Sunday, November 21, 2010

Willing to change

I feel like my head and my heart are just so full of things that I want to write, but sometimes I have a hard time getting things onto paper, or in this case, onto the computer screen. I am not an eloquent writer. I know this. I am wordy, I use lots of exclamation points, too many capital letters, I have poor punctuation and grammar (thankfully Darin catches most of those mistakes) and am usually not able to write my thoughts out in a clear and concise way. Oh well. I have long said that I keep this blog for me and my family as a place to get my thoughts down and keep track of all the stuff that is going on in our lives. I don't scrapbook and don't even print pictures out unless they are needed for a school project, so this IS the record of my kids lives! It is also my space and while I don't plan on being offensive, I do plan on being as true to myself as I can. I want to look back and not only see physical changes in my kids, but I also want to read the words I put down and see how I have changed and how I process things differently over time.

I think change is good. It's hard at times, but good. I believe that too often we hold on to certain ways of doing things because that's how we've always done it. The "we" might be our family, our group of friends, our church or any other group that you are a part of. I read this post today and found myself nodding my head in agreement and wanting to go out and find the book she was writing about. When we were last in South Africa, we were able to see what a big impact a relatively small amount of money could have in that country. My parents church had collected a few thousand dollars, which they sent over with my parents. With this money, we were able to purchase a wash machine, a refrigerator, school uniforms, and more, which you can read about here and you can check out pictures through the Picasa link on the right side of the blog. For the same amount of money, about 1 and 1/2 people could have flown to South Africa, not including any lodging, dining or transportation costs. If this paragraph seems totally random and incoherent, you'll have to just go click on the link above and read the post so you can understand what I am talking about!

I have been doing a lot of reading lately. Usually I stick to Christian fiction-I have a serious addiction, but lately I've been branching out and have been reading a lot of non-fiction. I read quite a few books about the history of apartheid in South Africa, which I once started to post about, but haven't quite been able to get all my thoughts into words on that one. More recently, I've been reading a lot of what I'd call Christian non-fiction, which includes books about what the church could look like, should look like and does look like. Some of my most recent reads have been "Radical" by David Platt, "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years" by Donald Miller, "Forgotten God" by Francis Chan and "unChristian" by David Kinnaman. I just started reading "The Irresistible Revolution" by Shane Claiborne. I would give each of the books I've read so far a high recommendation. They have all given me much to think about, which is good, but thinking alone isn't that great. I find that I have been wrestling with a lot of preconceived notions that I have held about the church and the world, about those who are in the church and those who are outside of it. I feel like these books have changed the way I think about things, but on the other hand, some of the stuff I've read has also strengthened beliefs that I already had. I don't want to become one of those people who hops on every bandwagon that happens to come trundling by. I think that's why I waited so long to do a Beth Moore Bible study. I tend to be more wary of things I perceive to be fads both in and out of the church, which is why you will never see my in a pair of jeggings or skinny jeans! Sometimes I am hesitant to read books like the ones listed above because they often come across as hateful towards the church and think that everything the church holds dear should be tossed out. I think that some people might read the same books I did and think "Jonna, that is just what THESE books are saying!" but I really didn't find that. I think they were all crying out for American Christians to take an honest look at ourselves through the lens of scripture, not through the lens of our traditions, culture or denomination. I would highly, highly recommend the book "unChristian". It's subtitle is "What a new generation really thinks about Christianity...and why it matters". This book really made me reexamine how I have responded to those outside of the church and how I have expressed my views about different issues, such as homosexuality.

I guess the whole point of this post is that taking another look at how we've always done things, or said things, or dealt with things can be beneficial, not only for ourselves, but for those around us. I don't think we are supposed to just blindly follow along and stay on the same path because that's the way it's always been. I also don't think we can just assume that we are still on the same path that Christ first set his followers on. I think that there are a lot of places where we have strayed, but sadly, these things have now become the norm and are often just assumed to be the "right way". As I said at the beginning, I am not a writer. My thoughts are random and rarely cohesive. I guess I write how I talk, which drives my husband crazy! I guess the less I worry about how stuff comes out, the better I'll be at just getting it out there and unloading some of the weight that I've been carrying around.


Anonymous said...

Part of life is constantly checking in with God to see if you are where he wants you to be in your thinking, actions, motives, parenting, marriage etc. Where I am now, isn't where I started or where I will end. It is a constant flow of conversation that says, "What do you want from me today with _______?" and then maturity comes from actually obeying what he asks you to do. New ideas, thoughts and comments from others like authors, family and friends are some of the ways HE moves us into line with what He wants from us.. Just keep listening to what he is asking for from you.. love you jonna .. laurie

retha said...

Often is it easier to be rank honest when one does not make use of eloquent writing ways.
I was to lazy to read the whole article, still like to say this about missions: we have seen many missionaries come and go, short and long term. Not one of them has been willing to live like a local. (staying in the elite suburbs, mixing only with certain people..)
Their mind still operate according to the values, income, shopping, perceptions, etc. of their country of origin. And I think the most obvious in our country they always have the opt out clause, (they can run back home) because of this such has an arrogant attitude to locals. (I'm just saying)
Yes, it is often more difficult to have the mind of CHRIST inside the church, because it is so easy to allow doctrine, rules and regulations to become our conviction instead of the HOLY SPIRIT and love. Often it can be that one has a total different thought and might then put it off as not GODLY, but I think we must be careful with such. John 14:21 say JESUS will reveal himself after the condition. Can one imagine or prescribe what will happen then?
Sorry if this is too long, I have been "talking with you are you were speaking" on your post.

jonna said...

Thanks for taking the time to write, Retha. Lately I have been thinking a lot about what our life will look like once we move. My husband and I have both said we don't just want to uproot the life we have HERE and replicate it in South Africa. We don't want to remain set apart, clinging hard to our old lifestyle. Yet I know that it is going to be really, really hard to not fall right back into the same patterns of living that we have here, especially as we try to make the transition less painful for our kids!

Anonymous said...

Good stuff Jonna. As we talked a few weeks ago, these have been pretty pivotal books for me....well...I guess they have been pivotal in focusing my attention on the parts of scripture that my Evangelical American upbringing have caused me to ignore. maybe it wasn't North American Evnagelicalism that is to blame, maybe its just me, or...maybe its just my humanity. We don't like the tough parts..the red letters in the New Testiment are tough sometimes. But the love that God has for me aught to cause a radical alteration to my lifestyle.

The kingdom of heaven is like a man who discovered a treasure of immense value in a field. Upon finding it he went, sold all his possesions and purchased the field. I can't think of a better example of a person who radically altered their lifestyle. So the question is....if I haven't altered my lifestyle in that way....have I found it? If I'm honest with myself, have I truely grasped how high, deep, long is the love....?

To me these are the questions that have been so beneficial. They have caused me to meditate on what the love of the father shown to us through the work of Jesus on the cross means in my life. As I have been meditating on these tough passages, I have found it very convicting. But He has been gentle. He who began a work in me is faithful...

Now for the tough part...the following.

Greg Roy

jonna said...

Hi Greg, thanks for reading. I agree, the following is the tough part. I am a reader and a thinker, so I really enjoy getting my hands on a book full of new things, but then... I am about half way through the Irresistible Revolution. It has been good, but hard, as what he is describing is a total departure from what I am living. So thankful for grace-not meant as a cop out, but truly thankful or I'd be sunk.