Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Damn it, Jim, I'm a writer, not a blogger...

Hello, patient, [nonexistent] blog audience! I truly am horrible with this thing. I'm not sure why I have it up. As mentioned before, I prefer good old ink and paper when expressing myself (I even prefer to write drafts of my short stories and plays in Moleskines and other kinds of notebooks--thank God Almighty for beautiful, wonderful, though arguably overpriced Moleskines!), and would probably do well to just adapt old journal entries on theology and spirituality--of which I have more than plenty--into blog entries until I get used to writing here. I'm just not acclimated to it. But I don't reckon it's too fair to type out more entries about how hard it is for me to maintain a blog. I do want to get my thoughts and ideas out there so I can get feedback, and, as well, participate in larger conversations. Also, as an aspiring professional writer, I hope to hone my skills as a publishable wordsmith. Nothing's better for that than writing for other people instead of just writing for myself most of the time.

Anyways... If I do have any loyal readers out there, the only reason I can think of for your faithfulness is that you're imperturbably curious. Well, God bless you, nonetheless. I'll have something better for you soon. I just wrote this as sort of an exercise. Then again, that's what the last few entries have been...


Thursday, January 10, 2008

And the Journey Continues... a.k.a. WTF is up with Reformed Theology?

It's been a minute since my last post, as I'm still somewhat getting used to this whole blogging thing. Indeed, what with my overall inclination towards (and, quite frankly, substantial preference for) good old-fashioned ink-and-paper journaling, I'm not sure I shall ever grow terribly used to blogging. Be seeing as [who I consider] my esteemed colleague in the reflective smartass Christian camp, the Cynic Sage, has put this blog on his favorites list, I felt only obliged to try to continue this thing. I am ashamed at how bereft of eloquence I am on this thing. I should probably just start copying some of my journal entries onto here.

But I do reckon I'll try to ramble a little bit about things on my mind the best I can, for as long as I feel like it (which might not be long at all)... Here's a topic:


Now, I know this isn't very Christian of me to say, but dishonesty isn't very Christian, either, and I reckon there's ultimately more good than harm in being truthful about my feelings on this. By and large I'm only blowing off some steam in saying it this way, but here goes: Insofar as I understand it (which admittedly is probably not as much as I ought), I bloody loathe Reformed Theology. I do not care for it. TULIP, quite frankly, can kiss my Arminian arse. Is it just me, or is Calvinism particularly conducive to being a dick? And I must say, I can't see why it's getting so popular these days. A lot of the Christian bloggers I stumble upon these days are of the Reformed tradition. Not to bash any of these guys, I'm just saying why would you be attracted to a theological framework that basically says that God is an arbitrary cosmic puppeteer, and that it's okay, because He's God and all (that pretty much bypasses the hell out of any consideration of the Euthyphro Dilemma--and not necessarily in the good way the ancient Hebrews would have). Granted, most of them would answer that it's the most biblical position. 2,000 years of Christian history as well as hearty debate amongst Protestants--to say nothing of the conflicts between Protestants, Catholics, and Eastern Orthodox Christians--since the Reformation pretty much shows that this is debatable. But besides even that, I think it's telling that it's out of the Calvinist tradition that we got loopy concepts like Presuppositionalism (that silly Van Til!).

Wow--I've exhausted my willingness to type on this thing just that quick. No worries, though--I will have more to say on this in due time. Later's!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Why Suffer, Pt. 2

This will probably be brief.

I probably lashed out a tad more than I intended to in the last post. I still have those same questions and feelings, but I'll add this to the fray of reflection and chew on it:

A close friend of mine told me that the reason we still suffer in our struggle to follow God even though Christ died for us is because we're not there yet. That keeps making some kind of sense to me for some reason. I'm not sure what it means just yet, though.

Y'all pray for me.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Why Suffer? Pt. 1

"...If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." Matthew 16:24

Um... why?

Why, Jesus?

I've been thinking a lot lately on the nature of the "Christian walk" (as well as how more and more annoying all this Christian terminology is becoming to me). You hear a lot about how hard it is. "It's not easy... It's a hard life, following Christ," and all that jazz. Well, life is hard, with or without Jesus. I understand that much. I'm certainly not so naive as to believe that life is supposed to be a cakewalk as soon as one "accepts Jesus Christ into one's heart as one's personal Lord and Savior." But I do grow rather weary of frequent--if well-intentioned--emphasis on the difficulty of walking with Christ.

Living a life of any kind of principle, amidst what is understood to be a fallen and corrupted world, is expected to be full of trial and adversity. But what's the fine line between suffering for Christ's sake and living life more abundantly?

The big question I'm getting at is: if Jesus suffered and died for my sins, why do I have to suffer, too? I thought Jesus did all the work on the cross? I thought "Jesus paid for it all?" What exactly does that mean?

He also said his "yoke is easy" and his "burden light?" What does that mean if we have to endure all this terrible shit in the process of walking after Him?

I've probably said nothing. I know I sound pretty naive and whiny right now, but I think it's a legitimate question. Look at the Prophets: God pounds a message over their heads and makes them go out in hostile mission fields, warning the Israelites about the destructive results of their sinful ways. What a miserable fucking existence. I mean, honestly. Yeah, I know our hearts are supposed to be toward the Kingdom and all, but--and I'm gonna say this frankly--what's in it for us?

I know, I know--eternal life and all. But God, if He's there, is asking a lot of us. One thing I find reassuring is this: in Luke 14, when Jesus is telling His disciples that they must forsake all others in order to follow Him, He gives the parable of one building a tower, who counts the cost before He builds it. I'm glad that's in there, because it's an apt description of what I've been doing, lately. I'm counting the cost. What is Jesus worth for me to just give up everything and follow Him?

I know this sounds like a stupid, if not blasphemous, question for a supposed Christian to ask, but really. What is the Kingdom, what is eternal life, who is Christ, who is God, where is God, that He and they are all worth me tossing away everything? I'm not going to give up anything if I'm not gaining anything. Color me selfish, but that's the truth. Paul had to know that when he was getting his ass kicked all around the Roman Empire trying to preach the Gospel of Christ; Stephen had to know that when he was getting bashed with stones; and the Prophets had to have known that when they were spouting cursings and warnings to the people of Israel (probably, most of the time, just to get God off their back).

I dunno. I think I've rambled. If any of this looks remotely coherent (or even if it doesn't--heck, especially if it doesn't--feel free to drop a line)

Later's, folks.

God bless.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Revealing my existence to the world...

Wow. This is kinda weird.

I tried this whole blogging thing a few years ago, and messed around and forgot my own password. I don't even remember the name that I used, but I'm sure the basic premise will remain the same.

I'm a writer (or an aspiring one, anyways), and as such, I keep a journal--an old-fashioned ink and paper journal, and ultimately trust that more than any kind of electronic logging as far as self-expression is concerned. For this reason I avoided blogging on my MySpace for a very long time--to this day, my blogs on there mostly consist of a series of personal, soul-searching, highly allegorical ramblings entitled "Wanderlust." At this very moment I'm having a slight struggle convincing myself that this whole blogging endeavor isn't some sort of vanity project. I'm not sure how much I'm willing to convey in this thing, how much of myself I'm willing to lay bare to the world, just yet. But as a writer, I do intend to have something I do published, someday. I suppose this isn't a bad place to start. I do kind of lament how easy it is to put one's self out there, to make one's self famous to some degree or another, what with things like this and YouTube and MySpace and such (sometimes I wonder if I'm some sort of closet Luddite).

Anyways, here's more or less what this blog is about:

I am, or am trying to be, a Christian, which is to say a follower of Jesus Christ. I was brought up with an evangelical, quasi-fundamentalist upbringing, "saved, sanctified, Holy Ghost-filled," and all the rest. I am presently challenging and reevaluating everything I believe, including my ultimate faith that God will bring me through all and show me His will. Amidst a very recent (and somewhat still occurring) Dark Night of the Soul, I find myself struggling to know both God and myself, as well as my relation to God, apart (as well as within) what I have been taught, what I (supposedly) understand, and what I have and do experience. I find the evangelical culture and mores with which I've identified my spirituality for years (even after I determined several years ago that my belief in Christ is genuine and not merely passive or due to my upbringing) rather wanting. I don't mind, for the time being, calling myself an evangelical still--well, scratch that. I'm not going to go around using that to describe myself. Christian will be fine. It's nice and basic.

As I've mentioned, I'm going through something of a crisis of faith. I have a lot of these, but this one is particularly intense, and I would say critical. I also don't see it ending anytime soon. But I see it as an adventure (as opposed to a bleak, intense spiritual torment, like it felt a while ago). I'm exploring and reevaluating everything: the Bible, salvation, the atonement, Christ, morality, good and evil, God Himself... I think the question of this particular hour of my life is "What does this mean?"

I fancy myself an artist--chiefly of the literary variety. I write weird stories in the name of Jesus. I tend to have a dark and dry sense of humor. Sometimes I tend to be moralistic. Around conservatives I can seem rather liberal; around liberals I can seem quite conservative.

Oh, and I'm Black. For what that's worth.

I'm sure I'll reveal more stuff about myself as it comes to me.

I'll let my conscience, common sense, Muse, and the Holy Ghost be my guides as to what to and what not post here, and when.

I'm just starting this thing right now, so I don't reckon I'll be too insightful today, or for a while yet. But I look forward to the journey.

God Bless, Y'all,