Instead, I'm going to dial it back some.
There's something big going on at my church. Something serious. We're trying to leave the Presbyterian Church (USA) denomination...and join the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, instead.
The problem is: they won't let us.
Now, I studied Religion and Philosophy in college. But I have never been a Church Politics buff. When people start talking about the "Book of Order" I begin to glaze over. I know that rules are important for a lot of things. Without Order, there is Chaos and all that. Still, Rules are not a substitute for Morality. In the wrong hands, rules can just become a puzzle for corrupt people in power to manipulate how they see fit. That's Tyrrany.
We live in a culture of Revolution. It began hundreds of years ago, in my opinion, with the American Revolution. Since then, it's been somehow ingrained and inbred into our psyches. There is an innate idea that if a system of government is corrupt, then we should throw it off and start anew.
I don't know what it is exactly (though I doubt it's any one thing) but this current generation seems even more inclined to revolution than some of the past. It's like there is a natural distrust of authority. I can relate to that, somewhat. I don't like being told what to do, either. But it's more than that. Everywhere you look, you see examples of people who think They Know Better. Especially young adults--and that's praised by the media.
I am NOT saying that revolution is wrong. All I'm saying is that revolution for rebellion's sake IS wrong. Because we are emeshed in a culture that glorifies the lone rebel, we ought to think long and hard about the battles we wage.
I relate all that to say, I think my church and its staff and members have thought long and hard. We've prayed hard. We've sought counsel from the outside. It wasn't an easy choice. We didn't do it just to be edgy and rebellious. We're trying to be faithful--and that will always cause a backlash. The truth is, this was always going to be hard.
The thing that I regret, the thing that frustrates me, is that some people seem to be taking this very personally. Not only that, but a lot of assumptions have been made that we're splitting off because of homosexuals. Which is completely, utterly ridiculous. The issue here is not gays--but that's the political hot-button, so that's what makes news.
But the bigness of this thing is causing problems, and conflict. Not so much within us; it's an outside kind of conflict. I mean, getting lawyers and courts involved--seriously. That's BIG. And it' all happening right here, at MY church, where I'm a member, AND part of the staff.
So, if you would, take a moment to pray for my church and the staff...I'd appreciate it.
It would be very easy for a girl like me to get discouraged about my relationship status. After all, I’m 28. Not getting any younger. The biological clock is ticking and all that. And there are times when it is a struggle not to feel lonely, overlooked, or impatient. Like at weddings. Or on Valentine’s Day. When someone has a baby. Or when you find yourself surrounded by couples. After a Chick Flick binge.
But the truth is, I’m in no hurry. You know how at the beginning of the movie “Hitch,” the dating guru tells us that no woman wakes up in the morning hoping to NOT get swept off her feet? That’s true. But some of us have a lot of other things going on in our lives. Some of us don’t want to try eHarmony or be fixed up on blind dates. We want to find Love, sure. But in the meantime, until it finds us, we’re going to keep getting on with our lives.
One fun distraction I’ve given in to from time to time is TV crushes. My first love was MacGyver—seriously. Ever since then, I’ve had a slew of TV characters whom I’ve made regular dates with. More recently, I was digging Peter Petrelli of Heroes. But oohh, I just liked him so much better with the emo-bangs. Then I also fell surprisingly hard for Chuck. That’s the nerd-love side of me, I guess. Right now, I’m logging a lot of hours watching reruns of Psych. That Shawn Spencer is hilarious.
The thing is, real guys are sooooo much more complicated. Although I am blessed to have some good guys in my life again. It’s nice, because all of my guy friends from college either got married and/or live ridiculously far away. So, now I’ve developed a new circle of friends out here, which includes guys. Several of them are married or otherwise taken, but a few are single. And there’s just a different dynamic in a friendship when both parties are single. Usually. Maybe it’s just me, but I tend to be a little more guarded around “taken” guys, though it helps if I’m close to both halves of the couple. Anyway you split it, friendships with guys are complicated—but I wouldn’t give them up.
What’s nice about it is, it satisfies what I believe is a fundamental human need for interaction with the opposite sex. I was talking about this with one friend, whom I’ll call Clive. (I’m changing the names of the guys so that if by some chance they read this, they won’t feel so exposed. Or something.) Anyway, I was telling Clive that as important as I think it is for guys to have guy time, and girls to have girl time, it’s also really important to have that guy-girl time, too. It doesn’t have to be romantic. It’s just good to get that other perspective. Both man and woman were made in God’s image—both of them representing something different about the nature of God (as John Eldredge discusses in Wild at Heart and Captivating). I’ve learned to appreciate this other element, this masculine component, in ways I never used to. Of Course, I still get baffled and sometimes frustrated with the way guys think and act.
Like my one friend, Theophilus. Theo is this great guy—intelligent, funny in a snarky way, a real servant. Easy going, low key, multifaceted. But he’s got this way of keeping things to himself, not offering anything deep. And then he masks things with sarcasm, and a self-effacing humor. It’s perplexing. What’s he really thinking? I haven’t a clue—and I can tell he wants it that way. Unlike Clive, who has been remarkably open and honest about his struggles and his “walk.”
Not that I have a problem with quiet guys. My first (real, live) crush was on a very shy guy. And right now, I’m also friends with
I love a good laugh, and I have such a broad sense of humor that it doesn’t take a whole lot to get me going. But my one friend Jason just has this knack for saying the funniest things. I wish things like that rubbed off on people. He is seriously one of the funniest people I’ve ever met, and he makes it look just effortless. I wish I could think that fast and that witty, but I’m left just laughing hysterically in his wake.
And it’s a blessing to have developed such an interesting circle of friends. Like I said, it can sometimes be daunting to a Single Woman to look at her life. The New Year makes us reflect on the past and look ahead to the future, and I find myself still in that process. This past week has really made me reflect on my guy friends, as I’ve spent time with them each in different ways and settings.
While I might sometimes wish for romance to be closer around the corner than it is, I appreciate the fact that I once again have guy friends that I can be myself around, talk to, grab a drink with, and laugh with. (It’s nice when I feel appreciated, too!) So here’s to all the pub nights, jam sessions, Bible study, TV shows, games, inside jokes, wii sports, guitar hero challenges, worship times, and impromptu, spontaneous hanging out in this coming year. Yay for guys! The world would be a much less interesting place without them.
It's hard to believe. At least, it is for me. How did it get to be another year already??
Traditionally, this is a time when people reflect on the past year, and look forward to the coming year, and think about their goals and expectations. Some people make Resolutions that are hard to keep.
I thought back on my year, and I was struck by patterns of stress in my life. Recurring themes of frustration. Constant struggles and battles.
Don't get me wrong. I know I have plenty to be thankful for. I am grateful for the ways God provided for me in 2007, and I know He will continue to help me in 2008.
But right now, it seem like the only thing that's changed is a number. We like to believe that a New Year equals a New Start, a clean slate. Yet, we're already one week in, and I'm still wrestling with the same things that plagued me last year. That can be so discouraging. I look back on '07, and wonder, what did I accomplish? Again, the big events that stand out to me are my perpetual battles.
I try not to be a "glass-half-empty" person, or even a "glass-half-full" person. I just want to be realistic. I like to look at things from many angles. So, if I shift my perspective a little, I see another way of looking at this whole thing.
It's only a week in. I have no idea what this year is going to bring me. None. Sure, I have goals and dreams. And I hope '08 doesn't fly by without me accomplishing some things. But there's been a recurring message in my life lately:
One Day at a Time.
Pastor Kevin preached that at the Blue Christmas service. If I'm truly honest, I'll admit that I am no good at that. I'm a Big Picture person. I like to have a "game plan." Something to work on, or toward. Something to measure. How do you measure "one day at a time?" I have no idea. Maybe I'll figure it out by the end of the year.