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Despite having so many amazing people in my life who love me, sometimes I just feel so lonely. It’s like a deep heaviness in my heart- like I am missing something. I don’t really know how to explain it.

On the other hand, and somehow at the same time, I feel so light and free. I am strangely content with life. I wouldn’t change anything. I have a peace that God is holding me and guiding me in His plan, which is perfect and good.

I feel both ways at the same time. Is this normal?

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In lurking on other peoples’ blogs, I came across a fascinating discussion.

I find it interesting that the advice columnist identified himself as “non-religious”, and yet seemed to offer much insight into the writer’s dilemma, even seeming to “get it” much more than many Western Christians today. A blogger has commented on it here, and the commentary and discussion are quite interesting.I have struggled with this issue for several years now. I don’t know anyone (besides my husband) who is willing to engage in this sort of discussion. I am glad to find this blog and some people who are at least willing to raise the questions, not fearing the possibly uncomfortable response.

It is in fact an uncomfortable discussion for most of us middle-upper class Christians. I ask these questions with as much criticism of my own lifestyle as of anyone else’s, and desire to find a satisfactory answer for my own conscience before inspecting the speck in everyone else’s eyes. I live a fairly comfortable life. I can’t afford to buy a house, but I can afford to rent. I never go hungry, or have to wear clothes with holes in them. Though it would not be the most financially wise decision in terms of trying to save for school, etc, I can afford to go out for dinner or a movie pretty much whenever I feel like it. I could go to IKEA and spend $30 here and there, without landing myself on the street next month, without money for rent. I have access to credit cards and bank loans in case of emergency, and am never lacking the basic necessities of life (water, food, shelter, medical care).

Here is my question: Is it right/moral that I should live with excess (going to movies, eating dinner out regularly, buying “wants” in addition to “needs”, etc) when so much of the world is living and dying of starvation, preventable diseases, etc? And only because they lack money. Money that I spend carelessly on myself, which could instead be saving lives. The Bible commands us to help the poor, seek justice, and love one another as ourselves throughout the scriptures. Clearly we have some sort of moral obligation. I just don’t know where to draw the line. Do I have to stop spending on everything except the basic necessities, and give the rest to the poor (become Mother Teresa)? Are we all supposed to live like Jesus? Or Mother Teresa? I haven’t ever met a Christian who would say yes to that question. And yet none of them can tell me why not.

I’m seriously needing some answers here.

I fear that it truly may be. Outside of the academic world (including professors, philosophy majors, and select others), there seem to be so very few people who are able to engage in calm, edifying, rational discussion or debate on issues, where there may or may not be major differing of opinions. Why is that such a tall order?

Why does the general church community in the Western world tend to ignore the part of the verse that commands us to love God with our minds as well? Why is it a social faux pas to think “outside the box” (and not in the cool, non-threatening way, but in the radical uncomfortable way)? I am forever trying to discuss things and find that so many people are just not interested or able to engage in rational discussion of some issues, such as pacifism, the church, or social justice. Those types of issues are not comfortable for most people. I have been told that I can come on strong when in these discussions, and I have worked on my delivery for years now. I take to heart 1 Peter 3:15- “Always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect”. I have slowly learned how to say things in a calm and rational way, and yet I cannot speak with less conviction than what I have. I have been told that to speak with such conviction is offensive to people (this is people in the Christian community I’m talking about). Apparently it is offensive because I am presenting my opinions as if I am right. This frustrates me to no end, because the way I see it… why would I have an opinion, unless I think it is right? Who in their right mind believes something to be true that they also think could very well be false? (I also get really passionate about discussing issues and believe that it needs to be done far more than it is).

At the risk of offending, as I seem to be so good at, I would venture to say that our Western world has been so incredibly impacted by the recent revolution of tolerance, that even Christians are afraid to stand up and say that truth is NOT relative. Many have been sucked in to believing that it is improper (at best) and sinful (at worst) to claim truth on any issue.

Now I know that many people out there would say that we can never really know the truth, because we have limited human knowledge, etc. But I would contend that God created us with critical minds with the ability to reason. Of course we cannot know all truth, only God is omniscient. However that does not mean that we cannot know ANY truths. I know for example that Jesus Christ is Lord. It’s not a matter of “I think He’s Lord, but I’m really not sure, and I’m totally open to other opinions, just so I don’t offend anyone”. No. “I know He’s Lord like I know that the sun rose this morning”. I am sure.

Just to clarify, I do not think that knowing truth is the only important aspect of being a Christian, nor do I think that it is sufficient for “getting into heaven”. Nonetheless that does not negate the importance of it. I think that a relationship with Christ needs a balance of the heart, mind, and soul.

I’m still learning, still on the road… waiting for Christ to return and take me home.

That’s what prayer feels like to me sometimes. Of all the areas of the Christian life, this is the one that has always confused me and caused me anguish. I don’t really “get it”. What is supposed to look like? How can I be more motivated to pray more often? What should it feel like? What should I say? What kind of response should I expect?

I have a feeling that perhaps if I practiced the discipline of silence and solitude more often, I would find prayer more natural. I did enjoy it when I was in Tanzania, and we would have afternoons set aside specifically for solitude. I think that my North American lifestyle really doesn’t allow for time with God. That’s partly why Chris and I are in the midst of changing our lifestyles now. We will both be working less, and intentionally avoiding the plague of “busyness”. I am looking forward to the year to come very much for this reason.

Yikes! Too much pressure. What to say? Introducing… Beth Ricci.

I love Chris, Sushi, and Jesus. Not in that order. Actually I love a lot of things. I am a fiery redhead full of passion and spunk, and am always up for a good debate. I love to talk, write, read, and listen. I’m working at being a great listener. I am fiercely loyal, sometimes insecure, and always learning.

So I’m leaving Tyndale in less than two weeks. A strange feeling because I’ve been there since 2002, as a student, part-time bookstore staff, and most recently as full-time staff in the Admissions Office. It’s been an amazing opportunity, and I have grown so much. Now God is leading me to a brand-new place and job at the AIM Canadian Head Office, here in Toronto. I am so excited and can’t wait to start on August 30!

We’re also getting a new place to live (currently living with my parents in Pickering, just outside of Toronto) for September 1st. We’re renting a townhouse, and we are so excited. It will be so much space compared to what we’ve had in the past in small apartments. We are planning to stay for the next 5-7ish years, until we go on the mission field. Praise God!

I'm Red, he's Honey. I'm the writer of this blog and the source of your entertainment and/or boredom. We're parents of an exceptionally adorable child, and we have no idea what we're doing! This blog is the outlet for my thoughts along the way - welcome! Pull up a couch, grab a cup of tea, and stay a while! Or back away slowly. Whatever works.




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