Wednesday, August 04, 2004


So I am sitting in Real Life, it is a college ministry put on by Calvary Chapel Corvallis. Mark, the head pastor guy is leading worship. I have had my run-ins with him before, I have never been able to put my finger on why but I am exceptionally critical of everything that he does. I am usually a critical person, more so than some people, but something happens when I am around Mark. I enter a different level of critical, it seems that what ever he says, I automatically start to look for ways that he is in contradiction somewhere in the bible. Even if I have to twist a verse or two, it seems that I have some desire, no need, to be abrasive to him. The more I think about this the more I realize how sad it is. He could have something amazing to share with me and yet something, (pride? Arrogance?) is keeping me from even talking to this guy on the same level as a random guy walking down the street. I guess that I do not like the idea of someone adopting the attitude that they are superior in ANY way, especially in matters of religion.
What set me off tonight was Mark singing along in true form, I was in a foul mood to begin with, so at the insistence that everyone stand up I was hit with this thought, “Why would I stand up? How does this make me more in harmony with God?” So after the first song I sat down and started to journal some of this out, which led me to recap this last weekend, I was feeling great, I was opening up some thoughts in my brain that needed to be dusted off and preserved in a leak proof container. Needless to say my attention was not anywhere near praise or singing, than something happened that snapped me out of my little dream world. Mark was singing than he said, “Why don’t you all get down on your knees and praise the Lord”. I was floored; I have always had a problem with the whole raising your hands in church, at least when someone asks you to do it. This seemed to be a whole new level, everyone just sat there still singing a little or looking around. Mark repeats himself; “you can all get down on your knees now and praise the lord” than a few of his groupies did as they were bid and went down on their knees. My journal looks something like: bla bla bla bal why the f*** is mark asking for kneeling down??!!! Bla bla bla bla. OK so that is a word for word translation of that little encounter. I was feeling so bad that I just got up and left to go get some ingredients for the wicked good baked beans. Mmm they will be good.
Something that hit me as I was riding my bike back from Winco was that I was just journaling about my short comings and failures when the whole little encounter with the kneeling thing happened so I went from recounting my failures to being upset with this guy who I know nothing about but puts a great game face forward and hides his sin very well. It was totally a scene out of the Simpson’s, where you look over at the Flander’s and they are all holy and than back to the Simpson family who are dark and rotten. That is how I felt, looking at this guy who is oh so holy than back to my own failures and shortcomings. I guess that I just do not know what to say about that.
So I was replaying some of my life’s worst moments in my mind my great failures. Something that I thought was how far does God’s grace cover? I know that I have messed up in my life, a lot, lots of times, different places, and yet still it does not eat away at me as it does some people, I remember it and try and avoid the pitfalls that took me to those places. Still I can post an entry full of details about my past or spill my guts to just about anyone who would listen. I have a friend who is constantly riddled with the guilt of some of the same sins that I have in my life, he is truly tormented by what he has done. I do not know how to feel about this. Should I feel guilt, should I feel shame, should I even remember? (not that I could forget even if I wanted to) Or is grace understanding forgiveness? Forgiveness is putting it away right, as if it never happened so we hold on to this in our minds, as humans we continue to torture ourselves with the incessant memory. If the perfect God who remembers to wake you up every morning can forget something, you would think my leaky brain and I could do the same.

-“Men don’t follow title they follow courage” (Braveheart)