Saying Goodbye to Life on the Balance Beam

I started My Life on the Balance Beam on Blogger and moved to WordPress a couple years ago. I’ve enjoyed it, but I have decided that I’m moving on from the Life on the Balance Beam name. While I’m not against the idea of balance, I found myself not really using it all that much recently. Balance is also a concept that has a bit of a bad rap these days and seems to be equated with perfectionism.

Now it’s not that I’m stopping writing all together. That’s not the case. I have decided to set up a new blog named An Intermediate Faith. Much of the content here will show up there, but I have pared away some of the posts more focused on video games, movies, and fiction books. Part of this move is wanting to create a more focused experience. I’m still planning on posting things about marriage, parenting, photography, and other aspects of life, but don’t want to be quite as focused on giving my thoughts on games, movies, etc. as I have here at times.

So if you’ve enjoyed any of my posts here, please feel free to follow me at the new location. I’m sure the new site will be undergoing some changes in the next few weeks as I try to get settled in, but as of right now it is up and functional. It will be a new adventure for me, but I hope that it will be a good step.

Assumptions of the Heart

I was reading Adam S. McHugh’s book Introverts in the Church and ran across this paragraph:

“An introverted college student I worked with, Trevor, encountered several reactions when he chose to step outside of his community after two years of consistent participation. Extroverted leaders chided him for his lack of commitment and were convinced his pulling back was indicative of a larger spiritual problem infecting his heart. The pastor of the community arranged meetings with him to understand what was happening and what was the source of his dissatisfaction with the group. These efforts, as well intentioned as the were, only pushed him further away instead of drawing him back into his previous level of commitment.”

This paragraph struck me because of how often people would rather make assumptions about others rather than actually asking what the issue was. It is so easy to do this. After all, getting to know people and know the issues that underlie the decisions people make takes time and effort. It doesn’t take much time to make an assumption and roll with it.

While it may not take much time to make these assumptions, it can be rather damaging. As the example from above points out. The people who assumed the stepping back was a spiritual problem infecting his heart or dissatisfaction with the group were actually doing more damage than good. It could even be that this reaction to these assumptions just served to fuel the idea that these assumptions were true.

It’s not enjoyable being in a situation where people make assumptions about your spiritual life or your emotional life without any idea of who you are. There may have been other times this has happened to me, but the experience I remember most clearly happened while I was trying to get accredited with the denomination I had been affiliated with since becoming a Christian.

I was hoping to a be a pastor in this particular denomination, I had finished seminary and now needed to be accredited. To do this I needed to go through an interview, and from what I had heard it wasn’t going to be a particularly difficult experience. It wound up going rather terribly. Mainly due to views on end times and alcohol.

We spent about half of the interview talking about views on the end times. My view is that I don’t really have a horse in the race. I’m not big on the idea of a rapture, but beyond that I’m not really one hundred percent sold on amillennialism, pre-millennialism, or whatever other millennialism you want to adhere to.

In my many years in the denomination it had never been a big point in sermons or in terms of membership, and I talked with pastors who weren’t entirely sure how it was all going to turn out in that regards. However, there seemed to be some agitation that I wasn’t fully committed to pre-millennialism. I was okay with that view, but wasn’t okay with trying to make it as the one true way.

The other issue was alcohol. The denomination I was trying to get into doesn’t allow their pastors to drink alcohol. While I was okay with doing this, and even somewhat understood their position, I also wanted to note that I didn’t really agree with it entirely. I would follow it, but I didn’t think it had a whole lot of support from the Bible itself. A view like this that wouldn’t allow Jesus to be a pastor of that denomination appeared a bit problematic to me. This view didn’t go over that well either.

Now as you can expect, I didn’t get accredited from that interview. Now if they came back and simply said that your views just don’t really line up with the denomination’s views that would have stung, but I think I would have understood. It would have been honest and wouldn’t have had to resort to any kind of assumptions about me.

No, instead the three men came into the room and made up some idea that they think I’ve been hurt by authority or have some kind of issue with authority in general. It wasn’t entirely clear to me which it was, maybe it was even both. The only thing was, this wasn’t really true, at least until this incident.

I tend to be a rule follower, almost to a detriment. I was always liked by teachers and other parents because I was a good or nice or whatever. I don’t really remember being hurt by authority, even by authority figures that I didn’t particularly like or respect. I wasn’t exactly one who would have been considered a rebel or anti-authority figure, at least by anyone who knew me.

I didn’t like questioning things, and it took a lot out of me to just be honest with these men and talk to them about issues that I didn’t necessarily agree with. To be honest I didn’t really expect the disagreement over the end times to be so significant, but the alcohol issue didn’t surprise me. Even with that though I was still willing to abstain from alcohol, which wouldn’t really be too much different than what I normally do anyhow. I just wanted to be honest with where I was coming from.

Yet what came back was this assumption that didn’t have much of a foothold on reality. To be honest it was this exchange with authority that has hurt and scarred me the most in all of my years. The incorrect assumption hurt more than a simple admitting that our views didn’t line up ever would have.

Incorrect assumptions can push people away, hurt people, and even scar them for some time. I know that we’ll all make assumptions. I’ve probably made assumptions about others around me and hurt them. However, be willing to be wrong in those assumptions, particularly if we have little to base them off of. Be willing to change your mind and not just double down ignoring any signs that our assumptions are incorrect. I don’t know the motivations and intricacies of my own heart most of the time, why should I or anyone else assume that we can understand the motives in the heart of another?

Photography Challenge Week 19 – Green

This week’s theme is green. When I set up my schedule I put green here because I figured that the world would finally be green by now, so if I couldn’t find much of anything else green I could at least take pictures of the new life that spring brings. I did venture outside to take some pictures of greenery, but also (with the help of the kids) found some green objects around the house to shoot as well.

GreenThe first picture is one that my kids helped with. It’s simply a green ball. Not too exciting, but it is green. Green-2Even though the focus wasn’t the best on the green portion of this picture, I really like it. I really like the way the light is hitting the new plant. I just thought it was cool, even if the focus wasn’t entirely the best.
Green-3The last picture is of a few of the hostas that we have around here. We have a ton of them around here, so I figured I’d take a picture of some that aren’t quite as crowded as some of the others we have around here.

So there are the pictures for my green theme. Next week’s theme is morning, which means I’ll have to wake up and shoot a bit more than I usually do. We’ll see what I can come up with. See you next week.

Handing Down Interests

I have been interested in photography for awhile. I remember enjoying taking pictures during the big 6th grade field trip to Pittsburgh that our school always took. I don’t think it was my first time taking pictures, but I do think it was my first time getting to take a camera on my own without my parents around. Even though it may have just been a disposable one.

In late high school and college I also enjoyed taking pictures. I bought my first digital camera while in college. It was just a small point and shoot, but it was amazing to me. Especially when I compared it to having to deal with and develop film. Over the years I would occasionally upgrade my point and shoot camera, but not super often.

A couple of years ago I made a more significant upgrade and we bought a DSLR camera. I really enjoyed this upgrade even though it was a pretty intimidating jump. I learned how to use my camera and take pictures without relying on auto mode. Due to these developments photography has turned into a greater interest of mine over the years. I’m doing a photography challenge that forces me to try to take pictures of things I may not normally look for and also just taking more pictures of family and trips that I used to.

This interest in photography has been noticed by both of my kids I think, but particularly my son Ryan. He would try to help me find things for my theme of the week and occasionally pick some of the pictures out of the options for a given week. He always seemed to have fun and was interested in knowing how to use my camera.

It was after he asked about this that we thought about getting him a camera of his own to use. We had originally thought of purchasing a camera geared towards kids for his birthday later this year. I was cleaning out my desk one day though, and ran into the point and shoot camera that I had used before upgrading to a DSLR. It was already pretty outdated, but I thought that it might be a great camera for him to try to use.

We gave it to him a couple of weeks ago and he has really taken to the idea of taking his own pictures. He’s taken over two hundred pictures in those two weeks. He’ll try to take pictures of things that I take pictures of, he takes pictures of his toys, us, and anything else that he decides. While some of the pictures are a little blurry or have fingers in them, some have actually been pretty good considering. The following are all pictures that he took.

IMG_0034 IMG_0121 IMG_0316It’s just been fun to see him take to it, and it just makes me wonder if it will be something he continues to pursue or not. Even if he doesn’t keep with it, I’ve still enjoyed seeing him happily taking pictures of the world around him. I wonder how much he enjoys it just because it is something that I enjoy? I have little doubt that is why he is so interested in it, but I guess I’ll just have to see if he keeps with it or not.

How Far Do We Take the Idea of Childlike Faith?

Childlike faith is a concept that is tossed around in Christianity and comes from Jesus’ words in Matthew 18:3-5. In that passage Jesus says this, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.”

Now often I’ve heard the idea of childlike faith explained as having a dependance upon God like children are dependent upon their parents. This explanation could be a little too simple, but I think it is a fairly good starting point. I mean now that I’m a father, I’ve had a taste of the dependance that my kids have. We have to provide so much for them, and in our faith the same is true of God.

This also fits with the context of what Jesus is talking about. Jesus was asked by his disciples who the greatest in the kingdom of heaven was. Jesus answered with children, which would have been a surprising answer. It wasn’t a person of importance, talent, or wisdom, children were the greatest. The ones who couldn’t escape their dependence and maybe even took joy in their dependence on their parents.

There are other aspects that people mention when talking about childlike faith. It is about having an awe for the world we live in. It is about naturally having trust and things of that nature. I’m not so sure I buy it, because kids are a lot more complicated than we like to imagine.

They can live in awe of what is around them, but they can also ignore things around them because they’re busy throwing a fit. They can naturally trust and say hello to complete strangers, or they can cower, run away, and scream any time they run into someone new. They can listen and follow instructions well, but they can also completely ignore you and look you in the eye while defying what you just said. They can prove to be a source of wisdom with their limited knowledge, but they can also try to authoritatively talk about things they have little knowledge about.

My point with all that is that kids are complicated and it is all too easy to derive too much out of this passage and what it means for us. We can take insights from it and I think the idea of dependance is a pretty solid concept to build off of, but it is hard to build concrete ideas out of the concept of childlike faith. Perhaps part of it is just realizing that the list above isn’t just a description of kids, it is a pretty accurate description of what I’m able to do as well.

I remember getting into a bit of a debate about what kind of media we should consume as Christians, and the person I was debating basically came to the conclusion that we shouldn’t do anything that we wouldn’t want kids doing. Now I assume given the context that his focus was we shouldn’t watch/listen/play/read what we wouldn’t want our kids to watch/listen/play/read, but I think that this concept is taking the idea of childlike faith too far.

This understanding of our faith in relationship to the faith of a child seems a bit too far. Parts of the Bible aren’t very family friendly and have parts that I wouldn’t necessarily want my kids to focus in on, would that mean that as an adult I still shouldn’t read those parts of the Bible? There are history books that involve the rather heinous acts that we as humans have done to each other that I wouldn’t want to expose my four year old to yet, but does that mean that I wouldn’t be able to read it? That it would be immoral?

Now I understand my arguments have been geared towards books that would be viewed as educational or enriching. What about media that is more for entertainment. Even this is a difficult place to draw firm lines. There is quite a significant amount of movies, books, and even video games that are presenting themes and stories that can be edifying, but placed within a messy world. A world that may or may not be every moral. Are these things I would want my kids involved with now? No, but later? Quite possibly.

This really breaks down if you exit the arena of what kind of media we consume. As adults we work, drive cars, have sex, and do many other things that we wouldn’t want our kids to be doing. If the belief is we can’t do anything that we wouldn’t want our kids doing is valid, then these would all be improper no matter the circumstances. This just doesn’t seem to be a tenable way of going about life.

So while presenting the idea of childlike faith as involving dependance upon God as a father, and other potential aspects that go along with being a child, we can easily take it a bit too far. If we turn childlike faith into something to achieve or some kind of list to adhere to then I think we have fundamentally missed what Jesus is getting at here.

It is not a call for another list of what we’re to embrace or avoid. It is a call to see ourselves as children. To place ourselves in dependence to God, and maybe in the process realizing that while we’re capable of childlike obedience and wonder, we’re just as capable of throwing tantrums and open defiance.

The Path of Conflict

Last week my focus was on how Isaac didn’t really seem to get the same level of attention as Abraham or Jacob. This focus was based off the beginning of the “Isaac” story in Genesis 25:19-34. This week we’re going to be within the same passage, but the focus is going to be on Jacob, who the story follows quite a bit more than Isaac.

In many ways Jacob seems uniquely different than both Abraham and Isaac in his journey of following God. Jacob’s journey of following God seems to be marked by conflict. Walter Brueggemann goes so far as to title his section on Jacob, “The Conflicted Call of God,” in his commentary on Genesis.

This is not to say that Abraham didn’t experience conflict, but conflict was not a mark of Abraham’s life nearly to the extent it is in Jacob’s. In my mind Abraham’s life revolved around the promise of God and Abraham’s faith and doubt in that promise. Conflict, or at least external conflict, for Abraham tended to happen due to his own schemes of self-protection (pretending Sarah was his sister) and for the sake of Lot against the alliance of kings. The rest was largely focused on the conflict of faith and doubt regarding the son of promise.

Jacob’s story is quite different even from the very beginning. Even before Jacob and Esau are born, Rebekah feels them wresting about. This was enough to have her ask God about why this was happening. God’s answer was that the older was going to serve the younger. Esau winds up being born first, but even in the event of birth Jacob is holding onto Esau’s heel and in conflict. Of course we also realize through this that Jacob is the one who will be over Esau, even though Esau was the first born.

However, the story doesn’t let up in setting up the conflict between Jacob and Esau. It’s revealed that as they get older they are complete opposites. Esau is a “skillful hunter” and at home in the rugged outdoors. Jacob on the other hand is quieter and sticks around the tents. To make matters worse Esau is the favorite son of Isaac, while Jacob is the favorite son of Rebekah.

Now this information is probably not included to raise one personality over the other. These differences are presented to show the many ways that Esau and Jacob are very different. It is to deepen the contrast between the two and build the arena into which this conflict comes to be. All we have received is simple background information, but we then move into more active engagement between Jacob and Esau.

We see the first marks of active conflict when Esau came home from some expedition and found Jacob finishing up some stew. Esau was hungry from his trip and Jacob winds up getting Esau to agree to sell his birthright for a bowl of soup. It’s a gutsy move on Jacob’s part, but Esau agrees to it almost too easily, and the text declares that “Esau despised his birthright.”

This whole exchange has long been a story I have trouble sorting out. Not because it is complex, but because I have long wondered if Jacob’s actions here were good or bad. After, all Jacob was the one God promised to be over Esau. Was this simply part of the way that this was to go, or was Jacob wrong in pressing this rather unfair bargain upon Esau. I still don’t know the answer, but I wonder if it really matters.

Part of my problem is thinking that if God has called a person then it would be possible for them to achieve that calling without any conflict or resistance. Yet, upon reading Bruggemann’s commentary I came across this, “The narrative affirms that the call of God is not only a call to well-being. It may also be a call to strife and dispute.”

This is not a popular idea, but you also see Jesus speak like this. Jesus says that the world will hate us because the world hated him. He tells us to carry crosses, which I feel is about so much more than just dealing the annoyances we face during our day. Jesus seems to speak to this reality that following God doesn’t just lead to happiness and bliss, but that it will lead to increased conflict and dispute.

This is largely the path of Jacob. His path is one that both follows God and yet is filled with conflict. He has conflict with his brother Esau, conflict with his uncle Laban, there is conflict between his wives, and at some point he even wrestles with God. Jacob often doesn’t seem to help this conflict as his actions can often be a bit sneaky. However, despite the somewhat questionable actions of Jacob, there is little presented against him from God.

What do we think of this idea that God would draw us onto a path of conflict? I don’t feel that it is a very popular option. I think we often prefer an easy path, and know that I do. A path where we never experience any conflict or pain, but that doesn’t appear to be how God always works things out. In fact following God may invite more conflict to our lives.

In some ways I feel that I could stop there, but there is a thought bugging me that I feel I must add. While I don’t think conflict and strife is the popular path for many of us, I do feel that there are those out there who use this idea to support their own rightness. They view disagreement as a sign that they are ultimately correct, especially if that disagreement is with someone viewed as a person of power.

I think there is a difference between experiencing conflict for following God and using the existence of conflict as a means to place yourself superior to another. After all in the Jacob story, like most conflicts, there were two sides. Jacob experienced conflict due to his following of God, but Esau also faced this conflict, but was on the other side of the matter.

The existence of conflict in our lives is neither evidence that we are not following God or that we are following God. However, I do believe that it shouldn’t be a surprise that conflict is a part of following God. As long as we also understand that simply having conflict isn’t somehow proof of superiority.

Photography Challenge Week 18 – Round

It’s time again for my weekly photography self-challenge. This week’s theme is round. It was a bit easier compared to some of the other themes that I’ve been tackling lately. I don’t know if that means I was able to achieve better pictures, as easier is not the same thing as better. Anyhow, here are some round themed pictures.


This first picture is probably really simple, but I liked in for a couple of different reasons. The first is that it reminds me of the friends who gave our son the ball. It’s funny how something as simple as friends giving you a ball can stick with you over the years. The seconds it the round ball having circles as well. It just goes well with a round theme.

RoundThis picture is a close up of one of my speakers. I wasn’t quite able to get as close as I was hoping, but I still kind of like it.

So those are the pictures for this week. Next week’s theme is Green, so it looks like we’ll have another color themed week. See you next week to see what kind of pictures I’ll wind up with.

The First Steps to Kindergarten

It always amazes me how quickly time seems to go. It doesn’t seem like it has been over a year since we were getting paperwork ready to enroll Ryan in preschool. Yet, yesterday I took him in to do his Kindergarten screening and we’re fully into the preparing for Kindergarten phase of life. It’s just kind of strange feeling.

Ryan’s year of preschool felt like it went so fast. Regardless of those feelings we’re now in the last month of preschool and preparing for the summer before he goes to the elementary school. It won’t surprise me to find that the summer flies by either, considering weekends are filling up fast with family events and other random activities.

In some ways maybe Kindergarten is coming a bit quicker for us than for others. Ryan doesn’t turn 5 until less than a month before the school year starts, but it’s clear that he’s ready for school. He’s already bored at times with the work in preschool. So while some might wait another year before putting him into school proper, that doesn’t really feel like the best option for us. So no matter how quick it may be coming, it seems the best path.

As of right now the transition to Kindergarten doesn’t seem too daunting. It’s going to be a little more involved than preschool since he’ll be gone every day, but at the same time it feels like a rather natural progression. Time will tell if I still feel this way come fall.

There is part of me actually looking forward to it because it seems like it will be a bit more congruent than preschool was. There were kids from our preschool from at least three different school districts, if not more, and after this year who knows if they’ll really see each other or interact again? Going to kindergarten will be the start of schooling that largely keeps the same group of kids together, barring moves and such things as that.

I’m sure time will continue to move fast. In a little over a year Anastasia will be able to go to preschool. They will keep growing and meeting new milestones. Time won’t get any slower. I guess the only thing we can do is enjoy the time while we have it. Right now we’re involved in the first steps towards kindergarten, but soon it will be the first steps to something else.

Who Got Religon In My Civil Discourse?

One can look at many comment threads on news posts, blog posts, and even discussions and arguments on Facebook or Twitter and find that often religion gets directly brought up into the debate. This can look a number of different ways. This can take the form of someone denigrating all organized religion as evil, harmful, or outdated. It can also take the form of a religious individual (usually a Christian, sadly enough) lamenting the state of the world because it isn’t following God or at least some rule or belief that they hold to and think everyone else should too. Other times you can get arguments between people of the same religion, and every once in awhile you can actually see productive dialogue.

My point is that when it comes to discussions religion often gets brought up. Sometimes in these discussions there are people who wonder why religion has to come up all the time. I think such a question is missing that, at least in my opinion, we are all religious in one way or another.

Does that mean we all believe in God? No, but then again not every system of organized religion has a deity at the center, Buddhism is one such example of this (although there are some variations that do include some kind of deity from what I understand). Does it mean that we all have an organized label that we attach to ourselves? Not necessarily. What it means is that we have particular ways of looking at the world that are shaped by what we believe and these beliefs can often be shared with other people even without a formal time of gathering.

Wikipedia gives this definition of religion in the first line of their article on religion, “Religion is an organized collection of beliefs, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to an order in existence.” To me that definition encompasses a much wider spectrum than most people utilize when speaking of religion. We all have our own ideas on God, even if it is ultimately that such a being doesn’t exists; on the origins of existence, be it by natural means, supernatural means or some combination; how we should view human beings; and morality, what is right and wrong.

So the reason why religion is not far from many of the discussions involving various issues, is that ultimately we all have our particular religious beliefs informing our opinions. Certain religious people may willingly take on a religious label like Christian (or some more specific label like Catholic, Baptist, Evangelical, etc), Atheist, Jewish, Muslim, or any of the other multitude of religions that there are. That doesn’t mean that those who eschew any sort of labels are not religious and that they don’t share a base of beliefs with a group of people.

Now I understand that my opinion here may not be held by others, in fact the article I referenced above has a footnote saying how religion is very difficult to define. I think it is probably easy to think of yourself as not having any religion just because you don’t sign up to one of the major world religions, but I’m just not convinced its that simple.

I’ve known many people who hold deep beliefs and convictions, but do not claim a particular organized religion to adhere to. How does one classify these beliefs and convictions? They are rooted in some larger framework of how they view the world. Maybe you don’t want to concede that it’s a religious belief, but even if I grant that I don’t feel they’re as different as many would like it to be.

Yes the beliefs may not come from the Torah, Bible, Qur’an, or Vedas, but they come from somewhere. Beliefs can come from parents and the environment we are raised in (this is often brought up in arguments against religions like Christianity and Islam, but the same would be true of atheism or any view). Beliefs can be shaped by books, articles, studies, and other material we read or hear over the course of our lives. We are shaped by a number of factors that are both outside of our control and within our control, this is true for everybody (although admittedly some have more control than others).

Now this doesn’t mean that everyone is right and there can’t be any criticizing of any ideas. It just simply means that we all have our own religious beliefs, or a belief system if you prefer. It means that just saying you’re religious or non-religious doesn’t somehow increase the validity of your points.

It also means that we’ll be bringing all these beliefs we carry into the public world. Our views of God, humanity, the world, and morality are not things anybody can just take off at the door and automatically have a neutral position. So maybe the pressing question isn’t “Why does religion always come into the discussion?” Instead it may be, “Why did we think religion could be eliminated from the conversation in the first place?”

Not Everyone is an Abraham

After dealing with the death of Abraham and a short view of the descendants of Ishmael, one would expect that we would then turn to the life of Isaac and begin to follow his life. While Genesis 25:19-26 starts by saying “This is the account of the family line of Abraham’s son Isaac,” it becomes clear rather quickly that the focus will not be on Isaac, but rather on his family line. Isaac’s sons, particularly Jacob, becomes the focus of the story.

Recently this has intrigued me. Isaac was the promised one. So much of Abraham’s story was spent in great tension. Would the promised son be born to Abraham and Sarah? Yes, he would be. Yet, the promised son has very little story of his own. His life seems rather overshadowed by his father’s life and the life of his sons. Even the chosen son of the promise does not seem to have the same kind of significant narrative of Abraham.

What we are told here is that like Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah are facing barrenness as well. However, unlike the case with Abraham and Sarah, the barrenness is resolved simply by Isaac praying to God and with God answering the prayer. It is all put so simply. God is still relied on for life, but everything is resolved in a much neater fashion than with Abraham.

After this though the story moves away from Isaac and begins to focus on the twins that are now wrestling around within Rebekah. Already Isaac is moved from the center. It is even Rebekah who inquires of the Lord here. The rest of the chapter then focuses on the sons of Isaac, which I’ll look into more next week. While Isaac does take center stage again in the next chapter, it is really the only story that is really his.

It just seems so anticlimactic to me. We have all this anticipation for Isaac, but hear very little of his life directly. While still a bearer of the promise of God, he is not a trailblazer like Abraham, and doesn’t run into a life of conflict like either Jacob or Joseph after him. His life appears successful as we’ll see in Genesis 36, but rather subdued in comparison.

This strikes me so much, because I’ve heard so many people who want to be like Abraham, Moses, or some other major Biblical figure. Not only do they want to be them, some also think that everyone should be. While I think there is truth to that, as we are all called to be like Christ, the focus often seems a bit different.

Maybe I’m completely off here, but when I hear talk about being like Christ it seems more focused on our character and our ability to love others. When I hear people talk about being like Abraham or Moses, it seems that the focus is on accomplishment. Not to say that Abraham, Moses, or other significant figures didn’t have character, but what we focus on is the accomplishment. We invoke Moses because we want authority over a group of people like Moses did, often forgetting how much of a struggle it was for Moses). We invoke Abraham because we feel like we are setting sail in uncharted waters and want God’s promise to guide us, again ignoring that Abraham had doubts and wrestled with the implications of what God presented.

There can be times where we feel that our lives have some commonality with these figures, and that is okay. The thing is not everyone is going to be an Abraham, a Moses, or a Paul. I’m also pretty sure that’s okay too. Are lives that are somewhat uneventful somehow less appealing to God? I don’t think that’s the case. Isaac seems to live a rather uneventful life in comparison to some of the other figures in Genesis, yet Isaac appears to trust in God and God appears to bless him.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that, we might be pressured into feeling like we need to live up to some expectation placed on us to be just like someone else. I guess I don’t feel like that’s the case. In fact I’ve grown suspicious of people who try to compare themselves too closely to figures from the Bible. It seems like a power play to connect yourself to a authority figure. That’s not to say that we won’t see reflections of these stories play out in our own lives, but that we shouldn’t be trying to convince others we’re just like them.

We’re allowed to be who we are. That’s not to say we don’t have sin or flaws that need taken care of. It’s also not an excuse to just do whatever we please. It is just that we will be placed in unique positions and have unique strengths and weaknesses. We don’t have to be like Moses, Abraham, or whoever else in those circumstances, it is about being ourselves faithfully following after Jesus.

This may lead us to do amazing things that will be remembered for years to come, or it could lead us to a quieter, but faithful life that isn’t remembered except by those closest to us. Both are valid expressions of the faith we have.