Sunday, January 31, 2010

Where the Bible Meets Brave New World

As some of you know, I just finished Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. I figured--if it was written in the same vein as Fahrenheit 451--I would like it, plus I want to write a science-fiction satire someday.

Brave New World opens with a troop of hyper-malleable students taking a tour through a factory of sorts. Wide-eyed and reverent, they scribble down everything their teacher tells them, no questions asked. Thus begins their indoctrination into the "perfect" society: a society in which children are brainwashed in their sleep and everyone plays God in front of bottles and conveyor belts.

Because the students blindly devour facts, they are unwittingly party to the deception and slavery that has been going on for years.

Bruce Hess--pastor of Wildwood Community Church--preached a sermon on the Emergent Church Movement this morning (links in the face! Bam!). The lesson was an example of good shepherding; I would guess that many in the room had never heard of or understood the movement and the fallacies it can contain. Bruce quoted several well-known speakers and and megachurch pastors: some of the things they said were not only wrong, but heretical! For example, some denied the need for Christ as atonement for sins, the need for preaching and the existence of hell, all under the banner of cultural engagement (Acts 4:11-12,Philippians 3:17 and Matthew 10:28,respectively, refutes those ideas).

It hurts to think of how many people have drunk in the false teaching, unaware of the deadly results!

We may not be able to set everyone straight on immutable biblical doctrine, but there is something we can do as followers of Christ who seek his face.

Now to the Brave New World tie-in. We must not be the students who mindlessly scribble their notes. We are to question what we're told, sifting it through the truth of the Bible. Of course, we are not going to discover some universally uncontested doctrine if we think hard enough, but we will keep our eyes on the right place: the face of God!

Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true(Acts 17:11).

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Not Much

God, help me be content with who you have created me to be.

Sometimes, this uphill climb doesn't seem very worth it. But we press on, stumbling, yet not falling down.

--- Later ---

Apparently, it's frustration that awakes my inner poet.

What It Is

This is the epic battle; this, the skeleton key
That opens, opens all the locks in me.
Besieged is this small fortress! Oh God, it cannot stand!
It bends, it bends its face over the land!
Fears pierce my palm, but I won't ope my hand.

This is the screaming geyser; this also, dying sound
That tumbles, tumbles into maw of ground.
How violent, my heart's landscape! Oh God, I strain to kill
The phantoms, phantoms fleshed by my weak will!
I wildly slash them, but they re-form still.

Take the poison thorn from me!
Bitterness left's a small price for being free.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Keeping Sanity Intact

Hello, dear reader. After all that talk about rest, I have made a decision:

I will keep a Sabbath day.

Trust me, this is not an easy task, especially for a type A person like me! However, I would argue that it's type A people who need a specified day of rest the most. I told myself, year after year, that I was going to reserve Sunday for true relaxation (read: NO HOMEWORK). The end of every week was burdensome to me, as I toiled over reading the last passages and completing the last assignments. The stress and pressure left me feeling exhausted and pessimistic about the upcoming Monday.

Stress is not a fruit of the Spirit; this I know! While a Sabbath won't dissolve the perfectionism and fear that lie behind my stress, I can already see that--on my first day of keeping Sunday open--there is great merit in the idea.

Thank the Lord. Like I facebooked the other day (Chris, there's your verb)...

By God's grace, life keeps getting better: not less difficult, not less confusing, not less emotional, but definitely better.

Yeah. Middle school is rock-hard evidence of that.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

"Buying Time"

As I was dropping off to sleep last night, this poem--which I wrote on September 22, 2004--kept running through my head. I've revamped it a little to ameliorate a few painfully obvious rhymes. Thought I'd share it with you.

Buying Time

A moment lost, a moment gained.
A pure one, or a moment stained.
O what is time? The world forgot
It is a power dearly bought.
Its nonexistent crown is laid
Upon a goal so swiftly made,
Alas!, yet never finished, for
Time ate away its solid core.
It dominates the lips of men
That stifle loving words, and then
Time moves his finger and lays waste
To that which was not moved in haste.
A moment saved, a moment spoiled
A moment laughs at how we toiled.
Time can be a healing drink
Or cause unstable rafts to sink.
O what is time? The world knows not,
Nor sees our lives by Time are bought!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I finished sweeping the floor; time to sweep up some lies?

It's strange to me that my earliest class during the week is 11:30, and today, I don't even have one until 1:30. This leaves me much time for pondering what to do with my time.


There are always more things that can be done. I have this fantastic ability to note those particular things, and to beat myself up if I can't think of activities other than non-work or non-ministry related ones. For me, these usually are: reading, writing, HALO, going on walks, having people over and talking with my husband. I fear that if I do these for any length of time, I might be squandering my life.

I am discouraged by that thought. Then, I remember that God is a God of joy and inner peace. There is hard and tiring work to be done, and He provides grace for us as we do it (both preparation and execution). However, I believe there is a tiredness of God and tiredness of the flesh. I cannot ignore that God has said "His yoke is easy and His burden is light," as well as that "His commands are not burdensome."

Not burdensome does not mean not difficult. I think we can agree that a Christian life comes with spiritual, emotional and physical difficulty. However, for my part, I do a heart check when I merely feel saddled by myriad good projects I "have to" do for God.

No matter how many "good things" I'm doing, they aren't good if they are done merely to tick the checklist of guiltless self-fulfillment, or to earn God's love and pleasure.

I think that absolutely everything we do is means of glorifying God, even reading, writing, get the picture!

What does that glorification look like, specifically? I suspect it is a position of the heart, and not something I can achieve by striving and striving.

Shoot me your thoughts.


Friday, January 15, 2010

The Habits of a Potential Human Not-Being

Before we begin, riddle me this:

Human being.

That is such a strange saying! If you're a human, of course you're being a human. Can you be a human and not be: a human not being?

Oh, the great questions of life...


I've recently developed the odd habit of drying my hands on my bath towel even though there is a hand towel next to me. Pretty amazing, huh? Okay, okay, that might not sound strange to you, but what makes it interesting to me is that I don't know when I started doing it.

Most likely, you've seen the statistics about building and breaking habits--3 days, 6 weeks,something like that--so I'll spare you the quote. My significant realization: no area of my life is immune from habits, including the words I speak about myself.

God opened my eyes to a problem in me today that I can distinctly remember battling in fifth grade music class. I think that self-deprecation is humility. If you were to ask me my definition of humility, I would never tell you that's what I think, but that's how I live. I feel the need to justify my every opinion, I call constantly call myself out, and I'm generally pretty mean to myself. Being a very black and white thinker, I reason that I can either live in abject rejection or vainly see myself as the goddess of everything I do. No in between. Just ask my husband. ;)

Truth be told, I don't want to entrust God with myself because I tend to think I am in control of myself. If I let go, will I go wild and watch my life and morals crumble to pieces?

Then comes the comfort of conviction in me. Condemnation is not comforting, but conviction is, as the Holy Spirit shows himself greater than my ignorance, and does not allow me to stay where I am! Praise God that growth cannot be conjured.

I'm thinking in terms of sin and correction, though, and I would not want to give the impression that that's God's primary focus (a friend and I just talked about this over coffee...very cool). Yes, I am sinful: terribly sinful! But God loves me despite my sin. That's the good news (and I just saw today that the phrase is in the Bible, so it's not just Christianese)! GOD cherishes me. He declares that I am made well! Who am I to say otherwise about myself when the King of the universe has declared it?

Well, winter break is about to end! It's been a good one, and I'm both nervous and excited for the upcoming semester. I'll keep you updated. :)


Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Weight of Disappointment

Folks, do you remember my previous post about babies? If you don't, take a look-see.

Wonderful. Thank you!

I'm writing to announce...that I am NOT pregnant. And, oddly enough, I've been devastated all morning and afternoon.

When I wrote the baby post, I obviously wasn't going to voice my suspicions that the pregnancy guess might be an accurate one. To make a long story short, I experienced a string of potential pregnancy symptoms this week that had me, in my idealistic fervor, believing there was a little baby inside. Chris and I waited out the week: he kept back his own opinion so as to not intensify my already-confused emotions.

Ah, emotions. This week has been filled with moments of terror juxtaposed with moments of high excitement.

I repeatedly told myself I wouldn't think about the possibility of a baby, especially since it would overthrow all our plans and freak out my family. However, my thinking about not thinking about it just made me think about it.

I can't describe the emotions wrapped up in the idea. I kept telling my husband that "I don't know how to feel." Parenthood is a hugely serious thing, and at the moment when I put my hand on my tummy and said, laughingly, "Are you in there?" the implications began to hit me at full speed, and I summarily stopped laughing. I was caught in the netherworld between joyous hope and debilitating fear.

A week of confusion, ending with the conclusion I subconsciously expected in the first place. I shed a lot of tears today.

I feel silly, but at the same time I know that this feeling of mourning, if you will, is somehow legitimate.

I'm writing to empty my mind of the secret that has been wanting to burst out for seven days.

I'm at peace, now, because God is faithful and good. I realize He understands emotion--truly "called for" or not--and comforts well. He is a great listener! I can only hope and pray that this experience pours greater faith into me. The sadness will probably return in some degree, I know, but I consider this another chip off my barrier to surrender. Which, as all will agree in the end, is entirely worth the disappointment.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

C.S. Lewis said we weren't made for here, and he's right.

Heaven is a nice thing to think about. We all have some preconceived idea of Heaven, whether from a children's book or a depiction at church or the Bible.

Today, while curled up the left corner of our long couch,I began to contemplate Heaven, and found myself experiencing an emotion I didn't expect: startlement.

Does the mind-blowing concept of eternity ever scare you? To be honest, it made me squirm quite a bit. I knew that was inappropriate, if you will, but I had to walk further in order to catch a glimpse of why. So, stop your bumper-to-bumper traffic of cares for a moment and think about what eternity actually means.

Those in Heaven will live forever. FOREVER. How...? It seem so...I don't know!
When I'm at a loss for words in a blog post, dear reader, you know this is unresolved and still bouncing around in my brain.

When talking to Chris about this (big surprise, right? ;-)), he mentioned that many people feel like there needs to be an end. Perhaps, that's because we only know this world and its imperfections. Even the good things here are weak reflections of what good really is, so we may have an innate desire to see it reach a conclusion at some point, like a good book that can't go on.

However, Heaven's not like here. That is probably not news to you, but it allays my own discomfort--and, at the risk of someone judging me "a bad Christian"--fear. A Christian's everlasting life there will be amazing, and so amazing that we won't desire it to end! There's no point in my trying to hold my idea of Heaven up to an earthly standard. I won't know fully while on this earth, so time to sit back and enjoy the most perfect hope there is.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Old Has Gone

and the new has come.

If you know me well or have read closely into my posts here, you've probably picked up that I have been struggling with severe depression. It had been building up for a long time; much longer than I initially realized, as I didn't trust Chris's pointing out the signs to me.

It felt awful. The only was to describe depression is...unreality. The world seems dark, regardless of the circumstances, and you cannot imagine life outside of your shadowed microcosm at all. All the things you know you love, you have no motivation to pursue.

I tell you this because I want to proclaim the goodness of God to you:

I am being healed! YES!

Through incredible support and love from family and friends, and the help of knowledgeable doctors, I am being healed.

I'm becoming a happy person again--I had forgotten that I used to be!--and finding joy in the blessings that are all around me, like, uh, a frickin-amazing husband.

More importantly, the clouds are breaking in my spiritual sky, and I can "see" God again. I'm not saying that there won't be constructive times when my relationship with God is just not emotional, but I felt utterly severed during this period. How do you rise above something like this, I asked myself?

As a fellow church member pointed out, you feel as if you're in a hole, digging yourself deeper, having no other action you're able to perform except continuous digging.

God DRAWS us out. Just take a look at Psalms. He RESCUES. He SAVES: the salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the ultimate example, and God extends that same salvation to us, daily.

That, my friends, is how our Mighty God LOVES.

What we can't do, He is able to do. Who we can't be, He lives through us and gives us a new heart so we can be new people.

This is my song; this is my David moment. Let me sing and dance for joy, because God is so GOOD!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Contemplations of a Young Wife, Seventh Part

I know you'll like this post. Almost everyone will, because the topic is BABIES!

Now, now, before you jump to conclusions, I am not least, not that I'm aware of. Blame my suspicions on Beth Krycho, my very fantastic sister-in-law. A few days ago, the Krycho Clan (Klan?) were staying in a chalet in Monarch, relaxing after two days of skiing. I was feeling very sick--nauseated, which I was pretty sure wasn't a function of having eaten trail mix and mini-Snickers--and didn't have a clue why.

Beth suggested, based on a few other things going on with me, that I might be pregnant. We giggled about it for awhile, but it got me thinking.

What if Chris and I are that 1% couple? Despite human effort, God will do what He will do, and it's entirely possible that He will grant a child to a couple who think it impossible.

Chris and I have discussed our opinions on children even before we were engaged--an important thing for a person to know about the person they intend to marry. I will never forget what Chris said: he didn't like children being referred to as "accidents."

Not that there is any condemnation there. I've said it many times myself. But it raises the question of our attitude toward such a huge life-change. An "accident" connotes a mistake of some sort, which I disagree with. It also connotes the element of surprise, which I obviously must agree with.

As a new wife, you can bet your bottom dollar that I've thought about motherhood, and the possibility of it happening earlier than expected or planned, as it were. We've decided that no matter what...even if God chooses to never give us children.......Chris and I will rejoice in the doings of the Lord who has beautifully thrown us into this adventure called marriage.