28 noviembre 2008

so great a cloud of witnesses...

thought one:

The Almighty receives the worship of martyrs... breathing and otherwise. What on earth am i going to say to Him?!

thought two: on "pacifism"

Christian's obligation to loyalty to God far up and above "fatherland" (patria) or any handkerchief of dirt. i only have 1 life to live and 1 death to die. why for the USA? i admire people of principle, maybe, but my heart feels regret to think of any of my hermanitos spilling their blood for stars and stripes when they could easily be martyrs for a Kingdom which can never be shaken (nor sold out, nor compromised, nor commercialized) if they really wanted to. but Christian martyrs are to die hoping, after living a life of martyrdom. apparently IEDs are more gratifying to the male ego... errr, not "ego," no, not that. "healthy male need for conquest and destruction." (i could almost [sic] that.)

but even as i write, i've got some southern brothers praying they won't shed blood as they try to right some wrongs done to women and unclaimed children. you want violence and satisfaction in executing justice? have i got the supra-state for you...!

thought three:

Faith defined? illustrated? described? with verbs. Definitely linked in Heb. 11, anyhow. What would the writer of that most unsettling and beautiful book say of me, or of thee?

"By faith, she... didn't drink, smoke, or chew, or go out with boys who do."


(this could get depressing.)

but i don't want a depressing faith. (what a contradiction in terms!) i don't want a depressing hall-of-faith entry.

i want a guerrillera hall-of-faith entry.

"By faith, she brought up orphans, communed with prisoners, adopted the abandoned, beat down abuse, outwitted injustice, lifted up the oppressed, set off spiritual explosive devices of love in the midst of the enemy, and blessed God to die as a martyr."

let those who wish to die as martyrs live like them too.

thought three: (this thought and the next from my college days, "like"s mostly excised, some paraphrase, italics replacing capitals, imaginary words intact:)

"Pick up your cross and follow me." [commanded before Christ's crucifixion. no one had ever made the cross "wonderful" before. it was NOT at all positively connotatated, not jewelry, not church decoration, not a symbol of God's unthinkable love. it was not redeemed. it was horror. let us paraphrase, symbolically:]

"Put the noose around your neck. (Make it easy for your executors) and follow Me... [to make good use of it."]

"And he who has not sat down in his electric chair, [strapped himself in, really,] is not worthy of Me."

"He who desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, fill up the syringe and follow Me."

is this not the most super-radical thing you've ever heard? my gosh! that's sendero luminoso-ish. [death cult language!] accepting not just the "possibility" of death, [not even the "probability" of sacrifice,] but accustoming oneself to the inevitable end of your story... [so much is made easy if we would just resign ourselves to death. "a corpse doesn't struggle against sin." (G. Tebbe, who else?)]

if i know how my story will end, do i want to lose my readers with a pansy-ish middle? or worse still, what if i should, by my actions today and tomorrow and the day after, insert a different ending. an empty one. an ending unconnected, unrelated to my Jesus. do i leave Him to carry His death sentence alone? [will i never know Him "in the fellowship of His sufferings, conformed to His death"?] or, as a true comrade, do i join alongside Him in His execution, knowing that they struggle is not in vain, that the glory of the liberation [and of others!] is. worth. it. and how can a reactionary noncombatant cultural-bourgeois even get close to profitable maryrdom? the road there is steep, selective, and needs Christ as guide. He is waiting; the road is clear. Do i follow?


i remember in Hind's Feet on High Places, how i wanted her just to call the Shepherd and not let Him go. but its an allegory. what do I do? i am not a good soldier. i am beyond a neophyte. i can't even pick up my gun. but Christ will walk with me... [He'll] have my back, my front, my soul. You lead; i'll follow. happy.

... Christ is like, "Follow me," and i go sit under a bush and say, "i can't. i don't know what to do." He's waiting at the trail, saying, "Let's go," and i say, "i can't. i don't know how to blaze trails; i'm too stupid." He's standing there saying, "Let's go," and i, sitting down, doing my hair with my helmet totally off, my shield tossed to the side, say, "i can't. i'm such a pathetic follower."

do i not get it?

thought four: militantly

for those on the front lines- the offense- that they would see victory... for my recruited comrades- may they sit [with Your voice uninterrupted,] hearing Your stories and the stories of the heroes, and why it was worth it to count all things loss, pick up the weapons of your own executions, and go launch the offensive that liberates us and costed your lives. may their souls fill with iron, their blood with fire. that we would remember the chains of the enemy. remmeber the stench and filth of the prison camp... remember our former fellow prisoners. remember the slaves that are this moment being worked, tortured, and propelled ever closer to their deaths. that we would not be wandering off to check out the enemy's entertainment system, cinema, or concert halls while our brethren are out getting their bodies bruised and broken so that slaves can sing free.

that we'd be powerful recruiters. the future enlistees!!! [....] God, let them strap on their helmet, pick up their weapons. Let them see your soldiers with faces like flint, in full gear, with battle scars and front-line stories and be absolutely restless to see combat.

give us stories...

let us walk worthy of: 1) our Commander's death; 2) our own.

25 noviembre 2008

social capitalism 101

thought one: social capital enhancers part 1, with commentary- thanks to rabbi el turi, my favorite social capitalist ever

1. Welcome a new neighbor- buy pizza, give a Wal-mart gift card [if your conscience allows], give them a box of cookies... conversely, just say "hello," introduce yourself and offer your number and assistance

2. Register to vote and vote - talk with the people in line; ask the people at work who they voted for and what were their foremost concerns/ convincers

3. Support local merchants- Mexican bread shops are a good place to start

4. Volunteer your special skills to an organization - and by "special," can mean "special grunt labor," and if you have an ounce of patience, an hour of free time, and a smattering of the presence of the Living God, please, please, please consider (as in, do) mentor a child- ask the city, they can get you connected (that was going to be #8, but i so just stole it.)

6. Donate blood (with a friend ) - HA! irony that i'm writing that. and irony that "irony" has "iron" in it, of which i don't have enough to actually practice what i preach. also: note that if you have been in a malarially- at-risk region in the past six months, you are not eligible. fyi.

7. Start a front-yard garden - Wave at the people who pass by. Greet the walkers and joggers.

8. Tape record your parents' earliest recollections and share them with your children - film and record the younguns of the family. interview them, too. someday it'll be priceless.

9. Plan a vacation with friends or family - um, have i mentioned an achingly beautiful country containing mountains, desert coast, and jungle located quite conveniently only 6 hours south of us? i mean, have i mentioned it in the past 5 minutes?

10. Avoid gossip - like a rabid dog. my sister-in-law, who is like blinking PARIS HILTON of social capital, could write a very good dissertation on how #10 connects to the Peruvian idiom, "Small town, big hell."

thought two:
"the difference between an army and a mob is... discipline." ~Pr. B.H. Clendennen

thought three: as i walked out one evening... morning... afternoon...

18 noviembre 2008

my boy t.s. and prufrockian love songs

i have loved this poem since the first time i read it, probably in my mid-teens. i remember not really understanding it all and wondering what he meant, but parts were so perfect, so precise, that it has been cemented in me ever since.

in a freshman comp. class, i fixed the poem in a formulated phrase and in the process found out that Eliot wrote the poem while at Harvard. he later expatriated himself to London, lost his "american accent," and converted to Christianity. from what i understand, he was so good, even with his Christian themes all over the place, that the rest of the highly secular modern world had to give respect. someday i might get his post-Christ poems like i "got" Prufrock.

the poem he wrote while young and disgusted with fragmented, empty, sterile upper-class urban life at harvard. i read it while in the throes of very, very unsatisfied adolescence in a high school of the richest country in the world. whether i should have been able to relate or not, i imagined i could. in college, i was seriously glad to know he came to know God, who had busted that world open for me. how beautiful. que lindo. without further ado...

* * * * *

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

S’io credesse che mia risposta fosse
A persona che mai tornasse al mondo,
Questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse.
Ma perciocche giammai di questo fondo
Non torno vivo alcun, s’i’odo il vero,
Senza tema d’infamia ti rispondo.
[from Dante's Inferno:
"If I thought my answer were given
to anyone who would ever return to the world,
this flame would stand still without moving any further.
But since never from this abyss has
anyone ever returned alive, if what I hear is true,
without fear of infamy I answer you."]

LET us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherised upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats 5
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question … 10
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes, 15
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap, 20
And seeing that it was a soft October night,
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.

And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window-panes; 25
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate; 30
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.

In the room the women come and go 35
Talking of Michelangelo.

And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair— 40
[They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”]
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin—
[They will say: “But how his arms and legs are thin!”]
Do I dare 45
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

For I have known them all already, known them all:—
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons, 50
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
So how should I presume?

And I have known the eyes already, known them all— 55
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways? 60
And how should I presume?

And I have known the arms already, known them all—
Arms that are braceleted and white and bare
[But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!]
It is perfume from a dress 65
That makes me so digress?
Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.
And should I then presume?
And how should I begin?
. . . . .
Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets 70
And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows?…

I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.
. . . . .
And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully! 75
Smoothed by long fingers,
Asleep … tired … or it malingers,
Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.
Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis? 80
But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head [grown slightly bald] brought in upon a platter,
I am no prophet—and here’s no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker, 85
And in short, I was afraid.

And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while, 90
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it toward some overwhelming question,
To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”— 95
If one, settling a pillow by her head,
Should say: “That is not what I meant at all.
That is not it, at all.”

And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it have been worth while, 100
After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,
After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor—
And this, and so much more?—
It is impossible to say just what I mean!
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen: 105
Would it have been worth while
If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,
And turning toward the window, should say:
“That is not it at all,
That is not what I meant, at all.”
. . . . .

No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use, 115
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
Almost, at times, the Fool.

I grow old … I grow old … 120
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me. 125

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown 130
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

13 noviembre 2008

"Thinking a lot is not the same as praying a lot." ~a. seu

thought one: wiki!

Sic is a Latin word meaning "thus", "so", "as such", or "just as that". In writing, it is placed within square brackets and usually italicized – [sic] – to indicate that an incorrect or unusual spelling, phrase, punctuation, and/or other preceding quoted material has been reproduced verbatim from the quoted original and is not a transcription error.[1]

It is also sometimes used for comic effect:
The Daily Mail was the first newspaper [sic] …

In the Italo-Western Romance languages it was the basis for their word for "yes": sí (Spanish), sim (Portuguese), sì (Italian), si (French for "yes, on the contrary"). Medieval Latin sometimes used sic as "yes", reflecting the Romance usage. In Romanian language, belonging to the Eastern Branch of Latin sic became synonymous with "and" (in Romanian si).

huh... just like the french to use "si" to mean, "yes, on the contrary"

thought two: on our dire need for perspective and pessimism

it's dangerous to ever think we have it bad, let alone worst.
it can always get worse.
just use your imagination a little.

if we are to encounter reality and ever attempt to understand it, we really ought to do it sensibly. i propose thus: cheerfully expect the worst in every situation. procure a right gloomy sense of humor. plan like a realist, with the glimmerings of hope necessary for planning at all, but talk like a pessimist, albeit with wit and a disorienting smile. don't expect much from anyone other than God, and life will become one pleasant surprise after another. in the space between surprises, you can smugly think, "just as i suspected..."

also, broaden your horizons. experience more disasters. rent documentaries if you must. the key is always to be able to shrug, in the face of real life, "i've seen worse."

lest we find ourselves complaining, horrified, "but, but, but... we deserve better than this!" it's hot?! i'm tired?! my boss asks too much?! gas is how much?! ($1.99 here, aleluja. but me thinks the whining was not directly responsible for the falling of prices. post hoc!) he won't do his job?! politicians lie?! there's too much traffic?! somebody just flicked me off?! it's been a long week?! Obama won?! she ignored me?! i have a headache? he was unkind?! nobody asked me?! nobody listens to me?! i married a jerk?! that kid gets on my nerves?! that student is so slow?! nobody appreciates me?!

or, "hmmmm. oh, well; could be worse! at least... [insert a good thing about the universe.]"

thought three: thinking on a cardinal, how it is red not to attract a mate, as popular opinion asserts, but to attract the attention of predators away from his camoflauged mate as she warms their nest. (a fact i believe i learned from dear, dear frederica)

even as the Holy Spirit made and makes order from chaos, a teacher is to bring meaning out of information. the universe is much huge-er than you, it is true, but do not be afraid... because, you see, it means something. a teacher makes data comprehensible but never wastes the wonder. or she shouldn't.

12 noviembre 2008

a tourist's view of place

thought one:

"“…I feel carried away tonight with soul-excitement. Nothing bad- just nothing good.…

Strange place, this soul of mine.

I think it is more place than person. It rings with whatever enters, be it high thoughts of the seated Christ or idle rhymes from any poet. The soul does not seem to mind what it is occupied with, but only cares that it be kept occupied. It is passive as to choice. I choose, my soul responds, with ringing laughter, emotion or pure worship. It is a tool, not a craftsman, and must be controlled. …

Son of God, purger of the inner parts, Discerner of my sittings down, my risings, wilt Thou hallow this soul of mine? The choice is mine, you say? Ah yes, the choice is mine.”

~J. Eliot, Shadow of the Almighty

thought two: a woman from where?

i have many good memories from these, uh, two decades i've been given, but roots, i'm not sure.

my first 1/10 century was spent in the ghetto: not slums, but the barrio. immigrants and working class. we sold lemonade and picked onion flowers. i remember playing kick the can and sitting on the neighbor's roof. sometimes i rode my bike to school. there were scary parts, but that was because, really, i was a tourist, not because there were knife-wielding fiends hither and yon. so now, when i do a drive through the South Side with my windows down (of course), my hands still get a little sweaty but my heart is happy to see occupied front porches. of the ghetto i am fond (when not furious), but not exactly attached.

after that spot, we moved to three different places in the country. lovely, in all. some of my most aesthetic North American experiences took place near a small white clapboard house (paint peeling exceedingly.) there, i began to love space, the eye-straining, cattle-specked kind, not the gaping, airless, planet-hung one. i have a scar's memory of barbed wire, and can remember how muscadines burn, even sweet. beautiful recollections, but on the whole, it was a very solitary beauty. deep, but solo. [that which is solo, however lovely, is only temporarily hard to trade.]

now, here in Easternish, Texas i reside. our town strings up... lights... on half a thousand oil derricks downtown when it's feeling festive. i've walked this town, so i'm accustomed to it (in the warm, affectionate Spanish sense of accustomed.) here, i at last have community. "social capital," if you will. my "Miss Hernandez!!!" assailed Wal-Mart trips prove it. in South Side of a nearby town, i know the kids and billboard grammatical errors by heart. i'm beginning to know [rabbit trail: in Spanish, you can say "i am knowing" very naturally] the dozens of soccer aficianados that claim the fields near the school where i work. they scamper around their dark and light soccer moms, dads, and tios. it's nice. my nephews fish like a compulsion, an Easternish habit if i've ever seen one. their mother and i have great talks while they do. and we don't speak of Easternish.

...because, you see, i hate walmart, i've never played soccer, and i'd prefer to eat a fish (with lemon and squid, preferably) than touch one. the pines and the wind are grand, but when away, i don't cry. i like texas, but i don't combust for it.

but there is one place i know whose very name starts me thinking in haikus...

take a wild guess...

thought three: "bloom where you're planted" is great, but what if you're a potted plant?

it's funny, because, umm, i'm a stranger there. i barely get the jokes, i stammer more often than not, and it seldom brings out the best in me. but i'm mesmerized because i can't see it by rote. every time it's beautiful. when it's familiar it's beautiful. when it's new, it's beautiful. more than beautiful, it's soulish. [fyi: when i can't find the right word, i start talking about the soul. take note.] the people, not just the scenery. the poverty, not just the riches. the cold, not just the breeze. the dirt. the grime. the graffiti. the dusty soles. the eyes. the hands. the work. the songs. the houses. the paint. the trees. the brush. the fruits. the mountains. the rivers. the taxis. the vendors. the children. the ignorance. the wit. the hunger. the Presence of the Living God. it's not a light interaction.

i know, i know, infatuation is not a bond. just because i like it doesn't mean it's in me. i'm a foreigner there...

but if i'm going to be a stranger everywhere, Peru is at least the place i want to call me strange. if i'm capable of growing roots, i already have the soil picked out.

roots. home. allegience. loyalty. love of land. place. region. am i even qualified to write?

11 noviembre 2008

a postscript on foreign children

let us not think i write as a gentle martyr, overflowing with righteousness in the midst of unruly miscreants.

i write because this is how i learn.

i remember commiting one distinctly kind act yesterday. 15 minutes. out of 7.5 hours of grumpiness.

when has Jesus ever treated me suchly? nay, not Jesus. never Jesus.

my strictness is a sham.
i must be kind, and let Christ's peace bring order by osmosis.


the Individual.
classroom "management" be hanged.

10 noviembre 2008

"Children are all foreigners." -r.w. emerson

thought one: on contemplating becoming an engineer after my first day of substituting

when your job requires more than your pay grade...
when the children sit only when you sit on them...
when disturbed boys spend more time with scissors than pencils...
(and find the one scantily clad mermaid in the class library...)
when Phil Keaggy works only until lunch...
when the kids have no "interruptor" engaged in their mouthing process...
when they hurt one another...
when they have no conception of "keeping no record of wrongs" until their memory fails...
when they cry waaay too easily....
when they can't/ won't concentrate...
when they're emotional...
when they're spoiled...
when they make your supposed "classroom management" a sham...
when they confess regret but won't say "i'm sorry" to the offended....
when they tattle...
when they won't HUSH!
when they are lazy...
when they are disrespectful...
when they say no...

...but they still misspeak and call you "Mommy"...
... and ask you to sit with them at lunch...

remember the concept of displacement. [watch your tone with the innocent.]
control your emotions.
be calm.
you forgive rapidly, with hugs.
don't give in to apathy.
don't feel sorry for yourself.
tell them to have a good evening.
pray for them like they were your kin.
...and still call them "sweetheart."

[faith is the evidence of things not seen...]

05 noviembre 2008

the first wednesday in november, Anno Domini Nostri Jesu Christi 2008

"It can't happen without you, without a new spirit of service, a new spirit of sacrifice.
So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism, of responsibility, where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves but each other."
~ our President-elect, Barack Hussein Obama II

thought one:
so, we are an Obama-nation. of five hundred and sixty three responses, may this be my first, now and always:

may You, Almighty God and King of kings, be so real to him at this moment, in this day, in these four years to come, that he celebrates and trembles from now to eternity. remind him he is just a man, from dust he comes, to dust he goes.... and then comes the reckoning. may he take that final accounting literally, and obey Your Word like his eternity depended on it. may he take You, Savior and Judge, seriously, and quake with this responsibility. may he learn to interceed, to repent, to live for his Creator in ways he never imagined. to err is one thing; to create an abomination is another. may he do few of the first and none of the latter. may he work good, fear You, and live.

may Your people take heart and use our emotion as a catalyst to action. may no one complain who does not spend twice as much time righting the wrongs. may we not condemn the sin of our society with idle, querulous words, but in deed and truth... may we rebel against sin. may our love cover a multitude of them, and by cover, not "ignore," but "make them non-applicable." unneccessary. stealing their thunder, so to speak. may our reason be convincing and our works irreproachable.

may all glory and honor and praise and adoration go to You, now and forever, from Your Church through Christ, even in America. amen.

thought two: adages from an untravelled youth

* Abortion is unneccessary for communities that respect and sacrifice for children, even unexpected and inconvenient ones, whatever their mental/ physical capabilities. (Provided there are such communities around inconvenient children.)

* Boys who know what a man is, have one or two or three or four they really want to be like someday, and spend their whole boyhood learning manhood... don't need to grow up and marry one. (Provided there's men worth imitating about such boys.)

* Likewise, girls who know what a man is, are familiar with particulars of the type worth marrying, and frequent places where they abound... don't need to grow up and marry other confused girls. (Provided there're men worth marrying around such girls.)

* Would be terrorists [especially young, disenfranchised Arabic males] make great Christians. (Provided there are definitions of a Christian around with whom to become acquainted.)

* Boys who mow lawns, build houses, wire electricity, and fix cars with their dads and heroes don't want welfare from their baby's mama. (Provided there're dads or heroes with whom to tag along.)

* Girls who love children more than themselves don't put them in daycare. (Provided they have options on what to do with them instead.)

* Girls who love children more than themselves so much that they'll deny themselves their company so that the child can one day speak of the sacrifices of his hard-working mama... need someone(s) they can trust the child with. (Provided there's someone trustworthy who offers.)

* [I dunno how to fix health care. Share vegetables?]

* People who pour out their soul for the unshakeable Kingdom don't need to sell it for a plastic one. [Provided they understand they have a soul... and a Kingdom worth pouring it out for.]

[Hurray! The Mexicans will be with us a while still. We still have a chance to do good to the stranger in our midst. Don't miss it!]

thought three:
today must be disappointing to those uni-nationals... you know, Republicans, Libertarians, Greens with no other loyalty than to the U.S. of A.

a benevolent monarchy? i'm voting for that.

thought four: songs for 11. 5. 2008

* O Come, O Come Emmanuel
* The Solid Rock
* A Mighty Fortress [for any occasion, and no occasion at all]
* God Moves in a Mysterious Way
* Take My Life and Let It Be [Entera Consegracion en espanol]
* Rescue the Perishing [needs a remix, but sing it off key and it has almost the same effect]

thought the last:

"Submission is the permission to be creative under God-given authority."

Godly women learn it. Godly kids learn it. Good Church people learn it. Shall we?

03 noviembre 2008

a flood of words, a torrent of letters...

just to say 3 things...

when the hon. bro. Jason Kranzusch asked for three things we know, i began realizing we know things in very different ways and amounts. (quantities? intensities?)

for instance, "Jesus loves me, yes, i know, for the Bible tells me so." also, "God created Earth, this i know, for the Bible tells me so." i've seen a couple of cool documentaries on ID, but my real basis for knowing/ understanding is still Scripture. likewise, besides an awakening of the fear of God when i was nine, the Bible is my only "real" basis for belief in Hell. (it's one of the hardest to keep to. if explicit descriptions hadn't come from Jesus' mouth, that one might be gone already.) so a lot i "know" because i've read the Bible and take it for true, not because i've experienced it... felt it.

similarly, there's stuff i "know" from listening to other people. "you don't ever want to be under bad leadership!" "never marry a Latino." [there are asterisks all over that one.] "it's unhealthy to give a child solid food under 6 months of age."

but thinking about what i know that i know that i know because i've felt it deep in my craw, and lived by it, and seen it time after time after time? the list gets much smaller.

most of what i "really" know falls under the statements below. the statements overlap. they build, really. #1 is the premise and cannot be extracted from the others. it's also the most well-documented, and unthinkably, the one i most consistantly doubt. i very distinctly did not want to make this creed-ish, but that's how it turned out. funny: they're all about God. but of a truth: the things i really know are not propositions. that's merely the only way i can transfer it from me to you.

1. God is good;
2. We are not,
3. But we are to be.


1. God is good.

"taste and see that the Lord is good! blessed is the man who trusts in Him!"


~ the Andes mountains at age 16 and one month. the most beautiful creatures i had ever laid eyes on... and it felt, mortifyingly and devastatingly, like they were made for me?! ohhh... vice versa, vice versa. now, i see.

~ my brethren therein. their faith, servanthood, and good company.

~ my family. their God-ward devotion (year after year! not by rote! there can be perseverance of the saints!) and simple, uncomplaining, unmitigated love.

~ children. when they help one another, their spontaneous acts of kindness, their dignity and purity. their potential for good.

~ the night sky after a run. the breeze, clouds, moon, constellations, endorphins, traffic noises... the whole 3d experience.

~ making music or having it made

~ baptisms.

~ Christmas.

~ Easter.

~ the Church. when she prays like she means it. when she's where she's supposed to be. when she's busy loving. when she takes others by surprise. when she says truth so sweet and straight there has to be a pause and then "amen!" when everything makes sense. her in prison. her poor and happy. when she's brave. [when she wins!] conquering and unconquered. enduringly uncompromised. grateful.

~ "we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous"

~ " “And when I passed by you and saw you struggling in your own blood, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ Yes, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ "

~ "He will bring justice to the poor of the people;

He will save the children of the needy,

And will break in pieces the oppressor. "

~ "Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered."

~ "Did we with ink the oceans fill and were the skies of parchment made

Were every stalk on earth a quill and every man a scribe by trade

To write the love of God above would drain the oceans dry

Nor could the scroll contain the whole though stretched from sky to sky!"

~ "Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!"

2. We are not*.

[*God is still, even though He knows!]


~ "Nothing lasts except the grace of God by which i stand in Jesus"

~ "If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself."

~ "without Whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy."

~ "Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord GOD, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’ "

~ "For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

~ "i was so foolish and ignorant; i was like a beast before You. Nevertheless, Thou art continually with me. You take me by my right hand..."

~ "my flesh and my heart fail! but You are the strength of my heart and my portion forever."

~ "Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing Were not the right Man on our side, the man of God's own choosing"

~ "For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust."

~ "Frail children of dust and feeble as frail In Thee do we trust nor find Thee to fail Thy mercies how tender! how firm to the end..! our Maker... Defender... Redeemer! and Friend..."

~ "O ye of little faith! Why did you doubt?"

~ "Just and Holy is Thy Name
i am all unrighteousness

false and full of sin am i
Thou art full of truth and grace."

~ "Just as i am
Without one plea
But that Thy blood
Was shed for me
And that Thou bidest me
Come to Thee
O Lamb of God...
i come.
i come."

~ "take heart, beloved basket-case of God! if God were to give up on you, He would have done it a long time ago." -g. tebbe

3) But we are to be.*
[because, you see, He is.]


~ "Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith"

~ "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus"

~ the brethren pastores in Peru

~ sundry brethren and sistren hither and yon

~ breaking bread with them.

~ their prayers!

~ hearing someone pray something i've prayed on a good day... there's game afoot!

~ "There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilisations- these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit- immortal horrors or everlasting splendours. " -c.s. lewis

~ "For this is the will of God: your sanctification."

~ "...our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works."

~ "that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death"

~ Love covers a multitude of sins.

... and those whose love has covered a multitude of mine...