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Sunday. 9.29.13 12:36 am
I remember a long time ago, I was having a discussion about non-denominational churches with someone. Maybe it was Jon! It was pretty far in the past. During this discussion, I remember saying (or maybe just thinking) that these "new" churches were sort of suspicious. Religion definitely evolves over time, but I believe then and now in an absolute truth. So for all these groups to be diverging and making their own doctrinal paths seemed pretty foolish to me.

I thought, "The Church has 2000 years (even more if you count the Israelite heritage) of thought and philosophy riding behind it. Why would people abandon that to try to figure it out on their own?" I was raised in a Reformed Presbyterian church, so I don't know what "Church" I was even referring to. It was pretty foolish.

I didn't actually care about denominations that much, though. I liked the church I was with, and I sort of had a bad image of Catholicism in my mind, but other than that I didn't know what the big deal was. So when I got to college I was more than happy to go to whatever church was nearby, even if it was "non-denom."

HA! That looks like demon. Not really a good truncation.

So I went to this church for a while, and it was alright, but after a semester or so I started to get restless. I NEVER made any friends there. I went with my roommate and maybe a few girls I knew, and we'd leave again afterwards without ever being spoken to or met. I knew a few things about church:

It's something you're a PART of, not something you attend.
Lessons and lifestyles should be based on the Bible, not personal philosophies.
Worship is great but I'm not there to get emotional, so there'd better be more than good worship.
It should be challenging on a personal level, but I should feel loved and welcome.
And other such things.

So I quit going. I was looking for something more, and boy did I find it. I stumbled into a group of guys and girls who did all of the things I mentioned above, and more. They studied the Bible with me, showed me that my faith and my life didn't match Scripture, helped me repent and get right with God, and became my best friends. It was literally life-changing.

And the church I became a part of is non-denominational. Well, sort of. There are a lot of sister churches, where we've branched out and planted ministries all over the world. But the main thing is that we don't care about denominations. There's one Church, and you're either in it or you aren't. Having separate groups based on doctrine seriously undermines the point of the church (as does, of course, having wrong doctrine.) Doctrine is important, and we shouldn't be learning solely from our historical philosophies and stuff like that. We should be learning from the Bible. Period. And if we don't agree on major stuff, then somebody isn't being humble to Scripture.

That's one thing that I've learned. As a religion, Christianity has a rich history (both good and bad) of culture, philosophy, etc. But what good is philosophy by itself? How does a refined culture help me, a sinner? It doesn't. If I don't have a personal relationship with God, my religion is worthless. If I don't abide in the Word, how can he abide in me?

And what's more, that religious history has led us astray. Read the New Testament. Check out what the disciples do after Jesus dies. The first century church was a RADICAL movement. Read those scriptures and then think: have you been to a church that even remotely resembles that heart? There's a big argument these days about the meaning and usefulness of baptism. Go read about baptism in the New Testament. And then read about its history in the church since then. It was only recently that people started "praying Jesus into their hearts." How does that happen? Why do we replace the Law of God with something man-made?

Mark 7:5 --
5 So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with defiled hands?”

6 He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:

“‘These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
7 They worship me in vain;
their teachings are merely human rules.’
8 You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.”

9 And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions! 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and, ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ 11 But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is Corban (that is, devoted to God)— 12 then you no longer let them do anything for their father or mother. 13 Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.”

Just something I was thinking about today. It's pretty badly put together, I didn't try to reign in the rambling. Thanks for reading.

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Addict with a Pen
Sunday. 9.22.13 12:13 am
In place of a real post:

I saw Katie! She finally came and visited me; my second friend to come visit Atlanta since I began school here. Third if you count one of the elders of my old church, who was in town for work and took me out to dinner (and it was a really great time!) Is that sort of sad? I feel like it is. It's cool because now I have a bunch of new friends who live nearby/visit the church so I'm always seeing cool people. But, you know...anyway.

BUT YEAH it was a lot of fun, I took her and our mutual buddy around campus and we ate non-sustainably packaged food and it was fun fun. I wish we could do more but they were here for a music festival and she has to leave early tomorrow. :(

I went on a date today. We cooked green food with only our non-dominant hand (sort of cheating for me since I'm nearly ambidextrous when cooking) to celebrate Romans 12:2 which says that we should be trying not to conform to worldly patterns but to change the way we think. Then we played "transformed" Apples to Apples, which basically meant we had to act out the adjectives we won. I got...quite a few, including cuddly and cruel.

It was a fun date.

Twenty One Pilots will be playing in ATL in November. I'm probably gonna see them again. And I hope to bring a large group. It will be a blast.

Happy belated birthday Randomjunk! I hope it's less dark and meaningless than birthdays past. We love you!

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Saturday. 8.31.13 2:07 pm
Sharp-edged greens ripple
vast flares with nuclear hearts
fractals in motion

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Light cones
Monday. 8.26.13 7:37 pm
My roommate has been sleeping on the couch for about an hour, now. I feel like he should get up before he ruins his sleep cycle.

I used to consider myself sort of an amateur writer. I've been a dabbler all my life. But now I'm so out of practice that my style is all floppy. Everything I say sort of just...spews out. Which is fine, for nutang, but I sort of lament the loss of whatever potential there might have been to move people with words. I suppose I'll have to stick to ideas, and laughter. Apparently I'm good at laughter.

About the Palestinian guy I mentioned earlier: last night we were at Steak n Shake (after a successful pledge ceremony!) and I...I don't remember properly...he asked the group something and I gave some answer, as a I tend to do. Depending on my frame of mind and the situation, my interactions can be snappy and witty or surprisingly ponderous. I don't think I usually show an image of thoughtfulness or insight, so when I do it catches people off-guard. This was one of those moments, because he asked me if I was some sort of guru.


"Yeah, are you some sort of spiritual guru or something?"

Gosh. I've never been compared to a guru. I wish I remember what I said to provoke that because I'm fairly sure it had nothing to do with spirituality. And also I wish I could recall my answer (probably something along the lines of "no").

Roommate won't get up.

Homegirl texted me today. I'd actually deleted her number to avoid this annoying habit I have. I was trying to cut down on how often I texted her, since it seemed to bother her (because I pulled a classic stupid-boy move, to my eternal shame) and that sort of bothered me. The problem was that, in my head, I'd exaggerate how long it had been since I last contacted her, so I ended up pestering her a lot more than I meant to. I figured I'd lose her number and solve the problem. After all, if I need to talk to her I can still use facebook, which doesn't present the intimacy and ease-of-access issues that texting has. So I was befuddled to get such a friendly message from a number I didn't recognize this morning, encouraging me to kick butt in school this semester and have a great time doing it.

Thankfully, I stifled the urge to immediate respond with "Who is this?" I don't feel like explaining that I deleted her number practically out of necessity. Instead, I asked Ben about it, and he recognized the area code, and from there I realized the state of things (good thing I only know one other person with that area code!).

So that's cool. On one hand, I had totally forgotten that I'm supposed to be letting her alone, meaning I'm not relying on her as much for my emotional self-value. And on the other, she actually contacted me, which is a rarity, indeed! I feel pretty good about that, though now I'm wondering if I should un-delete her number or go back to my comfy ignorance. Does this mean we're cool? Somehow I don't think so, which is something of a shame but not unbearable.

I think I'll leave it for now, and see what she does. If she was like some of the girls I know then we could go on to be best pals, but it seems like she isn't and I don't particularly blame her.

Enough of that.

By the way, "Homegirl" is the affectionate nickname we use in our apartment to refer to a girl that tends to elicit drama in our lives. For example, one particular roommate has a tendency to get is emotional fulfillment from being popular with and getting attention from girls (as opposed to from God). So when he says Homegirl I know he's referring to the latest female that he's a bit hung up on. It's convenient and also sort of a joke at his expense. We usually advise him to marry the lucky lady as soon as possible.

As an eternal troll to Katie, I usually refer to her as "Ex-Homegirl," because I know she'd hate it.

Speaking of which, I was going to write about some stuff in my life but I just spent few minutes writing it out to Katie so I think I'll just be lazy and copy/paste it.

Me: I had something of an epiphany on Friday and I'm hoping it will light a fire under my bottom.

Her: oh?

Me: Yeah
I was nominated for a leadership position in the campus ministry
and I turned it down
Because right now I don't think that I'm in a position where I can say that I could do my best in school, work, fraternity, ministering, AND leadership
I think that because I've had a lot of great opportunities the last few years and I have not made good use of them.
I've been following Christ for a year and a half, but I don't think I've matured nearly as much as I would have if I'd been making better use of my time and energy.
The same goes for my grades and work
So...I guess the moral of the story is I'm coming at it from a new angle.
Instead of just trying to make it through and hope I come out better afterwards, I want to go after building better character and all that stuff.
So that means working hard and depending on God instead of just trying to slide by
It'll be an interesting week.

Her: isn't it always

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