Walking out…

Perhaps it’s the heat of summer, maybe it’s the LA mindset, or maybe I’m finally finding some personal freedom… whatever the reason, I’ve noticed I’ve been walking out of things lately. Here’s what I mean:

Class
This is not my proudest moment, but consider the circumstances: eight hours of class (six of which was spent slowly and painfully picking through the Gospel of Luke), consumption of one half of a huge airpot of coffee (can we say over caffeinated!?), and my frustration that this class had failed my expectations. These, in addition to online chatting with classmates, led to a state of humor and delirium that gave me the giggles. I started laughing so hard I couldn’t hold it back, and I had to walk out of class. Again not my proudest moment, but it sure felt good to laugh that hard.

Church
Here it is: I’m having a hard time with church lately. I think it’s a side effect of being in seminary, but it’s really confusing and frustrating. While I’m being spiritually fed in classes, readings, conversations, the 60 minute church service has become unsatisfying and uncomfortable. It’s not for lack of trying, believe me. In addition, my sporadic travel keeps me from regular attendance, and my roommate who I normally go with to a local congregation, is gone for the next 6 weeks. Regardless, last Sunday I was so thirsty for the presence of God that I willed myself to go alone and put up with the rituals of the suburban attractional church. I sat down and waited …

A recent Fuller grad preached so full of theological wit that made me feel I was more in the classroom than church. I started to grimace, but I kept with it … until he flashed a timeline of Israel’s history on screen. This was the exact same timeline I had been studying the past four hours for an Old Testament midterm the following Tuesday. My heart and hungry spirit sank. Another study session was not what I needed to connect with God. I contemplated sitting there as a practice of endurance, but I couldn’t do it. I didn’t have the strength. I got up and walked out.

Movies
I’ve seen some pretty crazy movies this past year, especially like Trade, Teeth, or Adrift in Manhattan at Sundance. I’d say I’ve developed a tolerance to sit through almost anything. I can resign it to a filmmaker or Hollywood’s vision, and appreciate it for what it is on its own terms. Yet doing so has desensitized me to the jarring nature of film.

Last night, a friend and I went to see Goya’s Ghosts with Natalie Portman. I got my artists confused and thought it would be about Gauguin and the wife he left behind to pursue painting. Not so. It was a very vivid and disturbing portray of the Inquisition in Spain, including how people were “put to the question” (i.e. tortured) to gain a confession to heresy. My friend leaned over after an intense abuse scene and said, “This is making me uncomfortable, I need to leave, but feel free to stay.”

I thought about it, but decided to walk out too. As soon as we hit the lobby, I knew it was a good decision. While at some point I’ll rent it to see the end, walking out validated how horrible the historical event of the Inquisition was, how powerful the medium of film can be, and how effected we are by the images on screen. It was good for me to say back to my friend, “Yea, this is pretty intense. Let’s go.”

Go ahead and judge me if you will. I know I would. But in the meantime I’m going to relish in these little moments of freedom when my soul and self care become a greater priority that someone else’s program or agenda. Hooray!

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3 Responses to “Walking out…”

  1. designmoorehead Says:

    I’ve heard that we’re happier when we’re following the call God is giving us. I’m not a seminary student or ordained, but I know listening for God’s call helps sometimes.

    You’ve got an interesting story, thanks for sharing. I wish you the best.

  2. Laura Says:

    Well, you’re right that it doesn’t seem like you… but I certainly know the feeling! Time is just to valuable to waste… go K!

  3. Michael Says:

    I see this post is sorta old but its still relevant b/c the churches today are predominantly teaching a sugar coated message that doesn’t nurture or grow anyone’s faith with God or in God. Not that “all” churches are bad, but most do not know the Bible, and instead teach profound theological error upon error upon error so the end result is a spiritual relationship that is void at best. What I have learned about the Bible in the last few years are beyond fathomable amazement! I say that not because I am anything special but because God’s Word is so rich with treasures that are being withheld knowingly and unknowingly from the people of God.

    For example, teaching that Hell is not a place, but rather an event whereby all the wicked are destroyed and not tormented forever would be frowned upon but the Bible about their destruction that “they shall be as though they had not been” (Oba. 1:16) and “they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet” (Mal. 4:1-3). God is not a God that takes pleasure in the death of the wicked (Eze. 33:11) but wants people to turn from sin for He has not set before them eternal life in Hell or eternal life in Heaven, but life or death, each eternal in effect (Deu. 30:10). Most teach Satan is some ruler over Hell but God pronounces Satan’s death sentence saying “I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more.” (Eze. 28:18-19)

    People say that we go to Heaven at death this is because they believe the soul cannot die. The Bible however says “the soul that sinneth, it shall die.” (Eze 18:4) Lazarus didn’t go to Heaven at death and neither will we, but we shall await the resurrection at Christ’s coming (1Th. 4:16) of which Lazarus’ case was an example to us.

    There are so many gigantic faith-building Truths in the Bible being suppressed and hidden by the churches today it is no wonder church goers are largely lacking understanding and a real faith in God. Churchianity today is drunk with the confusion of Babylon’s wine (false doctrines), unable to come to a knowledge of the Truth. God (not me) calls the Christian church “Babylon” in the book of Revelation and it is no wonder, for her spiritual whoredoms have reached their limit and so God declares “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.” (Rev 18:4-5)

    I’ve been blessed to find a real Bible teaching, Bible believing, Truth teaching church in Arcadia, not far from Fuller. It’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. It’s amazing to hear the power of the Word when it is backed by Truth. Checkout the http://www.cartereport.org and stop by. If for no other reason, stop by to hear and see how the Word is being preached there. Or even watch one of their videos online.

    God Bless~

    michael
    myspace.com/mrmccaffrey

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