Saturday, January 27, 2007

Priority vs. Passion

I like cold weather. Really, I do. I’m built for it. I have the extra insulation needed… kinda’ like a polar bear. I also produce a lot of internal heat. My wife calls me a furnace. I have a tendency (when outside) to be comfortable in less clothing than the average seems. If there is a lack of snow and ice, I enjoy being outside on a cold crisp winter day.
But I have to confess that I believe ice fishing to be on the brink of insanity. What compels a person to have to go out on a frozen lake, drill and chip through ice, then sit with the patience of Job on top of 20 degrees (or colder) just to catch a fish! You may say, "well, I love to fish." And that’s ok. You go right ahead. I’ll catch up with you in a couple of months when it hits 60 degrees outside.
My son (God love ‘em) got up at the crack of dawn today to go ice fishing. So, like a good Dad, I got up with him to make sure he had something for breakfast. I made him a thermos of his favorite coffee (Irish Cream). I got him all fixed up in the appropriate apparel to go out on the ice by sunrise and sent him out the door with his friends. Of course, I did not go because I needed to be on the "Front Porch" this morning…and I think it totally crazy to fish…on ice…at 7 am!
I was working on something totally different than this for today. But from the time I started (8 am) until now I have had 11 phone calls and 6 visitors to my office. What usually takes me two hours from start to publish has taken me 5 hours just to this point of writing.
I am ambiguous about my interruptions. They are my job. I enjoy my work as a pastor. A couple of the interruptions were my family. I love my wife and kids. I want them to have access to me anytime. But I have this writing I want to accomplish. I have things I want to do musically, but I can’t take time to practice. I have educational goals I want to fulfill, but I can’t take the time to sit in a classroom. I have 3 ideas for novels, but I can’t even begin to start because my commitments won’t allow it.
What do you do when time needed for life’s commitments leaves no time for personal passions?
With all conviction, I am sure that my time given to my 16-year-old son in my office this morning was more important than this blog. I am sure that my time spent with my 12-year-old son in my office this morning was more important than this blog. I am sure that the two students, two parents and other who contacted me this morning are more important than this blog! So, what’s the answer? I am convicted in my heart that that I must perform the duties that God has asked of me. I must be a father. I must be a pastor. But what about the passions that God gave me? If he gave me the passions, wouldn’t he want me to pursue them? As you (the reader of this blog) already know, there is no easy answer to this question.
As I conclude my long moment on the "Front Porch" this week, I admit that I am writing with an ambiguous frustration. I reckon I’ll just have to change the time I start writing, maybe get up earlier.
Man! I hate that idea worse than ice fishing.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Human Nature

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the nature of man. For many of you reading this, we are on the same page when I say "human nature". But when it comes to "sin nature", well, that’s a different story.
I understand to talk about man’s sin nature means an acceptance of God Almighty, and that He created Adam and Eve. I also understand that it means an acceptance of the notion that Adam did wrong and that he genetically passed that DNA along to all his descendants… that is you and me.
Now before you tune me out let’s play with this idea for just a minute. You see, to talk about "human nature" from a Christian perspective, means you have to acknowledge a creator who made us with desires. Stay with me here. God created man with the desire to eat and drink. God created man with the desire for sex. It is natural for young men and women to desire sex just like eating and drinking. It is a God given desire!
Now, let’s bring sin into the picture. When human nature becomes polluted with sin, it is awful. It takes the beautiful desires God has given to us, and perverts them. Eating becomes gluttony or anorexia, drinking becomes alcoholism and sexuality becomes… well you name it… from prostitution to wife swapping.
These are just three easy and obvious areas of life that can be pointed out. The area that is troubling me the most these days is the part of "human nature" that wants to hear good news. I hate negative news. You hate negative news. Especially that piece of information that points out my mistakes. Worse yet is that piece of information that makes me wrong.
I hate being wrong. I hate being told that I am doing wrong. I hate being told that what I believe is wrong. I believe it is a God given desire to want to be right. It is a great feeling to be right, to get the right answers, to do right, to believe right, to know your right!
O.K…. now tag that part of human nature with sin. What do you get? You get people who would change the truth to be right. You see, in the quest to be right, truth is a measuring stick by which all are measured. Sin nature says, "If you don’t measure up to truth, then change the truth to measure up to you."
But truth, God’s truth, is a measuring stick that is made of petrified timber. It is an unchanging standard of measurement. No matter what a person does to try and change it, the truth, God’s truth, is still the same. I have seen people try to ignore it, rationalize it, change the way to use it, or people who just plain old don’t believe it.
I want you to know that I am speaking of people who call themselves "believers" of the truth. This is the cause of my distress. How can you call yourself a believer and not accept the truth, God’s truth. The answer to that question is found in a human nature that is tainted with sin.