Personal Update, Or I Attempt To Excuse The Lack Of Posts Despite Being Unemployed

My wife can’t believe I have the ability to be quiet. But that’s exactly what it’s been like ’round here. I celebrated my 27th birthday Tuesday, and we turned the holiday & birthday into a family trip up to the Columbia River and Mt. Hood area.

The blog hasn’t been as hyperactive the last few weeks – which is funny since you’d think I’d have tons of time to post since losing my job in April. Oddly enough I barely find time to read blogs, let alone work on my on blog, and I only get that time when the wife and daughter are tucked away in bed. However by then inspiration just ain’t flowin’. My days are spent job searching and hanging with my ENERGETIC daughter. We do another round of baby proofing each week because she loves to discover.

I’ve had two interviews thus far and I have one today. Thank you for your support, I’m amazed you guys ask how its going. Hopefully I’ll have news soon, I’m more hopeful than I’ve been in months. And I’d like to write some posts soon, too. 

Too Dark To Find A Light On It’s Own, Or Charlie Writes A Late Night Post

If this were a Christian theory class – after welcoming everyone and mentioning the beautiful weather we’d be having I would say to the class that a Christian is one who is not only moving himself from the darkness to the light, but is also in some way moving the world from darkness into the light. I’d say something about how we cannot isolate ourselves from the dark places of the world and only hang out in holy circles, as the dark places of the world won’t fix themselves. They won’t heal themselves. Instead the Christian charges forward into those places and offers a light, a redemption, a savior.

I’m writing this post at nearly 2am. I got off work tonight way late, later than I ever have due to the worst incident I’ve ever witnessed in my near 8 years in the field of social/human services.

What a theory – going into the dark, murky, evil places of the world and trying to bring a light. Man it sounds beautiful. And man is it the worst to be there.

And truth be told it sure doesn’t seem like I brought much light. Nights like tonight make me want to walk away, and say trying to bring redemption to this place isn’t for me. I truly wonder why I bother. I know all the cute answers about how I don’t know the impact I’m having and what not, I know because I’ve used them on myself.

You can tell this is a late night post. I offer no resolution. There is still much ugliness in the world. It’s despairing. It can seem hopeless. And I know it won’t change on it’s own, as much as I want it to. But at the same time, I don’t want to go back out there.

Did You Hear A Cricket?, Or Why You’ve Been Restless All Week

It’s been pretty quiet round these parts lately. And I apologize this is the first I’ve written in a couple of days – I’ve sat down each night to write blog posts and wound up in bed with half a post written that I didn’t believe in. I resist the temptation to post just for the sake of posting, as I’d rather publish something I’m excited to hear your thoughts about – not something I think was boring.

Hopefully I’ll be back next week, if the life returns to me.

(and for the record – no new job news. I’m blown away that you all ask from time to time.)

Quick Update, Or The Most Boring Blog You’ll Read Today

Hey all my wife, daughter and I returned from our trip to visit family on the east coast last night. Originally the trip was only going to be for a week but I finagled my part-time job and the airline into allowing us to stay longer. So that’s why I’ve been quiet.

I haven’t replied to any comments here on the blog for two weeks due to this vacation and also not having regular internet access. Rest assured though I am truly looking forward to hearing how I offended you, and I hope to get to them semi-soon. I also didn’t read your blog while I was gone, but don’t take it personal. Well maybe 85 not personal/15 personal.

To conclude – here’s an adorable photo of my wife and daughter taken this morning.

Noelle shows off her enormous smile. Allie just looks beautiful as always.

Visiting My Old Church, Or A Lesson In Incremental Maturity

This weekend we visited the church I grew up in. I quietly left in college for a sexier mega church not so bent on condemning those outside of their walls. Almost always when I write off stuffy religion and judgmental conservatism on the blog I’m picturing the red plush pews, the wooden cross and Christian flag on the stage and the 80 year old organ player drowning out our dull, routine-enslaved voices. I am picturing the church of my youth.

For all my emphasis on forgiveness I don’t know if I can say with confidence that I’ve forgiven that childhood church for the innumerable ideas planted deeply in my mind that still cause me to wonder if I’ve gone off the deep end and abandoned God’s holy and cautious truth.

I barely survived my upbringing in the faith. Plenty of my peers didn’t. I’m still undoing much of what I was taught there, and I’m amazed at how it creeps up even though I hadn’t been to the church in half a decade.

I have villain-ized the church some in my head, so it was good to come back and see some positives. The people are polite. I think they are well meaning and aren’t malicious or purposefully distorting the truth. I must credit them that the church supports dozens and dozens of missionaries around the world.

I was more than surprised to learn that the church is growing. I think I’m learning that God truly does use everything – and though most certainly they are not the church for me others seem to be finding much life there. So I’m happy for them that they are growing. I felt no need to challenge anyone on their beliefs – they can go ahead and believe the Second Coming is imminent because of all the natural disasters lately and that Obama is likely the Anti-Christ (they aren’t totally sure).

Ultimately, I think I’d be bitter at almost any church I would have grown up in. I really think that’s true. I think it’s immensely difficult to raise someone in Christianity and not turn it into a legalistic religion. The line really is quite fine. Though certainly I learned how to efficiently judge and condemned in those “open” doors, almost everyone has to visit that aspect in order to know it’s not the way of Jesus. So I don’t blame them too much, they are common and easy mistakes that I too make, still.

What kind of church did you grow up in (if at all)? Is it very different from the faith you have now? Do you have any bitterness? Was it difficult to visit it after a long absence?

I’ll Be Meeting God In The Air FRIDAY, Or Charlie Takes Vacation Again

No I’m not saying I’ll meet God in the air on Friday because I’m so holy that I’ll be raptured a full day before anyone else. I’m saying that because tomorrow I’m flying with my wife and daughter to the east coast where I was born and raised and because anytime I travel God seems to take advantage of the reflective mood movement induces and speaks to me.

I’ve written about this personal phenomenon before, where I do some of my most prolific journaling and soul searching while traveling. So I’ll be meeting God in the air – a full day ahead of Harold Camping!

I’ll be gone all next week with limited internet access (my family doesn’t have internet in their home), and I’ve scheduled once again posts that I call b-sides, though I hope you’ll read them anyway.

And as for the rapture scheduled on Saturday – well I feel for my buddy who is getting married that day as I’m sure he’d like to consumate the marriage before the rapture occurs. I’m not worried, not only because I don’t think anyone will know the date or time, but also because I don’t believe in the Rapture altogether.

In my understanding of things heaven is to be held on earth, and God does not isolate us from our suffering world but instead sends us to the heart of it. (Not only that, the Rapture theology is based poorly on one piece of Scripture a relatively new idea in Christian thought).

Wish my family luck on the airplane, as Noelle does not sit still, ever, and does not nap well. At least we won’t be hitting any ascending believers, I suppose – what a terrible way to go so close to glory.

Do you believe in the Rapture? What do you think the End Times will look like? Or are you so tired of hearing about it lately you’ll pass?

When God Drops The Silent Treatment, Or Share Your Story Day

I just haven’t had it lately. I’ve tried to write posts but nothing was coming. So I’ve decided if I have nothing to say then keep my mouth shut! So the point of this post is to hear from you. 

A few years ago my best friend and I were driving around after he just had a really tough day. One of those days when nothing was working out – in fact just the opposite – everything seemed to be disintegrating. As we drove I began to pray for God to show up visibly in his life and love my friend.

This may make me sound like a bad Christian but I can’t say I’ve heard God all that much. Maybe 2 or 3 times I am fairly certain. But this time I very distinctly heard God speak back to me. And this may cause you to doubt that it truly was the voice of God, but he was a bit sarcastic…

“Yeah Charlie, that’s why you are in the car next to him.”

The prayer ended after that, save for my reply of “… oh.”

A rule of thumb could be “if you’re praying for it, then it’s probably because you don’t want to do it.” We often pray for God to do things we are capable of doing. I learned not to pray for people to feel God’s presence or really be moved by him – that’s precisely why we are here. God doesn’t have to have  a church – a body here on the earth – he’s plenty powerful and he certainly knows he’s far more efficient. God does not just rely on welling up love in their spirits – he has us here to be his flesh and blood, to love visibly. So that when someone is loved it is by a face with a name. So it sinks deep.

So that’s one of the few times I’ve heard from God. Do you have one? Please, share. To me, the power of a church is that on the days when God doesn’t feel as real we get to hear someone one’s stunning encounter with him. What is one time you are quite certain you heard from God? How did God speak? What was the context? What did he say? (How deep were you into coffee that day?)