Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Some things I am learning

So, I had coffee with a new friend this morning, and we talked about organizing and we talked about discipleship. One of the topics we touched on before we had to go our separate ways was my "approach", if you will.

Something I have known for a few years, but probably not spent enough self-examination on, is my "approach". If you know me, you know what I am driving at. If you don't know me well, yet, then what I mean to say is this: I am a very passionate person who tends to sit and wrestle with issues for a long time. It's tough for me to act on an issue until I've thought it through, and usually my convictions run deep and overlap into different facets of my life.

For example: If you read my last post, you saw how confused I am working for a company like 10,000 Villages, which in most of our minds, is clearly a good company to work for. They're Fair Trade, they pay well, they offer good health insurance benefits, etc etc. How could I be conflicted working there?

The fact is that I've bought into some fairly radical (maybe even crazy) theology and social theory, and if you get to know me, it will come out. If it comes out before you know me, it might scare you away. It might even scare you away once you get to know me! Part of that means that I don't want to settle for anything less than holistic, thorough life change and reorientation, and I often forget the small steps that we each take on our journey make up the whole. In 2004, it was a big step of faith for me to say "God, I want to be on your side and be used by you". That led me to reading my Bible on a regular basis, praying, and eventually attending Eastern University.

At Eastern, the small steps took on new dimensions. They entailed rethinking my spending habits, where I spent my time (I went from watching movies and blogging about them constantly to hanging out with homeless folks), and the environmental impacts of my lifestyle. As I look back on the past 4 years of my life, I take those commitments for granted and often forget that my friends have had different sets of life experiences, and I am quick to judge them, slow to seek them out and listen to their stories.

So, now I am in Boston, and I've only been here for 6 weeks. I have a chance to start fresh. I have a chance to ask questions first, to speak more slowly, and to express myself appropriately. Hopefully, I can invite others to be part of the journey without being an exclusivist, or worse yet, an asshole.

I post all of this only to put myself out there (another one of my quirks) in hopes that those of you reading and joining me in the journey can now feel okay with encouraging me when I do well, but moreso, to push me when I forget about where my heart is and where I want my words and actions to be.

May we all be people of grace, who pray for God to open doors of change in our lives and communities, and walk through those doors when He does open them.

-- BC


  1. Ben,
    For the 6 weeks that I've known you and the 4 weeks that we've lived under the same roof with you, I'll have to say that I've enjoyed it. These are good words. I think that we too often get caught up in small things that we miss the big picture. And I also think that we get too busy that we forget to slow down.

    (Side Note: Reading your blog and a couple other ones has started to get me thinking about glogging again... End Side Note)

    Anyway, you're right: we do all come from different experiences and we have a different history. But we who call ourselves Christians also share things in common: we serve the same God. The same God who is eternally the same, perfect in power, and the same God who is concerned about the poor.

    I don't have to quote scripture at this point - you probably know all of the classic verses anyway. However, I will mention a few:
    Deuteronomy 15:4
    Leviticus 25:35
    Colossians 3:15 - 20

    There's counless others... we both know it.

    I think that what burdens your heart (and mine) is hard. That is, working to bring God's justice to the poor and marginalized. But what does that look like? Other than "following God's will" what are we supposed to do?

    I look forward to this new time of growth. We both have a lot of head knowledge, but yet, we probably have a few disagreements too.

    I firmly believe that the hardest part about this whole thing is making the time committment - the committment to relationship. Healthy relationships with not only those who its easy to spend time with, but also healthy relationships with those whom we want to help.

    But even before that? Pride.

    One of my biggest struggles last summer and now is pride in my head knowledge, pride in what I know. But God is constantly teaching me that I need to get outside of myself and follow him. I need to slow down, be quiet, and let him lead.

  2. i really appreciate your openness and honesty ben :] i'm glad you get to have a new start - it can be a hard time to transition, but also a welcome blessing.

    missing you.