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Saturday, May 23, 2009

No Comments..please leave a message

     Okay so this is like a personal journal. But I must admit I really thought the last entry would get a few comments. I mean every (Every) person I have met definitely has a opinion about everything(Well almost everything). Anyway we leave Tuesday for Kenya and I will once again attempt to blog about whats going on with Life in Kenya. Meanwhile I may take a roll call to see who is present. Hope to hear from some (or all) of you readers soon. Like my answering machine says my wife is away right now and we have caller ID so Im not answering but leave a message if you want to..
See you in Kenya....blessings...

Friday, May 15, 2009

Comments on Being Real? Part II

A p.s. to the previous post ..just to add a final thought by Gall towards those who think he is trying to "glorify sin". The Truth is we have a tendency to let people know the real us because of not being acceptance but thankfully God already knows Everything about you and me. And as Gall explains the Bible is quite open about the dirty laundy in peoples lives. We do need to find that somebody in our live to share our deepest struggles, hurts, hopes, desires and dreams. Or as one of my friend puts it there is a need to "vomit" our "stuff" on one another...Now (finally) the final thoughts...
Im not interested in being slave to or defined by my sins Im not looking to be a hero for them. I don’t even want to hold onto them. But certainly there must be some way for me to make sense of my sins, to learn what is true in the face of pain and confusion and lack of control I’ve known. Isn’t there? And I can think of dozens of really nasty stories in the Bible, about a woman driving a tent spike through a man’s head into the ground, or about a king-a man “after God’s own heart,” no less-who sees a woman bathing and later sends her husband to certain death so the king can cover up the fact that he’s already knocked her up, or about Jesus taking and eating wheat from another man’s field on the Sabbath when all of the good religious people were scandalized by such forbidden behavior. Beyond those are a whole assortment of stories about rape, incest, adultery, idolatry, murder-everything. If there is a point to the experiences in the Bible, if those stories mean something when held up to the light of God, why wouldn’t it make sense for me, or anyone else, to do the same?
I think Pamela’s comment during the Bible study was perfect. In fact, if there was a problem, it was treading so naively on ground made sacred by the battle between good and evil for the prize of our souls and sanctification. My battles and my temptations are hard places, bloody and filthy places, sacred places, where the image of God I bear is under significant attack. It is a holy place, and it is not a trivial pursuit. If you’re going to wander where the cows graze, you’d better be ready to get your shoes dirty.

The Cost of (not) Being "Real?"

The following is a excerpt from Pete Galls "My Beautiful Idol" on the sense that we think we are being so real and open but seem to be desperately missing something, a long read but worthwhile.

At a Bible Study that Pete was attending the host/leader suggested that since they were going to talk about temptation that they would go around the room and each share what is the biggest temptations in their life. So Gall goes on to say..”If I’ve ever experienced a perfect example of the absolute loss of contact with the real world that exists in much of the Church today its in Twan’s question. Our biggest temptations? As an icebreaker? In a quick trip around a circle on futons over safeway grape soda and Chips Ahoy? I sigh I know how this is going to go. Joanie is first, because Twan gestures for her to start. I guess its probably procrastinating? Ooooh Good one, beck says. “That was mine” Kathy echoes. “I’m so bad about that.” “What about you, Kirk?” Twan continues. I think TV takes a lot of my life, he replies. There are nods. Crissy, the bublly, granola, Meg-Ryan-esque nurse who wears blue hospital scrubs at all times in next, “Chocolate. Absolutely. That is Holly’s too, though she doesn’t say so to the group. She turns to Joanie the Procrastinator and their body language makes clear the jealousy and bitterness the two heavier girls have toward Crissy and the attention she gets from the men in the group. The men, to Holly’s point, respond to Crissy with things like: (Antonio) “If that’s you sin it sure doesn’t show.”(Twan) “Better be careful-someone could use that against you” wink. (Robert) “You know, Chocolates and aphrodisiac” And as soon as he says it..he shrinks back a little. He’s obviously not the sort to say such things. Jon and I may are the only people in the room to catch what he said. We looked at each other and smiled. A new friendship is born. The next person in the circle is Pamela, a dark haired Swiss woman who looks and dresses lie a slender single mother in love with a rock star. In fact she is a single mother, to a 3 year old, and her ex-husband is in jail for something to do with cocaine. Twan scrapes his eyes off Crissy to turn the question about temptation to Pamela. “What about you?” he asks. “I think you’re all full of it” she says. “I like chocolate, and I would watch too much television if I could, but the truth is that what we really want is to be having sex.” There are guffaws and squeals and gasps and furrowed brows everywhere. But she continues. “I want chocolate, but I want it melted and licked off me. Several times. And so do all of you. Maybe in front of the television. And Joanie, even you wouldn’t put that off till tomorrow.” Twan is desperate to regain control of the moment. “Well I’d say the ice is sufficiently broken!” And he steers the discussion to the notes he’s printed out. As we file out at the end of the evening he pulls Pamela aside and tells here that he understands it was her first time to the study, but that her answer had been inappropriate, especially in mixed company. That’s Christian culture in a nutshell. We have this Bible that tells horrible stories about sin and depravity and temptations and addictions that overwhelm people, even to death. And we pray to this God who loves us and mourns over our suffering and yearns to clean us up, set us free and draw us to Him-and not necessarily in that order. And we have Jesus who sought out and spent His time hanging with people who laughed too loudly, who surely were not tea party material, and who were very often absolutely buried in inappropriate behaviors and lifestyles. Jesus preferred them because they were not religious “whitewashed tombs,” painted and clean on the outside but dead and reeking on the inside.
Christianity has this entire worldview that treats the filth of life as impermanent, redeemable, escapable, and unable to make the bride too filthy to be loved. But we have this thing in our culture where we don’t believe a bit of it. We work so overly hard to make God look good that what we say has no credibility at all; we lie about him all the time. We’re such cow-brained dullards. In our insecurities and arrogance, and out lack of honesty we demand to see God turn lives around, to do something cool for us. To be our dancing poodle. We want to be able to tell a great story about how well our lives have been transformed by this God who, to our exquisite torture, simply does not do enough flashy stuff for us to feel comfortable letting his work stand on its own. We are so desperate to share the good news that we almost always fake it. We forget the miraculous and we promise more than we really experience ourselves. And we are so conflicted about hot to be “good Christians”-people whose lives have been turned around and made squeaky clean-even though that’s not what we experience exactly, that we have developed a twisted hand wringing culture where we are far less mater-of-fact about sin and temptation and doubt and the profane than are our scriptures, our God, or even the rest of the world around us where there is no promise of rescue or redemption. We’re obnoxious fools, and our dishonestly makes us incredibly vulnerable and weak-and far from trustworthy to people who could actually benefit from knowing the Truth according to God.

Still Wide awake in my sleepwalking...(repeat)

Yes this is a repeat. Almost a year ago I started this blog and once again in 10 days we will be returning to Kenya. So I thought I would "re-blog" this for some new readers. Yes Im like the band that has one cd out and then follows up with a "greatest hits" In any case thanks for reading and for any followers, bloggers, leave some thoughts, blogs, feedbacks,,,even prayers and/or prayer request.

Wide Awake in the land of Nod
A few of my friends suggested I start posting some of my "ramblings" so lets start the Blogging with 16 days away from our trip to Kenya. But first I just want to "ramble" about life in general. Based on a book she recently read my wife suggested "Beautiful Ache" as the title for the blogs. I was going to use "Live Laugh Love" but I think "die, cry, hate" would have been more eye catching and just as true, as in its all part of life. Life is a Beautiful Ache, we indeed are living in the "Shadowlands." My friend "D" and I ramble via emails about life, from God, religion to music and the best places to eat. There's definitely a beautiful ache in all of us and its all around us but most of us are so caught up in self and the things of the world that we miss out on this thing we call life. I realize there's a slim chance no more than a few actually reading this, but in case this gets a following I know there will be Christians saying "whats wrong with him?' and non believers saying "Wow, now he wonders why Im not a believer?". So let my first blog clarify this one thing: I believe in God aka Jesus Christ. He is the Creator behind this beautiful creation. But His people including myself have the tendency to represent Him about as well as a bad used car salesman or one selling an Encyclopedia set door to door. So in saying that now I can continue to ramble on....I have been on several mission trips and all along volunteer at a local youth center. And in all these years there are those who wonder why we go overseas when there is such need here. And at the same time the need here remains a Need in a land of plenty. Again one doesnt have to go overseas to be a missionary. Matter of fact it seems much easier for local Christians to enter a third world country then to work inside a youth center with aircondition and heat. I still cant figure that one out. Maybe its because we can come back with some cool pics and impress others that "the natives are friendly and we changed the world" That is of course until we have a concert then the bandwagon is filled and people having their spiritual pennants and poms poms to cheer us on. They even say they are on the same team. But they never show up for "another game". And I've said off and on for years Im burned out but NO I now realize its not that its Im just TIRED of people, religion, Self (Yea perhaps even you) to quote my friend.. "I'm tired of church. I'm tired of church politics. I'm tired of religious people getting upset because a man preaching has a tattoo or a piercing. I'm convinced that if Jesus walked in to most churches, no one would recognize Him. The man that they say they strive to be like they would treat like the plague. I'm tired of humanism. We build up self esteem to let the soul die in it's sin. I'd shut myself in a cave if I wasn't afraid of spiders. God has to be God or He can be anything else. If God would open the earth and swallow people, the world would say that God is not a God of love. However, when we declares His love, the church say that God has to judge sin. What do they want? Everything?" (A year later, much the same?)I do wish You and I were "wide awake" to know what it means to love Christ and to live every moment cause most of us (including myself) are not fully convinced this could could be our last day and so much of what we give our time to has little eternal value. So 10 days till Kenya then hopefully I can blog daily on our stay there meanwhile any topic by suggestion or burden will be blogged. I will close with the words of C.S. Lewis. "We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased."