Saturday, March 31, 2007

A Flame that Burns Intensely

There is no extraordinary wisdom within me, unconventional or otherwise.


Wisdom is not what defines me. If it were I should need to pursue a career with International Justice Mission and work towards a law degree. Instead I recognize strength in passion, sometimes it is a weakness also.

Passion compels us to do some ridiculously crazy things sometimes. It is because of passion that I can never be wise. I have resolved to follow passion above wisdom. Passion supplies courage over caution. This is unwise.

I am unwise. I will feed my passion as often as possible. I will allow myself to be guided by my passion and my heart. (I know some people who never thought those words would ever come out of my mouth, or out through my written words) I pray my passion will glorify the Creator of passion and wisdom.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

What does the Bible really say?

Okay, so here's this awful idea (I already know it's awful). I was just thinking about why I think the way I do which we all know is intricately tied to worldview, culture, and paradigms whatever but how do we break free from that and is there anyway to read scripture from any lenses from our own current ones? I know about exegesis and historians trying to reimagine the first century worldview and all. But what about if I don't think that's enough. What if I am so entwined with this US post-modern or post-christian, position of privilege, and other labels that I know I'm not able to see the Bible completely bias-free. What I really want to do is somehow ignore all I have been indoctrinated by through Sunday school and other formats and just feast on Scripture to see what emerges. I want to read the Bible like a book from the library that I pick up on a whim without any expectations. But that's not going to happen. But actually, I'm going through a bit of a detox from all previous experiences with church and that has been very rewarding. I've asked some questions about what should church be and that has now naturally lead to asking stuff about theology. I want to start fresh with scripture. I want to sit in a cell in an ancient monetary for a few months with a bible and an hour a day to talk and discuss what God is revealing. But instead I'm in classes about culture with the expectation that we already know what God's message is and just need to be equipped in communicating.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Movie Reviews

Alright So I really need to watch "Amazing Grace" but just haven't really ever been much of a movie theater type. I'll wait until I can rent it or borrow it from somebody most likely. Two movies I have watched recently however have really made a strong impact and I would like to share some thoughts about them here.
Last night I watched "Blood Diamond" and about a month ago while in Michigan I watched "Tsotsi." Blood Diamond takes place in Sierra Leone and Tsotsi in South Africa. Then of course I read "Not for Sale" in between. I loaned out our house copy of "Invisible Children" to a ICS Wheaton buddy and life is circulating around this issue of child soldiers and extreme poverty in Africa. The movie (BD) ended last night at around 1am and I had to ride home about 15 minutes alone. It may have been the first time I was every freaked out riding at night, alone, all those should be worrisome conditions (you know). I'm starting to learn the basics of sex trafficking and child soldiers. It's totally breaking my heart.
Once again, what I am studying in most of my classes seems secondary to these issues. Why spend so much energy figuring out how to best disciple people in America while there is still so much injustice? I thought about doing my lit review for cross-cultural research today but ended up just checking out books from the library. They are all about holistic ministry in urban settings. It is a tangent from what originally I expected to write and research but it is a tangent that may be necessary in order for me to find motivation to accomplish this major project.

Yesterday I was in a conversation with some very special friends and one of them said something about admiring my heart for missions. This is not something I really asked for or intended to happen. About a week ago I was in a conversation with some other people I highly respect and one of them asked if I had always been like I am, alluding to the missions and compassion for people. No. This isn't me. My desire for my life was to be a successful psychologist who would be able to prove Dr. Phil a fool and write books and be a professor. that would put me in my last year at University of Colorado in Boulder right now working on a huge senior research project on the psychological benefits of altruism. But even without an awareness of the Holy Spirit's work in us I had a prof teach me to pray that my heart break for the things that break God's heart. And now, slowly but surely it seems that everything I once thought and believed is being replaced by understanding I think is more aligned with God's wisdom. Incomplete for sure, but more represent to God. Blessed be God. All praise be to the One who sees the suffering of the invisible around the world. And pray that we all begin to reflect God's love and compassion for the world.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Breastplate of St. Patrick

I arise today through a mighty strength, the invocation of the
Trinity, through belief in the Threeness, through confession
of the Oneness of the Creator of creation.

I arise today through the strength of Christ with His Baptism,
through the strength of His Crucifixion with His Burial
through the strength of His Resurrection with His Ascension,
through the strength of His descent for the Judgment of Doom.

I arise today through the strength of the love of Cherubim
in obedience of Angels, in the service of the Archangels,
in hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
in prayers of Patriarchs, in predictions of Prophets,
in preachings of Apostles, in faiths of Confessors,
in innocence of Holy Virgins, in deeds of righteous men.

I arise today, through the strength of Heaven:
light of Sun, brilliance of Moon, splendour of Fire,
speed of Lightning, swiftness of Wind, depth of Sea,
stability of Earth, firmness of Rock.

I arise today, through God's strength to pilot me:
God's might to uphold me, God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me, God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me, God's hand to guard me,
God's way to lie before me, God's shield to protect me,
God's host to secure me:
against snares of devils, against temptations of vices,
against inclinations of nature, against everyone who
shall wish me ill, afar and anear, alone and in a crowd.

I summon today all these powers between me (and these evils):
against every cruel and merciless power that may oppose
my body and my soul,
against incantations of false prophets,
against black laws of heathenry,
against false laws of heretics, against craft of idolatry,
against spells of women [any witch] and smiths and wizards,
against every knowledge that endangers man's body and soul.
Christ to protect me today
against poison, against burning, against drowning,
against wounding, so that there may come abundance of reward.

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right,
Christ on my left, Christ in breadth, Christ in length,
Christ in height, Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me.

I arise today through a mighty strength, the invocation of the
Trinity, through belief in the Threeness, through confession of the
Oneness of the Creator of creation.
Salvation is of the Lord. Salvation is of the Lord.
Salvation is of Christ. May Thy Salvation, O Lord, be ever with us.

Happy St. Patty's Day!

Don't tell but I wore a Starbuck's apron to work (with a caribou sticker over the starbuck's logo). It's green, come on. Don't tell me you wouldn't have done it also.

Hope all you not working people enjoyed the parade and polychronic river trick.
Here's my gift to you, tailored the the Chicagonian.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Did you ever wonder how we got "here"? I'm not meaning this in the profound origination sort of way but in the since of this very moment to this very place. I was at Caribou yesterday drinking an iced americano at the big table in the back watching the people and stuff while reading "Not for Sale" and then a friend shows up and he and one of his friends sit down. We get to talking instead of letting them study philosophy. My friend's friend is a catholic studying at Wheaton before going to siminary to become a priest. I asked him why he's at Wheaton and he didn't have an answer. We were a table of three wheaton misfits. Landon, didn't belong there but at least the more recent circumstances make some since (his pa being a prof and all) but the sequence of events before living in Wheaton are miraculous to say the least. This catholic friend was quite incredible but Wheaton really doesn't seem to understand the Catholic tradition very well so I can't imagine how he gets along from day to day. And myself, I'm here because I was told to proceed one step at a time and I looked up after a while and here I was. Most of the time I don't think this education is worth it but the time I'm having up here is meaningful for other reasons.

How did we get here?

I remember a year ago I was interviewing and applying for two different things. Both included a master's degree and roughly covered a two year time frame. I walked into the Psychology Dept. Chair's office and sat down with some heavy issues. I needed advise with a deeply personal issue from my past and also some direction to help me esape the paralysis of these two converging options. Neither of which was right or wrong. Both would be useful and would glorify God. Why do we let two equally valid options paralyze us? Or maybe it is just me.
In class today we discussed "calling." What does it mean to be called? Are we all called? Ephesians 4:1 won the day. I opened also to Isaiah 30:21 (I think this is the right reference) the one about either turn to the left or the right and behind you will be the voice, this is the way, walk in it. We are a chosen people called and set apart to be a people of God. Going back to Hesid or covenental relationship. I'm not trying to say there are no right and wrongs but by trying to elevate one vocation above another we have ignored our collective calling to be a people of God. We try to separate the sacred from the secular rather than realize it is all from God.
Where am I trying to go with this?
I think I need a picnic with the creator. I need to recognize the beauty in all things and also return to the relationship element of service.
There was one boy in my class today. He described a beautiful image of God in fellowship with us. He said that God sits with us and says child what do you want to do with me?
We are called to be a people of God, set free to radiate light in a broken world.

God sits with you on a red and white checkered cloth on a perfectly manicured bug-free hill in Ireland and askes you, His beloved child what you want to do Together. What will you say?

Friday, March 02, 2007


God answers prayers.

It's a pretty cool deal actually.

When I walk I try to pray. But most of the time it seems I get too busy starring at the sidewalk, or where it should be underneath all the ice, while listening to some punk or folk music that totally distracts my thoughts, or at least allows me to enter that absent minded state where our brains can check out. This time I kept my thoughts captive and asked God to teach me specific how to love more purely.

Then I walk into the doors of where I work and began my day. I worked hard, it passed quickly. Then I coordinated our weekly French Press seminar addressing the issue of Fair Trade and social responsibility. Then I went home. Simple. Nothing more or less then the normal day of work. Then I found myself in the basement listening and reading the words of an ordinary man Rob Bell who just happens to have been able to highlight beauty in the ordinary and be able to point it out so that others can see it as well. I soaked that in. I'm still processing a lot of what I read tonight. But I know God intended for these words to have brought to me today in answer to my request and now a journey begins.

Praise the Lord that He believes in us even when we fail to believe in ourselves.

What does it mean to truly love? Love, I believe is what we are called to do first and foremost. God is love. Jesus is God. We are called to follow Jesus. We are called to take on the yoke of love, to be love, to be like Jesus. And so we begin to consider what is loving in situations throughout our day.

Example from last week, between classes chilling at a coffee shop. Reading some book on what chruches should look like or some-such and then I begin to look around the room and see a table to my right, two men, discussing discipleship. Then I look to my left and there is a table of 6 men talking about their church, I think they were a ministry meeting. Then I look in front of me and it's a woman sitting alone reading a Christian magazine. Then I look to the far side of the room and I see a professor reading a big theology text. And it goes on and on. I say nobody in there reading a great piece of literature, nobody telling a story to a friend about their childhood, no dating couples talking about their love, no old women sharing recipes. None of it. Just religious discussions in a coffee shop. And this is what it seems like all the time. Christian talk everywhere. It's inescapable. And that day I had a mini-panic attack being surrounded by Christian talk. My thinking through my experiences tells me that talk is cheap.

What sparked the prayer today, what got me to look up rather than down was a license plate on a Mercedes that was customized to read, "THE WORD." This can be interpreted many different ways. I thought of two and neither is loving. The more loving of the two is a memory of a joke that I think Mike tells about college kids naming their bed, "the word" so they can sound spiritual saying they are off to spend time in "the word." In this case meaning I'm going to go off to my expensive SUV. I bet you can figure out what my less loving interpretation was on your own.

Where does this frustration (mask for the anger underneath) come from and how can I get rid of it? And so I prayed. I am now going to make a conscientious effort to see beauty in more things. For instance the fact that now because of the Mercedes people will see "THE WORD" and maybe wonder about it and maybe think I should read the Bible or maybe somehow this license will produce fruit. And maybe it is a miracle that the owner of this vehicle know about "THE WORD." From my experience reading the word I get the feeling that now many people with money figure out what it means. So maybe I should rejoice that people with money can move toward Christ. I look all over Wheaton and other suberbs and I should be rejoicing a lot because rich people do know Christ.

However this is not how I normally think. This is not how I normally interpret the world around me. And so I'm learning the way of love. There is not distinction in love of who does it better. And what process of love is more acceptable. If love is given than the receiver is receiving love. There is no formula for the one right way to love. My way to love is no better than your way. Love is love. My problem now with love is I haven't let it heal or transform all of me.

And again I say, I am beginning a new adventure right now.