12.31.2009

Psalm 13

How Long, O LORD?
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

1 How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long must I take counsel in my soul
and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
3 Consider and answer me, O LORD my God;
light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,
4 lest my enemy say, "I have prevailed over him,"
lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.

5 But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
6 I will sing to the LORD,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.

I like Shane and Shane's version, here.

12.30.2009

Psalm 67

May God be gracious to us
and bless us
and make his face to shine upon us,

Selah.

that your way may be known on earth,
your saving power among all nations.
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you!

Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for you judge the peoples with equity
and guide the nations upon earth.

Selah

Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!
The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, shall bless us.
God shall bless us; let all the ends of the earth fear him!

Maybe I'll do this often, like a journal.

More meaningful statuses from facebook in the past year.

Taken = (the theatrical trailer) + [liam neelson (killing roomfuls of people at a time) + (driving backwards and recklessly through Paris)]

has realized she may be a full-blown cynic and doesn't know how to shake it. Where did it start? How does it end? I hope the answer is God.

/When Satan tempts me to despair/and tells me of the guilt within/upward I look and see Him there/Who made an end to all my sin/Because the sinless Savior died/my sinful soul is counted free/For God, the Just, is satisfied/to look on him and pardon me.

dances to the music during the end credits of kids movies with little brothers, and laughs when her mom shakes her head and comments, "you are never going to grow up, are you?"

draws, packs, plays, sings, bakes, sits, skips, loves, reads, writes, hopes, prays, dances, and thinks about what there is to miss, but more-so, what there is to gain.

has mercer all to herself tonight.

graduates from college today; [insert something cheesy about goodbyes being backwards hellos and ends being new beginnings, of love and love lost, and hope for a beautiful future.]

just got back from kindergarten graduation and wonders what percentage of kindergarten graduates already have employment for the fall.

draws figure eights with her index finger on the countertop while she tries to figure out the best way to tell you what she wants to say.

dreams that she lives in color, but always ends up painting her day in black and white.

has a heavy heart. It's amazing how music can bring back so many memories--both good and bad--all while encouraging us to live, hope and dream.

is achingly aware of time, and has yet to come to terms with the understanding that ignoring the clock wont stop it. Thanks for the love, friendship, and memories, my sweet Mercer family.

is thankful for friends that aren't afraid to ask the hard questions, even when there is a strong possibility we won't find the answer ourselves.

is posting a vague status to tell you how she feels about that in general.

would like your input on the following statement, and if you can direct her to more reading on it: "women reflect a part of the character of God that men alone cannot."

wonders at how much cold stone reflects her heart, and how no human hand--even hers--can ever heal that.

is trying to remember that today is Eden, the Exodus, the Exile, Christmas, Good Friday, Easter, and Pentecost. Hope has come and hope is here, even if the chocolate easter bunnies are now on sale.

Here is hope and love, the promise of new life and Truth that conquers our fears and failings. Here is the yearning for something better on Good Friday, and the understanding that Resurrection Sunday is everyday in our hearts. Praise God!

thinks today is a great day to breathe the air in deep and let the sun dance on your shoulders.

may be a bad influence, but would love nothing more than to slow down time and spend it all just like tonight: with little brothers dancing on her coffee table

doesn't do grammar and mechanics very well. Just think of it as artistic licence. She also can't spell, and had to look up how to spell licence.

would, very much so, like to have your love.

would like...well, she doesn't know what she would like. But it's not that.

the proper way to toast bread: it is NOT done by putting the bread in the oven on broil, playing guitar, & then letting the smoke detector signal doneness...

wonders what type of world thinks it's acting justly when torturing men is banned, but torturing unborn children is encouraged. Who are we to choose who dies?

has "a dream that one day...the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together. This is our hope." thanks for casting a vision, rev.

Status Updates.

Beth Hyde
just made some indian food for dinner with Melissa Hyde. We're thinking of opening a restaraunt called Second to Naan. Or maybe we'll bring it to a naan-denominational church. And if you ask what's in it, you'll have to sign a naan-disclosure agreement.

would like to vault over the couch in the living room, but knows the mother won't approve. QUICK! WHILE SHE ISN'T LOOKING!

knows the square peg doesn't fit in the round hole, but still does everything in her power to fight the way things are.

You're an idiot if you make fun of Hellen Keller. "Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing." - Hellen Keller

: armadillo, kemps, kumquat, kemps, stops, holy guacamole, butternut squash, stops...no lie, sam taylor and i rocked that hardcore. :)

going for a morning run is always so much more fun when you get to see real live turtles and pass flowers that smell like grape lollipops.

the distinction between the secular and the spiritual is a false dichotomy. #nccd

"there's a disturbing trend, boss. The last 3 days, my screensaver has kicked on at 4min57sec, not 5min."-daddy re:life as a gov't employee

everyone wants to feel like they play an important role go the world's story. Why, then, do we insist on living such small, selfish lives?

is so tired of feeling like she is making up answers and trying really hard to make herself believe they are truth.

the dreams flit around my head like lightning bugs; wishing there was a way to catch them in mason jars.

the funny christopher QotD: "if a kid likes soup, you can just leave a soup trail to wherever you want them to go!" HAHA! SOUP!

[atheists & charlatans, communists & lesbians, & even old pat roberson, oh God, he loves us all.] the michael gungor band http://ow.ly/ju9h

sharing in the joy that comes from the gospel: http://ow.ly/ihee; thankful baptism isn't a point of drudgery, but of hope and celebration!

is finding the line b/w condemning comfort & the crushed spirit of a cynic is quite blurred when you're trying to explain life w/o grace.

thinks of duke nukem or the terminator when she thinks of angels. Not fairies or waifs or beefy babies. Darn you, Renaissance!

wondering what it means to live in the world and not of it, while living like i belong to the world to take care of it. [finished ishmael]

"Remember how much I wanted an all red billiard room with a giant stuffed camel..." watching The Jerk, amazed at the young Martin & Peters!
All because I was looking for this!
needs to figure out how to recenter, relearn, or just flippin' start over...faith, family, friends...I need help! Any suggestions?

Stephanie L. Webb Not a clue...but let me know when you figure it out. My attempt is moving to another country...haha
Hannah Rose Marney You need to hang out with me more.
Samantha Beck Support group!
Philip Benjamin Reese Gummi Bears.
Gordon Johnston Trust yourself. Hand others along as you have been handed along. Read 1 John. Also Annie Dillard (Pilgrim at Tinker Creek) and Peanuts.
Whatsoever things are good, think on these things. Find one beauty every day, recognize it, and write it down. No abstractions and nothing "virtual" -- a concrete, sensory beauty witnessed in the real world.. Sing with your spirit. Also sing with your mind. Breathe like a Buddhist. Learn what to leave out. Laugh at yourself. Don't waste your failures. Watch "Annie Hall." (It saved me fifteen years.)
Diana Long Personal Relationship with Jesus. Helping and being there for Others. Remembering to care for Yourself. Oh, I see - that's how you get TRUE JOY! Taste and see that the Lord is GOOD! Get yourself to a full gospel, Bible believing church. Ground yourself in the Word of God and surround yourself with fellow Believers - then you will grow in the right direction.
Jay B Bargeron Take a long walk by yourself, where you will be unlikely to encounter others. Use this time on the walk to think and sort things through. Another suggestion is to start a private journal. My final suggestion: out of all these suggestions your friends have posted, do only one at a time!
Amber Powell girl, i could write a book on this! ♥
Rachel Hopkins Garza Let something go. Even if you think there is nothing you can release. Make it happen and it will make a world of difference.
Melissa Thompson Hey Gordon-- that was great (it's me phylis, i mean melissa!) Beth-- surround your self with people who can positivetly influence you and good music helps too!
Beth Fulton "The soul is like a wild animal - tough, resilient, savvy, self-sufficient, and yet exceedingly shy. If we want to see a wild animal, the last thing we should do is to go crashing through the woods, shouting for the creature to come out. But if we are willing to walk quietly into the woods and sit silently for an hour or two at the base of a tree, the creature we are waiting for may well emerge, and out of the corner of an eye we will catch a glimpse of the precious wildness we seek." (Parker Palmer, Let Your Life Speak, p. 8, read it!)
p.s. looks to me like you got a lotta people that care about you ;-)
Beth Hyde Thank you for the wisdom, friends! [and thank you for allowing me to call you 'friend'!] and for those of you who said anything remotely close to, "hang out with people", you are now on my speed dial.

12.23.2009

December 23, 2009

we were in a downtown community, and there was a parade going on! it was sponsored by Disney, and everything was free.

i was walking up and down the street, visiting vendors, and i come upon a stage set up for a band.

the Key, a band from Mercer, gets up and plays. and then Mac Powell, the lead singer from Third Day sings a song that was really familiar to me, and that I told myself in my dream that I should learn how to sing, but I can't figure it out. And then, I get up on stage with--i think--the New City band, and we rock it. And it was awesome.

and then the community turned into a house, and I went upstairs, and there were wrought iron fixtures and stuff, and i was climbing all over them, and...that's all i remember.

12.19.2009

david

i was reading the Bible today: a few psalms from yesterday that i didn't finish, and the part of the history of Israel where God tells David that one of his sons will make a temple for God.

and i wonder about how Israelites viewed david. and how he was translated to a messiah figure.

they sure exalted him to a pretty prominent position in their hearts, memorizing psalms about him and his struggles, about how God favored him, and about how God would bring rightness to the world through his lineage.

it makes me think of Bono or Mac Powell or any number of "Christian" artists.

maybe even Amy Grant, whose "unforgivable sin" plunged her from musical fame ten years back.

why hasn't she been forgiven, and yet, David has, and we base so much of our faith on him?

we are always looking for idols or people to live up to, because we are too lazy, busy, or cowardly to live big and live our dreams ourselves.

was it the people's realization that we are always looking for something bigger than ourselves that caused the outward turn towards believing that God had a Messiah for us? the knowledge that our hearts yearn for completion and God's favor?

curious.

12.17.2009

procrastination

something in this called to me.

http://thewaysheseesitintexas.wordpress.com/2009/11/14/psychology-of-a-failure/

my parents were never druggies and always gave me plenty of attention, but i wonder how i got to be who i am...in some ways, i am amazed at the similarities between my heart and this girl's.

Dreams

occasionally, like many people, i have some crazy dream, and i remember it after i wake up. sometimes they are funny, sometimes they are sad, sometimes they are just really weird.

i figured it might be fun to log them. so i think i may on this blog. it could be dlog blog. :) get it? a dream log blog? haha. anyways.

starting off last night's dream...

ACT 1

I am in a school. It might be my highschool. If so, I'm on the front hall, but there are lockers. There aren't usually lockers. And there is a bathroom. With a window in it, facing the hall, without blinds (i know! crappy planning on their part)...i really have to pee, so i ignore that fact and go anyway, and then there is a guy looking in the window. i get pissed off (haha, no pun intended, but that was a funny one) and i go tell him off. (i think he's the guy in the STOMPFEST flier i'm working on...the one i need a good picture of and Cara hasn't provided me one yet) I don't remember how that one ends.

ACT 2

I am back in the bathroom. (maybe i should have gone before falling asleep?) i'm not using it, but i think the purpose is to transition me from my school, to a room in some sort of hotel/condo/apartment complex to which this bathroom belongs. there is a couch in the room i walk into. wooden floors, a desk, it's all very nice. there is also a back deck and huuuuuuge windows lining the back wall. pretty. there is an old man smoking a cigar on the couch. i have no clue who he is.

something something, my uncle is there, we meet some people, exchange video games, and talk about all the meaningless things you talk about in dreams.

and then before i know it, uncle jeff is telling us we need to leave. now.

apparently, in an attempt to reinvent himself, he is setting fire to the building using a cigar. and he timed it just right so...blah blah blah.

(for some reason, we didn't tell him to put out the cigar. DON'T MAKE FUN! THIS IS MY SILLY DREAM!)

and we jump in a car and drive away, fast! but not before waiting outside for what seems like forever...i think we were waiting for my mom.

anyway. we're in the car and we speeeeed down the road, which looks like we're going west on walnut street in downtown macon...and i tell him that if he is trying to lose some one, we should hit the interstate. at which point the roads become hallways in a really big house and we are evading these women who look like they are looking for someone (presumably us).

and then my mom shows up with a bag of batteries and tells me i need to replace all the batteries in the house with these already-used batteries because they were linked to uncle jeff and noone would think to look at our toys and appliances for evidence.

so all of them go off somewhere (i think the little boys had joined us by now, and much like in real life, would not sit still) and i am holding a bag of batteries.

and one of the women comes in the room and says, "hey, look at that bag of batteries!" and i'm like, "yea, what of it? i have [magically appearing] unused batteries and a whole collection of rubber stamps in the bag, too!"

and she's like, "hmmmmmm suspicious" and i break down and i'm like, "ah, i'm so sorry, i'm so so sorry, it was my uncle jeff and he's over there and i don't know what's going on, it was like this crazy attempt to fix life and waaaah..."

and the lady is like, "it's no big deal, we found the cigar before it caught too many things on fire. your uncle is just going to have to pay for the damage."

and then i woke up.

hahahaha.

Psalm 15

Who Shall Dwell on Your Holy Hill?
A Psalm of David.

O LORD,who shall sojourn in your tent?
Who shall dwell on your holy hill?

He who walks blamelessly and does what is right
and speaks truth in his heart;

who does not slander with his tongue
and does no evil to his neighbor,
nor takes up a reproach against his friend;

in whose eyes a vile person is despised,
but who honors those who fear the LORD;

who swears to his own hurt and does not change;

who does not put out his money at interest
and does not take a bribe against the innocent.

He who does these things shall never be moved.

12.16.2009

"Seven Blunders of the World"

1. Wealth without work

2. Pleasure without conscience

3. Knowledge without character

4. Commerce without morality

5. Science without humanity

6. Worship without sacrifice

7. Politics without principle


—Mahatma Gandhi

12.14.2009

entertaining

yesterday, after church, a woman came up to me and told me that i was very entertaining to watch.

and my heart stopped.

it was totally conflicted with how to respond.

i can't really say "thank God", because she totally wasn't saying it helped her worship; just that it was fun to watch.

and saying, "thank you", would imply that, yes, i am up there to entertain you.

and then i couldn't help but second-guess what i do on sunday mornings and why i am up there.

part of me does like to entertain. i am a people pleaser, and i love seeing people smile and hearing them laugh...how much of that is translated into when i play on a stage in front of 100+ people?

and i want to say, "nothing".

i hope i can.

i don't play or sing or dance to entertain, ever.

i do it because my heart feels it, and i want other peoples' hearts to feel it, too.

and my heart feels it because i want to be close to this big God. the things that we sing about, the drive, the emotions, the calling and the draw, it's all real. and i don't understand it. i don't know what it means, but my heart beats to express it.

and all i want is to help people feel the same way.

but i wonder if my freedom in this context is distracting. i wonder if i should re-evaluate how i lead worship.

because i know that my heart is a liar,
and sometimes i don't really know why i do what i do.

but i want God to be made known.

because bethhyde is just a punk kid, and her memory will not last but a few more years.

but God?

He's big, with big plans.

12.13.2009

spiritual

today, as i was in bed, telling myself to get up,

somewhere in between being awake and asleep,

i was reminded that all of my pulling away
has been
because i don't like how "being spiritual" makes me feel.

it makes me feel good.

reading the Bible,
having good things to say,
doing things right.

so i stopped all that.

and now i feel awful.

but i don't want to pick up "being spiritual" again in that manner.

i want something life changing
new
fresh
hard to handle
unwavering
undeniably real
and unregrettably radical.

i don't want to just live how i live and sprinkle a little Jesus on it.

i want the whole thing.

12.12.2009

braindump

i was flipping through some sheets of paper looking for chords to some songs that we will be playing at new city this weekend, and i found a letter that i started to write my mom a year ago. since coming to college, she felt like my beliefs and ideals had changed drastically and that she didn't know who i was or what i believe, and that i needed to write her a letter. so i attempted to, and apparently never finished and subsequently never gave it to her. i have been in a throw-away-anything-that-you-don't-need kick, so i wanted to toss those pages, but i also wanted to chronicle those thoughts, which you may have seen on here in one way or another.

as always, your thoughts and opinions are important to me; i definitely don't have everything ironed out and seek to learn more. :) so, hurrr.

Dear Mom,

You wanted a letter about what I think and what I believe. This year has been really hard on me. I feel like I've been pulled in all sorts of directions. I think a lot of it is actually depression, but whatever. I've been pulled around, and while in some areas I feel perhaps I've taken two steps back, I know that it is for the better and one day I'll be able to help other people through my struggles with religion, politics, and cultural standing in the eyes of others. Without further ado:

Religion

Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of everything every religion and every person has ever hoped for. He is completion, joy, restoration and hope. Oh! and Truth and Love. Right now, I cannot say that people are going to Hell physically, but that without Christ, we have no choice but to follow our weird passions and ideas--and those are inherently evil (the absence of God) and we can't help but to succumb to a helpless life --> hell on earth. Hell in our hearts. There are many "Christian" who live with Hell in their hearts. J.C. said in john 17: "this is eternal life: that you know God and that you know that one whom he has sent." Knowing God through the understanding provided by Jesus Christ allows us to live love, life, joy and home. Every religion is like a reflection in a broken mirror. They have aspects of God, but cannot fully identify His bigness. Even Judaism and Christianity have stuff missing--God is too big for our Holy Book or traditions; HOWEVER, I believe the Jude0-Christian faith is the most complete out of all the world religions as I mentioned earlier, because Jesus is the completion of everything God ever promised. Muslims who are truly seeking God run into Jesus. The only thing bad about Islam is the emphasis on personal works and duty and submission (okay, that comment was short-sighted. there is a bit that i think is wrong or weird with Islam...) but I think it is wrong and straight up weird that as Christians, we pick sides and say, "Oh my God, you believe in Allah, you're going to Hell," when we are/were on that same path. I feel like we have a fear and anger and disgust directed to their Culture. And I think that wasn't instilled by God, but by our government, which trickled down through church leadership that encourages it's people to vote on 2 key matters rather than an all-encompassing platforms, which leads me to talk about politics!

Politics

As I just mentioned, people take sides. It's what we do. It's how we're wired. One group is good. One group is bad. It's why we have sports. I rooted for this boxer and he won--yeaa!! People get more concerned about winning than about what's at stake.

Whoever yells the longest and loudest and brainwashes the most people into thinking he'll lead this country into goodness and awesomeness and favor--with man and with God--wins. But that depends on perspective. There is no way we can know who "we" are "putting into office". We don't know their true character.

Ummm. Don't get me wrong. I love America. I love the people who think they're doing a good thing over there. I just think we can do so much more. We need to stand up against the idea that one man and his close companions can provide us the "change" that we need to have a well-run country. We need to have an active part in the inner runnings of the U.S. as we can incite change within ourselves. I think that when we step up and are active in our lives and in the lives of others, it isn't going to matter if abortions or gay marriages are legal. People fully cognizant of the love and grace of God through the encouragement and tutelage of their brothers and sisters will understand the fullness and extent of God's love--and that doesn't mean unrestricted freedom, but rather pure love and freedom rooted in Romans 15.

Freedom rooted in pure love.

This may sound well put together [like I know what I'm talking about and I will stick to it always], but there is a lot I'm still working and struggling through.
And that was it. All I wrote. Wow, that was a lot to type.

12.11.2009

Get Me Right

by Dashboard Confessional

I made my slow way home
Limping on broken bones
Out of the thickest pine
Across the county lines
On to your wooden stairs
I know you can repair
I know you've seen the light
I know you'll get me right

Right
Right
Right

I own a sinners heart
I know the rain falls hard
I know the currency
I know the things you'll need
I hope he hears my prayers
I see you cut your hair
I know the saving type
I know you'll get me right

Right
Right
Right

But, Jesus I've fallen
I don't mind the rain if
I meet my maker
I'll meet my maker clean

But, Jesus the truth is
I've struggled so hard to believe
I'll meet my maker
I'll need my maker

To cure of my doubting blood
And drain me of the sins I love
And take from me my disbelief
I know it should come easily
But it remains inside of me
It battles and devours me
It cuddles up the side of me
And whispers it convinces me I'm

Right
Right
Right
Right
Right
Right
Right
Right
Right
Right
Right

(Youtube Vid)

12.06.2009

i am tired of fighting.

i wish it wasn't so easy to forget who i am and who i can be.

i wish this world didn't offer these things that are so tempting.

i wish that i didn't want to experience everything and that just hearing someone tell me what is right would make me want to do it.

i wish that it was easier to feel like i fit in with people who love God.

i wish that it wasn't such a struggle to choose between fleeting pleasures and a big God.

i wish that God was more tangible and that it wasn't so hard to make myself pursue Him.




i may be tired,

but

i hope that i never give up and stop fighting.

i have made concessions.

i regret losing ground.

i want to be a picture of Love and redemption, peace and joy.

but today i feel tired.

i want Jesus.

i want to know what that means.

12.05.2009

goes together better than a horse and carriage.

in an age of pre-nups and 24-hr marriages, what is marriage supposed to look like?

or love, for that matter?

we have this vague sort of "the one" pipe dream that permeates our culture, coupled with a yearning for instant gratification and a growing trend in selfish tendencies (think Christmas = consumerism, how abortion is a big enough issue that we have to vote on it, and the sheer number of those who are poor and homeless, not only because they may selfishly seek to fulfill their addictions, but because there is no God-centered help from them on the other side, just Christmas shoppers paying them a dollar to get out of their face...).

how does this affect love and marriage?

what is love? when you love someone, what does that look like?

all sorts of things, right?

hours of text messages or talking on the phone. little notes in lunchboxes or on car windows. gifts and dates. completing favors. cooking dinner. gushing about them to friends and family. pictures together. inside jokes. finding you are mimicking them even when you don't mean to. planned trips. impromptu trips. deep conversations about what you like and dislike and what they like and dislike. learning about them. about their faith. about their life and why they are who they are. about their dreams. dreaming for them, especially when they feel like they can't do it themselves. changing a godforsaken soiled diaper or the puked-up sheets in the middle of the night. sharing your favorite things with them. delighting in their favorite things that they share with you. learning new things together. winning games. losing games. being right. being wrong.

all that warm fuzzy stuff.

but we all know that after a while, that warm fuzzy stuff isn't enough to carry a relationship by itself, because we get busy or distracted, or irritated by the things we once found cute, or maybe we become insecure in the relationship and push everyone away because we can't handle the thought of losing someone on their terms and not ours.

so what carries us?

if love is so big, surely that means we only just defined part of it in our list, above.

love is the hard things, too.

love is giving up what we want most because it will be better for other people. it is telling them "no" when you know their actions will hurt themselves or others in the long run. sometimes it is telling them "no" when all you really want to do is say "yes". love is refusing to pour another drink or buy them a pack of cigarettes, and sometimes it is forgoing that piece of cake because their health matters more. it is meeting their needs and putting them above yours. it is refusing comfort in order to teach them--and to learn yourself--how to live a better life. it is accepting that they will never be just like you, and they will never meet all of your expectations, and sometimes they will hurt your feelings.

and sometimes it will hurt like hell.

and sometimes you will just be disinterested.

but something holds you together.

something bound you at the heart.

it is love.

"If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first,"
Doesn't fly off the handle,
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn't revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.

When I was an infant at my mother's breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.

We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!

But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love." (1 Cor 13, the Message)

i desire to love fully. to love God fully, to love others fully, and to one day love a lover fully.

to be characterized by love, and to be known and make God known as Love.

to be inseparable from Him and He from me.

to be one.

better than a horse and carriage.

12.04.2009

What If Jesus Meant All That Stuff?

What If Jesus Meant All That Stuff? by Shane Claiborne

To all my nonbelieving, sort-of-believing, and used-to-be-believing friends: I feel like I should begin with a confession. I am sorry that so often the biggest obstacle to God has been Christians. Christians who have had so much to say with our mouths and so little to show with our lives. I am sorry that so often we have forgotten the Christ of our Christianity.

Forgive us. Forgive us for the embarrassing things we have done in the name of God.

The other night I headed into downtown Philly for a stroll with some friends from out of town. We walked down to Penn's Landing along the river, where there are street performers, artists, musicians. We passed a great magician who did some pretty sweet tricks like pour change out of his iPhone, and then there was a preacher. He wasn't quite as captivating as the magician. He stood on a box, yelling into a microphone, and beside him was a coffin with a fake dead body inside. He talked about how we are all going to die and go to hell if we don't know Jesus.

Some folks snickered. Some told him to shut the hell up. A couple of teenagers tried to steal the dead body in the coffin. All I could do was think to myself, I want to jump up on a box beside him and yell at the top of my lungs, "God is not a monster." Maybe next time I will.

The more I have read the Bible and studied the life of Jesus, the more I have become convinced that Christianity spreads best not through force but through fascination. But over the past few decades our Christianity, at least here in the United States, has become less and less fascinating. We have given the atheists less and less to disbelieve. And the sort of Christianity many of us have seen on TV and heard on the radio looks less and less like Jesus.

At one point Gandhi was asked if he was a Christian, and he said, essentially, "I sure love Jesus, but the Christians seem so unlike their Christ." A recent study showed that the top three perceptions of Christians in the U. S. among young non-Christians are that Christians are 1) antigay, 2) judgmental, and 3) hypocritical. So what we have here is a bit of an image crisis, and much of that reputation is well deserved. That's the ugly stuff. And that's why I begin by saying that I'm sorry.

Now for the good news.

I want to invite you to consider that maybe the televangelists and street preachers are wrong — and that God really is love. Maybe the fruits of the Spirit really are beautiful things like peace, patience, kindness, joy, love, goodness, and not the ugly things that have come to characterize religion, or politics, for that matter. (If there is anything I have learned from liberals and conservatives, it's that you can have great answers and still be mean... and that just as important as being right is being nice.)

The Bible that I read says that God did not send Jesus to condemn the world but to save it... it was because "God so loved the world." That is the God I know, and I long for others to know. I did not choose to devote my life to Jesus because I was scared to death of hell or because I wanted crowns in heaven... but because he is good. For those of you who are on a sincere spiritual journey, I hope that you do not reject Christ because of Christians. We have always been a messed-up bunch, and somehow God has survived the embarrassing things we do in His name. At the core of our "Gospel" is the message that Jesus came "not [for] the healthy... but the sick." And if you choose Jesus, may it not be simply because of a fear of hell or hope for mansions in heaven.

Don't get me wrong, I still believe in the afterlife, but too often all the church has done is promise the world that there is life after death and use it as a ticket to ignore the hells around us. I am convinced that the Christian Gospel has as much to do with this life as the next, and that the message of that Gospel is not just about going up when we die but about bringing God's Kingdom down. It was Jesus who taught us to pray that God's will be done "on earth as it is in heaven." On earth.

One of Jesus' most scandalous stories is the story of the Good Samaritan. As sentimental as we may have made it, the original story was about a man who gets beat up and left on the side of the road. A priest passes by. A Levite, the quintessential religious guy, also passes by on the other side (perhaps late for a meeting at church). And then comes the Samaritan... you can almost imagine a snicker in the Jewish crowd. Jews did not talk to Samaritans, or even walk through Samaria. But the Samaritan stops and takes care of the guy in the ditch and is lifted up as the hero of the story. I'm sure some of the listeners were ticked. According to the religious elite, Samaritans did not keep the right rules, and they did not have sound doctrine... but Jesus shows that true faith has to work itself out in a way that is Good News to the most bruised and broken person lying in the ditch.

It is so simple, but the pious forget this lesson constantly. God may indeed be evident in a priest, but God is just as likely to be at work through a Samaritan or a prostitute. In fact the Scripture is brimful of God using folks like a lying prostitute named Rahab, an adulterous king named David... at one point God even speaks to a guy named Balaam through his donkey. Some say God spoke to Balaam through his ass and has been speaking through asses ever since. So if God should choose to use us, then we should be grateful but not think too highly of ourselves. And if upon meeting someone we think God could never use, we should think again.

After all, Jesus says to the religious elite who looked down on everybody else: "The tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the Kingdom ahead of you." And we wonder what got him killed?

I have a friend in the UK who talks about "dirty theology" — that we have a God who is always using dirt to bring life and healing and redemption, a God who shows up in the most unlikely and scandalous ways. After all, the whole story begins with God reaching down from heaven, picking up some dirt, and breathing life into it. At one point, Jesus takes some mud, spits in it, and wipes it on a blind man's eyes to heal him. (The priests and producers of anointing oil were not happy that day.)

In fact, the entire story of Jesus is about a God who did not just want to stay "out there" but who moves into the neighborhood, a neighborhood where folks said, "Nothing good could come." It is this Jesus who was accused of being a glutton and drunkard and rabble-rouser for hanging out with all of society's rejects, and who died on the imperial cross of Rome reserved for bandits and failed messiahs. This is why the triumph over the cross was a triumph over everything ugly we do to ourselves and to others. It is the final promise that love wins.

It is this Jesus who was born in a stank manger in the middle of a genocide. That is the God that we are just as likely to find in the streets as in the sanctuary, who can redeem revolutionaries and tax collectors, the oppressed and the oppressors... a God who is saving some of us from the ghettos of poverty, and some of us from the ghettos of wealth.

In closing, to those who have closed the door on religion — I was recently asked by a non-Christian friend if I thought he was going to hell. I said, "I hope not. It will be hard to enjoy heaven without you." If those of us who believe in God do not believe God's grace is big enough to save the whole world... well, we should at least pray that it is.

Your brother,

Shane


Posted using ShareThis

Psalm 19

The Law of the LORD Is Perfect

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

1 The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
2 Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
3 There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.
4 Their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
In them he has set a tent for the sun,
5 which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
6Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
and its circuit to the end of them,
and there is nothing hidden from its heat.

7 The law of the LORD is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the LORD is sure,
making wise the simple;
8 the precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the LORD is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
9the fear of the LORD is clean,
enduring forever;
the rules of the LORD are true,
and righteous altogether.
10More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb.
11Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward
.

12 Who can discern his errors?
Declare me innocent from hidden faults.
13 Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins;
let them not have dominion over me!
Then I shall be blameless,
and innocent of great transgression.

14Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

12.01.2009

David and Jonathan

i feel wicked.

just plain rotten.

for so many reasons.

i have a paper due tomorrow,
and homework,
and another project due next week,
and i am sick,
and we just got done traveling,
and i was talking with a friend tonight,
and a whole bunch of things came up there, too.

mostly about not knowing how long or to what end my friendships will last,
that i have decided that am waiting, indefinitely, for a man who might never come or even exist,
that i don't have many close friends at all, (and if that reflects poorly on my ability to let my guard down and fully connect with other people)
and that love is fun, but i don't understand it.

abigal.
nabal.
david.
jonathan.

i could tell you all sorts of things that are running through my head.

wondering if i will ever sort through any of it.

and i am cut to the heart
because God wants to be seen through all of it
and i realize that
my pain is because i look at it so small
and i feel like i am owed
friendship
love
emotional, spiritual, and physical affection

which i am not owed any of these things.
i am not guaranteed them.

God in His love promises
His friendship,
His love, and
His affection.

and the pursuit of anything less than that is sin and idolatry,
chasing after addictions,
and grasping at the wind.

11.20.2009

...and let none of his words fall to the ground.

First Samuel 1-3 today.

Looking at women yearning to be mothers,
priests being arrogant and worthless,
God granting prayers to those who seek Him,
and condemning people who say they love Him--but their lives don't reflect it.

Young men who have been dedicated to God,
and who live and serve,
and hear God's voice,
and are favored by God and man.

My heart turns in my chest when I think about the life of someone totally following God.
To hear His voice
and to act on it,
to never waver on emotion or ever-changing worldly expectations,
but to know
that God wants this world
to be whole
in Him,

and seeking that,
not just for ourselves,
or for one day far away,
but for all of the world.
here.

one of the passages in 1 Sam 3 says that as Samuel grew, the LORD was with him, and let none of his words fall to the ground.

what he said came true.

because he spoke truth.

my heart aches to be an honorable woman.

11.15.2009

vanity

today,

pastor keith at new city church downtown talked about the book of ecclesiastes,

and about how the fool chases things that cannot satisfy with no thought of tomorrow or of common sense, and how the one who professes wisdom will never be satisfied because there is always more to learn or to acquire.

granted, Solomon says, the wise often live better lives than the foolish,

but in the end,
we both have the same fate,
as we all die,
and are forgotten,
and our efforts to be heard and satisfied in the world will be lost.

for a while now, i have felt the need to feel God through the highs and lows of life.

even throwing sense to the side, and chasing emotions or other such drivel in hopes to find God at the very base of those feelings, things, or events.

in fact, i think that's where the title of my blog comes from.

today, however, i began to wonder what that meant, and if i was wrong to think like that. I don't think i'm wrong to think that God meets us at our hearts, since He gave them to

is it that God meets us in the pure emotion that we experience,
or is it that we seek to meet God as He is, and He will fill us with those emotions?

Do you see the difference I'm trying to draw out here?

On the one hand, one might say, "I want to feel drunk with God's love."

Well, what is drunk?

And you go out and experience physical drunkenness in hopes that it will help you understand God better, or to feel Him differently.

But is that wise? Is that how our spirits work?

Or maybe one might think, "Sex was given to us to enjoy and also as a picture of God and the Church."

and so, in an effort to understand, we may create a scenario in which we feel and relate to another person in a physically sexual manner, making our own rules and guidelines according to how we feel or how we think we tick.

But is that wise? Is that how our spirits work?

rather than going to God first and being filled with Him, and letting His Spirit take us to those highs and lows.

I hate to say it, but it's like we've put the cart before the horse.

I've put the cart before the horse.

It's curious.

I believe that God meets us at our emotions,
but our emotions are fallible.
Our hearts yearn for things that are not right.
And yet, we give them such a prominent place in our hearts.
We seek conventional wisdom,
we seek emotion,
we seek wholeness in food, entertainment, toys, money, sex, attention, and our abilities...

So the challenge is this--in desiring to live a life that matters, we must define our lives by something that doesn't change and will not let us down, and will in fact fulfill us, and that is God.

And in pursuing Him, and being pursued by Him, we must believe and trust that He will give us answers to our thoughts and emotions--answers that are based in Him and in Truth, not in our always unstable hearts and emotions.

and we will be fulfilled, not just today, but eternally.

11.14.2009

lord of the covenant

Typically, if I said that phrase, it would be with joy and awe.

Mostly because it describes a God that I want to know and love better.

But today, that title is colored differently. Instead of talking about a true God who defines His covenant with us in Himself--with a love that surpasses our ability to make Him happy (read: that He loves us despite what we bring Him, and that we should bring Him our best because we love Him, not because we want Him to love us...)--this title is given to Baal-berith, one of the many gods Israel ran after in its early days, after Gideon died.

Baal-Berith.

Just one of the many gods. Israel lived an up and down rollercoaster of pride and then shame, as each judge or prophet came and went. When their leader, or icon of spiritual direction passed away, they resorted to something comfortable and understandable--namely, the gods of nearby pagan communities. In this case, Baal-Berith.

I looked up Baal-Berith on Wikipedia, and two things struck me.

1.) The meaning of his name
2.) The Christian culture that takes names in the Bible and creates silly stories from them.

I've already kinda talked about his name, but more than the fact that it attributes something to a not-god that is typically really cool and associated with the real God, I found it interesting that Wikipedia mentioned how crazy Jews were about this cult, often carrying around a gold image of a fly in their pocket, which they would pull out and kiss from time to time.

A fly.

And they would kiss it.

Gross.

And then the whole Christian culture thing. I think it's amazing how some traditions in the church (note, not capitalized, not God's Church, but rather the institution initiated by man) take names and words in the Bible and create whole stories from them, complete with personalities and mythologies.

Attributing sins and issues with demons of the same name. Who comes up with this stuff, and who believes it? I think it's crazy. I'm pretty sure that would be classified as chasing "myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith" (First Timothy 1).

It makes me wonder what idols we carry around, giving it a name, thinking it is worth following and hanging onto, revering it and respecting it, hoping it will provide us with blessings and health, love and freedom, but they are just worthless ideas and broken reflections of the real God.

And how we make up stories to explain things away, rather than following God whole-heartedly and leaning in to hear His teaching.

kissing flies. ugh.

11.12.2009

church marquees

i feel like i have been silent for a little while; i'm sorry if all my posts have had the same theme, but i'm not really sorry, it's been a cool learning experience.

for those of you who don't know, i commute to Macon everyday for school and work. On my way, i pass no fewer than 7 churches. one way that i keep myself occupied is by checking their marquees to see if they have any pithy, Christianese sayings.

sometimes they make no sense, or at least border on being really silly.

"who wants to be a Christianaire?"
"wrinkled with a burden? drop in for a faith-lift"
"forbidden fruit leads to spiritual jams"
"heavenly forcast: reign forever"

sometimes they are offensive.

"stop, drop and roll don't work in hell"
"want to get to heaven? turn right and keep straight"

and sometimes, there is the rare gem,

"god is doing something good"


there is a whole slew of pithy sayings. some good, some not-so-much.

in the past month, three on the way to macon have struck me.

one blankly and blatantly queried: "how honest are you?"
the second encouraged, "somebody, somewhere is praying for you"
the third warned, "if not today, when?"

i have always been a liar. sometimes i'm really good at it. sometimes, i'm so good at it that i pretend to not be good at it and so people think that i'm not good at it. sometimes, i'm not good at it at all. and sometimes i can't tell which one it is.

but that post irritated me. how honest am i? i knew, everytime i drove by it, that my fallacies would be again brought to the surface. but it encouraged me to reconsider how honest i really am, and to try to actually keep truth as a focus in my life. Truth is something that i value, and i shouldn't change who i am or what i say because i want people to like me. that is ridiculous.

the second sign didn't quite bother me, i mean it was nice!

to think that despite it all, despite all the pain and failures i experience and sometimes even cause, things that i feel like i don't have anyone to talk to or share with, someone, somewhere is praying for me.

that seems like just a hopeful statement.

sorta like, "shoot for the moon, because if you fail, you'll land among the stars!"
or, "it's okay, you'll get them next time".

you know, comments that have no backing, you just say them to make yourself feel better.

but everytime i saw that sign, my heart warmed at the thought that someone, somewhere, that loves me, was thinking about me at that time. maybe it was just the person that put the sign up. who knows?

it felt good.

lastly, if not today, when? silly to think that sign encouraged me to live life fully this past month. not like it did alone, but it made me reconsider the secrets that i hide and the laziness that i live in. if not today, when will you talk to your friends? if not today, when will you perform your school work or work work excellently? if not today, when will you watch your little brothers and read them stories with joy? when?

moral of the story:
church marquees only suck when i don't like them. how's that for a double standard?

11.09.2009

the weight of glory

"Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased."
(The Weight of Glory by C.S. Lewis - Preached originally as a sermon in the Church of St Mary the Virgin, Oxford, on June 8, 1942: published in THEOLOGY, November, 1941, and by the S.P.C.K, 1942...http://www.doxaweb.com/assets/doxa.pdf)

My foolish heart aches.

I know what I want.

But it isn't mine to have.

And I flit on the line, dreaming dreams that aren't mine, weaving stories that will not come to pass, and imaging fantasies where none of this matters.

But escape from reality is not good.

Casting out all I know for what I feel is dangerous and silly.

It is with everything in life.

Friends.
Jobs.
Toys.
Money.
Comfort.
Food.
Convictions.
Love.
Faith.

I am far too easily pleased.

11.08.2009

good weekend.

that moon song
by gregory alan isakov

the tail lights burn red
they were hotter than hell
and i’ve been long gone couldn’t you tell

the smoke in the air
couldn’t hide my shame
saw it lit up on that silver screen

and ahh that full bellied moon she’s a shinin on me
yeah she pulls on this heart like she pulls on the sea

and you came on strong like some running wave
and your beauty left me broke and hungry
left me begging to the birds for a bone or an offering
left me saying nothin, nothin, like i always say

and ahh that full bellied moon she’s a shinin on me
yeah she pulls on this heart like she pulls on the sea

and those broken hearted lovers,
they got nothing on me

11.02.2009

schoolbuses.

i used to haaaaate taking the school bus to school.

i didn't fit in with the people who rode it regularly, although i'm pretty sure i tried my darndest to make connections and somehow create a more pleasant ride for all of us.

it was like, all the people whose parents didn't have time for them; the misfits, the rejects, the kids who later, as i look back, got into drugs or got pregnant or dropped out.



this morning around 6:50, our doorbell rang.

akeel, the boy next door, was standing outside.

"hey, i missed the bus, i was wondering if you weren't too busy, if maybe you could take me to school"

i know he saw me look over at my textbook on the kitchen table. i'm pretty sure he saw me furrow my brow, seriously torn.

"you really, i mean, if you're busy..."

and i stuttered some lame excuse, "i...man, um...i'm really...busy right now, trying to get some work done..."

work that I had put off for the past week, but had reserved this morning to complete.

and when he turned around and said, "i understand, thanks anyway,"

something,
inside my heart,
kicked me.

you. [jerkface].

you've already recieved your high school diploma.
you've already received your bachelors in engineering.
you can pardon one homework assignment.
if you don't take him, who will?
and if they take him, when?
he may get to class late, or may not try to get there at all.
and you're passing up an opportunity to show him that education is important.

so i called out.

"hey, man! i gotcha, just a sec."

and i drove akeel to school,
and i asked him what his favorite subject is,
and he said math,
and i said, "hey cool! i'm studying engineering, and you need math for that! isn't it fun? it's like solving puzzles, and sometimes you have to step back and look at the whole picture..."

and we talked about how he plays football, and how he is to graduate in 2012.

and i dropped him off, and he didn't look back at the car.

i can't help but hope that one day he will, and that maybe it will encourage him to pursue knowledge. not just intellectual, but of God.

11.01.2009

on love and love lost.

don't worry, i'm not feeling too incredibly emo currently, i just needed someone to dump this on.

i was looking at a...friend's...facebook page.

i still don't know what to call her. you would think as much as i talk about her, i would have this figured out by now. ex friend?

it's not like i hate her, we just...i just...ummm...

either way, we don't talk or hang out anymore because of something i did.

and i was just checking her page, looking to see if she had plans for post-graduation studies yet, and saw her interactions with another friend.

and i missed her. and i missed our playful banter.

and so i felt sad. the twinge of pain in your heart, you know?

but that is all.

i think i'm good.

thanks for listening.

10.27.2009

more relationship stuff.

my little sister is very wise.

10.25.2009

yearn

i have been listening to a wide array of music lately.

part of me feels good; i'm engaging the opportunities and world around me...the smart and gifted and talented people that have poured out their hearts to share what they do and feel.

but part of me feels so sad inside.

their words make me long for love and attention, but mostly physical affection.
my wide-eyes and soft heart are led astray by their erring words.
they turn my eyes toward things that cannot satisfy and will not fill.
they cram my heart with dreams and ideas that make me sorrowful in the end.

the music is excellent.
their voices are immaculate.
but the stories, the pain...

the constant outpouring and drive for acceptance...

sometimes it makes me sick.

bad thoughts in my head; it's not focusing on what is pure and right and holy.

sometimes i feel like i'm just dumb or overly emotional because i cannot listen all the way through.

i want to be wholly focused on the good in the world.
on the right way to live.
on the right way to love.

and many musicians are lost and floundering just like us.
because they can put how they feel into music doesn't make them more enlightened than the rest of us.

there is a truth and a freedom that can sit in our hearts.
that can provide us a way to live beyond ourselves.
that can make a difference in the world.

i like music that runs that constant mantra through my head.

not that love sucks and we are lost.
because we are.
but there is a better way.

10.23.2009

SUGAR


Holy Cow.

Don't look now,
but I'm totally posting something that I think is FUNNY.

I can't remember the last time I did that.

HAHAHAHA

10.22.2009

pollution

Numbers 35:33-34

"You shall not pollute the land in which you live, for blood pollutes the land, and no atonement can be made for the land for the blood that is shed in it, except by the blood of the one who shed it. You shall not defile the land in which you live, in the midst of which I dwell, for I the LORD dwell in the midst of the people of Israel."

Talking about providing refuge for people who killed another unintentionally. (For context, our reading today was Numbers 35-36)

And as I read the two verses, above, I couldn't help but question our thoughts on abortion and war.

In my mind, abortion is a small representation of how our land views life.
Instant gratification and no visible consequences that directly affect me.
these verses also make me wonder about war; how does the shedding of the blood of war have an impact on a nation?

I could go on and on about industrialized agriculture and how it is killing us.
About how, in order for us to have the type of food that we want, when we want it on our kitchen shelf, we have separated ourselves from the way that life works. We have sped up life processes so that we can live in a way that makes us happy. But I think it's killing us.

And one day, the land is going to need a break.
and we will be sick and dying,
and we will wonder where God is.

But as much as He tries to let us see Him,
it's hard to catch a glimpse when we've surrounded ourselves with the things that we have made;
when we ignore His hand in our lives and our world;
when we insist that we have the wisdom -- the knowledge of good and evil --
when we don't realize it is determined outside of us
...that it is determined by Him.

Because the earth, it weeps at its rape.
it awaits a savior,
because we are too busy living our own lives
to be willing to be held accountable
for the blood that is on our hands.

10.20.2009

faith, hope, and klove

i listen to the radio in my little beat up '93 toyota corolla.

the presets on my radio are:
1 - 88.9 - Family Life Radio (Mostly talking now a days; don't listen too much)
2 - 93.3 - The Fish (An Atlanta station; doesn't come in very clearly)
3 - 102.1 - KLOVE (The point of this story; don't worry, it's a good point)
4 - 104.7 - I don't know what this one is called. It's another Jesus station.
5 - 95.1 - Today's hits.
6 - 93.7 - 15 minutes ago's hits.

but yea, i listen to mostly 102.1, unless Third Day's "Born Again" comes on (can't stand the harmony part towards the end) or any other song that drives me up the wall. we can discuss my overly critical nature later.

i even listen to their pledge drive shenanigans.

today, in the middle of their fall pledge drive, they read a letter from a woman who has four children, her house is being sold in a sherriff's sale (whatever that is) and they are just having a hard time making ends meet. regardless, she felt the call of God to give to KLOVE, so she gave ten dollars, which was hard to do.

the next day, there was $100 in her mailbox.

and the thought that ran through my head was this:
why don't i just live on the edge of faith like that my whole life?

how great would that be, to continually be trusting God; to throw our lives wastefully towards His kingdom, knowing that He is good and He will give us what we need, and that what we want is going to be what He wants.

I was convicted about how small I live; that paychecks are to be hoarded, money is to be carefully counted, and the passionate sways of a heart trying to get closer to the kingdom of God are sinful and errant.

So. not. true.

There are stories of men and women who tithe 90% of their paycheck.
There are stories of men and women who try to live on a dollar a day.
There are stories of men and women who sell all they have and give it to the poor.
There are stories of men and women who sell all they have and give it to each other.

But right now, they are just stories.

I would like to live one, please.

10.17.2009

Balaam, again!

If you've been following me for a little while, you'll know that last May I read through Numbers, and I was totally enthralled with Balaam. I even posted about him on this blog (read it here!).

And I still like Balaam a lot.

It reminds me of the power of the tongue. How it holds life and death; that the things you say either encourage or discourage others, and you can bring people up the way of life and hope, or lead them away to death and hopelessness.

Sometimes I heed that, perhaps to a fault; I worry about what I said, hoping that a joke or a comment didn't cause pain or discouragement. I want to be deliberate in casting visions and dreams for people--seeing what they can be, the potential for what they can do--and encourage them to seek that beautiful future.

Goodness knows the many times I've felt I've failed. Where people have told me I was insufficient or a let-down. And not that I get everything right, and not that I want everyone to tell me that I'm doing everything right even if I'm doing them wrong. And thinking like that leads to living small and living death.

We have a big God with big plans for the world.

And we're a part of it.

In our weakness, He is strong,
and in our strengths, He is there as well, because they are His.

Let's go do big things, because

"God is not man, that he should lie,
or a son of man, that he should change his mind.
Has he said, and will he not do it?
Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?
Behold, I received a command to bless:
he has blessed, and I cannot revoke it."

Who would deny the blessing of the LORD? He is the One who spoke it first. It is for us to hear, love, and pursue.

Be blessed, friends.

10.16.2009

death, donkeys and dogs.

is it just me, or did israel's history get really weird at and after the death of Aaron?

could it be the psychological impact on the writer of the death of a close friend and brother, that the events kinda all jumble together?

hm.

i also think it's funny that we say Balaam's donkey talked.

it makes me think of a friend who has two dogs--and actually, most any friend that has dogs that i know of does this to a certain extent, but that's another story--she makes them talk! she knows their personality, or what she projects as their personality (which is very realistic; meeting the dogs, they definitely seem to act exactly how she says they will...almost always), and she'll speak as if the dogs is speaking...like in their voice.

and so i can't help but think of that as i read about Balaam; who is to say the donkey spoke audibly, but that it was in the softness of Balaam's heart and his connection with the nature and character of a long-love and trusted pet that he heard the warning.

i say this not to discount my elementary sunday school teachers or to deny the truth in the Bible; on the contrary, this makes faith much more exciting for me, because that means God can speak to me, too, and that He does, and i just have to learn how to listen better.

maybe He'll speak to me through a dog.

i hope not, though.

they are stinky.

10.15.2009

numbers 18-20

part of a priest's job description was to become unclean in the process of providing spiritual cleanliness for the person providing the sacrifice.

if, under the new covenant, the veil is torn, and we are priests,
why are we putting our own holiness continually over providing and encouraging the holiness of the people around us?

it was uncleanliness for a day in exchange for bringing someone a little closer to God.

10.09.2009

books

i stepped into my room today.
well, my old room.
i was grabbing a text book so i can do some work on kenya stuff,
and i was flipping through pages, and when looked up from the book, i glanced at my bookshelf.

i have a lot of books.

some i've read, many i haven't.

but still, i've read quite a few books.

and it made me wonder how much of my thoughts are mine,

and how much are from the world around me.

and also, how much are ours...that God lays on the hearts of His people at the same time in various ways.

and then i was reading in the Bible about the jealousy offering, and couldn't help but wonder how much of our lives are mystical, and how much divine interaction we ignore.

you have this ritual that God is very, very apparently a part of. If the woman is guilty, she...I dunno. Esplodes? If she isn't, well, she's free to go and have kids. I would like to say that eating dirt isn't the sole source of infertility. The hand of God...hm. I don't know.

But hearing the voice of God and feeling His touch on our lives is not common practice.

Not to say it isn't practiced,
but we just don't think to be sensitive to the spirits in us.

Oh, to hear the voice of God and to act on it.

10.06.2009

choice.

if love isn't a choice, what hope is there for a lasting relationship?

saying it's based on attraction and infatuation,
things that may last for years,
but will never last forever.

because if you can't choose who you love,
there are 7 billion people out there who are much better than i am.
much better than who you currently love is,
and when you find them,
you know,
it's hard to choose to love who you are with.

i have broadened the argument, i understand.
choosing who you love isn't the same as choosing loyalty to the person you have committed yourself to.

i can't help but feel they are the same.

i love quickly and easily.

a lot of times, we boil love down
to how we feel when we're around the other person.
and while that's great,
love cannot be used for such selfish pleasures.
there is a greater good to live for,
there is a greater push for what should be our driving desires.

it is not filling our cup
at the throne of man,
acceptance and accolades and attention,
for us.
for ourselves.

there is something deeper,
something more profound.
something that draws us all,
a purpose and plan for the world,
that our emotions and drive to succeed and be accepted fall into.

it is to be wasted at the feet of a King,
pursuing His kingdom,
and loving all into reconciliation with Him.

finding completion in Him,
not in a relationship,
not in a business or money,
not in a hobby,
not in a single thing other than Him,
because that is idolatry.

and His Love?
it is perfect and unconditional.
we only love Him because He loved us first.
we live each day in common grace extended to mankind, because without it, we would destroy ourselves.

He chose to love us,
to waste Himself for us,
in order to fulfill the requirement to allow us to get close to and to know God.
(not to get to Heaven, not to be prosperous, but to know God. think about that.)

Love is a choice,
like everything else in life,
and that is part of what makes it so beautiful.

10.02.2009

on mothers and missiles.

if you didn't know this already,

i am adamantly pro-life,
against the death penalty,
and incredibly against war.

there are a lot of issues that arise because of the interactions of these three things. moral issues, arguments with other people, blah blah blah.

mom walked in the house this morning, looking frazzled.

i cocked my head.

"are you okay?" i asked.

"oh, i'm just really concerned about the things we know and we don't know about our government," she says.

"oh, really?" i said, knowing that i was about to hear was going to lead to upsetting one or both of us. and she goes into the whole Obama-removing-missiles-from-Poland issue. and how the people over there are scared of Russian occupation and how the Bible history says that Russia is going to be a superpower and...

i had two thoughts.
1.) if Russia is going to be a superpower, and it is the God given truth, what are the missiles in Poland going to do about it?
and
2.) i am small. we are small. i have no idea how war works, worrying about this will get us nowhere, so we should be happy now with the things that we have, and do what we can to change the things that we can.

thinking i was playing the convo intelligently, i verbalized the second point.

insert your favorite four letter word here. i fancy boat.

boat.

"what would you have done if you were around during the Holocaust? would you have said no war? when all those people were dying? you're being two faced, all anti-war and we shouldn't care about it, when you are only here because of them!"

ummmm...okay, i'm two faced.

what do you say when you believe that there is a natural order, and that God's will (here that is mostly likely to be read: "that the world should come to repentance and restoration") occurs in crappy ways sometimes and that i don't trust the government and i don't trust war and i don't trust men that i don't know (and maybe even some that i do know...) because it is God alone who is wise and loving and right. and i might be wrong, but in most of the Bible stories where people earnestly sought God re:war, He delivered them with minimal death (think Gideon).

but i respect the President. God has ordained his place in US history. As well as the lives of Roosevelt and Churchill and Hitler...i don't know if i agree with the last name, but maybe i do.

she ended up attacking my holier-than-thou-ness, my apathy, and my apparent lack of empathy for those people in Poland who might die, whereas she is the opposite, and can't help but care.

because i am not empathetic.

bullboat.

i just have enough cares in life, and i am doing what i can to make the world a better place.

and i don't know what to do to make Obama put the missiles back in Poland.

does she?

does it matter?

9.27.2009

Lover or Prostitute?

Oh, wow.

Check out this dude's words.

David Ryser


A little snippet to whet your appetite:

A number of years ago, I had the privilege of teaching at a school of ministry. My students were hungry for God, and I was constantly searching for ways to challenge them to fall more in love with Jesus and to become voices for revival in the Church. I came across a quote attributed most often to Rev. Sam Pascoe. It is a short version of the history of Christianity, and it goes like this: "Christianity started in Palestine as a fellowship; it moved to Greece and became a philosophy; it moved to Italy and became an institution; it moved to Europe and became a culture; it came to America and became an enterprise." Some of the students were only 18 or 19 years old--barely out of diapers--and I wanted them to understand and appreciate the import of the last line, so I clarified it by adding, “An enterprise. That’s a business.” After a few moments Martha, the youngest student in the class, raised her hand. I could not imagine what her question might be. I thought the little vignette was self-explanatory, and that I had performed it brilliantly. Nevertheless, I acknowledged Martha’s raised hand, “Yes, Martha.” She asked such a simple question, “A business? But isn’t it supposed to be a body?” I could not envision where this line of questioning was going, and the only response I could think of was, “Yes.” She continued, “But when a body becomes a business, isn’t that a prostitute?”
There is a lot of unpacking that follows. Wow.

red and yellow, black and white, they are all...

precious in His sight.

to consider myself precious. hm.

romantic relationships are a new thing to me. i really don't understand them in general. perhaps it is because i was shielded from that scene as a high schooler by my parents and myself. we weren't to date until we were 16, which was a great excuse for me, not that there was anyone interested in me, but it gave me something to hide behind when i was feeling insecure about my attractiveness or connection to anyone in general.

i was reading through a journal i found yesterday from the dates around my juniorish year. it is amazing how many of those destructive thoughts still circle my head, despite how far i feel i have come in the 6 years that have passed since then.

it's almost like i hate myself, and that there is nothing worth loving about me. it's like i sabotage myself and my relationships, calling people liars, that there is no way that i could ever be desirable or lovable.

but on the other hand, while i don't feel like i can be, i want to be treated like i am worth loving, worth protecting and worth defending. worth it. esteemed, respected, considered, cared for.

how sick! i don't know what it is, if it is pride, or just damage from being a broken person, but that i would pour out love over and over, be wasteful with my love from every point of my being, but cannot accept that anyone returning those feelings is doing so honestly. (i have explained at times in that it feels like any attention, affection or accolades I recieve feel like they are just a big joke that people are playing on me...that they just couldn't find something better, and that they're just putting up with me out of kindness. ha. yea, i don't understand it, either.)

i was talking to my mom about this yesterday, and she expressed that she often has struggled with the same thing, and that it has often hurt my father's feelings. Daddy may do or say something nice or loving, and she will blow it off, unable to accept it. It makes him sad or angry. An action performed out of love has not been fully appreciated because of the block in her heart or head or spirit to grasp it. Unable to fully hold onto the love and acceptance freely available for her.

well, dag. on several points.

1.) i have inherited stinkin' thinkin'. not just from my mom, but from the fact that i am a product of the fall, and i cannot attain wholeness apart from God. i see that it is wrong, but i don't know how to reverse it.
2.) not only do i do this in person-to-person relationships, i do it to God. the Divine Lover, who poured Himself out, in the stars that glimmer every night, in the protection and gifts He provides, in every painted sunset, in the fact that we [well, most of us] have five senses so we can enjoy the beauty of smelling fresh cut grass or hearing the roar of a respectably sized thunderstorm...and who poured Himself out, much like the sacrifices offered on the Old Testament altar...splayed open, broken, aching, wasted, drenched with lifeblood, meeting my greatest debt with grace, love and forgiveness.

and I tell Him He is wrong.
that His gift must have been mislabeled.
that there is no way He intended to provide me with such love and affection.

i am not ready for a romantic relationship.
it isn't fair to people that i would force such insecurities on them.
i want to be content in the love and grace of God before seeking it from man.

but again, that implies that i have to have everything figured out, and there are some questions that just aren't meant to be answered.


i'm just a silly girl.
oh, but sometimes my heart aches.

9.26.2009

The dude said, "Let me go, for the day has broken."

And Jacob said, "I will not let you go unless you bless me."

Lately, I feel like I've been wrestling with God, with all sorts of things. I think you've heard all of them before. Bible, Heaven and Hell, prayer, works vs. faith...all the simple stuff and the complex stuff, too.

Sometimes I wonder if I don't care enough to actually find the answers. Like, who are we? are we people - students, engineers, sisters, daughters, and friends - who just happen to be followers of Christ, or are we Christ-followers who just so happen to do things with our gifts, talents and relationships?

That may seem like it's mincing words, but how are we to spend our time?

Doing what we know to do and fitting God in whenever we have a free moment? Ignoring the questions and searching because we don't have time or resources? Or maybe that's for pastors and theologians and missionaries, and not for normal, boring people like ourselves.

Or are we to see ourselves as pastors and theologians and missionaries, that our priority be to love God first and pursue Him in all that we do, to continually ask questions and challenge ourselves and our faith...and to fully live in our talents and gifts He's provided to us...living in love and hope.

I feel like the answer is the second one, but that for some reason, it's not feasible.

Because God calls us to go. To step out in faith that He will provide and care for our needs, and it makes no sense because we don't understand the ways of God. (Thinking of Matt 22:29 - But Jesus answered them, "You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God...") And so we just have to do it. We just have to jump, to believe, to pursue and be pursued.

and then, at the juncture of faith, reason, wisdom and works, what are we to do, and how do we live? Do we just do stuff and hope (or just understand, maybe) that His blessing is on it, or do we looks always upward for miracles and other miraculous works?

In making the tabernacle, God put His spirit and wisdom in men to create and construct it. He provided them the tools, but I don't think it was a blueprint. He provided the spirit. And I think He provides us all with some sort of inspiration or muse. What we do with that is another story.

If only we all lived in light of the things that make us tick.

Still wrestling.

9.05.2009

evidence of things unseen

is faith in God blindly accepting what people say about what God does?

they name for you the attributes of God, and you just recite them as a mantra, until you make yourself believe it's true out of habit?

or is it okay to want to taste them for yourself?

does it make you less of a...pure follower if you want to actually experience stuff instead of just hoping it's not just made up mumbo jumbo from the heart of man's desire to be lifted from his depravity?

genesis 28:20.

jacob is fleeing esau, and he just wakes up from his nap with the rock as a pillow. and apparently, God has shown him that he's going to be the father of a great nation, and jacob says,

""If God will be with me and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear, 21so that I come again to my father’s house in peace, then the LORD shall be my God, 22and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God’s house. And of all that you give me I will give a full tenth to you.""

If God will do these things, then He shall be my God.

Am I allowed to do that?! If so, what do I ask for, so that I know that it is God, and not the voice of man?

9.02.2009

tshirts

this pisses me off.

what pisses me off the most about this video is that it was posted by a christian on facebook and the other comments that are being posted by christians on facebook. the comments are arrogant, ignorant, angry, and just plain annoying.

we've heard it all before.

we know you don't like obama.

let me tell you a secret.

i didn't vote for obama. i'm not his biggest fan.

but your bitching and moaning about OUR president does nothing.





in that same line of thought,

what differentiates us from the World that we say we despise so much?

we worry,
we covet,
we judge, condemn, lie and cheat.

and then we point the finger at the GLBT community,
adulterers,
politicians...

and we wonder why people aren't flocking to our church.

so we sink immense wads of cash and time into programs, trying to make people think that they must think the way we think, and they must listen to the music we listen to and the must have the same friends we have and run the same circles and vote for the same politicians...

we wonder why they don't want to partake in our ignorant, annoying, selfish ways.



the heart of the king is in the hands of God. He turns it wherever he will.
that's some Bible for you. Proverbs 21:1.

honor the king.
that's some more Bible for you.
1 Peter 2:17.

but there is more to that verse. it says:
Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.

perhaps your lack of honoring the king is just a general lack of honoring all men, loving your brothers, and fearing God.

i hate to say it, but perhaps it's my problem too.



tshirts (what we should be known for) derek webb
they'll know us by the t-shirts that we wear
they'll know us by the way we point and stare
at anyone whose sin looks worse than ours
who cannot hide the scars of this curse that we all bare

they’ll know us by our picket lines and signs
they’ll know us by the pride we hide behind
like anyone on earth is living right
and isn’t that why Jesus died
not to make us think we’re right

when love, love, love
is what we should be known for
love, love, love
it’s the how and it’s the why
we live and breathe and we die

they’ll know us by reasons we divide
and how we can’t seem to unify
because we’ve gotta sing songs a certain style
or we’ll walk right down that aisle
and just leave ‘em all behind

they’ll know us by the billboards that we make
just turning God’s words to cheap clich├ęs
says “what part of murder don’t you understand?”
but we hate our fellow man
and point a finger at his grave

they'll know us by the t-shirts that we wear
they'll know us by the way we point and stare
telling ‘em their sins are worse than ours
thinking we can hide our scars
beneath these t-shirts that we wear

9.01.2009

Song of the Day - Kingdom Come

or Prayer, whichever way you look at it.

oh, we long for more.

Kingdom Come (here it is on imeem!...i don't like listening on youtube. i feel like it ruins quality sometimes...but it's there, if you want it.)

Your love reaches out to me
Your grace has made a way to You
Made a way to You
Your word lives inside of me
Your truth is life to all to hear
Life to all who hear

We live for You
Live Your truth

May Your Kingdom come
And Your will be done
As we serve Your heart
Serve Your heart
Let salvation flow
As Your people pray
Lord we long for more
Long for more

In You death is overcome
No power can stand against Your Name
The power of Your Name
In faith we will rise to be
Your hands and feet to all the earth
Life to all the earth

8.31.2009

the story, part one - the framework

"everyone wants to feel like they play an important role go the world's story. Why, then, do we insist on living such small, selfish lives?"

if you follow me on facebook or twitter, you'll know that was my status/tweet/thought of the day a week or so ago.

i was asked to unpack that comment, and when i tried, i realized that there were a whole bunch of thoughts and ideas that went into that one statement.

here is my attempt to explain the reasoning behind that post. in typing, i realized it was waaaaay more than should be expected to be read in one sitting. i'll post this in three parts--the framework for our story, how it applies to us, and the struggle for living it out.

that will allow for you to read, comment, muse over it, test it for the good and bad, and then hopefully tomorrow or another day soon, i'll have the next two parts up here. i hope this is beneficial to you and to others...and everything ties together, so i might allude to some thoughts before i fully flesh them out. i hope it isn't too confusing. i would really love to hear what you think.

so, part one.

i suppose,
as like with most things,
this thought started with a book.
or two.
or three.

i think the first time 'the story' was imprinted on my mind was as i read through one of rob bell's first books -- either velvet elvis or sex god, i'm not sure which. it might not even be rob bell, but the author explained the tradition of Jewish Passover, that when they read the story of the exodus, they say, 'we are the ones in exile'.

they take the story, and they make it theirs.

so no longer are these tales of miraculous salvation and deliverance only myths and legends that happened one day long ago to people we will never meet;
they are also stories of us,
today,
in bondage to not-God,
enslaved by the things that weigh us down,
longing for a savior,
and knowing that we, ourselves, are hopeful for a better future.

taking the story and making it theirs.

the same thought are modeled in rob bell's jesus wants to save christians, talking about babylon and exile in general, and he even draws parallels with pre-babylonian exile israel and the american empire. fascinating read, really.

taking their story and making it ours.

the last book for the purpose of this post is ishmael,
a didactic novel written by an animist,
daniel quinn,
about our place in society,
and our role in caring for our environment.

within the pages of his book, Quinn points out that there are basically two groups of people in this world: the 'Takers' and the 'Leavers'.

Leavers being defined as those who follow the methods of living their culture has followed for thousands of years, ways that are proved to be good for themselves and the world around them: think Aborigines, Native Americans (not the ones with casinos. the real ones), etc.

and in this story, the Takers are defined as, well, everyone else. They are the agriculturalists, the businessmen, the power- and resource-hungry, living unsustainably, and unconcerned about our impact on our environment: think the average American.

Leavers trust "the gods" (from here on, simplified to "God" for the sole fact that in this story I present there is only one), living in a hunter-gatherer manner, taking only what they need day-to-day, when they go hungry, they know it's the hand of God ensuring the lifecycle will be maintained healthily.

Takers go hungry and instead of trusting God, they say, "screw you!" and industrialize society so that we have more food than we will ever need so we are in control, and God cannot hold the power of life and death. (p. 227 - "when you have more food than you need, then [God has] no power over you!")

later in the book, ishmael again differentiates the two in this manner:

the Takers are the ones that take the power of life and death in their own hands, and the Leavers are the ones who live their lives in the hand of God.

Quinn goes on to talk about the fact that this dichotomy is the result of living out a story.

a story.

the Takers live out a story that Mother Culture has fed them since day one, and she whispers in their ear, "if you don't take [your place in this story], you do not get fed" (p. 36) and as a result, we are driven to enact as story that "is not only disastrous for mankind and for the world, fundamentally unhealthy and unsatisfying. It's a megalomaniacs' fantasy, and enacting it has given the Takers a culture riddled with greed, cruelty, mental illness, crime, and drug addiction" (p. 147)

on the other hand, the Leavers live out a story that doesn't give them power, but rather, provides them with lives that are satisfying and meaningful.

humans are made for a story. whether you believe we evolved from a rock or that you were created in the image of a holy God, we want to be connected to a story, to know that we are important characters in this story, and that we can do great things. whether we admit it or not, we live what we are told we can do.

we pursue what we feel our talents and abilities have allotted us. sometimes we reach for the stars, sometimes we live small. sometimes we live free in the truth that we can do much, and sometimes we hide in the lies that tell us we are good for nothing. sometimes we do these things because people encourage us. other times we do these things because others have discouraged us and we want to prove them wrong.

we live a story. there are a whole bunch out there.

which one we live and to what extent is up to us.

part two coming soon.