i actually do have a question…

8 01 2008

despair.jpg

it is not your fault. whatever it is that is happening now, that hurts you, that angers you, that depresses you, that’s not your fault. the relationship that is one big eternal heartbreak, melacholy that came from nowhere and seems to be going nowhere soon, a complicated web of half truths and lies to protect someone or something, pointless squabbles between you and the people you love, the sickness of those close to you that you can do nothing about… none of that is your fault.

putting your trust in Jesus doesn’t get rid of the pain, and neither does it dull the sheer difficulty that is everyday life. you’ve been hearing it wrong. just believing and acting every day that you are knowing (present tense to show one is constantly in the process of getting to know something/someone else) the reality of it doesn’t change a thing. all it does is bury the pain deeper and deeper so that it build bigger and bigger until it’s hard to breathe and you’re suffocating from the brutality of having to pretend that everything is… normal.

but there is a hope in the midst of it: this world is not it. do you ever have the feeling that this world we’re in right now, these times of struggle and ambiguity, of warfare, global and personal crises are not “it”? like there is supposed to be more to life, to everything, than this? i’ve heard it said that this life is not “it” and so no matter how crappy things are, or how crappy things get, the goal is the next life. that is, the life we live after we’re dead. we’ll all be sitting in one great big circle, singing ‘grace kelly’ (one of the most sickeningly happy songs in the world, it’ll make the corners of your lips turn up involuntarily).

i don’t buy it.

why do Jesus’ words, “i have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” resonate in my soul the way it does? is what i’m doing living life to the full? if there are things that drag me down, then am i living life to the full? maybe there’s something that i’m missing here.

are you living life to the full today, the way Jesus intended for you to live?

maybe what we’re supposed to do is live a little bit more of Him in each day, so that we’re not waiting for a magical moment when Jesus comes back and swipes the magna-doodle of life clean, but rather, we’re bringing His love and grace, humility and compassion a bit closer to now.

hope.jpg

it’s just a thought.

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the different

6 01 2008

plough.jpg

last night, i was speaking with one of the youth, and they shared that they had been going through a time of questionning and doubt, and that it was hard to feel faith-full, like before. i wished i could have some kind of answer that would definitively solve the questions at once, the riddle of what happens when we don’t feel loved, or faithful, or whatever. answers like:

  • just plough on, and keep believing – eventually you’ll “feel it” again;
  • it’s okay, don’t worry. it’ll work itself out, and then you’ll have a great story to tell;
  • maybe you’re not reading the bible enough… have you tried job?;
  • perhaps you could try singing more worship songs and you’ll start believing again?;
  • the struggles are God’s way of telling you to start growing, so start growing in your faith; and
  • well, it happens. just hang on in there

the above replies (because they are surely not answers) all came to my head in a mad rush after the last words finished being spoken. sure, they’re easy, and they’ve been said a million times to me, to people i’ve talked to, and written in christian books i’ve read. do they help? i’m not so sure. in fact, i’m pretty sure they’re about as useful as ‘a ham sandwich at a bar mitvah’ i think there aren’t such things as pat answers when you’re dealing with faith, like you can’t just throw out a couple of well-phrased lines, no matter how recycled they are, and expect that everything will work out. i think the answer will always be out of these two:

  1. it’s okay to question.
    one reason is it’s how we show that we’re thinking about things, important things to do with where we are and who we are. if not, then we’re just sheep in the worst sense of the noun – we’re just following whatever is trendy, or easiest.
  2. we’re being honest, by bringing all that “junk” back to God.
    He can handle the truth – He was the beginning of all that, after all. if we’re not bringing the truth back to Him in our lives, our questions, our acts of worship and everything in between, what are we doing? mike pilavachi writes in when necessary use words: changing lives through worship, justice and evangelism, “too often we don’t know how to handle people’s cries to God. we worry that they’re not being reverent and are therefore offending God with their questions; but the psalms make it pretty clear that God wants us to pour it all out to Him – every emotion. Jesus didn’t have much time for people who were so busy putting on a show of holiness that they forgot to get their hearts right before His Father.” (37-38) and that opened my eyes in a way they hadn’t been opened in a long time.

God can handle the truth. if what we’re bringing to Him is what we think He wants to receive, and we’re shielding the questions or doubts or worries we have because otherwise we wouldn’t seem faithful enough, or strong enough… then we’re not bringing anything worthwhile.





a purely anxious/selfish post

8 09 2007

at work, and at solid rock, i’m two totally different people. at the first, i’m immature (i’d been the youngest member of staff for the first two years i was there, so i was excused. and the whole ‘she’s not quite chinese’ thing didn’t hurt…), a little more outgoing than some of the others, pretty confident but relatively green when it comes to the more important things… at solid rock, i’m immature, very outgoing, and a little green about some of the jargon and the traditions, not having been raised in the church or been a believer that long. ah… actually, maybe i’m not so different at the two places after all…but what i’ve been thinking about recently is whether my ‘ministry’ is in either of these things, per se. or more accurately, whether my calling is in one or the other, as though there cannot be mutual existence of the two.

can there be though? if i feel God’s presence at the one, does it mean i’m not meant to be at the other?

i’ve often thought that i’m too much of a youth leader at work, and not giving enough of myself at solid rock either. sometimes, it strikes me that they’re mutually exclusive things completely. or is it that i’ve just been treating them like they’re mutually exclusive, when they’re not, really?

i prayed tonight that God would break my heart for the youth. and i realised that i was referring as much to the youth at solid rock as i was to those at work. i was stunned by that. it was as though Jesus Himself had had me pray that, because i was so totally unaware of this, and it was the thing that just encapsulated what i’d been trying to articulate for so long now, it seems. oh… i was moved. where else has my perspective been so completely wrong? maybe i’m not a good youth leader, in that i don’t care enough, or invest enough time in the youth, and maybe i’m not a good teacher, in that i don’t care the same amount about all the students i have, or don’t put enough emphasis on academic achievement, but i do have heart, and i do really pray that God uses me in both places… maybe that’s all that matters. because God can use whatever we give to Him, as long as it’s all – everything – we can give to Him.

let all the earth rejoice, all the earth rejoice…





"this is about that"

12 05 2007

we’re in this time where who we “are” is defined by the degree to which our clothes are revealing, or the shape we are. at different times in history, it’s been defined by an assortment of things: the size of a woman’s behind, the way a person walks, the sound of their voice, the fragility of personality and so on, and for some, this is known as ‘sexiness’. and so, we have a generation of girls who take to heart the latter half of the well-known motto regarding having and flaunting, and show and show and show. and we have a generation of young men who swagger and strut and look at things that will rot in their heads to prove the media’s version of masculinity in themselves. we are told every time we switch on the television, log on to the internet, glance at a billboard, open a newspaper, that we will lead happy, fulfilled lives with every dream having become true if we buy this product, or dress in this way, or walk like this, or touch him/her like this.

and then i read on a blog this morning that godliness is what is truly sexy. it actually said, godliness = sexiness. i have to admit, i was a little taken aback. how can that be true, since our sexual identity isn’t something we talk about? or nurture. except for maybe a few select individuals. there are people we know who perhaps do not emanate physical attractiveness, but the god-attractiveness that’s in them draws us unconsciously near like the smell of fresh baked cookies draws young children. it’s something about them, which we can’t quite put our finger on, that is just so wonderful to look at, to experience, and we just want to be close to them.

i recently finished ‘sex god: exploring the endless connections between sexuality and spirituality’ by rob bell, the guy who wrote ‘velvet elvis‘ and it was very good. he is quite possibly the king of short sentences, but he packs a right hook into them and all eh. he wrote in the introduction, “you can’t talk about sexuality without talking about how we were made. and that will inevitably lead you to who made us. at some point you have to talk about God.” and yeah, it’s because all this talk about sex ultimately leads you right back to God.

maybe our perspectives would change when we realise that sexiness isn’t about how much skin we’re showing, but how much of God’s love we’re showing in our actions, lives and words.