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.