Friday, January 23, 2009


I work in the Drug and Alcohol field. Specifically in prevention. Much of my job relates to education.
B.C. Canada is a leader in a new way of tackling the woes created by drug and alcohol abuse. Its name is Harm Reduction. Its premise is that of not warring with those who do drugs rather reaching out to them. Part of the main strategy is to bring information about what they are doing that they may not already have. I like this strategy. Ignorance does create problems. But I am no Oprah disciple. I do not concur with the Utopian mindset that pervades our Star Trek first-world arrogance, that if we are just educated enough we will see change and pace and gather like Who-villers and sing happy songs of harmony. But education is a good part of good decision making never-the-less.
I believe that we need to keep distinguishing between being educated and being wise. Wisdom does not come from a place of an open book. It comes from hard knocks, from loftier pursuits, and above all, from relationships. Yes, relationships help in our understanding of the world. Not all relationships can bring wisdom. But wisdom can often only be passed through relationship.
I can be smarter than a whip, but not wise. Wisdom is not an automatic friend of knowledge.

I can teach people that weed is bad for your brain, but it takes wisdom to know that the brain is important enough to take heed of warnings. I can teach that premarital sexual activity is risky, but it takes wisdom to know that sex is precious and costly.

This is why I love the reality of mentoring. Wisdom can be passed through mentoring, because then its not just about smarts, it becomes about wisdom. Wisdom will tell a girl that guys want to get sexually active not for relationship sake, but to just get off. Most importantly, wisdom will teach about the preciousness of a person. Self-esteem can be passed through relationship. Mentors can teach a young girl the value of being a woman, the value of a better life than sleeping with anyone who asks.

So I stand in front of classes doling out the knowledge I have about various drugs and about drinking, but I know to be truly self-empowered, it will take relationship connectedness to teach a person the value of a better life. Knowledge is a smaller part of prevention than we think.

I also believe that wisdom is God-originated. Isaiah speaks of knowing and acknowledging who God is (fearing) is the beginning of all wisdom. This is like prioritizing what is really important in life. The top is our Creator, then those whom the Creator deems as important according to his map of life.

My faith is not always on display so blatantly at work. I have what many would consider a secular job. But if you listen hard enough, I attempt towards pointing people towards wisdom above knowledge. I keep a humorous outlook on life to keep things real, and not so daunting. I hear a lot about how educated people need to become, and how this will fix our sorry state, but I disagree. Anyone int he counseling field will tell you, especially in the youth arena, that relationship is much more an effective means to change. This is because wisdom is found in these places. Love is the centre and hope for a better way is the launcher to freedom.

What Do I Expect From God?

An issue has been pressing on my heart as of late. Well, actually, it never leaves my thoughts and this has been years.
It has to do with expectancy in worship. I worship Jesus, the risen Christ. We all have immediate reactions to this. Some nod in solemn agreement with an amen. Others, Jesus who? Is he Spanish? And still others think "Cuckoo Cuckoo! I never knew he was nuts!"
Looking around at how often Jesus is portrayed in our first world culture, I can see why. I believe it was the adult oriented cartoon "The Family Guy" who had a white Jesus introduced on Jay Leno as a guest on his show. It was a quick joke, depending totally on people's immediate characterization of who they thought Jesus was. The robes, the beard, the sandals, you understand. Placing him on Jay Leno as a guest was funny in a way, because what is this ancient icon doing there? HA! But not.
As those who have found faith in Christ will attest, there are several camps that we can throw ourselves into or be pigeon holed into. One is the conservative camp. The other, the Charismatic camp.
I have spent time in both camps, and I must say that even though I attend a rather "conservative" church right now, I believe myself to desire to be a Christian mystic. Ooh. I love that term, it sounds so mysterious and ethereal.
What I mean is, I have had many experiences that have blown my preconceived notion as to how I see Jesus out of the water. I have learned more about expecting him to do so, to disassemble my perception of him and revitalise my interaction with him as a result.
I believe that as it happened is scripture, so it happens with us. So through experiences we have, our beliefs are formed. If we never expect God to come into a room, we will not perceive it has happened when he actually does. This is faith. This is also how pigeon-holing works. If among my friends I have an experience with Jesus in a prayer time, say he speaks to me and I cry, like all people, my friends will quickly reference what their experiences have been and it either legitimizes their belief or it throws them for a loop. Throwing for a loop is uncomfortable. I know, because I have been thrown so many times. "That's weird," I would say to myself, "they must be faking." Or "Amazing! I want some of that too!" The part that feels uncomfortable wants to distance the possibility of it happening to me too as quickly as possible.
But walking with God is a journey. I believe what the scriptures say about the miracles, about who Jesus is/was on earth.
I also believe that I share the ignorance of Paul on his way to Damascus, the need to see for myself as Peter, the slow-on-the-uptake side of the disciples as the chat with Jesus after his death when they drag themselves back home. I share all these traits, and yet in order to grow I have had to lay my own perceptions to the side so that I can fully appreciate the revealed Savior. Only then can my life be healed, can I rise above my addictions and leanings and can I love more purely.
Back to worship. I need to experience God. I can't understand life properly without interaction. I have had enough paradigm-shifting to know that I should expect paradigm shifting in my life. God is interactive. How can I be more interactive, because its not He who needs the interaction for his own good, but me. Whether its contemplating a U2 song or reading the Psalms or watching my kids play, I still need to allow for more than just my end of the relationship to be active. Its how anyone come into a relationship with him, really. He is the initiator.
I need to come to the Cross just as much as anyone else and watch the "old man" of my life, as spiritual a he claims he was, die. The new man is then born.
More to come.