Sunday, May 31, 2009

RELATIONSHIP OR DOMINATION AND SUBMISSION?

"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 cannot 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 the emotion of the other. Only after God has taught us how to live "undefended" can we immediately stand with and for the other, and for the moment. It takes alot of practice." Richard Rohr

In an email exchange with a friend this morning this quote from Richard Rohr came to mind. Well, I really never get away from the thought anymore. Since reading it the first time, in what was a very vulnerable season for me, it just seeped in through the crack that had been formed due to my former control mode undergoing the exposure that happens when Father's loving light breaks through. My whole life...especially my religiously shaped life had all been lived out of the False Self and never had I ever had any healthy interacting with others before that moment. It all had been framed by domination or submission. And I have played both roles...we all have/are until we are freed to something else.

When observing the relating I see others engaged in today, unless someone has been set free, and is learning to live undefended, it all falls under this unhealthy paradigm of domination and submission. Pecking order as some like to call it. Some people do it rather well...taking their places in such an order and they seem to be relating okay in such a set up and many, more than likely most, not so much. People either submit or they engage in conflict in order to gain the up position in the game.

And then you have people that have seen that paradigm for what it is and refuse to play on those terms anymore. It's not an easy transition to make though. On our own it's actually impossible. But for those that make it, a whole new world/a whole new way of being comes into focus. In reality it's these people who have for the first time began to live. And the other world, at least those that like domination, just don't know how to deal with such people. So often they just kill them.

"Ain’t it crazy
What’s revealed when you’re not looking all that close
Ain’t it crazy
How we put to death the ones we need the most

I know I’m not a martyr
I’ve never died for anyone but me
The last frontier is only
The stranger in the mirror that I see

But when I least expect it
Here and there I see my savior’s face
He’s still my favorite loser
Falling for the entire human race"
from Jesus in New Orleans by OTR

Saturday, May 30, 2009

AS THE STORM APPROACHED

This morning's sky look pretty cool.






Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A BIT OF A HEAVY HEART


I took the day off today and just like most days I planned nothing. In this simpler life I have felt invited into over the past few years, few plans seem to often be the extent of my plans. The outcome...is that I feel a lot more available for people when they might need a hand or an ear or sometimes maybe some advice or help in finding a path forward. Being rested and having a life absent of the unnecessary crap I used to carry around seems to help in being able to handle the crap that others are still carrying around that they are not yet free of. I like this new peace-filled inner space. I hope for everyone to be able to find their own. But it doesn't shield me or anyone else that has found such a space from difficulties and pain.

We humans have a propensity to make messes. Some are smaller than others and some less painful and costly than others. Today, three circumstances have pressed in on me and I'm feeling it. Two different situations are with friends I love deeply that are in the midst of relational struggles. The third situation is with a pup that was brought into our home and the one who made the choice to bring her here is having some difficulties facing the realities that her initial choice and now her present choices have created. I wish I could just fix them all but a part of this space I find myself in has taught me to leave my hands off such things and to just lend some loving support. People have to find their way through these things. It's usually their own choices and those of others that have led them to the place they find themselves and most often it will be choices that eventually will lead them through the exist doors out of them also. The Shack has been on my mind much lately. Father has done such a work in my life through this little book. Today this from the book comes to mind

"I suppose since most of our hurts come through relationships so will our healing."

We just can't avoid the reality that we were created to relate to one another. Nor should we want to avoid it. Relationships are what life is about...healthy relationships are what we long for but often instead find ourselves caught up in conflicts that leave them in shambles. Too often the pattern seems to be to just go separate ways.

The situation with the pup and my daughter will not effect mine and her relationship. I will not let it and through all the twists and turns this past week I have kept the health of the relationship and her freedom as the goal. All the other crap can be worked out but I won't put the crap ahead of the relationship. And I am no longer interested in the old paradigm of "teaching someone a lesson." Loving people in the midst of mistakes in judgement is how not only relationships are saved....but it's how we all get healed.

REST




Take a deep breath...exhale...and then do it again and again and again.

Monday, May 25, 2009

SOME TRANSPLANTING

I decided to do a removal and transplant yesterday. The Colorado Spruce in the first picture was looking pretty rough and was getting too large for the space. That picture was taken during the winter. So I cut it down...dug out the stump and moved a weeping Colorado Spruce from another part of the garden where it was being crowded out. It is such a cool looking tree it deserved a spot where it would be a focal point.







Sunday, May 24, 2009

WONDER IF?????????


What if it turns out to be that all along it was God's kindness that is his discipline? Scripture doesn't say that it is punishment that leads to repentance. Just something to think about.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

WE HAVE NO REASON NOT TO TRUST THE ONE WHO CREATED US


Wherever I sit down it seems Bailey wants to be close. She has no reason not to trust us fully...so she trusts. There is a lesson in there somewhere.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A SHIFT IN CONSUMPTION

“As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.” Henry David Thoreau

The less we consume of the unnecessary crap that is thrown at us in this culture...it becomes more possible to notice and "take in" the things that have a way of moving us from one beautiful thing to the next beautiful thing. And that doesn't mean the "difficult" goes away. It's just when grace enters grace really is capable of making beauty out of ugly things. It has a way of stripping away the crap so that which is valuable comes into view. I will be paying close attention to what I consume today...one only leaves a trail of waste...while the other form of consumption that is on my mind this morning leaves something beautiful behind.

The morning walk and afternoon walk and evening walk through the garden helps me with this process. The time with some friends over dinner this evening who are traveling through our area today is another part of it. The crap the world tries to convince me to consume...I'm not so much interested in anymore.




In about an hour from now I will head to work, a place that presents opportunity after opportunity to engage with others in this wonderful thing called life and then back home to prepare dinner and to enjoy the company of my wife Julie, my daughters and more than likely a friend or two or more of theirs and our God Journey friends Nicole and Jonathan. The weather is gorgeous today so the deck seems like a lovely place for this evenings conversations.





And to all my other friends I have yet to meet.










"Somewhere down the road
We’ll lift up our glass
And toast the moment
And moments past

The heartbreak and laughter
The joy and the tears
The scary scary beauty
Of what’s right here"



Friday, May 15, 2009

THE SIMPLE THINGS AND THAT WHICH IS NECESSARY


It's never been more crystal clear to me than it is today. All the things that we have been shaped to believe will add meaning and fulfillment to our lives so often are the very things that keep us from recognizing and being able to take in all that is important. So in reality we end up sacrificing all that is precious and valuable for a substitute that bleeds us dry and leaves us empty, exhausted and frustrated.


When one begins to see that that which is most valuable actually costs very little they begin to realize the crazy demanding work routine isn't as necessary as our culture has shaped us to believe it is. It just happens to be another one of those lies that keeps us serving the machine that turns out to be diametrically opposed to all that is of value.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

SCARY SCARY BEAUTY

And to think this is still suffering in some way awaiting it's liberation. Mind boggling.














If I could only add this scene to my space. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh...............

INSANITY: THE PRODUCT OF INDEPENDENCE

Until the One who is fully satisfying has succeeded in capturing our heart and mind, our imagination, independence remains fully ensconced. And until that scenario changes, the choices we make will continue produce the misery we long to escape as individuals. Sounds like insanity to me. And that insanity leaves us looking at simplicity and rest as if they are manifestations of "missing out" and "being irresponsible/none productive".

Jacques Ellul frames the insanity so well in so much of what he writes. Here is a revisit of one such example

"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."

And Bono sings of the confused state we are left in until our day of liberation becomes a realty...a reality we must walk into. The invitation to come out of the madness is being whispered to us in every passing moment. We are the ones responsible for what is done (and we have wished it)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

ONLY A MATTER OF TIME NOW...UNLESS


These foxglove will be in full bloom here at the entrance of our home in just a few days and will continue to bloom for a few weeks. All the foxglove varieties just happen to be some of my favorite plants. There are a few things that could change and keep from happening what I have pictured in my mind's eye though. Some crazily hungry bugs might begin to dine on them or possibly the unstable spring atmosphere could produce a hail storm or a tornado. Those two are predicted for tomorrow. All of that is possible. But it can't stop me from gardening and the same can be said for the uncertainty of life in general. Living in the grip of grace and being able to see the scarry scarry beauty of what's right here is what carries us through.

Friday, May 08, 2009

A RETREAT THAT IS MORE OF AN ADVANCE ACTUALLY :)


After a morning of conversations at work with people stuck in their own life-zapping thinking, I couldn't crawl deep enough into peaceful/comforting scenes like this in my garden once I arrived at it's entrance. But enter I did and I think I would just stay here if that were possible. The emotional responses I've been exposed to, that have been just a bit out of touch with reality, just melt away when I am in this space.

But I also know that it is out "there" in the flowing tide with people stuck in their own life-zapping thinking that life is to be lived daily. It's also conversation out there that can be of assistance to me in helping recognize my own life-zapping thinking.

So, I'll just settle for crawling into this peaceful space while I am at home.

The conversations over the past several days have kept these thoughts from The Shack front and center in my mind.

"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. But even then, you don't want to trust them more than me."
(me in this excerpt being the Spirit of God the Father)

Thursday, May 07, 2009

I LOVE THE IMAGERY


I just love this video for this wonderful song.


An online friend responded to me posting it on Facebook to share with me a blog she had read this morning that fit so well with the video and the caption I had added to the video which went like this : THERE IS A WIND......we know not from where it comes nor where it is going. Here is an excerpt from the blog


"Mother Teresa said once, “God is love in action,” and I think that definition reminds me of something Alan Watts said to me — wind is a wonderful thing, but you can’t put it in a box and wrap it up and send it to a friend — it isn’t wind any more. God In A Box isn’t God, either, to my way of thinking, but, rather, a presumptuous attitude on our parts that we can wrap around God’s being, intent, actions and depth. It’s a little like saying a wave has the total and complete knowledge of the ocean of which it itself is a part."

You can read it in full here.



Wednesday, May 06, 2009

FOLLOWING ON THE HEELS OF THE LAST POST

"THE BIBLICAL GOD LETS US MAKE OUR OWN HISTORY, AND GOES WITH US ON THE MORE OR LESS UNHEARD-OF ADVENTURES WE CONCOCT." --Jacques Ellul


We humans are a peculiar lot...knuckleheads actually. Attempting to live independently has left us in a state of not being all that bright and yet thinking we are. Blindness kinda has that effect on us.


With each and every passing day I grow more and more thankful to God the Father for his mercy and grace and love. And with what I am seeing today I grow more and more curious as to how long Christianity will be able to survive as a viable alternative juxtaposed to a people being set free by such a love...such a grace...such a mercy as I see many people waking up to.


But then again I guess religion is just another one of those more or less unheard of adventures we humans concoct that God in his patience and his love and his grace and his mercy chooses to go along with us on until the transition from law/control/independence to grace/freedom/dependence takes place. And still within the midst of it all, regardless as to the form the adventure takes on, echoes of the unforced rhythm of grace somehow break through...sometimes much later than it does sooner...which seems to speak more of our knuckleheadedness/complicatedness than it does about the ability of Father Son and Spirit to finish the work in us that they set in motion.


I just love Ellul's ability to put into words the work of grace, the work of liberation, and the tension created as this process works out in our lives.


"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."


Only Father can see our tangled mess clearly and only he knows how to untangle the mess and not damage us more in the process (even though it might feel like surgery). And the best way we can participate with him in that process with others is to be people of grace and love and mercy just as he is.