Signs That I Am Aging – #1

7 05 2008

I started listening to talk radio.

By personal choice.

And I like it.

In fact, I almost prefer it.





Struggles

7 04 2008

I am losing faith.

Not faith in God. Not faith in Christ. I have as much faith in the way of Jesus as I ever have. It’s probably safe to say that I have more faith in the way of Jesus than ever.

I am losing faith in church. I am losing faith in Christians.

I know, I know: Christians are imperfect people. They’re no better than anyone. But Jesus said that the way that the world knows who we are is by our love for one another.

And churches split. Christians kill. Christians advocate for war. Christians ignore poverty. Christians ignore the environmental crisis. Christians lead the way in hatred of homosexuals… You get the picture.

At the same time I know that this isn’t the whole picture. I know that there are wonderful people doing the work of God in the world.

So what are we to make of the church?

My experience with the church is a mixed bag.  On the one hand, I have developed life long relationships based on truth, forgiveness, love, and hope.  My wife and I have enriched our relationship through the church.  We have seen many examples of what it looks like to live in a loving, self-sacrificial kind of marriage.  Many people in the church have invested in my life – from my youth minister, to my high school buddies, to my college minister, to people who volunteered with me in the youth ministry at WHBC.

But then there’s that other hand.   One of the basic problems in my experience is that church is entirely focused on the sustainment of the institution.  From tithing to programs – everything rests on “growing” our particular “family of faith.”  There has been little to no focus on impacting the surrounding community.  Sure, we want people to come, only so long as they come to our church and “get saved” in our church so we can grow.  And I have met the meanest people in church.  There are people in the church who hate.  You know, the ones who never have anything good to say.  Everything is negative criticism.  Not to mention the deep political divides within the church.  The church is more divided in terms of right and left than the American political sphere – you have fundamentalists, mainline liberals, emergent, reformed, catholicism, etc., and virtually none of them work together.  Blah.

I could keep going, but you get the idea.

In all of this, I have been struggling over the past few months about what it looks like to actually be the people of God, to actually participate in the life of the Kingdom.  And I can’t get over the feeling that the Kingdom of God does not exist in the traditional, institutional church of America.  Maybe I’m wrong.  I hope that I am wrong.  It’s just a feeling that I have.  And I certainly don’t have any answers.  I just have questions (and sometimes I don’t even have questions, just illegible inward emotions that drive me crazy).

And in all of this, I have been struggling with my place in the church.  I used to think that I was going to be a youth minister for 10 years or so, and then possibly do something else in the ministry.  I can’t go back to that.  I can’t bring myself to work for a system that is so fundamentally flawed.  But I’m still called.  I know that God has called me to “ministry,” as cliche as that sounds.  So I have no idea where to go from here.

I have a feeling of disgust towards church.  I can’t put my finger on it.  I don’t have any answers.  I just know that I can no longer live in the status quo.





I’M DONE!!!

11 12 2007

This semester is finally over!!!  God, it was hard, but now it’s done.

Whew.





Light at the end of the tunnel

27 11 2007

Only 2 more days of class and 2 days of finals (of course, this is expanded into 2 weeks).  Until then I have to keep my priorities straight, so blogging is on the back burner.

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and a time to rest.  I sure did.  I didn’t even think about class, and I didn’t go to work.  It was very nice.  Weeks like that make me thank God for Sabbath because otherwise I would lose my mind!





I Suck at Serving

16 11 2007

So sorry I haven’t posted this week – I’ve been ridiculously busy. But I’m finally done with training at Ninfa’s.

Last night was my first time to actually take on a few tables – and right now I suck at it.

One table asked me what kind of drinks I would recommend – I know nothing about alcohol. I had to get Cameron (my trainer) to take over from there. Oh, and I messed up their order, too. She wanted ground beef on her salad – I ordered fajita beef.

I spilled charro beans on an old guy with a suit. He wasn’t very happy.

One lady wanted nachos – and instead of the regular cheese, she wanted chili con queso and rice on them without beans. Even though this was kind of a strange order, I got it right, except I forgot to exclude the beans.

I forgot about one of my tables.

I almost forgot to I.D. a girl who asked for a Margarita.

I’m better at Greek and Hebrew.





Life is good, hard, hectic, beautiful, joyous, frustrating, exhuasting, energizing, fun, hilarious, blissful, tedious, incredible, etc.

8 11 2007

I’m not sure what to think about life right now.

I’ve got a baby on the way. That’s exciting, to say the least. I love my wife. Every moment with her is just… peaceful. My favorite part of the day is when I get to just be with her.

I’ve got a new job. It’s pretty cool, I suppose. There are some fun people there. And I’ll make good money for what it is – a transitional, part-time job. But, dang, training is not easy. Passing the menu test is definitely doable, just incredibly taxing, stressful, and time consuming.

Class is great. I love Truett. Next to family it’s the best part of being alive. I’ve learned so much and met so many wonderful people. I have truly seen the love of God at this place. But, dang, the work is tedious at times. Dr. Ngan’s assignments make me not like the Bible – I didn’t think that could happen.

Leaving Western Heights has caused a flurry of conflicting emotions. I am sad about leaving my kids, to be sure. I will miss them greatly. I will miss teaching them, hanging out with them; I will miss trying to show them what Jesus is like. But I am surely excited about the opportunities that lie ahead and the newfound freedom on Sundays that I will have.

Life is strange and confusing, really, when you sit back and reflect.

Through it all, may each and every one of us pursue love, joy, peace, faith, and hope. And may God bless those pursuits.





New Job

5 11 2007

I start my new job tomorrow at Ninfa’s as a server.   So when you want some good Mexican food in Waco come and see me (and give me a big tip) – just wait about 2 weeks so that I can finish my training.

We’ll see how it goes….