Thursday, May 24, 2012

Sometimes You Have to Leap

I've spent the last two years of my life teaching spirited second graders at a wonderful Catholic School in the Archdiocese of St. Louis.  (Some of the funniest dialogues have been documented on this blog.  If you click on the category "From the Mouth of a Child" you'll find them all.)  Recently, I chose not to sign my contract for next year.  I do not currently have a job lined up.

So, why didn't sign?

I remembering wanting a variety of careers growing up: mailman, psychiatrist, dolphin trainer.  But I could never actually see myself doing anything but teaching.  I loved school.  I loved playing school at home.  I had a chalkboard in my bed room and a whole list of kids and papers to grade.  Speaking of grading papers, I loved helping my friends who taught with their grading.

I walked into my first teaching job with relative ease.  I had a strong mentor.  I was surrounded by willing, helpful, and friendly teachers.  I had families who were good to me. I struggled that first year to really put my heart fully into what I was doing.  I think on a huge level I was afraid that if I did, I would get stuck in teaching forever.

When I made the decision to walk away from youth ministry, I made a promise to myself.  I promised that I would put all of myself into my classroom.  I would work hard.  I would embrace the people around me.  I would dive into the community.  I would see myself as a fully-given component of my students' lives.  And while I cannot look at everyday and say that I upheld that promise, I can say that overall I found success.

Even in the best moments, I could not stop myself from wondering what else is out there for me.  There were whispers of a gentle stirring in my heart to search, to find.  When it came time to sign the contract, I was torn - torn between an excellent job (with its challenges of course) and this unsettled sense within of a "something more" that perhaps lay elsewhere.

I do not know exactly what I will find on this journey.  I cannot say where I will be even at the next step.  But I do know that it is with great faith and trust that I am taking this leap.  Why the leap?  Because my life doesn't have to be an unhappy sense of trapped.  My life can be joyful and constant movement toward that ever illusive more.  The more that is only fully found and dwelt in at the throne of our Heavenly Father.

There is a definite sense of sadness in leaving.  I'll miss the incredible people I've learned to call friends.  But it is not with a heavy heart that I go.  I leave with a sense of, "okay.  This is it. Here I go."

"Ask and you shall receive. Seek and you shall find.  Knock and the door shall be opened for you."

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Gay Marriage and Pinterest

I'm tired.

I'm tired of hearing about gay marriage.  I'm tired of thinking about gay marriage.  I'm tired of hostility toward those opposed to gay marriage.  I'm tired of  all the pointlessly silly pins on Pinterest making light of an important issue.  They try to use sarcasm and humor to paint a picture of those opposed to gay marriage as unfounded and ridiculous.  They undermine the intelligence on BOTH sides of the issue.  They make real conversation almost impossible.

I present this image as Exhibit A.  All I can say is, really?  Come on now.  Does ANYONE who is opposed to gay marriage think that a World War will break out, plagues will come, and terrorists will win?  No.

I am opposed to gay marriage.  It is not because I think gay marriage will lead to greater terrorism or some other kind of global disaster.  It's because I know that gay marriage is destructive to the natural design of sexual unity and family.  I'm not opposed to it because I want to prevent the collapse of society.  I'm opposed to it because I want to prevent the further collapse of the family.

Exhibit B.  This one is slightly less annoying because it at least raises an intelligent point: that there are a whole host of things in today's society that are damaging to the Institution of Marriage.  Porn.  Divorce.  Insanely short lived marriages.  Affairs.  They are all destructive to the Institution of Marriage.  In fact, they make the legal union of marriage a joke.  It bears almost no significance.

These things are destructive because they violate the life-long, committed, free, and total purpose of sexual unity.  Guess what.  So does gay marriage.

I don't want to get into an argument about which one on this list is worse.  The truth of the matter is that they are all wrong.  They are all destructive.  I'm no more in favor of porn, divorce, or affairs than I am of gay marriage.  This pin assumes that I don't care about those things.  I do.  But you wouldn't know that now would you, because you (Mr. Pinner that I do not know) didn't bother to ask.

Exhibit C.  "Claiming that someone else's marriage is against your religion is like being angry at someone for eating a doughnut because you're on a diet."  This isn't even a logically sound claim.  It doesn't use the same terms in its articulation.  I guess maybe the creator of this one knew that saying, "Claiming that someone else's marriage is against your religion is like claiming someone eating a doughnut while you are on a diet is against your religion" makes absolutely no sense.

Furthermore, while gay marriage is against my religion, that's not something I throw around with no cause.  It isn't an arbitrary claim that I put out there for dramatic flare.  It's the truth.  In the 2,000 year old unchanging doctrine of my faith, there is not room for gay marriage.  It was against my religion 2,000 years ago.  It will still be against my religion in 200,000 years.  It has nothing to do with your love for doughnuts and everything to do with an understanding of Truth.

Exhibit D.  Yes, because the people we spend the most time with are the deciding factor in how much like Jesus we are. 

Jesus loved unconditionally.  He loved the prostitute, the pharisees, the adulterous woman, His sinless virgin Mother, and the murders who died next to Him on Calvary.  He loves me.  He loves you.  And we are most like Him when we empty ourselves and love each other.  And, by the way, I do love you - no matter who you spend your time with.  I want all of the best things for you no matter how many annoying and fruitless little pins you have.