weeks end and the overload

I think that i have too much on my plate, as a matter of fact i am pretty sure i do.
with 5 classes, 12 hours of work a week in the computer lab, starting a young life club and most importantly being a husband (which unfortunately takes back seat more often than not) I am finding that it is fairly difficult to stay on top of everything.

My main interests at the moment are not being fulfilled, that is I would really like to be spending more time at the middle school where Emily and I (along with a team of great people) pioneering a ministry. Not only this but I wish I could be writing and playing music, I have gotten to the point where music is non-existent in my life. I am continually getting worse at writing songs and playing guitar. I haven’t played out in months. Not to mention I have had very little time to work on video projects.

Why is it that relationships, take a back seat in moment like these?

Oh the overload. Well we are in week three and time is ticking. Lord help us to survive this rush and find light at the end of the tunnel, if there is an end…

finding the deep longings

Another Treatise:
I was in class and thinking about other things, this is what happened…

I have not been able to shake the feeling of deep longing.
Where does this come from?
Most Christians including myself want to answer that the deep longing is for Christ.
I do think that this is true, but I think that there is more to the question than the answer
allows.

Why is it that though I have Christ, I long?
Why is it that though I am married to a wonderful woman, I still long for her touch?
Why is it that though I am educated, I desire to continue education?
Why is it that though I have all that I need and most of what I want, I still want more?
Why is it that though I really enjoy being in CA, I continue to miss home?
Why is it that though I am sitting in this class, I wish I was sitting somewhere else?

We have been told that we ascend to a belief in Christ through an act of faith.
This act of faith is a mental jump from not believing to believing.
This leaves God as having the hopes to satisfy us mentally, in the hope of our beliefs.
This also leaves us longing for deeper satisfaction.

God satisfies me conceptually. But not relationally, not materially, not sexually, not
in identity, not politically, not socially, not economically, etc.

Should God satisfy us in all the above?

No. and Yes.

No. because the way that we have theologically understood God in the wrong way,
He is not in the business of satisfying he is not in the business of making you new in
the way that we have traditionally thought. What I mean is that we have had the expectation that
God will fulfill all of my desires. Yes he will, but all of the desires that he in his infinite wisdom
understands us as needing and nothing more or less. Further, when we think of God ‘making new’
we seem to understand this as God taking James and at redemption James become John. James
is a new creation, he is John. But don’t we see that this is a fundamentally wrong way of understanding
satisfaction in becoming new. God will satisfy us, deeply, as we are re-worked by his Holy Spirit.
To continue the illustration, God takes James with all of his pains, mis-created parts, and filthy human
characteristics and he begins to shape and re-shape all of that into a new creation. See God does not create man and woman ex nihilo in this life, he only did this once. The way that God creates now is through coming into covenant with us.

Abraham was not a man of faith because he believed God only, but because God covenanted with him.
There are hundreds of thousands of people who have believed in God and have done great acts of faith.
But only one man in human history has made a covenant with God in the way Abraham did. That covenant
that he entered into with God, made abraham a new creation, because Abraham took a whole life paradigm shift.
Post-covenant Abe had a new view of the world, of life, death, love, hatred, justice, grace, family, etc.
Abraham did not just believe he was revolutionized. He became a man of faith. He began to see the world through
the covenant (which was the grace imparted to him), because it was the promise to him that brought to him the grace
and relationship with God. In this covenant, Abraham’s values are shifted, because it is God who invests in Abraham.

God says to Abe, “I know that you have lied and have dominated females around you for your purposes, I know that you are a fallen creation but I am going to invest in you, I am going to get emotionally involved with you and risk all that I have to love you and hope that you will respond to me. If you respond to me you will see the world in ways you could never imagine.”

Yes. God satisfies us when we realize that having faith means having our paradigms of reality revolutionized, once we step into covenant with God. We are satisfied in our deepest longings because I no longer live for self, but for Adonai. What this means is that I die to my own rights, I take the calls from God. I live to do what God has me do (this is upholding my side of the covenant). I no longer seek safety for myself, I look to the Lord to be my shelter. I no longer look for wealth, because I know that God answers the cry, “Give us this day our daily bread.” I no longer need to fight for myself, because I know that there is no cause worth fighting over because “this day is passing away,” I in covenant with God uphold the value of love over my own love of self and rights. I no longer feel the need to hate and take revenge because I know that my God who feels the pains and anger that I feel, will take revenge on his own time and in his own way. I am not worried about reasoning out why I can have rights to any of these areas that my “Americanism” tells me I ought to fight for, because I am covenanted with God. God has invested in me, he fights for me, struggles with me and is emotionally involved with me, therefore I know that he will help to re-create me as I live or die in this world – I know that he is faithful in death and in life. We have been taught that we are to be “spiritual,” but how this has been translated is that we are allowed to believe what we want as long as we assimilate to the accepted American christian norm.

This assimilation, is what keeps us from tasting the deep satisfaction that comes from God. We must reject the ideologies of American Christianity (which is based on enlightenment principles and a Constantinian church/state based ethic) and enter into covenant with God and allow him to change the way we see all of reality, the way we live, the way we love and the way we interact with all humanity. Something I haven’t stated, is that this covenant with Abraham was not for abraham alone, it is not an individualistic salvific message. Rather Abraham is the father, of an entire nation, an entire community was called to enter into this covenant – they became a covenant community.

We cannot imagine living in this covenant lifestyle in our individualism, because this view of redemption depends upon the life of those around us in order to maintain, because this is a call to live in an alternative lifestyle. One cannot live an alternative lifestyle alone, nor would one wish too. Rather we are called to become an alternative covenant community. A community that is the expression of the covenant we have with God, we are the expression of what it means to “have the mind of Christ.” I know that many of us would feel uncomfortable putting our actions and beliefs into the category of being “in the mind of Christ.” Instead of trying to explain that uncomfortability away why don’t we allow God to change us?

So when I find myself longing, I must revisit the covenant I have made with God, and stand to be re-shaped because I need it, I live in a culture and society that is fast, and powerful, deceptive and secretive. It seeks to form me into its own nationalistic, consumeristic form of humanity. I return to the creator and have me put back together. Longing is a sign that something is out of place, it is not a bad thing, just a signal, a back pain.

dates

I worked on my IDL today, Fuller’s “Individualized Distance Learning” basically school on tapes. I am going to try to get through the whole course by the time the fall quarter starts.
Here are the classes I am going to take this fall:

1. Contemporary Cultural and Missiological Perspectives.
2. Pentateuch
3. Urban Youth Ministry

I just learned that school starts on September 27 so now I realized that I have a week less to finish my IDL than I planned for earlier today. Shoot.

I also worked on my Script, “Who is Alan Warrington.” I think it is going well, i am just happy to have some time to work on it. it is interesting starting such a process, not really knowing the proper techniques and not being very seasoned in film, i realize that I am going to have to change a whole lot of it. But the biggest part is just getting the first draft done.

Oh and we are finally official, we got our License plate today.

God is not a Republican or a Democrat.

God is not a Republican…or a Democrat.

this is funny and also more true than we may want to admit.

at any rate my side of the story certainly isn’t hidden: I think we ought to be thinking hard about these issues and try and remove ourselves from previous ideologies, and even family and religious ties to political parties, and stop voting for people who they are Christians just because they say they are Christian (this is an advertising technique for politicians if you haven’t noticed) and vote for the person (man or woman, black, white, asian, hispanic, indian) who is least likely to blow up nations and try to make america the number one superpower in the world – or the number one Christian superpower in the world (which i think is worst – Constantinople anyone?). maybe we should try to be peacemakers and partners on earth, friends who care deeply about the problems that nations face and do real things to change their situations, as opposed to helping or hurting those who offer us something or pose threats to our numero uno status. All superpowers fall, that is a biblical fact and pretty obvious if you have read the OT. Let’s stop trying to be a superpower and start being peacemakers.

Help encourage a move from the falacy that all Christians must vote republican.
Take Back Our Faith

hiatus

well my friends i am off on a two week hiatus. I will be camping with
Jr. Highers at a younglife camp this week and then off to Yosemite with
Emily and Her fine Folks.

We look forward to experiencing that grace and power that has created
us all, and Yosemite, I think from what I have heard, will be a prine
example of this. This will be my first time.

until later.

C. Wess Daniels
951 N. Louise #104
Glendale, CA 91207
(818) 241-1992

“The saving of our world from pending doom will come, not through the
complacent adjustment of the conforming majority, but through the
creative maladjustment of a nonconforming minority.” Martin Luther
King

http://gatheringlight.blogspot.com
http://homepage.mac.com/cwdaniels
http://xanga.com/cwdaniels

On the City – Reflections on the Poor and Skid Row

I must say that these conversations as of late have been very stimulating, all this talk about living and not living in places of perceived danger and felt danger.  I have some last words to say before I head out on a two-week hiatus in a couple days.

I am not trying to con-vice anyone and especially Shane of my position for I know that if I were to seek to do that I would be trying to convince someone to Wess’ truth not God’s.  However, I do not see myself as one who is misled by the Spirit and thus I feel it necessary to exegete my view further, with a greater depth and clarity so that there may be peace and understanding of how I see (and how I ultimately feel the Spirit has led me to see) these things discussed.

First to my friend (and I mean that with the utmost sincerity) Shane, In one of your recent posts you said, “it seems like some Christians want to frown upon my wife and I for moving out of a not so nice neighborhood (which I’m just going to call the ghetto) because too many Christians are moving out.” I must respond in an offer of peace, that I would much rather you think of my comments as first coming from friend and then coming from a Christian.  The reason for the splitting of these hairs are that often to say a “Christian thinks this or that about me” equates “He or she is judging me.”  I have added comments first as a friend who feels that I have room to make comments in a constructive way and further, and in the hopes to create dialog that will be beneficial to all for I know that as we seek to have clear and fair dialogue with one another the Spirit is able to teach us all.  This was a basic premise that underlined our Monday Night Bible study back in the day, we believed that everyone had a right to speak, that is those who are of faith in Christ, because we all have the spirit of God within us.  So take this as a peace offering.

Secondly, I think as people of faith we ought to be intentional about becoming more aware of those who are underprivileged, oppressed or just down and out.  This is why the word “Ghetto” makes my spine tingle, and why the connotations with that word are even worse.  What we I think we mean (and I mean we because I am guilty of it too) when we say Ghetto is something more discriminatory, and often classist or racist.    What I mean is that Ghetto has a very negative and hurtful connotation, hurtful to God who is the God of the oppressed (and Ghettos are often times homes of the oppressed – this is a basic historical point).  The Minor Prophets in the Old Testament, and Psalms such as 130, and 136 tell us that God intentionally seeks justice for the poor.  If this is true then we ought to as Christians as God, how can we be active in helping him in his pursuit.

Notice I said “His pursuit” this is because to minister to and with those who are poor and unlovely (and often times dangerous) is not our pursuit as human beings, it is not the thing that we choose naturally, that is why it is so hard to find social workers who have worked in the field for a long time (and if you can – ask them is they still enjoy their job).  Working with the unloved is the business of the church. No one argues this point; it is just how we interpret the unloved that makes this tricky.

Who are the unloved?  I think there are many in every race and class that are unloved.  I think that we ought to have the church serving all peoples, and loving all.  But the problem comes when everyone wants to love, serve and live in specific suburban areas.  That is to say, there are too many people being called to the Suburbs (if that is what it is) and not enough being called to the city.  Is God unaware of the needs in places like skid row in downtown LA where 20,000 people are homeless every night (In America)?  And Skid row is just blocks wide and a not many deep.  There are not many churches down there, and the ones that are really need help surviving because there are little resources.  But In Pasadena where the city seeks to be a “Utopia” (this is literally what council members have said they want that suburb to be) there are churches (and wealthy ones at that) all over the place.  Some of the largest and most influential churches in the country are here.  So I ask who are the Unloved? And what are we doing to put our lives on the line to love them.

Isn’t this what Jesus did?  He said if you seek to save your life you will lose it, but if you seek to lose your life you will save it.  Did he also actually live this way?  Shane brought up a good point about the times when Christ fled when his life was in danger.  Christ did flee, but it tells us three things about Christ: 1) he had a certain appointment with death that could not be interrupted or maligned for his appointment would change the course of history (my death certainly is not anywhere close to this category); 2) If Christ fled from danger more than once that assumes that he continued to go back to dangerous areas; 3) and/or Christ was not in dangerous places because poor people and unloved people are not dangerous to him, rather danger came to find him – that is those who sought to kill him watched for opportunities to do such, such as the chief priests, Pharisees and Herod  (Mark 2).

There are so many accounts of Christ working with those that would by today’s standards fall into one of our negative labeling categories that we ought to begin to re-evaluate what it is that underlies those categories.  Is it Americanism? Is it the Church having fallen victim to wanting to grow in numbers and material goods?  Is it our fear of loss and pain? Our search for safety? These latter two are not wrong, they are true for all humanity, but they must be fit into Christ’s upside-down values instead of the other way around.  Those upside-down values are the things like the Beatitudes where the mourners are happy and the poor and feed – where Christ tells people to love their enemies instead of killing them, and if need be lay down your life for others, where he tells people to lose their lives instead of trying to save them, and where the last keep on truckin.  This is the Christ who calls for a reversal of “White-Flight.”

I agree with my brother who stated that it is funny for one to say that Christians are leaving the city, when in reality most people want to flee to the suburbs.  The clarification is that it is mainly the whites who are the ones leaving, this is an actual statistical fact and in the anthropology and sociology books you will find the exact term “White-Flight” to explain the phenomena that rules much of white Americans and that includes the church.  Why are they running…fear. 

But the God of Upside-down values says, “Fear not for I am with you,“ and Ephesians 1 talks of the triumphant power we have in Christ, Paul talks in Gal. that “I no longer live, But Christ in me“ (meaning he has forfeited all of his “rights“ to God, and in Phil. he say “to live is Christ and to die is gain (drawing a paradox of equal value between life and death).“  Finally we know that James Jesus’ brother told his audience that “religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress…” Who are the orphaned and widowed in our day, the powerless, the hopeless, the unloved and rejected?

Finally I think that we should as Christians at least at Prayerfully “what is my part in helping to serve the poor and unwanted.”  Because this mindset is a much more active response to the problem than noticing it and wanting to do something about it, but yet making no move.  This Our fault in downtown Canton, we loved living on 8th street, and knew a couple of people that lived on our street but neither of us were pro-active in being Christ to our neighbors and that is where we messed up.  Because all God asks us to do is to be His people to those around us – to pro-actively love and serve whoever may come across our paths.

I guess I think often about Luke 4:18-19 and what Jesus said he came to do, it was his inaugural speech for his ministry, here are the things that were on his agenda that is pretty powerful and I want to have that same Christ-centered agenda because it was good enough for him.  Secondly Matthew 11:4-6 Kind of tells what Jesus had accomplished that far into his ministry, which were the things he said he was gonna do “…the good news is preached to the poor…” they had to be preached to because many of them had never heard before, because they were not welcome in the synagogues etc. 

“These are my thoughts that cloud up my mind, and take over my heart in passion.”

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