Sunday, March 20, 2005

look away

i taught a bible study friday night. it was a strangely surreal time. a time when i was wondering if i could clearly convey the heart of God.

i remember one thing i said that strikes me now.

look away.

when noah off loaded the animals, he got completely ripped. he lay naked and passed out.

this is why i love the Bible. no prettying up the characters. no feigning sainthood. just men fumbling around trying to know God.

enter another man.

ham walks over and sees his dad passed out and in the buff. au naturale.

what does the kid do, laughs and goes to call his brothers.

such a classic retelling of that scenario. man, i do stuff like that all the time. i laugh at the most tragic moments.

but his brothers, ah yes, they are the ones i want to model in these days. they picked up a cloth, probably some animal skin, and backed up to their father and covered him with the cloth.

they did not even lay their eyes upon him. and they covered him with Love.

i believe this is how God would have us live amongst each other. my foibles and flaws are so evident, so clear. it is as if i were passed out in the buff.

there are those who get a kick out of it.

but there are those who look away. those who seek to minister to me in my spiritual inebriation.

these days when i see or hear someone saying or behaving in a way that is unfitting an Heir of Righteousness. i pray. i lash out in tongues. i try to quiet myself and look away.

a dear friend of mine said,
i don't want to go to hell, but i'm not sure i want to go to heaven either.


he was rebuked, and i went to him as he went outside for a smoke.

friend,
i said,
God can do more with your honesty than He can with someone who says only what others want to hear.


he looked at me and smiled.

there are moments, fleeting though they may be, when we get to minister to the Body of Christ. i live for those moments.

God's heart is to stand beside anyone backing up to a brother in the buff. God's heart is to deal in honesty. sure that honesty may be tough to hear, but i'm tired of the church saying the easy things.

i am tired of the church opting for the "right answer" when no answer is needed.

how i wish my friend would have been embraced rather than driven away. how i wish my arms weren't so stiff and my heart so hard that i could have embraced him there.

if you see my many flaws, do me this one kindness:

look away.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

worship

i've just finished reading a worship book by david ruis. phenomenal. if you buy it for nothing other than the "every tribe and every tongue" passages, it is well worth whatever it costs.

i've begun to see everything hinge-ing upon and stemming from worship.

every battle i face boils down to this one question,

whom will i worship?


i think back to the passages in ezekiel where it describes the casting down of satan from heaven. he was the worship leader in heaven (sort of) then he got proud. he coveted the worship of God and wanted it for himself.

this is the battle i fight every day.

when people thank me for some kindness, do i roll around in it and soak it up, or do i realize that i had very little to do with it.

i've come to realize that i don't do too much that is praise-worthy. i do all the messing up, the foibles, the floundering. if you need someone to waffle on a few topics and add some confusion, i'm your gal. but the good stuff, the noteworthy insights, those come from the Holy Spirit. will i acknowledge that, or no?

the essence of that battle to me, which i fight day in and day out, is

whom will i worship?


myself? God forbid. i'm not even able to get a hot dinner on the table most nights let alone fashion a whole universe from a thought, from nothing.

so when i sit in front of my modern day god, the tv, and i waste hours on end doing nothing, i wonder, whom have i worshipped today? did i even remember to nod at God today?

not that i am all down on myself. it has taken me a great while to come to terms with who i am, my vast limitations, my frailties and ever-present flaws. yes, i understand me now and i am grateful to have the opportunity to worship the Creator of the Universe.

at the end of the day when the curtain falls for the last time, what will be the big money question?

whom will i worship?


if i can fix my mind on Him. if i can set my gaze upon Him who is lovely beyond description. then maybe, just maybe, i'll have a bit of understanding in this moment.

the battle is not about who took out the trash last week, and why i have to make dinner and do the dishes before bed. the issue is, and will always be:

whom will i worship?

Sunday, March 13, 2005

eviloution

i just finished reading a book on darwinian theory and its affect on nazi germany. no one makes me read these things, mind you, i choose the books because they pique my interest in some way.

this one however, proved to be a worthy adversary. the author did a fine job of presenting the information in an objective way. it was refreshing to read a good christian book for a change. but this one had no fat on the bone, it was meat through and through. it took three weeks for me to wade through the heavy subject matter to the final conclusion.

three weeks of hitler on the brain will mess with anyone's head. i'm no exception.

on friday last, i had a group of girl scouts at my house and i was meeting some dads and the word "leader" kept being said repeately. for some reason, i may never know, i clicked my heels and said, hail. the dad laughed and my arm shot into the air. but it troubled me to no end.

i would have been marked for annihilation, one of the "weaker" species had i lived then. i would have been shipped off or shot mercilessly, had any of those deluded masses laid their eyes upon me. this involuntary (and i stress involuntary) reaction troubled me more than just the reading of this most difficult work.

it reminded me of the proverbs which talk about what you fix your gaze upon. from the abundance of the heart a man speaks (how about reacts?).

my grams used to say:

dime con quien andos y te digo quien eres


which she translated:

tell me who your friends are and i'll tell you who you are.


grams was very persuasive. in our most rebellious times (i have a sister who is very dear to me so the us refers to our collective rebellion), grams was the only one whose influence could reel us in. reprimands from mother or father led to further rebellion, more extremes. but grams. that was another story entirely.

so if our friends can have such an affect on us, how about books? i've long considered books to be my friends. to convey the heart of their author. to mentor me.

this troubling book has opened my eyes to the stinging tentacles of darwinian theory. i hadn't thought evolution evil, and in regards to animal adaption i am not fully persuaded it is, in fact evil, or in error. (evolution is not beyond the scope of God's almighty power*.)

but with regards to social darwinism and translating survival of the fittest to german colonization and imperialism, i shudder to think of where one little observation of a smoky colored moth and a dusky colored moth has led.

makes me think twice about so quickly spouting out my theories and thoughts--not that they would have such a profound effect, but could they?

could any words we potentially speak be fodder for the enemy? of course. how then, do we guard against this? how do we wield our influnce for the Kingdom of God?

whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are lovely, think on these things. speak on these things. write on these things.

to the exclusion of all else? no. but leaning heavily upon the good and worthy things of God. returning there when involuntarily giving ourselves away. measure every thought by the Word of God.

this book has made me rethink history. churchill, who knew he was fashioned for such a time stands out as a paul in my mind now.

when the time comes for you and i to stand up for what is right and true and noble, may the Lord give us strength to do so.

*after writing this i talked with my friend about my thoughts and this scenario. she told me she knows of a creationist who says darwin was given the theory by someone who had received it in an incantation type state.

hmm. i wonder why that person didn't become "darwin" it could have easily been mcfarlane's theory as darwin's.

also, it troubles me that people see demons behind everything. and the power attributed to said demons. if there are, and there very well may be, demons behind this whole theory fine. (that is unproven in my opinion, but fine.) God is still ALL MIGHTY. i think we forget, the demons are still beholden to God. while God may not stretch forth His hand and silence them just yet, they are still God's demons (if that were possible).

i would like to see the Spirit of the Lord lifted up, rather than demonfinding. let us refute evolution by the Intelligent Designer argument. let the Lord show us the flaws in the theory and help us refute them. or, let's not be so afraid of something that can't possibly determine whether we end up in heaven or hell. let's fear God, not the boogey man. that's all i'm saying.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

book sigh-ning

what are we really asking for when we get an autograph?

when i was a rebellious adolescent, frequenting the now defunct Waters Club in San Pedro, staying out way too late with bands, friends, and all manner of ill conceived plans i collected autographs. it seemed the thing to do.

when i became a christian, it no longer seemed to make any sense. plus i was stuck in a quagmire of trying to get out of the metal scene and trying to "enjoy" christian muzak (something i still struggle with).

the only two autographs i've obtained since becoming a christian are: rich mullins. anyone who can make a rainstorm out of a crowd of people is autograph worthy in my book. and duane stevenson. a christian guitarist whose words are quick with the Spirit of God.

at women of faith one year, i stood in line for marilyn meberg's "autograph" but mostly because i wanted to say hello and tell her how her words powerfully convicted me about my racist thinking. (ouch!) she recommended a book called The Sunflower. for that i was grateful.

recently, my hubby, daughter and i went to hear a beloved pastor. we shook his hand, i told him a joke and he laughed then moved on. the people began pouring into the forum and lining up.

what i saw was strange, to me. some were opening their bibles for the dear pastor to sign. i shook my head at the sight.

why are we collecting signatures anyway? it says we were in the same place as that person for one. it is a form of name-dropping, right? how else would you know i met (ever so briefly) rich mullins or duane stevenson?

i have a couple signatures to prove it.

but why?

at a conference one year, i had a poem in the program book and a man opened up the book and had me sign it. i was flattered and did so without thinking.

at work one night, a cop had me sign a poem (long story) i had given him. again, i did it.

but now i wonder, why?

why does my scratching on a sheet of paper amount to anything? it doesn't really. i don't know those dear souls any more than i know the lady who checked out my groceries last wednesday.

here is what i hope i do in the future. if someone offers me a paper, or God forbid a bible to sign, i hope i can reach my hand out and offer them a bit of what they really want/need. Christ within. that is what will matter, what lasts. that is what they need/want.

my chickenscratch will burn and produces no life.

but the Word of God does not return void. may He give me the grace to forego the pleasure of signing something, however well meaning it is presented. and may He give me the grace to give life, hope and Him in return.

a poem, which speaks to the core issue--worship. more on that later.


Acts 12:23


Scant applause
_____a lot for me
I soaked it up
_____like a sponge
Yet now I see
_____Herod looking back
How much praise
_____did it require
For him to be eaten up
_____of worms?
None of it, I want
_____none of it.
Forgive me Lord God
_____You alone
Are worthy of praise
_____honor and glory.
Here I stand
_____offering up
To You what is Yours.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

necessary wounds

a trepidatious newcomer joined our bible study, late, as usual. she took her seat with a quick, determined step. she eyed the attendees with suspicion. she went on too long during prayer requests about how she has been hurt.

and it made me wonder.

the easy thing to say is,
we won't hurt you.


the knee-jerk reaction is to say,
you can trust us.


and when i heard these things being said, i turned to my husband and asked,
aren't we essentially setting ourselves up to hurt her if we tell her we won't hurt her? isn't it inevitable that we will if we say we won't?


long have i struggled with the proverb (27:6):
the wounds of a friend are faithful.


they never feel that way. they simply hurt. friend or foe, pain is pain. often it takes time and wrestling with God for me to find the "faithfulness" of a rebuke or wound.

without effort i am now reminded of the many wounds friends have faithfully supplied. perhaps these are our earthly surgeons? these are the scalpels in the hands of the Great Physician. perhaps.

community begets conflict. community begets pain.

the only way we can assure that woman we will not hurt her is if we run her off (thereby inflicting another set of pains). the only way we can instruct the woman to "not be hurt" again is to wall her into her musty cellar of isolation brick by brick. but that is not without its own set of pains as well.

we cannot not hurt her. it is impossible.

book review

sexual sin book:

Every Heart Restored: A Wife's Guide to Healing in the Wake of a Husband's Sexual Sin by Fred and Brenda Stoeker, & S. Arterburn