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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

this is worship

"because of all these things, friends, by God's mercy i urge you: give up your very bodies to be slain... and then reborn. recognize that you have been given a new, yet very ancient purpose; set yourselves apart and be once again declared good by God Himself. this is worship.

do not be like everyone else around you. instead: make new every habit, every thought pattern, your entire paradigm, and let that renewal change your whole life, completely. your goal in all of this is to know, intimately and with deep faith, what it is that God desires.

and what is it that He desires? know this: that there is nothing better."

- Romans 12:1-2 (IRV)

Monday, October 15, 2007

remember and return

-- March 23, 2003, 12:10 a.m. --

Love is patient. Love waits for you to act, and doesn't become restless
or annoyed when the waiting gets long and tiring.

Love is kind. It goes out of its way to do something nice for someone, especially when it is inconvenient, or especially helpful.

Love is never jealous or envious. It doesn't birth a negative attitude towards someone who possesses something it desires.

Love is never boastful or proud. It will not describe its abilities or accomplishments in order to raise its own value; it will not refuse to see or acknowledge the truth in order to preserve its ego.

Love is never haughty; it does not act superior to others. Love is not selfish; it does not try to work all things for its own benefit. Love is not rude; it will not insult, put down, or discourage others, and it will not be discourteous to anyone for any reason.

Love does not demand its own way. It will make room for others, and be trampled willingly.

Love is not touchy or irritable. It is not easily angered, frustrated, or upset, and it is not grouchy.

Love does not hold grudges, and will hardly even notice when others do
it wrong. It will forgive trespassers; it will not retaliate or take revenge.

Love is not glad about injustice; it rejoices when the truth wins. It is not glad about unfair suffering; it is made glad when truth is revealed and made active.

Love is loyal no matter the cost. It will not abandon anyone or anything to the wear and tear of time, distance, or other difficult situations.

Love endures all. It is not moved by foul weather; it does not yield to apathy, fear, doubt, despair, or disappointment.

Love believes in, expects the best from, and defends those to whom it is given. It always trusts in the best, hopes in the greater good, and stands unmoving when danger threatens.

There are three things that endure: faith, hope, and love. The greatest, the most precious, the most worthy investment, the highest form of service, and the purest relationship, is love: true love. God's love.

Amen and amen.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Credits: C. S. Lewis

i'm committed to an extreme for many reasons, some of which are known to me. one of the most obvious and powerful is probably my desire to be like God. i'll try to say and explain this without sounding arrogant, but i'll probably fail. just so you know.

the more i think about types and degrees of love, the more i realize how pathetic i am. we churchians say that God loves us more than (and in a better way than) we could ever love Him, and i agree with that... but why do we say it with smiles on our faces?! it's not a good thing!

what if your mom or dad told you one day, "as your parent, i want you to know that no matter how hard you try or how much you want to, you'll never love me as much as i love you. and it isn't just that you won't... it's that you're incapable. you just can't. ...oh yeah, and also: the kind of love i have for you will always be better than yours for me." or what if it were your spouse? what if you had already been married for ten years? what if it was your best friend? and what if they were right, and you knew it?

it's stupid. i'm so wretched. even as a person re-made to be perfect & complete in heaven, i won't be able to reciprocate God's love, either in quality or in quantity. and still He loves me. of course, i could pull a fast one and say that He wouldn't be God if all of this weren't true. but that doesn't make my life any easier to accept, and i'll tell you why:

i have this sense that any intimate, committed love should be reciprocal and equal. mutual, right? anyone feelin' me? okay. whether right or wrong, i have that sense. well, this may be possible for two humans... but does it bug anyone else that God will always outdo you? and since things are this way, how can the love be mutual? or perhaps i'm just frustrated that it can't be fair.

for God so loved the world, that He created them even though He knew that they could never love Him as much or as well as He would love them.... and that was BEFORE sin and the Fall.

i dunno. it just feels wrong... worshiping Him, seeking Him, obeying Him. compared to Jesus Christ, i am disgustingly selfish. i seek Him because i need Him; i obey Him so that my life can be right and good, and so that He can be pleased. that's not the same thing! i value the inherent Right-ness or Good-ness of something apart from what benefits i might gain from it, and i like to know that God is pleased with my life, but that's not the same as loving God. how can anyone say they love God? how is it possible? how can YOU say that, knowing how insignificant your love becomes when compared to His? i feel guilty saying it. i feel like a liar.

"if you love Me, obey My commandments." but since when did anyone obey Him just because they loved Him?

what's the worst feeling you've ever had in your life? seriously. think of it. anamnesis. REMEMBER what made you feel that way.

got it?

okay, now: if you felt that feeling every time you did something that pleased God, would you still live your life for Him?

what if God came to you right now and said, "listen: i'm going to give you a choice. you can either follow and love me, and live a life of suffering and unfulfilled dreams... or, you can forget about me and have a wonderfully fulfilling life."

He continues: "this is what happens in choice #1: your family grows to hate you, including your spouse and children; your church accuses you of a wrong you never committed and throws you out; you work hard for 19 years trying to achieve your career goals, but fail miserably and repeatedly; you become addicted to alcohol and marijuana, and spend the rest of your life fighting those addictions but never winning; you lose your temper one day and accidentally shoot your 8-year-old daughter in the eye, and she dies in your arms; you tirelessly study the Bible and do your best to bear the fruit of the Spirit and become Christ-like, but you never progress even one millimeter; ...and finally, at the end of your life, Jesus Christ approaches you and says, 'thank you for loving me in your heart, and for trying to love me with your life. you failed, but the love that you did have counts for something. well done.'"

...and then He says... "but this is what happens in choice #2: you raise wonderful, loving children, and your spouse remains faithful to you and passionately in love with you up until her death at 102 years old, which is also the day you die; you start your own church and bring hundreds to belief in and commitment to Christ; you conquer your bad habits and overcome your worst flaws; you understand the meaning of the Bible, and strive to do what it says, and many admire you (secretly) for your good works and virtuous character; every good dream you ever had, is realized in your life; your parents are proud of who you are and what you've done; ...and finally, when you're on your deathbed (next to your wife, just like in 'the Notebook'), you think back and realize, 'i did all of that for love of others, love of truth, love of right, love of good, love of myself even... and none of it out of genuine love for Jesus Christ.'"

think about those choices, and then pick one.

if you choose #1, and you know how you became the kind of person who could honestly, sincerely say that, then please contact me somehow and tell me how i can become that too.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

dear illuminating-anchor

it saddens me to think that if i didn't know what you were (a massive rock in orbit around our planet, reflecting light from the sun), i'd probably hate you.

i'd hate you because i wouldn't understand you. does that seem right to you?

children are curious, but they don't throw tantrums (tantra?) just because they don't know the answers. they just make up their own answers. like, maybe somewhere out there, a little girl thinks you really are a hole in the sky! or maybe i should mention the various people-groups throughout history who thought you were some sort of deity. they seemed to get by alright, despite being dead-wrong.

but i can't handle the idea of being wrong. it's actually a good thing i wasn't born before Galileo and all that lot, because i would've gone insane. but maybe i am anyways, so it doesn't matter.

been awhile since i've written, but you know how it goes. in fact, you've been around for alot of my life-changing moments, so you understand at least a little. that's good to know. that's a big reason why i keep writing you.

hopefully you'll hear from me again soon.

~ just a singer