Refuse to be Passive

Archive for May, 2013|Monthly archive page

Strength in Weakness, Changes in Life

In Uncategorized on May 11, 2013 at 12:28 am

The split is overwhelming. What was supposed to be a relaxing few days spent with my friend and her family has turned into a gigantic question mark looming over my head. These people, who I’ve known for years as kindred spirits, now seem distant and remote. Not to say that they aren’t as hospitable and loving as ever, but their thought patterns and life stances that once meshed so closely with my own now hum a tune of discordance. When I came here, I knew there was the possibility of this happening. I knew that there was potential for my change in thought patterns to be seen as something of a departure from my past. What I wasn’t expecting was how drastic this change would feel.

Tonight, my friends invited an extra guest to dinner. It was a set-up. My friend’s husband had approached his wife months ago and suggested a pairing between me and a friend of theirs. My friend thought this was a brilliant idea. When she asked me what I thought of being set up with someone, my exact response was, “Why not. I don’t seem to be doing terribly well for myself.”

The evening went off without a hitch, and the man they set me up with was lovely. Similar to all of my past dates in the past two years with Christian men, there wasn’t that zing. There was no chemistry. A delightful man just happened to come for dinner, and then we all chatted for hours. That’s it. And while we got along well, and he seemed interested in my life and hearing about living in the inner city, I couldn’t help but notice how different I was from him.

When talk turned to faith, as it inevitably does with this group, I noticed a shocking change in dynamics. Thoughts shared that I once would have agreed with, I found to be tedious and no longer an issue. Ideas such as women in office don’t hold the same weight for me anymore.  Sharing the gospel by telling people you believe they will go to hell is not my idea of evangelizing. My thoughts have changed. How can I worry about women in office when there are women selling their bodies on my street corner? How can I preach about hell to the one standing next to me when Christ himself never mentions it? How can I judge the pot head when I have sinful struggles of my own? Plank. Speck. Enough said. And yet, as I sit in a room with people I love, I find that they are so stuck on theology, that they neglect to seriously put themselves into the great commission. They don’t have to move to the inner city. God wants his people in the country too. But when you are so stuck on church division and issues, how can you follow the lead of Christ? How can you follow his call to, “Love your neighbhour as yourself,” when you spend so much time focusing on the domestic squabbles and differences in the institutional church, and on judging those who fall outside of the institutional church. Christ’s call was to love, not to judge. Christ’s call was to put words into action, not to simply talk. And while talk is important, if it is not followed up by something more than that, we simply blow hot air into a world that already has enough worries about global warming.

The conservative, insular Christians look at me now as radical, maybe even wrong. My friends in the city are made up of the Muslim, the pot head, the depressed, the prostitute, the Atheist, the lonely, the gay, the sick and the lost. I half expected my friends to ask, “Who has friends like that? What Christian spends time with people like that?” But I know the conclusion they would come to: The one who started it all. The one we call Saviour and Friend. Christ.

So while I feel a lack of understanding, I also feel from these people a sense of awe. They see me as being something special. My friend’s husband said, “I could never do that. I’m just a country boy. To go and choose a life like that? To live in the inner city surrounded by those people? You have to be strong to do that.”

My dear friend, I am not strong. It is Christ who gives me strength. I see nothing special about myself. I only see areas where I have not done enough and feel called to do more. Maybe he’s right. Maybe I am strong. For after all, do the scriptures not say,’ “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.’ 2 Corinthians 12:9. Indeed, it is my prayer that in my weakness, I may be strong because of Christ working through me.

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The Proposition

In Uncategorized on May 4, 2013 at 8:35 pm

Last night I got propositioned.

Shortly after 1 a.m. I was walking the 100 meters from the bus stop to my house. I noticed a new Escalade at the corner, and the driver was looking out his window like he was lost or searching for something.

I crossed the road, heading towards my apartment. He was stopped and rolled down his passenger window. I glanced over to see if he needed directions, broke eye contact, and kept walking. I made the mistake of making eye contact again, after all, maybe he really does need directions.  He leans over to the window and says, “You want to party?” His accent was thick and middle eastern. The look in his eyes said that he had his own version of partying.

I recognized it for what it was and scoffed, laughing a bit. “No thanks.” I said, and kept walking. He rolled up his window and drove off.  Partying? Really? Well, I suppose that’s one way to approach it. But at the end of the day, the guy was a john. As I entered my yard, I finally figured out what I should have done. I should have taken down the Escalades plate, but when I turned to look, he was gone.

I have to admit, that part of me felt sorry for the guy. I just went to a conference on ending sexual exploitation the previous week, and one of the workshops was entitled Why Men Buy. The number one reasons to buy included depression and loneliness. This guy was rich, but it is totally possible that he felt completely alone in the world. He was looking for something to fill the void, and he was looking in the wrong places. That doesn’t make what he was doing right, but it does make me feel sorry for him.

To be fair, I was warned when I moved into the neighbhourhood that it was riddled with drugs, homelessness, and prostitution. I certainly never expected to be propositioned though! My goodness.

Chalk another one up to experience.

But the true underlying issue here is that we live in a culture so focused on autonomy and detached from community that it becomes all too easy to see those around us as just faces and not people. It becomes too easy to take advantage of the other.  We are a lonely society, with everyone wearing a mask, pretending that everything is alright. The role of community in immigrant societies and some of the old countries never transferred to North America. It takes a village to raise a child, and it takes that same village to keep us going down the proper path.  There is accountability, support, and love in community that allows for us to find fulfillment without having to go out and search for it. And when we do go out and search, we can easily lead ourselves down the path of destruction.  Just a wrong turn or two, and we start asking ourselves, “How did I wind up here?” And once its got a hold on us, the question becomes, “How do I get out? How do I break the cycle?”  The truth of the matter, is you need more than just will power and determination to break a habit, you need support and community. Asking for help at the best of times is humbling. For those of us who get into socially inappropriate trouble, asking for help is like committing social suicide. But what is the alternate option? There isn’t one. Sometimes you need to bite the bullet to get back to where you need to be. Painful? Yes. But healing only comes when pain is acknowledged and steps are taken to make restitution. How can this be done? Through the support of those who know and love you. This is the roll of family, friends, and community. This is where society has failed us. This is where restitution needs to take place. Now is the time to bring healing to a society that for too long has fed us lies. Now is the time. Now. 

Denial. Blame. Positive Change.

In Uncategorized on May 3, 2013 at 6:51 pm

All the weight I lost two years ago I gained back. I went through a massive bout of depression and the entire 40 lbs went back on. The next year was a time of healing, but the numbers on the scale didn’t budge, aside from a brief period where I was literally so stressed and so busy, I just didn’t feel like eating. For someone who is an emotional eater, this was a new concept for me. But once things calmed down a bit, all the old habits that I’d developed over the course of my life came back to haunt me and that weight crept back up again. Here I sit at 190, again. I am a filled with a mix of disgust, disappointment and hope. After an entire year of saying, “Starting tomorrow, I am not going to spend the whole night stuffing my face,” I am finally saying, “Starting today, I am going to make healthy choices. Starting today I will eat in moderation. Starting today, I become who I always say I want to be.”

 

What got me to this point? The other evening I was sitting with a friend, drinking a lovely cup of tea. We were talking about weight struggles and I started noticing that all of my sentences were starting with but. And they were all trying to place the blame in other places than where it belonged, on me. After all, I am the one who chooses to eat or drink all those calories. I’m not being tortured into it. It is a choice I make. I then had the guts to say these words. “I have no excuses. My life is my own. I am in control of my own present and future. It all comes down to me.”

 

Step One: Done.

Accept responsibility for your actions. Then, decided to move on. Move forward. Move up. Be better.

Really, weight loss and changing to a healthy lifestyle is like trying to come off an addiction. You start with denial and blame. From there, you start to resent the need for change. But once you get past that stage, the true healing and positive change can start.

 

Bring on healing and positive change!

Back on Board

In Uncategorized on May 3, 2013 at 1:00 pm

Well, After posting that I would no longer be writing on this blog, I find myself coming back. I took a hiatus, and am now back on board. 

Life has taken me on a whirl wind journey since I last posted here, and now, I look forward to sharing my continuing journey with you.

I’m still a single girl, and I’m back in the big city. Where will life take me next? All I know is I hope it’s filled with good food, healthy living, and a great life.

Humble Submission to Christ’s Body, the Church

In Uncategorized on May 2, 2013 at 12:05 pm

Who knew the life of the unemployed could be so busy! I think I’m busier now than when I worked full time and I can’t help but wonder why. You’d think that having 40 extra hours in the week would allow you to get it all done. But I digress. Time to talk about the next mark!

 

Humble Submission to Christ’s Body, The Church

 

In this day and age there are many people who are angry at, or have been hurt by the church as an institution. They view the church as a place filled with hypocrites. And while they still agree with the teachings of Jesus, the church is a judgemental and harsh place to them.

I suppose I am amongst those who would consider themselves disenfranchise or disillusioned with the conventional church. While I label myself as a Christ follower, I don’t link myself to a specific denomination. Too often through church history, the faith has been used as an excuse for the abuse of power. Dietrich Bonheoffer said that when the church and state combine, the church becomes the state’s hoar. Isn’t that the truth? With so much humanity in the church, it’s not hard to see how it becomes corrupted. And the truly heinous acts of a few wind up painting all Christians with the same brush.

But to say that one is a Christian but doesn’t attend Church; to choose to listen to podcasts in the safety of one’s own home; to simply read but never engage; that is not the life of a Christian. If you take the time to read the gospels, you’ll see that Christ preaches within the context of Relationship. While Christ often removed himself to solitary places to pray, he always comes back to his disciples—to his community. He is always surrounded by people, eating, preaching, and interacting with them—taking part in their lives. This is our call as Christ followers.

As human beings, we are made to be social creatures. We need others to keep us accountable, and to help us develop into our full potential. As such, we need a Christian community to work with us through celebration and sorrow. And just as they are there for us, we can be there for them. They say that friends are the family you choose, and that you become like those you surround yourself with. Surround yourself with like-minded people, and you will become the person you want to be.

Another reason to stay connected with the church, is that it keeps you accountable. While the church can stray from the scriptures, we need people in the church to keep it accountable. Beyond that, the church keeps us from take the scriptures and twisting it towards our own sinful desires.

You were made for community. I was made for community. The church is not the building, but the people. Surround yourself with people who can challenge your beliefs and support you in your faith. Whether it’s in a church building, a café, or around the dinner table, don’t forget to be a part of the body of Christ.

You are but one part of a bigger whole. Play your roll, and support others along the way. When you play the role God created you for, and so does everyone else, you will find support and accountability. You will find that the church that so often hurts, can often heal. With your support, you can grow and develop together. At the centre of it all is Christ. And if we can’t gather together around Him, we need to re-evaluate our faith.