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Showing posts from March, 2010

beautiful Jesus

Sometimes I find it hard to be enthusiastic about God, about Jesus, about the Bible, about church, about anything spiritual, really. It seems to require so much effort. The problem is usually not that I am slothful or lack understanding (though no doubt I am regularly guilty of both). It is that I have forgotten how beautiful Jesus is. When I see him, know him, and spend time with him, everything else seems rather dull and boring in comparison and I cannot help but be attracted to him, love him, and love everything he loves. Here, then, is something from a talk I gave last night to remind myself (and others) how beautiful Jesus is. Let my nature find itself drawn back to him over and over again.
He is the creator and ruler and upholder and finisher of the universe. He is beyond anything I can dream of or imagine or fathom. He is unlimited in power and beauty and love and light. He deserves anything and everything we can give him, even though he doesn’t need it, or even need us. Our lif…

anger vs. beauty

I love friends. I hate friends. One of the people who knows me best said some things to me a few days ago that were difficult to hear. She told me that I have very little patience for certain people. I swing between "I'm here for you, totally," to "Forget it! You're not worth my time and effort!"

My first internal reaction to her words went like this: What? That's not me! I would never do that! The second reaction quickly followed: Well, she's obviously having a bad day so I'll just chalk up any stinging remarks to her foul mood. She didn't mean it. Three days later the third reaction finally kicked in: Okay, God, was there anything to what she said?

The short answer is: yes. I have an angry side to me. People who, in my opinion, have proven themselves unfaithful, undependable, and less committed to something than I am...well, I think they deserve my anger. Another one of my friends, when I confessed this anger thing, suggested that it might i…

is this church?

A friend of mine told me a story last week that has stuck with me. It went something like this: a man met with a few people in a coffee shop and they started talking about God and life. Over the course of several weeks and months, more people started to join in and it evolved into a regular gathering of people who talked about matters of faith. Soon, someone asked the man the question, "Is this church?" He pondered the question for a bit and then responded, "No, this isn't church. If this was church, you would care as much about what happens here as I do."

I have been living with this question, "What is church?" for a long time and in the past few days, come to the realisation that I have shrunk the concept of church to fit the casual, culturally dialed-down, transient nature of what we are involved in. I have reduced church to a shadow of the magnificent, unstoppable beauty that Jesus proclaims it to be. Church is not a building, it is not a weekly me…

worst case scenario

I don't like failing. I don't like being rejected. I don't like hearing the word, "No." I don't like not getting a job I applied for. I don't like asking someone if they want to get together and having them say they just don't have time right now. I don't like sending messages and never getting a reply. I don't like applying for scholarships and getting that letter that starts with, "We regret to inform you..." I don't like putting myself into scenarios where I am not likely to succeed. And I don't think that I am the only one. But that is exactly what life requires. That we try and try again, failure or not.

I have started the process of applying for another scholarship. It is a bit of a mental battle because the rejection email from the last one I applied for is still fresh in my mind. A few weeks ago when I saw the spring round of scholarship deadlines come up, my first thought was, "Hey, I should apply for these.&q…


Some people have observed how very different Dean and I are (aside from sharing basic humanity and love for God). It's true. Here is just a short list to give you a taste:

1. He has a mild allergy to sunlight and is quite uncomfortable in the summer heat (I have seen him break out in hives from lack of air conditioning).
2. I have something nicknamed "winter itch," a form of dermatitis (mild skin condition) that only shows up in a cold and dry climate. Expose me to some summer sun and moist air and it clears up nicely.
3. Dean loves meat and is a card-carrying carnivore.
4. I am mostly vegetarian, living on fruit, vegetables, cheese, and popcorn.
5. Dean prefers action movies, science fiction television shows, and video games for his recreational activities.
6. I would rather take a walk outside or read a book.
7. Dean can listen to the radio, watch something on his ipod, be playing a game on the computer, talk on the phone, and be researching something online all at the same…

the poverty of time

We just lost an hour when we switched to Daylight Saving Time this weekend. Well, nothing was really lost, the numbers were just changed in order to make life brighter and more productive for everyone. I don't know about you, but I could use both of those. Let's hope it works. :-)

Time is a funny thing. We treat it like a precious commodity in some ways. We say, "I just don't have the time for x or y anymore." Did we lose it; was it stolen? We say, "I wish I had more time," as if there might be a time depot where we could go to get some. We talk about buying time and spending time, and I guess if you have a cell phone, it sort of applies. "I should make time for that," implies that with the correct ingredients and a good recipe, we could indeed whip some up. Or when we say, "I'll find the time somehow," it conjures up images of an intense hunt for those hours that know how to hide all too well.
The truth is, we all start with the …

lesson from American Idol

I don't usually follow American Idol, but this morning I went on youtube (I don't even remember what I was looking for) and on a whim, decided to click on one of the "videos being watched right now." It was Michael Lynche, one of the top 8 on AI this season.

I watched his latest offering on the show (video above) and was impressed. But it was the comments surrounding his performance that intrigued me, implying that something had changed in his demeanour lately, so I did a bit of searching and found out that his wife gave birth to their first child, a baby girl, in January while he was in Hollywood doing AI. That made his story interesting, but what did it have to do with how well he could sing? Not much, until just over a week ago when he sang This is a Man's World. This song changed him from a pussy cat into a lion (so said Simon). Why?

The last line of the song is: This is a man's world, but it would be nothin' without a woman or a girl. These words mean …

market me

There is a tendency, a tornado-force pull, that I have to continuously resist in my life. It is the one that draws me, somewhat trance-like, to adapt who I am and what I do in order to garner the most praise, the highest marks, the most promotions, the best position, and let's face it, to ultimately feel more approved, appreciated, and loved. It never delivers, just so you know.

The more comments and traffic I get on my blog or on my facebook page, the more I find myself tempted to think along the lines of: what will get a reaction, what are people wanting to hear, what can I present that will make a splash? A few kind comments offered to me are appetisers that make me want more. I am only human, I admit it.
When a professor exclaims, "Excellent!" over a remark I offer in class, I subconsciously approach every subsequent assignment on the lookout for the obscure, fresh, and slightly edgy, angle. I want to stand out, to rise above the ordinary, to come up with something tha…


I don't understand hate. I am talking about both serious-hate and joking-hate, because let's face it, joking-hate has elements of serious-hate about it or we would never think about giving it the "h" label. Joking about it may indeed be a cathartic way to allow ourselves to feel a bit of the emotion and by treating it lightly, hopefully rid us of the bitterness before it burrows deep inside our souls. That's the best case scenario, but I venture to say that that's not always what happens.

I have never had so many people tell me they hate me (and Dean) as this past week while we were in Hawaii. It was ridiculous! And while I know all of them meant it in a joking way, I wonder what they were really trying to say. Was it: "I am jealous that you are warm and I am cold?" "I hate it that I can't take a vacation right now?" "I hate it that you have the means to go there and I don't?" "You are reminding me that I might never …


In my formative years, I developed quite a lot of rituals and rules to regulate my religion. Part of that came from growing up in a religious environment, but a large part of it came from my need to feel secure and safe. There were prayer patterns that I followed, lines that I vowed never to cross, and obligations that had to be kept or the guilt would come knocking.

These days there is much less of this external religious structure in my life. And paradoxically, I know that I am closer to being a friend of God than I was back then. There are less rules to follow and more questions that roll around in my head. Questions that ask...what is real? what is lasting? what is valuable? I am not as concerned with what is right, but more interested in truth that is embodied in a person: authentic, transforming, and challenging. There are less obligations, less guilt, and less predictable patterns.
There are two "problems" that have accompanied this gradual change. The first is that thi…