Tuesday, March 30, 2010

IN THE SWING OF SPRING

Not very talkative right now.































Monday, March 15, 2010

THE POLITICAL ILLUSION

I hate politics and what they do to whoever gets caught up in them. This morning I turned on Glenn Beck's radio show and found myself even more sick than I usually am when I happen to hear him. Glenn has just become another dangerous voice in a long line of dangerous voices that there seems to be no shortage of on both the right and the left. And yet down under all the political morass I really think Glenn has a wonderful compassionate heart. Unfortunately politics just have a way of keeping fear front and center and constantly stirred, and fear will always overshadow the heart.

This morning it was Jim Wallis he had turned his "Socialist" "Marxist" "Progressive" guns on. The condescending tone of voice was just juvenile and yet very effective I am sure when it comes to stirring hatred for Jim and fear of him in the minds of those who follow Glenn.

I will be honest here by saying that Jim loses me also in his attempt to make the gospel liberal, as do all the conservatives who try to co-op Jesus for their conservative agendas. Now I am back to why I hate politics. The gospel is neither liberal or conservative. Liberal and conservative are just techniques humans use to organize and control the masses. The gospel is about freedom. Politics know nothing about freedom. I like Jim Wallis and I find myself in more agreement with him in regards to the gospel (not his politics) than I do the conservative christian voices out there. And Jesus being meshed with Glenn Becks politics or any of the other conservatives just makes me cringe.

It became very interesting to me a few years ago when Jesus blew up my conservative worldview. Yes, Jesus did. I began to see that there is no political solution to the problems humanity faces and then something else happened. I actually began to consider the possibility that the more subtle forms of control/oppression very might well be even more dangerous than are the more blatant ones. The blatant ones are in full view to see. The subtle ones fly under the radar. Turns out that realization didn't bode well for conservative ideology. Just like the Christian religion, conservatism might speak the words of freedom and liberty and love and compassion, but the on the ground reality just doesn't match up. Conservatives speak of smaller less intrusive government (something I am all for even though I feel it is an oxymoron) but the reality is the size of the US government and it's power to intrude into people's lives has expanded more under the leadership of conservatives than it has under the liberals.

Glenn Beck and the conservative Christians can paint the Social Gospel as Communism and Marxism under the guise of Progressivism all they want. And when filtered through politics and government they might have a case to make in regards to it not being what we are in need of to help lift people up. But if they remain blinded by the lie that their way of social engineering through government is better at lifting people up, they just remain themselves another destructive adventure in missing the point also.

The unfolding-ever-moving-forward God story of redemption in this world is progressive in nature...it's just not progressive in a political context. But rest assured that it's not conservative in any shape or form. It's wild and uncontrollable and doesn't yield or bow to any of the systems humans have devised regardless of how slick and cute we get in our attempts to paint our systems as good and all the other ones as evil.

"A primary agent for the propagandizing of technique in modern society is the involvement of people in participatory politics, especially in democratic societies where people are led to believe that it is "governance by the people for the people." Politics gives the individuals within society the illusion of freedom by having a sense of effectual participation. The "political illusion" of popular participation, popular control by the people, and collective problem-solving of social problems, falsely fulfills the need that individuals have for meaning, importance, effectiveness and security, leading them to surrender themselves all the more to the politicized state and the technicized system.

When all values are cast in political form, and all hopes are directed toward political solutions, believed to be on the verge of realization, politics becomes the "supreme religion of this age," propagating its "myth of the solution" for all social problems, despite the inability of politics to deal with good and evil, personal character, or the meaning and quality of life."
Jacques Ellul

Saturday, March 13, 2010

LIKE I'M STILL IN KENYA

Bono can tell a good story and feel what others feel because he had the courage to cross boundaries and listen to others. The Love with which he had first been loved compelled him to do so.




I've been home now for a little over a week and almost every night, my dreams, while I sleep, have been like I am still in Kenya. They have been pretty vivid and they have basically just been a reliving of specific moments of mine and Wayne's time there. I just can't get Michael and his family and Leonard and Michael and our driver off my mind along with many other faces. These brothers took us in as their own the moment we arrived and I never once doubted that we were surrounded by people that loved us and would have laid their lives down to protect us if it came to that. I felt all along that there was something very important about this experience in regards to being a white male from the West, transplanted into a land where we were so much the minority, and while in that position made feel like one of them just by the way they welcomed us and treated us. These people have very little but what they have they shared.


Today while at work, I had a conversation about the trip with a long-time-client-turned-friend. It feels appropriate that Theresa was one of three people from the states that randomly called me while I was in Africa. The phone call ended pretty quickly once she found out that she had caught me while I was in a distant far off land. All she said was that we could talk when I returned. A couple weeks before I departed, she had given me a manuscript to her memoirs she had just finished. As a human being and as an American she respected and trusted, she wanted my feed back. Theresa is Chinese. Her family moved here to the States when she was still a little girl and in this book she tells the story of hers and her families experience and struggles. Theresa and I have talked much over the years (20+) about life and the human experience. She happens to be one of those people that has never really felt like she was at home in any classification of people. She was shunned by her Chinese community even here in America because she felt it important that she try to become American. And she has never felt a part of that culture either because she is Chinese and Americans have always treated her that way even though she has had many good relationships with them. She was very interested today about my experience in Kenya and the stories of the people we were with. I could just see her head reeling as she took it all in. One of the things she spoke about today (as she often does) was the importance of us all listening to each others stories and finding the commonality that exists between people regardless of the cultures we have been shaped by. Theresa is always in pursuit of harmony with whoever she finds herself with. I always look forward to our time together. The fact that she is an avid gardener doesn't hurt either :-)


That conversation reminded me of another encounter I had a couple days before leaving for Kenya. Another close friend asked me if I was nervous about going to Africa. When I responded with "No" they immediately said that they would be. I asked them why and they said that ever since the attack on September 11th they have had no desire to leave this country. To which I responded..."Shortly after September 11th, I have wanted to cross over every dividing boundary that exists so as to hear the stories of people who are different than I am so as to try to see the world from their point of view/experience." The trip to Kenya was an important trip I believe for that reason and many more...some I more than likely will never even know about. Some of the important boundary crossing has taken place for me right here where I live. With some of these things there is no need to travel to a far off land. We have many destructive divinding lines right here where we live.


I will end with this that was sent to me by another friend a few years ago during a time when many old ideas/worldviews were crumbling and falling away in my life. It was a scary season. Boundaries I had once been afraid to cross I began to long to cross because I had begun to see the danger of remaining in the world my fearfilled small thinking had created. I offer it as an encouragement and a challenge. It speaks of us all and the small boxes/houses we are born in and too often stay in our entire lives whether they be boxes defined by race, nationality, religion, political leanings, culture, socio-economic status, etc. etc. etc. These boundaries, if we refuse to cross over them keep us in a place that is defined by misunderstandings and mistaken notions and superstitions and myths about everyone that lives outside our little space. And if we stay in those delusions and the fears remain in place, they will keep us trapped in a dangerous cycle and we will just keep passing it along.

Although every human being is a universe within their very being...
some hardly dare explore outside the bare house they grew up in.
A few travel to the edge of their inner town,
fewer still to other cities.
But is rare to find one that has lifted from the ground
to set sail for places undiscovered.

We have all been invited.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

WE GET TO MAKE THE CHOICE...LOVE...LAW...OR VIOLENCE


AND LAW IS A FORM OF VIOLENCE BECAUSE IT IS A VIOLATION OF LOVE


I had a friend tell me once that laws are put in place to settle disputes so people don't have to deal with one another relationally. Then several months later they make some choices that just left me dumbfounded and still does to this day. Relationships are hard. Believe me, I understand that. Getting caught up in defending turf and ones own interests as an individual at the expense of everyone else, without the ability to see the bigger picture makes relating with others in a healthy loving way impossible. There's those self sabotaging expectations getting in the way again.

I guess with all of that being the case, living in a place like America where the rule of law has taken hold is better than living in a place like Kenya where when tribal disputes surface horrific acts of violence boil over. Even so...I think both scenarios suck. Where love and compassion and forgiveness and harmony are absent, people are just left ripping each other apart whether cold steel weapons are being used or not.

Monday, March 08, 2010

BORN TO LOVE


Grace = Pressure's off. You are already loved and continue to be loved even when you are a moron. Let that sink in...it might just change you and set you free...and you might just find yourself able to love others even when they are being morons.





Most people though live their lives trying to force everyone around them to conform to what they think they are in need of. These expectation will always keep us playing a game of self sabotage. This isn't about us getting others to love us...it's about us learning to love others.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

IT HAS OFFICIALLY BEGUN

My garden is now full of piles of debris that now have to be bagged. This is the only time of the season that actually feels like work. But it is a good productive work.




















Saturday, March 06, 2010

KENYA...THE JOY AND THE STRUGGLE AND THE HOPE THAT IS STILL ALIVE

You can listen the The God Journey Podcast here and hear the details of mine and Wayne's time in Kenya.