Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Literary Corner

I made many resolutions this year, but haven't done a very good job of keeping most of them. I have kept one, which was to read one book a month that I had been intending to read, but just never got around to. This is what I have read so far and a couple brief thoughts on each:

Pre-New Year's Eve:
Searching for God Knows What by Donald Miller: It took me a while, but this book was actually pretty impactful. Miller uses an analogy of a lifeboat, and who would be valuable to keep on such a boat. I realized I spend much of my life trying to be someone worthy of keeping on the boat when Jesus spent his time with people who no one would keep on a lifeboat.
Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott: A good reminder to pay attention to the beauty of the world around me.
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen: What can I say? I'm a sucker for Jane Austen.

January/February:
A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn: And this is where my cyncism with the American and world political system began. A huge reminder to do as Jesus says and give to God what is God's and unto Caesar what is Caesar's.
Persuasion by Jane Austen: Two young people fall in love, her family disapproves and separates them. Years later they are reunited and she is very much in love with him, but he is trying to persuade himself that he is no longer in love with her. COME ON! This is the stuff today's romantic comedies try to capture, but they will always fall short.

March:
SexGod by Rob Bell: This was supposed to be Mere Christianity but I couldn't find a copy of the book. Who would have thunk? This one will need to be reread, preferably with a friend who's also reading it so we can discuss as we go along. I did find great comfort in Bell's discussion of singleness as the first choice option and not as a fall back plan.
Irresistable Revolution by Shane Claiborne: I realize I jumped on this bandwagon a little late, but at least I got on board. In truth, I've always been on board with the kind of vision that Claiborne casts and am constantly struggling with how to change my life to more accurately reflect God's kingdom. I don't think I'm ever going to figure it out, but I'm ready for the fight. And I gave away about 5 winter hats and scarves still leaving me with a hat and three scarves, all of which were gifts that I didn't feel I could give away. It's a small step, but hopefully one in the right direction.

April:
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens: I thought I would hate it, but once I got past the first two or three chapters, I got sucked in. I will also forever be wary of my friends when they knit around me.
The Jesus I Never Knew by Philip Yancey: Not finished with this one yet, but it has been very encouraging to read a book that's sole purpose is to lead you to know Christ as he truly is. It has been hard, however, to see Jesus' preferential treatment for the poor, and then to see how uncomfortable church now makes the poor. What happened there?

So far, so good. I haven't been dazzled by any, but I have enjoyed them all. Up next month is a light classic, Crime and Punishment. Yeah, we'll see how that goes.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I love to laugh!

My internship is wrapping up, but I'm looking forward to still being a youth ministry volunteer next year and maybe through the summer. One thing I'm going to miss, though, is the laughing chemistry I have with my fellow youth interns this year. I rarely ever laugh as hard as I do as when I'm with Liz and Callie especially. Whether it be because of too many pancakes, or Jon Bon Jovi, or Saturday Night Live skits, or singing Limp Bizkit songs there's always plenty to keep us entertained and laughing until my projectile tears start flowing and our stomachs start hurting. I don't think I anticipated enjoying working with them as much as I do, and I feel so blessed.
It makes me think, too, of all the incredible people that I've met over the past 23 years, and how relationships come and go. How, despite all the great people I've met, they're are many more I'll never meet, or great people I've met but never had the opportunity to build friendships with. And sometimes I think about what would have happened if I hadn't gone to SPU and met Liz, or started working at the hotel and met Katja, or began attending Bethany and met Maggie. There's no rhyme or reasons to these thoughts. Just musings about how great some people are, and how lucky I feel to have met a few.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Here's to the future

I applied for two jobs tonight. One is working at Group Health as a receptionist and the other one is working with Americorps as part of their "Sports4Kids" program which basically would allow me to teach kids how to play kickball and other recess games as part of an initative to teach our kids how to be kids. As I was looking for jobs on craigslist, nwjobs, and idealist, I discovered that I am way underqualified for many of the jobs I wanted to apply for. Which is one of the reasons I want to start working with New Horizons here in Seattle as soon as I get my new job (hopefully M-F 8am-5pm). New Horizons is a great ministry that works with homeless teens in the Seattle area. It would be incredibly stretching for me, but it's something I've wanted to do for a very long time, and it would provide me with much needed experience.

Which led to some other thoughts about the future...like maybe going to grad school to get my masters in social work. I'd like to stay in Seattle for that, but that would mean going to UW next fall since neither SU or SPU offer a MSW. Still, I'd be working with youth, still hopefully in a Christian context, but in a different way. I never saw myself as being THE youth pastor in a church, and I somehow forgot that. I don't feel anxiety about the future, which is nice. And I attribute much of that to the fact that I've still been reading my Bible consistently through this time of lent.

Tonight was Psalm 37 where David is offering encouragement to those people frustrated that the wicked are prevailing. What God seems to be saying the whole time is: "Don't worry about the wicked people. They'll be held accountable for their actions, but that's not your battle to fight. What I want you to focus on is TRUSTING me, being GENEROUS to others, COMMITTING your life to my will, REMINDING yourself of my goodness, and above all chilling out and NOT FRETTING." Which serves as a reminder to me that I need to be busy with trusting God, being generous, etc. rather than stressing about the potential unknowns up ahead.

So, with that, I raise my glass of hypothetical sparkling cider and say "Here's to the future...wherever it shall lead."