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It’s been far to long to be cooped up inside my, albeit large but rather lonely, head.  When responding to, “How have you been doing?” I’ve often said that for the past six or more months I’ve felt distant and detached, as if experiencing life from just below the surface.  Sights, sounds, emotions have all been somewhat muffled by the space between my mind and the perimeter of experience.  There have been moments, even patches of a few days in a row, where I have surfaced for air and truly felt in the present.  But for the most part I’ve remained restrained and secluded within myself.

This just sucks, to be honest.  It’s no good.  I need people and when I find myself unaffected by others I know I’ve arrived at a very selfish place.  I want out.  So I’ve been intentional to regularly meet with friends.  I have no idea what to say most of the time.  I think it’s somewhat like trying to remember a language you used to speak, or maybe I’m just learning to speak.

I do have a vision of where I want to go, and I have a new hope that I can get there.  From where I’m at I’ve been afraid of being misunderstood and I do think there is something deeper there as well that will hopefully come to light, but for now I feel fine to just respond to that.  Fearing being misunderstood leads me to not say what I’m experiencing in the moment because I don’t know how to articulate it.  I am of course a verbal processor, so I used to just talk and talk and eventually find what I was getting at, but by then I’d either bored, alienated, or confused whoever was in my company.  Of course they all are so gracious people.  But in my process I was really walking away from them because my goal was for me to understand completely.  If other got it, it gave me hope that I might as well, but even that is self serving.  In response to this I think I just tried to short cut the process, not wanting to alienate people, but instead of actually heading in the direction of trust and faith, I just stopped talking.  I stopped including people.

I think this is all the same as when in every other area of life I’ve learned what is acceptable and what is not acceptable and adjusted my behavior to that, instead of actually discerning whether or not the standards were beneficial.

I am a reactionary person.

At my best I am quick on my feet and unafraid of the unknown.  At my worst, I’m unorganized, uncaring, and lack any sort of discipline.  I’m tossed to and fro by any slight ripple in the water.  I’m predictable and entirely self focused.

But back to the vision.  Thank you NT Wright for the language borrowed from Paul of anticipation.  The Kingdom of God is at hand.  My journey back to the surface and from there to so much more, and there is so much more, is fueled by the “present anticipation of future hope.”  My pursuit of virtue.

“In other words, the present anticipation of the future glory consists not in lording it over creation, imagining ourselves already its masters, able to tyrannize it and bend it to our will.  it consists, rather, in the humble, Christlike, Spirit-led activity of prayer, the prayer in which the love of God is poured into our hearts by the Spirit so that the extraordinary and almost unbelievable hope that is set before us in nevertheless firm and secure.  Thus at the heart of arguable the greatest chapter of certainly his greatest letter, Paul sets out the pattern of present anticipation of future hope. This is what virtue is all about.  The hope is that those who are ‘in Christ’ and are indwelt by the Spirit will eventually reign in glory over the whole creation, thereby taking up at long last the role commanded for humans in Genesis 1 and Psalm 8 and sharing the inheritance, and the final rescuing work, of the Messiah himself, as in Psalm 2.  And if that is the telos, the goal, it is to be anticipated in the present by the settled habits of holiness and prayer.”

-Wright, NT. “After You Believe: Why Christian Character Matters” 2010. p.95.

So, on towards prayer and holiness.  Training.  Choosing discipline.  (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).

More to come.

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2 Comments

  1. It was great seeing you guys when you were in SF. Though I would love a chance to sit down and really talk. Have the time to listen. Have the time to hear about what you are learning, thinking, experiencing. I enjoyed the post. Thanks!
    -JT

    • Yes, please. The only times we get to see you seem to be in these passing moments. Not saying it’s anyone’s fault, but I would love to intentionally hang out with the purpose of just spending time together, and with space to do just that.


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