Every Other Breath Floats…

in life, we live and speak separately. here we blend all breaths.

Doubting effectively

by joeldean2012

I dont normally write on this, or read it every time, but I have a question. 

Someone gave me some advice recently to deal with doubt or disbelief. It was “forget everything you know about the Bible and read it as if for the first time”

Of course this sounds brilliant, it’s a concept known in ethics as the Veil of Ignorance. If you don’t want to read the wikipedia link I’ll sum it up for you. The Veil means that in order to approach a problem you ignore everything you know about your life; you forget yourself and all your opinions, experiences, and beliefs. 

This works in ethical dilemmas, it works in moral qualms, it even works in most important life decisions. As far as I can see this dosent work in religious questioning. 

Withen the confines of religion (especially a religion defined by its relationships) it is difficult to impossible to erase all preconceived notions. If you need to impartially question something you have to erase everything, if you erase everything what do you have to question?

Let me rephrase that because that confused even me; Christianity is about our experiences our relationship with God its about how he has reached down and shown us we need him. If you erase all of that all of our knowledge of sin and shame repentance and forgiveness. If you forget how that feels if you forget every piece of evidence that God gave us for his existence and his love how can you even even approach christianity? And if you don’t how can you be impartial or rational?

Is it possible to address fundamental doubt without approaching questions with a clean slate? Is it possible to actually clean your slate and approach christianity?

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Today, i got to meet a really beautiful

by mousemk

Today, i got to meet a really beautiful idea. Or maybe it’s more of an understanding, or a perspective. I’ll let you decide.

People generally don’t know how to handle the old testament in contrast with the new. Lots of people see the verses about no longer being under the law, then take the laws and rules of the old testament and toss them out. On the other side of the coin, there are those who think that they must be there for a reason, so they impose legalism with biblical laws.

I think we all want a common ground. Not just so we all get along about it, though. I think in our hearts we want the truth and cannot see it fully on either side–on the one hand, the God of Israel is still the same; on the other, we are clearly not bound by the law.

 

It is in a re-understanding of the simple reality of Jesus that the right perspective surfaces. Words are already beginning to fail me, so i’m not sure if i’ll be able to express the connection my mind made today. I guess i’ll just give you the analogy i heard:

If you went on vacation with your family as a kid, perhaps your dad ended up carrying your luggage. That freed you up from carrying something that was too heavy for you (let’s say for the sake of the analogy that you need more luggage than you can carry). But the fact that you don’t have to carry the suitcase does not mean you don’t need the luggage that’s inside.

The point is this: God provided His Son to carry the thing we can’t, which was the plan all along. The law was too heavy, and it’s not a Plan B to get rid of it–that’s why Jesus said he fulfilled it, and all throughout history there were prophecies of his coming. The law is still good and necessary, but too heavy for us without Christ. We don’t get to pick and choose, but we get to strive and fail. We don’t walk away from it or say it’s irrelevant. We own the fact that many facets of it put a strange taste in our mouths to read and are difficult to see the goodness of. Instead of looking for excuses or proving ourselves better than someone else, we rejoice with the Psalm 119 author in the beauty of the law. And we better understand what it means by no means sin more so that grace will abound, but follow the perfect law in its life.

Because the law of the Bible when viewed from the right perspective is a window into the thoughts and intentions of God.

And God is all i (want to) care about. He is all that matters.

full of abandon, whimsy, and love

by heyfishy

There is only one invitation it would kill me to refuse, yet I’m tempted to turn it down all the time. I get the invitation every morning when I wake up to actually live a life of complete engagement, a life of whimsy, a life where love does. It doesn’t come in an envelope. It’s ushered in by the sunrise, the sound of a bird, or the smell of coffee drifting lazily from the kitchen. It’s the invitation to actually live, to fully participate in this amazing life for one more day. Nobody turns down an invitation to the White House, but I’ve seen plenty of people turn down and invitation to fully live.

Turning down the invitation come in lots of flavors. It looks like numbing yourself or distracting yourself or seeing something really beautiful as just normal. It can look like refusing to forgive or not being grateful or getting wrapped around the axle with fear or envy. I think every day God sends us an invitation to live and sometimes we forget to show up or get head-faked into thinking we haven’t really been invited. But you see, we have been invited – every day, all over again.

If you haven’t read Bob Goff’s book “Love Does,” read it now. 

I’m accepting the invitation. And it scares me because actually accepting the invitations means experiencing failure and pain and all the things we, I try to avoid. 

Because I’m scared I’ll need help. I need people to remind me that I accepted the invitation and to hold me accountable because I’ll forget/give-up and drift into complacency. 

The things I love about God is He intentionally guides people into failure. He made us be born as little kids who can’t walk or talk or even use a bathroom correctly. We have to be taught everything. All that learning takes time, and He made us so we are dependent on Him, our parents, and each other. The whole thing is designed so we try again and again until we finally get it right. And the whole time He is endlessly patient.

so here’s to a life full of abandon, whimsy, and love. here’s to an endlessly patient God.

Seeking Community

by vaughn33

Image

Note: This is NOT a reproach of anyone, but a comment based on my thoughts and the readings I’ve been doing for Senior Bible. I love and respect all of you.

I really miss the great community we had at Sharp things. I know the main reason that it fell off was time issues on almost everyone’s part, but as I’m reading Bonhoeffer’s “Discipleship” for Senior Bible, I can’t help wonder if time commitments weren’t the only issues keeping us from living Christian community to its fullest.

In “Discipleship,” Bonhoeffer talks a lot about following Christ and the importance of right fellowship for right relationship with Christ. In one section I just read, Bonhoeffer talks about truthfulness. Bonhoeffer claims that truth for the Christian begins with Jesus at the cross. “They (disciples) did not reveal themselves to Jesus, but as soon as Jesus revealed himself to them in his call, they knew themselves revealed in their sinfulness” (Discipleship 131). Bonhoeffer goes on to claim that truth comes in revealing our utter sinfulness, not only to Christ but in community, our “unveiled” sins before God and one another. When we follow Christ, who revealed our sins by going to the cross, and when we know the cross, we no longer shy away from the truth but live in perfect truth, even with one another. Bonhoeffer claims that truth founds genuine fellowship. “There is no following Jesus without living in the truth unveiled before God and other people” (131).

This is a high call. I don’t know of many or any churches that fully do this. I know that at the start we did this, when we had first met, when we told our stories and revealed truest selves to one another. But once we became acquainted, we fell from that practice. Did our community break down because we no longer live “unveiled” before one another? I know that baring all to one another is scary, it’s as scary as it gets. If you all know everything about me and my sins, won’t you look down on me, judge me? The delicate balance of our lives might be interrupted by such a thing. Even now, I see that some sort of blog-confessional from me would be a good place to start re-founding community, but I’m scared. It’s late, and I have homework, and I have excuses not to do it (plus this is out there on the internet, and I wouldn’t want to create real community with random people, would I? That would also mean admitting my sins to myself, which is dangerous too).

I’m weak. Afraid. We all are. Sometimes one is courageous, or another, but we don’t keep momentum and follow suit. We haven’t even met together in pursuit of Christ-like community in months.

I’m not trying to point fingers, I just miss what we had. I feel like I can see “the heights from which we’ve fallen.” (a la Revelations 2:4). We were once so on fire, so uplifting, so strong for spurring one another on in living the Christian walk. I know that with a strong community, I know Christ in a different and better way than I can alone. We haven’t lost each other by any accounts, and I cherish all the friendships we have greatly. But I do hope that in the fall semester we can “return to our first love” and seek again the community founded on living unveiled before one another.

Blessings & Happy Summer,

The Bing

A Broken Heart and Great Friends

by heyfishy

“Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also more hard to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden: it is easier to say “My tooth is aching” than to say “My heart is broken.”

People keep filing in the room and into the line. The line to say goodbye. I stand at the end waiting to receive and help others grief. One person approaches me, ‘Hayley, She was a great lady. I’m so sorry for your loss. And as happy as I am to see you, we really need to keep you at school, you’re coming home too much.”

My third funeral in a year. I have come home too much for the worst reasons.

So I’ll admit it.

My heart is broken.

Grief and death has broken my heart. There has not been time for it to heal. Each mention of death breaks it again and I continue to limp through life. How much can it handle before it can’t be fixed? I already feel like I’m at that point.

“I once read the sentence ‘I lay awake all night with a toothache, thinking about the toothache an about lying awake.’ That’s true to life. Part of every misery is, so to speak, the misery’s shadow or reflection: the fact that you don’t merely suffer but have to keep on thinking about the fact that you suffer. I not only live each endless day in grief, but live each day thinking about living each day in grief.”

The grief is not so much about the person, it is sometimes, but mostly everything is tainted by their deaths.  Good days are when I manage my pain and function properly. Bad days are when I can’t fight my pain anymore and I flee. The days when all I want is to get drunk and forget the world. When I have to yell and curse at God because I don’t know how better to deal with my anger and grief. I have to yell at the one in control because everything is chaos and He is the only one who can make sense of it.

And I’m angry at Him because I don’t know how to move on. And I’m angry at Him because He was in control when all of the death and pain happened.

“Not that I am (I think) in much danger of ceasing to believe in God. The real danger is of coming to believe such dreadful things about Him. The conclusion I dread is not ‘So there’s no God after all,’ but ‘So this is what God’s really like. Deceive yourself no longer.

When Ty was in the accident we all prayed. We prayed in great number and in great faith. How could God not save Ty? We were sure.

We prayed for life.

                                                                        We received death.

Nancy and Ty lost their son. Kendall and Adair lost their brother. We all lost a friend and a brother in Christ that day.

And I can’t handle it. I don’t know how to handle it. So I flee when I can or stay silent when I can’t and cope the only way I know how, by building walls around my feelings and putting on a brave face. Maybe if others think I’m alright then I will be…such flawed, messed up thinking.

“I see people, as they approach me, trying to make up their minds whether they’ll ‘say something about it’ or not. I hate if they do, and if they don’t.”

I want some people to say something. I want most to leave me alone. But in the midst of all the crap I have never been so thankful for my friends. As grief and death continue to break my heart, God uses you to strengthen me. 

Thank you.

For all the silly questions everyone MUST answer. For the constant stream of facebook messages. For the lack of verbs and abundance of stupid abbreviations and made up words. For sharing our dreams. For complaining about school and ATMs and not being able to find Dr. Murray. For knowing that when I walk through the door I will be greeted by “Kill” and it’s the best thing ever. For playing Boggle over Google+. For feeling bad when you make a poorly timed death joke. For coming to Ihop because I asked. For driving me to the airport. For almost mooning us that one time. For pointing out that I say ‘gold’ weird. For their patience when trying to teach me any game because I’m the worst at listening to instructions. For thinking we want to see you naked. For being okay that I will NEVER play Race for the Galaxy. For knowing when I need space. For wanting to go to group therapy together. For letting me steal their socks.

For making me laugh when I didn’t know I could.

For the security of knowing I will never be alone in this life because I have you guys. And distance will never be an issue. Especially since we will live in a refrigerator box together.

I know I don’t say it ever but

I really love you guys, like a lot. I can’t imagine life without you and I am incredibly thankful that God put us together.

every nothing changes

by mousemk

it happens when you realize how much you haven’t accomplished after hours

 

when you read about someone who changed the world

 

and when you read a “NEW UPDATE: Hit-skip crash claims Bellefontaine man” and it tries to sink in and you want it to make you cry so badly because you know, you absolutely know and cannot feel that there is a mother to your schoolmate who just died, the one who was killed, he has family, he was just like you, he could be you, he is dead and no longer here and he could be you, and you don’t feel a single thing.

 

every nothing changes.

Lent for excuses

by J. Dahl

But I’m tired…

This is the only day I’ll get to sleep this week

God will understand 

I’m supposed to do what gives me life, right? 

Sleeping gives me life.

Where do you draw the line between finding life and starving your soul? Where do you go when God seems like an abstract idea and stupid things are more important? 

I’m trying to make a hole in my life, but I don’t know where to start digging.