From July 9
Today was also the first day of my Christ Year. A significant age marker and potentially a turning point in my life.
I have now attained the age of Christ when He died and resurrected. He maximized every aspect of His existence up until then and saved the world.
My hope and resolve is to maximize this coming year, to draw closer to Christ, to reflect, to learn, to understand.
Fitting, that this journey forward should begin with a return to my origins. The hub of my family. Geographically close to where I was born.
I need these moments to return to my beginnings. Wherever I go, whatever I do, I carry my family with my. My big, boisterous, irreverent, dysfunctional, Filipino family. Similarly, my medium, quiet, petty, sensible and traumatized Polish/Italian family. They are me, in my epi-genetics, family patterns and sometimes least favorite instincts.
If I’m to pursue greater redemption and sanctification, the Lord will be working to reshape the collective impact of all these people on me. I need to know who they are, so I can honor them, work around them, and hopefully transcend them.
Christ Year. As much about questions as anything.
Who is Christ?
Why did He have to die?
Why does He save some and not others?
Who am I?
Who am I in Christ?
How do I respond to Him?
How do I express Him in the world?
How do I fully align myself with His values and still have a meaningful presence in the world?
In faith, there are answers to these questions. Maybe not all this year, but I’m going to ask anyway.
Walk with me.
July 13, 2016
Mid-way through week 1 of the Christ-Year
I settled on writing 70 posts this year. This is more than once per week, but not as often as once per day, and 70 is a Biblically sound number. So. There.
Months ago when I thought about what this year would be, I anticipated(dearly hoped) that it would be a year of insights and epiphanies and accomplishments. Something romantically, adventurously breathtaking.
What has actually happened is that this year begins in the midst of quite a few transitions. Am I surprised? Should I be?
Less than a fortnight ago, I left the longest job I’ve held thus far, and the team with whom I’ve been the closest ever. This was my community mental health job. Under their care and rigor, I transitioned from burnt out naive recently-graduated-masters-student to fully licensed professional seeking ways to expand his career. I walked in and out of and back into recovery, in and out of and back into faith in Jesus, and came back to a place of loving my wife all while working with individuals with highly chaotic lives and helping them to find some semblance of stability.
Literally my last day there was my first day at my new faculty position. I’m still trying to wrap my head around me being a professor with a full-time credit load having an office in the same hallway as the men and women who were my professors ten years ago.
I wonder what they think when they see me and if it’s something like, “Wasn’t that the kid in the trench-coat and the bleached blonde hair?”
A more burdensome transition is with my local church. We’ve started having conversations about what our long term plan is for church involvement and membership. We’ve talked about visiting other churches. We’ve talked idly, we’ve talked earnestly. We’ve tried not to talk about it in the heat of emotion.
This is a perplexing and complex subject for me, particularly in light of past writings. In the past, I’ve written many words about staying with churches, even in the face of disagreements, discomfort and frustration. The act of restoring relationship after conflict is beautiful and quite inspiring. It’s also exhausting, and I’m exhausted.
There’s more to say here, but for now, I feel unsettled, and that feels strange at the beginning of the Christ-Year, the year that was supposed to be about building on things and ascending to new heights of insight and inspiration. Getting to the top of the pyramid and spiritually actualizing. Instead, I find myself needing to address seriously basic spiritual questions like, where am I going to go to church on Sunday? Am I going to go to church on Sunday? What do I really value in a church? Do churches really value me? Do I have a place? A function? An acceptable contribution?
I suppose I thought that by age 33, and after all the relational work that has happened, I would have these questions settled by now.
Lord Christ, what do You have to teach me here?