Monday, August 17, 2009

What Jean-Claude Taught Me About Peace

Trouble is compounding. I'm not talking about "when it rains, it pours" or death coming in 3's. I'm referring to people who live lives of tumult. We all have friends or family members who exist in such a state of instability that we immediately doubt any new relationship or job that they engage in. Their lives are like Jean-Claude Van Damme in any straight-to-video movie he's ever done the splits in. Despite the fact that he's always just minding his own, he inevitably invites trouble, and disaster abounds in the form of triple-replay side kicks and slow-mo close-ups of his face yelling, "Bwaaaaaaaaa!" He is empowered by conflict. Troubled people are empowered by conflict. They exist in a tornadic crapball of drama that ills them and keeps them alive at the same time. Their hearts yearn for peace, yet their actions crush it.
Emotionally healthy people, safe people, are like bars of fresh Irish Spring that the dude just shaved with his Irish pocketknife for the sake of wafting its mossy, green goodness to his nose. The incredible thing about my bar of Irish Spring is, that if I drop that little green nugget of virtue on the ground and it gets covered in hair and bugs and such, it cleans right off in the shower. Freshness fills the steamy air and it can clean others again. That's the kind of health that changes lives. That's where God wants to take us, and I'm sure it's the abundant life Jesus was talking about.
How does one move from Jean-Claude to Irish Spring? I don't think it happens without a big ol' journey, and I think it may start with insight into oneself. Acknowledgement of a problem is the first step to addressing it. Troubled people live in a constant state of denial and blame. Peaceful people have insight. And at the core of insight is humility. Humility is really freaking hard. I guess that's why a lot of us are still thriving on roundhouse kicks, poor acting, and excuses to fight.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Looking at/for Stuff

Through the windows of my office I can behold the beauty of the rolling green hills of central Arkansas. This is the Natural State, and I am at work. I am at work and blogging.

Obviously, work is a little slow for me right now. I just started 2 weeks ago. I'm the "new doctor," and I've pretty well acquired a Norris-like status in this small, hospitable town. Kinda weird. I feel like a novelty, and yet we don't really have any friends at this point. What we do have are woods, a lake, a Wal-Mart, and a really old twin cinema made of scraps of Terminator robots, tin cans, and film reels.

We are in search for a church and have tried 5 different ones of varying denominations. I've realized my desire for real fellowship with people. I love the body of Christ and don't particularly care what label is on their sign or what they believe about election vs. free-will or whether one has to sprinkled or dunked or has to speak in tongues or know how to look up the Hebrew or Greek word and add meaning to it. I just want to meet with other believers to spur and be spurred toward love and good deeds. I want to meet with people who really love Jesus and want to make His name known in their lives. I've tasted community like that during my residency, so now I'm like the dude in Plato's cave allegory who found the way out of the cave.

Unfortunately, we haven't found that yet. We've found a lot of churches who have been doing the way things have been done since their existence in this country. They love Sunday night service. Sunday night service is the Jr. Varsity B-version of the Sunday morning service, and I wonder if anyone really likes it. I'm pretty sure it only exists as the skimmer. It pulls off the cream of the crop and lets the pastor and those in attendance know who the dedicated ones are. On a brighter note, we have taken advantage of these Sunday night services to squeeze in 2 visits to 2 different churches on Sundays. However, the 28-second welcome session announced by "Turn and shake the hands of the people around you" hasn't really fostered any friendships for us yet.

I know these green hills have to be harboring some Jesus friends for us. Until then, I'll just keep watching movie trailers while at work and weighing whether or not I want to watch them at the crappy twin cinema.