Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Keeping the Sabbath Holy

For those who know me, I'm pretty quiet. When I get tired or worn out, I get more quiet with a touch of melancholy. So basically I have trouble enjoying life, and my I focus too much on thinking about my problems instead of going about the solution. I think I caught myself yesterday slipping into that funk. Here are the things I was worried about:

-getting in touch with about 50 people for further support raising
-figuring out what I'm going to do with my life after North Africa
-wanting a girlfriend, who will eventually turn into a wife.
-needing to read more books because it's summer and I should use any free time more effectively to nourish my mind
-not being very happy

Anyhow, I was at my friend Ryan's house, and even though he's a great guy and his dog is fun to play with I was still pretty mopey (sorry Ryan). So this morning I decided to have the Sabbath I hadn't taken in over a week. A Sabbath is a day of rest and worship of God.

It's only 3 o'clock, and I'm already feeling like all those worries aren't so terrible. None of them really deserve to be worried about. I can't see how any of them fall out of God's authority, and so I should trust him with them. Especially when it comes to girlfriends, otherwise I start evaluating all the women I meet or know through the "potential wife" glasses. That's a terrible thing that I think robs a lot of us from relationships that could otherwise be joyful and without anxiety.

Cool, so I hope everyone gets a bit of refreshment ASAP.

PS here's a fun pic I took on Saturday

shout out to the MAC CRU DG, who feasted upon the flesh of numerous known and unknown animal species at Korean Grill House.

Friday, July 06, 2007

tough theology through the eyes of Lisa Beamer

Recently I got familiar with the story of Lisa Beamer. Those who watch TV would know her as the wife who's husband said "Let's Roll" (now copyrighted) before he and other passengers attempted to take back the plane on 9/11.

Her name and story have been really played out. She has also drawn a lot of criticism, whether fairly or not I don't know. Goggle her and you'll find a mix of praise and criticism. Wikipedia records some skepticism about the charitable foundation she has started in the name of her husband Todd Beamer. The foundation is for the unknown families affected by 9/11 who don't have the benefit of media payouts.

So, all that being said, I bring her up because she is a good example of a topic that I've brought up before, how all things fall under God's control and purposes. This means that a supposedly good God allows tragedies, and their positive effects are somehow very beneficial for God and those whom are aligned to this grand being.

Lisa Beamer is a Christian. At age 15 she lost her dad to a brain annerysm. He suufered it at work, the next day he died. For five years she struggled in her relationship with God, and why he would let her father die. She found light at the end of that tunnel, deepening her trust that God's love is still trustworthy, and he has a plan for her joy. Then she lost her husband Todd. God doesn't spread out suffering evenly. I quote her as saying this, "I don't know God's plan right now, and frankly I don't like it, but I trust his promise in Romans 8:28." The verse says, "we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purposes."

I'll only touch on what I think Lisa Beamer is communicating. As a Christian, she is assured ultimate security, but not a security of wealth, health, or any physical thing. The gospel doesn't promise these things, in fact, in the same chapter Paul says, "For your (God's) sake we are being killed all day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered." Slaughtered! Can I get a hallelujah? ... anyone?... Not likely. If you're goal in life is to be secure, have a good job, do something nice for others, keep your nose clean, and leave behind kids who are similar to you then this verse is not going up on the fridge. But Lisa Beamer (I am lead to think) understands that as a Christian, God's goal is to increase the joyful love she will have in him, the ONLY joyful thing that will last. She will meet Todd Beamer in heaven, but heaven isn't about Mr. Beamer, it's about God, and God is using Lisa on earth to show others that life is not about partners and children and good jobs, but about created humans coming into joyful relationship with the Creator. Rebellious kids coming back to their Father.

That's why Paul, in Romans 8, finishes his thought with "I am convinced that neither death nor life... nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." Suffering turns many people away from God, though the reality is it's often the only means that can truly turn our hearts to value the only thing that could fulfill us (and those we want to fulfill) forever.