Dare I speak on such a day? I cannot.
(Oh foolish tongue! What can you muster in light of this?!)
“Thank you Jesus.” ……Pathetic.
So a phrase came into my head and I started writing. After about ten minutes I became annoyed that all of my sentences had a cadence and ended in rhyme but I couldn’t seem to help myself. Weird. Anyways, I kept trying to rework it in my normal style and found myself reverting back to cadence each time. I am no poet, heavens no, but I have given up on trying to express this thought in other ways.
Here’s my really bad free verse (?) -seriously- this is embarrassing, but if you read it out loud and pretend you are at a beat club, maybe, hopefully, it will speak to you.
It is an odd and sorrowful truth, that the more one is pulled in, and the firmer the grasp and will become, the lonelier the soul becomes.
For a season is entered where the pleasures and vices are habitually shunned and your comrades are found to be few, perhaps there is none. You expose the wonders your eyes have seen and wait for the tug, the grasp of your hand, but the stare is blank. The nod is there, but a suspicion persists that you did not get it, though you gave thanks. How in the church, amidst like-minded souls, do I feel bereft and so out in the cold?
Then a Jonathon comes along… not many, it seems two, more likely one, but there he is! And your heart soars for his soul, his presence, his tongue. A kindred fire is a soothing balm, for the company of a crowd is replaced by one.
A lonely road, it is taken by few. But praises! Trapped in heaven’s solitude, I am not so lonely, I am filled, and I have you. Time goes by, and deeper I go. Peace. I look and startle how one Jonathan has increased.
……Now you are hearing lots of snapping by really polite people….. In all honestly, I am coming to see the blogging community this way. Blessings to all of you.
My sister was arrested this week for two felonies. All week I have grappled with how I am going to approach the very difficult phone call I need to make to her.
I thought quite a bit about the stupidity of her actions and the evil behind them. Of course, you know where that led my Christian heart, right back to my own. I can’t cast a stone, in the past I’ve done similar things and was lucky enough not to have been caught. Which made me start wondering if I really got away with it. Of course God knows my sin, I didn’t get away with it in that sense. I have confessed the old and try to keep a short account of the new, repented of the whole lot, and I am fully convinced I am forgiven. Condemnation for it is removed from me because of the sacrifice of Christ and my sin is removed from me as far as the East is from the West. Because of my repentant faith in Him, I am unquestionably forgiven.
My sister’s arrest was in the news. Her alleged wrong doing is common knowledge if you happen to live where she does. My dirty laundry never made it to the papers or the local TV news. So in that sense, did I get away with it? Will it never be brought up again? Will I get through eternity without anyone but God and I seeing the real me? Read the rest of this entry »
There are travesties mankind has wrestled with throughout every age, problems that seem to defy solution. With optimism buoyed by ignorance, pride and zeal, each generation swings at the venomous beasts that previous generations battled before. With every novel approach the problems laugh, and stay entrenched in the newly forming history of today. The stubborn problems seem incapable of being remedied though the answer seems so close at hand, so sensible, so obvious if we would just do it. If men’s hearts would change, there would be no war, there would be no poverty, there would be no injustice. But alas, no one has yet figured out how to do that. How does one change the heart of the other guy?
We can start teaching children younger, we can put some in counseling. We can make treaties and rules, penalize stricter, use social pressure, prevent the problem and deal with it decisively when it shows up. We can pray. We can hope. Have rallies, conventions and think tanks convene. We can pay for the meal for the folks behind us at McDonald’s. Sometimes minor victories are won but the war throughout history is always lost.
We are tempted to say it is only ‘some men’ that cause the worst woes in the world. The loony’s, those seized with senseless greed, the evil ones, THOSE people….if everyone would just see the world as we do, if they would be as we are, we could at last live in peace without grief over the injustices that swirl around the globe. If other people would only act as we do….yet even those humbled by the cross must measure this in their lives, how much do I think others would be better if they were like me?
At some point, it dawns on us, and if it doesn’t it should, that the world is indeed, just as we are. It does not need to become more like me, it already is.
Morality is not a matter of extent. Greed is still greed whether it is big or small. A lie is a lie irregardless of its magnitude. Stealing a small thing is no different from pilfering Wall Street. Selfishness is selfishness. Hate is hate. Envy is envy. Pride is pride. Lust is lust.
Do I think I will be judged by how much or how many others I hurt, or by the evil found in me? Oh, my soul! You are not exempt! My sins are wonderfully covered but I will still give an account, most assuredly everything done in the dark will be brought into the light, forgiven or not. Do not think because Christ has taken upon your penalty that there will be no revealing. I am not condemned, mercy of mercies, but I will be revealed. There is no progressing in the Christian walk until one fully understands self and recoils. Without it there is no hope for humility, and without humility, I may not stand before God.
If one wants to grow in their faith, they must first take time to understand themselves. When you understand yourself aright, you will no longer be mystified by the horrors you see around you but rather by the good you do see. If we try to progress without this step, we will be tempted with every work to think that the good somehow springs from ourselves, and inwardly praise our high constitution and ridicule the foul state of others. My friends, take the time to know thyself.
I can show respect to those I do not admire.
I can not respect those I do not admire.
Strange, subtle difference.
I can respect those I do not admire but not in the same sense that I respect those whom I do admire. Make sense? I can hold one in high regard and at the same time not respect much about them.
I was wondering what you might think of these two pictures.
When you think of what a good wife is, does your mind conjure up an image similar to this?
Which one depicts a suitable helper best? Read the rest of this entry »
“If You Meet (god) Buddha On The Road, Kill Him.”
– a frequently used paraphrase of a Buddhist koan (a poem used to provoke thought)
attributed to Zen Master Linji.
It’s not from the Bible but it has some teeth.
St. Augustine said, “If you comprehend it, it is not God.”
Thomas Aquinas said, “The highest human knowledge of God is to know that one doesn’t know God.”
Something I keep relearning is that although I look intently and seem to understand more with each passing prayer, reading and struggle, in the end I don’t really know anything much about this God whom I serve. As years pass I find errors or incomplete pictures in things I embraced, which shows how frighteningly shallow my knowledge of the divine is. I know His attributes. I know His work. I know the story. I understand the church culture. I understand the current thought. I understand what I believe. But I do not understand God. I do not understand His ways.
I need to keep killing the god I create.
That was what I overheard this last week but not in those exact words. The actual words sounded much more admirable, couched in lightheartedness with lots of spiritual talk inserted between the lines. “I’m giving up something that has been bothering me,” is closer to what I actually heard.
This encounter launched me into questioning why many Christians participate in Lent. Ideally, it should be a time of deeper contemplation about God and more focused prayer. Most say that this is what they plan on doing, but for many, life and old habits make it hard for them to execute and they merely pull off the external. As a result, I think many focus on the giving up of a thing as some sort of offering of their devotion, hoping that the mere act of doing so will draw them closer to God.
I’m not practicing Lent this time around as I just finished a fast from three things that have been a part of my life every day (mostly) for the last three years. As a result, Lent this year seemed anti-climactic to me, so I’m skipping it.
Despite passing on the tradition this year, I found myself unsettled by the typical practice of Lent, sparked by that person’s comments. The thought that Christians are offering up sin as a spiritual sacrifice, bothered me.
The top 100 things people give up for Lent based on Twitter feeds can be summarized in these five:
1. Food-specifically sweets, chocolate and soda
2. Drink-Alcohol in its many varied forms
3. Screens-Twitter, Facebook and TV
It seems a bit sacrilegious to me that we offer up for Lent what is essentially all of our failed New Year’s Eve resolutions. Still, sin hasn’t yet entered the picture.
More distressing, I noticed a tendency among some to commit to fast from things they were inwardly convicted of.
Granted, the things we pick to give up for Lent are usually not blatant sins like pride, vanity, envy or the like. We usually zero in on those ‘gray’ areas that have been bothering our consciences. Things that are otherwise benign activities that we have managed to corrupt with our motives or practice. We pick stuff we want to wean ourselves away from because we can’t in good conscience continue in it, thus it is not done in faith. In essence, it is sin to us.
Not everyone I know picks something they are convicted about. Many just pick something that would be hard because they love it and yet, are not enslaved to it. Only the individual can honestly assess that.
Is it wrong to pick a sin as the object of what we abstain from in the name of fasting? I’ll let you pray about that and come to your own conclusions concerning yourself. There is nothing in the Scriptures that would point one way or another that I know of, so this is left to your conscience.
Yet, I need to remind myself, that the point of Lent (or fasting in general) is not self-improvement.
Observe Lent with prayer and fasting but choose what you fast from wisely. If you use the season to jump-start your obedience, nothing lost; you’ll probably benefit more than someone who picked something meaningless to abstain from. Just be careful how you posture yourself during the fast. It is not a sacrifice, nor some holy denial, it is something you needed to do anyways.