Friday, August 11, 2006

Good Stuff, Part I

The other day I was talking to a friend and he pointed out Psalm 69 to me. As “luck” would have it, I’m currently reading through the Psalms and was almost there. Last night I read through the whole thing and it hit me like a bus. Don’t worry, I won’t quote the whole thing.

“Save me, O God,
for the waters have come up to my neck.
I sink into the miry depths,
where there is no foothold.
I have come into the deep waters;
the floods engulf me.
I am worn out calling for help;
my throat is parched.”
~Psalm 69:1-3

I think I’ve mentioned before that my church small group is studying the Sermon on the Mount. The study has been like boot camp for me. Going right back to basics and drilling a whole different mentality into my brain. Think you know what murder is? Look at your anger and contempt for your fellow human beings. Think you know what lying is? Take a look at how you verbally manipulate things. Think you know adultery? How do you look at people? What kind of thoughts do you meditate on.

All of this has been very eye opening, but also just plain tiring. I’m going back over everything I say and everything I think. I’m finding it harder and harder to function in regular culture. I went to buy a sympathy card last night and it was next to impossible. Hope isn’t found in happy memories. Love isn’t the only thing that matters. Who writes this stuff anyway? Mostly I just want to tell the person that I’m sorry for their loss and that I’m praying for them. Does Oprah really write all the sympathy cards?

I think I was most discouraged at Soulfest. Here I am studying this call to the extraordinary life and I go to this place where I expect to be insulated from the world’s culture for a few days. Not so much. It was a carnival of capitalism. Anything’s for sale, at a price. Feel guilty about Africa? Give this table $35. Concerned about abortion? Give that table $20. Relevant even had post-modern Bible story postcards, which were very disturbing. And these were the good ones. The t-shirt shops were horrifying.

What were supposed to be some of the most powerful moments of the weekend were ruined for me by the presence of tv cameras, lights, sound booms and cameras. Is it real when it’s so orchestrated by the PR types? I really don’t know. But I do know that it made me sad.

I know we’re not called to live in a bubble, but right now I’m struggling. Do I become so desensitized that it doesn’t bother me to see and hear things? Do I strive to keep the sensitivity and ache all the time?


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