Sunday, June 28, 2009

A struggling peacemaker

Tonight I went to the traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall which made a stop in a near by town. It was called "The Cost of Freedom" tour. It was an emotional experience. In front of the wall there were 8 large display cases with the dog tags of those who have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. The wall itself is in sections--sometimes the names on the section are those killed over a week, sometimes the names on the section are those killed in one day. As I stood in the rain and the echoing thunder, I heard the old saying, "freedom isn't free." And I began to wonder...when will we value human lives as much as we value freedom? When will we value the words of Jesus to love our enemies as much as we value our government's call to patriotism? I guess I am struggling with the call to be a peacemaker in a violent world. When Jesus said love your enemies and turn the other cheek, what were his boundaries for that? Did he realize that the world would call us weak? Or did he know that after time, a deeper change occurs in our enemies and in ourselves? I don't know. I just know it was very disturbing to see all those dog tags. It was very disturbing to see all those names on the wall and the memorials that people left behind in memory of a friend, a son, a lover, a father. I am not sure what makes my freedom more valuable than someone else's life. I am not sure what makes one life more valuable than another person's life. For each name on the wall and each dog tag of an American, how many Vietnamese and Iraqi names are being mourned? I don't have an answer or the right way to navigate this issue. I am just struggling to be a Christian in a violent world.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Philippians 3

Paul states in Philippians 3 that compared to Christ everything this world has to offer, everything he has accomplished is crap.
I want to be here. I want to be able to say that with Paul and mean it from the depth of my soul. But I am not. I have been shopping a lot lately. When you don't have anything to start a household, you need to shop. Right now the thing that I am struggling with is the kitchen garbage can. I want a stainless steel garbage can cuz I love the look of stainless steel. The cheapest one I have found is $60. A plastic one will do, right? I still haven't bought one because I really liked the stainless steel one. Really? I am going to put garbage in this thing! What does it matter what I put my garbage in? But isn't that what I am doing with my life? The selfishness, my attitude, my love for stuff, my satisfaction with my status quo, my ignorance of the poor around me--I dress it all up in a stainless steel can and it looks Christian cuz I slap a Jesus sticker on it all. But in reality compared to having Jesus Christ, it is garbage. It doesn't matter how I dress my selfish desires up. They are crap compared to Christ. It doesn't matter how I justify things, it is crap compared to Christ. And that master's degree that I just received and how about that commissioning coming in a couple of days? Can I say with Paul, compared to Christ nothing even comes close...
I wish I could. I am not there yet. And that makes me want to cry. I want to love Jesus in such a way that nothing else compares and pulls me away.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Change happens. If we do not change, we stagnate and ultimately die--spiritually, physically, emotionally. Death itself is change. Change is inevitable. So I am living right now in the season of change. Seminary ended almost a month ago. I begin my appointment July 1. I live in the midst of change. Changing locations, changing jobs, changing people in my life. So I am going to blog as best as possible during this time. Where am I struggling? Where am I feeling at home? Where am I finding God in the midst of the changes?
Currently, I am feeling a bit antsy. I want to get on with it all. Instead I feel like I am in a holding pattern. I am in the in between stage. I am in between jobs and in between homes. I am in between the time of preparation and the time of service. I have had to rethink my first Sunday and my first sermon as I have spoken with people from the churches. And yet somehow I am at peace too. That is a small oxymoron, isn't it? A peaceful antsy. But leaving Kentucky was sad yet it felt right. I had a peace about it. And living in this in between stage feels right. I have a peace about it. I am finding that God is here--in the in between, in the change. God is my peace.