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.

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.

Continue reading

XXXI: Cheers Old Friend


I’ll be the first to admit that death really isn’t my thing. I’m the person who has the horrible reaction, awful timing, and is frequently thinking about what food will be served after the service has concluded.

Horrible human, right?

Death is just that; it’s death. Personally it’s merely a gateway from this fragment of life into something eternal. Therefore, it isn’t the easiest thing to accept, fret, or even try to stir emotions over.

Again, horrible human, right?

While sitting with friends this afternoon, enjoying lunch with colleagues of our house church, I received a notification on Facebook. The obituary for an old friend. I’ll confess; it stirred my emotions over the time of our existence, friendship, and overall presence in unison on the earth. Continue reading

XXXI: Scarlet


i’d make the rough assumption that many protestant churches, at least once a year, cover the topic of adultery; as illustrated throughout the Bible. Namely, most notable in the Old Testament with the Ten Commandments, and along with the ammunition that is frequently utilized (and used for overkill) when tackling divorce, homosexuality, and everything else that a church member isn’t “guilty” of out the New Testament.

Am I close?

Pardon the rough tongue-in-cheek exasperation of thought, but last Sunday our church also did our yearly uncomfortable deed of covering the same topic. I knew it was coming, and I had hoped that something would come up that Sunday that would prevent me from arriving at church during the sermon. I’m only being honest with thought. Continue reading

Mobile Minutes: Disturbed Scars


Ever have a scar that begins to ache (weather change, too cold, etc…)?

Tonight I was digitally encouraged by Darco to begin a daily devotion (seven days) on marriage and commitment.

“No big deal”, I thought as I accessed the piece. First came scripture talking about one man and one woman equalling one flesh together.

“I got this”, I thought as I cruised through the plan. I accidentally got our of the application on my phone, so without thought I started digging for the plan again. When I had landed on the right page I saw a plan above the one I was working on…

Marriage: Infidelity Crisis

That’s all it took.

I logged out as fast as I could.

My mind was smacked with memories and moments from four years ago, nearly to the date when my wife-at-the-time attempted to go to marital counseling without informing me. I still remember the shaking legs, elevated heartbeat, wanting to be at my parents house while realizing I was trapped at her family’s house. I remember my brain being fuzzy, ears ringing, and a lump in my throat.

All of that, rushing back, from a stupid title.

My scars still ache.

-D-

XXXI: Not My Own


It’s 9:30 PM and I’m sitting in the living room eating tacos from the kitchen. i’ve just finished another anime episode and I fell asleep on the couch; requiring Darco to wake me up for bed. It’s been that kind of day.

Absolute exhaustion and trying times.

Yesterday was a mess. Between some student loan issues (imagine that), screwing up an assignment for class, and just a failure to adapt to the classroom, it was not a pleasant experience. I was in a rather foul mood last night by the time I left school, and I was hoping (and seriously praying) that today would be different. Thankfully, this was the case. I’m not stating that the day was perfect in comparison to yesterday, but I am going to say that God was able to change my mindset and expectations, so that I could work in an area I love with a more humble soul.

Twice, in the past six months, I’ve failed to gain a classroom position inside the school. The first time it created a horrible sense of bitterness internally, but in the end I had to accept the reality that I didn’t hold the legal requirements to teach. Why should I be mad at someone else for the mistakes I’ve made? With that memory in mind I was able to handle the news of potentially missing out on another classroom position this week. Through this process I started to see the pattern that I’ve become a hypocrite in front of my own students…

So many times I’ve complained about students having this sense of entitlement when they’re in school, “Well, I earned this.” or “Well, I deserve that.” can be heard as distant echoes down the hallway. It’s rather irritating to hear and very discouraging when thinking of what the future could hold for them in this very hostile, unfriendly world.

I say that while with the same mouth and mind I can hear myself saying, out of bitterness…

I’m mad because I’ve earned this opportunity…

I’m upset because I deserve to have this chance…

Doesn’t matter the age, the reality is the same. I’m no different compared to my own students. I have this horrible, worldly sensation that punctures my soul with greed. The truth is, is that I don’t even deserve the job that I currently have. The bitter reality is knowing that there’s nothing in these previous four years of life that indicate I even deserve the life that I’ve been given. Classroom? Trying deserving the wife I have, a supportive family, loving friends, a healthy life, etc…

Who am I to seek entitlement for a life I don’t even deserve?

it was a hard, bitter pill to swallow. Recognizing how fallen I am, and how dirty I’ve become. Realizing this is why it became easier to accept my position, cling to my school, and stop worrying about all the details and just live an enjoyable life. I can firmly say that, that in itself is a blessing that I’ve missed for years.

Maybe this is just another one of my random rants about life. i’ve missed out twice on the hopes of having a real classroom for the next school year, and I’m thankful that God’s prepared my soul to handle the understanding that sometimes His timing and our own for our lives don’t always match up.

I have to require my soul to be alright with understanding that I cannot be in control of my life.

It wasn’t my own to start with anyways…

-D-

XXXI: Failing to Save


I blame the depressing winter weather…

Heading home from dinner tonight I started thinking back to years past. Way into the years that had passed. I started to think about missed opportunities, failed acquaintances, and let downs. I feel guilty for my past. So many times opportunities were given to make the right move, and time and time again…I missed.

In several of those instances it came back to relationships. I don’t know how Darco does it, I really don’t, because the majority of the major mishaps in my life have originated from relationships. Really, I struggle with people. I place so many on altars of praise that I completely miss the point of why praise even exists. I take responsibility for damaging my first love by being a horrified, shallow example of a God-less Christian in the end. The same holds true to my first, second, and third relationship in college. Truly, I was a guy that should have never dated. I started off as a politician; smooth, charming, and kind. In the end, I was shallow, selfish, and manipulative. Can I be brutally honest? It’s been three going on four years since the divorce, and while I 100% am against divorce, I also 100% recognize and don’t blame my ex-wife for leaving. I failed that marriage because I failed to protect my heart.

Perhaps all of this is what makes Darco that much more amazing. She knows all of it, she knows the details of my failures, the things I will be judged for, and still loves me.

She’s definitely more Christ-like than she realizes.

-D-