Flights of Faith

Sunday, January 24, 2010


I love discovering that He's good all over again.

Today, I walked blindly. I saw glimpses, but I did not press in even as I talked with His people and planned for His purposes. And then, I got prayer at church. And God spoke! He spoke to me again. He spoke with clear pictures, words, and verses from His word.

He encouraged me. He told me that what I felt was invisible is actual a part of His reality.

There is food at His table for me. I was told not to wait for others. I don't need to be polite. No one is ever shut out against their will and there will be even more when everyone arrives. Peace is now. Rest is now. Joy is now.

And now I am worshiping Him. And it is good.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Imagination / Reason

Imagination does not breed insanity. Exactly what does breed insanity is reason. Poets do not go mad; but chess players do. …To accept everything is an exercise, to understand everything is a strain. The poet only desires exaltation and expansion, a world to stretch himself in. The poet only asks to get his head into the heavens. It is the logician who seeks to get the heavens into his head. And it is his head that splits.

GK Chesterton


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Haiti and the Power of Small Communities

God, send your healing and restorative power to the nation of Haiti. They need you and we need you. You are our God and we are your people. We claim that truth even when blood, dust, and death cover them and cover us. Help us, Jesus. Be with us, Lord.

This will catch you up on what's happening in Haiti if you haven't been following the events and aftermath of the 7.3 earthquake. My response has been a strange one. Why do I expect natural disasters like these? The images are always shocking, but nature beating down on us is just expected these days of crazy earthquakes and hurricanes and tsunamis. But there are ways that we begin to feel compassion. For me, it has been the reality of Haitian friends who are concerned about their family and a place that represents a place of belonging and home. I think there's also an inner tug and pull through our capacity to do something - not to become a savior; instead, to act appropriately as a human belonging to a bigger family. We are feeling a force pulling us to love our neighbors as ourselves. We have the capacity to give and to pray and to truly let the lives lost and the lives who still breathe affect our heart. This isn't about effort, to me. We shouldn't struggle to do this. I don't think that will help. We need to allow ourselves to do it. Let's open up a space.

Yesterday, I saw a report of an organization, Hope for the Children of Haiti, who lost no one in the earthquake. Praise! I thought to myself that that's what a certain type of praise is: excitement, rejoice, understanding the potential costs and worshipping victory over death. It's the heroic cheer. It's worship as mourning that I need to understand more. Is it coming alongside those whose memories of the dead are still alive? Is it mourning and praying for the dead? Is it joining a good God who is also shedding tears at the loss of His children? Maybe, it's just about us being faithful. Faithful through the good, the bad, and what we don't understand. Will we let tragedy separate us from the love of God...even when we don't understand how that love uses or doesn't use its power? Let us remain with the God who is comfortable with our questions. Let's keep talking with the God who has given us answers earlier in our path with Him.

Another way to show our faithfulness is to commit to action. I'm too prone to going this route in an effort to avoid all of the feeling I need to embody. All of the feeling I need to release. The feelings I need to give to God. But action is still important and necessary. While individually acting is powerful and effective, there is something about mobilizing small communities that has a dynamism to it.

Most of us belong to some small community: family, team, class, group celebrating aspect of a culture or identity, church small group. Let's covenant to talking about the relief efforts among them and suggesting our groups to corporately give money to the relief efforts, especially if that hasn't been done individually. If your community believes in the power of prayer or some other embodied act of witness that will be felt deeply, this is also something to suggest.

I think one of the reasons mobilizing small groups is powerful because if they remain still, they also remain silent. And while no one is actively harming anyone, all of a sudden that small group community becomes a place where "those things" don't happen or a place of separation from the "real world" and, thus, real pain. They become places of normalcy as opposed to places of peculiarity. Each group needs someone with a voice, someone who will be willing to speak for those who have yelled. Someone who will break the silence for someone who has cried. We have that choice. Let's be a witness.

Please share your reactions, thoughts or prayers, or other ways to help out this effort. I'm gonna post the most accurate and detailed I know of organizations ready to turn money into aid in the comments section.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Is Dreaming Safe...or Good? Conversation Is Needed.

Look! A quote for you:

"Innumerable times a whole Christian community has broken down because it had sprung from a wish dream. The serious Christian, set down for the first time in a Christian community, is likely to bring with him a very definite idea of what Christian life together should be and to try to realize it. But God’s grace speedily shatters such dreams. Just as surely as God desires to lead us to a knowledge of genuine Christian fellowship, so surely must we be overwhelmed by a great disillusionment with others, with Christians in general, and, if we are fortunate, with ourselves.

By sheer grace, God will not permit us to live even for a brief period in a dream world. He does not abandon us to those rapturous experiences and lofty moods that come over us like a dream. God is not a God of the emotions but the God of truth. Only that fellowship which faces such disillusionment, with all its unhappy and ugly aspects, begins to be what it should be in God’s sight, begins to grasp in faith the promise that is given to it. The sooner this shock of disillusionment comes to an individual and to a community the better for both.

A community which cannot bear and cannot survive such a crisis, which insists upon keeping its illusion when it should be shattered, permanently loses in that moment the promise of Christian community. Sooner or later it will collapse. Every human wish dream that is injected into the Christian community is a hindrance to genuine community and must be banished if genuine community is to survive. He who loves this dream of a community more than the Christian community itself becomes a destroyer of the latter, even though his personal intentions may be ever so honest and earnest and sacrificial.

God hates visionary dreaming; it makes the dreamer proud and pretentious. The man who fashions a visionary ideal of community demands that it be realized by God, by others, and by himself. He enters the community of Christians which his demands, sets up his own law, and judges the brethren and God Himself accordingly. He stands adamant, a living reproach to all others in the circle of brethren. He acts as if he is the creator of the Christian community, as if his dream binds men together.

When things do not go his way, he calls the effort a failure. When his ideal picture is destroyed, he sees the community going to smash. So he becomes, first the accuser of his brethren, then an accuser of God, and finally the despairing accuser of himself."

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Living Together

If you don't know about Dietrich, here's a bio. What do people think about this quote? I'm not even sure if I have coherent thoughts on it (just more questions), but I want to dialogue about it in the comments section. Even if you don't comment regularly, please share your thoughts. I think it's a really important topic, especially considering our opportunity to dream in the world we live in now. And if you don't consider yourself a follower of Jesus, I still think there are ways to enter into the dialogue so don't let that stop you.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Desired Words for My Life

I reach for words. I desire to be known by some. Ultimately, I just want Jesus. I want to be more like him every day. And I know that does not mean getting better every day. It means becoming alive. It means making strange things normal. It means being peculiar. But everything else I have tried has left me dissatisfied, so this will have to be it. These are words I dwelled in 2009 for I think they are needed catalysts in a life of positive faith for our world today.

Loyal (to the good).
(Full of) integrity.
Undivided (heart to the good).
Worshipper (in spirit and in truth).
Pure (in heart).
(Willingly) obedient.
Hungry and thirsty.
Powerful (for the least, not at the cost of them).

And as always,

Friend - this is the word that has characterized my life.

What words do you desire?

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Flicks of 2009

I was surprised by how few movies I saw in 2008. When I reviewed the films of the year, I found out many of the ones I saw were simply unmemorable. 2009 is similar.

My first movie of the year was in May: STAR TREK! I wish this was a better movie, but it was fun. I could not stand Kirk's sexism, arrogance, and swagger. J.J. Abrams knows how to get to me though, and I loved the score. I'm looking forward to the sequel.

Next up, X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Disappointing and cheesy. Tina and I had wanted to see Earth, the Disney nature film, but we got our times mixed up. After ten minutes of the Beyonce horror Obsessed, our consciences forced us to find another movie. Wolverine, it was. Mildly entertained, we were.

After that, I kept the summer tradition and saw Pixar's Up. I loved the movie, and I think it might be my favorite of the year. I still have trouble with the fact that it's about an old dude, a little boy, and a talking dog. However, I just watched the montage sequence towards the beginning of the film, and it is pure wonder.

Transformers was a popcorn requisite. I would have sat out, but my apartment decided to go. The way we got through it? Cheering for Transformers legend references, Megan Fox posing, and Shia saying he wasn't ready. It was a hoot.

Most disappointing film was Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. I'll probably watch it again sometime, but I just sighed my way through this film. The Potter series got ordinary the only time it could get away with it...the second to last Potter. I didn't hate it as much as 'Goblet.' At the same time though, 'Goblet' had scenes that beat any reel in HP6...easy.

Ponyo, one of Studio Ghibli's films was pure ridiculousness.

I wrapped up the year with Precious. This movie was an experience, to say the least. Lots to think about after watching it. I'm not sure if my thoughts worked their way out of the pure terrifying experience that is this fim.

I saw the following on airplane videos or on DVD/online: Paul Blart: Mall Cop (WHHHYYYYY?), Inkheart (decent fantasty), and The Soloist (I struggle through it though I admire the effort).

I saw Princess and the Frog yesterday. Disney has a ways to go to get its glory back, but this was a great start.

Movies I missed that I want to see: 500 Days of Summer, Paper Heart, fame, A Serious Man, Where the Wild Things Are, This Is It, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Avatar.

Again, 2010 goal. Write some screenplays! I'm tired of complaining about movies. I want to make them.