2005-12-30

my cello is like God...

I've been thinking lately how I'm excited to really get to know my cello... What I mean is this - I know how to play some selection of pieces on my cello and I know something about it, but I don't really just KNOW my cello... for instance, if I heard a tune playing in my head, it would take me a bit of time to figure out how to play it on the cello, and I might actually lose it before I figured it out. I want to know the ins and outs of the cello so that I could play as if it were second nature to me - without thinking. Just be able to hear something in my head and have it come out my fingers like there is no break inbetween.

This morning I read a blog by a friend of ours about how she wants to get to know God in a different way... and I thought, "this relates to my desire to know my cello." Here's what I'm thinking... We tend to get to know God based on some formulas somebody has written to coerce something from God. "I need comfort today - that calls for the third movement of Bach's Cello Suite Number 1." We spend time not getting to know God, but getting to know these formulas that we sort of interact with as if they were God. It's kind of like the concept of API (application programmer interface) in the computer programming world. An API is a set of standardized ways to interact with a program without having to know the internals of how that program works. You just have to know what the API is expecting to receive, and what it will give back when you send a certain thing to it. I think we tend to look at God that way. We look at the APIs or Pieces or whatever analogy you want to use, and we don't realize that they are just a static, inanimate thing which we are trying to relate to. We don't even think about actually getting to know God, who is sitting somewhere behind all of our formulas waiting for us to figure it out and stop trying to know an assortment of musical pieces, but to actually know the instrument. He's waiting for us to get our heads out of our asses and realize that He is more than the sum of all of our stupid formulas about how we should relate to Him and how he should relate to us.

With that in mind, maybe we all should do some re-evaluating of how we see God, how we relate to Him, how we think He should relate to us... and most of all, actually get to know Him, and forget all the formulas we've made up to try and make Him fit inside the tiny box that we can comprehend rationally. I don't know about you, but I would rather serve a God who is more than I can imagine, than a God who I can completely understand through and through. And I would rather have a relationship with a living, real person than with a set of static, impersonal rules and regulations designed to make me comfortable. No thanks.

2005-12-22

rain...

rain, rain, come to stay
fall upon my face today
soak my hair, soak my skin
drench my heart, deep within
write upon my soul a tear
wash the poison, pain, the fear
leave me peace, let me breathe
deep and strong... I am clean

2005-12-21

saddam hussein

today I heard some people talking about Saddam Hussein and his claims that he was tortured as he was being held for trial. They were making comments like "boo-fucking-hoo" and imagining "Beat-Me-Up Saddam" toys. It almost made me cry. Yes, Saddam Hussein has done some horrible things in his life. BUT HE'S A HUMAN! I've broken peoples' hearts, I've lied, cheated, stolen, been uncaring, unloving, and therefore I have NO right to condemn Saddam Hussein and say he should be treated as less than human. Not that we should condone what he's done, but treat him as we treat any other human who does stuff wrong. Do we think he's beyond God's love? Because we quite easily place him beyond ours. Maybe we should think about that some more.

2005-12-19

diamonds

diamonds melt
is that possible?
it doesn't matter
they do...
and you wipe
them away
before they crash
shatter on the floor
and they absorb
into your skin
like mercury
mercury diamonds
of my soul
absorbed, assimilated
into yours

2005-12-15

how I see God around me

please leave comments with your own thoughts :)

*new* I see God in the people I know who are open and honest about their lives. I can see the ways they are changing, growing, being challenged and I can see God's working in their lives. Said people encourage my soul and make me feel as though I have been physically touched by God.

my tree outside my office window is so tender, delicate, in the leaves, but yet strong, and full of life, in the branches and trunk. God is so tender with us, He loves us so dearly, and his hands are gentle with us, but He is not weak or frail, He is strong and full of life.

an oak tree is old and wise. in its twisted branches, it shows the deep experience of life and understanding of what is important. An oak tree has wisdom gained from experience, and an understanding of how everything around it works. God has an unsearchable well of wisdom, a deep understanding of life, and a deep understanding of human life, from experience. The oak tree reminds me that Christ understands me and everything I feel.

The wind in the summertime refreshes my soul, it makes all the hot
sweat on my body turn into cool water, and all of the hot tiredness in
my body turn to sweetness. God blows cool wind on my soul when it is
hot and tired and turns the tiredness of my heart into cool water
which refreshes my soul. When my soul is tired from long work or hard
struggle, He gives me a cool wind to calm my soul and bring me
refreshment.

astronomy

i am the astronomer
and nature my lens
through which i study
the nature of divine
only it is a magical lens
because as i look
i absorb
and i find in myself
the colors i see
the textures i feel
the breaths i inhale
the presence i know
it spreads within
i can feel it slowly
like a warm drink
on a cold day
coating me inside
changing me
and i feel...

i am alive

seeking and displaced...

seeking and displaced
from home...
i thought it was
wandering the earth
my friends, the other lost
we all look for an end
a place to rest
we haven't found it yet
however, we know
one day
we will be
at rest, at peace
and it makes the wandering
while painful sometimes
sometimes fun
but always full
of love and peace
wandering, lost
but together
with clues, and common want
we love our God
together...

2005-12-13

the death penalty...

Former gang leader Stanley "Tookie" Williams has been executed by lethal injection, 24 years after he was convicted of killing four people.

Though in the time since then, he has spent his life encouraging kids to get out of gangs, he has even been nominated for a nobel peace prize. I guess the question is, what can we forgive? Do we have the right to put a judgement like this on another person? I think of Gandalf's comment in The Fellowship of the Ring when he's talking to Frodo about Gollum, and Frodo says that Bilbo should have killed Gollum when he had the chance. Gandalf replies that many who die deserve life, but can you give it to them? Then don't be too quick to deal out death. Frankly, the death penalty makes my stomach a little queasy. I think we just take it for granted, and I think we should really put some more thought into whether we really have that right or not. Is our desire for "justice" greater than our desire to forgive? Because I think at that point you have to ask yourself if you just want revenge.

2005-12-11

:)

my love for you is so overpowering I'm afraid that I will disappear...

(that's about you, Patrina) :)

2005-12-10

important to me...

there's this woman named Patrina who is an unexplainable blessing to me. she makes my toes wiggle and my stomach do flip flops and God is so good for giving her to me.

2005-12-09

hate...

if there's one thing I hate more than anything, it's seeing my wife hurt...

2005-12-06

some days...

make you really thankful for sleep and numbness...

life...

life is weird...

sometimes I feel like the world and my brain function based on different sets of rules...

sometimes I feel like the world is spinning way too fast and I'm going to fly off...

sometimes I feel like it's turned inside-out and I don't understand it anymore...

sometimes I feel like I'm in a Dali...

conditional...

I don't know why, but lately I've felt a lot like my friendships are really fragile. I mean, I've felt a lot like if I'm too persistent or say too much of what I feel or whatever, that my friends will just leave me behind. I don't think they've done anything really to fuel this feeling, at least I can't think of anything... I don't know what the problem is. Thankfully I don't have this feeling with a number of key people, my wife mainly, my parents, sister, etc... and it's not with all my friends either... just a general feeling... maybe I just have too strong of a desire to commit... I don't know... anyway, I think this again will require some quiet thought alone with my heart and God and allow some processing.

2005-12-03

did you ever...

did you ever know someone so well that their gestures became sometimes even more familiar than your own, that the little wrinkles by the side of their eyes became so familiar that you could recite how many crinkles there are, and you could tell that a certain thing would make them laugh or make them angry before they even heard it? Have you ever loved someone so much that those same crinkles in their eyes make your heart burst, and that sweet silent smile makes your soul rejoice? Have you ever loved someone so much that if you were to see the hurt in their eyes that you caused, your soul would crack as if it had dried up and died? But could immediately be restored by their words of forgiveness to a soul which desires to make them feel they are the most amazing, special, beautiful person in the world? I have the most wonderful lifemate...

why?

have you ever met somebody new and you seem to just hit it off phenomenally, like you are soulmates, and you just wonder to yourself, "why on earth does this person like me so much?". And after contemplation, it just still doesn't make sense, and you just feel blessed and in a strange way kind of unworthy... and you have a strange suspicion that the other person is going to just get sick of you any day because they don't understand you or you are too persistent or whatever...

2005-12-02

rain, rain, come to stay...

today is a perfect day to sit inside, huddle up under a blanket, listen to Sigur Rós (the () album) and drink hot jasmine tea while watching the drops slide down the window...

generous palmstroke - björk

I am strong in his hands
I am beyond me
on my own i'm human
and I do faults

I do confess
I feel you trickeling
down my shoulders
from above

mmmm mmmm mmmm mmmm

I turn myself in
I give myself up
volunteer
you own me : I'm yours

mmmm mmmm mmmm mmmm

You have to trust it
I'm eternally yours
all that I gave them
I gave to you

mmmm mmmm mmmm mmmm

So needy of comfort
but too raw to be embraced
undo this privacy
and put me in my place

mmmm mmmm mmmm mmmm

Generous palmstroke
the hugest of hugs
undo this privacy
embrace

E m b r a c e m e
E m b r a c e m e
E m b r a c e m e
E e e e e e m m m m m

mmmm mmmm mmmm mmmm

I am strong in his hands
I am above
way beyond me
I.... con...

She's strong in his hands
she is beyond her
on her own she is human
and she does faults

2005-12-01

do you ever feel like...

sometimes I think life would be much nicer if Trina and I could just move away somewhere nobody knows us and not make any effort to meet anybody but just be us...

2005-11-30

all is full of love

you'll be given love
you'll be taken care of
you'll be given love
you have to trust it

maybe not from the sources
you have poured yours

maybe not from the directions
you are staring at

trust your head around
it's all around you
all is full of love
all around you

all is full of love : you just ain't receiving
all is full of love : your phone is off the hook
all is full of love : your doors are all shut

all is full of love

2005-11-29

snow, I want

snow
I want
fall graceful
right through me
fall peaceful
my heart
to sleep
to dreams
and love
I share
with all
around me
falling
like snow
upon
my heart

dryness refreshed

a heart
dry stone
unmoving
cracked lips
unquenchable
undesiring
not remembering
lack of dryness
suddenly
a small drop
proferred
spreads
flesh
not stone
brown to red
movement
the first beat
resounding
spreading
flesh
not stone
until red
is all
and all
alive

begin

life is all around me
all within
exploding, shining
flying, speeding
in space and time
but not moving
life, hot
burning, scalding
urging, I can't resist
the heat, the flight
so I burn
and I fly
a fireball
of life, heat, love
joy, so full
and as I start
to expire
I cry, not for an end
but for a begin

2005-11-28

the more you change, the less you feel...

so I was talking with my friend Brendan about this line in the song "Tonite, Tonite" by the Smashing Pumpkins, and at first I said I disagree with that, but after talking about some ideas with him I'm not so sure... well, I guess I would still say maybe it doesn't HAVE to be the case, but often is the case.

It got me thinking... lately sort of traditional worship, the familiar songs and words and such, have been really kind of cold for me. I don't know if that is because my heart is cold towards worship in general, if that PRESENTATION has become more sort of sterile to me, or what. I don't know. I mean, in thinking about life, I feel like certain other types of things inspire me greatly to worship God, seeing the lives of the people around me, nature, other sorts of music, certain scripture, etc... but that sort of traditional guy with a guitar singing "Here I Am To Worship" type songs has lost a lot of its ability to stir my heart, and I don't know if that is a problem on my part or just me changing or what... I know I have changed a LOT in the last two and a half years... so much that I almost don't recognize who I was before sometimes... I think this issue deserves some quiet contemplation and prayer... time to talk with my heart and my God and see what's happening.

2005-11-25

wish and desire...

If today were a wish or desire, it would be a desire to live life in a community of people who understand me and who I understand - who are committed to each other and who want to live life together and with God. To know and to be known. To love and to be loved. To simply BE - alongside people who get that. To see a group of people whose lives intertwine so you can see traces of our lives in them and their lives in us. Anyone want to join my wife and I?

2005-11-23

delicate

the stars
delicate
twinkle precariously
between dreams
and infinity
as if they
want to burn
to fly
but tonight
fragile
a gentle touch
might snuff
might extinguish
what beautiful
might have
become

2005-11-22

squished onions

we were just at new seasons, and they had these onions that were just like onions, only as if someone has set them on the table, pushed really hard, and squished it. they were kind of the shape of junior mints, only they looked like onions. it was really weird.

french jazz

we really want to get some old french jazz... anybody have any recommendations? :)

2005-11-21

prayer...

God, I pray that you would make my heart humble, that I would learn what you want to teach me, however you choose to guide. God, I pray that above all I would desire to love - myself, my wife, my family, my friends, my community. God, I pray that my life would be helpful to everyone around me, helpful to draw their eyes to you. God, I pray that I would have the fire in my heart to act when I feel the need to act, and that I would have the wisdom to be quiet and listen as well as to talk. God, I pray that I would be more like you everyday. That is all.

taking God for granted...

this is from Wind, Sand and Stars, by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, who was a mail pilot between the world wars, and this book is an account of some of his flights. Something to consider - how many of you have wept at the sight of a tree? What do we take for granted in life?

But we were not always in the air, and our idle hours were spent
taming the Moors. They would come out of their forbidden regions
(those regions we crossed in our flights and where they would shoot at
us the whole length of our crossing), would venture to the stockade in
the hope of buying loaves of sugar, cotton cloth, tea, and then would
sink back again into their mystery. Whenever they turned up we would
try to tame a few of them in order to establish little nuclei of
friendship in the desert; thus if we were forced down among them
there would be at any rate a few who might be persuaded to sell us
into slavery rather than massacre us.

Now and then an influential chief came up, and him, with the approval
of the Line, we would load into the plane and carry off to see
something of the world. The aim was to soften their pride, for,
repositories of the truth, defenders of Allah, the only God, it was
more in contempt than in hatred that he and his kind murdered their
prisoners.

When they met us in the region of Juby or Cisneros, they never
troubled to shout abuse at us. They would merely turn away and spit;
and this not by way of personal insult but out of sincere disgust at
having crossed the path of a Christian. Their pride was born of the
illusion of their power. Allah renders a believer invincible. Many a
time a chief has said to me, pointing to his army of three hundred
rifles, "Lucky it is for France that she lies more than a hundred
days' march from here."

And so we would take them up for a little spin. Three of them even
visited France in our planes. I happened to be present when they
returned. I met them when they landed, went with them to their tents,
and waited in infinite curiosity to hear their first words. They were
of the same race as those who, having once been flown by me to the
Senegal, had burst into tears at the sight of trees. What a revelation
Europe must have been for them! And yet their first replies astonished
me by their coolness.

"Paris? Very big."

Everything was "very big" - Paris, the Trocadero, the automobiles.

What with everyone in Paris asking if the Louvre was not "very big"
they had gradually learned that this was the answer that flattered us.
And with a sort of, vague contempt, as if pacifying a lot of children,
they would grant that the Louvre was "very big."

These Moors took very little trouble to dissemble the freezing
indifference they felt for the Eiffel Tower, the steamships, and the
locomotives. They were ready to agree once and for always that we knew
how to build things out of iron. We also knew how to fling a bridge
from one continent to another. The plain fact was that they did not
know enough to admire our technical progress. The wireless astonished
them less than the telephone, since the mystery of the telephone
resided in the very fact of the wire.


It took a little time for me to understand that my questions were on
the wrong track. For what they thought admirable was not the
locomotive, but the tree. When you think of it, a tree does possess a
perfection that a locomotive cannot know. And then I remembered the
Moors who had wept at the sight of trees.

Yes, France was in some sense admirable, but it was not because of
those stupid things made of iron. They had seen pastures in France in
which all the camels of Er-Reguibat could have grazed! There were
forests in France! The French had cows, cows filled with milk! And of
course my three Moors were amazed by the incredible customs of the
people.

"In Paris," they said, "you walk through a crowd of a thousand people.
You stare at them. And nobody carries a rifle!"

But there were better things in France than this inconceivable
friendliness between men. There was the circus, for example.

"Frenchwomen," they said, "can jump standing from one galloping horse
to another."

Thereupon they would stop and reflect. "You take one Moor from each
tribe," they went on. "You take him to the circus. And nevermore will
the tribes of Er-Reguibat make war on the French."

I remember my chiefs sitting among the crowding tribesmen in the
opening of their tents, savoring the pleasure of reciting this new
series of Arabian Nights, extolling the music halls in which naked
women dance on carpets of flowers.

Here were men who had never seen a tree, a river, a rose ; who knew
only through the Koran of the existence of gardens where streams run,
which is their name for Paradise. In their desert, Paradise -and its
beautiful captives could be won only by bitter death from an infidel's
rifle-shot, after thirty years of a miserable existence. But God had
tricked them, since from the Frenchmen to whom he grants these
treasures he exacts payment neither by thirst nor by death. And it was
upon this that the chiefs now mused. This was why, gazing out at the
Sahara surrounding their tents, at that desert with its barren promise
of such thin pleasures, they let themselves go in murmured
confidences.

"You know . . . the God of the French . . . He is more generous to the
French than the God of the Moors is to the Moors."

Memories that moved them too deeply rose to stop their speech. Some
weeks earlier they had been taken up into the French Alps. Here in
Africa they were still dreaming of what they saw. Their guide had led
them to a tremendous water-fall, a sort of braided column roaring over
the rocks. He had said to them:

"Taste this."
It was sweet water. Water! How many days were they wont to march in
the desert to reach the nearest well; and when they had arrived, how
long they had to dig before there bubbled a muddy liquid mixed with
camel's urine! Water! At Cape Juby, at Cisneros, at Port Etienne, the
Moorish children did not beg for coins. With empty tins in their hands
they begged for water.

"Give me a little water, give!"

"If you are a good lad . . ."

Water! A thing worth its weight in gold! A thing the least drop of
which drew from the sand the green sparkle of a blade of grass! When
rain has fallen anywhere, a great exodus animates the Sahara. The
tribes ride towards that grass that will have sprung up two hundred
miles away. And this water, this miserly water of which not a drop had
fallen at Port Etienne in ten years, roared in the Savoie with the
power of a cataclysm as if, from some burst cistern, the reserves of
the world were pouring forth.

"Come, let us leave," their guide had said.

But they would not stir.

"Leave us here a little longer."

They had stood in silence. Mute, solemn, they had stood gazing at the
unfolding of a ceremonial mystery. That which came roaring out of the
belly of the mountain was life itself, was the life-blood of man. The
flow of a single second would have resuscitated whole caravans that,
mad with thirst, had pressed on into the eternity of salt lakes and
mirages. Here God was manifesting Himself: it would not do to turn
one's back on Him. God had opened the locks and was displaying His
puissance. The three Moors had stood motionless.

"That is all there is to see," their guide had said. "Come."

"We must wait."

'Wait for what ?"

"The end."

They were awaiting the moment when God would grow weary of His
madness. They knew Him to be quick to repent, knew He was miserly.

"But that water has been running for a thousand years!"

And this was why, at Port Etienne, they did not too strongly stress
the matter of the waterfall. There were certain miracles about which
it was better to be silent. Better, indeed, not to think too much
about them, for in that case one would cease to understand anything at
all. Unless one was to doubt the existence of God. . . .

happy

some things which make me deliriously joyful:
my wife, butterflies, clouds, sunsets, stars, rain, spontaneity, community, the hot tired feeling at the end of a summer day when it starts to cool down, the smell of jasmine, good steak, good tofu, the smell of the earth after it's been dry for a while, but has just started downpouring, dreaming (during the day is ok too), the little prince and other books by antoine de saint-exupery, taming people and flowers and trees and such, living for a purpose, poems, music, art (of other forms - painting, drawing, sculpture, etc), winnie the pooh, the secret garden, connecting with people.

driving to the coast

coming to the beach at night is nice. it feels a little bit more like an adventure. tonight it was foggy and added a lot to the feeling of mystery and excitement. coming over the mountains was incredible. every now and then you could see through the trees and see all the rounded peaks of the mountains and the valleys filled with fog, reflecting the bright moonlight. it was like you knew that in each valley there were fairies dancing and dreams being made... and then the ocean. infinite darkness... it is so beautiful at night. like a sea of ink, dark in the middle, but shiny on the surface. sounds like me sometimes...

man of la mancha

one point this play made to me is that if you want to enable someone to change, you build up something great in them. If you want to make a prostitute into a princess, you build up a beautiful lady in her. If you want to turn an ordinary old man into someone who changes his world, build up a knight in him.

I am determined to effect change by building and not by tearing down.

thanks

thanks to everyone who was over at alex's place after the show last night for feeding our souls. don't worry, they don't eat meat :)

by the way, the tucker song rules.

peace out, yo.

2005-11-18

popcorn and clouds...

first of all, it just occurred to me that popcorn is really weird. I mean, isn't it just bizarre that corn does that when you get it really hot? Seems pretty weird to me.

Secondly, there are few things that inspire me as much as clouds. I was just sitting in my office here and I looked out the window and there are some beautiful pink-ish orange-ish clouds floating around making my life much better. I think that must be their desire, to make my life better. Or maybe they are just showing off for me, who knows. I would love to hug a cloud someday... and just say thank you. But until that fateful day, I'll just be gazing a lot.

As a side note.. I like life :)

2005-11-17

homosexuality

Everyone is born broken at birth. We are born that way. We have tendencies to lie, to get angry, to seek solace in numbness, to seek worth in sexual relationships, to be selfish, prideful, all of which are considered sins. And different people have different tendencies, towards different sins. For instance, I may not be as prone to anger as my neighbor, and he may not be as prone to lie as I am. Whatever. Anyway, each of those things can certainly be influenced by someone's upbringings, and the tendency may be curbed or encouraged based on that influence, but the tendencies to sin always surface somehow, and we have to deal with them as such, tendencies to sin. That means a condition of the heart. Ours are broken and don't always desire what they should and the remedy for that is…? Christ.

So, we seem to place homosexuality in this entirely different category as if it somehow makes you something other than a broken human. Why is it that we can look at someone who is addicted to pornography or who is having an affair or who is a serial murderer, and feel real compassion for them because we see how they are broken and we want them to get better, but when we see a homosexual we just want to ignore them and make them ignore themselves and we tell them they're just wilfully disgracing God (as if we don't do that every day) and we seem to want to make ourselves feel dirty for having been around them or something? Why are we afraid of them? Why do we kick them out of churches or shun them at church so that they have to start their own churches just to feel like normal humans at church? Why do we fight political wars against them? Why do we see them as anything different from ourselves? They only struggle with different issues. That's all.

(by the way, I use "they" only as a convenient way to refer to a group of the population, not to imply a divide or barrier between said group and the rest of the people on earth)

As Angelina Jolie's character in the movie "Playing by Heart" says, "We're all damaged goods". Why can't we see that and instead of ridiculing and persecuting each other (and ourselves) for being broken in different ways, pick each other up, tell each other "I love you" and offer to pull each other along the path to Christ as much as we can? If you think someone needs a change (including yourself), help them to build something great within themselves, namely a love for Christ. You will never help them by tearing them down.

2005-11-15

fast food

good lord, I forgot how awful I feel after eating fast food... bluh...

fingernails

hmm... my fingernails are a bit brittle. guess I should drink some more water :)

2005-11-11

stuff...

"I would like to extend my eternal gratitude to those souls who have touched my heart, of whom for me there have been many. I have known many teachers along the way, and few loves, but all of them are here with me. All credit is placed in the arms of God, who thought this whole deal up. God blesses me every day with the greatest of wonders, and points me well into light and shadow alike. I can’t say I mind too much." -Billy Corgan

2005-11-09

dark...

it's kind of nice that it's dark out after work now. it feels a bit more quiet and private. i tend to feel a bit delicate when i leave work, and it's nice to feel like i have some time to myself to kind of pull myself together before having to interact with people again. and with music on as i ride the bus, nobody tries to talk to me, so i just have some time to be with myself and to think or feel whatever comes along...

2005-11-04

beethoven

isn't it phenomenal that beethoven could hear a piece like his 9th symphony entirely in his head? Because he couldn't hear it with his ears to hear how it sounded... it just blows my mind... that he could hear music in his head just as if he was actually hearing it with his ears... I just don't have any words for that...

2005-10-30

how do you define yourself?

what is it that defines who we are and how we view ourselves? Most often I think it is other people. We compare ourselves to other people, to the social scale, to the style of clothing, to the professions, the interests, the hobbies, the religions of other people. And when we find our identity in any or all of those things, it is never certain. We never know if one day someone will like us or if one day our clothes will be in fashion or whether someone else's religion or way of thinking will become the consensus. We feel the need to prove we are better than others so that we will stay in that 'accepted' minority at the top and we feel the need to defend ourselves and our beliefs and our clothes and our lifestyle and we will do whatever is necessary to do that. What we forget is that we are loved unconditionally. We forget our identity in Christ. If I know and understand in my heart that Christ loves me unconditionally, I don't feel the need to destroy anything, only to build it up in others. Because I am safe. Because I know I am loved, I feel free to love others unconditionally, and I have an example of what that looks like and feels like. I don't feel the need to tear down anybody's sense of themself, only to build up in them Christ's view of them. And in turn, they will feel safe to do the same with me and with others. THAT is how we truly foster community. We LOVE PEOPLE. Because we understand that in the end, it isn't that important whether we are what our government or society or peer group or religious majority tell us we should be, we are what Christ tells us we are and who He is making us. And from another angle, we recognize that it isn't that important that other people are any of those things either, or for that matter, it's not that important that other people are what I think they should be either. They are who Christ says they are, and who He is making them. And we will be ok to let them be who they are and to be who we are, and in the end, as we all grow closer to who God made us (because essentially we are changed beings, the goal of life for a Christian is really to be more and more who they are), we will find out that we feel safe. And if we are always seeking that, we will find it very natural to feel a strong connection to other humans (christian or not) rather than a strong antithesis or antagonism.

politics...

I will never stand for anyone who promotes a political agenda by putting Christ's name on it. I will never stand for anyone who thinks they will change the world by forcing everyone to behave in a certain way, because I believe a person's behavior comes from their heart and not the other way around. I will never stand for someone who sees the american government, or any government, as a way to instill morality in a culture. If we rely on our government to tell us what morality is, we are all lost.

Essentially politics is a great way to divert your focus from where it should be - loving people. I don't care if I have the right to free speech or the right to religious freedom, to be honest... God never said to fight for those rights. Not that they are a bad thing. But I can love someone no matter what rights of free speech and religious freedom exist in my country. I can love someone whether homosexuals are allowed to be married or not. I can love someone even if Christianity politically is shunned and even prosecuted. So why are we trying so hard to protect our morality in the political system? We are just wasting our time on a battle that doesn't need to be fought and turning our energy and our focus away from everything we should be doing, which is to show people that Christ loves them no matter what they believe about anything. Because everyone is broken in one way or another, and nobody is going to change anything unless their brokenness is fixed. And there's only one way for that to happen and it's not for the US Government to institutionalize Christian morality into the law system.

Love people. That's all. Please. And actually think about what that means. Look at Christ. How did He love people? First, He rebuked the religious people who were hounding them about their morality and said things like "if you are perfect, go ahead, throw stones." Then He turned to the person and said "you are forgiven". THEN He said (after he had won their HEART), "now don't do that anymore, it's harmful to you." Why do we feel the need to fix the behavior all the time? Maybe because it's easier and it hurts less than actually getting into someone's real problems. Please, just love people.

2005-10-28

change

"...i'm good at being uncomfortable so I can't stop changing all the time..." - fiona apple

2005-10-27

tmbg

"particle man, particle man
doing the things a particle can
what's he like? it's not important
particle man
is he a dot, or is he a speck
when he's underwater does he get wet?
or does the water get him instead?
nobody knows
particle man"

genius... pure genius.

disclaimer

when I post something that someone else has written, it doesn't necessarily mean that I agree with everything they say. More likely, I thought it made an interesting point or made me think about something I think is important. Though in some cases it is possible that I do agree with everything they said :)

2005-10-25

philosophy

another something interesting from The Wisdom of the Sands :)

I mind me of that sour-faced, cross-eyed prophet who one day came to visit me, in high and gloomy dudgeon.

"It were best," he said, "to destroy them root and branch."

Thus I saw he had a craving for perfection. For death alone is perfect.

"They are evildoers," he said.

I held my peace. I seemed to see under my eyes that steely soul of his shaped like a sword. And I thought: This man lives but to war on evil. It is on evil that he thrives. Without it where would he be?

"What," I asked him, "would bring you happiness?"

"The triumph of virtue in the world," he answered.

But I knew he was lying. For this "happiness" he wanted would mean the idling and rusting of his sword.

And then was revealed to me, little by little, a strange yet patent truth -- that he who loves good is indulgent towards evil. For though the words seem at cross-purposes with each other, good and evil interlock; your bad sculptors are a forging-bed for your good sculptors, tyranny tempers valiant souls to fight against it, and famine leads to the sharing of bread between neighbors -- a sharing sweeter than the bread itself to hungry lips. Thus those men who had hatched plots against me and, hunted down by my police, cut off their hands, had sacrificed themselves to something other than themselves and willingly faced danger, durance, and injustice by reason of their love for freedom and justice -- those men always seemed to me invested with a special beauty and a radiance that glowed on the very scaffold, like a flaming cloud above them. Therefore never have I cheated these men of their death. What were a diamond but for the hard rocks that must be bored and broken before it can be won? What is the value of a sword, if there be no foe; of fidelity, if there be no temptation; of homecoming, if there be no absence? That prophet's "triumph of virtue" were but the triumph of the stall-fed, docile ox tied to his manger. And I count not on the stall-fed and the sedentaries.

"You are struggling against evil," I told him, "and every struggle is a dance. You get your pleasure from the dance; in fine, from evil. But I would rather see you dancing for love of love."

"For if I stablish for you an empire in which men's hearts are stirred by poems, a day will surely come when the logicians fall to arguing thereon and wordily apprising you of the peril to which the poem is exposed, from its opposite -- as if there were the 'opposite' of anything whatever in the world! Then will you see police officers arising who, confusing the love of the poem with hatred of the 'opposite,' will now devote themselves to hating instead of loving. As though love of the cedar tree meant the destruction of all olive trees! Then will you see them haling off to prison musicians, sculptors or astronomers, invoking absurd arguments, built of words that weave the wind. And thus will perish my empire; for the cult of the cedar need not involve the ruin of the olive groves or an embargo on the fragrance of the rose. Instill in a people's heart the love of sailing ships, and it will draw into itself all that is fervent in your land and transmute it into sails and rigging. But you, my man, would wish to take the activities of the sailmakers in hand and foster these by denouncing, persecuting and wiping out as heretics all who do not see eye to eye with you. And you will have logic on your side, since by logic you can prove anything you like, and all that is not a sailing ship can be shown to be the opposite of the sailing ship. Thus, from purge to purge, you will exterminate your race; for you will find that each of us loves something else as well. Nay, more, you will end by exterminating the sailing ship itself, for the hymn of the ship becomes on the nailsmith's lips the hymn of nailmaking. And once you have thrown him into prison, no more nails will be forthcoming for the making of the ship."

"Thus is it with him, too, who thinks to favor the great sculptors by exterminating the bad, whom in his foolish parlance he denounces as the 'opposites' of the former. And then, my friend, surely you yourself would be the first to forbid your son to choose a calling whose prospects looked so black!"

"If I have understood you aright," snarled my cross-eyed prophet, "you would have me tolerate vice!"

"Not so," I answered, "You have understood . . . nothing!"

2005-10-23

crime and punishment...

an exerpt from "The Wisdom of the Sands" by Antoine de Saint-Exupery - after having caught one of his sentries sleeping while on guard, for which the penalty is death, and musing about that penalty:

Then was made clear to me the solution of the difficulty whereon I had often pondered; which was the quandary that afflicted me so cruelly when I, the king, was gazing down at my sleeping sentry. The cruelty of taking a youngster lost in happy dreams and pitchforking him, as it were, into death, aghast during those last terrible moments at being made to suffer thus at men's hands.

For as I gazed at him he awoke and drew his hand over his brows; then, not yet having recognized me, proffered his face to the stars, with a little sigh at the effort of picking up again his heavy weapons. And then it was revealed to me that here was a soul I had to win.

Standing beside him, I, his king gazed down upon the sleeping city, breathing-in seeming the same effluence -- and yet it was not the same. And I thought: There is no means of making clear the tragic import of this moment. No course that would avail is open to me, save to convert him, and disclose to him not these things which he sees, breathes in, appraises and possesses even as do I, but rather the vision shining across these visible things -- that God-made knot binding them all together. Thus, too, I saw that we must distinguish between conquest and constraint. To conquer is to convert; to constrain is to imprison. If I conquer you, I set a man free, but if I use constraint on you, I crush you out. For my conquest is a building up of yourself, through you and within you. Constraint is but the heap of stones aligned and all alike -- from which nothing will be born.

And I saw, too, that all men should thus be conquered and won over. Those that watched and those who slept, those who went their rounds on the ramparts, and those who were guarded by my sentries' rounds. Those who were rejoicing over a newborn babe and those who mourned their dead. Those who prayed and those who doubted. What I name "conquest" is building up for you the structure that befits you, and opening your mind to a fullness of understanding. For lakes there are to slake your thirst, so but you be shown the way to them. Thus will I instal in you my gods, so that they may enlighten you.

And assuredly it were best that in your childhood and betimes you should be conquered; else we shall find you casehardened and no longer capable of learning the language of the spirit.

parents

i am so fortunate to have the best parents in the world.

2005-10-19

trust

"...the sexiest thing is trust..." - tori amos

2005-10-18

concert

the reason a concert is so magical, is because you realize that the music you are experiencing is knitting together the souls of every person in the room. It is the knot that connects you all.

2005-10-14

somebody else

do you ever feel like you're somebody else? sometimes when I think about life, I think I must be somebody other than me, because I feel like I know very strongly who I am now, but when I think about who I was and how much life has changed me... when I look at me from 2 years ago, I feel like I'm looking at someone else, not a memory of myself. and it all happens so subtly... I think that helps the feeling. because it's not like you are one person one day, and another the next. you just change bit by bit until one day you wake up and realize that you are totally different than you were last year or whatever. well, anyway... on with the change and on with the me.

why not?

this is not a poem about life but a life about poems which doesn't make cents or dollars and often doesn't rhyme and lives upside down in a tree or a cave and feels inspired by darkness and trees and sparkles and dreams and sometimes it wants sometimes not but it always feels so much no matter whether it wants or not and it can't help but live for poems and songs and joy and life and people... PEOPLE! are so beautiful and soft and when you really know one you know there is nothing like it and when souls hold hands it makes everything right

2005-10-10

beauty

"Her I protect who does not love the spring in its diversity, but one particular flower in which all springtime is incarnate: a woman who is not in love with love, but with that one and only form which, for her, love has made its own."

-Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Citadelle

2005-08-09

pain and healing

there are angels
who will never fly
because the man
they call father
when he feels
sad or angry
tired or weak
beats the hell
out of them
tells them they
will never belong
anywhere but under
his thumb
his ugly thumb
but if only they knew
this mushroom
this fungus of a human
was a very poor imposter
of their father
and that with the love
of their true father
even this fungus
and all the tears
puddled in their soul
could be made

beautiful

2005-08-03

who is God?

Also, my wife Trina and I were talking last night about how our view of God is changing. In the protestant church, we tend to look at religion by formulas of theology and we want to understand everything very logically and systematically, so that nothing is a mystery. But that is not who God is. God is beyond our understanding, He is mysterious and dangerous and frightening - He is good and loving and trustworthy, but He is not safe. And if you expect Him to be safe, you will have a shock as soon as He starts changing your life :) So we are beginning to get to know a bigger, more exciting, more magical, mysterious, powerful, life-changing, beautiful picture of God. And I believe a more true picture of God. It is the God I see when I read the Bible. And it is the God I desire to love and to serve. It is the God I desire to KNOW and not just KNOW ABOUT.

my own life

And something I've been realizing in my own life, is that it is very
important for me to understand my relationship with God, that I
receive my value and purpose from my relationship with Him, and it is
very important for me to pursue that relationship all the time,
because otherwise I start to look for my value and purpose from other
people, and I become jealous of other people, and I start trying to be
better than other people, because if I'm not better than at least
somebody, nobody will love me. And when people say things which I
don't agree with, I get defensive, and when people don't agree with
what I say, I get defensive, because my security becomes rooted in
what they think and not my relationship with God. That is becoming
more and more obvious to me, and I feel such a need right now to
really pursue my relationship with God.

what is church?

Some things we've been thinking about as a church and personally:

We all understand that something isn't right about what the average church in America is doing, so what isn't right and why is it that way", and also we are thinking about things like "according to the Bible, what is the church supposed to be?". In America, the church has traditionally closed itself off from the culture. It stopped understanding the culture, and so it became afraid of it. And rather than attempt to understand it, the church retreats inside itself and stays there, with the doors open, and says "come in here and be like us". And so, what people on the outside tend to see is some kind of club which meets inside a large building, and which forces you to look a certain way, act a certain way, talk about certain things - and that is neither appealing nor relevant to the culture as it is now. And so we looked at the nature of God - and God is a SENDING God. God has the perfect community in the Trinity - perfect relationship, love, trust, companionship. But He goes out from that community to touch people who don't know what that community is like. First of all, he sent Jesus from that community to die for us, to show us the way to regain a relationship with God. As Jesus was leaving earth, He said He was going and that He would send the Holy Spirit to give us the strength to carry on His work. And He said "As the Father sent me, so I send you". He called us a priesthood, and what is the purpose of a priest? To make a connection between God and people. We are to carry on Jesus' mission of going into the world to point the way to God. So, we want to be the kind of church which builds a strong community amongst ourselves, for sure. But we also want to be a church which as individuals goes out from that community into the places where we live and work and live a life which points people to God.

2005-06-15

be

all we must do is to be
but God, help me i'm forgetting
what it means to be me

2005-05-13

hospitals

if you never talk to the other people in the doctor's office, you miss a chance to change the world...

2005-05-09

thoughts about relationships

why is it that people feel they have to be perfect before entering a relationship with someone? I mean, so many people (including myself) have said that they will ask someone out as soon as they fix such and such problem in their life or get such and such thing sorted out. look. YOU WILL NEVER GET YOUR LIFE SORTED OUT. Humans are a mess. They might be a beautiful mess, but they are a mess. So next time you feel like you've met the person of your dreams, and you think "as soon as I can take care of my budget, I'll ask them out", immediately tell yourself you are a moron and go ask them out, and be honest with them about what troubles you have in life (as the depth of the relationship allows), and learn together to be better humans, without expecting each other to be perfect. Ok, that's all for today :)

stillness

stillness... nothing moves
my heart... a single beat
silence... an eternity
another beat... never comes

2005-04-26

From "Wind, Sand and Stars" by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

To come to man's estate it is not necessary to get oneself killed round Madrid, or to fly mail planes, or to struggle wearily in the snows out of respect for the dignity of life. The man who can see the miraculous in a poem, who can take pure joy from music, who can break his bread with comrades, opens his window to the same refreshing wind off the sea. He too learns a language of men.

2005-04-19

atostogos

Man reikia atostogų
Nes gyvenimo nesąmonė
Mane pavers kvailiu
Atostogaučiau mėnuly
Arba vandenyno dugne
Bet būtinai kažkur už pasaulio
Nes pasaulyje man skauda
Visada man skauda
O man reikia atostogų
Kad nuskristi į pažistamą žvaigždę
Ir žiūrėti iš jos į besileidžiančią saulę
Degantį laivą paskęstantį
Raudoname vandenyne...

2005-04-12

amber

honey fragrance
of jasmine blossoms
and the shade
of a chestnut tree
the gentle sailing
of perfect clouds
and amber tears deposited
on the shores of the sea
the gentle peace of a stream
as it makes its way slowly
through the forests of fir
standing sadly in salute
if I could write my heart
on a piece of paper
it just might look or sound
like these...

2005-04-06

vaikas skrenda

vaikas, žaidžiantis
medinėje pilyje,
girdėjo karalaitės šauksmą

staiga tam vaikui užaugo
sidabriniai sparnai ir
jis pasileido skristi, skrosdamas orą

skrisdamas, jis matė
kaip jo mergaitė ant bokšto blaškės,
nes bėdoj buvo

po mėnuliu, ant bokšto
vaikas nusileido
savosios karalaitės išvaduot

jis priglaudė ją
po sparnu, kad pailsėtų,
kad nurimtų ir pakilo namų link

grįždamas atgal, su savo karalaite
vaikas šypsojosi sau
sušuko mama: ,,eik miegot!"

2005-04-04

separation

I knew there would be separation
only I had hoped it just wouldn't come
but some things are inevitable
whether we think about them or not
I knew there would be loss
and a distance I hadn't felt before
only I really had hoped, naively
that I could prevent something
which was bound to happen
but my will is not that strong
to change fate

2005-03-15

kindness

kindness falls upon my tired soul
like drops of sweet, fresh light on my eyes
and by that sweet, fresh light
life itself is revealed to me
the form and shape of everything
the life and joy and sorrow
of everything I see
kindness falls upon my tired soul
like drops of sweet, fresh light on my eyes
as a result, I can fly...

2005-02-27

darkness

i can't see a thing
and my heart is on fire
beating more fiercely
with every passing hour
i followed a path
and it left me here
at the end of my rope
my road, i fear
that all i can say
or think or believe
is lost in the darkness...

2005-02-25

love

if my heart could pour its blood
on the salty, dusty earth
and it would dry in just the pattern
that would make clear
absolutely clear, my love
I might just allow it...