Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Conglomerate n. - a bunch of things

husband and wife, God and church - insults/disrespect
So today I was thinking about what might happen if someone were to insult my wife. (I was thinking about the future.) I feel like, depending on who it is and what is said, I would have to restrain myself from punching them right in the mouth. Or at least the face. Now, for those of you that don't know me well, I don't get angry/violent about much. That, however, would make me pretty mad. But no one is going to treat my wife that way.
And then a thought came to me: How does God feel when His bride is insulted or disrespected? I'm sure He is quite upset about it. I mean, His love far surpasses any sort of love that I will ever feel. And since God is outside of time, things that hurt don't exactly go away with the passage of time, as I understand things. (The idea comes from something I am pretty sure CS Lewis wrote, that we are under the illusion that our sins are somehow not as bad after 'enough time' passes.) Honestly, I feel kind of sorry for anyone who insults, disrespects, or imitates the bride of Christ. Because God has said, "It is mine to avenge; I will repay. In due time their foot will slip; their day of disaster is near and their doom rushes upon them."

beauty and nature
At another point in time today, I was thinking about just enjoying the weather and nature and the earth and sunshine. I wanted to stand barefoot in the grass and feel the warmth from the sun and the grass by my feet. I wanted to relish in it, to enjoy it, to take it in, to be healed. Being there (in my head), I could only wonder, How could someone take all this in and not think that there is purpose behind it? And I heard a reply, How can you see all this and say, 'Oh, there must be a God.'? And the truth is, I don't. But I also don't see how you can see all this and say, 'There is no purpose, it all happened by chance. This is a chance collection of atoms that has no reason to be.'
And then I thought, where does that sense of beauty and awe of nature come from in the first place? Why are people so moved to keep trees and the land alive so that they even stand in front of large machines or tie themselves to trees or something else like that? Why is it of such consensus that the earth is a valuable resource, that nature is good to look at and appreciate? Why is it that things like art and music appeal so much to so many? I want you to wonder that as well. Why do we appreciate and desire things that are given the quality of 'beautiful' or 'beauty'? Where does that even come from?

finding something of substance in conversations -I think I desire close relationships instead of frivolous friendships
Lately, I have noticed that I have not been as patient around others as I normally am. I'm going to be honest here, and I hope you can handle it. I don't say it to be insulting or disrespectful, I just want to be open and honest. Because I desire openness and honesty. I desire relationships that are worth something to me, that are deep and meaningful and have truth at their core. I don't want frivolous friendships far and wide.
Lately, I have noticed that I seem to get irritable around groups of more than 4 people when I am with them for more than about 10 minutes at a time. I noticed that I feel like I am forcing laughter, rather than feeling it and expressing it. I don't like that. I kept thinking - and realized that perhaps it was more that I just wanted to be around certain people, that I wanted to know certain people more and let them know that they are valued and appreciated and desired. (On a side note, maybe I'm shallow, but I don't think that is what is happening here. I may write another blog about that.)
I realized that because I know I haven't gotten irritable around everyone I've been with. There are a few people that I enjoy being with, and that I want to be with more. There are a few relationships that I feel are about to be even better than they were before, and I am eager to have that happen. I desire relationships that are real, that are honest and open, that involve maturity and immaturity. I desire relationships that are not based on something stupid like school or a job or which dining hall I go to. I want relationships that are deep, that are connecting and push me to be a better person.

And the relationship I want to grow the most is my relationship with God. I feel like I have almost forgotten who He is and what He wants for me. I feel like God is looking toward me and saying, "When can we hang out and talk? I miss you." And I miss God too...

Monday, March 12, 2012

Prayer, Giving, and Deeds

Let's look at a few chapters from Matthew (specifically 5-7). This is sometimes referred to as the Sermon on the Mount, from what I understand. In it, Jesus talks about many things, and to name a few of those things, prayer, giving to the poor, and doing works. Prayer, Jesus says, is to be done in a personal place, away from others. Not on street corners, because if you do it there, you get recognition from people. God recognizes what is done in secret as well as in public. Jesus says that giving to the poor should not be proclaimed, but done so secretly that one hand will not even know what the other hand is doing. When it comes to doing works/deeds, Jesus says that we (Christians/those who follow God and do His will) are the light of the earth, and to not hide our deeds. By letting others see our deeds, that will bring praise to God, which is a very good thing. Later on, Jesus talks about how you can recognize who is a false/true prophet by the things that that person does. He says you know a tree is an apple tree because you see apples on it. Likewise, you can see that a person is serving God if they do things that are in line with God's character. However, just after that, Jesus says that there will be people who, on the day of judgement, will proclaim the things they did 'in God's name' but who will be denied by Jesus because, "[He] never knew [them.]"

So I am sensing something of a tension...or at least something that I have not been taught before. Praying and giving are not deeds that should be seen by others. They should be done for God's glory, not public recognition. Yet Jesus still said that we are to show others who we serve. This is something I am still learning how to do.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Two things I support

First one! Going alphabetically, it is the Blue Like Jazz movie! I would suggest looking at the website to watch the trailer for it, but I may just include it here later on :P After watching the trailer, I feel like it gives a brief idea of what the book is about, but since I haven't seen the movie I don't know how much of the movie it shows ;) Anyway, I read the book a few years ago and I liked it a lot. The author, Donald Miller, is simply writing about some of his experiences with his friends at college and religion and God. He seems to take an honest look at things, and realizes some of the great shortcomings of Christians in America today.

The second thing is It is a website that is also a game, and it is one I played regularly last year and have not been in the habit of playing this year. I want to play it more, because I want to have more of an impact on this earth and the people on it. You ask, "How does playing a game make an impact on this world?"
Well, playing FreeRice literally provides people with food to eat when they may not otherwise have some. The game runs off of money from ads on the page, and when you view those ads, they pay for the rice that you 'donate.' The game you play is a vocabulary game (or a geography game, or a chemistry game...there are different subjects!) where each answer is 'worth' 10 grains of rice. I know it isn't much, I mean, what can you do with 10 grains of rice? And honestly, no, you cannot do much with 10 grains of rice. But by donating 10 grains of rice at a time, I have cumulatively donated 889900 grains of rice (at the time of this blog post). I know what you are thinking: That's OVER 9000!!!!! and it is. well over 9000.
Together, we can and will make a difference, and it will be good :)

So there it is. Two things I support, and I hope you take a look at them! That's all I ask, really. Just look at them. See if you are interested in them, and take the next step accordingly :)

PS- The movie comes out on Jessica's birthday. Happy birthday Jessica!