Monday, October 27, 2008

Making time for time.

I did it again.

I looked at my watch (phone) and it read 3:50.

I've developed such a fatalistic mindset, I know I have to be somewhere at 6:00 so now, when I look at the clock I perform lightning-speed subtraction to know that I have only a little over 2 hours beforehand. An hour and a half really; what with traffic and all.

Why am I always squinting and straining to see over the horizon? Why do I doom most coming events and let slip the hours and minutes in between?

If you've ever been slacklining or tightrope walking (yes, I do this) you know that the only way to keep real balance is to focus on a distant, but not-too-distant figure, something still, something planted. Perhaps a tree or a person tied to a tree. You focus on the object to give you a still point of reference, this keeps your head straight, which, in turn keeps your body and legs straight.

You stay on the line, but you miss everything below you. As soon as you look down at the swaying rope you lose it, you lose all foundation and get thrown.

I think I'm doing this with life, and I think I hate it. Something inside me says "Don't finish that project."
"Don't commit to anything."
"Don't pour yourself into something because likely, it will fail and look how good you have it here, here you're still walking, still moving somewhat."

Lies. Each of them.

The rope in all its turbulence needs looking after. Situations need remedying. Life needs living.

Life is waiting for us to have time for it.

What are we missing by focusing on the next job, the next friend, the next show or the next degree? What aren't we tending to while we're busy speculating?

So now, I look down at my watch (rope.) I have two hours before I have to be somewhere.

Two whole hours.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

God is not Pro-Life

Saw a bumper sticker today that read: "God is Pro-life."

At first, it struck me as an obvious statement. Yes, of course God is "pro-life." Fire is hot, water is wet, God is pro-life. So why would anyone need a bumper sticker declaring that God doesn't want babies to die? Why was it red white and blue? And while we're at it, why am I growing so uncomfortable?

It hit me and it hurt. The sedan in front of me probably meant well, but the truth is that God is not pro-life.

If we strip away the assumptive reasoning we find a very divisive political agenda being placed like a filter on top of God. The terms pro-life and pro-choice are highly-caffeinated and politicized terms used to define someone's position on abortion. They are snappy political clothes used to summarize, in one hyphenated phrase, a person's political affiliation. But God doesn't have a political position on anything. Our invention of modern politics (or any politics for that matter) are mere tools for definition, used to explain or to embolden a group's collective opinion. A mode of translation used to classify our feelings about creation.

They serve wholly to divide. Politics are about the business of power.

God is not pro-life. God IS life. Our terms are too small.

Frankly what the bumper sticker is telling us is that God would not only VOTE pro life, but, vote for a candidate who is pro-life. Now, here's the long stretch the bumper sticker wants you to make: CANDIDATE VOTING PRO-LIFE = GOD.

That's really what that bumper sticker is saying, and truly, what that bumper sticker is saying, I want nothing to do with.

God is not pro life because he is not ever small enough to fit into yours or my political frame. I simply don't believe God can be bothered with it.

I would argue that one of the greatest and most dangerous heresies in Church is that we are a Christian nation. We think a strong and brazen gladiator-Jesus enters into our political Colosseum fighting the lions of liberalism and ransoming lost and wayward ex-patriots. The truth is, we are not a Christian nation. Too often we objectify the scriptures to enforce our position: we enslave them, we molest them. We are a people using scripture as a sword and God as a shield when it suits our purposes but we have forgotten that God is the whole of the battle.

Jesus asked us to "give to Caesar what is Caesar's" and indeed, we must. But what we're doing is giving God to Caesar.

Monday, October 13, 2008

His Three Words

I’ve been meaning to chase down and capture the best words for my weekend in Colorado, but it’s been difficult. I’ve been practicing lines and words all week hoping to paint the perfect picture.

The best I can do will probably be a series of narratives or thoughts that come to me as I pore over my experiences as I try to continue to feel the weight of that weekend.

I was angry. If I’m honest, I was angry with God.

There were 400 men here, telling what seemed to be intimate experiences with God, but to me they were nothing more than folklore or family legend.

Where was my story? Where was my definitive moment when God became bigger than theories or theology or a fanciful message? I know God exists but for as long as I can remember, I’ve known and loved a silent God. I read stories about him, about his son, about his love. And it’s perfect. I know it’s perfect.

There were 400 men here and when it was silent you could hear each one of them weeping. Each of them revisiting stories of hurt; stories of beauty and inspiration. Each of them streaming tears of breakthrough and recovery and renewal.

Powerful isn’t the right word. It was just power.

It was beautiful and it was God and I was still angry.

At the end of one of Eldredge’s lectures, he asked us, like he had done a few times before, to leave the building in a “covenant of silence.” Our posture of solemnity and introspection and prayer was to be kept in silence; he asked us to pray, to talk to God, to cry if necessary, and ask him to speak to us.

So we left in silence, each one of us red-eyed and expectant. We left no room for machismo.

I climbed the side of a hill looking for a vista. If I’m honest, I hoped that soaking in God’s beauty at the paramount of one of the Colorado Rockies would bring me closer to him. I took a “Tower of Babel” approach (Worked for them right?)

After a few minutes I found a rock suitable for asking God the tough questions. It was big and smooth and very sit-able, facing away from the wind with a view of the lowering sun and flamboyant yellow Aspens.

So I dove in. I was the interrogator; God was sitting handcuffed and speechless across from me. If there was a swinging light above us, I would have shone it in his face and yelled at him.

“Where have you been the past 25 years?” I’d shout.

“I’ve been waiting.” I’d continue. “You know I’ve been waiting and I’ve been listening and now, I’ve been lying. Each year deepens our crevasse, and each year you get harder to fake. Now, where are you?”

Nothing. I heard nothing. The wind rushed through the trees behind me, and I halfway wanted it to be the voice of God himself. “But God was not in the wind” crept in the familiar 1 Kings passage. God was indeed not in the wind. And if I’m honest, I wondered if he was in my heart either.

My demanding turned into pleading, I was begging God for affirmation now.

“God, I don’t need to hear your voice, I’ve gotten this far without it,” I said “if you won’t tell me about yourself, then tell me about me. Tell me about me. Give me my new name God, and I’ll be that new name. I’ve done it alone for so long, if you so desperately want to be with us, why don’t you speak to us? Seems to be the worst way to do things.”

Like a man possessed, lines of long-memorized scripture filled my head. They overlapped each other, competed for prominence, competed for my attention.

“Draw near to me, and I’ll draw near to you”
“A still-small-voice”
“Our God, who is mighty to save”

They swirled between my ears, drowning my own inner-voice as I dismissed them as a reflex of self-medication learned through years of Christian institutionalization.

My doubt overcame me, and instantly I turned on God. My thoughts turned to betrayal, of negligence.

Of abandonment.

Why haven’t I felt validated? Why have I never felt strong enough to rescue a woman? What is it that keeps me questioning my own strength and purpose?

“God,” I asked,” what do you want from me?”

“What is my name?”

I want so badly to feel the strength that felled Goliath, the same strength that empowered Samson, the same spirit that carried Paul through years of imprisonment.

I heard the bell announcing the evening’s lecture and left hearing nothing at the mountaintop.

My shoulders had never felt lower, my face, like my spirit, was worn and tired and resigned. I walked back to the conference center and saw one of my bunkmates, a 45 year- old winery-owner with whom I’ve shared a car-ride, a few topical conversations but little else. He motions to me and I walk over to him.

“I spent the entire time praying for you.” He said. “I don’t know why, and I don’t understand it, but I’ve never heard God’s voice that clearly before. These three words came to me, throw them away or take them in, but understand that I’ve never had an experience with God like that before; I prayed for you the entire time.”

I took his folded post-it note and put it in my pocket, saving myself the awkwardness of having to let him know God doesn’t speak to guys like me, that I was too weak for God to use.”

Mick walked away.

His note read:


Thursday, October 02, 2008


Having a "Rocktoberfest" at the Rock Bottom brewery. The place is awesome, big and trendy but with a very old-world feel.

Being alone is kind of awesome. The next part of my journey begins in a few minutes as I begin my journey into the deep heart of the Rockies, and probably, into my own.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

wild at heart

Posting from the plane.

Anticipation isn't the right word.

I'm expecting God to meet me in Colorado.

Will post in detail when I return. I love you for reading this.