Wednesday, April 30, 2008

THE HEART OF THE MATTER


While sitting in the Dr. office this morning awaiting his arrival I was reading the book I had taken along with me, a copy of The Shack (cool link). For some reason the chapter Verbs and Other Freedoms was on my mind this morning. While sitting there reading, it became very clear to me as to why I felt led to read it today.
I was there having some blood tests ran to rule out two very serious diseases. Leukemia and Lymphoma. The lesion that was removed from my leg a few weeks ago came back benign yet the type of lesion it was carries with it in adults a low level connection to these diseases and other autoimmune diseases. It will take a few days to know for sure. And being as honest as I know how to be, through this entire episode I have been fear and worry free. Father has apparently done such a work of grace in me and the trust I am living in astounds even myself. It's actually very humbling. The reality is this when it comes to my health: It is what it is regardless of how I react to it. I remained in Father's rest all day long.
The other on going situation that began last Thursday and was still playing out today was the news surrounding our latest adventure in teenage driving. We found out that another car was a total loss and we have been wading through our options. Through this one also I have remained in Father's rest.
One of the decision we made today (it's been looming for awhile now) is we have decided to refinance our home to free up some room in the budget. This is something I have held off doing because we are 11 years away from having it paid for and I didn't want to let the dream of the empowering feeling of owning it out right to die. I made the call to a friend in the Mortgage Industry today once I returned from the Dr. to set in motion the process of refinancing. I am at peace and rest with this decision.
I get the feeling that it is the fairly new found place of freedom and rest that has helped in keeping confusion and indecision at bay. It helps even more when it comes to putting things in their proper perspective. So, how does the chapter Verbs and Other Freedoms figure into all of these things? For starters, it has everything to do with the shift that has happened (and continues to happen) in myself and my wife when it comes to our former way of living with expectations, to this new wonderful place of living with expectancy. Set nothing in stone if you want to live in the freedom of our Father and the life he makes possible. And secondly, it's due to the tangible difference between the former life we lived, being governed by responsibility ( an intense focus, based in fear, on making the "right" decision as opposed to the "wrong" decision) and the new space that has freed us from so much garbage and created enough freedom for us to respond to whatever we are facing in each and every moment of life and what that life throws at us. These are the things that jumped out at me and grabbed my heart and imagination the very first time I read this chapter of The Shack. As I have said before, even though my first reading made me think to myself that this was just a cute play on words, I knew deep down inside the Spirit was stirring something in me that said: "This is no cute play on words....this will help walk you into the freedom you are longing for."
My life since that day is all the proof I need. Watching my wife who has suffered under the weight of depression and fear all the years that I have known her, respond today with such trust, again is all the proof I need.
I want to add here so much from the chapter mentioned above but there is just too much to do so. I suggest if any of this has resonated with you to go read it for yourself. But I will add this exchange. This is Papa telling Mack how she looks at their relationship together.
"What I do have is a constant and living expectancy in our relationship, and I give you the ability to respond to any situation and circumstance in which you find yourself. To the degree that you resort to expectations and responsibilities, to that degree you neither know me or trust me."
"And" interjected Jesus, " to that degree you will live in fear."
I also want to say this; don't worry about me, just say a prayer and entrust me into the hands of the one whom we can fully trust. I will post the results as soon as I get them.

WONDER WHAT IS MISSED WHEN IN A HURRY?


EVERY MORNING BEGINS WITH THIS REMINDER:


SLOW DOWN.........


THE INVITATION IS TO ENTER HIS REST......AND REMAIN THERE











Tuesday, April 29, 2008

PLAYING AROUND WITH THE CAMERA AGAIN TODAY

This is why I began collecting unusual conifers. The cones are pretty awesome.

I need to take a photography class.

This Hellebore has just pushed out some new flowers and they are so cool. The first set were a mauve rose color and now these are a peachy pink.


The color contrast and the differing leaf shapes of the maples always make wonderful combination with each other and with the conifers and other plants.









Monday, April 28, 2008

NO REASONS TO BE SURPRISED ANYMORE

While sitting and thinking this Monday morning before heading out to take care of those Monday morning things I must do, I was reminded of the quotes Trish posted on her blog from Mike Yaconelli's book Dangerous Wonder. The past couple years in my life have been about learning to live in God's rest. It really has produced a child like expectancy of what my wonderful Father will invite me to collaborate with him in with each passing moment.

The wonder created is not tied to any seeking of adventure as many might think, it's actually quite the opposite. It even applies to the mundane. If I had to describe it I think I would have to say that it is due to the growing reality that I'm no longer as distracted by the game the world had shaped me to play. For me there is no reason to be surprised anymore by the things the world gives or tries to demand or attempts to make me feel I need. It is what it is.

But oh what a difference it is living and resting in the love and affection of Father. He never rejects us. Never. His love is never attached to our performance. But I sense that His love leads us to do many things. One of those things being, throwing our arms around people and loving them and helping them live free of the game that is nothing but oppressive and burdensome. And for me, the sense of wonder seems to simply emerge when our eyes are opened to this very reality and the freedom that comes with it.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

GOD'S WILD FREEDOM


My friend Trish is presently reading one of my favorite books, Dangerous Wonder. I posted a couple quotes from it a few weeks ago here on my blog. I wanted to link to her blog because the quotes she has put up are so awesome. Getting to walk with Trish and Roger some over the past couple years (not as much as I would like though) has been such a blessing watching them come alive into a new place of freedom and wonder. Go here to check it out.
And while you are at it, here is another link to another friend of mine and him telling of some of the astonishing things happening in his life. Had it not been for Wayne I more than likely would have never met Trish and Roger. Well, now that I think about it, all my blogging friends have met up with each other through Wayne and Life Stream Ministries. Pretty cool, eh?

ANOTHER GARDEN POST





Well, here are some more pictures. For some reason these of the back garden area from the deck always turn out fuzzy. Well anyway, I am now within 3 truck loads of mulch of being completely done with the physical side of the Spring work. Once that is done, all there is to do is the maintenance work like, watering and keeping the weeds and pests under control. Besides that, all that's left is the daily walks through it and the quiet moments of rest, contemplation, prayer, reading and some Ipod listening to music and podcasts and moments with my wife and daughters.
The nice outdoor season usually always includes friends coming over for conversation and sharing of meals. I love all the moments spent with them. My friend Mike just called a few minutes ago to see if I wanted to get together for coffee later. He and I get to do that quite often and I so appreciate the time with him.


The top three pictures are taken from our deck looking down into the back garden area. The deck is one of my favorite places for an afternoon nap or lunch/dinner before the temps get too hot and humid. I better get to calling some friends and making some plans. If any of my blogging friends are ever near St. Louis, let me know.



This tree just keeps showing up here. I can't help it, it seems to change everyday. Out of all the maples I think this one is the one that never ceases to amaze me. It's just stunning.



LISTENING AND THINKING FOR OUR SELVES

I've been thinking a lot about the post I made Yesterday regarding the controversy swirling around Jeremiah Wright. Today I've been thinking about this quote from Jacques Ellul and the profound reality it describes. This describes perfectly why character assassinations are so effective and why so many of us are so prone to the control foisted on us through propaganda. Unless we are learning to listen for ourselves what the Spirit is communicating to us as individuals, and we are listening for our selves what the other person (original source) is actually saying, we will be prone to falling victim to propaganda. It kills healthy dialogue and keeps us from ever engaging in open conversation. And history is full of horrific examples and it is much easier for us looking back shaking our heads in disbelief as we think about the destructive ideologies our Christian ancestors held onto and defended in the name of God...and it is much more difficult for us to step back and take a critical look at our selves to see if we have any such destructive ideologies we are holding on to and defending, not to mention the courage it takes to admit it when we see them.

"Propaganda ceases when simple dialogue begins ... the individual never is considered as an individual, but always in terms of what he has in common with others ... Emotionalism, impulsiveness, excess, etc. - all these characteristics of the individual caught up in a mass are well known and very helpful to propaganda."

Saturday, April 26, 2008

BLOOMS IN THE GARDEN TODAY





Spring so far has been just about as good as it gets. The above average rainfall and gradually rising temps have been so beneficial for the plant world...many people are complaining though. I simply tell them to look around and try to take it all in. Humans seem to tend to want to control everything and in the process miss the beauty that springs forth from the things that are bugging them. :)










BILL MOYERS AND JEREMIAH WRIGHT

Did any of you get to watch this interview last night? If not and you are interested here it is. I would love to hear what others think about it.

I found it to be very interesting. Who are we going to believe? Who is saying things that resonate with your heart...Pastor Wright or those that have been opposing him in the media?



Part 1

Part 2

Friday, April 25, 2008

BEAUTY FROM BOTH SIDES


I shot this picture of the back side of a Hellebore awhile back and wanted to share it but held off because IMHO it was such a special picture and I didn't feel like just throwing it into just any post. Tonight seemed to present the opportunity to use it.
Because of my blogging friends Rob, Sue, Trish, Tina, and Jennifer and their recent posts about the things going on in their lives I got a glimpse of beautiful from the front and the back. When it comes to people learning to live free through the love and affection of Father, whether these people are approaching you or walking away, in that moment you know you are about to encounter the embrace of grace and that after the encounter you will be left in the transforming glow of it. Both views are simply beautiful.

IS IT ABOUT STUFF OR IS IT ABOUT PEOPLE

I woke up this morning with a question running around in my head.

Do you think most people live their lives spending more time and energy and money caring for people or acquiring things/stuff that then needs protecting and in the process causing even more harm to the people that surround them?

As I have thought about this over the past few years and began to look at the question seriously, I have been shocked at how much this had become true about myself. I find that daily, based upon the system we live in, I am faced with constant decisions I must make regarding this. I came to see that everything in our system pushes people to a place of valuing things and then protecting those things over really loving others and recognizing the value of every human being.

Many excuses are used to keep the game going strong and disguise this sad reality.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

THINGS ARE MOVING RIGHT ALONG

Well, the warmer weather has brought about some drastic changes in just a few days. The rapid growth of leaves reminds me of watching the wings of a butterfly fill with fluid and expand. It really is an amazing process.

I'm watching similar changes emerge in the lives of people around me as they are beginning to walk free of the fear based living they have known. As the love of God fills us and that love casts out the fears that imprison us, the transformation is even more stunning than watching a plant come into a new growing season. The natural world is a fixed event...it's the laws of nature.


A heart imprisoned by fear, shame and guilt being set free is a much more tricky transformation because our will and choices play a role. It comes down to trust and a willingness to let go of the illusion of being in control and being controlled by what others might think of us.


That's what separates humans from the plant world. We can live free.


And as beautiful as the natural world is that surrounds us....a heart/a life set free by the love and affection of Father so that His love can be extended through us towards other humans and towords the care of the natural world just happens to give a whole new meaning to BEAUTIFUL.






Wednesday, April 23, 2008

LET A NEW LOVE FLOW


A few days ago I pulled out my Heart Dreamboat Annie CD and have been listening to it as I go to and from work. It's so fascinating how time and experience changes things. I'm very much enjoying this music and I am so keenly aware of the different listening ears with which I am hearing it today compared to some 30 years ago when I first purchased this recording. Magic Man, Crazy On You, Dreamboat Annie, Soul of The Sea and the other songs all feel the same...well except for the absence of the raging hormones of my youth...but one song, a song that even back then I found to be so beautiful feels so different today. The song How Deep It Goes has felt like a gentle reminder of the past 30 years and the experience that has been my life over those years. Life is such a tapestry, a painting that continues to be added to. I'm only a reflection of who I was back then. Actually I'm only a shadow of who I was a few short years ago and I am convinced (and I hope) I will be saying the same thing a few years from now if I am graced by the giver of life to still be walking this earth at that time. He has gone deep, so much deeper than I even knew possible a short while ago.

As happens most times when I sit down here to write I have no idea where my thoughts will take me and this time is no different. A passage of scripture just came to mind and it seems to just belong here. So many of the thoughts expressed by those that have gone before us all that are recorded in the Bible have just taken on new life to me and for the first time so deeply resonate as reality and not just concepts to hope for. I pray this prayer for us all that long for more and more of the reality of Father, Son and Spirit to be revealed to us.

At the end of this post I will also link to the song How Deep It Goes.
Ephesians 3:16-19
16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man,
17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.


"Even though there's a scar
Still fresh from the war,
don't think about it no more
Letting new love flow
How deep it goes"

Listen to the song here

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

THE CONSTANT DILEMMA


Exclusion or Embrace? A space for personal discovery (revelation) or enforcement of rules (law)? Not taking into account a wrong suffered or feeling it's our job to teach someone a lesson? Exclusion or Embrace? Living patiently with others or demanding immediate change? Accepting people where they are at knowing that what they are bringing is all they have at that moment or making them live up to our expectations? Exclusion or Embrace?

"When God sets out to embrace the enemy, the result is the cross. On the cross the dancing circle of self-giving and mutually indwelling divine persons opens up for the enemy; in the agony of the passion the movement stops for a brief moment and a fissure appears so that sinful humanity can join in (see John 17:21). We, the others - we, the enemies - are embraced by the divine persons who love us with the same love with which they love each other and therefore make space for us within their own eternal embrace." (p.129)

This quote is from Miroslav Volf from his book Exclusion and Embrace and he is talking about the act of Father, Son, and Spirit embracing us...accepting and loving us when we were still enemies. How I began this post could certainly apply to that which Volf is speaking but that's not exactly what I was getting at. I was thinking of those closest to us who don't even come close to being enemies and how often we have difficulty embracing, our spouses, children, extended family, friends, co-workers and neighbors.

Sometimes I feel caught in a trap, a trap that attempts to determine, to set in stone my next move. How does one through love teach another (in this case three daughters) that they are living in a harsh world that often doesn't really give a rat's ass about them? They are just a power source needed to run the machine, and the running of the machine is all that really matters to the system we live in. And also when it comes to relational circles, they will more than likely at times find themeslves being excluded based sometimes upon mistakes they have clearly made and other times because people blow things out of proportion and still other times because people just choose to go the exclusion route instead of the embrace route because they don't yet know how to love.
So how does one prepare themself and in this case my daughters for such a life, I really don't know but I am trying. I will not use the same tactics the world uses, the most over-riding one being the threat of loss and the fear of punishment for mistakes. But I am telling them often that this is how the world operates and they must learn to play within the necessities of that game...to a point that is. We all have to figure out for ourselves what that point is though. It's quite a dilemma. I was feeling very challenged by all of this tonight. Not so much by them personally...but by the game. I will not let the game and the "proper" "culturally accepted" enforcement of rules of the game come between my embrace of these three girls. The wrestling with it all continues, so as to learn how to better help them function in a society that has been so stripped of grace and functions predominately by law and exclusion to one degree or another, and yet at the same time help them live so acutely aware of the eternal embrace of Father, Son, and Spirit and myself and their mom, that is never determined by their performance. It's an embrace I want them to always be assured of and I want them to learn to live extending that embrace to everyone around them.

THE JUSTICE THAT FLOWS FROM GOD

As I woke up this morning I had this familiar passage of scripture on my mind and as I was getting ready for work and thinking about it, all that kept running through my mind was; this is God's justice and it is wholly other than what the world offers as justice and too often...most often, the Church has bought into the form of justice the world practices which instead should be described as a nightmare. If Paul in describing this, was speaking about how we are to live in the world, why does it seem that this is a rare thing and the tough punitive, holding people accountable way of living seems to be the norm? MAYBE WE HAVE GOD'S CHARACTER ALL WRONG and it is due to the fact that we are hanging onto fallen humanities character and transferring it onto God. And if God desires for us to live out this way of love towards others and he isn't extending at least something that equals it, isn't that kind of twisted and sick? Unfortunately that seems to be what much of the history of Christianity has told the world.

1 Corinthians 13

1 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
4
Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,
5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,
6
does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;
7
bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.
9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part;
10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.
11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.
12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.
13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.


I think the other expression of Justice is more prevalent because it comes to fallen humanity without any effort at all. Without the indwelling of the Spirit of the living God and the life of Jesus inside us, the love of God and his justice will remain distorted by the human expressions that destroy and can never redeem anyone or anything.

Here is the third part of a video interview with Paul Young that I think fits pretty well with the thoughts I was pondering this morning. Listen to it here.

Monday, April 21, 2008

THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH GARDEN DESIGN OR HARD WORK



These babies do all this on their own



IMHO there isn't a more note worthy tree for a garden. If you have a shady to semi-shady patio, plant one of these in a beautiful planter and situate it next to your favorite reading or resting spot and enjoy the simple beauty.


The top two are:


Acer palmatum 'Peaches and Cream" The next one was also sold to me as the same cultivar. The differences in leaf appearance are pretty drastic.



The next one is Acer palmatum

"Higasa yama'


If you remember I posted a more mature leaf picture awhile back and it was dark green with a white margin. This will continue to change as it matures.



The next green leaf one is Acer palmatum

'Mikawa yatsabusa' which believe to be of one the most special Japanese Maples.

















The red leafed one is Acer palmatum 'Purple Ghost'


And last but not least Acer japonicum 'Otaki'




NECESSITY MIGHT NOT BE ALL THAT SEXY AND EXCITING...BUT LIFE AND FREEDOM CAN EVEN CHANGE THAT




Okay, it's a pretty typical Monday in my life. I get up usually around 5:30 am and head for the salon to sweep and mop after I take the two dogs for a walk. I then head for Sam's Club to grocery shop. I'm back home now awaiting the moment I need to head out to my appointment with my allergy specialist. Then on the way home I will make a few more necessary stops for this and that...necessity kinda stuff.
Once I'm back home I will be back to work in the garden...it's spring and there is much to do. My garden is the display gardens for my garden design business so not only is it something I do because I love it, it's something that needs to be done so I can use it to sell what I do...design gardens, something else I love to do.

The cleaning up of the garden is coming right along and at times it is hard work, as I have explained before, as in posts like this one. But I have learned to even enjoy that part of it. And yes, the hard work makes the constant strain and pain I carry in my back, shoulders, neck and bad knee a constant traveling companion, as well does my job in the salon on my feet all day long with my arms in the air and bent over a shampoo bowl. I have learned that accepting things for what they are has set in motion something wonderful. Fighting it is just a waste of energy and embracing it, for all that it is, has been a big part of the freedom I am living in. I've learned much from Jacques Ellul of the realm of necessity...it cannot be escaped. But freedom can transport us past the angst most live in when it comes to these things of necessity, or at least that has been my experience. I don't run from these things like I used to and I haven't found myself tied up into knots so easily like used to happen on almost a daily basis when faced with the complexities of my life and those around me that I used to attempt to control. I'm actually experiencing the knotted little ball I used to be undergoing a gentle untangling by the One capable of untangling the mess. As in the post I linked to above, there is also a beautiful process being worked out in the mess...I'm finding life so much more enjoyable since I stopped kicking against it and the process. It is what it is.

So, Once I return home from the DR. I might attempt to address the messy corner of the garden that you see in the picture above. A weed that has proven itself to be very stubborn has invaded and doesn't seem all that eager to leave. We'll just have to see about that.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

LIVING SHAMELESSLY FREE


It might seem like all I have been up to is sitting at this computer with the number of posts I have made recently but nothing could be further from the truth. I have felt like writing here but it has been a pop in and pop out kind of scenario. As the gardening posts indicate, a lot of time is being spent in the garden. I'm back this time having felt this afternoon while working in the garden that it would be a good idea to pick up Wayne Jacobsen's book He Loves me and do some re-reading of it. Just like The Shack I go back to this book often. Without hesitation I would say that this book was the book that began to build in me the very things that became so vital for me when I was faced with the greatest challenge of my life a couple years ago. Shamelessly free became a very important reality for me during that time when all the surrounding voices thought I was making seriously wrong choices. Had it not been for this change which began to emerge from a growing vibrant realization of how much we are loved and accepted and how devastating, and at the same time, impotent law was when it comes to setting any of us free, who knows what might have happened? Thanks be to God that his grace had begun to trump conformity in my own life at that point. I am convinced that if this transition had not be set in motion in my life, I very well would have gone down a road myself and many around me had become all too familiar with and I would have destroyed the relationships most important to me. But Father had begun to change much in me...in my heart and my head and I am so very grateful for it all.


Well, I finally get to what I had in mind when I sat down here. I wanted to share something from He Loves Me.


"Shame is the unfortunate inheritance of humanities captivity in sin. You were born with her whispering in your ear. Until you find freedom from her in Father's love she will, like a cancer, sink her tentacles into everything you think or do."


"But when you find your security in the awesome love of God, her voice 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."


"Jesus didn't want to use my shame to spur me to do greater things, he wanted to set me free from it."


"Discovering how much Father loves you will increasingly set you free to walk without shame, before God and with other people. Though shame restrains people from sin under the law, in Christ it no longer holds any purpose."


And one last thing which is actually a quote Wayne uses of Dallas Willard from The Divine Conspiracy.


"Would you like to have no need for others to praise you, and would you like not to be paralyzed and humiliated by their dis-like and condemnation? Wouldn't you also like to have a strength and understanding that enables you genuinely and naturally to bless those who are cursing you---cheating you, beating you out of jobs, spitting on you in a confrontation, laughing at your religion or culture, even killing you?


Those who are no longer influenced by shame can finally live authentic lives---the same outside as they are inside. It is 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."


THE FRONT GARDEN IS NOW FINISHED

I reworked part of this area today after removing another Japanese Maple stump. It was the last of the trees that were damaged beyond any hope of recovery from last years late hard freeze after the trees had leafed out. This was a sad loss because it was such a beautiful specimen. But I was able to replant the area with plants I had from other areas of the garden which means other than the cost of mulch this was a inexpensive project. I really like how it turned out. Once the purple leaf Japanese Maple in the right hand corner of the second to last picture is fully leafed out it will really finish it off.

I had spoken to a garden club last year and demonstrated how to make these hypertufa troughs that you see in the pictures and had two from that class sitting around so I chose to use them for this area. People just love them when they see them.

I had a little dwarf crab apple that I had been planning on training for bonsai but I have decided that the time requirements for bonsai training just isn't something I want to do at this time so I planted it also. Once I finished putting down the mulch I was very pleased with the finished look. This is the garden everyone walks through as they come to the front door of our home.






Saturday, April 19, 2008

ALL I NEED IS EVERYTHING

I found the music of Over The Rhine in 04 when my life was all up in the air and I was being led to my moment of coming undone in 05. They had a way of expressing in song what I was feeling. There was no denying the reality of my bankrupt situation and they helped me as I cried in agony during that long dark night of the soul. Little did I know they were in the midst of some darkness and crying of their own. This song spoke so clearly of my condition at that time....I needed the loving hands of Father to work me over and he was...and he did. All I needed was everything. I felt the slip and the grip of grace again during that time and He has not left me since. There was no doubt that someone was circling and moving in the midst of it all.

His everything was all I was in need of and I found out it had been here all along, I had just lost sight of it because I had lost the plot. Today I actually think it was probably closer to this: I had never really ever known the plot. Since then the roots have grown deeper in ways I could have never conceived.

Listen to Over The Rhine's All I Need Is Everything....HERE

Slow down. Hold still.
It’s not as if it’s a matter of will.
Someone’s circling. Someone’s moving
a little lower than the angels.

And it’s got nothing to do with me.
The wind blows through the trees,
but if I look for it, it won’t come.
I tense up. My mind goes numb.
There’s nothing harder than learning how to receive.

Calm down. Be still.
We’ve got plenty of time to kill.
No hand writing on the wall:
just the voice that’s in us all.

And you’re whispering to me,
time to get up off my hands and knees,
‘cause if I beg for it, it won’t come.
I find nothing but table crumbs.
My hands are empty. God I’ve been naive.

All I need is everything.
Inside, outside, feel new skin.
All I need is everything.
Feel the slip and the grip of grace again.

Slow down. Hold still.
It’s not as if it’s a matter of will.
Someone’s circling. Someone’s moving
a little lower than the angels.

This voice calling me to you:
it’s just barely coming through.
Still, I clearly hear my name.
I’ve been fingering the flame
like tomorrow’s martyr.
It gets harder to believe.

All I need is everything.
Inside, outside, feel new skin.
All I need is everything.
Feel the slip and the grip of grace again.

So from now till kingdom come,
taste the words on the tip of my tongue.
‘Cause we can’t run truth out of town,
only force it underground.
The roots grow deeper
in ways we can’t conceive.

All I need is everything.
Inside, outside feel new skin.
All I need is everything.
Feel the slip and the grip of grace again.
All I need is all I need.

WAYNE ON THE DREW MARSHALL SHOW


As I mentioned a week ago in this post Wayne was interviewed by Drew Marshall. Here is a link to the interview. Wayne is on April 12

And while I am at it I will mention that if you scroll down a few shows below were Wayne's interview is mentioned you will find the interview with William P Young, the author of The Shack. It's worth the time to listen to also. Paul is on April 5

VIOLENCE OF ALL SORTS

I wanted to link to Sue's blog where she has linked to Mike's blog where he is discussing The Myth Of Redemptive Violence. Maybe it is a personal thing but it just seems to me that being delivered from the use of violence in all it's forms was a part of what God in Christ showed us and made way for us to enter into with him. Whether it is the physically destructive kind on one end or the use of the tongue to verbally beat people up so as to make them feel smaller on the other, violence seems to be one of those things humans are trapped in which is why we are surrounded by it. If we are to embrace, it seems we might need to lay down the weapons of steel and tongue and all in between?
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I decided to add these quotes to this post

Here are some excerpts from Exclusion and Embrace by Miroslav Volf, a Croatian Theologian that found himself in a tough spot with his country men/women when he began to speak of the need to embrace their enemy.

"Forgiveness flounders because I exclude the enemy from the community of humans even as I exclude myself from the community of sinners. But no one can be in the presence of the God of the crucified Messiah for long without overcoming this double exclusion - without transposing the enemy from the sphere of monstrous inhumanity into the sphere of shared humanity and herself from the sphere of proud innocence into the sphere of common sinfulness. When one knows that the torturer will not eternally triumph over the victim, one is free to rediscover that person's humanity and imitate God's love for him. And when one knows that God's love is greater than all sin, one is free to see onself in the light of God's justice and so rediscover one's own sinfulness." (p.124)

"When God sets out to embrace the enemy, the result is the cross. On the cross the dancing circle of self-giving and mutually indwelling divine persons opens up for the enemy; in the agony of the passion the movement stops for a brief moment and a fissure appears so that sinful humanity can join in (see John 17:21). We, the others - we, the enemies - are embraced by the divine persons who love us with the same love with which they love each other and therefore make space for us within their own eternal embrace." (p.129)

"Without entrusting oneself to the God who judges justly, it will hardly be possible to follow the crucified Messiah and refuse to retaliate when abused. The certainty of God's just judgment at the end of history is the presupposition for the renunciation of violence in the middle of it. The divine system of judgment is not the flip side of the human reign of terror, but a necessary correlate of human nonviolence."(p.302)

Friday, April 18, 2008

MOVING RIGHT ALONG NOW



It doesn't matter how many Springs I have lived aware of the amazing process of plants transitioning from dormancy to growth...to this day I still stand astounded. It really does take my breath away with amazement.
This tree, Acer palmatum "Orange Dream" is so stunning.
LIVE AMAZED FOLKS
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My senses are fully engaged to see the powerful envasion happening in nature and else where :)

JESUS IS THE ONLY FOUNDATION

Here is how I have been looking at the difference between the OT depiction of God and the NT depiction that still to this day cause so much trouble for what seems to be most people that proclaim a belief in God. God seems to have from the beginning allowed for our free will. He lets us choose. We know his people were making all kinds of demands of him and choices that weren't his desire for them and yet he said Okay, here you go. He lets us have the desires of our hearts through the exercise of our choices. One of the things they wanted was to be like every other nation. So they got it. All the other nations had gods that in actuality were figments of their imaginations. gods that worked for them and no one else. gods that often even ordered them to slaughter everyone that stood in the way of what they wanted to accomplish out of their self-governed agendas....often it was just an act of survival. All of this is still alive and well today...that is, in people's minds, they live and act as if they know what God is like and most often he is for them and people like them and against everyone else.

But when Jesus entered many things seemed to change and look very different. He begins telling stories about a father who's desire was to embrace...not those who had jumped through the hoops of religious obligation and rituals perfectly performed or those born to the right tribe, but those who had been so unable to measure up and had become painfully aware of it, and the only ones Jesus seemed to get angry with were those who were clinging to the god of old that they had conjured up in their imaginations and were using to control others for their benefit. And it's not just religious leaders that do this...we are all caught in the same game with everyone around us until we are delivered from it.

It was this continuation of the misrepresentation of who God really is and what he is really like that Jesus seemed to go after to destroy. He destroyed all the god images and gave us the image of a loving father beyond anything they or we could have imagined or dreamed up for ourselves. I think it is the effects of sin, shame, guilt, unworthiness, self-preservation and fear that created the images of all the gods all cultures live with and are trapped in trying to appease.

Jesus is a god image buster and religion buster who's desire is to introduce us to a father and a family...a family living in harmony that only he can make possible as we learn to live free of dysfunction in all it's ugly forms. It is coming to know of his true character...LOVING, GRACIOUS, MERCIFUL FATHER...that makes all of this possible.

In Jesus we see the Father.....and he stands in stark contrast of the many made-up gods created by the imaginations of people (me included) who attempt to make sense of it all but in the end can easily make him look like something other than he is...or should I say, attempt to make Jesus something other than what he is.

Now, is it about us making our best attempts to "see" and "understand" or is it about learning to rest in him and be delivered of the fear that makes us do many destructive things in an attempt to survive and conjure up an imagined god that will side with us and against everyone we don't want to embrace?

Just thinking out loud here....

EARTHQUAKE


Yep, I was awakened this morning to rattling windows and a vibrating floor. They say it was a 5.4 quake. They also say one of these days the New Madrid Fault is going to experience a big one.

OH NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO there have been prophets predicting it ever since I moved here 25 years ago as being the coming judgement of God and encouraging people to repent.

I tend to believe it was just the earth's plates deciding to move and when that happens in a sudden release of energy things get shaken up a little....things and people and their imaginations. Call me crazy, and who knows, I could be wrong.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

WILL IT MAKE IT EASIER ON YOU, NOW YOU GOT SOMEONE TO BLAME?


IF LIFE IS GIFT


In a conversation with someone Yesterday this thought came to me. If our very life is gift, what is there to defend and fight to protect, and if that is true, why do we spend so much time in fight and protect/scramble mode?

Fight and protect/scramble mode just strikes me as not being consistent with living in peace and joy. Now I know a lot of folks will hear that and think I am talking about a Polly Anna life of bliss...but they couldn't be more wrong. I'm talking about a life that is lived in the reality that the life I've been given is gift and if my life is gift, the other one in front of me at any given moment, their life is gift also.

Fight and protect/scramble mode just seems to be a violation of the gift....mine and the other.

I'm convinced that freedom, the freedom God desires for us all, delivers us of this modus operandi. It stands in stark contrast of what passes as the definition of freedom today, the very thing that gave birth to and perpetuates the fight and protect/scramble mode.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

AT LEAST THAT'S DONE NOW

Well, I'm done. All the maples are finally out of the garage and have been placed through out the garden. As you can see, my quiet space is moving right along. This entire area will feel so secluded once it is all filled out. After I was finished working today I sat right there and had a Newcastle Brown Ale. I wish someone had been here to share one with me.
This one gives a little more perspective of the space.

This is a picture of one side of the front porch. These maples are a little slower than the others.



Here are a couple cool little trees.











And I couldn't resist this close up of one of the many Hellebore. More to come.
I decided to not start a gardening blog like I had thought about doing...as you all can see by now. One blog is enough to keep up with and I kinda like having these garden posts mixed in with the other stuff.