2006-02-27

the church

i'm not even sure exactly what to write about this, which is somewhat unusual for me... maybe I just haven't finished processing it in my head yet... but it feels so heavy and imperative that it's really wanting to come out somehow. we'll see what happens...

it feels to me like the church as we have it set up in America is ready to crumble to bits and fall in on itself. by this I mean the church as the organization, not as the group of people who are christians. because there are a lot of christians in my life who are really getting it and moving forward and learning... but in so many ways the church as an organization seems so cumbersome, so stifling... even the so-called "emerging church" is really not anything fundamentally different than what they are trying to improve upon. they may have changed perspective a little, but as far as I can tell, they haven't made any radical moves yet, as churches. there are individuals within those churches and within other churches who are making radical moves and who are starting to live in a fundamentally different way, but the church organizations have not changed.

we have been taught through our experience (and I believe that it lines up with scripture) that everyone is made differently. every person has different gifts, different habits, different struggles, different personalities. every person has their own way of communicating that is natural for them. we have learned through experience over and over again that it is ok to trust the holy spirit to lead your life and your relationships with other people, and that it is ok to trust God to direct people (including you) on their own journeys, which may not happen in the way or at the pace that you want them to happen. we have learned from experience that people are impacted by someone who will love them without trying to make them something they aren't. we have learned from experience that people are impacted by someone who will walk their journey with them without trying to violently jerk it in another direction. we have learned from experience that people communicate with God in different ways, both on the sending and receiving ends. some people feel the hand of God very tangibly in a sunset, while others find it in a hand on the shoulder, or in a kind word. some people are very good at expressing their heart in words, others find it better to just let their heart cry out... some people play music, some dance, some sing, some do martial arts, some paint, some make things... we have learned from experience that finding these things out for yourself is essential to your relationship with God. we have learned from experience that when you foster a relationship with God, when you really dig deeply to see who He is and who you are in relation to Him, it begins to change how you think about life. you begin to think of it less in terms of segments which must each be injected with 20ccs of God because otherwise it will never seep in from somewhere else, but more as a single arena where the air itself is God. in a large room, air fills the room, flows in and out of the room, allows whatever is in the room to live and breathe and exist. we have learned from experience that once you start to open your life like this - to view it as a single open space rather than lots of boxes, you start to notice that what you do and say becomes consistent throughout every part of your life. what you think about and talk about with your friends sitting down on sw burnside becomes essentially the same things you think and talk about with your friends sitting in church, or hanging out at your house, or going out for coffee, or at work. we have learned from experience also that it is easier to hear the voice of the spirit this way, because it is not locked in box number 52, to be heard only when you decide to visit for a few minutes. we have learned from experience that God's timing and direction in matters is generally better than ours. thus, following the direction of the spirit is essential to living. we have also learned from experience that the spirit really does direct people, including ourselves, and that if i trust that someone is authentically looking to God, i can trust decisions they make, even if i don't completely understand them.

ok, so the point of most of this: we are frankly tired and beaten down by being told over and over through words and actions of people in the church that, not only do they not function in all of these same ways (which would be ok, remember we are all different), but that we are wrong ourselves. we are sick of being told in words and actions that after all, we can't trust people who we see are following God to listen to the spirit and make decisions we wouldn't have made, and that we have to experience God in certain ways, and that if we don't make an intentional effort to share the gospel with every person we have a relationship with we are flat out wrong, and that we have a better idea of what a person might need than God does so we have to try and pull them in the direction we think best rather than walk beside them in the road God has placed them on.

we are really, really tired...

2006-02-23

walk unafraid - R.E.M.

As the sun comes up, as the moon
Goes down
These heavy notions creep around
It makes me think
Long ago I was brought into
This life a little lamb
A little lamb
Courageous, stumblin
Fearless was my middle name.
But somewhere there I
Lost my way
Everyone walks the same
Expecting me to step
The narrow path they've laid
They claim to
Walk unafraid
I'll be clumsy instead
Hold my love me or leaave me
High.

Say "keep within the boundaries if you want
To play."
Say "contradiction only makes it harder."
How can I be
What I want to be?
When all I want to do is strip away
These stilled constraints
And crush this charade
Shred this sad masquerade
I don't need no persuading
I'll trip, fall, pick myself up and
Walk unafraid
I'll be clumsy instead
Hold my love me or leave me
High.

If I have a bag of rocks to carry as I go
I just want to hold my head up high
I don't care what I have to step over
I'm prepared to look you in the eye
Look me in the eye
And if you see familiarity
Then celebrate the contradiction
Help me when I fall to
Walk unafraid
I'll be clumsy instead
Hold my love me or leave me
High.
Walk unafraid
I'll be clumsy instead
Hold my love me or leave me
High.

the alchemist: prologue - paulo coelho

The Alchemist picked up a book that someone in the caravan had brought. Leafing through the pages, he found a story about Narcissus.

The alchemist knew the legend of Narcissus, a youth who knelt daily beside a lake to contemplate his own beauty. He was so fascinated by himself that, one morning, he fell into the lake and drowned. At the spot where he fell, a flower was born, which was called narcissus.

But this was not how the author of the book ended the story.

He said that when Narcissus died, the goddesses of the forest appeared and found the lake, which had been fresh water, transformed into a lake of salty tears.

"Why do you weep?" the goddesses asked.

"I weep for Narcissus," the lake replied.

"Ah, it is no surprise that you weep for Narcissus," they said, "for though we always pursued him in the forest, you alone could contemplate his beauty close at hand."

"but... was Narcissus beautiful?" the lake asked.

"Who better than you to know that?" the goddesses said in wonder. "After all, it was by your banks that he knelt each day to contemplate himself!"

The lake was silent for some time. Finally, it said:

"I weep for Narcissus, but I never noticed that Narcissus was beautiful. I weep because, each time he knelt beside my banks, I could see, in the depths of his eyes, my own beauty reflected."

"What a lovely story," the alchemist thought.

2006-02-22

my enemies are men like me - derek webb

i have come to give you life
and to show you how to live it
i have come to make things right
to heal their ears and show you how to forgive them

because i would rather die
i would rather die
i would rather die
than to take your life

how can i kill the ones i'm supposed to love
my enemies are men like me
i will protest the sword if it's not wielded well
my enemies are men like me

peace by way of war is like purity by way of fornication
it's like telling someone murder is wrong
and then showing them by way of execution

because i would rather die
i would rather die
i would rather die
than to take your life

how can i kill the ones i'm supposed to love
my enemies are men like me
i will protest the sword if it's not wielded well
my enemies are men like me

when justice is bought and sold just like weapons of war
the ones who always pay are the poorest of the poor

how can i kill the ones i'm supposed to love
my enemies are men like me
i will protest the sword if it's not wielded well
my enemies are men like me

the moon...

the moon is a little bit crazy tonight
gazing down at me sorrowfully
having lost her flock of children

her tears have scattered
all over the universe
i can see them twinkle

but she, voiceless
can only stare, mournfully
down towards the earth -

where her lost children
wander in circles -
and send cold, sparkling tears

weightless, to the bounds of infinity

2006-02-21

a king & a kingdom - derek webb

there are two great lies that I've heard
"the day you eat of the fruit of that tree, you will not surely die"
and that Jesus Christ was a white, middle-class republican
and if you wanna be saved you have to learn to be like him

window - fiona apple

this song describes really well the sort of process we've had to go through regarding Christianity and church and all that kind of stuff

---------------

I was staring out the window
The whole time he was talking to me
It was a filthy pane of glass
I couldn't get a clear view

As he went on and on
It wasn't the outside world I could see
Just the filthy pane that I was looking through

So I had to break the window
It just had to be
Better that I break the window
Than him or her or me

I was never focused on just one thing
My eyes got fixed when my mind got soft
It may look like I'm concentrated on a very clear view

But I'm as good as asleep
I bet you didn't know
It takes a lot of it away if you do

So I had to break the window
It just had to be
Better that I break the window
Than him or her or me

So I had to break the window
It just had to be
Better that I break the window
Than him or her or me

Because the fact in fact
Whatever's in front of me is covering my view
So I can't see what I'm seeing in fact
I only see what I'm looking through

I had to break the window
It just had to be it was in my way
Better that I break the window
Than forget what I had to say

So again I've done the right thing
I was never worried about that
The answer's always been in clear view
But even when the window's clean
I still can't see for the fact
That when it's clean it's so clear
I can't tell what I'm looking through

So I had to break the window
It just had to be
Better that I break the window
Than him or her or me

I had to break the window
It just had to be it was in my way
Better that I break the window
Than forget what I had to say

I had to break the window
It was in my way
Better that I break a window
Than forget what I had to say

Or miss what I should see
Or breaking him or her or me

2006-02-20

blessing

blessing never comes without a fight... you cannot get the view from the mountain top without climbing it... and in fact, part of the sweetness of the blessing is that you wrestled for it.

this (to my understanding) also applies to love, joy, peace... pretty much anything we have that we value.

a new law - derek webb

don't teach me about politics and government
just tell me who to vote for
don't teach me about truth and beauty
just label my music

don't teach me how to live like a free man
just give me a new law

i don't wanna know if the answers aren't easy
so just bring it down from the mountain to me

i want a new law
i want a new law
gimme that new law

don't teach me about moderation and liberty
i prefer a shot of grape juice

don't teach me about loving my enemies

don't teach me how to listen to the Spirit
just give me a new law

i don't wanna know if the answers aren't easy
so just bring it down from the mountain to me

i want a new law
i want a new law
gimme that new law

what's the use in trading a law you can never keep
for one you can that cannot get you anything
do not be afraid
do not be afraid
do not be afraid

maybe there's a loving god - sara groves

I'm trying to work things out
I'm trying to comprehend
Am I the chance result
Of some great accident
I hear a rhythm call me
The echo of a grand design
I spend each night in the backyard
Staring up at the stars in the sky

I have another meeting today
With my new counselor
My mom will cry and say
I don't know what to do with her
She's so unresponsive
I just cannot break through
She spends all night in the backyard
Staring up at the stars and the moon

They have a chart and a graph
Of my despondency
They want to chart a path
For self-recovery
And want to know what I'm thinking
What motivates my mood
To spend all night in the backyard
Staring up at the stars and the moon

Maybe this was made for me
For lying on my back in the middle of a field
Maybe that's a selfish thought
Or maybe there's a loving God

Maybe I was made this way
To think and to reason and to question and to pray
And I have never prayed a lot
But maybe there's a loving God

Maybe this was made for me
For lying on my back in the middle of a field
Maybe that's a selfish thought
Or maybe there's a loving God

Maybe I was mad this way
To think and to reason and to question and to pray
And I have never prayed a lot
But maybe there's a loving God

And that may be a foolish thought
Or maybe there is a God
And I have never prayed a lot
But maybe there's a loving God

2006-02-18

sunny days - jars of clay

"you can lose your mind, maybe then your heart you'll find... I hope you won't give up what's moving you inside..."

2006-02-17

windy!

by the way, the wind is blowing pieces of the siding of the hospital at OHSU off, and they have the sidewalk blocked off, so people don't get hit with it :)

cold

does it make me crazy that I feel the most energetic on days when it is 25 degrees outside and there are 30mph winds, and the most depressed when it is 95 degrees and sunny?

2006-02-16

pipes

I just had my first successful pipe smoke, with the "All Day Long" tobacco blend from 82nd Ave Tobacco & Pipe. It was quite lovely, once I got it going :)))

2006-02-14

the meanings of things...

the sound of silence
pounds in my mind
like the ebb and flow
of my warm, sticky life-tide...

the beauty of the stars
is that somewhere therein
God is

whether each one finds
or finds only the glimmer
the stars bear the weight
of glory, beauty, life

my thoughts are bound only
by the mass of my flesh
it is difficult to travel
with such a hindrance...

nothing is what it seems
because what we see,
touch with our timid fingers
nourishes only our bones

and leaves our hearts
dry, thirsty, scraping
for the meanings of things
the reality

to become
more real than our shadows
we must barter ourselves
piece by piece

else we die
smothered in our worthless love
which is nothing
without an object

please look at me
with your heart
and not your eyes
only the heart sees truly

if you barter yourself
with me
and I with you
we will find

we become...

never never land...

god does not live in never never land, and if you or anyone else says they don't believe in him, he will not die. this is an invitation, it's not a threat. why do we feel like we have to bully everyone into believing? this is an invitation to be at peace with who you know God is... this is an invitation to live as if your God is as great as you say He is.

2006-02-11

prose

I just realized that I essentially never write prose of my own... hope y'all don't mind too much. Besides, people like Antoine de Saint-Exupery say it much better than I would anyway...

on that note, everyone should read The Little Prince, because it actually might just change your life. And I mean that absolutely seriously. You can probably pick up a copy at Powell's for about $4, and let me tell you, it's well worth the $4. You will never look at life the same way again. That may seem like a shameless plug for a book - however, we are nourished, not by things themselves, but by the meaning of things, so it is a plug not so much for a book as for some meaning.

2006-02-10

your ex-lover is dead - stars

God that was strange to see you again
Introduced by a friend of a friend
Smiled and said 'yes I think we've met before'
In that instant it started to pour
Captured a taxi despite all the rain
We drove in silence across pont champlain
And all of the time you thought I was sad
I was trying to remember your name�

This scar is a fleck on my porcelain skin
Tried to reach deep but you couldn't get in
Now you're outside me
You see all the beauty
Repent all your sin

It's nothing but time and a face that you lose
I chose to feel it and you couldn't chose
I'll write you a postcard
I'll send you the news
From a house down the road from real love�

Live through this, and you won't look back�
Live through this, and you won't look back�
Live through this, and you won't look back�

There's one thing I want to say, so I'll be brave
You were what I wanted
I gave what I gave
I'm not sorry I met you
I'm not sorry it's over
I'm not sorry there's nothing to say

I'm not sorry there's nothing to say...

wisdom of the sands - antoine de saint-exupéry

For your equality is your undoing. You say: "Let us share this pearl amongst all. Any one of the divers might have found it."

But then the magic of the sea is lost; no longer is it a source of joy, and rife with promises to him whose stars are kind. And each man's dive is no more a ceremonial prelude to a miracle, and an adventure marvellous as a fairy tale, by reason of that black pearl another won from the depths a year ago.

Even so I would have you save, nay, stint yourself, all the year round for the sake of that one great yearly festival, whose significance lies not in its rejoicings, for these are fleeting (the festival being like a hatching-out, a victory or a royal visit); but whose purport is the sweetening of your whole year with a savor of happy expectation or of remembered joy - for only that road is beautiful which leads towards the sea. Thus the nest is prepared in expectation of the hatching-out, which is different in essence from the nest. Thus, too, you strive manfully in battle in expectation of a victory that is different in essence from the clash of arms, and you spend a twelvemonth making your house worthy of the prince's visit. Wherefore I dissuade you from levelling men out at the behest of an impracticable "justice"; for never will you make an old man equal to a youth, and your equality will always be a cumbrous makeshift. Sharing out the pearl will leave none the richer; therefore I bid you decline the paltry share that might be yours, so that the finder of the pearl may bring it home entire and with plenary delight, and when his wife questions him he will hold up his fist, saying, "Guess!" For he wants to whet her curiosity, rejoicing in advance for the happiness he has but to open his fingers to bestow.

Indeed all are the richer for his treasure-trove. For it proves that the divers' gropings on the seabed are not drudgery. Thus, too, the love songs sung by my minstrels teach you the delights of love, and the beauty they extol sheds lustre on all women. For if there is one woman in the world for whose winning a man will gladly lay down his life, she is a proof that love can be worth dying for, and, through her, all women are beautified, englamored; for may not any woman hide in her bosom, like the sea, her bright particular treasure, a peerless pearl? And then each time you draw near a woman your heart will beat faster, like the hearts of the divers in the Coral Gulf, when they wed the sea.

You are "unjust" to ordinary days when you bend your thoughts on the feast day, yet the mere prescience of high festival sweetens those common days, and you are the richer for its prospect. Injustice is done you if you do not share in your neighbor's pearl, but the pearl he lit on will beacon your gropings underseas, even as the fountain in the heart of a far-distant oasis spreads enchantment on the desert.

That justice of which you prate bids one day be like another, one man like another. True, if your wife is shrill-tongued you can put her away and take another whose voice is gentle. But my wish is to perpetuate love, since it exists only when irrevocable is the choice; for we must be limited in order to become. The pleasure of the ambush, of pursuit and capture, is different from that of love. For then your significance is that of the hunter; the woman's that of the prey you are pursuing. And so, once captured, she has served her end and means nothing to you. What does the poem when once it has been written, matter to the poet? His function is to go beyond it in a new creation. But once I have closed the door on the couple in your house, you needs must go beyond her. Your significance now is that of the husband; and the woman's her wifehood. I charge the words with their utmost weight of meaning, and when you say "my wife," there is an echo in the depths of your heart. Yet you will discover other joys; and other sufferings assuredly. But these are the condition of your joys. You are willing to die for her, since she is yours as you are hers. But you do not die for a captured prey. Your fidelity is that of a believer, not that of a wearied hunter - whose fidelity is different and sheds, not light, but boredom.

True, there are divers who never find a pearl. And men there are who never find aught but sorrow in the bed that they have chosen. But the ill hap of the unsuccessful divers is a condition of the sea's bright lure. Which holds good for all, including those whose love is ill-starred. For yearnings and regrets and grief for love's eclipse are better than the torpor of the well-fed beast to whom love means nothing. Even as when, parched with thirst in the desert, you are struggling through the briars, you prefer regret to forgetting of the wellsprings.

Herein lies an enigma which it has been given me to understand. Even as you stablish that with which you concern yourself, for or against which you fight (this is why you fight badly if it is mere hatred of your enemy's god that sends you into battle, whereas when you bravely run the risk of death it is the love of your own god spurring you on) - even so you are enlightened, nourished and ennobled by that very thing whose absence you deplore and for which you sigh and weep, quite as much as by the fruits of victory. Thus a mother within whose heart bereavement, having taken on its full meaning, has beatified itself, lives on the memory of her dead child.

If I ruin for you the true conditions of love, by ensuring that you do not suffer by it, what have you to thank me for? Is a desert without a wellspring any more acceptable to men who have lost the trail and are dying of thirst?

But if the wellspring has been lovingly hymned and tended in your heart, it will yield for you, in that fell hour when you are wedded to the sand and ready to put off your husk of mortality, the waters of that peace ineffable which comes not from things but from the meaning of things, and I shall call a smile to dying lips when I tell you of the sweetness of the melody of the wellsprings.

How, then, could you turn against me? I give you your life's meaning; with a regret I make your sand enchanted; I open to you the gates of love, and with a fragrance build a kingdom in your heart.

2006-02-09

the little prince - antoine de saint-exupéry

"If some one loves a flower, of which just one single blossom grows in all the millions and millions of stars, it is enough to make him happy just to look at the stars. He can say to himself: 'Somewhere, my flower is there...' But if the sheep eats the flower, in one moment all his stars will be darkened... and you think that is not important!"

2006-02-08

chai tea

for some reason, it never ceases being funny to me that "chai tea" means "tea tea". I'm weird, I know :)

the bell jar - sylvia plath

"I wondered at what point in space the silly, sham blue of the sky turned black."

hole

sometimes I feel a hole in my chest
through which my soul might seep
if I let it

so I have to carefully hold my finger
over the hole, being cautious
not to loose a drop

this, in the end, becomes exhausting
so I decide, reluctantly
to move my finger

I expect a gush of warm, sticky
red, at the moment I release
my finger

so I brace myself for death
and let go
only to be surprised

at the shining mercury
exploding from my chest
shining balls, mirrors

land on those around me
absorb into their skin
and somehow, because of this

I am full

unknowing

i swim in the reverie
of not knowing

i see the beauty of my soul
reflected

in the sparkle of the eyes
staring back at me

because i am you
you are me

and none of us know
but we are

and will forever be
in the sun

of the love gushing, spurting
from my soul and yours

swimming in each other's
blood and tears

one but not the same
you and me

2006-02-07

in the sun - joseph arthur

I pictured you in the sun wondering what went wrong
And falling down on your knees asking for sympathy
And being caught in between all you wish for and all you seen
And trying to find anything you can feel that you can believe in

May God's love be with you
Always
May God's love be with you

I know i would apologize if i could see your eyes
'Cause when you showed me myself, you know, i became someone else
But i was caught in between all you wish for and all you need
I pictured you fast asleep
A nightmare comes
You can't keep awake

May God's love be with you
Always
May God's love be with you

'Cause if i find
If i find my own way
How much will i find
If i find
If i find my own way
How much will i find
You

I don't know anymore
What it's for
I'm not even sure
If there is anyone who is in the sun
Will you help me to understand
'Cause i been caught in between all I wish for and all I need
Maybe you're not even sure what it's for
Any more than me

May God's love be with you
Always
May God's love be with you

2006-02-06

insanity

I'm becoming more and more convinced that "insane" people are often just ones who are fragile in just the right places so that the pressures and expectations of society that we find really frustrating and angering cause something to break in them...

more from "The Bell Jar"

"Lifting the pages of the book, I let them fan slowly by my eyes. Words, dimly familiar but twisted all awry, like faces in a funhouse mirror, fled past, leaving no impression on the glassy surface of my brain.

I squinted at the page.

The letters grew barbs and rams' horns. I watched them separate, each from the other, and jiggle up and down in a silly way. Then they associated themselves in fantastic, untranslatable shapes, like Arabic or Chinese.

I decided to junk my thesis."

2006-02-05

sigh...

have you ever felt like staring all of the societal rules and stereotypes and expectations in the face, flipping them a big fat bird, and screaming "fuck you!"? yeah, me too...

mental?

is it a problem that I seem to be relating more and more to people who have had issues with mental stability? Should I be worried that I find myself feeling very familiar reading things by bipolars or people who have had mental breakdowns or who are generally considered wacko?

personally, I don't think so.

the bell jar - sylvia plath

"If neurotic is wanting two mutually exclusive things at one and the same time, then I'm neurotic as hell."

2006-02-01

food

I have to say, I find a large amount of comfort in looking at the ingredients of something I'm eating, and seeing only things that grow naturally (as opposed to things which are created by humans). I would much rather my food went bad a little faster or was a slightly less appealing color, and not ingest a large amount of chemicals, thank you very much.

proud?

"and I'm proud to be an American, where at least I try really hard to make myself believe I'm free even though the government is secretly tapping my phone and reading my emails...."