December 28, 2008

December 10, 2008

Glimpsing into Darkness, Chasing the Light

Darkness and Light come hand in hand. Neither is inherently evil, despite popular opinion which overwhelmingly would equate darkness with evil. I see light as close a symbol as possible to knowledge, revelation or sight.

Genesis 1:1-5
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.


According to scripture, darkness is neither good nor bad. It just is. Someone who has seen the light, or is shedding light, or is looking to have some light shed on something they are curious about may have good intentions. Soon enough, without true humility, deceit and pride sets in. In trying to become like God we divide light and darkness as we see fit, hiding what we don’t want others to see in the darkness of secrecy and parading noble things of ours in the light. God calls us to do the opposite; to hide our deeds of light in the dark and expose our deeds of darkness in the light. Though this is not always the case

Matthew 5:14-16
You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.


Because this is not always true I would argue against the correctness of the yin-yang which claims everything is balanced, including darkness and light. Another reason is because once something is known personally it is always known and darkness cannot re-enter to bring balance. Light is most certainly stronger though it is not always predictable. God can see places that are illumined and places that are in darkness. Nothing is hidden from Him. Knowing this brings me comfort and helps me to relieve any fears I may have of darkness. This knowledge is a part of what I call salvation.

Light is a creation of God’s or a creative act of His that brings knowledge in a communicative way. This relational light of God’s is always there and cannot be uncreated though it can move and be elusive, almost fluid like. Try holding light in your hand. Once you close your fist the light is gone. Thus, the light shines upon those who are curious but not controlling, open not closed. Anyone who is willing to be passive while actively seeking the Light will accept and embrace the ebb and flow of darkness and light. This is what the path of salvation will look like. Night and day, summer and winter. The seasons of light and dark are put into place according to God’s wisdom and love.

December 06, 2008

If Coldplay could fly

I thought this was very interesting.

November 11, 2008

the auto bailout

This I read in the New York Times - “Emergency assistance to the automobile industry would be conditioned on executive compensation restrictions, a prohibition on golden parachutes, rigorous independent oversight, and other taxpayer protections to ensure that any companies that benefit from this assistance — and not the taxpayers — bear the full burden of repaying any costs that are incurred,” Ms. Pelosi said.

“It is essential for the domestic automobile manufacturing industry to re-emerge as a global, competitive leader in fuel efficiency and in new, path-breaking energy-efficient technologies that protect our environment. For the automobile industry to be truly viable, it must continue to move in this direction.”


If our tax money is going to bailout millions of hard working men and women (the good part) and the super rich(the not so good part) then the government should go all the way in stepping in and make it a law that from now on, all production and engineering be done with hybrid/green technology or atleast move towards it in fast-forward motion. No matter how much I dislike this economic bailout, this is a chance for the government to do a good deed. That's all assuming that part of the 700 billion bailout package goes towards the auto industry. We'll see I guess.

September 23, 2008

In Loving Memory

As the light of day grew shorter and dim,
so it was with you.
The cold came stronger with every visit and
the angst of the coming night was upon us all.
But when it came the scare was just a bluff
and death was swallowed up.

Even still, I miss you.



1918 - 2008

September 17, 2008

September 14, 2008

President?

I don't know what I'm doing. I'm not sure what I think. I'm paying as much attention as I can stand and I still don't fully understand. Who should I vote for? I've watched in part the conventions and considered them almost as mature and/or interesting as a high school pep rally. I learned the other day that our tax dollars pay for these worthless events. That made me mad.

Looking at the issues and each candidate's proposed plans I've come to the conclusion that to say one is better does not mean that the other is all wrong, they are just two different approaches. I know that I'm not wise in the way of politics and knowledgable about governmental things. When my intellect is not there (which in lofty circumstances like these it usually isn't) I then resort to using my vibe.

My vibe tells me that if there are two different philosophies/governing styles/political parties then it is a healthy thing to rotate back and forth between them both. Wait. Was that a decision? It all depends on what my vibe says about how long the rotations should be. Each one being different. Maybe I'll have an answer by November 4th. If not, no problem. I won't vote.

Along with my political ignorance I will propose these (not-so-serious) suggestions that I think would improve America.

1. Get rid of primary elections. There should only be a one time election with atleast twelve candidates.

2. Get rid of super delegates and all that stupid stuff. Make voting a plain and simple election where every vote is equal.

3. Get rid of Palin and Biden. The president will be who ever wins the election. The vice president would be the one in second place.

4. Get rid of national conventions.

5. The government should pay each person to vote.

6. The president is no longer required to of been born in America. Just a resident for twenty five years in a row. This rule can only apply if all the previous rules are in effect.

September 04, 2008

psalm for the unspiritual me or.. the summer blues

What’s the worst that can happen to me?
I am in Christ. I am alive. I am free.

Remind me. Shake me. Tear me from complacency.

I can hear eternity in the present sounds.
Noises that are whispering behind
the brokenness of this temporary state.
Love. Joy. Hope.
They always win at the end of the day.

Season’s shift and within their turning
a place that is thin appears.
A moment of change
and a reminder
of the changeless and sovereign One.

Come Holy Spirit. Give me to You.

July 31, 2008

A Masterpiece

This is such an excellent bedtime story narrated perfectly by jermaine.

July 23, 2008

Vacation Pictures

Last week we were celebrating our fifth anniversary! These are just a few pictures that show in part how awesome it was.











July 21, 2008

imagine being loved

I'm going back and forth. Lately I've been closer to the side of the opinion that certain songs are not appropriate during worship. Songs like "My Beloved" or "Crucified" have lyrics which proclaim that I am His beloved and that above all creation He died for me. These words can seem to be quite egocentric during a time when I should be steering my attention away from myself. Of course there are theological implications within the theme of these songs, especially "crucified". Is it OK to focus on the self and consider God's personal love towards us as individuals? Or should we rather consider God's love towards us as a community and that God favors a community of Christ like self-sacrifice over the individual and their personal needs? These are questions that I wrestle with. I've not been aware of this wrestling but it's been happening on a subconscious level.

The back and forth motion of this wrestling is not a concrete place to be but I think that's the point. It shouldn't be. I have found that the rythym of God's Spirit is one that goes through seasons. Or atleast seasons are what God uses in order to better reveal His Infinite Self to my tiny finite self. I've heard someone say the term "living in the tension of paradox". Jesus did this with perfection and beauty.

Could it be that this humility to not sing these songs at all is false? and if false humility is the problem, why? Where does it stem from? To avoid this I believe that it is important to focus on the self but only for a short "season". We should dare to imagine that we are loved, personally and passionately. After realizing this is true we should let that awareness seep into our spirits all the while reminding ourselves that we are but dust. If this is done the natural reaction would be one of praise, worship and adoration towards the Creator. The result and effect on the heart would be a healthy balance of self worth and humility.

July 07, 2008

imagination

The talk that N.T. Wright gave in the previous post resounded fully in my heart. I've been mulling over the topic of imagination on and off for the past year or two. Matthew 18 says At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me. Children have an uncanny ability to be themselves, to say it like it is, to trust and to imagine or pretend. These attributes are some which belong to one who is great in the kingdom of heaven.

As Bishop Wright pointed out, when someone is exposed to mystery, beauty and possibility they are more likely to believe then before they were exposed (paraphrase). I believe in who God is dogmatically. It is a little harder for me to believe in what He could possibly do. It's not that I don't believe in the work of the Holy Spirit to bring about heaven on earth, I do. By because of my sinful nature I fall into a place of not actively believing. The first step in actively believing requires imagination. Can I imagine a need being filled? Can I imagine myself or someone else being healed? Can I imagine doing something that seems unlikely for me? Can I imagine being able to do something that I have not been able to do in a while? You get the idea.

Imagination does have it's limits. We should not entertain the thought that our own strength, will and imagination can bring about what we might think is utopia. Whatever we do that is not the will of God will fade. Expressed imagination can also amplify whether someone is seeking the Lord or being selfish, or worse. Prayerful imagination brings one to a place where faith is encouraged and courage is normal. Imagination along with a contrite spirit can warm the cold adult heart and clear the way in order to better hear the voice of God.

Lord give me the grace to even be able to imagine.

June 30, 2008

unity

I am a broken record. I've mentioned before that unity within the body of Christ is a burden/calling on my heart. It is my great hope and my great frustration. On the top of my head there are three major barriers that cause division in the Church. Institutional Denominations, Race, & theological doctrine (both in belief and in practice). They are not intrinsically evil in of themselves but rather a myriad of strengths within God's diverse family that have become weaknesses. The causes of this is the effect sin continues to have on earth and humanity. Chaos is breaking us down along with creation. We are prone to selfishness which divides. Another cause is the presence of a personal and active evil that seeks to divide what God seeks to bring together.

In my experience, unity within in the universal body of Christ has been able to happen in events that have certain characteristics to them. The first most common multi-faceted gathering would be that of the pentecostal or charismatic persuasion. This is perhaps the easiest these days because during a time of worship in which the power of the Holy Spirit is heavily sought after, doctrine is usually the first to get pushed aside. Methods and different expressions of the faith are temporarily put on hold but it's usually one style that refuses to compromise from the start. With just the gifts of the Spirit and no the fruit, what looks like a sudden large fire can go out just as fast.

The second would be the ceremonial gathering. A religious holiday like thanksgiving, christmas or holy week. You may see races or denominations coming together with a common liturgy. On a smaller scale, holidays are a time when estranged family members come together.

It is interesting to note that these two gatherings are at either end of the spectrum. One relies on liturgy, another on experience. A couple problems with this is that this is solely based on events. The other is that the practice of unity deals with relationships and neither temporary experiences nor liturgy can take it's place. Relationships require compromise, Compromise requires deconstruction in order to discern what can be thrown away for the sake of coming together. Reconstruction is always slow but it must follow. What does Reconstruction look like? Reconstruction happens in the presence of God during worship. I believe it is the marriage of ancient liturgy and pentecostal experience with the foundation of relationship. The key to relationship is service and self sacrifice. Letting go of pet peeves and pet doctrines etc.. It is the coming together to enjoy and share with each other. It is also the coming together to fulfill the biblical mandate of Matthew 25:34-36

Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

I've wondered how I can do my part in bringing about unity in Christ? How can I bring people together when I'm not a people person? Where do I even start? All I have so far is this: do small things and pray. I have faith that unity can and will happen, I hope it will happen in my lifetime but even if it doesn't I will still love everyone no matter what.

part of John 17 (the message)

Jesus' Prayer for His Followers

Jesus said these things. Then, raising his eyes in prayer, he said:
Father, it's time.
Display the bright splendor of your Son
So the Son in turn may show your bright splendor.
You put him in charge of everything human
So he might give real and eternal life to all in his charge.
And this is the real and eternal life:
That they know you,
The one and only true God,
And Jesus Christ, whom you sent.
I glorified you on earth
By completing down to the last detail
What you assigned me to do.
And now, Father, glorify me with your very own splendor,
The very splendor I had in your presence
Before there was a world.
I spelled out your character in detail
To the men and women you gave me.
They were yours in the first place;
Then you gave them to me,
And they have now done what you said.
They know now, beyond the shadow of a doubt,
That everything you gave me is firsthand from you,
For the message you gave me, I gave them;
And they took it, and were convinced
That I came from you.
They believed that you sent me.
I pray for them.
I'm not praying for the God-rejecting world
But for those you gave me,
For they are yours by right.
Everything mine is yours, and yours mine,
And my life is on display in them.
For I'm no longer going to be visible in the world;
They'll continue in the world
While I return to you.
Holy Father, guard them as they pursue this life
That you conferred as a gift through me,
So they can be one heart and mind
As we are one heart and mind.
As long as I was with them, I guarded them
In the pursuit of the life you gave through me;
I even posted a night watch.
And not one of them got away,
Except for the rebel bent on destruction
(the exception that proved the rule of Scripture).

Now I'm returning to you.
I'm saying these things in the world's hearing
So my people can experience
My joy completed in them.
I gave them your word;
The godless world hated them because of it,
Because they didn't join the world's ways,
Just as I didn't join the world's ways.
I'm not asking that you take them out of the world
But that you guard them from the Evil One.
They are no more defined by the world
Than I am defined by the world.
Make them holy—consecrated—with the truth;
Your word is consecrating truth.
In the same way that you gave me a mission in the world,
I give them a mission in the world.
I'm consecrating myself for their sakes
So they'll be truth-consecrated in their mission.

I'm praying not only for them
But also for those who will believe in me
Because of them and their witness about me.
The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind—
Just as you, Father, are in me and I in you,
So they might be one heart and mind with us.
Then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent me.
The same glory you gave me, I gave them,
So they'll be as unified and together as we are—
I in them and you in me.
Then they'll be mature in this oneness,
And give the godless world evidence
That you've sent me and loved them
In the same way you've loved me.

June 28, 2008

confession

Here is a gallery of a few musicians that I am slightly embarrassed to say that I like. I do not own any albums from these artists but I think they are very talented and have written some of the best songs that exist.


although one of his songs is involved in an event I slightly regret in High School I can't help but dig those signature melodies of his.


the artist formerly known as the artist formerly known as prince... need I say more. Of all the decent songs of the eighties (which are few in number), he has written a good portion of them.


If you say you don't like any of his songs you are probably lying. Sing with me "it's the circle of life.. "

work ~ sing

The place that most of us find ourselves spending the most amount of our awake time is at work. At my place of work I could go through a full day and say only a handful of words (and that happens a lot). I am a quiet guy with a pretty hefty work ethic. I believe strongly that when I'm at work that's what I should be doing: work. I talk to God at work. I praise and thank him for who he is and what he's done. I ask him to give me strength, wisdom and joy as I toil the day away. I ask him to help me prioritize when I'm over my head in stuff to do. I ask for his presence to come into the work-shop and touch each one of us. I also intercede for those in need that come to mind. Sometimes my prayers are silent. Other times I find myself muttering my prayers out loud just by second nature. There have been times after realizing that I was muttering that there was someone else close by and I get all self-conscious that they heard me and thought I was weird talking to myself. Sometimes I sing my prayers or just sing praise. Not too loud but in a volume that's kind of under my breath. Whatever words and melody may come goes out of my mouth. This last way is probably the best in the work setting. If I'm too silent at work my co-workers might think that I've taken a vow of silence. If I'm muttering under my breath they might think I'm loony. If I sing they'll most likely think I'm happy and content.

You know what? who cares what other people think, right?

June 25, 2008

work ~ shade


For about eight years I was a troll that worked underground. Now that my place of employment has moved it's facility a year ago I have been enjoying large and numerous windows in every part of the workshop. I catch myself every now and then staring out these windows at the clouds, animals and trees when I'm in the middle of working. This spring has been especially beautiful compared to most and I have had the privilege to watch every step of it right from where I make the rubber stamps and engraved signs. In my gazing I have noticed that some buds grow so fast that you could almost watch it grow. Obviously this can't be done. It's kind of like the old saying "a watched pot never boils". But if I shake my head to stop staring out the window and finish my days work, when I look back out the window I then see a difference, even from morning to evening of the same day.

One of my favorite parts of this past spring was when walking home from work I felt a decent heat from the sunshine along with a cool wind. The evening sun would've been glaring right on me but I was pleased to notice for the first time leaves above me. Trees with young but full leaves all the way down the street. I was for the first time this year in the shade of the trees. The smell of flowers were blossoming and the cool wind blew through the leaves causing a familiar and relaxing sound.

It is common to think that contemplation can only be done in silence and in stillness. I disagree. Sometimes the exact opposite is needed in order to clear the head so that interactive praying and listening to the Holy Spirit can take place. This shouldn't be used as an excuse for those of us who are addicted to activity. Rather, it should be known that waiting on God is both active and passive.

June 22, 2008

There and Back Again


Tonight, I finally came to an end of a great book. I am probably the slowest and most distracted reader that you'll ever meet. Over the course of who knows how long I finished 'the Hobbit'. It became one of my favorites by the time I reached the middle and I went from being more than a little annoyed at Bilbo's character to a mild admiration. When Bilbo came home it was mentioned that it happened on June 22nd, which is today. !?.

June 08, 2008

Gesundheit


If you stop and think why we do some of the things we do you will undoubtebly come across some wacky scenarios. Take saying "God bless you" to someone after they sneeze for instance. A few years ago I put this habit of mine under some serious questioning. In hearing about the etymology of this phrase or word and the paranoia that seemed to breed this popular habit I came to the decision that I would not take part in this silliness. So everytime someone sneezed I remained silent refusing to give in to the paranoid superstition. After every sneeze there would be an awkward silence (maybe it was just awkward for me).

After a few months of maintaining this new habit of mine I came to the conclusion that I was just being stubborn for the sake of being stubborn. My new philosophy on the matter was that this weird phenemenon that I considered to be theologically and scientifically stupid was actually a great excuse to say a blessing without sounding overly religious.

A fews later here in the present with my new resolve still intact I am coming across another baffling realization. It seems like the traditional gesundheit after the sneeze is going out of style for whatever reason. Have you noticed this too? If so, why do you think this is so?

June 06, 2008

freedom

Music is easy for me. Is it really that hard for anyone? It is a universal language of the heart all around the world. Music is not the only form of worship but for me it helps me connect with the Holy Spirit. A song is something which can be produced and done over and over so it is rather efficient and ... umm easy when it comes to a time of devotion, unlike other arts that require more preparation. Dancing I can see being very natural, primal even, like the rhythm of drums, visual and audio combined in the physical. I have a brother in Christ who I haven't seen in a couple years. He is paralyzed from the waist down along with slurred speech etc. He once spoke out and admonished/encouraged us all during a worship service that "God loves it when we worship Him physically and physically move our bodies to show Him love. He was sad because he couldn't as much as before."

Before I go any further, you should also know that I am a stoic person. I am swedish, german and english so it is a rare thing to see me smile (just kidding) dance. My former pastor of twelve years would get the church on more than one occasion to rock side to side to something corny like "we bring a sacrifice of praise into the house of the Lord". One time it stunk. The next I had to admit I was in honest worship before my God.

I am very quiet but if you happen to spend a very considerable amount of time with me while I'm at home you will find an incredibly wacky person that sometimes won't be quiet. Not because I'm talking but because I'm speaking gibberish that has a phat beat to it. In that moment I am free. Not just my spirit inside but my physical body as well. God made me this way and loves it when I fully express myself. On the flip side (or should I say dark side) if you spend a considerable amount of time with me you may observe a mad man that talks like a jerk. That’s because if you've spent a long time with me it is reasonable to believe that you love and accept me as I am so the psychological part of me tells both the free and good part of me as well as the dark side that it's OK to show themselves to this other person, they won't punch you. God is always where we are. We can't hide so might as well show our full selves to Him.

What is natural to you? Be free in that... and whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:17)

April 26, 2008

Introspection


The pope at yankee stadium. As a Red Sox fan and a protestant in blood and in conviction a sight like this can trigger some petty tribalistic emotions and thoughts. Time for me to let go.

April 21, 2008

Turning Japanese, I'm turning Japanese, I really think so


OK. So that took about five workers to squeeze the passengers inside the train. Imagine if this were to take place in America. People would have a fit and perhaps for good reason. Pick pocketing along with other concerns would be more than enough reason for american subways to have a limit of passengers whether determined by social or legal standards.

Not to pick on America but why is this so. I think it is safe to assume that pick pocketing is not as prevalent in japanese subways as it is in american subways or else people would wait for the next train. It seems to me that the passengers are comfortable and expect to be squashed together. Does this selfless attitude for the greater good of the community seem to be a more common attribute among the japanese than here in America? Is it selfless? Consider baseball in Japan. It is normal to throw well over a hundred pitches and full games while here it is expected that a pitcher not play a full game. I am not a sociologist but this gets me thinking.

nügturnal



I am mostly a night person. It takes me a good two hours to wake up. After the post supper time sleepies I wake up at nine o'clock. Creative inspiration usually comes during the night hours. When it comes to an undivided time of devotion to God in the morning, I'm less likely to be fully attentive or fully there emotionally. At church I find that I tend to be more free spirited during the night service than the morning service. There are exceptions but generally I function better at night. This is OK. I am cool with this. I know that Jesus knows I am nügturnal.

The lesson to be learned after accepting that I am nocturnal and nothing will change that is embracing what I'm not. Even though mornings tend to be less fun doesn't mean I should shy away from them but rather just go through it in peace. Peace with God, peace within ourselves and peace with everyone else. There will be something in the morning that cannot be found at night. Peace is possible because of the grace found in Jesus.

April 13, 2008

Always Present


I reminded tonight about the presence of Christ that is within my heart.

Even when my mind is muddled with materialism and neurosis.
Christ is present.

Even when time passes way too fast and change feels like chaos.
Christ is present.

When I am indecisive.
Christ is present.

When I make a wrong decision.
Christ is present.

When I think too highly of myself.
Christ is present

When I think too low of myself.
Christ is present.

and His love overshadows anything that dares to stand in it's way. He calls my name and then He waits, patiently.

April 01, 2008

Winter's Last Dance


Some signs of early spring are..
Mud tracks that appear for the first time on the kitchen floor.
The sound of seagulls
Temperatures reaching sixty degrees
Baseball
Something called color emerges from the ground
Rain

Over at my space I've posted some recordings that I've done in the past few days. The instrumental was co-written and performed with my brother.

March 23, 2008

seasons for everything under heaven V


Balance has always been a goal and desire of my heart. When I consider Christ and His character I see the most balanced individual in history. What I mean by balance is living through the tension of paradox. Jesus is a paradox. He is God and He is man. He balances a contemplative and solitude life along with a beautiful social life. We all need a balanced amount of opposites like play and work, saving and spending, exercise and rest, etc. yet how do we achieve this without becoming schizophrenic?

Opposites attract, compliment, complete and are interdependent to each other. Yet I have found that they need to take turns. When opposites take turns, contradiction is no longer present. This taking of turns can also be known as a changing of seasons. King Solomon said that "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven."(Ecclesiastes 3:1) When it comes to christian doctrine and christian living there are many contradictions. We are told to be peacemakers yet we are warned that we will stir the waters with controversy and walls will appear between family members. We are told to not be drunk with wine and then we see Jesus creating wine out of water because the wine ran out during the wedding party.

In this discerning and balancing of seasons I have struggled. I try to listen to the Spirit and consider the example of Jesus. I mess up. Others mess up. I get frustrated when I or someone else reacts to something so extremely that there is a pendulum swing in conviction. Moderation is thrown out the window and division is apparent. This frustration of mine has just been festering and I know it. I've had good intentions but perhaps I've lacked some hidden goodness. Have I in my search for balance been too extreme in my reaction towards imbalance? Lately these days I think the Lord has brought a bit of tenderness into my situation and I am starting to come to a conclusion. I would say that there is a season of balance and there is a season of imbalance. When Christ is king over someone's heart I think He sees the need for the pendulum to swing all the way to the other side in that person's life before it lands in the center. Jesus is present in the imbalanced place, not just the balanced. I have been slightly mistaken.

Consider what God has done:
Who can straighten
what he has made crooked?

When times are good, be happy;
but when times are bad, consider:
God has made the one
as well as the other.
Therefore, a man cannot discover
anything about his future.

In this meaningless life of mine I have seen both of these:
a righteous man perishing in his righteousness,
and a wicked man living long in his wickedness.

Do not be overrighteous,
neither be overwise—
why destroy yourself?

Do not be overwicked,
and do not be a fool—
why die before your time?

It is good to grasp the one
and not let go of the other.
The man who fears God will avoid all extremes.
(Ecclesiastes 7:13-18)

..thanks for the verses sweetpea!

IV
III
II
I

March 19, 2008

Goodbye Winter


Not that I don't like spring, I do, but just like autumn it's a short tease of perfection. I'm going to miss the brisk cool air and the calm grey of winter. Especially when I think of the dog days of summer and that layer of sweat that congeals on the skin. Yuck!

March 17, 2008

proverbial rant



What looks like virtue may actually have roots of bitterness or pride.

The bible does not have contradictions, it's called a paradox...
deal with it!

Disco stinks.. except Jamiroquai.

The only thing I hate more than legalism is passive aggression. I am guilty of both.

I am my second worst enemy and my third best friend.. maybe fourth depending on the day.

America is beautifully messed up.

No. God is not in control but He is sovereign. Don't ask me what that means. I don't have the brain power to explain.

...perhaps more rant than proverb.

March 11, 2008

Meteors & the Christian Bubble

It's great every now and then to immerse one's self into the christian sub culture. Seriously. Back in 2004 I went to the CreationFestival with my wife and a friend, it was our first time since 1999. Tens of thousands of christians come together to form one big christian bubble and I love it! It is refreshing. But like candy, something so sweet can only last so long before I get sick, at least in this life.

In my listening of music if I listened to one too many melancholy songs I find it good to put in a little FFH, or Michael W. Smith or something like that to balance things out. At CreationFest 2004 Melissa and I were deciding whether or not we should see the Newsboys play or not. "Been there, done that" was our attitude. Plus, I thought they were a bit showy in their entertainment. We went anyway and thank God.

During their set is a time of worship. This was so cool. I was sitting at the top corner of the arena shaped hill with my wife. There came a time during the song "it is you(I think that's the name?)" that the band dropped out and all 80,000 of us were singing the holy, holy part. Cheesy? nope. It was one of the most beautiful moments. It was night time, we were in the middle of nowhere, thousands were worshipping and I could see everyone from where I was as everyone was illumined by the stage light. This continued for what was probably just a minute but seemed like a longer lapse in time. Then suddenly from one far end of the sky appeared about four orange meteors. They spread across the sky very very slowly some of them splitting several times in a fashion that was in a way, complimenting the singing. This continued from one end of the sky to the other and soon after they dissappeared the voices did as well into a brief moment of silence and then applause. I confess my first thought was this was a special effect the Newsboys were doing but I was quickly humbled with the deep conviction that God was touched and He touched us back with this gift.

March 06, 2008

On Side B

I deleted my other blog. I thought it was lame and figured why make a rule for me to only post artistic/musical stuff on that certain blog and not this one. So I'll be even lamer (I don't care) and repost some selections (like this one)from that blog every now and then...

The year is 1996. I am almost fifteen years old and I have just been at a youth group event with my buds and we all have been changed so to say. We were as high as a kite, our hearts were strangely warmed, we were baptized with the Holy Spirit and very in love with Jesus. This was not just because of this event but more so God planting seeds of the gospel during previous years especially from this very cool dude named Aaron who was my youth group leader. The seeds came out of the ground.

After the event we had a sleep over at our church and this was when Aaron gave me a blank tape of stuff he recorded. I never heard of any type of christian music that was good, only hymns (I like hymns now by the way) and that sort. He said that this band called Jars of Clay was pretty good, maybe a little mellow for my taste (I was into some hardcore stuff back then). I told him I was open to any type of music which was true and gave a listen. Not bad I thought as I listened to Jars of Clay's debut album. He failed to mention what was on the other side of the tape. This was another band that I never heard of and apparently was not christian I guess. The music on this side of the tape was Rusted Root's "when I woke". This was a supercool album, still one of my favorites. I don't think this was just an accident. I would even go as far as to say that this was God showing me what musical excellence was(yes Jars of Clay was included as well...especially now). It was also here on out that my general taste in music started to mellow out and I grew my hair out and wore my clothes to where I was a mix between Cliff Burton and ... I don't know... something hippy.

Aaron brought along his friend Chris who we just met a few weeks before and this event was like the shift between leaders. Chris was just as dear to me and significant for my spiritual walk with and towards Jesus. During the sleep over I think Aaron left around midnight and Chris later talked about worship songs and said he wanted to teach us a few so he did. Me and my friends were all starting out on guitar so we may not of known how to play every chord that he mentioned but we were learning stuff anyways. I remember the song "He is exalted" was my favorite out of all the ones he taught. This was my first time playing newer worship songs.

Rusted Root kicks butt. The lead singer was an acquired taste but one that was acquired very fast. The percussion/hand drums with acoustic folky funkiness was soooo cool. Everything about this band I liked. Years later (five maybe) and supposedly more mature in my walk with Jesus and in my musicianship, I was glad to come across what worship with hand drums and acoustic guitars could sound like. The enter the worship circle series has been a source of encouragement for me. Encouragement to push even more forward with my music stuff in regards to worship.

February 25, 2008

Dessert Discovery II

Dessert Discovery



Tonight I had a weird craving for something like chocolate covered cheerios. I couldn't think of an easy way to do that so I became frustrated. Until at last it hit me. Something like that but way better. I decided to mix multigrain cheerios and moosehead lake fudge ice cream which is a chocolate ice cream with extra goodness in it. Now it's important that the cheerios are multigrain because of the slight sweetness and taste as well as their unique crispy texture they have compared to other cheerios. After pouring the cereal on top of the ice cream I then made sure I mixed it altogether very well(another important detail). Yum.

February 21, 2008

contemplating gossip

Things are not as they seem. What may seem as unrighteousness may have many layers underneath. If these layers of complicated details were actually revealed and pealed away what may be left is a heart, poor in spirit yet pure.

If these complicated details become a conversation topic the nature of the dialogue usually turns into gossip, unfortunately. But with the help of the Spirit when details are revealed a spirit of prayer can rise up along with the attitude to assume the best. This is what I think Paul was referring to when he said that love believes all things. This is not to say that we shouldn't beware of becoming naive but rather we should embrace a child-like faith. We as adults can be so distrusting and so addicted to negativity. Lord Jesus, save us.

In defense of Joyce Meyer


It's been on the news several times and it saddens me. Certain preachers and teachers of the faith, particularly those who are under the prosperity gospel, are under government watch. I am no way a fan of this tainted version of the gospel but I am sad to hear that Joyce Meyer is on this list of a dozen or so. Earlier in my life when I really started to follow and seek the Lord I would read and listen to her teachings and I grew immensely from them (as well as other authors as well)despite the culture shock that she was for me. To this day I would still consider her stuff to have a lot of spiritual meat. Meat that I need today. Her teaching would recognize the need to go through rough times and that not everything tough is instantly avoidable by speaking a "word of faith". Because of that I would consider her on the mild side of the prosperity gospel movement.

I would consider myself partly word of faith but I am of the opinion that material wealth is the least needed and our lives (including thought life) should not revolve around such stuff. I believe that we should pray specifically for specific things and that if we don't we may not get our prayers answered in the specific way we want/need...phew. On the flip side of specific prayer, I see it as being popular to avoid by some because it sets us up for possible dissapointment. God uses dissapointment to His greater good. I can ask God for some ridiculous luxury and I guarantee you I will be dissapointed and that would be for the good. Some of Joyce Meyers luxuries I would question so it sounds she may have gone a little astray but as for her sermons, there is some good stuff there.

It is very tempting to me to have a critical attitude towards those on government watch but I must turn my critical spirit into a spirit of prayer and humility.

February 17, 2008

February 07, 2008

my first basketball game....ever!


We got free tickets to see the Celtics play the L.A. Clippers lastnight. Not only were they free but they were for the seventh row! It was a close game the first half but then Boston dominated from the third quarter and on. We had a lot of fun. Unfortunately Garnett did not play due to injury but I'm not complaining.

attempting to get political

Politically, I'm not so sure where I stand. On big issues like Iraq and possible universal health care I am neither against or for but I think I lean right. As my dad says "I bet you're more conservative than you think you are". I have a hard time wrapping my head around the big stuff of this world so I usually go with my intuition. A few months back I would look at the faces of the presidential hopefuls and get a certain vibe from each one. The best vibe I got was from Huckabee. For the Democratic side, Obama seemed like a good leader with a balanced personality. The worst vibe I got was from Romney. Today he drops out so I am mildly pleased.

Yesterday I was daydreaming and my overactive imagination brought me to the future where McCain won the republican primary and Huckabee joined as his vice president. The republicans than won the election in yet another close vote and soon after McCain passes away causing Huckabee to step up as the new president. I wish no ill will towards McCain I just think of weird things sometimes.

January 30, 2008

benefiting from the library

I appreciate the library for many reasons. For one, it's free. Second, there's cool stuff. Not just books but movies and CDs. Third, it's a money saver. Big time. I am addicted to hearing new music and this way I am kept satisfied without buying a ridiculous amount of CDs. I also look forward to the trip there. It's about a ten minute stroll from my house. I usually walk fast whenever I walk but on the way to the library I settle down a few notches. It's relaxing. I enjoy walking through the macintyre district and looking at all the old mansions while strolling on top of the brick sideways. At my library there is also an extensive collection of books, movies and dvds. You probably won't find what you're looking for if you have something in mind but that doesn't matter for me; I go there without any expectations and am always surprised and satisfied with what I borrowed. For example, I now have three dvds. Luther (the movie), School of Rock, The Alamo. And six CDs, Josh Ritter/the animal years, Grant Lee-Phillips/virginia creeper, Kings of Leon/because of the times, The world of Nat King Cole, Carbon Leaf/indian summer, Emmylou Harris/red dirt girl. I won't necessarily watch all the movies or any at all but who cares if it's free right?

January 29, 2008

January 26, 2008

Revisiting

It's been just over a year since I joined in the family at the gathering. I reflect back on the emotions and train of thought that I was going through during that time of transition. I remember as I would try to explain to fellow congregants how I sensed God was calling me to leave that church to somewhere else. Most likely a place two blocks down the road. I explained that this was simply a matter of following God's lead and it was nothing against them. I explained further some well thought out list of whys and how comes but there was also something else that wasn't so logical (and a litte weird so I don't mention it much). The call to leave and go was in my head/heart for a few years and it became more consistent as time went on. I like to call it a prayerful itch for change. In the beginning it was once every few months. I would then bring it to God in prayer. A year or two later it was once every other month. I would bring it to God in prayer. A year later it was every couple of weeks. I would bring it to God in prayer. A few months later it was every couple of days. I would bring it to God in prayer. It was then for a week or two I would "hear it" every day. I then caved. No offense towards the guiding voice of God but I needed peace.

I've wondered before if I should of answered the call the first time. I now think not. It was just God's way of preparing my heart to leave. Fear of man and fear of making others feal rejected is what kept me(or was it God's infinite wisdom?), especially towards the end. I thought people might misunderstand and accuse me of seeking my own "needs" in a self consumerist kind of way. (sidenote) Here is an interesting article in christianity today on this.

There were signs in my inner life and circumstances in my outer life that served as signals as well. Some examples are random things my wife said, new people that came into our life, questions and frustrations we had, evolutions of current relationships we had... to name a few. After many conversations with Melissa along with trying to listen to God (a hard thing to do) we finally made the decision.

Since being in community with the gathering I have been loved, grown in love, challenged in my attitude of service and in my own theological thought. Hallelujah.

January 18, 2008

The Tearing of the Shroud


Jesus Dies on the Cross
Now it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two. And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’”Having said this, He breathed His last. So when the centurion saw what had happened, he glorified God, saying, “Certainly this was a righteous Man!” Luke 23:44-49

..this painting is of the shroud being torn. Symbolic of God tearing the divide between himself and the world. The division being sin and the sacrificial solution being the death of his son, Jesus. Made and given to Melissa and I by my father. Gotta show it off... as best as a laptop camera can do.

January 13, 2008

praise, complaint, and prediction


I am spoiled to live in the Boston area when it comes to sports. Baseball is my favorite so I am thoroughly enjoying the Red Sox and their continuing success after many decades of nothing. The Patriots are almost boring to watch because they're so good. I like a team to be good but have drama during the season. The Red Sox do it by losing three in a row and then winning four in a row. I'm getting the vibe that despite the Celtics resurgence as a top notch team there will be some drama... lots of it.

January 04, 2008

if it's good enough for a tree, it's good enough for me


...who says taking down the christmas tree can't be fun?!