Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Cream? Sugar? Sin?

No use crying over spilled coffee right?...yah thats what I thought too until my geography class yesterday. 

Now I know what you're thinking and no, I did not spill my coffee in front of my entire class and then start crying...(although I could probably create a whole blog about my coffee mishaps)...but ANYWAYS...

My geography teacher is great. He's a little kid who gets dressed up in "big kid" clothes everyday and talks about prevailing wind patterns and GPS systems like they're the cool new Transformers being sold at Toys R Us. He loves his job, and if there's one thing that makes waking up at the butt crack of dawn worth it, its to see someone do what they love...ANYWAYS...

The other day, before class had officially began, my teacher was telling a story. His flailing arm motions, whenever he tells a story, resemble the swirling atmosphere he always talks about and normally keep me pretty entertained...but something else had caught my eye that day...

his Starbucks cup at the edge of his desk was hanging on for dear life.

His computer cord was plugged into the wall right next to his morning brew and the cord had made a perfect noose around the bottom of the little cup. As the story went on, his arms kept flailing, tightening the loop and slowly pulling the poor cup to its death. 

My gaze would shift from him to the cup, him to the cup, him to the cup. 

I looked around to see if anyone else could see this catastrophic scene about to take place, but nope...I was all alone...it was up to me to yell out...to warn...to stop the cup from....

too late. 

The room fills with the aroma of Pikes Place...and the large puddle that lay on the floor, clearly reflects my professors' red cheeks. 


I had coffee too that morning... I thought I said two splenda and no Sin...I was mistaken. 

I may have a pretty good idea as to what some of you may be thinking. "Alex, its not a big deal, you weren't sinning by not speaking up." "It's a cup of coffee...not someone about to be hit by a car." 

Yeah yeah yeah, that's not my point. 

My point is that in day to day life their are these small events that play out and occur only because of our sinful nature. I'm not talking about a sin here, I'm talking about Sin in general. Yes, there are these moments in my life where I sin, break a commandment, do something that rightfully deserves repentance...and then there are these other moments (like the coffee incident) that frustrate me because they are just a part of who I am. I'm writing about this seemingly unimportant, "not a big deal", event, because it's not often that I remember that at my core, at the center of my heart, I am sinful. That day in class, I remembered that it was my nature to not speak out....and I hate that. 

For me personally, I think that recognizing this nature, this part of me that I cannot change no matter how hard I try, is recognizing an essential reason for Christ's death. 

Now let me take another whack at what some others might be saying, "Thinking this way places more attention on this sin rather than the grace of God." 

Being a Christian for a while now, I think that its important that I learn to recognize this other part of sin...not the overt sin that others see and it brings me to my knees, but the nature of this sin, or these events that look harmless and really shouldn't be a big deal...but events that would nonetheless play out differently if I weren't "sinful." 

 Christ's blood covers what we recognize as outward sin as well as what we don't. 

and now a random note about how C.J Mahaney and I think this sin works...free of charge:

It never comes in the front door and announces, "Honey I'm home." It distracts. Attacks. And then provides complimentary guilt. Every great general in history has known that an indirect attack works better than one towards an enemy's front lines. Why? Because an indirect attack blows past the conscience's defense and the possibility of doing the right thing goes unseen. 


I saw the coffee. 

I saw the teacher. 

My sinful nature, unfortunately didn't create the option.   

While I'm not too incredibly intrigued by cartography or other mapping devices, geography class has already taught me something useful. 

Thanks Mr. Palmer....

ps. I owe you a coffee. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

bench warmers


Is anybody in here? 

Man...I feel like I'm in a Sabrina the Teenage Witch episode and I've just crawled into my computer..
Cobwebs are everywhere...

It feels good to be back though. While I haven't done my spring cleaning yet, this place needs a little livening up so I have a thought...

I think its good to feel "out of your league." 

There is some imaginary league out there. I'm sure you've heard of it. It's favorite sayings are, "you're not what we're looking for..." "sorry, but you don't have what it takes" "who told you you could do this?" or simply "please leave." 

BUT what is this league anyway? Who made it? It totally exists but why? Who the heck is in charge? I want answers. 

Let me share an example.

I have a friend who is extremely intelligent. She just exudes confidence and makes all those that encounter her feel the same. Along with being intelligent, I would classify her as an optimist. Always making an awkward situation funny, or finding an excuse at any time in the day to dance, she seeks the best in most situations. She wants to be a high school biology teacher and is taking a very challenging chemistry class this semester. Today was her first day in the class, and over an extremely large tub of cookie dough, she told me how she felt completely out of her league.
Here's why. 

The professor of the class, lacking the creativity to think of an interesting ice breaker, asked the students to go around and say their major. She told me that while the other wannabe Darwins and Newtons talked of their pre-medical aspirations and engineering dreams, she with the only education major, felt like a complete "juvenile" and out of her league. 

I'm experiencing an oxymoron of feelings right now. I'm upset that she feels this way but excited. 

Here's some others that I'm sure have felt out of their league. 

* had immense speech problems when he was younger
* clashed with most of his professors and resented the school regimen 
* forged a doctors note (for good reason) but still...
* after graduating college he had trouble finding a job, and it took him two years to finally 
   do so. 
* divorced 
Stephen Hawking: 
* attended St. Albans High School for girls 
* was noted to have extremely poor study habits 
* divorced 
* has Lou Gehrig's disease

King David: 
* Saul wanted to kill him 
* hooks up with Bathsheba...another man's wife
* had a war vs. his son who died as a result

Abraham Lincoln: 
* known by prominent people from the east as the "baboon" due to his height and large ears
* had only two years of formal schooling 
* his wife bankrupted him 
* had severe depression 

Here's the C team lady's and gentlemen...

Screw being "in the league." 

brighter in here already...