community and short attention spans.

Well hello world.  It’s been much too long since my last post.  Many times I’ve thought about writing a new post, but somehow it just continually slipped my mind.  I’ve probably written about five or six in my mind, I just haven’t written them out yet 🙂

I’m not sure where I was in my last post, but more than likely I’m better now.  I’ve learned many things, including the fact that life will work out.  And I’m thankful for that. I’m loving my new major, and I’ve learned a lot about being a musician and really how my mind works.  I love teaching my students and giving them a space where they can be and where they can learn.  I love listening to them but also watching them grow, learn, and understand the concepts I’m trying to teach them.  I wish I would’ve switched majors awhile ago.

Enough about me though.  I just got off the phone with my mom, and my conversation with her challenged me, or rather, my thoughts about our conversation led me to a challenge for the church.

Studying at Wheaton has opened my mind in ways I never would’ve expected or thought. Some things my mom said to me and have said to me were ideas and things I thought when I was in high school.  For example, that marriage was going to be the highest, best part of my life.  My view on this has completely changed.  She reminded me today of my health class in high school, and I remember talking with her about how great of a class it was.  I learned about placing physical boundaries with guys and how no sex before marriage is essential.  Not that those are bad things, because they aren’t, but I’m realizing life, relationships, and marriage are all more than just sex.  There’s something much deeper and important in life than any of those things.  And I think that’s where our society has failed us.

In the evangelical church, I think we glorify ourselves especially when it comes to marriage.    We think, it will be so great once I find a man or a woman who will be by side no matter what happens in life, or I look forward to finding that person who will make me feel like nothing else matters in the world except for me.  For women, think we want a man who can make us feel like a princess, make us feel special and wanted.  For men… Actually I don’t know what men want in a wife.  I was going to say a woman to make them feel good, to make them feel manly, but I really have no idea.  But either way, this thinking is  so completely and utterly wrong.  Marriage isn’t about us, nor is it about how we feel… or at least I don’t think it is.  Obviously I’m not married so I have no clue.  I’m talking purely out of ignorance.  So this is a worthwhile read.

I think as a church, we’ve lost the idea that we don’t need marriage.  We don’t need to be married to be fulfilled, more beautiful, or more manly.  We have a God who wants us more than any man, a God who loves us more than any human could ever imagine.  God will never leave us and he will always be by our side.  God has given us his Holy Spirit, and he has also given us a community of Christ followers to live life with and to grow and serve with.

The church, the Body of Christ, is a community.  The church is not a place for us to individually go into our own world and think about ourselves, and our own relationship with Christ but rather it’s a place to grow, listen, meet with, grow with and live with other followers of Christ.  Church is a place of relationships where people know each other, not necessarily ever filthy detail of everyone’s life, that doesn’t seem healthy, but rather a place where love and grace is poured out.  Where someone is known as they are and shown Christ’s love.

Maybe I’m crazy and living in an idealistic world where this type of community is possible, but I have to brag about my own church community.  I have been very blessed by them, and I have not felt more known and loved by a group of people than I have been at my church.  But we do live in a broken, sinful world, and it isn’t perfect.  There are problems and issues that still arise in my own church, and I’m not saying that there isn’t.  But I am saying that our own mindsets about what the Body of Christ is, is too small.  We need to expand what we think of as the community of Christ, because it’s much bigger than we think it is.

The short attention span in the title refers to a student of mine who has ADHD.  And this student really puts the hyperactivity in ADD.  I know ADD and ADHD are real things, trust me, but I think sometimes we live as people in boxes.  Let me explain.

When you label someone as ADHD you immediately think of a certain type of person.  The type of person you think of is putting a person with ADHD in a box.  You set boundaries for them saying, well they must be this way, and a person with ADHD can’t be this way.  But that’s not how people are.  We aren’t controlled and confined by the barriers of other people, yet we live like this all the time.

The reason I’m saying this is because my student with ADHD was a transfer student from another teacher who recently left.  Now I’ve had a lot of problems with the students who I’ve received from this previous teacher, but I think because this student was ADHD she was treated drastically different than the other students.  It’s because she was labeled as such, and therefore, there is an assumption that they can’t do certain things.  I have to admit it was a great struggle in the beginning to keep this child on task.  I started recording my lessons with her because she seriously would not stop talking from the time she walked in.  But does that mean that she can’t understand what a key signature is?  Or what a time signature is?  I don’t think so at all.  In fact, I know that she can understand what it is.  And she understands it better than my other students who can’t remember what a key signature is when I ask them.

How do we live our lives the way others define us?  And how do we instead break the mold of what we’re labeled?  I don’t have a straight answer for everyone, but I would encourage you to think about it.  Because the labels that have been given to me don’t fully define me, and I know they don’t fully define you either.

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