Monday, November 26, 2012

Finished

Hey Everybody,

On Friday, November 16, I finished seminary.  After three and a half years and two cities, I finally have my Master of Divinity.  I would like to thank Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary for their dedication to truth and education.

In the next week or so, I will begin work at CarSense in Cranberry, PA.  I am uber-stoked to work for CarSense, because they have a wonderful business model (and the CEO is a Godly man).

Anyway, keep me in prayer as I adjust to new life.  Hopefully, since I am finished with seminary now, that I will have more time to write.  Until next time...

With much love,

Christian Eriksson

Saturday, July 14, 2012

This is Awkward

Hey Everyone,

It's been four months since I've posted anything, and the last post was just me telling you that I was no longer on Facebook or Twitter.  This is still somewhat true, but I will explain it later.

Let me catch you up to speed.

For the last couple of months, I have been working with a small RP church in Beaver, Pennsylvania.  I preached my first mini-series on the Life of Samuel.  For Sunday School, we have been going through the church vows for membership.  It's not a membership class, per se - just a reminder of the vows we took to become members.  The internship ends in August.  And, I graduate, hopefully, from RPTS in November.

In other exciting news, Heather and I are moving to the northern part of Pittsburgh - Bellevue.  We decided to move to be closer to Heather's work; she'll no longer have to travel through two tunnels to get to work.

Finally, the biggest reason for the lack of communications, I am helping a friend produce a film.  It's crazy!  I finally get to fulfill one of my childhood dreams.

Our production company is called Wanted:Films.  We are based in Pittsburgh, and this is our first feature (W:F does corporate promotional films, too).  The movie is called ONE.  It's set in the near future.  Congress just passed a One Time Amendment allowing Americans to kill one other person without consequence (after the one time, the court system interferes).  Anyway, the film revolves around Cal Dillard, a high school teacher, who opposes the Amendment, but finds himself in a situation in which he may resort to using it.  In order to build a broader audience, we have plastered ourselves over the internet.  You can find us at:

Wanted:Films
Twitter (I personally manage this account)
Facebook
Youtube
Kickstarter - Our primary fundraising site.

If you would like to help out with the film in any way, please let us know.

With much love,

Christian Eriksson


Monday, March 12, 2012

You've Got Mail

Hey Everyone,

Sorry for the delay in posts.  I have been wracking my brain trying to find appropriate topics to discuss.  Also, work has kept me pretty busy.

As some of you may have already noticed, I am no longer on Facebook or Twitter.  After careful consideration, I just decided I had enough of meaningless conversations and angry debates.  I understand that I can control what I see on my news feed; however, these sites were becoming time wasters.

So, if you need to contact me, please check out the contact page and shoot me an email.

If you would like to keep getting the blog updates, please make sure you subscribe (upper right hand corner of page).

With much love,

Christian Eriksson

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Sense of Belonging...

The longing to belong has been my primary mood of late.  I've been meaning to write about this feeling for some time; however, finding the right words and the right attitude has been difficult.  This post is a culmination of ideas and events that have led to a very solemn question: do I belong?

Allow me to preface the post with an apology, if I offend any individual with what I am about to write, I'm sorry.  My intention is not to point fingers or to blame any individual.  Rather, I just wish to express my concerns.

Times of transitions can be extremely uplifting.  The newness of an environment can be exciting.  There are the possibilities of a new job, new friends, and new sources of inspiration.  In some ways, I have experienced all three of these things.  Since moving to Pittsburgh, Heather and I have developed friendships with new friends and rekindled old relationships.  Heather has a job that she loves.  I finally found employment at Staples (again).  Living closer to the city has allowed us to explore cool sites (I finally got to see the city skyline from Mount Washington).  Newness is exciting.

However, transitions have their issues, too.  It can be hard to move from a comfortable environment to an unfamiliar territory.  With change comes introspection.  If you have ever moved, then you can relate to the difficult questions that arise.  What do I believe?  Why do I believe it?  And how do others view me?  Ultimately, the questions can be boiled down to one: do I belong?

As I think about my time of transition and adaptation, my mind lingers back to Moses.  Moses was misunderstood.  He wasn't an Egyptian, and he wasn't really a Hebrew.  The Egyptian leaders hated him, and the people of Israel disliked his leadership.  He married a foreign woman.  His brother ran an idol factory.  His sister grumbled and complained.  The people whined about how their freedom was so unfair.

Here's Moses, the leader of thousands of people, and yet, he was probably very lonely.  It's clear; he didn't belong.  God called him to a place where he didn't really belong.  This frustration got to Moses.  Out of anger, inspired by constant nagging and ungratefulness, he struck a rock.  I am not condoning Moses' reaction, but I can sympathize with him.  

Granted, I am not Moses.  I am not the leader of any group of people.  I am not claiming to be great.  I just know what it feels like to not belong.

I am part of a denomination called the "Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America."  It's a small denomination, and as with most small organizations, there is a certain culture that comes with the group.  And it's this culture that has caused some reservations.

Let me clarify by saying this: it is not an issue of doctrine.  For the most part, I find myself agreeing with the Westminster Confession and the RP distinctives.  It's really not an issue within most congregations (among the lay people).  It's an issue of leadership and what's expected of me.  As I think about these criteria (as arbitrary as they may be), I find myself at odds.

I was talking to a couple that attends our church about this issue.  They both reminded me that not all RPs are the same.  I agree.  As we discussed the underlining issues more, the limits of my frustrations became more apparent.  It's not an issue of lay people versus leaders.  Rather, it's an issue of what is expected of me, as a potential future leader, versus established leaders.

I do not want to be at odds with people (let alone a denomination); however, I find that my questions and concerns are viewed by others as ridiculous, invalid, and generally a waste of time.  Perhaps they are, but give me the chance to figure this out on my own.

There have been several instances at seminary that have really bothered me.  I have had several professors mock the previous institution that I attended, and I have had several conversations with others who are quick to rebuke my thought process.  Again, I don't disagree with the doctrines; rather, the disagreements stem from the way we arrive to these doctrines (and the way in which we practise them).

These quick jumps to rebuking and corrections have made me uncomfortable.  And, since I have arrived, I have not felt that I truly belong.

I am lonely and I am not sure what to do.  As it stands, I do not feel comfortable approaching certain professors.

With all this being said, let me say some positive things.  As negative as my experience thus far has felt, I do not want to paint such a broad picture.  There have been several positive things that have encouraged me.

1. God wants me here.  I know that some of my friends would say, "Well, you didn't have to leave Gordon-Conwell in the first place."  This is true, sort of.  As much as I love Gordon-Conwell, and I have many fine memories of the institution, I did not feel really comfortable.  Something was lacking, and I know that God wanted Heather and me to move.  Being here, in Pittsburgh, has strengthened my understanding of Reformed thinking.

2. Heather has been a steady rock.  Her love and patience has helped calm certain anxieties.  She's been extremely faithful, and for that, I am forever grateful.  Without her, this transition would have been impossible (on many levels).

3. Key people at RPTS have been pivotal and encouraging.  There are at least four individuals on staff that have really embraced me and uplifted me in both words and deeds.  I am extremely thankful for them.  Their words of wisdom have been inspiring and convicting without being condescending or degrading.  Along this line, certain friends have truly embraced, and may I dare say, loved me.  They have been shoulders upon which I can lean.

4. Pittsburgh feels like home.  I love the city and I love the friends that I have made (I am thinking specifically those outside the seminary context).  In some way, I hope the Lord calls me to this city permanently.

As I move forward with my education, I pray that the Lord would provide a clear sense of direction.  Likewise, I hope to find comfort.

Please be in prayer.

With much love,

Christian Eriksson

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Rest in Peace

*Warning*
This post will reveal my evangelical tendencies.


Language is no longer important.  Sentences have lost meaning because we speak not from convictions but convenience.  As products of this world - globally and instantly connected - we soften our speech and reveal our innate desire to be people pleasers.

There is one particular phrase, which I am guilty of using, that bothers me.  I believe we use this phrase to mask the harsh reality/truth of our convictions.  In some sense, we use it because we are embarrassed by its alternative.  The phrase "Rest in Peace" is an affront to the Gospel as given to us.

When both Steve Jobs and Christopher Hitchens died, my Twitter feed was filled with somber requests for these individuals to "rest in peace."  The author of these posts were both believers and nonbelievers.  I would expect this sort of language from nonbelievers (or at least from those that affirm a peaceful afterlife for all).  However, I am appalled that Christians resort to using such patronizing language.  This is particularly true in the case of Christopher Hitchens' death.  Here is a man who vehemently denied any tenets of religion.  Here's a man who denied any form of afterlife.  For Hitchens, as far as I understand, afterlife meant decomposition - that's it.  Yet, we as Christians, pathetically ask him to "rest in peace," as if that was really an option.

Perhaps I am being too harsh; however, language reveals who we are.  Granted, I am guilty of misusing language, and it's only through sanctification that I've come to curb some of these tendencies.  God, through his revealed word, reminds us the power of our words (see 1 Timothy 4:12, 1 Peter 3:10, 1 Peter 4:11).  What we say should reveal the truths we hold.  "Rest in Peace" is offensive because it is unbiblical and an affront to the gospel.

Scripture does not seem to advocate peaceful existence after life for nonbelievers.  This may not be true if you are a universalist or you deny the doctrine of Hell.  In Luke 16, Jesus tells the parable of the rich man and Lazarus.  There is no sense of peace for the rich man.  He seems to be standing in judgement.  Lazarus, on the other hand, is standing beside Abraham.  He truly seems to be at peace (this is not always the case for every believer, see Revelation 6:9).

If we affirm the doctrine of Hell and the judgement of those who reject the gospel, then how can we say "Rest in Peace."  This is a contradiction to the very thing we hold so dear.  It is far more appropriate to say, "My condolences to his family."

With much love,

Christian Eriksson