Sunday, April 18, 2010


So, my friends, I've had the following entry sitting in Drafts for a while, but haven't wanted to share it yet.  It makes me uneasy, but too bad.

I have embarked on something.  I'm determined and, dang it, I'm going to stay determined.  No petering off.  No fading away.  It's too important this time.

I am twenty-six years old now and every year that goes by is another year of my life.  And as my friend, Phil, said, "We only have one shot at this."  So, how long will I continue to postpone this?

{photograph:  I think this is Jesus}
Athens, Greece
© kimberly k taylor

Some difficult, yet simple questions were presented to me and I realized that I know nothing.  Or, what little I know is so incomplete and half-hearted, that it shouldn't count.  Thus, I've embarked on a Discipleship and Spirituality research-esque project of my own.

I stupidly remembered that I love reading.  Pretty much more than any other pastime (it ties with writing).  So, I thought, "why don't I take advantage of the fact that books get my attention and start there?"  Maybe I'll actually stick to this thing if I pair this research with something I actually like to do?  Maybe I won't fail before I begin.

To start, I have continued on with my Lent resolutions even though Lenten season is over and Easter has passed.  I was reading one chapter through the Gospels and one chapter in one of the Prophets.  During Lent, I made it through Matthew, Mark, and the beginning of Luke, which I am now continuing.  In the Prophets, I am in Isaiah.  Song of Solomon was too weird for me.  How are "breasts like gazelles," may I ask?  I know I am a weird girl when i think in earnest, "Oh!  I've got it!  Maybe it's because gazelles prance and boobs bounce!"

To second, I have finally taken The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer off of my bookshelf where it's lived for years being pushed aside for novels filled with adventure, mystery, or raw and gritty life.  And, I must say, I am riveted to this Bonhoeffer dude.  He understands discipleship.  It is unnerving to read and realize that I am not really a Christian at all.  For how can one believe, but not do?  Doesn't that cancel out the belief?  If there is no fruit, where is the belief?  Sitting on a bookshelf somewhere, being passed up for more interesting tales that aren't even real.

To third, I understand myself enough to know that I need to read stories.  (Non-fiction is a stretch for me, though I appreciate it, I don't love it like I do fiction.  I wish I could get my dietary sustenance from reading fiction instead of eating calories and proteins and all that.  'Course, then I'd surely overeat.)  So, in my need of stories, I've compromised and added to my nightly readings, Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love.  Though Gilbert does not necessarily believe all that I think I believe in the subject of faith-related-ness, she is one who dropped everything and went away for a whole year to figure out who the heck she was and try to find a sense of her spirituality.   It is my hope that I will become inspired to pursue, with the same fervor, this thing for which I am supposedly living.


thejuniorpartner said...

Hey Kimberly,

That's so funny. I have just picked up the Cost of Discipleship too and started reading! Great stuff, if you've not already read it, you should also check out Donald Miller's new book, "Searching for God knows what".

Glad to hear you're going deeper in what you believe. I believe the results will be rewarding no matter the cost because the truth is love and love does not disappoint :)

Love you friend!

seijitsu said...

Hi Kimmie,

You made me laugh about Song of Songs! (It's almost certainly not by or about Solomon, since half of the voice of the poem is a woman - the only woman narrator voice in the Bible - and she thinks her lover is better than Solomon.) I hated it when I first read it, because someone had told me it was about God's love for us, and I thought that was a sick interpretation - as if God would look at outside appearance instead of compliment our heart, virtues, or personality! But later I learned that it makes much more sense to read as simply love poetry which, by being in the Bible, shows us that God approves of and delights in our human physical/emotional love, that we have need of no shame in a pure relationship, and that the woman can be just as often the initiator and pursuer as a man. She's always telling him to come away! For singles, that's just some good stuff to know. I think it's more enjoyable to read when you're married as "yay, God is happy about our attraction and what we do together."

seijitsu said...

Glad to hear you're devoting yourself to God. True, there are some parts of Scripture that tell us faith without obedience is insincere or false, but we need to keep that in tension with not turning our perspective (as we are SO prone to do) into "the Gospel and ____"(fill in "must read my Bible daily" or "must pray daily" or "must be doing evangelism" or "must be involved in ministry" or "must help everyone" or whatever we are tempted to think we need to do as our law, whatever we think is required beyond faith/faithfulness in grace and by which we judge ourselves and especially others who aren't doing it) instead of living under the gift of grace of the Gospel alone.
Some food for thought - how we can maintain the tension so we do as fruit rather than from obligation:

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel -- not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are confusing you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should proclaim to you a gospel contrary to what we proclaimed to you, let that one be accursed! As we have said before, so now I repeat, if anyone proclaims to you a gospel contrary to what you received, let that one be accursed! Am I now seeking human approval, or God's approval? Or am I trying to please people? . . . I advanced in Judaism beyond many among my people of the same age, for I was far more zealous for the traditions of my ancestors. . . . But even Titus, who was with me, was not compelled to be circumcised, though he was a Greek. But because of false believers secretly brought in, who slipped in to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might enslave us -- we did not submit to them even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might always remain with you. . . . They asked only one thing, that we remember the poor, which was actually what I was eager to do. . . . But when I saw that they were not acting consistently with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, "If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?" We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; yet we know that a person is justified not by the works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ. And we have come to believe in Christ Jesus, so that we might be justified by faith in Christ, and not by doing the works of the law, because no one will be justified by the works of the law. -Gal 1:6-2:16

He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. . . . I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. . . . If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. -Jn 15:2-14

By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For the love of God is this, that we obey his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, for whatever is born of God conquers the world. And this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith. -1 Jn 5:2-4

seijitsu said...

If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill," and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead. . . . You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe -- and shudder. -Jas 2:15-19

Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell -- and great was its fall! -Mt 7:24-27

For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than, after knowing it, to turn back from the holy commandment that was passed on to them. -2 Pet 2:21

Therefore his faith "was reckoned to him as righteousness." Now the words, "it was reckoned to him," were written not for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was handed over to death for our trespasses and was raised for our justification. Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. . . . But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died through the one man's trespass, much more surely have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abounded for the many. . . . grace abounded all the more, so that, just as sin exercised dominion in death, so grace might also exercise dominion through justification leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. -Rom 4:22-5:21

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. -Jas 1:27

seijitsu said...

Sorry about the mess of deleted comments; I thought they weren't posting becayse they were too long, so I revised and then both versions showed up.

Anyway, come to think of it, I have The Cost of Discipleship sitting unread on my shelf too. How far are you into it? Do you want to read it together? Help hold each other accountable kind of thing? I shouldn't pick it up til next week since I have finals this week (yes, I'm reading your blog to procrastinate memorizing outlines of Romans, 1 Cor, Hebrews, and Revelation for my exam).

Allison said...

Thumbs up to the boobs comment. And to the entire pursuit. But mostly the boobs.