Thursday, December 20, 2012

Finding joy in the desert.

I had an incredibly hectic day, the kind of day which seems to put something in my path every direction I took. I had the evening off, so I decided to go to the Advent supper at church and unwind with people I cherish.

It was a bit after 5pm, and as I pulling on to the freeway West-bound the sun was just at the last bit of its setting, and I beheld a gorgeous sight of black mountains outlined by the last bit of sunlight. It was the perfect contrast of gold and dark, had I not been driving I would have taken a picture, in fact it resembled one of the pictures which where shown of the Grand Canyon at a recent Bakersfield Symphony concert. It was then I realized the picture I was beholding was perhaps one of few clues left behind that this area was once mostly desert, and my mind went to the words of Thomas Merton.

This Advent, as last Advent, I have been reading "Thoughts in Solitude" by the Trappist monk, Thomas Merton. In the Bible, a trip to the desert seems to always assume this process by which someone undergoes some task or journey of self-discovery. The Hebrews had to wander in the desert for a ridiculously long time before they could "get it right" and reach the Promised Land. After his baptism, Jesus was sent by the Spirit to undergo fasting and temptation before he would begin his ministry. Merton writes that the desert was created by God to be itself, not to be tempered with by man, it offers nothing by way of survival and therefore the desert is perfect place for a person who truly desires to find their self and find dependency on God alone.

My feelings toward Bakersfield until recent years could be summed up in Merton's one word description of the desert: Despair. My whole life I felt I was raised in a bubble. Being gay in this town is doable, being just left of center politically is challenging, and dating is next to impossible. I've been reflecting recently on my failed plans to move to Fresno. A new life with the boyfriend (at the time), a bigger population, a chance to to leave this desert and start anew in what seemed like a utopia (which after further reflection, Fresno seems to be Bakersfield v2.0). God had other intentions for me, and after many prayerful struggles this year I appreciate what I have here. Had it not been for my home parish, and the Symphony, I probably would have made attempts to move on long ago before Joel had popped in the picture.  The discrepancies between this town and myself have definitely defined a large portion of who I am, in a good way. The despair of dating this year (well, or much lack of), has taught me not to just reaffirm my trust in God, but to find contentment in the gifts that I do have, the things which ensure my physical and spiritual survival.

Merton concludes the desert is everywhere, as is despair. The sample of spending 40 days in the desert is only a paradigm of the life which we live. "This then is our desert: to face despair, but not to consent...if we wage it courageously, we will find Christ at our side. If we cannot face it, then we will never find him."

 Paul writes, "Rejoice in the Lord, always. Again, I say, rejoice!". This last Sunday, the rose candle of Joy was lit in the Advent Wreath. The summary of Advent, waiting not for joy, but in joy, no matter the despairs the desert brings. It's a wonderful thing, the obscure idea that waiting for God in despair should bring joy. Psychologically, it's not practical. Thankfully, God's promises exist well beyond our/my idea of what's "practical".

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Advent according to...

Advent, the season of hopeful expectation. Or is it the season penitential preparations for the arrival a King? Or is the season of Incarnation, where the Divine and Profane intersect causing a rip in the space-time continuum which somehow actually fixes the world? There are several answers to the question of what Advent is and what it means, each with its group of proponents claiming that is has been done a certain way since before the Annunciation...

Advent is the first liturgical season of the Western Church calendar, starting no earlier than November 27th, starting the 4th Sunday before Christmas and lasting 4 weeks. The most common visual association is the Advent Wreath. Traditionally the Advent Wreath is a flat evergreen wreath with four candles surrounding which symbolize the four Sundays in Advent, with a taller candle in the center representing Christmas. The four Sundays represent the four centuries of silence between the Prophet Malachi and Jesus. Each candle has it's own meaning. The first candle is generally interpreted as Hope, but the other three have several meanings depending on which tradition a person is following which I don't care to dive into (having mini-themes in a major theme to me just seems kind of redundant).

At its core, Advent is the preparation for Christmas. How that preparation is used or interpreted can be summed up in two colors, a debate which my lucky non-liturgical Christian friends don't have to deal with: Purple, or Blue?

The Roman Catholic Church uses Purple, the Evangelical Lutherans use Blue, Methodists can use either, Purple is technically the official used in the Episcopal Church, while many congregations have switched over to Blue.

So, what's the big deal? I'll tell you. 

In ancient times, the color purple was associated with royalty as purple was an incredibly expensive color to dye. Liturgically, purple is associated with Christ as our royal King. Purple is also used and probably more associated with Lent and because of this, purple seems to have this baggage (I use that word as neutrally as possible) of penitence attached. While expecting the arrival of the Christ-child, the theme of the Second Coming of Christ the King is also highlighted. As in Lent, the preparation of the coming of Christ involves reflection on how we are living our lives, and how we ought to live our lives being mindful of our sin; thus the focus on penitence. The early practice of Advent make this very clear as Advent was a 40 day fast in the 4th Century (and still a season of fasting in Eastern Orthodoxy, in the equivalent season the Fast of the Nativity) with it's own version of Fat Tuesday (the Feast of St. Martin), where activities such as dancing and over indulgence in food were forbidden. The fast was relaxed down the line, but kept penitential in nature.

Blue has been seen on altars and wreathes more in the past thirty years, but the tradition isn't new considering it was used in Medieval until the Reformation, and was revived in the Oxford Movement in the 19th century in Anglicanism. In art, blue is often associated with Mary. And Mary, being the Theotokos or God-bearer  of the Incarnation, blue gives Advent a theme of hopeful expectation where we await the coming of Christ with joy, and not penitence.

Personally, I am proponent of using blue in Anglicanism, as blue connects back to our tradition in the Church of England, and it overall distinguishes Advent from Lent. But both camps have merit. Insert Via Media.

At it's core, Advent is about preparation. When a family is expecting the birth of child, all sorts of preparations are made. The women changes her activity patterns and dietary intake. Financial preparations are made. A room for the child is set aside. For me, making room in my life for Jesus must involve some penitence on some level. If that child is going to live in a room of mine, then I've got junk that needs to be cleaned out, and it call can't just be stashed in the closet (oh, the puns). The Gospel calls us to be watchful and expectant for that day when Christ returns. But it isn't the kind of preparation like when the VP of the company came to our location at work over the summer and we spent three weeks of fearful expectation that one wrong move and we were all fired. If anything, its like the long awaited reunion of two lovers, whose passion inspires in us to better ourselves not for the other person, but for the sake of loving ourselves enough to create a space for more love to exist  the other person.

Of course, in liturgical practice its very easy to fall into the trap off allowing passion and devotion to get stale, when liturgy is intended to do the opposite. Its always good to mix it up a bit and keep it fresh. I think if anything seasons such as Advent and Lent are intended for good habit building, its just a shame that both seasons are only separated by a few months. Things in liturgy should always express belief. I think to choose one side completely over the other misses the point. Do we believe that Jesus is merciful, or gracious? Isn't he both?

For me, Advent is about the Incarnation, God becoming man. The great unfathomable paradox that God chooses to reside in this mortal body which through the resurrection, he calls "good", and allowing that Incarnation to reside, until the final Incarnation where he returns in glory.

Friday, September 28, 2012

5am musings on Religion and Spirituality

The spiritual life is rooted in reality. It is not a separate experience which is worth-less or less superior than the one which a person wakes up to every day. To assume otherwise robs religion of its ultimate purpose: to act as a framework to understanding the Sacred.

It is often heard in 12-Step circles, or from those who have disgruntled experience with religion, "Religion is for those who want to avoid hell, Spirituality is for those who have been there". I hate to rob the spiritual experience of those who might agree with this statement, as I generally make a point to try not to judge any persons spiritual experience, as my own is questioned by the majority of people in my own faith tradition. Religion has certainly done its wrongs to many, and the word itself can carry its own set of heavy baggage, and to react to those wrongs and to find another pathway to peace is considered  normal psychology. However, the definitions most often used to define "religion" and "spirituality" have seemed to set the words in opposition of each other, a misconception which is worth addressing.

Religion, acts as a framework to understanding the Sacred. In our religious traditions we find not only a moral guideline and history of our ancestors in faith, but we find where God reveals God's-self. More specifically, we find how God manifests God's-self in the profane world in which we live. These manifestations are called "theophanies". Eliade writes that a study of religion could be reduced to a study of these theophanies. In the case of Christianity, God was manifested through the Incarnation of Jesus, and to those whom this theophany was revealed felt the urgency to tell of this theophany as the fulfillment of the Covenants from Judaism. From here, the history, moral guides and laws, rituals, the sacred texts, and the theological interpretation of those sacred texts, are formed into what we call religion. But all of the said is never the focal point of religion, but how God is revealed. It could be argued that even if a person who was raised in a particular religious tradition, that person no doubt was raised to have faith, but has not embraced the meaning of religion in their life until they have experienced a theophany in their own journey, from where they can fit that revelation to the ultimate theophany in which they believe in.

"We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience", writes Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. Experience is fundamental in spirituality. In experience we hold our trials and errors and hopes and dreams. Experience may be something gathered in fragments (or bulks) from our pasts, but ultimately makes us who we are in the present. In our waking reality, we find what it means to be religious, to practice things which are considered wholly-other from the profane would. In the reality of our religious practice, we find what it means to be spiritual. Spirituality is linked to experience, an inner expression of the experience of religious practice which interacts with the Sacred. It is next to impossible to define spirituality otherwise. 

Through experience, religion over time will change, as will how a person understands God. How spirituality is expressed is subject to change. Life will always be changing, the Buddha went so far as to even teach the world we live in is chaos and suffering. But the experience of spirituality is constant, perhaps the only thing a person could ever truly consider constant in their life. This is the reality of spirituality. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Confirming my faith: how I ended up in the Episcopal Church

As the designated "youth guy" in my parish, preparing the teenagers for baptism and confirmations falls under my jurisdiction. As I've been refreshing myself on the Hebrew Covenants, Church History, the Bible (pretty much Christianity in a nutshell 101) ect, I've been reflecting on my own Confirmation a few years back, and my journey leading to it.

Before I even start there, I have to give a shout-out to my friend Mike. After months of going to youth service on Wednesdays at Canyon Hills, he was the only one to ever say hi, and introduce himself, and sit with me, and be my friend. I haven't seen him in years, but I am still thankful for those early years of friendship. Us gays gots to stick together!

Even though I can pull off the "Cradle Episcopalian", I must confess my roots go back to the Assemblies of God. My Mother raised me several different non-denominational Charismatic-type churches, but after she fell out with a congregation, I was sent with my Grandmother, and most of my childhood recollections in faith take me back to First Assembly, where just about three generations of my family prior had worshiped.  One of my Grandmother's Bible's has it on record where I first "received Jesus in to his heart and put his trust in his Savior". I remember it well. It was a Kid's Crusade type night. I was about seven. I had knowledge of Jesus and his dying on the cross from an earlier age from my other churches, without question I considered it true. I had scrapped my knee pretty bad, and I asked the pastor to pray that God would heal it. Right after Pastor Pete lead me in the "Sinner's Prayer". Now, I have a lot to say about potential misguidance of the "Sinner's Prayer", and I of course did not have the St. Paul Conversion Experience which seems to be so stressed in that wing of Christianity, but I will consider that the first moment I considered myself as Christian.

When I was a kid, I would not shut up about the dude. I remember so clearly once at school I was feeling sick and laying down in the infirmary. Another kid came in and we started talking. I thought Jesus was way cooler than the fact that we were out of class. The kid wasn't having it, and my missionary attempts were put to a halt when the office lady said I was obviously well and needed to go back to class. Oh, the injustice I felt!

In sixth grade, for whatever reason I have yet to inquire on, my Mother and Grandmother thought I should try a different summer camp. They send me on the bus with Canyon Hills. I was terrified. None of my Sunday School mates were there and we were going to camp which I had no familiarity with. It ended up being okay, and since my Mother and I had not been to church together in ages, I suggested we started going to Canyon Hills. She agreed, and we did...for a month. We quickly became Chriesters (Christmas-Easter Christians).

It wasn't until the spring of my 8th grade year, I went to Camp Keep. My cabin counselor was an exchange student from Germany. Looking back, I honestly think it was a mixture of his strong faith, and the fact that I had no idea that the raging and changing hormones in a 12 year-old gay kid where making me crush on him, which instantly inspired me. I had a conversion experience, I found the faith which has been tossed aside. As soon as I came back from camp the only thing I wanted was to be baptized. So, I went back to Canyon Hills that Wednesday, I actually went to the high school group, and since I looked older, I passed off as a Freshman. Lo and behold, a sign from above, Baptisms were being done that Sunday. I signed up, and on Sunday, February 13 2000, I found myself being dunked in a jacuzzi like basin, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

I was involved in the church throughout high school. Singing in choir, and playing cello on Sundays, going out of town to camps, conventions, and the yearly Fine Arts Festival. It wasn't until my senior year and summer before college that Canyon Hills lost its appeal. The pastor and his family had a monopoly on the congregation, it was almost a family business. Worship services were staged to be "spirit led". Flashy lights. Unneeded cameras doing close ups of people in worship. It was the most pathetic attempt at being a mega-church that I had ever seen. So, I returned to First Assembly with attempts to get closer to my family who still attended there, and recover from all excitement at Canyon Hills.

The tides turned five months later. I somehow received a catalog from the National Cathedral. While flipping through it, I came across the Anglican Rosary. I was instantly intrigued. I researched, and made on up of my own. I grew to love the prayers, the Jesus Prayer, Trisagion, and Gloria Patri. I would sneak it in and use it during services at First Assembly. It is easy to conclude that my first introduction to liturgy and contemplation.

Now, my girlfriend at the time and I had been together for almost 4 years, I thought it would be best if she and I started attending church together. She was raised more-or-less in the United Methodists tradition, and I was starting to question the unquestionableness of the fundamentalists. The First Sunday of Lent in 2005, we walked into the contemporary service at St. Luke's Episcopal (now affiliated with the Anglican Church in North America). There were only a handful of people there. I instantly recognized prayers from the rosary. I loved the pomp and circumstance of it all. I was there to stay. I experienced God in the Eucharist.

One of the reasons why  I was initially attracted  to the Episcopal Church was how open it is. It was my first year in college. When I was questioned on issues which related to my faith, I wanted to give a real answer. I did not want to give some sort of no-questions-asked sort of answer. This could be potentially offensive, and I don't apologize for it. When a person believes something which is contrary to what the natural world tells us, the answer almost makes excuses for God, rather than promote God through the use of intellect. I knew what I had been trained to say when I had studied Fundamentalism Apologetics, and those were answers which I wasn't comfortable with giving. This left me to come up with the answers myself, and the Episcopal Church gave me room to do so.

I served as an acolyte, and played bass guitar in the contemporary service. I wanted more than anything to be an official Episcopalian.  In October of 2006, on St Luke's Sunday, and the day we celebrated the congregation's 50th year, Bishop Schofield placed his hands on my head, asked for God's blessing, and slapped me ever-so gently on my left cheek. I was confirmed.

What happens next is a major turning point in life, I will greatly condense the story by saying I came out, and Paige and I broke up. I emotionally took a year off from life to come to terms with my sexuality, and reconcile it with my faith. It was without a doubt the worst year of my life. For a time, I felt so guilty for receiving communion and wasn't sure if I had the same faith I had the year prior, so I stopped going for a time. Since I was heavy into meditation at the time, I almost made a conversion to Hinduism (my friend Sandra says there is no difference, I would still like my bells, incense, and shrines...she had a point). I slowly recovered my faith, I knew I was gay, and that God's love would never be irreconcilable. I had to discern whether or not the call to celibacy included me, but that would come in time. I resumed my activities at church.

At that time, the Episcopal Church in the area was very conservative. I loved my congregation, but knew I could never come out. There were, and still other parts of me, so that did not matter as much to me. I figured one day I would move on to an Episcopal Church elsewhere that would include me. All that changed when the Bishop announced that the diocese would cease to be affiliated with the Episcopal Church over the issues of Biblical interpretation, ordination of women to the priesthood, and inclusion of gays and lesbians.

It was a sad time. I tried to be involved with St. Luke's and the local Remain Episcopal group (now Grace Episcopal), but in the end I left St. Lukes (the Sunday one of my priests made a very nasty remark about my involvement with the "heretics"), and remained Episcopal.

One could say the spiritual life could be a series of conversions and confirmations. Of course, God see's his Church as we are, potentially good and potentially bad, but in need of guidance and salvation, and God see's us and accepts us as we are created. But on our end, we are still working on it, confirming our faith that we will be brought to the full conversion to be more Christ-like. In the sacrament of Confirmation, a person accepts and professes to their faith as an adult. The first of many confirmations to come.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Thoughts on sin

...but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more. Romans 5:20

Much of my theology of sin has been influenced by the 20th Century Lutheran theologian Paul Tillich. I was first introduced to him by my dear former therapist, David Atkins. I cannot for the life me recall what I was specifically going through at the time, but he knew that a copy Tillich's sermon "You are accepted" would help tremendously (he had a copy on hand, so it must have proven a useful tool to him often).  For a period, the sermon nearly changed my life, you can read it here.

In his sermon, Tillich explains that sin is a state of separation; a separation from a persons individual self, from their neighbors, and from God.  He also makes a point that sin since sin is life-long problem, it is erroneous to pluralize our own sin(s), a conclusion which left me to drop the "s" in sins when saying the Creeds on Sundays or in the Office adn in the Lord's Prayer.

I think the implications of the contemporary Confession found in the American 1979 Book of Common Prayer (pg. 79) paint a good picture.

Most merciful God,
we confess that we have sinned against you
in thought, word, and deed,
by what we have done,
and by what we have left undone.
We have not loved you with our whole heart;
we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
have mercy on us and forgive us;
that we may delight in your will,
and walk in your ways,
to the glory of your Name. Amen.

In a standard Collect, the intent for the prayer is mentioned after God is addressed as being the one whom makes the intent happen through an invocation, or address. In this prayer, the address is make in the first three words, Most merciful God. This address implies that the petition for the forgiveness for sin is found in God, and that God is merciful to forgive, and that God alone is the forgiver in the word "most". 

What I didn't mention is my previous post (but might have implied) is that prayer a gift. God knows our concerns and what we are thankful for, but it is our lifeline, and is a gift for us to recollect ourselves in a healthy way. What follows in this prayer is a reminder or recap for those who pray it.

Though it can be argued that sin is a state of separation, and that individual sins are not what keep us in need for forgiveness, this prayer states the ways in which we sin. We sin generally in our actions: thoughts, words, and actions. And in those thoughts, words, and actions we place separation between us and God, us and our neighbors, and ourselves (I would argue that loving and forgiving yourself is key to making reconciliation between those around you and God, and should be close to priority, but alas; that could be my Western individualist talking). Sin is also done in not doing what God has given us to do (neglecting our responsibilities, not caring for those we should, ect.). An Eastern perspective would argue that in not doing something is action itself, and I agree that there is a point there, but that is a duality to be explored later.

Next, the confessor reacts to the sin committed, regretting what was done, and making a new. "delight in your ways" implies being forgiven of sin and living in a right state with God is God's intentions for creation.

Though the option of private confession with a priest is in the Anglican tradition is available, this prayer is intended for corporate worship.  That being said, the confession is made by those present, but the specifics are kept private to each individual. Surely, it is healthy to unload a heavy burden to a minister, or to a fellow Christian who will pray for them and stand with them as Christ does. But confessing to another person implies a potential judgement, whereas with God we know that we will receive forgiveness if we ask. And I think this implies two things. One, no matter, we ought to have the confidence in St. Paul's words that nothing can keep us from the grace of God. Two, that one must deal very carefully when being approached with another persons sin. Sin might have different and "greater" consequences, but separation from God cannot get bigger than what it already is. 

Thoughts and comments are most welcome.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Sleeping on a prayer.

The problem with my day job is that half the time I am working at night, and often such nights result in me getting home at around 3am. And every now and then, it is impossible to sleep. So, instead of falling asleep and sleeping till noon, I am going about my day with high hopes of making it till noon.

The oddly nice thing about days like this is that I have more time to myself than usual. Thus, I find myself sipping my triple grande caramel macchiato and nibbling on my cheese danish at Starbucks writing this blog. TGIF.

After I made the realization that sleep was not in my cards, I showered up and and took my Bible and Prayer Book outside in the cool twilight to pray and read the Morning Office. At some point during the service, I realized how much prayer has assumed a new (perhaps, renewed) role in my life.

As of fairly recently, I have decided instead of fighting against forced singleness, I would win the fight by choosing it willingly. It was like being on an extended fishing trip, a really bad one, where my line was constantly out, bait was changed every now and then. The line had a few nibbles here and there, and I even made a few catches where either I tossed the catch back, or the fish just jumped back in the water. In reeling this line back in, things have come up with this line that I weren't aware were there; leaving me with junk I'm not sure what to do with.

St. Paul tells us to "pray without ceasing". For century's Eastern monks have taken this to heart, literally. The common Orthodox "Jesus Prayer" (Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner" is typically prayed at least 100 times before the monk falls asleep after the Great Compline. The intention here is to pray without ceasing, even during sleep. The monk tries to live their life in such a way that they learn to pray without ceasing at all times. By doing so, they attempt, and surely in some cases; do, leave leave profane completely and live in the sacred.

Easier said than done. Of course though in monastic setting it is much easy when the secular world is left behind and distractions are minimal. But what about the rest of us? Some are indeed called to live such a life, but what does this mean for person who pursues the reality of God, but must live in the world which is wholly other?

We have many outlets, channels, for expression. Expression is a gift. Expression is almost sacramental in how when we put ourselves in something physical, we experience the Grace of God on our most inner parts. Music, art, building, running, writing...all expressions, all gifts. Prayer, however is an expression where we cannot attribute something that "we did" by our own merit. Prayer places the merit entirely on God. 

Prayer has allowed the space to do something with all that junk. In adjusting to a life where I am aware of being single by my own choosing, I have caught myself acting in ways where I compensate for what I have let go of. Listening and playing to music helps. As does things like this blog. But it is in prayer that I am able to let all that crap bubble out into one spot, and let it be dealt with in a healthy expression.

As of now, I am not receiving the call to monasticism. Until then, or until I die, or until the restoration of God's Kingdom, I along with the majority of humanity must live in this dichotomy of Sacred and the constantly complicated and inconsistent Profane. What makes it doable? Realizing that there is absolutely nothing than can be done about it, that it cannot be changed in my own merit, but only in prayer.

And now, join me in praying  that the sacred manifests itself in the caffeine I have consumed.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

On waiting.

I had forgotten all about the existence of this blog. This is great! I don't have to go through the painful process of registering and setting up. Just change my profile picture and lay out, and bam. Good ol' blogger, your name might be changing, but you have waited and I have returned a few years later to continue to lay out my thoughts on theology and spirituality. I'm kind of excited, yet I am completely putting myself out on the open for criticism. Which of course, (if it is good), I will try to accept graciously.

My best friend Andrew has been waiting. He was telling me that he was waiting for his car to come out of the shop from its extended  vacation, waiting for a background check to come through, and waiting to hear back from a new job.

I am in my own season of waiting. I did not make it into any of my wait-listed classes (the classes you have to wait to know if you are registered for, and praying that the first 10 people on the list don't show up). So, my academic goals are being placed on hold for another fives months, another five months being counted towards the fact that I am twenty-six and degree-less. Anyway.

Western culture, especially the younger generation, is not fond of waiting. We are instant-gratification driven.The more we can do in less of time, the better. But as human experience will show, waiting in the line at the bank Friday at noon is completely different from waiting to be a parent for the first time. I do think there is a difference between waiting in the profane, and waiting in the sacred.

I have no formal training, but I'm sure I could find someone to cite the fact that waiting is a huge spiritual theme in Judaism and Christianity. Judaism waits for the great "clean up" of the world through the coming of the Messiah and/or the return to the Holy Land. Christianity waits for the the return of Christ the Messiah and/or the Kingdom of God/Heaven. Both waitings have an idea of who, what, how. But not when.

I didn't bother to count, but Strong Exhaustive Concordance dedicates almost a whole page to the words "wait", "waiteth", and "waiting" (160 times according to It's easy to recall how many psalms and other Prophet spoken passages mention something along the lines of "This is what is happening, and it sucks. But if you wait on God, then God will act".

I'm thinking a theology of waiting is more than a conditional statement. Waiting involves letting go of the condition all together.  "If I make it into my classes, then I will be one step closer to a degree." Of course, I need my classes. But the motivation for school is is driven by the goal of graduating and moving on. The condition of my situation has not happened, but if I really believe that God has some sort of influence in my life, and I am doing the things I should be doing, then for right now the condition doesn't even matter.

In the liturgical seasons of Advent and Lent, the theme of waiting is accompanied by anticipation or expecting. I hate to challenge hundreds of years of Church practice, but when applied to every day life, this doesn't cut it. Anticipation and expectancy put ones eyes on the future. Anticipation and expectancy almost put the power in our own hands, when that power is not ours to begin with.

Waiting puts the power back in the hands of the divine. Waiting admits that there is little or next to nothing we can do until whatever "it" is happens. Waiting may not look to the future as much as it does to hope.

I'm also waiting for a boyfriend, but that is a whole other post coming.