Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Wow, what a long time it has been. Something like 8 months. many things have changed much like the ebb and flow of life, as we bob along, feeling like a bottle, message internal, flowing where the current will take us. I think I might have washed up on a new shore. Just trying to find a place where I am comfortable. That is difficult to do. I don't subscribe to the "do what makes you happy" or the "do what you love.' Instead, do what we are committed to and do what makes you effective. Being in love and innefectual is not something to strive for.

Friday, March 15, 2002

nothing is so wonderful as a site revisited, then refreshed with something new. this post is simply to say that life sometimes gets us where it wants us, and that tends to be a place of maximum effort and minimum effect. which is where i have felt lately. God is ever present with me, but i have not been with Him as i should. however, i am growing none the less through the power of His unfailing love.

I also want to say to duane that his post was very true to some things i have dealt with in the past, and his conclusion is shared with all those seeking for acknowledgement from this cold world, and find only God as adequate to fill our empty spaces. but, i also think when we get to that point of proclaiming Him our God, we in effect get lost, wonderfully, in the proclamation of Him. I long daily for that place of laying down my life to gain it. but this world tells me all that is valuable is contained in the life I try to discard. ah what a farce! the same world which gives us secular humanism, evolution, "god is dead", "man is the measure of all things" and religions like hinduism and islam and existentialism. this world, in its arrogance, values that one thing i have longed to lose all my life, and it took God for me to realize it. a lot of help the world was. but, oh what freedom i have in my Lord, in my acknowledgement of Him as God and Creator.

Monday, February 18, 2002

Well, I was going to write something here, but I don't have any real passionate opinions about what you were saying Steve, so you have left me in the lurch. It's your fault. Obviously. It couldn't possibly be anybody elses. Why can't you be a little more responsible?

Which reminds me of at least one very important topic I DO feel passionate about. Passion. I've finally come around and am learning my passions again. I've recently realised that I've been on a journey with regards to passion. You can read about it if you like...

God gave me passion for a number of different things, which is good. As I grew, somehow I figured out that I was good at the things that I liked to do - or rather, I liked to do the things I was good at. I liked to do the things I was good at because it made me feel important and needed and gave me a sense of worth in my own eyes, and (I secretly thought) in the eyes of God. For a long time I worked on the things I was good at, building my identity around these things and using them as a ruler with which to measure my relationship with God. Then, the things I was good at didn't seem a whole lot of fun anymore. I simply liked being good at something, even though I didn't like what I was doing. And even then, it was difficult for me to believe I was doing well at those things (even though other people said that I was) because I was never really satisfied with what I was doing. It is a good thing God got to me when He did. When He had me lay down all my cleverness and skills and talents and masks and roles and stuff, I cried like a baby because I was suddenly and horribly naked, with nothing, vulnerable, helpless, completely dependent on what God thought, with no control whatsoever. Then for the longest time I didn't like anything. I couldn't get excited about anything. Nothing interested me terribly at all. If I tried, I lost interest very quickly. I found more things I didn't like doing that I did. Even the dreams I had had for 8 years were crumbling into dust, and all I was left with was me and God. Me and God. It finally got through that if there was one thing that I WAS made for, it was relationship with God. So I started with that. It was hard, leaving behind all the rest of those things that made me feel important and useful. From learning to love God, I started to learn to love people. That was new! Loving people. What a concept! I'm actually learning to enjoy it! And now I'm realising that there are other things in the world that I love. Things that I like a lot. And some of them are the same things that I was good at before... except now I want to do them because I like them, rather than because I'm going to be good at them. And that is where passion is. When passions are pursued because you know they are good and are given by God, it builds you up and draws you deeper into God's will, and into God. When passion is used to build you up, and make you feel important, I've learnt that it is a long way to fall. It's like climbing a ladder that's not leaning on anything, and the higher you go, the less fun it is, and the more you have to work to stay there.

Disclaimer: The author babbles.

Wednesday, January 16, 2002

Quick book plug and then a few random (HA!...I think we've covered that topic) thoughts. "Decent into Hell" by Charles Wiliams is a strange and beautiful book written by the less know of the big three Inkling (Tolkien, Lewis and Williams...and others). His writing is so confusing at times I'm not sure that I can give a carte blanc endorsement of the whole work but he addresses two ideas that are facinating. First, he is able to discuss the manifestation of sin and evil using the Lilith mythology and a character who actually interacts with her/it/him. A very dark and accurate description of how our deepest places of selfishness can become the breeding ground for the brith of something quite contray to both enjoyment and life...but all consuming none-the-less. The manner in which the character Wentworth slides into a hellish (and Hell itself) existance is chilling and powerful. Secondly, Williams is able to communicate the manner and effect of carrying each other's burdens. It seems at first read, to both the reader and Pauline (one of the mian foils) a much (much) too simple answer. But as the book plays out it appears that the spiritual dynamic of laying our burdens down is both easier and more accessable to us then we allow the temporal world to convice us. Williams takes a interesting left turn when Pauline is presented with an opportunity to remove the burden of fear from her long since deceased martyered relative. This 'ghost" story aspect of the book is the halmark of Williams' belief in the seamless intersection of the physical and spiritual and temporal worlds. Some of it I need more time to ruminate on but the book (as are his other novels) is a compelling and engaging read.
The idea of carrying one another's burdens in light of previous posts is vaild and pressing. The thought that presses forward with most urgence is the notion of our unwillingness to let ourseleves be available to walk along side of others. We will "disqualify" ourselves for a variety of reasons: I'm still figuring things our for myself; or I've got enough problems of my own; or what could I possibly offer to them; or I just don't like them; or I've had to figure it out on my own so should they. This is not an exhuastive list but it is representative of some of our excuses. But let's bring this out into the light a bit more. Which of us hasn't been burnt or been let down or been so consumed with our own lives thatr we've forgotten about the most immediate circumstances around us. But life happens in the midst of life and no one gets the chance to push aside all ideal distractions to serve others...in fact when we do push aside things it is more often to serve ourselves...as we are often the first thing that sldies into "free space."
So let's look at this a another way. If someone is to carry a burden for us and that burden is too heavy then do we have any options do we have any outs...of course. Jesus Himself said, "Come to me if your burden is too heavy and I will give you rest." But note not only rest but He gives us a whole different burden to carry...a light and easy one (note also the goal is never "no burden"...with that in mind consider the goal of your pursuits...if it is to reach the great AHHHHH of being unburdened in this life then perhaps the goals are wrong...just food for thought for me and you if your eaves dropping). So what do we have to lose in both giving our burdens to God and to each other...only the burden we see as too heavy. Is the burden work or sexuality or anxiety or jealousy or rage or greed or bitterness or laziness or pride or food or passivity...none of these are burdens that God will give back to you or will not receive from you. Will He replace it will the "burden" (cleverly called fruit) of self-control or kindenss or stillness? I'm not sure. But I know that I would rather have what he gives then what I take for myself. Having and being a brother/sister in Christ to walk with in all of this allows for honest evaluation of which burdens are light and which ones are heavy...which is the tiredness of training to run arace and which is the tiredness of unneeded trash/rubbish. But honesty...well that takes us to another place...and I'll join you there next time we meet...more later!

Wednesday, January 02, 2002

thanks steve... i liked what you said. we can know the words, and miss the essence, we can miss the athorship... and sometimes it is confusing...often i am secure in the reality of the bible, in the unequivacle positives of doctrine and the unabashed simplicity of the whiteness and blackness of the word. i realize however, that it was not the word we were given to lead us into all truth, but the Holy Spirit. without that person in our lives we can be no more than the pharisees and the scribes of the law discussing the verbage of the law, old or new, and failing, falling short of God's greater desire for us to KNOW HIM, and commune with Him. as the Spirit of God is inside us, we must walk in it, we are to not walk in the flesh. can it be so simple as to wonder the meaning of a word, the flesh of a word, and miss the spirit of the word? can beauty not be the simple compilation of quanta and quality, a set of rules and guidlines, a measure of beauty, while the spirit of beauty eludes us? the spirit of the law, or the spirit of Him who defines beauty is not communicable in the flesh, for how can we know what is spirit by what is flesh? there are elements of things of life that are not equitable to objects, but in relfection are only known by spiritual eyes. not that all the material things of the world are uselsess, but are not utilized with a lack of the Spirit, for the orgin of all things is spirit, however much we relish the warm bubbling froth of the flesh, we are comfortable there, we are at home there- the spirit is like the wind and is only in the knowledge of Him. what we know in the flesh, can we know in the spirit, and do they equate? beauty, for instance...

Thursday, December 27, 2001

The last post was far from a divergence from the theme that has been on the floor...rather it is quite an imortant aspect of the discussion of beauty, order, design, Authorship. Additionaly, it ties in well with the season that we are in...one of gift, expectation, surprise and wonder. In uncharacteristic brevity I will simply say that God is the Creator of all. We have NO room to assert our own will of contradiction to what He has said is best and right...any and all divergences from this wil lead to decisions and conqueneces far less desirable (even if our desires are so arguably small). God designed us to be receivers (note not takers). Hold God's gifts closely and yet loosely. Where do we begin? Reject passive bowing to our world's form of "lovely" and actively pursue answers that cannot be printed in a predictable "how -to" book. Dare to be in relationships that make you feel humbly useless and largely loved...uncomfortably at home...enraptured in the hurricane. We begin by running towards the ridiculous and the impossible...towards the crazy God who chose human skin as His wrapping paper and who burned the receipt...refusing to be returned because of being the wrong color or the wrong size. He fits. Let's start there. More later...this is an important addition to the discussion...thanks Josh!
this blog might be a little out of the theme we have been discussing, but an important subject none the less...

over this Christmas break, i have been constantly confronted by the importance of relationships, especially those of marriage. nothing in my estimation is more important than discovering the depth and vital nature of relationship between husband and wife. as God loves His people, as God made a covenant with his people, we also make covenants with each other in marriage. even as Israel committed sin against God through idolatry and through the evil influences of those outside the people of Israel, we are influenced by the world as people of a new covenant, as people of this new land. we as Christians, as God's people under the grace of Christ. we, however, not under law, are still required to uphold the spirit of the law, to love God with all our heart, mind and soul and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Christ commanded us to love God, to love each other and to love our husbands and wives. we are commanded to not commit adultery, and to even lust in our hearts after someone that is not our spouse is committing adultery in our hearts. we are to live to an even higher standard than those that came before us- this is true for our relationships, our conduct and our devotion to God. however, as Christians, have we met that higher standard in our approach to marriage? why is it as Christians our divorce rate is relatively the same as non-Christians? if we are to be held to a higher standard, why have so many Christians relied on divorce as a means of escape from relationships? I am not necessarily trying to start a discussion of what constitutes a "biblical" divorce; however, i am wondering how we as the people of God can maintain that we are of God when we cannot, to any greater degree than the world, hold marriages together? or, for that matter, when do we start loving each other to show that Jesus was sent from God?

just over the holiday, i have been confronted with the destruction that divorce causes in families, not just my own, but others i know. i am not sure if the other families were born again- though, i have enough experience to know that born again does not mean divorce free. i also know of the exception clause in Mathew 19:9 for "marital unfaithfulness" (which, by the way is not literal adultery in the original greek, actually the word is porneia, usually translated as fornication, the normal greek for adultery is moicheia, it is a complex distinction, but realize that throughout the sermon on the mount, Jesus was raising the standards, not lowering them, as applied to Matthew 5:31) my point is simple, too many Christians have caused destruction to their homes, spanning generations, through divorce- by the grace of God, what can be done?

Friday, December 14, 2001

a discussion of beauty is very much appropriate in the context of nature, creation, randomness and authorship. is there beauty in chaos? i think that in all reality, there is no such thing as chaos, as all things, all matter, is authored, even that which is chaotic, is authored chaos, which is ordered in the mind of the Author. however, there is beauty in the things we cannot grasp and in fact most things that facinate the human mind are those things beyond our comprehension. beauty in my mind can only be found in creation, THE CREATION, and beauty in all other forms is an interesting fabrication, while complex to describe, human creation has its own appeal, but compared to God's creation, what can we possibly create that is beautiful? i am not sure. however, the more we know about the world it seems, the less random it becomes, and the more we find out about the authored, the more we learn about the author. if everything is random, beauty is arbitrary, for it is random, but if everything is authored, then beauty makes sense, for purpose makes a thing beautiful i think, even in the chaos. what the human finds beautiful has been discussed for thousands of years, is it the Form of Plato, the Ideal of Plotinus, or is truth beauty; beauty truth? a very difficult subject to say the least. however, in looking at nature, what could said to be random, can be said to be purposeless? for we know according to science that the purposeles makes for a quick appearance in the rough world of natural selection. that, without purpose, the random mutation is doomed (so they say). so, what of randomness, the nature of chance? yes you are very right, beauty is of order, not arbitrary or random construction- just because we cannot fathom the infinite depths of the Author's work, doesn't mean it doesn't have order or beauty and ultimately, is Good.