Thursday, December 18, 2008

Careful what I ask for

Something has been on my mind and it isn't a good something. It isn't important what it is, but it has occupied too much of my thoughts lately. It has brought out a pretty dark side. After being tormented by my own negative thoughts for about a week to the point that I was dreaming about it, I thought "Hey, maybe this is something I should pray about."
Before I go any further, I want to say that I see prayer more as a meditative process that connects us to the "life source" of the Universe which I call God. So, I start thinking about this problem and am meditating on coming to a solution and letting go when I stop. I realize what I'm doing is very dangerous. God could change me. That was what I had been praying for and that was what I thought I wanted until I realized that it could really happen.
God promises to change us. Promises to make me into the whole complete person I was created to be. But I don't want it. I like my sin. I didn't want to be changed. I didn't want to hand over my problem to God. I wanted to be angry a little longer. I wanted to feel righteous indignation. I wanted to complain and find fault and pretend I was the better person. I didn't want to let go. Its like wanting the last word in an argument. I wasn't ready to walk away from my feelings. I just wasn't quit done yet. I kinda disgust myself thinking about it.
I really do want to want for God to change me, but sometimes it is just too scary. Maybe before I pray about the problem that set me down this path, I should begin by praying to accept whatever will happen.
I really do hope I'm able to let go of this negativity soon.

Monday, November 10, 2008


I've been thinking about death lately. Promoted by an magazine article from Scientific America - Mind that I picked up in an airport. It wasn't even the article that made me buy the magazine, but I read it and now death in on the mind.
I have no idea what I believe happens to us when we die. Maybe there is something or maybe we are just dead, gone, no more, worm food. Whatever happens, it doesn't change anything about how I'm going to live now. Christ saves us for this life.
What I can't believe is that when someone dies they are aware of what is going on with us. That would be a terrible thing to have happen after death and is rather creepy as well. We want our loved ones to see our proud moments, but if they can see that then they can also see our grief after they died, when we sing to ourselves, taking a shower, making mistakes, and all those other big and small moments we'd rather not share with our dearly departed. Maybe they have a different perspective and don't look at these moments the same way we did, but that means they can not relate to us the way we are. That isn't a good alternative either. So, I'm going to stick with they don't have knowledge of what we are doing.
Why don't we all want to die? It is suppose to be wonderful. There are a ton of songs about reunions with loved ones and all the joy. If that is true, then we should just all die and get it over with. We spend so much time trying not to die. There must be something to this.
I have no answers. And I think I should stop thinking about this topic. So I'm going to search out something else to occupy my mind, and let death die for now.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Is God mean?

I'm in the middle of read The Sparrow right now, science fiction filled with religion, totally my kind of book. It was talking about missionaries going to place they knew they would get killed, beaten, and tortured and being driven by the idea that it is better for them to endure that in hopes that the people they are trying to "save" wouldn't endure eternal punishment from God. I just had to put the book down for a moment and ask "Is God really that mean? Are the missionaries more compassionate and loving because they are willing to again and again be tortured for the sake of someone else?" How completely messed up is that?

I'm not a nice person. I do mean stuff to people. I won't let you know what those things are just in case someone reading this is someone I've been mean to, but trust me, it happens. Anyway, the little stuff I do doesn't seem like it deserves eternal punishment. What about eye for an eye? I'm rude when I'm tired and then deserve "weeping and gnashing of teeth". There seems to be something seriously wrong with this kind of theology.

Why did we create such a hateful god?

Friday, August 22, 2008


I'm wondering today if Eucharist is the word that captures what Communion is all about. I'm not sure if we should call it Eucharist. Are we thankful for violence? Are we really having a "thanksgiving meal" because Christ died? That seems morbid and disturbing to me. It seems more mourning. We aren't happy that Christ died. We aren't celebrating his death. We are in mourning about his death. It isn't a good thing that when Love personified entered the world in human form he was killed. But it is a reality that we do kill love. We do stifle life. We do reject each other and in doing so reject God. I do it. I know I do it. More than I would like. Being present to that reality is what is happening during communion. But it doesn't end with me feeling crappy because I hurt someone and/or myself. Communion is calling us into God's reality that our Sin can not keep us from the Kingdom. That with the people I hurt, with those who hurt me, I enter into the presence of the Living God. I am called into community. I often think about how I don't know the stories of the people I'm communing with. It really isn't important that I do. I see it on their faces that they too are called to participate in this reality of being called to the Kingdom.
Sharing in the bread and wine is a reminder of our freedom. It is a reminder that what we do can not change who God is. I can live boldly. I can Sin Boldly. Because I am free. Sure what I do matters, but not in the sense that it can undo God. My power to undo love and stifle life can not change the one who is Love and Life. I do not have that kind of power.

Monday, July 21, 2008


While Kevin and I were hiking down from Lake Serene yesterday he asked me to tell him what I know about Socrates. Our discussion of Socrates and Plato moved into Greek thought and the concept of arete came up. The only thing I could remember was that it had to do with excellence.
Later with the help of wikipedia I learned that it is not only excellence but also goodness and virtue and living out one's potential and fulfilling our life's purpose.

This idea just scream baptismal call to me. The concept that I am created as a unique individual have my own call or purpose or potential to fill is very comforting. Actually, it is more than comforting. It is liberating. I don't need to worry about how I compare to you because you have a different purpose than I do.

And if we all have a purpose we are all valuable, or at least potentially valuable. Perhaps if you don't work toward your potential or are blocked by forces outside your control in reaching it your value is missed and never utilized.

hmm, more thoughts should be given to this idea. I'll have to do some pondering.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Some thoughts, a little theology, mostly BS

I have not been updating this blog like I should, so this is the first in what is hopefully a series of more frequent posts.

I have a few things that dealing with theology matters that I have "known" and been able to "say the correct words" for a long time, but haven't really grasped the meaning or internalized. The list is longer than I would like, and I will pick something once in a while to focus on and try to grasp which usually leads to over thinking, questioning everything, and then deciding it is all a mystery anyway. Yesterday I was listening to a lecture when the phrase "Christ came to fulfill the law not abolish it." or something like that. Anyway, that is one of those phrases that I know and said and haven't really paid much attention to it. Who wants to focus on the law? So as I listened I had one of those "oh, duh, that's what that means" moments.

So here is my "oh duh" moment which is quickly slipping away and becoming a "how does that all work again" moment.

Christ is the fulfillment of the law by being the embodiment of the law. The word made flesh. If we want to know what it looks like to live out the law fully and completely we look to how Jesus lived. This should not lead us to ask What Would Jesus Do. That is such a strange an irrelevant question. I'm not Jesus. I have been given my own set of gifts and personality to fulfill my personal baptismal call or vocation living in my time and place.

Instead Jesus fulfilling the law helps us get a glimpse of the nature of God. We can't be like Jesus, and that is the point. We can't keep the law. We need Grace. We need Christ. When the law fulfilled and lived completely came and dwelt among us, we crucified him. It isn't even that we can't will ourselves to do it, but when faced with it the consequence was death.

Friday, April 11, 2008


I felt incredibly anxious yesterday. All day I just couldn't feel calm, unless I was busy. Bus rides were terrible. I felt like I couldn't hold still and just needed to get off. It wasn't a mystery why I was feeling this way. And I knew I just needed to feel all the emotions pulsating through my body and not try to mask them or run from them.

I have been thinking a lot about my friend Dinah who died 2.5 years ago. I have also been doing a job search. Plus, I've been involved in a Life Passion search class. Yesterday, thoughts about all three of these were bubbling at the surface with seemingly no way to calm my anxiety surrounding each. I don't want to make a decision about a job. I'm ticked off at my friend for dying, yes, still. And writing down AND sharing what I want my life to look like makes me feel exposed, naked, and lets my inner critic have a field day.

This was the state I was in when a friend called and asked if I wanted to meet her for worship. Maybe I said. Maybe I want to worship a God I may or not believe in. Maybe I want to spend time in a place of contemplation when I can't figure out how to feel. But if I've learned anything in the 2.5 years since Dinah and Shawn died, it is always better to face things head on.

I sat there listening to the sermon on hearing Christ's voice among all the other voices we hear everyday. I started to relax. When I took communion and was reminded once again how this faith I have isn't about the nice things in life. I believe in a God that gets dirty, a God that doesn't mask pain but embraces it and uses it. Easter is pointless without Good Friday. It was in no way God's will for my friends to die. But the cross reminds us that God embraces the suffering and can use it to bring new life.

So in the community around communion and in the community of sharing in past experiences later over drinks, last night was one more chance to feel healing. One more chance to remind myself that yes, it is through the cross I view life. One more chance to be healed by future hope shared with a friend.

This was an extremely personal blog post for me. I'm a little shocked by it, but it felt good to write. The theology may not be perfect, but it is an honest reflection.