Tuesday, May 18, 2010

hats in church

I grew up not being allowed to wear hats in church. I always hated that, so in middle school I found 1 Samuel 16:7 (which says that God looks at the heart and not the outward appearance) as my battle cry for the ridiculousness of not allowing middle schoolers to wear hats.

When I got to Moody this past fall, I quickly learned that they adopt the same policy towards hat-wearers. At Moody you can't wear a hat in the cafeteria or in classes. Naturally, I fought against the rule. I made a bunch of comments about how legalistic it was and complained a lot about how it was creating a legalistic culture.

Frankly, I think it is a legalistic argument to not allow someone to wear hats in "God-centered" environments. I've heard every argument there is for why it makes sense, and I disagree with them all. However, I now realize that I was just as off base with my response to the rule.

In Romans 14, Paul addresses the issue of clean/unclean foods. He says he is convinced that no foods are wrong to eat (which Jesus also taught in Matthew 15). While the hat argument doesn't deal with food, the principle still applies. Wearing a hat doesn't defile a person, the heart does. But after Paul makes that statement, he also says that if another believer is distressed about what you eat, then you're not acting in love if you eat it.

In other words, if one believer thinks it's wrong to wear a hat, regardless of how wrong I think they are, I'm not acting in love if I deliberately wear a hat around them.

This is convicting for me. What about you? Have you ever struggled with a similar issue? How did you respond?

Monday, May 10, 2010

two things... a few thoughts

My last exam is on Tuesday at 10 AM for New Testament Survey. As soon as it's over I'll be heading home for Summer. It's been a weird year, and I thought I'd take a few minutes to reflect. Here are the two most valuable principles I've learned this year:

1. Faith always precedes understanding

2. Discipline is the pathway to Godliness

The first principle hits home the most for me. It is birthed from Proverbs 1:7, and it pretty much sums up this school year. There are so many things I thought I knew this time last year, and all of them have been questioned or refuted this year. There are many things about my current life that I don't fully understand, and that I would change in a heart beat if I could. It would be easy to let those things influence my faith, but faith always precedes understanding. I may never fully know why God is allowing me to deal with certain thoughts and emotions right now, but that's alright, because faith always precedes understanding... and I refuse to stop believing.

The second principle hits home, but makes me feel way worse about myself... haha.
It's impossible to become like God without discipline, because everything about my nature is ungodly. However, as a believer I have a calling and expectation for Godliness, and so I must become disciplined, because discipline is the pathway to Godliness. The problem and frustration I have with this is that in order to BE disciplined, I have to HAVE discipline. I feel like it's impossible to become disciplined without already possessing discipline, because the act of becoming disciplined takes discipline! This sucks for someone who doesn't already posses it.. So, I'm still working on the discipline thing. It's absolutely crucial though, because discipline is the pathway to Godliness.

Two things, a few thoughts, and you have my spiritual journey for the year in a nut shell. The next few days I'll be sharing some big plans for Summer 2010 at Relevant Student Ministry.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

get rid of bad ideas

When I was in high I had the opportunity to lead a few school-wide events. I would always get a team together to help me plan the event so that we could come up with the best ideas possible. Occasionally our team would get stuck, and when you’re stuck, it can be very easy to move forward with a bad idea simply because you can’t come up with anything else.

Inevitably in these type situations someone will say the phrase, “don’t criticize the idea unless you have a better idea.” Basically they’re saying, “don’t say this is a bad idea unless you have a good idea”.

I used to even agree with that statement. I can remember thinking, “yea that makes sense. Don’t knock other people if you can’t come up with something on your own.”

It’s a very well meaning statement, but how could a team of people wanting to pursue excellence ever agree with that statement? A bad idea doesn’t become a good idea simply because there aren’t any other good ideas in the room. You can’t move forward with a bad idea just because the feelings of someone in the room are attached to the bad idea. Handle it gently, but don’t accept mediocrity simply because you haven’t come up with the good idea yet.

It’s ok to say, “I don’t know what the idea is yet, but I know THAT isn’t it.”

The longer you let bad ideas linger around the longer it will be until you find the good ones.