1. Which of the dead-end roads of holiness, service, wholeness, or enlightened understanding have you been most tempted to pursue? What was your result?
I would have to say all four of them to some degree, but the most temptation I have is to walk down the holiness road. A lot of this probably comes from my background in the Church of the Nazarene, where the subject of “holiness of heart and life” was literally the denominational emphasis and goal. This has always been a struggle for me, for many reasons. First, even in our short life as a denomination, the Nazarene church has changed so much in its description of what a holy life looks like. We started out saying it was wrong to dance, wear jewelry, wear pants, play cards, or go to the movies. Now, the Church of the Nazarene just released “The Grace Card” which came to a lot of theaters around the country. I wear jeans to church (and basically every other day for that matter), I play cards, I wear jewelry, and I dance in the comfort and secrecy of my bedroom. Also, something that I could never seem to get out of anybody was the definition of “righteousness.” It always seemed to me that there was a lot more to it than that. However, when it came to the subject of the Trinity, everyone got flustered and started talking about eggs and the fact that my grandpa played different roles depending on who he was with. However, intellectually, none of that made sense to me. I would say confusion and emptiness were the results.
2. What is it that makes it hard for you to really accept personally that God’s goal for you is simply a deepening love relationship?
Honestly, it’s not difficult for me to accept this. However, the hardest thing for me is feeling like I need to justify my actions and priorities to those around me who see themselves as my spiritual elders. Maybe it’s the mindset of proving myself that I’ve always had, but when I feel that someone is looking down on me or seeing me as going in the wrong direction, I think I need to prove to them that I am right or at least my heart is right. In my mind, this goes beyond testifying to what God is doing in my life because I am placing the priority on my reputation rather than on obeying the voice of God. I think this is something that God has been working on purging in my life. He wants me to know that all He desires from me is that my sense of responsibility lies only in Him. He doesn’t even want my responsibility to lie primarily in Him; rather, my entire life and allegiance should find their meanings in my relationship with God. This has been a lot harder of a concept to grasp than I initially thought it would be.