08 agosto 2010

The Problem With Me and Moses

How to deal when we see evil in people? ...when our brothers fail us, when our babies act like the devil, when humans deny their humanity by resembling demons... What shall we do?

thought one:

Anger is an emotion... a near automatic response to given stimuli. After emotions come decisions. Decisions lead to actions. It's the last two that we're most responsible for.

The way i see it, we have 3 options when faced with our anger- whether it be provoked by our darlings or by Darfur:


bitterness, or


I think the Christian obligation is obvious.

thought two: of Moses and i

Remember Moses? It´s not my job or my role to be angry. I am here to advocate for them, not to judge them. They have a judge; I´m not needed. It´s not right for me to have an opinion, only compassion. Do i recognize evil? Obviously. Do i have permission to park there? Never.

Regarding the ones we love:

Unconditional love does not dry up in disgust when it sees wickedness in the object of its affections... it prays harder. Because its #1 objective is to have that person be and receive what is good... and wickedness is the opposite of that. U.L. will not leave the loved alone in iniquity to protect its own aesthetic sensibilities... it will jump in and fight the evil that would destroy the beloved. And how do wee mortals like us fight something like evil?

"God! Maker of the universe! Jump in!"

thought three:

Praying without ceasing need not be a hyperbole. We start prayers all the time: every time we see and think about and especially emote over an evil or something not right... we just forget to finish our prayers. The problem with complaining is not that it's wrong to recognize something's messed up... it that we stop with the obvious.





ok. now finish your sentence. this time, remembering that God exists.

"Stop evil, O God!"

"Teach these idiots!"

"Bring justice!"

"Educate the ignorant!"

"Convince the cruel to repent!"

"Change the heart of the hateful!"

"Free these enslaved!"

Don't forget: all a sentence needs is a subject and a predicate to be communicating. ("You" is the implied subject...) Remember your verbs.





"Have mercy!"


"Grant me patience!"

(direct objects and prepositions only provide details to the essential, and God knows who we're talking about.)


if our Lord didn't even come to condemn [leave people to wallow in their sin and its consequences] but to save, how do we think we are different?

Our job is not merely to identify sin, wrong doing, and idiocy. Our job is to fight it. We cannot be content to leave people to themselves. We must seek Jesus for them, just like we need Jesus for ourselves and our own homemade evil.

Being a Christian involves caring. Here, i don't mean "being kind"... i mean, "giving importance." It's in our job description to hope. Even the most dire of the Prophets always offered a possible way out... and prayed and wept for it as well.

Our last word to this sin-sick world cannot be a sarcastic one. Our last thought cannot be a disgusted one. Christ is too efficacious for us to be cynical. Just as we want the bad to turn to good, the sin to turn to righteousness, so also we must be turned from anger to intercession. It is our calling.

Even as Christ forgave you, so also you must do...
Freely you have received, freely then give...
Prayers and supplications... for all men...

Así que, lejos de mí pecar contra Jehová dejando de rogar por vosotros...

07 agosto 2010

Ode to Peru (or, The Heaviness of Not Being Single)

[note: i intended to write this on 21 July 2010, the 7th birthday of my predilection for walking Peruvian soil. however, internet was inaccessible, and i only had 2 days left on the southern America. below are thoughts from that day and a few others from the recent past.]

thought one:

i used to be single.

Like a candy bar on a shelf, or a slice of cheese. Like one of those quiet, economy hotel rooms.

Those days are gone.

No more an island, i am now... not even a whole anything anymore.

I am a part. A fraction. A piece of the continent.

[Now, i am often irked to read essays where writers take a perfectly good, commonly accepted word, and slaughter it, but that is exactly what i aim to do.]

the word is "single." and here it dies:

"Single" is a sad word, but at least it implies a whole. A "whole" lacking another, pobrecito, to become a "double" or a "pair," but at least one.

I am far less than one.

I am 1/3. Me, Reyna, and Marisol. So when i miss them, i don't miss them as one of the three Magi on vacation; i miss them like my body would miss my two arms. So when i'm here and my wit lacks, that makes sense. That was Reyna's job, to be witty and quick and all. And when i am a crummy friend and don't return phone calls and forget to email, just remember, Marisol's not here to bring loyalty to my mind. I'm just 1/3.

And, so i am not quite one. i am not single.

i am much too attached to be single.

i am 1/19 in my classroom. a fraction, but huge! like a whole century is 1/10 when compared to a millinium. so many kids, so much talking, laughing, questions, reprimands, so many humans. where is my solitude there? ...and, by another reckoning, where would i be without the other 18/19? i would not be... myself. i would not have that identity of "teacher" without others to teach.

of my family, i don't know how to denominate my fraction. you mean, in east texas? well, then i'm 1/3. in the americas? 1/40 or so, i think was the last count.

of the family of God? good night! who can reckon that?! i guess i'd be like 1/ 60 of our congregation. a fraction of a fraction. and then we'd have to count up the ones who have gone before...

so small am i. almost infinitely small.

but a single? never. there is always a larger whole to be part of... to belong to.

and, if i understand my theology correctly, my connectedness extends to the Godhead. am i a "part of God"? sounds blasphemous to me. He's God whether i exist or not. but i could never be me without Him. and i'm not talking about virtue or anything like that. i mean, what would i think about, subtracting Him from the equation? what would i love, were He to remove Himself from my world? can i find anything without a trace of Him?

what is mean is not to glory in some connected, networked life. it's that we're all connected. Paul might have mentioned that. we're not everything, but we're something... and a part of something more. and the very place where we are at our most unimpressive, insignficant, unastounding- in the Presence of the living God- where we really are nothing... is where we are most honored. we are dignified by the fact..."but i am not alone." we have God to belong to, as if we were something.

it's... nice.

thought two: what Perú has taught me

1) See thought one.

2) Your family is your treasure, your posse, your network, your lawyer, your retirement, your friends, your home.

3) Love your mother.

4) Wash the dishes. Just shut up and wash the dishes. Sing if you want to, but get it done.

5) There´s always room for a second dinner. ("I already ate," is a sorry excuse not to break bread with brethren.)

6) When coming down (or up) a mountain in the dark with not much moon, "step on the whites." (Pisa los blancos) If where you´re stepping is dark, it´s not a step.

7) Pack for emergencies. Even if it´s heavy, people will thank you later. Bring Germ-x, food, an extra coat. And Louisiana.

8) Don´t flirt. Serious is... nice.

9) Give gifts... and value the ones you receive.

10) Everyone knows something you don´t.

11) When you have a chance to take a shower, take a shower.

12) When lacking a shower, go hang out near a fire. (Wow... bathing-related wisdom should really be a whole post unto itself...)

13) State-contracted doctors make around $700 a month. Take your salary seriously.

14) Never eat alone. It´s bad manners and boring. Everything can be shared.

15) You are responsible, accountable, answerable for your wealth: citizenship, education, language, Christian heritage, grace of God. Now, what are you going to do with it?

thought three: the problem with me and Moses... in Peru, E.TX., or anywhere

What should we do when we´re angry... and right to be so?

Not just with trivial things, but with evil? When we've got that "righteous indignation"... With sin-filled hearts? Maybe with the sin-filled, hateful hearts of our babies, for example? When we see wickedness in our fellow humans?

to be continued...