Friday, February 06, 2009

on writing, empire, and hope for the future

It is most easy for me to spend time reading, thinking, and talking about the possibilities of the future rather than to live in the present in such a way that the future becomes a reality in my own life. Dreams of a Ph.D. Dreams of pastoring in an experimental community. Consuming less, conserving more. Living in greater honesty with friends and colleagues. Loving Shey better. Being a better dad. All of these things and more are always mulling around in my mind, sometimes shaking up inside of me until the already of my present life explodes and irrupts into the present, bringing about more creative and thoughtful action. But other times, those dreams, hopes, and ideas simply corrode my insides, and bubble inside my brain until it feels like my insides are melting, and the future of which I hope to live into and see lived out, is but a folklore and mythological story faintly heard on the distant horizon.

I think oftentimes it is because I want to blame others for my shortcomings, blame others for the incaction that leads to my consumption, and blame others for their unwillingness to live as I want them to live. While writing, and writing on a regular basis helps me to process, think, and reflect on my life and the world around me in such a way that it give hope and meaning to my experiences, it can also create a tension of the already but not yet of my life: the already of changes in the last few years into the theological, practical, and experiential person that I am today. The not yet, of the possibilities and changes that the coming years still hold ahead.

I was reading a post from one of my new favorite blogs called Empire Remixed, which is a collaboration of authors, writers, and bloggers examining what it means to be a people of the kingdom of God in an age of consumerism, national religion, and postmodernism, that struck a chord within me. One of my favorite books that has humbled me to no end is Colossians Remixed: Subverting the Empire by Brian Walsh and Sylvia Keesmaat (they are husband and wife), which explores kingdom living inthe context of the age described above. One of the top 10 books of my short life so far.

Brian Walsh wrote in a post yesterday titled On "Not Getting It" and the Virtue of Humility that it is important to approach those who we feel like "don't get it" with humility first and foremost. It is so easy to create an us vs. them scenario where one side is all right, and the other side all wrong. But life is so much more complicated than this, and to speak of people and situations with the same predjudice that we are actually decrying, can itself become a huge problem in moving forward with radical reconciliation and hope.

So this morning, when the future seems to be looming in on my life in such a way that I want to run, or blame others for the shortcomings I see, or at the very least hide from my insecurities, I want to show some humility, and realize that like others, I too am in process, in need of some humility in the way that I view myself and others. The change that friends and I have talked about does not usually happen overnight, but on those days when the already of my life breaks into the hopeful future of God's kingdom, I want to be ready, open, and have eyes to see the good and hope that exists in the present, and have humility in looking forward.


Lauren said...

Josh - love this post; lots of truth within it. Thanks for sharing!

Josh said...

thanks Lauren! glad to know that folks are still reading...despite my poor blogging. i've enjoyed your writing a lot as of late too! glad to know that you are a hip-hop fan!

Jacob Pankey said...


talk about an interesting coincidence. I was reading your blogs this morning in class, looking at pictures of your son instead of paying attention(sidenote: you have a son, that is so awesome, seriously!), and a couple minutes ago Trey IM'ed me to say you had commented on my Trey post. I'm not very good about checking my own blog, so I just noticed your other comments. I've read you blog on occasion for about a year, and I'm always impressed that your able to find time to write in-depth about much more substantial things than myself. My ultimate goal in blogging is to mix mostly insight with some humor, but so far its been mostly dubbed G.I. Joe videos and ragging on Billy Mays. Oh well!

We've been saying it since the last day of WyldLife camp almost six years ago, but we ( I'm speaking for Trey, Kent, Surbs, Cody, etc.) would be thrilled to catch up with you. I'm sure we're much more flexible that you, seeing as you have a "job" and "family", so let us know a good time and/or place for you, and we'll get there. Stealth Blimps will be discussed, haha.

Josh said...


glad to know you've been blog-stalking for a while. that's cool man! yeah, kind of crazy that i have a son, and crazy that Trey is gay (ha ha!). but seriously, things are good my way. we've had some ups and downs this past year, but it is fun being a dad...hard too, but a lot of laughs.

i love your blog. it makes me laugh a lot, and it will be a fun way to stay connected despite the distance and lives going on in different places.

i'd love to get together with you guys...let's see if we can't make something happen either one weekend when some of you guys will be home, or sometime over the summer maybe?

give my best to the dudes. and shoot a toothpick into the ceiling for me next time you are in mr. j's.

peace homey!