Saturday, August 30, 2008


In the comments from the last post Amy said this:

"I do, believe, however, that sometimes, we may not be able to "wrap our minds" around something, simply because the Holy Spirit within may limit us for that time from being able to "see" because, perhaps, He knows we need to do a bit more growing before we can fully grasp something."

She brings up an important insight for us to understand about our journey....TIMING. We in the West especially hate this and it is directly connected to something we learn from our culture. This is one of those things that becomes an enemy to the renewing/freeing of our minds. We want everything right now. As damaging as that is to us when it comes to material things, when it comes to our minds we are set up for something even more disastrous. Having access to instantaneous information about endless topics and being surrounded by the talking head experts, before we have even had a chance to think about the question we are hit with a barrage of answers to choose from. This is how our brains now a sense this is how they are programed. Most people don't want to do the hard work of thinking anymore and they really don't even feel like they need to and even if they did they feel powerless to do it.

On one hand we have paralyzing information overload and at the same time we have been convinced that this is a wonderful situation we find ourselves in...We get answers to life's most important questions of living without much or without any real engagement of our minds. We don't even feel qualified or capable. Most of us never learn to think critically or to work out the most important parables/art/stories on our own or even together as a group. Our particular culture along with every other culture for that matter, teaches in a way that doesn't help us think freely...they teach to instruct. This is due to the reality that they all have a vested interest in shaping us to act a certain way. This creates difficulties for us when we are to be people governed by something other than this world.

This seems to be where the Spirit, the Word of God, and the community of faith is to come in. One of those three has been sidetracked and in most cases has adopted the teach to instruct paradigm that it's surrounding culture uses instead of helping us move from our present situation to new life. It gets even worse though. We are lead to believe things about the other two that just aren't true and they get locked up in our encultured minds under the same instruction paradigm.

But thanks be to God our Father, Jesus the Son (who is the Word) and the Spirit, who have never been locked up by cultures/ world systems. Cultures/world systems and their corresponding ideologies/methods are what lock people up and Father Son and Spirit are at work to set us free. The most important aspect of our freedom was done on their part completely unattached to anything we have done. The problem with sin was dealt with and it was a decision they made on their own and we had nothing to do with it. The renewing of our minds is different though, they involve us in the process and they give us what we need to walk with them into freedom and newness of life and I am finding that their process is radically different than the cultures teach to instruct method. They do it through relationship and dialogue and sometimes the parables and stories seem hard to understand at first, but as we move along with them and each other in this process, we are freed from the ways this world has taught us to not think. As this happens we begin to become comfortable with the ways in which they think and speak and live and through that process we find rest and a safe environment in which we can explore the mysteries and wonders of who God the Father is and who we are in Him. As I have said already, our minds are brilliant. Don't sell yours short. Which reminds me of something so profound from another modern day parable The Matrix:

Neo: "Why do my eyes hurt?"
Morpheus: "You've never used them before."


I hear people say it all the time. "You are going to have to explain that in terms I can understand." In and of itself there is nothing wrong with that request and there is certainly nothing wrong with someone explaining what they have said with the intent of helping them possibly see and understand something they can't quite wrap their minds around. That's what communication is about. But even with that said I think there can be something very limiting about it also and I believe we all have suffered because of this. We have all been given the capacity to understand the deepest of things and our minds play a wonderful part in that process. Scripture tells us that we are in need of no one to teach us because the Spirit has been given to us to teach us...even the very depth's of God. The renewing of our minds is so important.

As I sit here writing, this thought just came to mind...this is so like what I have come to see our Creator being like and this is about restoring our dignity and the freedom to come alive and live in the uniqueness and fullness of who we are to be. We have been created to live out of that, and out of that, learn to dance with the others around us. Parable is a lovely way of helping us there without violating us. For me it seems to be about restoring to us something that was lost. The natural rhythm of grace and displacing the fear in us that keeps us walled off. And when that happens we will begin to learn to commune with each other in ways we were created build up...not to control

Jesus told stories and his stories often took normal everyday things that the listeners were familiar with and it was like he tossed those things in a bag and gave them a good shake and when he dumped them out and began to put them back together through his unique storytelling through his very different way of seeing things, it created the possibility for something wonderful to happen. The listeners minds that had been dulled and imprisoned by their culture (social, political, economic, religious...etc.) began to be stretched and opened up. Their way of thinking that had been so limited began to open and see possibilities that before could not be seen.

We all have such brilliant minds when they are awakened.

Friday, August 29, 2008


I'm ready for some new U2 music

The word is Noverber 18 will be the release date date in North America for U2's new CD. Mercy is a song that got cut from HTDAAB at the last minute and is a possible track for the new recording. I'd love for it to make it this time around. I love this song. Some of the possible song titles that might make the final cut sound interesting:

Love Is All We Have Left
If I Could Live My Life Again
You Can't Give Away Your Heart
For Your Love
Moment Of Surrender

just to name a few. Until then......

WALK ON........Thank you Master Jesus......Hallelujah


What I love about how Paul says this is that it opens up a fresh way of thinking about the situation we find ourselves in and it paints a beautiful picture of what I believe the Spirit makes possible in our daily life as we are surrounded by the rigid world of necessity. Spiritually we are new creatures and have been set free but physically we still live in a world that will keep us imprisoned unless we learn to live in a way that is consistent with the freedom we have in Jesus. This speaks to how the Spirit helps us break free from the external pressures this world exerts on us that so easily robs us of the life of freedom in Christ here in the physical world.

New American Standard:

but the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.

The Message:

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.

The world is the realm of necessity and we feel it's pressures everyday....that is, to the degree we allow it to be what governs our existence...this is where the tugging and pulling created by the invisible wind comes in.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


"There is a Wind… that wraps itself around the edges of necessity, tugging and pulling until those boundaries become torn and begin to move to the motion of that which is not visible." Paul Young

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


In light of the mind boggling success of The Shack (over 3 million copies sold to date) there is now an ever increasing number of people coming to The Shack Forum to talk about their experience while reading the book and wanting to have a conversation with others who have read it also. Most people have very positive stories to tell of the things happening in their lives. But one thing that continues to happen fairly regularly is some people coming there to ask this question: "Is this a true story or is it not? Someone told me it is fiction. I thought it was a true story?" Some people are even down right mad thinking they have been intentionally deceived by the author and publisher. This on one hand is so puzzling to me because it is clearly being sold as a is being sold in the fiction section of bookstores...the endorsement page has fiction mentioned all over being fiction should be obvious.
Here is one of my comments that I posted on the forum last night:

I get the sense that there is something else going on in regards to the reaction to this point of it not having been made clear enough for some people. A novel is a novel is a novel. The Forward is a part of the entire whole and it was one of the fictional characters of the story setting up the story.

I think this has more to do with how we read or hear things and how we process it all. We live in a world that pumps false information to us non stop and most of the time people don't even think about. But even so, most of the time we just eat it up. It shapes our perceptions and mostly that shaping leaves our senses dulled. All of this leaves us vulnerable. People want something certain and real to hold onto when the life of faith is the exact opposite, it's embracing uncertainty, and accepting things for what they are is a part of that. The truth is this, that which is not seen is much more real than that which we see but this world has shaped us in a way that makes that hard for us to believe. This book gives all of that a good shaking and the purpose of the shaking is to create a enough of a crack for change to come to our present situation. Jesus' parables did this very thing to the listeners. Some said "Whatever" and walked away. Some (mostly the religious crowd) got ticked off and wanted to kill him or silence him. Others were left scratching their heads but sensing that this man was saying something that was important and made them feel things they had never felt before and in turn they wanted to hear more from they followed. Truth just has a way of leaving us exposed. It can be very uncomfortable.

Today while thinking on this some more I was struck by the fact that what is real about The Shack most people seem to not want to accept. What I see as being real about The Shack is the world of uncertainty that is revealed...what that uncertainty means to us as we walk through this world in how we are effected by it...the mad attempts made by humans in an attempt to eliminate the uncertainty so as to find certainty/control...and the deepening of the nightmare these attempts create. This is hard stuff for us to face so for some it is just easier to ignore it or deny it.

The religious training most of us have received seems to be where many of people are stuck and this seems to be one such thing that contributes to this life of denial on one hand and on the other an embracing of the world system all the while screaming at it and at the same time participating in much of the madness it creates. All of this keeps people seeking something that's just not there and the scriptures paint a pretty clear picture of it all. Christian people won't accept the uncertainty because they have been told a lie about it all. Much of the teaching we have sat under has told us that Jesus will answer all the questions and take the uncertainty away. His life and the life of those that have followed him throughout history just doesn't line up with this thinking.

So back to The Shack. How could people read a story about God putting on a dress, taking the form of a female and is called Papa and going to an abandoned shack in the Oregon mountains in the dead of winter and in a flash the winter scene turns to spring and the abandoned shack morphs into a quaint little cottage and believe that they were reading about something that actually happened to a guy named 'Willie' or Mack, or Paul? I think it is because people are afraid and they want something real to hang onto and if God would just show himself to be real (physical) they could then believe. And I think they are hanging onto the mistaken notion that 20th century religion has sold them....."Come to Jesus and he will make everything nice and tidy and there will be no suffering for us or our loved ones to face anymore."

So, the one aspect of The Shack that isn't real (God here today in the flesh) people want to be real and they don't want to face the part that is real (the world of uncertainty and the systems man has created that work against what we are in need of). Could it be that this situation we find ourselves in is one of the things this modern day parable is at work to reveal to us?

The Shack reveals such wonderful truths to us in a fictional story that shatters the illusions we live in and exposes our misplaced trust and allegiances. I understand why that is very unsettling for us. When I read it the first time I wasn't able to avoid this actually was a part of the shaking that was going on in my life that culminated with my entire world view falling apart. It was a very painful scary freeing experience.

Father Son and Spirit couldn't be more real than they are and they did promise to never leave us or forsake us....That truth is what it is. And on the opposite side, doing all it can do to keep us distracted and questioning the reality of Father Son and Spirit is the world and all it's systems and it's ideologies/ also is what it is.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


It's just reality that we have learned such unhealthy patterns by the culture we have been shaped by and in turn, living rarely ever happens. It leaves us just reacting to everything. One such unhealthy pattern is the mistaken notion that we are brighter than we really are. That one had plagued me for too long and had left me in the lonely place of enforcer....I had actually fooled myself into thinking it was "loving enforcer" but turns out it wasn't loving at all. That's another one of the unhealthy patterns this culture so shapes into us husbands and fathers. As Ellul describes in the excerpt from my previous post, God the Father did some disturbing in my life and performed some surgery without me even knowing what he was up to. Seeing and then accepting things for what they are can be a painful, humbling experience. But this disturbing has nothing to do with controlling someone or enforcing rules. The disturbing Father does is about setting us's not about enforcing anything...this Father knows how to love like no other and he wants to set us free so that we can then love as he loves with only one thing in mind...the other's freedom.

Here's a big contrast I am finding to be true as far as living with Father Son and Spirit as apposed to living shaped by this culture's social, political, economic, and religious system's ideologies. I'm finding fewer and fewer answers to the questions that had been shaped into me by this world. Questions that at one time seemed so important but today don't seem important at all. But what I am finding is that I am surrounded by much love, grace and freedom...and that has a way of silencing all the old questions with all the old answers that never really worked. It's set in motion a reframing of everything. This is about grace, and nothing makes sense without it, and if we don't understand this we are left with nothing for ourselves and nothing to offer to the other...well that is, nothing but unhealthy ways of attempting to relate which really will keep us and the other from living.

The cool thing that I can say I am seeing today is that this old pattern is being broken and I am seeing relationships being restored or at least seeing people facing the reality of their unhealthy relationships which in turn can open a door to new hope for such healing coming into their lives. It's interesting how a shift in how we see God the Father can change these things. Father Son and Spirit are at the center of it all, and they are relational, and when we understand that we have been reconciled back into that relationship we shouldn't be surprised when for the first time we begin to know how to relate to others. This is wonderfully exciting news.

Monday, August 25, 2008


This stuff has been stirring in my mind and heart for quite awhile now and yesterday a wind blow through and stirred it up again afresh and today it's just bursting. It really is just a extension of what I've been blathering on about here since I began blathering back in 06. I decided to go ahead and add this because it really is connected, or at least it seems that way to me with the last post about the character of God the Father and our identity as adopted sons and daughters.

I'm going to let two brothers that have brought things into my life,..much needed things...that have been such a big help to me over the past couple years do the heavy carrying in this one. Both these guys I have mentioned many times before and I am sure I will mention many times again. The first thing I'm going to share I must say has to be one of the most important things I have ever heard in my life when it comes to finding enough freedom in our situation so as to find our way to freedom. It has turned out to be something so vital in the process I have been walking through. It's been posted here more than a few times. It addresses what has to be one of the most difficult things for us to overcome. STUCK THINKING. Walter Brueggemann help remove something that needed to be removed and for this I am forever grateful. You know I really don't think it was just by chance I ran into him at the airport back in the spring of this year and noticed him in the midst of a large moving crowd. I think I was given the opportunity to thank him personally for helping me with this very thing.

This is 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."

"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."

I post that to lead into this next brother who had it not been for some alternative thinking beginning in me, I don't know if I would have been able to even begin to grasp the gifts he had to give out of what he had learned from walking with Jesus and the freedom he found there. This that he is talking about here is pretty thick but I think so profound. Brueggemann was apart of the tearing down process, Jacques Ellul contributed to some tearing down also but he contributed much much more to the building process. He helped me see some things in ways I had never seen them before. Jacques had been humbled, taken apart and disarmed by the Jesus who had first loved him and that he had come to love. And in that place he saw the beautiful redemptive work of Father Son and Spirit for all of humanity.

"Man is so much the prey of the powers, so closely associated with their work, enjoys himself so thoroughly to their profit, desires so much all that they offer, conceives his life to such a degree separated from God, that every approach of God, every positive work of God, appears to him as an unacceptable disturbance and finally an attack against him. When God comes to deliver him, he does not at all perceive his liberation; he protests against the breaking of those marvelous objects, which are his chains or the doors of his prison: the adored chains. This is clearly the situation of Man."

"And we must take account of the fact that every work of liberation (the process of freeing us) is in fact destructive of the evil environment. And that which assures his liberty is felt by Man as a frightful personal offense. "How can God who is good permit…?" In uttering this phrase so frequently, Man does not envisage for a minute, first of all, that the evil deed is most often the result of the liberty that God allows to Man and of the independence and autonomy that man has seized over against God. Man is responsible for what is done (and he has wished it), but he protests against God for what is done. In short, he would demand that God mechanize him and take his liberty from him."

"Next, that evil also takes place by the interplay of the spiritual powers who act in the world and in society. Finally, that which does ‘evil’ to him can very well be the act of God who liberates him. But this liberation causes suffering. I do not know anything better to compare this to than to an operation. The surgeon who takes out a cancer destroys the power of death to the profit of the living body. But he removes something of this body, which had become "flesh of his flesh"; he amputates something which had become the body itself. And the patient who does not know what has been done, from what he has been saved, could perfectly well interpret that as a frightful torture, as an illegitimate extracation, being aware only of the pain that remains after the operation is finished."


It's very puzzling to me why most people that have had any exposure to the religion of Christianity want to always begin with an Angry-Holy-Just-and-can't-be-around-us-kind-of-god when the centrality of the Christian teachings tell us and show us something different. I think I know why but it is still a puzzling thing to me.

Why do we begin with the angry God of Israel's history depicted in the Old Testament? Why don't we begin with Jesus, the one who showed us the Father? Or even worse why do we, even if we begin with Jesus, make him into someone he wasn't and in the process lock up the only liberating message that has been given that can set us free?

I think it is because of fear. Yea, yea, yea, I know some people will want to argue it is because of sin....but guess what, Jesus has taken care of the problem of sin for us and yet most religious people still live like he hasn't and because of that remain trapped in their fear....and sin.

If before the foundations of the world were established Father Son and Spirit wanted a relationship with those they were going to create and they were fully aware that the man and woman would choose to believe a lie...the lie that God was holding out on them, and the rest of humanity would follow and they also before the foundations of the world set in motion the dynamic reconciling act of salvation...why are most people stuck focused on the time period (Old Covenant) when most of the people saw God as someone to be feared?

It's because people don't know who God the Father is and they are still believing the lie and the don't know who they are and in turn remain trapped in fear and can't see what Jesus has done.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


As we begin to know of our position with Father, safe within his love, our eyes will be opened to all the things we have grabbed hold of in an attempt to feel safe and secure that actually have just exacerbated our fear.

Friday, August 22, 2008


I could more than likely post an observation about this everyday due to the reality that this has been one of the most glaring changes that began to take place in me a couple years ago. It could also be a daily post because in the midst of all the conversation I have in a day working in my profession this is a common theme that runs through most people's lives. I'm talking about fear.

The countless manifestation and reasons why fear controls most people's lives is too deep of a well for me to ever explain (as if I could anyway...I'm not that bright). But as I have said here on this blog many times before, I am convinced it is grounded in SELF-PRESERVATION. Until this is unwound in us fear will have it's way with us in some way or another. It keeps us from living.

I was completely/utterly stunned once what seemed to be the obvious things, the choices I was making as to what I was filling my mind with, were revealed to me, and then I began to see that even the things that seemed to be positive/wise choices were contributing to the fear also. For those that have been reading here for awhile you might remember posts where I was asking this question "Explain All These Controls" and the constant mention of breaking free from the controlling "Ridiculous Voices". Here is how a friend described some of this in a conversation we had last year on a forum I participate in.

"Human existence seems to be largely a struggle to acquire certainty (control). We tend to make idols out of anything that even remotely or overtly offers security (life insurance, health fads, retirement, jobs, government, social status, power through association, money, religion, of calamity, of terrorism, of drugs, accidents and animals and storms and... etc etc etc). These are successful to the degree that fear exists in our lives and fear is focused on uncertainty (that which we cannot control). We are surrounded by uncertainty and each uncertainty becomes a potential base for fear that drives us into the arms of idolatry (regardless how wonderfully advertised). One of the greatest of all our fears, because it inherently is uncertain, is the future (and everything or anything that might happen there). None of us has any control over the future, however imagined. It is a blank screen made available upon which we paint the most grisly of possibilities."

Everything, all the choices I had made in my life had been made from a place of fear. It was a stunning revelation but was the beginning of the process of Love Displacing Fear in my life. I certainly made some choices that resulted in changing the road I was traveling on but without the love of God the Father expanding in my mind and into the very core of my being my choices wouldn't have delivered me of fear....there would have just been different manifestations of fear waiting for me around the corner.

Since I was a young boy music has been such a big part of my life. I never imagined how vital of a role it would play in my healing and how it played such a big role in opening my eyes to fear and showing me the other road....the road of love and grace. Here are two of those songs that were a part of creating enough freedom in my life for me to make the transition to the other road.


Obsessions with self-preservation
Faded when I threw my fear away
It's not a thing you can imagine
You either lose your fear

Or spend your life with one foot in the grave
Is God the last romantic?


There is no fear in love
but perfect love drives out fear.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Well, we are smack dab in the middle of what is typically the hottest most humid month of the year here in the Mid-West...but it's not been a typical year. August has felt somewhat like Fall. Beginning in the Spring and continuing until now I can't remember a better stretch of the kind of weather I most enjoy right here in my own town.
There really aren't any colorful sprays of flowers at this time of the season in my garden but that is actually by design. It's a sea of cool greens to help during this hottest time of the year. The greens are even better this year because of the amount of rain we have received and nothing is suffering under the intense sun and heat.

It's felt like a year of having most things come together like I have never experienced and work in harmony...both in the garden and in my life. The garden hoses have only been unwound a few times because the rains have been frequent enough to not need much additional watering. In my life it has felt much the same.

It's not been a year without struggle but this year so far has been a continuation of living trusting that God the Father knows what I need and when I need it. It's been a year of peace and unspeakable joy for me and a year all at the same time of living more aware of the reality that many people don't know such a peace and joy. I've had the privilege of watching some hope be birthed in others I care deeply for and this just adds to my joy and I get the feeling that there is a healing going a level I have never seen before.

I know many people that are awakening to the wastefulness of the grace God has extended to us all. And it is this grace I am convinced is responsible for the changes I am experiencing in my life and the hope I am seeing emerge in the life of many I know. When grace begins to move she has a way of blowing open the windows of our souls, our hearts, and our minds and allowing all the bad air that has made it difficult to breath to escape. It's the most powerful transforming force that can take that which is broken and make it whole again. I've come to understand how much fear is the enemy of grace and I feel so strongly the invitation to continue to collaborate along side Father Son and Spirit and help others see there is nothing to fear.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


It's been interesting lately as I have listened to conversations with a critical ear....even my own as best I can. Why do we end up believing what we believe? The way we process things leaves us all with perceptions and these perceptions end up taking on the power of "being true" when often they are just assumptions and often aren't even close to being reality. Is the truth (accurate facts, as most people seem to define it) even possible for us to possess? Think about it. If what we believe is a mixture of truth and falsity, can it be considered truth? I don't know about you but I have come to be rather humbled by my past record of thinking I was so right about what I had lived believing to be true only to have it revealed to have been wrong. I'm grateful for the process of being dis/illusioned. Now to just learn to not continue to pick up more as the remaining ones are in the process of being dismantled.

When it comes to the realm of necessity that we live in and the choices we make moment to moment about what we believe, based upon the information we are being fed, really aren't choices made in freedom. They are influenced by many things....culture, upbringing, propaganda, peer groups, politics, religious training etc. etc.

As I said at the beginning of this, I have been fascinated by what folks take on as being true when it comes to the processing of the on-slaught of information that is our daily existence here in the realm of necessity.

I had an 11 year old say to me the other day that she didn't like Barack Obama. When I asked her why, she replied: Because he is a Muslim. I thought to myself...Oh really? Last week I heard someone condemn the Russian invasion of the borders of another sovereign country even though this same person had made a decision himself several years ago that looks very similar, at least to many people looking on. That one left me scratching my head. I watch very little TV anymore but just today I saw several different reports about the same world situation and all of them were drastically different with drastically different conclusions.

What the religious crowd puts out seems no different when it comes to these things we want to believe fall under the banner of truth. Who ya gonna believe out of all the differing voices? I've heard we now have over 20,000 different protestant denominations all claiming to believe in the inerrancy of scripture and most of them can't agree with each other as to what the inerrant truth is.

How long have we had people seeking truth screaming: JUST GIVE ME THE TRUTH!!!!!!?????? Maybe all of this is an adventure that distracts us from what it is we are in need of? John 5:30-47

I've come to believe Truth exists only in one place and it's not facts, it is a person. What I am most interested in today is being embraced by the Truth. All the other stuff is just an exercise of communicating with others, that just like myself...only see in part as through a glass darkly. I think this might be why Jesus, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul and the others put the emphasis on LOVE not knowledge.
Know the Truth and He will set you free.

Monday, August 18, 2008


The work of redemption and salvation has always been about setting things right and this work of GRACE is the move He first made towards us...not the other way around.

This is taken from Technique and the Opening Chapters of Genesis by Jacques Ellul.

"We have seen why technique was impossible in Eden, but the fall brings about a radical break ‑the universum which had been created has been shattered. Adam is no longer in direct communion with God: he hides. The break between them is complete. Starting from this break between God and man, all other breaks follow ‑Adam and Eve separate. (Adam accuses his wife‑what greater break?) They are no longer one, but two. Man and the animals separate. (Eve accuses the serpent.) They learn fear and shame. "Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked" (Genesis 3:7). That is to say, precisely, that the relationship among the elements of creation is completely upset. Instead of unity and communion, there is now an "I" and a "You.” There is the gaze of the Other, which is the gaze of a stranger imposed on me. Now I am under the scrutiny of the gaze of the Other, which is a look without love and without understanding and welcome, but only coldly perspicacious. (Here it is‑science, which discerns the objective reality of things and which sees that I am "other.” This observation now transforms everything into an object, and the other has become an object for me.) The mirror of creation is shattered. The universum is broken, and therefore it is necessary to have means‑means for holding the pieces together, means for establishing new relations in a world without relations.

Now it is necessary to have mediators and intermediaries because of the distance that has been established between God and man, between people, and between man and matter. There is no more immediate contact. Everything has become mediated. In particular, in his relationship with God, man is going to institute religion, which is both a screen between the two and, at the same time, a way of approach. Thus we have the sacrifices of Abel and Cain. Then, in his relationship with nature, man creates technique. At this point, we are thrown into the world of means and into their multiplication without end, without any checks. Indeed, we have to grasp that the proliferation of means characterizing our age is not a sort of progress whose roots reach back into the situation of Adam and Eden. Technical proliferation is necessary precisely because that situation no longer exists!

Thus Adam finds himself in a relationship of struggle, and rules by this means, that is, his technique, which cannot be an instrument of love but of domination. Similarly, the world has become hostile with its powers of aggression which it hides from man‑wild animals, beginning with the serpent. Man now has to protect himself from everything that attacks him, and thus other means become necessary ‑weapons, for example. (Why should one limit techniques to tools? Weapons are the sign of a technique at least as early as tools!) More importantly, once again, he has to resort to the whole of technique. A qualified expert in these matters has been able to write that technique is a "protective envelope which man wraps around himself". And it is true that technique is a collection of means for protection at least as much as it is the means of domination. In both cases, however, what characterizes the instrument is its efficiency. The only thing that denotes technique is its efficiency. That is to say, it is an absolutely new preoccupation which comes about in a world which denies and attacks, but a preoccupation which would have been incomprehensible in the garden of Eden.

Now Adam has to succeed in. . . . But what would success mean in a world of thanksgiving, of gift? Thus it is that Adam has now been placed in a truly new situation. He knows necessity, a few aspects of which have just been recalled. Previously, Adam had lived in freedom, and his work was freedom, play, child‑like. He was free to be himself in front of his Creator who was his Father. He was free from all constraint, all obligation. He knew only this freedom, with its complement of respect for the will of God, respect within a free love and a free dialogue. There was no law, but an order‑the very order of the freedom of God. From the moment when Adam separated himself from God, when his freedom was no longer love but the choice between two possibilities, from that moment Adam moved from the realm of freedom into the realm of necessity. (As for us, we no longer know anything but the freedom which is always the choice between two possibilities, and we characterize freedom by the possibility of choice; but let us not forget that this is nothing but freedom in the world of the fall and gravity and death.) When he no longer lives in the communion of love with God, then he lives in the order of law. Now he knows only duty. Now he knows that an implacable order governs his destiny, and that his universe is one where everything falls‑that his universe is truly one of gravity, of care, of the fall.

Everything is now governed necessarily. Fatality becomes a sign of his life and he is subject to an interplay of laws on every level‑physical and moral, biological and sociological‑ each of which is only a facet of the same necessity. In this universe of necessity, to which he must yield, man learns to use necessity, to be crafty with it or turn it against itself. He learns to know and calculate the laws of nature for the modification of his own condition. By submitting to these laws, he is able to rule them ‑ It is in discerning them as necessity that he is able to live in the middle of them and to subsist as a man who, in the depth of his heart, still keeps alive the memory of and aspiration for freedom.

When we write this, however, we have done no more than describe the process of technique, itself guided by science‑the means of submitting to necessity by yielding to it. But in a world where there was no necessity, what would this mean? Thus, no matter what attitude one takes toward technique, it can only be perceived as a phenomenon of the fall; it has nothing to do with the order of creation; it by no means results from the vocation of Adam desired by God. It is necessarily of the situation of the fallen Adam.
And now it remains for me to beg the reader not to have me say what I did not say! I did not say that technique is a fruit of sin. I did not say that technique is contrary to the will of God. I did not say that technique in itself is evil. I said only that technique is not a prolongation of the Edenic creation that it is not a compliance of man to a vocation which was given to him by God, that it is not the fruit of the first nature of Adam. It is the product of the situation in which sin has put man; it is inscribed exclusively in the fallen world; it is uniquely part of this fallen world; it is a product of necessity and not of human freedom."

I've posted this several times before, but for me Ellul is one of those brothers that have helped "uncomplicate" for me the fallen world and helped me see how Technique (in all it's forms) just deepens the alienation by causing me to misplace my trust in something other than Father Son and Spirit and is very much responsible for the deepening chaos and confusion, personally and collectively, to the degree we look to it as an answer.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Guess who the shot across the bow of religion is.....God the Father himself. Yep, it starts as much with him as it does with Jesus. I found a new brother this morning. Well, I heard about him on Friday during The God Journey Podcast but this morning I have listened to him speak of the changing of all things through this wonderful transforming power called GRACE. For almost three years now I've been living this life of gambling, trusting in what God the Father through Jesus with the help of the Spirit accomplished for us all. And as John says about himself, I too am right in the middle of it with three daughters 18, 14, and 13 years of age along with myself, my wife, my friends, and thousands of other people that push in on my life on a daily bases. It's been the most healing transforming three years of my life. I had been hearing the music of grace playing in my heart and mind for several years prior but something had kept me from stepping out into the gamble that is the wastefulness of God the Father's grace. Turns out it had been religious and cultural concepts that were also lingering in my mind and heart from all the years of religious and cultural training that were keeping me in a place of fear and unbelief.

The shot across the bow of my life in 05 was the realization and admission that I was exhausted and confused and had never been able to control the things religion and culture had led me to believe was my job to control. And this was when grace finally entered the scene into my mind and heart and began to set me free from the fear that had always been lurking and jerking me around governing my every move...the fear religion and culture all along had just exploited in an attempt at behavior modification and control.

The gamble turns out to only be an acceptance of the reality of the human experience for what it is and the inability of religious self effort to ever change's a floundering and scrambling that can only be set right by coming to rest in the truth that Father Son and Spirit accept us in our brokenness, and in that safe space of love and acceptance they will transform us and set us free from all the mess and damaged caused by sin.

Check out John Lynch here....Truefaced

Saturday, August 16, 2008


Are we preoccupied with the enforcement LAW on ourselves and others (biblical precepts...etc. etc.) or Grace (a relationship of love and affection as seen in the bible reflected through the Son)?
How has it been so overlooked that coercion only produces hypocrites?

Thursday, August 14, 2008


What a shocker it was when the Papa graciously began to answer my cries in my moment of exhaustion and desperation by pulling the curtain back and revealing that I was still fully entrenched in the world and the thinking of the fallen mind...well it was worse than that...the fallen mind shaped and trapped by religious thinking.

When I began to see the world that had been pulled over my eyes that was keeping me blinded to the truth, was the day I began to see a way of living in it and not being of it (controlled and governed by it). What a different way of living this is proving itself to be. The healing (renewing) of the sick-shame-fear-filled-fallen-mind is a wonderfully freeing thing. Why had it alluded me for so long? Well, in my case ( and I will only speak for myself) it was the power of religion...all of it. And that turned out to be more than just the belief system religion had given me. The indoctrination into the world system is religion also and the hold it has on us I believe is even a more powerful dynamic than what the religious system creates in us. They all operate under the same curriculum...LAW.

I've shared these wonderfully freeing words of wisdom here before but they deserve a constant repeating. Since the day I first read them they have been doing their work in me...the work of; "until Christ is fully formed in you". For myself this speaks of the power of living free so as to live in the world but not be of the world. This was said in the context of a conversation about the use of violence/control (in all it's manifestation), in essence LAW, as opposed to grace and freedom.

"As a realist (someone who understands how this world works), I understand why people revert to violence (of every sort, not just physical, but psychological and economic and political and religious), but it is never right. For the believer who looks at the world and why they do what they do, violence may be an understandable option, but for them it is never the final resort. This is 'only' true for believers; only they are free to not return violence for violence. The actions of self giving, of love, of sacrifice, of dying are the true 'violations' of this world system."

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


I despise the lies that work against people living in the present. Plan...Plan some more...and did I say Plan? No wonder everything is so friggin overwhelming to most people. And then for those who are overwhelmed they get hammered some more because they are "soft" and unable to "handle it". Well I say...screw that lie also. I for one am no longer listening to the ridiculous voices.

Tonight I'm trying to get my 13 year old to try to stay in the moment and help her to see that if she can learn to do that, everything becomes much more do-able because there is always enough grace if we remain in the moment. It took me until I was 42 to awaken to this after many years of being controlled by the lies. At least it feels like I'm in a better place to help her as we move from one moment to the next.

Say a prayer for her and for the rest of us to help her along the way.
This song says it for me....I don't care about anything else.


I despise how we educate children in this country. No one can ever convince me that the pressure to perform and the weight of the load of expectations that is placed on them at such an early age is beneficial to them. Well, maybe it accomplishes something when it comes to leading them to take their place in the machine.

I am not fond of systems at all.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


I have come to so appreciate the things that happen in my sleep on an unconscious level. What I woke up with yesterday I just couldn't even begin to put together in words so that it would make sense to anyone one else, but I have this strong feeling that something new was beginning to open up to me.

This morning I woke up with a question on my mind. What is respect? One of the changes that happened in me a few years ago was I began to see that respect that I had to demand from others wasn't even something I wanted anymore. It ties in with much of the coercion paradigm that was being blown up in my if it had ever worked anyway. It was another one of the many things in my life that was a mistaken notion. Like I said a few posts back, there has been much disabusing going on.

The respect I was looking for in the old paradigm really was tied into the attempts at controlling the behavior of others based upon my preset expectations of them. If they were giving me what I wanted and thought I was entitled to, they were respecting me. It was another one of those "fake-outs" like my understanding of freedom had been.

I see respect today as something that flows from me just like love is something that flows from me and I am not demanding them from anyone anymore....I've come to understand that both of these things begin with Father Son and Spirit because they first loved me and respected me enough to give me the freedom to make my choices even if they are idiotic choices. It's never been coerced love and respect that they are looking for from me. And because of this, I see clearly that respect is something that I give to others and it has no ties to what others are giving to me.

Monday, August 11, 2008


At the end of this I have added a link to Baxter Kruger's last blog post. I think it contains wonderful insight and I just love the fact that when I finished reading it I was chuckling a bit inside and was left grinning from ear to ear. Hopefully it will leave whoever reads it feeling the same.

I'm so fascinated with human behavior. I'm fascinated that we all are so very unique and that leaves each of us with very unique experiences. But at the same time we all are in the same boat trying to learn to live with other unique individuals...hopefully in harmony. That is, I want to believe that at least some of us are seeking to live in harmony with each other.

For 18 year myself and my wife lived bouncing off each other in the dance we began on the day we met. Over the years it just became more and more complicated with the addition of children, more and more responsibilities to hold the home together, and more damage and pain caused by our inability to communicate. We can laugh today at the fact that we both pretty much had only heard the unintelligible noises of Charlie Brown's teacher coming from each other during those years. But it took some time for that laughter to arrive...those years were painful...but still we were able to find a love and a life to share. Who knows how we survived it in today's culture were more than half the marriages don't survive? Maybe it was just luck. I do know this about my attitude through it all and I think it is safe to say this is true for Julie also...we had made a promise to each other on the day we exchanged vows and we didn't want to break that. And since we felt like this was for life we both had to decide whether we wanted the rest of life to suck and be full of pain or whether we wanted to try to figure out how to live together in harmony. It's been a tough road but the tough road has produced many new deeper levels of love that had we given up neither of us would have experienced. It's all been worth the pain and arguments.

Three years ago Jesus began disarming me by letting me see how blind I had been as a husband, father, and friend. Owning our own crap and letting go of all of the blaming of the other can be the beginning of a beautiful change and in our family it was. The dance is getting much better. Hang in there friends.

Enough from me now, here's Baxter. There's something in this for both those still working at it and those who have suffered the pain of broken relationships.


Saturday, August 09, 2008


"Enforced uniformity confounds civil and religious liberty and denies the principles of Christianity and civility." Roger Williams

In all my years of involvement in organized Christian groups there has been no allowance for freedom. Whether in families or the larger community. Until somewhat recently I couldn't see this...and the same holds true for the society I was born into. What's called freedom really isn't freedom at all. What we've got are just different forms of control or better said...attempts to control. No matter how well intentioned, it just exacerbates the existing deep problems by creating illusions.

“If we accept that God is love, and that it is human beings who are to respond to this love, the explanation is simple. Love cannot be forced, ordered, or made obligatory. It is necessarily free. If God liberates, it is because he expects and hopes that we will come to know him and love him. He cannot lead us to do so by terrorizing us.” Jacques Ellul

"Expectations are one of the dominant ways that we attempt to control our lives, our relationships and God. Largely, they are disappointments waiting to happen. When one has a system of expectations, then ‘I’ become the center of the universe and everything and everyone is subject to my judgment and punishment depending on how they are ‘currently’ meeting up to those expectations (whether my expectations have been communicated or not).

Expectations are all about ‘doing’ … about performance. There is little room for ‘being’ within the web of expectations and ‘being’ has little to offer the one trying to control through expectations. "Who cares about who you are as long as you are doing what I think I need and expect." Expectations are largely a substitute for God, or in some sense, the need we have to play God ourselves.

And remember, ‘control’ is all about ‘fear’.

Letting go of ‘expectations’ is soooo risky; it feels like a free fall since our world was held together by that web, but it is in that ‘risk’ that you find a God who does not meet your expectations (thankfully), but loves you and is involved, and in that ‘risk’ is where ‘faith’ grows. Then we begin to live more in the environment of ‘expectancy’, the edgy, free flowing realm of wonder and surprise." William P Young

To find life it takes some letting go.

Friday, August 08, 2008


I've just finished listening to this weeks God Journey Podcast and for myself it was a perfect fit with my previous post HOPE IN OUR BROKENNESS. It brought to mind some thoughts from another brother, Jacques Ellul, and the many things he has shared in many of his writings. The Ethics of Freedom being one of the most profound. Here is a quote that came to mind as I listened to today's podcast.

"We are wrong to speak only of the ambition and pride of popes and prelates, of their ardent self-interest in trying to control temporal matters. There was here a genuine concern for the world. There was a conviction that they had the key to wisdom and justice for the world. They thought that they could give the world just and good institutions in which men could live both as Christians and as true men. In this regard the medieval churches mounted a positive operation except for one thing: it demanded suppression of freedom.

Everything else was catered for. Everything was foreseen and calculated in advance for better truth and fuller justice. But the manifestation of freedom was out of the question. This is the one dimension that has been missing in the church from the very first. But this is the decisive dimension without which the Christian life is without significance for the world. In the absence of freedom the forms of the church's actions have all become legalistic. Here is the real betrayal."

It can be so tiring at times when in conversations that miss this important point of allowing freedom. We are surrounded by this kind of conversation that just leaves us divided and battling with each other. That is unless something happens to change the dynamics. How do we get to a place that we could see this situation we are stuck in change? Don't be fooled, this effects all of our relationships...all of them.

Some of the changes in my thinking that has happened over the past few years has led me to believe that Jacques Ellul's statement really does get to the heart of the problem when it comes to the suppression of freedom by the Christian religious system and how it shapes everyone that is trained by an ideology that uses, all at the same time, a mixture of the language of freedom and law and in it's practices, a fear based system of conformity. No wonder so many people are left frustrated and no wonder we are left with human political power running the show...all the while the liberating message of Jesus remains locked up, out of reach to those going through the motions of a religious practice that leads them to believe that this is the way it is suppose to be.

"If, however, Christianity and the church are in fact reactionary and static, it is becasue they have lost the basic meaning of the Christian life, which is freedom. They have transformed revelation into a religion. Religion is indeed a conservative, retarding, and restrictive force. In this transformation, fellowship with Christ is lost, and with it the purity for which everything is pure and everything is possible. This is why it seems to me that the most urgent and decisive task for Christianity today, on the basis of fellowship with Christ, is to recover the full meaningof freedom." Jacques Ellul

"Here's today's God Journey Podcast
The Pathway To Real Freedom

Thursday, August 07, 2008


I began reading Anne Lamott's book Traveling Mercies again today. I love Anne and her heart and her openness about her brokenness and how she is able to see how Father's grace is always helping her along. Is this life hidden in Christ really about much more? I think everything flows from this reality.

I'm tired of moral codes and the notion that enforcing law sets anyone free and I'm no longer compelled to apologize for not being on the fear based conformity bandwagon. It's grace that people need help in understanding and Anne just helps draw me into the messy nature of people's lives to see grace at work...especially the lives of people that have grown up in environments much different than my own. Who knows, maybe I would have been a drunk, a drug addict, a flaming liberal, a Muslim, a Communist or a thief, to name a few possibilities, had I been born somewhere else to different parents and shaped by a different environment? These might be barriers humans rarely desire to cross over if they are vastly different experiences than what they have ever been exposed to....but Jesus knows no barriers and grace and love have no rivals. They cross over.

I remember hearing Anne once say that God must have very low standards....if he can accept someone like her. I'm left with nowhere to stand but in agreement with Anne because I am certain she is safe within the arms of our Father and I am certain he loves her very much and is showering her with his grace and affection along the way healing her brokenness. My life story looks different than Anne's but she and I are very much need of and counting on Father's grace.

Anne shares this quote from Eugene O'Neill's in Traveling Mercies.

"Man is born broken. He lives by mending. The grace of God is the glue."

I have linked to this before and it is an interview from 2006 from Grace Cathedral but here it is again.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


I learned a new word today. A word I really don't think I have ever heard used before.

Disabuse: To free from a falsehood or misconception

A friend used it in an email response to me today referring to helping people see beyond so many of the false notions religion has left people with when it comes to who God the father is and what the life hidden in Christ is about.

That's a perfect word to describe what has been going on in my life for a long time now and was kicked into hyper-drive in 05,06, and 07. I have referred to it being like having rugs gently pulled out from under my feet. I have a word for it now. I've learned to appreciate the process.
Gratefully Dis-illusioned :)

Monday, August 04, 2008


The lies that press in on us all from all directions and on the surface look so enticing are too many to name. The attempted act of naming them just seems like an adventure in missing the point anyway. Yours will be different than mine. But today I saw the heart of one of my daughters broken and it just made me long even more deeply for her freedom from such lies that draw her into commitments that then leave her unable to live in the fullness of the moment.

My freedom rarely allows me to make commitments anymore beyond what necessity demands. And we live in a world of necessity so those demands are pretty well fixed...I must work. But even in that I have a choice to make. How much does necessity determine I work? Again, the answer to that question will vary from person to person but for myself I'm learning to never add to what's necessary if it is avoidable. Hopefully that will set an example for my daughters and they will learn sooner in their lives the lesson it took me 42 years to learn.

Learning to live free of that which is not necessary so as to remain free to respond to whatever is up in the moment.

Doing "things" just because that's what everybody else is doing will always tie us into things that will work against our freedom.

Sunday, August 03, 2008


"In a world of talkers, Mack is a thinker and doer. He doesn't say much unless you ask him directly, which most folks have learned not to do. When he does speak you wonder if he isn't some sort of alien who sees the landscape of human ideas and experiences differently than everybody else. The thing is, he usually makes uncomfortable sense in a world where most folks would rather just hear what they are used to hearing, which is often not much of anything. Those who know him generally like him well enough, providing he keeps his thoughts mostly to himself. And when he does talk, it isn't that they stop liking him---rather, they are not quite so satisfied with themselves.

Mack once told me that he used to speak his mind more freely in his younger years, but he admitted that most of such talk was a survival mechanism to cover his hurts; he often ended up spewing his pain on everyone around him. He says that he had a way of pointing out people's faults and humiliating them while maintaining his own sense of false power and control. Not too endearing."

I'm so glad Father sent this personal note (The Shack) to me. This book is full of things like this excerpt from the Forward that just split me wide open and left me nowhere to hide...well that is and allow me to live in peace. Father's grace can be very discombobulating to say the least. But I had been crying out to him to set me free. When he went to work fulfilling that request, being honest about myself and facing and owning up to how I had been shaped by my experiences turned out to be very painful. But somehow I knew that not facing it all and not owning it all would keep me stuck and that familiar pain just really didn't seem to be do-able anymore.

I was reading through the Forward again yesterday afternoon and this just jumped out to me as one of those moments that more than likely during my first reading went to work on me without me even being aware of it. I wasn't even aware of how much this described me. I live constantly aware these days of the reality that I rarely ever know exactly what Papa is doing, but today I rest in the certainty that I know that he is constantly at work to help me live free and to set me free from any lingering sense of false power and control that used to be at the center of how I used to live...the false sense of power and control that is constantly seeking to creep back in and steal the freedom that Papa has helped me walk into.


Well, this morning we had a repeat showing of the Alien Sky I posted pictures of a couple months ago. You can see those pictures here. Both times this has happened the scene has been unbelievable. The pictures turned out pretty good again.


Part 1 is here

My friend Ron (Bones) posted this quote on The God Journey Forum this morning and I just wanted to add it here. Does this not capture the nature of love and freedom and contrast it to what usually passes as love and freedom but in actuality is nothing more than the ugly expression of control and manipulation in an attempt to conform others to what we want?

"By applying external pressure, I can make a person do what I want him to do. This is man's power. But as for making him be what I want him to be, without at the same time destroying his freedom, only love can make this happen. And love makes it happen not coercively, but by creating a situation in which, of our own free will, we want to be what love wants us to be." Frederick Buechner

Friday, August 01, 2008


The last two days have been pretty emotional for me. It's been a help in refining a few things that seem to me couldn't be more drastically different. The care, love, safety, and security of the father Jesus revealed to us, as opposed to the damage and pain inflicted on others by many earthly fathers that are so broken and do not know how to love. And today this is not just a focus on worse case scenarios, it's a focus on something that is far more acceptable...actually encouraged and I think in many cases it's even strengthened by religious ideology.

If we live with this notion that the father Jesus revealed to us is preoccupied with behavior, we in turn become preoccupied with behavior. I'm sorry, but living inside this paradigm will most certainly turn us into controlling people without any capacity for healthy interaction with others.

I'm speaking of fathers today because I get the sense this effects us fathers more than it does anyone else. If anyone hasn't noticed, we live in a male dominated world. A world where the male inflicts much pain on those weaker than he. I have a sneaking suspicion this is why the Creator, a Spirit Being who is neither male nor female, chose to use male flesh (Jesus) to walk through this world and chose to be referred to as Father.

He didn't control or manipulate anyone. He didn't seem to be preoccupied or repulsed by people's behavior, nor did he withhold his love from those who weren't performing. He didn't use those weaker than himself to fulfill some need he had. He didn't dominate anyone or even attempt to. He seemed to go out of his way to show value to children, women, and the weakest in the society, a society that treated these as inferior. He led no campaign to form an army and make an enemy out of those who were different. As for that one he actually did the opposite by talking about loving enemies. He abused no one but instead submitted to brutal abuse. All of these human activities are the creations of men operating from the paradigm of earthly power just because the male happens to be stronger.

I get the sense that there is a big message being sent by the Creator who has a deep love for all that he has created....EQUALLY. When the time was full the Creator entered his world and made a way to heal all the brokenness and the fallen religious mind returns the favor by painting onto this loving Father's face the human face of male violence and domination.

And yet the path to freedom and the peace and harmony of the new heavens and new earth remains the same and I get the sense our Father isn't going to lose his patience and decide he miscalculated a few things. This is still about an invitation and it is his grace and love that will lead us to lay down all we have picked up that he never intended to be activities of his creation.