Friday, February 1, 2008

Not Your Average Joe

What does it mean to live a life that is counter-cultural?

Just last weekend I attended a conference called Passion. Passion is a massive movement which has not only made its way around the US but is also branching out into other countries across the world. The overriding idea is to stir up passion in college students and challenge them to live a life set apart for Christ. In doing so however, their life is going to look quite different than the life of your everyday, average Joe.

When I think of the words "counter-culture" I think of of living a life that is radically different than what societal norms would suggest. But as I reflect on the word radical and the idea of being set apart from contemporary culture, I get confused as to how that actually plays out in real life. Does living a life that is counter to culture mean that we all must move to who-knows-where with only the clothes on our back to save all of the disadvantaged children of the world? As I write this I feel like the worst person ever for not purchasing my plane ticket this very second.

But at the same time I grapple with the following idea - Can God not use us exactly where we are at? If God called us to where we are at this very moment, is it possible that he has radical plans up His sleeve which consist of us staying put and allowing Him to work in us here... now... even me, as I reside by the beautiful beaches of Southern California? I struggle with this.

On the one hand I am confident that vocationally I am pursuing exactly what God wants me to pursue right now. At this particular stage in my education and training I must stay put, feet firmly planted exactly where they are as I soak in the breadth of knowledge and ideas that consume my every day. Why then do I feel guilty?

Maybe what I need is a shift in perspective. There are broken people everywhere. Some suffer due to extreme poverty while others, seemingly perfect on the outside, are dying a spiritual death inside. A lack of belonging. A lack of hope. An exorbitant amount of pressure to figure all of this life stuff out all by themself. Searching for life in sex, alcohol or other addictive behaviors but cutting themselves off from the source of true life. Are these men and women not suffering? Are they not broken and in need of a Savior?

As you drive to work in the morning, distracted by talk radio or the bluetooth that seems to have found a permanent home on your ear, turn off the background noise and look around at the people in the cars next to you. What is their story? Where do they come from? They may be driving the perfect car or look as put-together as ever but I can tell you from experience there is more to them than meets the eye.

God is a God of the unexpected. I could list example after example of the unexpected things He has done throughout time but this post is long enough. We must begin to expect the unexpected so that we are open to God using us here... now... Again, as I ponder these questions in search of answers, more questions arise and answers are hard to come by... If I had it all figured out though why would I need God? Well, I can honestly say that without Him my life would be pointless. Finally a question I can answer...

Thursday, January 31, 2008

more is less

A few days ago I said I would never write a blog and now here I am writing a blog. I have read just one person's blog in my entire life and sadly I didn't understand a whole lot of it. It was all about theology and philosophy and stuff that is way over my head. In other words, I have no clue what I am doing. All I know is that I need to get these thoughts out of my head so I can go to sleep tonight.

I feel like I am blindfolded and God has taken my hand and said "trust me." I have no idea where I am going. All I know is that I have been told to trust... whatever that means... however that looks.

The reason I did not want to write a blog is because I did not want my thoughts exposed for the world to see. That is so scary. And I am one h*ll of a scaredy cat. My fears range from turbulance on airplanes to puke (as weird as that may be). To deeper stuff too like opening up and accessing the depths of my heart and emotions. To know and be known. Isn't that what it's all about? To love God and love others. How do you truly love others without giving of yourself and creating a safe space for someone else to spill their guts with you. To laugh and cry and express their fears and failures... and do the same in return. Without running the risk of getting hurt or being rejected, it does not seem possible.

But is it worth it? Is God not big enough to pick up the pieces of a broken heart? To mend a wounded spirit?

Risk. God is asking me to take risks right now. And trusting Him blindly is first on the list. So here I am. Risking. Trusting. This may be my first and last blog. Or maybe it will be the first in a series of rants and raves and revelations. Who knows.

More is less. The more I know, the less I know.... Right now I am figuring out how to be okay with that.