Friday, November 22, 2013

"Do not conform to the pattern of the world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." Romans 12:2

This verse, along with the rest of Romans 12:1-18, was the memory work given to the staff of Camp Mini-Yo-We in the summer of 2008.  At one point, I did have it memorized, but with the years and the lack of practice, I don't quite remember the middle bit... and some of the end is foggy.  But this one verse has stuck with me.

Be Transformed.  Do Not Conform.  Be Transformed.

What does it mean to live for Christ?  I'm not sure I really know.  At one point, I had an idea, but lately I've been feeling all kerfuffled and conflabulated (no sense, eh?).  I feel like I don't know HOW to live for Christ and I feel like I don't know WHAT it looks like.  But I REALLY WANT to.  I want to live for Christ and I want to want to live for Christ.

For some, that might be a weird concept.  I want to explain it, and I wish I could explain it well, but I always feel like I butcher my words.  Even now I feel like my fingers are fumbling at the keys as I try to figure out how best to articulate my thoughts in coherent sentences.


Currently, at my youth group we're going through the I Am Second series.  If you don't know what that is, I suggest you look it up on youtube because it's a really cool series.  This past week the pastor started talking about the Ten Commandments.  He started by asking who among us had ever lied.  Every hand went up.  Who had ever coveted?  Who had ever disobeyed their parents?  Who had...  And on it went.  For every question, every hand was raised.

I don't often think about my own sin.  I know it's there like an ever looming shadow, but I try to look the other way.  As each question came, I felt myself shrink in size as the darkness seemed to grow.  I was reminded: I am a terrible person.  As much as I try to do the right things, I'm guilty of sin.  I can't live perfectly because I am human and my nature is sin.  And yet, despite my imperfection--despite my monstrous flaw, God chose to love me.  He chose to send his son to take the punishment of my inequity so that one day I can meet him Face to Face.  Talk about awe-inspiring.

For me, that is world changing.  Spin-my-world-off-it's-axis and shoot-me-to-the-moon-changing.  He made the ultimate sacrifice.  He gave his perfection, his life, for my imperfection, my death.  How can that not resonate within me?  How can I ignore that--pretend that it's nothing?

Simply, I can't.

Nor do I think I should.

I want to live my life for Christ because I love and want to love him.  He saved me.  I don't want to because I "think" it's the right thing.  I want to because I know I'm not worthy of his sacrifice, and yet he did it anyway.  I want to because I know Christ has been, is and will always be my rock.  I want to because I know that without him, I'm a pool of goo-losh.  

Without Christ, I am nothing.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Death and Life

Eleven years ago today my dad's mother passed away.

I think a lot of people have misconceptions about grief--especially in the western world.  This past week, we talked about death in my health psychology class and how it's sort of taboo'd in our society.  People seem almost afraid to talk about death and they don't always know how to act when someone is grieving.  Then there are the beliefs that people only need a few days to deal with the grief.  One of the points made in class was that people will get three days leave of work if it was a sibling or a friend who passed but five days if it was a significant other (or something like that).  Grief time is allotted with regard to supposed emotional closeness.

Does that seem as bizarre to you as it does to me?  Who can say how people will react to grief?  Who can say how long it will take people to "move on"?  Grief is a very personal thing and everyone progresses differently.  Just because it has been three or six months since a friend lost their sibling, parent or other associate does not mean that they are "better"--it just means that it has been three or six months.

My grandma passed away eleven years ago and there are days that I still find myself missing her like crazy and sometimes I'm close to tears.  Granted they are not many, but they are still there sometimes.  That doesn't mean I'm weak or broken.  It just means I'm human.

Five years ago today, a little boy named Ezekiel was born.  He's a crazy kid who has way too much energy (ALL the time), admires super heroes, is learning the joys of reading, and puts his heart into everything.

A death day and a birthday of two people that I have known and know, of two people that I loved and love.  I never really thought of it before, but tonight as I was biting into some cake in celebration, I couldn't help but think how cool it is that what at one point was a day of mourning and sadness can also be a day of joy and hope.
image via google

Death is a part of life and I don't think that it should be taboo'd or ignored.  I don't want to be afraid of talking about death.  And I also think that in thinking about death, life shouldn't be ignored either.  Both are companions that walk hand in hand and both are more precious because of the other.

Tomorrow, Remembrance Day, I choose to remember those that have died in sacrifice to win life and peace for us.

Things I've learned about France (or at least Normandy)

Well there we go, my second European country. In some ways, very similar to England (a lot of meat and potatoes, fancy churches, pay toilets...