Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Narrow Paths

We discussed the story of Hosea and Gomer in small group tonight.  One of the questions was something about if following God is easy or hard.  I felt a little off tonight and was barely listening so I'm not sure how it was phrased, but they were asking if anyone had done what they thought God was asking them to do only to find that life got more difficult.  I was pretty determined not to speak tonight, but our group leader (who knows my story pretty well) asked me directly.  I really don't remember what I said, I'm sure it didn't make sense, but I do know I said something about making sure my son knows that following God isn't always going to be roses.  I stand by that, but I also want to make sure that he knows that submitting to God's will for his life is exactly what he should do and is in his best interest.  

I think its important to let your kids know that following God is sometimes going to be very difficult.  God is very big and very smart and we are very small and very dumb.  We don't get it, ever.  Stuff doesn't make sense and that's difficult sometimes.  If you tell your kids that Christianity is all slingshots and giant boats and jackets made with many colors the world is going to show them that you get hit with rocks, eaten by whales, and throw into pits.  Its hard to make sense of a God that's all love and cake and rainbows from in the belly of a big nasty fish.  You need to show them as much of God as possible, even the parts that make us uncomfortable.  You don't need to make excuses for or downplay anything about who God is.  Life will show them eventually and it'll be easier if you have already painted an accurate picture.

I feel like I've learned a lot about God in the past few years.  They have been difficult years.  There is very little I would change about them.  When God gave me aviation, called me to it, I thought it was a way out of the depression I had been sliding in and out of since dad died.  I thought it would be easy, I should have known better.  I grew up watching my dad fight through one professional setback after the other, plus I knew by then that the really important lessons are never easy to learn and you have to work at anything worth doing and fight to keep anything worth having.

When God called me to fly (I have no doubt its a calling, apparently not everyone who is called has to be a preacher or missionary) I was in a bad place.  I had fallen a long way into the bottom of a very big hole.  It was dark and I was injured - injured bad.  Broken and bloody I thought I might die there - I couldn't see a way out.  I would love to say that God put a Cessna 172 down there and I was able to fly myself out, but it hasn't gone like that so far.  He showed me a path.  Its a small, steep path littered with obstacles and slippery places and I am still nursing some pretty nasty wounds, but I'm on the path and that gives me hope.  In the bottom of that hole there is no hope and there can be no joy.  The path out is difficult but it provides hope and joy becomes a possibility.  I guess what I'm trying to say is that I bitch a lot, but I'm pretty happy with where I am.  I don't want to stay here, I want to go farther but I'm happy to be on the path God has set in front of me.

One other small thing:  Something was said tonight about the bad things being the way we know what is good.  Like if we never had anything bad happen we would be able to be thankful.  There was a follow up statement about bad being the norm or seeming like it making the small glimpses we get of good being real pictures of who God is.  Again, I'm off tonight and wasn't really paying attention, but I think this is a little backwards.  We are created in the image of a perfect God with eternity breathed into every beat of our hearts.  We respond so strongly to death and injustice and poverty and pain because we were never meant to experience them.  We should be naked in paradise, in perfect communion with our creator.  I'm sure this is all just semantics, but I still think its important.  Creation is good, life is good, God is good.  Darkness needs to light to define it, light and love and good stand alone.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

We Built This City

So, I rocked out to some Jefferson Starship on the way home from the Airport tonight.  I'm not sure if they are still cool, but I don't care.  I actually felt ok about myself so I rocked it with the windows down,

So, I starting thinking about what kind of city I want my kids to grow up in. What will be the foundation they have to stand on.  I'm not talking about within our family as much as the community we do life with, our village.  If it takes one to raise a child, I think we need to be intentional about what the one we live in values and is characterized by.  I'm on this now because I've had, for me, a rare opportunity to hang out with my friends in somewhat large groups lately.  Our small group split and so there is one on a night I can go to now, first time in over 60 weeks.  And some of the guys started having breakfast together once a week. I hope that this will be my new norm, and I'm excited about the change it will bring to my life and my family, but with two kids I can't help but wonder what they will see in the community we have chosen to raise them in.

Obviously, we want all we do to be founded in and born out of the gospel of Christ.  He is the rock everything else is built on.  I thought about leaving this out because it should go without saying, like when I say Sandra Bullock is the hottest woman alive I clearly mean with the exception of my wife, but I knew you would judge me.  The problem is that as soon as you mention Christ the discussion of anything else, even with different terminology, seems off.  Its difficult to mention anything else, what can follow Christ as an answer?

So, if you ask what we are building our city on and have Christ as the obvious given and will not accept that as the answer thereby forcing me to come up with non-christian, or not expressly Christian, answers then I'd say the following:  We are building our city on laughter.  We laugh a lot.  Only a few of us are funny at all, but we still manage to laugh a lot and I love that about us.  We are building our city on the long meal.  We eat together, I'm can't explain why that means so much, but it does.  We are building our city on openness, honesty and vulnerability.  I'm convinced these things only exist together.  I know the people I hang out with.  I know things they won't put on facebook or tweet about.  I don't read about them, I experience them.  We built this city on honesty and trust.  We built it on vulnerability and laughter.  We built it on dinners and parties and drinks and cigars.  Its built on faith and grace and just a little rock and roll.