Friday, November 28, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Just a note, when I refer to "Christianity" I am referring to the Protestant Christian faith, not any other type of religion that is lumped into "Christianity".
Lately, I have been struggling with Christianity. Before anyone jumps to conclusions, rest assured that the TRUTH of Christianity is not what I am wrestling with. I absolutely believe that the God of the Christian faith is the True and Living God; I believe Jesus Christ is God's one and only Son, who provided the only way to the Father through death on the cross and taking upon himself the sin of the world; I believe the Bible is the Word of God and 100% inherent and I do not believe that any other book or "scripture" has been divinely added to it. Belief is not what I am struggling with.
What I am struggling with is finding the distinction between belief in the truth about God and the heart-changing faith in God. It's easy to believe in God. 98% of Americans believe in the Christian God, right? Even the DEMONS believe and shutter (in the book of James somewhere). But, I know there is a difference between belief in God and putting your faith in God (or being born-again, or trusting in God for salvation... there are many ways we can say that).
And of course, there are certain things Christians do to mark themselves as Christian: we pray, go to church, encourage one another, sing songs, have prayer meetings, tell each other that God has a plan, we try to not to ask questions when tragedy strikes because God is in control, we try to live moral lives, shop out of the Christian yellow pages, we go to Christian schools or home schools, we avoid having too close of "non-Christian" friends, we cringe when someone swears or tells a taste-less joke.... I have been doing all of this (or trying to) for 27 years and for the past few months, I have realized I am a total fake. I do this stuff because I feel like I should; it's the Christian thing to do. The Christian bubble is pretty cushy... we all hold hands and hug and sing and it's like we avoid the world, rather than living in it to make an impact. I mean, really living in it: hanging out with people who don't call themselves "Christian," reaching out to someone and being involved in their lives beyond the 2-hour coffee house discussion, meaning it when we say "how are you?" and educating ourselves on what's out there and realizing that people who have different perspectives are real people and just want to be loved.
By saying I am a fake, I am not saying I am not a Christian; the truth is, I don't know who I am or if I am (here is where most Christians would tell me "oh, I know you are saved" and then they'd provide some good evidence as if they knew my heart). But what I do know is this: I want to figure out who I am, I trust that God has not given up on me, and I am not going to pretend anymore. I am going to be real. And right now, that means that I am questioning everything I've ever known about what a Christian life should look like. It means that I am not going to do the "Christian thing" just because I feel like I have to. I want it to be genuine; I don't want to pretend like I don't have problems or struggles or that everything is "fine" simply because God is in control. This is too serious a matter to continue to take for granted. I need to either be a true Christian or stop trying to be something I'm not (no worries, I desire the former). Maybe I am wrong about all this, but I guess that is ok because my goal is to figure things out.
My goal in writing this was absolutely not to have anyone reassure me or call me or anything of the sort and I apologize for possibly sounding like a jerk; I am just really frustrated. I just think that maybe someone else out there is struggling with the same thing and I wanted to tell them that they are not alone. This is not an easy thing to admit and many people will think I am going through a phase and won't see the depth of this struggle and that is ok. But the truth is, I have denied this struggle of mine for most of my 27 years just hoping that one day it would somehow not be an issue. I've tried to pretend along the way and I think I've done an alright job, but now, I must face reality now because frankly, I don't want to run out of time.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
My mom, dad and brother John are coming down Saturday to help me move and I am counting down the hours! I've been trying to pack and my roommate and I started to bring boxes over but apparently Tuesday through Friday the elevators are out and since we are on the 3rd floor, we decided to just wait till Saturday to move the rest of our stuff. Carrying boxes up 3 flights of stairs is not too fun. =)
And I keep bringing this up, but I am SO excited for the lakes and ponds to freeze. I haven't played hockey for way too long and I can't wait until I can play. At work, my Claim Rep who I am partnered with lives on a pond with his family and he has people out to play hockey all winter! And I also have the broomball team so I am set for winter sports! I can't wait for big, fluffy snow to fall, but I want it to wait until after we get a good layer of ice so the ice is perfect!
I can't believe I have been living in MN for over 5 months now! A year ago, I would have laughed if someone told me I'd be living here again. Not because I didn't want to, but because I just didn't think it would have happend so quickly. But I can say with 100% certainty, I am SO glad that I moved here. I love being closer to family. I really love my job... more than any other job I've had. I feel like I am making very good friends and meeting lots of neat people. And lets face it, the accent here is pretty much amazing! hehe - 5 months ago, I would not have said I loved living here again, even 2 months ago... but now, I am home. Home sweet home. (I say that now, I suppose we should revisit that love for MN a few months into winter... haha)
I guess that's it for now. I wrote a whole lot for sitting down to write a blog without knowing what I was going to write about, but not being able to write about what I really think (I think that is for my private journal, which I don't have, so I should start one!) hehe
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Saturday, November 15, 2008
NOTE: There are two, really short videos within the pics.
And the gang at the top of the building....
Ok, the elevator going up and down was trippy. The ceiling was glass and there were blue lights all the way up. I didn't really like the fact that the elevator shaft was 67 stories high, but as many people told me, if it were only 5 stories high, I'd still be a gonner if it crashed to the earth.
And here is the "Top of the Rock" building from earth.
We also went ice skating at Rockefeller Center. This is something I have always wanted to do and the only thing that would have made it better would have been if the Christmas Tree had been up already but that doesn't go up until the first week of December. Oh well, it was still rad!
Ok, so as we were walking along later that night towards Penn Station, we saw this garbage fire on the sidewalk in Times Sqauare. No police or firemen were around and just a few tourists were standing around wonder what was going on. I thought it would be fun to take a picture next to it, so I did. (More to the story is that a friend from work told me that if Obama gets elected - which obviously he did - and we all end up poor and homeless, I can come to her garbage fire. And since I saw a garbage fire, I had to take a pic with it)
I have to admit that I was more amused than embarassed.
I just saw this and though it was cool =)
And this is a Charmin Toilet Paper ad!
Our group at Times Square
Tuesday we went and saw Ground Zero. They have done lots of construction, but I have no idea what they are building since I haven't heard of any WTC 9/11 memorials that are going up.
Alicia eating a piece of pizza from, in my opinion, the best pizza place we ate at!
Thursday, November 13, 2008
This is just a goofy picture on a set of red stairs in Times Square
Cruising down 5th Ave, we saw this statue so we did one of those things where it
Across the street from the statue thing was this awesome church building.
Ok, if anyone can tell me how one of these things work....
This first post is a few pics of my family: Lori, Jana, Ellie and Audrey (I stole 2 of the pics from their blog). I had a blast hanging out with them and getting to know each of them a little better! I also was able to celebrate Aunt Lori's birthday with her! And Ellie turned 3 the day after I left, but it was fun to see her excitment in looking forward to her 3rd birthday!
(oh and Lori tried to convert me to a liberal democrat but I stood strong hehe but we had great discussions and played "find the biases" while watching Fox and CNN)
Jana, Lori, Ellie and Audrey right after Lori's birthday dinner
Set aside 25 minutes, read this article and then take a 20 minute nap! Or take a 2 hour nap, whatever works best for you!
Monday, November 3, 2008
Getting ready to go!
Hannah and her Pumpkin hat...
She looks kind of bald,
but she is still super cute!
Just playing... she's such a happy little kid!