Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What is love? or rather, How is love?

Hello all! I just wanted to share a little bit about the thoughts i've had this week.

This week is what is called "Builders in Ministry" week at my college (Southwestern College). Some of the lecture topics were Christ-led leadership, organizational leadership and many other themes aimed at...well, Builders in ministry. This really has gotten my brain ticking on what it means to be called into ministry as i feel i am and where does it leave me in the grand scheme of things.

First, what does it mean to be "called". I feel like the word "called" is a nice churchy term we come up with to say something extremely personal and profound that most people don't think about. That is, it is not hearing an audible voice and, no, my cell didn't ring. God didn't get on the nations fastest network and shoot me a text. To be called is to feel a distinct, unquestionable impression from The Holy Spirit as to what it is i am to use my gifts and talents for in ministry (because we're all called into ministry of one type or another). So when i sit back and evaluate those things in my life, i come up with a picture of what it is that God has blessed me with.
I want to be slightly more specific than the obvious things like living in America and attending a private Christian College and having a family and a roof over my head, food on my table and means of transportation. I want to talk about the gifts and talents that i have.
In an effort to not sound conciented, however, i will stay kinda vague...if that makes sense....specifically vague. I have done music all my life and i really feel like God has given me an unexplainable love for people. Now while these two things might be a red flag for anyone looking in on the outside (hey, you pastoral tendencies) for me, that was just not an option.
I have found when you are moderately good at anything at all, it is easy to try and steal the glory. I like how i said it in conversation with my wife: "God calls us to be mirrors of his glory; reflecting his love to the world and the peoples praise back at God as opposed to being fabric that absorbs light and only reflects a color based on its make up." this is what true christianity is. being Jesus to the world by following what he called the two greatest commandments: Love God and Love People.

i've picked up from the discussions this week that people want leaders and this world is in a sorry lack of them. Shouldn't we as the church be the ones to go out and do just that? Love on People. Now you may say "Dread, man, i just can't do that. i mean, you haven't met my co-workers!" and truely you are right: you (and i) DO NOT possess the power within ourselves to love on the unloveable which is why the first commandment has to happen before the second. One has no other option but to love God in order to discover what it is like to love someone who is absolutly unworthy of love. Namely, ourselves. Only after knowing this kind of love can one, in turn, love those that hate us. This is no small feat, but if we can start pulling the layers of fabric that cover the mirrors of our lives off, we will learn better how to reflect the love of our God.

Well, i don't feel like i went where i wanted with this, but i feel like i said what i needed to. have a great day! Love God, Love people.

The Dread

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Thaaaa Music!!!!

Ok, so i'm hi-jacking a practice room here at Southwestern College in order to write this blog which is appropriate due to the topic of this blog.
So i wanna start by sharing a little bit about me and my musical history if you will. Growing up, my dad was a member of a Tejano band..if you don't know what that is, its that mexican music you here bangin out of the trunks of 40-something year old mexicans everywhere haha..aaaanyway, this was a bizarre way to really be introduced to music since it has very little in common with what we know music as now. The other of my earliest music influences was white, protestant "contemporary" (whatever that means) Christian music. Now i appreciate both of these beginnings because, from the start, i've had an increadable diverse music background. As i went through school, i started playing drums in 5th grade and from there got exposed to traditional orchestral/band music as well as jazz and all of its cousin's.
All this said to give you an idea of how much music has been a part of my life...and now, i miss it.
i don't miss it like i never hear music anymore, but like i just don't have the time to do it as much as i wish i could. on top of that, when i do find those moments (like now for instance) i don't have anyone to jam with.
Then, i thought "how does this translate into my spiritual life?" I suppose we are, to an extent, God's music and he misses us. but we can't place the blame on him for not having time to engage..we can only look at ourselves as the ever-elusive music that God wants back. i don't know about you, but for me, when i hear amazing music, i am just blessed and i think when God hears from us, it just completly blesses his heart. so this blog doesn't have an insanely revalatory point, it is merely a note to say "Be that music!" This is how i plan on coping with my limited music time in my life. I simply choose to be God's music at every chance i get and play the ultimate jam with my life in order to glorify God. i encourage you to do the same.

The Dread

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Loneliness of Busy

Have you ever just felt like life is just an on-going movie and someone lost the pause button? I've been thinking about this..well, not this specific analogy, but just how rushed i feel sometimes. Maybe it's just the time in my life that i'm in, or maybe its the demands i place on myself, but i found that for all the things i have on my plate (i.e. school, work, family, band commitments etc..) i find myself occasionally lonely. now this isn't the type of lonely thats like "no one loves me and my  name is Eeyor" this kind of lonely is the type that just hangs out in the background and makes me wish life were simpler.
I have to admit that that most, if not all, of the commitments and time demands i have are completely self-inflicted, however i wonder how i got like this.
As far back as i can remember i've always been the type of person to just stay  busy. In school i did band (drumline on top of that, which usually was more involved), choir, school plays, forensics/debate...and the list could go on and on. In college i had/have a child so i'm constantly balancing family time with school and the ever-important work. I think (and i doubt any red-blooded American would argue with) that America as a whole is so caught up in staying busy that no one looks up from what they're doing to realise that we've lost something.
Now you may be looking around the room. "i think i have my cell phone, car keys, wallet...nope! haven't lost anything". This isn't exactly what i mean. i think God intended us to have "quiet time"; a concept that seems to have disappeared shortly after pre-school. in Mathew 4 as well as several other places (garden of gathseminy and others) in the Bible, Jesus himself found it important to get away from the hectic, noisy crowed to seek solitude and quiet. Now if Jesus felt the need to get away back then when people weren't baraged with a storm of media, expectations and...well, busieness (sp?)...then, i think it's safe to say that today it is all the more important.
Jesus did this not just to have some quiet but to hear from God..his father..our father. This is something i really struggle with and as of late have been trying to do better at. you see, we are so good at doing what is known as "prayers of petition"...we ask God for things all the time (dang, lost my keys again...) this turns the creater of the universe into nothing more than (to borrow the phrase from a book i read) a cosmic vending machine; there to give you whatever you want when you want it as long as you use the right currancy (right prayer, if you will.) I believe in God wanting an authentic relationship with you and I. this means a 2 way street; he wants to hear, but he also wants to talk to us. I've personally taken upon myself as a challenge to try and spend sometime in prayer simply listening to God and i have to say its been an experience that i'd recomend to anyone and everyone. My personal struggle is not in finding the time to be quiet, but in simply letting the quiet BE quiet and accepting the fellowship with God and the self discovery therein.
To conclude, i would just say that if you're reading this, you obviously have a little time on your hands. why not let that time be used up by the one who created you in an authentic, 2-way conversation of love? and if you don't have the time right now, i'd seriously recomend finding that pause button in order to find the most fullfilling fellowship out there. more than family, more than friends. Find God.

The Dread

Friday, February 11, 2011

Introductions and formalities

ok. i cracked. Here it is: the blog that i contemplated making for the last week or so. My wife (whom i love very very much) says i don't have time, but i want to go ahead and try...i suppose if it doesn't work out, oh well.
Well I was trying to think of what i should write first. I got to thinking "you know, i don't even really read blogs much.." so i've decided that mine will more than likely be absolutly unorthodox when it comes to blog trends. so first i will give my introduction.
I don't really wanna start by saying "hi, my name is so and so" because i've found that names are kind of relative to their context really. so for formalities sake, i'll say my name is Alexander though i've gone by several names (some of which i'm not so proud of). Not to discount the importance of a name, just that i've found that a person is better defined by what they do and what they believe rather than what people call them.
I named this blog "musings of a dread" because i have no direct aimed purpose to blogging, simply that i find myself often thinking and just want to tell someone, but unfortunately, my wife and i dont usually touch base until the end of the day at which point we're both exhausted and just want to enjoy eachother without contemplating any kind of profound thought, so YOU all get to here it :). I like to consider myself a Dread in the more ancient understanding of the kind. that is, in association with the Levites and those of the Nazarite Vow. a Dread was traditionally thought to be a Holy man, using his hair as a symbol of his devotion to God. at first i just thought it was a neat idea, but as i've had dreads i see where this idea really came from as having dreads is a day in and day out process; not something you do once at a time like a hair cut. there are several ways of extrapolating this and applying it to my faith (that is Christianity in the greater Tradition). This is also probably why Rastafarian religion has adopted this as a symbol of their tradition as well, though, from what i know, it is a slightly heretical version of Christianity, so i'd like to first and foremost say that i don't associate with that religion, though we use a common symbol of our faith.
As you might have picked up on, i am an amature philosopher/theologian. i am a Philosophy and Religion major with a minor in worship music. I am a musician and a novice writer. I've played drums and percussion for about 11 years and picked up guitar in the last 2 years and ukalele in the last few months. I aim at being a full-time Worship Pastor somewhere after i graduate unless, God has other plans undisclosed to me at this time.
I have a beautiful wife named Arin and an awesome 3 year old son named Atticus and one little one on the way. we have a sonogram to find out the sex on the 22nd of Feb, so i'm sure you'll all get to hear about it when that happens..I value my family above all else aside from God. they are the thing that keeps me sane and fueled when i am on the verge of burn out. I believe that a cohesive family unit is still possible though many (including my own parents) have failed and the odds are stacked against me., we are determined to make this work and give our children the one thing we never had growing up that is beyond the material provisions: Family full of love and void of seperational abandonment.
well i feel like i'm done for now...i really am interested to see how long and how often i keep this up or rather, if anyone will even read them. At the very least, I'll get these thoughts out of my head. thanks for listening.

The Dread