someone. All they need to hear is that one person took the time to talk with them, and knows how sinful they are...and loves them anyway...believes in them that they can make it out of it. Heres the kicker: Is willing to help them make it out.
People criticize me often for being to open, to straight forward and outspoken about my struggles, basically...too honest. But I believe with everything in me that it is about damn time that people stop being fake and start showing their true colors. I think the world will respect Christians more when they are geniune and open about their lives. They know we're all hipocrits anyway---pretending to be holierthanthou but in all reality being no different and just as sinful as the next guy...
That is why I choose to be an open book, no matter how much it hurts. If someone wants to know something I tell them. I am honest about my mistakes, because I made them. And for everyone person they offend, it might help another person who is too afraid to speak up about a similar struggle but appreciates someone finally bringing it up and not being scared to talk about it.
I came into this semester with the attitude that I would simply try and show kindness to others. Take the time to get to know as many people as possible. Really talk to them. Unfortunately for me I took my good reputation at home for granted and a combination of misunderstandings, how I come across to people, and probably a mix of totally false rumor and even deserved rumor maybe---I developed a less than stellar reputation here. Maybe it is my fault for not taking the time to establish a good one. I'm not really concerned about that. I'm not going to get into anything related to that because frankly it's unimportant. The only reason I bring it up is because it caused me to discover something that for whatever reason I was naive too and did not expect---Destructive Christian Community.
I actually mean this as an encouragement and a call so understand me when I say:
The details are unimportant but I first hand for the first time noticed how destructive a tight knit community of believers can be. It goes beyond gossip and talking, beyond ostracization. Granted there are many people here that are uplifting and do not fit these cliches at all. But I can say that a lot that happened this semester truly hurt me.
What disheartened me more than anything that this of all places could be so damaging. I expect more. I expected more. I came here for the standard set here, for the community and yet the community has its negatives and faults. I began to think of others struggling with things that may feel ostracized. And I could not bare to think they were being hurt by fellow Christians. That can be damaging to a person's faith guys. Guard yourself because you could be doing more damage to the kingdom of God than good.
*** This is a call for change, an encouragement that despite the hurt I felt this semester I still deep down believe in God's people, in Christians, in this school and this community. There is so much potential and opportunity for us here to love one another. SHOW LOVE! Be willing and open to others! It is our call! If nothing else that is clear! ***
I'll end with an offer. I want to talk to you. Get to know you. This next semester and beyong know my door is always open. But regardless is we ever talk---over the next few semesters please, seek out others who are hurting, and love them.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
It seems like to a growing majority of people love is just a disposable convienence. Especially among guys, but growing among girls as well. The increasing popularity of living life focused on oneself is upon us. Our culture has taught us that we need to figure out who we are, and what makes up happy. Slogans like "have it your way" imply that we have the right to want the world on our terms. All our decisions are about OUR life and our happiness and me me me.
I struggle with whether this is a good attitude or not. I mean I have some phenominal Christian friends who are very happy being alone and adventurous. They're taking this opportunity of being on their own to see the world...travel...have no attachments...and build relationships. I'm not saying that's really bad. But it breaks my heart to see this trickle over into love and relationships. Guys who have amazing women of God in their lives that truly care about them just throwing the relationship away. Because it's disposable. Because they just want to have fun and not have to work at a relationship. Because their friends rather than encouraging them to hold onto and work on a really good thing like the possibility of a future spouse, want them to go out and party with them, or even just be more availible. Friends are important, absolutely, but your future spouse is more so and why is it that everyone feels like finding that person is so easy that there is always someone else around the corner? Most girls don't have that feeling of security but many guys do. Taking to much energy? Drop the relationship and another one just as good is just around the corner. I just don't know it that's Biblical it doesn't seem like real love.
Granted real love isn't really proven til after marriage and everyone is aware you work at that, but I mean come on guys? Ending relationships for no apparent reason other than self centered ness? I just don't know about that. It hurts a lot of people and it seems like one of the basic principles of Christianity is loving other people and dying to self. Putting others above yourself and not being selfish.
Divorce is ever on the rise and if it's so easy now dispose of good relationships to chase after youre own selfish ambitions (but call them dreams so they sound better) when does that end? Never? Will you always be chasing down dreams, to never want to settle and when someone gets in the way of those dreams you dispose of them? It's important to have dreams sure but when did it become a bad thing to be content with having a family and a wife? That's personally always been at the top of my dreams list. Having someone there to DO all that WITH.
And that relationship with your spouse is special and the perfect ministry team as God intended it. That means you love that person so much you want their happiness over yours. That if you are sure you love them it is OKAY to make decisions based on them. Who came up with the idea that if someone is "keeping you from something" you want to do that that means you should break up with them? Missing out on things you WANT to do to fufill yourself is a legite reason to break up with someone?
I don't know. I guess if traveling to 16 countries before you die is really important to you, or your calling maybe you should not involve other people or date til you fufill that. Rather than dragging someone into it that cares about you and wants you to have all that but unintelltionally makes it harder for that to be easy because you'll be away from them...then just dropping them when they start to pull your attention away.
I guess it's sad to me that people devalue love that much. That doing something tempory and "grand" is so much more appealing than being in love and settling down and being CONTENT in what you have...
In A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken, he describes how he met his wife and their story before he lost her to cancer. She was so precious to him that he chose her above everything else and he was content with that decision--
"Much later, my very different choice came when my old flying comrade had won some fame among friends for reckless deeds in the air--urged me to go with him upon a very appealing aerial adventure in Arizona. It would have meant staying out of college for a year--and no Davy. I chose her."
He chose her. Nowadays if someone got the chance to do something like that and chose to stay home with his girlfriend instead he'd get a lot of heat for it. God forbid you choose time with your girlfriend over an adventure like that with a friend! Everyone would probably urge him to break up with her because she was changing him and keeping him from his friends and adventures.
If you read the rest of the story it is a phenominal story of a very loving and fufilled God-centered relationship that lasted a lifetime. It started with the two of them being so in love that they put each other above themselves.
I guess you could argue you shouldn't put a significant other over friends becuase they aren't permanant...but this is college kids...you should either not date and focus on whatever it is that's important to you or realize the person you meet now could be the one. If you're just dating to date you're playing with someones emotions that may really grow to care about you. I think the fact that relationships are so commonly not permanant is just another sign of self-centeredness and what we've made things.
The point is, dating scares me in college. I want a guy who loves me enough to not care what others think and wants to be with me. I'm not saying I'd ever wanna take all his time from his friends and others or his dreams. I'm just saying I'm tired of seeing my close friends, girls and guys alike, heartbroken and crushed because they were crazy about someone who looked at them as disposable. If you really love someone it's unconditional...not disposable and I want that real love.
Has marriage and family really become that unappealing? Is it really settling and giving up excitement nowadays? Why can't you have your adventures with someone by your side?
I don't want to be disposable. I want to be loved by someone who doesn't want to live life without me. Isn't that real love?
The heart of a wife
But she won't unlock it
All dressed in white
And face in the blankets
The nights with the boys
Razor in pocket
Drives to work
Don't ever drive back
Its a four letter word
And who ever thought that a
Four letter word would be so hard to spell out
And our hearts skipping beats
On edges of seats
We'll take time when its up
But give up when its down...
Freakin out about love...love...about love...about love.
To cool for apologies
And wouldn't have held
Our emotional policies
And looking glass selves
A realization that we all need to find
Is it's all in our heads when
We're changing our minds
Love about love...its not love...
If we're not gunna mind
What's lodged in our chests
Then I'll spend all my time
Dodging yours I guess
There's a whole in my heart
And 5 cent society pulls up apart
And at the blink of an eye
We'll get the courts intervolved
And if you don't like her eyes
You just get them annulled.
Is the justice of the peace losing its power?
Honey moon sweets to hotels by the hour...
We take when its up
But give up when its down
And its not love. ---Jon Mclaughlin
Friday, August 3, 2007
Last night I had a dream about you
The dream took place inside a zoo
You were opening cages, setting animals free
You released every beast
Every beast but me
Last night I had a dream about love
It was everything I’d been dreaming of
It was a fabulous party with lots of balloons
It was everybody
Everybody but you
Last night I had a dream about God
And he played the Piano like Elton John
He was making a comeback
He was selling out shows
I was the opening act
You were sitting in the front row
Don’t get me wrong
I know you’re gone
But in my mind, sometimes, the facts are not so clear
In my mind, sometimes
I think you’re still here
Last night I had a dream I was dead
Somebody put an arrow through my head
They were aiming at the apple
But I guess that they missed
Couldn’t help be reminded
Of the first time we kissed
Last night I had the strangest dream
And I’m not exactly sure what it means
We were out having coffee and I got up to go
Then you asked me to stay and my body just froze
I didn’t know what to say, I didn’t know what to do
Last night I had a dream babe
I had a dream about you
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Difficult to know whether humans are inordinately anxious
about crisis, calamity, disaster, or unknowingly crave them.
These horrific conditionals, these expected unexpecteds,
we dwell on them, flinch, feint, steel ourselves:
but mightn't our forebodings actually precede anxiety?
Isn't so much sheer heedfulness emblematic of desire?
How do we come to believe that wrenching ourselves to attention
is the most effective way for dealing with intimations of catastrophe?
Consciousness atremble: might what makes it so
not be the fear, for concentration, vigilance?
As though life were more convincing resonating like a blade.
Of course, we're rarely swept into events, other than domestic tumult,
from which awful consequences will ensue. Fortunately rarely.
And yet we sweat as fervently
for the most insipid issues of honor and unrealized ambition.
Lost brothership. Lost lust. We engorge our little sorrows,
beat our drums, perform our dances of aversion.
Always, "These gigantic inconceivables."
Always, "What will have been done to me?"
And so we don our mental armor,
flex, thrill, pay the strict attention we always knew we should.
A violent alertness, the muscularity of risk,
though still the secret inward cry: What else, what more?
Monday, May 21, 2007
It was spoken of in a unique way last Cool Hand Luke show I attended.
One thing in paticular that he said really truly stuck with me. Everyone is always saying "there's nothing you can do to make God stop loving you." I get that. Love is his nature. Not everyone really understands that, but its almost cliche' at this point to me. We're all sinners, we'll never amount to anything worthy of him, etc etc. It's not hard to understand. But he said something else that struck me. "There's nothing you have to do to make God love you." This hit me. Because, I think it's pretty basic that we're unworthy of his love because of our sin. But sometimes we put so much pressure on ourselves...that beyond that we have to be doing certain things to earn that love as Christians. Sure he desires our affection and drive to know him more. But He loves us no matter what. He's not going to be less if we choose not to love him. He doesn't "need" our love. He just desires it. Passionately. And as his children he loves us not only despite our mistakes, but also despite if we're seeking him or not.
Of course we should want to seek Him and grow, and he desires that from us. In fact that part is vital. Seeking God is a vital part of Christianity, and apathy will not get you easily into the kingdom. But our ends, they have nothing to do with His love. He'll always love us. Regardless. And it's not an excuse to not seek after him, its a comforting thought that you don't have to earn God's love...it's yours regardless. And you should want to show him love in return. But it's yours regardless. He'll never stop loving you. You don't have to earn it. B/c you'll never really deserve it. It's not an excuse...it's just comforting to know the God you serve is that loving.
Unrelated Side Note:
I am all too excited at the prospect of this movie...
It can tear your soul apart
It can make you feel like you've gone crazy
But you're not
Things have seem to changed
There's one thing that's still the same
'Cause when you feel like you're done
And the darkness has won
Babe, you're not lost
When your worlds crashing down
And you can't bear to fall
I said, babe, you're not lost
I hardly recognized the girl you are today
And god I hope it's not too late
It's not too late
'Cause you are not alone Michael Buble'
Thursday, March 29, 2007
"He had been won't to despise emotions: girls were emotional, girls were weak, emotions--tears--were weakness. But this morning he was thinking that being a great brain in a tower, nothing but a brain, wouldn't be much fun. No excitement, no dog to love, no joy in the blue sky--no feelings at all. But feelings--feelings are emotions! He was suddenly overwhelmed by the revelation that what makes life worth living is, precisely, the emotions. But, then--this was awful!--maybe girls with their tears and laughter were getting more out of life. Shattering! He checked himself: showing one's emotions was not the thing: having them was. Still, he was dizzy with the revelation. What is beauty but something that is responded to with emotion? Courage, at least partly, is emotional. All the splendour of life. But if the best of life is, in fact, emotional, then one wanted the highest, purest emotions: and that meant joy. Joy was the highest. How a did one find joy? In books it seemed to be found in love--a great love--though maybe for the saints there was joy in the love of God. He didn't aspire to that though, he didn't even believe in God. Certainly not! So, if he wanted the heights of joy, he must have, if he could find, a great love. But in the books again, great joy through love seemed always to go hand in hand with frightful pain. Still, he thought, looking out across the meadow, still, the joy would be worth the pain--if, indeed, they went together. If there were a choice--and he suspected that there was--a choice between, on the one hand, the heights and the depths and, on the other hand, some sort of sage, cautious middle way, he, for one, here and now chose the heights and the depths." ---A Severe Mercy (Sheldon Vanauken)
"The highs will make you fly, but the lows make you want to die..." - Missy Higgins
Ah, emotions. I've always despised them. Because there is no way to control how you feel. And for me, being a girl, it effects my entire body. If something huge in my life happens to cause me a great amount of pain, my whole body hurts. I don't eat, I have trouble sleeping. I try to do both but am incapable of doing anything but just praying, and waiting for the pain to dull. Despite wanting to avoid those kind of lows...you realize that low was in response to losing something amazing, be it love, someone close to you (death), or any other high in your life. It hurts so badly because you don't want to see it go. So at some point you decide if it's worth it. And in the above is a boy coming to the conclusion that great joy, which is often accompanied by great pain, is a much better choice in life that living a mediocre, sage, boring, "safe" life, with no significance. (This is only the beginning of the book of course).
"Only after disaster can we be resurrected." ---Tyler Durden (Fight Club)
It is because of the pain in my life that I have grown. It's because of the pain in my life I continue to grow. Without it, I'd still be a carefree six year old. Which, may have been safe. Maybe happy. Maybe a place that you constantly want to go back too. But you could never stay there. There is a desire in everyone to grow, to explore, to understand life, to impact others and the world. Ignorance is bliss, but it's hard to find happiness in ignorance. It's like an oxymoron. You may wish you didn't know somethings, but in a state of unknowing you'd only restart the search of that knowledge. It is a quest God instilled in us from creation. Discovery and...curiosity.
I see it as a good thing. I see it as a process. I understand now why older people are either bitter towards life or full of wisdom and optimism, with very few riding in the middle.
And love, well, that's a big part of it. A desire deeply set in most, a picture of God's love for us. And something I greatly look forward too when the timing is right.
Frank Costello: How's your mother?
Man in Bar: She's on her way out.
Frank Costello: We all are, act accordingly.
Sunday, March 18, 2007
Sometimes people have to hit their lowest low to realize there is no more happiness to be found. Sin if fun, and it makes you happy. You cannot contest that fact. But the problem is that its only temporary happiness. And it takes different lengths of time for people to realize that. Some people only need a taste to realize its unappealing to them, others take years to hit rock bottom. But when they get there, you can almost garentee they'll be looking for a way out, happiness, "something." And one of the most effective ways to reach people is to live a fufilled life of love. They'll notice you have something they want and that you've got the love of God shining through you. The fact that you don't judge and condemn them but show them love and acceptance despite all their mistakes is God's true nature shining through.
I'm sure their is a balance. It's painful to watch a friend hit rock bottom, and you shouldn't ignore it. Sometimes they need blunt honesty. But from my experiences with friends...and with myself...people respond to love better than judgement. God is pro-love. There are so many verses warning 'do not judge lest you be judged' and that there is no condemnation in Christ. It's not our place to judge others, its Gods. At the same time He also says speak the truth. But you can stand up for the truth and not condone sin while still acting in love and not making people feel like dirt. You don't need to make them feel guilty and push them away. They're unhappy enough as it is...our job is to show them hope, love, and forgiveness.
God is a God of love. And people don't realize that b/c they get more judgement from Christians than compassion. We should constantly have others on our mind, and be looking for ways to show people that love.
"Therefore if there is any encouragment in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, mainting the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing for selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regarding one another as more improtant than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests but also for the interests of others." - Philippians 2:1-4
There's a man on the roof
Ignoring the fireworks
The city walks by unmoved
Their laughter looks like tears
The city keeps hurting him
He crawls to it for medicine
All the answers are here
He's asking the wrong questions
On top of a skyscraper
With a foundation of fears
Empty works and dreams
He thinks can't come true
For what can he do?
What has he to offer to You?
Your Majesty, he's jumping
Into Your arms
Cool Hand Luke
Sunday, March 11, 2007
Ever remembers changing there mind from
The paint on a sign?
Is there anyone who really recalls
Ever breaking rank at all
For something someone yelled real loud one time?" ---John Mayer
I've always disliked protesting. I personally don't see what it accomplishes. Most of the time, at least with student protesting like that on the campus of my college, it's just a lot of yelling. Sure it gets your attention, but most of the time if you stop and talk to them they really don't even know what they're talking about. You ask them what their solutions are for the issue and they have none, no arguments. If you're going to argue something...at least HAVE an argument, a well thought out point about something and good suggestions on how to fix it so that maybe something will actually be done. Rather than yelling about the problem...come up with a way to solve it.
Lately however, its the "Christian Protestors" that get me. They stand there and yell at people walking by...things like "YOURE GOING TO HELL!!!" These people embarress me as a Christian. And if you say as much to them they just yell at you too b/c they think they're doing something good.
But when did Jesus ever ostracize people? I'm pretty sure he was in the business of loving people and people liked being around him, not ran the other way. Rich Mullins sang it best:
"The whores all seemed to love him and the drunks proposed a toast." -Rich Mullins
Jesus was in the world but not of it. He hung out in bars and loved people into the kingdom. Not many people being human can go into a bar and stand out like that, but the point is, sinners and otherwise...people were drawn to Jesus. Something about him just pulled you to that hope. Protesting my lifestyle would only offend me and make me want to be as far away from people like you as possible. Has anyone ever really stopped and said..."Oh wow...you're right, I really did not know I was living a life of sin until you just now pointed it out, please read the salvation prayer with me." I doubt it.
Thursday, March 1, 2007
I am at a crossroads. And I don't mean a substandard Britney Spears movie. For the first time in my life I have no plan. I'm having to learn how to listen to God, and fully trust him. I know he will show me where to go next.
"Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this." - Psalm 37:3-5
Things that have happened recently have caused me to take a step back and evaluate. I've realized things about myself that I never really knew. I've been wounded, but also strengthened. I've hurt, but also found a new sense of hope in God. I've had life changing experiences that cause me to understand things I never truly understood. And I've learned the value of things I took for granted.
"If you would be loved, be loveable." - Ovid
I've been thinking about my future husband.
I'm not ready to get married. I need time to prepare myself and be worthy of the husband God has for me. I have to learn to love God as my bridegroom. Only when I am content in him and him alone will I be able to give my love to a man. I give away my love easily. I'm vulernable and desire affection. These can be good things, but only after I find contentment in being single, and serving God. Only once I can trust him completely, and not look to a man to fufill me, will I find true fufillment. And in the meantime, I not only need to trust him completely for a Godly husband, but also prepare myself to be the kind of woman that man also deserves. If I'm going to set my standard high, I need to be worthy of that man's love.
"She has a vital role to play; she is a partner in this great adventure." - Captivating
I realize now I need to not settle. When you are in love you overlook things that if you could take a step back and observe, you'd realize they are bigger than you let on. By no means is any man perfect, but a Godly man strives to please God with his life. He is strong and capable of protecting you and your relationship, capable of loving you deeply and passionately even while loving God more, and all the while growing and fufilling his callings. I need a man who is willing to lead. To guard our relationship and keep it pure. And I trust God completely to show me who that is, and in the meantime I continue to grow.
"I simply loved feeling wanted and fought for. This desire is set deep in the heart of every little girl---and every woman. Yet most of us are ashamed of it. We downplay it. We pretend it is less that it is." ---Captivating
I'm not ready to get married tomorrow, but I imagine in the next couple of years I may meet a man with which I can build a strong friendship with, eventually a relationship with, and know he's the one God was preparing me for. All my past experiences only force me to grow, learn, and appreciate my future husband for the extrodinary man he is. I don't expect him to be perfect, just perfect for me. And I know he will want to fight to keep me his.
Someone who cares about my details.
What next? I do not know. I'm excited though.
"You will find Me when you search for Me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:13
I'm not running away from this
I'm not falling asleep
I'm not taking a bribe from anyone for anything
I'm not running away from this
I'm not falling asleep
I'm not turning back on the one thing that I know
Cool Hand Luke