Thus Far

Friday, April 30, 2010

I'm so utterly confused. Things have been rocky between me and God since Germany...since 10/2009. At MHC friends would sometimes comment on my seeming steadfastness of faith...but where is that faith now?

It's amazing the powers others have to affect us, for better or for worse. Tip's persistent injury since New Year's Eve continues to affect my relationship with God. Four long months later, I still have difficulty finding the faith to believe Tip will fully recover.

Honestly, sometimes I don't want to talk to God about it. I don't want to hear what his answer will be. I don't want to chance God telling me that part of his plan is Tip NOT getting better; nor do I want to hear that it will take many more months-- or even a year-- for him to get better. Board alone is $525/month, not to mention the other associated care costs (trims, supplements, teeth floating, etc.) . I'm uneasy that my bio-mechanics person consulted an animal communicator when Tip stopped showing signs of change-- I suspect they fall into what the Bible calls "mediums" or "spiritists"-- but the promise of Tip recovering allures. 5 short sessions of 15-20 minutes of "energy giving"...and he should be improved. But even when he is healed, it will take many months of conditioning and training before I'll be at a point to ride him again.

Tomorrow is the last session. Should I cancel it and back-out, fearing demonic forces at work, or go through with it, hoping for the dramatic improvement?

Before the sessions started, I anointed Tip with oil in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Seeing him in the days after, his eyes were open wide, his face seemed so much lighter and engaged with the world; I actually saw him buck in his stall a couple times. Since the 5 sessions started, Tip's eyes/face/demeanor has returned to normal...

Kyrie eleison.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

I'm not so sure about some things anymore.

Since starting to study archaeology, I've been thinking a lot about science, faith and truth.

Growing up, I was a scientist to the core (and also come from a family of scientists-- my extended family includes several molecular biologists). I always wanted to be an archaeologist or biologist or vet (all-science related professions). In middle school, I was on my schools "Science Olympiad" team and won several medals in geology, botany, paleontology and astronomy events. Then, in high school after I came to Jesus and started to have Christian friends, I lost my love of it all. The church told me that science was largely wrong and inaccurate, that whatever the Bible said was true and if something contradicted it, it was wrong. Now, through my archaeology class, I'm re-thinking all of that.

One thing though-- through it all, I've stubbornly held onto my belief in an "Old Earth," and find it plausible that the earth is billions of years old.

But what is truth? and whose truth is "right?"

Over the past three or so years, I've progressively been moving away from a belief in "absolute truth;"-- that is, I no longer believe that something is true, simply because it is in the Bible. Nor do I believe that just because it is in the Bible, means it is above scrutiny.

But I haven't necessarily become relativist, either. Rather, I believe truth is universal and unchanging. That it can be tested, scrutinized, and time and time again, it will be proven true.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ and the grandiose claims Paul makes about it are true. Not simply because they are in the Bible, but because a person can walk out onto those claims, and test them. They are not an abstract, philosophical proposition, either. Rather, they are a tangible, concrete reality available to anyone who wants it. They are made manifest in their lives.

Recently, I've also thought a lot about faith. It seems that at the end of the day, all one is left with, is in what will they place their faith? Any good scientist acknowledges that science can never conclusively prove something true. They just can't. And no scientific theory is a hard, fast, cold truth ("absolute truth, if you will). It is only an explanation for something that thus far has not been disproved. The scientific method is about disproving hypotheses-- that's all it can aptly do. Since very little can be empirically proven, a scientist is left with, really, is faith in the process.

So it goes with God. He will never be empirically proven, but through the eyes of faith, his existence is "proven" to us. As I read and consider the Bible, it seems above all else, he desires faith. Faith in his existence and revelation in Jesus, faith in his character and promises. I dare to believe that someone who honestly desires him but doesn't always act in accordance with his commands is found more highly than someone who acts in accordance with his commands, because "it is the right thing to do." The differentiation is subtle, but is the difference between true religion/spirituality and hollow religiosity.

And so, I have faith. Through faith, I believe that science isn't as off the mark as many Christians would have one think; though faith I also believe the accounts in the Bible are true (not because it is simply "the Bible"), but because I feel the touch of God when I read it and know it is true. And the most scandalous thing of all: I have faith that the two are not irreconcilable.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Spiritual thoughts from a training philosophy

While riding today it struck me how much the Christian life is like dressage. See, dressage is a systematic way of training the horse. It starts as soon as the horse is able to carry a rider comfortably and ends when the horse has reached the top of the "scale" or ladder, but even so, training is always becoming refined. Despite this systematic scale or ladder of training, everything rests on two basic principles: 1) the horse must move forward at the impulse of the rider's leg into the bridle, putting weight in the rider's hand, and 2) the horse must carry most of its weight on its haunches, and the shoulders/forehand must bear less weight than normal. (2) is the goal of training, (1) is the means to accomplish it.

With the demands of the world to accomplish and achieve, it is tempting to skip steps in training, to take short-cuts. Some are as bad as faking it entirely, completely omitting teaching the horse to move off of the leg, into the bridle.

After trying to ride today for 15 minutes without getting the horse truly moving forward, off my leg and having no weight in the bridle, I realized my error, went back down to the basics and started to think about how similar this is to the Christian life.

Paul reminds us in Hebrews 6 that we should desire and seek to become mature in our faith. Elsewhere he says we are to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. But how is this achieved? I am convinced there is only one means possible: The Way of the Cross. To those in the Roman Catholic and [Eastern] Orthodox traditions, this is a visible, material way marked by the "stations of the Cross" and the Via Delarosa throughout Jerusalem. I counter it is not a physical path or spiritual exercise, but a way of life essential to and at the core of Christian discipleship. From Christ's agony in the Garden to his arrest, trial, beating, mocking and cruxification, we are called to enter into his sufferings, his self-relinquishment and utter obedience to the Father. We cannot excape it. Christ comes to us, saying "Come, follow me," but his path leads straight to the Cross. If we die at the hands of the world, to perscutions, mockings and actual death from those who watch us follow Jesus, then so be it. But the ultimate death is that of self: to hand over our insistance on our own way, our own goodness, our own self-relience to the one who did the same. Like dressage, it is so easy to skip this step, to try to move on to the more advanced levels and steps, to fake it or disregard it. But I'm convinced only through the Way of the Cross, do we taste his resurrection and mature in the faith.

Paul describes the Way of the Cross as such: I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead (Phil. 3:10-11, emphasis mine).

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Aaaaaand I'm back. I lost the account information for this blog for many, many years and after an hour or so of trying, I have it back!

--Stay tuned!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Sheesh...haven't posted in a while (again). I guess that's partly because I haven't exactly known what to write about, or had the time/desire/energy to really post. Sorry faithful readers.

But... stuff in the horse world is really opening up for me and my roots are sinking deep into the valley, into the JR-- enough that my parents are now sending out my tack (3 saddles, bridles, various bits and other leather things necessary for riding). I received one box of my two dressage saddles a month ago; now I am waiting for my jump tack to arrive. With the onset of my two horse-y jobs comes this crazy, inexpressible hope and profound joy that resounds throughout my whole existance. It blows my mind that something so trival, such as the presence of horses in my life, could have such a deep impact on me. But it does. It also is mind boggling that in the past 4 weeks, my life in the valley has more or less become the life I wanted to lead in Germany--the only real difference is that I am in the states and not Germany.

None of this was my doing, but rather came as a result of sudden oppertunities arising and other oppertunities ending. No, it was certinaly not me, but rather Jesus of Nazerath, who gave me the life that I always wanted to lead.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Just thought I'd put this out there, least there should be some misunderstanding ;-)

I love my housemates. Adore them. They are so wonderful and there is so much love and laughter (and interesting discussions) in this house, that I praise God because of them and thank God each day for them.


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Grace comes unexpectedly, sometimes...

It comes in the form of a generous [unexpected] offer to cover a large bill, because I can't take care of it myself.

I listened to a lot of Bebo today. I hadn't listened to him much the past year or two, but his music feels like the fabric of my life right now--emotionally honest, raw, yet posessing a richness in its depth [yet seemingly shallow...]. It has a perticular freedom about it; most of the songs are about the ordinary, the struggle and process of faith and transformation, or as his new cd title puts it "between the dreaming and the happy ending". I like that.