Friday, April 29, 2005

Near Perfect Pinnacles of Ignorance

That's what Donald "Let's Get Ready to Rumble" Rumsfeld said this week about those in a whisper campaign building up anxiety that the United States would reconstitute the draft. Though I have beef with Rumsfeld on a few of his ideas I must say that his phrases which is the title of this blog pertains to so much of what I'm living through right now.

How is it that I have been a Jesus follower for several years now, have taken college and graduate level courses dealing with Scripture, church polity, leadership and the like and yet know so little? I know that I've heard the answer to that be, "Well, that actually shows your wisdom because you realize what you don't know." I appreciate the intention of that but that doesn't help me sleep much at night anymore.

I have been overwhelmed with the diminuitive amount that I know toward leadership and shepherding a group of people toward maturity in our faith. Man alive, I am realizing so much these days that it is mind boggling. I have long been afraid of leading a group through subversive tactics or in a way that would impact them negatively to the point that for several years I put myself in situations that were safe. There was no danger. There was no risk. I just had to show up. Nothing ventured but nothing gained.

Now I have been providentially placed in positions where I am the leader. Sometimes I am frightened. Sometimes I am confident, not because I am self-sufficient but because there has been affirmation from God in/to my spirit. Thing is also this: I never really learned how to keep healthy relationships healthy. I never learned practical steps of admonition, confronting and sticking to relationships. I have this bad habit of "just forgetting" offenses. Someone will say something and I will talk myself into thinking that they meant it in a way that would not be of any concern to me. I lie to myself a lot.

The pattern is this: their spoken word, a feeling in my gut that I supress and then a few days or weeks later I will say to myself, "That really upset me when they said that. I should've said something." The truth is that sometimes those thoughts just don't/can't come to you right at the moment. I'm a slow processer from facts to feelings. I'm learning how to have that stuff going on and yet still have my faith strong.

I am really tempted to finish this with Bible verses and a flury of fantastic quotes pertaining to this, or a quote from the ever wise Oswald, but I will just leave it at that, because I think we all know what the Bible says about some/most of what I've mentioned. I should just concentrate on the application of it.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Imagination Migration

Charlie Brown or Snoopy was right, a good book is a good friend. So I must commend my companions of late: Scripture and The Shaping of Things to Come.

I've been reading through Jeremiah, that afflicted prophet and child of God who expresses so much of what we really feel and think about God if we were reflective upon ourselves. I could follow that vein for a while but a short little chunk got my wheels going today, "Even the stork in the sky knows her appointed seasons, and the dove, the swift and the thrush observe the time of their migration. But my people do not know the requirements of the LORD" (8:7).I was imagining scenes from that great indie film Winged Migration. Those seemingly brainless but beautiful creatures know intuitively their appointed season of migrating, their time of returning. So, there is a time the people of God should migrate/return to God. We have a nickname for that: "repentance." The context of 8:7 speaks more, so I will let you have the joy of studying that.

And my ole fav, Douglas Coupland, (author of Life After God, The Shampoo Planet: Tales for an Accelerated Culture) showed up in The Shaping today. Douglas has a powerful knack of bringing melancholy and mood into his writings, especially toward the feeling that one gets when they consider the landscape within the soul of a Generation Xer. In his book, Generation X (London: Abacus, 1991), he wrote the following about the middleclass malaise:

"You see, when you're middle class, you have to live with the fact that history will ignore you. You have to live with the fact that history can never champion your causes and that history will never feel sorry for you. It is the price that is paid for day-to-day comfort and silence. And because of this price, all happinesses are sterile; all sadnesses go unpitied."

The middle class is on a precarious perch betwixt two worlds: affluence and poverty. The middle class has the ability to change the world and influence both the powerful and the forgotten but comfort, pride and fear has conquered the middle class. The middle class adopts a lifestyle that is beyond their own means and struggles to find any meaning that exists beyond a lifestyle.

And so it is.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

The Fervor of One Drowning

Holy cow, it's been a while since I've returned to the blogosphere. There are many reasons for this: Holy Week demanded all my attention the three weeks prior; my body and mind crashed the week following; usually creativity comes a day or two after taking a day off.

Things are going well. Barb is in the midst of putting a portfolio together and having job interviews. She is a hard worker, loves students and loves art. There is much more to her than that, but that's a good start.

Matches is getting more "pitty." She loves to hike and to chase ducks. She is learning the repercussions of eating someone's underwear: about 3 days of pain and then the passing of "Hello Kitty."

Me? I'm doing well also. I'm getting off the juice: no, not like Balco Barry, but caffeine. I was becoming too dependent upon it. I was also becoming a poor decision maker about food--really, portion as oppossed to the kind of food. Actually, I had made a trip or three to McDonalds. That's what happens when I get stressed. It's comfort food. There's some childhood reason for that, I'm sure.

Holy Week was unbelievably good here at Hillside. We did a mixed-media Good Friday, blending ancient liturgy with technology. It was very moving for some. Saturday night we held a Holy Saturday time during H20. We had meditation stations set up. Sunday morning we had a great time of celebration.

Very few times have I really sensed the presence of the Spirit like that week. My personal worship was good and it really helped me through the hectic nature of the week and weeks leading up to that. However, I'm trying to be more consistent and trying to live to the fullest, like the fervor of one drowning.