Tuesday, November 30, 2010

DIY: Worst Idea Ever?

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, my younger brother and my father spent a lot of time talking about putting a bathroom in the guest house my parents have in their backyard. Dad has hired someone to come and dig the necessary holes, they just need someone who can set up the plumbing. Most of the discussion consisted of my brother trying to convince my dad that he does not need to hire a plumber, he can do it himself and save a lot of money. I think they are crazy. My brother is in construction, but he is not a plumber, neither is my dad. I can just see it now, going to their house for the holidays year after year and always being instructed not to use the guest house bathroom because it is broken. I think there is a reason why plumbers get paid to do such work.
As a red-blooded American men, asking for help is not our strongest suit. Although I am very social, I often like to be capable of doing things on my own too. There have been times in school when I choose to do a project alone instead of doing one with the help of a group. Usually this occurs because I want to follow my own ideas and not someone else’s. I think the Internet may have affected this weakness negatively because I no longer have to go to other people as much to seek knowledge. Most things that I might need to know, I can learn online. 
Mark 11 recorded kind of a funny miracle that Jesus performed. He seemed frustrated when a fig tree did not have any fruit, so he cursed it. The next day they were amazed to see that the tree had withered. Peter called Jesus’ attention to the tree, then Jesus replied to him by saying “have faith in God.” Then Jesus taught them about asking and believing.
Most of the believing we tend to do stops with us. May be we believe in ourselves (which is why one might decide to go the DIY route), yet where does God fit into the equation? Although I may intellectually acknowledge God in certain sober moments, I think I tend to underestimate God’s role on a daily basis. In reality, life is not a DIY job.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

How Will I Know?

A couple of years ago, some of my friends and I were driving through vast expanse of the Texas panhandle on our way to the ski slopes of New Mexico. While we were passing by Lubbock, my friend Alex decided to divert our conversation to the music on the radio. He asked, “Does it seem to you that there was good music in the 1970’s and the 1990’s, but it just skipped over the 1980’s?” 
It seemed like an innocent question, which I thought might lead to a rousing conversation. As a child of the 1990’s, I kind of felt the same way, but I kept quiet. However, Tracy was not ‘gonna take it.’ He replied that he believed the 1980’s was the best decade for music. Unfortunately, he did not stop there, he had to ‘push it.’ Over the next six hours, he attempted to 'beat it' into our brains by subjecting us to an auditory tour of synthesizers, hair bands, and monster ballads from the 1980’s. 
In Mark 10, two of the apostles asked Jesus a question. They asked him if they could sit next to him at ‘the end of the world as we know it.’ Considering the big picture, their question seems kind of ridiculous. However, I cannot blame them, I think I would like to sit next to Jesus too. James and John (the apostles) had obviously grown rather fond of Jesus in their time together. 
Jesus’ reply was very gracious, yet he did not just answer the question. He told them that they did not know what they were asking of him. Instead of deploring their ignorance, Jesus addressed the real issue. Their question was turned into a prophecy and a lesson about leadership in the kingdom of God.
Sometimes our lives are motivated by seeking answers to our questions. ‘Time after time,’ I ask and wait for God to ‘pour some sugar on me.’ I wonder if we tend to miss the lesson because we are looking for the answer. After the anthology of 1980’s music ‘shook me all night long,’ I was still not convinced that the 1980’s was indeed the best decade for music. I wish Alex would have kept his question to himself. However, I did learn quite a bit about the life of Tracy. 
I do not think we should stop asking the questions, but we should seek the leadership of God, even if it is not an answer. Keep 'livin on a prayer.'