April 19, 2007

seasons for everything under heaven

It's that weird time again. Winter has past but the radiance of spring in it's full glory has not yet come. Half of this past month seems to have been covered in a thick blanket of grey. These clouds can bring with them a calming effect, it can also influence a more negative vibe like depression or anxiety. I think the prior was God's intention, the latter is the result of our fallen nature. Still God turns it into His greater good. I tend to bottle up my issues inside. This is unintentional and does not become apparent to me until some hardship comes my way and then wham! I'm spilling my guts out. They needed to come out and God knew it. It just took me five days of no sun to get it out of me.
Praise God for I am back to calm again. And I am very excited because if I remember correctly the green buds on the trees will start coming out next week.

I love where I live. God has gifted me and my neighbors with four beautiful seasons. I could not imagine what life is like with less and I don't want to. I love the ups and downs of new england weather which is strange because (most days) I am a very steady person. I can be almost mechanical in my day to day routine. With help in initiation I can be a lot like the energizer bunny. I just keep on going and going and going. My wife on the other hand is quite the opposite. She keeps me on my toes and I love her for that! She is a visionary filled with beautiful, creative and thoughtful thoughts. It's like she is saying "Hey what do you think about this?!" and I say "I don't know, I just want to know what I'm supposed to do for the next hour". God has a sense of humor as well as a heart for romance. I am passionate for Melissa for she gives me passion for life unlike anyone else other than the divine himself.

Opposites attract, compliment, complete and are interdependent to each other. Yet I have found that they need to take turns. This taking of turns can also be known as a changing of seasons. King Solomon said that "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven."(Ecclesiastes 3:1) Even though this wise saying was spoken by Solomon it had to be originated from the Spirit of God. I have found strength, comfort and counsel in it a countless number of times. In my relationship with God, in my marriage and with everything else under heaven.

I haven't fully come to a clear understanding of a burden that has been on my heart for almost as long as I have been pursuing Jesus. My burden is the lack of unity within Jesus' family of followers and the lack of simple faith, service, spirituality etc. It is more of an "abstract head knowledge" right now, if that makes sense. I never liked labels or being labeled. I've never liked the fact that there are denominations but I have appreciated immensely the traditions and the wealth of spiritual goodness within each denomination. I also don't like buzz words. There's buzz words out there like emergent, missional, relevant etc. These are also labels so the annoyance is two-fold. These labels ironically define people like myself with burdens like I just mentioned so I naturally fall into the emergent name... I guess. I still don't think I could see myself calling myself "emergent".

Anyways, my point is that each tradition or group of the church has good points as well as bad points. The bad points must be picked out and thrown away, not because of one's preference or taste but because of prayerful discernment within a community of very different people. This requires that we need to actually get together and really engage in loving community. One tradition/group usually has one or two points(I'll call it virtues instead)that seems to contradict with another tradition's/group's virtues. Let me explain.

For example, Relational Family Oriented Church vs. Word of Faith Church. The relational model encourages honesty, transparency and embraces a messy kind of spirituality. The word of faith model encourages resolve and perseverance and embraces the power of thinking positively, speaking positively thus through God's assistance bringing the positive into reality. The word of faith christian looks at the relational christian and says "It's time to move on! Stop moping around feeling sorry for yourself and believe in God's promises". While the relational christian looks at the word of faith christian and says "Hey listen. It's obvious you're hurting. Be honest with yourself and grieve. Admitting denial is the first step to healing". A spiritual father of mine once said(actually I think he said it dozens of times)"God answers prayer in His time and in His order".
There is a time to grieve and there is a time to move on and stand on God's promises. They must take turns. At first glance they look like they conflict but in light of Solomon's words they complete each other.

Maybe more on this later.


IZenBet said...

wow, good honesty carl, agree with your spirtual mentor totally! even if God says "no", which is what i struggle with, He is a good Father and listens to His sons and daughters.

give melzoe a hug for me:)

carl said...

Amen, Izenbet! I am very glad that God listens to us no matter where we're at.