Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Song #2 Always Love by Nada Surf

Theology of Lyric Song #2
Always Love by Nada Surf off the record The Weight is a Gift

To make a mountain of your life
Is just a choice
But I never learned enough
To listen to the voice that told me
Always love Hate will get you every time
Always love Don't wait til the finish line

Slow demands come 'round
Squeeze the air and keep the rest out
It helps to write it down
Even when you then cross it out

But Always Love Hate will get you every time
Always Love even when you wanna fight

Self-directed lives
I want to know what it'd be like to
Aim so high above
Any card that you get dealt you

Always Love
Hate will get you every time
Always love
Hate will get you

I've been held back by something
Yeah. You said to me quietly on the stairs,
I've been held back by something
Yeah. You said to me quietly on the stairs.
You said
Hey, you good ones.
Hey, you good ones.

To make a mountain of your life
Is just a choice
But I never learned enough
To listen to the voice that told me
Always love hate will get you every time
Always love hate will get you

I've been held back by something
Yeah, You said to me quietly on the stairs,
I've been held back by something
Yeah, You said to me quietly on the stairs
You said..
Hey, you good ones
Hey, you good ones
Hey, you good ones

I like this song a lot... the idea that we are made to love, but 'hate will get you every time.' This song allows the freedom to make the choice to love, even though hate is easier...

I'm prone to make mountains out of my life, in essence, I choose to make things bigger than they are (more daunting and scary).

I (we) must choose to love, even when I'm (we're) held back by: expectations, pride, despair hopelessness, apathy, isolation, desolation, conclusions, etc.

Always Love!

Hate will get you every time!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Theology of Music

I'm going to attempt to write about the most theologically influential songs that have impacted the way I think about God, life, and church.
I encourage you to listen to the song and make your own conclusions. I also encourage you to think about the most influential songs you have heard and why they are important to you?

Background: I like good lyrics even if the music leaves something to be desired. So, I guess I'm not a purist when it comes to the actual sound... I really like the poetry of lyric and how it moves me to see God in a new light.

The first song I want to focus on is:
BAD by U2 on the album: Wide Awake In America:

If you twist and turn away
If you tear yourself in two again
If I could, yes I would
If I could, I would
Let it go
If I could throw this
Lifeless lifeline to the wind
Leave this heart of clay
See you walk, walk away
Into the night
And through the rain
Into the half-light
And through the flame

If I could through myself
Set your spirit free
I'd lead your heart away
See you break, break away
Into the light
And to the day

Oooh oooh, oooh oooh, oooh oooh oooh...

To let it go! And so fade away
To let it go!
And so fade away
I'm wide awake
I'm wide awake
Wide awake
I'm not sleeping, oh no, no, no

If you should ask then maybe they'd
Tell you what I would say
True colors fly in blue and black
Blue silken sky and burning flag
Colors crash, collide in blood shot eyes

Oooh oooh, oooh oooh, oooh oooh oooh...

If I could, you know I would
If I could, I would
Let it go

This desparation
In temptation

Let it go
And so fade away
To let it go, oh yeah
And so fade away
To let it go, oh No
And so fade away
I'm wide awake
I'm wide awake
Wide awake
I'm not sleeping oh no no

The idea behind the song for me is my role as a pastor. The decision that we make is what we are going to hold onto to define us. To be alive is to be awake... If I could answer all the questions people have, I would refuse, if I could make it all go away (especially the pain in your lives, i would refuse...

Each of us must choose what we are going to hold onto... we must also choose what we are going to let go of... the pain each of us experiences is palpable... the question is wether we are going to let it define us, or if we are going to let it go...

We are invited to let go of what we cling to to define us, and cling to love that will define us.

I have chosen to let go of the pain of the past in order to experience freedom and I believe that happens only through Jesus who is the Christ...

What is God calling you to let go of?

What defines you?
This desparation
In temptation

Could it be that Love defines you?

rock on

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Life too short = not paying attention

So I had a friend of mine send me a message on on my 39th birthday (yesterday) saying that she thinks 39 is old. Well, that caused me to ponder a bit about the question of life being short? and if I believed "life was flying by?"

In some ways my memory deceives me a bit into thinking that time has "flown." Reality, however is that a lot of experiences and life has happened in my lifetime. Events, celebrations, grief, pain, joy, commitment, faith, blood, sweat, tears, hopes and dreams all have been a part of those experiences.

When I think about all the places I've been, the things I've seen, and the number of people I have had the honor to meet I am amazed I haven't needed more time.

I guess life is all about perspective, maybe time flies when we aren't paying attention?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Nostalgia is not what is seems to be...

I've read and seen the movie 'the watchmen.' Throughout the book an ad campaign called "Nostalgia" is seen everywhere. On billboards, TV, in newspapers... everywhere.

Stacy and I just got back from OKC yesterday for her 20 year high school reunion. It was interesting to be an outside observer of nostalgia in action. The strange thing is that most everyone there had this past relationship in HS, but life moved forward and all that is left are nostalgic memories of the past.

In 'Watchmen' 'Nostalgia' is a fragrance. My experience of the reunion was like observing people with different fragrances of nostalgia... some people had too much on, others, not enough.

My point is that nostalgia defines the past the way you want it to be... and keeps one from being present in the now.

Maybe the point of watchmen is that we glorify the past, therefore we cant see the present.

Note: High School reunions are a bit painful to observe... I can't wait for mine!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Noela Drive - Ka Lani Lua

So today marks the end of my 9 day stint in Hawaii overlooking Waikiki. I have been the 'house-sitter' for my father-in-law. He is the property manager for the house.

The house sits up on diamond-head overlooking a huge park (Kapiolani) and all the hotels of Waikiki. I have surfed everyday, in board shorts (not a 5 ml wetsuit). Stacy came in over the weekend and we had a great time hanging out together. I miss her and will get to see her soon... I have enjoyed being away. But I'm glad to be coming back to what I know and to people who know me.

I used to go on vacation and think, 'I want to live here.' Like, as if life would be better if I'm on vacation all the time. This trip was different, although I was able to hang out and surf, I still had responsibilities. I had tasks that I had to be responsible for, things that needed to get done. That responsibility was/is a great gift.

Ususally, on a vacation, I think only about what's next on the agenda not about the plants that have yet to be watered or the pool that needs more chlorine. On vacation I think, ' that pool looks fun to swim in,' not, 'I think the tiles need some scrubbing.'

Anywhoo, it's been a much different trip... I'll write more later...

I was given a taste of what life would be like, if by chance, we were to move here.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

List of Creatures I've seen... Grand Cayman, BWI

School of Silversides: Tiny Minnows
School of Jacks
French Grunts
Needle fish
Juvenile French Angel Fish
Green Anemone
Reef Squid
Souther Stingray
Eagle ray
Green Morey Eel
Spotted Morey
Spotted Drum
Fairy Basslet
Blue, Brown and Yellow Chromis
Blue and Yellow Tang

Friday, May 8, 2009

Eden Rock: Time to Dive

Well... I'm in Grand Cayman, BWI (British West Indies) about to go diving for the 3rd time today. I used to work here, long ago. Everything has changed on the land... but underwater... oh man... is it beautiful!

We are going to dive as a whole family at a place called Eden Rock. I don't have my camera or video... all I have to do is be present...

I will write of our adventure later.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The time is now...

The time is now: To:
Be Thankful
Say Hello
Reconcile Friendships
Be Family
Be Joyful
Be at Peace
Enjoy Life
Love Abundantly

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Maundy Thursday Thoughts

Today marks the events that transpired 2000ish years ago in the city of Jerusalem. Jesus washed his disciples feet, shared the last supper with them, cried out to God with agony and anguish to take the 'cup' from him (meaning the ensuing events that lead to his crucifixion), and was betrayed by Judas Iscariot in the garden of Gethsemane.

We remember the sacrifice, the overwhelming responsibility of our role in the death of Jesus, and we remember that we are to serve the way that Jesus served us... We must learn to be vulnerable enough to allow the Christ to wash our feet, and willing enough to wash the feet of others.

may it be so... in one word... amen

Friday, March 27, 2009

Found Art in Little Somalia

I'm about to go 'help' with a found art project for Somali relocated refugee kids. I have a feeling that it will be a challenge for me. The collision of culture tends to make me feel uncomfortable. I also feel discomfort that really knowing the kids stories don't happen quickly enough for me.
Sometimes I'm surprised at my desire for depth in relationships with out time investment. I guess I am prone to act on my consumerism... even (or especially) in relationships...


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Knowing the path... and walking the path

In the Matrix Trilogy, two of the main characters, one named Morpheus, the other, Neo, were speaking to each other about the quest they were on.
Morpheus states that, "there is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path."
I believe that living into the path is crucial to life.
Without walking the path we sit idol.
Our apathy convinces us that we are waiting for things to happen... like the child who doesn't want to take a nap... we don't want to miss out on anything...

We are missing out while we wait...

I know the path, it's time to walk it...

Ephesians 5: 14

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Sanctification is a process...

I've been thinking about sanctification... 'to be set apart for special purpose'... and I think that we all are being set apart for special purpose... isn't that what it means to be compelled to follow Jesus?

I'm learning that things like sanctification and transformation (and other words that end with 'tion') have some ambiguity around the amount of time it takes to become those things...

I don't believe one can make a case (Biblically) that God is all that interested in arrival, efficiency or destination. Although those are ideas I find compelling because they are comforting. Arrival, efficiency, and destination remove the possibility of sanctification, and transformation because the focus is on the end result not the process...

We might ask ourselves; "In what ways are we more like Jesus today than we were yesterday?," or, "What areas of life does God want to transform?"

Maybe our questions that we reflect on have something to do with our (un)willingness to embrace Sanctification and transformation?


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Observance of Holy Lent Invitation

We are about to embark on a journey that will take us through the life, death, burial and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. This season is a reminder of all the ways we are in need of God. This season is similar to Advent in that we wait and listen for God’s “still, small voice.”

Traditionally, the Lenten season has been a time to fast, exercise abstinence and penitence in commemoration of Jesus’ fasting in the wilderness for 40 days. I would like to encourage each of you to consider giving up, or adding to your life in a meaningful way that would help you focus on God.

Pray as you consider what God would invite you to ‘give up.’ God may compel you to add something to your schedule, rather than take away. Stacy and I are going to abstain from eating meat over Lent. I will also be practicing Yoga each day during these 40 days.

The benefits of abstinence are reviled as you practice. Fasting is a way for you and I to be aware that God is present in our lives.

I encourage you to pray through the possibilities of your season of Lent, my prayers are with you as you practice faith.

Grace and peace,

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Preparation for Lent: The easy target of Mardi Gras

So today is Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras, Shrove Tuesday, and Pancake Tuesday...

I think it's funny how we try to work indulgences out of our system... when our system (western, American cultural system) is indulgent. So to prepare to be 'holy' during lent we try to get 'all our sin out'

Mardi Gras is the easiest target for this visual... the celebration is comprised of masked, therefore anonymous, people getting all their 'sin' out, at night, in the dark... there is the safety in numbers thing, and mob mentality rolled into one.

At the height of all this 'tomfoolery' I'm struck most by my conclusion that I don't do the exact same thing... I tent to compare and contrast my behavior against such an easy target as Mardi Gras. However, my indulgence is just as destructive, just as dark, just as masked... It's just not celebrated as such?

The sins of: pride, indifference, lust, prejudice, competence, narcissism, (the violence of) consumption, disconnection from the body of Christ and countless others are what I keep hidden.

So before I look down upon such celebrations of 'sin' I must be fully aware of my sin that separates me from God.

what do you think?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Back to Normal

I returned to the office this week for my first 'normal' week back since the last week of January. Here's the short list of explanation of absence:
* Covenant Clergy Midwinter Conference in Chicago Feb. 2nd-6th
* Shane Claiborne: The Simple Way: Friday the 6th Evening
* Oregon Center for Christian Values Advocacy training February 7th
* Vibrant Gathering focusing on the pillars of being Church February 8th
* Multnomah County Jury Duty: Monday February 9th: Juror in the Philip Sano Trial until Wednesday afternoon (11th)
* Got Sick (cold Thursday-Sunday)
* Valentines Day Breakfast with the Mathis'
* V Day evening dessert @ Pix Patisserie... with the amazing CJ: DJ, transvestite, lounge singer...
* Vibrant Gathering focusing on our attention on our Vibrant Congregational Identity...

Yesterday was a much needed day off...

Monday, February 9, 2009

Jury Duty: the waiting game

Here I sit...
in a huge room with a other potential Jury Dut-ee-ains. We wait. every once in a while a officer of the court gets up reads from a list of names... everyone takes a deep breath... the tension is significant... the boredom is less noticable but no less significant...
I think we the potential jurors are in the nebulas space of ambiguity... not knowing when our name will be called...

there is the sense of the unknown in the ambiguous space... an emotional connection to what might be...

People are passing the time in various forms: reading working on computers talking quietly, there is a group of women that are playing "cranium" (very entertaining)...

We are in this together, but each separate... the table i share now is with 2 other computer users... we've talked internet...

is that it?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Church as Collaboration

I have been thinking about what our trademarks are as a congregation. We are a congregation of collaborators. We figure things out as we go... that is very different than making 'it' up as we go along. We have weathered many storms as a congregation mainly because of our shared value of collaboration. We have freedom to work things out together.

We are working on a project to give to our partner congregation in Dodoma, Tanzania. We wanted to give something of ourselves that would represent who we are and that we long to be with them. In the course of figuring out what we were going to create to give a visual representation of who we are. People became frustrated with the process of collaborating. Collaboration demands engagement... one cannot opt out and still be a collaborator.

I wonder if discipleship is more an act of collaboration than individuation?

What do you think?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What I like...

I like:
Waking up next to Stacy (my wife) each day... even when I feel like I haven't gotten enough sleep.
The way cold, wet air feels when I breathe deeply (Oregon Dankness)
The Sound of the Ocean
The feeling of getting tumbled in the waves
Sliding down the face of a wave on a board
A good conversation
Watching L'Aubergale run around in circles with excitement
Watching Cleo(catra)'s belly fur blowing when the heater turns on
Talking about and Pondering the words of Jesus
Fly Fishing on the Metolius (even if I don't catch any fish)
Snowboarding with friends
Attempting new things
Remembering laughter
Watching movies
Seeing what resides in the ocean (All creatures)
My family of friends

I like a lot of things but this is a good start

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Woes and Curiosity

I spoke this past Epiphany Sunday about Holy Curiosity being a prime motivator for our faith. I was hoping that this idea of curiosity was what compelled those invitees to see the new born king to travel to see him (and family).

I have been thinking that fear is a primary motivator for me... most often I fear what i can't control (most everything). I started making a list of things I can't control:
Life, others, history, world financial markets, war, politics, the number of people showing up to our gathering of worship, how much people tithe, etc...

The motivation though is to worry... I worry about most everything (when I'm truthful with myself)... I guess I come by my fearful motivation naturally enough... I'm barraged by media that sells my proneness to fear as a commodity. The more fear inducing stories the more people watch... the news becomes a horror short story of all that's wrong with the world...

Enough about the media... I have a fondness to worry and fear...

I remember a movie called "Mr Mom" where the dad convinces his little son to release his "woobie blanket" back into his care. My worry is like that "woobie blanket" that my heavenly father is inviting me to turn over to his care. My woes, fears and worries, become familiar motivation against a holy curiosity that stems from God.

Matthew 18 is an example of how we can return to childhood where we get to exercise humble, fear-free, holy curiosity...