In the Year of our Lord, 2008...

...I feel like I have a more tacit understanding of these words by an modern-day psalmist from Dublin:

I have climbed the highest mountains
I have run through the fields
Only to be with you
Only to be with you

I have run I have crawled
I have scaled these city walls
Only to be with you
But I still haven't found
What I'm looking for
But I still haven't found
What I'm looking for

The story of my spiritual life so far can be summed up briefly as follows: I first became a Christian at age twelve, and grew up in a typical nondenominational Christian church. I became serious about my faith around age sixteen, when I experienced a deeper on a series of summer mission trips where I shared the gospel message in the streets with teams of like-minded teenagers on the streets of Russia and Cameroon. They were experiences right out of the chapter of Acts, where I became aware of the supernatural, and though my faith was rather immature, it was passionate, and I passionately shared my faith with others boldly. In college, I joined a Christian fraternity, where I met many young men from different denominations who shared my faith, and the college experience, and who remain my best friends to this day. It was in college that I became aware of a lot of my immaturities, and met with mixed results in dealing with them. During my last summer in college, as I wrestled with what I want to do with my life (homeless drifter was a definite option), I returned to Russia, and discovered that something in my heart responded to children in need. When I became gainfully employed as an engineer, I used my vacation time to go back to Russia to work with disabled orphans, keeping in mind and heart the Master's promise that "whatever you do for the least of these, you do for me." My lengthly diary from the last Russia trip tells the story better if you have the time.

The last few years of my life, after a crisis of faith in my mid-20's, I recommitted myself to my faith, but realized that there was more to it than what I had experienced to that point. I wanted to explore what it would mean to live a faith in Christ as it was meant to be lived - the holistic Christian life. The Russia trips gave me a glimpse in the opportunity to be a servant to the least of the least. A few of my favorite authors articulated for me transcendant virtues - Brennan Manning writings on the depth and nature of God's grace, Peter Kreeft's books on the Christian faith as a philosophy, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis great stories that displayed an imagination that Christians are so often accused of lacking, and most importantly, G.K. Chesterton's guileless whimsy and wonderfully brillant characterization of the Christian faith as the fount of virtue, the deepest truth and the seed of true revolution that all free men yearn for.

The question now is, "Where do I go from here?"

I have kissed honey lips
Felt the healing in her fingertips
It burned like fire
This burning desire
I have spoke with the tongue of angels
I have held the hand of a devil
It was warm in the night
I was cold as a stone
But I still haven't found
What I'm looking for
But I still haven't found
What I'm looking for

Frankly, there are a lot of things in Christianity I don't like. The alignment of prominent Religious Right Christians with the Bush Administration unfortunately showed time and time again that Christians are at their worst when seeking or in power. Though I grew up in the charismatic church, and I believe that much that happens in them genuinely comes from the Holy Spirit (I do speak in tongues), I see so much hype and manipulation in it that even I have serious problems with the movement's credibility. The war-like mentality adopted by some Christians in the culture wars (and, in turn, by their opponents) demonizes the very people that they are called to love and creates a rift that, in my estimation, need not be there. All of this and more breaks my heard and aggravates me to no end, but even so, the Good Lord made me optimistic, and I remember the words of the ancient-day psalmist: "As for me, I will always have hope."

Ultimately, I am painfully aware of my own failings, which are numerous, so I have no excuse not to demonstrate an attitude of relentless tenderness toward others. It requires a mere modicum of humility to realize that relentless tenderness is far beyond my abilities - I need the continual help of the risen, living Christ to do it. To love God and love my neighbor sounds simple in theory but is nigh impossible in practice, and I would think it impossible were it not for the Master's promise that "with God, all things are possible." I would say it demands effort, but my past experience suggests that mere effort proves somewhat fruitless unless something internal drives it. My character just isn't up to it right now.

So here's my resolution for the year of our Lord 2008: Embrace spiritual disciplines that will draw me closer to my Lord, and will then allow Him to mold my character in ways that will pervade every part of my life. I could set goals for school and work and for changing the world, and have in the past, but if the core of me isn't right, none of the rest of it will be either. To this end, I plan to go through Richard Foster's Celebration of Discipline. There are also some other interesting service opportunities in front of my that may allow me to use my professional and educational experience to serve others. I'll let y'all know what I find...

I believe in the Kingdom Come
Then all the colours will bleed into one
But yes I'm still running
You broke the obnds
You loosed the chains
You carried the cross
And my shame
And my shame
You know I believe it
But I still haven't found
What I'm looking for
But I still haven't found
What I'm looking for


At 7:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Nate,
I'm a wife, mother, and grandmother -- obviously a little farther down the road of life than you. However, I strongly relate to much of your spiritual journey and especially to your recent conclusions.

I have also committed to observing the spiritual disciplines during 2008 and am also using Foster's book, among others. I'm finding that observing the spiritual disciplines doesn't make us more spiritual. But it does put us in a position to submit to and receive the Lord's work of developing His character in our lives. I believe our Lord is calling the church to a greater love relationship at this time. I wouldn't be surprised if Christians all over the earth are being moved in a similar fashion.

I believe that in the end, Nate, when we see Him face to face, we'll finally have found what we're looking for....press on toward the mark of the high calling...blessings to you.

1 Corinthians 13:12 -- Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

At 11:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Hi there, I stumbled upon your blog and am amazed at something: in many ways, I find your experiences and thoughts similar to mine. For e.g., I too come from a Christian charismatic background and experienced a crisis of faith in my mid-20s; I love C.S. Lewis particularly his Narnia stories (in their wonderful parallel to His word); I am a professional like you (lawyer), love what I do but find myself wondering 'where do I go from here'?; I've been to Russia, love the place and see the need in the people; I identify with many of your thoughts and struggles in your walk with our dearest Lord Jesus Christ.

I am amazed because I could not have come from a more different background from you - I am Asian, lived my life here, except for a brief studying stint in Canada.

Beautiful isn't it: I learnt once again that, despite our differences in race or background etc., the Lord has made us all the same inside -- filled with a God-shaped vacuum that only He can fill.

Pity that you aren't writing anymore, because I really enjoyed reading your entries.

Cheers, and hope you write soon.

God bless.


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