Little Town of Abilene

I have a somewhat weird confession to make.

I really like Abilene. It feels like home.

There are really only three places that qualify as “home” to me: (WARNING: CHEESY LINE COMING)

1. Plano. This is home because its where I grew up.  Allen is quasi-home because my parents moved and obviously I like being around them, but its still new enough that it hasn’t quite made the list yet. So Plano takes the top spot.

2. Abilene. Six years of my life, some major life events, not to mention a ton of extended family and memories of my childhood make Abilene a lock for the second spot. I think it will always feel like home, no matter how irritated I am with ACU. Thankfully my attachment is to more than just the college. 

3. Wherever Abby is. This may sound lame, but bear with me.  We’ve moved somewhere around 8 times since we got married, living in Houston proper, Sugar Land, Katy, Denver, Plano, Allen, and soon to be Meadows Place.  Since my parents moved from the house I grew up in and we haven’t stayed in one living place for more than two years, calling a specific location “home” seems weird. However, all of those places (and the apartments/homes we inhabited) feel like home to me because I was with her and we were living our lives together. 

I bring this up because we’re currently staying in a new house in Abilene, the 9th (give or take a couple, not counting dorms) house I’ve  slept in while in Abilene, and I still feel very much like I’m home.  The old song “A house is not a home” speaks truth…just because there are walls and a roof doesn’t mean its a home.

There’s a bunch of Christian applications here, and it would be disingenuous of me to wax poetic about them because I didn’t have that in mind when I started writing. A church is not The Church, nice clothes don’t make you a better Christian, etc.

Really, I just miss my wife, but I’m blessed to be in a place that feels like home for the holidays.  I hope you all have received the same blessing.

Have a good one.

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Big Boy Pants

One of the most commonly misused verses in the Bible, slightly below Jeremiah 29:11, is Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him.”  Where we often mess up is in the definition of “good,” or at least our application of it.

We, especially here in suburban, middle-class America, have this bizarre notion that God owes us something (partially due to the prosperity gospel from our friends like Joel Osteen) and that “good” means we will be happy, healthy, and wise.  That’s one issue. The bigger issue is that this completely perverts the way we view God: God is not our servant. We serve Him, not the other way around.  There’s a weird idea called Cat-Dog Theology that kind of explains this idea. “A dog may look at you and think, ‘You feed me, you pet me, you shelter me, you love me — You must be god!”  On the other hand a cat can look at you and say, ‘You feed me, you pet me, you shelter me, you love me — I must be god!” There’s a reason the idiom is “fat cat” and not “fat dog.”  In America…we are all fat cats.

In our class on Sunday morning we’ve been doing a brief, rough overview of Job. I used to hate that book…it seemingly goes against everything we know about God being merciful and benevolent. Most of that theology comes from verses like Jeremiah 29:11 and Romans 8:28…God is merciful, God is benevolent, but also, GOD IS GOD. And we forget that a lot.  Reading Job with a mind that you need everything good to happen to you leaves you uncomfortable and unhappy.  Reading Job with a mind that God is in charge, always, and does things for His definition of good…that’s an entirely different ballgame.

Job spends 37 chapters in a kind of nebulous state between anger and confusion and contentment and depression, finally letting it boil to the point where he asks God why all this stuff is happening to him.* God’s response (side note: how awesome and terrifying would it be to have God directly answer your questions? I think I would simultaneously be in rapture and soil myself. Which seems accurate.) to Job is, in essence, “Put on your big boy pants. Let’s talk.”

The verse actually reads: “Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.” (Job 38:2-3)  God never directly answers Job’s questions. He never explains Himself. He never apologizes for the chaos He’s thrown into Job’s life. He just…is.

He reminds Job that He created the world.  That He “laid the foundations,” “marked its dimensions,” “shut up the seas” and “made the clouds.” God answers Job’s complaints with the ultimate “Because I said so.” For the longest time this frustrated me, but it was because I wanted God to answer me…I mean, Job.

That’s what this all boils down to, isn’t it? We want God to answer for the unsavory things that happen in our lives, and when He doesn’t apologize to Job we feel the sting personally…that He won’t apologize to us either.  But God never has to apologize for what He does or does not do in our lives. He created us, He sacrificed for us, He gave us life and life eternal…because He said so.

Because in God’s eyes, its good.

 

*For a better idea of what “stuff” means, read Job 1 and 2. It isn’t pretty.

Day 1066–The Conqueror

Turns out I actually enjoy writing.  I’ve missed this blog, and I’ve thought about coming back to it multiple times. I just…didn’t. Or probably more accurately, I felt like I couldn’t.  Embarrassment is a strong emotion, especially when butting up against a very strong sense of pride.

The common idiom is “falling off the wagon.”  I haven’t fallen off so much as plummeted, only to be caught by the plush cushion that has surrounded my body in the interim.  Since the last time I’ve written, there are a few important things that have transpired, many of which have contributed to my largesse. We bought a house (and are slowly moving into it), I’ve started a new job at an incredible school (teaching science…that’s been special), and Abby has made tremendous leaps in her job (which has led to her somehow working more and less at the same time).  Those are merely excuses; not writing and not taking care of myself is inexcusable.

This will be the last “Day” entry on this blog. Keeping track of days and food and whatnot is tedious and utterly unsustainable.  Writing about God and school and life and, yes, occasionally about cooking/baking/consuming is.  So hopefully I’ll write what I want, when I want, and you all will be blessed by what God puts in my heart and types through my fingers.  For I have conquered my pride, overcome my embarrassment, and Lord willing I’m back.

Bonus points if you get the reference in my title…I’m not only heavier than when we last spoke, but getting back in the classroom has caused my nerd-quotient to go through the roof.

Have a good one.