Sunday, August 19, 2007

i don't want anybody over for dinner

I have this question: Since leaving the organized church, has my life worsened or gotten better? At times it seems as it has gotten worse, but I say that because I feel so completely present in my life that it is really messy. By really messy, I mean the practical things like being a husband who listens and communicates well, a father who teaches, loves, and disciplines seems to be elusive at best. And lastly, what does it mean to be a man among men is a question that plagues me.

For the last ten years of my life while I was in church, I was told that all of these things had to look a certain way. The problem was that very few people were really honest with the practical way these things looked. Everything was held up to the status of how God expects us to love and forgive. I went to teaching after teaching to learn how to live the christian life as a man of God. I think sometimes I was at so many meetings I had no chance at putting these things into practice. The busy life of a churchman not only blinded me at seeing the truth, but kept me running after a goal I could never reach.

So left alone to walk these things out, I find myself looking closely at how do I love my wife, my kids, and those I come in contact with on a regular basis? I feel so raw and insignificant that I can't tell if I am compassionate or not. Most of the time I feel like I am not. I say insignificant because my career and church life ended at the same time. And those two things really defined what I thought about myself. That is so ridiculous!

Do I believe that I matter even if no one tells me so? I should.

I say raw because that is what it seems like; everything has been stripped away and I am left to look at the way things really are. Reality is sometimes so difficult to see that I look for just about any distraction so that I don't have to deal with it, whatever "it" is. I am really tired of doing this alone. And I mean just me and my family are alone.

Hope is not lost. Last night a ray of hope and relief came by way of our friends Dave and Trish. They came over for dinner and drinks. Darla was honest about the fact they they had just caught us in one of those moments where we were just fed up to here with each other; I was not so honest. Dave and Trish just smiled and said "that's OK." The girls played a board game and Dave and I watched House of Flying Daggers. Without saying anything their visit spoke: we love God, and we love you, so let's be together in it.

Love came to dinner and lingers even still.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Sunday, August 05, 2007

a tale of two christianities

(chart found on page 15)

I am reading what could be described as a very dangerous book. Dangerous in the sense that it risks being seen as challenging to the status quo. The books is Marcus Borg's "The Heart of Christianity." Marcus Borg is the Professor or Religion and Culture at Oregon State University and has written several books about the Historical Jesus.

I think this book is good for me because the approach of the earlier paradigm doesn't work for me so much. Borg is a scholar, fellow faith traveler, who is exploring with deepest sincerity the heart of Christianity. I am not saying that I agree with everything he says, in fact I find myself wrestling with a lot of what he writes. Nevertheless, his unending discussion and search for "how we can be passionate believers today" is worth the time to take part in.