Thursday, May 28, 2009

Refreshing Weekend

Blessed. This weekend I was so very blessed to spend four days at my favorite place in the world: Rockbridge Virginia. Rockbridge is my home away from home and each time I go back it is something like a spiritual pilgrimage for me. Rockbridge is where I heard the gospel for the first time and where the holy spirit began to move in me my freshmen year of high school. My senior I returned for young life camp in more of a leadership role and was able to reflect on how far God had moved me since my freshmen year and also how so much of my life was living up to the standard of the Gospel. Also that same summer before my freshmen year of college I spent five weeks washing dishes twelve hours a day in the pits on work crew. It was absolutely the best time of my life and the first time I ever had to rely on the Lord every day. All that said it is a beautiful place rich in history and holy ground for what happens there each summer. Not to mention it is tucked away in the gorgeous Appalachian mountains.

Friends. Another reason the weekend was so great were the people I was able to spend time with. I do not get to spend to much time with my good and best friends that go to Ohio State and Miami but this weekend was a real blessing to get to laugh, joke, talk about nothing, and to delve into real spiritual stuff as well with the guys that I love very much but do not get to spend as much time with them as I would like to. Although, if they came to visit it would be a lot easier.

The Spirit. There was teaching each day that was very helpful in getting me focused but God really moved me through people, conversations, and literally doing nothing. I was able to get back an overall balance in my life that wasn't there before the weekend came.

There will be more later on the things that I learned but I thought the weekend as a whole and the refreshingness of being back in the presence of my good friends immersed in good conversation, and frisbee golf, not to mention being tucked away in my favorite place in the world, deserved its own blog.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Civil Disobedience

These are quotes I found from an interview with Martin Luther King Jr.

MlK was also asked if it was wrong to break the law?

"We must never forget that everything that Hitler did in Germany was "legal." It was illegal to aid and comfort a Jew, in the days of Hitler's Germany. But I believe that if I had the same attitude then as I have now I would publicly aid my Jewish brothers in Germany....Our nation in a sense came into being through a massive act of civil disobedience for the Boston Tea Party was nothing but a massive civil disobedience. Those who stood up against the slave laws, the abolitionists, by

and large practiced civil disobedience. So I think these students are in good company, ... they are in line with men and women through the ages who have stood up for something that is morally right."

When is civil disobedience necessary?

“There is nothing wrong with a traffic law that says you have to stop for a red light but when a fire is raging the fire truck goes through that red light and normal traffic better get out of its way. Or when a man is bleeding to death the ambulance goes through those red lights at top speed. There is a fire raging for the poor of this society, disinherited people all over the world are bleeding to death from deep social and economic wounds and they need brigades of ambulance drivers who will have to ignore the red lights of the present system until the emergency is solved.”

Sunday, May 17, 2009

We are the Church

If only...

I am the church! You are the church!
We are the church together!
All who follow Jesus all around the world!
Yes, We're the church together!
The church is not a building,
the church is not a steeple,
the church is a people.

Today was the first time in nearly 5 years that I have sat through a Church service in a pew. I was raised in Catholic Church but began to say to my friends early on in high school that I had "denounced my Catholicism". I had no idea really why I wanted out other than my rebellious nature, but more importantly in the depth of my heart I new there must be something more to the Christian faith.

So when I when I found this hymn entitled We are the Church in a United Methodist cathedral, with a large steeple, pews, and stain glass windows I was intrigued/confused.

People can meet anywhere right? Houses, streets, empty office buildings, apartments, class rooms, even under high over passes.

If what this hymn says about church is true: that church it is not in a building or steeple but is in the community of PEOPLE, then why do we build steeples, stain glass windows, and buildings?

I welcome any comment that will help me understand why we walk down this road constantly even when we claim to believe what this hymn proclaims.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Justifying the Unjustifiable

Whenever I have a conversation about the wars America has been involved in within the past ten years to rid the world of terrorism it never fails that someone always asks "But don't you think that we are safer now?"
Absolutely not.

We ought to be asking if Afghanistan and Iraqi citzeins are safer now? Safer from what? An evil regime? Then yes.

But in the name of your safety, my safety, and the Afghanistan citizen's safety is it permittable and justifiable to use violence, to drop bombs in towns where the Taliban might be but where we know innocent civilians are? We know that this is backwards when we can begin to see humans everywhere as having just as much right to life as our brothers or sisters or loved ones. We know when we have gained this paradigm when our stomachs begin to turn over at the thought of innocent people begin destroyed for my own safety.

I didn't ask for a Afghan boy to die for my comfort.

But an overall complacency for U.S. methods of fighting terrorism allows this to continue. My own personal life decisions long with America at large is giving the okay for this violent acts when we raise our safety above another group of equally created human beings.

If we can get past the layers of seperation we put up between "us" and "them" we would see that violence, collateral damage, bombs, etc. all justified by the need for safety: is unjustifable.

When will we stop and see past our week efforts to prevent any injustice, in this case terrorism, and look for the root of this problem?
Much conflict stems out of the inability for the parties in the situation to see that they may be to blame or may actually be the ones who need to change.

God forbid that America stopped and glanced at themselves to see what it has done and is doing to perpetuate a hatred that breeds terrorism.

This all came about when I saw that between 117-140 Afghan villagers were deemed collateral damage and killed as U.S. strikes aimed to destroy Taliban fighters.
The bombs were so powerful that people were ripped to shreds. Survivors said they collected only pieces of bodies. Several villagers said that they could not distinguish all of the dead and that they never found some of their relatives. -New York Times

O god,
Bring about people who wont stand for this
Destroy Christendom and its justifications
Raise up a fire within people that
hates violence
desires peace
is their brothers keeper
not their ender

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Midrash- "Nefesh"

A midrash I penned that is Derived from Genesis 2:7

The Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground. After creating the world God was standing at the foot of a mountain he had just created, admiring its beauty, when he bent down and cupped the dust from the mountain into his hands. He spit into to the dust and formed mud. He began to shape, scrape, and sculpt the mud until he had perfectly formed man in the image he desired. Yet, man stood there motionless, without life, breath, compassion, love and all of the wonderful things inside God that he wanted to share. He knew that the mud would eventually pass and that he could never pass. He wanted man all to himself for eternity. God knew he needed to give him something that would last forever, something of himself, and that always no matter the circumstance man and God could still be connected. Deep inside God was his essence, his breath that gave him life, he called it his nefesh or what we know to be our souls. God summoned his nefesh into his lungs, laid his lips upon his creation and exhaled exactly half of his nefesh into the mud. This is why God desires to be with man and man desires to be with God, because only together can both be complete. In a divine and eternal respiration the mud dried up and fell to the earth, and out of the dust appeared man in the fleshly form that we know humans as. Everything was perfect. Man and God would take long walks together, they ate together, stayed up late talking, and were in utter perfect communion. This was only because their nefesh’s formed together seamlessly. Adam and God were perfectly at home. When man fell, his nefesh became separated from God’s. Man now wanders the earth searching for the other half of his nefesh. But nothing that man tries to fit into his nefesh fits as seamlessly as God’s nefesh. All the while God was also in constant agony waiting, wishing, and offering compassion to invite the other half of his nefesh home. Both desired to be complete. Creation and the fall mark the beginning of the divine perfect love story of a god bent on brining home the other half of his nefesh.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Hold the Righteousness Please

"To be self-righteous and judgmental is to disqualify yourself from the Kingdom of God. It is to deny the fact that you are a sinner who is hanging by a cobweb of grace, just like the rest of us. If you get in touch with your humanity you will make an important discovery: You are just as fallen as everyone else and just as undeserving of God's mercy as everyone else. Such a revelation should remove every judgmental bone in your body."
Frank Viola, From Eternity to Here