Saturday, December 31, 2005

night be gone...

Good riddance 2005...may the dung of your year be the fertilizer to grow something worth the agony of trudging through your days.
 
Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning...Hear O Lord and be gracious to me; O Lord be my helper. You have turned for me my mourning into dancing,
You have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness.
-Psalms 30:5,11

Friday, December 30, 2005

The fluid that love bleeds...

I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to argue with God.

-Job (13:3)

 

The book of Job is painfully healing.

You have a good man that has a bunch of really bad stuff happen to him.

You have a lot of close people around him that totally misunderstand him and his trial.

You get a lot of arguments, accusations, pain, suffering and emotional bleeding.

You get to hear the devil.

You get to hear Job and you get to hear God.

Job’s friends sound right but they are not.

Job makes sense and God doesn't.

In the end life moves on and more good things come.

 

A book of arguments about life…defiantly worth having when life kicks you in the teeth.

 

Anger --no peevish fit of temper, but just, generous, scalding indignation --passes (not necessarily at once) into embracing, exultant, re-welcoming love. That is how friends and lovers are truly reconciled. Hot wrath, hot love. Such anger is the fluid that love bleeds when you cut it. The angers, not the measured remonstrances, of lovers are love's renewal.  -C.S. Lewis, Prayer: Letters to Malcolm.

Dad and sons...

Fred, my dad and us three brothers.

Mom and sons...


My middle brother Marc, me, My mom Kristy Ann, my younger brother Matt. This was the first Christmas we have all been together as family in over 20 years. Matt and his family left back to Thailand today, that made our time together bitter sweet.

Looking for worms...



Dreshawn (My stepsister's son) Micah. Nic (My brother Matt's son) and Lilly(My brother Marc's daughter). We had 11 grandchildren at our Christmas get together in Portland, that makes for a high energy experience!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

King Kong

We saw King Kong and The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe while in Portland.
L/W/W was ok...good for kids 6-12 years old.
Someone said it's LOTR for girls...made me laugh, kinda true.
Not bad but just not what I hoped it would be.  
 
Kong was simply awesome!
I am going to see it again for sure.
Best monster brawl ever between Kong and 3 Rex's, fantastic!
A bit creepy in parts, a nod to Jackson's horror background but overall I thought it was all I had hoped it to be. Quite an accomplishment to make a movie that no one will remake.

We are only yesterday...

Please inquire of past generations and consider the things searched out by their fathers.
For we are only yesterday and know nothing because our days on earth are as a shadow. Will they not teach you and tell you and bring forth words from their minds? -Job 8:8-9
 
This passage of scripture captures the heart of why I love reading and especially old books.
I think the bible obviously embodies this truth the most but I find similar treasures hidden away in the dusty pages of forgotten books.
 
I came away from my trip down to Portland with a suitcase full of wisdom thanks to my Dad, my brother Matt and Powels Books.
 
The Royal Path of Life: published in 1893
Parables of Kierkegaard
Mere Christianity: C.S. Lewis
Emerging Churches: Gibbs/Bolger
A Golden Treasury: Puritan paperback
The Christian's Great Interest: Puritan paperback
The Glory Of Christ: Puritan paperback
Spiritual Growth by Pink
Saving Faith by Pink
Solomon on Sex by Dillow
 
Ahhhh the beauty of a good bookstore, I can find titles I have been looking for in minutes when I go to Powells that I have not seen in Spokane at all. Spokane sucks when it comes to bookstores and our corporate intelligence and depth of spirit reveal it.
Bad books...bad thinkers.
 
I loathe the poverty of it all.
 
 

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

And now unto him who is able to keep us from falling and lift us from
the dark valley of despair to the bright mountain of hope, from the
midnight of desperation to the daybreak of joy; to him be power and
authority, for ever and ever. Amen.
-Martin Luther King

As the new year approaches I find myself clinging to the truth above.
I will be glad to see 2005 pass and for a new year to come.
I pray that I will walk with the wisdom gained from the shadows of the
last year.
I pray that I will chase daylight with renewed vision.
That the grip of disappointment will be broken through surrender.
That I will be able to apprehend what I was apprehended for in greater
dimensions.
That I will learn to bravely love in wisdom's light, again.
That I will dare to jump in the lion's pit even though I might lose
the brawl.
That I won't sleep in Delilah's lap and lose my vision.
I pray for the armor of light to protect me from myself.
I long for deeper meaning, fuller life and awakened passions, governed
by submission to His will.
I pray that this would be the year that Christ would be all in all.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Like a bear lying in wait...

He has turned his hand against me again and again, all day long; he has walled me in so that I cannot escape...Like a bear lying in wait, like a lion in hiding, he dragged me from the path and mangled me...He has filled me with bitter herbs and sated me with gall. He has broken my teeth with gravel; he has trampled me in the dust.

-Jeremiah the prophet.

 

I will not keep silent; I will speak out in the anguish of my spirit, I will complain in the bitterness of my soul...Who are we that you make so much of us, that you give us so much attention, that you examine us every morning and test us every moment?...Does it please you to oppress me, to spurn the work of your hands...Your hands shaped and made me -- will you now destroy me?

-Job.

 

I realize that voicing ones struggle with God seems to be more than some people are willing to bear. You can complain about life and especially people and we will eat it up but if you dig into the character of God, it seems to shake us. We don't want to face our fears. We tuck our questions and hesitancies into a nailed shut box and place them under a neat little corner of our faith under the stairs. Hoping that they will rot away in obscurity and not reveal their frightening faces. But like the crate in the movie Creep Show, sooner or later someone or something in life will open up the crate and then all hell breaks loose.

 

Even Jesus was forsaken.

 

Whatever that means theologically, it at least speaks volumes emotionally and spiritually.

But the comforting thing to me is, that Jesus had no problem voicing His complaint and accusation publicly. He shouted loud enough for others to hear and for the disciples to write it down.

 

Scandalous.

 

'Read your complaint,' said the judge...'Enough', said the judge. And now for the first time I knew what I had been doing. While I was reading, it had, once and again, seemed strange to me that the reading took so long; for the book was a small one. Now I knew that I had been reading it over and over; perhaps a dozen times. I would have read it forever; quick as I could...if the judge had not stopped me...At last the judge spoke. 'Are you answered?' he said. 'Yes,' said I. The complaint was the answer. To have heard myself making it was to be answered...I ended my first book with the words No answer. I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer. Before your face, questions die away. What other answer would suffice?

-Queen Orual in C.S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces.

December 23

Handling snakes, sitting with scorpions and gnashing gravel

So I say to you, ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who when his son asks for a loaf will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish he will not give him a snake will he? If you then being evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him! –Jesus

 

Luke adds, what father would give a scorpion to a son who asks for an egg.

 

Scorpions, snakes and stones…or…Bread, fish and eggs?

Ultimately my faith stands or falls on whether I can believe that what Jesus says here is true or not. What do I choose to believe? What will I choose to see?

 

Life has a way of stitching my mouth shut, hamstring my desire to hunt and can drain out my strength to beat on doors. I have cracked open enough hard hatched eggs to discover a stinging scorpion lunge out and sink its poisoned tail into my faith filled soul.  I have wept for the bread of life and have often been served up a goulash of gravel. I've found the fangs of a serpent in the mouth of a fillet of salmon, more than once.

 

There have been so many situations that have appeared like they were going to kill me but in the end…they don't. I end up handling snakes, sitting with scorpions and gnashing gravel and not being slain. It is a mystery and a miracle to me.

 

The real serendipity-do-dah is when I actually begin to see that there is hidden manna in these dark moments. That a good gift might come in a really crappy, poorly wrapped box. I must confess sometimes I think God can't wrap a present at all. How many times have I sat there looking at some situation and said…what good is in this?

Where is the “how much more” stuff that Jesus was talking about?

 

In the end I am left making a choice to believe that my Father knows how to give good gifts and trust Him in the process of unwrapping the gift. It may take time and I might hurt in the process but I trust He will see each tear as a feeble prayer of faith in who He says He is.   

Friday, December 16, 2005

Worlds die and are born in a kiss...

Each friend represents a world in us,
a world not born until they arrive,
and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.

-Anais Nin
 
So true but the opposite is true too...sometimes those worlds die.
 
Relationships change, stuff doesn't work out, people give up, the hurt is too deep or the damage too severe to comprehend anything else than move away from the pain. I am not saying that is God's will but it is how it often unfolds.
 
I am reminded of the story of Naomi, Ruth and Orpah.
 
At a critical moment pregnant with pain from the past, uncertainty about the future, despair over the present; we see Naomi encouraging her daughter in laws to return to the life they have known and go back to their friends and families. She begs them to leave her for she says "The hand of the Lord has gone forth against me." The next verse says "They lifted up their voices and wept again and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her."
 
The suffering in the parting kiss is brutal to those who have tasted it's soul stinging touch. Tears and kisses are deceptive, they are not always what they seem. Sure it makes us feel good to receive them, they whisper promises but the reality is they are more often merely a wish or a dream than commitment. They speak of sentimentality but not covenant. They come gushing out when the one giving them has been indulging in some form of self serving romantic vision of the present.
 
You can be betrayed with a kiss.
 
Betrayed into thinking more of yourself than you are.
Betrayed into building a life on emotion and receiving instead of giving.
Betrayed into giving for something in return.
Betrayed into following pleasure in the form of man pleasing.
 
Ruth captures the true picture of love in the following verse:
Where you go, I will go.
Where you lodge, I will lodge.
Your people, will be my people.
Your God, will be my God.
 
I thank God for the Ruth's in my life. Those who have chosen to embrace the hardships, endure, fight through, forgive, pray and most importantly simply clung. You know who you are. Even in the midst of this hard season when many things have been so difficult; you have clung on to me, even when I have attempted to push you away. This season of trial has revealed more than my own heart, it has revealed yours as well.
 
Worlds have died and have been born in a simple kiss.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

give...

Give to everyone who asks of you and whoever takes away what is yours,
do not demand it back. -Jesus in Luke 6:30
 
This verse is like a sword tip to my throat.
It presses me, pins me, pricks me and makes me bleed.
 
What do you do when your heart has been taken away?
When your spirit has been stolen from you,
and life has sunk it's vampiric fangs into your soul
and drained you of all your hope?
 
Give, and it will be given to you. -Jesus (vs 38)
 
My hands are empty and I am finding that if I try to wait for this promise, it does not come. But if I keep my hands open, something seems to be available still. Small and seemingly insignificant but I trust in His hands it can grow.
 
It is a mystery.
  

Sand Under My Feet

Open handed, as vulnerable as a new born.

All within me wants to close my grip,

Turn my face, save myself.

 

Can’t replace the sand moving out from under my feet.

Life is changing, shifting, renewing,

Beyond my control.

 

I must simply embrace it, watch it, and feel it;

Let it move away into the unknown.

 

I stay, but the sand goes.

Bewildering, mesmerizing and frightful tingles.

Pulling me, drawing me, leaving me.

 

Ever shaping landscape of the soul,

Rising, falling, swirling and blowing.

Each new season is fresh but scented with pain.

The old is gone but still haunts the soul.

 

The waves are receding again,

And the sand has covered my footsteps.

All is drifting away…again.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Rise up from death...

Father of heav'n and Him by whom
It, and us for it, and all else for us,
Thou mad'st and govern'd'st ever;
come, And recreate me, now grown ruinous;
My heart is by dejection, clay,
And by self-murder, red.
From this red earth, Oh! Father,
purge away all vicious tinctures; that, new-fashioned,
I may rise up from death before I'm dead.
-Donne, a mystic English preacher.
 
Thanks Dad, this one nails it on the head.
 

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Thanks Next-Wave

The Next-Wave E-zine published two writing pieces of mine, an article (Stop Channeling Marsh Brady) and poem (Four Horseman Ride) in their newest web publication, check it out at: http://the-next-wave-ezine.info/issue84/

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Wrestling God...






















Jacob wrestled with God in the night.
He struggled alone.
He entered his grapple on the verge of returning to the promised land.
He fought for a blessing that he had so often in the past thought was found in people.
His wrestling would end in daybreak.
He prevailed but not until he was wounded first.
God changed his name.
He would not walk on the promise land the same, ever again.
He cried out to know God's name for himself.
He lived.

In the digital garden...

















Here is my new thrill, an Apple Powerbook G4.
I have converted and feel oh so free...from the PC.
I have taken a juicy bite and it has opened my eyes and made me wise.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Just be faithful...

Mark Hatfield tells of touring Calcutta with Mother Teresa and visiting the so-called "House of Dying," where sick children are cared for in their last days, and the dispensary, where the poor line up by the hundreds to receive medical attention. Watching Mother Teresa minister to these people, feeding and nursing those left by others to die, Hatfield was overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the suffering she and her co-workers face daily. "How can you bear the load without being crushed by it?" he asked. Mother Teresa replied, "My dear Senator, I am not called to be successful, I am called to be faithful." via http://scott.club365.net/
 
This is a truth that has painfully eluded me.
 
I want to be successful and too much of my self worth has stemmed from trying to be successful in ministry. Which when boiled down, has been a fragile thing to build my self worth on because people fail, grow slow, sin, struggle, live lives of duplicity, are like changing winds and they come and they go. Most grow happens over time and the moment when it is seen more clearly is when they most likely are not around you anymore.
 
I feel jipped by that, because I want to see it, actually I want you to see it. 
Because then I will feel successful.
 
 
  

Friday, December 02, 2005

Your thoughts exposed...

You do not have to sit outside in the dark.
If, however, you want to look at stars,
you will find the darkness is required.
The stars neither require it nor demand it.
-Annie Dillard
 
A sword will pierce even your own soul,
To the end that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.
-Luke 2:35
 
A strange prophesy indeed. Are we really ever prepared for such an experience?
A painful path to gain the purposes of God...a piercing path. The unveiling of the heart is a very important process to God. He uses whatever means necessary to open it up and reveal the truth that hides within. There is something revealed when we see another's soul pierced through. Thoughts of many hearts are exposed. Who is really living and who is really dead. Who will seek to save their life and who will seek to lose it. There are those who run from a public crucifixion and those that will dare stay at the foot of the cross.
There are Peters and John's.
Those who watch from a distance and those who enter into the suffering.
There are also those who run away.
 
Hearts will be revealed.
 
I am not sure if you know what it is like to have a sword pierce through your very soul.
I do, now, and it is brutal. I am not sure which part is more painful, the sword or the revealed thoughts of those hearts that you thought you knew.