Paying for School

My ongoing adventures in life and the pursuit of more...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Athanasius...Meets Me In Raleigh

Athanasius is to Antony what Plato was to Socrates.  So I find it hard to talk about Antony without bringing Athanasius into the conversation as I’m not entirely sure where one ends and the other begins.  But I do know they’re meeting me in Raleigh right now and it’s creating quite the cognitive dissonance.

I think A/A would have loved the new song that’s become a theme song for the Elusive and me on this pilgrim journey.  It goes like this…

Settle down, it'll all be clear / Don't pay no mind to the demons / They fill you with fear /
The trouble it might drag you down / If you get lost, you can always be found /
Just know you’re not alone / Cause I’m going to make this place your home

If you’ve read Athanasius’, Life of Antony, you know what I mean.

One of the big adjustments to Raleigh, for me, is everything.  Lots of everything. 





America may be downsizing but you wouldn’t know it from day to day life here if you’re from somewhere else.  And in the midst of this I’m reading about the decision of some 4th century Christians to make life hard for themselves – or at least less easy – at a time when Christianity suddenly became acceptable if not cool.

And while I’m rocking my new office (that could comfortably house at least two families in any 3rd world country) with tunes on Pandora (‘cause I’m in the States now) and setting up direct deposit for my paychecks, I’m experiencing a little disorientation in the land of the free and home of the brave.

Antony (or his Front) writes, “We ought also to realize that if we do not surrender these things through virtue, then   later when we die we shall leave these things behind – often, to those whom we do not wish…Why not rather own those things that we are able to take away with us – such things as prudence, justice, temperance, courage, understanding, love, concern for the poor, faith in Christ, freedom from anger, hospitality?  If we posses these, we shall discover them running before, preparing hospitality for us there in the land of the meek.”

What am I getting from Antony and his boy Athanasius besides the ringing of cognitive dissonance in my heart?  For now, this: striving to live more simply, to shun opportunities for pride, love humility and to pray to Christ and give Him credit rather than claim His power are all fruit of the ascetic life that we can make use of today.

There’s a lot I don’t know but one thing I’m learning is that Spiderman was right when he said something like, "with lots of stuff comes great responsibility" if you’re living for the King and Kingdom.

Can you imagine a 4th century Bishop of Alexandria and a Desert monk from Egypt can speak right into my life here in America?

Here's that Phillip Phillip's video if you're interested in what we've been singing...and what we hear God saying...

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Still Getting Educated

It's been a while.

Regular posts are about to resume.  We've been in the midst of a massive transition.  For the last 21 years we've lived in the same place even if we haven't lived in the same house or city.  Sunday past, we loaded up our jumbo U-Haul truck and moved south to North Carolina.

During the transition it became difficult for me to write or even talk about what we were experiencing, feeling and going through.  Normally I talk or blog about those things but we entered a space in these last two months where I became acutely aware of how my observations, comments and thoughts were being scrutinized, personalized and (sometimes) villainized.  So it seemed best to keep quiet.

But now it's time to move internally and externally (that sounds vaguely like a scatological reference - not intended - this time) and it's time to write again.

We were given a word/picture this week that I think nicely sums up exactly how we all feel at the moment (we = me, the elusive Donna, Josh and Emily - Nathan and Lindsay I think are coping with "the hole").  The picture is that of a tree, uprooted for replanting.  It's roots with some soil are tied up in burlap and ready for replanting.  Some breaking has occurred, some shock to the system as well, but still healthy, intact, and in good shape for the next season.

We're incredibly excited to be here and I can't wait to jump in.  Meanwhile, I'm catching up on my reading for this semester of school at SSU.  Your support is still needed and deeply appreciated!  (See the first post on this blog for details.)  I've still got a lot to learn but one thing I know: moving in love is better than moving in hurt, even if it's painful.

So, "Hello Raleigh, you look fantastic!"

Coming up next post...Athanasius meets Raleigh, North Carolina.