Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Work in Progress

I am a religion major, and I absolutely love it!  Last semester was my first semester in really getting to dive into it.  I took Christian ethics and Intro to Church History, and it was great to see what God taught me through those.  I became a lot more aware of the history of the church, different issues that the church has dealt with and is dealing with, and how Christianity impacts ways of looking at different issues.

This semester I am taking World Religions and Intro to New Testament.  I feel like these two classes go well together, because for both of them it requires me to be a little more open minded.  I also feel like questions that were arisen to me last semester that have been on my mind, are ones that are prevalent in these classes, and that is awesome!  Some of these questions include:  what are the similarities and differences between religions?  Can one examine a different religion and grasp it without joining in it?  Can someone be of two different religions?  What does this mean to be a person of faith studying different religions?

Also questions of textual criticism regarding the New Testament:  what is this?  How are we supposed to judge this and several more issues that are very interesting to me, but I can't formulate into a question at this point.

I think one of the reasons that I love my major so much is truth.  Everyone is searching for truth in life and wanting to know where it comes from.  But the reality is that you can't know everything.  You just have to have faith and trust in God that everything will one day make sense.  I love this!  I love learning about the Bible.  I love learning about the different Popes, Luther and Jonathan Edwards.  I love learning about different religions.  I love that there is always more to learn and more to discover.

That is something about my minor too... music.  I will never be the best, but I always want to learn and discover more about the instruments I am playing and the music I am reading.  There is always more to know and ways to improve myself, and that is never ending.

I am a work in progress, and I am so excited to keep on learning (even if sometimes I don't like to...). :-)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Don't Close Your Eyes

I work at a Christian camp, which if you read this blog, you already know.  Over the past few months I have really struggled as to whether or not I should return there this summer.

Throughout last summer I felt like God was telling me to return for half the summer, but I was still really unsure.  A lot of my friends were saying that it was their last summer, and that made me feel a little uneasy, but secure in the fact that I knew it would be ok if it was my last as well.  Campers kept asking me if I was coming back or not.  This was a really hard question.  I just really felt like God was telling me to go back for part of it.  At the time I was thinking of studying abroad for half the summer, so working the other half would be really convenient.

This past fall semester however, the doubts really got to me.  I really realized that none of my close friends were going back, including the guy I was dating at the time, who I had worked there with.  Because I was unsure about the path God was going to take us on and the difficulties of the long distance, I was really unsure.  A bunch of my camp friends came and visited me in September, and I remember the exact moment when sitting around my kitchen table someone posed the question, "Is anyone going back this summer?"  Everyone said that they probably weren't or they weren't for sure, and that they felt like God was done working with them there.  For me, this was confirmation that I shouldn't go back.

Fast forward a few months and I was still pretty sure that God didn't want me to go back, but I hadn't really given it much thought.  The thing is, I had absolutely no idea what God wanted me to do with my summer, and that was unsettling.

Then the guy I was dating and I broke up.  The next day I was spending some much needed time with God, and I started praying about what He wanted me to do this summer.  I was looking up different ministry programs and volunteer opportunities in the Waco area, and then I just felt this nudging on my heart.

In high school I was really involved in this retreat called Celebration.  If I hadn't gone to it, my life would be completely different.  I am so thankful to God for blessing me with it.  At one of my last weekends the spiritual advisor was talking about how we are to know when God calls us to something. She said that it is the gut feeling that one has that just does not go away no matter how hard you try.  This message has stuck with me throughout college and really helped me to discern what is His will is for me.

So when I felt God nudging at me that day, I realized that he had been nudging me over the past several months.  I knew he was likely calling me back.  I made a pros and cons list and realized that all the reasons I didn't want to go back were petty ones, such as a lot of my friends not coming back.  But then I realized that there was something much more important than that, and that is the girls I would be ministering to, and the lives I would be impacting for the Kingdom.  I started filling out my application, but didn't submit it yet.

Over the next several days I was still trying to determine what God wanted me to do.  I talked to one of my best friends at school and camp a lot about it, and he basically told me that if I felt like I needed to go back, I needed to apply.  So in a moment when I was feeling sure that this was in God's plan, I submitted the application.

Fast forward a few weeks and I heard back that they want me to come back!  Now I just had to make a decision... and I have decided that I am going to be working at camp Cho-Yeh weeks 1-5, and then doing summer school in Waco, either at MCC or Baylor.  It's been a hard decision, but it's been really cool to see how God has been working through it.

I am so blessed!

I am so blessed to impact the lives of girls for 5 weeks this summer, to grow in who I am, and to make new friendships with the staff while God continues to bless me in new ways.  I don't know what God has planned for me, but I know that this is where he wants me for this short period of my life.  It's been a long road to come to that realization, but I'm glad I've finally arrived!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The key to un-Locke

The other day a friend and I went to eat right before we went to a class that was 2 buildings away.  When we were walking between the buildings, my Iphone slipped out of my pocket.  I didn't notice.  When we got to class the first thing I looked for was my phone because I wanted to put it on silent.  But as soon as we got there I realized it was missing.  I then quickly retraced all my steps back to the dining hall, but couldn't find it anywhere.  All throughout class I was upset.

After class we tried calling my phone.  No answer.  Tried again.  No answer.  Then I realized that earlier in October my younger brother had made me get a tracking device for my Iphone.  At the time I was annoyed (especially when I realized that him and my mom would stalk me going up or down I35), but when I remembered that I had a tracker on my IPhone, I wasn't annoyed anymore.

Long story short, my brother tracked my phone and we realized that it had been taken.  The guy was all over Waco, and eventually settled down at the SLC (workout building), so we thought he may have dropped it off there.  I started to head there after a Sing meeting when my mom texted me on another friend's phone.  She said that the phone was now on the move and gave me a number to call the cops.  My friend I was with suggested I try to call my phone one more time.  I did and to my surprise someone answered. He said that he had found my phone and was waiting for someone to call it so he could return it.  My friend came with me and we met the guy behind the religion and history building, and got my phone back!

But here's what I think really happened:  

The guy was going to steal it, and so he didn't answer when it rang the first several times (remember when he said that he was waiting for someone to call it? there were 7 missed calls during that time).  Then my mom and brother started tracking my phone.  My brother set off an alarm through the tracking app that made a really loud noise and put a urgent message on the screen.  I think that's the point when the guy realized he was being tracked and decided to give it back when it called again.  When my mom told me to call the police, she was wanting me to give them my permission to track the guy down.  They were going to get on the phone with my brother on the tracking app to figure out where this guy was.

This is where my brain starts to wonder what was going on in his head.  The age old question of, "Are people inherently good?" comes to mind.  Are they?  This is something I'd like to believe.... but are people really this way?  Or are people inherently bad?  Are they born good and then corrupted?  or born bad and then become good over time?

I really like the think that I think the first.  The John Locke answer.  I like to think that all people generally have a good moral basis and will do the right thing without there being a consequence.  But I think my opinion on this has changed somewhat.

I'm not saying that I think we're bad, but the issue of good vs. evil is a lot more complicated that just what meets the eye.  It's a complicated situation that has eaten away at people for centuries.  When I look at a baby, I think of innocence and tranquility, but when I hear of serial killers, I think that they must have been a little messed up in the head to have the lack of emotion and care to do such a thing.  This then brings up the nature vs. nurture argument that is probably more relevant than the good vs. evil thing in this sort of situation.

I'm starting to think that maybe most people are born "good", but then over time, as life, culture, love and heartbreak happen, people change.  Some people are brain washed into believing something negative they'd die for.  Some people may feel like they are predestined to an outcome, or a social stereotype, so they end up fitting into that roles without thinking.  All situations differ, but I think that most people deep down know the right thing to do... at least at the most simple concepts: stealing is wrong, murder is wrong... common sense if you will.

So I feel fine about letting the guy go, because maybe he learned a lesson of some sort.  Maybe he wasn't even intending on stealing it, I was wrong and he was indeed trying to give it back.  I'll never know.  It doesn't matter.  All I know is that he is God's child and no matter what his intentions were, I am to love him and forgive him.  After all, it is just a phone.