Monday, July 11, 2005

[sidelong glance and stifled sigh]

I just spent about fifteen minutes searching through the Xanga "blogring" for my alma mater. Looking for familiar faces. Didn't find any new ones.

Am I so hungry for connection? Or is it the boredom?


"...We can just jetset like the Jetsons/You can be Jane my wife/Should I marry Jane tonight?"


Joey and Megan. Lee and Shannon. Mike and Cara.

How did so many of my friends suddenly become parents?

It's freaking me out a bit.


About the SunSco:

Teaching went okay, as I said. I was tired from staying up late the night before, and I struggled to focus at some points. Not all of that can be blamed on tiredness.

So many of my lessons come from things that are meaningful to me. But sometimes they don't come across as meaningful, when I try to explain them to others.

My outline for the lesson wasn't as thorough as it could have been. And I should have given it one more verbal run through (I usually do at least two).

Started off well. Glossed over any early verbal misteps and losses of concentration with my typical self-deprecation-flavored charm. I'm never quite sure if it plays as well as it used to, back in the days when being flustered and less-than-completely-prepared was still considered "endearing" and "quirky."

[I could handle still being "endearing and quirky." Beats the hell out of "lazy, odd, and undependable."]

Got toward the middle, and the points I believed in and tried to drive home didn't come off as strongly as I thought they would. I couldn't quite convey why I was so moved by the concepts. And I felt I was starting to lose the group's attention.

The frustration turned into more losing of trains of thought, as I tried desparately to reject the Enemy's cheap-shots, sailing into my head: They're not getting anything out of it. They're bored. You have nothing to say.

Finally, I came to the finale.

Oh, right. First. The lesson itself was on grace. The idea that grace is not just a one-time event to spare us from hellfire, but also a daily renewal, comfort, and instruction. I talked about how Christians treat grace like loan consolidation: our great and unpayable debt changes hands, and we try to set up these lower, more manageable payments (like church attendance, abstinence, and the like)--when in reality, grace is debt forgiveness. Complete absolution. But at the same time, we aren't cut loose to have full moral license; we are slaves to righteousness.

I may have tried to cram too much into one lesson.

The finale was how we (don't) project the inward grace we receive, outward. I shared the train story I posted last week, as an example.

...I didn't mean to do it. I may not have done it at all. But as soon as I finished the story, I thought, "Did I go for the emotional 'kill' just then?" The last thing I want to resort to is emotional manipulation. I was frustrated with the early part of the lesson, because i felt like nothing was coming across right. Then I told the story. And, as it turned out, I played it up, real dramatic-like.

I am a performer, after all. So I used it. Boy, did I use that story. In the tradition of modern televangelists, I went for the emotional appeal. I didn't mean to. I certainly didn't plan to. But I did it.

I made a few of them cry. At least two were wiping away tears. And I must confess to you that I felt some small surge of gratification from that, if only for a moment.

So there it is. I might have tried to made up for a weak first half of the lesson by subconsciously going for the "kill" with the story. And i feel awful about that.

Grace is something so phenomenal, so amazing and incredible, that if tears come, they should come from the simple truth of scripture. Not from my over-dramatic anecdote.

Maybe I'm being too hard on myself. I mean, I'm a storyteller. That's what I do; it's who God made me to be. But I'm so afraid of abusing the trust I am being given, that anything I do that holds even a hint of insincerity is sickening to me. I want to be a teacher, not a manipulator. There are enough manipulators in the church.

I want to believe that I'm making too much of this. That these doubts are Satan's way of dampening my joy, of making me hesitant next time. That I did as I was supposed to, and that the Spirit used both parts of the lesson for His glory. I really want to believe this.


I'm lonely today. I think I will go ahead and make that Lonely Day Mixtape, Steph.

Today's a lonely day. Not just in the "miss my friends" way, but in the "aching for a hand to hold" way. These days are harder to fight off.

I'm going to go home, make dinner, finish reading "The Last Battle," and do some housework before an early sleep. Tomorrow night, I'm taking my sister to "Phantom", so I need to get the rest where and when I can.


file under 'restlessness'; cross-reference, 'malaise.'

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