Sunday, October 29, 2006

anyone interested in another study?

back in black

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.

Friday, October 27, 2006

for anyone who's been following along

Hi Jon,

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,


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

summer lovin'... had me a blast

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.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

...somewhere in the desert

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."