Monday, August 11, 2008

The moon doesn't produce its own light, but it reflects the light of something much greater. There is a great spiritual analogy here, and I need not spoon feed it.

I can't believe that it has already been over a week since I was in Oregon. Malibu has a way of wrapping you up and taking you away. There is a lot of momentum here.
Oregon was good. It was so good to see people. I was surprised at the interactions I had with old friends, and shocked at my visit with one old friend in particular. As usual, God had things under control, and my prayers were answered. They were not answered in the way I thought they would be, but who cares anyway.
So the trip to the States strengthened my faith. I was afraid of the opposite, but talk about a good change in plot.

Before I know it I will be back in the U.S. with real world problems and complicated solutions.
I am excited though. It will be really good to be real for once. Life hasn't been real much in the past few years. What is real life? I suppose we can live a life that seems very real to us, but is quite fake to others and visa versa.
I will do my best with the Holy Spirit guiding me.

I hope this read finds you well.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Surprise party

So I am sitting here in the Boise airport and I am listening to a nice song called “The Ice Is Getting Thiner.” My music is loud because there is a man with a heavy “western” accent almost yelling into his phone. I guess he thinks that he is on a walkie-talkie (insert Brian Regan reference). It is funny how people don't know how they are perceived by other people around them. I guess I am guilty of the same naivety. Hopefully I will grow out of that. Yes... I am still growing. I still get growing pains too. The pains seem to be getting worse as I grow more. Growth is a good thing; it is better than the alternatives.

This trip was supposed to be a surprise for some people, and I think it has surprised me more. I still have a few more days, but they will be long days. I am flying back to Portland where I will see some people, and surprise some people at a wedding. And then I will be driving back to Canada for the rest of the summer. I should be there until late September.

I am now trying to drown out the kids in the arcade across the terminal who are screaming at the top of their lungs. Where are their parents?

So the U.S. has surprised me. There are five ways that I have been caught off guard:
1. I have been living in a wonderful community in Canada. The best things about this community are that everyone lives in the same place and eats the same food, we all work together, fellowship together, worship together, pray together, and play together. There seems to be nothing to strive for. We were all placed there by God for different reasons, but we all work under one good reason. There is no symbol of status other than people's clothing, and even then, most of us were work cloths a lot. So as I left camp I immediately noticed the difference. Everyone was waiting in lines, driving fast, talking on their cell phones, and trying to make money right now (insert another Brian Regan reference). Some would call this whole game the rat race, or the pursuit of the American Dream. Almost everyone is doing it. So I have been thinking about it and I can't see any way around participating in this game at least a little. I think that the real challenge is how you play the game. Even Jesus held down a day job, but I am sure that the difference was in how he worked, and how he lived in the real world. The problem with Malibu is that it is not real. I can stay there for a while and pretend like it is real and I don't have to leave, but sooner or later I will have to step into the rat race. The hope is that I can live the Kingdom of Heaven in the rat race. I have to live in it, but I don't have to do it the same as the rest of the world. I feel like the more you let Christ into the rat race, that the less it looks like a rat race and the more it looks like God's Kingdom. When we let Jesus in our lives we can't help but be different. If I am not different, then maybe I am not letting Christ in enough.

2. I am worried about what I am going to do when I get back from Canada. It is easy to just disengage from the world I left behind. So I guess in a way it is good the be here and start thinking about what I need to do in a few months.

3. It is hard to surprise people when you need a place to stay or someone to pick you up from the airport.

4. I might be the reason that my friendships are not good sometimes. I can't always blame them. Nothing beats intentionality.

5. I know a lot of people in Boise. It seems to be calling my name to move here... but I don't think I will give in. Nice place to visit, but not what I am looking for.

I am sure that in the next two days I will be surprised even more than that. Lets hope it is God that surprises me.

Here is a little game for those who read this: How many times have I used the words surprise and grow in this blog? The answer will be at the end.

The next morning:
So I was picked up at the Portland airport by one of my most dear friends. We then went to wonderful Mexican food, and that burrito was one of the best I have ever had. It was really good to catch up with my friend. We were able to talk about ways that we have hurt each other in the past, and resolve a lot of it. It is always good to be honest and get things out into the open. It is trying to develop Shalom in relationships, and that can only be done by the grace of God. We talked about spiritual struggles, and encouraged each other. She encouraged me and strengthened my faith in ways that she doesn't even know. It was one of the best lunches I have ever had. Good food, and redemptive conversation. Nothing better.

I didn't want to come back here because I was scared. I was scared that the world I knew changed and I didn't. I have come to discover that I have changed as well. I haven't grown in as many ways as I would have liked, but I have changed. So the scary thing is how the world I know has changed. I am worried that the things that I have become so comfortable with will never be the same. It is good though, because things would get really boring. Things are very different here. It will be interesting to see what life will be like for me when I come back in September.

There is more to come tonight. The wedding will be great. I just found out that I have to drive to Canada right after the wedding to make the first ferry of the day tomorrow.

Answer key:
Grow - 8
Surprise – 9
If you got it right, then I will give you a big hug next time I see you.