Friday, September 02, 2005

Thinking out Loud

I have a problem. I don't know how severe my condition is at the moment, but I have to say it has added much unwanted strife in my life lately. Like most conditions, it started small a long time ago, and the more I ignored the situation the worse it has become. What is my situation you ask... Well it isn't something that I've had professionally diagnosed, but I am sure that any person with a degree in psychology (as my wife has), medicine, or common sense would say that I think too much.
I do! I'm not saying that I am extremely smart, an intellect, or a philosopher. I just like to think. Unfortunately, after a while I begin to dwell on things, and I begin to find things that bother me and/or confound me. I am a dweller. I think I get it from my mother.... But no she's a worrier and I don't think this is the same thing.
Anyway, that is why I have decided to blog. My thoughts are strings of yarn that are winding together and getting tangled up with each other to the point that I can't work through the things that I need to work through. John Mayer would call this a quarter life crisis, and I wouldn't argue. Many of my frustrations are brought on by the fact that life is moving on whether I am ready for it to or not. The end of school is finally in sight, I am facing questions about income, family, and careers. So maybe that is why the crisis decided to pick now to culminate. What is my purpose in life? Does God have a plan for me, or is he as confused by me as I am? I guess the biggest question plaguing me is what is my calling. Unfortunately, in order to answer that question I must first try to untangle the many theological and personal conundrums imprisoned in my cranium.
The purpose of this blog is to share my thoughts throughout this semester; To seek out order, sanity, and feedback on my dilemmas. I will warn you that the majority of thses thoughts will be confined to the area of Ministry and Theology ( I am a minister after all). But who knows where it will take me. Putting some order to my thoughts may take us through philosophy, psychology, common sense, and a lot of ranting and raving. But who knows... Maybe there is something to this after all. Let's call it an therapeutic experiment. Let's call it "being John Malchovich"...No wait that's already taken...Well then how about just "being Justin"! Here's to all going well! Cheers!


  1. Hey bro. I know a lot of times it is so hard to know where we are being led, thats just half the fun of living for Christ and puting faith in His plan. I experience this everyday, and it seems like plans change at least once a week. As you seek, you will definetly find. I'll be praying for you man. I look forward to getting into your thoughts!

  2. Hey Justin, just trying to figure this thing out. More later.

  3. dang justin you were using some big words! i have some very similar questions that plague me as well....hopefully i will see u in person soon and we can chat more!

  4. this is the one way that church is susposed to work...i.e. a community of believers that know and care about a particular person help them to discern their gifts and aid them in determining what God is calling them to be/do! Here is a forum which will give voice to a community that already exists; namely Justin's community of friendships. As a close friend of Justin's and a member of this community it is an honor and a privilege for me to participate in what should be a transformative dialogue.

  5. Hello my boy,

    I write to you today from my own little rock by the sea. Well I suppose I do not really own the rock, and I can only make such claims upon my authority as a "White Man". An authority that has more than likly run its course.

    I am glad to see you have opened a lovely little open forum blog. As always I am a proponent of free thought, and I am glad to see you have embraced such a forum. Upon reading through, what I suppose is your "blog mission statment" I must say that I was unable to find a cure or even a diagnosis to your condition. However, I did run across some thoughts as I perused your words.

    I will appologize in advance, for we all know that I was not blessed with the gift of brevity or clarity of thought. I suppose I only have words to offer you. Words that seem to be making their way from the cleavages of my disurbed

    My boy, we all seem to have problems, and is it not somwhat amuseing how they always seem to start out so small. Again I am unsure of your exact problem or even when such a thing commenced. However, I seem to have a memory to offer you from my pensive....Let me take you back to a time, which now seems so long ago, to a conversation you may not recall. We were freshmen at that place called Campbell. I believe you entered my room upon returning from a lovely session of monday night Bible study, as you began to regale me with the bounties you had recieved from the meetting. I of course, the ever studious student, lay upon my loft studying, while listening to your tale. You were recalling the wonderful things that X fellow told you, you should believe and how you should think. I, the ever-patient friend allowed this mini-sermon (you needed practice after all) to continue without objection, untill (Huh, a rather large wave just soaked me, perhaps that was a sign) you asked the question. You asked me if I believed in the inherancy (probably spelled wrong) of the Bible, to which I responded "not really".

    I am unsure of the remainder of our long conversation that night, nor do I believe we were able to reach a mutual conclusion. But the Question was asked. Perhaps that is the most important thing. For is it not the question that forces us to create everything else.

    My friend, I do not believe it to be possible to think tooo much. Especially when we live in a society that prefer we not think for ourselves at all. My friend we have to think, otherwise we would never have any questions.

    The question of "what is your calling" has been one of my personal favorites since Primary School. I am afraid I never had a properly schnazzy answer for those folks back then and I am not so sure I would have a proper response for the pricks who would ask a 6 year old that question now. I have some ideas though.

    As for the calling thing, I wonder if any of us have or could ever know "our calling". Perhaps all we can do is follow the very thing or idea which led us to believe in the beginning; to follow that which leads us towards rectitude, even when we can neither see nor feel it. I suppose I have offered no real answer to any question,yet...perhaps...Well...maybe I do believe the questions are the most important things.

    Later buddy

  6. Trace brings up a great point... i have to say that i am looking forward to this journey. that is why i am asking so many of you who are a prt of my community to take a portion of your time to help me in this journey. Understand, i don't expect to answer all of the questions i have swimming in my brain in one semester, but i am expecting an exciting journey upon which to embark. The wonderful thing about this journey (and i beleive a purpose of community) is that i don't have to take it alone. I have all of my friends and family involved in this community experiment to journey with me. I expect to get somewhwere, maybe not my destination, but somewhere important. I expect to learn a thing or two, and who knows, all of you who join in may learn a thing or two too! thanks for your support thus far and your comments. keep 'em comming!
    in awe,

  7. Well, I am starting my 60th year on this earth and I am still trying to unravel this life. I didnot announce my calling to ministry until I was 50 years old. I have spent the last 10 years just learning how to be an effective preacher/teacher and still pursue a career in the government. This is my 11th year in my second career after 28 years in the US Army. I am still wondering what God has in store for me once I finish this degree. I am plagued at times with thinking about what I should have done 20 or 30 years ago. But I thank God for each day. Beleive it or not, I wish I had heeded the call to ministry when I was your age. I didn't, but I can't do anything about that now.Keep praying and asking God to fill you with His Sprit so that you can take "The Good News" to others

  8. I'm so glad you invited me into your head (although a little scary j/k) I'm looking forward to the exchange of thoughts. I'm a rambler so I hope I don't bore you and I make a little sense.

    It's not surprising that you have a lot of questions. Over the next couple of years your life will probably take twists and turns you never expected. The questions you pose are not new. Everyone struggles with these issues throughout their entire life. I believe that life is ever changing and what you are called to do today will probably be completely different than where you find yourself 10 years from now and where you find yourself 20 years from now, etc. Does that make sense?

    For example, I have been searching for my purpose and passion forever. Well, since the first moment I looked into little Joshua's eyes I knew I found my passion which is to stay at home and raise him. However, next year or the next decade God could very well lead my family in a different direction.

    Here's my theory on how to know if you have found your calling or passion. The first criteria and most important is your calling will bring you closer to God. Since I gave birth, I finally understand God's love for me. I look at Joshua and I am so overwhelmed by emotions and by how much I love him. I didn't know you could love someone this much. I have a greater understanding of God's love for me and I am even more dedicated and excited about learning about God.

    The second criteria would be it has to bring you happiness and joy. There is no job out there that could bring me the amount of overflowing joy that I feel each morning that I wake up and know I get to spend the day with Joshua.

    You said in your reply to Trace, " I expect to get somewhwere, maybe not my destination, but somewhere important." Try to remember that it is not the destination that is important but the journey.

    Anyways, those are my thoughts for now.

    P.S. Joshua (aka your lil' creature) wanted to add that the purpose of life is to eat, sleep and play. :)


  9. Sherri is giving me a perspective i have no experience with, that from a parent's point of view. This is what i hope to discover through this community. exploring different angles that i may not be able to see without prodding. I guess that she has an understanding of the love of God that i will not know until i have a child myself (Which is no time soon i hope).
    I like your mention of criteria. this is a good theory! I will weigh my theological struggle with The Church to these critera before i can respond. I think that being in the Church has definitly brought be closer to God. Community has a way of doing that, hence why Jesus felt it so important.
    as for your second criteria, i need to think on that one... Impulsivly i would say that is where my struggle is personally. Overall, will i feel Joy and happiness, or even contentment remaining in The Church as paid staff? do i feel that now? Certian aspects bring me joy, like when i spend time with the youth. but a lot of other times i am bogged down, drained, and hendered. I feel like my creativity has been hindered in every church i have ministered in. I am a free flowing spirit according to Mr. Briggs, but idk. I need to think on that!! good points, and tell the lil' creature that "oh if life were that simple"!
    i will hold off on commenting on your comment on trace's comment (yeah follow that one backwards)
    I might reserve that for a blog publish!
    thanks sherri!!

  10. 2 things:

    1. Why does Trace call you "my boy"...creepy
    2. This is for Ben..."French People"

    Now that that is that...I would like you to know that you are not alone in quest to find out what your "higher calling" consists of...I've been on that journey since I graduated from college. But, having friends to talk to and possibly guide you (pointing out good and bad things in your thinking) along the way is a great thing.