Men Crying, Mesquite Chicken, and Mental Calisthenics

Disclaimer: This post is from the archives, and may not represent the current views of the author. It also may not be at all interesting to read. Continue at your own peril!

Today has been fairly average, and so there isn’t much to talk about. The worship practice at Bethel yesterday afternoon went quite well, and so I’m helping out at their youth service this Wednesday, since they’re short exactly one bass player, and I just happen to fulfill that precise quantity of bass players – no more, no less. At Life Groups last night, we continued watching the Wild at Heart video series, and witnessed a bunch of grown men cry on television. They were talking about the wounds that their fathers gave them, and even though I hate to say this, since I know some people don’t exactly have the best childhoods, the words that came into my head were, “Get over it.” One guy was talking about how he was disappointed because his father built a treehouse for him and he didn’t really have a chance to help, other than passing him wood and nails. But honestly, this guy is talking about it thirty years later and crying about it, and my thought was that if that was the worst wound he had from his father, he has it pretty well off. Some things need to stay in the past, and the only reason to take them out from there and re-examine them is to learn from them – not cry over them. I can only imagine how hard it is to raise children, and as Josh said last night, nobody’s perfect, so you can’t expect your father to never hurt you at all. It’s just something you need to get over and make sure you don’t make the same mistake. Loving your parents includes forgiving them for what they might have done to you – and unlike what it seemed like on this movie, scars do fade over time. I have emotional scars from only four or five years ago, and they’ve pretty much faded away and disappeared. But these guys are talking about the distant past as if it were yesterday, and it just seemed like they were digging as hard as they could into the past to find some hurtful thing that their dad did to them.

With that said, I’m trying to make the best of this movie thing. I’ve been reading through the book as well, and have really enjoyed it, and so I wish that we had done a book study instead of a video study. Of course, that would never really work since the people in my youth group don’t have the patience or the motivation to sit down and read a book that might possibly help them. So this is really the only option – I just hope it helps in some small way at least. Angelie had suggested it to me in the first place as a way to try and develop leaders in our youth group. Men are supposed to be leaders, and right now all we have in the youth are a bunch of wimps (myself included). So here we sit, watching a bunch of men crying, and it’s hard to think that this is actually going to help. But we’ll see as time goes on, I suppose. I’m still looking for the prospect of actually learning something from the video series.

With a shortened day today at school, time went flying by. Classes were about forty minutes each, and so I had to take the earlier bus in order to get there in time for second period. Of course, that meant getting up earlier, so I set my alarm for 7:15 AM so that I could catch the 8:30 bus. Of course, after getting up, I realized that I could have taken the 9:00 bus and still been there with plenty of time, but I guess when I tried to figure out which bus to take, I wasn’t exactly thinking straight. So here I went and got up half an hour earlier than I had to. I still took the 8:30 bus, though, since I figured I might as well go ahead and get on it since I was already up and ready. I sat in the library and did some Geometry homework as well as read through a chapter of Under Cover. Then it was basically a day where nothing much was accomplished with the shortened classes. I went to Quizno’s for lunch, since I haven’t been there in a long time, and I got a Mesquite Chicken sandwich – my favourite. Of course, it’s pretty expensive there, but I like to splurge once in a while. I have a job, so I might as well use at least some of the money I make.

But anyways, to finish off this blog entry, let me share a thought that I had today, which at first glance may not seem all that deep, but that has huge application to everyday life and basically dictates how and why you do the things you do. The thought was this: As Christians, the question is not, “Is this wrong?” but rather, “Is this right?” If you think about this for a moment, you’ll see how deep it really goes. There are two ways to view Christianity, and it is essential to know which way you view it, because only one is correct. The first way treats Christianity as a bunch of rules and regulations. We are faced with a decision in life, and we ask, “Is this wrong?” We look at the list of laws set down by God, and we either conclude that it is or is not wrong. Then, based on that, we (hopefully) don’t do it if it is wrong, or else do it if it is not wrong. That doesn’t seem too bad. I mean, God set down rules for us and standards of living which we are to abide by. But that’s only such a small portion of Christianity that it doesn’t see the real picture. The second view of Christianity is just the opposite. We are faced with a decision, and we ask, “Is this right?” Then we look at how God wants us to live, and make our decision based on that.

I’ve heard this in so many different ways, and yet this way makes so much more sense to me. If we go around asking, “Is this wrong?” we’ll probably get through life pretty well. We’re not breaking God’s rules, and so we think that all is fine. But we’re only just stepping over the line into the zone of “Christianity” and not going any further. If we, on the other hand, ask the quetsion, “Is this right?” we gravitate as far away from that line as possible and as close to God as we can get. We’ve gone from doing the bare minimum to trying to be holy and live a righteous life. Asking if something is wrong is, well, wrong. It misses out on so much of what God has for us, and the only way to truly unlock God’s potential in our lives is to ask, “Is this right?” There are some gray areas. There are some aspects that aren’t technically “wrong” – but if we ask if they are right, we can’t say without a doubt that they are. Sure, you can go up to someone and tell them that they stink. If they actually do smell, then you’re telling the truth, and telling the truth is certainly not wrong. But if you were to ask if doing it was right, you suddenly get into the law of love – is telling someone that they stink loving? I guess if you tell them gently that they should freshen up for their own sake, and offer them a bar of soap, then perhaps it’s okay, but if you go up to them, say, “You stink,” and then walk away, that certainly does not have any love in it at all. And so something that seemed not to be wrong, turned out not to be right. It all depends on what standard you’re aiming for. Are you going for the bare minimum, or are you actually striving to live a holy life?

Anyways, that’s my deep thought for the day, and now I’m drowning because it was just too deep for my soggy little brain. So I suppose I’ll get out of the wading pool and leave it there for another day – all that mental exercise is making me nauseous. So I guess you’ll have to wait until tomorrow for your daily dosage of Jeff. Such a shame.

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