Sunday, July 27, 2008


I've always had a fascination with words. I love their complexity and the subtle nuance each word owns. I love the way that each word stands alone, and I don't believe there are any real synonyms.

Words alone mean absolutely nothing, they stand as fragmented representatives of ourselves. Our meanings and understandings of them give them life and flesh.

Outside of the nonverbal, our communication is necessarily driven by words. They are the catalyst and the conduit.

They are in a sense, all we have.

Over time, we accumulate a vast army of words. We stack them neatly, squared away in our mental storehouses, some of them practiced and polished, some hiding in our recesses, dusty and untried.

Though we own a multitude, I would argue that we hear and interpret more words than we actually use. I think that most of the time we use the same construction crew of familiar words. The reliable ones, the ones we know will get to the job in the morning without wondering if they've stayed out too late drinking.

But our words are so much more important than day-laboring workhorses.

I believe our words are wildly important. Each exists as a tiny microcosm, literally, a brief sonic combination of utterances packaged together carefully and according to rules set forth by culture groups hundreds or thousands of years ago.

The words we speak are old and they are perfect, with the weak ones sorted out over time. Our words have started wars, shaped treaties, compelled assassinations, healed wounds, expressed love, and saved souls. Each word is bursting with opportunity, alive in its potential.

Our words could not be more important.

If we speak the same words as our fathers, and theirs before them, why then, in considering the weightiness with which we're charged, are we so audacious that we give our words a free-range leash, allowing them to represent themselves, removing from them our full endorsement.

When should my words ever mean anything less than exactly what I want? Why do I let my words choose me, rather than me choosing them?

Because, we speak from habit rather than from heart. We reduce our power and undermine our God-given authority to command them like readied soldiers to confront chaos.

I move to mean every word I ever say. That if there might be some cosmic stenographer recording my life, I may stand responsible and accounted for each syllable, calling them my own.

Let us find comfort not in fleeting compliments or arrogance in multisyllabic masterpieces, but in knowing that in each day we've meant every word we said.

Choose well.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Decisions. Life is Epic.

I'm a hypocrite in many ways. We all are. But lately, I feel like God's calling into question my convictions. Holding them to the light, if you will.

I'm the first one to beg people to live for something more, to never settle and to live wildly the calling of God. I try to be encouraging and I believe in every word I tell someone else. I truly do. Now, when faced with what I feel is a monumental decision, my own advice seems like a foreign language, meant to be interpreted for sport rather than practice and use.

It's hard to trust God when you can't hear Him, when you can clearly see choices laid in front of you and it feels like God's attention is elsewhere.

God seems so quiet right now.

Maybe I just need to be quieter than He is.

If you pray, please pray for me this week. There's some important decisions to be made.

If you had me as a teacher, now would be the time to tell me that I:
- A. Sucked horribly and couldn't teach a fish how to swim.
- B. Should keep my shenanigans going.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

I had

a good one. And now I have nothing.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

A Fantastic Post

Wish I had written this. The dude's right on the money.

"If Only"

Christie Brinkley was the Heidi Klum of the 1980s. She was one of the world's first supermodels, appearing on dozens of magazine covers and marrying musician Billy Joel at one point. Even two decades later she is a stunningly beautiful woman. But, she is unfortunately also a perfect example of the lie, "if only."

If only is something we Christians like to say when faced with a temptation. For me it usually looks like this:

"If only I could get a book deal, then I would be happy.""If only more people read my website, then I wouldn't be so insecure about my writing.""If only I had more money, then I would not worry so much."

If only is a phrase I use to medicate myself. Instead of turning to God in a time of need, I pretend the only thing that stands between me and perfect happiness is one "if only." But Christie Brinkley kind of ruined that for me. Or rather her husband did.

Her husband has recently been accused of having an affair with an 18-year old girl. He has been accused of having a $3,000 per month porn habit. He has been accused of spending $300,000 to cover up his tracks. What does that have to do with if only? Everything.

You see, in one single stroke, Brinkley's husband, Peter Cook, has effectively killed a bunch of "if only" statements:

1. "If only I could marry someone really attractive, then I wouldn't lust anymore."Cook married one of the top ten supermodels of all time. She was and is gorgeous. And yet he was addicted to Internet porn. Brinkley's beauty was not enough to fill the hole inside of Cook.

2. "If only I was rich, then I would be happy."Peter Cook is richer than I will ever be. He allegedly spent more on porn every year than some people earn in salaries. And yet, he wasn't happy. Happy people don't do things that require $300,000 in hush money.

3. "If only I was good looking, then people would love me."Peter Cook is good looking. He is tall and handsome and looks like the kind of guy that knows his ways around Beverly Hills. But he didn't feel loved. People that are content in the love they have don't desperately try to find it from 18 year olds. They don't trawl the Internet for attention.

I might be the only one with an "if only" in my life. Maybe you have never thought, "If only I could get married, then I would be happy," or "If only I had a different job, then I would be worry free." But if you have, if you are at all like me, I want to propose something. I think we need to retire the phrase "if only." Let's send it to an early grave. Let's strike it from our vocabularies and pull it from our hearts, because it's one of those lies that holds us back from seeing what is truly beautiful about our own lives. It takes our eyes of the good that already exists. It makes us blind.

What do you think? Want to retire, "if only?"

Sunday, July 06, 2008

drawing circles

I haven't read this book, and I don't know if I will (not that I'm protesting it, I just don't think I'll ever actually pick it up) but it's books like these that I think are distracting us from the community and growth intended by God.

Focusing on what we're not is reverse-engineering a problem with no solution.

I never want to be defined by something I don't do.

Christians forever have been obsessed with definition, drawing neat and solid circles around our favorite theology, making sure whatever our particular denomination upholds does not bleed into another. Our boundaries create a crowded false feeling of community, but in reality, we're distancing ourselves from brothers and sisters, while alienating a confused culture left outside the margins.

We remain smugly in the center of our circles rejoicing in our superiority.

My Macbook dictionary defines definition (See also: Department of Redundancy Dept.) as " an exact statement or description of the nature, scope, or meaning of something."

It is illogical to define something by all of it's non-attributes.

An image of a person is not clearly defined by understanding that he is NOT the same as any of the other 6.5 billion people in the world. An image of an apple is not realized by understanding that it is not a paper plate.

Our definition is fluid and dynamic. It is something powerful, and it needs to be captured. But I don't think that it can be done by drawing more circles.

So then what are we? How are we defined?

"By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:35

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Monday - Friday God

Sometimes I feel like I believe in a Monday-Friday God.

Like me and God fist-pound on the way out of the office and say things like "Sweet, man. See you Monday."

It's like I think God takes weekends off too, like we're just co-workers. Just two guys at work who help each other's weeks move faster.

Sure, I visit on Sundays and say a few words here and there on Saturdays but really, the weekends, when I actually have available free time, I pretend like I don't know God.

I have time to read and pray and thank God for another beautiful week of life. Another week in which my family was healthy and safe. But it's the hardest for me.

I come home on Friday and take Him off and store Him with my dress shoes, waiting for Monday when I need them again.

I think that rather than "see you Monday," God's saying "There's nothing I'd rather do. I've got nothing better to do than be with you, so give me a call this weekend."

"if you aren't too busy."