28 October 2006

Sick day: the frivolous & not so frivolous

I lost my voice Thursday night, so yesterday was a sick day. I watched movies, read, made booties and Christmas ornaments & tended to some of my plants.

I'm excited that next weekend Jess & I are making a roadtrip to Omaha to visit friends and attend the Beggars Society meeting where Shane Claiborne will be speaking. I started re-reading parts of his book Irresistable Revolution and have been thinking a lot about what it means to be salt & light, especially after attending the Psalters concert in Greenville a couple of weekends ago. From Irresistable Revolution:
"We live in a world of dangerous extremes. "These are extreme times," Dr. King said. "The question is what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love?" The world has seen Christian extremists who will blow up abortion clinics and dance on the doctors' graves. We have seen Christian extremists who hold signs that say: "God hates fags." But where are the Christian extremists for love and grace?"

Another book I've been reading is a volume of poetry from Czeslaw Milosz called "Second Space". Here are a few of his words (from "I Should Know"):
"Memory composes a story of shames and amazements.
The shames I closed inside myself, but the amazements
at a sun-streak on a walll, at the trill of an oriole, a face,
an iris, a volume of poems, a person, endure and return in

And from "Jackdaws on the Tower"
"These are days when people seem to me a festivall
Of marionettes dancing at the edge of nothingness.
And the torture inflicted on the Son of Man on the cross
Occurred so thatt the world could show its indifference."

25 October 2006

Autumn adventures

This past weekend Court, Jess & I had friends come to visit: Daphne & Jara from Omaha and Laura, Zach & Rafael from Ohio. It was really so fun and relaxing. We did some things that we wouldn't normally do like visiting the arch and graffiti wall on a blustery and somewhat eerie night, going to the Chocolate Bar, and visiting a hookah bar in our own neighborhood that I didn't even know was there. We had great talks, drank lots of coffee, ate Court's famous Cincinnati spaghetti, and laughed a lot. Unfortunately the pictures of people didn't turn out well, but these are a few un-blurryish ones.

15 October 2006

Road Trip: anniversary, toothbike, husk horses, pirate praise

To sum up the journey..
Linz: "Smells like teen hippie."
Jess: "Put that in your bacon wallet and fry it."
Me: "Put that on your tooth bike and ride it."

14 October 2006


I have been somewhat enthralled this book for the past week or two. It's one of those ones you have to take little bits at a time. Brueggeman writes:
"The riddle and insight of biblical faith is the awareness that only anguish leads to life, only grieving leads to joy, and only embraced endings permit new beginnings."
It reminds me of a living faith.

A living faith is an individual and communal struggle. It is all we can do to remember who we are, who He is, where we came from, and where we should be headed. Breuggeman writes that the task of the prophet (and prophetic community) is urgent: it requires authenticity, discernment, audacity, bold criticism and bold hope for restoration. It requires that we find the language of lament. In order to do this, we must know what grieves God.

Surrounded by friends whose hearts break for the things that grieve God, I often find myself in deep discussions about both personal and world brokenness. We can wrestle all we want, but ultimately we still have to come to a place of dramatic and audacious hope for newness that can only come from God.

A friend (who works with victims of human trafficking) shared with me a beautiful piece she wrote that cuts to the chase about unfulfilled desires, the truth about hiding in loneliness, and the beauty of hope. Her honesty, wisdom, gentleness and tenacity shine with the same radiance as described in 2 Corinthians 3:18:
"18And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect[a] the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit."
Similarly, a conversation with another friend (whose passion is AIDS education in Tanzania)revealed to both of us lack of contentment, fear, and ultimately an inability to accept forgiveness. In these things is the same undercurrent: an enigmatic yearning, an acknowledgement that in the midst of brokenness our tendency is to succumb to the "athiesm of pride" or the "athiesm of despair" (Brueggeman, 70), which leaves us exhausted, hopeless, and in denial or despair. This, too, is having our faces unveiled: and while personal sin is revealed in all its ugliness, so is the too-bright righteousness of Jesus that covers both of us completely and, when we accept it, allows us to shine because of forgiveness and in spite of our unbelief.

I don't really have answers, but I know that the healing does not come from me. One of the best promises, my friend reminded me, are God's words: "I make all things new!" (Revelaion 21:5)

I also know that it does my heart good to see the many lovely, unveiled faces of the larger family as we limp along together: wrestling, grieving, hoping, and receiving blessings that wound and heal at the same time.

October 11, 2006

Around the warmly lit dining room table
hands clasped in prayer,
She reminded me of something I'd said before:
about Jacob wrestling through the night with the angel
and receiving a wound, a blessing, a new name.

This, I think to myself,
even after he tricked his father
stole a blessing meant for his brother,
lied and manipulated.
What a piece of work you are, Jacob.
Yet you saw God face to face,
and yet,
your life was spared.

I, like you, practice my trickery,
attempt to take what is not mine,
and always, eventually,
come back blessed and limping;
Fall on my knees declaring the place Peniel:
I, too, see God face to face,
and yet my life is spared.

I, too, am Israel: bride, harlot, beloved, rebellious
Sought after, redeemed, restored, healed.
No longer in exile.
I struggle with God,
I belong always
and unquestionably
to Him.

Around the table, heads bowed,
I hear through closed windows
the rustle of those bright leaves and the wind in the trees:
Rejoice, they whisper, echoing her words of reminder.
Rejoice, my beloved,
even as you limp.

04 October 2006

All things go.

Moving beyond what we know and are accustomed to is not a comfortable process. As Walter Brueggeman writes: "Imagination is dangerous."

Things are not as they should be. Do we taste this bitterness? Do we grieve? Do we experience God's mourning for his children who choose rebellion and idolatry over love, freedom and salvation?

Do we have the hunger for God that drives us beyond small constructs we form in order to make sense of things...we seek so desperately to satiate these gnawing aches that are planted by God for the very purpose of moving us to a deeper desire and ability to see His Kingdom here, to seek His Kingdom come?

Are we willing to follow no matter what disorder and seeming chaos it brings to "our" lives? Are we ready yet again, today, this minute, to surrender?

You came to take us
All things go. All things go.
To re-create us.
All things grow. All things grow.
We had our minds set.
All things know. All things know.
You had to find it.
All things go. All things go.
sufjan stevens