I hope you guys like some of the pictures I have been adding. They are only a fraction of what I have. Anyways, on the last blog I talked about a cd that really helped me keep focused while I was in Turkey. For this blog I thought that I would share about a book I read while there. At the house of the host family where we were staying there was plenty of good literature to keep us reading but I picked out this one. I don't know why I chose to begin reading it. The title is somewhat appealing but not really that capturing and as for Brian McLaren, all I had ever heard of him was negative so I already had a bias. But I read it and how glad I am! Another funny thing is that I usually don't read fiction unless it is classic, but when I began delving into the book I soon realized it was McLaren's clever way of keeping the reader captivated. So many times with "Spiritual Literature" from authors like Max Lucado or John Piper I found myself getting bored or I would understand the main point of what they were communicating and set the book down. McLaren's story, however, kept me interested until the end. I don't recommend this book to anyone who is comfortable or content with where they are in their faith. After reading this book, actually I have realized that's not a good place to be. I also don't recomend this book to anyone that is so sure about certain aspects of their faith (excpet for the biblical truths that the gospel communicates) that they will defend it until blue in the face. Instead, this book is for people who want to learn and are questioning how to to make their faith applicable in an ever-changing world. The book offers ideas and topics that I had never thought to question. It challenged me to the very depths of my soul. Some would say that a mission trip would not be the place to do such a thing, but I did and I think I came out of it better than what I went in.
So I am very sorry that I STILL haven't put any pics up on this blog. I just got a job so that means I will be making some money and then I can afford to develop all of the snaps I took.
I wanted to take this oppurtunity to talk about some things that really inspired and supplemented me while I was in Turkey. Some of you may know that I am a big Thrice fan but I found myself not really liking hteir newest album all that much. I felt like it was repetitive and not very deep. While I was in Istanbul I started listening to the album only because I was getting tired of the rest of the songs on my iPod. I was appalled. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. The lead singer Dustin Kensrue took his love for Christ and his amazing ablility to produce powerful lyrics and mixed it all together. I don't think I have heard someone worship God in that way. The music itslef is heavy and even dark at times, which helped my in Istanbul because it is a very dark place. But the lyrics are so blatantly worshiping God that it is nothing but inspiring. Granted, it is harder to make out what he is saying when he screams but I genuinely think that is his way of showing his passion. Songs like "Music Box", where he says "We are not alone, we feel an unseen love, we are sons and heirs of grace, we are children of a light that never dims, a love that never dies..." these lyrics inspired me and comforted me in a place where most are so lost. He even writes a song in the perspective of Peter, when he denied Jesus, called "like Moths to flame". I highly recommend this album to ANYONE that is a follower of Christ, even if this isn't your style of music, I think it is valuable solely because of the power of the lyrics. Thrice has found a way to worship God in their music without ever saying the word "God" and without making it so obvious as to pigeon-hole themselves into a purely Christian genre, where they wouldn't be able to influence as many non-believers. Way to go guys, you got the idea!
Because of my extreme desire to not make my trip to Istanbul a momentary spur of spirituality or an "excursion", as Jeff would call it, that's impact doesn't last more than a few weeks after my arrival home, I have decided to take keep taking steps forward, and continue my learning. I think that this blog would serve as a valuable tool to not only express my new findings but to also share with those who may be an such a journey as I am on.
If there is one thing that I can take with my from my trip to Turkey is that I do not, and will never, have it all figured out. Too many times I see myself and my peers with an arrogant attitude of certainty; A boastful, defender's perspective that only further blinds us from new horizons. Sure, there are infinitives, there are absolutes, but one can ever stop learning (even from non-believers, Muslims and Turks!) and as a believer it is so easy for us to fall into a trap of thinking we have it all figured out, just because we have the most important truth of all, Christ.
So I will continue to blog, not as someone who knows it all and wants everyone else to think the same thing, but as a learner who wants to share his experinces with other, hoping only that he will have the chance to hear about what others have learned as well.