26 noviembre 2006

"You died for all not just for me"

self-aware apologia: the problem with blog-neglect is that it does not cure my verbosity. i'm still verbose (especially in this educational little spiritual boot-camp i've been in lately), i just have it all repressed and pent up and whatnot. prepare to be lambasted by words....


thought one: of definitions

IGNORANCE: not knowing something you should know
STUPIDITY: not caring that you don't know something you should know; being unwilling to learn
INTELLIGENCE: grasping and utilizing relevant knowledge
WISDOM: knowing when/ how to use intelligence and other virtues to produce good


thought two:

You are not here to be loved, said my understanding to me. Where'd you get THAT?

You are here to love.
you are here to love.
But, really, y
ou are here to love.

We are fed by the love of God- it streams from the hills, it descends to the plains- but God condemn the ignorance that believes all that grace stops with us. All the love we receive from the Father, all the love others so painstakingly show us- to TEACH us, to EMPOWER us, to ENERGIZE us into loving others.

Oh, that my words be not trite!

Which others do we love? Well, the beloved brethren. For one. Once the flesh is silenced even just a little, this is easy. Fun, beautiful. Enlightening. Truth: sometimes the brethren can be pains, but that's a relief. We do get to sprinkle in a bit of agape with our reactionary phileo for these increasingly-blatant image-bearers of God.

So yes, the fervent affection takes effort on occasion, but unfortunately, we are way too often reciprocated for our love to "count." We must search for some analogy a bit more akin to the God/us ironic agape by which we live.

Others... the other... what if you treated every person you met tomorrow (today!) as if you loved them? No... really loved them. As if you cared more about them than any others. To EACH one...

As if they were the One. As if you wanted to gain their love. (No, that's not it, exactly, but the concept... the motivation!)

Would the word "woo" be too extreme? If you tried to woo the next 5 persons you met... (not to yourself, blockhead... not to yourself..!)

...because, if we are to love as Christ has loved us, did He not undeniably, unforgettable, un-get-over-ably woo us?! Was He not (is He not perpetually) achingly sweet to us? Looking for ways, as it were, to "impress" us, to "convince," to "persuade" us to repentance, to discipleship?

Am I making the Almighty too mushy? Excuse my confines of words...

Should I have emphasized that this is NOT TO BE (CANnot be) done in the flesh? Not that of which I'm trying so hard to speak (to be literal: write). Don't go off trying to charm the world with your wretched body of death that was supposed to be crucified a long time back. (o-kay!)

But feed on Christ. ("I am the bread of life. Come to ME! My blood is drink indeed... I live because of the Father... so he who feeds on Me will live because of me...") We're not talking average life here. THIS is NOT NATURAL. this does not compute in the reality of pretty much everybody in this world. This is spiritual living... needing spiritual food. Christ is our fuel. (Keep me from blaspheme...) We are to internalize the life of the Spirit- without flesh to contain the rivers of life/love (is there a difference?) springing from God's unceasing action.

I'm too theoretical. Let me conclude this part.

Let the unfathomable Person of God consume you. And then, crucifying any hint of self-seeking, woo others with Christ. Better said, allow HIM the smile, the conversation, the sincere un-timed 5 minutes of listening

thought three: (if i make a new thought, will it seem like i'm not writing as much?)

PRACTICAL APPLICATION (i am an american!):

~do not preserve thyself. (okay, so that's not "practical" per se, but stop being lazy. that's a free card. you get to decide how to enact it.)

~seek subjects for purposeful love. (not projects. not objects. Persons. think about it. consider. start seeing the humans that walk in front of you.)

~fix thyself on Christ. obsess with Him. (how many times in an hour can you distract yourself with thinking about Him? memorize His words. hang on them. respond to them to His face.)

~smile. make eye-contact (holy-ly. :-D) start conversations...

~start conversations. how can you verbalize the good news of God if you can't have a decent dialogue about ANYTHING with a stranger. heaven, help! but i digress...

~take mental notes about people. remember what they told you. what they're telling you.

remember who is in their families. remember when is their birthday. remember what gets them emotional (in a good way) to talk about. talk about it.

pay attention. this is an immortal with whom you speak. what ever you have to do after this is irrelevant compared to the eternal worth of the being you have been privilaged to have speak to you. don't look around. if you need to talk to that kid who is right behind the person to whom you're speaking, God will bring him around again. (i don't believe in fate. i don't believe in chance. i trust God. don't argue with me.)

~be blatant. be obvious. (be pure and sweet.)... be affectionate. it'll surprise people like crazy.

...but be anonymous too. be sneaky. be creative. be proactive.

~collaborate. with me. with whomever you can find. my brothers, my sisters, we have 6.5+ billion souls upon whom to attribute worth.

let us occupy ourselves (ie: get busy.)

16 noviembre 2006

"Make your own sunshine."

"The Scriptures report that there is the "power of life and death" in the tongue. That is, the spoken word goes forth and does not return void.
We create or tear down with the things we say.
We shape attitudes, expectations, and situations.
We foster life or we further death.
Complaining is an expression of resentment over unmet expectations. But it is an expression that serves only to affirm our own expectations--whether they are based on faulty visions of reality or not. It is an expression that says, "I refuse to reevaluate my perspective, to reposition my gaze to a higher altitude. I am right and this is all that I will see."
But it is easy to find ourselves offended by pierced canopies. It is easy to grumble; no one complains without feeling they have justifiable reason to do so. ... But how often do we find ourselves grumpier for having vented?

What we speak further shapes what we see.


is a matter of
and our words speak


to that vision."

-thank you, Jill Carattini

14 noviembre 2006

rhetorical therapy provides perspective (see also: hebrews 12:4)

thought one: courtesy E. Eliot 11.11.06

What of the thousands who have not had the
mothers and fathers they desperately longed for
while they were growing up? Is not God calling
all whose ears are open to Him to recognize the
wounds of the world and to pour forth His love to
the lonely young man whose relationship with his
father seems to have destroyed his fitness for
manhood? Or to the expectant mother whose own
mother is far away, or indifferent, or dead, who
longs for a mother to share her joy? Whose will
be the strong shoulder of sympathy (the word
means "to suffer with") ready to bear another's
burdens?--not with the tepid sentimentality which
only weakens, but with the burning love which
gives hope and cheer and strength?

But the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith.
~1 Tim. 1:5

Amen. Selah. It is well with my soul.

07 noviembre 2006


Come, my children, and go with me
Past the parking lots, playgrounds, and auditoriums half paid-off
South, deep south, and still north of South
To where a crumpled body lies
Waters black dirt with red life.

Soak your shoulder with
Your hermanito’s tears, and tell him
His mother’s purpose-driven life
Was worth it.

Take the little one in your arms
And sing him to sleep so
He won’t realize
The loss of a Mama-breathed lullaby.

Cry with my sister-
Little one with eyes so black and bruised
On the inside;
Mingle your tears close enough to feel
The shake of her skinny frame
So full of why.

Padre nuestro, que estas en los cielos
Be Father ours, and Madre theirs, too

* * * *

We travel on
We witness more
Open your eyes
On this family tour

* * * *

Kneel; get down
To where it hurts your knees.
Hard cold concrete
On an empty stomach:
North of Parallel prayer-meeting.

Can you speak?
Maybe if you started Handel’s chorus,
You would hear a duet
(Plus the angels.)

But will my knees bend down so low?
(What if it’s dirty?)
Could I pray without shame
Beside my brother’s prostrate pleas and praise?
Could I say, “Amen,
Let Thy Will be done,”
Knowing “Thy Will” might
Spill my or his blood?

Can I understand Your servant’s soul
Counting all things loss
But gaining oh gaining Christ-
Drinking deep down together
With You
Of Your cup of sufferings:
A communion beyond grape juice?

* * * *

We travel on
We witness more
Open your eyes
On this family tour

* * * *

My sister teaches Sunday School
From within a lime-green veil
She bought with her wages
Earned forming bricks
From mud
Day after day after day.

She has no mother
She has no father
She is an Unbeliever,
A Blasphemer,
And Damned
For drinking

Living Water.

Her creed is:
I believe in God
and in His Angels
and in His Scriptures
and in His Messengers
and in The Final Day
and Resurrection after death
and I testify that there is no god but God.

No, wait...
She’s not done.


I testify that Jesus is His final Word.

Image of the invisible God
Firstborn over all Creation
Conceived of the Holy Spirit
Born of a virgin

The Son of God.

The Son of Man.

Suffered under Pontius Pilate
Was crucified
And buried

Raised after three days
Ascended into heaven
Where He sits at God’s right hand.

Even so, come Lord Jesus.

In the name of the Father,
the Son
and the Holy Spirit,

(Now, she’s done.)

* * * *

Neither bone of my bone
Nor flesh of my flesh

One body
One Spirit
One baptism

This is your brother
(Do you know him?)
Son of your father
(Do you serve Him?)

“Just and true are Your ways”
Can you say?
“Blood of the lamb”
(The what of the Lamb?!)
“The Word of their testimony”
(You mean, quite literally?!)
“For they loved not their lives unto death”
(You either?!)

They shall hunger no more
(But woe to you who are full!)
Neither thirst any more
(Blessed- they shall be filled)
Neither shall the sun burn them, nor any heat
(When one part of the Body…)

For the Lamb
(…Suffers, they whole Body suffers)
Which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them
(But woe to you who are already full!)
And shall lead them
(Blessed- they shall be filled)
Unto living fountains of waters
(Blessed- they shall be comforted)
And God shall wipe away
(But woe unto you who now laugh!)
All tears
(when one part of the Body suffers…)
From their eyes

03 noviembre 2006

so serve Him, only serve Him- He who brings the morning

thought one:

-In his book The Kingdom of God in America, H. Richard Niebuhr said,

"We want a God without wrath who took man without sin into a kingdom without justice through the ministrations of a Christ without a Cross."

His words offer much worth thinking about. With our earthly clay do we mold into our minds a God little more than a man-like dictator, concerned more with good duty than with Goodness, with simple equations rather than mind-blowing encounters, and easy homage rather than eternal truth? And wouldn't it be easy to offer this God a place in a sin-stained soul that claims it doesn't really need Him? The question soon becomes: how can we believe in a God any greater than one that can stand in the small compartments we've given Him?-

-from A Slice of Infinity (3 Nov 2006)

thought two:

In practicality, what I have found is that deciding to love people is deciding to give up a bit of possible personal holiness.

Y'all, I am holy like crazy when I don't have to talk to you (usually). I can smile and think kind thoughts toward all of humanity. By myself, I don't say arrogant things. I never laugh at things that are less than righteous. I don't have to worry about saying something unkind or sarcastic.

Of course, I can think just as sinfully solely as with others, but even that is easier to control when I am alone. I find it easier to pray. I can meditate on God more, and have more constant fellowship. The Word is more appealing. Setting my mind on things above and disregarding temporal vanities is easier.

Which I'm sure the Lord finds nice.

But I have a thought... sometimes I encounter people who maybe listen to music I wouldn't endorse, or they watch less than pious films, or say less that virtuous phrases... but they love people. People see GOD in them because their love is like God's. And I wonder... which is better: a solitary state of disinfection and piety or relationships accompanied by a bit of grubbiness?

I know everybody says, "Well it doesn't have to be that way. You should love people AND be holy."

Well, yeah.

But PRACTICALLY, my friends, practically. Obviously, I do not intend an allowance for sin everever. Ones allegience is first and foremost to the God that redeemed him. BUT... assuming one IS desiring holiness and pressing on for it, I would advocate immersion with people. Because it will bring out a lot of unsavory elements of our personality or responses, but CHRIST WILL CONTINUE to work on you... and holiness, of course, is more than asceticism; it's the proactivity of Christ-likeness as well.

I think of a test where you might get all of one objective correct, but leave all the other objective blank versus getting 75% on both.... Maybe the holiness process will seem to take longer, might outright be delayed, but we gotta love, yall... really really. This is our COMMANDMENT.

thought three:
On the subject of sociability, can I just put in an anti-adolescence plug? How healthy would I be if I wasn't trying to undo the bad habits I've picked up since I hit puberty...

I hate but I hate but I hate the preoccupied self-consciousness that our culture incites, as I am quite sure I have ranted on about before. The worst thing is that self-iness is a hard habit to break. But the first step to recovery is identification, right? (or somesuch...)

The past year has been a delightful, albeit occasionally painful, time of getting over myself. I'm still working on it (mejor dicho, so is God), but I am amazed at how much mind over matter/flesh it takes just to demonstrate small acts of humanity.

Do I exaggerate?

I remember, after meditating on this subject for oh-i-dunno-about-six-months before going to Peru, I was resolved to amend my ways. [mend my ways? remend my ways? transcend my ways?]

So, here I am in the house in Huanuco a few weeks after arriving, and I look around my empty room (pre-girls-move-in). I hear voices in the living room. I want to be one of those voices in the living room. But I can't because, well, I'm in my room. I look at my journal. I hear a laugh. I become resolute.

I pick up that journal, I open the door, I march myself to that airy, exquisite living room. I smile and sit on the couch. I pick up my journal and begin to write. Talk swirls around me. I refuse to acknowledge myself or do any sort of third person auto-psycho-analysis.

It's a start. Humanity's a journey, not a destination. (Send any postmodern phases you find to me; I collect them.)

01 noviembre 2006

wednesdays are like pineapples...

thought one:

Okay, so we're doing a Bible lesson with some 1-3rd graders, and one of the leaders opens with prayer.

The little ones are doing pretty well, more or less quiet. Then he says something like "Thank You for the chance to be with these wonderful kids," and the 'wonderful kids' just lose it, laughing their little rotten heads off.

Did I mention I like kids?

thought two: the prefunctory 'thanks' and indebted worship

I started noticing something a little bit ago that rather disturbed me:

I say "thank you" to everything.

At the end of the e-mail, if I'm not familiar enough with someone to bless that person, I'll throw a "thank you" in so my name doesn't look so skimpy at the bottom. When the librarian hands me books: automatic "thank you." When I get my test back from my teacher: "Thank you."

etc etc etc

So, you say, your Mama raised you well.

Hmmm, so yes, it's a social nicety, but what disturbs me is that I rarely feel gratitude when I say "thank you;" I'm just glad I'm saying the right thing and hoping I leave a good impression (to be perfectly, unself-preservingly honest!)

Well, I'm mulling over this. How does one cultivate gratitude? There is a sense wherein I find it nice that certain things are the way they are, but that is quite dissimilar to gratitude, whose definition I have not yet formulated.

But on an interesting parallel:

The essentiality of gratitude in worship.

Humility, of course, is essential. And gratitude, the indebtedness, the SUBJECTIVE sense of wow... so much...! for me...?! is great for the cultivation of aforementioned humility. and with gratitude (amazed appreciation) comes enthusiasm. and God-enthusiasts can do God-pleasing things like a) evangelism, b) ministry c) effective prayer.

maybe more to come?

thought three:
just had one of the most interesting leadership in history classes... we were discussing HERO/ FREEDOM FIGHTER vs. TERRORIST definitions.

Vedy cool.

Now, the definition of a terrorist was simple: ideological motivation + violence on innocents + intent of terror.

And distinguishing between a hero and a terrorist was somehow easy... but defining a hero... and giving examples throughout history of people we heroize was difficult. (I have many heroes History does not know.)

I'll be thinking on it. Input is precious, as always.

thought four:
read axegrinder's this

When travelling through a less-than-bourgeois neighborhood, you know you're okay as long as you can find potted plants, flowers, or mowed lawns. But when they are not...