9 09 2008

the more unknown life becomes the more i realize that i’m not meant to live the known life. there is this great mystery in not knowing what is next, where God will shift things in the next moment. it’s a mystery so unique and great that it draws me in to just dwell in it and the God that is behind it all.

as i write this i am sitting in piles of junk, surrounded by a big mess of clutter, not sure which piece to start with as I try to make it liveable again. personally, i am untied from all the normal confines, separated from employment, from cohabitation, from romantic relationship. It’s all one big pile of uncertainty, a mini-mystery if you will.

a lot of the time the idea is that we should be trying to figure out our lives, figure out God’s plan(s) for us, to wrap our minds around the mystery. i’ve just been struck with how wrong this all sounds and seems. God is an infinite being whose very initial definition is the understanding that we cannot really understand. so why then the massive desire to get it, process it, analyze it all, and spit it out in religious language? there should be a need to just soak up the ambiguous nature of everything and trust in God to provide.

we spend so much time wandering around trying out this and that, claiming it to be the will and desires of God. perhaps God would love for us to just spend some time to stop and sit with Him, deepen a relationship of love, and be drowned in mystery. we have this infinite knowledge base in God who chooses to impart some of His understanding upon us, plenty of which we leave untapped. the endeavour should be to soak up God, not to try to run around pronouncing His position as if we are the almighty, infinite, holy and perfect being. this is to resurrect the relationship with God that we were ultimately designed for, and shown glimpses of with the creation of adam and eve.

adam walked (walked!?!) with God in eden and was blessed with such a close encounter with His creator. God clearly defined a boundary with the tree of knowledge of good and evil, but presented Himself to adam and everything else God had made. adam had the creator, the perfect and holy one right there with him who he walked with in relationship. in his basic nature, from the point of creation, adam only knew of relationship with God. the only thing that adam didn’t have was knowledge of good and evil, not knowledge in general. if that’s the only thing adam couldn’t eat, would it not make sense to assume that he had everything else? in relationship at the point of creation, adam had such a rich knowledge from walking with God and soaking it all up.

at the very beginning, God designed it so that we wouldn’t know it all, but that we would have a rich relationship with Him in His creation. so why, oh why, do we go to the ends of the world to try to understand the mind of God through our systems, through our trees, and run away from the relationship? because we can’t bring ourselves to the point of admitting that we don’t know, that we aren’t meant to know it all.

maybe we need to stop pouring into our paradigms, our schedules, and start listening, walking, and soaking up God and who He is in relationship. this is going to look different for you than it is for me, but that’s alright, there isn’t a system to it. but there’s nothing to say that we can’t begin journeying along the path of relationship and uncertainty together. in fact, i would say that we should make a point of doing this together, in community. i think i’m ready to get immersed in a great mystery…


thoughts on Nouwen

30 05 2008

i’ve recently had this longing to pull out a book that i read a couple of years ago and found to be exceptional. it’s called In The Name Of Jesus by Henri Nouwen. generally i’m pretty wary of the stuff that a Catholic priest has written, i’m not going to knock his stuff when it is some of the best i have ever read.

you know when you read someone and you are struck by the simplicity yet amazing nature of what he has to say? Nouwen fits the bill perfectly.

so i had this thought, how about i take one of his quotes, once a day until i run through what stuck out in the book, and think about it and mull it over. i can’t be any worse off for it and it’ll be a great exercise in learning to see what i might get out of this. so for the next however many days i’m going to reflect on one quote of Nouwen and see where it takes me, and if you’re reading this too, see where it takes you as well.

how about i start with something from the prologue.

God is a God of the present and reveals to those who are willing to listen carefully to the moment in which they live the steps they are to take toward the future

we often find ourselves seeking out the will of God, or the perfect plan that God has for us without really considering what’s going on around us. how much do we get stuck in the future and the past thinking that God’s will is trapped in something we have done or will do, not in what we are doing? something tells me that we might want to practice looking for God in the moment and where we’re at, not just where we’re going. maybe if we want to know what we should be doing with life, who we should marry, where we should live, etc, we should stop and slow down our lives just enough to hear the voice of God calling out to us while we live our lives away.

now that’s what i call a man with the power of simplicity and profoundness.

hearing anew in pain

19 01 2008

one of those books that I’ve been wanting to read for a while is C.S. Lewis’ Problem of Pain. i don’t want to say that it’s because i’m going through pain in my life right now, but it’s been on that list for a while now and just lately it came up again. in line with what i wrote yesterday about Matthew West and his new cd and dvd documentary, there was this quote from Lewis’ book that is readily quoted by West.

God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.

it obviously makes sense when you relate it to West’s story, with the aspect of complete silence in his respect for two months. but what i want to do is take it outside of that context and expand on what it means to me right now in the midst of where i’m at.

i struggle with the idea of hearing from God constantly, mostly because i don’t take the time and opportunities to listen like i’m told to. i live in a world that thrives off noise and every bit of this and that to fill up the caverns of our souls. it’s like the idea of silence is forbidden from really crossing our minds. maybe that’s why i find those solitary moments where it’s just me and my thoughts (although admittedly i usually have some music, or in this case some people’s voices, playing in the near distance) to be the most satisfying throughout my days. but even in the midst of these moments i still can’t seem to find or track Him down. and yes, again, i’ll admit that i’m probably not doing the best job of looking for God. but why is it that i find it easiest to do this when i’m sunken and beaten rather than when i have provision and happiness in life?

as i’m sure you’ve guessed, this whole ex-relationship thing is still very much on my nerves, in my head, and all over my life. somedays it seems like i’m trying to run from the problem, until i realize that if i was running i wouldn’t be living 100 feet away from her. people keep on saying to give time and have patience, but those things are often the least comforting, because of course as a fallen human being i’m more concerned about how i feel than the actual glory in the midst of the situation. it’s like i’m a pre-occupied, self-enamored, arrogant prude a lot of the time. i’m as big a part of this fallen and corrupt world as the people who don’t understand that and just go on living as such.

that’s where Lewis starts to resonant with me. you see, i’m not exactly comfortable saying that i hear God speaking to me throughout my life, but i also can’t necessarily deny that God is around and doing things. it’s like…..i don’t know what, but something that God obviously created that comes and goes all the time without it really being realized. because a lot of times it feels like i phone every few days and just get the answering machine and leave my pithy message, only to never get a return call. or maybe i’m just not listening.

maybe God’s just really trying to grab me and shake me and show me how much He really is there and doing everything around me. but i’m just not opening myself up and listening. so how do i come to listen then? what’s it going to take for me to get a genuine and authentic bit of God into who i am?

maybe it takes pain.

pain, pain, and more pain. God shouts to us when we’re weak and in shambles, when we’re down and out and ready to finally listen to what you’ve been trying to get through with all the time. as Lewis said, we’re a deaf world of people, unable to hear what He’s saying, until of course we get hit with pain. and then, if we’re willing, the sounds of the megaphone start to break through and we get this moment of divine intervention.

so how do i listen? how do i go about getting some sort of connection going here, or rather, how do i unplug my ears to hear the shouts through the megaphone? integrating silence? setting aside time just to sit and be still? or is it something more to have this echo throughout the chorus of my life? maybe i’ve just got to try listening for once rather than asking all the questions myself.

thank God for pain.  oh that we might be able to hear through God’s megaphone