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So what's the next discovery?

A quote I’ve been particularly fond of for some time now comes from Michael Yaconelli’s book Dangerous Wonder: “There is always the possibility of discovery just beyond irritation and annoyance.” Sometimes it takes frustration to spark growth and discovery.

Having recently become more aware of the amount of possessions I have, my ‘stuff’ has become an “irritation and annoyance.” And I think it goes deeper for me than just having lots of stuff… Susan Howatch talks of the mystery behind the mystery. There’s something deeper lying behind my current disgust of materialism. And, perhaps more important, not just my frustration, but: Why do I hold onto stuff like I do?; Why don’t I let go of old stuff?; What is it that makes me hold on to so much? And not just old stuff, but continue to accumulate new things as well.

Later in the Yaconelli book, he writes this about possessions:

“Jesus called His disciples to a very odd standard of living – nothing. Obviously, childlike faith is faith that trusts Jesus’ standard of living (seek first the kingdom of God) instead of the modern society’s standard of living (seek fist the kingdom of things). When our possessions possess us – imprison us – risk and adventure become impossible.”

Maybe I’m getting frustrated enough to change. And maybe that will lead to me finding new ways to walk in line with how God intends. And maybe that will be my next discovery.

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Why all this ‘stuff’?

What a mess!

When my wife watches TV, it’s usually something on HGTV or TLC. They have a couple of shows in the programming that really appeal to me lately. Mission Organization and Clean Sweep. Both basically deal with people who have messy houses, too much stuff all over the place, lots of chaos and disorder. The shows have people who have the spiritual gift of organization come to the rescue. They rearrange the room, get rid of a bunch of stuff, redecorate, and in the end they have a neatly arranged, eye-appealing space.

I’ve recently gotten frustrated with all the clutter in my life.

My desk at work is covered; unfinished projects, memos, junk mail. I’m a stacker. When papers come into the office, or I’m working on projects, they get stacked. It’s all very organized. If you need something, I can usually get right to it. But this system isn’t very neat. It’s a lot like that girl from the movie Tommy Boy that doesn’t use filing cabinets…

At home, it took me twenty minutes this morning to sort through the pile of clothes on my side of the bedroom. (Just as a note, in college I had three piles: clean, dirty, and clean enough to wear again before it has to be washed. Now, I just have one pile.) I’m squeezing clean socks and t-shirts into their drawers. This either means the dresser drawers are too small or I have too many socks and t-shirts.

There are many areas of my life in which I’ve developed “clutter.” It’s more than the clothes and junk mail at home. It’s more than the work that’s becoming chaos. It’s getting a schedule that’s too full. It’s leaving too many loose ends loose. It’s an overall “clutter.” And I’m sure there’s something in me, something in my habits, that leads me to it. So I’m trying to figure out, why all this ‘stuff’?

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How do we handle the hurricanes?

Hurricane Rita

It’s difficult to make sense of disasters like Hurricane Katrina, and now Hurricane Rita. How could a loving God allow such terrible evil? Why does something like this happen?

There are many who are quick to point fingers and level accusations of God’s judgment. “This is what these ‘sinners’ deserve for their evil ways.” “This is God’s wake up call for America.” “These are the signs of the end of the world!”

And maybe it those people are right.

(And maybe they’re not.)

Maybe our task here is not to make sense of it or understand it or ask “Why?”. Maybe our task is to remain faithful to God’s calling in our lives and to ask “What does God want us to do now?” Someone else put it this way: “The loving God calls all believers in the face of Katrina’s devastation to seek ways to express love in concrete ways towards those who have lost friends and family members; and to those who have lost homes along with most of their earthly belongings.”

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Where do I start?

This weblog began as a place to record my questions and musings. While it will still serve in that capacity, a great number of the posts will not be that specific or narrow in scope. Thus, the name change. The Lid will simply be an open forum for the thoughts that float through my head, where I open up and let you see what's on my mind - like it or not, questions or thoughts or just what I've been up too. So, there's the update... Now, back to your regularly scheduled program.

I’m borrowing the title from a good book by Michael Yaconelli, “Dangerous Wonder: The Adventure of Childlike Faith”. In the book where he explores some ideas of how we are called to live out our faith in Jesus, he says this:

"Dangerous WonderThere are no “wrong” questions. When people are hungry for God, every question is ‘right.’ Curiosity is the unknown fruit of the Spirit, the stealthy expression of God’s presence. Faith opens our eyes and brings us face-to-face with a new reality – a reality rich with new vistas of knowing. Thomas was willing to defy a roomful of disciples with his bold curiosity. Daring and unafraid, he stood up to his peers and refused to base his relationship with Jesus on the displeasure of others. What stopped Thomas in his tracks was the willingness of Jesus to honor his risky curiosity. Jesus had already appeared to the disciples once, but He came back a week later and spoke directly to Thomas and told Thomas to touch Him so Thomas’s questioning could stop and his believing could begin. Curiosity is welcome in the presence of Jesus even when it is not welcome anywhere else."

He also makes the comment that “the greatest enemy of Christianity may be people who say they believe in Jesus but who are no longer astonished and amazed.”

Rob Bell writing about questions in his book Velvet Elvis put it this way:

“Central to the Christian experience is the art of questioning God. Not beligerent, arrogant questions that have no respect for our maker, but naked, honest, vulnerable, raw questions, arising out of the awe that comes from engaging the living God. … The great Abraham Joshua Heschel once said, ‘I did not ask for success, I asked for wonder.’ … The very nature of orthodox Christian faith is that we never come to the end. It begs for more. More discussion, more inquiry, more debate, more questions.”

I am valuing more and more the importance of wonder, curiosity, and questions … I hope this space will allow me to think out loud about some stuff, and I invite you to jump in and come along. Respond or not, but take the thoughts with you and wonder for yourself.

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Welcome to [the lid], a blog about faith, youth ministry, and all things Josh.

I'm Josh Burnham and this is my personal blog.

I've been in Youth Ministry for more than a decade and I want to share some of my experiences and what I'm still learning. I've worked with teenagers, children, and college students, taught ministry workshops for conferences, and thrown a whole lot of water balloons. Whether you're hired by a church, serve as a volunteer in ministry, or are just trying to live out your faith in Jesus, maybe some of these thoughts will encourage you along the way.

Honestly, you'll see bits about youth ministry and faith, what I've been reading, and some of the excitement of my family.

My wife, Shannon, and I live in south Georgia, we have two kids, Noah and Ansley, and a backyard full of grass that I have to cut every two weeks.

family photo

I'd love to connect with you. You can contact me by email or on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

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