Friday, June 23, 2006

blogging flurry

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And the blogging forecast for the next few days:
Flurries, followed by streches of nothing.

That's how I blog. Something, then nothing for days, even weeks on end. If I were ever trying to make money by having some kind of ad thing where people came and looked Every Day and clicked on ads because I wrote something clever, insightful, or newsworthy Every Day, I would not succeed. As you can see, none of the above happens on a consistent basis.

1 lie, revealed.

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I thought for the curious, I'd say what the lie was:

3) Some of my family tree is inbred as recently as 4 generations ago. To my knowledge, there is no truth in this.

The other 2 are, in fact, true:

1) One of the people who babysat me as a child was later in life convicted of assisting murder. He ended up in a cult. I remember him as a nice guy who made some cool miniatures.

2) I stole something from a friend as a child, and lied to her face about it. I felt horribly guilty, and a couple days later gave what I stole back and said I was sorry. I was in maybe 2nd grade. And really, I didn't sneak and steal, like taking it from her bag, or whatever. I just found it on the floor of the bus, but I knew later that she was looking for it. I lied when she saw it and said something about it, and I said, no, it's mine.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

"Young Adults"

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I'm coming to dislike the "young adult" category that my church uses. I'm starting to think it's baloney. I'm seeing that we're a bunch of whiners, self included. I participated with some "young adults" in a class at a family camp I recently attended. I enjoy the class in many ways, but I was frustrated by what I was observing (and even contributing!)

"Church is Boring. They expect us to do all the work. I don't get spiritually fed when I go to worship. They lump us all in one category, but I'm different."

Even though I chime in on this, and go, "YEAH!" I can't help but think "Get over it!"

I've a lot to say about it. And a lot of theories as to why this seems to be a big deal. I think the following:

1) this is nothing new. All young adults in all eras have faced a challenge in transitioning from being led to being leaders. Sometimes, it's been a quick transition, but not so much now.

2) We expect the church to do stuff for us, like they always did in youth group. They created the worships, provided classes, and set the mood so that we "felt" God. Now, we have to find that for ourselves, and we don't know how, and don't care to put in the effort.

3) God is not a priority. If He were, we would follow His teachings about gathering often with fellow believers (showing up for church/bible study/etc.)

4) Ourselves and our families take priority. That's why we sleep in, and say we don't have time as we run off and go to play group, hang out with friends doing non-god-oriented things, and spend time making money so we can buy ourselves all the stuff we want.

5) We think we can be "spiritual" without spending time communing with other believers, and without spending time in study, prayer, and preparing for God. "spiritual" consists of good feelings about God and a general belief that His is there, will do some of the things that we learned in Sunday school, but isn't particularly involved in our personal lives. We're wrong.

6) We think worship is about us.

7) We think everything religious is about us. It's not. It's about God. It's about serving others. It's about making disciples. It's not about feeling good about ourselves.

8) We are unwilling to accept the criticism and challenge that requires us to move beyond a faith grown from other's efforts to a faith built on our own effort.

9) Deep down, we still think we're kids, and that the adults are in charge.

10) We still see ourselves as the future of the church, when we are the present of the church. This means that we can put things off until we think we've arrived at a time when it's "our" church. Sorry, but it will never be "our" church unless we claim it and change it, or adapt to it now.

11) We are really good at talking the problem to death, and choosing to do nothing (because that requires more commitment than we're willing to give)

12) By separating ourselves into more and more specific age groups, we're doing a disservice to everyone - we can't learn from older folks, and we can't help them re-explore their faith. Our children don't participate in a way that empowers them to be comfortable and consciously minister to others of all ages. I would think that the issues that have faced us for the last 2000 years are more or less the same, and we all use the same scriptures as reference. Why separate by age?

Here in North America, we have a skewed perspective. I go to church, and I think, oh, I don't get anything out of this. I will A) quit going, cause it sucks B) keep going, even though it sucks cause I should (guilt, kids, etc) C) Go to a different church that fills my need. I heard last week a testimony of a young woman from Russia. She has been a member of my denomination for "only" 3 years. Relatively speaking, she probably doesn't know near as much about scripture and history and all the stuff we think is important when we're "raised" in the church. And Yet. She is going back to Russia, and she is starting a new church. WHAT?!? A new church? We don't do that here... We don't build what we're looking for.... We wait for someone else to do it for us! This means that no one will be spoon feeding her faith and God experience to her. It means she'll be offering that to others. This is almost completely oppositet of all the wrong ideas I expressed above. Can you imagine how much courage and faith it takes to step out and start a church where there is none? To start a church where persecution is real, and support comes from God alone? And here we are, without enough faith to even prepare for God on Sunday.

I recognize that not all "young adults" fit into these generalizations of my opinion. Even though I can see that I'm whining about it, I also feel that I'm getting ready to be different. I see the problem, I'm changing, but I'm not all the way to doing anything about it yet.

I look forward to a day when the questions presented by a "young adult" gathering are less me-focused and about the structure of church, and more God focused. When we start asking question like "what did Jesus mean when he said...." and "What is Zion all about?"

Thursday, June 08, 2006

2 truths, 1 lie

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I recall a trip in college, where several of us were playing this game as we traveled from one desitnation to another via mass transit. The point of the game is to figure out which of the 3 statements is false. So, we're supposed to come up with 2 unlikely, but true statements, and one lie.

One of our professors overheard us playing this game, and asked about it. He then asked if he could play.
The 3 statements he made:
1) I have killed someone.
2) I been with a prostitute.
3) I spent a night in jail.

He played really well. None of us wanted to even try to guess. Any of those three seemed so unlike the professor we knew!

I've been thinking about some of the unlikely things that have occurred in my life. I came up with 2 truths and 1 lie for you to guess:

1) One of the people who babysat me as a child was later in life convicted of assisting murder.
2) I stole something from a friend as a child, and lied to her face about it.
3) Some of my family tree is inbred as recently as 4 generations ago.

What do you think is the lie?

Sunday, June 04, 2006

it's here

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Just so you know, because I'm so enthused - my painting has arrived. At least, the first one has. The second remains held captive by my father, the master artist.

If you need a refresher of the image, check out This post

Let me tell you, in person it is Sweet! (it was good in digital, but it's like ice cream - sugar free just doesn't taste as good as the real thing.)

Now I have to find a wall big enough to hang it...

rest easy

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Summer youth and family camps have been a part of my life since I was a baby. Some people tell me I attended my first camp with my family when I was only 6 months old. I think I've missed 2 years of summer camp in my whole life.

Now, I direct a summer camp for Sr. High youth. This is my fourth year directing, and up until about a week ago, it was proving to be my most stressful. It's been hard to admit, but I'm approaching burn out. I've felt attacked on nearly all sides - my counseling staff is not as plentiful as I would like, I feel like we're repeating the same activities (maybe I am, since I've been at this so long.) I feel like I'm fresh out of ideas, and energy. And then, at a moment when several counselors backed out, I went outside and said a short prayer. I turned "My" camp over to God. Occasionally, the worry tries to creep in, but I'm refusing it. God will provide, if I just leave the burden with Him. I haven't given up searching for the staff we need, or working on ideas, but a weight has been lifted. When I think back on the other camps I have directed, staffed, or been a camper at, I see that God has provided in those situations. Why would he stop now?

I find it ironic that as a director of a Christian camp, I steadfastly refused to let God work in me and with me. I forgot to consult the One who this camp is about. It's so easy to get caught up in the "doing" of something - the position, the authority, the recognition, the living martyrdom of camp directing. (Woe is me! I have no staff! I do ALLLLL the work! And you know why? Because *I* love God, and *someone* has to do this!)

Perhaps I feel ready to get out of directing. Maybe not. I do know, however, that quitting directing won't solve the problem that causes the stress of directing. If I keep trying to put on a good show for the kids, that's all it will be - they'll know it, I'll know it, and most importantly, God will know it. If I feel uninspired, it's because I refuse my source of inspiration. If I am tired, it's because I refuse to accept the rest and refuge found in Jesus Christ.

I can tell that this is a hard road to travel. I've spent so many years trying to be as self sufficient as possible that I give lip service to relying on God without having truly lived it in a consistent manner. It may take me years to learn to always seek God when I claim to be doing something for His glory. But I have hope, because of who Christ is.

"Rest easy, Have no fear
I love you perfectly, love drives out fear.
I'll take your burdens, you'll take My grace
Rest Easy, in My embrace."

Thanks, Audio A., for reminding me.
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