Saturday, June 27, 2009
Unknown and Knowns
I feel like I'm back in Chemistry trying to determine the unknowns in my AP Chemistry Chemical Analysis 2-week final! Not only has work been full of unknowns as far as what exactly I'm suppose to be doing, how to get there and what determines success, I got word today from home that at the Indiana Annual Conference (United Methodist Church), funding for all the connection ministries got cut except for camping.
This means my dearly loved Wesley Foundation will be receiving no funding from the Conference! And it sounded like we didn't even get to really stand up for ourselves because of the 'rules of order' that were put into place. And I have a feeling that some of the people there could have cared less what is happening on on the college campuses across the state! ARE YOU SERIOUS? They blatantly stated that the average age of an Indiana United Methodist Church is 59, and that they need to target the 18 to 35 age range!!!!! Where are you going to find those new, energized people and in essence the new life of the church who are educated leaders to help the church continue to thrive- college ministries!
I get so frustrated trying to weave my way through church politics and different dominations for that matter. When I was in Texas, the Wesley Foundation that I was involved with was a very mixed population as far as dominations are concerned. The very core of that Wesley was unique with their merger of the Chi Alpha (Assembly of God student ministry- Pentecostal) and the United Methodist Wesley Foundation. Two pretty extreme opposites, but still had the passion and desire to form as one to worship the same God! Several of the students came from Baptist backgrounds being from the South as well. Traditional Methodists + Radical Pentecostals + Conservative Baptist = an extremely interesting crowd! But I loved it! I still veered towards the kids without their hands in the air because that was what I was comfortable with, but seeing their passion for their faith taught me a lot and there was never judgment passed within the group. It was usually a topic of discussion during our Thursday night bible studies and we all learned from one another.
So... after long discussions with my pastor, current Wesley President and my mom we're trying to make something good out of the bad. Lots of people realized the mistreatment that we received at conference, so we're hoping to take all of that attention and make it into something, well, profitable. I feel so useless on the opposite side of the country though right now. I would have been right up there with Grant (current President) presenting our case and talking with people on how important this ministry is. So I'll be praying and discerning what I can do from here and then when I'm even farther away in Ireland. I just have this calling and passion to leave Wesley sound for the next generation of Boilermakers or for that fact all college kids on any Indiana campus to have a safe place to grow spiritually and not worry if that particular Wesley will have enough money to turn the heat on. There is even some radical, very radical talk about the Purdue Wesley trying to dig up the old Wesley at Indiana University and igniting that ministry again! If that happens, I'll be sure to wear my black and gold every time we go down to Bloomington!
So I had a lot on my mind when I went for my run this evening. I even pushed right at an extra mile, which is tough in the hills of Reno. David Crowder Band helped keep me sane as I ran and kept me focused on what really matters in my life right now and what I can control- my relationship with God. God's love is a definite KNOWN in my life. There is no denying that. About a mile into the run, there it was- my sign that put my mind at ease and a new joy in my heart- my black and yellow butterfly.
Butterflies have always been special to me. I've always thought they were pretty and enchanting, and put me in a good mood whenever I saw one. But it was after my freshmen year mission trip (with Wesley) to Lake Charles, Louisiana that I really realized the true meaning of them in my life. The whole life-stage of a butterfly from an ugly caterpillar going into a stage of transformation into a beautiful butterfly is a direct reflection of our lives as Christians. We're ugly, hairy, slow and vulnerable prey for many other animals as a caterpillar. But when we find Christ and invite Him into our lives- we go through the most beautiful transformation into a creature of grace and majesty and we bring joy into so many people's lives by just simply being that beautiful new creature.
There is a butterfly painted in the back of the Great Hall of the Wesley Foundation. When Pastor Glen gave me my first tour of the building during orientation week my freshman year, I saw that butterfly with this scripture from 2 Corinthians 5:17:
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"
I knew then that this was the place for me, I knew it was my home away from home and has it ever been!
I busted out the good ol' B-I-B-L-E (yes that's the book for me) and came across another scripture from 2 Corinthians as well that goes along perfectly with this whole butterfly analogy, 2 Corinthians 3:18:
"And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit"
Those two scriptures just fill me with such joy that God has so much love for us that He would give us His amazing gift of grace and transform us into a total new creation and we have the opportunity and privilege to continue to grow in that new-found glory!
Seeing that butterfly tonight did me a lot of good! It's 2,095 miles from my doorstep in Anderson, Indiana to my doorstep here in Reno; I'm missing my friends and family and still not going to be with them for another 6 months; I'm trying to figure out my future unknowns- job, husband, where I want to live. But that butterfly gave me the one, true Known that I need- God's love! And that my friends, is a great feeling that washes away all other cares, concerns and worries.