It’s Fall…. or so They Say

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The first day of fall is known as the autumnal equinox.  Equinox (Latin for equal night) is when the day and night are equal lengths and the sun is directly over the equator.  I read this happened in the US at exactly 6:49 a.m. ET on Saturday.  At first it felt comforting to hear something as large as the season of fall is contained nicely in a box and can be predicted down to the minute.  I suppose I prefer that to randomness.   But that kind of precision doesn’t mesh well with reality.  For starters, it was over 100 degrees on Saturday.  No one told the sun in Orange County it was time to back off.  It’s still too hot for a soy pumpkin spice latte and I’m stuck in a sundress instead of my favorite leather jacket.

This fall thing bothered me all weekend. (Proof that I may need more of a life)   There is no exact moment when seasons of life change.  I can’t turn to life and say, “Excuse me, it’s 2:13 pm on Monday and XYZ is supposed to take place.”  Life is far more chaotic.  Life is complicated.   I’ve been thinking a lot about the word complicated the past few months in relation to faith and life.  Christianity can feel like a box, like precision and calculation trying to enter (or worse, be shoved down) complicated lives.  Some problems feel too big and messy for the truths and wisdom of the Bible.  They can come off as cliché, simplistic, out of touch.  When your gay friend tells you being out and in a relationship has grown his relationship with God.  When the new guy who doesn’t go to church treats you way better than your Bible reading, small group going, regularly tithing ex. (and the two before him)   When your friend wants to know if it’s ok to divorce her husband for his porn addiction.  It’s then that you want to say to the simple answers- you don’t have all the facts! You don’t understand!  It’s not freaking fall. Step outside, it’s hot as hell!

Simple truth in a complicated moment can make you angry.  Reducing a big situation to a small one feels wrong- even when you are right.  I’ve come to think that this is a key part of why Jesus came.   After giving the written law, prophets, and setting up religion, God said, “I’ll send a baby.”  In the end, He didn’t just send us a book of wise teaching, a set of religious practices, and a moral code to follow…. He sent a person.  As important as that stuff is, it wasn’t enough.   Only a person can always offer something new to our lives.   Only a person was able to expose the heart behind the wisdom.  Only something living and breathing is complicated and fluid enough to enter into our ever-changing lives.  Christianity can seem too simple and finite at times.  Jesus never does.  He’s always surprising us- compassion for the ones who messed up, a harsh word for the ones who did everything right, a life of downward mobility in a world that pressures everyone to get ahead.  He continually did the unexpected.  He approached situations from left field.  And even now, He’s up to date on all the facts, sides, and contributing factors of our problems.  In a good way, He’s not one size fits all in His dealings with us.  He meets us where we are at.

In Colossians 2, Paul tells the church that religious practices, rules, cultural festivals, strict diets and a long list of other things are never meant to be the point of our faith.  He went so far as to call them useless for living correctly.  In verse 17 he says, “These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.”  Like in Plato’s Cave, the shadows are only meant to be pictures of the real thing.  The real stuff, the whole point, the substance is Christ.

I find myself very grateful for this.  I’m so glad I follow a person instead of a religion.  Especially in a crazy world of eat at Chic-Fil-A/don’t eat at Chic-Fil-A, vote this way/don’t vote this way, bumper stickers, and soundbites that try to ignorantly tell us it is simple.  I hate that stuff.  And so I feel good about offering friends a person; a God/Man who is with us in our moments of need and confusion.   I recently had dinner with a friend in a bad relationship and I didn’t know what she should do.  While searching for the right advice, the thought came that she should just pursue Jesus.  I really believe that if she does, He’ll figure it out with her.  He’ll lead her in the right way. I can trust her to Him.  I believe He has something to say to all our lives if we’ll listen and take time to hear him.  His words won’t feel outdated, simplistic, or naïve- even if they’re ancient truths Christians have believed for thousands of years.   Because Jesus is not simple.  In fact, He’s the most complicated being that has ever walked the earth.

…So, take that fall. (Get it? Really bad Xtian joke on the double meaning of fall. Forgive me, I needed a conclusion and that’s all I had)

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20 responses to “It’s Fall…. or so They Say”

  1. jenni says:

    Well said!

  2. Alisa says:

    agreed =) *except its very cold in Scotland… we skipped fall ;(

  3. Bree says:

    seriously, ridiculously good writing, i just read it again… slower this time and let it soak in. :) well done. missing you…

  4. Jason says:

    I really like what you said about Jesus being complicated. That’s a good thought for me. Thanks for making the connection between our complicated lives and the gift of a complicated savior. The ending was quite clever as well. No need to apologize.

  5. NICE!!! Cindy- what an enjoyable read, especially when we are all hoping fall will actually show up! It’s still too warm here in NM, too! Your blog made me think of two songs I keep hearing (like they’re trying to tell me something? :) ) They are : Jason Gray’s More Like Falling In Love…”It’s gotta be- more like falling in love- than someting to believe in- more like losing my heart- than giving my allegience” those words spoke to me so much! And this song : Citizen Way’s “Should’ve Been Me”…”Should’ve been me- should’ve been us- should’ve been there hanging on a cross…”
    And then all of a sudden your blog shows up! They aren’t exactly the same, but the point is clear: It’s all about Jesus, how he loves us no matter what and how we should trust him. And how we are so lucky, so blessed beyond measure, to have that love showered down upon us. We need to accept it and believe in it, even when life just sucks. It’s so hard to do. I had shivers down my spine when I read your blog because YES, it’s HARD to listen to the struggles of others and feel like there’s really no answer or bit of advice you can give.

    on a lighter note: I bet you have the cutest leather jacket in the world.

    • Thank you, Melinda! I’m so glad it spoke to you at a good time. That makes it all worth it:) And a big thanks for the songs! They are both beautiful and totally relate. …It really should feel like falling in love. I’ve always been drawn to the idea of Jesus drawing people to himself. When I read the gospels it seems like people were attracted to who he was and it makes me hopeful and glad. It should be like that!

      ps;) Thanks for the leather jacket comment. I laughed out loud:)

  6. Alecia says:

    Yet another paradox of Christianity: simple faith in a complicated Savior.

  7. Laura says:

    you are awesome, and an amazing writer! i laugh out loud when i read your posts!! i miss you DEARLY, friend!!!!

  8. Heather says:

    Great post Cindy! So true. And if you’re really craving some sweet crisp Fall weather, come visit me!! (currently in upstate New York) You’ll most definitely be feeling the need for a pumpkin spice latte in no time — it’s so chilly here we need the heat on already. (Yep. In September.) Yikes.
    Miss ya lots Cindy!

    • HI HEATHER!!!! I miss you! I didn’t know you moved up North! Sounds like we need to get caught up soon! Maybe I should make a trip:) I’ve never been to New York- upstate or NYC…. hmmm….:)

  9. Monique says:

    Beautiful post, Cindy! Well written and well said. I wish more people were as “enlightened” as you 😉

  10. meghanmills says:

    Cindy – you are so brilliant. Everything I feel but can’t put into words. I can’t get enough :)

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