April 24, 2012

The fourth Discipline we will deal with is Journaling
JOURNALING: Letting the Soul out to Dry
            On the second to last day of the Denver Urban Semester we had a time when we exchange gifts that we had been challenged to make out of things we found around the apartments or the city. I made a bird out of macaroni and cheese (my meal for the summer) and wrote scripture on it, I was surprised it made it home. The gift I received was a small journal with a passage from 2 Corinthians 12 and a very encouraging letter from a the young woman who had drawn my name for the gift exchange. The first morning I wrote in that journal was the morning after I received it, I didn’t write in it again for two weeks.
            At that point Journaling was still a very new concept for me, I always thought that journaling was like keeping a diary. To me that meant keeping secrets from people and as my sisters probably did in their diaries “talk about boys.” On the other side of the coin it seemed that journaling was just too time consuming and I thought I was doing good enough just by getting into regularity with my quiet time schedule. Why should I add journaling, didn’t I write enough on this blog enough, why add another discipline.
Discovering God’s Vulnerability…
            Christian George starts off his chapter on journaling by reminding us of a very simple and easily forgotten truth, that Jesus stepped out of the glory of heaven and took on the skin of mankind (Godology Christian George, 52). That the Son of God in His infinite wisdom decided to set aside the riches and glory of heaven and step into man’s skin to discover what it was like just to be like us.
            When you look at it this way it’s easy to see how Jesus was vulnerable during his earthly ministry. For anyone of power to step down into the trenches with the people who they call workers or brothers opens the door for a lot of trouble. Look at the CBS show “Undercover Boss” where CEO’s and Executive’s from large corporation like NASCAR and White Castle disguise themselves as employees so they can better serve their employees.
            In a more perfect and better way this is what Christ did when He came down from heaven. He walked alongside us, hung out with the less desirable members of society and ticked off the richer upper echelon who thought they had it all figured out. Then, because of what Jesus taught a change came to that system, but for that change to happen Christ had to be stripped of all glory and crucified, be buried and raised to life. He had to become vulnerable and submissive, even to death on a cross (Phil 2:11).
And Encountering Our Own
            How often do we actually want to admit that we are vulnerable? Think about it, we live in a culture that teaches us to be strong and to build walls on independence. Then when we think we have it figured out someone comes along and tells us we need to tone it down. These mixed messages often just make us angry and so we slip into a deadly apathy thinking we are not allowed to be anything.
            But then we hide that feeling too.
            I have discovered though, that journaling provides us a way to be vulnerable as well as a way to celebrate God’s vulnerability. We show our vulnerability by pouring out our hearts and our souls to Christ and writing down prayers.  I often use Journaling as a chance to write down what God is revealing to me in scripture, hardly to record the day’s events, but mostly to praise my creator. Journaling becomes a way of getting our emotions out, but it’s also good practice for actually showing that vulnerability within our friendships and other relationships as well.
Celebrating the Incarnation
            George has the following to say concerning this discipline
Journaling is an inward practice that reminds us of an upward reality-that God glued Himself to our planet. By inscribing our thoughts and prayers on paper, we appreciate Christ’s condescension, journaling is a celebration of the incarnation (55)
So journaling isn’t just therapeutic, it is, like Art, a way to celebrate the incarnation and bring glory to God.  When we acknowledge God in our private lives it becomes easier to acknowledge Him in our public lives. It gives us a chance to reflect on who God is and what exactly it is that He’s doing.
            If we are to seek out God on this level we may find that we will fall deeper and deeper in love with who He is and have a clearer view of who we are.
         –   –
So why is Journalism a Discipline? Well we’ve seen how prayer, obedience and Art allow us to focus on God, and that’s what the discipline of Journalism does. It allows us to pray, write out what God is asking us to do, or even draw something. It also becomes a very good tool for looking back on what we were struggling with or what we were rejoicing in two or three days, weeks or months earlier.
So go and grab a notebook and pick up a pen and take the time to write down what you are starting to work through spiritually. Write out your prayers, or a scripture you are trying to memorize or an experience or whatever might be on your heart at the given time. Then sit back and reflect on what you’ve just written and see how deeply you start to fall in love with a God who is madly in love with you.
God Bless You
Jonathan David Faulkner

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