Heard at Café: 10/7/14

Enemy. That's a word we don't use very often, right? Who are your enemies? It's hard to think about. How about this: who's mistreated you, asked too much of you, hurt you, insulted you? Does that make it easier to think of some specific people? I think that for most of us, it certainly does. These people may be perfectly nice people, not bad people, but they did something maybe even once that changed that.* They broke our trust; they left us out. Somehow, you are faced with this person, and there is conflict. What do we do with that? Biological we have this fight or flight reaction. Which one do you lean towards? Does conflict always escalate to some sort of confrontation? Or is it something you avoid at all costs? Last night, we talked about the idea that maybe there is some middle ground, some other way. A way to look past our desire to settle the score. A way to take the focus off of ourselves and what we think is best, or right, or fair, or just. A way besides giving people what we think they deserve. We talked about the idea of living out grace. If grace is this concept that God hasn't given us what we deserve. What if we turn that around, and rather than fighting or flight-ing, we decide to cancel the debts, to not give people what we think they deserve, or what they maybe do deserve? What if we let the cycle of hurt be broken? What if we don't get caught in the pay back? What if we act out grace? And not just to the people who are easy to love, the ones who love us well. But to the ones that are harder to love to. Because then we can be different kinds of people. We won't just love the ones who love us--that's what everyone does. Let's try to do something hard. Something different. And for those of us who gel with this idea of Jesus, maybe that's a better representation of what he's about? Maybe it's a better representation of him than what's out there. Maybe that's what Georgia Tech, Atlanta, the world, needs.

To love means loving the unlovable. To forgive means pardoning the unpardonable. -Gilbert Keith Chesterton

*We are not trying to say at all that you should re-connect or allow yourself to be a victim of someone who has hurt you, abused you, physically, mentally, emotionally. Those situations are not okay or acceptable ways to treat people, and we would never want you to insert yourself in an unsafe situation.

Heard at Café: 9/30/14

What are your identifiers? Georgia Tech Student? Male? Female? Straight-A student? Straight-C student? Tomboy? Artsy? Dancer? Athlete? Atheist? Christian? Fraternity Guy? Sorority Girls? Skeptic? Dog Lover? Engineer? Scientist? Roller-blader? The list could go on and on. This week at Cafe we talked about our identities and what we find them in. Where do you should find your identity? What if that thing changes? Let's say you want to be a doctor, but you don't to get into med school? Is that bad or is that just time to find something else? What if you are dating someone, if you identify yourself as a girlfriend/boyfriend, and your significant other breaks up with you? What happens then? It's hard, isn't it? Let's say we want to find something more stable, something that won't change, something constant. We talked about the idea of finding our identities in how God identifies us. Does that concept make sense? Is it easy? Is it that something you do easily or is that confusing and hard? Let's say we do identify ourselves how God sees us, as people he loves, even his children. How does that affect what we do? Should we do whatever we please or does what we do somehow relate to our identity? We talked about the idea that what we do flows out of who we are. If we are God's children, and identify ourselves as such, maybe what we choose to do could be the things he cares about. In a book in the Bible called Matthew, he makes it pretty clear that he wants us to love him and love others. Is it that simple? Maybe so. Maybe its something worth thinking about.

“Over the years, I have come to realize that the greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity, or power, but self-rejection. Success, popularity, and power can indeed present a great temptation, but their seductive quality often comes from the way they are part of the much larger temptation to self-rejection. When we have come to believe in the voices that call us worthless and unlovable, then success, popularity, and power are easily perceived as attractive solutions. The real trap, however, is self-rejection. As soon as someone accuses me or criticizes me, as soon as I am rejected, left alone, or abandoned, I find myself thinking, "Well, that proves once again that I am a nobody." ... [My dark side says,] I am no good... I deserve to be pushed aside, forgotten, rejected, and abandoned. Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the "Beloved." Being the Beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence.” -Henri J.M. Nouwen