Saturday, August 30, 2008
"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 function...in 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."
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 for...to 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
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
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 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
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
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."
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Friday, August 22, 2008
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.
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 on...at a level I have never seen before.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Monday, August 18, 2008
Sunday, August 17, 2008
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 it....it'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
Thursday, August 14, 2008
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 am not fond of systems at all.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
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 life...as 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
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
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
"Here's today's God Journey Podcast The Pathway To Real Freedom
Thursday, August 07, 2008
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
Monday, August 04, 2008
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
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.
Friday, August 01, 2008
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.