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Near Occasions of GraceI’m about two-thirds of the way through Near Occasions of Grace, by Richard Rohr. It’s fantastic. Each new chapter is filled with insights that cause me to actually respond out loud. I’ve never talked back to a book this much. I’m getting Pentecostal in my reading, amen? “AMEN.”

One of my favorite quotes so far, “We do not think ourselves into new ways of living, we live ourselves into new ways of thinking.”  This insight has been powerful for me as someone who tries so hard to do the opposite. I would say that most of my energy spent trying to improve my character or create discipline has been in trying to think myself into change. To come up with some new understanding that will finally set me in the right direction.

I’ve been reading all sorts of new authors in the last couple of years who have challenged my theology and worldview. It’s been fantastic, but ultimately affected little change in how I act. I have new things to say, new concepts to impart, new frameworks for how I understand the Gospel an our task as Christians. And all that is necessary and beneficial. But I have not made any sort of real change or taken new risks outside of communicating those learned concepts. Maybe I’ve challenged students minds, and God knows they need it, but I’m only challenging what they think, not what they apply. And the same goes for me.

At our church each week we declare our mission “To glorify Jesus Christ be instruments of God’s healing, reconciling, life-giving presence in the world.” I love and wholeheartedly believe in this mission. But I wonder to what degree I’m actually participating in it. I think it, but I’m not sure I live it. Thanks to the reading I’ve been doing I’m in a much better place to back it up biblically. So for those who need convincing, bring it on. But once I’ve convinced you ask me to show you. That’s what is needed. That’s what I need. I’m praying that God leads me to move past appreciating a well articulated analysis and to actually “live my way into new ways of thinking.”

One of my recent wrestling with God was over the idea of physical healing. Well, healing prayer to be exact. I guess there’s emotional healing and spiritual healing in addition to the physical aspect, but those are significantly less spectacular, at least for the observer. After reading some books and occasionally finding myself at a seminar or talking with someone who “knows about that stuff” I was expecting that the next step for me would be to have my own experience of healing. However, at the time, I wasn’t experiencing any physical issues that I could receive healing for. Poor me.

This last summer things changed. Out of the blue I started to experience some crazy spells of dizziness and things got so bad that I would have episodes of nauseating-world-spinning that would last two to four hours and involve vomiting about every 30 minutes. So that sucked. At the same time I started loosing hearing in my left ear. Eventually I was diagnosed with Ménière’s disease and after about four months received a treatment that destroys the nerve endings on the inner ear thus stopping the episodes. So, no more eating disorder for me (I had lost close to 30 pounds) but my hearing is still shot. Read More »

In IV circles Myers Briggs is very popular, to either love or hate.  I’m doing a teaching at a student leadership meeting about our personality and spiritual gifts so I’ve been researching online tests (free ones).  By far my favorite one is from Simliarminds, if only because at the end they give you a list of “favored careers” and not so favored careers for your specific Myers Briggs type indicator.

I’m a INTP, but depending on which test I take and how I understand the questions, I flirt with being a ISTP.

Below I’ve attached the screen shot of my INTP favored careers.  This should provide plenty of fodder for comments people.  I could write-up a whole post on all the things I love about the “careers” listed, but will restrain myself and instead point out my favorite two.  Had I know the second was an option I probably would have declared a different major…or would I.

So go on, let me have it.

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. Read More »

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