Thursday, August 28, 2008

Unswerving Hope

I just finished watching Barack Obama's acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. Watching him speak brought so many thoughts to my mind that I feel like I need to share.
Recently, I finished a book called 'Jesus for President: Politics for Ordinary Radicals' by Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw. I started reading the book for the pretty pictures. Seriously. I ended up finishing the book because of its content and challenge. It framed American politics (and politics in general) in a way that I had never heard before. All my life I have heard that it's a good Christian's responsibility to vote in elections, to further the cause of Christ through national politics. This book argues the exact opposite. Shane and Chris make the argument that as Christians we should not get involved in a government that is only a cheap imitation for Jesus. I've been struggling with the ideas presented to me for a couple weeks now. I still don't know where I stand on some of the issues that they brought up. Should Christians vote in elections? Who should Christians vote for if they do decide to vote? My answer to both is: I really don't know. That's between you and God.
With that said, I have to add...Please don't place your hope in any presidential candidate or particular party to bring vast change to America. After all the speeches are done and the ticker tape has been cleaned up, both John McCain and Barack Obama are humans. They can only get so much done and keep only a percentage of their promises.
Obama made a reference at the end of his acceptance speech to Hebrews 10:23 which says "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess..." which is very fitting because one of his campaign buzz words is 'hope'. The part that he left out though was "...for he who promised is faithful." In context, this verse is very fitting for how I feel about Elections 2008. In Hebrews 10, one of my favorite parts of the New Testament, the writer of Hebrews makes the argument that Jesus is our High Priest and that we now have direct access to God. The hope we profess is in God, and in God alone, because He is faithful. The writer of Hebrews then goes on to ask followers of Christ to "spur one another on to love and good deeds" in light of our magnifict hope. While I want better things for this world, my hope for a better future is in Christ alone. The only way that Americans (and the world we are part of) can prosper is if the entire Church steps up and starts taking the commands of Christ seriously. Changing our lives for the better is not something that government can do, but it's most definitely something that Jesus promises when we look to Him.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

My Rant

What follows is a stream of consciousness. Basically, that's where I type whatever I'm thinking without editing. The word choices are not always the best and the feelings are raw. It rambles and makes little sense at times. Read on at your own risk (but the risk may be worth it)

How to put this into words...let's see...I guess I'll start at the beginning. The very best place to start. I went to a missionary connection conference put on by my denomination Thursday through today. I usually don't look forward to going to these things because there's lots of people that expect me to have great stories of how my ministry has saved countless souls and changed the world for the better. While I would love to go and tell those stories, I really don't have them. I have great stories of how I've made something think about a situation differently, but I haven't seen a single person get saved this year. I think I would freak out, in a good way, if that ever actually happened.
Anyway, back to the conference. I went on Thursday night to the hotel that the conference was being held at. Thanks to my organization and the people that support it I get put up in fairly nice hotel rooms for free when one of these things happens. Thursday was a rough night that involved not talking to many people and running over a chair on the highway. Funny story. I'll tell it some other time. Friday and Saturday were much better.
Okay. Get to the point Lindsay...the much as I dread going to these things ahead of time, I always walk away wishing that I had just a little more time with the people around me. Being in Seattle all the time, in an environment that is very hard to make an impact in, I forget that God is doing great things in America (and around the world, but that's not really my area of focus at this point.) Being around other missionaries from the Northwest has given me a vision for God's work. I made really good friends with a couple from Wyoming that is working with the people from the oil and natural gas industry. They are the only Christian presence in the middle of nowhere. Lives are being changed. I met people from Alaska that work above the Arctic Circle so that the people in the farthest reaches of North America can hear about Jesus. There are the truck stop evangelists, apartment ministry people, and church planters. So many stories and so little time. I go into these things wondering what I'm doing there and I leave understanding that I'm not the center of the world and God is at work in major ways.
As much as a I give my denomination grief for certain things, I don't think I've seen more committed people than those that I was around this weekend. For all the politics on the national level and bad press, we actually do a lot of things right. In the Northwest, the younger generation (and a few of the older) are into relationship evangelism and loving someone to Jesus as part of a slow process. While I personally ascribe to this philosophy most of the time, I cannot look down my emerging church nose at those that do things differently. God is changing lives through methods that I would probably flat out reject using in Seattle. It takes all kinds.
So, I don't know exactly where I was going with this. It wasn't a glorification of my denomination. There's lots of great ones out there. I think it was more me spewing on about how there is so much great work going on out there and so few people. Every missionary in that room today has some level of frustration because they see their mission field and then they look at their resources and manpower. It's low. Very low. Even with record numbers of missionaries in our organization, the numbers are low. Send more workers, send money, pray more. Get down on your knees, pace in your room, walk a labyrinth...whatever you have to do to really plead with God for America and the area that you live in.
End of rant. Have a great night.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

And I'm Back

You know it's time to write a new blog post when your mother asks you if you're going to write anything soon :) Well, here's the update on my life for those of you that rely on this blog to find out what's going on:

1. Stella had minor surgery. For those that don't know, Stella is my Hyundai Accent and I rarely, if ever, refer to her just as "my car." For the last month or so, she has had trouble on the highway and changing gears smoothly. Thanks to the great mechanics at Clary's, my transmission is as good as new and it didn't cost me my life savings.

2. I've decided to intern (for free) with Global Support with a Mission during the summer at least. This is a fairly new group that mixes my loves of Jesus and international travel. I'll be organizing stuff and making contacts for them. On a side note, if anybody out there has mad website-making skills, we need some help.

3. Catherine came out for a week. We defied death on Mt. St. Helens, traveled around in O Canada!, and relaxed in Seattle. It was great to see my former roomie again before she dives back into school again. Here's a picture of us at the beach in Vancouver, BC.