Forty one new years have come and gone (granted, there were a good dozen or more that I either wasn't aware of or didn't care) and as I get older it's impossible not to reminiscence about what accumulated in the year that's past. But there's no sense in just listing the things that have transpired in a year without taking full account of why they were and are important. If you can't determine what you've learned, whether good and bad, then you're missing the chance to improve your life — and believe me, there isn't much life to go around.
A painting takes layers of color to become a work of art. It starts with a raw, stretched canvas, applications of white gesso, then you begin to build your vision with tints and hues, brushstrokes of light and dark until eventually you have a picture. An image. A creation. Our view of ourselves and the world we occupy are created in much the same way, layers of experiences, teaching and learning that accumulate into a belief.
I can and never will claim to be an authority on Christian theology — I've studied and read quite a lot over the last 20 or more years (as I've developed, questioned, considered, lived, lost, floundered, ignored, confessed, pleaded, cried, wondered, wandered, searched, found, repented) in my beliefs. I'm a man who falls short of what God would want, always. But one thing I will always try to be is honest.
Black verses White. Good versus evil. Faith versus Science. Man versus Nature. Black Smoke versus Water. The battle continues and escalates and takes a few victims along for the ride in what might be and what isn't; and at this point I'm not willing to concede that anything is real in the world of LOST.
Sometimes great trauma forces one to actually wrestle with their faith; putting to test your beliefs and resolve with what you usually only intellectually hold as truth. Finding hope in what seems hopeless. Finding faith in what seems impossible. Right now I'm trying not to be a fatalist.
Every generation has its revolution, its moment of clarity in the ever evolving values of what compromises 'Christianity'. Whether it be the massive outreach and impact of mega-churches or new ways of thinking about our faith (open theism), each generation somehow seems to find its own way of bridging their faith with the culture. I believe much of my generation (and younger) could be said to be in what I term, "Vulgar Christianity".
Everyone believes in something. Whether that something is mankind, God, Allah, Joseph Smith or Xenu, we all hold beliefs (if we 're conscience of it or not). Beliefs vary from spiritual, to material, to moral, to political; and our beliefs stem from a foundation.
"In focus groups, online polling, and one-on-one discussion, Extreme for Jesus has found that the number one reason teens don't read the Bible is that it is "too big and freaky looking." This fashion-magazine format for the New Testament is the perfect solution to that problem. Teen girls feel comfortable exploring the Scriptures and over 500 further-study notes because of the relevant format!"