This is a post from my old blog http://www.dcunderground.org. It’s kind of longish but I really didn’t know what I was doing when I was blogging back then. While on writing hiatus, I’ll be migrating some of my personal favorites to this site.
When I was in High School, I had somehow managed to get my hands on a King James Version of the bible. I have no idea HOW I did it, especially since my father was atheist and my mother had Nuevo Real Edicion, in Spanish…or something like that. Anyways, I got my hands of a KJV bible and decided I wanted something that sounded cool, that I could pull out and quote when necessary, or that maybe I could tattoo on my chest some day (this was when I still thought I was going to join the Navy). I found Isaiah 11:5 “And Righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.”
Ok. I was fifteen. I don’t know about anyone else but at fifteen I was just smart enough to be really stupid. To my credit I did try and read the entire book of Isaiah…KJV…right that didn’t last long. So I decided to try and read just chapter 11…that didn’t work to well either. I had no idea about the context of this awesome one-liner I had found. I didn’t know that it was a prophecy about the coming messiah, I didn’t even really know what “righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins” meant. I just thought it sounded cool. You can’t put righteousness and faithfulness in the same sentence without having said something totally awesome.
So here I am, fifteen, thinking I’m the smartest, most awesome thing since the Samurai (oh yeah, that nerd, that was me, complete with D&D and Star Trek) and I decided I have this awesome new quote around which to model my life. I have a new motto: “And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.” Now from the perspective of a slightly less immature Christian (who still thinks the Samurai were awesome) I can now say that that isn’t so bad, if it is somewhat misguided. To say that you are going to model yourself off the prophetic descriptions of the messiah is like saying you intend to model the messiah. Aren’t we all called to walk in Christ and strive to be like Him? Right? Not so bad.
A few days after I discover this verse, I’m hanging out with one of my buddies just talking about if we would ever get tattoos and I use this opportunity to trot out my brand new life motto. “Isaiah 11:5” I said. “I’d get that right on my chest.”
“What’s it say?” he asks.
“And Righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.”
He stops. Thinks about it. And then looks at me. “Righteousness will be his underwear?”
“What?” I ask. Underwear? Where does my new life motto talk about underwear?
“Girdle of his loins right? Yeah, loins means your junk, Sage.” He said. “And a girdle is a piece of clothing that holds something else in place. So girdle of his loins…”
Now at this point what do I do? Do I point out that “loins” is actually a reference to the entire area between the waist and the knees? Do I talk about how it’s a reference to the inherent value/necessity Christ placed on goodness and faithfulness that he would wear it like a belt? Do I listen to the promptings of the Spirit and say ANYTHING the least bit meaningful and intelligent.
I sit there and say, “That sucks.”
And he says, “You’re not actually going to get that tattooed are you?”
I shake my head.
He shakes his head. “I was kinda hoping to laugh at you when you did.”
And that is what I mean when I say “High School spirituality.” I spent a total of three maybe four days really into this idea, and at the first sign of ridicule, or just sheer dumbness, I drop it. Kinda like one of my es-girlfriends. I join the soccer team she dates me. I audition for the school play she dumps me. I didn’t even get in.
In fact, I let go of the bible so hard and fast, that I didn’t pick it up again for another four years. And really that’s the challenge, not just for youth, but for everyone, and especially Christians. Especially new Christians (among whom I count myself), and this is something that I’m always asking the Spirit about, because for a while I was praying for knowledge. I didn’t have a clue about anything. Justification by Faith? Works versus Grace? Transubstantiation? Exegesis? Eschatology? I didn’t get any of it. I mean I could barely pronounce some of those words. Someone mentioned apologetics and I thought they were talking about a class on asking for forgiveness.
Ask and you will receive right? So I ask for knowledge and I get it. Do I know what to do with it? No. Do I know what it means…sometimes. It’s like asking God for a prophetic anointing – which I did because the pastor said we should and I didn’t think anything would happen anyways. Yeah not so smart there, but again the same thing. Now in some ways I’m like a two year old. You give a two year old a hammer he’s gonna start hammering at something. Same thing for me: you give me knowledge, you give me prophecy and I’m going to start doing something with it.
At one point I began to pray “Oh Lord…Now what?” Seriously. I prayed like that for a good long while because I didn’t have a clue whatsoever. “Oh Lord…Now what?” But it comes back to High School. Knowledge without wisdom is a very dangerous thing, and I thank God that He was watching out for me because I did and said a lot of stupid things in that time frame, just ask my wife. But I know God was watching out for me because I managed to avoid hearing someone say “Rightousness will be his underwear?”
On some level, I’m relieved. I’ve learned a lot, I’ve met some great mentors who are being very patient with me, and I’m beginning to grow. Congratulations, you’ve graduated from Freshman to Sophomore. Now you get to do the REALLY stupid things.
On another level, I’m disheartened by this revelation of High School Spirituality. I had a pretty good High School experience but there is not enough money in the world to make me do it again. But you don’t have a choice about getting into New Christian High. New Christian High does not have a set curriculum that I know of. It is not something you can escape after four years of class and crazy memories that you might just as soon want to forget. There are teachers, and our Lord is certainly trying to act like the administration, but a lot of students don’t know how to hear His instructions and even some teachers don’t know how to listen. The students’ own compulsions and their own desires will make them thirsty for knowledge, but what happens when they are confronted with righteous underwear, and don’t have a response to it? What happens when they find a teacher who is in fact, a part time TA working on finishing his senior year so he can graduate? Maybe they get lucky and find someone who’s just missing one piece. Maybe not and they get someone who’s actually a freshman.
I’ll be the first to admit I’m in this place, most likely because I’m the crazy freak who coins the term. I’ll also be the first to admit that I have no idea what graduation looks like. I think that the only thing I really can do is offer a helping hand where one is needed, help others out with their homework when they get it. Who knows maybe I’ll even get to try out for the school play. The point I’m trying to make, is that NCHS doesn’t have to be hard. It doesn’t have to be like High School. It’s actually a place worth getting into.