Thursday, January 25, 2007

Latest thoughts on the subject of me not liking God:

My counselor is an awesome woman and a very wise woman. I've been seeing Edith for about seven months now, and I'm extremely grateful to have that relationship in my life. We've discussed my dislike and lack of understanding of God several times, but the most profound thoughts thus far came out of last Monday's session.

Edith asked if perhaps the God I disliked wasn't God at all. Was it possible that what I disliked was a false image of God created by the pain, the fallacy, the legalism? Could the God I dislike so much actually be an idol rather than the true God?

Yes, I believe it is possible. In fact, I see now that the false God is exactly what I hate. The true God I want to know, I want to love.

As I've thought (and yes, even prayed) about this concept, I've been reminded of a favorite childhood movie The Never Ending Story. It is a story of a fantasy land that is continually altered and recreated through the workings of human imagination. However, this land, Fantasia, is being swallowed up by "The Nothing" because humans are forgetting what it is to imagine. (I hate to spoil the ending if you haven't seen it, but my analogy lies there. Thus, if you would someday like to watch it, stop here.) In the end, it is the imagination of one human boy, Sebastian, that can save Fantasia from being completed swallowed by The Nothing. He saves the day by giving the Empress of Fantasia a new name, creating new seeds of wonder and imagination in the land by which all of Fantasia can be created anew.

Like Sebastian, I think that I need to give God a new name or perhaps restore an old name that has been decimated by punitive thinking and language. God and I need to start afresh with a completely new idea of who He is, allowing the old idea to be swallowed by The Nothing.

It's a journey....what do you think?

Sunday, January 21, 2007

I am about to be brutally honest. So if you don't want to read that brutal truth, then I suggest you move on in your Internet surf.

I don't like God right now. I am struggling to reconcile God with a lot of what I know and have experienced in this meaningless world. God makes no sense to me, and so I don't like him.

What is the more brutal truth is that I know that God is okay with that. God is okay with the fact that I am not okay with him, and God is not pushing me or forcing me in anyway to be okay with him. I suppose that is proof of a graceful God.

God is simply sitting with me. He's reminding me that he loves me. He's encouraging me not to give up on him and assuring me that he has not given up on me. He calls me his love, his beautiful girl, his child. And he sits with me as I wrestle with him.

I'm not giving up on God even though I do not like him and cannot reconcile him to my experience. I'm not walking away; though, there have definitely been moments that I have wanted to. The truth is that I can't. I can't because I need there to be something bigger than me. I need there to be something worth hoping in. I need there to be something that loves me and loves this meaningless world.

So if you decided to read the brutal truth and you happen to like God, it would be good of you to pray for me. I think that I would like you to do that. I think that I want to like him again. And if you read the brutal truth and like me you don't really like God right now, I want you to know that it is okay. I think, I hope, that God can handle it. I think he's okay with you not liking him the same way that he's okay with me not liking him. And I think he loves us anyway and is looking forward to the day when we decide we like him again.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Yesterday was not the day that I planned on having. My day off. 9:30am, and I'm on my way to work-out, get a massage, and run a few errands. As I am driving up Academy Blvd, I notice tons of billowing smoke. My first thought: Barnes & Noble is on fire. Surely it can't be, Dave and I were just joking about that yesterday. Then I get to the top of the hill and slowly realize that it is not B&N, but an apartment building--the apartment building that is literally in the backyard of my church, Springs of Life.

Fire trucks and fire hoses were everywhere. Four towers cascaded water onto the burning building. I made a quick left and drove through side streets trying to get as close to the church and the burning building as possible. I wanted to know if the church was on fire, too. I wanted to know if I could do anything to help. I parked my car, asked the police at the barricade if the church was okay, learned that it was, and asked if I could walk in. I could.

There was water and people everywhere. It was cold, but not as cold as the past several days had been. We hit somewhere in the 20s yesterday. When I reached the building, I found displaced residents everywhere. The Red Cross had made camp in the basement, trying to make lists of residents and establish who was safe and who was not. The fire and police units had set up rehab in the sanctuary. And the church staff plus a few members were moving between the residents, the Red Cross, the fire and police crews, the media, and a host of other organizations.

I quickly learned what happened. The blaze began around midnight Tuesday morning. The folks who live in the ministry house awoke to screaming. Brett, James, Brian, and Alex came out to find out what was happening. They saw the building aflame. People jumping from windows, children being thrown to neighbors who had already made it out. One entire wing of the building was already engulfed in flame. The guys opened up the church building for people to get warm--many in pajamas and bare feet in negative degree temperatures. The fire units, Red Cross, and police would soon arrive, but as of 9:30am this morning, Wednesday, the fire is still burning.

It was an old building, built mostly out of wood, the outside finished in brick. When the roof collapsed, it basically turned the whole place into an oven, creating pockets of fire that the water could not get to. One fireman, who I had the opportunity to drive back to his fire station, told me it was the worst fire that he had seen in 21 years of fighting fires.

I stayed the rest of the day, answering phones, cleaning up messes here and there, directing people to where they needed to be, getting coffee for the fire and police units from Starbucks, trying to help field information from all of the different organizations, talking to firemen, police, Red Cross, and residents. I got to know the manager at Applebee's, who brought tons of food for the firemen, police, volunteers, and residents at least six times throughout the day. Chipotle, Red Robin, Souper Salad, Panera, McDonald's, Pizza Hut, Starbucks, and a myriad of others also brought food at various points. Walmart brought blankets, socks, shoes, clothing, furniture, diapers, formula, etc. And so many people called all day long wanting to give. Eventually we had to stop excepting donations and started asking people to give monetary donations to the Red Cross. Apartment complexes and tons of local residents called to offer people places to stay. It was simply amazing.

By the end of the day I was very tired, though not nearly as tired as many around me. So after one last run to Starbucks for more coffee, I headed home to my bed--a place I was incredibly grateful that I could go. So one last cheer for the heroes of the day, many of whom will continue to fight the fight again today: the firefighters, the police, the Red Cross volunteers, the Salvation Army volunteers, the Staff and church members at Springs of Life, many restaurants and Good Samaritans, several local pastors who stayed the day to help, the Humane Society, and a host of other aid organizations. Thanks to all of you!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

It's cold!!!!!!!!! Yesterday's high 20 degrees. Yesterday's low 1 degree. Current temperature -2 degrees. Wind chill -16 degrees. High today 11 degrees.

Are you kidding me ?!?!?!?!?!?!?!