Friday, December 12, 2008

Where I am now

Recently I have been doing a lot of reading. I started, of course, with reading the Bible. Then a friend lent me "In His Steps". This is a very good book and really made the WWJD bumper stickers make a lot more sense. The book also led to questions about what exactly 'revival' is and about revival periods in history. My pastor was kind enough to lend me a book on this (sorry, don't remember then name it was a text book I believe). From the outside the WWJD campaign/movement looked very superficial and the use of the "Got Milk?" style of add didn't help any. After doing this reading though, I found that there is some real value to evaluating your actions and decisions in this way. It's much more difficult than it seems to try to live by this standard. Failure is constant and inevitable, the standard is unreachable by us in our lifetime. However, we are eternal and having goals beyond our lives is not unreasonable.

I have started working my way through the "Left Behind" series. Not too much to say about these books. They are well written and very enjoyable to read. Basically a series of novels following a group of people living after the Rapture.

For my birthday I was given a couple of books by C.S. Lewis, "Mere Christianity" and "The Screwtape Letters". I enjoyed "The Screwtape Letters", but "Mere Christianity" is an amazing book. C.S. Lewis manages to provide proof of the validity of Christianity and delve into the core of christian beliefs like nothing I have ever read. While his language is simple and straight forward, the topics and his discussion of them really are a great example of rhetorical analysis. I'm not finished with it yet, but already know that I will need to read this book a couple more times to really get everything out of it. He does a marvelous job of showing that christian ideals like Hope and Faith are not just the vacuous simple ideas they have come to mean in common language, but that they are the tip of a very deep and meaningful way of life. I would say this is a must read for any christian and any non-christian who is an intellectual, his reasoning is straight forward and very hard to refute.

I just finished working through "The Purpose Driven Life". One annoyance with this book; Rick Warren pushing you to buy his other stuff (there is Purpose Driven everything... wouldn't be surprised to see Purpose Driven days of the week underwear). That out of the way, on to my thoughts. A very good book with so many pointers and things to work on in your life that I have to go back through my journal and make a list. Speaking of that, the journal is well worth buying to go along with the book. This blog is mostly due to reading this book and the advice in it. I had a journal of sorts, a draft email in my gmail where I wrote about my frustrations and anger. This was a good way to get things off my chest without hurting anyone and it was somewhat useful. However, I think that saving all that garbage led me to focusing too much on the negative, and honestly a lot of it was stuff no one ever would want to see. So, I decided to create this blog to record my more worthwhile thoughts and feelings. If you take this book seriously and take the time to sit down and talk about each days reading and/or write out your thoughts it is a great way to really look at yourself and your faith critically but also very positively.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A little backround on me

I'm sure I will come back and edit this later, and add more to the story as I go along and it's of some importance. But, to start with you should have some idea of where I'm coming from to help you understand me.

I was born to a Catholic mother and an Agnostic father. Attended Catholic school and church through 2nd grade. My parents were divorced when I was about 5 years old. My mother remarried when I was about 7. My step-father was a Baptist so I attended Baptist church and took part in Awana's, then youth bible study in addition to regular services.

At the age of 12/13 I had an amazing experience. I was overcome with the presence of the Holy Spirit and I asked Jesus to be my personal Savior. The exact dates are not clear in my memory, only the sequence of events. A few months later my father died, he had been a huge part of my life and an adult I could always talk to, I was crushed. My step-father had always been very strict (the term today is child abuse). My mother started traveling for work a lot and the abuse got worse, I no longer had my father to turn to. Then I had an unfortunate incident in a bible study group... while talking about Revelations a member stood up and called me a heretic for my questions and thoughts on the subject. I felt cut off from any escape from my troubles, so I got angry.

I stayed angry for a very long time. I rebelled against my parents, school, the law, God. I drank and did drugs. I also started reading and searching for something to fill the void in my life. I read philosophy, attended different churches every once in a while, read about eastern religion. None of it really worked.

In 1997/8 I met and married a Catholic woman. For her to have the wedding she wanted I completed RCIA and was confirmed as a Catholic. Through it all there were things I just could not accept and sitting through services was often an exercise in frustration. I even attended a Catholic University and being surrounded by it did not make it sit right with me. After she asked for a divorce I stopped attending any church and was once again fed up with organized religion. I sank into depression and alcohol abuse.

At the end of 2007 my life took some drastic changes. I met a woman who challenged me to really think about God and my relationship with Him and to give some churches a chance. After spending hours talking/arguing with her and attending several services at various Bible based churches it finally hit me... this was exactly what had been missing from my life, a real personal relationship with Jesus.

I quit drinking in February of this year. I have slipped a couple times, but am dedicated to continuing my sobriety. I have found a church home, and I have been filled with a hunger for God's word. The prodigal son has returned.