God & Life
Joe Clark ~~ Oct 15, 2003

Today I found myself writing a longwinded email to some close friends. It ended up being fairly wordy and fairly thought-provoking, so I thought I'd share it with the world. The world will be so blessed... I've added a little helpful text in places to make it more understandable to the general audience (general topics in brackets). :-)

[spiritual attitudes] Yep, I think you're right that we have a negative spiritual attitude. The question is, are we somewhat objectively commenting on the true state of life, or are we creating our own kind of self-fulfilling prophecy (as in, if you expect evil or boredom or aloneness you're likely to find it)?

[God's power and involvement in our lives] I think I'm too...unaccepting or something. While I think that God can and does control the "coincidence" moments of life, I don't put a lot of stock in them, because they are, possibly, just coincidences. What I and probably lots of people would like to see (strive to see) is God's acting in my life in an unmistakable way. The definition of what unmistakable is is the slippery issue. I think unmistakable would be going on a road trip with God -- as in God in the seat next to me. But you see how often that happens. So I must have faith, and accept that God doesn't do that in-the-flesh stuff much anymore. I do have faith, but I will be first to admit that I don't have an overwhelming logical reason for it, other than that I choose to. I mean everything in life leads me to believe that what I believe is true, but there are few if any things that would completely convince me were I not to choose to believe it.

[Campus Ministers] I think they may be a little more simple-minded, but not by accident. I think they are smart, and they talk to lots of people, so they know the issues people have. They have thought about them I'm sure, and have gotten past them. We have kinda gotten past them, or more correctly just laid them aside without really finding good answers for them. Thus we are in a more precarious position in some ways, and I suppose a product of that is that our faith seems (and probably is) weaker.

Now, there are the pragmatic things of faith too. "Faith comes by hearing..." I for one will admit that I don't spend as much time doing Bible reading and "thinking about God" as I used to. My Bible reading time sorta turned into prayer on the way to work, but otherwise my work day and school work and {blah blah blah} take up too much time, and this intense focus on God (what there was of it) has been diminished lately (where lately is the last 6 months or so at least).

[about Friesen, the "no individual will of God" theorist] I'm more or less okay with being a Friesenite, partly because it seems like the path that works in real life, and partly because, well, I can be lazy. Stupid me for being lazy all the time. What I mean is...I don't have to listen very much, I don't have think about it much, I can just let life happen and not worry so much about "What if God sends me to Africa?" I don't think he will, but on the other hand if he does, and does so CLEARLY, I think it would be okay(ish). What I do want and strive for and yearn for and wish above all things is more...informal...involvement by God. Yes, I want God to direct me. Yes, I want to know his power and great glory. Yes, I want to know the knowledge of the eternal. But also, I think it would be "cool" to go...watch hot air balloons with God. I don't say that to bring God down, or elevate hot air balloons (punny). I don't think I'd be thinking about balloons much with God in the car. But it's not a formal, "let's pray and wait on the Lord" experience -- it's experiencing God in the midst of real life, and not just so he can tell me what to do or help me memorize Scripture or help me know how to witness to someone. This has something to do with spiritual life being a wholistic thing. God is a piece of my life, not meaning that he's a small or insignificant piece, but I'd like God to, in real terms, share my life with me. I wish he (or anyone for that matter) would be excited about Java code or ATM Adaptation layers. It's somewhere between a buddy-friend (too flip and silly) and being 1800s `God` (too rigid and "out there" and ethereal). How's that for post-modern?

[The search for significance] Well, as I aforementioned I'm lazy. And, I "feel" like God has placed me where I am. I take some comfort in the hope that I can do something significant from where I am. It's a question of talents. For me, yeah yeah, it's computer stuff. Is that really, really, truly truly a spiritual-ish gift? I wonder about that. I mean, does setting up computers for people really count for something? Well, it's a helps ministry -- you could compare it to carpenters. But generally speaking carpenters are *essential*, whereas computer setter uppers are convenient benefits, but not truly necessary. So, I like to think that my ministry is computer stuff, and I hope that that's significant. ... Beyond that, being a beautification engineer and all that means that I don't want to just be a computer geek and junk, but life is supposed to be about more than that. I may talk about ATM Adaptation Layers, but that's not really where my true self lies. I want to be smart or something and know stuff and do stuff, but I want to be more than that too... I want to have some kind of influence on people that goes beyond, "I fixed your Windows XP." Working as an engineer and living at home can help in that regard to some extent, as I can donate more money and such to worthy causes. On the other hand, things like traveling for work mean that I can expect to be taken away from my usual place of ministry at least occasionally...of course I should still be able to minister wherever I'm at. Anyway, the search for significance is a hard topic and one that I guess maybe I tend to ignore sometimes -- I just do my work and try not to complain too much.

[socialness] I don't know....I think lately I've been more a-social than in the recent past. I mean, I still like to talk to people and get together and watch movies and all, but, well, I haven't done much of any of that lately. I've been busy, and people find other things to do. When I'm not busy, I tend to be living out my Linux fantasies of installing some software or some dumb thing, or investigating the nature of a new USB pen drive -- whatever little thing I find to experiment with. This asocialness is also partly because there are less of my peers around lately, and those that are around are sometimes boring (or I don't ask them to do things). Several of the college ppl went back to school this fall, several of them are too busy, several of them are guys who would rather go hunting or play on their own computers; several of them are married. So, when I am bored on a Friday night (if that happened), I could....call someone up almost out of the blue and ask them if they want to do something, which is not my pattern anymore, or....I could play with a computer or something. I'm likely to do the latter, because, again, I'm lazy. I like people, I don't always think they're stupid, but I guess I'm also not in as much of a people mood as I am sometimes. Maybe I will be when it gets to be Christmas season. :-) (random thought).

Okay, that's about enough writing for one sitting. Are you tired of the writing yet? Did it bless your life? Maybe... Well, happy contemplations.

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