Checking in

As this blog, as it were, is primarily a place for me to journal and record things floating around in my head, I thought I probably should take a moment to check in with myself and see how things are going. Though it may be surprising to hear that I’m really pretty bad at this, it is true. 

I aim to be better, to pay attention to my physical body, the mental and spiritual parts that make up this frankly odd gathering of protons, electrons and neutrons that I call myself. 

I’ve not spent time with the quiet today, and I miss it, I long for it. Perhaps I’ll take a moment after clearing out some of this noise. 

I said no to joining a (religious) board at our church. I’m still having a great deal of difficulty with the idea of organized (in a building, primarily on Sundays) religion and the thought of getting involved in church politics, the governing of the physical entity that is our church, just seemed, as Rob Bell suggested in a recent podcast, like an activity that would neither be worth my while or energy providing for my soul. So I said no, which also, is a bit out of character. 

I’ll have to dwell on that for a bit. 

My bike ride was snowy and chilly this morning in to work, but I love the variability of sketchy weather. It is the most obvious and tangible thing that I have no control over, and I can tell you that, in my well ordered and organized existence, I love weather changes. 

I also adore my wife. There is not another human being alive with whom I would rather spend my time. She is the most amazing, strong, well-spoken, level-headed mother, wife and woman I know. Of course, I might be just a bit biased. 

Life is pretty good at the moment. My wife isn’t working, so paying bills may prove to be difficult, but possibly for the first time in a very long time, I am really not terribly concerned about it. Things will work out. They always have. I don’t know how, nor could I provide a set of data that would prove that notion, but somewhere deep in my bones, I just feel like things are going to be okay. Because for the first time we are intentionally slowing down to give ourselves adequate time to figure out what we really want for ourselves and our family. 

It’s fantastic. I have no idea where we are going, but I think the mystery is exciting and I can wait to see where we end up. Or more importantly, I can’t wait to wake up to the journey. 

Until the next round. 

Hmmm…

So, there’s this guy, Rob Bell, a spiritual leader of sorts. For one reason or another, his method for communicating has kept him as a lamppost in my psyche throughout some pretty major transitions. 

Growing up a certain faith, becoming a leader/pastor in that largely conservative denomination, discovering Rob, falling out of faith (more agnostic than atheist), still catching whispers of Rob’s work, slowly turning the corner back to some semblance of faith (though that’s still debatable in my own head) and now really gaining a great deal of clarity on some things because of, yes, you guessed it, Rob Bell. 

Check this out, from a recent podcast:

“If you don’t name your pain, you’ll store it.”

Yikes! There no telling how much pain I’ve been storing away. Nothing physically or horribly traumatic, but we all seem to carry some pain with us. The question is, does that do anything for you? Does it help me to hold onto and inadvertently store it in my physical body? Am I doing myself any favors to repress my (mostly mild) anger about spending a god-awful amount of money for a degree that in my mind now, is complete rubbish? 

Now, as a follow up to that last point, Rob then asks:

“Who is your social self and who is your real self?”

Great question! Until recently, I’ve never even spent time wondering, much less trying to articulate an answer. Lately, I think I’m much more interested in joining those two parts of myself, but I still harbor a great deal of fear about what that might look like in a social, familial and professional context. That’s not a part of my ordered, comfortable existence. 

Which leads to the final (for this entry) question Rob asks:

“What are the things that keep you alive, what feeds your soul, keeps your heart alive?”

Hell, if had of thought about that 15 years ago, I certainly would not have spent $60,000 on a theology degree with a focus on youth and family ministry. That’s what I thought I was supposed to do, but most assuredly not what I wanted to do. That was not something that fed my soul, in fact, as many pastors know, it tends to work in the opposite fashion; it completely drained both my self and my family, which I am not okay with. 

What does this mean? Well, I’m not sure yet. One thing I do know is that I will be setting my intentions in the future for good, wholesome, life giving activities. My wife and I plan to find ways to be in relationship with people the likes of Rob Bell, Richard Rohr and others. This life is not to be wasted. I’ve already used up 35 years just coasting. I’m not down with that way of functioning anymore. I will be present, I will be intentional and I will be authentic in my journey. 

Check back later.