Monday, May 31, 2010

'Relentless Discovery'

Week 2 of the internship has begun.

A few things I have learned:

* How to correctly install a window a/c unit
* How to stir fry many vegetables to make a tantalizing and tasty asian-looking dish to feed many people
* How to split a jelly doughnut without spilling the innards all over yourself
* Rice makes any dish five times as large.
* Neighbors tend to expect you to talk to them.
* I am used to roughly 30/70 social time vs alone time.
* I am not the only one in the house having issues transitioning.
* As much as I like to think I reacted strongly against certain aspects of my childhood in the church, they still have had an effect on me.

Last Friday, during our second class session, we talked about salvation. And we began by sharing the church environment we grew up in, and what we believe/were taught about salvation. I remember being taught that salvation was a personal choice, come to the altar, be saved from your sins, big moment, type of deal. Which is not in itself a bad thing. For some people, it is.

I remember when I was young seeing a play about the fires of hell that was intended to strike fear and guilt into you, in order to convince you of your need for a Savior, and to come to Him. I know the intentions of the church were good, but I reacted very strongly against that idea later on. I don't think that we should begin a relationship with Christ out of fear for the alternative. I think it should be out of love for and curiosity about the God who loves us and saves us.

So I thought that concept was completely out of my thinking, until Matt, our pastor, has us role play a conversation between a nonbeliever and a Christian about our faith. I was the second person to be the 'Christian', and I entered into it with the intention of making it a conversation, and asking the 'nonbeliever' as many questions as he asked me, which did work to an extent, but I also found myself going about it with the concept of "well you need Jesus to help you forgive yourself... there must be something you feel guilty about... come on..."


It just really impresses on me that everything in my life has influenced me to some extent, whether I recognize that or not.

This may just be a summer of discovery. 'relentless discovery' if you will. Haha... oh Taylor... I actually couldn't remember where that phrase came from for a moment. See? Everything influences you... including the giant TU billboard on I-69.

I'm feeling very positive this week about prospects for this internship and this summer. I think it will be way different than what I'm used to for my summer, but I think that will be a good thing.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Brief Hiatus

It is summer.

I am drained. I didn’t even have time or energy to realize how very drained I had become until a few days after I left campus for the semester. And then I couldn’t identify it, because no matter how in tune with myself I like to believe I am, I am very much not.

But I’ve figured it out.

Burnout. I am experiencing ‘burnout’. I have a whole lot of energy and resources too. I’m not sure that I ever have experienced burnout. But I am now.

I am currently in Anderson, IN, sprawled out on a lovely dark green couch in the living room of a house occupied by seven other people, and we are the Mercy House interns, phase five. And I am excited to see what is in store for us.

But I am also tired. I’ve always maintained a busy schedule, and this year was more intense than even the others, because of my decision to be a Taylor University PA, and then a series of unexpected life events that sapped all of my emotional resources away away.

Although, through everything (and there are a ton of things God was teaching me / reminding me of…), this is reminding me of one crucial thing. I can’t handle things on my own.

And rest is a gift.

I pulled out Mark Buchanan’s book The Rest of God this afternoon, which our English Hall PA staff was supposed to read together last semester, but I actually didn’t open once, because, ironically, I was too busy. The book begins by his defense of maintaining the Sabbath.

I have always been skeptical of this command. It seems like an outdated tradition, and very unpractical in my busy world. A very stressful addition to the other things I have to do.

Buchanan suggests that we think of the Sabbath like liturgy, which he describes as a unifying, connecting thing. A suggestion of practical action for a scriptural concept, one that you can follow as closely or tweak as much as you would like. He described it like choreography. I think of it like jazz.

Jazz music has a basic melody line that everyone follows, a sound structure that everything revolves around and builds on, but each line is very open to improvisation and experimentation.

This is our freedom in Christ.

All the different instruments have their own variations to the main melody, based on their abilities to create different sounds, and different instruments are prominent at different times, but all follow the same basic melody and fit together seamlessly to create a unified sound that is beautiful, sometimes jarring, sometimes smooth, sometimes unexpected, but always beautiful.

Which I think is actually a nice picture of the Church, and our unity in Christ.

But that’s just what I think.

I’m still working through my thoughts on what God has begun showing me about my flawed thinking in a Christian college environment, and I’ll be continuing to write and think about that this summer, but I think interspersed throughout will be my thoughts as I read this book, which has definitely reappeared at a perfect time, as I’m realizing how very tired I am, and willing to give God, and His ideas about the Sabbath and rest, a listen.