Thursday, July 28, 2005

Ten Years Already?

Well, this weekend is my ten year high school reunion. Hard to believe that it's been a decade already. Sadly I will be in absentia from the ceremonies. I had already bought tickets to visit my family and the reunion was schedule for after I came back. I'll miss the group.

They put up with a lot of immaturity from me way back when. I'm grateful for that and am surprised that I was not banned from the reunion roster. Viva la graciousness!!!!!

The ten days in Mississippi went really well. Yes, it was hot--four days over 100 degrees. The heat was drippin' from the trees. I saw the nieces and nephew, played basketball, ate bbq, hung out with my little sis and my bigger bros. All in all it was a fine to do. My stated goal before going was to rest so much that I would get bed sores. I came mighty close to succeeding, but then, maybe that's a failure worth having.

Hit the ground running when I got back. It's good to go away. It's good to come back. It's just good to be alive.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

19th out of 734,000

Today I was reading Francis de Sales in Devotional Classics. It included his writings about being devout. More on that in a later post. While I was reading my mind began to wander and I said, I wonder what would happen if I google my name. Yes, so I did. And there I was number 19 out of 734,000 possible sites. Not that this is much to be happy about---wait, or is it. I feel like Navin (Steve Martin) in The Jerk, when he jumps for joy when he finds that his name is in the phone book, "Look! I'm a somebody. I'm a somebody!" Hilarious.

Well, back to reading about devotion.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Lynchings--to apologise or not, pt. 2

On Sunday evening I posted a few thoughts. It concerned several Senators not voting on proposed legislation to apologise for the lynching of negroes. I left a link to one of those senators, Thad Cochran, who is my former political leader. I have made several phone calls to his Jackson, Mississippi office and several to his D.C. office. I have left two messages to his administrative assistant in D.C. but have not heard back from Mr. Davis yet. I have no idea how busy he must be but I eagerly await the opportunity to understand this situation more. In honor of a more tempered frame of writing and at the exhortation of an anonymous friend I have edited the title of the post mentioned above until more of the story is told.

In a Mirror We See Darkly

I'm a person on a journey.

You know what I've found out lately--that there are a number of things that I don't understand. One of those is the profundity of this--that God is righteous, just, and yet remembers mercy. That's something that I've been learning about--mostly how I fall short.

Jonathan Edwards in his book Religous Affections talks about our affections (love, hate, desire, hope, fear)and how they are the "spring of action" that set us in motion. We all "do" things because we are moved beyond apathy and toward action. Our affections cause action. He mentions about nine affections: holy fear, hope, love, holy desire, joy, religious sorrow, gratitude, compassion and zeal. The questions arose--which have I felt the most and which one do I need to see growth?

I feel zeal the most. Edwards says, "It is spoken of as something which Christ had in mind for us when he paid for our redemption: 'Who have himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works' (Titus 2:14). It was also the essential thing missing from the lukewarm Laodiceans (Revelation 3:15-16)." It is okay to be zealous, but for the right things.

Which do I need the most? Hope. Why hope? Because I am a champion idealist. If there is no hard evidence of change or possible change then cynicism can creep in. But with hope comes margins. Margins? Yeah, margins for allowing God to work beyond my own human limitations. Hope is our helmet and our anchor (1 Thessalonians 5:8; Hebrews 6:19). With this comes compassion/mercy. If I show mercy I will be given it (Matthew 5:7).

So, I'm a person on a journey. A journey into my own messes and my own growth.

Monday, July 11, 2005

The World is Shrinking and I'm Happy

One of the great things about our world shrinking and becoming a global neighborhood is that so much information is shared by so many people. Yesterday Larry Martin from International Justice Mission (see the link to in the margin to the right)spoke and gave a stirring message of being rescuers of those who are in peril. Robert has written a very good summary of it.

There were several things that encouraged me yesterday. First of all, our little church in Corte Madera, CA is growing deeper in our thirst and hunger for just causes. This has been a dream of mine and the center of a lot of prayers. For so long I have longed to be a part of a believing community that is actively engaged in community issues. I've been doing a good bit of reading, thinking, writing and praying about this. God is shaping me, for what I do not know, but I do know that it's really moving me to walk closer with God.

Secondly, there were people from San Jose and Los Angeles who came up to here Larry speak. It's good to see people my age saying, "Jason, I'm just trying to find what God wants me to do." On guy was interested in building a clean water supply system for developing countries. Two others were interested in helping stop sex traffiking in southeast Asia. National Geographic reported that about 27 million people (10% of the poplulation of the United States) are in illegal bondage around the world.

Thirdly, as I see others who are stirred beyond the seduction and anesthesia of apathy, it encourages me not to slow down, but to read voraciously about such topics and to do small things that, in the long run, make a difference.

To stop now in despair--that would be foolhearted--to stop now of fear--that would be faithless--to not go silently--that would only be fair.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Lynchings--to apologise or not, pt. 1

It all started on a lazy Saturday evening. We had just finished transplanting lavendar to the front yard and I had just eaten dinner. I flipped through the channels and I saw Book-tv on C-SPAN. The book was the autobiography of Medgar Evers. It is based upon his letters during his civil rights work. His wife spoke briefly in front of this small crowd in Karibu Bookstores in Maryland. On one of her tangents she mentioned that recently the Senate had voted to apologise for the lynchings of negroes and not inacting and enforcing anti-lynching legislation. Actually, the House of Represenative had written and passed anti-lynching measures but the Senate filibustered it all but three times.

Oh, that's not all. Several Senators refused to abstain from the vote, one of my own former political leaders, Thad Cochran of Mississippi. I've called his office and left a message. How could this be? How is this explainable? I cannot tell you how heart broken I am over this; I am almost sick to my stomach.

If you'd like to check some of this information out, click here. I know that it is easy to pick on the source and question their political bias, but the issue at hand is not the link above or the links in the margin, but whether or not it is true. And if it is true what do we do about it?

Friday, July 08, 2005

Oscar Romero

It's quite interesting how life turns sometimes. A few weeks ago two friends from Fresno were talking to Barb and I about Oscar Romero and needing to watch a movie about his life. Today as I was in the city I talked with a friend and he gave me this print that he took of a mural in the Mission district in the city. I went down myself and checked out this alley that was all murals dedicated to the heart of the Hispanic community in the area. Very powerful. The soul of the people was put to color and I think a lot of it has seeped into my mine.
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Thursday, July 07, 2005

Idealism not Idle-ism

When I took a personality and temperment quiz when I was in collge I was amazed at how accurate and telling the test was. It was comforting to know that I must've done something right because the computer screen was telling me true things about myself. The information before me nailed it--I'm a champion idealist.

My short summary of that is that things either look really good in the past or in the future; it's the here and now that I have trouble with. I'm always antsy to go to the next level; to do more; to not be satisfied with the status quo or with any status, for a matter of fact. It has its ups and its downs. One cannot go through life with just total idealism and at the same time when one is a realist life can be a cyclical system of cyniscism.

I guess this helps explain why I love the prophets of the Old Testament. Not necessarily because Nehemiah pulled the hair of the men.
Ouch! In college I was able to study the book of Amos, which Martin Luther King Jr. sited several times in his I Have a Dream speech. In seminary I wrote a paper on the social gospel movement and compared and contrasted Walter Rauschenbusch, King, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. That was one of my favorite papers.

I'm trying to crawl and claw my way up this steep learning curve about how to be a true Jesus follower and seek justice and equity. It seems that many Christians see the "gospel" as not being campatible with the "social gospel." However, what is driving me forward is the fact that our spiritual lives should have a social consequence. In light of this I've added "People of Interest" to the sidebar. I'll add more later.