Monday, June 25, 2012

The Unholy iPhone

I was discussing phone Bibles with my cousin a while back and she said something that got me thinking...

"There's something not right about being able to get porn on the same thing you read your Bible on."

I guess you COULD say the same thing about paper, but there is something distinct about all our little multifunctional life-mates. Yes, even in a basic browser window, I could have open Bible studies and the most irreverent websites known to man in adjacent tabs--the problem isn't the sole venue of smartphones. There is a twist though. If I wish to use my internet uninterrupted and undisturbed, it's a bit easier, because  the core purpose of a computer isn't communication. I can sign off Facebook, close out chat programs close out email and get off message boards. However, no matter how selective I am about the apps and setup of my phone, texts come in, calls pop up. It is, after-all, a machine built to bring information into my life...immediately.

I never used my computer as my primary, I have two apps (Mantis and YouVersion), that serve as my base of operations for Bible study, with my Apologetics Study Bible getting pulled out only when something really gets my mind in knots.

Not gonna lie...I still struggle every morning not to start my day with a Facebook/Twitter review and instead do my morning devotional. Not that that's a new struggle, but the phone just opens up new frontiers of conflict.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

MMA in the Christian Media

Just saw this announced in Vitor Belfort's Twitter stream. Belfort recently had a highly anticipated bout with Wanderlei Silva cancelled because of an injured hands. Really curious to see how he addresses his faith.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Traumatic Work History

My first job out of college was horrible.

After getting out (2 years later) and healing after entering a job God had lead me to, I remember talking with my best friend about how our mutual bad work experiences felt like getting out of abusive relationships. Neither of us had experienced that in the relationship world, but the scars and trauma seemed to match what physically battered and emotionally abused women talk about.

And then there were the physical symptoms. I have a thyroid condition that first manifested itself at that first horrible job. Now, anytime I'm stressed (kinda like now...chaos abounds), I can tell almost immediately by the behavior of that tricky little gland. I know first hand that job stress manifests itself in the breakdown of physical health.

I was sitting with a coworker talking about the job and a couple of people came to mind. Winnie and Charlie. Both former coworkers. Both had dropped dead before the age of 50 because of job stress. I sometimes wonder why God put me in positions to see these things. It's left me jaded about the part a job plays in a person's life and wholly reluctant to emotionally commit to career again. I really do wonder. Sometimes I think I've found a healthy balance, avoiding that Northern hemisphere soul-sacrificing orientation toward work but maintaining a solid work ethic. Still...I do wonder. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

God of the Ordinary

A lot of the blogs I've been reading lately have been pointing back to the same theme...understanding...really understanding the character of God. Be it because of the challenge to pray from Carlos Whittaker to study the Bible less and pray more, or the revelations about the everydayness of God's work had over at Shrinking the Camel--lately I've been reflecting about God's imprint on my life.

I think it can be kind of difficult to see that print too early in're just too close to the trees. Seeing that picture takes time and a step back that only age can provide. While I did get to talk to my grandmother about a look back on her life before she passed, I would have loved to have had the conversation again at the very end...when she REALLY knew it was over. When that peace and satisfaction hit her. I saw it on her face, but I didn't get to hear the words. No complaints though. It would have been hard to ask for a better end of life.

I read a post a month or so back at RZIM that kicked it all off and tackled the concept of "unanswered" prayers head on. Sure...I know my prayer time is probably not best spent praying for a trip to Samoa or that my cat will get better (Bamboo-Dog's fine btw) or for the health and well being of my family and friends...I know it's supposed to go beyond world peace and praying for people I don't know like Christians in foreign countries or the leaders of our world...I even know I should pray for my enemies. Beyond that though, I thought I was doing good by focusing my prayers around thanksgiving and praise and by focusing mostly on the well being of others. I thought I was doing so well with my list of needs of people in my life and beyond...and then Mr. Zacharias challenged all that. He asserted that the purpose of prayer first and foremost was to get to know God.

Now...I do take regular time to listen...TV off, mine clear of thoughts of cooking, Chinese or jiu jitsu, but until now, I'd never thought of prayer as primarily being about getting to know God. I'd always thought of it as kind of a really cool byproduct of the process or something that comes from a conversation or spending time with him.Will that slight, but important change in perspective change the format with which I pray? Probably not much. But I do think it will change the way in which I live.

I really think my life has been a lot like the Shrinking the Camel piece's description of the stock market, with the big stuff...the majority of the changes only coming from .03% of the time it's been in existence. This is the quote that really got me...

People like to think God is working through them . . . and they usually, mistakenly, mean it happens through fireworks and avalanches. But God is much more subtle than that, tending towards everyday-ness, and in leaving a long trail of kindness, character and consistency that actually adds up to something substantial over time. 

This is easy for even me to forget...I'm a person that doesn't like surprises. My best friend and travel companion likes to tease me about how I like to plan out activities in the day, and I respond that I don't like "a heart attack around every corner." I would think that God's everyday-ness would be welcome to me...and to a degree it is. I read the concept of a subtle God and my introverted little heart warmed.

...but every now and then I find myself looking back asking why I don't have more big moments...why there isn't more progressive upheaval in my life. Part of that I know is because God knows me and knows I'd likely lose a good chunk of my sanity if my life involved too much jerking and lurching...but I think part of that is a reflection of his character too. You look at his most beautiful and amazing creations, and the "fast" ones like trees and plants take months and years to form while the truly breathtaking ones took thousands, to perhaps millions to reach their current state. That aspect of God's character honestly comes at no surprise.