Monday, November 30, 2009

I have a Kierkegaard book that I’ve read and forgotten the first couple chapters of. The title is apparently more intriguing to me then the innards, because unlike them, it has stuck. It reads: “Purity of the Heart is to Will One Thing”.
I’ve always been prone to what my mother called “manias” – single interests that would consume my thoughts from the moment I woke up to the moment I went back to sleep. When I was young they would change about once every two years or so. It was herpetology when I was 7, followed by aircraft, space travel and archery to name a few. In my early teens my obsessions included Celtic myths and bladesmithing, in my late teens it was the FBI and Marine Corps. Interrupting all these, if there was a girl I liked, she was my mania for as long as she was in the picture. For most of these manias I would read up on them until I had a good grasp of the subject. The girls? well, I never really knew what to do about that. Usually I would just act really awkward around them until they got uncomfortable enough to avoid me. Then there was God. God was always there too, but He was never the center really, never the thing that got my spine tingling as I contemplated Him.
Until, of course, the “hour I first believed.” (On a side note, it was only when my heart was obsessed with God that I was able to act normally enough around a girl I liked to have her stick around and eventually agree to marry me.)
It has been almost nine years since that hour. I know I don’t have the singleness of vision that I had at that intersection. There are so many ‘things’ in life, so many obligations and concerns, so much to be done and bought and had. As the accessory to these ‘things’, there is the worry that accompanies the possibility of their loss. Yet as I write this, it occurs to me that this list sounds really familiar. These concerns are the weeds that grew up alongside one of Jesus’ parable-plants and choked the life out of it, aren’t they? I pray for that singleness of desire Jesus spoke of, because the part of me that cares about facts holds that this unified vision is the only way I’ll bear “fruit” in the long run - The only way to invest in what really matters, and the only way I’ll see my God.
Jesus said those who do bear fruit He prunes. Last week I thought I lost my Kindle (Amazon’s ridiculously expensive e-book reader). Now, this was a very small branch, and I think I handled its loss fairly well, but the week before I got in trouble at work after missing 6 hours of meetings (though a scheduling mistake on my part). That’s a somewhat bigger branch since in the temporal view it’s my family’s livelihood at stake. I took that somewhat less well. Then there was the Lasik surgery I was scheduled for that I couldn’t get because my financing fell through. I’ve wanted Lasik for a decade. That was a medium size branch for me. At first I just got very frustrated with all these happenings, but as they kept on piling up, I had to resign myself to the fact that these things were not my gods. To obsess over them wasn’t worth it, and in fact, in the aftermath of my frieking out over them I realized that my obsession with them was dividing up my loyalties. I definitely wasn’t “willing one thing”.
Things do have a way of accumulating. If it’s not Lasik or some expensive techno-novelty, it’s a book, a friend, or who knows what else. Of course I don’t see anything wrong with enjoying these things, but the idolatry of focusing my will and desire on multiple objects does fly in the face of what the rational part of me believes. If there’s a way to lock-in one’s will to God and leave it there, I would like to know what it is. I guess that’s the point of the spiritual disciplines. Recently, it seems to be taking Divine discipline too. Maybe I’m wishing for something that doesn’t exist; some kind of spiritual autopilot button where I can punch in the course like the captain of a 747 and then kick up my feet and read a magazine - or whatever it is they do in the cockpit. But it seems that my will is a less expensive plane, the kind that the pilot has to constantly check instruments on and adjust for changing windspeed and direction to keep on course. Considering how much exhortation and correction there is in the New Testament, I’m guessing that’s the model my brothers and sisters are flying in too.

Friday, November 20, 2009

sails are slack today
perhaps the wind is higher
than the mast
or is it the slack hands
that have had their fill of rigging
and just want to hold a cup of coffee?
but the storms, they come,
though unseen
and split the unready ships in two
the sea below is hungry, waiting
the hands and arms need motivating
can't wait for the rain.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

All will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of things will be well.

I got a written reprimand from my boss for being late to those meetings last week, but he was very gracious about it and said he was sympathetic.
Then reading scripture at church I came across the part in Romans 11 where he quotes from the OT, "who has given a gift to Him, that He might be repaid?" This immediately was applied by the Spirit to my heart as a clarifying agent, since I had been whining and discontent-at least internally-about all of my misfortunes that week. I had gotten to the point where I wasn't frieking out, but I still felt as if my not frieking out somehow was something in my favor, and that I was really a decent guy to put up with all the Lord puts me through.

Which is a really bad attitude to have.
Especially seeing that I call Jesus Lord. It's a lot easier to give thanks in everything if you don't have wonderful plans for your own life that you expect to go off without a hitch. But He IS my Lord, and I want to delight to do His will - so may my plans be slaughtered like canaanites.

That's all about that though, It's over and I am done talking about it.


Got to go to a lecture tonight, it was part of a series of lectures on Darwin & Darwinism put on @ School since it's the anniversary of Darwin's birth or death or something like that. This particular lecture was titled "GK Chesterton, a duel with Darwin." It turned out to be more theatre than lecture, as it was a G.K. Chesterton impersonator from Bloomington, MN who gave it. Overall it was pretty good, and I got to talk to the people who put it on. I had been impressed before that the school actually allowed one of the lectures in the series to be less than flattering to Darwinism, but lo and behold, it was co-sponsored by the Discovery Institute. So the school didn't actually put it on, per-se.
Next week I'll be going to the most rabid of NeoDarwinist's lectures, (one of our Bio. Faculty) who will be speaking on Human evolution, and how we're "closing up the gaps" in the fossil record.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Work's getting exciting again, lots of drunks and thieves, and drunken thieves!

Just wrapping up what turned out to be a trying week. First, via a scheduling mistake I missed about six hours worth of very important and expensive meetings on Tuesday (which I've gotten a letter of reprimand for), then being told on Wednesday I couldn't be financed for the Lasik appointment I was supposed to have Thursday, which was the biggest bummer because I've been looking forward to that particular appointment for about a month and been wearing glasses (no contacts) for about that long in preparation. I've rescheduled for February, so I can figure out what's going on with my credit & possibly save enough so I don't have to do the CareCredit thing. I have wanted to get Lasik for about a decade, so that was the biggest letdown. Then there was breaking my toe the day before missing the meetings on a dumbell the kids had hidden under a jacket in the dining room. I've also been tense because my second big Biology test which I took this friday. Still waiting for the results on that one.

Brandy can tell you I was very melodramatic about all this. Since Friday I think I've been able to rein it in a bit. I do want to curb the habit of telling people my problems, as it seems I'm always more eager to tell them then they are to listen-even if they ask-and It doesn't help much. The whole deal did help me realize that my stamina for disaster has gone way down. I managed to say "blessed be the name of the lord" but with a very sour face. I'd prefer to be to the point character-wisewhere I could honestly sing a worship song in similar circumstances.

Our microwave has developed a Zeus complex. The other day as Brandy was heating up some peas in a bowl it began throwing lightning around inside and making a loud snapping noise...not a good sign. So remembering a couple years ago in St. Paul when our then-microwave spontaneously combusted I had Brandy unplug it until we can figure out what's wrong or throw it away.
As a man once sung - "Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you've got til it's gone..." I had to heat up my cold coffee by dumping some boiling water into it. Just not the same.
Radioactive cube of convenience, why have you failed us?

And yet, Romans 8:28 is in full effect. Though He slay my microwave, yet will I trust Him.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Screwed up in a big way. I missed about six hours of meetings at work because I thought they were tomorrow and because I'd left my cell on "silent". I'm gonna get chewed out either way, but pray for me that nothing worse than that comes of it, and that my name won't top the shame list at work for the next six months.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

I was thinking over some scripture related to my "Theological Research Paper" for my UFND class, and as I thought over 1 Cor. 11:7, I wondered for the hundredth time what it means that Man is the image & glory of God and Woman is the glory of Man. This part always confused me because elsewhere in scripture (primarily Gen.) it's clearly indicated that women are also made in God's image as part of the original Adam Then I thought how glory can mean the "best of" its object, the glory of something is that which shows it brightest and clearest. So, with that interpretation, the verse could mean that while humankind in general bears God's image in the fundamental sense; that man "plays the part" of God in the theatre of creation, while woman "plays the part" of "Mankind" in general. Which is interesting, since that would mean women are more human in role than men are - they are more like what humanity is meant to be in relation to God, whereas men are in role more like God - not a reason for pride I'm sure, since most men have no talent for the part, and never bothered to read the script. If my interpretation is true though, women should have a more innate understanding of what it means to be human, and men should find it easier to understand God.

We've got our scripts
and given parts
what we are
and what we aren't
is a love-poem in a playwright's art
to make, and then to win our hearts.

Monday, November 02, 2009

taste and see
but I've heard taste is mostly smell
taste and smell and see
that the Lord is good
but don't stop there
with three out of five
taste and smell and see and hear
and while you're at it reach out to touch
and some say there's six
seven if you count reason.
But when reason collapses in exhaustion
It takes a little desperation
to crawl through the cross
til you feel the empty tomb.
Some stop at the bleeding man
between earth and sky
and cry like a magdalene.
Some stop to spit and make some fun
because they've wanted this divorce for a while.
A few will ask for the body
because if Good dies
they want to stay in its corner
and remember when it was still swinging.
And some will keep crying
and won't stop for angels
because the only thing they ever loved
is dead.
And those few will be the first to hear
'cause blood has the same PH as tears
And those few
with noses congested from crying,
will yell something like
when the cross gives way
to a Living Man.

The other day at the goodwill I finally broke down and got a copy of Luther's smaller catechism. I wanted it for a short reference to go over with the kids as a primer on Christian Doctrine, and I've looked through it multiple times over the years and have always considered it good & clear christian teaching. I remember when I was little at church we were heavy on story but not so much on doctrine-nothing was really well defined. So I figured I'd do them a favor, plus I was reading through Ephesians where he tells dads to raise their kids in the instruction and admonition of the Lord.
So anyways...
Today I slept until about 2pm and when I got up felt the need to do something edifying. So naturally I called Josiah and Jaelle over and pulled out the copy of Luther. It starts out with the ten commandments, and by the time we got to four I thought something wasn't right with the numbers, and then I realised, 'Ole brother Martin numbered the commandments like a Catholic! (Catholics blend out the "graven images" into the first, and it shifts the numbers down. They get #10 by splitting coveting into two: houses & the rest. Odd how houses get their own no-covet commandment and wives are stuck with donkeys.)But I figured the kids will forget the numbers anyway, and I can re-number them later. I wanted it for a guide more than anything, since I need something to go over all the basics, and I can embellish beyond that. By embellish, I don't mean make stuff up, but expand on.

Then Josiah asked why we should "fear" God (since Martin prefaces every commandment with the reason we should obey it-"fear and love of God"). That was a tough one to answer. I kept thinking about George MacDonald telling his childhood story of when he found out about hell, "predestination" etc..., and broke down crying, wondering how God could be more cruel than his earthly father, and how that thought eventually led to him becoming a Universalist. I didn't want to give Josiah that impression, so I tried to explain it by asking if he was scared of me, and he said no, and I said how about when I catch you doing something you're not supposed to, he said yeah, and we took it from there.
Then we all had a short fighing free-for-all, and I read a book with Enoch (who was listless and alone on the couch with a fever) until Brandy called us to the table for chicken soup.

Now I'm @ Work and my co-worker just found a giant dead rat at the entrance to the bertona modules. There are all kinds of wild (and not so wild) life around here. Yesternight I was checking Robbins and a large Opossum was at the south entry door. When I opened it, she just stared at me for a couple seconds before waddling off. 'possums always seem a little slow in the head.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

I am soooooo very tired. So, I'll post a picture I took of a tree yesterday in Martin Square.