Friday, April 30, 2010

because i need this

there are ways we can let ourselves become occupied. we work. we play music. we watch TV. we drink. we run. we do. but what is it to be occupied? and is it possible to be unoccupied?

i propose this: no.

and now a word from our sponsors...

welcome back. my thoughts don't let up. even in the moments i'm doing absolutely nothing, my mind is in a race with itself, and its constantly losing. if you can, imagine running down the road with a hoard of people who look just like you, but for some reason are much faster than you. also, they have quite a "snobbery" about them, jeering and laughing
at your inability to keep up with they who look and seem like they are you. well, that's what it's like in my head at times: confusing and frustrating. so the idea of being unoccupied is a bit foreign to me.

this blog is brought to you by...

if you're just now joining us, we're discussing occupation of our minds. how many times do you refuse to listen to your own thoughts? it seems a little crazy, i know, but i think listening to yourself is healthy. but be certain, that just because you listen to yourself, you don't have to do what you say. my brain suggests things to me that are borderline insane. but sometimes, in the muck of my madness, there peeks through a shimmering creative thought. [enter: music/writing]

more after this...

i have a slew of journals that are full of scribbling, scratches and songs. i have lost a few journals over the course of my life due to theft or my absent mind, but the ones i still have tell quite the indeterminable story. but they still tell a story. and reading back on those journals has helped me to better understand the lawlessness of my mind. i listened, at times, to what i told myself, and i was burned. and still, other times i flourished. but its Life that is allowing me to ascertain a grip on what is truth. what is good. what is worthy. so i suggest that in the times you feel like you can't trust in what you say (which you likely can't) search for the glimmer of goodness. and hold onto it. water it and watch it grow.

back in 2 1/2 minutes...

if there is any evidence to my mind's in ability to keep up with itself, it's this post. i know it might not mean much to you, and is probably a bit too scattered to grasp any one theme, but i need this. i need to get it out. maybe you can see something in here that shines to you, and i hope that you do, but for now, i just needed to get these words out in hopes of clearing some space up here in my head.

thanks for joining us.

Monday, April 26, 2010

if Al Gore was president would he live in the Green House?

holy guacamole.

today i wore a green shirt. this sounds like it will be the most boring blog ever. just give it a minute. so i wore a green shirt. i haven't worn a green shirt in a long time. not for any other reason than, blue is just my go-to. so. i go to it. and not to green. anyway, it made me think about the color. these days green is positive. its representative of growth. of caring for our environment. a green light means go. forward motion. positive. but i often forget about its association with envy. or greed. which poses a pretty funny situation:

so in America, we are capitalists. this merely means we earn what we have. yes, gifts exist, but aren't the norm. in the act of earning something, a natural development is competition. [enter fallen man] when competing, we find ourselves, at times, relentlessly pursuing victory with no regard for who we are beating.

note: i'm not communist, just making a point.

so in competition there are losers. and we don't want to be a loser. so we do all we can to see that that won't happen. and a lot of us compromise our convictions. you see it happening in corporations and small organizations alike. one venue that is freshly showing signs of such compromise is the "green movement". while it is true that we should take care of the earth, and do all we can to treat her well, i don't think it should turn into what it seems to be [note: i haven't done all the research i probably could on this subject. this is just a view from the outside] turning into now: a competitive, money mongering enterprise.

so you see? its funny that the green movement is showing to be greener than we thought. take care of the earth. make more money. stand on the top of the green hill as king.

motion and pauses (reprise)

i am but flesh wrapped on bones
so grace escapes me on my path
i have fallen and i have run
and all the while, gone is your wrath

happy and sad live together tonight
you can't expect effect with no causes
with no idea of how i should be right
i'll thank you for all the motion and pauses

Monday, April 12, 2010

Banking 101

this is something i wondered on my drive home tonight:

what is it to invest in someone?

if you think about investing in anything, it seems implied that you are putting into this thing in hopes that it will return something to you, or produce something for you. you invest money in the stock market in hopes that it will be multiplied over a number of years and you will have a retirement fund. you invest in your home in hopes that by doing so, its value will be raised and you can either be worth more as the owner or possibly sell it for more money than you bought it. you invest in a garden in hopes that it will bear fruit and you can eat.

in all these examples of investment, there's a common thread: giving to get.

then why in the hell do we ever talk about investing in people? are we so self absorbed to believe that by our actions, another human can be swayed to begin producing what we want for ourselves? whether its affection to the investor, or a changed lifestyle on the investee that thus gives the investor grounds to gloat, it all adds up to the common thread.

as a natural born capitalist, i have a hard time disconnecting what i know to be fiscally wise from what i know to be spiritually wise. but hear me, i believe they SHOULD be disconnected. there is such a danger in equating what works for money and what works for our souls. "for the love of money is the root of all evil." pretty strong words for an extremely true statement. but strong for a reason. God knows us. He made us, so how could he not know us inside and out? he knows our draw to abundance. our longing for more, more, more.

but i digress.

my goal wasn't to talk about money. my goal was to talk about our relationships with each other. i have heard countless times people referring to how they act towards others as "investing in them." ok, you may be thinking, "i don't want anything for myself in my investment in [this person]." but it goes beyond that, i think. more than our selfish desires to be loved and respected, more than our wanton pursuit of abundance, i am concerned with our belief that we are to be a part of the changing of a person. and the concern lies within that last sentence. why are we trying to change someone? because we know what's best for them? because we can be the one who changes them? pretty arrogant statements.

now, i'm not saying to ignore everyone and just let everyone do whatever "they think is best" or "right". i'm just suggesting that we change our language from investment to something that is more true of what we're called to do: love.

why can't we just love someone with no expectations of them becoming what we want? with no expectations of them becoming who we think they're "supposed to be"?

just ask yourself this question: "if i did nothing but love every single person around me, and never saw any benefits, or results, but just the same life i always knew from before i loved them, would i still love them?"

most of us don't want to admit our answers. i don't.

i want to love someone who loves me.
i want to love someone and see them grow.
i want to love them and be blessed.

the funny thing is, if we all did it, this wouldn't be a problem. if there was a community of people who could literally love each other selflessly all the time, we would never have to worry about our own needs being met. because they already have been.

we are the church, and that should be our pursuit. not an investment, but a terrifying journey with each other.

Sunday, April 11, 2010



i've been known to display, with a certain amount of clarity, my emotions at all times. try as i may, nothing can keep my face from showing exactly what is in my mind or heart. they say the eyes are the windows to the soul, and whoever they are knew what they were talking about when it comes to me. and the windows are always open.

so let's switch scenes to the Sabbath. to today. today started with Steve peeking his head in through my car window to wake me up. "Everyone's up. Mostly. We're starting breakfast." in my sleepy stupor i stumbled out of the back of my car which had been temporarily transformed into a bed, and made my way down the hill, over the creek and up the hill to our campsite. all of us were extremely groggy and not speaking. and i for one, didn't feel i had much to say. all that i could think about were the dreams i had the previous night. i won't go into a lot of detail but one in particular really threw me. i was giving my brothers eulogy. i have no idea where that came from, but apparently my subconscious wanted my conscious self to experience immense sadness for a while. my sadness was easily disguised this morning by my sleep filled eyes, but as the day progressed i could feel the sadness peeking through. i went home and went right to bed hoping to redeem my previous sleep experience, but i don't remember what my nap dreams were. and i woke up still feeling like i actually gave my brothers eulogy.

enter mosaic.

i could have stayed asleep for at least 4 more hours this afternoon, but i got up to go play drums at my church mosaic. i play every week and its always a great source of encouragement and fulfillment, so i was willing to forgo the hopes of more sleep. and it was just that. on top of the dream's affect on me, i was allowing actual situations in my life to become reasons for why i felt like i did. this relationship, that decision, those thoughts... so many things that had nothing to do with what i was feeling.

but then the sermon.

Don, my amazing pastor and great friend, spoke on bringing Shalom to our city. he read from the easter story, when Jesus appeared in the upper room post resurrection to the disciples who basically had it on lock down for fear of the Judeans. they were afraid. and then Jesus appears and says "Peace be with you!" and said it again "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you." then breathed on them. so much was to be had from these simple words, but as i heard them tonight, i was reminded of what is important. suddenly all my self pitying and self involvement was easily shadowed by the truth that Jesus has breathed life onto me and given me peace. Shalom is a big word. its not so easily translated into english, but when Jesus said it to his disciples, and thus to me, it just made sense. if you can receive Shalom, you're further along than you think you are.

this is an invitation to myself: live the peace that has been given to you, so that you can then give it away. because God knows that whatever it is that's inside of you, is going to be evident on your face, like it or not. it might as well be Shalom.