I got curious about facebook's "religious views" section and its dropdown menu, so I started typing "Christian." When I was about at "Chr," I stopped.
There are more kinds of Christian listed on facebook than there are kinds of deoderant in Wal-Mart, and that's saying something.
How did we become so segregated and splintered? I know the history of it, but I feel like we've lost touch with the reality of what has happened. We are a body that has been torn apart into little pieces. Our condemnation of the sin in the outside world is surpassed only by our condemnation of each other. We want to be right, not because we want to remove all barriers to God using us, but because it satisfies our egos to have the perfect theology.
In The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis steps into the character of a shrewd older demon who is writing a younger demon with advice on how to effectively tempt humans. At one point, the older demon says, "One of our great allies at present is the Church itself. Do not misunderstand me. I do not mean the Church as we see her spread out through all time and space and rooted in eternity, terrible as an army with banners. That, I confess, is a spectacle which makes our boldest tempters uneasy. But fortunately it is quite invisible to these humans."
I think this quote captures the essence of the disease that is infecting the community of Christ in the world today. We are so broken up and consumed with internal problems that we inadvertently serve Satan's purposes. We spend more time arguing with fellow Christians than we spend fighting against true evil.
It breaks my heart. What will it take for us to see the church as a body that is "spread out through all time and space and rooted in eternity?"
The semester is two weeks old, and I'm still not quite sure what to make of it.
It's going to be a busy one. I'm taking 17 hours, including a French class for which I didn't have the prerequisites. It'll be okay. There's an excellent chance that I'll come out alive and much more knowledgeable.
That's what I'm planning, anyway. I suppose it would be pretty pessimistic to plan on anything different at this point.
I used to be a pessimist who claimed to be a realist. Now, I'm pretty sure I'm a realist who sometimes pretends to be an optimist. It's sort of funny to act blindly optimistic around pessimists.
On a side note, I've become increasingly aware of the misuse of prepositions in the past few weeks. We too often use them to finish sentences. I try to avoid ending sentences with prepositions, but sometimes the sentences sound unwieldy and awkward when restructured. I should probably start thinking before I speak. That could help. Alternatively, I just could stop caring about prepositions.
Also, I've also developed a new appreciation for orange juice.
This blog has no purpose or direction. You've probably figured that out by now, since it's obviously not cohesive and just barely coherent. Sorry please. I set out to write an update, but I'm quite tired. My brain is just sort of wandering.
I'll suppose I'll just close by saying that I'm doing well. I have good coffee, thought provoking classes, and slightly warmer weather. I officially know my way around Searcy better than I do around any other city in the United States, which sort of makes it feel like home. I can say some cool stuff in French and I got to eat Guatemalan food today.
Life's good. God's great. That's about it.
Posted by Leila at 1/23/2010
-The weather. It's so cold.
-Sound-proof houses. I miss the sound of rain on mabati.
-Lack of an easily available kitchen
-People who complain that Wal-Mart doesn't have enough variety
-Not being able to walk places easily
-Overcooked vegetables in the cafeteria
-Weeks with tests in every class
-Did I mention the coldness?
-No geckos on my ceiling
-Cold toilet seats
I'm adjusting fine. I can handle everything on that list whether or not it changes. I'm told that the weather usually gets warmer at some point.
To be honest, the thing I miss most about Uganda is the people. I miss team devos, pancake nights, volleyball games, church services, and cookouts. I really miss the singing, the fellowship, the love and accountability and closeness. Everything else I can do without. It's tough going without power outages, but I can handle it. It's the camaraderie – the “high spirited fellowship” – that I miss more than anything.
I was thinking about sacrifice a couple of months ago. I wrote the word on a post-it note to think about when I had a bit more time, meaning to get back to it within the week. Well...I just found the post-it, stuffed in a crevice of my wallet along with a couple of business cards and an old bus ticket. Oh, procrastination.
On to the future, though: it's 2010! And I'm thinking about sacrifice now. In 2 Samuel 24:24, David is trying to save his people from the deadly plague that God sent on the Israelites after David sinned. The prophet Gad tells him to build an altar on the threshing floor of a man named Araunah. David goes to the man and offers to buy his threshing floor. Araunah resists, telling the king that he can take whatever he wants without paying. At this point, David says something incredible. He says, “No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.”
These words often echo in my head. I've lived in America for almost 8 months now, and the rhetoric of shallow sacrifice is everywhere. Want the soda without the sugar and calories? Buy diet! Want the new TV right now? Buy it on credit! Want a perfect country with a good economy? Elect the right politician! We don't want to eat less, spend less, or make wiser – and more sacrificial – decisions.
It's not just the world, though. I see it in the church, too, and that hurts. I see it in myself, and that's even worse. I want closeness with God without investing much time in his Word. I want the church to reach out and touch the community, but I'm too often not willing to give my own time and money.
Like David, I want God to work through me to cleanse a plague – the plague of sin. Unlike David, however, I leap at the chance to build the altar on cheap ground. My sacrifices too often cost me nothing when they should cost everything.
God, help me give sacrificially, the way you bought my salvation. Teach me to delight in serving you and others. Make me a living sacrifice.