Sojourner


I have always been interested in the unique word sojourner. To understand what the word, not necessarily the historical name, actually means takes a bit of research and some creativity. Even in the Bible. a few translations make reference to being a sojourner throughout the land. Slowly but surely I’m beginning to have a better understanding of what this word means, and how it applies to me.

Perhaps, I should begin by offering a heart-felt apology to so many people. I feel guilt. Shame. Abandonment even. It may not necessarily make sense at the moment, but please believe me when I state my aim is not to create hate, but instead confess my own confusion.

I do not understand this world.

I do not understand this society.

I do not understand the people.

While not impossible, I do firmly question how hard it is to be a Christian within the society that I currently dwell in. Maybe that is too broad of a statement and/or question. Perhaps I have not tried hard enough to emphasize my thoughts, God’s will, or Biblical interpretations in relation to last weeks election.

I feel…nothing.

*crowd throws tomatoes*

I am sorry. This is where my heart hurts. I see one side of people thrilled about an elected leader who is going to ‘change the status quo in Washington’. I see another side that is full of fear, sadness, and anger. I’m stuck in the middle because I feel sadness for both sides. I cannot look at any person, any group of people, and suddenly feel threatened by their power. God is a lot bigger then what we measly humans can conjure up. That realization, that fact, that truth is what I hold onto on a daily basis. In fact, literally this is something I carry on me in the form of in on my left shoulder:

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

I did not get a tattoo just because I wanted one. I received one because I wanted that reminder with me. Originally, I thought it would serve as a reminder of what God has done to protect me coming out of a horrific divorce. However, five years past those tragic days I see that God’s message holds true in many uncertain events.

Reality is understanding that bad things will always plague this world. We have done this to ourselves. History demonstrates that to us on a daily basis. We will always have leaders that strike fear throughout the masses, and there will always be groups of people trying to rewrite the laws of society. This is not a situation within just the United States, this is a situation that resides within the global community.

I have watched friends, colleagues, people of faith, and people without, tear at each other for the past seven days. I tiptoe around every conversation I can, barely giving recognition to the results of the previous week. Why? Because I’m not spiritually swayed one way or another, there is no line for me. I follow the government as instructed, and I follow the God that created all of it. I try to keep my regulations and rules to a minimum, and simplify thoughts so that I do not become lost within ‘red tape’.

However, the problem with the information stated above is that it does not sit well with anyone within society anymore. I can say the things above because I am “a middle class, white, male who owns personal property”. I’m ‘entitled’ to live life risk free because of elements that I cannot control within my own identity. With that said, if I do choose to take a side, most likely either viewpoint will immediately conflict within the Biblical principles that I am to hold myself accountable to. I can gain the whole world, but in turn I can also lose my soul.

I feel like a wanderer, a person without a home. I feel the urge to apologize to every person I come across since last week because there is not a camp that I fall into. I don’t understand how Christian’s can take such polarizing stances on any specific political topic inside our society. So much of everything conflicts with the governing nature of God, Himself. I know what Christ said about government, I know what God warned about in relation to government, and I know that the direction is at all times to trust God, love like Christ, and endure the world that I currently live in.

Currently, I am not mad, angry, or frustrated with any group of people within the United States. Extremists, political groups, advocates, social media stalkers, etc…I’m sad because inside my soul; I can tell I do not belong. I feel isolated and alone because I did not take a side*, pick a camp, or reside with specific people that have the same political views. I chose none of it because none of it made sense compared to the teachings that I have immersed myself in. I do not need Church leaders to tell me who to vote for, who to be afraid of, or when to panic. I need a body that is willing to focus on what and who is important and recognize that the kingdoms of this world with come and go. Only one will forever remain.

In conclusion; I am sorry that you do not find me with a  safety pin, and I apologize that I do not join you in jokes about protestors, immigration, and racial charged groups of people. I apologize that I have very little share on social media, and my ‘political education’ appears to be turning up nothing of value for fuel of those looking.

I am sorry that this one time I will agree with former teachers, leaders, parents, and everyone else; I cannot resist but to go against the grain and not follow the standard norm. I am a sojourner; this is a land where I realize I will never belonged.

If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. John 15:19

-D-

*Note: As a citizen within this society, I would like to go on record of stating that I did vote within the election. Should be stated just as an act of clarification.

Shoes Instead of Pews


Life continues to be a world of ‘firsts’ throughout the 2016 year. So much of it has revolved around running, friendships, and breaking away from the standard system that I had grown to accustomed to over the years. The truth is; I think I am growing, and at the least I am beginning to think on my own versus accepting a reality that has been preprogrammed into my soul.

Perhaps I will say the wrong thing, upset the balance of acceptance, or maybe just rub a reader the wrong way. I would apologize for such strange ideas, but in my life, that tends to just be the direction of which my heart flows.

I am happy and sad all in the same mindset and my soul struggled to comprehend such explicit emotions…

I had an interesting weekend. Darco and I traveled north to Omaha, Nebraska. We were traveling with a group of 14ish other people with the same task; run. My challenge was a 21 mile trail race Sunday morning. It did not go quite as planned. I finished, but I finished with a limp, a waddle, and nearly a crawl. My body gave out early and I truly struggled to finish the race. Afterwards, I was not in a good spot. My body hurt, my heart hurt, and the only thing I knew I did not want to do…was to run. That is how extreme the course was in my perspective.

After a rough night of trying to sleep, and lounging around in the classroom through the day, I decided to head back out to the trails Monday night. In celebration for Halloween, our running group had decided to have a ‘costume run’. Meaning, I was on a trail between a unicorn and a clown. I told myself, I told my wife, I told my mentor/coach that I was just walking for a mile. That was all I wanted to do, still slightly disgusted with myself on the day prior.

Something happened though; perhaps it was lacing the dirty, crusty shoes, or feeling the October evening breeze, or perhaps even just kicking up a little dirt, but even in my soreness I had to run. I started running, painfully, but I kept moving. It became fun, each step, each breath, each conversation with the people that I have grown to love. A mile and a half passed by and I finally stopped for a drink and to catch my breath. I felt better. I could discuss the chemical reasons and reactions for why I felt better, but honestly my heart felt better. Even walking the mile back down to the trailhead I sang to myself, walked in the dark, and just embraced the moment. I felt clean. I felt pure. I felt free of guilt and disappointment.

What a strange sensation.

Life taught me that being dipped in the water, raising your hands, and following the chords of a guitar was to bring about that feeling. Laying hands, eating crackers, and clapping to a 4/4 beat was to bring about joy. Ensuring that you were in your seat at 8:30 Sunday morning, not leaving the building until 7:00 PM Sunday night, plus Wednesday night from 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM, that is what was to bring about glory and peace. Listening to speakers discuss fear and politics, and voting strategies because God doesn’t know what He’s doing was the norm to bring the mind under control.

I cannot be tied down anymore. I have to escape.

The biggest joy in my life is knowing that God is amazing, patient, and never gives up on me. It is so humbling, terrifying, and inspiring; it’s something that I do not deserve. It does not make sense, it is not scientific, and at last check it is not necessarily politically correct.

But it is mine, and mine alone, and my heart feels so light because of it. What a beautiful gift.

What a beautiful gift I almost lost. What a brilliant joy that I almost forgot. What a marvelous prize that I almost gave up.

I love God. I just can no longer stand the institution.

What I witnessed last night was the beautiful benefit of God’s love through the element of friendship. Friendship that is not tied to work, and not tied to the Church, but tied together with heartstrings. I could not walk into a church, complain about feeling down after a race, and expect to find grace. Instead the pain tends to get buried under budgets, and bureaucrats, and business transactions that illuminate stained glass like the office lights along Wall Street. I’ve searched, I tried, and I have torn my heart apart to find what is so wrong with me for the sake that I cannot seem to locate a building, an institution, a congregation that can put down the Facebook posts and ignore the campaign signs and just breathe life.

Likes, shares, and retweets aside…simply I ask, why did Christians choose to make being a Christian in this society so difficult?

14657530_10210384328831753_7431127227271461696_n

Maybe shoes instead of pews could change a lot of lives.

-D-

Mobile Minutes: No Shutdown


Gears are spinning, laying here, searching for rest to find me. It is another silent night with chaos in my head. Pondering futures, ignoring pasts, and attempting to forge ahead.

I’ve learned that I march to my own drum because stepping in rhythm to anyone else’s deprives myself of unique opportunities; constructing my own destiny.

I cannot focus on what was; the temptations to overflow the heart of petty history blocks out my potential, inherent responsibilities.

-D-

Mobile Minutes: Stalling


I’m stalling…
I gave into my antisocial desire to avoid people this evening. First step is to admit the issue. The second is dealing with the frustration of the letdown.

Tonight, after school, I was to join a running group to work on speed sessions. Completely voluntary, open to the public. I’d been talking on social media, asking questions about tempo runs, time improvement, etc…it was something that would go well with what I’m looking for.

At 4:30 PM a severe thunderstorm watch was issued for the area. The track for this speed session was an hour south into the city. I wasn’t sure of the weather, so…I stayed home.

Now, I’m going through the guilt. I didn’t want to go because I’m slow. I’m not a fit, attractive runner. I’m awkward when I move, and my mind easily moves faster compared to my body. I am afraid. It’s so frustrating. My mind says, “Go make new friends. Go run.” My body just freezes, my stomach starts to churn, and I talk myself out of the event.

I’m an adult right? I can make my own decisions, and I can do as I please. Yes?

No.

Maybe it’s the growing older process; I just can’t get over how much I truly struggle being around people. Not just people I know, but those I don’t. It’s embarrassing to have a complex similar to that of a teenager. Nothing makes sense. Common understanding is that it’s healthy to be around other people, it’s a cultural and societal drive.

I’m going to keep trying. I’ll get it right, it’s just going to take some time.

For now though, I think I’ll just go for a run.

-D-

But, why is it so hard to appropriately conduct in everyday life? Am I the only one that has these thoughts?

Mobile Minutes: Body Parts & Whatnot


I don’t understand how over the years I’ve been labeled as the crazy one…

I’m not playing video games in my late 20’s while my wife cleans.
I’m not living in my parents house.
I’m not wearing skinny jeans.
I’m not declaring to have an internal gender identity separate from the external gender.
I don’t own a confederate flag. No, the south will not rise again.
I don’t own a rainbow flag.
I don’t wave signs that suggest, “God hates fags.”
I have a job.
I survived off minimum wage.
I can’t stand Fox News or CNN.
I have had heartfelt conversations with Muslim’s, Hindu’s, people of different races, people with disabilities, people who are gay, and people who are straight. We all found ways to smile while talking and listening to one another.
I’ve voted for Republicans and Democrats; neither instance did I smell sulfur.
I believe in God.

How am I the crazy one?

-D-

XXXI: For The Ladies


This is for the ladies…

To pull an old adage from church camp, “This has been something that’s been on my heart”. It has been for some time, but I’ve been hesitant to say anything about it due to the multiple based and biased opinions that could resonate with the thoughts that I have been thinking over the time. Continue reading

XXXI: #Sike15 Part VI


You know those days where your head is so congested that every time you stand you get a taste of what vertigo is all about?

Exactly.

This random cold, probably obtained through exhaustion, has kept me seated most of the day. I’ve gotten up long enough to get coffee, prepare dinner, and move some dirty clothes around. That’s about it. My day has been ended, so I’ve spent the remainder of it on the couch working on messages and emails from the previous week.

Mission accomplished.

Those were the words pacing through my brain as the paved lanes passed before me heading back into the comforts of my home last night. As stated in earlier messages during the recent mission trip, I had high hopes of rekindling my love with the thing that hurt the most in spiritual warfare, damage, etc…being mission minded and having fun. Continue reading