“Something something something Purpose Driven, something something something complete…”

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_Something something something Purpose Driven, something something something complete..._Have you ever read that Christian “classic” The Purpose Driven Life by one Rick Warren?

I’ve never read it. Even though it’s been toted in Christian circles as ranked along side books such as Mere Christianity, Pilgrim’s Progress, and stuff by some guy going by the last name of Luther…Marvin, or Melvin…Marty, something like that. Even though I still have the copy my Grandma lent me…and have never asked for back, come to think of it. Sneaky, Grandma.

I’ve heard the arguments both praising the book, and denouncing it. I’ve listened to people gushing about how the book changed their lives. I’ve heard of entire sermon series based on the book. I’ve seen the spin-off books, the Bible study workbooks, the youth editions. And who could forget about the lady who used the book to – for lack of a better word – witness to her kidnapper? So, yeah, I am painfully aware of the cultural juggernaut that is The Purpose Driven Life.

I just have never felt the need to read the thing.

So why am I bringing it up? Well, I’m not going to bag on a book I’ve never read, in case you’re wondering. And if I ever do get around to reading it, I’ll let you know how it went.

No, the reason I’ve brought it up is as kind of an example of what we all seem to wrestle with more often than is comfortable admitting. I guess the reason why The Purpose Driven Life was such a runaway hit is because we’ve all wondered what our big purpose in life is.

And I realize, after re-reading that last paragraph,the majority of you are thinking, “Ooooh, BIG deep thought there, Captain Obvious.” Makes sense, though, doesn’t it?

And I’d like to make…well, not a confession really, but more of a proclamation: After over twenty-five years of being a follower and humble servant of Jesus Christ – a “Christian”, if you will – I still have no idea what my grand purpose is. There was a time, when I was young and stupid, that I thought I did. I’ll spare you the complete details (for now), but sufficed to say I had some severe delusions of adequacy when it came to my ministry here in Earth.

See, we call ’em “ministries” to make ’em sound much more spiritually important, there.

Lately…and by that, I mean the past few years or so…I’ve been really noticing a lot of purpose in the mundane, day-to-day life that I and many others find ourselves in. We get up, we go to work, we attend to our daily lives, all without grand aplomb, flashing lights, or a state-of-the-art audio-video experience. I have no plans to become a preacher (television, radio or otherwise), get involved in outreaches, start a music ministry, write for a Christian magazine (or their blog…do magazines still exist?), write a bunch of books, teach youth groups (*cough*), or even join the worship team at my church.

And I’m pretty sure, if the worship leader at my church actually read that last part, he’d be giving a big sigh of relief, there.

And I’m not bagging on anyone who are actually doing those kind of things. It’s just that, for the last few years or so, I’ve been transitioning to becoming more content with what many might call a “mundane existence.” I see GOD’s grand purpose in the small things now. That my worth to Him doesn’t depend on what I can do for Him. That there is a difference between following Christ, and following Christianity.

Or, to put it bluntly, God’s purpose for my life is for me to get over myself. Which is harder than it looks, considering how awesome I am…

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I’m So (Not) Excited…

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I'm So (Not) Excited...In a rather uncharacteristic and rare moment of clarity and focus, I have something of a confession to make to my fellow brethren and sister-en.  Something that may shake you to the very foundational core.  Something that may make you rethink everything you knew, thought you knew, and assumed you knew about your Uncle NecRo.  Or…okay, chances are you’re just going to shrug and go, “Meh.  Tell me something I don’t know, drama queen.”  But, like some previous blog posts, I just need to get this out in the open more for my own personal clarification, and decided to bring everyone else along for the ride.  Ready for this?  Sitting down?  I am.  Here it is:

I’m not excited about church.

There, I said it.  Well, typed it, but you get the picture.  I’m not excited about church.  Not about going.  Not about getting involved, plugged in, assimilated (insert your favorite adverb here) in a small group or Sunday morning Bible class.  I’m especially not excited about the “worship time”, or the socializing that goes on before, during and after the fact.

Mind you, this isn’t a slight against the church I attend.   The teaching is great, the people seem genuine in pursuing their faith, and I’m left alone from pestering for the most part. Matter of fact, this isn’t really a slight against any particular ecclesiastical body.  Just kind of a general…I don’t even know what to call it, so I’m not even going to try.  It’s the weekend, and it’s not like this is being published in some magazine or anything of the like.  I can only hope you understand what I’m getting at.

The thing is, I’m rather okay with not being excited about church.  It’s not even on my radar, really.  And as time goes on, I realize that I’m not really alone in this lack of excitement.  At least I can only assume I’m not alone in this.  Maybe I’m one of the rare ones that can admit this completely, and let the chips fall where they may.  I can say confidently that it has been literally years since I felt anything even remotely resembling excitement in the prospect of church.  And know that my faith as a professing Christian is just as strong, if not stronger, for admitting this.

The problem is that, in our culture anyway, “excitement” is the Gold Standard of authentic faith.  The worship time in a lot of churches seem to resemble pep rallies designed to work up excitement for Team Jesus.  And sometimes I’ve seen the sermons that followed to be an extension of that kind of pep rally.  It’s not genuine.  It’s not sustainable.

And I realize it isn’t fair to broadly paint everyone like this.  You  may have some very good reasons to be excited about your church.  I just cannot imagine what they would be.

No, I would have to say that, the more I explore the Bible and learn from it, I notice that the word “excited” isn’t the best way to describe my faith.  It’s just another feeling.  And emotions aren’t what my faith is based on.  Take that as you will.

And I have a feeling that, as time progresses, there’s going to be a lot more of these type of “confessional” blog posts coming…this should be interesting…

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Article: WHY I CELEBRATE HALLOWEEN (or, How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Trick Or Treats)

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charlie brown halloweenIt occurs to me that, for a blog entitled “Confessions Of A Christian Freak”, I haven’t been posting very many confessions since I started this up a couple of months ago.  Yeah, I’ve been busy porting over all of the stuff I’ve done on the previous blogs (barely scratching the surface on that, trust me), but that’s not much of an excuse, now is it?  So let me go ahead and remedy this, and what better time to do so than today: HALLOWEEN!

Yes, I am a Christian who absolutely loves Halloween.  You might even say that it’s my favorite holiday of the year.  Matter of fact, I normally maintain something of an online countdown leading up to the 31st of October, recounting my favorite Halloween-related topics and nostalgic whatnot.  This year, however, I’ve been kind of sidetracked, what with becoming engaged and planning a marriage and all, so I hope you’ll understand why it’s been rather anaemic with my usual holiday tradition.

So, why do I, as one who professes faith in the Deity many normally associate with the likes of Christmas and Easter, consider Halloween – a holiday normally associated with, um, that other guy – the best holiday of the year?  Well, I could give you a multiple-point explanation, but in the name of brevity I won’t (besides, it’s already been brilliantly postulated in this article right here); instead, I’ll give you the one big reason why I get excited whenever I see the stores stocking up on the Halloween items:

Halloween is the perfect expression of my faith in Jesus Christ.

Go ahead and re-read that if you need to.  You read it right.  I believe that Halloween – and by extension, the Gothic aesthetic overall – is the perfect vehicle for my symbolic expression of my faith.

Think about it.  The very word “Halloween” is a contraction of “All Hallow’s Eve”, the night before the recognized holiday All Saints Day.  All Saints Day celebrates Jesus’ final work on the cross, breaking the curse of sin and death once and for all.  All Hallow’s Eve, by extension, represents Satan’s greatest failure, and we dress up primarily to mock his toothless boasts to the contrary.

Halloween is not a time for Christians to cower in the corner, fearing a so-called “night of evil”; no, Christians should consider Halloween a celebration of life that came from death, with all the trappings symbolic of the transformative power Jesus’ resurrection has on all of His creation.

In short, I embrace Halloween BECAUSE I’m a Christian, and not in spite of being one.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I gots me some movies to be watching.  Cheers.

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