Living with The Tension

I’m working on a few posts right now. At Rachel’s encouragement I’m going to put up a series of posts on our Arkansas trip – basically one for each day. She thinks that will help keep them from being too long…

But I’m also writing another post, a nerd post. These days most of the people who read this blog are Christ Journey folks who don’t necessarily understand or care about a lot of the nerdy stuff I wrestle with. So…if that’s you, feel free to simply reread the Arkansas stuff!
When I wrote recently on the “Wrath of God” issue, some were concerned that I was getting worked up about stuff that didn’t really matter. 
There are a couple important notes to make here. First of all, I’m a bit of a freak. (Surprise!) I don’t fit neatly in many categories. For instance, I grew up on a ranch but I absolutely love the DFW metroplex. To be more precise, while I’m learning to love the Fort Worth side (and Burleson in particular); though this is where I was born and spent my first decade (Benbrook) and where I have several family members (grandparents and uncle in Benbrook, other relatives in Aledo, uncle in Burleson…), I still miss Dallas. 
But I’m not supposed to. 
Country boys aren’t supposed to like the big city, but I love it. I love all the little coffee shops and bookstores, the libraries, the postmodern young adult crowd in the Village, Deep Ellum and lower Greenville area…even the “uppity rich folks” in Highland Park…well, some of them. 
And yet, I still love cattle, hunting, fishing, camping, kayaking and generally being out in the woods. I wear camo, under armour, express jeans and polos from Banana Republic – often at the same time.
I love playing sports and going to sporting events, but I only watch ESPN occasionally to get updates…trying to follow stats, trades and the drama is tiresome. And I just can’t get into Nascar at all. Sorry.
On the overtly spiritual side, I really like sitting in someone’s living room and talking about the ways that God is moving in our lives, hanging out around the barbecue pit being neighbors, telling the big picture Story of God to someone who has never heard it before, spending 24 hours in the Chick-Fil-A parking lot so that we can donate a bunch of meals to Harvest House, finding ways to help a struggling young single mom climb out of the clutches of poverty. 
But I also like to read books written by the Fathers and Mothers of the early church – like Maximus the Confessor and the Cappadocians – and discuss the significance of concepts like theosis, the limits of certain atonement theories and the tension between a bounded-set or open-system approach to ecclesiology. 
So my country friends and family think I’m too city, my city friends think I’m too country. My ESPN watching friends find my level of commitment suspect and my book loving friends find my desire to get out and do something physical are equally suspicious. Some people assume that because I’m a nerd, I must need to focus on people more. Others think that because I’m missional/postmodern/post-denominational I probably don’t have a well-developed, thought out or robust theology of anything. 
I’ve had people complain because my preaching is too narrative – they want more exposition of the text. Others have expressed hope that I’ll stop worrying about background, history and exegesis and focus on telling stories… alluding to a passage or retelling it in contemporary terms is sufficient. 
Sorry, I like both and see the value of both. I may not be great at either…but not many are. I’m trying.
That brings me to the other issue: while I’m trying to make my blog more personal these days, that has never been my first compulsion for writing. Blogging has always been my setting for working through theological and pastoral stuff in writing. In the past it served as a forum for other students and ministers to struggle in community.
Actually, the theological conundrums I work through are pretty personal – it just happens that personal for me is often found in the struggle to develop more sustainable and consistent theologies – just ask Rachel. 
If you want personal then you’re going to get a good dose of this stuff because this is me. 
You are welcome to do the same thing that Rachel does: just smile and nod, then go back to what you were doing before I started babbling. 🙂
I’ve written enough of these posts to know that folks often misread my tone – one of the drawbacks of having a dry and sarcastic sense of humor is that sometimes it gets lost in translation. So, let me say explicitly that this isn’t an angry or accusatory post at all. More than anything else I’m just revealing the internal struggle I have with not really fitting in anywhere. I’m okay with all that about myself, I’m just trying to help clear up any confusion. 
…and its a heads-up on some nerdy stuff coming down the pipe! 

Posted on April 3, 2009, in church planting, community, nerd, personal, reflection, theology. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Bring on the nerd…I love the nerd! (Yes, I am smiling and nodding as I say that.)No really. I know that all the academic stuff really is a struggle for you. I know it’s stuff that’s important, stuff that’s personal, stuff that consumes you until you get it figured out. It’s stuff that my squishy little brain simply can’t handle, but that’s okay. Someone needs to study and think about all of that stuff so that they can teach folks like me.And the Arkansas stuff — bring that on, too. I still don’t think I’ve gotten the full scoop on everything…and I’m still trying to convince myself that “Wood” is as funny as you guys say…

  2. Sometimes God finds it easier to use the ones who “don’t fit in”. That makes it easier for Him to get all the glory. I don’t really fit in anywhere either, so knowing that gives me hope. :-)wt

  3. I agree, I just don’t get Nascar.-Luke

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