Thursday, July 7, 2011


My father was recently sharing in one of his messages that Selah is a time in the music when the music builds to open a pathway to vocals and lyrics, and that this musical buildup is meant to cause the words to penetrate deeper than without the buildup. He illustrated a number of Selah moments, one of which is akin to letting despondency and affliction break loose so it could be released in one fell swoop.

That said, a couple of months back I found myself in a bit of a Selah moment when I was starting to feel the culmination of a number of frustrations weighing upon me. Being someone who likes to spotlight the individual things in my life that cause strife and need to be dealt with, I spent some time trying to find out who or what to blame. It was like I kept spinning the rolodex looking for an index card that fit the bill, but I finally closed it and peered at the figurative mirror located about it. Oh, there you are, you scoundrel.

I found myself cresting downwards after a hearty time of spiritual, emotional, and mental fervor, and I think I started going into cruise control mode. I started to make inquisitive peeks into the world of politics and a broader realm of society as a whole. To be honest, I found a lot of fear, and as I kept diving further and further into this seemingly endless black hole, I felt the fear starting to nurture and comfort me. I started to feel like I belonged in this realm of fear, after all I was surrounded by so many others in the same place as me, so why not enjoy the company?

Needless to say, being one that is too introspective for my own good, this didn't fly for so long, but it did teach me some more about myself, my expectations, where I want to head in the future. I realized that my life needed a healthy dose of simplification and more time meditating on the Truth as opposed to the unknown fears that can loom in the distance or even the nearness if we choose to let it. Even something as simple as going out less and, rather, going to the gym more was starting to beef me up - physically, spiritually, mentally, and, consequently, emotionally. Offenses were, once again, falling off easier, and I felt a spark again and a general feeling of calm, joy - peace.

In this time of transitioning and getting centered again, I started to think of my place in this world. This is not a deep revelation by any means, but as much as I want to see change in the world, my part in it is only as big as I allow it to be, and nothing around me is going to change if I myself am not an instrument of change. I recently picked up a rather good book entitled Return to Authentic Christianity that didn't really challenge me as much as it validated my fears that the church is in a state of decline - away from authenticity and holiness, and gaining speed towards being relevant and cool.

I will admit that Christianity has as bad a rap as any other organized religion - people will take on the moniker of Christian and do some rather strange or divisive things that paint a bad shade on the faith system as a whole. This is not exclusive to Christianity, though - I have seen it in Islam, Atheism, Buddhism, Mormonism, and a number of other religions. Since those other faiths (and yes, I think Atheism requires as much faith as Christianity) are not my concern, I tried to understand what I could do to make Christianity more palatable, to make us Christians look much more level-headed and cooler to the masses.

You know what answer I came up with?


Every answer I came up with seemed to strike me as unacceptable, as if each one of my ideas meant I would be compromising an area, no matter how small, of authenticity, value, or moral constitution. Further reading of Return only seemed to further substantiate this realization. I mean, I might be alone in this way of thinking, but I actually found myself wanting to get a tattoo, not because I really wanted to get a tattoo, but because I wanted people to think "whoa, he is pretty cool, I am signing up" when they found out I was a Christian. I guess maturity has me realizing I have to stop living in such a way that proves something - that my actions not be rife with motivation to persuade people, but rather live my life for the One that gave it in the first place. I guess this is humility: realizing that I do not have the means to win people over or convince them, no matter how many tattoos I get (so far - 0), or indie bands I discuss with the dude at the local record store, but that I have to be holy, righteous, and allow Him to work through me and have His way as He sees fit.

In this is probably the ultimate simplicity and it has me laughing at some of the decisions I made, such as deactivating Facebook to quiet down the online social side of life. It is good, though: simplicity makes laughter and the efficacious laying down of overly serious thought all-too-possible.