It explained why I would come home after multiple church services on a Sunday with a level of exhaustion that I couldn’t even begin to describe. Not just tired, soul level exhausted. It explained why my true friendships were few in numbers and were all with people I had known for decades. I have always been a guy with hundreds of genuinely fond acquaintance relationships and very few friendships. It explained my anxiety around situations and scenarios with lots of strangers where I had to mingle and not where I got to have the relative position of safety of being the pastor guy on stage. It explained a lot of my self-loathing that I put myself through because I wasn’t more fun as a hang, or why I couldn’t be more winsome and charming in conversation. It explained … my life.
I have found it true, in my thirty years of walking with Jesus, that God and I have a different sense of time and urgency. When I want something to move quickly and with urgency, then that seems to be the exact season that God seems to slow things down and make me wait. When I want things to go slow, then that is when everything seems to come at me all once. The fact that God and I don’t have the same sense of time and urgency shouldn’t be surprising as God and I have very different perspectives and very different priorities.
What keeps us from loving the church? Is it necessary to be part of a church to be a Christian? Why does church matter?
"If I ever reach Heaven I expect to find three wonders there: first, to meet some I had not thought to see there; second, to miss some I had thought to meet there; and third, the greatest wonder of all, to find myself there." - John Newton
How much of professional Christian life is geared so that we spend more time complaining about sinners than we spend in genuine compassionate friendship and relationship?
"And what does your anxiety do? It does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows; but, oh, it empties today of its strength. It does not make you escape the evil, it makes you unfit to cope with it when it comes. It does not bless tomorrow, and it robs today. For every day has its own burden. Sufficient for each day is the evil which properly belongs to it. Do not add tomorrow's to today's. Do not drag the future into the present. The present has enough to do with its own proper concerns." - Alexander Maclaren
What is the point of fasting? It reminds us of dependence. It teaches us self-denial. It's part of a lifestyle of devotion. It makes us patient with delay.
It has been a terribly confusing week on the internet, well for me personally anyway, and I suspect for a few others judging by the plethora of “what have we learned articles” that I am unnecessarily adding to, and I am once again really wrestling with how and when to engage issues and how and when to leave them well alone.