Saturday, April 30, 2005

thought for the day

"When two great forces collide, the victory will go to the one that knows how to yield." (Taoist saying) In other words - a fluid substance like water may seem to give in to a rigid substance like stone, but in the end it's the water that shapes the stone, not the other way around!

Monday, April 25, 2005

What do you do?

What do you do when you hit the wall? When you become totally overwhelmed by life? When everything seems like a mountainous problem? When you can’t pinpoint the problem – you just hurt deep in your soul? When nothing, yet everything is wrong? What do you do? When you can’t concentrate, can’t read, can’t think, can’t function? When you don’t want to watch TV, you don’t want to listen to music, don’t want to do anything? You can’t hear God. You can’t pray. You can’t connect. What do you do? When you feel alone, lonely, yet you are surrounded by people? When you’re so busy you can’t take time to just be? When everything you say is misinterpreted, when everything that is said to you seems hurtful? When you cry for no reason? Where is the solace? Why are you cast down oh my soul, why are you so disquieted within me? Trust in God. What if you can’t quite muster any faith, and all you have are questions? What if you feel like you’ve lost your way again? You’re not sure you’re on the right path. What if you don’t have the strength to make it through the fire? What if you have no more courage and determination? What if other voices have made you question the path you’ve chosen? God be merciful to me. Fill me with your peace. Heal my soul.


I have been reading Chris Tomlin's book The Way I Was Made : Words & Music for an Unusual Life . The Noise We Make is an excellent chapter on worship, what the scriptures say about how we should worship.
  • Lift your hands. Psalm 134:2 "Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the Lord" "Like many, I grew up in a church that was quite conservative. You only raised your hand if you had a question ( and you didn't get to have those in church) :) so I had to learn to raise my hands. Which is odd when you think about it. Raised hands are so rich in meaning." Then he gives examples - 1. when something good happens at a sporting event - it's how we cheer, get excited. It shows victory and extreme happiness. 2. It is the universal sign of surrender. Even criminals do it when caught by authorities. 3. It is a small child's reaction to seeing mommy or daddy. Please pick me up, hold me, I'm happy to see you. 4. It is a common response to some one we admire, adore, etc. - like a rock star at a concert. So why are we so afraid of expressing ourselves in this way?
  • Bow Down. Face and body down. Complete reverential surrender before God. Something we never seem to do. It feels funny....
  • Be Still Before Him. "We don't really know how to be quiet. But how do we expect to hear anything from God in all that noise?..We're afraid of silence...Our silence before God should be intentional." This is so true. We are so busy, so noisy, so afraid of being alone in the silence. "Be still and Know that I am God!"
  • Shout for Joy. "over and over the Psalms picture all of creation making a lot of noise in praise of God." Again - rare in a Sunday Service :)
  • Dance. "David danced before the Lord with all his might. Michael scolded him later for embarrassing her in public. David was defiant. 'I will celebrate before the Lord' he said. 'I will become even more undignified than this.' " 2 Samuel 6: 14,21,22 "That is the heart of a worshiper. Even though David was king, he was ready to humble himself in public to make God great." Why are we so afraid of movement? Of rhythm and beat. Of letting music speak to us, to get inside us, to move us, to enable us to wholly worship God. How silly people look singing a moving upbeat song still as a statue because we don't move/sway/dance in church! They look lifeless, unenthusiastic, bored - like they are just singing because they have to......God wants to see our joy!

"When you honor God in public, you will risk looking uncool. Worship calls for that kind of abandonment to the full joy of God's presence." Vulnerability in God's presence.

"When it comes to music and singing songs of worship to God, it's ultimately not about loud or quiet. It's not about how many folks show up. It's not about amplified or acoustic, contemporary or traditional. It's not about what you do with your hands or feet. Worship is still about Jesus...if you make him your Lord, then you're ready to respond 'in spirit and in truth'. However you express it, true worship will always set you in motion toward the object of your affection - God Himself. Because that's the way you were made."

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Duh - how long did it take this to connect? This whole pomo thing is so resonate with me because I was always living in the margins. Even as early as grade school. Marginalized, left out, ignored. Forever I've been here. It is the home I know. I just don't always make the connection because to me it is not the margin, it is my home. Mainstream life? Never fit there. Never good at it. Couldn't relate. Couldn't play the game, much less win! Wow - now it all makes sense.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Why now

So why did this change come about in my life now? Not sure. But I think probably because I was ready. Entering this school year I had a different attitude, a feeling of a need to be more like Jesus. To be willing to live differently. To interact with others is a different way. To be more accepting and loving. Then all the stuff with Shine ( my daughter's youth group) happened, and it propelled me on a journey I had been being prepared for, although I didn't know it at the time. It really resonated with where I was in my life, and what I needed to really shake up and save my faith. I'm just sorry my need and my resulting awakening, though not caused by me, was at some one else's expense. But had it not been for that I would not be where I am today. Now I find myself in astonishing places that I never thought I'd be in, never even entertained thoughts of being in. Wow!

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Post Modern Journey

So, I was sitting here thinking this is my blog, I can do whatever I want. And I decided I would post something I wrote back in February. It ended up on my friends blog, but I decided to go ahead and post it here, because it is about me.
When a bad situation happened to my friend because of his "beliefs" I took a good hard look to see just what the problem was. Why were things so controversial? And as I looked and thought, it all began to snowball into a lot of questions and frustration about my beliefs. Why did his way of looking at stuff resonate with me, and yet why was I hesitant to go there? I struggled and wrestled with a lot of things trying to understand just what I was missing about postmodernism...
until one night about 10:00 it hit me. I e-mailed him the next day, and this is what he put on his blog:

What this "postmodern" journey is all about...
Ever since this whole controversy over my "postmodern" ideas erupted at my church I've been encouraged by an ongoing conversation I've been able to share with a new friend who has had many questions for me about my views. Just recently she sent me this email, and it was so inspiring to me that I asked her if I could share it with all of you. What she writes just so perfectly encapsulates exactly what this whole thing is about:

"I get it, I get it !!!!! Last night my world shifted - it was a bingo moment :) Probably a small bingo moment to you - but a huge bingo moment for me! I see it! Instead of embracing the basics I was getting lost in the details! All those peripheral issues were distracting me - I need to realize they will follow in their time, when I am ready. I found the connection I was looking for, the thing that makes this all work, and it is so simple - you have to lose your faith to find it! Lose your growing up faith, the faith (what) you were taught; your parents', and pastor's and college's set of faith principles so you can find your own personal faith. You don't lose your faith in God, you lose your faith in your faith. This is the connection I was searching for, and I get it :) It is so liberating to realize I am free to question and accept or reject things and work out my own faith. Awesome! I am free to confidently pursue the details without fear, and take all the time I need, not worrying that I am doubting GOD and whether I am truly His child because I have all these doubts. I don't doubt God, He's still hanging on to me, rather I doubt my faith construct.This makes me want to dance around the room, to cry with joy, to sing, to worship, to live!!! This whole pomo concept is not what I think, it's a way of thinking. I don't have to be or not be a creationist/dispensationalist/whatever. I have to be open to the process. It's MY faith, where I am TODAY, yet not static, always questioning, growing, changing, trusting, accepting, rejecting, reconstructing. For me, faith is not a leap, it's a slow walk on a winding road. It's a path to explore, and I'm looking forward to where it will take me :) The point is - I have permission to walk in this unknown and explore the mystery of what's next. I don't have to think like you or McLaren, or even agree, - I may or I may not, but I have to keep walking. I have to find whatever's out there for me to find. I just need to go where it can find me. BINGO!
"Take this soul
Stranded in some skin and bones
Take this soul
And make it sing!"

Monday, April 11, 2005

Observations from my vacation

I recently spent a week in Florida on Spring Break. So, I was sitting here this morning, reflecting on that week and some of the thoughts I had while on vacation. It was like I kinda had permission to slow down, and just let thoughts and ideas form, and let God speak to me. It actually was pretty cool, some of the things that occurred to me that in my busy-ness I hadn't realized. I went to Florida very tired and overwhelmed and greatly in need of a break. These are a few of the things I thought about as I took time to relax.

Easter Sunday:
In sitting and meditating today, it struck me how very much I like Easter. I think it's my favorite "holiday". So full of joy and above all hope! Easter lilies, greening grass, budding trees, sunrise services, joyous, vibrant music, sun streaming through stained glass windows. Spring, renewal, asparagus :) New beginnings. Greatful heart. Faith. Peace. I am filled with such a sense of joy and wonder and hope. He is Risen! He is Risen indeed! And so too shall I live. How can I not celebrate and feel so wondrously happy, joyful, alive and thankful from the deepest part of my soul?

Observations on my trip:
I observed changes in myself as a result of who I am becoming. It is interesting to me, the small but significant changes that are occurring. Usually I keep pretty much to myself. I'm pretty introverted and afraid of interacting with others. I'm pretty much afraid they won't like me. But yet on this trip I realized something, I want to talk to people! I suddenly really desire to interact with others. Just to be their friend. To connect. Not to witness, or share Jesus, but to share part of me with them. And in some small way, as a result, may they sense Jesus in me as I freely share my story.
Another change for example, was that in the unbelievable crowds at DisneyWorld I found myself being less impatient, more tolerant of people, - mom's with little kids, dad's trying to keep it all together, teens in a hurry to get it all done, older slow walkers in front of me. I was more patient in lines, taking time to look around, be mellow, wonder about other people's stories, listen to God, just be. Hmmmm.
And when rude people did cut, or force past, and I began to feel frustrated, I felt God hitting me upside the head in rebuke of my attitude. After all I don't know all their stories, why they are the way they are. What is another few minutes of waiting in the grand scheme of things" Why get angry? Why not try to understand their need? Hmmmm.
Small changes yes, but pretty significant to me.

As I stood in an attraction today that was very dark, and therefore very scary for kids, I heard a small child cry. Then I heard a calm, gentle voice comfort the frightened child. "It's all right, daddy's got you." What a simple phrase, and yet it really spoke to my heart. No matter what the situation, the fear, the sorrow, the uncertainty, God holds me tight in His arms, and it's all right - Daddy's got me. And just the fact that at that time, in that place this even spoke to my heart showed me how very much God is always with us, even in routine living, if we are willing to listen.

I'm healing :) I love being in Florida. The salty breeze, the warm air, the healing sun, the beautiful flowers, the sea birds. I'm slowing, relaxing, being freed. The ocean, the waves, the sand, the motion - Rx for my soul!

Thoughts on arriving home:
Last week was so very good for me. It got me back to a more healthy way of living. I didn't obsess over the next book I needed to read, or get mad at myself for enjoying fun and trivial things. I didn't feel driven all the time. Now, back home I seem to be finding a balance. All my free time isn't guided by my crazy thirst for knowledge and help and total immersion in this new life I find myself living. I hopefully am settling in beyond conversion mentality with all it's excitement and highs, to living this new life in a balanced way. My only fear, and probably what is driving me is that I'll stop going forward, stall again, fall into old patterns. But maybe not. I think so differently now. Frenzy over? Hopefully. Fervor? Hopefully not. Give me the balance I need to live, to shine, to bless.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005


It's 9:04.
The sand is almost through the narrow neck of the hourglass, small grains dropping to completion. How can this be? As much as we knew this time was coming, who ever thought it would arrive? So final. So done. Time has escaped our grasp. Eluded our comprehension, our sensibilities.
Finality is denied. Hope is briefly entertained.
Reality intrudes yet again. A new chapter begins, wide open and expectant. Bittersweet.
Time, defiant, marches on.
Raindrops begin to fall.
Tears of God.

Monday, April 04, 2005

So, instead of driving all my friends crazy with my observations and thoughts I thought maybe I'd try this instead. Then you can choose if you want me to drive you crazy or not! :) Really I think I just need a place to get down all the thoughts that are racing through my head so I can be free to think about other things! (So I can post yet again....)