Well Jon, God made me do it. I have to start defining what I believe. I put it on a blog at defined. Tell me what you think. If you want to send other people to the site, fine by me.
Friday, December 29, 2006
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
"testing...is this thing on?"
(the post heard round the world) "tagged"
"average jew. or... contemplations of the jewish proletariat during the time of jesus"
"a letter from my brother"
"two thoughts on jesus"
"gary coleman, todd bridges, conrad bain, and dana plato..."
and of course the mess that followed, almost prophetically, as a result of posts such as these. which cost us some friends who have fled and not returned. i am grateful for those of you who have stuck it out with me and are still here. i do apologize and am embarrassed that it happened here, but for some reason i know god wanted it done in the open for people to see exactly what is the cost of following him. i trust we can rebuild and edify and encourage one another again in the coming year. a hearty thank you to anyone and everyone who has come by here to build and encourage and strengthen the gatherings. all the best for the new year. see you in january for james.
much love, jON, Erin, Zaavan, and baby.
at 6:51 PM
Thursday, December 14, 2006
As you can already tell, this is not Jon because the first letter was capitalized. This is his brother Nate. I had something to share and Jon was gracious enough to allow me to post on his site. As I am sure many of you do, I wonder what the playing out of the end of the world will really be like, and how we will get there.
Strangely enough my theory on it comes from a strange source, Isaac's blessing of Jacob. For those that do not know the story, here it is briefly. On the day that Isaac was to bless one of his son's, making him the heir to God's blessing. Rebekah, Isaac's first wife, overheard Isaac sending Esau on a hunting trip so he could make food for him, and then give his blessing. She sent Jacob to Isaac with goat skin on his hands, and food. Esau had very hairy hands,the goat skin was so Isaac would not know that he was giving his blessing to Jacob instead of Esau. The trick worked an Isaac blessed Jacob instead of Esau. Earlier, when Esau came out of the wilderness starving to death. Jacob withheld food from him until he gave up his birthright. But God blessed Jacob, and chose his descendants as his people. God also blessed Esau, but did not chose his descendants as his people, and said they would live in constant strife.
This started the feud between Judaism and Islam. With a great hatred that has lasted 2800 years.
Then I thought, why would God accept these truly dispicable people as his chosen people? But this what has started the largest family feud in history. If it was not done this way, then the emnity between Islam and Judaism would not have ever been. Then global terrorism of the Muslims would not have happened. I believe now that God sent Mohammed as a missionary to the Muslims so that they would stop their peace loving ways and start killing. I believe that the people that were trying so hard to do God's will in the crusades, did God's will by killing everyone in every village they went through, that created a deep hatred for the west that lasts to this day.
How does this tie into the Anti-Christ. Well, unless you have been hiding under a rock, that feud that started 2800 years ago is now becoming an all consuming tidal wave across the world. HOW is this happening you ask. Well it is a matter of reproduction. WHAT? you say. A new study about birthing rates has come out. Italy has a 1.3 rate which is able to sustain a society. Not enough to make it grow, but enough to keep it from shrinking. France on the other hand has a 1.0 birth rate, making it a shrinking society. While the Muslims in France Have a 4.4 birthing rate. In fifty years, Muslims will be a majority in France, being able to take over by election. Also, they are in every country doing the same thing. Within one hundred years, at the rate they are birthing compared to the rate the western world is birthing, they will be a power at least twice as awesome as they are now. THAT IS TRULY SCARY. It will create a situation that will have governments and all the people of the world looking for an answer. And they will grasp at anything to help.
The two biggest questions I had about the real Anti-Christ. First is where will he come from? Second is, why would the world welcome this person with open arms and be happy about the deception?
Where will he come from, I believe he will be a Muslim. And what is the great deception, he will give up the dome of the rock for 1/4 of the earth in the assurance of peace with all Muslims. The world will be ecstatic at the thought of safety from terrorists. The only way that the world will believe this, is if the Muslims give up something that is important enough to them, that we are assured they are sincere. In the tribulation the temple will again be built on the original site for the third time. Where the Dome of the rock now stands. Where the Muslims have been fighting for thousands of years to have their holy site. The world will believe this as a true sign of good faith. They will herald the person who could make this happen. Only a Muslim leading other Muslims would be able to accomplish this. They would have to see him as the reincarnation of Mohammed, or finally their savior coming to deliver them. I can see no other way. What do you guys think?
at 11:36 PM
Sunday, December 03, 2006
obviously what i have hit upon here is something powerful. something that, by its very nature, disturbs the status quo. not sure entirely what to really do about it so erin and i need some time for prayer and to get our row ducks in as we plan for our new child (erin's pregnant btw!) and our future together. where do we go from here? what does god really want us to do? how do we use these amazing new gifts we have been given? please pray for us as we try to discern god's will in our lives. sorry that things have been demolished around here and what was once a safe place for people to question and discuss without fear has become a place watched with suspicion and critique. and if it can never be what it once was again, i can accept that. but i will never forget what we had for the brief time we had it. especially back in the exfoliations days. our study of acts revolutionized my life. and i only pray that we will not shrink. and that the revolution will continue. see you in a little while...
at 3:17 PM
i have never done this before. but this song which i had known for many years but had never really "listened to" or "heard" before floated into my transim a couple of weeks ago and it's applicability leaves me with many thoughts and ponderings.
Policy Of Truth
You had something to hide
Should have hidden it, shouldn't you
Now you're not satisfied
With what you're being put through
It's just time to pay the price
For not listening to advice
And deciding in your youth
On the policy of truth
Things could be so different now
It used to be so civilised
You will always wonder how
It could have been if you'd only lied
It's too late to change events
It's time to face the consequence
For delivering the proof
In the policy of truth
Is what you swore
The time before
Is what you swore
The time before
Now you're standing there tongue tied
You'd better learn your lesson well
Hide what you have to hide
And tell what you have to tell
You'll see your problems multiplied
If you continually decide
To faithfully pursue
The policy of truth
Is what you swore
The time before
Is what you swore
The time before
at 3:10 PM
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Neo: "I suppose the most obvious question is, how can I trust you?"
The Oracle: "Bingo. It is a pickle. No doubt about it. The bad news is there's no way if you can really know whether I'm here to help you or not, so it's really up to you. You just have to make up your own damned mind to either accept what I'm going to tell you, or reject it."
“I expect you to do what you’ve always done … to make up your own damn mind.”
at the end of it, i was just confused. i could tell that i'm not fully understood. but the whole scene seemed volatile. as if the slightest thing could have upset the delicate balance of composure to the room, so i tried to tread as lightly and humbly as i could. i did my best to be honest and open and vulnerable. to say nothing untrue. and, when called for, to say nothing at all. heard tell through the grapevine that erin and i handled ourselves with grace and dignity and we are not the only ones confused as to why this whole ordeal is taking place.
it began with an explanation of a few scriptures. mainly the ones at the heart of these proceedings. matthew 18:15-17 being one. then another from romans 16:17-18. a couple of questions as to whether things had changed with what was understood to be my thinking about pornography, marijuana, or salvation. a description of the three beliefs was outlined and i said that nothing had changed with pot or salvation, but that their thinking on my position on pornography was mistaken and retold my experience in brief hoping that this time it would be heard. i do not know if it was or not. the congregation was then warned upon hearing this news not to associate or have fellowship with me and that i am considered dangerous. this concluded trent's portion. and i know it was not something that he wanted to see happen or have to do. but in bowing to the authority he believes is over him, he did what set things right in his own conscience and i bear him no ill will. to symbolize and confirm the struggle, he received a lengthy hug from the elder at the conclusion of trent's portion.
then the elder took the podium.
what followed was about an hour long session of quotes from my blog being posted alongside scriptures to contrast things i say with what is accepted at this body as "sound doctrine." an intense time to say the least. my initial impression is one of surprise. i had no idea i was being followed so closely. it does not make me want to close off at all, but rather it gives me a greater idea of my audience at large. there are several quiet faithfuls who come here, but i didn't know about all i guess. and that i was being followed not just on my own blog, but on other blogs where i had commented as well. i found quotes of myself from other people's blogs up there as well. i find it strange i am being followed so closely everywhere i go here. but not regretful.
the more i have thought back on it, however, i am still confused by several things. first of all why it was even happening in the first place. difference of opinions doesn't seem to me to be sufficient grounds for what happened. it has been spoken to me that a certain degree of "unity in beliefs" needs to be maintained. but what beliefs are those? is there a menu of acceptable differences? "let's see... arminian... yes, we have some of that. calvinist?... yes, we just got some in. universalist?... universalist... sorry. that's not on the menu..." of course i use levity and metaphors, but it is in this that i feel my emotion and thoughts are best conveyed.
and jesus was quoted as saying, "Do not judge, or you too will be judged..." we were then admonished when reading the bible to compare scripture with scripture in order to get the correct interpretation. (strangely enough, THAT'S not actually an ideal i've seen spelled out in scripture. but apparently it is a universal we must abide by.) and we were then quoted several scriptures on judgement of which i cannot remember all of them. the ones i do recall are,
john 7:24 "Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment.” (highly ironic to me) and 1 corinthians 5:9-13 "I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. 'Expel the wicked man from among you.'"
it was then explained how these verses show that the same people who said not to judge also said to judge. that we are not to judge the world, but we are to judge the church. here's where the confusion comes twofold for me. 1st - in approaching scripture in this fashion, aren't you negating half of it? wasn't the part about not judging thrown out the window because there are other sections that say we are to judge? could i not easily then do the same thing about reading the verses about judging and then saying i should compare scripture with scripture, find the verses against judging and then just go with them because they are what suit my needs at the time?
2nd- much later, towards the end of the time, i was criticized for being too accepting and non judgmental of the world and far too critical and sitting in judgement of the church and that i had it backwards. when it was this very approach that we were admonished not an hour before was the correct way to be members of the body and use judgement. so it would seem that i am on trial in two different ways for the same reason. because i believe it and they do too.
the middle part was the hardest, though. it seemed as though i was being baited. as if someone was trying to catch me in my words in order to draw conclusions out of people. i do not know if i disappointed or not. as i said, i did my best to remain composed and not fall into arguing or haggling over words. questions were asked and i did my best to answer. i did not see the point in trying to disagree with an elder of the congregation in that forum. i am not out to lower his status in the eyes of his flock at all.
but a part of me thinks they ought to know everything.
i mean, in truth, this man who was questioning me is the same man who gave me the first piece of universalist literature i ever read. it was called "the unselfishness of god" by hannah whitall smith. i still have it. the same man who was the first to tell me he thought there were going to be many surprises in eternity as many who did not identify themselves as "christians" would find themselves in paradise. and many who did identify themselves as christians would not. he was the first to tell me that he didn't think that the bible was the only word of god. not that it wasn't... just that it was not exclusive. he was the one who also gave me a book about three weeks before everything hit the fan called, "everyday apocalypse" in which the idea is put forth that god is speaking to us all the time from many sources. we just need to be willing to listen and hear it. and he is also the one who sent me this message. it is the last piece of mail i ever received from him on myspace. "thank you, jOn. I need to hear that we're still in this together. I also understand you are out on the limb and you know that people you care about are traditional enough to saw you off. I'll do whatever I can to keep you climbing. Your journey encourages me."
it is these things that confuse me the most. in adding up all of these things that i received from him, i got something else... and for that, i am dangerous and unacceptable and need to be cast out.
i forgive him. though it has caused great pain for everyone, i still forgive. because i know that the shockwaves of this go far deeper than i know. this is absolutely rocking a church community right now. something has been started here that is completely out of any human control and it is going to be one heck of a finish let me tell you. i have NO idea what it is... but it's going to be something. and if not something... then something else...
at 11:28 PM
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
tonight it goes down. the process has continued and we are now at the point where a meeting HAS to be held by the church to discuss me with the congregation. shrewdly enough, i have not been invited to the meeting. and in inquiries made by erin as to whether my attendance is allowed she has been met with furrowed brows and hems and haws and statements about not wanting arguments. but... i'm still going to go anyway. i figure i have every right to know what is being said about me at the very least. as well as be available for any questions from the congregation so that they can hear what's really going on with me and not the skewed version that is going around.
but i have to tell you that i am really confused. i don't really understand the process that has been started. i have been told it has something to do with matthew 18 (calling witnesses and bringing a brother back to reason and whatnot...) but truthfully, i'm unsure exactly what it is i am supposed to be brought back to or from. i have always had the impression that truth and healing and growing fruit and sharing that fruit were foundational to our faith. and yet it is, in my world, for these very reasons that i am going through this. or perhaps because i desired to reconcile my two selves into one. you know... the two selves? your church self and your real self?
perhaps you do not have this problem. if you don't, i commend you. i hope it has been resolved in a fruit bearing manner. but for many, especially those who "grow up" in the church, we have two selves. because much of who we are is not acceptable inside of 'church culture', we come up with another version of ourselves to present to the church body. and when we leave, we can exhale and be ourselves again. i saw this problem earlier, at about 23 or 24 years of age, and tried to turn my church self into my real self. problem was that the more i made this rule-laiden life my real life and live it and try to make others live it, the more of an overbearing, arrogant, cold, distant, hard, insensitive, disingenuous, and unloving prick i became. having notived this about a year ago and being horrified when i looked in the heart mirror and saw that the person i wanted to become...the person i THOUGHT i was... was completely different from the person i really was as told by my actions and priorities. and not in a good way. i was a first grade asshole. don't get me wrong, i listened to christian radio, i listened to christian music, i DID read my bible every day, i DIDN'T drink or even go into bars... the list goes on. but it turns out, that doing those things didn't turn me into the person i believe god wants me to be.
so i took the other approach and decided to make my real life my church life and be who i truly am in my heart 24/7. this is what has not gone over so well. instead of putting up a front and continuing to be a LIAR, i have maintained that i am not perfect and that i am who i am right now and i'm not ashamed of who i am. i am a work in progress and i am not perfect, and chances are good i never will be. and i'm done beating myself up about that. and i'm interested in being with people and loving them and helping them to have better lives in the here and now. and being in a world where i can be who i am at any time, and whether or not people agree, they love me. genuine love. and they treat me in the same manner in which they want to be treated.
which i don't see much of in this situation i am going through. but because scripture "demands" it, people are doing things that they're hearts are telling them are wrong. because i don't think they know what else to do.
the biggest rift has come over how i came out to my wife with my pornography earlier this year. in opening up to her and showing her everywhere my mind and my thought life had been and WHY it went there, healing happened. it has been my upbringing in the church to fear sex and any sort of discussions about said EVIL topic. so in trying to understand my own desires and fantasies, i went to secret places and explored them apart from my wife. this should not have been so. i did it for fear of her reactions at me being vulnerable and sharing the things that genuinely excite me sexually. but i will never regret sharing these things with my wife and opening up with her so that i could explore these things apart from judgement and fear WITH her and not apart from her.(thank you, wonderful woman) and as a result, we have shared a much greater degree of connection and intimacy and excitement in our physical intimacy. apparently i'm supposed to "feel bad" about it and "repent" of being healed in an unorthodox way. and i flat out refuse. i'm not going to apologize for one of the best things that god has ever done for our marriage. and so, we have congregational meetings like the one tonight.
strangely enough, suddenly, i understand why the pharisees were so pissed off that jesus was healing on the sabbath. not because they were so cold that they didn't want people healed, they just didn't like how the healing came. it came in direct antecedance to their teachings. they couldn't see through the "law breaking" that was happening to see the hand of god at work. because they were convinced that god wouldn't break his own law. or at least, their human interpretation and life lived paradigm according to that interpretation that everyone had to adhere to in order to "prove" their sincerity and devotion to god. through this lens, jesus was an evil, evil man who needed to be stopped at all costs because he encouraged people to flagrantly, and unrepentanly, break god's law. i see no difference in the situation i am in here. whether it is a man whose withered hand gets healed on the sabbath or a man who gets healed by sharing his pornographic mind with his wife, the religious leaders are pissed about how the healing happened and want to deny god his due.
i'm not looking for a fight. and if i am asked to leave, i certainly will. and perhaps that's something people need to see. i just ask that you would pray for truth and healing to be abundant.
at 10:08 AM
Monday, November 06, 2006
word of god? god's love letter? god's little instruction book? (insert your own cute colaquialism here)? i am asking because i am seriously curious. i am interested in your thoughts as to just what the bible is. and how it is to be used in our lives. i, of course, have thoughts. but i would like to hear yours first. i can hear myself talk anytime.
at 1:00 PM
Thursday, November 02, 2006
your intercessions are requested. today my boss has flown out of town to meet with his boss to have a "state of the union" type meeting. and one part of that meeting is to discuss me and whether or not they want to create my dream job. so i am not asking that we pelt the throne with requests to tip the scales as i would like to see them tipped. i am simply asking for a moment of your time to ask the father that his will would be done in this situation and that the enemy would not prevail. one way or the other.
at 10:19 AM
Sunday, October 29, 2006
i always liked this template better. it's time to bring it back. and if you find yourself with some time to waste, i don't know, skipping homework perhaps? or just needing a break at work, one of the girls who was in youth group when i was volunteer leader is all grown up now and is a first year teacher in the inner city of chicago. she blogs about it and various other things here.
back with ya soon.
at 5:48 AM
Friday, October 27, 2006
I appreciate your confusion, and can certainly understand how it resulted.
Even more so, I appreciate your efforts to clear up the confusion by
tendering a withdrawal of membership. As requested, your name will be
removed from membership at HCC.
Jon, I have not been at all reluctant to attempt to clarify where your
beliefs and practices diverge from those of HCC in particular, or orthodox
Christianity in general. These attempts have been to ensure clarity in your
mind, and in the minds of those of your blog readers who are aware of your
membership at HCC. I do not apologize for these efforts in and of
themselves. Further, I appreciate that you, to a degree few others seem to
be able to grasp, recognize the compelling need I have felt to fulfill a
scriptural obligation - one that, whether it is readily recognized or not,
is founded upon a love for you, and a desire that you ultimately know the
fullness of God's plan and purpose unfolding in your life. As one driven by
his own compelling needs and sense of obligation, there is perhaps, for you,
a certain insight into this dynamic. Having said this, however, I, as well,
want to apologize for the pain and confusion I have created for you by the
manner in which I have at times pursued my attempts to speak the truth in
love. More than once, I have allowed the manner of my speaking to overpower
both the truth and the love of what I was trying to communicate. For that,
I am truly sorry.
My prayer for you, Jon, is that you receive the desires of your heart in
full measure, and that in doing so, you find a revelation of the Truth of
God's person, his word, and his redemptive purpose. You are loved by me,
Jon, don't ever doubt it.
Love and Truth to you,
at 10:37 AM
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
so we were driving up to duluth. it was the third of july i believe, but don't quote me on that. erin said, "i don't think you're being honest with yourself. i think there's more there than you think." the phrase heard round the world. because before that, i never really gave it much serious thought. so i dove into the pool in my heart that had her name on it. i swam as deep as i could to see where it ended. but it didn't. it just kept going deeper. "that's strange", i thought. i just kept swimming deeper and deeper thinking i'd hit the bottom at any second. but i never did. finally i had to come up for air. "holy shit!" i said as soon as my lungs had air again. the depth of love that was in there only had two other reserves quite so large and that was the one for my wife erin and one for my son zaavan. not surprising, though. she has been an absolutely dear friend caring for me AND my family in so many ways. there are actually a couple of rough patches that we wouldn't have made it through if she didn't stand in and pour herself out for us.
what does this mean? i asked. of myself AND my wife. this love was the real stuff. genuine. pure, clear. what am i supposed to do with it? why is it here and so much of it? what does this mean, lord?
"i know what it means." said a voice. well it didn't speak so much as offer a picture. "family." okay, great. what do you mean by that? but the voice was gone. or at least, if it was not gone, it said nothing more.
and thus began a two month journey. a two month conversation. a two month process of exorcism. but that's the benefit of hindsight. on the 17th, my birthday, erin had to work and she took me out to lunch. it was a wonderful time. i've always enjoyed her company. strangely enough, she is one of only a few humans i have ever known that can just take me. no matter who i am or how i am, she could always just accept it and it was never abnormal. this occasion was no different. so i came back to erin and told her about it and said, "there is definite love there. i just don't know what it's supposed to mean. i just get a feeling of family when i'm around her. what does that mean? am i supposed to have another wife? i know there are several people in the bible who have had more than one wife so i don't think it's super weird or anything. and if it is something what god wants, i want to be open to that." so i began exploring people's writings who have dealt with this subject before to see what they had to say. the more i talked to erin about it, the more erin encouraged me to not be shy and to just talk openly with her about it. it was actually driving us both a bit crazy having it just sitting around like some sort of an elephant in the room. we wanted to know how she would handle the news.
as much like a champ as one could expect. the answer was basically, "no thanks", but her, being the person she is, just kind of shrugged it off and stayed close to us. continuing, all the while, to love us and our family and help us out of many jams. unfortunately for me, she didn't look me in the eye when she said no thanks. the only reason this was a problem was because she ALWAYS looks me in the eye when we talk. it's one of those great relationships where real communication and honesty happens. anyway... because she didn't look me in the eye, i wasn't convinced she was being honest with me. and this just plagued my brain. it began taking over everything. but god kept bringing me back to honesty. he'd tell me, "that's not all. there's more." and so i would open up and talk more. about painfully truthful things that were inside of me. these tortured thoughts of confusion because one paradigm had been set and i couldn't see outside of it. and it was tearing me up and it was tearing erin up.
finally, one morning towards the end of september, while erin was out of town at her friend's bachelorette party, i woke up early on sunday morning to give zaavan his breakfast. after i had him all set, i ended up cleaning the kitchen and living room and listening to deliriou5?'s cutting edge for two hours. i like to clean while i pray, it gives my body something to do so i can focus my mind and energies on god. anyway... i'm going around and around asking him, what the fuck is going on?! and after about 2 hours a spiritual transaction happened. i got a vision of what transpired two days later. and what i saw was a huge arm reach into my heart and grab something and then pull it out and show it to me. what i saw in it's hand was a dark little implike thing with yellow eyes and fangs. without a word, i knew immediately it was lust. as soon as the recognition was there the hand crushed the imp and threw it away.
later that same day, she and her friend both came over and brought their kids. (both are single mothers) as i saw her 6 month old next to zaavan, and watched zaavan making attempt to actually engage in some sort of primal conversation with him. and got to fingerpaint with one of the most mature 5 year old girls i have ever met. and as i saw it all and held it all in and how wonderufl the scene was, i heard the voice say again, "this. this is what i was talking about. family." community. fuck ups helping each other out. that's what the kingdom of god is all about, is it not?
so, the only part of it i regret is allowing lust to come in and make me want to have her for my own. and that is the only thing i regret. which, even then, was tame as far as what we think of when we hear the word "lust". erin asked once what thoughts i had been having about this woman in a physical sense. and wanted me to be honest. i was. i told erin when i thought about her that way it was in the variety of hugs or hand holding. erin told me i was corny. yet she sounded glad to hear the truth all the same.
i cannot say what everyone involved got out of it. that is between them and god. of course everyone experienced pain. but much joy as well. we need to be honest about that. but bigger than this physical situation was god always there staring me in the face and seeing if i was going to be honest about what was inside of me or if i was going to lie. over and over again prompting me to be honest about things that were too fucked up and painful to be honest about. but always asking for honesty all the same. and it has been useful to be sure. i have now almost completely overcome my fears of talking to people face to face and saying the hardest possible things i can without fear of their reaction. which, from what i gather from the bible, is an important trait in one called of him. as well as the willingness to leave everything for the sake of that call. and i mean everything. i was glad to learn that too.
He doesn't let you know there's a ram in the bushes until He's sure you've got the knife at your son's throat, ready to slit it just because He asked you to.
at 1:38 AM
Monday, October 16, 2006
Friday, October 13, 2006
Sunday, October 08, 2006
i saw what appeared to be a large bowl of pudding on a pedestal. several people hurried by quickly dipping in their fingers and grimacing at what they tasted as they rushed along. then i walked up to it. i stopped in front of it and stuck in a finger and tasted without hesitation. as i did, i found it surprisingly good. i stuck my finger back in and tasted again to see if the sensation in my mouth would be duplicated. it was.
i then stuck in several fingers and tasted more. i couldn't stop. it was all at once sweet and wonderful and exhilerating. the more i ate, the more i wanted. it was so sweet. i had never consumed anything more wonderful. "this shit is good," i said. the more i ate, the more i felt... connected. to everything, to life. and then i walked with hands raised and saw it everywhere all at once. so i went back to the bowl to see what was left and i saw some sort of stone covered in pudding. i proceeded to eat the rest of the pudding and uncovered a huge shiny pearl. i set the pearl on the pedestal to be shared with everyone because everyone should be able to share in it. it was not my own. i simply found it.
but when men saw the pearl on a pedestal, they decided rather than share it with everyone, they needed their own pearl. so several men made balls of cardboard and wrapped them with tinfoil and put them under white lights so they looked just like the pearl on the pedestal. and men were paying money for the fake pearls. and after they got them home, the foil fell off and they found out they had been had. humiliated. all because they didn't want to share the true pearl that we all already own together. brothers and sisters.
it's a family heirloom for all time. the pearl.
try it for yourself.
"this shit is good."
at 9:36 PM
Saturday, September 23, 2006
sorry to give such a build-up like that and not...deliver. but this past week has taken much time to keep zaavanco. rolling along and prepare for my trip next week.
the 'pizza games' team i am on (remember... from july?)has made it to the national finals held next week in louisville, ky. so, even now, i don't have time to tell you this. but just wanted you to know i DO want to chat and spill my guts. we'll just have to wait a week. much love. jON
at 2:09 AM
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
what in the world can i even say? i don't know where to start. so much has happened and it has been so very strange and wonderful and painful. seeking. learning. testing. failing. winning. crying. laughing. loving. caring. sharing. being ripped wide open. scooping out the poison. yeah. that's pretty much been the theme of the summer. having the cancer cut out and experiencing the resultant growth and freedom and new life that comes with it. learning more and more how to reach out. lately, for the past few months, god has been developing the gift that i have been given. the ability to look a person in the eye and look them straight in the heart. straight into the core of their being and draw it forward. because i've found that, like i was, most people are hiding inside. scared. afraid of coming out of their shells for fear of past pain and misuse and abuse of their hearts when vulnerability and openness were tried. but unless we come forward, our pain stays hidden and rots us from within. if we don't know or don't admit it's there, we rot away slowly and sometimes violently. and it tries to alert us and get our attention as we "act out" or "act in" in various ways. but until we are honest about who we are and what we feel, we can never throw those things up on the altar to burn away.
this. this has been the story that has culminated in the past couple of months. but it starts a couple of years ago. well, actually, the story starts way before my birth and all of the people and choices that lead up to my parents coming together and being the people they were and having me and all the things i have gone through that have lead me up to being the person i am today. but we don't have that kind of time right now. so when we begin, we'll go back a couple of years and see the rumblings at their beginnings. and the awesomeness of a god who had it all in hand years before it came about. and how she did it.
so now that we have an intro, we'll have a story. in a bit. blessings to you all.
at 10:03 AM
Monday, September 18, 2006
Sunday, August 13, 2006
well, i suppose i should make it official to take out some of the guresswork. i am on "haitus". yeah, i know it's misspelled. it's an inside joke. i should be back sometime in the late fall after the transition has been made into schooltime routines and functions again safely.
many adventures have been had friends. and many more before then.
it's a great ride, isn't it?
at 1:46 AM
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
for some reason i've been reconnecting with my metal roots as of late. one thing i've come to learn about myself is that i'm a metalhead. always have been, always will be. does this mean i'm a fan of every form of metal i hear? no. but i respect them all. damn talented musicians, mostly. and deep. some of the most unflinching and thoughtful lyrics you will ever hear come from the mouths of the metalmen. it was nine inch nails' latest album with teeth that helped to rekindle the fire this past spring. then, as the snow began melting and i could drive around and deliver with my windows rolled down, i was struck with the irresistable call to hear something loud and intense. listening to the radio has brought me tool. and we all know pearl jam put out their new album. not to mention seeing pearl jam open for tom petty and the heartbreakers. it's been a great summer so far.
something about metal just resonates so deep inside me. not just metal, though. but a spirit that has been embodied by rock and roll all along. this subversive thing that just refuses to be killed. everytime the system grabs ahold of it and thinks it has killed it, it comes back in a different form. shocking us. apalling us. calling us to new realities and lives. reminding us of the wonderful gift of life we have been given and the potential that lies in living it to the fullest. whether good or bad. experiencing what life has to offer. and reasearching the roots of metal in black sabbath's first album and going forward has me interested in hearing and experiencing a lot of new music, which is actually old music.
really been getting into ac/dc lately. (were you there firsthand, susan? was ac/dc-mania everything in austrailia in the 70's that i have been lead to believe?) now i'm VERY interested in hearing black sabbath's first album. i mean, i've heard the greatest hits, but not the first album as a whole. and this book i'm reading has judas priest sounding as if i would enjoy hearing their formative years. never really given judas priest much thought before. huh.
a little burned out on this whole scriptural thing, i've started looking into other things. it started on wikipedia. i'm don't quite remember how i ended up there. but i found myself researching anton lavey. this lead me to aleister crowley. which in turn lead me to thelema. and i found myself coming across a quote that seemed to me to embody something that resonates deep within me. like metal. this thing that has been lurking under the surface trying desperately to get my attention.
"All their life was spent not in laws, statutes, or rules, but according to their own free will and pleasure. They rose out of their beds when they thought good; they did eat, drink, labour, sleep, when they had a mind to it and were disposed for it. None did awake them, none did offer to constrain them to eat, drink, nor to do any other thing; for so had Gargantua established it. In all their rule and strictest tie of their order there was but this one clause to be observed,
Do What Thou Wilt;
because men that are free, well-born, well-bred, and conversant in honest companies, have naturally an instinct and spur that prompteth them unto virtuous actions, and withdraws them from vice, which is called honour. Those same men, when by base subjection and constraint they are brought under and kept down, turn aside from that noble disposition by which they formerly were inclined to virtue, to shake off and break that bond of servitude wherein they are so tyrannously enslaved; for it is agreeable with the nature of man to long after things forbidden and to desire what is denied us."
and so we get marilyn manson.
more than enough for now, i'm sure.
but there's more...
at 1:54 AM
Thursday, June 29, 2006
long time since i had a real post, but we have cause to celebrate. the first news, which is not as big, is that the team i am on from my store won the minneapolis market in the first round of the pizza games today.
THE BIG NEWS!!!!!! WE FINALLY GOT A VAN FOR ZAAVAN!!! now comes the task of getting the lift installed. thank you everyone who has prayed with us for this to become a reality. continue with us in your prayers.
also pray with us for the future. this year we are staying put, but i feel that there may be a move in store for us this time next year. keep us in prayer that wisdom would be ours in abundance.
i know hersch is going to guatamala in less than 2 weeks. do you need anything specifically prayed for hersch?
anyone else have anything they would like brought before the throne? we have not if we ask not, so let's be transparent and share our needs with one another so that many more can join in the asking. and the celebrating when the father provides what we need.
at 9:24 PM
Sunday, May 14, 2006
i have been digesting this record for almost two weeks now. and i need your help with something. if you would be so kind...
i'm going to post a couple of sets of lyrics and i would like for you to read them and give me your thoughts on them. because when i listen to him, the spirit that i get is the same as what is in myself. i get the impression that he actually knows the holy spirit but does not use any church language or images to express it.
give me your honest opinion no matter what it is. i'm not looking for agreement. i looking for your honest thoughts. i respect them all. thanks.
You're always saying that there's something wrong...
I'm starting to believe it's your plan all along...
Death came around, forced to hear its song...
And know tomorrow can't be depended on.
I seen the home inside your head,...
All locked doors and unmade beds.
Open sores unattended
Let me say just once that
I have faced it,... A life wasted,...
I'm never going back again.
I escaped it,... A life wasted,...
I'm never going back again.
Having tasted,... A life wasted,...
I'm never going back again.
The world awaits just up the stairs
Leave the pain for someone else.
Nothing back there for you to find,...
Or was it you, you left behind?
You're always saying you're too weak to be strong...
You're harder on yourself than just about anyone.
Why swim the channel just to get this far?
Halfway there, why would you turn around?
Darkness comes in waves,... tell me,why invite it to stay?
You're warm with negativity,
Yes, comfort is an energy,...
But why let the sad song play?
I have faced it,... A life wasted,...
I'm never going back again.
I escaped it,... A life wasted,...
I'm never going back again.
Having tasted,... A life wasted,...
I'm never going back again.
Oh I erased it,... A life wasted,...
I'm never going back again.
No more upset mornings
No more trying evenings
This American dream
I am disbelieving
When the gas in my tank
Feels like money in the bank
Gonna blow it all this time
Take me one last ride
For the lights of this city
They only look good when I'm speeding
Gonna leave 'em all behind me
Cause this time
This time I'm letting go of it all
Cause this time I'm gone
In the far off distance
As my tail-lights fade
No one thinks to witness
But they will someday
Feel like a question is forming
And the answer is far
I'll be what I could be
Once I get of of this town
For the lights of this city
They have lost all feeling
Gonna leave 'em all behind me
Cause this time
This time I'm letting go of it all
Long gone, I'm letting go of it all
Cause this time I'm gone
If nothing is everything
If nothing is everything, I'll have it all
If nothing is everything
If nothing is everything, I'll have it all
I am gone
at 10:05 PM
Monday, April 17, 2006
it has been a couple of weeks since our study of romans. i have agreed to have you all tramp through here for a study of first corinthians as it provides an amount of temperance to the freedom we have been discussing. for any who have not participated before, chapter headings will be posted and you simply leave your thoughts on each corresponding chapter as well as any thoughts of others you may want to discuss or clarify. easy? you bet. one small change. instead of doing our breakneck speed of a chapter a day as we have done in the past, i will leave each chapter up for a few days before moving on to provide for more in depth discussion and development of ideas, as well as providing for those who cannot be here everyday to not get behind. groovy?
"when you hear this sound (bing), turn the page. ready? let's begin." (bing)
at 4:03 PM
had a whirlwind of a weekend in duluth visiting my parents and friends not seen for anywhere between 5 and 13 years. was an amazing time. here is the story in pictures. all events take place within 24 hours.
dad, mom, and lake superior
can you believe this is less than a mile from where i grew up?
erin and carrie
the boys are back in form
dan "rowing" an ottoman across the dancefloor
dad, zaavan, and mom
my brother, everett, and i
at 4:03 PM
Saturday, April 08, 2006
Jas 2:15-17 "Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, 'Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,' but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead."
in 2001 i went on a trip with my home body to a place called gleanings for the hungry. that's not the relevant part of this story, it just gives context. when we flew out to california, we spent the first afternoon in san francisco. on walking down the street in chinatown, we came across a homeless man. as we walked on past, his eyes met mine. more than anything, he had an overwhelming look of confusion in his eyes. a look of one who is lost and doesn't know what to do. no one else in our group even seemed to notice him. "oh lord", i prayed, "help this poor man. help him to find what he needs."
no sooner had these words left my mental lips than this scripture came crashing down inside of me like a ton of bricks. the hollowness of my words reverberated around and around my heart until...(CRACK). it was one of those moments. if you've ever had one, you know what i mean. i was instantaneously broken. wide, W I D E O P E N. stunned to the core of my being for a few reasons.
1. - i had always fancied myself a compassionate person. at this moment, i was made accutely aware of just how hard my heart truly was.
2. - i realized that even if i had attempted to do something, i truly have nothing. i had nothing in my posession to "fix" that man. if anything was to happen, it would have to have been god.
3. - and the most powerful part. as we were driving away, we passed the same spot on the street. this man was no longer alone. another homeless gentleman was helping him up. helping him to somewhere or something else...
that was the last straw. after seeing that, i was obliterated. this man who had stopped to help had even less to offer, materially, than i did. but offer all the same he did. i was not right for about twenty-four hours. silent. contemplative. broken. replaying the scenario. asking. listening. what could i have done? what do you want to show me? what would you have me do? and why would a group of "god's people" so bent on doing "god's work" pass it by on the street? was our schedule that important? do our plans make us unavailable to god in the moment?
since then, i try hard to listen to myself when i encounter a scene of this nature. i listen to the prayers that i offer as a knee jerk. when i see a homeless person. when i see someone stopped by the side of the road on the freeway. when i see a mother struggling with children and groceries. when i see a young mother in our parking lot crying and screaming because her boyfriend has just peeled out of the lot after throwing her keys into the dark, snowy yard leaving her, her 2 year old son, and her 7 day old baby out in the cold with no where to go.
i listen to my heart. how often my immediate reaction of heart amounts to..."hey god, someone needs help. pull through, old buddy. i know you can do it! i've got faith in you! i've got other, more important, things to do right now..."
Mt 20:32 Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.
this, i think, is our only response. to stop, reach out, and ask these words. we would do well to follow our lord's example in such matters.
Lk. 10:36-37 “Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?” And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.”
at 8:39 AM
Monday, April 03, 2006
i know you all have bibles and are familiar with "the parable of the sower." (Mt.13:3-9, Mk4:3-9, Lk 8:5-8)
i have a question about this. do we have control over what kind of soil we are? and i mean this twofold. do we have control over what type of soil we are to begin with? and if we discover we are a soil we would rather not be, can we change that? or is it completely determined for us? any thoughts?
at 4:07 PM
Sunday, April 02, 2006
wow. a whole week with no new posts. that's got to be some kind of record for me. but we have been having quite a conversation anyway, haven't we? again, thank you for engaging. i found it to be most edifying and encouraging.
not much new going on in my head this week. well, that's not true, but nothing to share and discuss yet. just wanted to share a pic from last monday when one of my oldest friends in the world joined the party. and let you know that i am indeed alive. probably more so than ever. which is good. he is increasing and i am decreasing. and i think that's how it's supposed to be.
dan and i
at 12:54 AM
Saturday, March 25, 2006
for those who have been following along, i thought i would offer updates.
my neighbors at the end of the hall are doing better. the husband has his old job back with the apartment community here and they have not come around asking for needs anytime recently.
my neighbor across the hall, while still being evicted, has found a new place to live.
zaavan and i continue with this cold that has plagued us for more than a week.
and of course, the party continues. please pray for us as i feel we are so close to exploding. in fact, i know we are. i have simply held back a bit in inviting people as i am not quite sure what to do with everyon who would come. of course, that is the lord's problem and not mine. i should not be holding back at all. i apologize for this. pray for us!
i'm an idiot
at 9:05 AM
Friday, March 24, 2006
it seems as if there is no room to know god differently. there are a bunch of religions out there. and i think too often we, as christians, spend too much time trying to prove differences between the religions and why those religions aren't true. and there is a place for that. studying contradictons as we seek a life in conformity to christ and god and truth. but if we are to be TRUTHFUL, a scrutinizing look at the world wide practice of evangelical christianity also has much that does not square with scriptural teaching. so maybe it's not about one religion being better or truer than another. perhaps we just need to open our ears and hear what god would say to us, ALL OF US, today. perhaps if we allowed room for people to know god differently than ourselves, we would learn more about god and his true character and how he reveals himself in different ways and aspects to all of mankind and we could all get a more complete and accurate picture of a father who loves all of his children and is ever wooing us towards him with his kindness and love. all of the ones who would hear him, know him, love him, and obey him. not just people who would champion the "correct religion" and then FIGHT for it and WAR for it and HATE for it and BELITTLE for it. because in doing that... i don't see much of god or his spirit at all behind those actions. and i'm left to wonder whose side i'm really on. or which side i even want to be on.
at 4:20 AM
Thursday, March 16, 2006
susan has graciously invited all of us over again. this time to study the book of romans.
somehow, i think this is going to be really good.
father, help us open up to you. to your spirit. to your truth. give us ears to hear and to heed whatever the spirit has to say to the church now. in our day. and our age. lead us into something so old that it is new. grace. faith. hope. love.
at 1:18 AM
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
i have had two thoughts about jesus recently. one about his life. one about his death. i thought i would throw them out there and ask for refinement or comments or whatever...
i wondered if god could really have a good basis for understanding what it is like to be human before jesus. and what i mean is that if you are god, and you know what man really is, (i.e. animated dirt), then it would seem a small thing to say "go and kill these people." not that he didn't feel the pain of people or that their deaths did not grieve him in a way. but that there would have to be an element in which god could not fully understand what it was like for those people who were on the receiving end of this.
then it seems as though things change once the word is made flesh. i wonder if when he was finally clothed in flesh and walked among us if it was not an eye opening experience. suddenly, "an eye for an eye" becomes, "NO! don't hit anyone. turn the other cheek. don't resist an evil person..." (now there's a command the church does very little with)
as if things came into focus for god in the flesh. THEN he could finally have full and complete knowledge of what was going on here. he took on flesh and after 30 years of practice, walked out the door to be a perfect example of a life lived that would please the father.
and at the same time, i contemplated the cross. and i wondered... is there an element of the cross in which god is not just being gracious to us, but also taking responsibility? is there not a sense in which the message of the cross is, "this whole mess is really my fault. i started it. and i'm going to finish it."
at 7:05 PM
caution. bbq wieners can make you fierce.
sunday was amazing. it was everything i had always hoped a sabbath could be. the party began with worship at 10 am, and continued on throughout the day at the church building, and then back at our home later. it ended around 1:30am. nothing like a good 15.5 hours of fellowship to make you feel like you've really been at church!
but yesterday was a little different. first, we had an overnight blizzard and woke up to scenes like this:
and sometime during the night, our power had gone out for a couple of minutes. nothing major, but just enough to reset our clocks so that we did not awaken in the morning on time.
zaavan was late on his feedings and meds all day.
and there was a dark spirit about the home. it first affected erin and i causing us to have unexplained conflict with each other that made no sense to either of us. and later, the same spirit came upon tami and bryan when they came over. it was not good.
strange how after such great victories, we are at our most vulnerable. i think of elijah, who after just coming out victorious (well, god was victorious) in a confrontation with the prophets of baal, and rain has finally come to the land, and he has escaped jezebel yet again, he walks straight away under a tree to lay down and say, "I have had enough, LORD. Take my life..."
please stand with us in prayer that the ones who would seek to steal, kill, and destroy would not be allowed to do so.
at 7:05 PM
Saturday, March 11, 2006
i am not here to say "look at me, how super spiritual i am" or anything like that. i do not want this to be some street corner that i am showing off on. yet, i realize the benefit of giving modern examples of a life of faith and how i am living it. as such, i will offer up this one example to you and will not offer another one like this unless i feel so lead.
last week, on march 1st, on my first delivery of the day, i ended up receiving a surprise. when i got to the door, the woman was overly apologetic about the fact that the only tip she had was small and in change. i told her not to worry about it and that it all spends the same. she then went on to share with me abuot how her husband had recently lost his job after 27 years. the company had been sold and shut down. it was nothing personal.
"that's horrible." i said. in my head, i was saying, "do you mind if i pray for you?" but of course, i still deal with fear issues.
as i went back to my car i heard the spirit speak to me.
so i prayed.
(thank you. now do something else...)
what i rested upon after consideration was to give them a day's worth of tips. so, yesterday morning i drove up to their home and offered them. of course, the wife, debbie, did not want to take it. she felt bad about receiving help. (what does that say about our culture?) but i would not take no for an answer. i mean, debbie is right, we can't really afford it. but that's looking at things from the world's perspective. from the kingdom view, i don't see how we could afford not to. i mean, i know that we are taken care of. no matter what. it is a promise the father has made to us through the mouth of the son:
Mt 6:30-34 "...If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
somehow, some way, i know god will come through for us in whatever we need. he has promised to. if we are seeking first his kingdom and his righteousness. we are free to make that our priority. we are free to make that our occpation. for when it is, god has promised to provide for us himself.
lk 18:8 "...However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?"
please pray for dan, the husband, that he would get the job he is interviewing for in iowa.
at 8:46 AM
these gentleman are one of the main reasons i have a hard time believing that people must "accept christ" in order to be born again. nowhere else have i found a group of people whose lyrics over and over again put forth truth and a life lived by the spirit, and as far as i know, do so in ignorance. here's one juicy morsel that is one of my favorites:
at 8:46 AM
Thursday, March 09, 2006
deep in combat
and again, they were waiting for me when i got home from work. i cannot tell you how much it just makes the day melt away to enjoy yourself and connect with others and build relationships stronger and deeper. besides all of the gut busting laughter again, one of my favorite moments from this party was during the time erin and i stepped outside to have a cigarette, tami and bryan(luther) took it upon themselves to play tic tac toe. "how fun!", i thought. i couldn't remember the last time i had played, but i always recalled it being a grand time.
it is good to see them having fun together and enjoying one another. it is good to see their relationship deepening together. i am glad to have the opportunity for erin and i to be ourselves openly and honestly and thereby strengthen another couple to see the triumphs and failings and the way we celebrate each other and go about resolving conflict with each other.
keep this sunday in your prayers as my two worlds collide together in a pizza/game party at my home "church." and pray for the 20th as well as we have an 8 person party planned for that day. i pray that things would go smoothly and the spirit would be unhindered.
one of my next great undertakings is to try to plan a "sleepover" where we can play something a little more intense like monopoly or risk or some such.
TAKE OFF THE CHAINS AND CELEBRATE! THIS IS YOUR BIRTHRIGHT!
at 3:43 PM
Some times I forget how you can notice and remember every nuance of a situation. (By the way, the lack of capitalization in your emailing drives me to distraction) The reason I say this is that I came to this understanding about fear and freedom about ten-fifteen years ago. God loves you and TRULY accepts all that follow him. If you are TRULY following God and trying to obey there will always be forgiveness. The rebelling is when you know something is wrong and do it anyway. That is when your conscience bothers you. If your conscience is clear and you are trying to follow God you are fine. The biggest revelation on this came to me when I realized each of us are given unique talents and are called by God to use them. Keith Green is an excellent example of working for God in a unorthodox manner. Most churches really have absolutely NO CLUE of how to foster and teach these things. They are forever trying to organize the talents of the faithful to accomplish traditional goals handed to them by denomination ideal. Instead of letting god choose the warriors and putting them in the correct spot. The hardest thing in the whole of religion is to not rely on things that are known,(churches, doctrines, money) and rely on things unknown, (God, because no one can fathom or truly know God) basically flying without an earthly net. Getting over this fear is the toughest of all and many people who go to church and do everything they can for God that they can find, never feel true freedom. Never show true faith. True faith gives such freedom that you cannot describe it, because it is just SOMETHING ELSE. Unable to be put into words, sooooo, never documented. It is the most wonderful feeling when that finally happens, but grow into an old comfort like a favorite pair of jeans. Then it has become tough for me to communicate about many things with other people in life. Because the things that they think are important, I don't care about at all. I really realized this when being interviewed by someone here at Darden they ask my personal goals. To get down under 200 pounds was it. God had already delivered everything that I needed beyond that. I have the perfect wife, the two children, food, shelter, clothing, and transportation. Materially I want nothing. That was a strange realization for me. Because when neighbors get fired up about property values and other things, I can't carry my end of the conversation because I just don't care about money and those other things. They hold NO value for me. Anyway, I understand what you have found, and am very glad. Continue to follow where God leads. Have we had the conscience discussion? If not, CALL me. It is too tough to explain without being able to ask questions and being able to answer.
at 2:53 AM
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
please pray for my neighbor, melissa. she is a single mother who has three children and is trying to turn her life around. she has made poor decisions in her life regarding men. most recently, she got involved with a guy who was involved with some shady stuff. as she learned this, she realized she couldn't be with him. one day, he was over at her place and wouldn't leave at her request. she had to call the police to intervene. as a result of this situation, and the police finding things this man had stashed in her apartment that she was unaware of, she has been evicted. she has until april 30th to find a new place to live. she has no idea where she is going to go. or if she may be going to jail or not.
pray for her as well as erin and i as we try to make a case for her before the management of the complex. pray that mercy and grace would rule the day and this sister would not be crushed under the weight of her poor decisions. please pray that god would move and bring glory to his name.
at 9:41 AM
Monday, March 06, 2006
Sunday, March 05, 2006
(clockwise from bottom) tamiscus, luther, and debbie (luther's sister), and a partial erin
tamiscus and bryan share a moment
tami laughs while remembering something
there was a surprise party waiting for me when i got home yesterday. not in my honor or anything, but a surprise as i didn't know it was going to happen. a party that i did not organize. it grew out of the hearts of everyone else and they just needed to party so bad they came together on their own. a very nice way to end the day after 12 hours of work.
there were three great things about this party.
number one being the fact that luther had plans to play multiplayer halo with his friends, but instead decided to come over at erin's call to offer a party for the evening. think about that for a moment. this young man, a man of 23, decided in his heart that he would rather be at one of these parties THAN PLAY MULTI PLAYER HALO WITH HIS BUDDIES! (perhaps you need to be a young male enamoured of video games to know the magnitude of this. or maybe you just need to be the girlfriend of one.)
and secondly, luther invited his sister to come along. the parties have been such that luther felt it worthwhile, somewhere in his heart, to invite his sister to come and experience one as well.
and lastly, there were at least four separate occasions when the joy and laughter between us was so intense that most of us were red faced and could not breathe. the good kind of laughter. rare to even experience this kind of soul cleansing laughter once in a month, not to mention four times in four hours.
this is what i'm talking about. offering the kind of experience of the love, joy, peace, etc. of the spirit of god that it would cause a man to leave his HALO, and come. and in coming, invite those he knows to come along as well.
the kingdom is now. the party has begun. and i can only see this growing. pray for wisdom and freedom for the spirit to be at work. to bring healing to the lives of those who enter here. and to repair spiritual damage. to help bring them to a place where i can one day say, "you know all of this great spirit you've been enjoying? well, i have a confession. you've really been drinking the holy spirit. i know, it seemed like some other brand, but it has been the real deal. no lie. i know you have drunk some nasty foul tasting and smelling stuff people claimed was holy spirit. but this is it. this is the real thing. for you have tasted and enjoyed for yourself, and this is what i've been serving!"
names and faces keep popping into my mind of people i want to come to the party. friends, acquaintances. even those i see in the grocery store, or out and about. people who look like they could REALLY use a party.
which brings me to another thought i've been having.
for some reason, i got the impression in my dealings with "christianity", that it is a religion largely defined by NOT DOING things. yet, when i read scripture, i see commands to DO things more than i see the command to NOT DO things. and strangely, the things you are taught how to DO are really only the doing of things to help you NOT DO things.
and over the centuries, through this theology of NOT DOING, we have concocted rules for ourselves. biblically based rules, mind you. i understand why there are there. but at the root of it, many of these actual things are not in scripture. so we spend our time trying hard to NOT DO things that scripture has never asked and completely ignore much of what has actually and specifically been asked of us. for example:
i know why the admonition to "not masturbate" is so prevelant within the church. the whole "lust & the heart" thing. i get it. but yet, scripture never actually tells us to specifically not masturbate. we use that as a guide, as a measuring stick for moral upstanding and "biblical, godly living", but god has never asked it of us.
on a contrast, jesus HAS asked THIS of us:
Lk 14:13 "But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind..."
i asked myself a question, and now i ask it to you. let it penetrate and sink in.
did you spend more time last year "not masturbating" (something god NEVER asked of us), or throwing parties and inviting over the poor, crippled, etc.? (something god HAS asked of us)
join the party. do something else...
at 9:57 PM
Friday, March 03, 2006
open you ears. open your eyes. open your heart.
as you go about you day to day life, i am curious to know where you hear the spirit speak to your heart and what he used to speak it. it helps me to compile examples to use in describing the kingdom in modern language.
most notably, what i am looking for is movies, songs, or television programs that just opened you up to some truth. it was not a "christian" program, but bowled you over with truth in some fashion anyway.
for example: how you saw the american pie movies and realized what an amazing tale they were about how to sort out your confusing sexuality and find the pinnacle and purpose in a committed, monogomous relationship comfortably. or how the song "i wish it would rain down" by phil collins was one of the most powerful songs of repentance you have ever heard and each time it comes on the radio you must turn it up and weep. or how last sunday's episode of american dad was one of the most truth filled half hours you have ever seen on television and why.
several more examples i can give, but not here, not now. i have to get to my place of employment.
just want you to keep it in the back of your mind. i am ALWAYS on the look out for examples of this. so whenevr you run across one, please share it with me. it doesn't matter the topic you leave the comment under. i'll know what you're talking about. thanks for your help in this. it will indeed further the kingdom.
at 8:41 AM
very excited for the 12th. have organized an event at my local church body to bring the more youthful part of that body together with those who meet in my home to have a more "party" oriented gathering. hope very much the two sides will connect and grow together. though i have fears...
many people have been hurt at "church" gatherings. i take these tender ones in my care very seriously and desparately hope they will receive warmth and acceptance to be themselves wherever they are at rather than having to sit through "evangelization" which can easily lead to a judgement session if not careful. and i know "church" folk can just as easily be on the end of the same type of judgement in the reverse fashion.
pray that these two groups can put things aside and just enjoy each other and the spirit would be unfettered to minister to each one just what we need.
at 8:36 AM
Thursday, March 02, 2006
this, for me, i think, was the beginning of all of this. it is a poem i wrote back on 1.11.03 as a heart cry to express my frustration at living a life that looked so unlike the lives i wanted to model myself after. the true champions of the faith. so i thought i would share it and see if it says anything to you. dictionary.com links are available if you need them.
spurious and copius
this apathy and decadence
passing themselves off as humility and simplicity
when necessity is so small
when necessity is so small
and not even possesed by all
loquacious and gaudy but ultimately
stagnant and disingenuous
one eighty is the goal
but i stop at a right angle
because at least i'm not wrong
or am i?
appetites supressed to a degree
enough to delude, not enough to change
and the final state is worse than the first
i want to hear well done
i must of needs then do
i need to do
i need to
*dictionary.com does not have heterostrophy in its database. the word means: "the state of being turned in a direction other than the usual one; an opposite turning"
at 12:45 AM
to see where i've been and where i am going, i recently reread posts and comments from exfoliations. in doing so, i ran across this quote from tessa:
"God's presence is compelling. It compells people to leave their culture and heritage to this day. Like muslim converts jewish converts, hell even athiest converts are all severing pretty heavy ties to follow the Lord because the presence of God is compelling them."
and it got me thinking about those of us who were raised in the church.
do we think we are required to sacrifice any less?
at 12:38 AM
Tuesday, February 28, 2006
i guess this has been born out of a desire to do something new. out of a need for something else.
there will indeed be questions. there will be ruminations about the scriptures. but moreover, a journey into the heart of the kingdom. to know what it means to live in the light in practical ways. ways that bleed over into the every day.
and about celebrating. if we indeed have received this forgiveness, and this king, and this spirit, and this power...we need to celebrate. because i do agree with tony campolo. at the heart of it all, the kingdom of god is a party. and i want this party to live in me at all times. and i want to bring this party to everyone at all times. because truly, everyone has been invited.
in light of this, let's start picking out our "wedding clothes" for the real party. the party to end all parties. the wedding banquet.
Mt 22:11-14 “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. ‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ The man was speechless. Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are invited, but few are chosen.”
Rev 19:7-9 Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear. (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)
Then the angel said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’ ” And he added, “These are the true words of God.”
it's time to get dressed. let's get this rehearsal right before the real thing goes down. much love and strength and peace to all the brothers and sisters tonight.
no matter what has gone before us in the past, it's time for something else...
at 11:13 PM