Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Coming awake again.
back from the city of the dead.
Traveling at night with a hidden moon,
No one-way tickets sold.
The cost back home is deeper than these pockets can fill.
Clinging on to someone else’s will.
Quite a ride down a veil of tears.
Broken promises litter the streets like empty needles.
The streets are flooded and no one seems to be able to stop the rain,
And the umbrellas are all gone.
No sirens are heard because hope doesn't hang out around here.
Everyone's mouth is stitched shut,
So they won't lose their souls.
If you hear anything it's a painfully long exhale.
A stale wind that carries a thousand murmurs.
Brings a smile back to Death again.
If you touch the ground you will freeze.
A numbing cold seizes the tongue.
That's why no one is on their knees,
And the singers are all mute.
The bar is full but the bottles are empty.
All the cafes serve food to people with no noses.
The hookers are all too old.
The drugs are all expired.
The records keep skipping,
It's all so painfully tired…
Faces sitting at the bust stop for way too long.
Just waiting, with broken watches.
And all the schedules are wrong,
And the signs are all backwards.
No ones dressed to go anywhere.
I want to hitch the hell out of here,But I've lost my thumbs.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
How long, ADONAI? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I keep asking myself what to do,
with sorrow in my heart every day?
How long must my enemy dominate me?
Look, and answer me, ADONAI my God!
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death.
Then my enemy would say, "I was able to beat him";
and my adversaries would rejoice at my downfall.
-David in Psalm 13:1-4.
I am weary with my sighing;
every night I make my bed swim,
I dissolve my couch with my tears.
My eye has wasted away with grief;
It has become old because of all my adversaries.
-David in Psalms 6:6-7
If I make my bed in hell, You are there.
-David in Psalms 139:8
I take comfort in knowing that the man that God said was a man after His own heart, was one who was acquaintedd with the dark. We have been taught that God is light which is true but not complete. Misunderstanding that truth has snuffed out a small lamp that is needed in shadows. David understood the complete and healing truth when he said:
If I say: "Surely the darkness will overwhelm me , and the light around me will be night," Even the darkness is not dark to You, and the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You. -Psalms 139:11-12.
Even Jesus descended into a place described as a prison of spirits. Whatever your theological opinion is of that scripture, the poetical part of me grabs on to knowledge that even here...in my hell, He has been.
That means there are footprints out of here...
Truly, it is in the darkness that one finds light,
so when we are in sorrow,
then the light is nearest of all to us.
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Bleeding on the altar of innocence,
Starring in the face of malevolence,
Stung in the hive of circumstance,
lost on the gamble of chance.
No path back to the sun…
Brutalized by the winds of defiance.
Stabbed in the back with cold kisses.
Nailed to a cross without a voice in the trial.
No dawn again…
Existing on the frayed edges of hope,
Watching myself slowly disappearing,
down the deep well of silence.
Forgotten how to remember,
Living in the sun but its feeling like December.
The birds have stopped their singing…
There's no pupils in the blackness,
Ice forming from your breath.
The record is skipping while I keep tripping,
I'm dancing with death and she's still laughing.
Just waiting for the stars to reappear.
But can't see the sun from here…
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Our defintition of art is the breaking open of the breastbone, for sure. Just open-heart surgery. I wish there was an easier way. But in the end, people want blood, and I am one of them. -Bono, U2 frontman.
I read this recently in the Rollingstone interview with Bono and came to a conclusion�I live this way too. My definition of LIFE: is breaking open the breastbone. I cannot seem to endure surface living for very long and find it near impossible to tolerate it. I usually will bleed first and regret it later but in the end I am glad that I have dared to live so vulnerable.
Bob Dylan said in a song: I gave you my heart but you wanted my soul.
Living naked has cost me dearly, in fact, the more vulnerable I have become the greater pain I end up embracing. To love in this world is to welcome suffering. The mystery is how to allow the pain to baptize the heart but not drown the soul�a path not easily walked or understood.
Prophets are slain and the poets kill themselves.
The truly human life, which is a truly spiritual life, is a vulnerable, dangerous and shattered life. Prophets dare to speak and people would rather live in silence...the silence of feeling, of heart, of mind. To be an oracle of reality, forces people to respond to truth, the truth of how they really feel or think or are living. People usually have only stones for prophets because they force us out of the shadows that we live in.
Poets drag out the heart kicking and screaming and compel her to wail, to weep and to prophesy, to slit her throat on the knife of brutal honesty. Honesty strangles herself with her own hands. It�s a Greek tragedy for sure; but a necessary death that testifies that there are still those�who know how to live.
God gave us preachers to remind us that we will not live forever. God gave us poets to remind us that we're not dead yet. -G.K. Chesterton.
I testify that�I am not dead yet.
Sunday, November 13, 2005
Shed the skin I'm in.
Pushing, pulling, life or death,
Surviving or thriving with each frantic breath.
Its got to come off, hanging like old mans skin,
This body needs new threads to be alive within.
Skin me to blood with reality's razor.
Peel off the old me with violence if need be.
My past is suffocating me with lethargy's pillow.
My present darkness suited me with a straight jacket,
And liberty is singing painfully off key.
Choices have tattooed my skin from the inside out
The fabric of my soul is dyed with dreariness.
Once vivid perceptions have grown dull with familiarity.
I've fallen asleep reading the lines of my own story.
Perception is what we want it.
How can you truly be free imprisoned in the cell of me?
I hear emancipation singing.
Her vulgar words are contractions that puke me out.
And I will spill out like a feeble colt.
Desperately kicking spread out on all fours.
Straining for balance on the world I've been in...
but never really lived in.
Saturday, November 12, 2005
Here is the completed painting that we commisioned from artist Matt Whitney revolving around Jacobs Well in John chapter four. It's a vision and values painting that seeks to express the kingdom life we are seeking to live out as a community of faith. Christ as center, living water, searching, healing, conversation, going vs coming, being the church vs going to church etc.
Thursday, November 10, 2005
In the middle of our life journey I found myself in a dark wood. I had wandered from the straight path. It isn't easy to talk about it; it was such a thick, wild, and rough forest that when I think of it, my fear returns...I can't offer any good explanation for how I entered it. I was so sleepy at that point that I strayed from the right path. -Dante, Inferno, Canto I
J.R.R. Tolkien said, "Not all those who wander are lost". I am not sure if you ever have been lost or thought you were lost for a moment; It's near impossible to let go of the adrenaline-pumping urge to find your way in such moments. In fact the need to get found all most always eclipses the ability to enjoy wherever you may be. We always need to fix things. What if much we face simply can't be fixed? What if it just is as it is, this side of eternity? What if we are wandering and wandering is the point? What if being lost is the point. Why do we need to have answers, conclusion, finality, explanations and closure? God likes to give us a compass, not a map?
What if the thorn is to remain, in order for grace to be experienced?
What if grace is the end and the thorns are the means?
A man must wrestle till the dark centre, that is shut up close, break open, and the spark lying therein kindle. -Jaocb Boehme.
I am finding that the direction of my tears is the issue. I have begun to move from crying to crying before the Lord. It is a subtle difference but one is simply a soul bleeding to death and another is a holy sacrament.
One is solitary and the other is shared.
I know that wrestling till the dark centre is cracked open is a spiritual truth that promises to bring about life through death. But the experience is a mystery, much like Moses must have felt as he took that step from clarity into the dark tempest that was the consuming the top of Mount Sinai. Leaving the path we have known in order to discover the path yet walked, calls us to fear and wonder all in the same moment. Which in reality is what we all experience in the face of death...fear and wonder.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Whispers About Tomorrow
Encircled by violent winds,
Chasing off the past and leaving the present naked.
An arial assault that pulls everything asunder,
Like an octopus prying open my thoughts.
And yet, you are not here�
Baptized in a fire that doesn�t burn from above.
Its molten madness crawls up through my weary limbs
And bores through my weakening veins.
Leaving me squirming in a pool of my own vain sweat.
But you are not here�
The ground is shaking violently,
Leaving me nowhere to stand.
I�ve found my face and lost my feet again.
Angry gods utter groans from the depths,
That threatens to swallow me into the abyss.
And still you can�t be found�
On the breath of chaos a butterfly is gliding,
Landing on my chest like a pollinating honeybee.
Spiraling into the tempest of my soul,
To silence the screamer and awaken the quiet.
Faintly heard are you�yes, you are still whispering about the future.
Monday, November 07, 2005
Friday, November 04, 2005
I want to take a few moments and say a big thank you to everyone for their support and words of encouragement. I don't want to send a negative message to anyone that I consider a friend in this season of my life. You are important to me and I don't want you to feel that my pain is somehow revolving around my involvement in your lives. Its far more complicated than that. I have many people here in Spokane that I feel blessed to be in relationship with, many who scratch my back too. You know who you are, and I appreciate you very much.
I have taken a lot of steps to reorient and reposition myself to face and deal with the different underlying causes of this whole burn out. Not an easy process to go against the very drives that got you to where you are but it has to be done in order to get to a more healthy place.
I am done being a messiah...not a pastor, but a messiah.
The S is being stripped off my chest, maybe you didn't think it was there but I have unfortunately lived like it was there. So if I seem distant or not too available or I don't show up or my phone only seems to take messages...don't take it personal, I am simply getting my messiah tattoo scraped off my soul.
Thursday, November 03, 2005
I am taking a month off from most of my duties at the church to spend some time healing. I have been in a really tough place for a while and finally just pulled the emergency brake on my life. I need time to catch my breath, come up for air, focus my eyes again and try to reconnect with Gods vision for our lives.
Everything is on the table, the etcha-sketch is being shaken and its time to press the pause button on all the drama, chaos and emotional tornados that have been touching down almost daily around here. It was tough to just cry uncle...but I had to do it. Please pray for me, my family that we would be able to get still enough to hear the whisper again in all the storm.
We are making a shift from the day of the ordained to the day of the ordinary.
-Neil Cole author of Organic Churches. A great article on living out simple church Vs complex church. Its worth the read if you care about stuff like that.http://www.the-next-wave-ezine.info/issue83/index.cfm?id=6&ref=COVERSTORY
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
I returned last night from blitzkrieg trip to Portland, OR. for a visit with my family and reprieve from the drama of Spokane. I got to visit my younger brother Matt and his wife Thanita who have returned from Thailand recently. The above picture is of my new little niece, Nisha, cute as can be. It was great seeing them and also seeing my brother Marc's new house that he has bought. I hung out with Jason Miller for you that know him and caught up on his life over a good beer. It was a really needed break from all the pressure that has been going on here in Spokane. I also got to unload on my dad, one of the few people in my life that I can be real with. Thanks Dad for sharing my burdens, you make them lighter. You have been a source of wisdom, strength and encouragement over the years that I treasure more than words can say.
On Halloween of 1517, Martin Luther changed the course of human history when he nailed his 95 Theses to the church door at Wittenberg, accusing the Roman Catholic church of heresy upon heresy. Many people cite this act as the primary starting point of the Protestant Reformation. Most people have no real idea about why they are worshipping in a Protestant church vs a Catholic church.
I encourage you to do two things to understand the reformation...read The Freedom Of The Christian by Martin Luther and watch the recent movie called Luther. The small book which is available to read online if you do a search and the movie will bring about a clearer understanding of the history behind your church experience and most likely a better understanding of the gospel of faith vs the gospel of works.
I read the book this weekend thanks to the recommendation of my friend Tony Allen and devoured it. It is simply one of the best books on grace, I have ever read. I will be sharing more about it later but I wanted to pass along this little gem that helped liberate the church from a gospel of works into the freedom of Christ and his work. I highly recommend reading this book, it may change your life, literally! And the movie is great too!