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Friday, May 30, 2008

Awakening

spontaneously, at a very early hour, makes me wonder if God has something to say to me. I first got this idea at a planning meeting for a men's retreat. This is one of the pitfalls of growing up in a home without any childhood indoctrination. When you speak with a clergyman who seems to break the mold, so to speak. You begin to speculate...(woe is me, lol) Now, in spite of practicing the morning quiet time thing religiously on and off for years (can you do anything religiously on and off?) I have yet to hear: "GO OUT IN THE YARD AND BUILD A BIG BOAT...PUT ANIMALS IN IT." or, "GET YOUR SLINGSHOT AND GO AFTER THE BIG GUY...DON'T WORRY, YOU CAN TAKE HIM" I have never heard, " STRUGGLE WITH THE ISSUE NO LONGER...I REALLY AM HERE, AND DESPITE THE FACT THAT YOU HAVE NO SIGNIFICANT ROLE TO PLAY IN THE REDEMPTION OF HUMANITY, I DO CARE ABOUT YOU A LITTLE BIT. YOU ARE NOT A SUPERSTITIOUS IDIOT, YOUR LIFE MATTERS TO ME, AND I AM PULLING SOME STRINGS FOR YOU. I have never even heard YES. or NO. What's up with that? Once, I thought I heard something. It involved taking an action that was in alignment with the will and character of God as stated in scripture, I sought counsel (from the Body of Christ, not just some yahoo on the street) and the situation exploded in my face. The ripples of this gargantuan (and expensive) stone, which I threw into my water, still spread throughout the pond to this day, some two years later. I still haven't heard "OOPS".  Andy Stanley, makes the point that God is the creator of communication, (Discovering Gods Will) and no where in the bible, does anybody say "what?... could you repeat that?... I'm not sure I heard you correctly." ( I don't know if he forgot about Gideon of if my memory of scripture is inaccurate... regardless, Yahweh, according to the Bible, has an excellent record of making Himself clearly understood). 
Now, here is the rub: Scripture only addresses individuals who play a role of strategic significance in God's redemptive plan, or play a necessary role in illustrating an accurate picture of Divine Character. There is no book of Joe. Or Jane. Scripture does not address the Average Slob. We get no direct description of how such an individual can expect to be treated in a relationship with the Almighty. Everything is inferred and this pop theology is presented to us from the pulpit. As for the Bible thumping "Gawd speaks to us throo his worduh!", Peter Lord reminds us in Hearing God, that a huge number of Christians lived and died before Guttenberg's printing press, and never owned a Bible. 

Monday, May 26, 2008

Drinking coffee, and reaching for the divine

connection, a fleeting sense of my Savior's prescence. I wonder about Gods will...,His plan for me, and is my will confusing the issue for him (I am so powerful, after all lol). This post is killing me, a sentence every third day...I still struggle with depression, but my friend nudged me, and one of my rare commenter's said that "Blogging helps for me - sometimes". I think I need time alone to process, and give my God space to work in my heart, to promote the forming of scabs over wounds that are still so fresh. I also need community, The living anchors that God has placed in my life. This balance is difficult to reach. I hunger for routine, believing that habit, when harnessed, lets you multi task, accomplishing chores, errands, while your concentration is fixed on Life, and walking in love. Routine, is such an elusive thing for me...for instance, I never get ready the same way two mornings in a row. In my mind it is almost an Idol. It brings to mind the ritualism that permeates so much denominational Christianity. Religion, as opposed to relationship. That is not to say (OMG! I am actually writing!!!) that ritual kills relationship...I once had a girlfriend who would bring me coffee and set it on the nightstand...strong, sweet, and creamy-I can taste it now. This became a comfort to me, and before long, I began returning the favor. This small act, became steeped in associations of love and nurturing, ( for me, at least) both the giving and the receiving became a relational act that was of low intensity, but powerful impact.
Ahh, lookit that. I just softened a little, toward religianity! I actually could chase this rabbit for a while, but it is Midnight, and exhaustion makes me miserable, and I need to preserve what little edge I have...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Bitterness

I grow uncomfortable with the direction my thoughts goto. My posting has degenerated from speculation about life and theology, to whining, self pity and pain. It's kind of embarrassing. I even became a tad rude and arrogant in response to a comment here It has been a little cathartic I'm sure, but it has also been a distraction from working through a lot of my feelings( what a pity!) I have been watching this trend and doing nothing about it, probably in self-preservation. I have struggled with some unhealthy coping behavior in my past, and I think you never really lose a bad habit...It's like riding a bicycle. You may keep it in the shed, gathering dust, and not ride for quite some time, or even get rid of the bicycle completly, But you ain't forgot how to ride, I promise you. and Wal-Mart, Target, and Toys r Us, are littered with new and better bikes. If in the broadest sense sin, or "missing the mark" is simply falling short of perfection, Then perhaps, for the Christian, it is an addiction to depravity...the compulsion/obsession with choosing the will of the flesh over the will of the Spirit within. It also occurs to me, that these thoughts, expressed outside of prayer are like a man having sex several times a week with his mistress. He is less inclined to seek intimacy at home. (I love Rob Bell's book sex god: exploring the endless conections between sexuality and spirituality). There is a correlation, possibly, between my rant on post, and my continued dryness of prayer/meditiation. I wonder which is cause, and which is effect, and do they flip-flop?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I read my bible a little

This morning, at the men’s breakfast. We were studying the passage in Daniel, where he interprets Neb’s dream, and Dr. Dan, who has been teaching for the last few weeks, was talking about God’s sovereignty and total control, and it really rubbed me the wrong way. My anger and frustration came out and I questioned the canonization/rejection of ancient writing, the leading of the spirit, and made an argument for the voluntary abdication of divine power and control for the sake of free will, the indispensable precursor to Love. I was perhaps arrogant, and definitely raw, as well as short on sleep. (These men, mostly older, wiser, and much more successful than me, have been so patient over the last year). This episode was mildly embarrassing to me, but I find I have a hunger to reconnect with my God…

Small Goup

I go to three bible studies/small groups. I cannot imagine what state I would be in without those connections. While I have not renounced my faith, there is undeniable repproach in my "personal" relationship with God, who seems so silent, when I want most to hear him, and my prayers/private devotions have been practically non-existant. My Thursday night group is listed on the church calendar as the "misfits" possibly because we are mostly new Christians (I don't know about Bonnie...), but for the first week of my Father's death, I needed a babysitter (for myself!) and Bonnie and Janel especially, stepped right up to the plate, though neither has known me long. Andy Stanley states that spiritual maturity is indicated "not by how much you know-but by how well you love", that familiarity with principles and doctrine are a means to an end, good only insamuch as they improve our knowlege of, and resemblance to, the Character of Jesus Christ. I have made poor choices during episodes of devastating pain more than once. Or twice. Or three times. With their support, I seem to have made it through the first week...They gave me food, company, and money ( I am a very small contractor, and an unplanned week without working, during a divorce and move left me unable to buy so much as a can of coffee). The Misfits, have been for me, a classic example of what Jesus meant when he instructed the knowledgable pharisee to "go and do likewise"

this morning was a little better,

though I still dont sleep well. I went to the men's breakfast, showed my ass a little, and may possibly have convinced some of them that I am a heretic. Feel in the mood to actually write something today, but I gotta go to work.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Inertia

thanks for the advice

I can't seem to move, really. I can wander from room to room, but purpose escapes me. I stumble across memories...How could I have expected to begin functioning today? I know I scheduled an appointment, but I cannot for the life of me find the data, location, time. I feel worse. and different, and disconnected than ever before. I'm not drinking enough water. The task of programming the coffee pot taxes my intellect. I feel my lower back degenerating as I neglect my physical therapy. Prayer seems a joke. I could sit here all day. I would read my bible, but to reach for it would require some strange effort that feels foreign to me, I cannot muster up the energy to even engage in self destructive behavior. lol. It's a long walk to the toothbrush. I can't unpack a box, clean my vehicle, run a vacuum. activate spellcheck. Log in to check my financial aid. find a pair of socks. decide how to end my post

Saturday, May 17, 2008

compassion

Cynthia

I am so glad this week is over. I felt a constant strain, a pressure to do and speak in a way that would honor my father. In the midst of it, as divorce came over the horizon, the situation with my wife was so confusing, her compassion, and the knowledge that the love one rightfully expects from a spouse was absent, were a source of an explosive cocktail of emotion. I was never comfortable enough to concentrate on my grief. Understanding, rage, disappointment, and bitterness were exhausting me, even now I would do almost anything to be free of them, if only for a little while. Every time she tells me to let her know if I need anything it breaks my heart.

He was so cold

Who knows?YOU MUST VIEW IT LARGE TO READ IT

 the moisture in an air-conditioned funeral home was condensing on his head. this was because he was not embalmed. My father's wife asked them to hold off on the cremation so that my sister could see him one last time.
A couple of years ago, a man co-ordinating a retreat asked me to teach on the study of scripture. He said the Holy Spirit directed his request. I was sick with anxiety. I had never before felt humbled and greatly honored simultaneously. While researching, I stumbled across another author quoting Philip Yancy's Disappointment With God:
  • “Power can do everything but the most important thing: it cannot control love. In a concentration camp, the guards possess almost unlimited power. By applying force, they can make you renounce your God, curse your family, Work without pay, eat human excrement, kill and then bury your closest friend or even your own mother. All this is within their power. Only one thing is not: they cannot force you to love them. This fact may help explain why God sometimes seems shy to use his power. He created us to love him, but his most impressive displays of miracle—the kinds we may secretly long for—do nothing to foster that love.”
When It became clear that I was getting a divorce, I purchased the book and read it in it's entirety. In my emotionally raw state, Phillip's writing struck me powerfully. Possibly a week or ten days after I completed it, I found myself reeling from the death of my father. At this time it feels as though I read it years ago.The divorce papers sit in a kitchen cabinet in my new, beautiful, empty house, unsigned. My to do list has been put on hold, at least until tuesday. Since the tornadoes passed through the Macon state campus, I'm told that this semester will not begin on time. Last month, I could look back on the last six or seven years, and God's hand on my life seemed undeniable. My sight grows dim, My dreams are a joke, and I wonder if I deceived myself. I have journals going back to a time when I wrote prayers to a God whose name I did not know, I know If I could bring myself to read through them, I could trace my path as my Savior drew me to Him, and taught me his name. My faith is in shreds, I am suspicious even when comforted. Seven years Papa. 10 percent of my life. I have followed you, as best I could. My anger grows, I am surprised and fear you. I'm sorry. I have never been more aware of the gulf between souls. I know many suffer greater pain than this. I am so tired in the deepest part of me I yearn for rest. Reassure me of your love. Tell me again that this matters to you.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Denied Prayer

2008 10 05_coosa trip with scott_3842

He died. It is likely that after 16 minutes of CPR he would have not been himself if he had recovered. It is hard to sort through my feelings. There is bitter disappointment, lonliness, an inarticulate longing for closeness and love. It is strange. I am loved much, and greatly, by many people, but my inner emptiness resounds within my soul...ebbs and flows, retreating when I feel like another moment would be my undoing. I find another hour has passed. I was a failure as a son and as a man for much of our relationship, but by God's Grace, a bridge had been rebuilt and my father knew many of my regrets, and freely forgave me.
I harbor no resentment at the Ancient Of Days, He administers the universe as he sees fit, and some time ago I surrendered, and said "let Him do to me as seems good to Him". I may complain, question, even wallow in childish petulance, but I know I have no where else to turn. When things were inconvenient, and difficult to understand Peter said "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life"

Monday, May 12, 2008

Lamentation and Petition

Frustration, and futility. The helpless sense that my world is unravelling. I was actually kind of surprised that there was WI-FI at the medical center of central Georgia...it seems strange to me. though Macon is a larger town than Warner Robins, I have always felt that Warner Robins was more up-to-date...go figure. I guess shit began hitting the fan about 10 days ago...My marriage fell apart, and in the whirlwind of drastically changing circumstances-living location, gathering the requisite paperwork to obtain a divorce, and the struggle to hold together a plan to continue my education, my Dad's health took a nosedive. I have much to be grateful for, God's Provision and his impeccable timing...These things are so momentous in this situation that the Lord's intrevention seems clear to me, and I cannot rail against injustice, and I walk through no material hardship that I did not bring upon my self. My Dad's heart cathertization went as wrong as it can go without actual death. as it was it was scheduled for lunchtime today and had to be moved up to this morning because his condition was so bad. He had a heart attack during the procedure, and had to be recescutated. Now he has been moved to a better equipped facility to continue the fight for life. As I blog from the waiting room, I think of prayer, it's paradoxical nature, and the unfathomable criteria by which God chooses to grant or deny petition. Scripture tells us that "the prayer of a righteous man availeth much", and I sit painfully aware that my righteousness, by the standards of the evangelical community, is flimsy and unimpressive. Even my Savior had prayers denied and these in his darkest, lonliest moments. Who Am I? Papa please. Don't take my Dad. I am so sorry, and my heart is already broken. Please. Mercy. Pity. Grace. Your servant requests your favor yet again.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Tired again!

Ahh, sweet exhaustion...
For the 2nd night in a row, I am up past midnight with an early morning planned. I miss my large( by my standards), empty house. I cannot seem to feel secure in the blessings My Father in Heaven showers on me, and my new house, which should have been impossible for me to obtain is something that I dream over helplessly, making impractical plans to furnish and landscape, as paranoid fear lurks in the background, whispering that there must be some mistake. I hunger for more of everything, an abundant life! Time to think, time to write, time to love and be loved, time to know and be known. I get the same twenty-four hours as every one else, yet I feel like most people have a better handle on life then I do. Hence the feelings of insecurity and inadequacy. My stepfather, Chuck, told me tonight that a foundational awareness of self keeps you from allowing others to project onto you. Presumably, this would apply to Satan, also. Lol. I also remember the Desidarada, warning "if you compare yourself to others, you will become vain and bitter, for always there will be people greater or lesser than yourself"
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