Archive for July, 2009

pushing to honesty

I am an insecure blogger.

and you could likely add photographer to that statement as well, seeing as I started this blog for both writing and photography, and this insecurity is likely the reason you dont see as many posts as I had originally hoped.  I have to convince myself often that my words or images don’t have to be profound or moving, they just have to be honest, and that in itself is good enough to share.  honesty is where the beauty is.

One of my favorite bloggers spent some time away from his blog, a fact which saddened me since his words and photography were often so encouraging to me, and something i resonated with.  What i love about him is the fact that he will take a photograph of anything and make it intriguing, make it tell a story.  Could be an airplane in a blank sky, or a basketball hoop, but still you see his daily life in the image, and his writing is no different.  He writes about the simple beauties and miracles of each day.  Whether they are profound or not, they are honest and therefore they are beautiful.  He came back to his blog in may and I recently discovered the return and was thrilled, (yes, nerdy, i’m aware).  I hope you enjoy Joshua Longbrake‘s shared thoughts as much as i do…check him out.

I hope that my list of 25 things and its push to have me blog weekly will also push me out of the insecurities about what i have to share, teaching me in a fuller sense that honesty is better than the elaborate medley of moving words.  I hope more than anything you see a little more of my heart here, as raw as it is. Maybe my ongoing story will bring you hope, or whatever it is you need.


Lauren Ashley


Rules or No Rules?

It’s 1:37 in the morning, and considering the fact that I had hoped to go to bed earlier tonight so as not to sleep all morning tomorrow, I should not be updating my blog right now, but I am riddled by this new thought of mine and felt the need to hash it out via the web, ere go, this post.

My best friend Brooke loves rules.  She works with middle schoolers in ministry, and has found rules to be the very best thing.  She always says how they are there for a reason, and considering the encounters she has had so many times in her life with mediocre Christianity I can absolutely understand why rules are so beneficial to her, because she sees them pushing her to be a better Christ- follower and someone devoted to being an integral person- and for her it has been a rewarding experience.  I admire her commitment to it and learn from her daily.

However, I tend to see things from a different perspective.

Now let me be clear, rules are absolutely a beneficial thing, and I am not some heathen-rule-breaking-authority-defying Biblical Studies major, however my experience has shown rules to be more of a binding thing than a freeing one.

I have spent the last two semesters in two of the most incredible classes that have rocked my understanding of God and the scriptures and have offered me a lens through which to view both of those things quite differently: Intro to Paul and Intro to the Gospels.  In Paul, Jamie Smith discussed so thoroughly and helped give us an understanding of what Paul really thought about the law, and his argument about what its intentions were.  From that class I was able to see that in the heart of Paul’s argument, we as believers are not responsible for the law (these ritualistic, pharisaical acts that the Jews centered their entire lives upon), but rather we are responsible for the condition of our heart, our motives behind our actions and the attitude behind the way we live our lives.  The law is an outward indication of what the heart looks like, but God sees the heart beyond anything we do or don’t do (part of the reason grace is so beautiful from Him). There is much more to this point but it would take a few hours over coffee to really hash it all out. Basically just read Romans chapters 1-8.

See why I am not caring about rules so much after understanding this?

Anyway, then I took Gospels.  I remember sitting in class listening to him explain the Pharisees and the way they operate, bascially making a case for them, which I felt was fair. ( Sidenote-people in my church youth group used to call each other Pharisees as a way of making fun of or calling names to each other- weird)  He explained that because the Pharisees were so devoted to God within the depths of their heart, they truly desired to please him, and for a 1st Century Jew, this meant obeying the law to its fullest extent.  Therefore, they would take a law from the Old Testament that was clear cut for them, and they would basically build a fence around it, stretching out as far as it took with other rules and regulations to be followed, so that they would never even get close to thinking about breaking that law.  Their intentions were honest and true, but ultimately their actions created a hypocritical and stifling group of people, whom Jesus himself rebuked on a regular basis.

In all of this I feel like God has called us to live more freely than a set of rules and regulations.

Rather than following rules, why are we not setting our hearts in the right place? Instead of spending our accountability time asking questions about what someone did or didn’t do, why don’t we ask what they thought about, or where their heart is, or what is motivating the actions we see? If we could live with an attitude and understanding that our love for Christ and what He has done is the fuel for the actions everyone sees, couldn’t we live more freely? In the liberty that he offered with his blood? The focus on only the outward do’s and don’t’s is stifling to me.

I realize im stating an opinion that many may not agree with, but I hope that in this you can see that my heart is not to justify the breaking of rules or the lack of having them, because I absolutely see the benefit of them since that is all we have as a litmus with each other as humans since we cannot see the condition of each others’ hearts.  My point is to say that if we could find a balance between living within wise guidelines and a proper motivation of the heart we would all be better Christ-followers and shepherds to the flock.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. 🙂


Lauren Ashley