From the Basement

August 5, 2010

Suffering & the Christian Church: A Question

A question I’m wrestling with right now:

How do I reconcile the call to suffer with the fact that I was born in the USA to parents who did not have the means to travel internationally? I’ve never been out of the country. Never witnessed an atrocity. Am living a plush middle-class existence. Even in the face of economic crisis and unemployment, my parents are (thus far) still employed with health insurance and enough money to cover dental and vision costs w/o insurance. I. Am. So. Effing. Blessed.

So how exactly can I claim the promises of God and a “mature” (snort) faith when I am obviously not suffering?

(It should be noted that this post comes in the middle of a meltdown over how awful the writing is going and doubts as to whether or not God wants me to write, etc. etc. etc., blah blah blah)

It’s coming in the middle of extreme emotion, but the question is honest. Obviously, the answer isn’t for every American Christian to move to third-world countries, get rid of all possessions, eschew all dreams/hopes that extend beyond basic survival, and minister to other people (or is it?).

How do we reconcile the two?

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July 4, 2010

1776: The Holiday, The Musical, The Blessings

234 years ago, the Declaration of Independence was signed into existence (notwithstanding the amount of travel time it took to get all the signatures). In celebration of that great fete, we Americans will gather with our loved ones to attend parades and fireworks displays, perhaps lending some thought to the toil and labor that went into birthing our nation.

1776 is one of my favorite musicals; it chronicles the development of the Declaration. I’ve seen the film and the stage production, and it is always moving. In our day and age, I think we take for granted how revolutionary their vision was… how unique, how powerful, how challenging. Below, “Is Anybody There?” is sung on the eve of the vote by the character John Adams (played marvelously by William Daniels).

So today, let’s celebrate this wonderful day and all it has meant for this country, a country where I can still read my Bible in Starbucks, attend college, and be allowed a fair trial. The fact that we are even able to criticize and challenge our government in public is a blessing. In the midst of all the criticism, partisanship, and ideological furor, we forget how very blessed we are to live here.

Today, let’s celebrate and remember our blessings.

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