Sunday, April 6, 2008

Change (Revised/Clarified?)

According to statistics, 90% of us are unable or unwilling to change,* and yet that is not to say we can't. We still have the opportunity to change our lifestyles - diet, exercise, giving, everyday social interaction, and yet we are unable to change who we fundamentally are - that comes through grace and a transformation, that while it does involve us, it has to ability to be ultimately more life altering and ultimately eternal unlike any dietary or exercise routine could ever be. While most of us know this is occurring - Ken reaffirmed tonight a change I've been conscious of more so as of late - the world - and the change of me in it, or just it changing around me or both. Those changes are shaping a new path, a regeneration of sorts, a clarity - a clarity that "your grace has found me just as I am, empty handed but alive in your hands" Delirious. We sang that song tonight, and it provided an articulation of the recent year - I have gone from blessing to blessing and now I sit, in the sense that there is no immediate visible change - no move, no new job - and yet it is a moment where I can consciously sense change - a change that I am being to realize is/will be greater then what has occurred and yet more difficult.

As of late there has been some concern voiced as of late that there is a preoccupation with a relationship, this is to the detriment of my character, my intellect. For one I would like to say that we are all wired for community and right now first and foremost I am seeking community and not a relationship - if that was all I wanted that is a void easily filled, but God has called me to be wise about who I open my heart to and a random guy is not it. So to the issue of community, when I graduated and even when I returned to SFU, I found that there was no place within the university community for me - due to age, experience etc. Then I left Willingdon in the Fall, and I left what was my church community for my life - my youth kids, my mentors and people I had grown up with - the kids being the ones I was most directly in contact with. And now I am in the middle of my own life change - in time availability, interests and direction, much like my peers, as such it has come time for me to actively seek new community. I am consciously seeking like-minded individuals and yes many happen to be single - both men and women - as their lifestyles are similar - in doing so, I do open my life to the possibility to meeting single men, gaining friends - seeing myself in different interactions and yes possibility dating.

Now the concern specifically about this seeking community has been tied to my character and I am not sure how these actions reduce my character. Nor do I see how asking and or accepting the help of others in this process or even in dating reduces my character either. Each person we meet adds something to our lives - just like I would not take back the processes of online meeting from this spring because they further solidified what I want and the characteristics I should be weary of. So if in the end that means I email K or meet Darcy's friend the pastor - so be it - it's a moment of my life - I'm not doing anything in God's eyes that is immoral, shameful or an exemplification of poor character. And that is the end of the matter - it will not be discussed here or elsewhere again.

I want to be the 10% who can change - who can remove themselves from their pasts - grow from it and find a rich, supportive soil of friendship, grace and ultimately faith to grow into. Much like a lotus - out of the mud and sludge, beauty can grow and arise.



Ryan said...

I'm a little confused about what's exactly going on so I don't really understand the reason for the points emphasised in your post Jenn, but I was a little concerned that you said you have little to no direct church community.

I hope you're able to find a church that you feel comfortable with and which has a strong foundation on the Word.

jocelyn said...

Well, I'm not sure what this Ryan guys was saying, but as your mostly-regular co-attender at Tenth, I can say that you seem to have at least regular doses of teaching in your life, and spiritual community abounds, though maybe not formally through organized church activities (which... let's keep in mind... are not the very definition of community.)

Two thoughts struck me when I read this (other than dang I wish I had gone to church tonight):
1) I'm blessed to have lately developed community with you as your friend... thanks for that, and thanks to God for arranging it all.
2) We DO seek community - it's a fundamental part of all of ourselves - it made me remember that "relationship" does not necessarily equal community, and that waiting for that special someone to be community is no way to live a life. Though now is when I most want to have my own apartment, you made me wonder if this is the exactly perfect time for intentional community.

Ryan said...

Hi jocelyn, don't mind me, I've been confused ever since I landed in here! lol

What's Tenth?

Jenn said...

Ryan, Sorry a part of me still thinks I have this little core group of readers who actually know me enough to fill in the missing parts.

I attend Tenth Avenue Alliance - it's a smaller sized church, which is primarily focused on social justice etc - they have a website - check it out if you are interested. What I meant by church community - is when I left the church I was raised in - there went my default community - I left the youth I was volunteering with, mentors and such - it was all very healthy - but it has left me struggling in the sense that while Tenth has "Resonate" - it well doesn't Resonate with my life, my schedule or my idea of community.

The post was a way to get those who seem to voicing concern off my back - to see that despite what they think is going on - that one of the focuses in my life right now is finding a place in community - and preferably a Christian one

Shawn said...

The perception that those close enough to you to read between the cracks are attacking your character, concerned that your only focus is to find a guy, is for me atleast wrong.

I have had the pleasure to get to know you and call you friend over the last 6 months or so and while I may show frustration with certain topics, it is often because I think you have so much offer. You are one of the smartest people I know, someone who really gets Jesus, and the likeliness of my comments comes across as I have but one track mind.

I think talking in real time (i.e. the phone, or msn) has more value to a discussion than a blog. There is no way to hear tone in printed comments, there is but limited ways to converse in print, and I don't think between friends it is good to have a "I'm right, you're wrong" discussion.

I do enjoy the discussion with the people commenting usually, my intention was never to attack you as a person.

I do believe in community, I believe we were created to be in community with others. I know I am blessed in the community of people I am a part, especially since I have no family where I live. I encourage you to find that community of believers to be a part of, I am sure I have never said differently.

I know you have the ability to offer so much to a close group of people and in turn will be blessed by what they will give to you.

Ryan said...

Ah, now I understand what Tenth is about!

Seems like a good church, or community, or whatever you guys call it. :)

I found it interesting though that within their statement of faith nothing is made mention of grace (they mention the gift from God in the salvation section so I guess it's implied)?!

And maybe this is the reason for the emphasis of grace in your post Jenn, or maybe it is just coincidence!

Strangely enough I had a friend call last night and ask about whether I knew of a church called "The Family". I told him I didn't and he replied that they seemed okay. So I went on the net and read their statement of faith and it all seemed quite good, until I got near to the end at a section titled "Perspectives on Sexuality".

In this section they seemed to have missed out on one tiny detail: sex should be confined within the boundary of marriage!! Without mentioning this little fact it appeared as though sex with anyone above the legal age was permissable!

It didn't take me long to find out from other websites that this organisation is known as the "sex cult" and has quite a few problems in the past.

The reason why I mention this Jenn is that it only seemed like a harmless tiny bit was missing from their SOF and yet that little bit of leaven leaveneth the whole lump! I just hope it isn't the same with Tenth and grace.

Jenn said...

That's interesting, and yet I have to say one of the greatest things they offer is grace - grace, mercy and compassion abound - I don't think I've tagged all the post sermon blogs I've posted. But now you've said that I think I'm going to link them in the next blog

jocelyn said...

these comments seem to bring up an interesting idea - how important is a church's statement of faith?

I grew up anglican, where if a church had a statement of faith, it was probably written in the green book and invented by someone in england. nobody cared, really. Maybe this is why to me, such statements are a little hard to understand the importance of. I get that they allow new attenders or guests to understand what sort of church they are getting into (or at least what sort of church the leadership thinks it should be), but I have both seen communities with no such statement operate on a far more biblically-based, christlike way, and seen churches who have the most eloquently stated statements of faith whose actions couldn't be further away.

On some level it sort of bothers me that we can go around from church to church with a checklist and say, "salvation through faith - check; christ God's only son, sacrificial atonement for our sins - check; Sanctity of marriage and family - check; votes republican - check. yup, it's got these things, thus it must be okay." It seem to be such a superficial, sterile way to evaluate what is truly (as shawn points out) a relational experience. Yes, those people in the relationships need to be pursuing greater truth, in the word and in life, but this checklist mentality to me seems to fall far short of the mark.

Jenn? what do you think?

PS: No republicans were harmed in the writing of this comment.


Jenn said...

Statement of faith is important - it's a good way to gauge how the overall administration of the church, how the membership is determined and the overall beliefs - now specifics can be a big deal for some like baptism - infant or adult etc.

In regards to Tenth, it's an Alliance Church - which means it's accountable to a larger governing body as well as their own membership. As to grace - I would have to say I believe from attending Tenth it is one of the more grace based missional churches in the lower mainland - due to their Out of the Cold Ministry (shelter) and Oasis and Living Waters - they have openly discussed rape and homosexuality in a grace based, but clearly Christian approach.