Well it is getting on here in the evening Sunday of my second week here. These have been two very good weeks, but not necessarily in the normal sense of the word. I came here partly because I felt a need to grow, and be stretched, and experience new things. And that is definitely happening and it is good for me, although, as in most situations where spiritual growth and maturity is called for, can be hard sometimes. So this hasn’t been a cake walk. They’ve also been two rough weeks in some regards. So please be praying for me that I would continue to put my focus on the Lord and growing in Him while I am here.
I am being forced to acknowledge issues in my life that I have ignored or passed over or been able to push aside most of my life. Living in a community, a group setting like it is here, is definitely challenging the ability to do that. This is a good thing, but also one of the painful things. 🙂 Part of this is the fact that I am very used to spending multiple days by myself, seeing nothing more alive than my cats. So although I love people, and being with them, and watching them, it’s definitely taken some getting used to, to being around people 24/7. And when you’re around people 24/7, you’re inevitably going to be around a few (a very few) people that are not the types I would naturally want to spend time with.
One of the classes last week was focusing on how Jesus was treating people in a certain setting, and the conclusion of that was challenging to me; basically that as a Christian I should not shy away from engaging with, or being friendly to, people I don’t really want to be around, or whom I don’t particularly like. We (as Christians) will likely be the only picture of Christ some people will ever see, and if we are harsh or rude to them, it’s not going to be a good witness of Jesus, nor will it please the one by whose name we are called.
So this is one of the things that I believe the Lord had in store for me in coming here. It’s my hope and prayer I will continue to grow in this area. I might also add that treating people as Jesus would doesn’t necessitate that I ditch my gut instincts or feelings about whether certain people are trustworthy or whatever; that is still something one should be aware of. But in general it also doesn’t mean that I should brush those people off. Sorry if this seems kind of random, it’s something I’m still thinking through.
The other big thing that still has me puzzled as to exactly how I’m to react to, and more importantly, put up with, for the next six months, is the “music” here. Ok, so maybe I shouldn’t put quote marks around that word, but seriously people, the stuff that most people think of as “worship” and use in their church services is, by and large, hideous. I don’t grasp how the general populace can stand it.
The last three Sundays I have huddled, inwardly cringing, waiting for the time when all the noise and racket and “worship” would be over and my heart rate could go back to normal. I grant you that I am pretty hard-nosed when it comes to music. That’s not likely to change. My challenge is how to relate to the others here in a Christ-like way without 1; losing my sanity, or 2; telling them what I really think about their music.
One of the things I truly don’t get is why people want to listen to or use this kind of stuff. It is not beautiful, it’s not rhythmical, and the lyrics are usually very very shallow. The only way they can get anything out of it is to play it really loud, which apparently makes them feel they are worshipping God. It merely serves to deafen and annoy me.
I am sorry if this offends any of you out there in blog land. That’s not my goal. I am mostly just sharing what’s going on here so you can pray for me for strength to make it through the not-so-good parts of Bible school while not losing focus nor losing hold of the really good parts.
Aside from that, I looked up “worship” this afternoon in the Bible. I haven’t done a full study yet, although I intend to at some point. Just a cursory examination, however, proved that the term “worship” is entirely mis-used; it has nothing to do with modern music or even singing or anything like that. It seems to be something where one meditates on the Lord, glorifying Him with reverence and fear and thankfulness. I don’t get a sense of reverence or fear in these cheap songs that pass for worship. In addition, limiting “worship” to half an hour of racket and noise is a sad departure from what I believe is the true meaning of the word, which namely should be a life focused on worshipping God in all and through all that we do: eating, drinking, cutting trees, traveling, interacting with others, walking through the woods, whatever. I think it’s just sad that the only time people think they are worshipping is when they are moving in time to some worldly music that is called Christian merely because someone added some sappy lyrics that sound Christian to some degree. I will digress now, but I am quite sure I will write more about this later, more in depth. I shouldn’t write too much now because I’m tired, and I may end up saying something I’ll regret later one. I think as it is now, it’s good.
So prayer that I can continue to work through this with grace and strength, and if people ask what I think, that I can tell them without being rude or unkind. I understand that this kind of music is what most people are used to these days, and they would have no idea where I am coming from when I say I can’t stand it. Which I can’t. But that’s because, as most of you know, I am a self-identified conservative, stubborn, road-less-traveled, old-fashioned lumberjack kind of guy.
Please don’t get me wrong. The people here are really great and I think they truly love the Lord, even though they’ve been led astray on the music thing. (haha, tongue-in-cheek here….a little bit anyway) and I don’t hate them. I just can’t stand their music.
So basically that’s what’s going on these days. Oh and I forgot to mention that not only do they have worship on Sunday mornings, they also have it Sunday evenings here at the school, AND Friday evenings.
Heaven help me Hannah.