Friday, November 09, 2007

if you could talk to jesus about one thing...

what would it be?

i like kamp krusty's conclusion:

Am I a fraud?

Or are you pleased with me? If you are, can I hear you say it?

yeah. i think i would want to say the same. would you say talk to him about?

Monday, November 05, 2007

on wrestling and silence


"I realized that I had come to a point of desperation and that I can honestly say my greatest desire in life is to know that God is with me. I set my faith toward this great goal.

The truth of the matter is that I'd rather be unhappy and know that God is with me, than be happy, comfortable, and unsure of God's presence.

I remember times gone by of incredible fulfillment and others of great unhappiness, but the single thread that holds them together is that I knew that God was with me at the heart of it all. He was caught up in my decision-making on a daily basis and I felt truly alive. Right now by contrast I am technically happy but there is this underlying sense of dullness. I just spent a while in the midsts of dawn on the Trundle [a local hill] looking for God, crying, trying to listen, being honest in a way that has to whisper.

Later Samie asked me what God had said to me, and I replied, "nothing." God said nothing, and that's okay, because I'm starting to wrestle for His presence again, and I'm prepared to wait. I feel like God is waiting to see if I am waiting. If he just flooded in with answers and guidance right now, I would not have changed, I would not have learned to wait and trust without the answers, and without a road map for the future. So I'm kind of glad that God was silent, because I actually want to wait, I want to prove my metal to God; I don't necessarily want ease and instant anything anymore.

I want to be different before I do anything different. So I'm waiting for God, and God is waiting for me to see if I am really waiting for Him, and not just wanting things from Him. And as God and I eyeball each other in this way, I feel good. I feel alive and engaged with what matters, and I'm going to win this waiting game with God." 29, Red Moon Rising by Pete Grieg

i've been turning this quote over in my head frequently the past couple of weeks. there's a honesty here that i really resonate with, and i also really like the way silence is portrayed as healthy dynamic.

i do sense that i'm entering a season of transition and change. there are some obvious factors here :), but i genuinely feel that something is new.

i'm starting to wrestle for His presence again.

its been awhile that i've been able to do that wholeheartedly. m bickle says that it takes God to love God...its definitely a been a process of getting past all the junk of western evangelicalism. its a miracle that i'm here again. and this time, i do feel like its not for the purpose of tapping into the cosmic vending machine but for just for relationship.

its not easy. i feel like i'm exercising muscles that have atrophied and have been out of use for a long time. i'm also developing some new muscles -- like wrestling for His presence as an end...and not as a means to what He has to say or what He has for me to do.

------

there are times and seasons when God is silent, and we need to learn how to trust in the midst of silence. but there are other times there is silence because our souls is noisy.

can you hear your friend talking when there is a stereo blaring, video games switched on, computer turned on, multiple people talking? no, we have to turn off the inputs one by one...and then we realize that something is being said.

and what if its in a language that you're familiar with, not fully fluent. you have to listen slowly, re-hear, have the speaker repeat what they've said, and translate what has been said in your head...

wouldn't we be deliberate to hear and understand this voice if we knew that things that were said would set us free, would give us life, would bring us into relationship? don't we do that very thing to understand and hear the voice of our loved ones?
"meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still. selah." psalm 4:4b

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

ruminations on real sex (pt. 2)

so...to preface the major delay on this post...i actually found all the good quotes from this book the first night i read it...which was when pt. 1 was written. i finished the book the next day and promptly forgot about my promised next parts.

so, ruminations continue. quotes to begin:

“In contemporary society, sex is public...it is not communal...Americans consider sex a fine topic of public disclosure but we insist that sex is also private, nobody’s business but mine and the person with whom I’m doing it.” (47)

“We are called to speak to one another lovingly, to be sure, and with edifying, rather than gossipy or hurtful, goals. But we are called nonetheless to transform seemingly private matters into communal matters. Of course, premarital sexual behavior is just one of many instances of this larger point. Christians also need to speak courageously and transparently, for example, about the seemingly private matters of Christian marriage” (53)

i think the first quote really captures how not only the public views sex, but really how the church views it too. the second quote gets me because i think the church's failure (case in point: true love campaign was shown to only delay premarital sex, and only barely...) to adequately speak on this topic doesn't necessarily have to do with SEX per se as much as it has to do with our broken understanding of community.

one thing i've been wrestling with is the idea of how my actions affect others. i think i would like to believe that i function in a fully autonomous bubble where i can freely choose what and whom i interact with. but really, we're all interconnected.

when i spend $40 on a pair of jeans, my purchase affects the employees at the store i purchased from, it ripples down to the corporate headquarters of the store, to the manufacturers, to the laborers that make those jeans, to the children of those laborers. its easy to compartmentalize these "chain reactions" because they're so removed from us. but it doesn't change reality.

i wonder if our isolation on wrestling through issues of sex, money, and other things is out of a sense of believing that we are truly independent. in other words, we don't talk about it with others because we really think that it doesn't involve them or that our decisions don't affect them. but the reality is our secrets may not be apparent on the surface, but they will always show up later and they have community ramifications. the church's inability to healthily address how singles ought to be dealing with their sexuality gets uncovered when these singles get married are struggling to adequately understand this "newfound" aspect of their lives.

i long to see the church be able to wrestle issues of sexuality in healthier way than we do now. if we have a so called relationship with the God of the universe that created it -- shouldn't we have a unique insight on how this is all supposed to work together? i don't think we will be able to come into this maturity until we come into a greater realization that as a body of Christ we are to BE a body.

wouldn't it be weird if the hand suddenly stopped telling the brain what it was grabbing? i'm pretty sure the hand would be burned or picking up something wrong.

when i refuse to include my community in wrestling through LIFE in light of following Jesus, i am missing out. i'm attempting to function as a body outside the framework of how a body functions...

its unfortunate that the church at large has become a place that is unsafe to wrestle through controversial issues (money, sex, politics...). if the church doesn't have anything to say about those things...why does it have a say on matters of eternity?

The problem is not that we talk about sex. The problem is how we talk about sex. This matters, because the way we talk about sex reflects and forms the way we think about, and ultimately the way we practice, sex. (63)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

ruminations on real sex (pt. 1)

i got this book in the mail couple days ago per the recommendation of jameschoung.net's library page. very very fascinating book so far - the author, lauren f. winner, has made a really conscious effort to challenge the way the christian church (evangelical, western church) talks and engages on the topic of sex. imma post thoughts as i read through it...

“Indeed, one can say that in Christianity’s vocabulary the only real sex is the sex that happens in a marriage; the faux sex that goes on outside marriage is not really sex at all. The physical coming together that happens between two people who are not married is only a distorted imitation of sex, as Walt Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort is only a simulation of real wilderness. The danger is that when we spend too much time in the simulations, we lose the capacity to distinguish between the ersatz and the real.” p.38

i laughed out loud when i read this part. the walt disney parallel just brings the point home.

its true though isn't it, if we spend enough time with the counterfeit, we forget what the real thing is? there's the anecdote that if you want to learn to detect the counterfeit - become deeply acquainted with genuine.

i'm assuming that the sex that is often portrayed by mainstream media is definitely not the real thing. even so-called "pagans" understand that what hollywood or the tabloids tell us about sex is very much removed from the reality of what happens in between the blankets or what really happens between two consenting adults.

but i also think that the mainstream western church also has a whacked out perspective of sex, how we view our bodies, sex in the context of marriage and what it means to be a sexual being. part of the reason why i'm reading this book is that all my life i've been told that i shouldn't look at porn, think about sex, blah blah. which all ends up insinuating that sex is bad as a single male and then somehow after i get married sex is something good?

i'm not quite getting the message of what it means to function as a human being that God created with sexual desires. somehow we're supposed to keep those desires under wraps when we're single, and somehow "we don't have to worry about it" when we get married?

i'm not being terribly fair with the last statement - but i hope you get my point. i feel like society AND the church has ripped us off in terms of what true sexuality looks like.

isn't it about time we start dealing with this issue in a way that honors the fact that God's original depiction of sex is in the garden of eden - where everything God created was good.

anyhow - first thoughts, lots more good stuff to come along the way.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

thinking new thoughts after God

i browsed through some of my older posts today. i'm not sure i remember the person that wrote them. i see myself in them, but at the same time its reading someone else's thoughts.

was talking with the girlfriend about how my blog has basically died :). we talked about how it was a good outlet for me to chew through things i was going through, life, love, God, why. people say things in writing or on the internets that they wouldn't say in person. and thoughts get fleshed out differently in writing.

so if i'm not posting now - does that mean i'm not really chewing through stuff anymore? i ruminated on it today when i was driving around doing some errands.

at some point i think around my senior year in college - i stopped the reflective posts. i think it had a lot to do with the fact that i realized that i didn't have much to say. when you're young and idealistic (not to say i'm no longer these things), there's a tendency to put things out with a "so what who cares" attitude. somewhere along the line of realizing i didn't have answers or tidy conclusions - i think i lost my voice.

the biggest thing post-college was my black and white world blowing up into shades of gray. certain things weren't so certain anymore. this wasn't a bad thing - but i began to be suspicious of people (or rather, myself) or came across as having the whole God and life thing figured out.

i also began to realize that i spent a lot of time acquiring information and knowledge about God but came to the startling conclusion that i really didn't KNOW God.

when i was in college i used to devour books on spirituality. i listened to sermons, was inspired...and the wrote a blog post about it ;) then around my senior year, i read "blue like jazz" and everything went out the window.

the culmination of all these "oh schnaps" revelations was that i just shut up. part of it was also that i began to have outlets of processing that i didn't have before, the girlfriend, good friends.

i stopped reading the new testament for a season because i just didn't have the appetite for it. i dropped reading "God books" too. i've had a hard time "re-learning." its just been easier to read about things i know i don't know anything about than to read about things that leave me confused.

now its been a two-ish year journey in and out of uncertainty, bitterness, skepticism, cynicism, anti-religion, and apathy. i think i still have many of those things, though i'm hoping those feelings and emotions mature into something good.

i'm trying to redefine what it means for me to go hard after God without all the legalistic trappings of before. i'm going hard after relationship, and wanting to go out into deeper water instead of playing around in the certainty of shallow shores.

the conclusion i reached today was that i think its time for me to get into those things again. one of my strengths is input - i suck in new information like no one's business. anyone who's seen my rss feed list in google reader knows this. but part of the redemption of this information vacuum is that it enables me to think new thoughts after God. i need to be stimulated, i need new angles to see God's Kingdom, Satan's kingdom, and just plain life. in part of my effort to love God with all who i am -- i need to continuously think new thoughts after God.

so does this mean i'll start blogging again? i hope so.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Robbing Today In Anticipation Of Tomorrow

Looking to the tomorrow's dreams and all the secrets that they hold,
Patiently waiting for these days.
And when I look into the sky I see that hope is coming soon,
Praying love will come again.
- delirious? 'what is this thing called love'

is fitting that this blog's title has been amended to "rest in the Lord" and "wait patiently for Him." this is a season of a lot of waiting. pondering. wondering.

there's a way that a season of anticipation can kill the joy of the present. maybe you're so excited about something down the line that you're missing out on something really cool in the right here and now. you're focused on what's going to happen, what may happen, what could happen, that *poof*

i feel like i'm learning how to live in full anticipation of the future yet not let the disappointment of the 'not yet' suck the life of what's happening before my eyes. i'm not yet ____, but i am ____!

part of that is not letting hope die b/c of impatience. sometimes its just easier to think something won't ever happen than to think of the possibilities of it potentially happening.

What is this thing called love?
I know I've found it; It's in Your eyes.
What is this thing called love?
I know I've found it; It's in Your eyes.
- delirious? 'what is this thing called love'

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Balancing Ideals

A friend made a post today about the idea of balance. You can read it here.

I left the following comment:
good stuff here.

it made me think about something that i read - so here it is, just additional food for thought.

when the gifts of the holy spirit began manifesting within the vineyard movement, john wimber and the vineyard were accused of "overemphasizing" the gifts. this is what wimber had to say specifically when prophecy was being activated in their community.

Any new move of the Spirit usually brings with it significant problems. The prophetic ministry is no different. When God introduces something new, the church usually responds by overemphasizing it. That's human nature. But this is only a temporary imbalance, an intense learning stage in which the Holy Spirit instructs us.

When the Anaheim Vineyard started back in 1978 we'd gather and worship for oneandahalf hours, and then disperse. Almost nothing else happened: little prayer or Bible teaching, few testimonies, shallow fellowship.

Early on being "baptized in the Spirit"-accompanied by speaking in tongues-became a major focus. In fact, speaking in tongues was the high spiritual watermark in the minds of many people. Later we added praying for the sick to worship, and that became all we did. Our focus at every meeting was on healing-to the exclusion of other significant practices of the Christian life. We'd open our meetings with a few minutes of worship, then jump into praying for the sick.

In time we outgrew our myopic practice. Today we still pray regularly for the sick, but it is only one aspect of a corporate life that includes worship, prayer, teaching and preaching from the Bible, and so on.

Prophecy is now assuming center stage in the Vineyard, and-as we have done in the past with other moves of God-it is almost all that is talked about. I'm sure that it will remain a commanding topic for a year or two, and then it will take its appropriate place in the church.


you see this played out even in your life - early on, the charismatic experience was something that was deeply emphasized in your walk, arguably even over-emphasized. then God began to show you His heart in a different area...and for awhile, you went into that particular "deep end." so its cool now to see you move back into the center of your experiences, and bring all the things you've been experienced into an integrated whole instead of fragmented parts.
this issue of balance is something i've been grappling for the past year. the college experience is one that i treasure - and no doubt quite formative in my life. but a downside of the euphoria and joys of the college environment is that sometimes it is insulated from the pressures of the "real world."

i've mentioned this several times before, so i won't beat the dead horse. but the point being - the first year out of college was like "road testing" all the cool ideals that i espoused in college. the funny thing about road testing ideals is that you begin to see that they're not all that they're cracked up to be...and often times, those ideals need a bit of revising.

in many ways, my college experience was one where my pursuit of the gifts of the holy spirit really took off. i was free to pursue what i was interested in and admittedly -- i formed many "ideals" of what it meant to be "filled with the Holy Spirit," or "speaking in tongues," and etc. God was introducing something new in my life...and i did my human part by overemphasizing it. :)

my senior year, after i had been burned out by charismania -- i began swinging back to my roots. my involvement at intervarsity had a lot in shaping that, and i began to discover "jesus, justice, and poverty." what did you mean that jesus talked about money than any subject other than the kingdom of God? what do you mean the sodom and gomorrah were destroyed by their gluttony? wait, you mean most of the prophets are talking about justice for the poor? and once again, God was introducing something new in my life...and i did my human part by overemphasizing it.

i used to fear being out of balance - but i'm seeing in my own experience that being out of balance for the short term is okay. it takes extremes sometimes to forge a reality in your life. mountain experiences are not "every day life," but they are a crucial element in shaping our values, beliefs, and decisions.

the revising of my ideals isn't done. i am far from "getting it." i am much less sure about things than i was several years ago, even if i do feel like i have a little bit more wisdom.

at the end of the day?

i'm getting deeper into Jesus' heart, and thinking after His thoughts more and more every day. and i think that's good ideal to run after.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Destiny: ours or God's?

I've been reading through 1 & 2 Samuel of teh excellent "The Message" translation. It tells the story of Israel's first two kings: Saul and David (have you ever noticed that no one in the Bible has a last name? interesting...).

The thing that strikes me about David every time I read through these books is his humility to seek and trust God EVEN when the most obvious course of action is before him. And even when it isn't clear, David doesn't go on winging it assuming he'll kick butt even though he's the most powerful king in the neighborhood.

David recognizes that God has raised him up not for his own benefit, but for the benefit of the people of Israel.

My destiny -- the things I've been wired and destined to do...that's not for my benefit. Its not so I get the warm fuzzies inside (It isnt'!?).

My destiny was God's idea and its effects are God's intentions. My deepest passions were placed inside of me by God to intersect with a deep need in this world. And the fulfillment of that destiny is not on my timetable, its God's.

David was crowned king when he was a teenager. For twenty years, he carried that promise in him that he would be king. For a good part of it, it seemed that it wouldn't happen. Time and again, opportunities presented themselves before him, where he could have seized the throne in a power struggle. Each time, David discerned that it was not yet his time. I have to believe that when David became king, it was better / crazier than even his wildest dreams...and just on time.

God, let your kingdom come in our lives...right on time.

Monday, January 08, 2007

innocence again

as i posted before, i moved over to mac. after several days of complete confusion and disorientation, i think i've found my grounding. i heart macs. i know, i crossed over to the dark side. one thing that has proven true in my evolution to greater computing sophistication is that mac does, indeed, have better software. i'm not just talking aesthetics, but mac developers have a keen sense of ergonomics in mind. building on a rock solid os like OS X helps too. [disclaimer: winxp is pretty darn solid. i've never gotten a virus the five years i've used it. i'm just saying that os x just feels more solid.]

what does this have to do with the title of this post, b? well...it has to do with me migrating over to apple's mail.app, which i must say, kicks the pootang off thunderbird. though i am still faithful to my gmail.

OKAY. so. the point. been backing up my gmail to my computer locally, and i started reading emails from two years ago (two years is a long time in internet time). just reading the content made me so keenly aware of the changes of the past year.

people say that post-college life is hard -- particularly in the aspect of having a convenient community of friends and relationships to dip into. but i think most stunning change has been a deep awareness of the loss of innocence..the childlike faith and belief in ideals. life just SEEMED easier two years ago (i don't know if it really was). joy seemed easier to choose two years ago, even one year ago. joy is a conscious choice in this one-year-old post-college life.

i can see why age mellows people out.

i joke sometimes that once you hit twenty-two...your life is downhill from there. left to inertia -- your life will exactly do that. but i have to believe in the midst of my increasing jadedness and callousness that life doesn't have to be downhill, but a slow and steady ascent. further up and further in they say.

its been eight days into the new year - here's to a year where God's kingdom breaks deeper into our lives and we rediscover the childlike rhythms of easy joy.