After almost a year away, and essentially two since I’ve been regularly posting, I come wandering back. I have grown a lot in the last year. Being practically single – in a long-distance relationship – has forced me to spend a lot of time by myself and with myself, and it was not always easy. I have a lot of thoughts on the last year, some of which I’d love to get into and give voice to with this blog (others of which I’ll put onto another blog I run). But, two important things that I will say now before I get into the purpose of this post:
- The focus of the blog will be, from this point, about life. All of it. Particularly faith and gender issues, but all of life really.
- I want to write weekly about the sermon I experience at church.
Number 2 is really important. I went to church this morning and caught the final entry in a series on finance. The pastor was charismatic as always, which is much more personable and human than most pastors (part of why I love this church), and the message was thought-provoking as usual, which is definitely more than I can say for other churches I’ve experienced. I realized as I listened just how much I’ve been staying away from the church, keeping myself at a safe distance from it. I go sometimes and surprise my aunt, uncle, and cousin whenever I do, but for whatever reason I often find myself busy on Sunday morning – either with studying or work, or more often with friends, television, and/or hangovers (in no particular order).
I realized as I listened just how much I’ve been staying away from the church, keeping myself at a safe distance from it.
I’m not entirely sure if it’s directly related to my growing up a pastor’s kid, but a lot of “spiritual” things seem natural and easy for me. Probably, at the top of my list, is tithing. I have been tithing with my money since I made my first paycheck in high school, and as an adult (AH! WEIRD) I have been sponsoring children since that first became a feasible (10% of income) option for me. So, walking into the sermon and seeing the big sign announcing the ABCs of Finance hanging above the band, I wasn’t exactly excited for the message.
Which is exactly where you want to be when you’re walking into a sermon. Doubtful.
By the end of the sermon, I had realized that, while I do tithe money, I don’t tithe time. And here is where I’m about to get really really analytical.
I have bought into a very, very Western/American idea: Time is money. It’s true, but it’s stupid. Time is such a complicated thing. Time is and isn’t, and exists much for our benefit and almost entirely of our own creation. “Time” is not a natural thing, but a framework for thought – a way that people have learned to track changes, aging, and the natural order of sunrises, sunsets, and seasons. Time to us is hours, days, years, but to the mountains is…
Seriously, to “understand” what time is to the mountains, just watch the Mountains episode of Planet Earth.
I made the mistake, and have been for quite sometime, in thinking that time is a resource. Time, while precious, is not a resource but a gift. Time is something, moreso than money, that God gives to us, and to think otherwise is stupid. One of my problems is that so much of the time (hah, I slay me) I don’t do things because I’m so busy. I’ve tricked myself into believing that the things I busy myself with are more important than God, or maybe even that they’re God’s work. The thing is, even if it is God’s work that I’m busying myself with, He – if He is indeed the God Christianity proclaims Him to be – doesn’t need me to do that work.
Time, while precious, is not a resource but a gift.
Time is not money, but, humor me, if it is money, shouldn’t we tithe it? Consider what that would look like. 10% of your day is 2 hours and 24 minutes. That’s a movie. A fairly long movie. Consider giving God that much time – dedicated time – each day. I would never finish watching Orange is the New Black.
And though, in a way, I could construe the things I do to be time given to God, but do I do that?
No, not really.
I might pray daily, I might tithe, but I don’t give God 10% of my time. I don’t read the Bible every day. I don’t regularly attend a Bible study or small group. And I miss church more often than I make it.
So, this is my goal and my challenge: tithe my time.
I’m going to do it by going to church every week. By praying before I go do my work and thinking about how my work can be done for God while I do it. By blogging. By joining a small group or Bible study.
That’s honestly going to be the hardest part for me. As I highlighted before, I’ve been staying at a safe distance from the church. Getting into a small group is highly unsafe. If I’m going to do it right, I’m going to make myself vulnerable. I’m going to probably share about my gender identity and sexual orientation, and I have no idea how anyone is going to respond. That scares the shit out of me, but honestly, I’m tired of being a lone Christian. I want to say who I am aloud and I pray that a room of believers will do God’s work upon hearing it. I’m still pretty “normal” looking a person: I’m a male with a cisgender girlfriend. I blend in much easier than most LGBTQ people. I’ve been more than happy to blend in.
But, as the pastor spoke this morning, God moves when we trust a little, when we put food in His storehouse.
Fuck I’m nervous.
Quote of the sermon/day: “Do we ever get ahead? No.”