Friday, August 28, 2009

sitting on the back porch on a rainy day, thinking about grace.

the other day it rained. after the rain, came the mist and that smell. you know, that smell that comes after it rains? it's a musty and yet fresh smell.

there i was... sitting on the back porch. letting it all sink in.

thinking about how grace comes down - under pressure from the clouds - and rains upon us... when we are hot... and in need of a cooldown. grace comes when we need it.

like the gentle summer rains that come in the late afternoon - leaving behind a stillness. a beauty. a sound and a smell.

birds slowly come out from hiding. making music that compliments the stillness. drips of water slowly come down, one at a time, off of every tree branch and leaf. falling to the ground. so that the saturated earth can regenerate itself... regenerate life.

and grace falls down and re saturates our state of being, regenerating life along the way, if we let it.

grace abounds. and covers me. whether i think i need it or not. i don't deserve the rain. but it comes anyway. i don't deserve my thirst to be quenched. but quenched, i am.

grace like rain. capture the moment.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

virtue reality

God has called us to be lovers and we frequently think that He meant us to be saviors. So we "love" as long as we see "results." We give ourselves as long as our investments pay off, but if the ones we love do not respond, we tend to despair and blame ourselves and even resent those we pretend to love. Because we love someone, we want them to be free of addictions, of sin, of self -- and that is as it should be. But it might be that our love for them and our desire for their well-being will not make them well. And, if that is the case, their lack of response no more negates the reality of love than their quickness to respond would confirm it. ~ Rich Mullins (Virtue Reality, July-August, 1994)
We don't need to be saviors. we need to be lovers.

we don't need to see results. we need to see those who need love.

we don't need to offer the 'feeling' of love. we need to offer the virtue of love.

we don't need to use love to buy good behavior. we need to love as God loves.

we are not called to save or to change others. we are called to love with real, genuine love.

love is not dependent upon someone responding to it.

Salvation is possible because real love is there. True love flows from God to those who know Him - and truly live and walk like His Son, Jesus.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

no alarms and no surprises, please

(the swine flu is coming to get you)
90,000 people could die from the Swine Flu this year! 2 million could be hospitalized!1!1!1 omg. run for the hills. take cover. this winter there's gonna be widespread panic (at the disco, perhaps, even.)
this is gonna be huge. massive chaos, i tell you. (or it could be "much milder" says CDC director.)

so H1N1 (a.k.a. Swine Flu - which, by the way, would be a sweet name for a hip hop star) could be the biggest pandemic since full blown AIDS hit the scene when Magic Johnson got it in '91 or it could be just another typical flu season (20,000-40,000 people typically die from the flu each year... 63,000 died from the influenza in '01) so basically, if Magic Johnson gets Swine Flu this year, they'll probably call a press conference to announce 'the end is near'.

it's good to panic, though. because it makes hindsight all the more zany, in the long run.
i suppose that in 9 or 10 months we'll all look at the Swine Flu outbreak and with whimsical opines we stand around the water cooler joking at how this 'pandemic' only killed 45,000 people instead of 90,000! ha. i can hear the waves of laughter carry through the halls now.

meanwhile, in the time it took you to read this, 20 people died of hunger. 15 million children will die of hunger this year. in the United States of America, one out of every six children is at risk of hunger. [stats]

but nobody 'panics' about that.

Monday, August 24, 2009

i don't know anything.

i don't know anything. i think i do but i don't. at times my lack of knowledge can be frustrating. but deep in the heart i know that nobody else knows anything either.

maybe it's not always about knowing, but about trusting.

perhaps our 'knowledge' leads us down the path to heresy. but we're all heretics, really.

as Peter Rollins writes in The Orthodox Heretic "the question is not that we judge between orthodoxy and heresy, but rather how we judge between good heresy and bad heresy."

will i proudly say that i know all that there is about faith? or will i humbly admit that i am in the dark about some things - but i aim to live like the way Jesus exemplified (hopefully without picking and choosing which which examples to follow and which to not follow.)

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Night Night by Elie Wiesel

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
it's the kind of book that anyone could read though, start to finish, in one sitting... it's just a really deep, emotional book about the Holocaust. i feel it would be an injustice to read it quickly, otherwise the disturbing truths found within might not sink in and resonate with my soul.

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Friday, August 14, 2009

Irresistible Revolution

The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical by Shane Claiborne

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Claiborne gives his unique perception and opinion of what it means to serve like Jesus served or like Jesus would serve.

I enjoyed his style of writing, very personable and real.

My favorite chapter was 'Jesus is For Losers' where he outlines how the gospel is 'good news for sick people and is disturbing for those who think they've got it all together.'

At the heart if it all, Irresistible Revolution is a book about loving others... and truly following Jesus means loving all... including our enemies and people not like us.

Shane lives a unique lifestyle of simplicity and it is certainly something he is called too. he gives meaningful examples of practical living that isn't caught up in the consumerism of the world.

A profound message for the church today...

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Upon this Rock...

{blog posts have been infrequent this summer. i hope this is the first post of many as i aim to blog more and be less procrastinator-like. hope this makes sense.}

the conception of the church, perhaps, can be found in a brief conversation Jesus had with his disciples on the way to Caesarea Philippi. Jesus poses a question (found in Matthew 16:13-20) , "Who do people say the Son of Man is?" Less than remarkable answers are given by some of the disciples. I'd say they are less than remarkable because Jesus doesn't dwell on any of those answers. He quickly turns the tables to the disciples themselves. "who do you say that I am?" Peter answers giving the presumable first reply. It doesn't strike me odd that Peter's answers. Peter always seems to be first to say something, only most of the time he sticks his foot in his mouth. But not know. Peter gets it right.

"You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

Jesus blesses him and states one of the most profound statements ever recorded: "you are now called Peter (meaning 'rock') and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hell will not prove stronger than it."

This statement is profound because it is here that the church begins, spoken into existence from the words of Christ himself. "I will build my house upon this rock."

Interesting. Jesus chose to Peter. In an lot of ways this 'Rock' of a person often at times didn't get it, often said the wrong things; once was bold enough to walk on water but lost faith in himself and began to sink; fell asleep in the garden when asked to 'watch and pray'; turned to violence over love when the soldiers came; before the Crucifixion denied knowing or having anything to do with Jesus and who kept his distance during the death of his Rabbi. In many ways, Peter failed and would fail. But Jesus picked him to build his church upon.

I wonder if there might be a parallel to the failures of Peter to the failures of the church that was eventually 'built' on that rock?

Later, in Acts 2, despite his failures, Peter connects the dots, receives the Spirit and the house of Jesus, the church, begins to break ground. The church breaks ground, not on land - but on hearts. The church begins to build on the hearts of man and woman and child. Peter is chosen, much like many other 'failures' were chosen. Remember? Jacob wrestled the angel. Moses led the Israelites but because of his impatience never stepped foot in the promised land. Rahab, a prostitute, was instrumental in the Israelites finding that promised land. King David committed adultery and then covered it up with murder. Thomas doubted. Paul held the coats of members of the Sanhedrin while they stoned Stephen. There are many others.

Fact is, God uses imperfect people to do remarkable things. He doesn't call the equipped, he equips those he calls.

But over the years, the church has acted much like Peter, before his transformation. I suppose it is because we are made up of imperfect people... but that is no excuse for our imperfect behavior. In some ways, perhaps, we've lost our way.

I find it interesting that at the end of this section {Matthew 16:13-20) Jesus 'warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.' Maybe it was because he knew that proclaiming Jesus as Lord could potentially get in the way of emulating Jesus their Lord. Perhaps.

It's one thing to proclaim Jesus Christ from the rooftops. It's another thing to live out his mission of Loving God and Loving People and serving the poor and reaching out to the oppressed.

Maybe Jesus knew that the once and future church that would be built on the Rock would proclaim Him with great joy - but yet, not live like Him, perhaps because, frankly living like Christ is intense. Hard. Challenging.

In closing, i give you the words of Rich Mullins:
"And as the skies proclaim the work of His hands, the Church testifies to the work of His Messiah. Red blood and flesh confess Jesus' Lordship, then drop the ball and are baffled by the immensity of that confession. People who are not pointlessly perfect receive an unattainable revelation and then misunderstand and betray the Truth. They foolishly divide and become divisive and yet He makes them one. They stumble and limp and sometimes turn to lesser gods and then are embraced by the One they've abandoned. As Paul says "We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God" and this confession that Jesus is Messiah still changes pebbles into rock and as long as the Church confesses, she will continue to be what is in her genes to become.

We've got pretty good genes. We'll do well to grow into them.'

inspired by Peter Rollins - The Orthodox Heretic & Rich Mullins - The World As Best As I Remember It