As I look back over the past 30 plus days in my life, my only totally concrete thought is “Where has the time gone?” I am sure that we have all shared that same thought—as if life is something that we collect pieces of along the way for display on our bookshelves or coffee tables.
I entered this period of time thinking that I had answers for some of the questions that have nagged me for some time only to realize that I now have more questions than ever before.
I thought I had a freshman grasp of economics only to find out all the theory books are being re-written even as I write this entry. Wall street is up one minute and down the next—bail-out is epidemic and doing the right thing doesn’t really seem to make much difference anymore.
For those of us who did everything “right” and still saw our 401-K retirement plans vanish into thin air after years of saving—maybe the Obama government will bail us out right after the big three get theirs.
Once upon a time I seemed really ready to believe in a “big plan”. The leaders of the church I attended for many years felt it would be good for the church to pay off its mortgage in order to free up funds for more “spiritual” things. For months following this great presentation we were encouraged as a group of people to give a little extra each week until our building was paid off. As we were filling the collection baskets with our cash, I often stopped to wonder if my mortgage would be the next one paid off and that that plan would proceed until all of us parishioners were “debt free”.
They had the big plan (pay off the church mortgage) and I had the little plan (pay off my own). As far as I can remember that church has no mortgage and I still have eight or nine years left to pay on mine.
I know that this might seem like a little thing—maybe even approaching that state we call “whining” in North Carolina. But the point I am trying to make and the thought process I am still trying to work through is this: what can we know is real and what can we know is not. Was God behind the church in question becoming “debt free” and once that was done, left the rest of us to our own devices—some of which were more successful than others.
I really didn’t see all of this coming. I truly thought that by this time in my life I would have had it all figured out and things would be sort of settled down. That I would have had the faith to move mountains and that friendships, marriages and mortgages would all have taken care of themselves—in other words “fallen into place in the grand scheme of things”.
That they and a million other things haven’t speaks directly to my lack of understanding and/or naivete.
Was McCain or Obama God’s choice for our nation’s troubled times. I can’t answer that question—although at one point a few weeks ago I might have made an effort. I have listened to many on both sides proclaim their revelation about each and can’t say that either side has the whole truth and nothing but.
I guess part of me just wants to get something out—as a creative person, not blogging or writing or reading much for the past month has been like an extended trip into the desert lands of sub saharan Africa for me. I was born to have a point of view and feel a bit dull at the moment and caught standing in line for something that I already have in my pocket. Yet I have no feeling that anything is in my pocket less alone my life at this present moment that is the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Like the big picture. Wherever that may be—whenever it may occur.
It is way past fall in the mountains and almost fully winter and getting colder everyday. I have a bit of wood that might last and might not. I am waiting for today to be over and for tomorrow to begin—I am waiting for a miracle in all of this: that I might finally understand today and let what is past rest in peace and move fully four steps forward without taking 3 steps back.
It is not the long ride—but a moment along the way.
“. . .standing in line for something that I already have in my pocket.”That’s it exactly, my friend. You’ve got more right now than you ever imagined. Where our security ends, our faith begins. Methinks the “new” rulebook for economics will be a flashback to an earthier kind of productivity, one that you’ve already got a handle on. C
I have a hard time understanding the church vs. mortgage question in that it sounds like it was a choice on your part whether or not you gave. It was not a command. The church using it to further The Kingdom of God is what it is all about. This is what we as a people are called to and the Church is called to. In giving to that (with the right heart) you are also advancing the Kingdom of God, but giving out of compulsion or a wrong heart won’t get your mortgage paid or treasure in heaven. The churches job is not to pay off people’s debts.
Good comment. I can freely admit that over a period of 22 years at that church I mostly gave with an open heart and never questioned the staffs use of the tithe or other monies that came into the church. When I saw that personal agendas were being fulfilled (as opposed to what I felt were more important), I still gave but without the gladness of times past. I do think that I quit giving to the “pay off the building fund” however. It was not a command but I did feel somewhat manipulated through the whole process.Once the mortgage was paid as far as I knew the only thing that changed was that the staff salaries went up, which, all else being equal, is not a bad thing.Their idea as to what “furthering or advancing the kingdom of God” meant began to differ greatly from what I and others saw.That is and should still be the “big picture” I referenced or advancing the kingdom as you put it.Although I tend to agree with you in substance, I am wondering about why the “church” doesn’t take care of its own. In the early church we are told that no one had a need. That’s a big picture thing and one I don’t fully understand. And I guess therein lies some of my frustration and seeming randomness of church vs. mortgage or free enterprise vs. bailout mentality. It is a big subject that I once thought was simple. I am certainly hoping to see clearly.
Have you ever noticed that stuff we thought we laid to rest, has a way of popping up and passing gas again? Don’t get a smelly memory confused with poop. I have found when something in my life causes me fear or anxiety, old stuff likes to act like it is important again.It floats into my brain and my heart is interested in the mess the old stuff once was…as if I had to clean it all up again. Since I didn’t have to clean it up before (the shed blood covers it, it’s clean), why try to redo a job He already took care of? Sometimes I have to make a decision to deal with the present fear for what it is rather than be distracted by old settled stuff that still smells a bit. My heart seems to think a known but passed pain is easier to embrace than a current unknown looming in my path. Don’t know if this applies to your current standing in line or not, but it came to mind this morning as I read your post for the second time in two days. Whether it does or not, be encouraged, Terry. Our little community of faith appears to be much less than what it is. Don’t be fooled by what it may not be. In Him, faith grows and strengthens us heart to heart.
That is a good way of putting it. It is not like I haven’t gotten the victory over the stuff that tries to re-assert itself into my life—I have. Yet I find that I have trouble consistently walking in the freedom I know is there for me.A month ago I went to a 2 1/2 day seminar called “Restarting Joy” based on a new form recovery model. The essence of the class being that in order to walk in freedom, the leaky places in our “identity” need to be healed in order for health to be sustainable. I can really say that I saw the light at the end of the tunnel for the first time in a long time. I was on top and not on the bottom and could clearly see the way to life and wholeness. However, it wasn’t to long after that lucid moment that things began to unravel in small part.New found freedom eaten up by familiar spirit of past, etc.I guess I find mire familiar and comforting to some degree. My fear has been that to leave the mire I leave who I am with it. Being transformed by the renewal of my mind by the washing of the water of the word is a path that produces a feeling of anxiety that I can not explain.Anyway…thanks for being concerned and a friend.
in your country is switching to winter time?
Very amusing thought, well told, just do everything laid out on the shelves:)