The Glorious Unseen

March 16, 2010 at 3:29 am (1)

meaninglessIt doesn’t matter how hard I try, the sun will still set. The wind will still blow.

The sea will never politely say to the river, “Oh that’s more than enough, thank you, I’m quenched.”

There is nothing I can give this world that this world has not already seen.

I am a great musician. I am entirely committed to my craft. But I will never catch up to the greatness of my ambition. My song will never be sung to my satisfaction. At any point, the wisdom I have will never be enough.

What a burden for God to place on men.

I have friends and I have lovers. I enjoy many simple things. Good beer, good friends, good conversation. We have a very short time here on this earth, or so I have heard. It is in my wisdom, however, that I am driven to enjoy these things. It drives me to test the enjoyable things of people everywhere, just to see what of them are worthwhile.

I’ve written songs. I’ve written stories. I’ve written journal entries. I’ve played games. I’ve watched and participated in the successes of others. I’ve become the best at the things I do. I’ve been told that I can do anything I set my mind to, so I set my mind to things, and I did them. But they say nothing of my character. I am more than the sum of my accomplishments. And so my own attempt at expression, through music or through writing, has failed and continues to fail. Again, my song remains imperfectly sung. I have gained nothing through expression in itself.

It has occurred to me now that nothing I do will save me from my ultimate fate. My accomplishments, my pursuit of worldly happiness, my laughter, my tears, all amount to the same end as someone that has none of those things. I will die, as we all do, scared of what comes next. Scared, because I don’t know what the next step is. As we are all born, we will all die, foolish and brilliant alike.

Knowing this makes life hard.

All the things that I have done for myself … will be left behind for others when I’m gone. And I will be gone eventually. So there is one solution, I suppose. It is to shed myself of my apparent wisdom, for I am now wise of the fact that my wisdom amounts to nothing.

I can only enjoy what I have. Its all I can do. Live the few days that I have to the most of what they are, and what they are, are gifts. Gifts from a God who gives us the simple things to enjoy. My only hope, my one wish is that I may be so distracted by the joy in my heart for my work and the things that I have already, that I may be ignorant to reflecting on the days of my life.

In my few days, I’ve seen profound unfairness in practice in overwhelming ways. For people who spend all their time and their love amassing wealth, they will never enjoy it for themselves. I have seen the righteous fall and the evil prevail. While wisdom may sustain some of our happiness for the few days we have, it, like everything, is fleeting.

So what do we have then?

We have each other. We have living … right now. Without worrying about what effect this life has on the next.

Because Christ is risen. Everything is going to be okay.

Permalink 7 Comments

I am loved.

February 24, 2010 at 7:58 pm (1)

imperfectionI am, apparently, a sum of the smaller things that define me.

I am a guitarist. I remember the first day I picked up a guitar, as lame as that is. It was my dad’s guitar, and I learned really fast. He taught me four chords, and I played them over and over again. I knew I loved it right away, and that I wanted to get really good at it. Immediately, I was presented with a choice. Either I kept my passion private, and practiced comfortably by myself, or I let what I had discovered a love for define me. The truth is, I did let it define me. Now whether that is a good or bad thing in retrospect … I can’t really decide. I love playing, and if people know me as a guitarist, I’m okay with that. On the other hand though, there is much, much more to who I am, even just musically. The first choice I ever made in my life as I know it, has become the choice that I continue to make every day. There is a time and a place for both, but either way ..

I am a musician. And a good one, at that. On one hand, it is my technical ability that sets me apart, but on the other, its my ability to do what I do without much formal training. When you’re a musician, people see you for whatever it is that they need you for. If they need a technician, I play the technician. If they need the raw, untrained poet, then I play the raw, untrained poet. There is a time and a place for both, but either way ..

I am an artist. Whatever it is that I end up doing musically, be it technically sound or poetically just, it is creative. Whether the music is transcribed down to every little pen stroke of articulation, or if it consists of chord names over empty bars, my art is in it. I express through it, and it makes it better. To be a creative musician, there are two ways to go about it. You are either a small part of the bigger picture, or the rest of the picture will be a backdrop for you. Either the colours of my expression will paint the backdrop for the focus of the music, or I can start drawing to hard and poke holes through the paper (I hate that). Its probably clear that I’m generally the former, but only recently has it really started to dawn on me the importance of being able to bend. To phase in and out of both of these methods. Anyway, to summarize, the choice is between artistically pleasuring the masses, or musical masturbation. There is a time and a place for both, but either way ..

I am important. Bear with me now. Whether I’m a little fish in a big pond, or the other way around, either way, I’m still a fish, and being a fish in any pond means that I am a crucial part of a diverse community. If there’s one thing I learned from my high school choir days … its that every voice counts. When any individual even misses so much as a rehearsal, the group suffers, whether that person is a star soloist, or just a section filler. When I play music, I recognize my roll as important. It helps me play better, and more tuned in to the other musicians. When I take part in a community, any community, I have to recognize my roll as important. The community may have been fine before me, but now that I’m here, I am integral to its function. Being actively involved means that I am approached by yet another choice. The problem in friendships and active involvement in the lives of others is that there is a responsibility to uphold such relationships. Effort is apparently the name of the game**. The responsibility is two sided, of course. If you are to uphold this responsibility, there are two types of person that you can be … the caller, or the called. Either your relying on your relationships to sustain you, or you’re always willing to sustain others when they are relying on you. There is a time and a place for both, but either way ..

I am fallible. I wish I could tell you that every time anyone has ever needed me that I was there for them. And I wish I could tell you that every time there has been a relationship that could have used my nurture, that I was there for it. Unfortunately, neither of those things would be true. However, to fully understand the definition of being fallible, is to understand that it is a two sided word. On one hand, it means that I am not perfect. This is less a burden, and more a relief. To take my expectations of myself, and to let them go, is nothing if not emancipating. On the other hand, credited to my awareness of my own imperfection, is my hope for the future. The other side of the word is an active pursuit. To be fallible means to be imperfect, but for me it also means to wish I was better. I wish so much that I had been there for so many loved ones in my life more than I was. And so I strive to find a balance between being fully aware of my inability to be perfect, but also being in pursuit of a better standard of living. So the choice is this: Do I sit quietly in my forgiveness of myself, taking my fallibility as a sign that anything better than flawed is unattainable, or do I take my fallibility as a challenge and constantly, consciously wrestle with it head-on? Sometimes I need forgiveness, sometimes I need change. There is a time and a place for both, but either way ..

I am loved for who I am. It turns out I am more than the sum of my parts, because the sums of my parts honestly don’t add up to much. And that is the one thing I choose to be defined by.

** I have always had a problem with this, in that it is my personal belief that relationships are built on more than just contact between people. That friendships don’t die simply from a lack of contact between people. Friends I have met and experience my life with will always have a special place in my heart, and in my home. Constant contact does not make that better, and lack of it does not make it worse. Or it shouldn’t anyway. But that’s just me.

Permalink 1 Comment

Respect

February 17, 2010 at 9:47 pm (1)

yup.So, I’ve figured out where I stand on that verse, but I really don’t feel like writing it all out, because it confused the heck out of me for a long time and I’m done dealing with it. I tried writing it out, and I have a lot of disorganized thoughts on a piece of paper, so its not really worth posting.

Scripture, I’ve realized more fully than ever in the past little while, goes much deeper than just a book full of things that Christians believe. I WILL say though, that I don’t think “Never eat with sinners” is what we should get out of that, despite the fact that that’s what it says. Which kind of speaks for the fact that you can use scripture to condone just about anything, but that doesn’t make it right.

So please … PLEASE stop quoting scripture at me just to prove me wrong. If its your form evangelism, you need to rethink what evangelism even is. I’m all for being challenged in what I believe, but when it stops becoming about the conversation and starts becoming about being right, I’m out.

In my first entry ever on this blog, I wrote that this collection of words is simply a record of wars between the devil and God that are raging inside me every day. This blog has always been about the conversation and the struggle for me, not about being right.

If you disagree with me, feel free to comment, but not in a way that is to shoot what I say down. When you have these kinds of conversations in love, it means you recognize the possibility that you might be wrong. That you might not have all the answers. For me, I’ve been profoundly aware of that from the beginning. Without the realization that you might be wrong, there’s no way you can possibly be respecting the opinion of anyone you disagree with. I’m tired of hearing people say that they love me, when they don’t even respect anything I say. That’s not love. That’s crap.

So, to all you Christians. When you’re having conversations with other Christians about what you believe, take the jump down off your pedestal, and take into account that you are no better than the people you disagree with. Mutual respect for one another is the only way you’ll be able to TRUELY love someone without having to kill yourself trying.

I’ve stopped trying to love people, I just do, because I respect them. The only people I’m still having trouble with, is the people who just can’t find it within themselves to respect the people who they think are wrong. But I’m trying.

So try it.

Permalink 4 Comments

rar.

February 1, 2010 at 8:02 pm (1)

I want to write quickly about something that I read in the Bible today that, frankly, just really pissed me off and that I disagreed with entirely.

Its in 1 Corinthians, Chapter 5.

It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a king that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father’s wife. And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this? Even though I am not physically present. I am with you in spirit. And I have already passed judgement on the one who did this, just as if I were present. When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.

I have a HUGE problem with a couple things in here. Three things, to be exact.

Number 1…

“Shouldn’t you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this?”

I don’t know much, but one thing I know about fellowship, is that its a group of people who support each other and give each other strength when they need it most. But in this case, in the Bible, when someone needs strength the most, when there is something so pressing that needs to be dealt with, the church doesn’t just FAIL, they give up before they’ve even started.

Number 2 …

“I have already passed judgement on the one who did this, just as if I were present.”

Do I even need to say why this one bothers me? Somehow, Paul is okay with saying that grace is a free gift from God, but in the same breath is somehow okay with saying that, if he were there, he would judge the shit out of that person and kick them out of the church. I am not okay with this. Not at all. If I found out that someone in my church was doing what this guy was doing, the LAST thing I would do would be kick him out of my church. The guy needs help from his community, not a life of loneliness.

Number 3 …

“ … hand this man over to Satan ..”

And I’ll just stop there. I don’t even want to begin on why this bothers me. Not right now, anyway.

If I have to be completely honest, reading scripture today did nothing but make me incredibly angry and upset. I’ll get into more of what this means for me later. I have to go talk to Brad …

Permalink 3 Comments

Forget about it.

December 9, 2009 at 10:46 pm (1)

sweet.The past few weeks have been filled with more doubt than I’ve ever experienced.

And I’ve never felt better.

It started a couple of weeks ago, when I started making a list of things that I’ve learned this year. This year being the first year in 13 years that I haven’t been in school, so starting since September. I’ve been interested in how much I can learn from everything BUT the education system.

This list of things that I “know” is probably going to stay at one point long…

I need to stop pretending like I know anything about anything. Ever.

When that’s the only thing you know, it makes it difficult to know anything else.

I’ve been doing my best to apply this principle to everything.

I decided to try my best to break down the things I “know” about my faith.

I know Jesus loves me, and loves everyone.
I know I am freed from the law of sin and death.
I know that all things were created by God, but not necessarily in six days.
I know that Love is the answer for the problems of this world.

It didn’t take long for it to occur to me, that there are people who are also Christians who believe the complete opposite.

Jesus doesn’t love me, and he certainly loves everyone else less.
He has a list of my sins, and he’s angry at me for all of them.
God created the universe in six literal days, and if I deny that then I’m denying that Jesus died on the cross.
Love is not always the answer, sometimes it takes violence.

While these things are literally the opposite of what I know, many people know them to be true.

To go even farther, me being a Christian at all is something that I know to be the truth, the way, the light, the whatever else you can call it. Meanwhile, there are others, many others, who aren’t Christians at all, whether they belong to some other religion or whether they’re complete Atheists, which has become a religion in itself.

There are divisions between denominations within Christianity. There are divisions between Christianity and other religions. There are divisions between denominations in other religions, including Atheism.

Everyone knows something that everyone else doesn’t know.

My good friend Brad said it very well, when he spoke on the many Jesi (which I am officially coining as the plural for Jesus) separating denominations.

We all have a projection of Jesus that we know. The one true Jesus is really only the one Jesus that we believe to be true. We all pick the Jesus we find easiest to deal with. The kind of Jesus that loves everyone, but still has the nerve to turn over tables, has become the Jesus that I know.

When this is pointed out, the discussion quickly turns to Scripture, and the evidence it provides, when realistically, scripture might not even be true at all.

The Bible might be entirely false.
The Bible could be entirely, literally, true.
The Bible might be divinely inspired stories to map out God’s love for us.

I fully realize that I’m beginning to ramble, but that’s sort of the point. There are too many disagreements within Theology, for those disagreements to divide us.

I follow a blog called Naked Pastor, and the author, David Hayward, recently made a list of questions to consider if you are genuinely interested in living in Unity.

For me, it has come down to this. I’ve reached a point where my faith is dangling dangerously by a thread. I’m in a place that the thing running through my mind most is, not that I might be wrong, but that I probably am. Its not that I believe that truth is relative, its that I believe it isn’t, but no one really knows what the truth is, because no one really knows anything.

As a result, every wall has come tumbling down. Every curtain has been ripped.

I have never felt more connected to the world.

Permalink 7 Comments

I don’t understand.

November 30, 2009 at 8:51 pm (1)

Last night, I couldn’t fall asleep, because my house was really loud until 4am, which should probably be starting to piss me off, but it isn’t.

I woke up, after an unfairly short sleep, to my girlfriend calling me to tell me that I need to wake up and go apply for jobs, because I don’t have one, and I need one, because I’m poor as shit. On one hand, I got to hear her voice first thing. However, it was also an unfortunate reminder as to how much money effects me, even though I hate it. My wake up this morning probably should have driven me insane, but it didn’t.

I took my parents car to go drive to the Starbucks where my old manager is now in charge, to see if I could possibly get a job there. It was sort of … my last option. They’re overstaffed and can’t afford to hire anyone right now, because the LTC strike has helped them to lose a lot of money in sales per week. That probably should have completely broken me down in fear, but it didn’t.

I drove to the bank to deposit the cheque I got from this weekend of playing guitar for the Starbright Christmas Show in Sarnia. Making as much money as I did (they pay really well) should have probably been ridiculously awesome, if it weren’t for the fact that I have to pay rent for tomorrow and I need to pay off my credit card. Pretty much every penny I made this weekend will be gone in the next two days. That should have probably been the worst realization … ever. But I didn’t even feel it.

Still at the bank, I leaned on the side of my foot like I sometimes do, and my shoe ripped in half. My favourite shoes, pretty much the only shoes that agree with my improperly healed broken foot (I know, woe is me), are now reaching the end of their life. This is definitely something that should make me feel even more useless, but it didn’t.

I don’t have money.

I don’t have a plan.

But what I do have is peace.

I don’t know how I have it, but I do.

I can’t explain it. I don’t understand it.

But it’s there.

On another note, I’ve been doing my best to compile a list of things I’ve been learning this year. My wonderful friend Karen did it when she took a year off, and I see now why she did it, because I really am learning a lot. And I think its even contributing to the whole peacefulness thing. Soooo stay tuned? Whatever. haha.

Permalink 2 Comments

Enough.

October 15, 2009 at 7:42 pm (1)

I no longer fear the ways of this world, or the ruler of anything of it.
Holding my fortress together is the truth of the Gospel, that Christ was, is, and always will be.
Protecting the love of my heart is Christ, who calls it His home and prized possession.
My feet are quickened by the knowledge that I am forgiven.
Delivered from evil by hope, and by the holiness I will never see, but always believe in.
My mind cleansed by Christ on the cross, who conquered the grave and brought me with Him.
Now, today, and forever, I draw my sword against my very nature, to lead a life of Christlike love and compassion, to turn away in my actions from the trail that the world has blazed for me, to scream loudly the words that Christ has spoken for me, to live out the life that God has planned for me.
For us. Together.
So just give up, because I’m not giving in.

Permalink 2 Comments

Significance

October 5, 2009 at 7:06 pm (1)

Okay. Its time for a new book.Strength!

Lets do Ephesians. Its relatively short, but I’m not Bible scholar, and I certainly haven’t read it all the way through.

So lets get started.

Once again, this letter is signed by Paul, apostle of Jesus Christ by the will and the blah blah.

Addressed to the Ephesians.

I love how Paul starts his letters. Not only does he express grace and peace to the Ephesians, two of the most beautiful things that could be offered, but he goes on to explain in great detail the significance of the gospel and its effect on our day to day lives. He does it over and over again, letter after letter, meeting different types of people where they need to be met. That’s the beauty of scripture. It’ll meet you. Wherever you are.

Paul says that Christ died to save us without us even knowing. Before we even needed it or saw it coming. That before the creation of anything, he chose us to be blameless in His sight.

Which we now … are. Thanks to Christ. We’re all going to heaven. Good news, I’d say.

For those who believe, and this is for the religious people who are swearing at me under their breath because I’m saying that you don’t need faith to be saved, there are in fact some perks, according to Paul. Believing in God, having faith in Him, makes us so much stronger than I think we could ever even dream of. Its hard, with or without any sort of faith, to accept our own weaknesses. With faith, we approach a place where we’re okay with accepting less of ourselves to make room for God. And allowing God to work through us always turns out good.

How we actually physically accept our own weaknesses, as opposed to denying them even to ourselves, is another thing all together. I really have no idea. I just know that as soon I admit my problems to myself, and to others, as soon as I tell my problems that they don’t matter to God, God takes their place.That makes no sense, I know. But its the most sense I can make of it.

So basically, to attempt to answer an age old question … why do I need Christianity to be a good person? The answer is, of course, that you don’t. God doesn’t even need to you to be a Christian to die for you. He already did that, before you were even born. I think, for me, its my faith that holds me hopeful. I also think having faith, having my eyes opened up, has really kicked ass since it happened. According to Paul in Ephesians, the same power that God exerted to raise Christ from the dead, now lives in us, to use as we so believe.

Christ lives, today, as the head of His body, the church.

The same power conquered the grave, lives in me, and that, my friends, is bad ass.

That’s chapter 1. Chapter 2 tomorrow.

Permalink Leave a Comment

This Year

October 2, 2009 at 6:26 pm (1)

This year, I am thankful for my family the most.

My mom and dad, because I honestly experience a love for them that is so deep that blogging about it seems senseless. But i want them to know that. That i love them more than anything. Because i could never say it enough.

For my brother, because I don’t think I could have asked for a better friend in my whole life.

For my sister in law, because she’s such an incredible, strong, beautiful woman, and an amazingly wonderful mother.

For my little nephew, because unconditional love just instantly made sense when he was born.

I think most of all for my beautiful second half. I don’t think my life would make sense without her, and I don’t think I have ever deserved someone so amazing. She’s my everything.

I’ll do another one of these next weekend on Thanksgiving.

Permalink 1 Comment

I Guess That’s True …

September 30, 2009 at 12:46 am (1)

So.

Naked Pastor posted this EXACTY blog post just today I think, so I credit it halfway to him.

The other half, of course, is credited to Regina Spektor, for writing such brilliantly destructive lyrics for her song “Laughing With” off of her new album “Far”. I have yet to listen to the song. All I’ve done is read the lyrics. Just reading songs is sometimes enough to move you.

Here it is.

No one laughs at God in a hospital
No one laughs at God in a war
No one’s laughing at God
When they’re starving or freezing or so very poor

No one laughs at God
When the doctor calls after some routine tests
No one’s laughing at God
When it’s gotten real late
And their kid’s not back from the party yet

No one laughs at God
When their airplane start to uncontrollably shake
No one’s laughing at God
When they see the one they love, hand in hand with someone else
And they hope that they’re mistaken

No one laughs at God
When the cops knock on their door
And they say we got some bad news, sir
No one’s laughing at God
When there’s a famine or fire or flood

But God can be funny
At a cocktail party when listening to a good God-themed joke, or
Or when the crazies say He hates us
And they get so red in the head you think they’re ‘bout to choke
God can be funny,
When told he’ll give you money if you just pray the right way
And when presented like a genie who does magic like Houdini
Or grants wishes like Jiminy Cricket and Santa Claus
God can be so hilarious
Ha ha
Ha ha

No one laughs at God in a hospital
No one laughs at God in a war
No one’s laughing at God
When they’ve lost all they’ve got
And they don’t know what for

No one laughs at God on the day they realize
That the last sight they’ll ever see is a pair of hateful eyes
No one’s laughing at God when they’re saying their goodbyes
But God can be funny
At a cocktail party when listening to a good God-themed joke, or
Or when the crazies say He hates us
And they get so red in the head you think they’re ‘bout to choke
God can be funny,
When told he’ll give you money if you just pray the right way
And when presented like a genie who does magic like Houdini
Or grants wishes like Jiminy Cricket and Santa Claus
God can be so hilarious

No one laughs at God in a hospital
No one laughs at God in a war
No one laughs at God in a hospital
No one laughs at God in a war
No one laughing at God in hospital
No one’s laughing at God in a war
No one’s laughing at God when they’re starving or freezing or so very poor

No one’s laughing at God
No one’s laughing at God
No one’s laughing at God
We’re all laughing with God

They’re not encouraging, they’re not challenging (not really). They’re just true.

Truth can be a beautiful thing.

Permalink Leave a Comment

I’ve Got a Nautical Themed Pashmina Afghan

September 3, 2009 at 1:05 am (1)

I'm on a BOAT.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Come Close

August 22, 2009 at 4:24 am (1)

I’ve heard that if you ever have something that you need everyone to hear, that you should scream it from a mountain top.

If I want to hear anything from Jesus, my mentor, the model by which I live my life, then I should probably listen closely to the things that he yells from really high in the air.

He says that when there’s less of me, there’s more of Him. So when I’m at the end of my rope, when I have nothing left of myself, he’ll be there to fill me up.

He says that when I feel alone, as though there is no one for me in the whole world, he has always been there and will always be there.

He says that in all my weakness and failure, in everything I’ve ever done wrong or been judged by others for, that everything I already am is good enough for His grace.

He says that when I am hungry for the good in this world, that when I am thirsty for the life he has set out for me, that all I need to do is ask, and he’ll fill me until I’m bursting at the seams.

He says that when I’m persecuted and insulted and hurt, that Love will win. No matter what. Love will win out over anyone’s hate, and any Love I show to the God living in others, I will feel in the God living in me.

He says that I should be able to love myself, because He loves me, and when I begin to believe that God could love me, I’ll see His love in the rest of the world.

He says that we are all in this together, and then when I begin to make peace with my enemies and show people the peace they can share with each other, I’ll see that we are all one family under God.

He says that when there’s no way I can take control … He’ll take over.

Now … I’m not trying to be presumptuous. Or in any way … authoritative.

I’m just telling you what he told everyone there that day.

I’m just telling you what he told me.

Whatever this life is .. its drawing me in.

Permalink 1 Comment

The Future

July 20, 2009 at 1:39 pm (1)

Hello Again! It seems I don’t write blog entries enough, because I have tons on my mind all the time, and I refuse to let it out. But I think I’ve had an idea.

Recently I’ve found myself almost … caught up … in the divinity of Christ. Which is something I’ll never have fully figured out in an practical sense, because the Divinity, the Holiness of God, is so far beyond my understanding. I’m not saying that it’s not important to spend time with that aspect of Christ, but I think, as of late, it has been distracting me from living right. I’m so caught up in being in tune with some sort of spiritual reality that is, perhaps, supposed to retain a larger aspect of mystery at the end of the day anyways.

But I realized the other day that, with all his followers caught up in His divinity, Jesus still says that there is no glory without the Father. And to be honest, in my preoccupation with Christ, my lord, I’ve almost forgotten about Jesus, the man I aspire to. Do you see what I mean?

SO. Basically, my next few blog entries (assuming I find the time to write them) are going to be me wrestling with the humanity of Jesus. And, in tern, with the fact that … I was created by God to be like Him. To live like Him. Meaning its possible to live like Jesus, as crazy and intense as that seems. And I want to do that.

So come with me! I’ll see you soon.

Permalink 1 Comment

I am an amateur.

June 20, 2009 at 7:08 pm (1)

worship? This is sort of a continuation of my last post … First thing, I don’t think love is the only important thing. I just think its the MOST important. There’s a difference. I have to be honest, if I’ve ever seemed like faith isn’t anything important at all, then I’m terribly sorry. I’ve been fighting with that question lately too.

I think we agree that God is sometimes overlooked by people focusing too hard on “Love”. When I say Love, I mean loving your neighbour as yourself. And you’re right, you can do that without having faith, so if that’s true, then what’s the point?

My faith is in a God that loves me no matter what I’ve done. And that is, a lot of the time, really hard for me to believe, because I’ve done, and do, some pretty shitty things. I think without the living Jesus, this life would honestly be too hard. But every day, He gives me hope through His son that His love for us overcomes every mistake I’ve ever made.

I believe that God loves everyone unconditionally, whether they are aware of it or not. The thing that separates a Christian from anyone else, is the belief in a God that loves them to the point of dying for them. I think faith is not just believing that God exists … but believing that He loves you more than you could ever begin to comprehend.

I, as a person, am a bit of a wreck. I think most people are bogged down in all the shit of their lives. I think God weeps with you every time you hurt. And I think God weeps for all of the pain of his creation, rich or poor, man or woman, black or white, Christian or not. I don’t think it is our faith that heals the pain in the world. I think loving each other like Jesus Loves us would do the trick, though.

If I had to say it simply, I think that Faith is the epitome of opening up to God and allowing Him to work through you. I think that without Love though, without His Love for us, without our Love for each other … without our freedom in God’s Love, without our making mistakes and living fulfilled lives through those mistakes and through our questions and doubts, then we’re nothing.

Apparently, Amateur comes from the latin word “amator”. Which means … to do something for the love of it, not because its just another way to get by in life.

I think we should be Amateur Christians. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Permalink 1 Comment

Its Nice To Finally Meet You

June 16, 2009 at 8:53 pm (1)

Where are you?THANK YOU. To Mark Laidman. I really have found an amazing friend in him, and having just gone to see his band Article One, its clear that he really has sacrificed an amazing thing to stay in London with his friends and family and the love of his life. I can’t even begin to describe how his presence here has effected everyone he’s come in contact with, and I’m so glad he’s officially here to stay. I also want wish the band an amazing, awe inspiring amount of luck in the future, because they clearly want SO badly for music to be their lives, and they have more than enough talent to make that happen. Its probably just a matter of time for them, and I hope the work pays off sooner rather than later.

For anyone who reads this blog, you can go check them out here. They’re awesome.

Anyway.

Where am I and where am I going next.

This love thing is easy, but its hard. Its big, but its small. It really is everything, which kind of assures me that God is Love, and Love is God, because its too big for it to be anything else but God. You know, Love God, Love Your Neighbour, Love Yourself. Love Love Love. Jesus Loves you this I … know …

I really do Love God. I truly recognize the importance of Loving my neighbour, and I try really hard to do that on a regular basis. I also try really hard to love myself through all of my insecurities, I even try to do that in the knowledge that Jesus Loves me, but then I realize the thing that’s most important is the hardest to believe.

Jesus Loves Me? That’s where I need to stop and think.

It seems backwards that the most important things, the things we hear the most often, are the things we most often overlook.

Jesus died for our sins. You are forgiven. Jesus rose and is alive today. Jesus lives in you. Jesus loves you unconditionally.

These things barely make any sense, because they’re so invisible. Jesus died for our sins … before I was even alive. I am forgiven, before I even commit. Jesus rose and is alive today, but I can’t see Him. Jesus Loves me unconditionally? Nobody loves unconditionally. It all seems so impossible.

Its hard to live like the Jesus I’ve heard about, because it all seems so impossible.

However, I’m also told that all things are possible in Christ … so where does that leave me?

If Jesus can literally do the impossible, and Jesus lives in me, then that gives me quite a bit of potential doesn’t it?

This is my challenge to anyone reading this. Love the way Jesus has taught us to love, and do it in Jesus’s name, because you have that authority. You say you want to meet Jesus? You are. Every day, in every person you meet. Because Jesus lives in them too. The only way you’re ever going to meet the person of Jesus is in other people. Jesus is living inside the person you hate, and He is guiding that person to love you, whether you like it or not. That person you hate, in the deepest pits of their souls, Loves you. Its hard to grasp, but its true.

Its hard not to feel judged by other’s … because I’m always judging them, so why wouldn’t they judge me? Its hard to not feel hated by some people … because I’m hating them, so why wouldn’t they hate on me? Its hard to feel like Jesus could ever love me unconditionally … because am I really unconditionally loving Him? Or am I only loving Him, assuming I get what I want?

The less I judge, the less I feel judged.
The less I hate, the less I feel hated.

The more I love the Jesus living in other people, the more I start realize that Jesus really does love me, and he’s loved me this whole time. Even when I thought it was impossible.

All of a sudden, it seem obvious.

I’d love to here what you think of all of this. Please comment if you feel so inclined.

Permalink 2 Comments

hmmmmm?

May 27, 2009 at 11:28 pm (1)

I’m not going to pretend like I know for sure the answers to any of your questions.

I have absolutely no idea what happens when I or anyone else dies, I’ve never died, so I have to way no prove anything to anybody. Everything I talk about in my writing is grounded in my own faith, because in truth I AM a lost little person, just trying to do my best to sort things out. I just know that the three things that are most important to me really are my faith, hope, and love.

My faith encompasses the other two, but isn’t all that matters. I think the faith I have has helped to live my life in a way that is more fulfilling than anything I could have ever imagined. My faith helps me to Hope that someday, whatever ends up happening, may it be now or when I die, I hope, and trust, that God is as awesome and amazing as he’s always been and always will be, and that whatever he has in store for me at the end of the day is what is best.

Love is the most important thing. Love is the only thing that matters because its the only thing that I can actually latch on to. Its the only thing I’m sure of because I see it and feel it every single day. I think without Love, faith or any kind of religion is empty and useless, be you Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Atheist, Scientologist … whatever. None of it matters at all without love. I think without Love, there’s nothing to Hope for.

I don’t know where I stand on a lot of things, but I don’t think I have to. I think answers are overrated, and that questions are where its at. If I had all the answers, there wouldn’t be much of a reason to wake up in the morning.

Questions are key. Which is why I think a lot people are more Christ-Like than they’re ever willing to admit.

Permalink 3 Comments

were our hearts not strangely warmed?

May 16, 2009 at 4:21 pm (1)

This used to hang on my Grandparents wall. Here we are again. I haven’t written for a while, and if there is anybody in the world that actually follows my blog, I suppose I should apologize. So yeah.
I’m sorry?

MAN life is good. Sometimes I can’t even contain myself from grinning ridiculously. It just keeps getting bigger and bigger and happier and happier, and it scares me, because as hard as it is in the face of condemnation and persecution, I can’t help but think to myself … wow. This yoke is easy. This burden is light. This truly is life to the full.

This past Monday was an interesting experience. I wrote something trying to subtly explain what went down, but instead, I’ll just leave it at … it was interesting.

At Emmaus, we’ve talked a lot about this idea that … we don’t really know what we believe. We have always said that we are a community accepting of all things and beliefs (to a certain extent, we still say that … ), and that the only reason we do what we do is to spend time with Jesus on what might be the worst day of a lot of people’s weeks (or in any case, the day after … )

I’m not going to tell you that we have changed our minds, and that now we’re exclusive, and its not exciting anymore. That’s just ridiculous. But this past Monday I realized that we really do have, as a group, a very specific set of beliefs that we do not shy away from defending in the least.

For fear of speaking for the whole group, I’ll tell you what I believe … I believe that the blood of Christ washed clean the sins of all people, not just those who ask for it. I believe that we were created to live a certain way, and that Christ demonstrates that in full. I believe that community and fellowship in Christ’s name extends far beyond the walls of the church, and that “loving the sinner, hating the sin” … is a massive cop out, because I’m just as much of screw up as anybody. I believe that Love goes a lot deeper than that, because love means sacrifice, or otherwise just going out of your way, and that sometimes, its just not comfortable. I believe that Christ is Lord and Saviour, and that Love, Grace, and Faith through Him will bring us the peace, life, hope and fulfillment that everyone craves from the deepest pits of their souls.

This is what Emmaus is to me. A place that we can gather to do our best to Love the Lord, and Love each other as ourselves. None of us are perfect. Honestly, most of us suck, but we all have the potential to be amazing. Some of these people love others more than I could ever even dream of, and are only steps away from God meeting them in their life. Some people who have been there Love God with everything inside of them, but have serious, dangerous issues loving others.

I am willing to promise you that God sees past any hymn you badly sing, or any sacramental prayer you mindlessly spit. He looks right into the depths of your heart and sees a desire unquenchable by any earthly thing.

Welcome to my life. These are the things that preoccupy me. The paradox of God being holy and present at the same time enchants me every single day. But I see Him in my friends … and I see Him in my prayers.

Grace and Peace to you.

Permalink 3 Comments

A Little Bird Told Me

May 4, 2009 at 5:13 pm (1)

This should be interesting. I’m using a writers block stopper that makes it so that if you stop typing for even a second, it starts to delete everything that you’ve written. Which would suck, I guess. I’m not really sure why, because I’m not really sure what I’ll be writing about anyways. I just saw the link and decided that I’d try it and see where it gets me.

I got twitter recently. I’m fascinated by it. I was definitely that person that thought twitter was lame and self centred and dumb or whatever, because it really is just an entire site dedicated to a facebook status. And it got even better when you could link the two together, as in you could make your twitter and your facebook status exactly the same thing. It seemed kind of pointless to me, and then I realize the carrying power that twitter has over facebook, and it showed me why a site like twitter grew 4 times faster than facebook.

4 times faster than FACEBOOK. Do you remember how fast facebook grew? that’s ridiculous.

Basically what happened was I was frusterated with myself for sucking at doing things. So I made my facebook status “Dear God, perhaps if you joined twitter, you’d be easier to follow.” (A line that I have to admit I stole from Naked Pastor, but that doesn’t make it any less hilarious.)

Basically what happened was that somebody retweeted me before I had twitter. And it went really far. Like … intercontinental far. And all of a sudden people were interested in what I had to say. As a musician, that could be crazy beneficial. And as lame as it sounds, and as untrue is it may even be, I felt like if I had an idea, I could express it, and people would give a crap. Not like this blog … haha?

But yeah. I caved. I got twitter. I KNOW. I’m that guy. But its actually pretty sweet. I only see the people I want to follow, so I tend to avoid people who’s tweets consist of “I’m taking a dump now!” or “Today, I will go to school, then work, then sleep.” or even just ” =) ”

I’ve started following really smart people, like Brad, and James Shelley, and Leonard Sweet and Naked Pastor and even Richard Dawkins … some his are kind of interesting. I also get to follow some of my favourite musicians…

Its a whole different world than facebook, and I thought it would be exactly the same, just less, and more narcissistic (if that’s even possible).

You know those times when you go … man that’s really profound … I wish I had a notebook to write that down.

Now instead of worrying about, I Just text it. And not only do I have it “written down” … but I have it Published.

Maybe Twitter isn’t so bad after all …

Anyway, If anyone ever reads this, and if you have twitter, than you can follow me @ justkeeplooking .

Thanks for stopping by.

Permalink 2 Comments

The Fellowship

April 29, 2009 at 8:39 pm (1)

TogetherI really like the very end of Matthew. The Gospel ends with Jesus finally just saying to his disciples … “do you get it now? They way I’ve lived, and the things I’ve done … everyone should be living this way.”

Acts starts with Jesus, as most great things do. Jesus explains to them, seemingly quite passively, that he’s leaving them. He says that someday He will return, but its not for us to know when. That it is our job to wait, and live the life we were created to live.

There’s something incredibly beautiful in that. At the end of the day, its not our job to focus too hard on the future. Its not our roll in this story to preoccupy ourselves with the things that we have no control over. Its our job to just live this glorious life we’ve been given together.

Together.

This is what Acts is about in a lot of ways, which is why I think its been hitting me so hard lately. I never really feel all that lonely, and I’m never really all that isolated from the people around me, but I have been before, and its terrible. There’s this huge aspect of togetherness in Acts that’s just so empowering. It really makes you feel like the way things are run economically and politically in the world today really are wrong, and that a better way not only exists, but its possible.

This huge group of people are sold out on Christ. They completely devote themselves to the apostles teachings. They devote their lives to the memory of the life that Christ lived. They devote themselves to prayer, whatever that looks like to them. And I think my favourite one has to be that they devoted themselves to fellowship, because it encompasses all the other ones.

They devoted themselves to doing all these things … together.

The glorious happiness! They broke their binds to material wealth, and gave up anything they had if someone else needed it more, I’m sure partially in the knowledge that anyone else would be happy to do it for them if they needed something.

Talk about a stimulus package … “Just give everything away.”

This is what I want to do. I want to live in a house in an area that needs God a lot and I want to live there with a whole bunch of people. I want us all to share the things we have. Our money, our possessions, our food, our time … everything. I want us to eat meals together as often as we possibly can, because I think that’s what happy families do. I want us to worship God in creative and exciting ways. I want us to live in constant bittersweet recognition and reverence of a God that died a painful death for our redemption. I want to only make enough money to live, and if I make more, then its not mine. I want us to be ministers of the Gospel, and use our words sometimes. I want truth to be our key demographic.

I have a story that’s sort of a testimony to why I’m not going back to school. A friend of mine and I, a really great guy, were talking about being a Christian, and how he grew up Christian, and how he never goes to Church on Sunday mornings anymore because he has to work to get the money for school, and he needs the money for school so he can graduate and get his degree, so he can take that degree and go get himself another degree, so he can teach at a University, because that’s how you know you’ve achieved a happy life, when you’ve done all of these things completely independently (he didn’t quite phrase it that way. I know. I’m brimming with bias). Then he said something that broke my heart.

“I don’t know how you go to Church so much, man. I just don’t have time for God.”

Everyone wants to live exciting lives, don’t they? We all want to live without fear. We all want to run fast and jump high and sing loud. What’s more exciting than this? Freeing yourself from all these overrated things … money, vanity, independence … and completely relying on God for everything.

My point is, God IS your everyday life, whether you like it or not. I go days at a time without reading my Bible (gasp!) and I even go night after night without saying my bedtime prayers (gasp GASP!). If you don’t feel like reading your Bible, it doesn’t tell me that you don’t love God as much as the next person, and it DEFINITELY doesn’t mean that God loves you any less. If God needed you to read your Bible as an expression of love for Him, than he wouldn’t be God, because if He was hungry, he wouldn’t tell us, because the world is His and all it contains.

If we really needed to memorize our new testament to be Christians, then none of the first Christians were Christians at all, because they didn’t have a new testament.

Also, most of them couldn’t read.

… God provides. Did you know this? All God cares about is that we try our best to live like Jesus, and then God will provide everything else that we need.

We won’t be rich. We won’t be fat. We won’t be famous.

We’ll be alive.

I know its a paradox, I know it doesn’t seem to make any sense at all. We need to give up the things that we think we hold dear in our lives, so we can gain the life that we will never want to let go of. We’ve learned that the sales pitch of Christianity is … you might die, or sometimes you might wish you were dead … you’ll suck at this whole life thing, but you’ll be drawn back into it, because you know the journey and the struggle is what makes you human, and honestly, that makes you way cooler and more artsy than anything else in this life … you’ll get hurt, you’ll be persecuted, you’ll be terribly offended …

.. but you’ll live the grace-filled, loving life that you were created to live. And you’ll never be lonely again, because God walks with you everywhere you go.

What’s more exciting than that?

Permalink 1 Comment

Again!

April 24, 2009 at 4:24 am (1)

Seriously, friends? That was genius, dude.

Thank You.

Amen

Permalink Leave a Comment

hey

April 22, 2009 at 8:18 pm (1)

Dear God,

Thank you for music, thank you for friends.

Amen

Permalink Leave a Comment

The Good Lord

April 18, 2009 at 4:57 am (1)

Brad did a great message last week about how we just skip over certain aspects of Christian life because we’ve grown up with them or we’ve committed them to memory.

Things like “redemption” and “life to the full”.

This idea of resurrection is a big one. Because everything goes to shit around Easter time at most churches. Because the people who know nothing but the church start to obsess over the service’s perfection, which it never is. I could go on for days and pages about that, but I won’t, because it will just frustrate me.

Anyways, I was reading my Bible at work, and it really hit me what this time of year means to me.

This is what I wrote on a sticky pad when I was there.

Why did God give Himself up for us?

Being slaves to the law means being slaves to sin because of our sinful nature. With the law, we recognize our sin, but are still slaves to it. In Christ, we are set free from the law of sin, because by realizing His resurrection we are realizing His being brought to life in us forever. In a culture that lives for themselves, a man lived to redeem them by dying for them. They thought that death could stop that kind of love. The same power the rescued the earth … the same love that conquered the grave … lives in me.

Happy Easter.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Amazing

April 16, 2009 at 6:34 am (1)

Best Comic Ever.
Worship

Permalink Leave a Comment

Someday

March 31, 2009 at 11:30 am (1)

Maybe its because I’m a human, but most of the time I like to think of things in opposites. However, this is generally pretty easy to do, because even the things that I now believe God has given us, we define ourselves.

We have our own definition of Beauty.
We have our own definition of Truth.
We have our own definition of Love.

Its easy to think of these things in relation to their opposites, because realistically, thats actually how we’ve defined them for ourselves. To us, these things only EXIST to us in relation to their opposites.

Beautiful is the opposite of Ugly. Good is the opposite of Bad. True is the opposite of Untrue.

I am here to tell you that these definitions are not only wrong, they’re useless.

Its always important for the answers to questions to lead to more questions. As soon as we think we have all the answers, we might as well be dead. I honestly believe that.

I’ll start with beauty. If someone were to ask me what it is, all I’d be able to tell them is what its not.

Which is a lot of things. Many of which people will tell you it is.

“Its … the opposite of ____.”

Then they would hopefully, for my sake, ask me why? Why do so many people define it that way.

I would probably say, because its easy to grasp.

Beauty, like many other big concepts, is just one of those things we never actually understand. Why is it that to one person, the sunset will bring them to tears? Yet for another, its just a symbol of the coming darkness?

Beauty just became its own opposite.

So I guess the next question … then … is it relative? Is beauty really in the eye of the beholder?

Yes and No. I would agree in saying that we do perceive beauty in different things from person to person, but I can’t believe that Beauty is relative. If beauty is relative, that leaves everything up for grabs. Little boys were beautiful to Gordon Northcott in a way that they shouldn’t be. It would mean that everything is beautiful (which it obviously isn’t). And when everything is beautiful, nothing is. Because we’ve come to an answer. And I’ve already told you what I think about coming to final answers.

This is the point where people either get really mad at me, because I’m basically implying that some people are wrong (I know, God forbid). Or people get so upset that they don’t understand what the hell is going on that they give up.

That’s what I did in my grade 12 English class anyway, when my teacher tried to tell me that Truth is not relative. Yes, somebody actually tried to teach me this in school (He is a Christian).

The idea of Truth is a brilliant thing for many reasons, one being that it can be applied directly to our ideas of Beauty. The constant human search for beauty is equalled by our yearning for truth.

What is truth? I’ll make this one quick.

I have absolutely no idea.

So NOW what have I done? I have told you that Beauty is NOT just in eye of the beholder, and that Truth is NOT relative. You must think I’m an ass hole. I’m not, though.

I’m not, because I think beauty still exists I just think that some things suck and aren’t Beautiful. And I think Truth exists, I just think some things suck and aren’t true.

I am simply writing this to tell you that the beauty of the world is rooted in the fact that some things are beautiful and some things aren’t, because that’s just the way things are. And the hope is that someday, the world will be put to rights.

I refuse to believe that Cancer is at all what God intended for anyone. I refuse to believe that Genocide is at all what God intended for anyone. I refuse to believe that Rape is at all what God intended for anyone.

Today I’m talking about the tree Jesus died on, and the tree that we died on.

In the beginning, there was a tree in a garden that some naked people ate from and they weren’t supposed to. God told the naked people not to eat from the tree.

Eating from the tree is evil. So don’t.

But they did.

The question I’m about to ask has been asked before, and it will never be answered really, which is okay. As we now know, I kind of like that.

The question is, Why did God put the tree in the garden at all?

This is my answer lately.

God could have not put the tree in the Garden at all, but we would have been trapped. A God that brings people out of Egypt does not trap people.
The other option, the one that God took, was to put the tree in the garden, leaving us with two more options …. either we’re going to eat from it, or not. We’re either going to listen to God, or we’re going to ignore Him, thus deeming it the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil.

And God knew we would eat from it, didn’t He? He knew putting it there meant that we, as Humans, broken and beautiful, would eat from it.

Either he took option one and trapped us, or he took option two and … condemned us?

And this is where I come to my point.

Hope.

Hope is the point.

God didn’t condemn us so much as he gave us a choice.

Right from the beginning! You can see Jesus in the Bible in Genesis.

Beautiful. Creation, this world we live in, the life we live, it IS a beautiful thing.

In all its brokenness and sadness and wrongness. God loves us. And His heart breaks for all of those things.

When Jesus died for us, God’s heart broke.

God loves us that much though.

The perfection of God’s creation and love lies in His willingness to set us free both through the tree that we died on in Genesis, and through the tree that Jesus died on in the Gospels.

And what separates Christianity from other beliefs? Its hope.

I would have to agree that, if there was no hope, I would choose not to live.

Why am I a Christian? Because God loves me so much that he allowed me to believe otherwise. And He died for that. And He died for me. And the beauty in the world today lies in all the things that AREN’T Beautiful, because they point towards a better tomorrow. They give me a reason to wake up in the morning.

Praise God, I guess. I can’t think of anything else I’d rather be doing while I’m here.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Wind Mill Kick to the Face

March 27, 2009 at 6:13 pm (1)

Bishop WrightI just really want to see NT Wright debate Christopher Hitchens.

On anything. I don’t care what they would debate on. Just something.

Strangely enough, I think they would agree on a lot …

Permalink Leave a Comment

I’m Creeping Your Face Off

March 21, 2009 at 8:33 pm (1)

Today, I asked this guy how the Brittany Spears concert they went to on the weekend.

He’s pretty flamboyant, but he’s good guy.

The only annoying thing is that he always make fun of me for being a Christian.

Once he saw me reading my Bible in Starbucks. He pointed at me, laughed a lot, and said he was going to tell all his friends that he knows this loser that reads his Bible for fun.

Today, when I asked him how the Brittany Spears concert was, he said …

“You know how you say you met Jesus? It was like that. That good.”

My initial reaction was anger. Obviously. Is nothing sacred to anyone anymore?

Then it occurred to me that he had compared one of the best things that has happened to him in a long time, to the prospect of meeting Jesus.

I’m not saying that he has met Jesus or even that he believes me that I have.

All I’m saying is that … its nice to sometimes know that, having met Jesus, you’re having a positive effect on people as a result, even though they don’t want to admit it to be true.

I’m on my break at work right now. Technology can be amazing. I can get in touch with people on campus in the blink of an eye, and its EASY to do. And they can easily reply back, even though I can’t see them.

Just thought that was really cool.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Hey, I have Good News.

March 20, 2009 at 6:26 pm (1) ()

5
We are sinners.

I had the pleasure of talking to one of my very close friends at work about the church and their views on it, which is always an interesting conversation when it comes up. About how they feel really uncomfortable sitting in a church hearing the pastor say “We are gathered here today in recognition of the fact that we are sinners”. I can see how that would make people uncomfortable, but the truth is, it shouldn’t.

Most people hold it pretty strongly in their minds that sin is doing something.

To sin means to do something bad.

Like a lot of things in Christ, its almost the opposite.

The Hebrew word for Sin is Het, a word that means to miss the mark.

To Miss the Mark. To not get it right … to not be … perfect.

Its unfortunate how someone can feel totally comfortable with hearing a friend tell them “I’m not perfect, I’m only human”, but when someone else says “The world is full of sinners”, their day is ruined.

Why is that so … uncomfortable? When somebody says “Its okay, nobody’s perfect”, I find that comforting. When I mess up, its okay. Because everyone does.

But in something I refer to in my bias as “Republican Theology”, we’re told that sinners burn in hell and suffer for eternity, and sinners are people like rapists and murderers and adulterers.

So I guess when someone at the front of the Church tells you you’re a member of that group, I’m not going to be totally surprised if that makes you a little bit uncomfortable.

The truth of the matter is, though, we’re not perfect. We’re far from it. When I screw up and act too flirty with someone, or I get all angry at stupid little things, those are problems, but I’m pretty sure I’m not going to suffer for eternity as a result. And that’s grounded in my faith as a Christian, believe it or not.

Is it okay to do those things in the first place? No. They’re not good things to do, obviously, but the beauty of sin is that, in the long run, the only ones holding you accountable are yourself and the people around you. God will forgive you.

Jesus came to earth for the salvation of the broken. In the same breath as having come for the prostitutes and the murders, he has come for the poor and the sick. The gossipers and the thieves.

We’re all in this together. Whether we talked behind someone’s back or whether we burned someone’s house down. All sins are equal in God’s eyes, and even though we’re all sinners, God still loves us.

As Paul says here, Christ loves us so much that he was even willing to die for us when were still sinners.

The best news you’ll ever receive is that, even though you’re a screw up, like me, Jesus still died on a cross for you. Picture that you’re about to get hung on the cross, and Jesus goes “No, take me instead”. Because that’s what happened.

And there’s no guilt attached. Jesus did this out of grace. Now, don’t you owe Him your life?

Paul also makes an important comparison about the inherent human nature of sin. We are flawed by nature, according to Adam’s original sin. I don’t even know if I’m a Genesis Literalist, but either way, he has a point. It had to start somewhere. He says just as the sin of one man resulted in the condemnation of all people, the death of one man resulted in the salvation of all people.

ALL PEOPLE. Whether you like it or not, whether you believe it or you don’t, whether you jump and down or sit in silence, you’re saved from your sin. So get over it.

But He died for your sin so that you might die TO your sin. So that you might be reborn in Him. God has flooded our bodies with Holy Spirit, and you feel it. You know you do. That Holy Spirit is God working through you and helping you to live the life you were created to live. We’re not strong enough to do it by ourselves. And through love, you have been given the freedom to believe in it or not. You have been given freedom to save yourself … from yourself. God has already saved you from your condemnation.

All of this through grace. Now, again, don’t you owe Him your life?

Permalink Leave a Comment

Yeah

March 17, 2009 at 4:40 am (1)

This basically says it all
desensitization

Permalink 4 Comments

They Call Her Love

March 12, 2009 at 5:17 pm (1)

I’ve had this image stuck in my head all day.
Alone
I can’t get it out its stuck there.

I see God’s Love in real life so much. Every day.

I see this unfailing love that’s being given to me, even though I don’t deserve it. And sometimes I can’t even believe it, because I can’t believe that the people I love need me just as much as I need them, because that love is just so big and so much and so often that there’s just no way that we could possibly be on the same page about it. And sometimes I get stuck in that, and then I realize that they really do love me, and cry when I hurt them, and it makes me cry, and fall to my knees, and then I realize that they’re standing there to lift me up off of my knees, even though I’m not worthy of that at all. And they hold me and love me forever.

I see all of these things with my girlfriend all the time. Every day, in fact.

And this is the image I can’t get out of my head.

I can screw up so horribly and fall flat on my face in front of the cross. I fall to my knees and weep and pound my chest.

And suddenly the cross just disappears and Christ grabs my under my arms, picks me up, and just holds me. He bear hugs me, man. And I push Him away and struggle and fight, and he just refuses to let go until all the pain is gone. And he tells me he loves me through a face covered in tears.

The image is of me falling to my knees in worship and realization of my pain and unworthiness, and of a God who lifts me to my feet and says, weeping … “Well, you’re good enough for me.”

Anyway, I’ve been on the edge of tears all day because of it. I just can’t get that image out of my head. It didn’t come from anywhere either. Other than from God. That’s the only explanation there is. God is just saying “Hey Sash. I love You. Just so you know.” And that alone is overwhelming.

I need to go play my guitar. I feel amazing.

Hey … Check out the song She Is Love by Parachute VA.

Permalink Leave a Comment

The Answer

March 11, 2009 at 8:08 pm (1)

We’re the body of Christ. Am I right?

I think God answers prayers I really do.Love I don’t think we even need to speak them. I think we just need to admit them to ourselves. I think God gives us what we need. I think if we pray selflessly and honestly, those prayers will be answered. Which most likely explains my lacking in the pony department.

I’m talking about the things that no people should go without. My God is a God that brings people out of slavery. Who gives people the unconditional expression of love they so deserve. We can even take our share of the inheritance, turn our backs on Him, and run away to far away lands of sex and secrets, and when we realize what we’ve done wrong, we can walk right back through the door to a feast in our honour, because my God is a God that rejoices in all His children. Its amazing, isn’t it? That despite the pain we’ve caused Him, despite the pain we’ve caused ourselves, despite the pain we’ve caused the people around us, despite the time we’ve wasted … God is always working through us if we choose to let Him.

This book has a few stories that really resonated with me. I know “resonated” is pretty vague, but has to be, because I don’t really know WHAT the did to my heart, but they did something.

One of the stories was about a little girl named Connie. Connie attended a church, but always felt like she was more of a witness to faith than a participant of it. She felt this way because she had a very hard time reading, and her words were not clear at all when she spoke. There came a time, though, when she finally mustered up enough courage to ask the pastor if she would be allowed to read scripture in the church. Of course, the pastor said yes.

When the time came, Connie inched up to the front of the Church, and took a few uncomfortable steps up to the front of the church, because one leg was shorter than the other and it was hard for her to walk so far. The congregations discomfort began to build as the did their best not to notice the plethora of things that were “wrong” with Connie. Her eyes, her neck, her legs … and then she began to read.

She barely made it through, and the congregation’s silence was masking their outrage. The elders of the church called the pastor to an emergency meeting, simply to tell him that the church is no place for “incompetence”.

Can I be totally honest now? They lied. It is. Frankly, I think the church is no place for too much competence.

Connie had been praying for so long for a connection. She wanted so badly to be a friend of God, and she didn’t know she only needed to realize that she already was. Thank God that Connie didn’t notice the congregation’s judgement.

Connie left the altar with a look of absolute joy and love and Godliness on her face. Her pastor had answered her prayer.

This story hit me even harder.

Darryl helped out a lot at the church with the youth group. He was just that kind of a guy. The youth group went every month to an old folks home to host a worship service for them, but Darryl never went. He had an understandable phobia of old folks homes (they CAN be a little bit overwhelming). He finally agreed to come and help out, as long as he didn’t have to be part of the program.

He sat at the back between two people in wheel chairs. When it was time to leave, he wanted to make a quick getaway, but something changed his mind. Someone grabbed his hand, and held on. Darryl looked over to see a frail old man holding his hand. The man’s face held no expression, and his mouth hung open in exhaustion from his life.

Darryl found that he didn’t want to leave. Everyone else was leaving though, so he said to the old man “I’m really sorry… but I have to go. I’ll be back though. I promise. I love you”

He didn’t really know where that last part came from. He didn’t know why he said it, but he meant it. He came back for months and months, eventually learning that the man’s name was Oliver Leak. Darryl held Oliver’s hand every month. One month though, Oliver didn’t come out to the service, so Darryl asked if he was okay. He was brought to Oliver’s room to find him lying in his bed, unable to move after suffering from a number of strokes. Darryl held his hand, and got no response. Darryl Wept.

He said… I’m sorry Oliver. I have to leave no. And Oliver squeezed his hand.

At that point Darryl was obviously uncontrollable as he walked towards the door in tears, and he almost bumped into a young woman waiting outside the door.

The girl spoke to him.

“I’m Oliver’s granddaughter. The nurses told me you’ve been coming to see him every month. The doctor’s said he’s too tired to talk, but he talked to me a couple of times. One time, he told me that when he dies to say goodbye to Jesus for him. I told him that he didn’t have to say goodbye to Jesus because he was going to be with Him now. And he said he knows that, but that Jesus has been coming to visit him every month for almost a year, and he might not know he’s gone.”

Love

There’s a certain kind of faith growing inside of me, and it looks a lot like Oliver’s.

Oliver was so aware and convinced of Christ’s presence on earth today, and of Christ’s love for him today, that he was scared to die.

Because he didn’t want to leave Jesus behind.

Christ is here. In you and me, and we are his body to do his work. You stop wondering why he said “You will do even greater things than I”, and you start wondering when you can get started doing them.

I’m reading this book.

Its called Messy Spirituality and its by the late Michael Yaconelli.

I’m taking the year off next year from school, so to start, I can’t even tell you how badly I needed to hear from this guy.

This profoundly intelligent man was in ministry for over 40 years, both as a pastor and a youth pastor, he wrote this fantastic book, along with a couple others, and he’s sold out on Christ in a way that you can just see in a person and admire. And my favourite part … he doesn’t have a degree. In anything. At all. He would soooo never get a job in a united church. Which in itself is a reason that he’s wicked cool. I can say that because I work at a united church.

I’ve been struggling so much lately with being in a school, and whether I see it as an obligation or if I have a choice to be there. Only recently have I realized that there are plenty of ways for me to sustain a living in this world, and I certainly don’t need a bachelor of music degree to get it done. More importantly, a person is worth more than any degree they have or don’t have. I’ve realized, as obvious as it seems, that I don’t need a degree for my parents or my friends to love me. I don’t need a degree for Jesus to love me. I’ll probably get one, but who cares.

My purpose. A degree? No. A musician? No. I know something now. Its all about Jesus. Live it. Love it. Do it. Use whatever passions and talents and gifts you have. Its all we were born to do. Nothing else matters.

Permalink Leave a Comment

We’re in Rome

March 4, 2009 at 6:15 pm (1) ()

3

The things Jesus taught to live by are obviously profound in more ways than anyone could figure out in a life time … but I think Paul is saying that they’re not necessarily the whole point. I sometimes distance myself from the actual person of Christ. The Jesus that is alive and moving in the world today. And that’s important because we need Him here now or else we’re nothing. We’re just living, not filled with life. Denying that Jesus is living inside of us is denying what it means to be human.

We know that righteousness … anything we do that is right … can only be upheld by faith, because the only things that we do right … come directly from God, so we have to believe in Him for that to be true. It is God’s righteousness within us. We have learned that righteousness comes out of faith, so does God’s righteousness come from faith as well?

In this chapter, Paul starts talking about “God’s Faithfulness” as something that is very real. So what does God place His faith in?

When we are shaken in our faith, when we lose site of God working through us in our lives, do we lose God entirely? 

I think maybe instead of believing that our road to righteousness starts with our faith in God … maybe it starts with God’s faith in us to believe in Him.

Have you ever been asked to prove that God exists? It just occurred to me that no one has actually just … asked me that question. I think its maybe because everyone knows that I can’t. No one can. But it doesn’t matter because you feel it like you feel Love. There’s no way of proving love exists the way I understand that it does … but I know it does. That’s how I know God is real. And not just a figment of my imagination. I feel Him.

God’s Love is a very real example of His faith in us. And this is what a lot of people don’t really get about love.

God, in all his infinite power, in all his infinite wisdom and justice and mercy … why doesn’t he just make every one Love Him? Why doesn’t he just reach into the world and fix it? Wouldn’t that just solve everything?

The truth is, and we know this about love, is that it can’t be forced. It can never be forced. If its forced, it isn’t love. And faith is putting the ball in the other person’s court. When I told my girlfriend that I love her for the first time, I left it up to her. The beautiful part is that I wouldn’t have it any other way. Ever. For the rest of my life.

There is no greater gift, there is no greater expression of God’s love, than forgiving us our sins by punishing Himself, and then putting His faith in us that we might choose to believe in Him. That is the essence of God’s Love. Jesus was murdered because He loves us so much, and He wants us to love Him in return. 

So when Paul goes on to talk about the Law of the old testament, it makes sense that he would tell us that abiding by the law does not make us righteous. Being aware of the Law only makes us aware of our sin, which we are forgiven of.

It is not our faith in the law that saves us, it is our faith in God, but the glorious gift of it is that God has put the ball in our court. He’s given us, in His faith, the most undeniable and incomparable expression of love, and now its up to us to put our faith in His existence, along with everything that implies.

It starts to dawn on you … How could you not believe?

And this doesn’t mean that we just forget about the law. Jesus told us that we should live out every pen stroke of the law until heaven and earth disappear. Jesus shows us how to live, and that it is the best life. The most heartbreakingly beautiful life that we could possibly live. But in Romans, we read that it wasn’t His teachings that saved us from our sin. The same way rabbinical law makes us aware of our sin, the extended law of Jesus Christ does the same. The thing that DOES save us from ourselves is our own belief in His presence. Believing that He lived, and that He was God.

There is only one God that is lord of everyone. Whether we follow the law or not, He is our God. And He loves us with all that He is. Which is everything. God is waiting for us. God wants us to love Him so badly. And the only way that we can love God, is if God leaves it up to us. Which He has. I choose Him.

Permalink 1 Comment

Speak

February 25, 2009 at 4:50 pm (1)

No? Okay. God.

I don’t know what to do. I need you, as I’ve always needed you, and I’m craving you as I’ve always craved you.

Thank you so much for blessing my life. I have so many options and I have so many open doors when so many people have no place to go. Thank you for giving me the gifts you given me, around and within me.

God, thank you for the gift of your grace … of your willingness to reach out your hand to me, no matter how many times I trip and fall flat on my face.

I think I need to ask you for your hand again, because its all I have.

I’m in a slump. I can’t find the wisdom within myself to know what it is that you want me to be doing. I wonder to myself why all I do during the day is sit in starbucks and read the Bible and write about it, but really I know. Its because I’m looking for you to just say it. Exactly what I need to hear to pull me in the right direction.

I don’t know anything. Am I going to be a teacher? Am I going to be a worship leader? Am I going to be a musician? Am I going to open up shop? Am I going to be in school next year? Am I going to be working at Starbucks? Am I going to be at all?

Am I going?

God I need you so badly to speak to me. I feel your love so clearly, when I read and when I play and when I listen.

I don’t even know if I’m doing anything right. Please God, speak to me through the people around me, or through the words I read and write, or through the notes I play. Help me to live in humble recognition of you in everything. Break my heart for what breaks yours so I can be your hands in the world to help mend it.

And God … Help me. Speak to me. Speak to me in any way you see fit. If its what you want for me, show me the road. Its all I think about right now.

Amen

Permalink Leave a Comment

Do As The Romans Do … ?

February 23, 2009 at 5:59 pm (1) ()

2
Don’t judge people! That’s it. That’s the whole chapter.

Just kidding. I feel like we do that too much. Read something and recite in our heads what we’ve been told it means since Sunday school. And just move on to the next section, which probably says something like… Love your neighbour! The Bible takes like 15 minutes to read. But really it doesn’t.

I unfortunately am drawn to consider the culture we live in as experiencing the same problems that the Romans are facing. I am, anyways. I’m experiencing those problems. I’ve never been Jewish… I only recently started really calling myself a Christian… I’m a Christian born of a massive, capitalist, super – power empire, and as a result I’m constantly being drawn back into the things that it represents. Money. Image. Living in this world as a Christian is like walking on thin ice with the life guard really close by all the time. It sucks a lot to fall in because its really cold and really bad for you, but the Life Guard is always going to save me from it as long as I call for help.

So… “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.” That’s Romans 2:1.

Judging people is so… over said. So what does it actually mean? Its telling me not to judge people because I do. This one just hit me right when I read it. Its saying to ME…

YOU who does things wrong all the time…. as small as they sometimes seem to you…. you look down on those that do things wrong when they seem worse than the things you do. But here’s the deal. You are not better than the killer. You are not better than the malicious dictator.Cold Or the porn star. Or the crooked politician. And you’re no better, because yesterday, you let yourself get upset over someone that bumped into you at the fish market while you were on a vacation that would cost anyone else thousands and thousands of dollars. The little things start to carry more weight when they’re right in your face. But the truth is, they carry just as much weight as anything else. Because the killer has a daughter who loves him and who he loves back more than anything. And the malicious dictator was beaten by his Father, and now he feels in charge because he doesn’t know any other way. And the porn star is stunningly beautiful even when she doesn’t wear thick camera make-up, but no one has ever seen her for anything else since she hit puberty, so its all she really knows. And the crooked politician thinks that what he’s doing is going to save his family from danger. And he would die for them. Like Jesus died for you.

If Jesus can die for them, than you can die for them. You should be able to die for them.

I guess that all applies directly to me. Would I die to save Hitler from himself?

So what is repentance? Is it saying I’m sorry? Or is it changing? Is it both? Yeah probably. Apologies are utterly useless without fixing the problem afterwards, we should know that by now. And changing your ways is the idea, but you can attempt to do that without admitting that Christ is at all God. And we’re not strong enough to do this thing without Christ. Without Christ, we’ll fall back into the same patterns. Luckily, we have Him whether we want Him or not.

Out of evil comes distress. Out of all the poor choices, comes the crap. That’s just the way the world works. The water is cold. God doesn’t even get angry that he has to keep reaching out His hand. That’s just what he does. He’s been watching us walking over that ice for a while now, and he’s been yelling at us not to, but we’re dumb.

The world is covered in thin ice, and we’re constantly going to be walking on it. And since we’re all walking on it, its bound to break, whether we’re jumping up and down or delicately tip toeing from place to place. Its just a matter of when. And when we’re in, we can keep swimming around in the crappy situation we’ve created for ourselves, or we can try every day to make the right choice and when God asks “do you trust me?” … we can say yes. And He’ll reach out His hand, and he can pull us to shore. The best part is, God can reach out His hand to us… and what does that mean?

He’s here! He’s here with us right now! That’s amazing! And all we have is His hand. We have to have faith in Christ Himself, not just what he taught. We absolutely have to. I have to believe that what we’re doing when we choose to live this way is right, but I also have to believe that God is here right now to pull me out, because I’m not strong enough by myself. And He is. He is here. I know that now.

Thank you, God. Amen.

Permalink Leave a Comment

When In Rome

February 13, 2009 at 6:57 pm (1) ()

Mammon
1
The Faith of the Romans is being reported all over the world, which is kind of cool, because they’re Romans, and they certainly did not love God before Christ. They loved Caeser. But now … here they are.

Paul really wants to go visit the Romans. He wants the Romans to see his faith, and he wants to see there’s, and he wants to learn from each other. With God as his witness, they are in his prayers all the time. He loves them. Beautiful. He wants to live in a community of communities with… Romans. And he openly admits that he has a lot to learn about faith in Christ from them.

Paul seems to show a particular fascination with what he is referring to right now as Gentiles. These Gentiles are people who are showing remarkable faith in Christ, but were not Jewish before, and as a result they have next to no understanding of levitical law. So he’s not saying the Romans are gentiles because they don’t have faith. They actually have a lot of faith, and he can learn from them. And he says the Righteous will live by faith. So what you need to be righteous is to be faithful to Christ, and HIS righteousness can then be lived in your life.

However, Paul goes on to talk about God and how He makes it clear to people what is right and what is wrong, and still some people ignore it, even though they know it. He’s speaking directly about creating idols and worshipping them still.

For me, worshipping idols means worshipping what each idol represents, not the figures themselves. Example, Mammon is greed and riches and selfishness. Not a little gremlin lookin dude with a brown sack of cash.

These idols they’re worshipping are Pagan gods. Things like … money and sex and weather and all the crazy stuff people worship as gods. By worshipping the things they represent, and they give in to them. Sex. Money. Things that distance them from the kingdom of God. Paul says they exchanged the Truth of God for the Lie of these idols. The Truth being that the promises God makes can actually be delivered on. Lust and Money promise us happiness that they can’t deliver.

Paul says that when the Romans acknowledge the existence of God but push him away in their actions, God doesn’t abandon them … he’s given them the choice, and when they choose the other, he hands them off.

God even has a hand in the action that we take when we ignore him.


This is now the section of Romans that talks about homosexuality, and in context it makes a lot of sense. Its referring to some of the Romans not as being in LOVE with the same sex, but as being inflamed with Lust for one another. Lustful sex is just another idol for people to worship. That’s all.

Paul is being very clear about something in this Chapter. He’s saying one of the worst things you can do to YOURSELF, is to know God but ignore him. When we decide to take the right path, God helps us to live in recognition that we are part of the kingdom of God and we can live for everything that means. If we decide not to, then God hands us over to the lifestyle we choose, including all the circumstances that come out of it. This is why faith in Christ is so important, because anything that is true and happy and good comes from Him …. and Christ has faith in us to believe Him.

Its not one of the worst things you can do to God. Nothing you can do to God will make him any less than he already is. We don’t have that kind of power. He’s always doing this for us.

God is both Holy … and here with us. In us. To let him work through us is a prayer we should all pray.

I’m not saying its easy. I don’t understand any of it really. And that we don’t get distracted by the world and that we don’t forget all about the spirit living inside of us. Its hard every day. But lets try together.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Thank you for Love

January 30, 2009 at 5:19 pm (1)

The stuff in cool slanty letters was part of a message to a wonderful friend.

Hey I just wanted to say thanks again for welcoming me so much in that discussion last night it was great. Its just so wonderful that I’ve found this new group of people that love Christ. Its so great. Thank you so much for knowing me and stuff.

Also, I thought of an issue I’ve been dealing with that kind of reminds me a little bit of what we were talking about last night, and our conversation last night helped me to resolve it for myself a little bit.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what’s going on at my church, because the place is falling apart, and its kind of been left up to just a few of us to fix it. We’re going to actually be taking over the first service, and its going to start looking a whole lot different. The way it is now is going to die, and we’re going to start something completely new. We’re sort of starting a completely new church. And we’re all really scared.

So I’ve been thinking a lot about what a Church is actually supposed to look like. So I’ve been reading Acts a lot and that sort of thing. And I realized that lately, I’ve been trying really hard to get myself in a mindset of … the only thing that matters with the people of the congregation is the love they share for Christ, and recognition that Christ loves each one of them more than they can even imagine, and that he is the way the truth and the light.

The only problem has been that I had started to lose sight of the fact that I’m one of those people. That Christ loves me no matter what my Church looks like. And I needed so badly for someone to remind of that.

Whether our Church stays at 30 people every service or it grows to 3000, it doesn’t matter. And it doesn’t matter if I am a worship leader some day. Those things aren’t what makes me who I am.

I am Loved by Christ. And that’s so hard to believe sometimes.

Christ’s love is not a gift I can give to people. The only thing I can do is try to open their eyes the gift they’ve already been given.

God, help to live a missional life. Help me to truly just love people because they exist. Not because I want them to come to my church. Help me to see the people that need your love the most, not just the people I bump in to. Help me to see the people that don’t see you.

Jesus, flood me with everything it means to live like you. I might not be ready to handle everything all at once, most people aren’t for that ever. But tell me what I need to hear, show me what I need to see, give me what I need the most, even If I don’t think I want it.

And give me the courage to deal with that.

Permalink 1 Comment

Awareness

January 29, 2009 at 5:32 pm (1)

I think people like raising awareness too much.

Most people are aware of the shit that goes down in the world.

Raising awareness seems like it just helps people to feel like they’re doing something, when really they’re just hoping that someone else will suddenly become aware of the problem and want to do something about it instead of them.

… he says, from the comfort of his life.

Permalink Leave a Comment

In the Beginning

January 23, 2009 at 7:50 am (1) ()

I don’t know what to think of Genesis. Its poetry. That’s fact. And a lot of is … poetic story telling. Whether it happened or not, literally, I don’t know. But what I do know is that God is trying to speak to his children through it, whatever it is. That’s important. And here I am trying to respond. As if I’m worthy of a story this magical. Which I’m not. Not even close.

Chapter 1 – The Stand

The spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

The earth was formless and empty. There were waters, though.

But even the waters were dark and empty.

I love picturing that. Yes everything is covered by this fluidity of blackness. But the beautiful thing is… God is there. He’s actually there.

Hovering.

Maybe He is preparing for what is about to happen next. What could that thought process look like to one of us. Maybe He has no need at all to prepare. Hah. Even better.

Either way. Its heart breakingly beautiful.

He spoke … and the world was set into motion.

God made light, and he named it. And separated that light from the dark that was there before. And the light was day and the dark was night.

The First Day. A day of darkness and light. A day of opposites, a day of things of things being pulled apart and put together, and its the first day.

Ever.

We’re talking about the creation of everything here.

All Things.

And God is Hovering over top of that.

God is hovering over top of forever. That gives me chills.

Then He separates things some more. Again, He pulls things apart and puts them together. He decides to break the ever expansive water apart, but out of ashes rises one of God’s most beautiful gifts … the sky. And then he breaks the seas that remain again, and out of that, comes land, and then in the same breath and on the same day creates vegetation, which, again by the grace God, can take care of itself, because they create seeds according to their kind.

All of this breaking apart and separation.

Out of the ashes, rises the world we humbly live in.

I’ve always been slightly amused by the fact that when you have a glowstick, you do your best to snap it in half, only to have it to light your way.

This happens a lot in the Bible.

But we’ll get there. Its nice to know it starts right from the beginning though. Its like God is trying to tell me that certain things have to fall for other things to rise.

The darkness needs to be pulled away in order for there to be light.

The water needs to be pulled away in order for there to be land.

The seeds need to fall in order for the tree to grow.

What does this mean for me?

What needs to die in order for me to live?

I know. I know what needs to die.

God, deliver me from evil.

Give me the courage to do this. This life you’ve given me. Give me the courage to live it.

Permalink Leave a Comment

James

January 17, 2009 at 11:32 pm (1)


James. I got your letter.

Greetings to you as well, its wonderful to hear from you.

God … I suppose the first thing I should do is thank you, because you said some things I personally really needed to hear. You wouldn’t believe some of the issues I’ve been fighting with. Well, honestly I’m sure you WOULD believe some of the issues I’ve been fighting with, but that doesn’t make them any less shitty for me. These … inwards fights though. They’ve led me astray so many times. And sometimes I feel forgotten. Even though I “know” I’m not, I still feel like I am.

Why did I ever doubt? Why did I ever feel like I could resist temptation by myself? Thanks.

I have a story for you. The letter reminded me. I was driving the other day and flipped a guy off because he almost killed three families on his way to turn left from the right turning lane. I certainly felt justified at the time. Then I realized how angry I stayed for the remainder of the drive.

I was driving the other day and some lady went first at the stop sign when it was CLEARLY my turn (I mean come on. Its not a difficult thing to grasp.)  I was mad, but then I realized how stupid that was, because I’ve done the same thing a hundred times completely accidentally, and when someone gave me a dirty look for it I said out loud in the car by myself “Relax!!! It was an accident!!”. So, instead of flipping the lady off like I did last time, I took a deep breath and kept going. I would like to say I felt satisfied in my retaliation, but I don’t remember, because I forgot about it until just now. I think I forgot about the confrontation before I had even gotten home. It was like it had never happened.

Since then, however, I’ve honked my horn at someone who cut me off. And I was speeding a lot. This perseverance thing is hard, man. But thank you for reminding me that its something God always provides if you ask.

I keep forgetting to stop reading sometimes. To get up off my futon and actually walk outside for long to allow something to piss me off. Or to walk through the mall long enough for something to tempt me. How can I ever resist temptation if I’m never tempted.

You can’t get buff without working out.

To which the world replied… “RIGHT. I so totally forgot that.”

Taking the high road isn’t just… avoiding the low road. If you wanted to just do that, you could stop at the fork and turn around (which would have been even MORE problematic at the stop sign).

James, you’re right. I need to start living in the world more. And I think you’re also right in saying that I also need to remember that God is in that world. Even though things are shitty all over the place (and I could make a list of ways it is, but I’m sure you could think of a few yourself), there are things in the world that are BEAUTIFUL. Capital letters, even.

I just need that little reminder. So thanks. I’ll read the rest of your letter now.

     Sincerely, 

     The Church.

Permalink Leave a Comment

The Silver Lining

January 16, 2009 at 4:12 pm (1)


WARNING: This piece may seem pretty depressing at first, but I promise it gets uplifting somewhere farther in. This is my attempt to find the silver lining.

Most people are in comfortable recognition of the fact that, in a lot of ways, the world is kind of messed up. We walk by people on the side of the road and we’re scared by their tattered jackets, and we fail to register that somebody somewhere loves them. We see bombs blowing up on the news, but its from a lot farther away than how we see it in the movies. We watch planes fly into buildings out of hate and think its wrong, and then we throw things at them out hate and think its right. We see a person’s blood on the floor of the Taj Mahal Hotel, and we don’t recognize that person as somebody’s son. Or daughter. Or husband or wife. Or whatever.

About 6 months ago, the fact that I’m so comfortable in my heated home and in my expensive clothes really started to make me … uncomfortable.

When comfortable gets uncomfortable, you need to rethink how you’re approaching comfortable.

This discomfort, however, was not brought on by a sudden realization that independence is overrated and that we all need each other. That did come, but it came later.

First, since I’m only human, I had to give the pain a face. I had to name it and make it my own, or I knew I was never going to fully understand it.

So … I did my best. I made friends with a couple of people that come to my church for the hospitality meal, a place for feeding people that can’t afford to feed themselves. One girl was named… Jane, and she was undeniably happy. I learned that she was 17, that she was living on the street, and that she came to the meal alone. That last part shocked me a little bit, simply because I thought for sure that she must have known the people she was sitting with. There was so much love in the group. She seemed shocked by the fact that someone like me wanted to talk to her.

… she seemed shocked by the fact that someone like me wanted to talk to her.

There was another older guy that came by himself as well. Again, the love radiating from the people around him would have advised otherwise, but I had already been wrong once that night, so I wasn’t shocked. I talked to him for just long enough to find out that he used to attend the church, but left because he had a hard time meeting people he could relate too. When I asked him his name, he responded with “…Rick. See … all you had to was ask.” As though no one like me had ever bothered to ask him his name.

…no one like me had ever even bothered to ask him his name.

I went home and I cried that night, because I realized that the people that I love most in the world, my family and my friends, could easily be experiencing the same heart break as John or Pam. I realized that I love Rick and Jane as though they were my family … but they were starving, and I was over fed. I felt like my family was freezing, because I have three jackets … and neither of them even have one. 

But there’s something beautiful in the happiness that they had with each other, and I realized that they were sharing everything with each other… so they couldn’t help but love each other. I spent some time thinking about what I could do. I thought I could just start giving things away to people that needed them. I tried really hard to be happy. I thought it would just be that easy.

I’m not going to lie to you though … I wasn’t. And it isn’t. Not because I was losing all my stuff though. I didn’t care so much for that.

It was because I felt like no matter what I did, I wasn’t making a difference.

Okay. This is where it starts to get slightly more uplifting. But don’t just start here or it won’t make sense.

Its important to know that I have basically nothing wrong with my life at all. My parents are together and they love each other dearly. My only brother is my best friend. My girlfriend loves me with all of her heart, and I love her too. I go to a great school, I’m getting a great education, I have a great job, and I have amazing friends. I have nothing to be unhappy about it, so as a result, I felt really guilty. I’ve always felt like when people can’t fend for themselves, the responsibility of helping falls on those who can. And I still think that.

Sitting in the car with a friend… I lost it. I got really mad at myself because I felt like the majority of the world was unhappy, and I couldn’t do anything about it.

Then I had what I like to refer to as an epiphany.

My friend started crying. A lot. And she doesn’t cry so often, unless its in sad movies.

I thought she was crying because she was as upset as I was about the world. Then she told me she couldn’t even explain to me how happy she was to know me.

My world flipped upside-down right then and there.

I realized that all the tiny, seemingly insignificant things that we do are important. We might actually have the ability to make a difference in someone’s life, just by telling them that they mean something to you … and meaning it. When I realized this, my body filled with a kind of Joy that I had never experienced before in my whole life.

This is what I want you to think about.

Consider the kind of person you are, and consider the kind of person you want to be. 

There’s a certain point when … even though the world is unhappy, and even though you’re trying to do something about it … you’ll realize you won’t be able to fix it by yourself. We’re all in this together, and we should never stop trying, but even though we’re not perfect, we have the ability to love unconditionally through God, and that’s more important that anything.

Just remember that whoever you are, if you feel like nobody loves you … you’re wrong. 

Because you are loved. And sometimes that’s all you need to hear.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Welcome!

January 16, 2009 at 6:39 am (1)

Hi I’m Alex. This is where I write words.

I’m a music student. I sing. But I realized recently that as much as I love singing, I don’t want to be an Opera singer. Ever. So I don’t know why I’m studying it. I was originally too embarrassed to do anything about it, because I didn’t want to make anybody sad, like my parents, but instead of worrying myself with that, I decided to do what I thought was best for me to do. Lo and behold, my parents love me and supported me in my decision.

Anything I write in here will be a direct reflection of what I’m thinking at the moment I’m writing.

To which the world replied… obviously.

But I feel like that is important to say because none of us are perfect and we’re battling with things every day, so instead of me telling you that this collection of words is a final statement on what I believe to be final and true in the world… I’m going to say that this collection of words is simply a record of wars between the devil and God that are raging inside me every day.

Hopefully, someone will relate to me and be able to help me. Or hopefully you’ll just find the things I have to talk about interesting. Either way, I hope this exercise and experiment in honesty will be… good. For lack of a better adjective.

So Welcome! Come and be happy and sad with me.

Permalink 2 Comments