Friday, March 28, 2008

A Thin Silence

This poem was inspired by a reading of 1 Kings 19:12 where God appears to Elijah on a mountain, wrapped in a "thin silence." It's also inspired by the classical and medieval view of the celestial spheres, which C.S. Lewis alludes to allegorically in his space trilogy, especially Out of the Silent Planet.

before the world began,
and ever since,
there is this thin silence.

hovering, it hums with harmony

this world existed within
sang out as part of
that thin silence

until it was muffled,
stopped up,
encapsulated from the song.

now the silence is broad and deafening.

a sound-proof booth
traps us in
waking death

there is no harmony
there is no melody

this world can't even hear itself.

from time to time
slivers of that warm song,
like a blade of grass that catches the wind,
slice through and pierce the silence
in a few searching souls

reminding us we were meant to sing along

copyright 2008

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Sheep Feedings

"Beware of counterfeiting the love of God by working along the line of natural human sympathy, because that will end in blaspheming the love of God."

Jesus, after his resurrection, asked his disciple Peter the same question three times (John 21:15-17): "Do you love me?" Each time Peter said, "Yes, Lord, you know I love you." Jesus' three-time reply, "Then feed my sheep." Like Peter's triptych of questioning, we are to be sure we love Jesus, then show it by spending that love on everyone else--especially "the least" of people. But if we spend love from our own human sympathy, claiming to be in the name of Jesus, we will soon be worn out, and God's love will be perceived as wearing out. But when our heart is fixed on Jesus, our spending is never exhausted because our love for Him is reflected back to us in perfect Love. That perfect love is what can't help but spill over onto even the most "unlovable."

Who do I have trouble loving? Fundamentalist Christians. Confrontational Christians. Bad drivers. Christians who make politics their religion. Rich people who think they're still "owed" something. It's easy for me to dismiss and avoid, or even slander, these people. But God wants me to love them as even He has compassion on them.

Also, when I start volunteering at the pregnancy resource center, I'm going to be tempted to love people out of my own sympathies. That's bound to wear out or come and go. But if I enter that building with love for my Savior filling my heart, I will be fixed on and filled by Him to help feed His sheep.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

why do I believe?

Something just occurred to me, something simple that I never thought of before. I was stretching, looking out the window at the clear, crisp, sunny morning, and I saw the two LDS guys that live in the apartment complex. They were all dressed up in their black suits, throwing their trash in the dumpster before driving off on their mission. And I thought, what would I say if I got a chance to sit down and talk with them? They look fairly young--20 something--and I wondered if they grew up Mormon or if they converted. Their methods seem so outdated to me--wearing suits and ties, going door to door trying to convert people. I admit, I don't understand much about Latter Day Saints. Then I thought I would ask them, "Why did you choose to be a Mormon?" or "What made you choose...?"

Then it struck me: Why did I choose to become a Christian? We usually ask people those questions if they have "converted" from something else. But I think it's an essential question that each person should answer regarding their religious/spiritual views. The last thing this world needs are Christians who just are because they grew up in the church. At some point in the late teens to mid-twenties, the lifelong Christian should be able to look at their faith and their life and give an answer to their choice. I'm not talking about proof here, because you can't prove faith and still be able to call it "faith." Belief in something is at the very core of humanity, and that core is without substance if a person can't explain why they believe.

I chose to be a Christian because I've seen and felt the transformative power of Jesus' love and redemption in my life. He has chosen me--to use me to give His love and words to people around me. I don't want to be the person I could be without His Holy Spirit inside me. That's why I believe.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Be a good little leaf

The leaves are budding on the trees in front of me. I wonder if they've captured enough energy from the sun to endure the cold this coming weekend. It rained this morning, so the wood is darkened, black branches in deep contrast with the naive little leaves. Baby buds, their whole life ahead of them, were thrust into the world by the labor of mother nature. They are inexperienced. They are still bright and clean. At least they have each other to weather the coming months together until winter claims every last one. But they also have the roots to nourish them. The roots are ages older than they. Maybe the tree in its wisdom has warned these newbies what to expect. I'm sure it tells them about storms, the risk of lightning. About drought, and starving. Probably they know about the insects already. Some that help. Some that hinder.

Maybe the leaves are so bright because this is their moment to shine. These are glamour days, then the testing begins. Finally, in their golden years, they give another show. After trials make them hearty, they can show off the beauty of wisdom in their life's final act.

So, it's not so bad to be a little leaf. Green and full of energy, their glory is yet ahead of them.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

So Long. . .No Time

February was one of those months that went by in a blur. It even had an extra day, but that didn't help. I haven't actually just sat down at the computer to "play" in a few weeks. But here's a rundown of what I've been up to lately. . .

Mid-February was a trip to Orlando for the Chick-fil-A seminar. It was wonderful! "Great Leaders Serve." It's like a business seminar that doubles as a discipleship conference. Not to mention that the first night we got to worship with Chris Tomlin and listen to Louie Giglio.

I received my first issue of a new magazine called "ReadyMade." It's even better than I could have imagined when I ordered it! Right up my alley. Now I just need a sewing room, a wood shop, a garden, and a house. . .

If you don't read any other book this year, read "How We Love," by Kay and Milan Yerkovich. It's family and relationship psychology with Christian reinforcement. I am learning so much about myself and how I react based on years of learning to deal with my emotions in a certain way. I think everybody could benefit from reading this book, whether you are a high-schooler, single, married, no-children, raising children, empty-nesters... It's good for everybody! It shows you how to heal.

The prospect of going back to school for a Masters in Fine Arts is becoming more realistic in my mind. Next up is registering for and taking the GRE test and moving forward to the application. The goal: Creative Writing candidate in Fall of 2009!

The latest news, poor Dawsie has a UTI. For those of you who don't care to know more about my cat's medical issues, please skip to the next paragraph. For those of you with insatiable biological curiosity (like myself), he, shall we say, turned the litter pink after he was done going potty. And he was acting weird going in places he shouldn't. So I took him to the vet today and got him some antibiotics for his infected urinary tract. Poor baby.

OK, that's all for now. I can hardly keep my eyes open.