Monday, January 28, 2008

Resolutions: Everyday

As I sit here waiting for sleep to quell my usual Sunday night anxiety, my eyes wont close and my brain won't slow. My late Sunday nights, caused by staying up late and sleeping in through the weekend usually result in a mind racing with possibilities, doubts, vague hope and prolonged unrest.

It's funny/sad that I took the time a few weeks ago to drive up to the mountains for some personal reflection/worship goal-writing and now I can't even remember where I put the notebook containing all of my profound resolutions.

There's a strange phenomenon at the gym around this time of the year. Each year, the first week in January finds the gym packed and buzzing with sweaty determination. Christmas present memberships are redeemed and bodies are changing. There's a waiting list for the stair-stepper and a line at the front counter.

Just a few weeks into the month however, the gym returns to about normal and stays this way until the first warm days of summer.

What happens between the beginning of a new year and a month into it? We lose focus, we forget about ambition and change and we return to the comfortable myopia that's kept us from achieving much of anything during the past year.

It's just so easy to stay comfortable and afraid. I'm confident that if we found a way to harness the drive and passion of new beginnings, we could change the amount of our lives every single day. What if we change our life, everyday?

I submit that every single day we're alive is an awe-inspiring gift from God. If we changed our life, each one of those days the power would be unstoppable. It's easy to neglect some anonymous, distant "goal" but what if everyday, we tore away small chunks of these goals, consuming them, achieving them, and ready for tomorrow, a new day to change our life. I'm confident that this can be done, every single day.

This poem has spoken to me today in a beautiful and life-changing way.
I have studied many times
The marble which was chiseled for me --
A boat with a furled sail at rest in a harbor.
In truth it pictures not my destination
But my life.
For love was offered me and I shrank from its disillusionment;
Sorrow knocked at my door, but I was afraid;
Ambition called to me, but I dreaded the chances.
Yet all the while I hungered for meaning in my life.
And now I know that we must lift the sail
And catch the winds of destiny
Wherever they drive the boat.
To put meaning in one's life may end in madness,
But life without meaning is the torture
Of restlessness and vague desire --
It is a boat longing for the sea and yet afraid.

Edgar Lee Masters

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Not Yet Empty

Almost everyday for the past few weeks, I've turned on the computer, opened this blog, and typed some unintelligible mess of melodrama in attempts to reconcile myself, with... myself. It's like I have this seemingly impenetrable layer around my heart preventing me from feeling almost anything.

I'm fighting the daily battle between who I used to be, who I am now, and the man of God I'm commanded to be; the tug-of-war leaving me anesthetized and vacant.

To feel empty is to at least feel something, and I'm not there yet.

Friday, January 25, 2008

My brother Russ sent this to me today, I think this paradigm could change the world.

"God knows, I could be wrong.

It strikes me as odd that we, each of us, can be mistaken about the weather, about which direction to turn to get to a spot across town, about how we play the stock market, about any number of things, but we can be dead certain about religion and about God.

Perhaps, as most evidence suggests, Jesus was not born on what we now know as Christmas day. Perhaps Jesus wouldn’t make heads or tails out of evangelical healers in two thousand dollar suits while Austrian-crystal chandeliers hang within the camera shot. Maybe God’s love includes gays and lesbians, the Buddhist down the street or the atheist over in the next cubicle. It’s possible what you believe is not as important as how you express that belief, how you buy food for the homeless or comfort a stranger who is flustered at the store because she has just come from the hospital where her father is dying or remember that person who just can’t stand you with love during a prayer.

Maybe God is not found in certainty, which serves to limit God to our own comfortable conceptions, but, rather, in uncertainty and a healthy agnosticism in places, letting God be God instead of a judge and jury schooled in our own prejudices and preoccupations and self-centeredness. Perhaps “God knows, I could be wrong” is an admission of faith, not of defeat. We may be mistaken — the arrival of God will not come in the form espoused by novels about the end times or in the image of a holy city being lowered down from the clouds on pulleys like it was some kind of cheap scenery change. The arrival of God or the second coming of Jesus may very well have taken place already and, in fact, continues to take place over and over again in the people and in opportunities around us, if only we had the eyes to see and the openness of the heart to feel.

God knows, I could be wrong, and in that, I think, I am necessarily right."

Monday, January 14, 2008


Rob Bell had probably the perfect answer to the question of how he faces critics.

"There's over a billion people in this world without clean drinking water, and 46 million americans don't have health care. That means if they get sick, they don't have anywhere to go. Half of the world, 3 billion people, live on less than 2 dollars a day, so the world is an emergency. When followers of jesus can think of nothing better to do with their time than pick apart and shred to peices the work of other followers of Jesus who are trying to do something about the world, that's tragic and I don't owe those people anything."
I love this answer. To me, the Church has become largely concerned with definition. We seem to want to define ourselves as one thing or another, Progressive or Fundamentalist, Liberal-Christian or Conservative, Evangelical-Free or Non-denominational. We're always looking to define ourselves by labels.

The problem with this preoccupation though, is that definition exists to separate one thing from another. We define a word, give it a meaning so that it means one thing and only one thing. We define things so that other things cannot assume their identity. This is necessary, for say, underwear at summer camp, but not for Christianity.

Even "Christianity," in all its ubiquity has lately become taboo. Apparently "follower of Christ" has replaced the antiquated "Christianity" as the label of choice for the progressively serious disciple. I will agree that the term has been diluted so much that it probably resembles G.W. more than it resembles a loving and amazing Jesus.

But this is not a call to walk away. Rather, it's a call to take back the name that once meant "Christ-like" and extinguish our rampant feelings of entitlement.

We are called to humility and peace. I agree with Rob Bell, I feel like too much time is spent pondering the great intricacies of eschatology, when our brothers and sisters are dying from preventable diseases, in preventable situations.

I want to live a life of redemption. Let's fix the world and then argue. I have a feeling the lines of our differences will begin to blur.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

"Once" was an amazing movie. I bought the soundtrack already, good call Jesse.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

I'm moving to Canada

Now, I know that it was a horrible tragedy. Over 1,400 people lost their lives, buildings/families/businesses/homes were destroyed, but honestly, what the hell kind of hurricane inflicts over THREE QUADRILLION DOLLARS IN DAMAGE?

According to this article, one of New Orleans proud residents is suing the US government for over
$3,000,000,000,000,000. This fantastic piece of work feels entitled to reimbursement of about 220x the entire US 2007 GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT. This person wants over 220 times the value of ALL of the goods and services produced in the US during an entire year.

How does one settle on this amount?

"well my house is flooded... lost about $20,000 there... can't work much anymore... lost about $20,000 a year there... things sucked for awhile, this year was pretty much shot, a few friends died... 3 quadrillion ought to do it."

Times like this I really hate the American way. I probably seem insensitive, and I'm sure FEMA /Dubya dropped the ball, but oh my God, really? 3 quadrillion dollars?

What's ALMOST as worse, apparently over 250 people filed claims for over a billion dollars. This m
eans over 250 people thought that what they lost was worth over $1,000,000,000 dollars. Now, I'm don't mean to demean any of the New Orleans residents, nor do I want to put a monetary value on their lives (isn't that exactly what they are doing?) but I'd like to see some financial statements reflecting 250 different people with over a billion dollar net worth. According to my limited research, there is only about 320 billionaires in the entire US. And I highly doubt they were all visiting their summer homes in the low-rent district of New Orleans during the hurricane.

This is the ultimate welfare system and the ultimate in human opportunism. Seeking some irrational comeuppance by exploiting a very real tragedy.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Last Night's Bullet

For a month or two now, a few friends and I have been meeting together over beer and discussion. We read through a book and discuss the chapters after having read them each week. The books have been great so far (the one and a quarter that we've been through) each of them inspiring, refreshing and poetic in their own ways. We call it the BBC, beer book club for lack of a better name. I would say it's been a charging force in my spiritual renaissance.

Tonight though, BBC was terrible. Brady said something so terrible and true that it kind of hit before I knew what I had heard. It felt like what I would assume a gunshot would feel like. I kind of think (speaking in complete ignorance) that a gunshot probably hurts.

I'm guessing it really hurts. I think when it happens, it aches and stings at the same time, with equal force. I guess it to be a strange dulling feeling that aches like a broken bone, but stings like a burn.

What he said felt this way, what he said was probably the single most convicting thing I've ever been told. Hearing that someone thought you were a certain way, only to realize you were just like every one else is sobering, it's painful, and it's only the beginning.

The problem with gunshots though, is not really how it feels when it happens, or really how it ever feels.

The problem with gunshots is fixing them, repairing the wound, saving your life. You have to essentially reverse the entire process by which you were shot, the bullet needs to come out, things need reattaching, skin needs closing. It's like pausing the scene at the worst possible part and rewinding it slowly, frame by painful frame.

But the beauty is in the repair. I'm learning that.

The hardest parts of Brady's words were that they were true. It hurts like hell but I'm glad it happened. We talked last night about using these tragedies, thanking God for them that we have a new platform from which we can change and inspire.

Today's a new day. Today was harder than yesterday and I suspect it's going to keep hurting.