Monday, March 29, 2010

Break Me Un-Broken

Apparently this blog is becoming also a creative outlet for me, so don't be too alarmed when you begin to see things that inexplicably rhyme, are chopped into funny paragraphs, and may not make a whole lot of sense.

The following is something I wrote while sitting on the floor of my room. I don't really know what to call it yet, maybe this post's title is sufficient enough for the poem itself. I feel compelled to ask you to "enjoy," but I always thought that was a weird way to introduce something that's not for mere entertainment. So, I will begin with: "here it is."

Oh God, let me disappear,
why can't I to my peers,
stand without fear?
Why to my fears
can't You, the Reigning Champ
Defeat what I can't and move
this Mountain encamped.

Memories, they haunt they
Jab. They tear where there is wear.
They consume me bare, bar
the weight I bear. Break these memories,
Father, into ash and stone, that
I may atone for the infected bone
and eyes alone.

My heart. contrite, my spite it
bites. I can no longer to myself lie
that the poison that lies within mine
eyes stings as lye. Stained by
black die. Broken without even
trying. Without even Striving.

Break these lies, Father, into ash
and powder. The lies I contrive to
keep the sky at arms length
at fist's strength. Dreams once vivid
infected now livid.
Blacked out beaten down broken
bloodied cold.
                       cold as dead as
with no longer the Breath that sustaineth
the will to prevail. Hail the new order,
unveiled. Tyranny has prevailed, and
on the high seas this ship will sail, sinking
with king drinking to it's offspring
cynic and faith-stale.

       Break me into something un-
       Take me into steeples un-
       Work in me something un-
written. Unsmitten and recommitted.
Willing to stand not crouch, confront not couch.
To speak and spread truth spirit led
spirit fed truth abundance
non-encumbrance truth
over my head. Truth... I cannot write

I cannot write

If only to find the switch-light
the mind-light, the on-off nite-light.
That I may lie down to sleep
      and my rest be sweet;
Yes, to lie down and not be afraid
      of thought unabated.
      of thought ungrated, unsated and ingratiated.
That I may lay aside my lies and know: You are God.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Convenient Answers

This last Wednesday, I returned from one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen. Malibu, Northern Canada. Breath-taking snow-capped vistas, deep dark-blue ocean, relatively untouched forests, it surrounds you and captures your senses and sense of place and yet, as with beautiful smells and beautiful moments, it all fades to the background eventually...and I was left becoming distracted with something else.

As I listen to other Christians talk, I've noticed that we tend to talk funny about events and opportunities. There never seems to be a wrong answer. And it all feels...too convenient. Has anyone else ever noticed that before? It frustrates me. It frustrates me because it doesn't seem right that there should always be such an easy response. Such easy thoughts. Easy-to-contrive answers.

An example. Kinda like those Choose your Adventure books of old:

Let's say Paul, middle-aged Jr. College graduate, has really been praying about his future. He feels like maybe he should move to the East-coast from Washington because his family here is too oppressive, restrictive, his friends have moved away for their careers, and he feels like he needs a new start.

[Outcome A] Everything works out. He makes it East, get's plugged into a job that's really going somewhere. Away from the oversight of his parents, he flourishes. Paul's prayer may look something like this: Truly, it was God's plan for me to move here. Thank you Father for your provision, and Your plan. Thank you for Your blessings.

[Outcome B] Something falls though. Unexpected expenses turn up, or he can't get a ticket, or he falls ill, or a parent is on his or her deathbed, or any number of reasons. Moving is no longer an option. He's stuck. Eventually this may be Paul's prayer: Thank You Father for growing me, for the challenges you placed in my life that I now recognize have allowed me to grow beyond what a more comfortable life would have. Et cetera.

I see this scenario play out countless times in the lives of the people I know, where they've (or myself even) faced a decision. A moment of great opportunity, perhaps. A moment of great hesitation. And regardless of it's outcome, regardless of the pain or joy, the victory or the failure, it's somehow alright. It's somehow all justified, with some tidy (and yet often dis-satisfactory) explanation. Often with no explanation at all.

But maybe that's the point.

Maybe if God is truly over and in and around all, then this really does make sense. Because if He's really holding the infinity of time and possibility in His hand, then there really is nothing that can escape Him. Nothing that happens outside His purposes, nothing that removes or alters His plan.

Is this comforting or confounding?

Or both.

What frustrates me is it's it just seems too... good, I guess. Or rather, it just seems unnatural because we as people never have all the answers, or if we do, it's because we're actually trying to scam someone or are delusional. But maybe that's because we're just people and that's what we do anyway.

Maybe I wish God was just a little less infinite.

Friday, March 12, 2010

A Sponge in a Fist

I keep probably too many journals at this point. Does that mean I have too many thoughts and not enough words, or the other way around? Not enough action? Who knows. What I do know, I was reading through a "spiritual journal" of mine the other day, and there were a couple good excerpts.

This first one was written with poeticalness in mind. I'd heard a guy preforming what he calls "Spoken Word" which is poetry that is written to be spoken, very rhythm intentional. Similar to rap in many respects, yet without the conventions that follow from music. I thought about him for a long time, and during church while I was dosing off again, I wrote this.


I hit the clock pound the books grind the nose where I'm to go there can be no soul. It's choked, erased, and extracted with care and time leaving nothing but a filmy grime.

The place to where I trek, there's no going back no respite. A wheel unhinged, an American unbinged. Impossible. I realize the size of my disguise leaves no room to contrive another lie inside the time that I have to Die.

God, You become the sweat the tears drawn out of pain and uncertainty. Pressured forth like a sponge in a fist or puss from a cyst Why is this so? Why are You not my everything my everytime that when I fall up not down, I realize the Source instead of drown in the impossible drone of industry and sound?

Pressure me into You so instead of forgetting or running, into You I find my source for divorce from life so contorted.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Life Without Bounds

Forgive me for my silence. It's been a busy few months, and for some reason, the act of blogging has seemed too great of a commitment for me to pile atop of the already considerable stack. A needle too much threatens to topple the whole works, or so it feels.

So, what has changed? What brings me here, now?

Bethlehem. I found out last Tuesday that I will be spending the majority of Summer '010 in the little town Bethlehem, Palestine. Shocking, and exciting, this will surely be an adventure unprecedented in my life. Bethlehem! Palestine! Both words, loaded with meanings and connotations, almost contradictory.

Peace, hope, Christmas, Wise-Men, swaddling clothes, Jesus.
Terror, struggle, dismay, contention, oppressed, Islam.

Through the INN's summer missions program, I will be entering into this. This whirling and struggling to find direction and an equilibrium. (Isn't that what we're all trying to find, afterall?) An Identity crisis of sorts. And I'm not sure where I stand.

My Christian upbringing would suggest that I wholeheartedly support Israel. Kick the Palestinians out, they have to stake. They aren't God's chosen people. Who are they to lay claim to this land.

-- aaaaand, these notions led to the Crusades. Great. Wonderful.

My university education would suggest that I'm compelled to support equality and civil rights and to oppose oppression. That if "the world" can dictate whether a nation has a state or not (as we did with the Jews in 1948), why can't the Palestinians be extended this offer, particularly if we set matters of Religious bias aside in terms of the Government?

Regardless, I've begun learning Arabic.

I can only pray that God prepares my heart for the challenges of mind and heart I'll most certainly encounter.

That God has in store plans for me to experience that which I need to through friends and circumstance that my perspectives may be adequate to enable me to truly see the Arab world for what He sees it as.