Saturday, January 31, 2004

an idiot

I have been friends with girls my whole life. I consider my girl IQ above average when it comes to friendships. My best friend in High School was a girl. She began to open up my world and help me see the different ways that females think about life as compared to males. She revealed to me how her emotions moved her to do things (good and bad) that I would never think of doing. Then, in college, my three closest friends were girls. None of these people were girlfriends, just friends. I had more friends that were girls than any straight guy should have. And they showed me even more the pressures and expectations placed on females in this society. They showed me their struggles and their weaknesses as women. It was so eye opening. I began to learn more and more about how females worked.

Now I turn the page to the romantic zone. This is where I am idiot. Its almost like I think too logically for this emotionally drenched zone of games and flirtation. My IQ in terms of dating and romance is such that I should be going to a "special education" school. I pray to God all the time for Him to give me wisdom in this area because I am so severely lacking. I can't tell when girls are flirting half the time. I don't know when to ask a girl out and when not to. I don't know how to tell if a girl is interested. I can't even tell, within myself, when I am interested. At most I know when a girl is cool and when a girl is attractive. Beyond that, I am lost. I don't know what makes a great date. I don't know what's romantic. I can't tell when I have hurt a girl's feelings. Most of time I can't even tell if I am flirting or not. I can't tell if a girl is sending "signals" of either kind, good or bad. I don't know how to ask a girl out. I don't even know where to go or what to do on a first date. "Un-smooth" would be an understatement in describing me.

All of this simply reminds me of my complete dependence on God for any relationship of "significant romance" with a female. As I read back over this post I really wish the above was exageration. Sadly, as my closest friends can attest, it is not.

Father, I give it to you......again.

my shirt

So my nice button down, collard shirt was really wrinkly in the sleeves. I decided to throw it in the dryer with a couple dryer sheets shoved down into the sleeve area. Not such a good idea. I pulled my shirt out after about 15 minutes and realized that the middle two buttons on my shirt had actually "melted" off. Yeah, MELTED OFF!!!! I didn't know that could happen to a button. But sure enough. They are gone. I decided to wear the shirt anyway. Its funny, because when I stand up you can't really tell... but when I am sitting, its very obvious that my shirt is not buttoned, ...but just in the middle. The top two buttons are there, and the bottom two are there as well. So when I sit, I just reveal the white undershirt around my mid-section area. Its kinda funny to see. Its even funnier to try to explain to people.

The Deeper Meaning: There always seems to be deeper meanings in simple, idiotic occurrences such as this in life. As I reflected on the openness of my I pondered how my undershirt has been revealed by two melted off buttons, I realized just how ok I was with all of this. I am ok with people seeing my undershirt. I am ok with people realizing that I am missing two strategic buttons. This sort of thing used to bother me. But lately, I am getting more and more comfortable with people seeing the insides of me....the weaker sides of me. I am ok revealing what is beyond and behind the nice button down shirt. Its ok if they see my t-shirt underneath.

This is apparent in other areas of my life as well. My screen saver is not just fake stars flying by me at the speed of light. No, now its a rotation of pictures. Some are good pictures and some are idiotic. Some are of me that look nice. Some are of me looking ridiculous. Some are of my friends and others are of my family. My goofy looking family. And so when I am reading at Common Grounds or listening in class, and my screen saver kicks in, those sitting near me can see my pictures. They can see pictures I would normally reserve just for the eyes of my friends. Strangers become witness to my underbelly. And likewise, this is occurring in my blog posts. I don't know who is reading anymore. I used to know. I used to know who had my blog address. But the word has spread and now strangers, beautiful strangers are crawling around with me inside my head. And there, in all its glory, is the reality of my melted buttons and my plain white undershirt.

Friday, January 30, 2004

A difference?

I was driving through that poor, government housing section of town on 12th street today on my way back from working out. A question came to my mind. I am about to leave Waco, maybe for good, in a few months. I have been here 2 and a half years. Have I made any difference at all while I was here? Is Waco worse off with me gone? Was it better with me here? Have I done a single thing in two and a half years for a poor person here in Waco, Texas, one of the poorest cities in the country?

My ego assures me that I have made a difference in the life of my friends. But I am sure that is primarily because they have made a difference in my life. But Jesus seemed to make a difference not only in his friends' lives, but in strangers' lives. He made a difference in the towns he would visit and he would only be there for a few days or so.

Again, my ego reminds me that, "Yeah, but He was the Son of God." Yeah, but I am his disciple. Or at least I claim to be. I am convinced now more than ever that I care nothing for those less fortunate than me and that I have done very little if anything to help the society in which I have lived the past 24 years.

Father, forgive me. Father, I believe, help my unbelief. Father, I care, help my apathy. Father, I know it matters, help my indifference.

The Priestly Blessing

I read this last night. I have heard it many times in church before but found it uniquely refreshing this time for some reason.

"The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace." Numbers 6:24-26

My study bible noted last night that verse 24 in the Hebrew is 3 words, verse 25 is 5 words and verse 26 is 7 words. What beautiful symmetry. It's also interesting to me that God's face is mentioned twice. This anthropomorphic language creates such amazing imagery for me. It's as if "The Lord bless you and keep you" is the thesis statement and the next two verses flesh out just how that 'blessing' and 'keeping' happens. It seems that the blessing comes when God's face shines upon me and when His face turns toward me. It also seems that this "keeping" of God happens by the graciousness and the peace of God. His grace and peace "keep" me. Its funny to think about how Paul starts most of his letters to the New Testament churches by saying "Grace and Peace" to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. A greeting of Grace for the Gentiles in the audience and a greeting of peace for the Jews in the audience.

What is it for God to turn His face toward me and shine His face upon me? It seems to be an act of blessing just for God to turn toward me and to smile. It reminds me of Jesus as a young boy in the Temple, "And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men." Luke 2:52. And also at his baptism, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." Matthew 3:17. That is what I want to be. I long to be in the favor of God. I long for my father to turn and smile at me. And even in the smile comes blessing. In His smile comes comfort and security. His smile is his favor. His favor radiates in me and allows me to grow in wisdom and stature and in favor with men. That is where I want to be found. I want to be found in the gaze and smile of my Father. I want to be "kept" and "blessed". I want to be able to "keep" and "bless" others.

Father, what makes you smile? What captures your gaze and prompts you to grin? I want to be there. Father, I long for your face to turn towards me and to shine upon me. I long to grow in wisdom and stature and to grow in your favor. God, I need your grace and peace. More than that, I am fully dependent on your grace and peace. May I be a child you can smile at.

Thursday, January 29, 2004


Once again I find myself in Common Grounds. My sanctuary, my study, my living room, our coffee shop. I just saw a girl at the counter ordering coffee. She looked as if she had just come in from exercising. Probably running or walking. She was in a loose, long sleeve t-shirt. White. She also had on those cotton spandex type workout pants. Grey. Her hair was brown and not neatly put together. Just as it should be after a workout. She turned to look up at the board of items before she ordered her drink. I glanced up at her as I do just about anyone who would come into Common Grounds. Unbiasedly. But my second glance was biased. I couldn't help but to look back at her. And not just a glance this time but a semi-long stare. It wasn't a lusting kind of stare where I looked at her body. No, I was more captivated than that. She was beautiful. And I don't use that word lightly. I hardly ever call a girl beautiful. I know there are many kinds of beauty. The kind I speak of here is of course purely physical. But beauty it was. She was more than cute; even more than pretty. Her beauty was a unique one.

What do I do with that? Do you tell people these thoughts? Do you walk up and just tell them what you think? Surely that would be hitting on the girl. Not my intention, but that is how it would be taken. I am always torn by these things. For some reason these kind of thoughts want to jump out of my mind, slide down my sinus cavity, and springboard off of my tongue...flipping and floating into the air, all in order to find a home in the ear of another. For now these things will have to hibernate in this electronic media. But I hope that they will be freed from this cyber-prison one day and will find their home not only in the ear but also in the mind and heart of someone close.


Sometimes I am in my car, and all these things are going through my head. Kinda like when I am about to go to sleep and night and my thoughts begin to race. Its in the times that I am still that my thoughts seem to get really loud. But I have my ways to ignore these racing thoughts. TV is a good drug. It turns my brain into vegetation and I don't have to deal with my own mind.

But, back to the point at hand. Sometimes I am in my car and my thoughts get loud. I don't want to think anymore. I think all day, every second of all day. Just leave me alone you stinken brain. So I turn my music up. And I feel a sort of freedom. So I turn it up some more. I crank up my music until the knob in my car won't turn anymore. Especially if it is Linkin Park or something angry like that. Its sooo wonderful. I can feel the music in my body and in my ears. My thoughts get pushed out of my ears and I can only hear music. Sweet, angry music. And somehow a smile comes to my face. Its like a blanket of sound enveloping my whole being, inside and out. And just for a second, while I am in my car, away from the cares of the world, I elevate to a place of serenity and peace. Its so strange that one can find peace in the midst of such noise but it is in fact the noise that brings the peace. I think its because this artificial noise overpowers and subdues my internal noise. And just for a second, I am free.

Father, sometimes I can't calm the noise inside of me. I pray that you would be my peace. I confess that I often turn to the depressants of our world like TV and music but God they bring me only temporary relief. Father, calm my storm and speak.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Lifestyle of sin. What is that anyway? Can we differentiate between lifestyles of sin? What is the difference between a lifestyle of sin such as alcoholism and a lifestyle of sin such as materialism? Is there a difference between homosexuality and selfishness as a lifestyle? Can one be a Christian and have a lifestyle of sin? I think so. But does that impact our understanding of what it is to be a disciple? Is it more of a direction that we move in? Can we live in a lifestyle of sin and still pursue and move toward Christ? Even if this is possible, it has to impact someone's walk in a negative way. I really wonder which lifestyle is more glorifying to God: a monogamous homosexual relationship between two Christians who adopt a kid and raise him/her the best that they can OR two materialistic heterosexual church going Christians in a good marriage who buy only the nicest of consumer goods? Is this even a valid question? Is one better than the other? Does God even see it like that? I just don't know.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

My friend Steph and I had a conversation tonight which helped me clarify the beauty of blogging. What came to me in this conversation was that blogging is "pure gift". Its an offering that destroys our societies principles of reciprocity. My blog is first and foremost a gift to my God. I often write thoughts and prayers as an extension of my ongoing conversation with Him. Secondly, it is a gift for myself. I have given myself the freedom to flesh out ideas and ponderings in an uninhibited fashion. Its a free gift to me which enables me to better understand my own thoughts. Finally it is a gift to anyone who reads it. Whether its a good and worthy gift is not up to me but up to the reader. But it is a totally free gift. There is no expectation of response (though there is an avenue for this in the "comments" box). I share my thoughts and try to be as transparent as is healthy. The reader has complete freedom to receive this gift without having to share their thoughts. One could judge, agree with, argue with, think about and condemn any ideas shared here and are under no obligation to let me know about it. Blogging is a pure gift, uncontaminated by the restrains of reciprocity. So if no one reads, awesome.... this is my journal. If close friends read, awesome....may they benefit from crawling around inside my head for a bit. If perfect strangers read, awesome....may the freedom to judge me or hate me OR agree with me or learn from me OR a mix of both....may this freedom be a gift to you from me. I expect nothing but silent anonymity in return.

Post Script: Thanks Steph for helping me articulate this idea.

When you see a fairly attractive girl and think to yourself, "I think I know her, or she knows me." But you can't remember her name or where you met, if indeed you met at all. Then enters the dilemma. Should you A. Keep pretending like you don't know her B. Ask her if you should know her (risking the possibility that she and everyone else in Common Grounds thinks you are hitting on her) C. Say "Hey" as if you do know her and hope she will respond in a positive way (risking that she doesn't really know you and you made this all up in your head) or D. Just look her in the eyes and smile (that way if she does know you then you have acknowledged her and if she doesn't than you are just being nice). These are the Days of My Life *cue corny music and the picture of the hour glass*

Its funny how inoculated we are from our senses. Do we really FEEL anymore? It seems that we protect ourselves from really feeling anything in this life. When our life gets bored and tired and too logical we lose that daily emotion of life. When we live a life that is less than the abundance which is found only in Christ, we lose the marrow of life. We don’t risk for Christ. We don’t step out and do crazy things in faith. We don’t take the risk of caring for people, feeling for people. We guard ourselves from empathy and protect our hearts. We want life to be fun and exciting but we don’t want to feel too much. Feeling too much is dangerous.

We even try to substitute for this lack of feeling. We watch sad movies so we can have our heart ache. And yet we are still safe because it’s only a movie. The pain can end when we leave the theater. We resort to Oprah and her emotionally touching life stories. We might do drugs. We might try to tap into our sexuality in one way or another just to feel….making out, masturbation, pornography, sexual encounters in various forms. We might get crushes on others just for the rush. We might lift weights to feel the physical pain. We might self-mutilate for the same reason. We might speed in our cars just for some adrenaline. Do we do all of this just to feel? Just to tap into parts of ourselves which make us feel awake, make us feel alive?

In the end, we have lost the ability to feel God. We don’t know His intimate touch. We’ve lost the rush of seeing Him work in powerful and mysterious ways. Our hearts have grown cold to the love He offers.

Father, have I lost the ability to see you, to hear you, to touch you. Father, help me truly FEEL life. Help me to experience an abundance in this life which can only be from you.

Monday, January 26, 2004

Do you know what I find interesting? Its the idea that compliments create expectation. I see this all the time working in a girl's freshman dorm. Girls are always complementing each other on how they look. Its the first thing out of their mouths when they see each other. "oh, you look so cute today." or "I love those boots" or "your hair looks great." They think they are helping that girl's self-esteem and image issues by paying her a complement. They think that a compliment about physical appearance is the same as encouragement. I think they are wrong. These compliments lead to expectation. Inside the girl feels good about receiving a compliment. But later on, she senses that nagging feeling of expectation. Will I get compliments tomorrow? Will they think I am dressed like a bum if I don't wear new clothes, cute clothes, stylish clothes? You can especially see this occur in people who are attractive and have been complimented on their appearance their whole lives. It becomes a source of self-worth. But this source is deceiving as it takes more than it gives. And inevitably it is the beautiful people in the world that end up the most image conscious. It is the beautiful people that have such high demands on themselves to maintain that beauty. There is an expectation that they will look good. And so they must. They can't disappoint their public.

This is not just true for image or appearance but for anything. The more we hear compliments, and the more we put self-worth in those parts of our lives which get the compliments, the more demand and expectation there is. It is not so much the compliment as how we receive it. We humans usually hear the compliment all wrong. Instead of hearing the words, "You look cute today." We twist the words up in our heads and end up hearing, "you are cute." What is the difference? It is the "being" that is the difference. That actual compliment speaks to our physical appearance. What we often hear speaks to our very "being", who we are. We, in a sense, become the compliments we receive. "That was a good sermon!" is what is actually said. We hear, "You are a good preacher" and further, "I expect you to always be good." To fall short of "becoming" the compliment is to disappoint. To disappoint is to fail. Now some of you reading are thinking, "What?" But that is only because you are not honest with yourself. We don't hear the truth in our heads because its too real and too devastating. We want to believe that we can take compliments well and that it doesn't place expectation on us. But we often cannot do this. Our frail minds twist a nice word of compliment into an expectation of our very "being."

True encouragement seems to move beyond superficial compliments anyway. True encouragement speaks to the person's character I think. In the end, if greater expectation is placed on our character than that is good. God has expectation of our character. So if people call me kind (which no one does or ever will most likely) and that word of encouragement challenges me to embody kindness, than so be it. May my kindness glorify my Father in heaven.

Genesis 1-11 is myth. The gospels are also a form of myth. It is myth and it is the story I find myself in. This myth has completely dissolved my own mythical creations and has given me a more perfect picture of life.

I was just sitting here reading and a thought came to my head. You know, one of those thoughts that sneaks up behind you while you are reading. It just sort of taps you lightly on the shoulder and whispers a truth into your ear. Its so subtle and gentle that you don't even bother to stop reading. But as you read, that whisper of truth begins to echo in the canyon of your mind louder and louder. Until finally, you must put your book down and allow the thought to process. And here is what I heard, "You already have've already found it." Found what? I asked myself. And answered, "Found the greatest love, the greatest romance, the greatest partnership you will every find. You already have it. He knows you better than any girl ever will and you have been getting to know him for the past 16 years. Every other love will pale in comparison to the love you already have in Him." Then I realized that all my endeavors to get to know girls and to find a wife need not be so stressful or full of worry. I am already in the best relationship I will ever be in. Not only that, but I have been in this relationship for some time now. This thought is not new to me, but it is more profound to me now than it has ever been.

Thank you Lord for reminding me of the reality of your unending love. Thank you for calming my uncertainty about relationships and my future. Father, the truth is you are my future and my present and have always been my past. Thank you so much for meeting me here and whispering your truth so gently into my deaf ears. Give me ears to hear your words of love, every day, every day.

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Their leader will be one of their own; their ruller will arise from among them. I will bring him near and he will come close to me, for who is he who will devote himself to be close to me? Jeremiah 30:21

This seems to be a declaration from the Lord through the prophet Jeremiah of the Messianic Davidic ruler who will be in charge of the people upon their return to the land from exile. The verse right after this says, "So you will be my people, and I will be your God." It seems to be a prophetic message of hope for the people of Israel. Someone from among them will be raised up to lead them as they return from exile.

However, when I read this passage devotionally, trying to apply it to myself, I think in terms of being a pastor. This passage seems to speak to the power of a leader coming from the authority of the community. With relationships already built in community because you are "one of their own" leadership takes on a more authentic feel to it. You know the people you lead. And they know you and have seen your character in action. Then in the second half of the verse, the internally raised pastor is challenged in his/her walk with the Lord. Will the pastor be someone who "will devote himself/herself" being close to God? We are all supposed to be imitators of our Messiah Jesus. Every Christian. And yet this is especially true for leaders in the church. This verse seems to act as a criteria for pastors who want to truly lead their churches to be His people and for Him to be their God.

Saturday, January 24, 2004

How does one get to know another person over email? Imagine that you have only met this person a few times. You have a mutual friend but neither of you know much about the other. How do you write emails in such a way so as to express who you are? Of course you would want to cover some life history. One may also want to cover likes and dislikes such as things that you are passionate about, or movies, music...etc. But you know when you hang out with someone there is a flow. You can pick up personality traits that the person usually tries to hide in normal communication. When you watch someone interact with other people, you can act as a third person observer. I tend to pick up things about that person that I wouldn't normally in conversation let alone email. But even one on one conversation has a flow. Its a give and take. One response to a question opens the door to other questions. How do you keep this kind of flow over email? There is no body language, no gives, no openness in the moment. Writing back and forth lessens the emotion of the conversation. How do you get to know that person? How do you present your true self?

It strikes me as I am typing that Paul probably understood this struggle. Though he didn't have email, he certainly had various letter correspondences with his churches. We now have some of these letters in the New Testament. Its funny to realize that he was trying to pre-empt some of their responses so as to keep a flow. And at other times he was responding to a letter that we don't have to read today. Its as if we are reading the emails that he sent his churches and don't get to read their return emails. How hard it must have been to communicate the truths of the gospel and the Christian life through the medium of letter writing. Granted, he did visit his churches and spent some time with them. So he wasn't writing out of a lack of familiarity. But somehow he articulated the gospel life so well in those letters that the community of Christians wanted to preserve them. They became recognized as scripture! How does that happen? Then 2000 years of Christian history also acknowledged his masterful letters as inspired word of God. All this through letters?

Maybe we have just lost the art of writing letters. In an age of text messaging and IM I wonder if I haven't lost the ability to craft a meaningful, clear, and emotive letter. Sure email has helped to improve our communication. Yet emails are often short. We don't have time for reading long emails. Paul's letters were pretty long at times. (Romans, the Corinthian correspondence...etc.) These letters weren't just written. They were crafted with literary art and rhetorical skill. This in a day when he had scribes to write for him and most people couldn't read. Amazing. So I guess if nothing else, this "get to know you" process via email will force me to improve my ability to express myself in written form.

Father help me. Help me to be able to express my thoughts and my very being over such a sorry medium like email. Somehow you are good at expressing infinite reality through finite forms. Somehow you showed us who you were in the sorry medium of human flesh. God would you grant me the ability to reveal myself in a way that glorifies You and is true to who I am

Friday, January 23, 2004

I met a girl tonight in Collins. A freshman. She was just chatting with the Resident Chaplain. She told us about her 400 dollar purse. She told us about how her parents bought her a car but she felt "deprived" because she didn't get to pick it. She told us about how she "needs" a new spring wardrobe. Someone asked her what she was doing with all of her other spring clothes. She told us that she gets, not just new clothes, but a whole new wardrobe every season and gives her "old" clothes to her "maid". She explained that the lady is more of a cleaning lady than a maid because she only comes to clean the house three times a week. She went on to tell us that the monthy allowance that she gets from her parents (which she was too embarrased to tell us the amount because of how much she got) is apparently not enough. So she when she bought her books this semester she also bought the most expensive book in the book store. It was a huge bio-premed book which she returned the next day. This way her parents thought they were buying her the needed books for the semester and all the while she gets to pocket an extra 140 dollars. I wish I was making this up....but I am not.

"...we are unwilling to accept certainties; we tend to banish them to the obscure corners of our mind; just as, a hundred years ago, we used to banish uncertainties." Rene Girard (p. 98, The Scapegoat)

"...we are unwilling to accept certainties; we tend to banish them to the obscure corners of our mind; just as, a hundred years ago, we used to banish uncertainties." Rene Girard (p.98, The Scapegoat)

Is there any better place in the world than in a coffee shop with a book and a notebook computer with wireless internet access? Music playing in the background....sitting on a soft couch.... people at other places in the shop reading and drinking coffee, talking and sharing one moment reflecting on what you are the next moment drifting off into the conversations of others.....all the while thinking about the lyrics to the song playing in the distance.....wondering if you have email to read.......wondering if someone will call so you can chat and look like you have friends......moments of silence sneak up on everyone here.....its just the kind of place you think noise will be constant.....but its not...............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................great song by U2...................................................................................................the phone rings.................................................................................................................................................she carefully balances her coffee in one hand and her books in the other............time to read.

All I think about these days is what homework assignment is due next. I try to manage my time and become consumed with due dates and how much time it will take me to read chapters in various books. There seems to be so much pressure in my classes this semester to "complete" the work that I am struggling with actually dialoging with these books. Its as if I don't have time to consume what I am reading. I snack as quickly as I can these microwave nuggets of knowledge. I feel an inevitable grip of mental indigestion coming on. I mean, seriously. There is only so many hot dog eating contests one can do on a weekly basis before the urge to purge that over-processed pig by-product wells up inside.

SLOW DOWN is what I would love to do with all that I am learning. SHOW DOWN is what may happen between my schedule and my own sanity. The GO 'ROUND is what my classes are giving me these days. HO' DOWN is really what I would like to do this weekend rather than reading. MO' TOWN is the prescription to this disease of spending too much time doing homework and sitting in classes. JOE CLOWN is a name that has no significance in this post accept to rhyme with the other words.

Hey, check out my links. See Faith Maps? Its a cool site with awesome articles about stuff we may want to read post-seminary. Its a good site to stay sharp on our thinking.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

As the last virgin standing I must put forth my position on the matter. Some sexed earlier than others and yet they all fall one by one. Some by friends, some by dating partners, some by spouses but in the end, its all the same. I remain monastic as they united themselves one to another. Its sorta like that feeling when you are the last one tagged in tag. Or the last one hit with the dodge ball. It is all at once a source of pride and of aloneness. And its not like people haven't tried tagging you or that there aren't any balls flying about. Its not even that you haven't grown tired of the chase or the dodge. Its just that the game seems important enough not just to quit. In the end, its not the favor of my fellow elementary school classmates that I seek. Nor is it the joy of victory. Winning is as lonely as it is fulfilling. Its all about seeing the smile on the face of the gym teacher who knew you could do it in the first place. So I keep ducking and weaving, sprinting and side-stepping. Just as there seems to be a large community of those in the biblical "know", there also seems to be the reluctant remnant of pious purists who won't trade their brown hooded robes for jeans and a t-shirt. I won't trade my thick rope for a brown belt. I won't grow out my bald spot or put lotion on my dried out eyeballs. No, as the license plate almost says, "Virginity is for Lovers." Monasticism is the way. Until that fateful day when its not. And I am bound to another. That beautiful day when "I'm IT" and my groin swells from the impact of the 30 mile and hour volley/dodge ball which folded me over and dropped me to the floor. Aloneness fades as does victory into the hodgepodge of being "out" and rubbing shoulders with the community in the "know." That great day of anonymity and defeat. Yet until then, I chant my hymns, keep my head up and run like hell.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Ok so I tried to get the "comments" ability on my blog and I just don't know if it worked.

Honestly, what the heck is going on. I had a conversation with a girl last night who lives hours away from me. She is a solid, solid Christian girl who is interested in me. Am I interested in her? Maybe? There are things interesting about her? Here is my dilemma. I graduate in May and will move to Maryland to be a church planter. That will add hours to the hours already separating us now. How the heck does that work? I am not good on the phone. I have been good friends with girls for years. I have known every piece of their personality. I have been attracted emotionally, spiritually and physically to some of them. They were in close proximity. They were interested in me. And yet, I still didn't want to date them because I couldn't see them as a potential wife.

So now, here is this girl that I can see as a potential wife and yet all the other stuff isn't there. I don't know her personality. I don't know her emotionally. I don't know her past or what she desires for her future. I don't know what it is to hang out with her watching football. I don't know anything about her accept a few stories she has told me and Christy has told me. Ok so the obvious, predictable and BORING response from my trusty friends Chad and Jason ;) is "well then, get to know those things about her and then decided whether or not to continue." But some things you just can't find out about a person over the phone. Some things are only revealed in them when you are interacting in their life on a daily basis in close proximity. This can't happen with a girl hours away.

Then again, I think of how much faith this girl has. She has some crazy stories of her putting faith in Christ and Him coming through for her time and time again. Its almost humorous the stories she tells. The fact that she would want to get to know me and that she has been "impressed" with me seems silly to me. Its humbling to think that she would be interested in me. It seems as though a girl of that quality should be interested in some famous speaker who travels the country and wins thousands of people to Christ. The gifts that she has are almost intimidating. She is probably a better preacher than I am.

Then again I am not even sure if I am physically attracted to her. I mean she is cute and all but I just don't know. Again, I would need to be around her more. When you see a person just a few times its hard to tell whether you are physically attracted to them. Its kinda like I want to see her in her pajamas before she has done her hair or brushed her teeth. I want to hang out with her after she has gone running and has sweated a bunch. When she doesn't have make-up on and when she smells kinda funky. Is that weird? I just have had so many friends who are girls and who have been so close to me. Why invest in a girl hours away that I barely know?? I don't know. I just don't know.

And the reality is that if she lived in Waco, I wouldn't even think of dating her. I would develop a friendship. Dating wouldn't be mentioned. It wouldn't even be hinted at. I hate starting friendships with that in the back of my mind. It messes everything up from the beginning. If she lived in Waco, I probably would hang out with her a bunch and would probably go on dates with other girls just to make sure I don't cross lines emotionally with her. I would want it to be strictly a friendship, for a time at least. And then allow God to move through that friendship. It gets rid of "honeymoon" feelings that show up right at the beginning of getting to know someone but then later fade. My fear in trying to get to know her over the phone is that these "honeymoon" feelings would emerge but they would be based on a something fake, something less than a friendship. I don't know. She would be awesome to have as a friend though. Even if nothing happened as far as dating. She would be a blessing to my life regardless. She is a very cool woman of God that would be a great prayer warrior for my life. Hmmmm........ For those of you reading this blog, don't you wish my blog had a comments box for you to respond in. Sorry, I am not there yet in my electronic "savvyness."

Speaking of savvyness,.... I had the craziest dream last night. I met up with an old friend from college, and we hugged and caught up. She is engaged now but was married in my dream as was not happy in her marriage. She looked better than I had ever seen her look. (PS. we kinda had a short fling in college) So anyway, in my dream, that night we ended up cuddling on her couch and then making out. I woke up this morning disturbed because I haven't thought of her romantically like that in like 5 years. So it was fun making out with her in my dream and yet disturbing that I would make out with a married girl. My brain is a mess these days.

Father give me eyes to see, ears to hear and a heart to feel Your will.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

So if you go on a date with a girl and you both decide just to hang out and talk, is it ok to go back to the apartment? I mean, I am not trying to put the moves on or anything, I just want to talk. Or maybe just watch a movie. Either way, the real question is whether or not to clean up the apartment. I mean, sure, straighten up a little. That is out of respect for her. But I don't know about a full out clean apartment. It seems kinda fake to me. I am not into trying to impress people by being something that I am not. And should it matter if my apartment isn't exactly neat? That is me after all. And I want her to get to know me. So why not show her my real looking apartment? If the relationship works then she will see it messy later on anyway. I don't know. Maybe I am just lazy and don't want to clean. But I also don't want to try to impress her by being someone I am not. And I am definitely not a neat freak.

Monday, January 19, 2004

Can God make my life significant? I went to a youth rally last night where J.R. Vasser spoke. He challenged all the youth there to make their life significant by following God's "call", growing in "character" and by having "courage" to suffer for the sake of Christ. It was a classic three point, alliterated sermon. It got me thinking about the significance of my own life. I am 24 and am not sure how significant my life has been. I have done my best to follow Christ and failed plenty along the way. I have had some spiritual highs and lows. Should I even be so concerned with significance? I am called to make His name great, not my own. But there is the always pestering desire to be great, or known publicly. I am reminded quickly by the Spirit that the disciples also wanted to be great. Jesus nipped that in the bud by showing them that the "greatest" in the kingdom will be the "least" and the servant of all. Well that is definitely not me! So as of now, I am not great, nor am I significant. So we are all in agreement that I have not made my name great, despite my attempts. Have I made His name great, by my life? The jury is still out on that one.

God, if I am honest with you and with myself, I must confess my desire for my life to be significant. My fear is that your definition of significant is drastically different and even opposed at times with my definition. I am so small. Could you take a life like mine and make it significant in your Kingdom? Will my life be significant in this world? Is the former question more important than the latter? I leave it to You. Give me eyes to see and ears to hear.

I am now birthed into the cyber world of bloging. Please forgive my bloody gew of a mess that is now on the floor. You may need to wipe your shoes on your way out. Births can be messy.