Tag Archives: Church

September 24 – 26, 2003

I’m so distracted today…the last few days. It’s just that today the results of being distracted are more easily seen. I feel like the only way I will be able to maintain any touch with God today is on a moment to moment basis…Like that’s bad or something?

I miss you today, Jesus. I feel I’ve missed you  – I’m still not getting up early, I’m not taking the time I should. I’m not praying like I want to – transformational prayer. I’m going to get outside somewhere and try praying through the “Waking the Dead” prayer again.

I took time yesterday morning and walked to Carrie’s and got a coffee then went over to Comeford Park and read through the Waking the Dead Prayer. It was good. But somehow, it felt corrupted. People feel like a “drain” on my resources right now. I feel like there are a bunch of people sliding away from AC3 and even their faith, and it’s my job to “win them back”.  I know that I cannot – should not, and so maintaining my resolve NOT do something even drains me. I see Tammy on my walk and stop to chat – I feel drained. I pass by First Church (populated by “drains”) and feel drawn to pray for them, and by the time I get to the office…blech.

I realized last night that I’m pretty annoyed with almost everyone. But it’s not from a classic place of superiority or anything like that. As I run down the list of people who seem to be wriggling and pulling away, I realize I’m at least as worried as I am annoyed. These are people who are either currently disappointed in me, or run the RISK of becoming disappointed in me (or with AC3 which is such a part of me, it might as well BE me in some ways)

There is list of people, who while currently not a “threat” of leaving, could become one very quickly if I screw up – if they “perceive” I screw up. I’m not even going to try to type that list….maybe I should.

God these are the people I feel a large degree of responsibility for. People who’s approval matter to me. Spirit, guide me. As I type out these names, I release them. Father, please free me – a deep freedom, a lasting freedom. Please free them.

(I did type those names. 38 of them)

Then there are those that I feel have already been cut. I’m guilty of ACTUALLY disappointing these:

(12 more names)

Oh Father, I need you to show me what it means to be Sam. I feel like in frustration and anger over their own pain..their own burdens that they bear – some of these people have knocked me down and are holding Sting against my throat just like Frodo did out of his own pain. I see the fire in their eyes, the willingness to kill. For those who have NOT done this – I see the potential. And then there is the list of names of those YET to come…the next 40 years. My grandchildren. Mike and Sally, Sam and Ralene, our new neighbors….WHO ELSE!

God, I need your freedom in ADVANCE…I need to borrow some courage for the future. Or perhaps I need to better budget the courage I have now… Both.

Bring them in, God. Bring them to us.

No don’t…we can’t do this right. We don’t really know what we’re doing!

But bring them you will…for you are the hero of this story. We will be spent on the beaches of Normandy. That is what we were made for. Sometimes  I wish you made us ignorant of these things. It’s one thing to be a drone in a massive army but it’s an altogether other thing to KNOW that you’re a drone in a massive army. But this is YOU’RE universe. Not mine. You have proven to me that you love your “drones” wildly. You created love…well, you ARE love. I’m so glad you are.

I think, “what would it be like if God were NOT love?”

I bet that there would be NO creation at all.

This certainly could not be a universe created for cruelty sake. In order for it to be effectively cruel, it would have to be populated with creations that could comprehend that they were being tortured. Therefore, these creations would have to possesses an intrinsic understanding of love or else how could they be tortured by the lack of it? And if they possess this capacity, that would make them of a HIGHER order than their cruel God. And that is a contradiction in terms.

That all pre-supposes that love is higher than selfish gratification which is a concept true only in a universe created by love…the universe I live in.

So, it would be possible for a god to create a universe in which cruelty reigns – it just wouldn’t be THIS universe. It would be a universe where the highest value is God’s satisfaction through the suffering of his creation. Yes, there could certainly be that kind of universe, but it could not possibly be THIS universe – because God created me, and I know better. Hmmm. Puts a new spin on John chapter 17:20 My existence is proof of a loving God?

Geesh. No pressure.

In the final analysis – the most cruel expressions of creation are simply twisted expressions of a desire for love, making love the highest value. And if God were not love – then all of creation would in fact be striving for something higher than the creator, thereby making the creation higher than the creator, and that is a contradiction in terms, no matter what universe you’re from.


September 18th, 2003

I’ve lighted my candles. I came in early today to get some quiet time. I can feel the pressure of busyness building – a pressure that pushes against who I am somehow. I can feel within it the normal “healthy” pressure of having much to do – being mission oriented, servant hearted – all those things. I know I was created to fall into bed exhausted every night having  been completely spent in my purpose for that day. I don’t “fear” that kind of busy – I embrace it. But all of that is coated in a layer of anxiety over performing.

I realize why I really came in early this morning…MOSTLY to get work done.

“Come on come on…get peaceful so that everything you do today will be blessed…come on…get on with it!”

As I sat and watched the candles and thought “Shalom, shalom…” I realized that I was putting my “practices” into a very utilitarian role. If my practices are designed to facilitate intimacy with God, then my intimacy with God becomes utilitarian as well, and a truth about me comes into view…and it looks like an enormous sleeping dragon:

I’m STILL putting everything else first. My intimacy with God, my BECOMING does not have primacy in my life…not even for one day!

(Unless of course I leave everything behind and wander around in the woods by myself with nothing to distract me for 6 days! Then I can seem to keep it straight.)

I come bounding around a curve on a narrow mountain trail, sword and shield in hand, feeling cocky, singing a song out loud, feeling fine, when I’m stopped in my tracks by the sight of this immense creature. I traveled a great distance and endured many hardships to get here, knowing that I would face a dragon. But I was not prepared for how big it really is. I swallow hard as I scan the expanse of its scaly exterior. The ground literally shakes with each breath the giant takes. I’m glad it’s asleep right now, while I figure out what to do. How do you defeat something this big? My sword (the length of ONE of its scales) would barely scratch the surface of its skin. I suppose I could devise some elaborate strategy to defeat it: create a massive landslide and crush it? Ridiculous. I could simply retreat and then lie about it…that works! I could try to reason with it…tame it and make it my pet. I could simply wake it up with a start and let it eat me…get it over with.

Or I could accept the fact that my purpose is to fight the dragon…”I shall defend my true self, whatever the cost may be, I shall fight on the beaches, I shall fight on the landing grounds, I shall fight in the fields and in the streets, I shall fight in the hills; I shall never surrender…”

What if I’m destined to never defeat the dragon – but never to surrender to it either? What if by some magic, it does not have the power to defeat me, but only to engage me in battle to the exclusion of all other activity on my part…I can’t let my guard down for a minute.

Oh, Father – there you go again! I just saw a picture of Sam Wise leading Gallum through the wilds by a leash. Sam could never turn his back for more than a moment. He could never sleep peacefully – he was linked to his enemy – bonded to him. He must protect Frodo AND himself from the enemy. All at once repulsed, all at once in conflict with him, battling him every step along the way, suspecting, grappling, subduing, but never defeating…because he needed him to be a guide.

God – how is my driveness – my fear of being a disappointment – my dragon – how is this a guide?

I will not turn back. I will not leave. I will not slow my pace, I will not surrender. The journey that I thought was all about the ring when it began, turned into protecting Frodo. Neither of those purposes have changed – they are still there. But the means to complete them has changed. I must become. The only way to complete these missions is to place them BEHIND “becoming” in terms of priority. If Frodo is to be protected, and if the ring is to be destroyed, I must be who I was made to be.

God help me to rest in my becoming, despite the noise and distractions.