Sunday, January 07, 2007

Faith and Friendships

This is my first really long entry in a while. I don't expect you all to read the whole thing so don't feel guilty for scrolling down, seeing all the text and moving on to your next blog. I understand. I wrote this more for myself than anything else.

I've been thinking a lot lately about two things. My religion and my friends.

My Religion: It seems as though religion is on the way out for much of our society, and here I am thinking about becoming a theologian. I'm trying to study Koine (Biblical) Greek in my spare time in order to get a jump on the language for when I go to seminary. Next year I want to do the same with Latin. I have been on a reading track through the Old Testament trying to read the whole thing before the end of the academic year. I have been thinking a lot about which Seminary I want to apply to for attendance next year, and all of this had left me thinking. "Why am I interested in this stuff?" "Why am I not more involved in my faith?" "When will I start to see myself becoming a better person, someone who looks more 'Christian'?"

I think about people I know. I think about Jason Lantz. I think about John Geib. Together, they are some of the most loving, Christ-driven people I know, and it shows in everything they do. I am not this way. I don't think most people would watch me and think "Man that guy gets it." I want this to be the case, and I know that in order for it to be the case I have to start by taking my faith more seriously, but it's tough.

Why? Why is taking your faith seriously so difficult? Why is it so easy to ignore Scripture for a long time? Why is it so easy to forget to pray? Why is it so easy to drop from my consciousness the thing that I know has to be more important to me than anything else in the world? Why is it so easy to curse my lungs out and make fun of people, complain and gossip about stuff than it is to look at people as people and love them right there? I don't know.

My Friends:
I've been thinking about how blessed I am with a group of friends, so large that I can't even begin to keep in touch with the people I want to keep in touch with. There are people in my life that I know I will always be around, people that will always be a part of my life. Babs and Carrie. Sean and Julie. Cris. Ryan and Heather. JR. Branden Mast. Lloyd and Suzi. Sarah Lantz. Wendy and Jay. Etc... you know who you are.

There are new friends in my life. People I've just recently met and I hope to stay in touch with for the rest of my life. People I want to remain close to and grow deeper with.

Then, there are friends in my life who I just wish I could spend more time with. These are the friends that really tug at my heart strings because I just know that I'm not going to spend as much time with them as I want. There are just so many amazing people in the world that I would love to spend time with and know that I'm not going to have the time to do so. It makes me sad thinking about it.

Then I think about the people that have become my friends because of Rachel, and I'm getting overwhelmed. There are just so many lovely people in my life or next to it, and I'll never have enough time to become as close to them all as I wish I could become.

Then I think about High School. I didn't really have friends in High School and I'm sure it's as much my fault as it was everyone else's. I was a bit of a moron, and tried as hard as I could to just be other people. As a result, I was as fake as everyone I made fun of, and didn't form any real life long friendships. And yet, there are the Adam Koehlers, the Kevin Vincents, and most of all the Peter Cummings out there. People I really miss, and I'll never have the time to spend with them. The first time I wrote this out, I tried to name all the people who fit these molds. But I counted out sixty eight names, and then realized that there were several I left off, and so I went through and deleted all the names. It's not possible for me to count up everybody and make an exhaustive list. That's amazing.

It's a shame. There are so many people in my life and just no time.

Then there's my family... and Rachel's family... and the students I'm working with now... and the students I worked with last year... holy cow. It doesn't end.

Then there are the people who have made me who I am today. Marcia. John Geib. Dr. Case. Dr. Waalkis. Dr. Polet. Dr. Floyd. Andrew and Lynn. Celia. Jeff and Linda. Pastor Taylor. Harry Winters. And the people who would never even imagine that they played a part in making me who I am today. Kevin Vincent. Matt Harbert. Meg Swansinger. Mrs. Richards...

At the end of it, I guess I'm just thankful. And maybe, I am becoming more like Christ than I know. Christ loved people, and maybe that's the biggest blessing he's given me. An increased capacity to love.

Now if only I could usher that capacity on to the people who drive me nuts...

So thanks. To everyone who reads this blog on a regular basis. To all my friends who don't. To everyone who has helped me become who I am today... If you were here with me right now, we'd sing the Golden Girls Theme Song really loudly.


Jim Elek said...

Yeah me too!! GO BROWNS!! Plus, I think of you as the guy who gets it, and I think most people would agree with me. I may not be much of a Christian, but I have read the Bible and I do rememeber most of the stuff that it says; stories, lessons and all. I seem to remember that Jesus was a guy who walked around trying to help people who really needed him. Right? Who needs a preacher that preaches only to people that already "get it"? I have become, maybe in your eyes and the eyes of people that would consider themselves "strong" or "rooted" or "devoted" Christians, somewhat of a non-christian. This was a conscious decision, because I don't like to be around what I would consider "religious" people. We've had this conversation before, and we'll have it again. What I get from Josh is this: Christ is a manifestation of love. This manifests itself in you if you show love for others. That is my little brother in a nut shell. And anyone who thinks that you are less of a Christian than them because you may use profanity needs to re-examine themself; look at the log in their own eye and realize that only one can judge them as Christians. That one is me, Jim Elek......just kidding, Char would never let me have that much power. By the way, your friends are really good people nad I am sure that the people in your life consider themselves lucky to be counted among your friends. I on the other hand have no choice due to blood, so I am stuck with you and your sappy assed blogs. Just kidding!!

Love- Jimbo

Joshua said...

Ah Jim. You have such a sweet spot, surrounded by crass indulgence. What fun.

Go Browns.

P.S. You're a bigger sap than I am... who's the one with three rescued dogs?

Anonymous said...

Well, I think that the folks we think have it together the most, are sitting in their kitchen saying to themselves, if only I was like so and so...he really has his shit together!!!

Joshua said...

Except they aren't allowed to say shit. Or are they???

Tim & Deane Elek said...

Joshua, I agree with Jim. Your faith and commitment are visible and tangible. We see the love of Christ in you. You are experiencing a conviction to become more disciplined to continue growing. Conviction is not necessarily a negative thing. It is like a progress report that says, "Well, you are at a point when I can show you what's next. Here's what you need to do now to go to the next level."

If you ever get to the point you feel you are on top of things perfectly, you will have become one of those "relgious" people that Jim and others find so offensive. And, we will not recognize you.

I don't know why it is so easy to be undisciplined. I experience the same thing, and these times are "desert dry" periods for me. I just know that when we are in daily study and prayer, solutions and peace come to us, life is calmer, and our hearts are more tenderly attuned to the hearts of others.