Thursday, February 12, 2009


So in 1 King 18 God comes down in blazing fire and proves himself and Elijah is triumphant in his faith. But in 1 Kings 19 Elijah's on the run and he asks God to let him die and he struggles in the wilderness:

And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" 10 He said, "I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away." ...  And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper.

And that low whisper was the Lord. It goes on. Elijah gives his exact same spiel again. The Reverend at chapel taught how God is not always the raging fire but also the low whisper. But then he began to look at Elijah, saying that if you want spiritual maturity, DON'T be like Elijah. Because Elijah despaired, had self-pity and thought he was the only faithful one left. And that really got to me. Because I've been like that. I think every Christian worries about how most of the Church isn't really the Church. But I'd been really letting it get to me, wondering how Christ could really be Christ if his Church wasn't really his Church. Despair. Self-pity: Elijah was like, "God, I've been doing all the right things, and now I'm being persecuted!" So I'm not even being persecuted, but I've pitied myself because this past couple of months I've tried to be transparent, share, confess issues. And sometimes I don't get the love I want/need, and I get sad for myself. But that's stupid. Of course it's natural. But I shouldn't be going into an interaction just seeking to get something out. I think instead of really sharing I was just looking for encouragement. And encouragement is good, no doubt. But not when what you need might be a harsh word. At least I've done a better job seeing my own problems. But I still catch myself feeling like everyone else just needs to have more love, when I have to start with me.

I'm reading Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger by Ron Sider. And you know he's all about big social justice issues. But he does a great job bringing it back to me and you:

"Pope John Paul II has rightly insisted that evil social structures are "rooted in personal sin…But the accumulation and concentration of many personal sins create "structures of sin" that are both oppressive and 'difficult to remove" (116).

That goes back to Blue Like Jazz where the author says he'd like to hold up a sign at a protest saying "I'm the Problem," because no one can change anything in the Congo until they change themselves. And then in another chapter Sider got me sniffling even more, cuz he was talking about how "the church should consist of communities of loving defiance" and how as much as we want to reject this culture of materialism and sex and success, that is impossible as individuals. Impossible. No Mission Impossible individual still making it possible. Impossible. He talks about how "the plausibility of ideas depends on the social support they have" (207). In other words, it's really really hard to believe the Bible isn't just balony when it talks about peace and joy and community living and love if you don't see those things in your own life in yourself and the people around you.

And once again I just wanted to cry and my friend sitting next to me asked if I was sick cuz I was sniffling so much. Cuz man I want that so bad. Man I need that. The chapter went on to give all these examples of house church congregations where people sign the papers for an interest-free mortgage on another family's house and make annual commitments to daily prayer and Bible study and have to be accountable to their small group about it every week and put all their money in a general fund and have it allotted to them every month according to need and not contribution and all buy apartments in the same two neighborhoods so they can share lawnmowers and washing machines and be Christ in the community. And I know all of those are only different ways. But where all of this comes out of is a deep love for one another and, just I mean love how much do we need that. How much do we need that.

And at the very end this was one of the study questions: "How close is your local church to the ideal of Christian community? What do you think God is leading you to do about that?"

And in the past that question has always made me so sad because I want my church to be closer to that ideal. But lately it's been hitting me more how much I, myself, need to be closer to that ideal. And how much I don't reach it, rather than how much others don't. Like. I suck at community. I want it so bad that I cry about it when I read books. But I really really suck at it. Maybe not in a I fight with them kind of way, but in a I have messed up priorities so I'm never just there, never just Present and talking with people about their day and praying with them and committing myself in that way and taking chances and trusting them with my own life and putting others before myself and before my grades and before my job. That's what I want so bad but then I don't do it myself.

My awesome ninja brother told me to relax because I'm trying to do good and I care and I just might be a ninja, too. And I know I probably should some. But a lot of me says that I've never just like tried to be, not even good, but just be there. I don't know how to just put people who are sitting in the room with me first. I don't know how. Does that make sense? I think a lot of my friends want to go No! here like my bro and say I'm cool and nice and stuff. Cuz I am. Lol. As in, I know I'm not some big bad terrible person. But my priorities are still wrong. And that sucks.

I've been around this earth for twenty years, grown up Christian and been pretty serious about that. But I still don't know how to put others first and just love them. I really don't want to graduate from college and still not know how to do that. I'm really scared though that I might let them happen if I don't figure out how to make sure I don't now and next year. So. Next time you see me, do me a really big favor, and make me put you first. Seriously. Please? Thanks.

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