Thursday, June 30, 2011


I have never been much of a student.  I struggle with memorizing things.   I often sit down with an idea to study only to find myself completely overwhelmed with the thought of where to start.  This leads me to a mental flailing about that ends in a resulting low test score.  There are times that in a feverish amount of studying I manage to grasp the flecks of knowledge I need to pass the test.  I remember in many of my math based classes that I would do poorly on tests, not because my answers were wrong, but because the way I got the answer was not the process the teacher desired. 

I found that as I went through college that there was a bit more freedom in the perspectives that I had.  The professors and even the other students saw that I had a different perspective, and for the most part, were welcoming.  It wasn’t that my perspectives were wrong (anymore) it was that they were different.  

A bit unorthodox…

…so how can you be unorthodox with your orthodoxy?

Orthodoxy is described as being of, pertaining to, or conforming to beliefs, attitudes, or modes of conduct that are generally approved.
How are you a part of something that you don’t fit into well? 

As I sit here and type that out, I wonder how many people feel about their faith like I felt about my geometry class.  

They have the answers, they believe in Christ and may even feel the leading of the Spirit, but do they work out the process the way that mankind that call themselves religious think they should?  I am not talking about people living in an unbiblical way.  I am talking about people following God in a way that seems unorthodox to the system.  

Many of the biblical leaders were unorthodox.

I am not trying to be liberal here.  I am not suggesting there is any way to God but Christ, because there isn’t. 

I am not suggesting that everything orthodox is bad.  I am just suggesting that maybe a little unorthodox isn’t bad.  

I guess this comes from a lot of thinking I have been doing about my future.  I don’t know where I fit in, where I will be, and what that will look like.  I am sure that it is all in God’s hands, that is my orthodox way of thinking.  I am not sure how the unorthodox parts of who I am will fit into an orthodox system though.  I know my calling, and I rest in the One who has called me, it is enough.  So, I walk in that and grow into the person He has called me to be.

What would we do with John the Baptist in the modern church?  Noah?  Jesus was even seen as unorthodox, when actually, He was the very person that everyone (who thought He was unorthodox) was supposed to be conforming to.  That’s the story of Jesus, saving those who thought they were orthodox from their orthodoxy which was unorthodox into a true orthodoxy that was based on Him since He was/is God.  

He came because their orthodoxy was faulty.  He instilled a new orthodoxy and left those who were of that orthodoxy to continue in it and spread it.  I often wonder though if we have made His orthodoxy more of our orthodoxy and set up “unspoken rules” that make people feel like I did in geometry class…

…I have the answers, but do not understand the process.

Does our orthodoxy line up with Jesus?  

This is a vital question that I think should be asked often. 
Does our orthodoxy line up with what we have always known?

It is easy to follow what has always been taught.  The problem with that is you don’t always experience what you are taught.

I can learn geometry, I can kind of experience it, but it is solely external.  I can learn about God, I can kind of experience Him, and it can be solely external.  However, if that is the experience you have with God that will lead to a faulty orthodoxy.  Learning about God, then searching to experience Him and the leading of His Spirit, and experiencing Him internally leads to pure orthodoxy.  I believe that is the orthodoxy this world longs to see.

I understand that I am an idealist.  I understand that there are those much wiser than me that would disagree, but I am used to seeing things a little differently.  I am used to having a bit of an unorthodox orthodoxy.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


I have had a couple of instances where I have had to take some time to recover.  I think the first time I gave blood was the first time I remember that I needed to slow down for a few…minutes at least.  I remember thinking I was fine, I stood up, and my swimming head told me that I was not fine and should sit for a few more minutes.  I am, by nature, impatient, so I often tend to rush the recovery process.  I remember sitting at the table with a basket of Little Debbie snacks in front of me, feeling fine as long as I sat, but just wanting to leave.

Another time was after my knee surgery.  I had recently blown out just about everything but the kitchens sink in my right knee.  I had my surgery and decided I would “try it out” as soon as I got home.  My wife was horrified when she walked in and I was limping around.  That was a trying few weeks as I recovered, I was frustrated and irritable.  I needed to occupy my time somehow, so that is when I decided to learn guitar.
 Another time was after I had my wisdom teeth removed.  I had come out of sedation and this small of stature woman said she would be the woman helping me to go get my x-rays and to the recovery room.  I am 6’2” and weigh in between 200-210, this lady was every bit of 5’1” and about a buck twenty-five in concrete shoes.  She told me she would be helping me as I was working my way out of the chair and I began to chuckle.

Bonus:  Don’t try to chuckle after coming out of sedation for mouth surgery.  You don’t feel it, but it makes you look like a moron.  

I began “doing it myself” and just occasionally leaning against the wall.  She was trying to balance me when my already “witty” mind merged with coming off the drugs and I blurted out, “You know, if I fell, I would probably crush you.”  She laughed, and I knew better than to try to chuckle again but offered a smile.  I went into the recovery room after the x-rays and tried to lay down much to the chagrin of the nurse and my wife. 
I was like a man possessed to get a nap.

They were having nothing of it.  

I finally got to go home and sleep…rest…recover.

So what are you getting at Adam?

I have recently gone through some, to me, highly stressful matters.  To some on the outside looking in, they may not see the impact it has had on me.  The process (which was mostly using my mental capacity, as limited as they are) caused and causes me still a few weeks later, to be physically tired.  This fact bothers me and confounds me in my impatience.  I am coming to the realization that I need to recover again.  

This goes against my “ever pressing forward” mentality.

Recovery seems…wrong.

Why is that?

Rest is a very Biblical principle.  For me, rest is an occasional nap, but what if it should be more?  What if I am actually supposed to shut down for a time?  There are many in the Jewish culture that take the Sabbath principle so literal that they won’t even drive and only go to the synagogue and back home on the Sabbath.

 I just want a nap.

Maybe I don’t get this concept so well.  I think there is a lot that plays into my natural aversion to rest and recovery.  I have worked hard for a long time to be where I am (of course God has provided so that is the main reason for being where I am).  I want things to be “just so” and do all I can in my power for that to happen.  When I work, I do take time to slow down a bit, but is that really, truly rest?  

For some reason, it consumes my mind more to think of what I need to get done than the thought that it is fine if it doesn’t.  My wife tries her best to look out for me and tell me I need to slow down, and I hear her as I fly by to do something else.  My mind is racing towards the next thing that needs to be done.

How does one rest and recover?  When does rest turn into laziness?  Maybe I am more afraid of being lazy than resting…

I know this is very objective and case by case… but this is one of those things I wrestle with in my mind.  I know, and have planned, for some time of recovery soon.  I have realized that to really shut down, I have to go away.  If I stay at home there is always something to do, at work…well…yeah, it is work after all.  How do you do it?  What works for you?  I find that if I rest and recover…I like to eat too much as well, are food and recovery tied together at all?

I’m losing focus.

The point is, I know recovery is necessary, but I don’t do it well.  How about you?  How do you rest and recover?  How do you take the necessary time to shut down?  I like being busy…too much…I have also found in my busy-ness that I don’t have to think, self reflect, search out the things that need to be worked on in me, listen to God (deeply), and just get quiet.  

Maybe being busy is an excuse, a coping mechanism, and a deferral of all the “stuff” in me I don’t want to deal with.  

Maybe, just like all those times I mentioned before when I needed to be patient and time to recover, I need to be patient and take time to recover spiritually, mentally, and maybe even emotionally.  I fight with the status quo thought that resting in those ways comes across as physically lazy.  Therein lies my paradox.  

Why do I have to be so difficult?  I know God wants me to rest, why do I fight so hard against it?

Enough for today…

Monday, June 27, 2011

Rehashing A Fantasized Faith

I have a creative imagination.  Some of this creativity can be attributed to growing up in the country and not having a lot of friends when I was a child.  There weren’t many other children around and the ones who were around went to a different school than I did.  This led to man adventures in the backyard.   I remember shooting my BB gun at imaginary invading armies much like the scene in “A Christmas Story.”  When I ran out of BB’s I found some uncooked spaghetti and broke it into pieces and found that I could fire these small spears into trees, man that was a fun discovery. 

I also remember playing with my G.I. Joe’s for hours, riding my Tonka trucks down large hill and spilling out at the bottom dusting myself off and walking back up the hill.  I remember ramping my bike off the small hill of the well house, in fact I would go on top of a gigantic hill get as much speed as possible and jump off the hill and sail along for many feet before landing.  This adventure landed me a very short distance from my neighbor’s house and one time I didn’t have enough time to break before I slammed into my neighbors’ concrete porch with steel railings.  

It was a terrible thud.

Mrs. Riggins came out to see if I was ok as I tried to hurriedly dust myself off and prop up her crippled flowers.  The bike was totaled, I was seeing double.  I went to the trailer we lived in at the time and laid down because, in my mind, this ordeal had made me tired.  I have always wondered, since entering adulthood, if I had a concussion and maybe laying down wasn’t the best idea.  

I was a crazy kid.

I had, and still have, a vivid imagination…

…this leads me to a topic that I have discussed on here before, but still find myself muddling through. 
Fantasy is defined as imagination, especially when extravagant and unrestrained.  It is the forming of mental images, especially wondrous or strange fancies; imaginative conceptualizing.  It is a mental image, especially when unreal or fantastic.  


Faith is described as confidence or trust in a person or thing. Faith is a belief that is not based on proof. 

There are certain things about what I believe that are absolute, I know the work of Christ, the life He lived (and lives), the atonement of the cross, the death, burial, and resurrection.  There are other things that are at war in my spirit verses my physical, rational mind.  Where does the line fall?

 I know that the Spirit will never lead you to do anything that would contradict the Word.

How did Noah know that the ark wasn’t some crazy, fantasized whim?
How did Abraham know that taking Isaac on top of the mountain was what God wanted?
How did Gideon know that sending away all but 300 soldiers was the right thing to do?
How did Joshua know the walking around a fortified city was exactly what God wanted?
How did Paul know that a person “had the faith to be healed” so that when he prayed with them, they were?

It seems like fantasy, but it isn’t at all fantasy.  Many would say the difference is that God talked to these people.  What about Joseph Smith?  He believed God talked to him, and he began a religion that draws people away from the truth of Christ to the tune of hundreds of thousands.  Once again, the rule stands, what ol’ Joe heard contradicted the Word and so he felt that he had to amend it to justify his stance.  That is a crime that the Word speaks clearly on.

How do I know that the crazy thing that God is calling me to is really God?  Or is it me?  Is it faith or is it fantasy?  Does it contradict His Word?  If not, what do I do if it bucks against tradition?  You have to follow God, right?

I wonder how well we wrestle with this, or if we just say to ourselves, “it doesn’t make sense to me so it must not be God.”  I believe God has some “crazy” things for us to do, but we don’t listen, don’t wrestle, and subsequently explain away His called and disqualify ourselves from the wonder that He wants to accomplish through us and let us joyfully be a part of.  

Why would we want any less that all of what God has for us?

What is God saying to you?  What is it that you are feeling burning inside of you, what idea consumes your thoughts but you turn it away as fantasy?  What if it is more?  What if it is something that God is calling you to?  Does it go against the Word?  Does it fall right in line?  Have you prayed about it, or just blown it off because it “just couldn’t be” something God wanted?  

These are all questions I have asked myself.  I believe it is good to have a healthy amount of wrestling in your faith.  These matters, alone, and the things that I feel that I have heard from God have stretched my faith, broadened my faith, grown me, and given me a much greater perspective.  

The point of all of this is that I hope it causes you to search out the deeper matters in your life.  It becomes easy to muddle through life maintaining the manageable lifestyle we have grown accustomed to, but that is when we lose focus on the calling.  God has called us to something, and that something should be our goal.  It may be to be a good spouse, good parent, an evangelist, an entrepreneur, a business owner, an astrophysicist, an engineer, or the best McDonald’s drive-thru operator there ever was.

Are we searching?  Are we willing to wrestle?  Are we to take the leap?  Are we willing to at least think about getting out of the boat?  What if it is more than fantasy?  What if it is a call to faith?  

Happy wrestling!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Pure Enough?

When my wife (Denise) and I bought our house several years ago we knew that there were a few things we would have to fix along the way because that is one of the splendors of home ownership.  One thing that we knew would eventually need replaced was the gravity furnace.  Now, if you aren’t familiar with a gravity furnace, how it basically works is that the furnace superheats the air and then just releases it into the duct work and warms your house.  There is no forced air, merely a releasing of the super heated air to slowly rise through the ducts.  The only issue with this is that you get waves of very warm air followed with waves of the air getting cool between the waves of hot air.  It is very inefficient and, not to mention, the furnace was huge!
My parents were nice enough to replace that furnace and my dad even installed it for us.

We are still home owners (same house) and so we find ourselves in the midst of another project.  We decided to remodel our guest room and get it ready for our daughter (Arianna).  Mom and dad came back into town and so we put him to work.  He did the hard stuff and told me how to do the easy stuff.  We tore down the walls to find out there was no insulation (I love these old houses) and did the norm that goes along with gutting and rebuilding a room.  

Dad headed back home and I am left with the small task of painting.  As I began priming the walls, I made a checklist of the things I had to paint.  I knew I needed to paint the trim, of course, but I began talking myself out of having to paint the ceiling and doors.  I knew that it is the proper etiquette, when remodeling a room, to paint everything.  It freshens up the room and everything in the room when you paint, so, I caved, at least on the ceiling. 

I bought the paint, and began just cutting in the room (painting the edges).  The ceiling had seemed so white before, but now I saw how white it wasn’t.  Sure, if you had looked at the ceiling before you would have said that it was white, but it wasn’t white like this.  

I began painting the trim last night.  I opened the door to paint the trim around the door, and then I had to close it partially to paint the other side of the door frame.  You could see a drastic difference between the frame and the door.  What seemed white, no longer seemed white.  

That old gravity furnace had a lot of draw backs.  Without forcing the air through the vents it allowed for a lot of dust to setting in the vents, it didn’t burn very clean, and as I mentioned it was inefficient.  We had painted the room when we moved in, but in the few years that we had the gravity furnace after the original painting, the furnace had left its mark.  That isn’t to mention the impact of time that slowly dulls the brilliance of the white.

I stood there and marveled at the difference.  I was trying to be cheap, make less work, and make the process a little easier.  I tried to cut a corner and it was revealed to me that cutting corners (in this matter) is not an option if I want the room to look as good as it could.  It made me wonder what I have going on inside of me.  What is it that I think is good enough?  What am I trying to cut corners on?  What in my heart do I look at and say (figuratively), “That’s white enough.”  

“That’s pure enough.”

White often symbolizes purity.  So when I began to think that the door or ceiling was white enough, I just made a connection between how pure is my heart?  How often do I say, that is enough because I want to cut corners on working…or rather turning myself over to God’s desires?  I will give You this much God, but that is enough.  How often do I not realize losing brilliance, so to speak, in my heart because of the various matters in life that slowly begin to dim that pure closeness to God?  

It speaks to making sure that we consistently spend time with God, consistently evaluate ourselves by His standards and make time for His Spirit to evaluate us as we listen to that guidance as well.

There isn’t much to this entry, but it is just a simple thought that I had and I wanted to get it down.  Hope you are well. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Lessons From A Dancing Bear

I recently went to the Akron Zoo to enjoy the animals with my family and see how my daughter would react to the animals that she has learned about at home.  It was a great time as she recognized some of the animals and made the motions we had taught her or the noises we have associated with the particular animals.  It was a pretty exciting day to sit back and see some fruit from what she had learned.  We came upon a sloth bear.  When we approached we saw that he was rocking back and forth and my daughter thought it was neat and began to kind of rock back and forth with him as she watched him through the glass.  It was all fun.  She danced as the bear continued to dance.  However, the bear kept dancing, and dancing, and dancing.  Arianna (my daughter) decided to move on, and the bear kept rocking back and forth.

We began to wonder, what exactly is wrong with this bear?  After kind of chuckling about it, we noticed a plaque on the wall next to where this bear was rocking.  The plaque explained that this poor bear had been doing this since his mother had abandoned him.  It was his coping mechanism.  I found this fascinating, we actually stayed there for quite a while as my daughter needed to rest a bit and eat.  The whole time, with very few breaks, he continued to rock back and forth, back and forth.  


I have been extraordinarily busy recently.  In some cases I have been busy tending to matters that I am not altogether crazy about tending.  There are issues that have arisen that have irritated me, caused me to lose sleep, and kept me from doing the things that I enjoy doing.  In fact, the past month has been a long month.  Coping is synonymous with managing, muddling through, dealing with, or surviving, getting by.  I can say, this past month or so, I have been coping.  It is frustrating to me.  I want to move on move forward.  If I can’t I feel like I have lost something or failed, it is overwhelming and causes me to feel very down and depressed.  

Coping isn’t just settling, coping is holding on for dear life and weathering the storm.

What if it seems like the storm is endless?  

How well does hope hold out in those times of coping?

Coping mechanisms, as the rocking bear, are the things we do to make the unbearable times bearable (no pun intended).  It can be odd, it can be strange, it may make people laugh (as it did with the bear), but that is how we get through those tough times.  

What if we rely so much on our coping mechanisms that we don’t face the unbearable and it becomes a weakness?  What if we could become stronger if we faced that unbearable situation?  

The Scriptures are full of people who faced unbearable situations.  They realized that the unbearable situation was bearable if God was the One giving them strength to face the matter. 

How well do we do that?

How well do I do that?

I react quickly when I feel challenged as a coping mechanism.  I do this unwittingly, then after the fact I can retract, but I want that process to change.  I lack confidence and rely on others so if anything goes wrong I am not the one to blame.  A sort of act like LeBron James pulls in the finals, but I do that with tough calls in life.  I have a plethora of other things I do to cope with the things life throws as me, but I began to wonder, just who would I be if I made the conscious decision to face these battles without coping, without holding on, or merely surviving, but with confidence in knowing that God is with me in these trials?  

What if I let God be God in my life?  What if I stopped being scared of the things that are too big for me?  What if I realized, life is not about coping, it is about freedom and victory?  What if God in me is much greater than a fearful Adam that relies on rational decisions without consulting the God that often transcends man’s rationale?  

How much glory could God gain in a life like that?  

We all have our ways of “rocking” just like that bear.  We all have ways to insulate ourselves from the things that this life throws at us.  However, we have to ask ourselves if what we believe about God, what we have learned from His Word is true enough for us to listen to the Spirit of God and let Him lead us into the tough situations.  Will we grow, be teachable, and look for the lessons in those times?  

Do we want to do more than cope?  Do we want to face our Goliath's (our giants, our scary situations) and let God do His work in us and to our enemy?  

I see this happening in the Christian realm too often, this coping, and I do not believe that this is the life that God has intended for us.  Bears aren't meant to rock back and forth, are we (as believers) meant to merely cope?

Just something I have thought about as I have learned from recent matters and a dancing bear.