A Letter

Dear God,

Yesterday at church I was helping out on the parking team and I watched a girl get out of her Infinity and walk into church wearing her TOMS shoes. The girl is probably a really sweet girl with a much bigger heart than mine but for a moment she was the object of my own self-aggrandizement. I patted myself on the back, not because I don’t have an Infinity (I can’t afford it) or a pair of TOMS (I look like a clown in TOMS), but because I don’t want them.

Then I realized that I don’t want a new house either, my 600 square-foot apartment will be just swell, thank you very much. I realized I don’t want a limitless gift card to the Nike and J. Crew outlets or a lifetime supply of Southern Tide or Vineyard Vines shirts. I realized I don’t need a new iPhone, in fact, God, I don’t even want a new iPhone.

I realized that as much as I would love to watch Oklahoma State go 12-0 in football some year and play for a title, it’s not that important in the grand scheme of things.

God, you made some really intelligent people who created this thing called the iPad. Apparently it makes Bible-reading much easier, but I don’t want one.

I got to thinking about it and I don’t really think sports are all that important either, which implies that fantasy sports are even less important. I realized I love sports, but sports don’t love me, and sports don’t actually matter eternally.

Oh, one more sports note, thank you for making that tract of land us humans named “Augusta” but I guess it’s not really that wonderful, you know, relatively speaking.

I realized that I don’t really want to be wealthy someday, or famous, or even moderately well-known. I don’t really care about those things. They’re vices, mostly. I don’t have much desire for power or what our depraved culture labels “success” for my marriage or family.

I realized that all I have any yearning for is you and my community of family and friends. I patted myself on the back a few more times at church last night for all these realizations. I’m so holy.

After I realized all that, I realized something else:

Every word I speak and action I take…
Every Tweet I proclaim and ‘like’ I click…
Every email I send and website I visit…
Every magazine I read and meal I eat…
Every phone call I make and conversation I have…
Every TV show I watch and thought I think…
Every single day I live, my life…

Says something vastly different from what I wrote above.

We’re worlds apart, you and me. Thank you for relentlessly shattering me with your grace.

Your son,

P.S. Thanks for my wife Jen, she’s pretty cool. And she’s always reminding me of how unworthy I am before you. Do you think you could maybe, you know, get her to be a little less sweet about it though, it makes getting mad at her pretty hard. Thanks.

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Quick Review On a Divine Book

I’ve been reading this book written by this interesting woman and, even though it’s not really the best book I’ve ever read, the message, the concept really, is brilliant. The woman who writes this book takes four separate trips to four distinct places to discover what the Lord meant when he breathed life into specific Biblical stories. She visits a shepherdess in Oregon, a farmer in Nebraska, a beekeeper in Colorado, and a wine-maker in California. In each instance she gathers a bushel of Biblical references specific to each of those occupations (or sometimes the end product of those occupations) and seeks for context from the people who would understand them best.

For example, did you know God’s commandment to rest on the Sabbath was extraordinarily difficult for farmers because, if the weather outside was nice, taking a day off could mean the difference between a good and bad crop? And did you know God’s commandment for the best livestock to be sacrificed was a source of tension for shepherds because it can take generations (decades) to breed an ideal sheep? Or did you realize that when God talks about leading the Israelites into “a land flowing with milk and honey” that meant a land that, essentially, had perfect conditions and a perfect landscape? Or that the shortest amount of time it takes to make a decent bottle of wine is 8 years, underscoring the phenomenon (as if it needed it) of Jesus’ water to wine miracle.

I guess I’ve never really considered the historical context God gave to the Bible. To borrow some research from the book, we’ve almost always been an agrarian society so for God to provide metaphors that related to agriculture and the land was a way of Him saying “here’s something you can understand, know this, feel this, let me be your God.” The book really captured me because it’s so hard for Americans in 2010, in our computer-centered and automobile-dependent culture, to fully understand the agricultural metaphors of the Bible. In fact, they weren’t even really metaphors, they were just stories about life, as if Jesus came to earth in 2010 and talked to us in terms we understand like “Macbook” or “suburban” or “cnn.com”

I suppose all of this begs the question, do our scientific and technological advances help or hurt our ability to understand God the way He wants us to understand Him? I’m not saying they hurt because for us to have the ability to Skype with missionaries anywhere on earth or microlend to foreign entrepreneurs via Kiva or read the Bible literally anywhere we can take our phones is for us to worship God. I just think the question needs to be asked…

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The Fear of Marriage

I was talking with Kyle’s sister this past weekend about marriages and divorce rates according to the information we got from the M. Sue Wilson Law Offices the parents who leave their families and never take interest in their children is very high. She is single (sorry Kayc, I promise it’s imperative to the story, maybe I can hook you up with a blog reader?) and she finished our discussion with one phrase:

I’m actually really scared of marriage.

I, in all my wisdom, uttered something about why you have to choose the right person and how it could either be the worst thing in the world or the best thing. Despite my lack of eloquence, I still find that statement to be true. However, there’s a lot more depth and beauty behind this mysterious covenant, and it deserves more respect than I can ever give it in words. But I’ll leave you with this:

Marriage was created to be a picture of Christ. He died and gave Himself up for his bride, the Church. So to look upon marriage is to look upon the Lord. It must be feared and viewed with reverence, for a single slight of hand can cause unbearable destruction of the human soul. But when lived the right way, the joy and freedom it brings is like no other experience on this earth. And yet the joy we see in marriage is but a glimpse of His love for us.

How do you view marriage? Is it something to be feared?

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