Friday, January 30, 2009

GRACE/LOVE DOES NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT....


Grace...
whispers of
relentless affection
singing us all
into healing!


I'm using this description of grace as a launching pad once again just because it so captures what Father Son and Spirit have been up to in my life for awhile now. My mind really has been renewed when it comes to living a life of grace as opposed to living the harsh demanding life of law. My immediate emotional responses in the moment to the things that are happening to me sometimes though don't line up to this renewing of the mind that has happened. It's my heart's cry that the transformation process continues to unfold to where my immediate response to the "other" is always from a place of grace/love.

I love how Richard Rohr describes the process Father has had him in.

"On my better days, when I am "open, undefended, and immediately present," I can sometimes begin with a contemplative mind and heart. Often I can get there later and even end there, but it is usually a second gaze. The True Self seems to always be ridden and blinded by the defensive needs of the false self. It is an hour-by-hour battle, at least for me. I can see why all spiritual traditions insist on daily prayer, in fact, morning, midday, evening, and before-we-go-to-bed prayer too. Otherwise, I can assume that I am back on cruise control of small and personal self-interest, the pitiable and fragile "richard" self.

The first gaze is seldom compassionate. It is too busy weighing and feeling itself: "How will this effect me?" or "How does my self image demand that I react to this?" or "How can I get back in control of this situation?" This leads to an implosion, a self preoccupation that can not enter into communion with the other or the moment. In other words, we first feel our feelings before we can relate to the situation and emotions of the other. Only after God has taught us to live "undefended" can we immediately stand with and for the other, and for the moment. It takes a lot of practice."


Law dictates that we make people pay for their mistakes while grace/love does not take into account wrongs suffered....along with many other wonderful transforming things. But it truly is a rare thing to find people that live like they believe it. People are so used to at least attempting to force others to live in such a way and carry things that they themselves are unwilling to carry. That's the kind of life law leaves us (and others) in....always. Grace/love is radically different.

Grace is always concerned about the other's freedom and healing and it also always protects the giver. Protects that is, that which is important/valuable.

I've seen it enough with my eyes in others, felt it enough in my emotions, and been guilty of it myself enough to know the damage caused by demanding people to "measure up" to some external expectation or to "pay up" when they fail to meet it, to know all this produces is more damage and continues the nightmare.

So...I want to live my life whispering of the relentless affection of Father and letting the relentless affection of Jesus find expression in me for others...so that maybe others will hear that song whose desire is to sing us all into healing.

Your fire burns me like a favorite song.
A song I should have known all along.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A BIT OF ENCOURAGEMENT IN THE MIDST OF A MESS

***This one will make more sense if you read the post below first***

A few weeks ago I contacted Paul Young to see if he could sign a copy of The Shack for a co-worker of mine. She wanted to give it to her Mother-in-Law who had read the book and been so touched by it. It arrived today and when I opened the front cover to read what Paul had written to her I found this. It felt like it was for me today....it was for me today.

Grace...
whispers of
relentless affection
singing us all
into healing!

HUMAN VOLATILITY

It seems as if there is a perfect storm brewing. And it also (at least at this point) seems as if I'm incapable of stopping it. This is one of those times I pray that I am wrong. This has been so painful for me to watch as my three daughters fight to hang onto their right to feel the way they want to feel (they haven't yet learned that false perceptions lead to false emotional responses) regardless of the pain their actions are causing each other.

Maybe the best we can hope for is simply surviving the pain that is a product of human volatility that seems to erupt like a volcano when people aren't able to walk in love and extend grace to one another? Maybe this is all there is? I refuse to believe that.

History seems to be littered with stories of humans causing pains to be piled upon pains and the putting to death of the ones standing around trying to help them see that there is a better way. I know it might seem that I have made a huge leap to here from where this blog began with three teenage daughters that seem to be unable to make the move from fighting for what they each want...to understanding that there is a path available that would provided a win win scenario for everyone. But in actuality it isn't that big of a leap at all. If people aren't set free to where they learn to love and live lives of grace and make peace with others they have conflict with....the human volatility that exists deep inside the imprisoned heart soul and mind is capable of creating perfect storms even out of the smallest of things. When will we WAKE UP? I guess until then we'll just have to adjust.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

IS THE ILLUSION SUSTAINABLE...

I realized awhile back that it was an act of foolishness to believe the "experts"....my peace level went up significantly.

One lone voice and all the experts laughed at him. He was saying it all before it happened when just about everyone else was saying "The fundamentals of the economy are strong."

These laughing "experts" are still on TV giving advice. Unbelievable. Everyone needs a job.

This whole economy is dependant on everyone continuing to believe the illusion. If we don't....it fails. So the propping up of the illusion continues.

"We have many commodities but little satisfaction, little sense of the sufficiency of anything. The scarcity of satisfaction makes of our many commodities an infinite series of commodities, the new commodities invariably promising greater satisfaction than the older ones. In fact, the industrial economy's most marketed commodity is satisfaction, and this commodity, which is repeatedly promised, bought, and paid for, is never delivered." Wendell Berry

"If the Golden Rule were generally observed among us, the economy would not last a week. We have made our false economy a false god, and it has made blasphemy of the truth. So I have met the economy in the road, and am expected to yield it right of way. But I will not get over. My reason is that I am a man, and have a better right to the ground than the economy. The economy is no god for me, for I have had too close a look at its wheels. I have seen it at work in the strip mines and coal camps of Kentucky, and I know that it has no moral limits. It has emptied the country of the independent and the proud, and has crowded the cities with the dependent and the abject. It has always sacrificed the small to the large, the personal to the impersonal, the good to the cheap. It has ridden questionable triumphs over the bodies of small farmers and tradesmen and craftsmen. I see it, still, driving my neighbors off their farms into the factories. I see it teaching my students to give themselves a price before they can give themselves a value. Its principle is to waste and destroy the living substance of the world and the birthright of posterity for a monetary profit that is the most flimsy and useless of human artifacts."

Monday, January 26, 2009

DAYS WHEN PEACE IS HARD TO FIND

"Be the change that you want to see in the world" Mohandas Gandhi

Sunday, January 25, 2009

RELATIONSHIPS....A FIELD OF LAND MINES


And with that being the case and this day being another day full of relational challenges all around me...I'm considering taking up the study of Zen and abandoning the relationship gig and becoming a monk. Just joking.

You should have been in the house about 30 minutes ago when the daughters mixed it up with each other over a relationship they all have with a friend. WOW. Everybody got hurt just a little bit deeper because they know not how to love as of yet....only defend turf and self interest.

Maybe some Zen music would do? While looking for some I actually found something more appropriate.

Lord, make me an instrument of peace in the midst of the storms swirling around instead of a participant that tosses more accelerant on the fire.



Friday, January 23, 2009

WHEN THE RUG GETS JERKED FROM UNDER US


I'm sure it has been somewhat obvious to regular visitors of my blog, that over the past couple weeks my posts have had a bit of agitation and frustration to them. Some things came to light recently that ended up feeling like a 2x4 cross the side of my head. I've been staggering a bit trying to gain my balance ever since. It's taken two weeks but some things seem to have come better into focus today. Part of it has come through a couple conversations and part of it through Wayne's and Brad's conversation today on The God Journey Podcast...COUNT IT ALL JOY.

I'm still left confused, disappointed, saddened, and hurting, but when were we ever promised a life free of all of that? Good luck trying to live avoiding it.

I mentioned several post back that I felt like the past few years have been about gathering all the pieces of myself that had over the years been scattered all around. I had invested in so many things...people, career, pursuit for financial freedom (as if it even exists), acquiring stuff, political ideologies, trying to create a secure existence, etc. etc. etc. Somehow in midst of thinking I had a handle on it all and on what God was up to, it all came crashing down and in that process the illusion I had created was exposed for what it was. That process stripped everything away from me...except one thing....People/relationships.

But even in what remained I came to see that none of the relationships were healthy. Papa suggested that maybe that would be a wonderful place to focus my attention for the rest of my days. So I began that process of change. No longer attempting to change other people but allowing Him to change me regardless of whether anyone else ever moved at all. I have never in my life experienced a 3 year period like the past three years. Even being able to say that, there have been many relational struggles during that time and I have learned much about grace and love and patience and sacrifice and serving others through those experiences. It's all Papa's grace.

In the past two weeks I somehow began to lose sight of that in this most recent struggle and disappointment. This afternoon I'm beginning to feel as if it's coming into better view again and something precious and profound that I learned during the season of my life after reading The Shack is at the center of it.

In the book Papa speaks it to Mack. Since the day I first read it Papa has faithfully and gently been speaking it to me...Kent, you have no idea what I am doing right now. But I am learning to rest in this reality. Whatever He is doing, my freedom and the freedom of the people around me is at the center of it.
Count it all joy.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

THE TYPE OF THINKERS WE ARE IN NEED OF


We need people with the wisdom and understanding and ability to make us uncomfortable so as to help us think outside of what we think we know. Jacques Ellul was one such brother who was able to do that for me.

These two quotes are taken from a book review that appeared in Christianity today.

"Ellul 'takes everything away' from us. He removes our commonplaces and securities, destroys our idols, crutches, and supports, ruthlessly strips away our justifications, and attacks our conformity to the world and lack of faith in Christ. Both through sociological criticism and through biblical exposition, he leaves us no way out, with the exits sealed off, with no hope"

"But wait! Ellul gives it all back with what can only be described as an inspiring vision of hope and freedom. … This approach exemplifies, on the level of contemporary Christian ethical discourse, the pattern of' leaving all, "hating all,' and embarking on the path of radical discipleship to Jesus Christ that is repeatedly given in the Gospels."

You can read the entire article here.

I LONG FOR THE DAY

I hate what fear does to people. And at the same time I know it plays a part in this gig we find ourselves in. It's suppose to be the beginning of wisdom. But we must remember that fear is not actually what produces the wisdom, it's what pushes us to Wisdom himself and in this process we come to know that there is nothing to fear. When that happens in an individuals life fear is replaced with trust and love. The lack of this expression in this nation I live is what saddens me and leaves me longing for something else.

I grew up in the religious system in America that uses the name of Jesus but many years ago came to the conclusion that something was terribly wrong. The path I have been on for the past 20 years since I walked out of that familiar religious system has taught me that if fear doesn't lead to wisdom it leaves people in an even worse condition....people using God's name for their own gain at the expense of everyone else. This couldn't be anymore opposite of the message of the gospel.

The day I long for is the day when this earth is filled with an expression of sacrificial love coming from the people that claim Jesus as their Lord. That won't happen as long as people remain trapped in their fears. It just won't.

I don’t know where this is going
I’m taking a ride on a wing and a prayer
Follow me there
We’ll both be surprised




Wednesday, January 21, 2009

DISBELIEF

The past few days have just left me shaking my head in disbelief at some of the things I have heard said by my white brothers and sisters...Christians none the less. I get so angry at how tribalism and political ideologies leave people incapable of seeing beyond how they have been convinced things are or should be....and in turn are led to live in such a way that makes loving neighbor as self impossible.

I'm just feeling a bit pissed off tonight due to the destructive cycle we are still stuck in in this country. Even though we have our first black president, we have many hurdles we still need to get over. Most people seem incapable of even having the important conversations today without getting all worked up, emotional, and defensive which then shuts the conversation down. My heart is hopeful but the evidence is lagging behind a bit when it comes to the attitudes I still hear being expressed by many. We need some help from our loving Father in order to see the way he has already opened up before us.

I've been thinking a lot of Dr. King and some of the things he said....his words ring as true today as they did when he first spoke them.

"A time comes when silence is betrayal. Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men [sic] do not easily assume the task of opposing their government's policy, especially in time of war. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one's own bosom and in the surrounding world. Moreover, when the issues at hand seem as perplexing as they often do in the case of dreadful conflict, we are always on the verge of being mesmerized by uncertainty. But we must move on.

2. "Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak. For we are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness that seems so close around us.

3. "We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for the victims of our nation, for those it calls "enemy," for no document from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers. I think of them, too, because it is clear to me that there will be no meaningful solution until some attempt is made to know them and hear their broken cries.

4. "I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

5. "A true revolution of values will lay hand on the world order and say of war, ‘This way of settling differences is not just.’ A nation that continues year and year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

6. "America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world, can well lead the way in this revolution of values. There is nothing except a tragic death wish to prevent us from reordering our priorities over the pursuit of war.

7. "This call for a worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one's tribe, race, class, and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all mankind. We can no longer afford to worship the God of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation. The oceans of history are made turbulent by the ever-rising tides of hate. History is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals that pursued this self-defeating path of hate.

8. "We still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation. We must move past indecision to action. If we do not act, we shall surely be dragged down the long, dark, and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight…”


GOOD MORNING...HAVE A WONDERFUL DAY







Tuesday, January 20, 2009

HISTORIC DAY

I'm just profoundly moved today by what is about to take place in this nation.

As everyone who reads this blog knows, I'm not one to place any trust in government to be a solution to the problems we humans face. Most often governments are a part of the problem. But I can look past all of that and see people. And with that in mind I am very hopeful that the changes that are represented in the activities of this day open up new possibilities for many people that have felt hopelessly stuck in a hole.

Three years ago I spent the year reading the letters written by MLK and some big shifts happened in my thinking as my eyes were opened to things my former conservative White Christian and political ideologies had kept me blinded to. My prayer today is that enough people are on the verge of another leap forward in their individual lives that will bring us closer to a day when we truly love our neighbor as our self.

Let's let love govern how we live.....not destructive/divisive ideologies.

Monday, January 19, 2009

FAITHFULLY DANGEROUS...ONE WAY OR THE OTHER


Maximization is the term that has been on my mind as of late. Is the attempt to maximize things in and of it's self wrong? No I don't think it is. But I do think in a culture that has as it's god, money and power and notoriety, it becomes a very tricky thing to navigate...and most seem to not be able to do it well and keep their feet on the ground and their heads out of the clouds.

I also find it interesting, or at least it seems this way to me, that most of the people that live aware of the seductive nature of money, power and notoriety are usually those who don't have them. I think it was John Wesley that wrote in one of his books that he had never met anyone that was as Christ like once they became wealthy as they were when they were living a more day to day life in regards to their provision.

I myself am still of the mindset that I don't know if I could handle the changes well and maybe that is one of the points God the Father was driving home to us through the incarnation? I know I don't want power and I've never been infatuated with "famous" people, and the train wrecks that are their lives really don't seem to be something to desire. And coming to understand that money really is a form of power and the lie of it bringing some kind of security to ones life being exposed in my mind as being the lie that it is, seems to make the pursuit of it a dangerous and distracting adventure in missing the point.

I often think about the time in Israel's history after Moses led them out of Egypt and they began to grumble and complain about how bad they had it and God reveals to them his abundant provision and care by sending Manna from heaven. I also think there is a big lesson for us to learn from the story of what happened when they began to gather more than they needed for the day. It spoiled and if they ate it they would become ill.

These lyrics come to mind again and it just seems to me that escaping the "faithfully dangerous" part is an impossibility. On one side it is dangerous to the life our egos would lead us to live and on the other side it's dangerous to us.
Maybe we’re best close to the ground.
Maybe angels drag us down.
I wonder which part of this will leave a scar.



Saturday, January 17, 2009

CAMERA AT THE READY ONCE AGAIN

This morning I headed to work as I do basically every Saturday to put in a few hours of work. Fridays and Saturdays are shortened days....day 4 and 5 of the work week and I only work till noon. Believe me, I am aware of how blessed I am with my work schedule.

This morning my first appointment was bright and early at 7am. With it being such a

nice morning I decided to just wait in my truck until my client arrived. It was a good morning for a client to show up 25 minutes late. Had she been on time I would have missed the opportunity to capture this mornings sunrise. It never ceases to leave me amazed as to how drastically different the sky is painted each and everyday. The pictures in the previous post are of the same skyline one day before these pictures.


The colors yesterday were so different than today. The variation of colors within these from this morning are created by changing the "scene" setting on my camera. I have not altered them at all with the computer.



I wonder what tomorrow's sky will be like?






Friday, January 16, 2009

CAMERA READY




As I left the house this morning and got my first glance at the Eastern sky, it just had the look of a sky that would produce a brilliant sunrise. So I ran back inside to get my camera just in case. It partially payed off with these pictures. But if I had been sitting in the parking lot at work 10 minutes earlier it would have been even better. At least I got to see it myself as I drove towards the salon...I just wish I had a record of it to share with all of you. These will have to do.

TRAVELING COMPANION


My California trip just got even better. My 18 year old (due to the stuff of being 18) has been acting like she could use some time away to decompress. I asked her the other day if some down-time spent in some warm California weather might do her some good? She decided that sounded like a grand idea so she will be going with me also. She loves it when Wayne is here with us visiting so she's looking forward to going out there and staying with Wayne and Sara. She and Sara will get some time together while the guys are off playing golf. It should be good for her.


I hate the pressure this world puts on young adults. Not to mention all the self induced stuff.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

ANGST

It's not an easy night. I'm pissed off, I'm sad, and I'm hurting. And yet in a way I perfectly understand. People are bringing all they have to bring and we just have to learn to deal with it.

I wanted to listen to some music tonight to help me feel what I was feeling. I hadn't listened to Over The Rhine's Films For Radio CD in awhile and it just felt like the music to fit the mood....and I was right.

No reason to worry about me. I'll be fine...and I get the sense something even better will come into view once I come out the other side of this. I'm getting use to it and even learning to see the beauty (even before it appears) that is often worked into us and the world around us through pain.



THE WORLD CAN WAIT

if this should end tomorrow
all our best laid plans
and all our typical fears
am i running out of lifetimes
this is not the first time
something ends in just tears

but tomorrow i can’t imagine
how am i supposed to know
what’s yet to go down
is there only one religion
the kind that whispers
when nobody comes around

the world can wait
the world can wait
i want to drink the water from your well
i want to tell you things i’ll never tell
the world can wait
the world can wait
i’m wide awake
and the world can wait

i want to feel and then some
i have five senses
i need thousands more at least
every day a page of paper

every night a photograph
a moveable feast

so fade to black and white now
roll the movie of my life
inside of my head
‘cause like all true believers
i am truly skeptical
of all that i have said

the world can wait
the world can wait
i want to drink the water from your well
i want to tell you things i’ll never tell
the world can wait
the world can wait
i’m wide awake
and the world can wait

haven’t i said enough
haven’t i said far too much
haven’t i done enough
haven’t i done far too much
far too much
the world can wait

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

GOLF IN CALIFORNIA ONCE AGAIN







It was this time last year that myself and my friend Dan traveled to California to spend a long weekend with Wayne and Sara Jacobsen. Well, we are doing it again. It's still a little over a month away but I'm already looking forward to hanging out with them and sharing life and the three days of golf won't be too bad either.


This will be time spent with God Journey friends Rob, Robin, Scott, Susan, Eric, Tanya, Dan, Wayne and Sara all in a matter of a few months. Pretty sweet connections if I don't say so myself.

THE THINGS THAT GET IN THE WAY


The day we begin to recognize the human activities that intrude upon our ability to love and serve the "other" just might be the day everything begins to change. There is never a guarantee that we will see the change in the "other"....but there is no way that the one who comes to such a realization remains unchanged. And that change becomes very evident.

Monday, January 12, 2009

RELATIONSHIP BUSTERS


How do we move forward so as to move out of the nightmare that so often plays out on an all too common basis and most often spells the end of relationships? Am I completely off the farm in thinking that the essence of Creation was about relationship? Relationship with the One that created us and us living in relationship with that which He created?

I've watched in the past year and a half, just in my place of work, three relationships go from.....what seemed to be loving commitment to one another and a common purpose, to the most surprising bizarre reversals that ended those relationships. Then I watched the three people in these work situations, that made such drastic reversals and chose to walk away from the relationships, create such wild stories (at least from my perspective) to explain what happened...at least according to their perceptions. And then I watched one by one, as each one would leave, they would join with the other one that left before them to form what seemed to be a "club of validation".

All three of these situations from what I observed began when suspicion of others (relational breakdown due to the fact that their expectations weren't being met) was allowed to take root and nurtured in such a way that caused the suspicions to grow out of control. The other common denominator seemed to be about self preservation....looking out for self first. I'm convinced that as long as self-preservation stays intact, throwing the "other/s" under the bus will remain an all too common practice. All of this leads me to this quote that I've posted here a few times before.

"Freedom excludes suspicion. A choice must be made here with no compromise or half measures. If I think I am free in Christ, I can have no suspicion of others and must break with Freud, Marx, and Nietzsche. If there is freedom only in the reciprocity of love, I must lay down all weapons. This is the act of freedom. A choice has to be made. I can advance with all my equipment and analyze the other sociologically and psychologically. I can pin him down and dissect him like a butterfly. But if I do I lose my own freedom and shut myself in the circle of his determinations. I can do this or I can advance in freedom. A choice which is both intellectual and vital must be made here." Jacques Ellul

The latest God Journey Podcast tackled what I see today as the only way out of this dark alley we find ourselves on. And it's why very few choose to go this way. Operating out of our own strength, from our ego, it is impossible. I think it was Wayne Jacobsen that spoke the words/reality that usually accompanies those who choose to walk the path of love and sacrifice, as Jesus did...the only path that leads out of the "battle royal cage match" humans are caught up in. Let's just say, at times that road will produce situations that just feel unbearable.



Sunday, January 11, 2009

TO THE MORNING


Well, this is a continuation of the previous post. The mood of the morning ended up sending me off to listen to some Dan Fogelberg music. I rarely ever listen to him anymore but some moments just send me back to his music. Some of it was so full of his love and appreciation for the natural beauty that surrounds us. Some of it was full of the pain created by the attempts to relate to others and how often love turns to pain and loss.

Yes, it's going to be a day and there's really no way to say no to the morning. Nor do I want to. I'm learning to face it head on. Everyday is full of possibilities. Is it going to be a day full of love and grace or a day full of us exerting our wills. We all as individuals get to decide. The day's emotional expressions are based upon what I choose to do with what presents it's self from moment to moment. Sure, we rarely face a day that isn't challenged with humans caught up in fear, pride, ego, and self-preservation but once we understand that we have no control over others and what they do (that is unless we want to exert an overwhelming dose of power, which I'm really not interested in anymore) we can step out into the place of freedom ourselves and love and live in grace. At least that opens up the possibility of changing some of the ugly created by others who wake up and face the morning wondering how they can use it to their advantage.

The song begins about 1:25 in.






CAN YOU IMAGINE?





























I ventured out early this morning once I glanced out a west facing window and saw that the full moon was visible and the clouds looked like they were going to cooperate. I few blocks from home is some high ground where I knew I would have an unobstructed view where I could take some pictures.

I sat there and watched in awe of the beauty we have been blessed with and thought about all the turmoil that exists in some relationships (a few different scenarios playing out all at once) of people I know and care deeply for. The relationships and the beautiful morning sky brought to mind some lyrics from two songs.

We're just a million little gods causin' rain storms
turnin' every good thing to
rust.

From the highest of heights to the depths of the sea
Creation's revealing Your majesty
From the colors of fall to the fragrance of spring
Every creature unique in the song that it sings
All exclaiming

Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.
You are amazing God
All powerful, untameable,
Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God

Now to just stop hurting each other so we don't miss the beauty we are surrounded by.....BEAUTIFUL....both people and everything else He has created.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

FAITHFULLY DANGEROUS

Maybe we’re best close to the ground.
Maybe angels drag us down.
I wonder which part of this will leave a scar.

There have been so many things going on in relationships around me as of late these lyrics from Over The Rhine's song Faithfully Dangerous have been constantly popping up in my mind.

I named my blog in light of this song and some relational stuff that was happening in my life at the time.

The scars of that time left me with a limp. There seems to be something very important about being reminded that we are better off living close to the ground....grounded....even when we are learning to fly.

BEATING THE SAME OLD HORSE BECAUSE IT AIN'T DEAD YET

"Most emotions are responses to perception---what you think is true about a given situation. If your perception is false, then your emotional response to it will be false too. So, check your perceptions, and beyond that check the truthfulness of your paradigms---what you believe. Just because you believe something firmly doesn't make it true. Be willing to reexamine what you believe. The more you live in the truth, the more your emotions will help you see clearly." The Shack

It's stunning watching the false emotional reactions play out over and over and over to what people perceive is going on around them.

I feel compelled to keep beating this horse (bringing it up) as long as I see people hurting one another over their false sense of reality. And I am very aware that this isn't just about others....I need the constant reminder myself. I'm sure I still do plenty of it myself.

The man Christ Jesus and his choice to not use power makes more and more sense to me everyday as I watch humans interact with one another. It's about dying before it is ever about fighting for our "rights" at the expense of the other.

Friday, January 09, 2009

SIGNS THAT WE ARE NOT YET FREE

"Freedom excludes suspicion. A choice must be made here with no compromise or half measures. If I think I am free in Christ, I can have no suspicion of others and must break with Freud, Marx, and Nietzsche. If there is freedom only in the reciprocity of love, I must lay down all weapons. This is the act of freedom. A choice has to be made. I can advance with all my equipment and analyze the other sociologically and psychologically. I can pin him down and dissect him like a butterfly. But if I do I lose my own freedom and shut myself in the circle of his determinations. I can do this or I can advance in freedom. A choice which is both intellectual and vital must be made here." Jacques Ellul

Thursday, January 08, 2009

BIBLICAL


A couple weeks ago on a forum I participate in, someone new logged on and posted their critical assessment of The Shack. That wasn't anything new. There is a somewhat steady stream of people that log on to the forum to post their critical assessment of the book. It's like they just feel the need to go "on the record" for some reason. Most people who do this aren't interested in a conversation. They just make a post and then they are gone, but their observations remain for others to see. Maybe they think they are going to save someone from heresy? Beats me.

Most times I don't respond to such posts but this particular time I felt like asking them a question about one of their accusations. They had said that The Shack wasn't at all biblical.

So my question to them was: "What is biblical?"

To which they responded: "If you ever read and studied your bible you wouldn't be asking that question."

To tell you the truth the response left me a bit puzzled as to why such responses are so typical. When you think about what they said, I don't know about you, but I'm at a loss to find much evidence to support it.

I responded back to them saying that that might be a nice idea but the evidence that we are surrounded by that comes from people that read and study their bibles just doesn't support the statement they had made. If we haven't noticed yet that students of the bible are all over the map as to what it is saying we obviously aren't paying attention or maybe it is that we are stuck thinking our camp has it figured out (and is biblical) while everyone who interprets it differently aren't biblical.

I guess they didn't want to talk about it anymore because they deleted their account along with the thread they had started and just left.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

WHEN FOLLOWERS OF JESUS ARE ACCUSED OF BEING HUMANISTIC....Hmmmmmm?

I hear the accusation made often by religiously trained people that some expressions of Christianity today are turning purely humanistic. To be completely honest...I've grown tired of that standard accusation made by many from the religion I grew up in.

For myself, from the time I began to reconsider some long held notions, the most important change that has happened in my thinking about the common approach to life with God and with neighbor had to do with God himself. In other words, who is God and what is his character and how does he relate to humans. Instead of being so focused on what humans have to do to relate to him.

When I hear religiously trained people railing on other people who express a desire to live their lives engaged with the Creator and that railing often takes the form of the accusation of Humanism, I'm often left saddened by it all in light of what I am learning about the Creator Jesus referred to as Father.

Has the Creator made this all about his self or has the Creator shown us through Jesus that this is actually about us...at least from their perspective? And if it is about us and that reality is actually formed out of the truth that HE LOVES US and because of that love reconciled us to himself, would it change the standard understanding and accompanying message coming from Christianity today? Oh, and by the way...with the people I know that have come to understand from God's perspective that this is all about us, they are learning to live in a way that expresses back to God the Father that as far as they are concerned....it's not about them at all, it's all about him.

Now enter the often heard Humanism accusation coming from people who live under the paradigm that God has made this all about his self and the fruit that seems to come from that paradigm....contempt for humans that are different than themselves or at least humans that won't parrot their interpretation of what this is all about.

If God's ways are far above our ways, how do we humans come to determine what God's drastically different ways actually are?

Jesus seemed to always be pointing to love being at the center of this unfolding story we all find ourselves in. Love seems, at least to me, to be the most un-natural emotion for humans to live out/express to other fellow humans. On the other hand, Hate and Exclusion, in all it's forms, seems to come pretty naturally to us.

Jesus demonstrated God the Father type love for all of humanity. Would Jesus end up being accused of being humanistic by the religiously trained people of our day? I'm convinced he would be....and I'm also convinced that Jesus himself is actually being accused of that as he lives through people that he has taken up residence in that are learning to live in Father's love and learning to love their neighbors. Even the neighbors that at this moment aren't buying any of the message.

Monday, January 05, 2009

TRUTH...BEAUTY...FREEDOM...LOVE



It's just the mood I find myself in this afternoon

I little peaceful video to go along with it.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

THE ANSWER FOR ALL THE STRIVING AND HAND WRINGING


"What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn't work. So I quit being a "law man" so that I could be God's man. Christ's life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not "mine," but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that. "

I had a couple conversations this week at work that ended up leading to me sharing an observation as to why I feel there is such a difference in the way my relationships with others feel at this time in my life as opposed to in the past. The best way I know to describe it is this....the agendas are gone. Well, except for one. To love others.

What I shared from the apostle Paul at the beginning of this post is from Galatians 2 from The Message. It speaks to me of an agenda free life...a life lived in freedom from all the demands that distract us and that turn out to be an adventure in missing the point, that in turn keeps the point from ever becoming a lived out reality in our lives. To love others.

God (the One who is Father Son and Spirit) is about setting us free from the performance-rule keeping-work-your-head-off-to-please-God-and-others-life. It really is stunning what happens when we begin to find freedom from that old life once we realize that Christ is the one now living in us. He is very much into being available for people...agenda free...other than loving them into new life/freedom.

Friday, January 02, 2009

"EXPERT".....WHATEVER


The Western religious mind has such a difficult time with the life of freedom Jesus opened up to us all, because it is a mind that has been shaped by doctrine/law/absolutes. A lot of this we can thank Modernity for. It gave rise to the "expert" that was dumped on us and whom we are now surrounded by. We have been told they can explain everything to us. The evidence of there being a big problem with all of this is all around us.

I watch very little TV but I do catch Food Network fairly regularly. There is a particular program that highlights food experts on a regular basis. The other day I saw them interview a Baked Bean Expert. I can handle a Baked Bean Expert but I think I will pass on the Religious Experts and Economic Experts and Political Experts.