Sunday, July 18, 2010


The first two years of college, I church hopped all over the place, and I think that was a useful and important educational experience. During my Junior year, eventually my friends and I settled on Rivers Edge Community Church, a Presbyterian church near UMBC. It's a pretty good place, and I kept going there after I graduated and moved back in with my parents, because a twenty minute drive isn't all that bad, and it was familiar to me by then. As summer approached, though, I realized that there were other churches that I might be interested in, much closer to home. I visited a few, and have been going to City of Hope Church on Sundays. It's in Columbia, less than a ten minute drive, and it's a lot like NewSong Community Church up in Baltimore. It's a good, small, fairly young church.

One of the reasons why I didn't mind not going to River's Edge is that, for the most part, I haven't gotten to know anyone there, even though I went there consistently for two and a half academic years and first went there as far back as 2006. I know a few people, but not particularly well at all. When there was a crowd of us college kids, it was pretty typical and not surprising that we'd all bunch up together and only talk to each other after the service. But after I graduated, and after Smitty moved to Cincinnati, it was just me, and still I didn't talk to anyone. After the service was over, I'd usually just leave.

I've been going to City of Hope for most of two months now, and I've met a few people. If someone sitting near me accosts me after the service, I meet them, we chat for a few minutes, and then I leave. If that doesn't happen, I just leave. When I stopped going to Rivers Edge, I said that it'd be different at City of Hope, because there were people my age, because I'd be an adult there instead of a graduated college-kid, because I'd be outgoing and friendly, because I wouldn't run away from the intimidating and uncomfortable situation of meeting people. Now I talk to myself every week as I walk across the parking lot, asking why I left, why I didn't stay and talk to the people I've briefly met in weeks past.

I don't do New Year's Resolutions, but it looks like I do New Place Resolutions. Going to Camp, living in a different dorm, moving home - There have been many semi-unstated goals, where I wanted to start doing something, or stop doing something, or change how I did something. I've never kept track of these, but I don't think I've done all that well. Does that mean that my ways have never changed? By no means! But change doesn't happen overnight, it turns out; I suspect it's slow. I'm hopefully moving out of my parents' house in the coming weeks, and it might do my mental health some good to remember that all my faults are not going to disappear when I come up with a new and clever way to organize my belongings in their new environ. I'm not saying I shouldn't try, though.

Monday, July 05, 2010


I've only read one of Don Miller's books (yes, it was Blue Like Jazz), but I've been reading his blog lately. He is, at least lately, real big on the idea that if your life is a good story, then it's a good life. I think this makes sense in an existential fulfillment way, but I'm not sure that's best. I know that, even before I read anything he ever wrote, I would try to find narrative threads in my life. People seek order and meaning, even if they're looking in random chaos, and that's all that is, even if life isn't actually random chaos. As a Christian, I believe God is working all things for the good of people who love him. Christians can and often do frame the history of mankind as one big narrative, as told by the Scriptures. Thanks to prophesy, we can know the ending, God creates the new heavens and the new Earth and dwells with his people in the New Jerusalem, while we're still in the story itself. That's different than framing your life as its own story. When I try to make my life a story, I make the story all about me, and that's not how it ought to be.