Monday, January 31, 2011

Dead Goats

I know, I know, it's been 17 days since I last wrote. But if you think 'bout it, 17 days isn't that much. Maybe I'm trying to prove some philosophical point about how we are so expectant for things immediately. Or maybe I just forgot....

I rode back to school with a good friend yesterday. Usually the two hour drive is pretty boring, the same scenic fields, cows, and small po-dunk towns passing by. The mediocrity of that drive was replaced with some life-giving time talking with a friend.

It plunked (planked? plunk? had plunken?) a massive wad of thoughts into my lap, begging to be sort through.

Yesterday I was at Redeemer with my sister and her hubs (my sister wrote about Redeemer here, read it, she's incredible). Leviticus was the Pentateuch-al book they were in then, and this book is BORING. It's the book I avoid because it's all the rules the people were to follow, who wants to read about scabs and dead animals?

But as speaker-man went on, he began to talk about why this was important. Get past the whole "atonement for our sins" thing, that doesn't mean much to anyone because we're not Jewish (because I would rather write this way, I'm going to summarize what he said, I hate adding the "he said" to everything, I beg your pardon, this is not my own idea by ANY means). Back then sacrifice was watching a goat getting it's throat slit, and all the blood and gore that would come spewing out over everything. Sick right? The point of sacrifice was to be sicked out. It was to be able to look at that nasty, gutted animal and say, "that is me--oh boy" DAILY. They saw that every day, to be reminded of how much they did needed God.

Do I think I need God?

My mom introduced me to the concept of Functional Atheism a while back. In essence, it is our living day to day as if God doesn't really exist, talking up this big mantra of theology and feelings, but truthfully living as if God wasn't any part of me except for my "quiet time".

On the car ride home, Friend and I were talking about "witnessing" and how it's become a disturbing concept to us. It has become a means of showing people they need to be as good as us, to be saved so that they can have what we have. GAG. The point of even talking to people about Christ is because we NEED Him. The thought of telling someone that they need Christ to change them while I sit here and act as if He doesn't even exist in my life makes me sick. Who would want that? If I don't know how badly I need Christ in my day to day moody, arrogant, me-centeredness, then I have no reason to tell someone else they need Him.

I need Christ, and today I know it. I pray I come to know it everyday. I pray God puts some sort of dead goat in my path everyday as a serious reminder of my nasty-ness, and my absolute need for Him.

May we all come to find our need for Christ and may it come to change the core of who we are.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Something Beautiful

I would apologize for the length between blogs, but then I remember, "hey, I'm on break!" and then I don't feel so bad (name that movie).

I have been on break for exactly 28 days. During those 28 days I have slept, thought, read, created, napped, traveled, and dozed. Much of that has been with my sister. I know I have alluded to this before, but it has been a HUGE thought for me the past few days. There is something BEAUTIFUL about being invited into someone's life. Not being entertained, or prioritized, but invited. Invited to rest, hang, laugh, talk, read, sleep, play, live, breath, and BE. It is literally divine. My sister and her husband have created that for me at home, and at school I have that with my K-Life family. I will scream this until I'm blue in the face, we are called to a life of rest. Not JUST sleep and hanging, but resting in what Christ is digging into in our lives, resting in His absolute goodness despite our circumstances, resting in laughter and enjoyment, resting through grace to not have it together or to do it right. 

This week I got to enjoy the laughter and enjoyment one. My knees are black and blue due to my attempt to play ice hockey. Regardless of my physical state after this, it was a time to enjoy and laugh and accumulate an experience. I won my first game of Settlers, and then experienced the humbling of losing the very next game to the underdogs.

There is a huge part of my heart that stirs and rests simultaneously in the presence of people who I admire. I have found integrity and honor to be two of the rarest qualities to be seen in people, I know I definitely fail in those quite frequently. This week I was privileged to spend time with some people I have the utmost respect for. A married couple who are servants and love deeply without judgement. A group of guys who are more concerned about doing what is right then what is comfortable, and about being gentle men who share that same kind of love. Girls who find great joy in being who Christ created them to be rather than trying to emulate a standard. It is RESTFUL for me to be around people who are honorable. Being around these people stirs my affection for Christ, because I see Christ in them. I am honored to get to experience and enjoy these people in my life. 

I find so much pleasure in those relationships, because they are things I have previously killed in my life. 

That I may gain Christ, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ--the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.
Philippians 3:9

I was struck this morning by the two types of Righteousness Paul points out here. The first being the kind of righteousness of knowing how good of a job I did when I follow the rules. Self-righteousness. It is a gratification to KNOW I did a good job and that no one can fault my action. The type of righteousness that comes with trying to do everything right, to be the perfect one, the one everyone looks at and says, "man, they are SUCH a good Christian, I want to be more like them." I am SO guilty of this. It's righteousness in disguise, a way of judging success without actually having to be accountable to Christ. 

Then there's the second type. The type of righteousness that comes from not attempting for righteousness but attempting for Christ. It comes by faith, a coming to the end of ourselves, a desperation and need to need Christ. It comes when we allow Christ to surpass expectations, when we ditch our expectations and let Him work things out in a way that doesn't make sense, but works regardless. When it stops making sense is typically where the beauty begins. This is the righteousness I beg to overcome me. To know Christ as my need, to see the fragility of myself and the weariness that comes from trying. I beg for the familiarity of Christ's hand to come into my life so that I won't be so caught off guard when things don't seem to be "right." 

May we know Christ to be who He says He is. May we ask Him to work and ask Him to shake our false perceptions of what faith and righteousness look like and recreate them into something that points straight to rest in Him. May we find rest in Him today. May we laugh today. May we be a people who enjoy and are enjoyed because of the God we know in us, and the definable characteristics He has purposed for us to develop. May we come to delight in things and not take it all so seriously. May the lightness of trusting in Christ bless us with the opportunity to experience Him as fully as we are intended to.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

My Business is to Create

"I will not reason or compare, my business is to create."
-William Blake

I find nothing more restful, more cathartic, more....effervescent than making something, or enjoying things other people have made. There is something beautiful about starting with scraps and ending with an object of appeal.

I've spent my afternoon at Starbucks, reading some, but mostly looking at blogs. My soul stirs when I do this, to see the human mind create something of such aesthetic allure with color, texture, and some hot glue. The point being nothing but the enjoyment of the finished project, the rest beauty can provide. And isn't that what it is?

Our human hearts rest in beauty. My sister has defined beauty before as, "something that draws you in." It's a transferable word. People find beauty in a myriad of areas; home decor, writing, music, quilts, nature, food, clothing, etc....but the point is, they find it. And when it's found, we cling to it. Our hearts yearn to be drawn in, for something to catch our eye.

My sister has been gnawing on this concept lately too, through a conversation with a friend, she came to this conclusion.

It is absolutely, positively, Godly to want to create, because God in essence is a creator.

I get a feeling when I look at something I, or someone else has made. The creativity, the endless possibilities the mind can come up with, resulting in appeal. I imagine that's what God felt like when He said, "it is good" in Genesis during the creation. Bleakness into roaring seas of rolling blue waves, emptiness into tall, bold, sturdy tress dressed with leaves and buds, dirt into a fleshy, soulful, passionate life.

It. Is. Good.

I have told my mom a million times over recently how much I want a house to decorate. My heart finds rest in creating a home from objects, knowing that is the place I am going to live, grow, build relationships, and rest for a time. I want that. I desire to create, to build, to fabricate. I think we all do, we just have been squelched in a society of pre-built, cookie cutter, easy basics.

May we be a people who finds rest in beauty and learns to enjoy it. May you find that place or thing or idea that excites you and may you pursue it. May we grow closer to God through creating and seeing the good in it. And may we not be doused by fear of criticism or inferiority, but grow in independence and the individuality of who Christ created us to be.