And then you have thoughts that may actually be worth their weight in neural activity.
I have been reading quite a bit this season, consequently, I feel almost inundated by ideas. Some are formulating into questions, while others into plausible answers to previous questions... some are just abstractions that I hope may one day develop into more. They whirl inside my head... but of course, I'm not constantly pondering them... I can't.
During my short academic career, I took a Social Psyc. course under a charming and intelligent Harvard grad, Dr. Short. I recall one of our discussions being about biases...and how they may actually develop out of necessity. Our brains are stingy processors because they have to be, otherwise we would be left utterly overwhelmed by the amount of stimuli encountering us constantly. Our minds will categorize, compartmentalize as a means of simply coping.
So I find I am no scientific phenomenon... I go about my day, work, talk on the phone, have dinner with friends, watch films and the ideas lay dormant for a time... but I know they are there waiting for an opportune or inopportune moment to jump out... I don't know what it is about ideas, but I always feel a need to resolve them... like a task to carry out... this may be a flaw, I fully recognize. I need to learn to get outside of my head more, I really do, for life is to be lived in reality.
Anyway, here they are, a few of them with little organization so as to attempt and paint a fair picture of the chaos. I know this entry looks long...but bear with me chief, it'll be fun (maybe not).
I have been entertaining the idea of relocating to Seattle. I'm trying to figure out if I'm running from anything or anyone, even if it be Monotony. And if this is the case, would that be wrong? I wonder what it is I hope to find elsewhere that I have not found here?
Chip Ingram suggests that God has been "connecting the dots" of our calling throughout our entire lives, so we might evaluate the course of our lives up to this point, you know, glance at the rear view mirror at the joys and struggles and everything in between, for insight. The idea is to consider how our unique circumstances might have shaped us for a specific call...
I've been thinking about how many/few people will actually make it in the end, you know to be with God. Jesus' language regarding salvation and the kingdom make it sound pretty rare at times... plus there's all that language about "persevering to the end." I mean I know grace is a gift, but look at the gospels and the epistles and consider what the cross when truly accepted should look like, carried out. Why are we told to "work out our own salvation with fear and trembling?"
Don Miller in Through the Painted Desert," suggest we need to ask the "Why" questions, that we get stuck asking "How" questions. "How do I get a job, a spouse, house etc..." I have been thinking about the "Why" to all of my desires. I want to get married someday, but why? If you can answer this without thought, there is likely a problem. I want to find my "good work"...but why? What are the deepest reasons for the things we do and pursue? What are the profound reasons to it all?
I read this article recently in the Arizona Republic, regarding the cost of gold and how it has gone up to about 900 dollars an ounce! This has prompted people and companies to consider prospecting for Gold again... I even looked into buying a panning kit, to go up to Prescott on weekends...and dig around in the moving bodies of water there, might be fun.
I have these images, suggested by my grade school teachers who painted a beautiful moment of early American history in my mind. I envision droves of working class people migrating form state to state, hoping to improve their social status overnight. A country full of optimists, fueled by distant stories of success, the frenzied search for a soft, shimmering metal...found within the earth, in streams and beneath rocks...dreams of fortune filling the air... what a beautifully desperate time. *Note the Chinese guys who were probably railroad workers, that could have been me sporting such a fabulous hair do.
I received a very welcomed package yesterday, it was one of the books I ordered on half.com, titled "Finding God at Harvard." I stayed up last night and made it through the Prologue, Editor's notes and the first lengthy, but non-laborious chapter.
It's a neat collection of writings from a number of Harvard students and professors who are followers of Christ. Each has a unique story of how they encountered or re-encountered Christ in their studies at the world renowned campus.
Harvard stands as one of the oldest universities in our country established in 1636 and the prestigious academic reputation goes without saying. It's foundations are deeply rooted in the pursuit of truth, namely truth in the person of Christ. Harvard had 3 early mottoes, "Veritas (Truth), In Christi Gloriam (To the glory of Christ) and Christo et Eclessia (For Christ and the Church). As I read through some of the personal accounts of students and professors I witnessed amazing stories of God as not only the pursued, but as the pursuer. It brought me an amount of optimism that perhaps even those that I have known in the past, whom have "fallen away" are not entirely lost, that God truly has an agenda, He sits not passively, but actively seeks people, divinely weaving lives together, suggesting ideas at timely moments, through specific circumstances or what have you...that His glory may be revealed.
Prompted by a podcast by Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, I read through the book of Philipians the other day and then I proceded to 2 Timothy. The former letter was penned by the apostle Paul in a prison cell...There is longing in his voice, loneliness and disappointment and yet he encourages the church to rejoice again and again. In the latter epistle, Paul writes to Timothy knowing that his time on this earth is quickly coming to an end... one of his most famous lines find it's home in this letter: "I have fought the good fight, I have run the race..."
Paul's writings have made me really consider what it means to be a servant of God. I think it's a difficult concept for any American or western believer, especially in our time. Life is so comfortable and rarely, if ever do we actually suffer for Christ's sake. But the bible is replete with stories of people like you and I who had only committed their lives to carry out God's work. They gave up their own agendas and just wanted to help other people find the way and yet they suffered gravely for it. I suffer mostly because I make poor decisions, because I'm selfish and try to remain autonomous, I try to do it my way and pay the consequences...
Interestingly, Paul refers to his troubles as sharing in Christ's suffering...He actually saw beauty in it, like it was something of great honor. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not looking to get whipped, stoned, shipwrecked or incarcerated, but I'm wondering why there is such a stark contrast in my life and the lives of the apostles, disciples and the life of my savior.
"For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it." (Matthew 16:25)
I think that if Children are a gift from God, my lack of interest in kids might actually be objectively wrong. We don't like to "judge" so we tell people: "to each his own." Some people naturally take to children others don't and we think that's ok.
But if God views Children as a blessing, a result of his perfect design, the fruit of the union of two people, then kids must be beautiful. If I don't see it that way I have some changing, growing, perhaps simply maturing to do.
I'm wondering if dreams really do mean things. I mean I'm sure some of them do, because you have all those important stories in the bible where God or an angel of the Lord appeared to folks in dreams. Remember that little incident with Mary, the mother of Jesus. So I guess my real question is how can we really distinguish between meaningful dreams and dreams resulting from that fourth microwave burrito you know you shouldn't have had after midnight? What is the basis? I'm wondering this because I've been dreaming a great deal lately, some of them very unpleasant, others severely mundane.
Ok, so that's probably more than anybody will care to read or have time to look through, I apologize for my verbosity, I just get to writing and this happens...this big mess...here's to thoughts.