Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Since the TV went out, I've been doing a lot of reading.

Every once in awhile when you read something--and it's the same way with music--it seems like everything in the universe boils down to the words in front of you. Like, the timing that you read it, what you're going through in real life, the room you're in, your mood, the tone of the words--they all just come together and hit you like a ton of bricks.

It happened about a month ago that I read the epilogue to Michael Spencer's Mere Churchianity. It's a one-page epilogue and it's an entry from his journal. It's impossible that you will read it the same way I did because our contexts are different, but I hope that on some level you will connect with it as I have. This small text has influenced the way I walk and pray and fight and I hope you will find some kind of good in it.

Michael Spencer died six months after he wrote this. Be blessed...
At approximately 1pm EST, the doctor's office called to tell me there were matters of concern on the CT scan. So no matter how long one has resisted the reality that the journey will take this turn, the turn arrives without permission and without the agreement that I will be able to find some mental tactic to live in denial. The next chapter arrives at its own time with its own contents, and I must open it now.
Like it or not, this is what I must live with, worship with, pray with, and love with today. This is my life as it comes to me from God. This is the God I know in Jesus. This is the God who gives my life significance. Whatever I am... or whatever I hope to be comes in the love of this God for me. The day is about receiving God's love; enjoying God's love; placing my many, many fears in God's love. This is today: a new turn, a new chapter, the same loving Father whom Jesus called Abba.
Every word of the Gospel is written to men who will be dead but are now alive by the mercy of God. This is my life and the life of all other persons.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

NBA 2k11 and Advent

I had fasted from NBA 2k11 for 40 days. I postponed Nate Lee's budding NBA career, a season with the Warriors, reliving Michael Jordan's greatest moments, and owning Sammy Lee for 40 whole days.

When my fast ended, our TV broke...

Since then, I have been doing an involuntary fast.

When the TV went out, it honestly felt like God was kicking me in the groin. Repeatedly.
Like, I did this for you God, and this is how you're gonna reward me?? By breaking my TV? I didn't know that's how you rolled, G-man. Now the TV just sits there in our living room, staring at me as if to say, "Oh hey what's up Nate. You want me? You like how I look? Do you miss the lovin I used to give you? You miss your Warriors and your Netflix? Well too bad! I'm just a useless box taking up 43 inches of your living room now! That's what you get for buying me off Craigslist!!" Sometimes, I just want to punch him in the face. I mean, if he were a person. Which he's not.

But, in my infinite patience and wisdom, I have of course extracted a valuable lesson from this unfortunate happenstance. It is especially applicable for life right now because we are in the season of Advent, and in many ways, I am learning about waiting.

Advent is about preparing for Jesus' coming. Similarly, I am waiting for the coming of a new TV (Thanks Sammy and Black Friday!). As blasphemous as that is, I am realizing how hard it is to be on the edge of the arrival of something good, but knowing that it is still a ways off. Waiting is not fun. Sometimes we lose faith that the thing we are waiting for will ever really come. And when it comes, will it even be all that it's hyped up to be? In regards to my future, am I willing to wait for God to show me where he wants me to be? I feel like I'm perpetually trapped in this waiting, in-between period of who I am now and who I want to be. I don't think this kind of waiting will ever be satisfied. For those of us going through hard times, stuck in our Exiles of joblessness, loneliness, bad grades, or just plain weariness, do we really have faith that our waiting will be rewarded, as God always promised to Israel?

My favorite blog,, puts it like this:
The main cry of one who practices the form of prayer called “lament” is, “How long?”That’s how people who live perpetually in-between think and pray. We know we can’t go back to some golden age in the past. We know we have not yet arrived at the new creation promised to us. We live in-between. We long for in-between to end. Like children in the back seat, we must be a continual annoyance to our Father—“Are we there yet?”
For hundreds of years Israel waited. A lot of them died waiting. When Jesus finally came, he was not what they were waiting for. Maybe that's how God works. Perhaps my TV will not bring the fulfillment I am hoping for. Ok, I know the TV will not bring that fulfillment. But in the meantime, I must be ok with life post-TV and pre-new TV. I must also be ok with not knowing where my future is heading. I have to be ok with waiting. There is no point in making myself a nice little cocoon woven out of self-pity and anxiety; the waiting period is not a time of wallowing in worry. God wants me here, even if I know I am not currently who I want to be. I hold onto my faith and I hope that, by his good pleasure, I will safely arrive at home.