Sunday, May 02, 2004

Following God part 1

Before you read this post please read the previous post as it serves as an introduction to this thought process.

I want to start by saying I am answering a question which is impossible to answer. I am also asking a question which is contextual. The question speaks to both a person and the context which the person exists. Following Christ in Africa looks very different then following here on the left coast. There are many different ways for me to address this. I am going to focus on this topically. It may end up looking like a set of spiritual disciplines. In my mind it is more like a story that can only be discussed topically. It is too large and ever changing.

I want to start by talking about prayer.

This topic is probably the most personal of all topics. Most prayer is never seen or heard by anyone except God. Growing up I was told, like all good evangelicals were, to have a quiet time. Take a half hour out for God and that means you'll be a good Christian. I never could. Most people I knew never could. It was some sort of ideal that was never reached. This idea of quiet time I deconstructed. I felt liberated. I was free to pray whenever however I need and or want. Over the last three years I have been living looking out over the ocean. I take what I call prayer walks. I walk around the campus communicating with God. Talking out loud and listening. Sometimes, a piece of art will bring me to prayer. This why I have an affection for catholic, orthodox, and Episcopal churches. They are a place which brings the person to prayer.

The next thing I deconstructed was language. Growing up there was two types of prayer. First, English which used words like thee and thou, Father in heaven, and other church language. There was a perception that I could not be real, I couldn't tell God "Life sucks."

The other thought was as a Pentecostal there was the expectation that I spoke in tongues. This is theological mess but I say simply I see no value in saying words I don't understand.

I have started to be real with God. Talking to him like I would any close friend. I use whatever words I must to convey what is on my heart and mind. I have prayed "God I'm pissed off right now." And many other prayers that conveyed by pain.

My challenge is simple be real in your prayers.


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