Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Broken Frame, Of Reference

Being spiritually incognito at a bible college is about as functional as a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest. I remember when my father died and the drastic change my life endured over a year's time. I went from being the gentle, innocent, and fun loving kid to the drunk, angry, and unpredictable bitterness-bomb. The entire year after my father's death extreme depression and haunting loneliness plagued me me constantly. It wasn't just an internal rage, bur an external hate that was quenched by the usage of my fists.

After coming to know Jesus the expected behavior was a polar opposite to the lifestyle I had been living. The Christians I knew didn't swear or get mad or even jaywalk. I automatically assumed that I would somehow inherit such a lifestyle; my attempt to mimic was a failed one to say the least. After 3yrs at Bible College I Can assure you that I was completely off; dangerously wrong.

I find myself in the summer of my senior year of college. 3yrs of Christian college and still I feel like I don't really know that much about "God"? I'm not saying I've been slacking-or-slothful in any way, the opposite is truer. I am simply saying that I watch my friends talk about "What God's been doing in their lives" while I sit back and wonder what the hell I'm doing wrong? How come I can't figure out what God is doing in my life? I don't hear God, what's wrong with me? How come their are all these kids at my school who feel God, get moved by God, talk with God; what am I missing? Did you notice how I kept referencing something was malfunctioning on my end? It's sadly true how responsible I feel for still 'sucking' at Christianity. Nearly 5-years since I've come to the Lord and I feel like a horrible Christian. I swear more then I should, I love a good beer, I laugh at every word out of Cedric "The Entertainer's" mouth.

Perhaps I don't "suck" at Christianity, I am just wretched at acting like I'm good at it. Apparently, I'm a terrible hypocrite. That doesn't seem to be such a bad thing after all? All this time I've been a bit down and depressed about being so bad at Christianity and now I realize I am just another human being, one out of the 7 billion on this globe, one who is just trying to be the best person I can be.

I love people. I don't lie. I don't steal. I don't dance around with debauchery, I don't fraternize with fraud; basically I'm just another 'good-guy.' A 'guy' who;s mediocre at most things and exceptional at a few. I just want to live my life without the pressure of the world forcing me to be someone I was never meant to be. I want to be free to do what I want in life and not have a heavy-burden of this performance based mentality weighing me down.

Perhaps that's what freedom in Christ is; just the ability to truly love and to freely live.

"There is no fear in love; but perfect love cast out fear." -

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Positive Pessimism

In the dim light of life's success we find ourselves swallowed up in the shadows of inadequacy. Our constant and painfully consistent inability to perform at our cultures demanded-level not only leaves us bewildered, but down-right disillusioned. The ramped search for an antidote to this culturally-drowning plague is coming up empty, time after time.

I'm just realizing that after a year of serious involvement in multiple leadership positions at my college and a major automobile accident that my 'ability' to perform is minimal, and thus is my confidence. This lack of 'getting-it-done' has caused my character to retreat and what's left of my pride to crawl up and die. The funny thing is, I thought I never cared about performance.

From a young age my loving father Jon M. Strength (R.I.P. 1944-2001) showed me the necessity of hard work, the essentialness of perseverance, and that love could conquer all things. When he wasn't working two forty-plus-hour a week jobs, he was with us kids. He would take us to a park or on a drive and just talk with us; spend time with us. This 'love' he had for me was utterly-unconditional, my performance never directed the outcome; his love for me was not only unswerving, but ultimately unchanging.

At twenty-two years old, a mere-year away from completing my bachelors degree life has, in this past year, both chewed me up and spit me out. I am slowing beginning to realize that it's not the approach to life that makes the difference; it’s the attitude. It's not the method in which is used, but more so the mentality going into it. I failed for years at seeing life as a contest, this performance mentality had me wrapped up like a birthday present. Now, in this newly found freedom I am being forced to shake myself from the conceptual bondage of viewing life as a performance.

Hello world,

Apparently this isn’t a game show, and regardless of how many answers I get right I'll probably not get a check, and if I did, it would likely bounce, so yeah, nice to meet ya'. I think I'll be here for a long while, poking and prodding into a multiplicity of interesting endeavors If you so wish, toss a few storms my way, I'll weather em'. The 'Old Ben', constantly burdened by the crushing force of this sick and twisted thing that I once thought was life, he won't be back, however, in his place is a new and significantly improved 'New Ben'. Oh, and just in case you were wondering, if God is with me who can stand against me? *silence* That's what I figured.