Thursday, February 22, 2007

Forgive me Father

Forgive me Father for I have sinned. It has been 23 years and I have never confessed.

My entire life I've been told that the Lord has a plan for me. My father is a pentacostal minister and it has always been expected that I will eventually take up his cross and bare the burden of his ministry. It is a calling I didn't ask for, it is a calling I never want.

And yet night in and night out I lie awake in my bed with a pain in my chest that constantly reminds me of this calling. I look at my father and wonder if he really wanted what God had for him. He has served people for 25 years and I see the tole it has taken. His life seems so selfless, and despite his flaws, I can't help but admire his sacrifice. Maybe he never wanted his life anymore than I want it now.

We look at figures like Ghandi and Mother Theresa and admire their selflessness. Thier ability to set their own desires aside and serve a greater purpose. I doubt Jesus begged to be sent to earth only to be ridiculed by man and eventually pinned to a cross.

I have always resisted this so called 'calling' on my own life. But now, in my 23rd year, I can't help but wonder if I'm just not strong enough to give up my own selfish desires.

I work as the youth pastor in my father's church. I have become so attached to the kids in my youth I can't imagine letting go of them. And yet, the longer I stay in this position the harder I feel the tug on my heart. I feel like I'm playing tug of war with not only my father, but the entire church, and can't help but wonder which side of the rope God really is standing on.

I have never doubted God: His existence or His sovereignty. What I have doubted is which God is calling me... the God of my Father, or some other form of him.

Perhaps my dearest friend, my witch, my Virgil, often talks about the God of Love versus the God of Righteousness. The truth is I don't know which one truly exists.

The God my father preaches of and serves is clearly the God of Righteousness, and He is real enough for my father to live a life of complete and utter servitude. I once had a dream of my father and he was in a hospital emergency room. He was standing with three tables surrounding him. On each table was a faceless person lying unconscious. From my father's arm a needle ran into a tube, which ran into a blood bag, which in turn ran into each of the three patients. He was giving all three of them a blood transfusion at once, using his own blood. I think that image has stuck in my mind and I picture my father giving everything he has in him to the members of his congregation. The God he believes in is real enough to inspire such selfless sacrifice.

On the other hand there is the God of Love. And my witch lives a life of her own servitude. She sacrifices many of her own comforts to help whoever she can. She would do anything for one of her friends, and if I could count on anyone to kill for me, it would be her.

How can two people, who are so opposite, believe in two different forms of God and yet be willing to sacrifice so much for others-- quoting God as the reason they do so?

And where do I fit into this? Where does my ministry fit? What is my ministry and what God's jurisdiction does it fall under?

This hasn't been anything close to a confession. My chest still feels like it is slowly being crushed by a vice and I desperately need a cigarette. But as i lie awake in bed tonight I will pray that whatever my calling is, that I would be able to set my own desires aside long enough to step into it. In todays world everyone is so concerned with their own story. Our culture is obsessed with highlighting the importance of an individuals experience, their own life and their own reality. But as I look around at these people and admire their strength I am beginning to think that our individual lives are too insignificant to put any stock in. These days everyone is suffering so much that it seems all we have to feel good about is that we've somehow contributed something to the world. I suppose being a part of God's grand narrative is all we can take comfort in anymore. Which ever God He is, I can only hope that one of these days I can clear my head of all my own shit long enough to hear His voice.

I can only hope. Forgive me Father.

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