Sunday, August 30, 2009

I read tonight a very disturbing story on the news. It was about Amber Lee, a 21 year-old married mother of two who at a little after 2pm in the afternoon last year was abducted from her house by a plumber, driven to his house, raped, shot in the head, and buried in a shallow grave in his backyard. But that wasn't the most disturbing part to me. The most horrifying thing is that when she was being driven to her death at about 6pm, she got a hold of a cellphone in the car and called 911, and as the worthless 911 operator kept saying hello, she was heard in the background pleading with the man to let her go and saying "please God, please protect me!"

When I read that, I felt sick. I still feel sick. I kept thinking about Psalm 50, when God says "call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me." I've thought about that psalm a lot in the past couple weeks, but how can I think of it now? Immediately I think "How God? How could you hear her begging to you to protect her in what was-if anything ever is-the day of trouble? But you didn't save her!"

Some of the most comforting words in scripture are where God is called the protector of widows and orphans, the defender of the defenseless. But she was defenseless! It's not as if she was defenseless and godless, she called specifically on God to protect her. There was no one else who could protect her, only God could protect her. But instead she was raped, taped up and shot.

I guess Jesus called out to God as He died, and asked why he was forsaken, and we can't say if he got an answer on the cross. But even so, He didn't beg God for protection - He chose to lay down his life. What about those who are terrified? Who beg God for protection? Who have no choice?

I don't know what I'm trying to say, except that I will be very, very careful saying to anyone "God will protect you" or telling them to claim psalm 91. Whatever those scriptures mean, It's obvious they don't mean that if you beg God to protect you, you won't get dragged out of your house away from your husband and kids to be raped and shot.

I Know God is there. I know He's real and that when it suits Him, He does protect those who beg. But I don't understand when He doesn't.

I am not righteous like Job, If God can rebuke Job he can certainly put me in the wrong. And what happened to Amber has not happened to me. I am just a man, and a sinful one. If something like what happened to her happened to me, I would not be able to call God to account for injustice. But the thing that sickens me is that a helpless and terrified woman can beg God to protect her, and be left to what horrors stalk the earth; while the majority of scripture seems to imply that this doesn't happen, that those who are afraid and call on the Lord are saved.

Maybe I'm wrong about Scripture. Maybe I've been reading it wrong. I'll search it to see - and I pray that God does put me in the wrong and show me that I'm a fool. It would be better.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

If anybody's interested, is offering the audiobook MP3s for "Til We Have Faces" for about 11 bucks til the 31st of August, and "Green" the last of the circle (trilogy? it's #4) will be out in Sept. If you pre-order it now off Amazon or CBD, you get a lower price.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I was doing research on slaves and slavery in the early church, and while reading from the "Recognitions of Clement" an early church document from the 2nd century, I got sidetracked in a part where the author is refuting the then common concept, called "Genesis" (what stars you were born under) as a sort of fatalistic determining factor in your behavior & conduct.
The recognition struck me that there is a similar concept, the popular idea that something called not "genesis" but "genetics" determines your behavior, dragging your powerless will behind it inexorably into sins and perversion. I believe Clement's refutation stands for both beliefs, neither of which are supported by reason, science, or Scripture. After giving many examples of populations that have given up sinful customs and lifestyles upon the Gospel's introduction (as proof that people can change their behavior), he says:

"Since God is righteous, and since He Himself made the nature of men, how could it be that He should place genesis in opposition to us, which should compel us to sin, and then that He should punish us when we do sin? Whence it is certain that God punishes no sinner either in the present life or that to come, except because He knows that he could have conquered, but neglected victory."

Also reference 1 Cor 10:13.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Haiku Vs. Limerick.

My leaves drink the sun
veins bring life mixed with water
each fruit holds new seeds
Each man's work is his gift to mankind
a gift woven with hands and with mind
mine's riddled with knots
it's horribly botched
'cause I weave like I'm numb and I'm blind.

After I wrote this, I found out that haiku's aren't 5/7/5 syllables, they're 5/7/5 "moras" - which is a different subdivision of language, like a small syllable. I tried distinguishing moras, but it's beyond my ken.
So we'll consider these American style Haikus. We won the war anyway, right? And if they can put mayonnaise and corn on a roll and call it American, I think my imprecision can slide.
Fun with Haikus

Good Shepherd hold me
I know your name and your voice
help me to follow.

I have been near deaf
But your voice has not left me
And neither have you

Always my rising
you shake off the death of night
I will wake in You.
Time rolls on with iron tracks
like a bulldozer without a sense of art
mangled pasts stuck between its plates
this is what I feel from time to time
but when my lids are closed
and my eyes are open
I know Time is my chariot of fire
and the calm hand of God.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I have worked out @ the gym. For the first time in a couple months. Ran about 3 miles and then did some leg presses-which almost pressed out my meager stomach contents.
It hurt, but it was a good kind of hurt.

I really really want to go hiking the Hoh trail. If I can't get TJ to go with me I'll go by myself, there's a mountain (called "Mount Olympus") and the blue glacier at the end of the ten mile trail. (The picture above, from Google is a view from the glacier.)
I've been talking about climbing Reinier for about a year now, but after looking into it, It looks way too expensive and complicated to reach the summit.

Tomorrow we're going down to my Aunt's place to visit with the cousins. One of them is asking me to appraise her boyfriend. I pray that I'm equal to the task.

Oh, and I got a new toy!

Well, this is all rather random, and I'm going to go to sleep now.

Friday, August 07, 2009

School starts in a little over a month.

We've been having a family church service Wednesday nights (the church we're going to now doesn't have a Wed. Night service). Brandy plays some worship songs, and I teach. I've been teaching through Colossians and I think it's been getting better because last night's service didn't put Josiah to sleep. Last week he succumbed. As did Brandy, almost.
Thank God for coffee. At least I enjoyed it (the teaching).

Today I visited the "Q Cafe", a christian coffeeshop a couple blocks off campus. It's owned by a church right next to it, and upon entering it reminded me quite a bit of "Sojourner's Cafe" the old coffeeshop in St. Paul. Some of my best memories are from that coffeeshop. Isn't it odd, one would think that a person's best "spiritual" memories should be in church or at a retreat, but the coffeeshop wins hands down.

Read an Oscar Wilde quote the other day, it goes: "Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future". It's an interesting quote, and seems to echo the sentiment of most people in that it focuses on the past of the saint, and the future of the sinner.

Why is it that conversion stories are the most interesting? It seems like in all the stories a character gets saved, or gets married, and then the curtain falls, 'cause 'it's over'. The main character may as well have died.

I don't think that's really the case for the saint. Maybe it's because a saint dies to his/her old life, and begins over again. Maybe because as far as the world's concerned, the saint it dead, and that brings in the finality. Now the only interesting thing about him is his past.

But they love stories of a sinner's future, too. At least most people do. It has suspense, climax, and drama.

Even the story of the prodigal son runs like that. The most boring character in it is the "older brother" - the saved guy. I wonder if his character would've been more interesting if he'd gone in search of his younger brother, and used his own inheritance to track him down through all the pigsties and brothels to bring him back. But would that even have been possible? If it were, wouldn't the Father himself have gone?

Unless it's like a Cain/Abel thing. "Am I my brother's keeper"? Cain asked that, and the answer's implied. God didn't stop Cain from killing Abel either. Ultimately, God is his children's keeper, but he seems to expect us to take up that role, and usually is pretty hands-off (at least observably).

So what would have happened? I think it would have been a good story. Maybe that's what Jesus meant when he said "As I am, so are you in this world".

I think that makes for a good storyline too.