A Hope Dashed
Picking up from the last post, 2007 was the year I really began to embrace the intellectual side of Christianity. For far too many people, even the idea of an “intellectual side” sounds like the death of vital, vibrant, Spirit-led Christianity. Many Christians see the intellectual pursuits of doctrine as divisive, often citing the warning to the church in Ephesus in Revelation 2:3-5
“I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent” (ESV).
The Christian life is meant to be a marriage of spirit and truth, of piety and knowledge, of joy and sobriety. Many strains of Christianity end up dry as deserts, lost in pits of books, disputes, and dissensions, while others end up drunk on emotionalism, rejecting the pursuit of knowledge, and susceptible to every wind of doctrine which whips along.
But for me in 2007, the flood of new doctrinal insight I received through studying Calvinism was a flood of information laced with deep pockets of joy. Continue reading
I have been absolutely destroyed for time lately, as life with my newborn has been anything but easy. I also have 4 jobs outside of the podcast, so I am barely treading water. The podcast is overdue, and the spiritual autobiography is overdue, but I have not quit, nor forgotten these things. Pray for me.
In the meantime, I recently listened to the audiobook version of Anthony Esolen’s Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture, and would highly recommend it to you. Esolen is one of those ultra-talented commentators who understands the relationship between the physical and metaphysical in such a way that he draws you inward and upward as you read. Very worth it.
Buckle up for a longer post this time. I have to mention all the events and people included here, and I don’t feel like artificially breaking this up into separate posts, mostly because I have a lot to cover, and I’m not trying to tailor this series to a popular audience. When one wishes to blog like a champion, one must observe the rule to keep posts short, so as not to lose the interest of the average reader. Since I do not have many readers, nor average readers, I am writing at length today.
See this list for all posts in this series.
Still Floating Along, Not so Alone
Upon returning home from Yellowstone National Park in 2005, I continued working toward my Bachelor degree at SUNY Brockport, leading Campus Crusade for Christ (CC4C) on campus, and practicing evangelism with my mentors Peter and Phillip.
At CC4C, I became President of the club because the other student leaders had either graduated or quit college. With no leadership or ministry experience, and at 23 years old, I stepped into a pastoral role for two dozen young college students. Only two years out of drug rehab, I was relying mostly on zeal, while my learning in the Scriptures still had a long way to go. Continue reading
So far in this series I’ve hovered in the years 2004-2007, because so much of what happened in those years led me to where I am today.
And where am I today, spiritually and doctrinally? (I want to keep within eyesight where this series is going so you can follow along better).
I’m a catholic, orthodox Protestant, but with a very troubled faith in some regards. I have been looking for the Church catholic for 15 years now, and am feeling a bit lost in the woods. The reason this prompted my writing is because I can’t seem to find where I am, spiritually and ecclesially (that would mean in reference to the Church catholic). I know I am in the Body of Christ; I know I am a part of the universal Church, but translating that into concrete worship and service in a local church has proven frustrating.
And what am I? Continue reading
The One Thing we All Need
No matter what the Church catholic has to offer to a man, if he can’t find friendship, companionship, and fellowship within her walls, he has very little. Yes, Christ is closer than a brother, in a sense, but until we see Him face to face, His absence is a lot easier to notice than His presence. Yes, eternal life, adoption by the Father, and the Holy Spirit are unmatched blessings, but in the day-to-day experience of a Christian, the bonds of love between brethren is irreplaceable. Forgive me if I’ve spoken improperly here; my words come from a sore place.
Now, keep in mind, this spiritual autobiography is my recounting of my search for the Church catholic. Jesus found me in a jailhouse around my 21st birthday, but I didn’t find His Church after that. For many months and years, I bobbed along in the gentle waves of loneliness, occasionally making friends, even finding mentors like Phillip and Peter. Yet as each season of my life has passed on, the Christian friends and fellowship of those seasons have also passed on, out of sight. I am in terrible grief over this every day of my life, and that is not hyperbole. Although I live without pervasive depression, I am often wracked with anger, fear, and doubt because of the transience of Christian friendship in my life. Keep reading. I may spell all this out slowly, but I mean to spell it all out for you, for myself, for my family. There is something important which is spilling forth in these words.
Desperate for Friendship
As I drifted alone in 2003-4, then finding some non-Christian friends, then a few Continue reading
Last time we saw the young man awaken in a small boat at sea, not knowing who he was or why he was adrift. By the end of the post, another person in a boat had been contacted. Please go back and read the previous posts in this series before reading this one. It’ll be more fun for both of us if a few of you follow along the whole way…
And look, I don’t have all the time in the world to really prune these posts and to make them titillating reading. I am doing this for posterity, so I ask you to bear with my writing, knowing it leaves something to be desired.
It was 2004, I was clean and sober for less than two years, and I barely knew my right hand from my left. I lived in a micro-apartment with rent of $330 per month, and worked night shifts at Tim Hortons, making just enough money to eat a little food and drive several miles each week in lil’ Murph, my 1989 Mercury Tracer hatchback. I had picked it up for $550 cash, and the air conditioning was a large rust hole in the back where the wind rushed in.
Aimless but Happy
Life was good, but I had no local church, no Christian friends, and no aspirations. Then I met Phillip at the Redemption Center in Brockport (see last post). Continue reading
Hang with me on this one, as I try to shoehorn the story into a little bit of an analogy. The post should feel a bit meandering to you, and that fits it well by the subject matter. Thanks for reading. Part 1 here. Part 2 here.
A young man awoke, blinking at the bright morning sky above. Wh..where am I? he wondered, opening his eyes a bit wider. There was ocean on both sides, a small boat shifting around in the gentle waters, and a glorious blue expanse above, and the man, waking alone in the boat.
He tried to recall who he was, and why he was waking alone in a boat with no land in sight. “Where am I? Where was I going in this boat?” Sitting up, he noticed the ache of hunger in his guts, and the dryness of his mouth. Looking out at the waters, he began to notice other small boats like his, no bigger than two-man fishing vessels, some near, most further out.
“Now this is weird!” he thought, and tried to spot any other people in the boats. About a half mile away, he saw what looked to be another person sitting up in their boat. He raised a cry, “HELLoooOoo!” But his voice faded, throat too dry to do more. The sun’s energy was already blasting away any morning cool that had clung to the bottom of the boat where he had slept. Continue reading