Wandering Israelites and Faltering Faith

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First of all, Happy Easter, everyone!

Secondly, I know you must all be shocked that I’m actually writing a post that isn’t a ho hum Wednesday Things article, but I just had some Easter-appropriate questions I’d love to discuss with others.

Last night, my mom and I watched the season finale of Parenthood while putting together centerpieces for the wedding. After that was over and we still had some work to do, she bounced around channels and saw that the Ten Commandments was playing. She sentimentally turned to that and let it play quietly while we talked and finished up. The scene played where Moses is up on the mountain getting the 10 Commandments and the Israelites down below just got discouraged and bored and made a cow statue out of gold and partied. And because of that they were then forced to wander in the dessert for 40 years until every person in that whole generation had died.

I feel like, in my experience, in every Sunday school lesson or sermon, etc., that I’ve heard about the multiple falterings of the Israelites’ faith, and it always feels hyperbolic and downplayed and really absurd. To me, people doubting the Lord is a very serious and real issue, and anytime I’ve heard these stories I’ve only ever been told “All of these people were struggling in their faith and had questions and doubts, so they made a gold cow to dance around.” And maybe it’s just me, but especially in the Ten Commandments, I thought that the enthusiasm and behavior depicted in this part felt really unrelatable and made everyone look like morons. They had to have had more logic and reason than that, right? Was it just that they had been so immersed in the culture and religion of the Egyptians and, once they started wondering what they had gotten themselves into, they turned back to that culture they were so comfortable with before for comfort? I don’t know.

I’d be very interested in some sort of bible study which talks about these instances of faltering faith with a perspective that these were real people with real doubts and real questions and real struggles with their faith. I grew up in a church that heavily criticized any questions regarding God or faith, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it were the case that other churches actually discussed my questions, and that the church I grew up in just tried to skim over that to make it sound just plain stupid or pointless to have any kinds of doubts or questions yourself.

Honestly, I think the healthiest thing you can do in general is let people ask questions, and especially when it comes to such personal topics as religion and spirituality. I also can’t help but wonder, from my limited knowledge about the Old Testament, who the heck wouldn’t have questions after things happening like, “oh, Moses got frustrated and hit a rock with his walking stick and now he’s not allowed to go into the Promise Land he had done so much to lead his people to;” or “Oh, because our parents made a gold cow statue and partied hard, they had to wander until every last one of them died and now we have to care about and find this ‘Promise Land?'” or “Uh, didn’t this God just kill immense numbers of the Egyptians’ and our babies and children like, a week ago?” Seriously, the Old Testament has some intense, heavy, and even bizarre things and I feel like so much meaning and truth and context behind a lot of it gets completely lost or skimmed over. I know there’s a significant amount of things we lose out on understanding due to translation issues and culture differences, but I feel like that shouldn’t be an excuse to not question things or try to understand instead of saying “God said so” or “Just accept it – that’s faith.”

I know too well that churches often avoid talking about doubtful questions and faltering faith, but they shouldn’t. I wish more of the Bible was taught in a way that made the stories and characters sound like actual people. I was shocked the first time I heard a message at a Bible camp about how Jesus sometimes got pissed off and had a sense of humor and cracked jokes and had his own struggles with his relationship with God. Until that point, I had always pictured him as a stoic, poetic, monotone dude who’s facial expressions probably didn’t change much and he probably never laughed or chilled out.

I don’t know. This is just what has been on my mind since watching Charleston Heston on the TV last night. And now, I get to go spend some quality family time with Luke’s side of the family! But I’d love to hear some discussion about what I just talked about by people who have more knowledge or perspective than I do — or even people with other/more questions.

 

Faith Like Potatoes

My parents and I just watched the movie Faith Like Potatoes. It’s a very good film; it’s independant. It’s a true story.

The premis is that there is this Scotch farmer in South Africa, Angus Buchan, with his wife and children who just is angry, desperate, always works, and he just feels hopeless. His wife convinces him gto go to church and he decides to give his life, farm, family, all to God. His faith is so pure and so vibrant. When a fire gets out of control, he prays for rain and God provides it. When a local woman gets struck by lightning and dies, God uses him to bring her back to life.

So when there’s this drought in the land for months and all the scientists are saying Continue reading

These might be for you.

My personal notes to a potential suitor:

#1: Music is a huge part of my life. I will introduce you to my favorite artists. And I will be looking for some indication of what you think. If you love it, let me know. If you don’t, tell me why.

#2: Please dance with me. =] Goofily(?) and all other kinds of dancing. Don’t worry, I suck at it, too.

#3: A lack of respect towards me is a deal-breaker. No excuses.

#4: It’d be totally awesome if you would be all about holidays with me. Including National Get Over It Day. (March 9th)

#5: Please let me vent. And, if you disagree with me, please let me finish ranting before you say that you can see the other side. If you make an argument for the opposite side while I’m ranting, it’ll probably just start a fight.

#6: Please, please don’t close off. Especially during an argument. Let’s always talk, okay?

#7: Do not text me 24/7. Everyday? Sure, I’m down with that. But let me get to sleep at a reasonable hour. Let me go to school. And don’t freak if it takes me a little while to respond. I have a life.

#8: Be okay with no PDA. Holding hands is fine, but let’s not ever be attatched at the hip.

#9: Honesty is an absolute must. It’s a core value for me, so I hope it is for you, too. Don’t be the type to just tell me what you think I want to hear.

#10: Yes, I probably would prefer to buy the book as opposed to borrowing it from the library.

#11: Please don’t be one of those people who freak out about their picture being taken. I think you’re cute. And bad pictures happen to even the best of us. A picture is only embarrassing if you choose to be embarrassed by it. And you are not any picture of you. If necessary, and in those situations where you really don’t want your picture taken (I have those, too), please be mature about it and respond by saying something like, “honey, please not today. We’ll get pictures together some other time, okay?” as opposed to freaking out. Or you could suggest a compromise: Let me take a couple pictures in return for letting you pick the next movie we watch or having me pay for dinner sometime.

#12: On that note, if a compromise is to be made, let’s specify at the moment it is being suggested what the conditions are for each party. Don’t hold it over my head that I owe you something.

#13: One word: HYGIENE!

#14: Please don’t ever feed me. It’s so awkward. For me and everyone else.

#15: Drive me places, but I’d like to drive sometimes, too.

#16: I can pretty much guaruntee that I’ll try to imitate the way you talk. I do that. Please find amusement in it and don’t get offended. I don’t do it to mock you; I love linguistics.

#17: Please, no buzz-cuts.  Have hair.

#18: Please be a fellow musician. But if you are, don’t be critical or try to give me lessons unless I ask you for it.

#19: Be a real man – Love God.

#20: I would absolutely love it if you made “your face” jokes with me. =]  And if you remember that I like Chuck Norris jokes.

#21: If you interacct well with kids, I’ll melt.  =]

 

 

 (inspired by this)

Warranty?

       I was clearing off my desk when I found a warranty for a pair of headphones I got for my birthday. I skimmed through it to see when it expired but I couldn’t find a date. Instead, I found this:

 

      “This warranty does not cover domestic damage or damage due to acts of God, accident, misue, abuse, negligence, commercial use, or modification of, or any part of the product, including the antenna.”

 

       So, apparently, if God decides to smite my headphones, they won’t fix it! I told my sister and my dad…

 

Dad: “What they mean by ‘acts of God’ are tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, a meteor falling on your house….”

Me: “So out of all my problems because of a meteor falling on my house, I decide to go get my headphones fixed.”
Dad: “You can just see this guy, standing in smoldering ruins saying ‘Heeyyyy, My headphones!'”

 

                  Darn Sony. It’s not my fault if it’s God’s will my headphones are destroyed…