When I Can’t Do It All

This weekend, a Christian film premiered in theaters. Before it, radio companies, churches and the like promoted this film through ads, word of mouth and the internet. Not long before that, another Christian film hit theaters, which again was heavily advertised.

I don’t know where it comes from in my sphere of influence, maybe you can identify it in yours, but there is a pressure to support anything and everything with a Christian label on it. Buy this book, see this movie, support this cause.

I used to sit in the chapel of my school, listening to visiting pastors, speakers, missionaries and innovators. Quite often, they had recently released a book and this was another stop on their tours. If there talk was compelling or they were familiar to the audience, students would rush down after chapel to buy a book, get their autograph and meet them. I did it myself quite a few times. But because this happened so frequently, this mingling as we students listened to the captivating words of a speaker, in an event I was required to attend, I noticed how often these words were crafted to gain a response. To open hearts up to the Holy Spirit’s prompting through examples and stories and showing just how much you or someone else needed the help.

When missionaries would come, very often we’d see videos of a poor country and its people from a recent trip students and/or faculty had taken. We’d be encouraged to donate to the sister organization of our school. To sign up for a missions trip to partner. During concerts that came to the school, we’d be encouraged to partner with another organization to sponsor children.

And you know, none of these things are bad, really. But the voices kept coming and coming and begging me to do something. There were days where I’d feel so overwhelmed because it seemed that everyone wanted me to do something. Everyone felt it was my responsibility to do something as a Christian. And I couldn’t. I wasn’t called into missions and didn’t wish to participate in another trip. I didn’t have the money to sponsor a child when I could barely afford attending the expensive college. I was not registered to vote in that state and for that candidate.

It’s so hard to find quiet and peace in the midst of the noise. And it’s hard for deep feelers, like me, to cope knowing how great needs really are. This isn’t a piece to minimize the real needs, because they are there and they are real. But in the middle of the noise, it’s easy to lose a sense of what it’s really all about. The good intentions get lost in a cry to go and do and help. Voices will tell you how you are obligated to help because of commands in sacred texts.

As a member of Evangelical home schooling groups and youth groups and circles, I witnessed quite a few people growing up slamming Catholics because of their stance on works–how they’re misreading the Bible because our salvation doesn’t require works. And yet, I feel at odds with them, because look at what they do, when they go out of their way to promote Christian movies or politicians or television or whatever. Then they look me in the eyes and wonder why I don’t do the same. It’s not because a cause is bad, but I do not want this to become a work I am compelled to keep.

Now I use my voice to stand and say, I cannot do it all. I cannot support everything and will not. Just because something bears the label of Christian does not mean that by my choice of religion I am obligated to support it. I hope that as a Christian, the Spirit will guide you and me to support whatever we wish, to be equipped to support it. But I fear what happens when the good is drowned out by so much noise. I don’t want to fall under the weight of something I was never meant to hold.

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What I’m Into – February

Aside

Welcome to another edition of What I’m Into! Gosh, how has a month already passed? It feels like January just ended. I’m linking up with Leigh, our awesome host.

Reading:
This month I finished:
Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey
Anne of the Island by LM Montgomery
Water Walker eps 1 and 2 by Ted Dekker
Eyes Wide Open by Ted Dekker

I found that some retailers are starting to carry editions of The Fault in our Stars that are autographed, so I now officially own tfios with a purple J scribble. Mine came from Target, it’s pretty affordable and has a bonus dvd to boot. I got an email from books a million that they are carrying autographed copies, too. More to choose from! I highly recommend this book, so if you haven’t read it, now’s a good opportunity.

Water Walker is a new serial series that Ted Dekker is releasing. Each edition is around 79 pages each, making for quick reads. He likens the episodes to tv show episodes. Episode 1 (or book 1) is free on various retailers, so I downloaded it. Now here’s where I give a disclaimer: I have not liked much of Ted’s works for the past several years. I’m a big fan of the man himself (if you ever get a chance to hear him speak, do it, he’s amazing with his passion), but I haven’t been able to get into his writing. I started the book thinking that if I didn’t like it, it was free and it was short, it wouldn’t be a big deal if I didn’t like it. WELL. The book blew me away, I loved it. Sadly, I did not come away from book two with as enthusiastic of feelings. I’m still going to finish out the series as they are released, but I’m not sure how I’m going to like it as a whole.

I really can’t recommend Jesus Feminist enough or dear Sarah Bessey. She has a sense of grace about her that impresses me. Her book isn’t just for feminists or women, it’s a good read for everyone, no matter your background and stance. The greatest thing I took away from this book was the way that Sarah invited every women to follow her unique God-given calling. I couldn’t ask for anything better.

Music:
Noah Gunderson – Ledges. I love this album, I was a fan of his last album Family, too. Favorite songs are Poor Man’s Son and Ledges.

With their reunion announced, I’ve been listening to more Nickel Creek and remembering why I love them so much. I’ve been playing Reason’s Why a good deal, I really like that album.

TV:
Sherlock: The third episode solidified it as my favorite of all the series (or seasons, for those of us in the US). There was a great deal of character development and I loved the dynamic that Mary added. Looking forward to series 4 already.
How I Met Your Mother: Last week’s episode felt like older eps, showing off how well thisĀ  group works together. I can’t believe it ends this month.
Downton Abbey: I skipped a good bit of the season because of a certain plot point, but caught up on the last three episodes. And because of the ending of the Christmas special, I’m so glad I did.

Webseries:
Jane Eyre: I really like where the series is right now, showing us more of Jane’s character in very subtle ways. As of Feb 28th, the show has been in airing on youtube for a year, yay! And there’s still more story to tell.
The Art Assignment: A new series run by PBS with John and Sarah Green (aka The Yeti, if you’ve ever watched vlogbrothers). It’s a really cool take on art, where they tackle a concept with an artist who’s known for that art. The artist of the week gives an assignment, so the project becomes interactive with the views. I love this series, the art it introduces me to and the John-Sarah banter.
I Didn’t Write This: a series that narrates and visualized poetry and short excerpts. I’m in love! I linked up with my favorite, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.
Emma Approved: I’m really glad this series is back from hiatus. The actors who play Emma and Alex (aka Knightley) play their characters so well, I love the chemistry between them. Right now, I don’t love the plot. It feels more like a “based on” story than an adaptation.

On the web:
The Other Side of Donald Miller’s post: Church PTSD – I really loved this post on Scot McKnight’s blog, showing the struggle a family went through in the church. I could relate to the content described and I think it’s a good conversation to have, in the church.

This will become more of a regular thing, but for right now, this is the only post I have to show. I generally tweet and RT posts that really capture my attention, so follow me on twitter for more.

Things I loved:
-I finished up a crafting project (long overdue) and sent it to my friends.
-Watching IF online, my favorite talks came from Sarah Bessey and Christine Caine.
-The Sunday where I got both Girl Scout Cookies and long awaited photos
-Getting prints of those long awaited photos, my dear friend’s wedding and hanging them on my walls
-A really good Valentines Day

Instagram:
yellow flowers
Living up North gave me such a love for trees with blooming flowers. I found this tree on my way to lunch on Friday and fell in love. Spring is coming.

Sorry for my silence on the blog. I wasn’t quite sure what to write about, hence my silence. Lent always seems to bring the words and so I hope to have more writing here soon. I think I’m going to be revising a few writing projects and posting them here, as well.