Dé Luain, Márta 26, 2007

Put to shame...again

He continues to amaze me. Not Steve Harvey, God. No introduction necissary, but we can't help but give one.

Pungent Gratitude

I've not done this is a long time, and I'm past due. no excuses...no good ones anyway.

  1. An absolutely gorgeous spring day...even when I'm stuck inside.
  2. Meeting youth a Starbucks and connecting with them a little further.
  3. A youth lesson sprung on me at the last minuet, that I didn't see until an hour before presenting it, that went absolutely swimmingly.
  4. Meetings with a youth pastor who's become a friend.
  5. Practice time.
  6. A new computer that's more than I could have asked for, and a way to pay for it.
  7. Confidence that small things like breaking a string, won't effect my worship leading.
  8. Finally finding a song that all the youth know, like, and are willing to sing.
  9. Seeing Audio Adrenaline in concert one last time.
  10. Being completely blessed and being able to worship with all my heart.
  11. Small conversations with small implications
  12. Feeling that in the grand scheme of this, some of all of this really matters.
  13. Friends who support me, and correct me even though their not with me.
  14. The chance to step up and be the man God wants me to be, and succeeding
  15. Experiencing God's nature, though His creation, even if it's just on t.v.
  16. Kid's engaging in a lesson and making it fun.
  17. Having a job, even if I didn't look forward to going to it this morning.
  18. Skiing with my dad...skiing in general actually.
  19. Sudden strength, quite compassion, and knowing that none of it was me.
  20. The ability to love, even when it's not returned.
  21. Sitting outside and watching nature do it's thing.
  22. Being able to laugh...even when it's at myself.

The list could go on, and most of this is just from the last couple of days. Why pungent? Mostly because I like the word. There's so much in my life that I'm grateful for that in a way it permeates through all aspects of my life. I just don't always take the time to write it, and normally when I do it's somewhere else. This time I just needed to write it out here.


Dé Luain, Márta 19, 2007

On the way home...

I guess it was about a month ago or more, but I went on a ski trip to Michigan. I went by myself, it was just one of those trips, you know. I needed a chance to get away, and just be by myself for awhile. 12 hours alone in a car will definitely grate you the opportunity to be by yourself. It was a great trip with a lot of great skiing and just a few friends. I don't have any pictures to share so you'll just have to take my word for it.

I take trips like that, not so much for the destination, but the travel itself. It's the in between times that I love the most from the summer I traveled with Brothers Keeper. It was the long travel times that we got to know each other, and we were able to just be ourselves with just the other people in the van. But then I also I love the long quite in the car because it allows me just to become steeped in thought. I don't always like the thoughts that I have, but it at the very least lets me recognize them and deal with them as I can. I had some thoughts on the way back from Michigan that I didn't really know what to do with, and it still haunts me just a little. I was thinking about relationships that I've had in the past and the ones I have now, and it occurred to me that I never really thought of the reasons why I want to be in a relationship. The thought didn't start out like that. I was thinking about friends mostly, thinking about them being married or not being married, thinking about the ones I've not heard from in while, some almost a year, some longer. There was something in all of that that made me question myself as to why I thought that I wanted to be in a relationship. Not so much what I'm looking for, but the actual reason why. Like any single person my age I have a list of things that I would like to find in a potential mate, and honestly a few of them are very shallow (who knew? I'm not perfect.). But my reason why...

My gut response was companionship, and for the most part that still is the basis of my response. The thing is, it then occurred to me that if my sole purpose was companionship that I might as well just get a dog. Dog's are great for companionship. They're loyal for the most part, they love you unconditionally as long as you feed them, they snuggle in next to you when your feeling bad, they do all the things you could possibly want, right? It was kind of a depressing thought, and like I said I've been thinking about it for a while now.

I'm not going to get a dog. I would like to have a dog, but my life is just too unstable. I like the instability, which weighs into the discussion heavily. I get annoyed when I can't just pick up and go. Even if it's just to see a movie. I got annoyed last weekend when my cousin showed up unexpectedly to spend the night. I was looking forward to a night to myself, but instead of getting some much needed quiet time he invited some other guys over, asking me if it was ok after the fact, to watch basketball. I was not a happy camper. If anything, I was going to go see a movie, but I really just want to be by myself and not engage with anyone. He stayed the next night too, it was not what I wanted to find after working all day, then having to drive to York and back. It's a selfish thing, and it makes me wonder if I could actually handle being married or even being in a relationship. With the right person I'm sure I would make the effort, but still the idea that person lying next to me in bed, while I am in love with them, is still going to be there in the morning. Know I'm sure that a constant like that would in time become something that is comforting. It's just that for someone like me, who has been so independent for so long, and see his independence as an immense benefit, it get just a little hard to let go.

This of course completely clashes with the idea that I, at least eventually, want to be married. clashes like green and hot pink, man. Even I can't seem to get past it some days. For a while now I've really just shut down relationship wise. I've not wanted to be in one besides friendships and I've like what's come of it. With few exceptions, really just one, since my junior year of college I've sought nothing but friendship with anyone. Even that one exception started as nothing more than friendship, and it will continue being a friendship. Friendships I love, and I like having a lot of them even if I don't hear from people very often. There's an understanding between friends, at least there should be, that each will live there lives and enjoy each others company, grow from each other, nourish each other, and while it hurts to leave these relationships, it understood that it may happen, and there are no hard feelings only sad goodbyes. But they're nothing like the relationship between a husband and wife. I love my friends, but not enough to want to live with the majority of them for any really length of time, probably a week at the most. I mean, I love you guys, but...please leave. So there has to be more than wanting companionship.

It's been a series of completely unrelated conversations that have brought some clarity to my thoughts. There have been a lot of realizations of things already known, which normally make me feel stupid for not having recognized them in the first place, but in this instance its been more of a comfort. Like any relationship it's more about what you put in than what you get out of it and a deeper one, like a marriage, requires a deep commitment to give of yourself. I think that's why a lot of people get divorced now. There's very little in the world that urges us to give of ourselves and expect nothing in return. In fact the world tells us that everything we do should be done to further me, to better me, to benefit me. The thing is relationships don't work like that, not a one. I can say all this knowing that I'm no closer to that kind of relationship than I was that day in the car. I may never be some one's husband, and I may never be able to pour my life into someone like that. I've always known that it was a possibility, and while I don't like it I do accept it as a possibility. I'm prone to protect people, even if it's protecting them from me and the things I know I'll be asked to do in my life. I've never thought it was fair. So there it is...

Dé Luain, Márta 12, 2007

Just one of those things...

It's been a busy weekend. I really just want a day off, but that won't happen until Saturday. So I just have to live with it. There was a lot of good in the weekend. It's just that I spend so much of it exhusted and crankey, I'm still just a little kid is so many ways. This all started Wednesday when I drove up to Milton, PA, which is about 2 1/2 hours away, to hear the chorale sing. I needed that...I really needed that. It was refreshing in a way, and in another way it gave me just a little bit of closure that I needed but never really realized. It's one thing to sit in on a practice, there where many times when I was in practice that I felt like I was just sitting in, but it's completly different to sit through a concert. I've never sat back and heard the choral before...and they where good. I know that people say that it's never the same if your not singing with the group, but they tend to say it in away that makes them sound like they were the reason the chorale sounded the way it did and that without them the group is somehow less. Proff perpetuates those feelings and I completly understand why, it's hard to invest as much as he does into that many people and not feel some great lose after four or five year when they move on to other things. The thing is, no it's not the same, and it never will be, and that is a good thing. Certain people I remember saying the perticular statement about, said it with a distain that I don't think that even they noticed. They hadn't moved on, but in there minds were forced out. But Wednesday night, getting to see Nate and Maria, Proff, Gale, Dan, Tony, and Jenn helped me let go. My personal problem was that my last year I was the only 5th year, and in many ways I was everyone's older brother, or grandpa to some (that stopped quickly). There was respect for me that was given automatically, proff took my advice, freshman to senior asked me questions, even among the officers I was the one that went to proff with questions. It was odd to me that I was in that kind of position, but it was even how I saw myself to a certain degree. Even a year later when I was back on campus for a couple of days, people asked me what I thought and asked what I thought they could do to make it better. I had told them that I washed my hands of the organization, but then continued to dole out advice like usual. But Wednesday it was gone. Talking to Gale afterwards he asked me directly, as only gale can,
"did it bring back memories?"
"Yeah, yeah it did."
"Any tears?"
"No, only good memories."
It's nice to have the answer that they're looking for from time to time.

Thrusday was technically my day off, and for all intesive purposes it was. I had drive up to Reading, again about two hours way. Now I say I had to because a friend of mine was in Reading. This isn't a begruding had to, this is a "if I don't I'll kick myself for not doing it." I'd not seen Jordan in probably four years, and it was a great time to just catch up and see what each other had been doing. The time spent was great, except for me faigning guilt about not flying out to San Diago to visit him. It's not that I don't want to, but I just havn't had the time or the money. It was a good time, a really good time.

There's a song that a local Christian radio station plays, What could be better by 33 miles. It's actually a rather normal christian song. It talks about heaven and what could be better than living in heaven, It's just a normal song...and that's what bothers me about it. I heard the song again on Saturday while I was driving through York and it suddenly hit me exactly what this song was talking about. More than talking about heaven it talked about already being in heaven. Here's the chorus:
I’m living in the days ahead
I’m already dancing on the streets of gold
Can’t stop celebrating in my soul
I’m living in the days ahead
Nothing on earth could ever compare
Can’t wait for the day when I get there
When I see Jesus face to face
Tell me what could be better
Tell me what could be better

Now I know I'm reading more into the lyrics that I should, and it's just a normal song that was writing by a new well meaning christian based band, but I don't think that this is right. I hear the phrase, Be in the world but not of the world (an exact phrase that I'm pretty sure doesn't exist in Scripture), and I start to think that songs like 'I'll fly away' and the one above arn't getting ahead of themselves just a little bit. Like a mentioned before, I don't believe that the exact phrase above can be found in scripture (or at least the parts that I've been reading latly) there is certainly more than enough scripture to support the phrase. In John 17 we read Christ's prayer for us his followers. Christ says over and over that he doesn't want God to take us out of the world but to protect us from it. He prays for our unity. He prays in certain words that we would be in the world, but because we are from him, not of the world. Now you could accuse me of being to much of the world and on certain occations you'd be very correct. I'm not going to defend those actions, I can't and any attemp to do so would be futile under the light of scripture. My only defence is that Scripture is vague on certain issues, and I do toe the line on a lot issues. What can I say, I'm slow. I'm just a little confussed by all of this talk about already being in heaven. I think Paul says it better than I can:

"12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

15All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16Only let us live up to what we have already attained."

Press towards the goal, be focused on the goal, but continue running the race. I'm just not convinced of the benefits of living with my head in the clouds while people are dying for attention here on the ground.

Dé Domhnaigh, Márta 04, 2007

filling space...

I'm posting most because I'm tired of looking at my last post. There are most certainly times when I know that I've done something stupid, and I'm desperately trying to figure away out of it. This isn't one of those times, but unfortunately it feels like it. I've written a lot in this past week, almost none of which will ever find it chance for public scrutiny. Most of it is honestly what Shakespeare once termed "A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and furry, signifying nothing." Now this signifying nothing part is yet to be seen, but that the sound and furry is pretty dead on. In any case you don't want to hear it and I don't want you to hear it.

I've been working on my follow-ups to the Philosophy of music post, again more for my benefit than anyone else's, but I'm doing it. There has just been so much on my mind lately and this has been coming up more and more, and I just thought it was about time to hash out my thoughts, support them with some facts, and maybe open the floor for more discussion.

The youth Pastor...sorry didn't want to hear that song...and I have been talking out some new plans for the direction of the Sunday night youth service. It's been rather lax up to this point, and really isn't going in a direction that He feels that it should be going. We're still having the same old problem that our church, and many other churches for that matter, have always had. Sunday night is for the older group, and is subsequently the smaller group. There is nothing for kids after that and going off to college is the usual catalyst for seeing them disappear into oblivion. He would first off like to see the service become more of a service, and at least have the appearance of formality. We've been discussing emerging worship and how we could implement a good portion of those things on Sunday night. It's going to be a very interesting lenten season for me, because I'm now very much involved with transforming an extremely casual, very clichish meeting into something that resembles a worship service that could potentially attract some of the "lost generation" that we see quickly filter through the doors every Sunday morning. I'm looking forward to it, but I'm trying and praying to keep my head in all of this.

Last Friday I did one of the things that I pray that I would not do while leading worship. I'm not proud of it, and I only mention it here to simply clear the air. No one there will read this, and I don't believe that anyone noticed more that what appeared to be a mental block on my part. I pray consistently that if my heart is not in the right place when I'm in front of a congregation of any size that God would take me out of the situation and place someone else in until my heart reflects the words coming from my mouth. I don't tell that to many people, actually I've only told one other person. Friday night that happened. I won't get into it deeply, because it's hard to explain and rather easy to write off. God took the rhythm and He took the words. A song that I've done several times now, and never once messed it up, even in practice. You could say it's a fluke, but you'd be wrong. I still feel bad about it. It hurts a little to think about it now a week later. It's been a week of struggles.

Finally, if you're reading this...I really want to talk to you. I have no expectations, no preconceived ideas. I would like to hear your side of this, and maybe there's nothing to hear. Still...I won't say anymore. We should talk.