March 25, 2006

No Worries

Current Time: 1:11pm 3/26/2006, GMT+10
Current Temperature: 30C
That's right, it's 90 freakin' degrees farenheit outside. I've been living in below-freezing temperatures for months, and now, this pasty, somewhat lumpy New Yorker has moved into paradise.
I'm greatly enjoying the time I've had here so far, and looking forward to the year we have planned: food, friends, Jesus. [for those of you that asked me to explain what I'm doing here, don't worry, I'll get to it soon, but it's a complicated post to write, so give me a little time]. My first impressions of this place aside, I can tell that I'm going to learn and grow quite a bit while we're here.
As an American, I've grown up in a culture that doesn't tend to value failure, disappointment, easing off the throttle, and generally speaking, we Americans don't much get over ourselves too easily. American culture is steeped in a drive to succeed, no matter the cost, and failure is not an option. And we hate to admit we're wrong. Ever. Unforunately, this is neither realistic nor healthy.
What I'm saying is that, for all our talk about it, Americans are not generally inclined towards freedom. American Christians are even worse: we live for the rules, always hesitating over any decision to see if it might compromise our self-declared holiness. The result is that we often ignore the relationships around us. Our self-imposed rules and regulations (most of which aren't actually in scripture) are the antithesis of freedom.

What I'm not saying is that freedom is that we are allowed to do anything and everything.
I love this culture because they do not look towards God and ask "what can or can't I do?" They look towards God and ask "who can I know today?" It's not about rules; it's about life. It's not a selfish desire to feel good about themselves and behave well, it's about the people around them and building relationships.
I have a lot to learn from these fine people. I've always been a bit of a poster-child. I did all the right things, I said all the right things (and more importantly, never said the wrong things), and yet somehow still felt empty. The longer I'm here, the more I realize that it's about my own desire to be perfect - and how I have to get over myself (and in the process, learn to laugh at myself). This place is going to be perfect for that.

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