Sunday, July 31, 2005
"A system is like the tail of truth, but truth is like a lizard. It leaves its tail in your fingers and runs away knowing full well it will grow a new one in a twinkling." -Ivan Turgenev
I have always thought this quote captures a side of truth that is more true to experience than possibly theology but true nevertheless when it comes to a "system" of truth vs experiencing truth as a person. So much of our problems stem from this misunderstanding. We are like those who in searching and dissecting the inner make up of the specimen, end up killing it. Missing the whole by focusing n the parts. One can eat flour but not say he has eaten bread.
Recently I have been thinking about the immense power of story, parable and fanciful tales in relation to sharing truth. How one can tell a story about someone else and yet the hearer has the opportunity to see oneself in the story if they have ears to hear. Unlike nonfiction that often points the tip of the blade of truth at the hearers neck.
I am seeing much more wisdom in the former path to understanding, the older I get.
The power of story has a way of disarming the hearer and removing the pungent audacity that sometimes seems to linger in the air around preaching. I think this is a major point to communication for this generation, upon which we stumble badly.
We need better storytellers today.
Friday, July 29, 2005
I recieved a comment on a old post called "No Man Hands", and I wanted to reply:
So true...and I have been learning that lesson about myself ever since. "Falling in love" with myself has created more problems than I can count! In moments like those, all though humiliating, they have a painful but necessary way of bring us back to our senses, doesn't it? :)
Crazy times indeed...memories that make us more human and more godly all at the same time.
It is true that His hands are so much better to hold but isn't it strange, how He allows us to find out how to do that, through the feeble, broken, sinful and sometimes awkward hands of each other.
It is an amazing mystery.
Some things I learned through the whole experience was that I could navigate with God's help through very complicated moments in ministry and He could build character in me in places I thought I would never be able to stand. Situations that had the seeds of destruction for me in the past...did not germinate in His grace.
I learned that vile snakes can become magnificent stallions in God's country...as CS Lewis wrote about it in The Great Divorce.
I learned that people we love very deeply are still people that need forgiveness, grace and boundaries to remain in a healthy place.
I learned that there is always a sower of bad seeds seeking to gather a harvest among some of the most beautiful of fields we work within and we have to be vigilant.
I learned that life can die but it can be born again too. Some of the things that bring such power and presence into our life can end...but like in the resurrection they return again and though a bit hard to recognize at first end up being the same God but different.
I learned that love really does last.
I love those days, people and lessons learned, even though there is also a bitter tinge of sadness to some of the memories too.
Thursday, July 28, 2005
This article called " Sham Pearls for Real Swine" by Frank Schaeffer the son of the late Francis Schaeffer, was extremely interesting to me. Quite a challenge. It had a sharp prophetic edge to it in relationship to art, culture and the role of the church. A good read for those interested.
The site it comes from is one of my favorite top five internet sites I visit.
The archives are down right now but the articles in there are top drawer stuff!
The site it comes from is one of my favorite top five internet sites I visit.
The archives are down right now but the articles in there are top drawer stuff!
Some 450 years ago John Calvin encouraged people to read books by the ancient writers from Greece and Rome. He wrote instructions for the teachers in the school system he designed in Geneva, Switzerland, asking that they have the students read the great classics of Greece and Rome that were pagan and non-Christian. And he asked that they not criticize them, but rather encourage the students to celebrate what is good in them, and to learn from the truth that they could find in them. Calvin said on another occasion that it is a blasphemy against the Holy Spirit to deny that pagan writers like Plato wrote many things that are true and helpful.
I have been thinking and studying out of Acts 17, the story of Paul and his encounter with the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers in Athens. In my studies for a message called "Facing the god of thunder and war" (which was a study on how to use culture to speak to culture) I found that Paul quotes the Greek philosophers 3 times in Acts 17 (Epimenides, Aratus and Cleanthes), and Menander in 1 Corinthians 15:33 and Epimenides again in Titus 1:12.
I watched the movie Constantine the other night and thought of how Paul referenced the popular poets of the Athenians in his sermon. Quoting lines from poems to light a greater fire from a lesser fire. Christians have been painfully unarticulated in our ability to reference, interpret and connect the truth within our cultural entertainment with the truth of Christ in my opinion. We seem unable to recognize the beauty of truth in the face of anyone else but the church. I think Paul's ability to weave the poems of Greek philosophers into his conversations is a hint at our need to be conversant with what is valued in our own Athens.
I agree with C.S. Lewis when he said: The sane shouldn't become insane to reach the mad. But I think if we are going to follow Jesus we must take on the flesh of those we wish to serve, love and teach in order reach some.
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Talking about father and son relationships on a blog is a sensitive issue when the people one is talking about are alive. I am talking about my dad (who I know is reading this) so choosing my words is a careful endeavor. Not that I have much of anything negative to say in this self observation, just the process itself feels a bit overexposed when ones father is reading along.
I just found the whole multifamily vacation experience to be a surprise. I am not sure why but it was strikingly under the microscope to me. There is so much that I could write that explains all the good found in such revelations, but sometimes the shadows just stand out quicker, I think.
Life seems to be such a constant judgment to me. One cannot stand next to someone without comparisons, observations, critiques and conclusions being made. It's maddening really, especially when one is placed up next to their parents. If ones parents were dead it would I think be quite different. For when they are alive, they are given the ability to examine you in the present and all along the process. It's like continually having to take a test because the teacher is always there. I imagine there will come a sense of finality when a parent dies.
Not that I want that at all, but I am intrigued by the power such forces seem to have on my personal orbit. So much of my life has been internally and externally polarized by my parents and their choices, values and way of living. The impact of family is immense and has far deeper reaching roots than I think I have really realized. parents and home are a strong handed shaper that heavily presses their imprint into the forming clay of ones psyche in childhood and beyond.
Monday, July 25, 2005
This is my middle brother Marc.
As I was standing shirtless in the water at Wildwaters a waterpark in ID Marc said something that said more than he realized. He caught a glimpse of a small scar that I have on my lower back and said...I remember what that was from.
I have not been shirtless around Marc in probably 20 years, only family remembers that kind of stuff. The scar came from a really nasty bike wreck I had on my ten speed involving gravel, blood, tissue, two elderly ladies and a scrubbing from mother that hurt like hell.
It happened to me but now I realize, it happened to him too.
Strange how lives are intertwined in so many different ways.
I spent the last week hanging out a lot with my Dad (Fred).
I realized something about halfway through our time together...I am very much like my Dad.
It was a strange and almost deflating experience. Not that being like my dad is a bad thing but it was so...revelatory in a humiliating kind of way. I realized that I am not that original. I look like him (except the hair), I believe like him, I sound like him...my cough, my laugh, odd noises like hummms and humphs. I have a similar walk, interests and on and on the pummeling continued. I am not sure what to think about all of this in light of how strikingly original I thought I was. In seeing this I can really understand my mothers (his ex-wife) disdain for so much of who I am because in reality and experience I am a mini-me of Fred.
Ahhhh the light goes on!
All of this has had a lingering contemplative effect on me.
Who am I?
Saturday, July 23, 2005
Goal accomplished, I learned to fly fish this summer. My dad and I took a few of the older kids hiking and fishing last night in Deep Creek Canyon. Everyone caught fish, a total of 10, except my Dad and I, the lone fly fisherman. I was determined to catch a fish on only my fly pole but it didn't happen but now I have a serious case of the fishing bug. It was a beautiful evening, the colors of the sunset matched exactly the colors of the rainbow trout we were catching.
Friday, July 22, 2005
For the last two nights we have been going down to the Spokane River to do some evening fishing. It has been fun to see the grandkids getting some quality time showing them how to fish better. My dad taught Christian and Alicia how to fly fish and so far two of the grandkids have caught a couple fish. Of course fishing with 7 children is a lesson if futility but its making memories even if its completely exasperating most of the time...broken lines, smashed bobbers, stringing hooks over and over again, making sure Micah doesn't fall in the river or off a cliff, finding a place for kids to crap, mosiqitos, tangles line etc...but that one fish makes it all worth it and the memories too.
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Here is Christian jumping off the rocks at Tubbs Hill in Couer D Alene, ID. This is my favorite place to swim around here. The water is clean and clear, the views are beautiful and the rocks are flippin sweet! Christian has never jumped off anything higher than a diving board so this was quite a jump for him but he loved it.
Here is Raliegh my brother Marcs son and Micah enjoying themselves at Wildwaters a waterslide park in Coeur D Alene, ID. We spent the day there and had a blast. The only lame thing is I went so fast on one of the tubes, I ended up shooting up off the side of one and landed on my elbow and side. I bruised my ribs on my left side and my elbow is hurt too. That slowed me down for the rest of the day but we all had a great time.
Thursday, July 14, 2005
Here is a sketch of the 48x72 painting that I am having done by Matt, a friend of mine. It is a piece that I wanted done to capture the vision of Jacobs Well, our Sunday night gathering. Matt came up with the awesome imagery in the painting and it is going to look amazing in color. I cant wait to see it when it is done! Great job Matt!
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Here is a very cool site for turning your backyard into a wildlife habitat.
I am trying to do this on many different levels to encourage wildlife to make my backyard their home. I have a lot of visitors and squatters already...A dog, Butterflies, a family of quail, squirrels, woodpeckers, nuthatches, blackcapped chickadee's, robins, raccoons, spiders, a bald-faced hornets nest, bees and soon to be more, I hope.
I think as Christians we should be caretakers of the wild around us and as a community. It's part of the Eden mandate in Genesis. I spent some time last week in my backyard praying blessing over all my trees, shrubs, the grass, animals and everything on my property. I desire my home to be a Goshen in the midst of Egypt for us and Egypt.
Did you know that if you squeeze an egg as hard as you can in your hand, it's very unlikely that you can break it? And yet the most delicate tap can cause the same egg to break right open.
Did you know that a fresh egg can be left on the shelf for 3 weeks and not spoil? (This may not be true for a grocery store egg that has been cleaned.)
Did you know that a chick inside an egg will not live if it cannot peck its own way out of that eggshell? If it does not have the strength to escape, it will not have the strength to survive.
God has marvelously created the egg to withstand the rigors of a hen sitting on top of a cluster of them, incubating them for about 21 days, while making the egg delicate enough that the tiny chick can break the shell with taps of his tiny beak. Once I had some chicks hatching out and one could not get out of the egg. I carefully assisted it to escape, but it was never a strong chick, even with all my tender loving care. And, as I'd always been told would happen, it died before reaching maturity.
-A quote from a recent email I got from Margaret Nelson, a missionary in Uganda.
As I was reading this, it reminded me of a lot of different circumstances around me right now. There are many situations of people trying to emerge out of difficult challenges. For some I think it is life or death for them. I have been extremely burdened by so much of it and it has left me so drained, disillusioned, tired and spiritually exhausted.
But in the midst of it I have come to realize the truth stated above: that sometimes you have to let people fight it out for themselves or they will never become strong enough to stand on their own feet. I have had to let go of the savior complex and let God be God in these people's lives. I have spent countless hours trying to remove the shell and help people emerge and in the end...they can't walk.
I think the ascension of Jesus is simply the Hen leaving the nest.
I too must discover how to ascend as well.
Monday, July 11, 2005
I feel extremely blessed to be able to have places like this to take my family for recreation. It has taken me a while to get used to not having the ocean or the lush green of the Pacific Northwest but there is a rustic beauty in the Inland Northwest that is as breathtaking too. I have learned that there is beauty in all places if you have the right heart to see it.
Camping in July in this region is usually hot and dry and involves a lot of swimming. But this year at our church family camp it rained almost the entire time. It made it extremely difficult as a parent. The kids had fun but man...I am beat. I had to sleep in the tent because the almost new tent had water leaks. The rain and cold sent the kids into the grandparents cabin and the girls into the grandparents sleeper van. Two nights in a tent in pounding rain and a bed surrounded with puddles was a memory in deed.
After 2 nights camping in the rain and cold in a flooded tent, I have had it with tent camping. I determined at 35 it is time for a man to get something better to camp in than a soggy tent. I think this is most likely going to be it. I can pull it behind my mini-van and it can fit all my family as well.
Thursday, July 07, 2005
Destiny and I saw this movie for her birthday today.
By far the best Batman movie so far in my opinion.
I will buy this one for sure. It had a few weak elements but overall I enjoyed it very much.
I especially loved the training scene with Liam Nelson on the ice, when he was talking about needing will more than training. Good stuff.
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
Here is a little feller that I thought was pretty. I have been trying to capture a picture of a beautiful Monarch butterfly that comes into my yard in the early mornings for the last week. Yesterday Christian fumbles into the house with the butterfly in his hands...He said, Hey Dad, look what I caught for my frog. I was sick to my stomach, here I have been trying to capture this natural beauty in my yard and he snatches it like a brute to feed to his fat green beastie in his room. So much for a good shot...