Archive

Posts Tagged ‘culture’

chill.

in the few weeks I’ve been living here in New Orleans (nola), I have often felt stressed at the lack of urgency of things. this doesn’t surprise you if you know me, as I used to be very OCD about thing being done on time and by the book. in the last few years I’ve become immensely better with this, mostly because of my church, Tatesbrook.

but if there’s one thing the state of Kentucky is OCD about, it’s their basketball. when I started officiating, I quickly realized how precise and ordered things are, and somewhere deep down, I tremendously appreciated it. now that I’m officiating in nola, the chill nature of the culture here permeates into their sport. it’s most definitely not a basketball area, but it’s pretty strange to go from showing up to a game 30 min early (60 for a varsity game) in dress clothes & on the court with 15 min til game time to showing up in uniform 15 min before game time, many times before both teams arrive.

this example is only a part of the relaxed way of life here. now that Carnival season has begun, & I’m learning & taking part in the traditions leading up to Mardi Gras, I’m sure I’ll only get more examples of this. I’ll keep you posted.

Advertisements
Categories: Life Tags: ,

donald miller thoughts.

When I was a freshman in college, I read Blue Like Jazz. I also heard a sermon on a single chapter of the book, and went through it with a group of people in my dorm. The thoughts Donald Miller puts in this “memoir” really started the maturing of my faith that I underwent while I was in college, and even now.

My sophomore year I read Searching for God Knows What. I am currently making my way through Through Painted Desserts, and after this weekend, I’m pumped for when I’m able to get my hands on A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.

So fast forward to now. I guess now is as good a time as any to announce that I am officially moving to New Orleans next year to undertake a film project with my friend Lori. This has been something we have been in prayer about together for about 9 months and her for much longer than that. So anyway, I was excited to visit this past week for about 5 days and get used to the city a little more, but the trip ended up falling through. I can’t express how disappointed I was. Then I found out Donald Miller was coming to Southland Christian Church to speak the same weekend I was supposed to go. I was pretty excited to see him and the possibility of getting a book signed or something.

And God used Donald Miller’s words to again change my perspectives and affirm things that I am fearful about in my life.

What Donald spoke about this weekend is the concept of our lives as the telling of a story, and how God doesn’t necessarily give us a specific plan to follow to glorify Him, but says, “here are gifts and passions and dreams for you,” and guides you. And in this story, conflict is the essential and most important factor. And of course, what comes hand in hand with conflict is…. fear.

I have been really afraid of this project. Excited, but so afraid. What if I go down there and can’t support myself? How will my parents react to my leaving the great life I have made for myself here in Lexington? What if we never finish the film? What if it never goes anywhere but on my DVD rack next to my college comedy shorts that no one ever watches? Then I’ve left an absolutely wonderful job here in Lexington with a great living situation, etc, etc.

But my story is about telling stories. That is what God has given me a passion and a talent to do. And God used Donald Miller this weekend to affirm it. It doesn’t matter what conflict I run into now and when I go, because this is all part of my story. A story that I feel is worth living, and living well, because that’s what God calls all His children to do here on earth until the “Act III Climax” also known as the Wedding Feast of Heaven. I can’t wait to be a bride, but especially the bride of Christ.

So thanks Don yet again using your words, this time in person, to inspire my faith.

What Matters More?

October 20, 2009 1 comment

I follow Derek Webb, the former lead of Caedmon’s Call, on Twitter, and when he offered a free download of his “uncensored” single, I readily took it. The first time I listened to it, I didn’t catch many of the lyrics except for the “hell”, “shit” and “damn.” But I sure as heck loved the techno, synthesized beat. So I took a second listen and began learning the words.

Here’s the video:

Since then, I’ve come across a lot of people on blogs, especially Christian music ones, that have berated Webb for this song being “pro-homosexuality” and of course for his use of profanity. Personally, profanity for shock value is sometimes the best way to get a message across. But what struck me the most was how much of this actually matters? It makes me angry that people who don’t know Jesus may stumble across these blogs/opinions and chalk it up once again to those “close-minded fundamentalist Christians.” This large scale berating of other followers of Christ just irks me.

Because what did Jesus preach? LOVE.

And when it comes down to it? What is Webb’s single trying to emphasize? That we LOVE the hurting around us. Yes, homosexuality is a sinful lifestyle. But so is lying and manipulation. So is selfishness and self-centeredness. We ALL fall short of the glory of God. Those of us who have Christ dwelling inside us have the answer to this shortcoming. Why aren’t we sharing this with those who don’t know/understand/accept it?

The closest opinion I have found to mine on this subject is here. I really recommend the read.

I love this song, especially these lines: “Cause if you really believe what you say you believe / You wouldn’t be so damn reckless with the words you speak / Wouldn’t silently consent when the liars speak / Denying all the dying of the Remedy”

Because that is what my Jesus is: the Remedy. The Remedy to the hurt, disappointment and injustice on this earth. The Remedy to the anxiety, restlessness and discontent of those of us who live here. And I have the Remedy. And the only way to share it with others is love and relationship. Period. What matters more? Love.

*steps off soap box*

Calling.

Lately I have had the blessing of spending time with the people I look up to the most in this world. It has been amazing to hear their hearts, learn their passions, and see them living by the Spirit. It has also been amazing being a part of their life, and this, along with a certain evening last week full of emotion and confusion has led to a lot of thinking. But before my thoughts cause the train of this post to go haywire, here’s a little bit of what I wrote in the New Orleans airport earlier this week:

“Lord, I’m in awe at what You’ve been teaching me. Just realizing how much more open I am to things like culture & music & the homeless, & even spontaneity amaze me in comparison. What are You preparing me for? I wish You would give me a glimpse. I wish I could be content with knowing You’ve got me… It’s just after the other night when I couldn’t stop crying my heart went back to realizing I’m not where You’re going to keep me, & I’m so restless. I feel stuck in this place between college & real life, neither in either one fully. I know this is a time of You teaching me while I have nothing to do but listen, but I want to put it into practice. I’m learning to love better, to be more open-minded, to wrap my mind around different styles & cultures, & realizing how big You are that I should FEAR You. I try to capture this “buddy” mentality over & over when I should be on my face because You are God of the universe. You created everything I’ve ever known or seen & I sit here anxious about friendships? Anxious about not liking completely where I’m at? God, that’s disrespectful to You. Jesus Christ died FOR ME & I’d rather concentrate on my own strength & own power rather than realizing EVERY good thing comes from You. Between what I’m reading in Crowder’s book, learning in small group, & saw here in NOLA, I’m excited You deem me worthy of something like this. I’m excited for when the pieces come together, ’cause they sure aren’t connecting right now. It will be glorious, & that glory will be Yours. That glory is already Yours.”

In NOLA, I got to see a friend living life where God has called her, and listen to the heart of another friend realizing she may be called there as well. Later, I got to have a conversation with 2 of my married friends who are ready to be called overseas, and will go as soon as it happens. We talked about me just up and moving (Southwest Colorado, right Paul? haha) but how if God hasn’t called me there, I will be miserable. As time goes on and it looks like I will be setting up shop here in Lexington for a long haul, I want to experience more than Kentucky has to offer. Sure, I’ve always wanted to “end up” here in Kentucky, but when else in my life will I be able to sell everything and disappear to travel? But… I am not called to do that right now. The question is, what am I called to do? Well, nothing. God’s got me in a holding pattern. And it sucks. It doesn’t make my parents happy, doesn’t make my OCD happy, and it certainly doesn’t make my increasing debt happy.

Hear me, as soon as God calls me somewhere, I’m gone. And if you’ve known me for a long time, the fact that I say that and mean it is a big deal.

I want to move to some big city and start a church. I want to move to a Spanish-speaking country and film a documentary on clean water. I want to move out west and live simply. I want to work outside and be outside more than I’m indoors. But God’s not calling me to do any of these. But then again, He’s not calling me to stay here in Lexington either.

All this wouldn’t be so hard if I didn’t have those people I look up to so much. They have their callings, or are developing them and planning to live them out. For some of them that means moving to New Orleans to go to be immersed in that culture, or it means preparing to do medical missions somewhere in the future, or it means marrying the man God had fall into your life randomly and following Christ together. Me? In a few months I’ll be bumming off friends saving for my own place wondering when I’ll be able to chase my passions.

I don’t want to escape. I mean, I want to escape, to up and go. That’s what I tried to do when I applied for Journeyman. God nipped that in the bud, and not too humbly. If I escape, I’ll be miserable. So until then, I wait.

Veil of things to come.

So I just got home from about 6 hours at church: playing bass, worshipping, listening, eating, cleaning, and learning. I love my church, it is so filled of love and service and giving. But during the financial/vision meeting today, I got to thinking about how much our church strives to be like a New Testament church more than anything I’ve ever been a part of in my life. We bathe everything in prayer, spend oodles of time together, and revolve around home meetings and giving of our time and money. I am so proud to be a part of the body, and am always encouraged when I spend time with my church family.

But all this got me thinking even more about the gospel, how Jesus is seen today, and why God gives us the different passions that He does. I used to not have a heart for missions, and would admit it to your face. I was more concerned with relationships here with those I spend time with everyday, and that is how I shared the gospel: discipleship. It used to make me angry when people were so missions minded that they forgot about growing here. All of that changed when I went to the Dominican Republic. I’ve been on a lot of missions trips, but that is the one that God used to change my heart. I still believe wholeheartedly in discipleship and strive to incorporate it into my relationships everyday, but now I realize how much growing and living together includes talking about our separate passions for missions.

God has been so faithful to me since my decision to return here to Lexington. I found a good job doing something I like in less than a week, am enjoying a renewed relationship with my best friend, and am diving headfirst into some goals for the next five months or so. But I have been struggling spiritually with purpose. I am so long-term minded, and I don’t want to waste the time I have being young and out of school and not tied down. I want to see more than what the Southeastern United States has to offer. It doesn’t help that my best friend from camp just drove to California and back, regaling me with tales of all that’s “out there.” God has placed in me a passion for missions, and maybe more than a week or two. I’m talking a year or two. That’s right – little ol’ Ashlyn who loves sitting on her mac wants to spend extensive time where there is no electricity, much less Internet, doing manual labor and planting churches.

But as for now, I’m going to pray. Pray that God continues to grow my passion. Pray that I will remain open to opportunities. And pray for those who are already gone or going: Peggy in Costa Rica, AC in Cambodia, and the gang going to Africa in May: Erin, Paul, Tracy, Josh, Evan, and Kim.

I’m starting to fully realize the truth of the verse incorporated into my new tattoo: For from Him and through Him and to Him are ALL things. To Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Confusion reigns.

So I’ve been back from the Dominican Republic for 11 days now, and more has happened in those 11 days than has happened most of this year.
The culture shock wore off sometime this weekend, but the confusion about how what I experienced is going to translate in my life had only been heightened, and the events of last night and this morning have only muddied the water further.

I thought I was going to graduate early. I mean, I only need 16 credits. And then I thought I wanted to work with Edge or some ministry like that full-time, but I felt stupid talking about it because who’s calling gets defined by one Spring Break mission trip? But the more I thought about it, it was no small feat how I got the money to go. It’s true that God has shown me where I’m going to use my skills for video and graphic design – to educate the world about the water crisis and continue to take more trips like I just took.

But I did jump the gun. I’m not done here. But I ignored that feeling until God decided to wake me up in the middle of the night Sunday night with an overwhelming need to pray. So I did. And he brought to mind some people I need to be here for to disciple and lead for an entire year next year.

I’ve even talked with some people at Edge about it, and still plan on taking part in their ministry while I’m still in school. Well, that settles it, right? Case closed. Wrong. Last night and this morning I think I got more confused than I’ve been since I’ve been back. If I’m not done here in Lexington yet, how are the decisions that have been made wise ones? They don’t make any sense. I’m not trying to say I know what’s right, but I do know what’s wrong, and I do know I’m not alone in thinking these things.

I know time is supposed to heal things and God will show His plan through this, but I am so angry right now that I don’t feel like I’ll ever not be. My anger is so strong I was irrational, and almost was disrespectful in ways that would not have been appropriate or wise. But I feel as though my anger is not unfounded.

I understand that sometimes we must live with the consequences of our decisions, and God will even take our wrong ones and use them for His glory. I just pray, oh boy do I pray, it’s not at the expense of some people who want to do nothing but serve unselfishly. But this fear is already materializing. I do not want to judge, but I feel whole-heartedly that selfishness was chosen over selflessness.

I am not happy with this, at all. And I don’t care who knows it.