here's what i've started to notice:

everyone is hurting, broken up, avaricious, insufficient, insecure, in pain, addicted and/or hopeless.

in response, we look for an emotional healer, a mender, a justifier, someone to make us complete, an unfaltering helper, a physical healer, a renewer and/or a reason to live.

whether true or not, we've gotten it into our heads that Jesus will be these things to us, . And we hope on Him. Any failure that we experience is our fault... or the devil getting in the way. In fact, we are so sure that Jesus is coming through for us, that we ignore the often staggering body of evidence to the contrary.

and that is troublesome. why do i assume that God is backing up my political beliefs, when there are billions of other viewpoints out there?

why would i venture to assume that Jesus supports my country among the other 194 nations on this earth?

why would i think God would heal me from pain or genetic disease, when he alows innocent children to be born every day into a life of constant pain and suffering caused by genetic disease and/or mental disorders?

what makes me think that God will lastingly fill me with a living hope and purpose, when hundreds of millions (and possibly billions) of people have lived an died without of shred of purpose and meaning in their lives, assumedly descending thereafter into the fires of hell?

why would i ask God to bless what i'm doing? isn't it completely arbitrary to think that God is on one person's side or another's?

looking around, it's obvious that someone or something made this planet, its scenery, and its inhabitants. life, the universe, love - these are not just happenstance! but what are we and what are we for? i've found no answers so far.

yeah, i've had some pretty crazy supernatural experiences. but my needs remain, my insecurity remains, and that general sense of hopelessness remains. for all the living God inside me, i feel resolutely... empty.

true, there are success stories of God turning people's lives around in the face of impossibility. but that doesn't make up for all the people like me, for whom God doesn't bring alasting fulfillment or purpose.

like so many people on the tele, in the pulpit, on the streets, i keep trying to make Jesus into the fulfillment of all my needs. but thus far, He doesn't fit; and so far, i've harldy got to know Him at all.

and that's what i think about Jesus.


  1. pretty deep thoughts there. i was reading donald millers latest a few nights ago and there is a part that was basically on the same topic. ill quote it when i get my book back.

  2. hey. stumbled upon your writing...
    i really like this blog post.
    i think that it voices what a lot of people think and weep about but are too afraid to say. (or type, even) i find that thoughts like these get lost in the pages of my journals.
    as uncomfortable as thoughts or meditations like these make me(and the north-american evangelical church as a whole, i think) feel, even though some spend half their lives thinking about them i think it is very necessary to voice them. so, thanks. its good.
    i think that its exciting that He knows the rhythm of our souls, even in these sort of rhythms.

  3. especially in these sorts of rhythms,

  4. @olivia: "i think that its exciting that He knows the rhythm of our souls." wow. thank you for taking the time to reply. what do you think about God?

  5. hahahaha oh boy.
    my goodness... i've been writing and deleting sentences for about 10 minutes now. hahahah. so... thats what i think about God. haha, but really...

    i cannot begin to really explain what i think about God except for who He has been to me and the things that i know that i know that i know are real. i think its also exciting that He's kind of unexplainable but also the most explainable Person in the world.

    i will say this: i have never been more in love and never been more afraid. he is unpredictable and surprising. he is safe but wild, the greatest listener and has so much to say.... yeah. he has a lot to say.

    i was thinking the other day about how i trust my dad (my earth dad) probably more than anyone else in the world and i think its because i think that he loves me more than almost any other person on the face of the earth. and i think this is also true about God(but times infinity) - he is worthy all of all of my trust. my whole heart... even the dirty, ugly, dusty, extremely cynical, hopeless parts. :)............ yeah. :)
    and thats just the beginning! yahoo!

  6. @ olivia: "i have never been more in love and never been more afraid."
    that's quite the discourse! : ) i'm glad you take the issue so seriously. i've definitely noticed that parallel of trust in people and trust in God.

  7. yeah. i think what is funny about our journeys in hunger and thirst for righteousness or truth is that you run into a lot of what seem to be contradictions... and its usually after one follows the six steps or whatever and says the sinner's prayer. it ends up being sort of funny and devastating at the same time.
    its easier to follow steps that be in relationship. its definitely not how life works (or if we're on the theme of relationships with people... not how those work either)

  8. joel...really enjoyed this post, but it broke my heart.
    Jesus is the fulfillment of my everything(i want to make it clear that i am not boasting in this at all..i just want to share with you my experience). when i was younger...i struggled with depression. i remember this one time i was standing in this thrift store in the book section right in front of all the religious paraphernalia thinking, 'i hate my life. what am i doing. i am no one.' I HAD SUCH AN EMPTINESS IN ME. the kind of emptiness that kills you slowly. that was me. until Jesus started taking over. i can't share the entire story right now, but there was a complete change that occurred in me, and i believe it was all because of Jesus. i don't quite understand how all the emptiness and bitterness and fear was erased, but it was. it isn't there anymore, and inside of me is this beautiful supernatural filling. o my goodness it is wonderful! i hope and pray that you would find this fulfillment in Jesus. i am praying for you.

  9. @olivia: "it is easier to follow steps tha[n] be in a relationship."
    wow that was well put. i'll further that by proposing that the steps don't make the relationship.
    i get tired of contrived God-man relations, and want to see more authentic willingness to be wrong and patient about it. On the part of man. haha
    But that's the same thing that I'm working through and intermittently failing at. We need God.

  10. @ria: Wow, thanks for responding. I don't know how to discuss something at that level on a blog post. Maybe I'll see you at one of the Cameratas. Thank you for committing to pray for me : )
    - Joel

  11. @joel: yes, 'than'. thats what i meant to type. :)

    i understand, yeah. i think relationship with God is much to sacred and mysterious to be all contrived and such. haha... its way too big of a deal.

    all that to say, yes, we do need God. the One full of wonder and mystery. He's way more fun than steps.

  12. The church is a whore, but she's my mother

  13. You said why would God give us hope when there are billions going to hell. Well ultimately I do not know why the world is the way it is, but I do have to say that Christ died to bring life and hope, that is the only reason why any of us have it.

  14. @natalie: i have heard that a lot. augustine in the fifth century? that seems to add a crazymaking layer of meaning to this whole situation.

    can we comfort ourselves with the proposition that the church will always be a violent, racist, sexist, slave-mongering, war-justifying, genocidal whore?

    @andrew: i guess what i'm looking at is the possibility that our worldviews have been tweaked to place us at the center. if we really see all human life as valuable, then maybe we'll be free to recognize the horror of what our world is. but if we only consider ourselves and those immediately around us, then we may more easily be able to convince ourselves that it's not so bad.