1.29.2010

because I like you

Sometimes doing my job is hard, because I do everything that I can and don't feel like I like what I do and that I'm not the best person for the job.

and I came across this guy's blog. I really like his art, and this quotation really spoke to me and my heart:

It’s because being an artist is hard.

I think the process of being a creator is a process of sacrifice. There is sacrifice in the time it takes to prep and make art. A financial sacrifice on materials, space, tools. A sacrifice relationally with people… taking time away to make work. It’s choosing to deny other things to do this one thing. It’s a giving up of other things. And with all this sacrifice it sucks when you come across someone else’s creation that’s amazing cause your like “why do I keep doing this when they’re around?” Why all this hard work when this person is kicking butt in my field? Seriously God. Couldn’t you just let me do something else? You got them making stuff. Why do you want me to create?

And this is where the Almighty gave me an amazing response. He said “because I like you.”

1.22.2010

Hitler and a hope greater than war.

You may remember a frustrated post I wrote up this past fall about being pro-life and anti-war and how my mom said i was apathetic and what would i do if I was around during Hitler's day.

And i had no good answer.

Many people laud Deitrich Bonhoeffer, a great theologian, for participating in a plot to assassinate Hitler, which failed. And it's been hard for me to reconcile faith and war for a while, any conclusion I came up with made me feel like a traitor and compassionless hippie.

But I've been reading a book called Jesus for President by Shane Claiborne, and it helped to solidify my stance and understanding of how being anti-war is being pro-Christ. For your reading pleasure:

And we would say Deitrich Bonhoeffer also had a strong case when he tried to kill Hitler and could very well have invoked God's blessing on his operation, but he did not. As one committed to the cross and to the nonviolent, nonpassive love of Jesus, Bonhoeffer felt a paralyzing conflict: what to do in the face of such evil as the Holocaust? Bonhoeffer remorsefully plotted the assassination of Hitler. In stark contrast to the invocation of blessing on violence that we hear today, Bonhoeffer made it clear that what he was doing was evil and sinful, but he felt left with no choice. He didn't ask God's blessing; he asked only for God's mercy. And he and his co-conspirators planted a bomb under Hitler's desk, hoping to rid the world of evil with their own hands.

The documentary film Blindspot presents the provocative, heart-wrenching memoir of Hitler's secretary, Traudl Junge. In it, she remembers the assassination attempt (on July 20, 1944). She recalls how the bomb exploded in such a way and at a precise moment that Hitler narrowly escaped. She says that after survivng the attack, Hitler was more convinced than ever before that God was protecting him and his mission (with a triumphant smile Hitler showed Mussolini the site of the bombing). It fueled his reign of terror and confidence in his mission. Violence galvanized his violence. Ms. Junge says that after the bomb attempt, "Any hopes for peace were lost." Hitler rolled forward with record fervor to "rid the world of evil." Another attempt to pick up the sword went haywire, not only fueling further bloodshed, but costing our brother Bonhoeffer his own life as he was executed by the Nazis. Once again the cross lost, and the Devil laughed." (p. 202-203)

Earlier in the text, the authors state that "God called [His followers] out...to bless the world (not 'rid the world of evil'). God set them apart with a new law, a new culture, a new destiny that was nothing short of the redemption of the human race." (p. 31)

so that's all i have today.

trying to figure out what life means in light of the Gospel.

i may need to take some drastic measures--changing what i wear and what i eat, what i feel i'm owed and who i owe.

for the kingdom.

1.21.2010

How He Loves

He is jealous for me
loves like a hurricane, i am a tree,
bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy

getting out of the car today,
it was windy and rainy
and i pulled up my umbrella to try and save my hair from the rain
(we're all a little bit vain--and i have a good excuse! i was getting my picture done for my passport stuff!)
and the wind kept bowing the umbrella up.
and so it was basically useless.
and my hair was getting wet.

and i thought about the lyrics to this song.

I also am very fond of the part where we sing,

when Heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss
and my heart turns violently inside of my chest
and i don't have the time to maintain these regrets
when i think about the way He loves us

a friend once laughed about that line "sloppy wet kiss". David Crowder changed it to "unforseen kiss"... but "sloppy, wet" is amazing imagery.

Heaven meets earth -- God became man
like a sloppy wet kiss
passionate, unreserved, undignified, and full of love.
what a silly way for God to promise to uproot the oppression of this world...

but my heart aches to be close to that love.
and i don't have time to live for things that will not satisfy the way He will.

Oh, how He loves us.

[if you've never heard it before, the song is by John Mark McMillan]

1.19.2010

cleansing.

the past few years have been weird for me. a lot of soul-searching, a lot of refusing to believe what i've always believed, a lot of testing the waters and just trying to figure out what i believe and why.

it's been a hard go of it. i've struggled through all sorts of things, from sexual orientation questions and faith issues like prayer and "why Christ?" to political and social/cultural situations.

while i have by no means resolved all of these questions, i'm definitely at a place of peace and eager desire to learn. which is funny. for a while, i appreciated the consistency of knowing exactly what to believe.

but now, i think i'm more comfortable with the "why" of belief. i heard a quotation the other day..."a man can get through any 'hap if he only has a why".

and it's so true. i don't just follow the rules the Church lays out or do the things that make me feel spiritual because i have to. that is the what. i'm after the why.

i am a new creature. i'm chasing after God. i'm a part of something bigger. i am loved and cherished. i am capable of great things, and it isn't dependent on me, it's dependent on a God who loves people apart from our idiotic desire to make God's decisions for Him.

i am not made to be satisfied by myself, another person, or anything i can eat, drink, or aquire. i will only find this in being satisfied with God. a Christian Hedonist. Knowing that my greatest pleasure will be in Christ and in nothing else.

Christ is the why. perfection is unattainable. but i can pursue the best life for me. it is there for the taking. it may require some order, and some conventional wisdom, but that's okay.

picked up a new Bible yesterday. i woke up early today. i read and underlined some proverbs. i got the boys breakfast. i walked and ran and talked with a woman i met. and the cold air brightened my eyes and reminded me of fresh starts. the sun was dappling the sidewalk through the trees and reminded me of the beauty that God has made for us to enjoy.

i can live the best life God has for me. it's mine for the taking. and it's not just the freedom that i enjoy here...freedom of health and rest and wisdom and beauty, but it's the freedom to love and be loved and to associate myself with Christ.

so. there.

new start. every day is a new start.

we are new creatures.

1.16.2010

Proverbs 6

16 There are six things that the LORD hates,
seven that are an abomination to him:
17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
and hands that shed innocent blood,
18 a heart that devises wicked plans,
feet that make haste to run to evil,
19 a false witness who breathes out lies,
and one who sows discord among brothers.

1.15.2010

Proverbs 1-3

A few things that spoke into my circumstance today.

1:7
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.

3:5-8
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.

3:13-18
Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called blessed.

1.13.2010

More Psalm 119

A lot of Psalm 119 is about being righteous and walking in His commandments, and thus God should bless the writer.

It got me a little sad, because today I wasn't feeling very victorious.

And then we got to the end.

There is hope for lost sheep.

175Let my soul live and praise you,
and let your rules help me.
176I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant,
for I do not forget your commandments.

1.11.2010

Psalm 119 excerpts

Beth (yes, I like this one because the Hebrew letter Beth is my name...haha)
9How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to your word.
10 With my whole heart I seek you;
let me not wander from your commandments!
11I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.
12Blessed are you, O LORD;
teach me your statutes!
13With my lips I declare
all the rules of your mouth.
14In the way of your testimonies I delight
as much as in all riches.
15I will meditate on your precepts
and fix my eyes on your ways.
16I will delight in your statutes;
I will not forget your word.

...

He
33 Teach me, O LORD, the way of your statutes;
and I will keep it to the end.
34 Give me understanding, that I may keep your law
and observe it with my whole heart.
35 Lead me in the path of your commandments,
for I delight in it.
36 Incline my heart to your testimonies,
and not to selfish gain!
37 Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things;
and give me life in your ways.
38 Confirm to your servant your promise,
that you may be feared.
39Turn away the reproach that I dread,
for your rules are good.
40Behold, I long for your precepts;
in your righteousness give me life!

...

Kaph
81My soul longs for your salvation;
I hope in your word.
82My eyes long for your promise;
I ask, "When will you comfort me?"
83For I have become like a wineskin in the smoke,
yet I have not forgotten your statutes.
84 How long must your servant endure?
When will you judge those who persecute me?
85 The insolent have dug pitfalls for me;
they do not live according to your law.
86All your commandments are sure;
they persecute me with falsehood; help me!
87They have almost made an end of me on earth,
but I have not forsaken your precepts.
88In your steadfast love give me life,
that I may keep the testimonies of your mouth.

1.08.2010

what i think about in the shower.

Matt. 22:15-22

Then the Pharisees went and plotted how to entangle him in his words. And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone's opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said, “Caesar's.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.” When they heard it, they marveled. And they left him and went away.

-----------------------------------------
so.

taxes,
legal age limits for smoking, drinking, and all the rest,
drugs,
speeding,
the justice system (so murdering, kidnapping, rape, burglary, etc...),
whatever else the government monitors...

we are to give it up to caesar.

the worldly government is already monitoring our physical actions, promising punishment for failure to comply, and as an authority, we as humans should be willing to to either do good for the government we love, leave in search of a better government, or face the evils and encourage change for the rest of society.

and i could talk a lot about things we should change and shouldn't stand for.

but that's not what I'm thinking about today.

today, I'm thinking about the fact that we, ourselves, as followers of God (and bearers of the divine image), in fact bear HIS likeness and inscription.

that our whole lives are to be wholly committed to making God known. in what we do in front of people--how we speak, eat and drink, work, act, play, live (in addition to all the other things we should do as we "render unto caesar")--and in what we do when people aren't looking--the only word that is coming to mind here is "addictions".

so, i think that is all i had on my mind today.

it isn't just about being a law-abiding citizen, doing good things so that society can run well (which is important, but leads to religion, and self-righteousness, not Jesus).

it's about wholly pursuing God in every aspect of our lives, which, ultimately, we will always fail at, but again, it's the heart.

or something like that.

but the phrase that was stuck in my head: "whose image and likeness is on this?"

who do you belong to?

1.04.2010

affection.

chapter one
by shane and shane.

inspired by john 1:18

stir my affection
stir my affection
stir my affection for You
for You're my only hope

You Yeshua
explained the way He moves
as just an ordinary man
then again, You're the first, Jesus
and by Your hand we move
You're the image of the invisible God
You are God, You are God

bring fascination
bring fascination
bring fascination of You
for You're my only hope

1.01.2010

Ninjas.

the scene opens...for some reason, I'm chasing this dude. We both have samurai swords. One is green and one is black. Through some random happenstance, I end up with both swords, and I kill him.

Ugh. I kill a man.

In real life, I've never killed anyone...that I know of. I pretty much try to do things that are...legal...and...nice. But in this dream, it was apparently my job. Kinda like how Mr. and Mrs. Smith went to work and it turned into a command center for assassin operations, I went to work every morning at an unassuming brick house.

In this dream, I was going to work, and for some reason, the boys and lali were coming with me. Mom was dropping us off. Odd. Anyway, I show up to the house, and I felt nervous from killing that guy. Nervous and paranoid. I just knew that I was going to walk in that house and there was going to be a trap and I was going to die, and worse, my little brothers and sister were going to die. And I couldn't find the key. So I had to go find the hidden key behind the garden hose on the side of the house. Hahaha. I think that's funny. Coming back around the house, there are maintenance men--like, three of them--who are sitting on their truck, and they're actually making fun of me. They know that I'm nervous and concerned and their making fun of me. And toph can tell, and he gets visibly nervous and says he just wants to go home, and that's it. I immediately run out to the edge of the lawn and yell for my mom to come back and pick up the boys and lali. But she can't hear me. And the windows are open, and I yell louder, because I need her to pick them up. Surely there is a reason that those men are making fun of me. I don't want them to die.

It would be my fault.

So I'm yelling as loud as I can and now I'm crying and she turns the corner because she can't hear me.

And then the dream ends.

yuck.