Aug 6, 2003

Just when you thought I was finished...

Yeah, so I'm doing a third post on the same topic. Could be a personal record! First of all, Tuesday was a GREAT day. I got to spend the majority of it in St. Augustine with Laci. After coming home, we watched a movie at my house. Later that night, I got to spend some quality time with Allison. An all-around good day. While Laci and I were in the car together, we continued our ongoing conversation of the week about legalism. She and I have both realized that there's SO much that we never noticed until we moved away from the places where we grew up. I know personally, moving to St. Augustine last year was spiritually the best thing I could have done. In the past year, I have learned an incredible amount about God and how to approach Him. The things I have learned come not so much from Bible study lessons or sermons, but from personal experiences and interaction with other Christians with different backgrounds. There are so many things that we always thought to be "spiritual absolutes" that were not necessarily taught but implied, and now we are asking ourselves, as Laci says, "why did we ever believe those things? why didn't we question them?" I know at some point, someone who has known me my entire life is going to read these posts and believe that I have "gone off the deep-end," but I PROMISE I haven't! It's just that there are so many things that we seem to come up with on our own that we think make us more spiritual, yet they're not exactly Biblical. Some of them are not bad... if seen as personal conviction, but we tend to treat them as if they are laws set in stone by God Himself when that is just not the case. It's like saying there is a Biblical standard for dating: as much as some people like to think there is, dating is NOT addressed in the Bible. Plain and simple. Dating is not one of the subjects Laci and others and I have been discussing, but they are things like that that are either not addressed in the Bible, or the way we address them is different from the Bible. A good example of that is the raising of hands during worship. IT IS BIBLICAL!! Try getting a hard-core baptist deacon to be accepting of that, though! We may even preach that it's okay, but when someone actually does it.... look out because you are likely to get some discriminating looks from some people. Another thing, which takes a lot of guts for me to write about semi-publicly, is drinking. We preach against alcohol of all kinds and somehow fail to see that the wine of Bible times was an alcoholic beverage. There are those who try to say (which is what I have heard most of my life) that the wine of the Bible was different than it is today, and therefore it was okay. There were people in the Bible who GOT DRUNK from the wine they had, so how is that any different? I'm not saying that I support the use of ALL forms of alcohol. I do have many personal convictions on the subject. But the fact that we will look down on someone else who is okay with drinking wine is just rediculous. These are the kinds of things my "eyes have been opened to" over the course of the past year. Once again, I am sure there are those who will read this and think, "it's all down-hill from here, " but it's truely not. I just had to have a change in environment for God to show me that I don't have to believe everything someone tells me I am supposed to believe; rather, I must back up my beliefs with the Word of God. The whole situation reminds me of Quinn and how he left a church which he now calls "the prison church." Had it not been for a change in location, I believe he would still hold to most, if not all, of his old beliefs. My home church is certainly not a "prison church," but I still had to get away for a while in order to learn some things.

Allison and I got to talk a lot last night about friendship sort of things, as well as issues that come with moving away to college, which was cool because we have a lot that we can learn from each other's experiences. We got together with the intention of going to a movie, but there was a big delima with the show times, so we wound up just sitting around at her house talking with each other. I'm glad. Everything has a purpose... even the messed up schedules at AMC! Anyway, it was very refreshing for us to be able to share our hearts with each other. It's a good thing I have free long distance on my cell phone for when January rolls around!

I'll leave you with a Psalm. Psalm 19, to be exact.

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoices like a strong man to run its race. Its rising is from one end of heaven, and its circuit to the other end; and there is nothing hidden from its heat. The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making the wise the simple; the statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgements of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them Your servent is warned, and in keeping them there is great reward. Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults. Keep back Your servent also from presumptious sins; let them not have dominion over me. Then shall I be blameless, and I shall be innocent of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.

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