XXXI: Failed Institution


GreetingsHands

Written in a form coinciding with political ideologies and humanities lack of conviction; I type this with sorrowful hands, a trembling heart, and a burning soul.

The institution has failed.

Perhaps one of the more polarizing pieces of publication written in the past five years churns alive on the screen. Trying to appropriately find the justification and words to transcribe the flowing thought of organic opinions is a struggle in these lazy hours of life. However, the truth needs to be shared with the public. The reality is that the institution has failed.

What is the institution? It isn’t a government, a system, agency or even a group of people. It’s a thought process, it’s a standard, it’s a form that has been recycled over the years in repetition without qualm of the people. Now, the cracks are showing, the people are vacating, and true images and colors are being displayed.

The institution…is the Church.

The institution has failed.
The Church has failed.
We have failed.

It’s troubling and nearly feeling sacrilegious in typing such troubling words. But, what else do you do when your heart breaks? When your soul is crushed? When the idea of love disappears, replaced with jealousy, rage, and hypocrisy? The truth is, the largest population in the land that I call home has left church…and they’re currently of no interest in returning.

Why are we ignoring this reality? I can walk into nearly any church today and get my fix of guitars, pianos, organs, and choirs. I can hear redemption, education, “three points and a poem”, and walk out the door. If this new generation doesn’t enjoy the comfort of fast food, why would they settle for the same of their spiritual guidance?

I’ve been in church of some sort since I was seven years old; I even went to a Christian affiliated university. I took courses on theology, studied my brain out of history of Christianity, argued nearly every denomination, and finally obtained degrees mixing sociology with a global faith. Yes, I am the person that sounds the bells when I see the failures of our past and our present. Out of twelve people inside a core youth group I was apart of when in high school, only two are currently active in their church (we’re all adults now). That was from a church in a town of 1200. What happened to the rest? Why did they stop, and why are we not going after them?

Currently, as reported by the Pew Research Center, Christians within my own homeland have decreased by nearly 10%. Much of this is being attributed to the Millennial generation not going to church, not seeing its importance, and not necessarily being reached.

From the person who struggles to step into the building each Sunday; it isn’t because of politics, it isn’t because of ease of access, it isn’t because of lack of coffee shops, it’s the struggle of feeling wanted, needed, and reminded that our objective it to rely on God and change the world.

That is my personal conviction, my sin if it’d gloss over the image a bit better. I can’t get enough of God. He guides me, He loves me, and man He takes care of me when I continue to screw up as some awful, trashy piece of human that I am. He picks me up, He cares for me, and He reminds me that I’m worth it.

The Church no longer does.

Can you imagine the strange sensation of being attached to your Father, knowing that God is the way, the truth, the life, the…everything. At the same time, nearly in a split personality, the idea of congregating with other people to hear about the political spectrum, reused candid terminology that establishes Christians similar to corporate jargon, and to repeat it weekly…really, what’s the point?

Yes, you cannot grow in your faith without the construct of the Church body (check out 1 Corinthians for a glimpse of that reality), but are we growing when we do arrive? That’s not just a corporate question, but a personal one.

I have seen cities created, societies manipulated, and hope delivered to millions. I’ve witnessed advancements in health and technology, assisting the people of this world. I’ve seen economies grow and cultures thrive. Now, why are the current leaders of those magnificent concepts no longer a part of the body of Christ? Why do we ignore the elephant in the room, and turn a blind eye to the fact that below our Sunday School/Small Group classes of 30-40 year olds; below that…it gets rather sparse in population.

I caution the Church. If you do not invest in the current fleeing generation, they will make no attempt to return. Additionally, understand that a return isn’t about their number in your box at your church; it’s about the return of understanding God’s love.

Perhaps we’re just a little too focused on us.
Perhaps we’re just a little out of touch.
Perhaps our arrogance has been called by the largest population on this planet.

We have nothing to show for these realizations except the opportunity to apologize, to ask for forgiveness, and to go forward and continue to reach this beautifully flawed world.

-D-

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#getyourpraiseon


The sky was grey, the air warm, and the atmosphere thick with rain in the near future.

I vividly remember the first 5K race I ever took part in. My ex-wife’s father was an avid runner; we’re talking about the distances such as half-marathon and marathon. At this point in life those were distances that made zero logical sense to my own cerebral cortex. Why would someone want to run that far? Why would anyone want to run, period?

The course, my first 5K, took place along the bluffs of the Missouri River in the state capital of Jefferson City, Missouri. Though it had been advertised as a ‘novice course’, it became clear along the steep grades that this course may be more towards the individuals of the…professional level.

It was a horrible experience. I walked nearly half of that course, and I remember the frustration of thinking how this family would judge, how I couldn’t catch up to the guy whose daughter I was in love with, how I was once a joke of a runner and that I would always be that joke of a runner.

I had dry heaves following this event.

My first 5K, in the rain, with a balmy time around 52:00.00.

***

The purpose of the story-within-a-story was to lay the framework of a tragic beginning relationship with an adventure that I would have never been able to predict. For the past 90 days I’ve been focused on one specific goal with training and health; running 3.1 miles (a 5K) under 20:00.00. The one consistency, whether at the gym, on the trail, or the road is that I log right at 30 miles of movement per week. I needed to create a base of mileage from which I could begin to focus on specific areas of improvement (speed, cardio, stance, etc…). Today was the 90th day of this project.

Today, at approximately 5:00 PM CST, I strapped on my shoes, running shorts, technical shirt, and took off for what I thought was going to be a brisk 6.2 miles.

I had no clue what was about to follow…

Mental Conversation: Turn right at the top of the street; go through the intersection. Stretch out the legs to get a feel for the asphalt. Breathing is relaxed, calm, and the strides are in line. No overpronation noted, not running on the sides of the feet. Keep the breathing calm. Focus. Music. Look for dogs briefly. Fix shorts. Turn right at the T-intersection, take a sharp right out onto the highway. Little traffic, hit the hill. Calm down at the peak and stretch out on the flat. The cows are running with me on the side of the road. Wave to cows. I think I started too fast. I’m moving too fast at the moment. No time to recover, keep stretching out the legs. Push up the incline. Feel the potential side stitch. Deep breath, raise the whole body with each breath. Corner is up ahead. Keep pulling through with long strides. Weather is nice. Wind is from the south. Sun feels nice. Gear feels good. Up the hill and turn right. Look for cars. Keep right, dodge left when able to see downhill. Let loose. Stop resisting downhill and let your body catch you. Pick up speed. Keep the momentum, stretch up the hill. Hamstrings are fine. No tightness, no tension. Keep breathing. Keep moving. Keep breathing. Pull farther up the hill. Hit the sign. Hit the sign, stop the clock. Hit the sign, 3.1 is met. Hit the sign, stop the clock. Embrace a 25:00.00-26:00.00 3.1 with success. That is success after a long week. Look at your watch. Glance down at your watch. No 26. No 25. No 20. 19:10. 19:10? 19:10!

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Day 90 of #5under20 #getyourpraiseon Three months ago I started training with a goal. I wanted a 5K time under 20:00.00, and win a specific race. The race is still two months out, but… …THE FIRST SUB-20:00.00 5K CAN BE SCRATCHED OFF THE LIST! Note: -Path was asphalt -Wind was to my back -Very few hills But I flew! Walking back I couldn't believe the distance that was covered in such a short amount of time. Everything clicked. When I finished I was thinking 25-26 minutes, I had no idea that I had dropped 3.1 miles in 19:10. It's February, and Team @run816 starts next month. This only excites me even more on new, faster opportunity More–> www.filingthepapers.com P.S. Under 20:00.00 equals a new pair of @oakley glasses via @darci_daugherty #running #training #health #fitness #roadracing #trailrunning #findyourstrong #faith #fit #runkc

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I have a goal. There is a specific race in a few months that I want to win; literally win. I doubt I can, to be truthful, but then again I never thought that I’d ever be in this position in my life. In six years of chaos, change, and ongoing struggles I’ve shaved off over thirty minutes from that first 5K on that rainy day.

God is so good for allowing me to move my legs every day in this crazy life. So many things I could look into the future from my past self and not be overly surprised of taking place, but running? The concept of muscle movement in a form of worship to God is something that I would have never imagined.

I hope that this is only the beginning of something incredibly beautiful.

-D-

XXXI: Memories Become Fragments


Peace.

One of the first ‘rules of blogging’ is to not apologize to the reader when it’s been some time since you’ve last posted any thoughts on your own blog.

Honestly, I’m not sorry.

I would apologize, but doing so would mean that I’m regretting the time spent with students, time spent with my wife, and time spent…well…living life. It’s almost supernatural to consider how so many vivid memories become nothing more than just fragments of a bigger picture. Turning down the trail, a mile under my belt already early in today’s crisp morning, I tried to think back on the motivation that propelled me to run for so many years.

I couldn’t envision it. I couldn’t remember it. I couldn’t grasp it. The once horrific onslaught of guilt and corruption no longer could be found in my veins. Truly, I’ve been cleaned and purified.

I haven’t written because I moved on with the life that I still have, and I’ve in turn walked away from the life I once had. Nights of sorrow are filled with days of life. Days of frustration are filled with nights of peace. This is the best I’ve slept in nearly twenty years.

Is it alright to just claim the ability of healing and redemption? Is it alright to forge life on dreams? I’ve never felt so reckless in my life like now, and I’ve truly loved life no more than currently in this strange state.

Shopping for light bulbs? Sure!
Splitting wood for the fireplace? You bet!
Grading papers while the sun spills through the window? Wouldn’t want it any other way!

I’m curiously fascinated by Darco’s take on my desire to always run against the grain of the socially accepted. Moreso now because there are so many things to this life that I’m 100% good with. I enjoy living in the suburbs, running to the local coffee shop, and spending the evening with my wife. I’m happy that we don’t try to conquer the world after a day full of work, and I love waking up to the light peering through our windows each morning.

It’s not even the point of thanking God for getting me out of once was; it’s about thanking Him for what He’s currently provided me with. Nowhere can I find Jesus suggesting that we hold onto the scars of our past, I can only find the encouragement to learn from them. I don’t read about accepting eternal guilt, I find lines and lyrics of embracing eternal grace. Why…how…could I negate the works of my Father when He’s completely revolutionized my life? Not once, not twice, but everyday that I continued to find breath.

What I didn’t think, or even envision in my own life is that revolution spins around more besides just a divorce. I thought for years that, that was going to the pivotal moment of my life. My defining moment of the legacy that was left on this planet.

Can I tell you the one thing that I’ve learned since grasping that thought?
A divorce is only one piece of the entire puzzle of one’s life. It doesn’t define anything about the individual, it’s merely another struggle to overcome, accept, endure, and embrace when trying to figure out your place on this blue dot we call home.

Darco accepts my weird scars, but she also doesn’t let me get away with using them as a crutch. A divorce five years ago doesn’t dictate if I can do dishes tonight or not. It doesn’t excuse specific spending habits in the bank account. It doesn’t justify hostility and negativity towards other humans. It’s merely a point in time.

Can I be honest with you? Part of the reason I don’t write as much on this page is because there isn’t nearly as much to share. So much about clicks, views, likes revolve around dramatic, traumatic experiences. I don’t have them to share. The cat got a cold and I think I have a few cavities, but that’s as crazy as it gets. After living some of the strangest chapters of my life already; I’m just fine with admitting that life in the view of the world’s perspective is rather peaceful.

I’m alright with conforming and not fighting against God’s desire and plan.
I’m alright with just embracing the naive, novel idea of peace.

-D-

#getyourpraiseon


I run, and I run, and I run…
Waiting for a moment of change and excitement between broken miles…
It finally happened today.
After school, in my inbox, I found the results of an application that I had placed nearly two weeks ago…

image

…since adopting running as a living joy five years ago, today I was accepted onto a running team, sponsored by a local running store.

It may seem trivial, but to me it’s another step towards future goals.

Personally, this is a monumental prayer answered. I’m not one to cast myself out in the public eye. My God is so good.

-D-

XXXI: No Formula


I did not go to church today.

I sat in our living room; marveling at the beautiful, frozen landscape that had created itself over the night.

My wife did not go to church today.

She sat beside me, half asleep, taking in the warmth of solar radiation and a pristine paralysis that surrounded her.

We did not go to church today.

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