I feel like it has been forever since I had a meaningful post here. I need to write this morning, but in a non-connected sort of way. I have some rumblings I’d like to share with you from the past week or so.
First, I learned something interesting about ‘church’ this week. Tuesday night I went to visit a young couple who have been worshiping with our congregation. I was feeling rather pleased with myself when the husband said, “I really enjoy your preaching. It really gets deep and feeds me spiritually.” He’s a Catholic and he and his wife have been worshiping at what might be called a ‘PD’ Church and they are in their 20’s. Wow. Then Wednesday morning I went to FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) at the local Middle School where I work. We were doing sort of a survey of the kids and one of the questions was, “So when you think of church, what word comes to mind?” My 7th grade PK spoke up, “Boring.”
I guess that just goes to show that no matter what sort of congregation one has or worships with not everyone will be pleased.
Second, I watched the latest installment of Rambo this week, Rambo. It was an interesting movie. It featured some Christian missionaries who hearts were bigger than their brains and, of course, a lot–I mean a lot–of bullets. Stallone raised some important questions about war, violence, justice, peace, and, I think, Christianity. The film was unbelievably violent. I didn’t know that the human body could be shredded in so many ways (I thought once I had seen “Saw” I had seen it all.) Stallone took it to a ‘whole nover level.’ The film wasn’t the best Rambo I have ever seen: the dialogue was full of cliche, too fast, too predictable. Furthermore, I tend to disagree with the idea that nothing changes–even though I have argued otherwise here and elsewhere in the past. But the violence and horror and blood: Oh, it was glorious!
I guess it just goes to show that no matter what the plot or how bad the dialogue I will tune in to a film where the bad guys get eaten up by .50 caliber machine gun bullets, in a variety of ways, and the hero lives (Oh, and where a once pacifist Christian grows a set and bashes in the head of a child of Babylon).
Third, it has been a long week. Last night, I had a huge ‘family discussion’ with my youngest son, who is in 5th grade, because he just refuses to do his homework. Then his teacher, a 20 something just out of college who knows all about raising recalcitrant and stubborn children and what is the best way to educate them, sends me email informing me of how my son is ’still not turning in his homework’ as if to say, “You freaking moron, why won’t you make your son do his homework. I have been over this with you a hundred times now. Are you dense.” I want to respond to her e-mail, but I let my wife instead. My son simply does not see the point of doing ridiculous math problems where he has to, and I quote, ‘interpret the remainder.’ What does that mean? I can’t blame him; I hate math too. He says, in an all too eerie imitation of his father, “I can add, subtract, multiply, and divide. Why do I need to do story problems?” Oooooohhh. I get it. I really do.
I guess it just goes to show that no matter ‘important’ the work to be done, there will always be someone who refuses to see its value or significance.
Fourth, I can’t pray this week. I don’t know why. I have prayed a little. I have been reading my bible. But I just cannot seem to find the energy to pray. My dad lost his job again. My brother had to be evacuated from his house in CA due to fires. My mother, I am convinced, hates me. I fought with my sons yesterday and hurt my oldest son’s feelings. I go to bed early and can’t get up. My wife and I were getting along and then I snapped at her again this morning. One of the ladies wants me to, get this, hang curtains at the church building this afternoon. What? Is that why I’m around here? Is that what my degree prepared me for? To hang curtains? You’ve got to be kidding me. I can’t pray this week. I’m stuck in a funk. Plus, on top of that, I just finished reading Joshua. And for the first time in my life, the book of Joshua frightened and confused me.
I guess it just goes to show that no matter how much is going right in a person’s life there will always be enough wrong to sap the strength, the joy, and the communion. Rich Mullins said it best, “It’s hard, yes it’s hard. You know it’s hard to be like Jesus.”
Fifth, I’ve been lurking this week; reading; watching; listening. The world of the blog is a complex place. One day I think, “I’m done with blogging.” The next day, I get 200 hits on my blog and change my mind. What amazes me is the depths that people are willing to go to in order to be right. (It was my oldest son who confronted me with this hard truth last night. I won’t tell him, but he was right.) I have trouble living with myself just because I am, so I don’t know how some bloggers live with themselves when their sole purpose in life and writing is to destroy everything that is not of themselves. I have to admit that sometimes I wish I had never started blogging. It’s a terribly depressing place at times. I think I’ll start praying for a worldwide crash of the blogosphere. Nah. I’m too vain for that. Someone said to me the other day, “The problem is that some bloggers are more in love with theology than they are with Jesus.” Gawd, I hope that is never me. I love theology, but not at the expense of The person.
I guess it just goes to show that everything that is a blessing is also a curse. If we find some joy while we are here, perhaps there will be distress from some place else. Thankfully, Jesus can be found.
Sixth, and finally, the world is uh, messed up. I am frustrated because there is so much hate, so much greed, so much violence, so much fear, so much disaster, so much death. Really, this place is too much. I hate it here most of the time and yet I lack the necessary courage to constantly pray ‘maranatha!’ Really, this place needs some serious help because I’m just pessimistic enough to believe that it is not going to get better before it gets worse and with presidential elections looming, taxes likely to go up, the ever-present concern of when the next terrorist strike will come, the growing concern about how all the financial stuff will affect my salary (since it depends upon donations to the church)–well, that and more, my concern about the Steelers winning every Sunday and my disappointment with Jeff Gordon’s terrible, terrible year in NASCAR. Well, the world is messed up and I have just been thinking about whether or not I am doing enough one one hand, and on the other lamenting that I can only do so much, that I feel so helpless.
I guess it just goes to show that the world is in much bigger need of someone much bigger than I to solve the problems that this world is faced with just now. (I also seriously doubt that either presidential candidate is going lessen my anxiety.)
It’s only Thursday. I have band practice and a board meeting tonight. I have a wedding rehearsal tomorrow. I have prayer meeting and a wedding on Saturday. Somewhere in the midst of all this I have to write two sermons. I don’t know if I can write sermons this week. Maybe I’ll just watch some more baseball and hope that the Red Sox get clobbered again. One can dream, can’t he? Happily, on Sunday, I can worship with my friends. In the meantime, I’m glad to know you and happy you stopped by for a visit today. Perhaps some of my angst can touch you and point you to Jesus. I’m sticking with Jesus today. I hope you are too.
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)
I think I’m getting back into prayer shape. I hope you will join with me.
Soli Deo Gloria!