gray matters.

i think the longer i live here in japan, the clearer it becomes to me that there is really only one thing in life that i would care to raise a banner for, and that is Jesus.  not church.  not christianity.  just Jesus.

there are a lot of things i care about, and i hold strong convictions for a few — motherhood, medical choices, the Bible, sleep issues, music, femininity, marriage roles, missions, disciplining children, third world issues, theology, fellowship, adoption, the church, hospitality, discipleship, communion, etc.  but no matter how i feel about these, how strongly i believe God is calling me toward some of them, i have little to no desire in my heart to impress anything about them on other people.

this is a change for me — something new.  i felt differently previously and voiced most of my opinions about everything in earlier days.  i pondered this the other day as i was reading a rather strong blog post on one of the above topics, and i realized that although my life actions and convictions were in line with what the author was suggesting, i didn’t want to recommend anyone to read what was written. introspective to the core, i wondered about this.

what i came up with is that after living in another culture and seeing so many people do life totally differently than i would’ve ever imagined (and its done differently in hundreds of other places, as well!),  i’m starting to loosen my grip on my idealistic black-and-white way of thinking.  its natural to question and rethink your perspective when daily surrounded by things so different than what you knew growing up, and the result is refreshing for me.  i’m okay and even more comfortable with the gray areas of life, relationships, and things pertaining to God.

but because of this, i’m starting to feel like a lot of space and air is wasted on frivolous discussions about matters that seem to be very important, but when we widen our perspective, find that they aren’t as pressing as we once thought.  is it possible we as Americans are rich in so many areas — housing, cars, food, politics — that even our thought-lives have become decadent?

something to ponder, at least.

7 thoughts on “gray matters.

  1. Jamie,
    I really agree with you. Of course we all have opinions and things we feel strongly about, but often those things can become the only things we wave banners for, as you put it. This summer I’m reading, “Learning Evangelism from Jesus” by Jerram Barrs. It’s an excellent look into how Jesus actually approached people. Often times, it seems like we westerners learned all we know about evangelism from the Pharisees. It’s a hard pattern for me to break, for sure.

    I think that the whole struggle can be intensified when you enter into parenthood. There are so many things that we divide over! It makes sense that we feel so strongly about our children, but I hope that Christian women and men can always be reminding each other to hold our convictions as mere convictions instead of making new gospels out of them.

    Enjoyed this post. Something I’ve been thinking lots about as well.

  2. It took me much longer to learn this.
    God has showed me how true this is in so many ways. It is so freeing to let go of these things. But sometimes it takes adjustment, as we find we were actually being held up by our convictions. We have to make sure our footing is on the firm foundation, and our identity doesn’t just come from our convictions.
    P.S. I’ll have a new son-in-law in a week!

  3. karen, thanks for the book reference! sometime after i published this yesterday, i started wondering how much of this change came from becoming a mom, too.. glad you brought that up.

    hello john 🙂 nice to see you at high countries!!

    mama hinrichs — CONGRATS!!! 🙂

  4. Jamie. You continually keep me thinking with your excellent posts. It is really good to be reminded of this periodically. sometimes I think I am doing better and yet I continually find myself falling into what you called my “idealistic black and white way of thinking”.
    Your tremendous talent at putting your thoughts into writing and the fact that you are a little more introspective than some, is something that makes me very thankful that you are part of our family. It adds an additional strength and dimension that we have not had before. I am always looking forward to your posts because they cause me to think more about larger issues and how others might view a similar situation. I know I waste time and effort thinking of and discussing things important to me which seem to have merit and seem to be based on my own solid convictions but ultimately are kind of selfish.
    Love you!
    “Grandpa Mike”

  5. mike, what a compliment!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 your comments are always so encouraging to me. looking forward to hanging with the fam SOOOON!

  6. I struggle often with believing my way of doing things is “right” and wonder how I should go about proving my rightness. While it’s good and fine to discuss our different convictions, you’re absolutely right in saying that preaching Jesus is the only thing we should preach.

    I, too, appreciate how you put words to your thoughts, Jamie. Oftentimes I’m too worn out to attempt this, but I love stopping by here and reading your musings. Thanks for giving us food for thought.

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