Sunday, September 30, 2007

VERBS AND OTHER FREEDOMS

It was a beautiful cool morning here in our part of the country, so after walking the two dogs and chatting with my friend Rob for a short while I grabbed a book and headed outside to sit and read for awhile. Cool morning....good cup of coffee....and a good book....it was a great start to the day. The chapter Verbs and other Freedoms from The Shack had been on my mind much lately so that is what I sat down with. This story has been so rich for me with one gem after another opening up. At this point I have lost count of the times I have read through this book or picked it up just to read a chapter here and there and I am still amazed how the Spirit still opens new windows for me into the heart of God so I can see deeper into this marvelous love and freedom that is here for us. This morning did not disappoint.

I have been overwhelmed today just resting and enjoying this relationship with the three of them.

This spoke to me this morning of how easily we miss the reality of their presence as we get caught up in the cares of the world and the fictional stories we conjure up in our minds of all our imagined uncertain futures. They really are prisons of the mind. They will always get in the way and they are indicators that we are still attempting to live independently and trapped by the illusion of being in control.

Mack is sitting around the table for a meal with Papa, Jesus and Sarayu and he begins thinking of the absurdity of what he is experiencing at the shack. His mind began to wander through the incredible conversations he had been involved in over the past 24 hour period. How would he explain this to his wife when he returned home? He wondered if she would even believe him.

And then this simple line spoke such profound truth. Now remember, they are sitting across the table from him (and remember they are here with us in every moment also).

"As his mind picked up speed he felt himself withdrawing from the others."

How often are we missing the Spirit's whisper and nudges? How often, if we are able to find that wonderful place of resting in them do we find the cares of the world and the busyness of life distract us and pull us away? Even worse, how often do we go about our daily lives on our own, withdrawn from them, and think this is how we are to live?

One of the things Western society holds up and praises as a good thing and even calls it freedom is INDEPENDENCE. This is one of the things that is upside down and very misleading. It's one of those illusions....it creates many prisons of the mind. It is our attempts to live independently that keeps us in the land of death and bondage. We were not created to live independently. I will wrap this up with another part of the conversation in this chapter of the book.

Speaking of God's freedom....not the others things attached to human independence that is called freedom. One is freedom, one is not.

"Mackenzie," Sarayu continued, "those who are afraid of freedom are those who cannot trust us to live in them. Trying to keep the law is actually a declaration of independence, a way of keeping control."
"Is that why we like the law so much----to give us some control?" asked Mack.
"It is even worse than that," resumed Sarayu. "It grants you the power to judge others and feel superior to them. You believe you are living to a higher standard than those you judge. Enforcing rules, especially in its more subtle expressions like responsibility and expectation, is a vain attempt to create certainty out of uncertainty. And contrary to what you might think, I have great fondness for uncertainty. Rules cannot bring freedom; they only have the power to accuse."

Friday, September 28, 2007

TO LIVE FREE....THE ILLUSIONS MUST COME DOWN...THEY ARE PRISONS OF THE MIND

This is from The Shack


"There are times when you choose to believe something that would normally be considered absolutely irrational. It doesn't mean that it is actually irrational, but it surely is not rational. Perhaps there is suprarationality: reason beyond the normal definitions of fact or data-based logic; something that only makes sense if you can see a bigger picture of reality. Maybe that is where faith fits in."

PERPETUATING THE NIGHTMARE?

Nothing Is Innocent


We’d wake the dead
With voices in our head
We’ve gotten used to ignoring the truth
We close our eyes

And breathe and eat the lies
That tell us we’re so much better than you

Silence is loud
Humility is so proud
Nothing is innocent now

All the king’s men
Will serve scrambled eggs again
When white-washed walls come crashing down
We’ll blink and nod

And say, How odd
And wonder why old friends don’t come around

Silence is loud
Humility is so proud
Nothing is innocent now

The acid rain
We fear the pain
Will blister and burn the skin
But what is more

The fear we bore
Will eat us alive from within

Silence is loud
Humility is so proud
Nothing is innocent now

For you and me
In the land of the free
Is anything innocent now?

The answer is a big no. Nothing is innocent now. It's not with me or you or anybody. We see through a glass darkly and too much of the time we live and act as if we see perfectly. Or at least good enough to go around confidently telling others they are wrong, even though if we were all honest enough, we would have to confess the times we were so convinced our selves about many things only to find out we were wrong. If that makes sense? Some might be finding freedom from living a life of alienation, but none us us are absolutely free. We perpetuate the nightmare by attempting to coerce others and force them to "see" things as we see them. The worst example of this is thinking our tribe is enlightened and the others are not and because of that we feel justified in pouring judgement out on them. It effects personal relationships on one end and our existence in the world as nations on the other.

Do you think that maybe this is at the heart of the God of all creation coming to live among us in the flesh? Choosing to humble himself so as to show us a better way.....the only way out of the nightmare? God came into the world (and remember he didn't see in part like we do) and even still he chose to suffer as a servant instead of "lording" it over others and forcing anything on them.

I've been thinking about the account of the Tower of Babel in scripture. Why did God choose to confuse mankind and create such diversity by bringing about different languages? Was it punishment because of man's arrogance or was this an act of love? I'm coming to see the dangers of "group think". God scattering mankind was providence. Isn't rallying people of like mind so as to strengthen our positions about our beliefs and then punishing others or destroying them if they don't conform to our way, opposite what Jesus is about? Nations are notorious for this.....yes, even ours here in the USA. It's how nations survive and I don't expect anything other than that out of them.

For any of us who desire to know the God of the Bible, the one that came in the flesh, in Jesus, and walked among his people, it seems we need an adjustment? Everyday I become more and more aware of the adjustment I need. God in Christ just didn't do it the way the world does it. He sees all things clearly and yet he chose to suffer and make a way out of the nightmare for all who believe in him and follow him. He could have executed judgement and justice perfectly, and he did not. Or did he? Wasn't his life, death, and resurrection the judgement? Didn't he clearly marked the line between what is LIFE and what is DEATH? He walked in a way that had nothing to do with worldly power and superiority to convince or compel anyone to do anything. He loved....he accepted people...and he died for us all. He was the first real human that lived totally free. The way he lived and the way forward that he opened up for us all and invited us to join him in, is the only power that there is to live free.... to really live free of the nightmare.

The only thing that counts is Faith expressing itself in Love.
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Galatians%205;&version=49;

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

TROUBLE AND SOME MORE

How about a mini concert? I'm going to see them in a couple weeks. ENJOY!!!!!!!!

I was born to laugh
I learned to laugh through my tears
I was born to love
I'm gonna learn to love without fear

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2tFLPlhH2GA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZkF5XmyqxE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nngJZiRvHwI&mode=related&search=
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7JvwRXIlFps
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpZhmv1g5WQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=USwGFcxV8CA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLeNGHxGu5s
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d27WY19KHLU

This last one is the song Give Me Strength from the recording FILMS FOR RADIO which had a little more of a rock feel to it. This is done to clips from Harry Potter. This is a great song.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grYlb_8WmyA&mode=related&search=

NEW FRIENDS AND OLD FRIENDS

What a day it's been. I start out my day at work with a new client sent to me by a dear friend. Whether or not I ever see her again I feel I have a new friend or should I say I met someone today who is and will aways be a dear sister. For two hours we shared our stories and I was so blessed. She asked me about a book she had been given because she was told by our mutual friend to ask me about it. The book was The Shack. She had just begun reading it, so I talked to her a little bit about it and the author but left the actual story alone for her to read and have her own experience with it. As she was leaving she asked me if she could give me a hug. I said, "Well of course." She said, "I feel like I have found a new brother." Have I ever said that I think I have the best job in the world?

That was how the day began. The way the day ended was with an old friend that I see periodically but for a time in our life our families lived in close community with each other. She was part of a group that left the once a week traditional Sunday morning gathering at the same time we did 18 years ago. It was ten years ago we moved to different parts of the city and we don't see each other as much anymore, but we still have a connection with each other because she is a dear sister also and when we get together we just pick up where we last left off. Guess what our conversation began with? The Shack. A close friend of hers had heard about the book through someone in Kansas and they had given him a copy. He has been very impacted by the book and he is telling his friends about it. Rene and I had a wonderful time together. She had not read the book yet but she was curious to ask me about it because it sounded similar to an unpublished manuscript I had told her I had read last year. I had an extra copy with me, so as she left the salon today she had the book in her hand.

So that is a glimpse into my day today. It started and ended with wonderful moments with friends (sisters actually)and conversations about a Father who loves us more than we can even fathom, and also with a book that just seems to keep popping up everywhere and touching many people in a deep and transforming way.

Did I mention yet that I think I have the best job in the world?

SHAMELESSLY FREE

This is taken from the book HE LOVES ME and from the chapter Shamelessly Free.

After describing many of the effects shame has on us Wayne says this:

"But when you find your security in the awesome love of God, her voice (shame) is unmasked. No longer do you have to play her games by worrying about what others think. Then you'll really know what it is to live as God's child in the earth."

and then a little later in this chapter:

"Those who are no longer influenced by shame can finally live authentic lives---the same outside as they are inside. It is a tremendous relief to be known exactly for who you are, allowing people to know both your strengths and your weaknesses. Shame-free people champion reality over image, sincerity over pretentiousness, and honesty over deceit. Admittedly there is a cost to living authentically in a broken world as others try to take advantage of you. But no one I've met who has done so would go back to the land of pretense."

Shamelessly Free sounds like good news to me.

"When you become totally dependent upon the life of Christ...you will never be so released at last from the self distrust which has made you at one moment an arrogant loud-mouthed baggart, and the next moment the victim of your own self-pity....and either way, always in bondage to the fear of other men's opinions." Major Ian Thomas in The Saving Life of Christ

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

THINKING DIFFERENTLY REDUX

This whole idea of how we think about things just keeps being such an important idea for me to contemplate. I really do think this is one of the most important things that happens when we go through transformation. I actually think it is something that happens at the front end of transformation. If we stay stuck in old familiar ways of thinking we more than likely will stay stuck in the old familiar patterns of living based on old belief systems ingrained in us by our years of alienation caused by attempting to live independently. What follows here is a post from a short while ago. I felt it was important for myself to read again. The quote from Walter Brueggemann is something I read over and over while going through a dramatic change of thinking last year. I still find it important today to go back periodically to read it again. So.....that is why I have moved it up to the top again. Maybe it will be helpful to someone that stops by here to read whatever crazy things I might be pondering.
I had an interesting day of conversations in regards to how we think. Our thinking creates many perceptions and these perceptions become in a sense our reality. If we continue to live like this it becomes irrelevant whether the perceptions are false, they take on a life of their own in our minds and become "true" as far we are concerned.

I have been surrounded recently by a number of people who have allowed suspicions of others to take root in their minds and hearts and the wild growth of these suspicions has just been stunning. So many times, at least in my experience, what is seen as fact or truth about the other so often isn't even close to being true. But the seed has been sown and in too many of us that seed finds fertile soil to take root and the new seedling grows rapidly. As far as relationships go this is just disastrous.
That is one way that our thinking can create many problems for us.

But it was another area of thinking that initiated this post. I guess I would describe it as a way of thinking that never allows an alternative thought....a different perspective on what is possible or even what is reality and truth. This way of thinking that I am sharing today might open up for me a new possibility...a greater freedom...or they could lead me to a place that I never intended. Maybe even some difficulty? Is it worth the risk? Not only do I think so, I think it is necessary for us to grow and avoid finding ourselves in a place like Nicodemus found himself. But Nicodemus had something churning inside his head and heart that led him to go out into the night under the cover over darkness.....against all of his "better" Pharisaical judgement. Try to imagine what he was feeling. Maybe some disorientation? Maybe some sick-to-his-stomach feelings? Maybe some out right paralyzing fear? But he went and took the risk, because he had heard something that had caused some alternative thinking to begin in his head.

If you don't know the story go read it. The religious system and much of it's teaching has so screwed this one up. Well at least how I am seeing it these days. We have used this encounter between Nicodemus and Jesus to create what we call a "Born Again" experience. Sadly, kind of like an event similar to getting your drivers licences, only more important. In doing this, I think we miss the wonder and the tension of what was going on in Nicodemus and what God desires for us all. That encounter seems to me to be more about having the courage to reconsider everything...to let go of all we think we know and start over....to become like a child....in a sense wipe the slate clean. It is living with the ability to think differently over and over again. Not a one time moment of deciding to believe...it is an attitude of living as children live...that is, until adults and this world get a hold of them and turn them into more adults that lose their child like trust in the loving father that is caring for them.

As this happens, they like so many others become suspicious of almost everyone to some degree, and begin to form many illusions in an attempt to bring certainty to a life that offers no certainty. Fear then takes over and a life of protecting ourselves is set in motion and we form hardened positions and ways of thinking that become entrenched in our minds and hearts....at this point alternative thinking becomes almost impossible. We either become ones who "know that we know it all" or so afraid to questioning things because of what we have been told might happen to us if we do. We become stuck.....that is....unless something happens. Nicodemus took a risk and walked out into the scary night to see the one who seemed to speak of something so different than the religion that apparently had left him wondering if there was something more. I think he found what he was looking for that night in the gentle loving company of Jesus, the one that had just pulled the rug out from under him. Jesus took from him that night the "certainty" that had been his former belief system. I bet you that very night and the days to follow, Nicodemus felt wrung out like a rag....yet exhilaratingly alive.

I want to end these thoughts with something from a present day Old Testament Theologian, Walter Brueggemann from his book The Prophetic Imagination.

He speaks of the culture and it's mindset as the royal consciousness.

"We also are children of royal consciousness. All of us, in one way or another, have deep commitments to it. So the first question is: How can we have enough freedom to imagine and articulate a real historical newness in our situation? That is not to ask, as Israel's prophets ever asked, if this freedom is realistic or politically practical or economically viable. To begin with such questions is to concede everything to the royal consciousness even before we begin. We need to ask not whether it is realistic or practical or viable but whether it is imaginable. We need to ask if our consciousness and imagination have been so assaulted and co-opted by the royal consciousness that we have been robbed of the courage or power to think an alternative thought."

Can we risk trusting Jesus, so as to believe in something other than what this world and it's economic, political and religious systems tell us?

"The royal consciousness leads people to despair about the power to move toward new life. It is the task of prophetic imagination and ministry to bring people to engage the promise of newness that is at work in our history with God."
As Nicodemus found out, alternative thinking might feel risky and scary...but in reality, the only thing risky and scary is to remain under the control of the royal consciousness, unable to have an alternative thought.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

HANGING ON AND LETTING GO


The leaves on the oak tree
Hold on through the winter
They’re brown and their brittle
They clatter together

I can’t seem to let go
I’m so scared of losing
The deeper the love goes
The deeper the bruising


From the song Here It Is by Over The Rhine

Saturday, September 22, 2007

RELIGIOUS AND CULTURAL TABOO BREAKING




Jesus just seemed to do this all the time. And it ticked so many people off. Not only the religious folks but those who lived by these illusions of what was right and what was wrong. Tree of the knowledge of good and evil stuff again. Why did Jesus seem so intent on doing this? So many of the accounts we have of this in scripture seems to point to the fact that he was openly and deliberately doing it. I think he did it because he was putting an axe to the root of the human condition of alienation. Our blindness that is created by these illusions.

All of these things are prisons and they are grounded in the foolishiness of man. Unfortunately most of us have come to call it the wisdom of man and see it as a good thing. Again, in many ways, we are all affected by this. Could things be anymore upside down?

Did Jesus do these things because he came to seek and save that which was lost and to set the captives free? Save us from what and free us from what? The damaging effects caused by the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He did a marvelous thing for us all by making it possible to break free from dead religion and dead works of the flesh through systems of ethics (religious and cultural) and moral codes (religious and cultural) and then man proceeded to take this marvelous thing Jesus did and incorporate it back into the the prison Jesus had come to free us from. Jesus didn't come to revamp of religious system and cultural system that had gone bad....he came to bring us life and freedom from these things. What they could never do....he accomplished and has invited us to join him there.

Friday, September 21, 2007

THE STRONG PULL OF RELIGION

This is from the introduction to the second edition of the book HE LOVES ME by Wayne Jacobsen.

"The pull of religion can be far stronger than the freedom of relationship. I can't tell you how many times I've shared theses things only to be faced with someone who honestly believes that God's love alone is not able to transform people. Instead, they argue we have to give them a hefty and consistent dose of God's fear and judgement to keep them on the straight and narrow."

It is sad that this all too often is the case. Conformity to a set of principles is not transformation and will not lead us there. This is religion. The new life made possible under the New Covenant through Jesus is something so different. Law becomes promise. For those being set free, law is not necessary, because the law of love has come to town. It really is the power that can change everything.

SOMETHING TO ADD TO THE ONGOING CONVERSATION HERE

I love this brother. He's played a part in the workings of God in my life over the past year or so. This is pretty cool. It makes me think of Jesus' advice to us about our need of become like children to enter the kingdom of heaven.
http://www.windrumors.com/37/future-tripping-and-the-presence-of-joy-peace/

Thursday, September 20, 2007

AN INTERESTING WORD

Chimeric

Of, relating to, or in the nature of an illusion;

lacking reality: chimerical, delusive, delusory, dreamlike, hallucinatory, illusive, illusory, phantasmagoric, phantasmal, phantasmic, visionary.

Existing only in the imagination: chimerical, conceptual, fanciful, fantastic, fantastical, imaginary, notional, unreal, visionary. See real/imaginary.

I pulled this word out of the quote from Pope Leo VIII that I included in the post from Yesterday. I think it is very interesting that he made that statement in 1893 and it is just as applicable today as it was then. It seems things never change for the culture at large? It's the same today as it was in 1893.

What is it that makes us so susceptible to living in such grand illusions? We all do it. It affects our closest personal relationships with a spouse, our children and our friends and it makes many enemies out of people who really aren't enemies. No wonder relationships are so difficult. No wonder nations go to war on a pretty regular basis. No wonder religious institutions split on average every 6-7 years. No wonder there are power plays in about every situation that exists when two or more people are involved.

What is it that breaks this pattern in one's life? This just seems to be one of the most important things for us all to face? I have been so amazed looking back over my life and how I had convinced myself of so many things, then stood my ground in many arguments, and lived my life out of that place that wasn't even close to being reality. But in light of Pope Leo VIII and what he was facing in his day it seems I have a lot of company.

It just seems to me that if we want to continue to be a people willing to go to the mat for what we think is "true," we might want to at least be sure everything we are willing to go to the mat for is true? But then, if we only see through a glass darkly...only in part...and we won't know in full until Jesus' appearing, maybe, just maybe, that is why the way forward that God showed us through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus and then his disciple, was about loving people and not using the power over method the world uses? Do we really want to be using force and power-over in speech and action on others, and then find out what we forced them to do or believe was based on an illusion? I think not.

Power-over, regardless of whether it is in personal relationships or group relationships is dangerous because of these illusions we are so prone to. I want to learn to step back instead of defend first. This takes freedom in Christ to be possible. The false self is about defending first and standing it's ground. The true self always is about standing for the other first. Only when we learn to live "undefended" can this be the reality in our lives. That is what the cross is about. We can continue to create and live in all the illusions physically possible and then convince ourselves they are true, but the truth remains the same.....illusions are illusions and Pope Leo VIII words still ring true to this very day.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

OUR PROBLEM WITH PAIN

"Pain removes the veil; it plants the flag of truth within the fortress of a rebel soul"

From the book The Problem With Pain by CS Lewis

Pope Leo VIII, September 8, 1893
"A second evil, one which is specially pernicious, and one which, owing to the increasing mischief which it works among souls, we can never sufficiently deplore, is to be found in repugnance to suffering and eagerness to escape whatever is hard or painful to endure. The greater number are thus robbed of that peace and freedom of mind which remains the reward of those who do what is right undismayed by the perils or troubles to be met with in doing so. Rather do they dream of a chimeric civilization in which all that is unpleasant shall be removed, and all that is pleasant shall be supplied. By this passionate and unbridled desire of living a life of pleasure, the minds of men are weakened, and if they do not entirely succumb, they become demoralized and miserably cower and sink under the hardships of the battle of life."


And though we love to numb the pain
We come to learn that it’s in vain
Pain is our mother
She makes us recognize each other


Latter Days
Over The Rhine

What a beautiful piece of heartache this has all turned out to be.
Lord knows we’ve learned the hard way all about healthy apathy.
And I use these words pretty loosely.
There’s so much more to life than words.

There is a me you would not recognize, dear. Call it the shadow of myself.
And if the music starts before I get there dance without me.
You dance so gracefully.
I really think I’ll be o.k. They’ve taken their toll these latter days.

Nothin’ like sleepin’ on a bed of nails.
Nothin’ much here but our broken dreams.
Ah, but baby if all else fails, nothin’ is ever quite what it seems.
And I’m dyin’ inside to leave you with more than just cliches.

There is a me you would not recognize, dear. Call it the shadow of myself.
And if the music starts before I get there dance without me. You dance so gracefully.
I really think I’ll be o.k. They’ve taken their toll these latter days.

But tell them it’s real.
Tell them it’s really real.
I just don’t have much left to say.
They’ve taken their toll these latter days.
They’ve taken their toll these latter days.

IF A SONG COULD BE PRESIDENT

Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist of OVER THE RHINE

I love these two and their music. It inspires and challenges me. It has made me laugh, smile, cry and most often set me in a place of awe and praise. Their hearts and souls come through in their music and this quirky little song might cause people to laugh, but good grief....look around. Are the people we continue to put in office getting it done?

When I think of the fact that our elected officials in Washington are considered the leaders of the free world.....it make me scratch me little ol head. They can't even talk to each other in a way that is leading to getting anything done...how can they possibly be talking to the other world leaders in a way that is effective in a positive?

If A Song Could Be President

If a song could be president

We’d hum on Election Day

The gospel choir would start to sway

And we’d all have a part to play
The first lady would free her hips

Pull a microphone to her lips

Break our hearts with Rhythm and Blues

Steve Earle would anchor the news
We’d vote for a melody

Pass it around on an MP3

All our best foreign policy

Would be built on harmony
If a song could be president

We’d fly a jukebox to the moon

All our founding fathers’ 45’s

Lightnin’ Hopkins and Patsy Cline

If a song could be president
If a song could be president

We could all add another verse

Life would teach us to rehearse

Till we found a key change
Break out of this minor key

Half-truths and hypocrisy

We wouldn’t need an underachiever-in-chief

If a song could be president
We’d make Neil Young a Senator

Even though he came from Canada

Emmylou would be Ambassador

World leaders would listen to her
They would show us where our country went wrong

Strum their guitars on the White House lawn

John Prine would run the FBI

All the criminals would laugh and cry

If a song could be president

Monday, September 17, 2007

VERY MUCH RELATED TO SHAME

Monday mornings are my day to run many errands. I clean the salon first thing, then I grocery shop, then to the supply company for work related stuff, then a myriad of other things when necessary. This morning I had a number of other things added to what I normally have to do on Monday morning and I could feel it attempting to encroach upon my peace and sanity.

Why do we, who have grown up in Western Civilized Societies pride ourselves in what we have created? Have we not just perfected the chaos? Ramped it up to a supercharged level? No wonder most people are so stressed and exhausted. We have elevated the chaos to such an absurd level and we call it progress. I am beginning to see how it is all inter-related and it all just continues to build one overwhelming existence for all who accept this as a "good" thing.

Jesus' words are ringing in my head and heart today and I hear the whisper to come away where he is....a place free of the chaos...still in the midst of it, but not living in the delusion believing that it is a "good" thing or that it is "good" for us and conducive to living free in him.

These are the words of Jesus that apply here:

Mark:18-19 "The seed cast in the weeds represents the ones who hear the kingdom news but are overwhelmed with worries about all the things they have to do and all the things they want to get. The stress strangles what they heard, and nothing comes of it.

You might be asking how this applies to feelings of shame? Let me ask this. Isn't it the feelings of shame deep down inside that keep us doing the opposite of what Jesus is saying here. Especially here in American, isn't it "Status" and "Success" that have become the #1 pursuit of most people? We are bombarded every moment of the day by advertising telling us we need this or that so as to be, or at least to feel successful.

Our very culture exploits this sense of shame and then religion piles even more on top of it. No wonder so many are suffering and feel trapped and powerless.

Jesus' simple words are not about exploiting this sense of shame....they are aimed at removing it from us.

The environment we all live in knows one thing and it is driven from of place of alienation. Even if it is an attempt to control the chaos, it is powerless in it's attempt to do so. It keeps exacerbating the problem. Do we have the courage to imagine a different way? It just seems to me that if we continue to listen to the alienated world and all of it's ridiculous voices, shame will probably remain intact and we will continue to be exploited and exhausted and beat down and the stress that strangles the life of the word's of Jesus and the life he makes available for us will remain an unrealized promise.

I'm just overwhelmed with the reality of his unconditional love for us and what this is all about. Father is waiting at the edge of the farm, anxiously looking out into the distance, longing for us return home. There is no shame waiting for us there.


Sunday, September 16, 2007

HE LOVES US....SO WHY DO WE LIVE LIKE HE DOESN'T?

I'm feeling this morning like this whole problem with shame is something that Father is leading me to ponder deeply, once again, at least for a moment? Who knows how long that moment will last? I hadn't even tied together the fact that I had just ordered the new revised version of Wayne Jacobsen's book He Loves Me, but this morning I woke up with that book on my mind. I don't have the new copy yet that has some additional thoughts from Wayne, so I grabbed the original copy and I am going to begin reading anyway.

If our thinking is wrong about this God we say we want to know and want others to know, what we present to the world in word and deed about him will be more about our skewed view of him then it will be the reality of who he really is.

In a conversation with a friend this morning talking about some of this stuff, this whole notion of using love as a weapon came up. If we are using love as a weapon....shame, guilt, fear, unworthiness and so forth, in an attempt to conform some one's behavior, and it being with held by us or the god we "know," based upon some one's performance within a moral code or ethic, it is not love we are thinking about and it certainly, at least to me, doesn't seem to be consistent with the message of Jesus.

Call me crazy if you want for desiring to go down this path of pondering that seems to be so "off the farm" to what most of religion tells folks today. But you know what? The God I am coming to know, is trust worthy enough, and is big enough, to allow me to ask such questions.....Even if I am "off the farm"!!!!!!! I'm learning that it is in this trusting relationship with a Father that loves me UNCONDITIONALLY and allows me to think and explore as a child does, it is there that I learn to walk. Tripping and stumbling is allowed.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

SHAME AND FEELINGS OF UNWORTHINESS

I ran into a situation today where I watched these two emotions over take someone I care for deeply. I literally wanted to scream out loud. I despise these feelings and what they do to people. I couldn't move fast enough in an attempt to lift this off of them.

Why is it that most people seem to want to exploit these paralyzing emotions in other people? And we need to remember we are all susceptible to this. How is it that people of the religion that proclaims to be following Jesus use these things in an attempt to conform other's behavior? I have been so overwhelmed with.......something?........today and I can't quite figure out how to describe it. For one, I think I am angry. To see this beautiful, wonderfully caring person go from being confused about something to sinking into this pit of humiliation and despair just broke my heart. I knew what it was that was causing it. See, this person has been affected by a religious teaching that is more attached to the TREE OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL than it was the TREE OF LIFE.

Why does this religion proclaiming to represent Jesus do this?

I watched this dear person sinking into a pit and all I could do was everything I new to do to lift this shame off of them. Shame is a paralyzing emotion that scripture even says Jesus despised. Jesus on the cross, took it all within himself so we wouldn't have to. I wish we could see through the lie and understand that the feelings of shame never sets anyone free. It drives them into a pit.

Why do most people trust more in the use of fear...shame...guilt...to "straighten out" someones path instead of the love and mercy and grace and forgiveness of God demonstrated in Jesus...his life...the cross and the new life of the resurrection? I don't know? I just don't understand?

When we were yet sinners and lost, he came close to let us know that he loved us and had opened a way for us to come home. I ask whoever is reading this, Let us all look closely at how we deal with people so as to see if we are using shame and guilt in an attempt to conform other's behavior. Please understand that it drives them deeper into feelings of unworthiness and despair and very well might discourage them from going home where all that awaits them is love and acceptance and grace and mercy...the powerful yet gentle transforming embrace of a Father who cares and loves more than any of us can begin to imagine.

I saw in the eyes of someone today a change happen and it broke my heart... for a moment they lost sight of this awesome Father and the truth that he has taken the shame, along with the sin, within himself and destroyed it, and they began to spiral down because their eyes were turned to their sin and the weight that stupid tree and the moral code that comes from the religion that exploits it. A life focused on the flesh is death.....but a life focused on the Spirit is life.

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ephesians%202;&version=65;

That's the story that has the power to set people free.....not exploiting their sense of shame and sense of unworthiness. Lets' work along side Jesus and lift it off people so they can begin to breathe again and feel safe to come home, not run and hide as the first two in that garden did a long time ago because they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Let's stop shoving people's sin in their faces. The tree of life is all they need. He knows how to set them free.

Friday, September 14, 2007

ARE WE ENSLAVED BY OUR WAY OF THINKING?

I had an interesting day of conversations in regards to how we think. Our thinking creates many perceptions and these perceptions become in a sense our reality. If we continue to live like this it becomes irrelevant whether the perceptions are false, they take on a life of their own in our minds and become "true" as far we are concerned.



I have been surrounded recently by a number of people who have allowed suspicions of others to take root in their minds and hearts and the wild growth of these suspicions has just been stunning. So many times, at least in my experience, what is seen as fact or truth about the other so often isn't even close to being true. But the seed has been sown and in too many of us that seed finds fertile soil to take root and the new seedling grows rapidly. As far as relationships go this is just disastrous.



That is one way that our thinking can create many problems for us.



But it was another area of thinking that initiated this post. I guess I would describe it as a way of thinking that never allows an alternative thought....a different perspective on what is possible or even what is reality and truth. This way of thinking that I am sharing today might open up for me a new possibility...a greater freedom...or they could lead me to a place that I never intended. Maybe even some difficulty? Is it worth the risk? Not only do I think so, I think it is necessary for us to grow and avoid finding ourselves in a place like Nicodemus found himself. But Nicodemus had something churning inside his head and heart that led him to go out into the night under the cover over darkness.....against all of his "better" Pharisaical judgement. Try to imagine what he was feeling. Maybe some disorientation? Maybe some sick-to-his-stomach feelings? Maybe some out right paralyzing fear? But he went and took the risk, because he had heard something that had caused some alternative thinking to begin in his head.



If you don't know the story go read it. The Religious System has so screwed this one up. Well at least how I am seeing it these days. We have used this encounter between Nicodemus and Jesus to create what we call a "Born Again" experience. Sadly, kind of like an event similar to getting your drivers licences, only more important. In doing this, I think we miss the wonder and the tension of what was going on in Nicodemus and what God desires for us all. That encounter seems to me to be more about having the courage to reconsider everything...to let go of all we think we know and start over....to become like a child....in a sense wipe the slate clean. It is living with the ability to think differently over and over again. Not a one time moment of deciding to believe...it is an attitude of living as children live...that is, until adults and this world get a hold of them and turn them into more adults that lose their child like trust in the loving father that is caring for them.



As this happens, they like so many others become suspicious of almost everyone to some degree, and begin to form many illusions in an attempt to bring certainty to a life that offers no certainty. Fear then takes over and a life of protecting ourselves is set in motion and we form hardened positions and ways of thinking that become entrenched in our minds and hearts....at this point alternative thinking becomes almost impossible. We either become ones who "know that we know it all" or so afraid to questioning things because of what we have been told might happen to us if we do. We become stuck.....that is....unless something happens. Nicodemus took a risk and walked out into the scary night to see the one who seemed to speak of something so different than the religion that apparently had left him wondering if there was something more. I think he found what he was looking for that night in the gentle loving company of Jesus, the one that had just pulled the rug out from under him. Jesus took from him that night the "certainty" that had been his former belief system. I bet you that very night and the days to follow, Nicodemus felt wrung out like a rag....yet exhilaratingly alive.



I want to end these thoughts with something from a present day Old Testament Theologian, Walter Brueggemann from his book The Prophetic Imagination.

He speaks of the culture and it's mindset as the royal consciousness.

"We also are children of royal consciousness. All of us, in one way or another, have deep commitments to it. So the first question is: How can we have enough freedom to imagine and articulate a real historical newness in our situation? That is not to ask, as Israel's prophets ever asked, if this freedom is realistic or politically practical or economically viable. To begin with such questions is to concede everything to the royal consciousness even before we begin. We need to ask not whether it is realistic or practical or viable but whether it is imaginable. We need to ask if our consciousness and imagination have been so assaulted and co-opted by the royal consciousness that we have been robbed of the courage or power to think an alternative thought."

Can we risk trusting Jesus, so as to believe in something other than what this world and it's economic, political and religious systems tell us?

"The royal consciousness leads people to despair about the power to move toward new life. It is the task of prophetic imagination and ministry to bring people to engage the promise of newness that is at work in our history with God."

As Nicodemus found out, alternative thinking might feel risky and scary...but in reality the only thing risky and scary is to live refusing to have an alternate thought.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

SHOCK DOCTRINE......A CONVERSATION FROM TODAY

This is a title to a new book and documentary that has just come out. A friend attempted to get a discussion rolling around the topic in another place we frequent and it turned into what I think is one of great difficulties in discussing these kind of things. Two people, making their stand, entered the conversation to prove their point about what they think the "Truth" is, (actually even off subject) and the conversation never got started.

Today I had a 2 hour conversation with a client that travels to France and Israel on a regular basis. She was sharing with me some of the things she experienced in Israel a month ago while she was there looking for an apartment or condo. She had never heard of the term Shock Doctrine but what she described made me think of this. I'm not going to go into details with her story but it was another example for me of people of wealth and wealthy corporations exploiting the general population during a time of upheaval and fear and purchasing land and property and pushing the middle class and poor out. She said it had awaken her to something she had been unwilling to accept......she called it Wild Capitalism. I've heard it called Theocapitalism. Capitalism that has become like a religion. Money being at the center of it and having become a god.

People are getting hurt because systems don't care about people....well, that is, only when those people are serving the system and not costing it too much. It is a suicide machine.

It makes me think of the movie The Matrix and how the machines humans created took on such a power and mankind became slaves to the machines. Some people saw this movie and thought that it was a fun, action packed, spine tingling movie but didn't ever really consider that it was actually happening before their very eyes. I beg to differ. Who is serving who? Who is controlling who?

I know too many people, to even begin to count, that feel trapped, overwhelmed, and powerless. They are so frustrated by the fact that they don't know who to trust anymore. Many continue to support the same figures (religious, political, economic and social) that they have grown up supporting, but many of those that I know are not doing it because they are excited about what they are seeing from them. They just have come to believe that the other side is even worse. Many have developed an extreme confidence in at least that fact. Those on the other side are at best clueless and at worse evil and dangerous.

One day I had my extreme confidence turned on me by God. It came to me in a phone call I had made to a close friend and I stood undone. He basically said to me: "Oh, so everybody that sees it differently than you is an idiot?" In 42 years I had never seen myself so clearly. He was right.

I owned up to this about myself and I apologized to my wife and kids because the case at hand had to do with them....at least that one did. This realization began a change in my life I can't describe. Over the next few months my entire world view began to change. I know it might seem I have drifted of subject here but I have a point to make about the subject at hand....Shock Doctrine. I had come to believe that everyone else was spreading propaganda(lies or deception) except the side I had sided with. I was wrong. We are swimming in it. We eat it, breathe it, drink it and go to sleep on it and then we wake up even more entrenched it.

Is it possible to take something like the book and documentary Shock Doctrine, which I believe is a form of propaganda, (and I am not making a judgement about it being either true or false) or any of the other books, movies, tv, news and whatever other ways propaganda is spread and learn from it? What are the dangers? What are the benefits?

Here is the question I have. If everything around us is saturated with this information being spread by all forms of media, how are we to live free of the manipulation others are attempting to use on us? Right, Left or Center, really doesn't matter. We are being manipulated by them all.

Monday, September 10, 2007

TO GET TO LOVE....WHAT'S IT GOING TO TAKE

Let's remember the families that are missing loved ones because of the nightmare of September 11. And the cycle that began a long time ago that continues to lead us to more tragic events. Just think of the waste of lives because of hate. There is enough of that going around and it continues to take lives. God has a way out of the nightmare. But do we live like we believe it?
This one needs no explaination. Sorry, Sue got me going.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3INwn7zp7nQ


Today the Popmart Live DVD came out. Tomorrow I go and get mine.

Here is a taste from the show.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=uZUqVbNGD5c

This song is about losing ourselves and the new life (rebirth)for those that do. This song speaks also on how sometimes we think we are experiencing freedom, only to find out it was something else.


Gone

You get to feel so guilty

Got so much for so little

The you find that feeling just won't go away.

You're holding on to every little thing so tightly

Till there's nothing left for you anyway.

Goodbye, you can keep this suit of lights

I'll be up with the sun

I'm not coming down

I'm not coming down

I'm not coming down.

You wanted to get somewhere so badly

You had to lose yourself along the way.

You changed your name

Well that's okay, it's necessary

And what you leave behind you don't miss anyway.

Goodbye, you can keep this suit of lights

I'll be up with the sun

I'm not coming down

I'm not coming down

I'm not coming down.

'Cause I'm already gone

Felt that way all along.

Closer to you every day

I didn't want it that much anyway.

You're taking steps that make you feel dizzy

Then you learn to like the way it feels.

You hurt yourself, you hurt your lover

Then you discover

What you thought was freedom is just greed.

Goodbye, and it's an emotional

Goodnight, I'll be up with the sun.

Are you still holding on?

I'm not coming down

I'm not coming down

I'm not coming down.


JUST SPENDING ENERGY

I have come to the conclusion that the only reason to expend any energy is for freedom. And as I have been writing about it some lately, I mean God's freedom. To exhaust ourselves for anything other than that, is just a waste of time. I have spent far too many of my years in this life doing all kinds of things. Things that sounded wonderful. Arguments that sounded so wise....at least in my head. Well put together plans for myself and my family for the future and even beyond in eternity. All the time, acting as if I had control of it all. I at least woke up to that lie and the illusions it had created.

It was the working of these illusions that had worn me out, left me dry, and brought me face to face with the house I had built on a faulty foundation. This was anything but freedom.When I began to awaken to this I began to see that I had been running after many things......grabbing in a sense for things God had not given. This grabbing certainly wasn't born of faith.....it was driven out of mere beliefs about something and someone. Illusions once again about what a life hidden with Christ in God was about.

So am I on a pursuit for freedom? Surprisingly no. I'm just walking everyday in unfamiliar territory following Jesus where he leads. One day at a time. It's only in Jesus that freedom is found. When we know him, and we are following him, much of the time in uncharted waters, freedom just seems to creep up on us. This is the life of faith and it is much different than a life built around mere beliefs about something and trying to work it. It is the only life....everything else is just bondage.

You could have flown away
A singing bird in an open cage
Who will only fly, only fly for freedom

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qhzoPppJrDM

I'm no longer willing to exhaust myself for anything else. I'm finding it's much easier when I do this at his side. Oh, if you haven't noticed.....Jesus isn't on that treadmill.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

THIS THING OF FREEDOM

Romans 6:19I'm using this freedom language because it's easy to picture. You can readily recall, can't you, how at one time the more you did just what you felt like doing—not caring about others, not caring about God—the worse your life became and the less freedom you had? And how much different is it now as you live in God's freedom, your lives healed and expansive in holiness?

2 Corinthians 11:16[ Many a Long and Lonely Night ] Let me come back to where I started—and don't hold it against me if I continue to sound a little foolish. Or if you'd rather, just accept that I am a fool and let me rant on a little. I didn't learn this kind of talk from Christ. Oh, no, it's a bad habit I picked up from the three-ring preachers that are so popular these days. Since you sit there in the judgment seat observing all these shenanigans, you can afford to humor an occasional fool who happens along. You have such admirable tolerance for impostors who rob your freedom, rip you off, steal you blind, put you down—even slap your face! I shouldn't admit it to you, but our stomachs aren't strong enough to tolerate that kind of stuff.

Galatians 5:1[ The Life of Freedom ] Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.

Galatians 5:19It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on. This isn't the first time I have warned you, you know. If you use your freedom this way, you will not inherit God's kingdom.

I woke up this morning with thoughts of freedom on my mind.....the freedom that comes from God, not the pseudo freedom most men and women walk around talking about and exercising. I think Paul would say to us today "You foolish______(fill in the blank), who has tricked?" A read of Galatians 3 was a good reminder this morning for me.

Most times I might immediately ask the question "Why do we gravitate back to bondage so easily?" But today that is not the first question I think of. My question is "How is it possible that we gravitate back there and live for so long unaware of what has happened?" How is it that we can treat people in such ugly ways and feel justified doing it? That old self-preservation mode......I'm going to prove that I am right mode.....and the means necessary to do that are all open for my using. I have a feeling that if we are operating like that we can be assured it is not from a place of freedom.

So why does it seem this is how most people continue to live their lives? And I am not talking about people outside of the Church. When this way of living is a life of tyranny that manifests itself with the experiences listed in Galatians 5:19, how do we continue on this path, either ignoring it, or it being a blind spots in our lives?

The thing that is sold as freedom today allows, even promotes the things mentioned in Galatians 5:19. Seems we've been duped when it comes to what freedom really is?

Friday, September 07, 2007

WHAT IS THE REAL BATTLE?

This excerpt is from a writing by Jacques Ellul called Belief and Faith. It is linked on my blog under The Bigger Picture where you can read it in it's entirety. As we live in a time when so much of the focus of the Christian community is on the "so-called" culture war, I think we miss the only battle that is really important. The battle (and it is a personal one) between belief and faith. One stands in the way of the other......and for that very reason the the other is rarely seen or experienced.

"Belief relates to things, to realities, to behaviors that are raised to the status of an ultimate value that it worthy dying for. Belief transforms next-to-last human realities into ultimate, absolute, foundational realities. It turns everything that belongs to the order of the Promise, of God Word, of the Kingdom into epiphenomena, into sweet pious words, ways of making life easier, and a process of self-justification. Faith runs totally counter to this. To begin with, faith acknowledges the Ultimate in all its irrefragable truth, and so it depreciates and attaches little importance to whatever offers itself as a substitute for that Ultimate. It is not a matter of looking to some external ultimate reality; the Kingdom of heaven is (at present) in you or among you. As of now it is you who constitute it. Faith is the demand that we must incarnate the Kingdom of God now in this world and this age.

Belief is a refuge and flight from reality. It is seized upon as protection, as a guarantee or insurance policy. Faith is taking risks, leaving behind safety and security, scorning guarantees, stepping out of the boat onto the Sea of Galilee. If we live by faith there is no need to plead with Him to save us from danger. It is enough to know that since He is there, even if the danger should prove mortal, whatever God's love wishes is being done and will be done in us, no matter what.

Why believe? (Using "believe" for participating in faith.) We have no answer for it. Believe for what? With an eye to what? To achieve what? To get what? We believe for nothing. There is no objective reason for faith; you have to live it. Faith has no origin or objective. The moment it admits of any objective, it ceases to be faith. If you believe in God in order to be protected, shielded, healed, or saved, then it's not faith, which is gratuitous. This will prove shocking, especially to Protestants, who have talked so much about salvation through faith, about faith as the condition of salvation, that they end up saying you believe so that you'll be saved. But we have to keep coming back to grace and its gratuitousness. If God loves and saves humankind without asking any price, the counterpart to this is that God intends to be believed and loved without self-interest or purpose, simply for nothing. It is scandalous, and yet so easy to understand when you think of love. The moment that a man and a woman love one another for something, whether it be for money or prestige or beauty or job, it is no longer love. Love is without cause and selfish interests; love is without reason.

Faith is constant interplay; it never stagnates or settles down. One cannot incarnate faith in some static, definitive fashion. Faith is the perennially new critical point. Faith therefore implies the continual presence of temptation and an ever clearer vision of reality; it implies criticism of Christian religion, of civilizing missions, of Christian moral codes imposed from the outside, of a Christian truth that excludes claims to it from any other area of human culture. Faith is the point of rupture (not with our fellow human beings) but with religions. Faith must proceed to criticize, to judge, and radically to reject all human religious claims. We have to be careful here; it is not people who are being judged or criticized here; it is their will to power and the expression of that in religion. But faith's critique of religion can be rooted only in its critique of itself.

Faith leads me to take part in everything, while at the same time it shows me everything in a light that is not that of reason, experience, or common sense. This is not a intellectual operation, but an existential attitude. Faith brings about the "new person" manifested in love and lucidity.

The faith of Christians in the church today has gone astray. Their obsession with the contents of faith (theologians quarreling over technical terms) instead of with the movement and life of faith is what has triggered our worldwide crisis. But the unchangeable remains unchangeable. The Ultimate One, the Unconditioned, the Wholly Other has not changed. Faith is our responsibility to see to it that the Transcendent, the Unconditioned, the Totally Other Being, becomes an active reality here and now. Faith moves mountains only when it speaks to the omnipotent Creator, and when it also accepts its role of hearing the word of faith."

CRASH AND BURN

**************************Update***********************************
This story made the St. Louis news stations. Live video of her Nissan Maxima stuck under the back end of the school bus. It makes me think of a line in the song Anna in another post below, that I said reminded me of my relationship with my girls: Well the news made her more than a name but, barely.

Our oldest daughter was in an car accident this morning. She is okay. Just a case of serious whiplash and a car that I am sure is totaled. She said the brakes failed and she had no way to stop the car before it hit the back end of a school bus. This could have been much worse.

Things can happen so fast. We are not in control of our safety or our kids. I'm reminded of the post awhile back about the present moment being all that exists. Always remember to hug your loved ones before they go out the door. And when you see them the next time even if it is after they have made a mistake or by accident wrecked a car, give them hug and tell them you love them and that we will face it all together.

DON'T LET THE MOMENT GET AWAY.



Thursday, September 06, 2007

SOME ENCOURAGEMENT.....HOPEFULLY FOR SOMEONE

I had this thought this morning about the difference in how I feel this day compared to my life prior to the spring of 06. I'm going to use music again to make the point and to show how little phrases or creative ways of expressing things give us "touch points" that can encourage us, challenge us and sometimes express for us things we can not express for ourselves. Sometimes we can't speak it yet because we are afraid to. Sometimes we can't express it yet because we are still living in the illusion of our own making and we aren't ready to face it. For myself it turned out to be both. But many of these creative "touch points" were being planted in me as seeds in my heart and some of them as thorns in my minds. Thank you Father for that process.

Cynthia's response in the last post and some other serious things going on with one of my sibling's family had me thinking of this one today as my day got rolling. I do hope this helps encourage you Cynthia (and whoever else) in at least believing that there is an unfolding process going on in you and I and many others out there that are awakening to a new life. It's hard to express how different things are for me today even with all the chaos swirling around.


This first one expresses how I was feeling prior to this unfolding. Today looking back I see clearly how it had become a prayer for me during that time. This is Over The Rhine and it is taken from the CD Ohio and the song is Long Lost Brother. All of this has actually felt like a re-turning to my long lost older brother's side.

So tell me your troubles
Let your pain rain down
I know my job I’ve been around
I invest in the mess
I’m a low cost dumping ground

Trouble is I’m so exhausted
The plot, you see, I think I’ve lost it
I need the grace to find what can’t be found

And today I can say this is becoming a reality and it feels like a celebration of sorts of freedom. Freedom to be able to say "I am here, and I have a moment if you need it." This is Ellery from the CD Lying Awake and the song is Anna

The truth is, there’ll be harder times
It’s okay to say you’re fine
But I’ll be waiting back behind
and you can make your troubles mine...

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

OUR MESSES OR HIS FREEDOM

I hope this makes sense? Forgive me if it doesn't.....maybe it was the strong latte? I feel like I'm playing the fool here and going out on a limb to share some thoughts I had this morning in light of a real life experience that is unfolding. These two songs are the first two things that happened to me as I left home this morning and headed to work. It got me thinking.

The pain of the messes people create are difficult to take sometimes.....actually all the time. When it is someone you love and care for it can be painful to watch. But what can we do? We either turn our faces away because we can't take it or we enter the mess and the pain of it all. Entering the mess most certainly means we will have some pain inflicted on us even by those we love. They can't help it because they are out of control. Crazy things are said when people are hurting and feeling like things are crumbling around them. I tried to bring a calm to the situation but I didn't attempt to fix it or change the feelings they were having. All of this came about from people treating others in ways that were not about love. The hurtful cycle is still spiraling at this time and until those involved are set free, that cycle will just continue with momentary breaks of calm.....only to rise to the surface again at some future time. It's all there is outside of freedom in Christ. Don't buy the lie and deny the truth. The truth being, for those being set free they will be healers not participants in this sick cycle of hurt. At least not on a regular basis as if that is just the way it is.

On the way to work this is the first song that I heard. Don't be fooled by the seemingly silliness and simplicity of the song. I think this is profound. Change the situation and story to what ever your experience is. There is our mess created by our alienation from Father and the complications created by our attempts to live out of our independence, and then there is the Glory of God and the freedom he has offered. That is all there is.


CASIMIR PULASKI DAY
http://youtube.com/watch?v=CdfiXdrmXA8

Golden rod and the 4-H stone
The things I brought you
When I found out you had cancer of the bone

Your father cried on the telephone
And he drove his car to the Navy yard
Just to prove that he was sorry

In the morning through the window shade
When the light pressed up against your shoulder blade
I could see what you were reading

Oh the glory that the lord has made
And the complications you could do without
When I kissed you on the mouth

Tuesday night at the bible study
We lift our hands and pray over your body
But nothing ever happens

I remember at Michael's house
In the living room when you kissed my neck
And I almost touched your blouse

In the morning at the top of the stairs
When your father found out what we did that night
And you told me you were scared

Oh the glory when you ran outside
With your shirt tucked in and your shoes untied
And you told me not to follow you

Sunday night when I cleaned the house
I find the card where you wrote it out
With the pictures of your mother

On the floor at the great divide
With my shirt tucked in and my shoes untied
I am crying in the bathroom

In the morning when you finally go
And the nurse runs in with her head hung low
And the cardinal hits the window

In the morning in the winter shade
On the first of March on the holiday
I thought I saw you breathing

Oh the glory that the lord has made
And the complications when I see his face
In the morning in the window

Oh the glory when he took our place
he took my shoulders and he shook my face
And he takes and he takes and he takes

This was the second song. It speaks to me of another perspective. Unless we see and own up to the fact that it is only in the freedom that we can find only in Christ, will we be freed from the messes that we create and the messes of those around us. Without freedom, we will be controlled by the chaos swirling around us and we will not be able to help those that are having the hell beat out of them physically and emotionally by people and the harsh surounding environment.

ALL OF THE TREES OF THE FIELD WILL CLAP THEIR HANDS
http://youtube.com/watch?v=yvq-GQP-VyY&mode=related&search=

If I am alive this time next year,
will I have arrived in time to share?
And my eye is about this good this far.
And I'm still applied to what you are.
And I am joining all my thoughts to you.
And I'm preparing every part for you.

And I heard from the trees a great parade.
And I heard from the hills a band was made.
And will I be invited to the sound?
And will I be a part of what you've made?
And I am throwing all my thoughts away.
And I'm destroying every bet I've made.
And I am joining all my thoughts to you.
And I'm preparing every part for you

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

THE UNFORCED RHYTHMS OF GRACE


Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message)

"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."

My day Yesterday reminded me of this passage from The Message. Also my brother Rich (and then life happened) mentioned it on his blog awhile back and then Wayne and Brad discussed it a couple weeks ago on The God Journey Podcast. Learning the unforced rhythms of grace seems to be something the Spirit keeps bring up?

Most of the music from Yesterday speaks to me of this idea. It's the opposite of religion. Religion teaches us to work it hard and so often (even if unintentionally) places heavy burdens on people when Jesus was about lifting them off of us. Grace is like that. It removes the sting and it carries the weight.

As I have been pondering this world we all find ourselves in and the environment that has become so harsh because it has been stripped of grace, I'm left overwhelmed by the beauty of what Jesus, our older brother, and our Father have made available for us. What holds us back?
That is for each of us to discover for ourselves.

Music is one of those things the Spirit uses to help me see and understand the unforced rhythms of grace. That is why I listen often. That is why I spent so much time with it Yesterday. It was a day immersed in Father's grace. I hope you all are experiencing these unforced rhythms of Father's grace and if you are not......hang on....and pray that Father will make his love for you so real, that the heavy burden this world seems so often to dump on us, just won't be able to have it's way with us any longer. AND ALWAYS REMEMBER...... GRACE MAKES BEAUTY OUT OF UGLY THINGS.

Monday, September 03, 2007

IT'S BEEN A QUIET DAY

Well.....quiet that is as far as the activity around the house. Julie has worked all weekend, the three girls have been running with friends and a cousin and I have been at home just taking it easy. It's been another day of reflection on the wonder that is life, and the creator of that life that is ever present to make it real.

I have listened to a lot of music today and watched a lot of videos as you all can tell by now. I hope who ever has stopped by here has enjoyed looking in on my life and some of the music that has touched me and continues to do so. Wow no Over The Rhine or U2. Today was about some of the other music that fills my head and heart on a regular basis. This is the last one for the day.

This is Ellery and this song makes me think of walking through this life loving and supporting my daughters but it applies to us all being there for each other. We all need people to walk with. People that are learning to love.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=g3orXT5-8xQ

Anna

She was falling asleep with the light on, waiting
With her back to the door and the whole world, fading
He was never no good if he’d leave her, that way
But it’s funny how that’s never made this, okay

Anna, hang on
There is more where all this came from(repeat)

Well the news made her more than a name but, barely
To the small town of Troy and the Carman, family
Who were told it would be like it all was, back then
That the world could pretend like it never, happened

Anna, hang on
There is more where all this came from (repeat)

In your short life, you’ve lived a thousand times
You stood so brave, they robbed you blind
The truth is, there’ll be harder times
It’s okay to say you’re fine
But I’ll be waiting back behind (and)
you can make your troubles mine...

Anna, hang on
There is more where all this came from (repeat)

ANOTHER BAND THAT HAS TRAVELED WITH ME


THE INNOCENCE MISSION

I think of a lot of you, my blogging brothers and sisters when I watch this video. I pray that you all continue to grow in the knowledge of his love for you.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=Ls-aHBAw3RA

Here is one of the first posts I made as a blogger. I had just discovered this band. I was just emerging from a raw time in my life and Father was breathing new life into me. This band was a breath of fresh air. Papa dropped many things like this into my lap last year and I didn't ever see it coming.

http://nthegarden.blogspot.com/2006/06/new-music.html
another video......Bright as Yellow.

WHAT A STORY TELLER....SUFJAN STEVENS


This is what I have been listening to today. I will post 3 songs and videos here that will give you all a tastes of this dear brother. He is another one that did it his way in mainstream music singing about the hope of glory in real life stories. Rolling Stone Magazine called him a story telling musical genius. People are being touched by the ripples of Papa's grace and at present time might not even be aware of it.

Chicago
http://youtube.com/watch?v=Vg7BEHIo-g4&mode=related&search=

I fell in love again all things go, all things go
drove to Chicago all things know, all things know
we sold our clothes to the state
I don't mind, I don't mind
I made a lot of mistakes in my mind, in my mind

I drove to New York in a van, with my friend
we slept in parking lots I don't mind, I don't mind
I was in love with the place in my mind, in my mind
I made a lot of mistakes in my mind, in my mind

you came to take us all things go, all things go
to recreate us all things grow, all things grow
we had our mindset all things know, all things know
you had to find it all things go, all things go

if I was crying in the van, with my friend
it was for freedom from myself and from the land
I made a lot of mistakes I made a lot of mistakes
I made a lot of mistakes I made a lot of mistakes

you came to take us all things go, all things go
to recreate us
all things grow, all things grow
we had our mindset
all things know, all things know
you had to find it all things go, all things go


Abraham
http://youtube.com/watch?v=T4IZBi2fUFc


Abraham, worth a righteous one.
Take up on the wood, put it on your son.
Lake or lamb.
There is none to harm.
When the angel came, you had raised your arm.
Abraham, put off on your son.

Take instead the ram
until Jesus comes

(This video for Seven Swans is done to images of New Orleans after the hurricane but it leaves out the last part of the song which is unfortunate.) There are other live versions of it available on youtube but they aren't very good quality. There is a short movie someone did for this song that is really cool also. Go check them out if you care to.

Seven Swans
http://youtube.com/watch?v=AG29KYgVwAg
This is the live version and he tells a story of how this song came about.
http://youtube.com/watch?v=BfyRIUmAOPk

We didn't sleep too late.
There was a fire in the yard.
All of the tress were in light.
They had no faces to show.
I saw a sign in the sky:
Seven swans, seven swans, seven swans.
I heard a voice in my mind: I will try, I will try, I will try.
I will try, I will try, I will try.

We saw the dragon move down.
My father burned into coal.
My mother saw it from far.
She took her purse to the bed.
I saw a sign in the sky: Seven horns, seven horns, seven horns.
I heard a voice in my mind: I am Lord, I am Lord, I am Lord.
He said: I am Lord, I am Lord, I am Lord.
He said: I am Lord, I am Lord, I am Lord.

He will take you. If you run,
He will chase you.
He will take you.
If you run, He will chase you
'cause He is the Lord.
'Cause He is the Lord...
Seven swans, seven swans, seven swans, seven swans, seven swans...
Okay....this is #4. How about an old hymn?