On Friendship and Mentorship

I have a confession to make. I don't want friends. *gasp* I must me emotionally stunted! What kind of person doesn't want friends? Surely I am a sociopath, or something like it.

Well, now that I have made you question my socio-emotional maturity, allow me to elaborate. I see the value of friendships, and I am very grateful for the friendships I have in my life. I love you, friends. However, I don't want any more friends. I no longer crave having peers. I crave something else now.

I crave a mentor. I yearn for a mentor. That's weird, though. I mean, how do you go about getting one? Do I just go up to someone I respect and say, "Hey, wanna be my mentor?" It's not quite the same as making a friend.

Mentorship is very important, though. It's basically discipleship, and I think sometimes Christians misunderstand the depth of discipleship. I wonder if we often think it begins and ends with an unbeliever becoming a believer, or whatever terminology you want to use, but it doesn't stop there. Discipleship actually truly begins after process is finished, because it's really a relationship. It's a relationship that has a teacher-student dynamic, and that's clearly very important sense those were some of the central relationships in Jesus' ministry.

I struggle to find a mentor. I think it's partially an issue of modern culture, because people have become so suspicious of the very concept of authority that a discipling relationship looks problematic (oh, I hate that word). However, it's also because the people who have tried to mentor me have neglected a very important need of mine, and by no fault of their own.

The people who have been drawn to me have been deeply spiritual people, and that's great! I love exploring the depths of spirituality! However, I don't want to neglect my intellect, but that's almost impossible to avoid when the people who want to invest in me focus almost exclusively on spiritual and emotional growth. Again, there's nothing wrong with that! If they're wired that way then they're wired that way. No judgement here.

I hesitate to say this, but I can't help but notice a trend. The people who have wanted to mentor me have mainly been women, and the people whom I have wanted to mentor me have mostly been men. I have nothing against other women, and I will reiterate one more time, I highly value their wisdom and investment in the socio-emotional pursuit of spirituality. However, I want more, and I struggle to find women who are as interested in exploring a purely intellectual examination of faith and spirituality as I am.

Unfortunately, it's weird looking for a male mentor. I am extremely neurotic, so any possibility of my relationships even LOOKING like they could be inappropriate is enough to stop me. So, what do I do? Well, so far, I have satisfied this need by finding people on the internet to listen to.

I love Dr. Jordan Peterson, J. Warner Wallace, and even David Wood. They are huge inspirations for me. I also enjoy the YouTubers Sargon of Akkad and Computing Forever, and to be honest I view their content more than anyone else's content. (I know, I know, some people consider them pseudo-intellectuals, but I still think they have good insights.) Now, I am not trying to bad mouth atheists – quite the opposite actually, I have a great deal of respect for a lot of social and political commentators who happen to be atheists – but I wonder what it might say about what Christian communities may be lacking , when the majority of my need for mentorship is being fulfilled by atheists. We have lost something in our Christian communities. We need to find it again.

My dear atheist friends, please don't misunderstand me. I don't think you are lesser than Christians, I am simply saddened by the lack of Christian mentors who I can connect with. I have found much wisdom and companionship with atheists and agnostics, and I am deeply grateful for that. I only make the distinction to illustrate my point that I wish I could find a mentor who would invest in my intellectual growth as a vital component of my faith walk.

Anywho. Thank you for reading my blog. God bless you! I love you all!

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Our Dwindling Armory – Part 1: The Fear of God

Faith and hope in God, love for God and fear of God. These are a child’s most powerful assets and defenses in a world of darkness, and can continue to be their most powerful assets and weapons against an often cold and unforgiving world when they become adults, and we may be slowly destroying them.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Psalm 111:10, Proverbs 9:10, Job 28:28

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. Proverbs 1:7

When I was a child I feared God. I understood His power, His might and His sovereignty enough to have reverence for Him. I was never scared of Him, I just understood that His power and sovereignty are absolute and that I must respect that.

Unfortunately I have found that our culture has made having fear and being scared into the same thing. Are we perhaps teaching children to fear anything but God? If so, why? Is it because we want to teach children about His compassion, grace, mercy and love, and we think that teaching them to fear Him will contradict all that?

Well, it won’t. His wrath does not contradict His compassion, His righteousness does not contradict his grace, His justice does not contradict His mercy, and His power and sovereignty do not contradict His love. If He has compassion on all that He has made (Psalm 145:9) but Has no wrath, then His character would indeed contradict itself in the face of theft, false witness, adultery, rape, murder, etc. Sins that have victims. His grace is directly tied to His righteousness. He gives us the free gift of eternal life – which we could never earn – because he wants us to be right with Him. Mercy is irrelevant if justice is not first an option. He is sovereign in His never changing love. His sovereignty is altogether powerful and his power is altogether sovereign in His never changing love.

As a child I feared God, but I was never really scared of anything. Many of the stories that my parents tell from my child hood speak of a child who is curious, adventurous, self-assured, outgoing, compassionate, determined (often stubborn), loving, sweet and… unafraid. Like when I was still small enough to get under the fence, I would scrape my back as I squeezed under it so that I could get out of the yard and explore the world around me.

When I was three or four years old I was running around the back of the church after the service, and I ran into a glass table which cut my forehead. The cut was so deep that I needed stitches, so my mom took me to the emergency room. While the doctor was trying to put stitches in I was flailing around like mad, and two nurses had to hold me down. When the doctor finally finished up and the nurses were about to let go, my mother told them that they might want to step back once they do. According to my mother, the nurses looked at her like she was some sort of a monster. You see, the nurses thought I was struggling so much because I was scared, but my mother know me better than that. The nurses let go of me and I promptly jumped to my feet, put up my dukes and declared “You bad!!!” My mother then quickly picked me up, thanked the doctor and nurses, and left the room.

My fear of God never made me feel small and insignificant. I think it did quite the opposite. It made me feel big and important, because I knew that the God of the universe, the King of kings and Lord of lords, the almighty and all-powerful one had a special place for me in His Kingdom, and in His heart. When I was maybe 2 years old I would stand on the chair in the living room, put my hands in the air, and yell “Sooo big!” My parents have pictures of me doing that. I’m pretty sure that no one ever told me of my significance in my Heavenly Father’s eyes, and if they did I probably wouldn’t have understood. I just knew it, because I already knew God, and I feared Him.

So, why are we teaching children to be afraid? Why do we glorify and glamorize fear of anything but God on occasions like Halloween?  Why do we make a fun and exciting experience for children out of being scared of zombies, vampires, ghosts, goblins and the like? Are we trying to make them feel good about being scared of freaky things so that they’ll stay away from unsavoury situations in real life?

Is it perhaps that we fear man, creatures and circumstances so much more than we fear God that we would sooner protect children by teaching them to be scared, then by asking God to protect them when we can’t? Do we perhaps have so little respect for Christ’s authority that we do not bother to teach children that all authority in heaven and on Earth has been given to him (Matthew 28:18), and that what they need most is to trust him in their darkest times?

I feared God when I was a child, and in the times of hurt and confusion I was never afraid. I saw the world around me and never cowered away from it. I knew that God was with me, and that His power and sovereignty are absolute. I’m certainly glad the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, because God did eventually temper my youthful zeal with heavenly wisdom so that I did not go running off into unfamiliar situations unless God gave me permission to. …Usually.

Thank you for reading my blog. 🙂 God bless you.

Sooo Big Sooo Big