I am writing this post pretty much just to keep the blog rolling. I recently had to take up a part time job in addition to my full time job to pay for a silly toy that I decided to buy. I firmly believe that human affections, for people, things, activities, etc., are God given; part of what makes us imago Dei, (see, throw in stuff like that and I sound smart, amI? or am I not? big question). Anyway, I haven’t had any time to write. Not that it matters too much, because I don’t suppose throngs of people are waking up each morning to see what’s in the P.O. Box (throngs of elves are a completely different matter though; those guys are incessant). Back to the point, I have struggled of late in determining the dividing line at which we allow ourselves to be involved with what we might call the “non-spirituals” (like said purchased toy). I wondered, would I have ever taken a second job to purchase say, an equal amount of theological volumes (which would still be appropriate for a lay person such as myself). Is there anything more estimable in this? Would I be more involved in my supposed piety? I know many Christians who would fault me for my purchase; they would consider is foolish, selfish, materialistic, even worldly (which is all to often a misnomer for non-adherence to one’s proposed idea of Christian existence). The actuality of the item aside, both the purchase and the ownership of the item have and continue to become a positive force to direct my attentions to Christ. I become amazed that my heavenly Father has intented Himself on me; that He has graced me to see His presence and activity even in this thing so much so that when I see the item, I don’t just see a material thing, but I see the goodness of my Father. Here I believe I find the dividing line. When we fail to see the presence of our Father, when we refuse to recognize His work, we yield ourselves to the rule of our flesh which is cursed in sin’s refusal of the Creator. If I find this thing as my enjoyment rather than the benefits of my Christ in it, then I have crossed the line of the flesh. To see Christ and love Him in it reveals the reality of His grace, for grace will bring me to Christ in all things He is desirous of for me.
This post has now gone where I did not know. Someday, I hope to return to a more consistent form.
Until then, I’ll be up early, home late, and seeking to find grace on my side of this rock.
What be the activity of greater virtue? Shall we countdown to revival or kick it off?
(Please read the previous two posts prior to this if you have not)
It’s now been a week and I have not fully solved this matter of direct revelation. However, in light of what has been said already, I came up with the idea of putting together a little list to check by so you might know whether or not Jesus is speaking to you. After all, what good Christian doesn’t like a list of practical guidelines? Yes, I’ll have a large serving of “tell me what to think” and a side of “how to act” please. So, here you go, I hope you find it helpful.
1. If the voice you hear sounds suspiciously like Aslan from Narnia . . it’s just a lion.
2. If the voice woke you up in church . . . probably wasn’t
3. If you didn’t set your alarm but woke up on time anyway . . very good chance
4. If the voice told you to gett a tattoo . . . depends on the tattoo
(hint: crosses are always Jesus’ idea)
5. If the voice told you to witness (Calvinist Jesus- NO, Arminian Jesus- YES)
6. If you’re high . . . it’s not Jesus
7. If you’re in jail . . . you’re more prone to think it is, but 73 to 27 it’s not . . . but roll with it anyway
8. If you’re at a wedding in Cana of Galilee in the first century and the voice tells you to fill all the wine pots with water . . . pretty good chance it’s Him.
9. If the voice tells you to write some new books of the Bible and move a few familes to a remote part of Montana . . . just go with it, could be lucrative.
I have been much perplexed in my cognition regarding this matter of revelation. As the whirlwinds of thought ravaged my mind, my distress at not having arrived at a suitable conclusion so overwhelmed me I was as a brainless fool, incapable of finding the conjunctions and ends of my thoughts. Thusly I considered that I should away myself to some private place. I decided to go to the garden . . . alone. I like to go while the dew is still on the roses. I find a freedom of mind here that I know nowhere else. It would seem as if a voice falls on my ear, and I pray that the Son of God would disclose. As if by the command of their conductor, the birds hush their singing, and the melody that’s given to me is ringing within my heart. Ah, I would stay in the garden with Him but it would seem that the night around me be falling. I durst not linger, for in the distance I hear the voice of woe bidding me go. And so I will be away, my thoughts now loosed, for as He walked with me and talked with me, He told me I am His own, and I must admit, I needed to hear that. Such refreshing from the joy we share from tarrying there. I think none other has ever known it.
I have discovered something. Now, according to all of the theology that my pastors and church leaders have given me over the years of my life in the church, this thing should not be. From everything that I have seen though, it is quite apparent. In fact, I have witnessed the very men who say it’s not possible relate some story about its occurrence in their life. I have heard of it happening to new believers, seasoned Christians, pastors, even “backsliders.” I can’t offer any personal experience of myself, but neither can I argue with the host evidence that I come across. I’m talking about direct or special revelation. Oh, whoa, you say, that ended a long time ago, like, with the Bible. I know, I know, I thought the same thing. All the arguments I heard from all the smart guys sounded pretty good. You’re going to want to call me a liberal or something, but I’m not talking about tongues or prophecy, just good ol’ fashioned hearing the voice of God. Why just the other day I had a friend tell me about how he was just out and about picking up some Juicy Fruit and he just heard the Lord telling him to witness to somebody. Well, of course you can’t just ignore that now, can you? I overheard a lady in a coffee shop relating to her friend about how she was struggling with some life decision and then God just told her exactly which option to take. I then recall a sermon I heard recently in the which this preacher spoke at length on how we must obey when we hear the Spirit calling. Well, yes. The last thing I want to do is resist and grieve. And then while reading a Christian devotional, I discovered that I must be sensitive to the voice of Jesus and be ever ready to obey Him. Oh, how I was convicted. How long have I gone without being sensitive to His voice? How many opportunities have I missed out on because my closed ears? Oh I must go and think on these things. I need a burrito.
Sunday morning. 8:30. Still an hour and a half before Sunday School, but he’s already there. He’s there just like he was last week, and the week before that, and for every preceding week for years, the exact number of which no one is quite sure. He shuffles quietly in his faded brown suit, randomly pressing down the remaining strands of his thinning hair. At one point he stops to wipe his thick black rimmed glasses with his tie, careful not to use the end of the tie where he spilled coffee at the Easter breakfast. Methodically and intently he lays out his lines, nothing fancy this week, just rows; people didn’t seem to like last week’s zig-zags. Done with one room and on to the next he is hardly noticeable as he goes about his morning routine.
He is Chair Setup Guy, and he’s fulfilling his ministry. It’s a good ministry for him. His pitiful tone deafness surely disqualified him from the choir, and with that stutter and the warts on his hands, nobody really wanted him to be a greeter. Honestly, we need to have a little better presentation for the sake of visitors, since we all know everybody still likes you Chair Setup Guy. But no, the chairs are good for you. The chairs offer you good proof for the faith we’ve offered you. You have become a great example of faithfulness to us. You have never once complained; you have always served so willingly. You have never sought recognition for what you do; you know your reward is in heaven. Truly a picture of grace. We don’t talk about it much anyway; the last thing you need is a little attention. But perhaps one day, when the good Lord decides to take you home, here in the halls where you’ve so faithfully served, we’ll remember you. It might take some digging to find someone who remembers your salvation, and if we don’t find it, we’ll use your track record to prove it. We’ll eulogize you in your Christian service to us. Sure, you never really reached out in love to anyone, but perhaps you just weren’t gifted in that area. We’ll also probably recognize that no one really reached out to you, but you were there every Sunday and Wednesday, arriving early and leaving late. You obviously seemed to be doing all right; we’re pretty sure you even witnessed to some people. Thank the Lord He uses cracked, broken vessels. We’ll salve our consciences by convincing ourselves that we expended our time and efforts on someone who really needed us; if you had needed us, we would have known. Besides, we’re sure you’ll hear the sweet voice of Jesus saying, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” And that makes it all worth it, doesn’t it? And so to you, Chair Setup Guy, I lift my glass and tip my hat, but I’d better take my seat, Sunday School is about to start.
I have reread my first post and I am forced to ask myself, “Am I as sour of an individual as this presents me to be?” I here see what might result when my brain talks through my hands apart from the consultation of my heart and soul. I fear now that the first post might default me into the category of those Christian bloggers who have “been burned,” or who have simply gotten angry over some matter and refuse to let it go. I have resolved within myself that there is no benefit in being solely caustic. I cannot allow this part of my life to be incongruous with the rest. Why should this blog be wholly bereft of the grace which must conduct my life? For this cause I feel compelled to clarify my intentions here. I do wholeheartedly intend to have some fun (and make some fun) with this blog. I do also intend to address (if even lightheartedly and cynically) some issues which are of concern to me. I must let you know that for some years now I have been a watcher of the church and of Christianity, a keen observer of the nuances of this grand spectacle we call our faith. There are things that make me angry, but is there not a cause? I have watched church pastoral staff magnetically drawn to the “A-type” visitors on Sunday morning, while the meek and uncomely are relegated to the busy handshake of the assigned morning greeter. I have watched our elderly “saints,” those who have been there for decades who are now allowed the convenient complacency of their “Sunday best,” but void any interactive love. And so I guess, because there is a cause, I will write. I hope you will think and respond, and hopefully we can expose some of these matters and exlpore them honestly. After the first post you have seen the potential rawness of my thoughts. If you have given me a second chance, I thank you. Let’s continue on and see where this takes us. (I’m making puppy eyes right now to try to sway you) I re-extend my invitation for your thoughts and ideas. Let’s keep it honest; let’s keep it real. Let’s not allow this to fall into the swamps of those blogs which benefit no one and only bury their writers.
So, I started this blog about two weeks ago and I thought I had all this great stuff that I was going to say in the first post, but my ambition level was pretty much at zero and then I kind of stopped caring all together. So, now I’m writing in this thing. I actually wrote this first stupid post yesterday but I don’t know what the internet does with the draft when I save it, so I lost it and now I have to write all over again. It’s fine though because I went ahead and just restarted the blog. The old one was just like an old girlfriend that I got things started with but never really did anything with. I didn’t like the appearance; things felt kind of akward; address didn’t really match the site; it wanted my money. I’m just hoping the old blog doesn’t call me at 2:00 in the morning asking if we could give it another try, even though I’m now in a committed relationship with this one. Of course, maybe the old one knows me well enough to realize that my blog committment level leaves much to be desired. ahhh, now I’m just screwing with my own mind.
Anyway, in this first post, I figured I should write a let everyone know why I’ve even started the P.O. Box. I’ve actually spent the last few weeks perusing (I can use that word in a blog even if I never use it in real life because all you readers will think,”He used the word peruse, I like that; I like him.”) um.. perusing the the Christian (and/or fundamentalistish) blogosphere (catchy, but I prefer something like blogohexagon). I have noticed two things about ye ol’ blog. First, it seems that people think that they actually have something to say. Second, it seems that they think people actually care. If all it takes to present or think of yourself as some forerunner in the Christian journalistic arena is an internet connnection and the balls to write crap then sign me up. After all, (huh, English idioms sound more stupid when you type them out, after all what?!), . . . after all, writing a blog is almost as good as being published. I mean, what you read on the internet is basically fact anyway, and anyone who can write on the internet must be credible. This will just save me from having to write up whole articles, print them out, tape them into a recent issue of Today’s Christian Fundamentalist Capitalist Separatist Notbadmusicist Hymn History Lover, and mail out to my friends and those who I think need to hear it. Now I can just pour out my brilliance on the pages of this internet and all you readers will be like, “Wow, he is right.” Then, people I know will comment and be like, “p.o. box guy, you’re so smart,” “p.o. box guy, do you have a blessing for me?” “p.o. box guy, you are the paragon of a Christian.” And I’ll write back all shy and blushed and like “you guys are so great; continue on in my teaching” And it’ll be all funny and stuff. My goal really is to have a following of mindless, hobbyless blog readers who will hang on my every word and then actually take the time to write stupid comments.
I do have some other reasons for this blog. I was not aware that the rest of Christianity was ignorant that I had all of the answers to the church’s “problems.” As a sad result, the rest of the Christian blogohdecahedron have taken it upon themselves to solve these problems. Finally, we can come and resolve all the conflict in the Christian, evangelical, label, label, label, something, whatever playing field. Also, I have begun to grow weary of all the niceness surrounding the Christian blogogoogleplexagon. Not that I am against being nice, I’m actually a fan; I think it’s part of the whole life of Christlike love that we’re called to, but it seems that here, on the net as it were, everyone is too concerned with being nice or not “offending” someone. Don’t want to make anyone mad so I’ll just continue on like some amoeba, just some benign blight growing on the outside of the hexahedron. I say it’s time we had a home for Christian freedom of speech. The bottom line is this: there is a lot of stuff in the Christian world that Pisses me Off (thus the P.O. Box), and I’m sure you all out there have your own things. Well, here you have a place the vent it, let it go, resolve it, whatever. We’re so caught up in all these “big,” “controversial” topics, and you know what they are, I don’t need to tell you, that we continue to allow all sorts of garbage around us. For these reason I have begun The P.O. Box.
I am hoping The P.O. Box will be delightfully diverse. Some things you may look forward to will periodic articles on stupid Christian cliches that piss me off, or songs we mindlessly sing that actually contradict what we say. Many other articles will attempt the slaughter of our beautiful sacred cows (which, when we actually look at them, they’re not beautiful at all, they’re just Pharoah’s dream cows, thin and unsightly, but devouring us anyway). Some things will just be there to hopefully stir the pot a little. I like a stirred pot. I would also like to extend the invitation to anyone who would like to release something that gets them p.o.’d. Feel free to e-mail me an article or short statement, whatever, I’ll post it. If you would like to remain anonymous, I’ll do it. You may have noticed I don’t include my name. I am attempting some anonymity here because what will happen is people will find out who I am, where I go to church (if I do), and then they’ll take what I say and try to label me something and blah, blah, and that really pisses me off. In fact, just a thought, I kicked around the idea of playing a little game of “label the p.o. box guy.” I might make a whole category for that. With all of that said, I welcome you to The P.O. Box, your home for Christian freedom of speech.