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Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Shack

For the second time I have read through...well actually listened to...The Shack by William P. Young. I realized this time around that I was in a different place than the first time. The story hit me in new ways, deepening my understanding of God and ultimately my relationship with him. I could never reflect on the whole book here...however I would like to point out many aspects that are still at the forefront of my mind.
How often are our ideas of theology, doctrine, belief, and faith challenged? Are we really living for God or are we just singing praises to him on a Sunday? As I dug through the pages of this book I found my belief of who God was challenged. He wasn't just a being somewhere or a king telling me what to do. But he was Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God is wanting to be in relationship with us just as Father, Son and Holy Spirit are ina mutually submissive relationship with one another. As they submit to one another, they build each other up. How awesome would it be if we mutually submitted to one another? We would see very similar outcomes.
flying. We see it as this lofty thing that birds can do, soaring above the ground and enjoying a beautiful view. Or, we see it as this convenient way to travel across the country. But what about a lesson in flying? Papa says while standing in the kitchen with Mack:
"Consider our little friend here," she began. "Most birds were created to fly. Being grounded for them is a limitation within their aility to fly, not the other way around... You, on the other hand, were created to be loved. So for you to live as if you are unloved is a limitation, not the other way around." ....."living unloved is like clipping a birds wings and removing its ability to fly, not something I want for you."
God created us to be loved and to shed his love on ohters. Each time we deny the fact that we are loved...we stay grounded. This was a new concept for me. And I quickly realized all the ways I deny the love that God and others have for me. So today I fly a little higher, trusting in God and allowing the love of others to pour through me.
So...we all know that God specifically informs us not to judge others. But how often do we continue to do this? How often do we compare ourselves to others? How often do we judge God for what we feel his is doing or not doing? I know in my life it is far too often. I judge those who I love most. I judge those who I barely know at all. Young clearly depicts how we judge others in the portion of the book where Mack is given the opportunity to judge and to choose which children of his will spend eternity in hell and which will spend eternity with God.
At one point during the book Mack is in the garden with Sarayu. He is walking through a beautiful and wonderful mess. And Sarayu is tearing everyting up. All the flowers and all the weeds. Confused....Mack and readers soon learn that this garden is a representation of Mack's life. When I stopped to think of my own life as a garden....I thought of how messy it was prior to my baptism. And even now....it is a mess because my old self likes to creep in like weeds. But as I continually surrender to God, each day this garden becomes more and more beautiful, it becomes more and more as God intended it to be. So, this illustration allowed me to see that God still has an incredible work to do...and I need to let him do it. Just as I need to let him love me. For it is thorugh his love that this work will be done.
ok...this next one is one I might need a little help with...responsibility and expectation. It wasn't until reading another book that I came to a point of understanding responsibility and how God intended it to be...think of it more as Response Ability. Young uses the word Expectancy rather than expectation...but I haven't fully grasped this one. Is it suppsed to be expectancy of what is to come or what is to happen? Not quite sure.

Though this book is fiction, the illustration of Father, Son and Holy spirit living out mutual submission and the healing process of the wounds and false self in our life is powerful enough to change our mindest. It is powerful enough for us to step out of the traditions of men and intot he truth of God. So.....dwell on it, and let it sink in. Let these words shape your life and inspire and motivate further study of God's word, letting that too change your life.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Hakuna Matata!

Once upon a time an amazing movie came out. The Lion King. Shortly after this...every Disney movie sent out into our homes went downhill. For some reason...this movie stuck out in my heart...maybe in yours as well.
As I sat and watched this movie I was reminded of how many awful messages are portrayed through the movies that children surround themselves with...but at the same time I realized that this movie portrayed a few great messages. We are reminded of who we are. Too often we focus on our faults, on the things that tear our relationship with Christ apart. I find myself focused on the lies, the things that speak against who Christ has created me to be. But...the adult Simpa is reminded of who he is by his father:


Rafiki
: [after guiding Simba to a spot where he says will show him Mufasa Mufasa] Look down there.
Adult Simba: [looks into a pool of water] That's not my father. That's just my reflection.
Rafiki: No, look harder.
[touches the water, as it ripples Simba's reflection changes to that of his father]
Rafiki: You see? He lives in you.
Mufasa's ghost: [from above] Simba.
Adult Simba: Father?
Mufasa's ghost: [apears among the stars] Simba, you have forgotten me.
Adult Simba: No. How could I?
Mufasa's ghost: You have forgotten who you are and so have forgotten me. Look inside yourself, Simba. You are more than what you have become. You must take your place in the Circle of Life.
Adult Simba: How can I go back? I'm not who I used to be.
Mufasa's ghost: Remember who you are. You are my son, and the one true king. Remember...

As I look to the relationship of Simba with his family. I see two things. First, I see a strong bond of trust, reliance and dependence. They worked together to provide for each other. Never was anyone left in the dust, never to fend for themselves or struggle, they are a true represnetation of family. Yet, they have their mistakes, they have ther faults. They challenge each other. But as Simba was reminded of who he is, he is challenged to face those mistakes he made, face the hurt and the pain of family. In a way...he sacrificed himself, his pride, his dignity to stick up for the truths he believes in.

Ok...so on a lighter note.....we all could use a good laugh...and this was the song I found myself singing as I walked through the apartment last night:

Rafiki: Asante sana Squash banana, Wiwi nugu Mi mi apana!
Adult Simba: Enough already! What's that supposed to mean anyway?
Rafiki: It means you're a baboon... and I'm not.

And who can forget our two favorite friends:
Hakuna Matata! it means: there ain't no worries!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Transition

It amazes me how time flies sometimes. It feels as though just yesterday I walked into my first dorm room...Anderson 111...and met my RA for the first time. And yet since then I have walked across the graduation platform twice...this time...never to return to the education world as a student. Maybe they should have told me 22 years ago that a masters degree did not guarantee a job...so where do I find myself now?
I have recently moved into a new apartment in the city with two lovely women. I am delighted to claim both of these women as my sisters. I love them so dearly and I am looking forward to the ways in which God will be using us in the lives of each other as well as the lives of those we come in contact with.
My head was held high as I accepted my masters diploma and hood a few weeks ago. What does this all mean for me? Well...I am quite thankful for the people in my life who made it possible. My parents, friends, and classmates fought along side me financially, emotionally and battled the mountains of papers. My professors challenged me way out of my comfort zone...bringing me to a place of moving out of old thoughts and behaviors, allowing me and encouraging me to grow and learn. One professor in particular expected our best...so we gave it to her. She expected us to take our learning to the next level...or as the previous program director said "you are at the center of your learning."
So now...the job search begins/continues. I am searching heard...but I find myself discouraged. I am reminded daily of the provision of God, trusting in him for he has a perfect plan. He has already mapped out this wonderful plan and will continue to provide for me and my household. But for now...I wait, I trust...and I keep hitting "apply" and making phone calls.