July 24, 2011

Inevitable, I suppose. Darkness.

It’s stalking me. Well, it always stalks me. It seems there are times when I am able to stay several steps ahead of it . . . It doesn’t know exactly where I am and so it’s simply a matter of listening for it as it rumbles through the underbrush, lost, trying to pick up my scent.

I can almost laugh at times like those. Giggle under my breath as I listen to it passing by, growling in frustration.

Then there are times when I wake up in the morning, and I’ve forgotten everything I know. Its like I don’t know who I am, what I’m capable of and what is truly a threat. It’s like I’ve been rebooted overnight. If darkness is not near on those mornings, I have the chance to get my bearings, shake off the amnesia and prepare.

But some mornings follow very troubled nights. I rarely have any memory of the dreams, but I wake up with darkness crouched right on top of my chest like a gargoyle  leering into my face, claws dug in, pinning me down before I can even resist.

No escape. Darkness will have my attention on these days. Its not a matter of avoiding him anymore. It’s not about “attitude” (does ANYONE really think that if there were a way to avoid this, that I wouldn’t take it?) or about spiritual practices, truth, intercession, faith or doctrine.

It just is. And it means fighting. It means combat.

The tactics of darkness are dirty. There are only low blows. He attacks in such a way as to make your defense seem noble, then he reminds you of your pride. Humbly confess pride and so he hits you with assaults on your loveability. Take a deep breath, drop your need to be loved and it’s a round house to the head with building resentment and isolation. Repent, open yourself, be vulnerable and it times out PERFECTLY with the moment that those who love you most, treat you with the most contempt, or maybe just indifference . . . Or even just the APPEARANCE of these.

Its just an effing street fight some days.

In a twisted sort of way, having darkness follow me all the way to Scotland encourages me:

It contributes to the familiarity I spoke of earlier. It may suck . . . But darkness is the same here as he is at home (doesn’t even have a cool accent)

Also, it reminds me that I’m here to fight. I’m not here to write, to preach, to be “holy” or play the drums. I’m here to do the will of the Father, just like my Master did. That means no matter what I do, I FIGHT to do it in HIS name giving thanks to God the Father through him. So writing, preaching, drumming, loving my family, being still, driving on the left . . . All become warfare.

Darkness comes. He will ALWAYS come. No need to fear. Only need to fight by living anyway.

Oh. Church of Scotland this morning. Very different from the Anglican. Simple. Austere. Beautiful. You could hear the truth of ‘ol fashioned reform theology in the sermon; not the angry, defensive new reformation you get from today’s “reformed elite”. It was an inclusive, but still rugged reformed theology in which God’s sovereignty is expressed in his overwhelming love, not in his decision making skills. Its as if the sovereignty discussion has already been settled. Heh. Go figure! It’s as if the pastor was assuming that those of who show up KNOW that God is sovereign. Refreshing.

It made me realize again that the radical, noisy, judgmental neo-reformers are likely compensating for their own fear that God is really not up to the task. Me thinks they do protest too much, if you know what I mean.

Heard the local pipe band practice in the town square. Thrilling.

Nap. equally thrilling.

GORGEOUS weather.

Drove to Killmartin Glen, site of ancient stone circles the same age as Stone Henge . . .just smaller, and guarded by a herd of sheep. You can literally walk up and touch these 8000 year old objects, likely erected for some kind of worship. Yet another “wow” and we’re not even half way through this trip, nor at its spiritual center yet.

Getting the hang of the left hand road/right hand drive thing now. It’s fun. Gotta stay focused though, or it’s easy to pull out into on-coming traffic.

Trying to plumb the depths of the Campbell family history. It’s more complicated than Chinese algebra. Not only have you got what was essentially gang warfare which went on for centuries, you must then superimpose the Scotish and English royal systems onto those networks . . .

Include the dawn of the industrial revolution, the discovery and emigration to the new world, a couple of revolutions and world war or two, and you get a tangle like 50 extension cords in a box along with last years Christmas lights (packed away by your blind uncle Frank while he was drunk), 104 old style phone cords (the slinky kind) a 500 yard ball of twine, one gross of bungee cords, and a panicky cat. Give that box to a disgruntled UPS driver and have him drive it through a police obstacle course for about a year . . . You are now approaching the kind TANGLE I’m talking about.

The family motto is cool though, etched onto the blades of battle axes and pikes still hanging in the armory of Clan Campbell right now:


Inspiring words of warfare for days of battle.

4 thoughts on “July 24, 2011

  1. Thanks for that sharing re darkness Dan. Fighting a bit of that myself these days and appreciate the company in arms!

    Re: new reformation – was reading Eugene Peterson’s “Christ Walks in Ten Thousand Places, and appreciated an insight that those who are angry and centred on judgement, have slipped from the joy of their original salvation back to fear – need ministry!


  2. Hmmm…yeah. I can relate. I get so envious sometimes of the naturally bubbly, joyous people. And when I have those joyous moods, I lap them up. And when it’s dark, I sometimes try hard to be that person anyway. What I’ve learned in the long run is there is no “real” me because there is no “unreal” me. It’s all me. I just can’t take any of it too seriously in the end. And that is one of MY battles…not to take it all too seriously.But then, seriously enough.

    Beautiful writer you are. (vaguely Yoda-ish)
    Missing me some Hazens

  3. Darkness…great personification of an ever present reality. Just finished reading “Out of the Silent Planet.” If only we could see darkness(I think you kinda do) like the Hross see the hnakra:
    ‘The hnakra is our enemy, but his is also our beloved. We feel in our hearts his joy as he looks down from the mountain of water in the north where he was born; we leap with him when he jumps the falls; and when winter comes, and the lake smokes higher than our heads, it is with his eyes that we see it and know that his roaming time is come. We hang images of him in our houses, and the sign of all the hrossa is a hnakra. In him the spirit of the valley lives; and our young play at being hneraki as soon as they can splash in the shallows.’
    ‘And then he kills them?’
    ‘Not often them. The hrossa would be a bent hrossa if they let him get so near. Long before he had come down so far we should have sought him out. No, Hman, it is not a few deaths roving the world around him that make a hnau miserable. It is a bent hnau that would blacken the world. And I say also this. I do not think the forest would be so bright, nor the water so warm, nor love so sweet, if there were no danger in the lakes.’

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