Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Dealio

If you haven't noticed, the posting here has been scant and skeletal. On top of that i've only made it to one or two other blogs for reading in the past week alone. The reason? One gets tired of hearing old "been busy" adage because sometimes I think it makes other bloggers feel as if they themselves haven't had anything better to do but read and write blogs. Well, fear not. I know that all of those that read this are busy themselves with this beautiful gift that we call living. Besides, there are other reasons for my lack of blogging.

The main reason for my lack of posting and reading is that I was starting to become saturated with Christian subculture. In short, I started caring too much. I started to think CONSTANTLY about what YOU and I think, what is wrong with the Church, what is wrong with Christian radio and what is wrong with the entire Christian pop-culture-trying-to-be-relevant-but-totally-irrelevant-fundamentalist mindset that so divorces itself from the real world where real people live and breath and need "US" and not our opinions/uber-cool B.S. more than ever. "In the world, not of it." That is the command right? So I guess you could say that is where old Sethro and Amberella have been been lately. And let me tell you... it is hard. Maybe I am a wimp. Regardless, it isn’t too rosy sometimes. It is hard to maintain the Pollyanna Christian subculture worldview when you decide to work and spend a lot of time outside of it. It is impossible sit on the judgment seat because you realize that you are on court-room floor the whole time with the rest of the sinners. However, this is where any bit of real love you have inside your-"real"-self engages. To befriend and love people who trade wives and or "partners" or guys who think nothing of watching porn on their computers every night, is the ultimate battleground for truth and your belief in a Savior.

This is where we feel God is calling us. There is a big, big nasty world out behind the safe walls of Christian Subculture. Sometimes I find myself wanting to run back over the walls and suck my thumb and eat stolen animal crackers from the church nursery but I know that is cowardly and childish. Some people are called to be behind those walls and keep the place in order so that the weary Christians in the world can have a place to refresh and be encouraged and filled. Lets be honest, the current church model is more suited for that rather then being designed or organized to infiltrate the world outside its walls. It is a custom-made bible-teaching country club for Christians. I have made my peace with all of that. Now more than ever. After many-a talk with my Wicca friend who wears porno shirts or my Atheist friend who thinks wife-swapping is cool, I really don't have a problem taking a break from that and hitting the racquetball courts at Second Baptist. I'm not saying the church is "right" for having them while another church around the world can't pay its electircity, I am just saying that I have been less... gripy about them since I no longer work so much in that environment. (I was sort of like the teenager that was ticked at his parents and their stunted world view and conservative politics while all the while asking mom what's for dinner in the home that they provided and driving the car that dad bought with his stunted world view job.) As for the people who work and minister there, I consider them lucky. That is the God's-honest truth. (Not that the Church doesn't have its share of "secret sin" but honestly... it is a mere echo of the stuff over the walls.) However, being "safe" behind those walls does not seem to be my pull or "call." So this was the balance or obedience that I missed.

The difference? It takes more prayer and it is harder and harder to pray. It takes more active faith even though the faith you have feels like it could barely spread over a dinner roll 80% of the time. (It is a good thing it only takes the faith of a mustard seed.) This may all sound grim but I feel pretty good about the whole deal right now. I can turn on Christian Radio and remember why it is good. I can go to the workout room once a week at the Church and remember why it is good. Then I can spend the rest of that time rubbing elbows with people living lifestyles that are anti-everything God wants and remember why I am being re-made into something good. Strangely enough, the reality sets in that I may not have been saved just so that "I" can go to heaven. Maybe God had bigger plans than that when he saved my soul.

Here is what I have been up to in the order of time-consumptiveness.

1. Shooting my next film

2. Teaching Class at Rice

3. Writing my dissertation

4. Writing for next album (almost complete)

5. Editing my short stories and a script

6. Teaching Lessons

7. Working at the Church part time.

We covet your friendship and your prayers.


Chaotic Hammer said...

I hear you -- all the way, my friend.

Even though I've excused myself due to busy-ness for the last few months (which is true, I have been busy), I would also say that as much as anything, I had wearied myself internally with too much churning and grinding over too many weighty matters, while unable to really do all that much about them in my real, day-to-day life.

So even though I have continued to read blogs, I haven't really had the extra energy and passion to comment or be too terribly involved.

Like you, I don't want to diss the people who are in a blogging mood. Certainly, the fact that I feel a tad burned out (with blogging, or life in general) doesn't mean there's anything wrong with what's going on with blogging.

I love that we have this outlet of communication. So much of it has been so fruitful and thought-provoking. Even thought-provoking in a life-changing way. It's not just stuff to talk about and light chit-chat. It really is fruitful and productive.

I've never really had much tolerance for "everything is perfect here behind the walls" Christianity. Not because I'm better than those people, but because I'm not very good at small talk and maintaining a front.

I'm not sure if anyone ever did the math and figured this out about me, but "Chaotic Hammer" as a nickname, was given to me for my drumming style. Very hard rock drumming. Done in clubs and bars and at rock festivals. Even though the smell of cigarettes makes me cough and I can't stand the taste of alcohol, I do enjoy the company of "sinners". I do enjoy shining the Light and Joy I've found in dark places. It's what we're wired up for, I think, as we're being re-made.

The good news is that where I am now, I have something I've enjoyed much more than "safe church". The small group is "real church". It's been messy and imperfect and uncomfortable, but it's been real. And so maybe now that I'm plugged into the Body in a solid way, I'm thinking it's time for me to start doing something here in Nashville that I haven't really had the chance to do since I left California -- find out where the sinners are and go make some friends. But that's a lot harder than it sounds when you lead a very domestic life and have a lot of responsibility to care and provide for a family the Lord has given me.

So I guess I accept that I am where I am with my life right now, and enjoy it thoroughly and with thankfulness, and keep looking for the Lord with all my heart, and hope that He shows me the next thing that I should be doing with my energy and passion.

Seth Ward said...

Good thoughts. Yes, this is a great outlet for communication. I think if you begin to care too much about anything in general then you should take a short break from it.

I also think that every Christian should have at least one non-Christian friend. There is something beautiful about the community of believers but we should never remember our great command "Go and tell" We more closely resemble the statement of "Sit around with each other and talk about going and telling"