Psalms for Doubters – Something In My Heart Believes

Something in my heart believes
Or wants to

Sometimes it’s hard to tell
So I take the rope again
And pray there’s something at
_____the top

The way is dark, and sometimes lonely
Sometimes the path is steep
The road looks less like black and white
When it appears
_____at all.

I had a dream where they called gays fags
in a song in church
I stood up, outraged, demanded that they stop
I was overcome by
_____the fury

Where’s heaven? And is it ever coming?
Coming to save us from ourselves,
our poor, lost selves?
Will Jesus ever come back and save
_____the world?

And if he does, will we even like it?
Will our hearts have gone too far in our own way?
Will we know Jesus so intimately that when he shows up
We’ll know that it’s
_____not him?

Jesus, if you’re out there,
Come and save us.
Send a signal.
The cross was great, but
All those years
And all the tears between
The dust of history books –
You and I
Both know it could’ve been
_____a myth.

And fiction, and crooks
and liars, thieves
the folks you came to save
_____rewrote your story

and wrote out folks like them
and wrote out folks like us.

They said you didn’t like anybody
but that as our failed parent it was
your obligation to come and save us from
our evil selves.
_____So you did.
I don’t want to believe you’re mad at us.

But are you really out there, or are you just
a mirage of wishful thinking
a beautiful true story,
that mythbusters will find
_____BUSTED ?

Well
I don’t know.
And maybe no one can.
_____But I’ll believe.

There’s evidence enough
to get a nod from me.
Not enough to silence all my doubts
My questions
_____And maybe there never could be.

But forward, into the darkness
Following the shadow of a doubt.
Hoping gentle words and love can save the world
Hoping that salvation is out there
Hoping that salvation’s coming
_____in here.

This is why doubters don’t write hit Christian songs.
Nobody wants a maybe-hope, we want
The Truth
with a capital T.
_____It’s not that easy.

– – –

I was driving home late one night and got to thinking that there aren’t a whole lot of songs on Christian radio that speak to people who aren’t certain of everything, and I got this idea to write some Psalms for us. I didn’t really follow standard Psalm format, but I thought, we need poetry that helps us see that we’re not alone in our questions.

If you’re reading this and thinking, “I can fix this,” you’re the reason I was nervous about publishing this in the first place.

If you’re reading this and thinking, “I thought I was the only one who felt that way,” this is for you.

Newsboys Tell Nietzsche that God’s Not Dead, Add Nothing To The Conversation

In a statement released today, scientists have concluded that, based on their research, God is a myth.

These words open the music video to the Newsboys’ music video “God’s not dead” (embedded below).

A newspaper headline in the video says “God is a myth.” A billboard reads “No evidence that God exists.” An article online says A tweet comes across a smartphone that says “God is dead,” with an image of Christ carrying the cross. A man reads an article that says “Man is just another animal.” A tweet pops up on a screen that says “Everything came from nothing.” Another man watching a news show on his iPad sees a news anchor discussing “How can God allow evil?” He looks up in shock and disgust, and then the chorus starts:

My God’s not dead
He’s surely alive
He’s living on the inside
Roaring like a lion

My God’s not dead
He’s surely alive
He’s living on the inside
Roaring like a lion

He’s roaring
He’s roaring
He’s roaring like a lion

The video’s Christians (I think they’re the band members) immediately correct the misinformation being spread. One writes a blog titled “We are made in the image of God.” The twitter user replies “everything came from SOMETHING!” The man watching the news video switches furiously to a video titled “God Gave Us Freedom to Choose. Man Chose To Do Evil!” Then he gets up with a self-vindicated look on his face. And the Newsboys’ lead singer slaps his newspaper titled “God’s Not Dead” over another reader’s paper that says “God is a Myth.” And then the chorus starts again. Everyone gets happy. People watch a video that says “Complexity of Life Points to Design.” Another blog says “I was dead but am alive forevermore. -Jesus.” At a (Newsboys) concert, people hold up signs that say “God’s Not Dead.”

For what audience is this video and song intended? If it’s for a non-Christian audience, it is highly unlikely to convince them. They are more likely to view “God’s not dead” (if they view it at all!) as proof that Christendom’s smug self-assurance will continue.

Nietzche
I looked up Friedrich Nietzsche, the originator of the “God is dead” quote. As it turns out, Nietzsche, like many who are violently anti-Christian, grew up on (surprise!) some variation on Christian. He was raised Lutheran. He even went to seminary to become minister in his father’s place. However, he found Christianity squashing. Pushing. Crushing. He came to believe that mankind could only ever truly be free if we got rid of the idea of a God who was going to get us for everything bad we did. I can sympathize with his frustration, honestly. And in spite of Nietzsche’s dislike for what went for Christianity, Christopher Rodkey says that Nietzsche had a great deal of respect for Jesus.

The quote “God is dead” comes from Nietzsche’s book The Gay Science (which had nothing to do with homosexuality, by the way). It’s from a chapter called “The Madman.” In it, a madman rushes into the town square:

“Whither is God?” he cried; “I will tell you. We have killed him—you and I. All of us are his murderers. But how did we do this? How could we drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What were we doing when we unchained this earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now? Whither are we moving? Away from all suns? Are we not plunging continually? Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions? Is there still any up or down? Are we not straying, as through an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder? Is not night continually closing in on us? Do we not need to light lanterns in the morning? Do we hear nothing as yet of the noise of the gravediggers who are burying God? Do we smell nothing as yet of the divine decomposition? Gods, too, decompose. God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him.

Nietzsche’s madman challenges me. He pushes my preconceptions, forces me to re-examine what I think and search for new reasons to believe. He reminds me of a story from an old book in which a man who claims to be God is crucified.

* * *

If, however, the Newsboys’ song is for Christians, it may be even worse than if it’s intended for non-Christians. It reinforces our preconceptions. It reminds us in short form of all the reasons we should believe, provides bumper-sticker responses to the hard questions, and the video shows us that an angry disunderstanding should pervade our interactions with those who disagree with us. Rather than enter into a dialogue, rather than reading what those who disagree with us have to say, we should simply put our fingers in our ears and utter a diatribe: GOD’S NOT DEAD, HE’S SURELY ALIVE! Because that is what’s most likely to convince the skeptics and convert the unbelievers. (Just kidding) The Newsboys respond to Nietzsche’s madman in like: The madman says God is dead, the Newsboys say God’s not. This conversation would be appropriate. …If the Newsboys were 2-year-olds.

I find “God’s Not Dead” immensely troubling on two counts: First, it fails to provoke its audience as good art should, and second, it further polarizes those who believe and those who do not.

Good art provokes. It flips our pre-conceptions and slips in another way of seeing things. In an episode of the BBC TV show Doctor Who titled “Vincent and the Doctor,” the Doctor visits Vincent Van Gogh. At the end, Van Gogh shows the Doctor and his companion what he sees when he paints Starry Night:

Van Gogh: Hold my hand, Doctor. Try to see what I see. We’re so lucky we’re still alive to see this beautiful world. Look at the sky. It’s not dark and black and without character. The black is in fact deep blue. And over there! Lights are blue. And blue in through the blueness, and the blackness, the winds swirling through the air… and then shining. Burning, bursting through! The stars, can you see how they roll their light? Everywhere we look, complex magic of nature blazes before our eyes.

The Doctor: I’ve seen many things, my friend. But you’re right. Nothing’s quite as wonderful as the things you see.

 Art shows us what was always there but we never saw. It tilts the frame so we see things anew. It puts words to our hearts’ deepest dreams, longings, and fears. It shows us things we’ve seen a million times in a way we’ve never seen them before, and it shows us things we never imagined could be true that are. It provokes us, pushes us to see the world in a different way. It lets us see the world through the soul of another. “God’s Not Dead” does none of these things.
* * *
Fifteen years ago, Rich Mullins said that the current trends in Christian music were “Shallow, mindless, stupid, and perfectly harmless at best.”

“God’s Not Dead” allows both parties to adopt a rather smug self-righteousness: the non-Christians can say “Those stupid Christians” and the Christians will say “Those stupid non-Christians.” We hold up our slogans and they hold up theirs, and absolutely nothing good comes of any of it. Worse than failing to further the dialogue, “God’s Not Dead” turns the serious conversation about God’s existence or non-existence into a cliché-shouting match. Our idea of a conversation about atheism is quoting “The fool has said in his heart ‘There is no God,'” somehow forgetting that the atheist with whom he is disagreeing has no reason to accept that verse as God’s word because the atheist doesn’t believe God even exists to have written it!

The Newsboys used to be good. Well, good with aliteration and catchy phrases and tunes that stuck in your head. They can do better. Christianity can do better. And I won’t even comment on the biblical veracity of the idea that Jesus lives inside of us, or the silliness thinking that telling someone that “I know Jesus lives because he lives inside my heart” will convince them of anything.

* * *

I can’t just leave you depressed, though. Some good has come out of Christian music lately. Like Jason Gray’s album “Everything Sad is Coming Untrue.” The album title comes from this scene from Lord of the Rings, which automatically makes it better.

Samwise thinks that Gandalf has died, but when Gandalf appears before Samwise’s bed and Samwise finally awakens, Gandalf asks,

“Well, Master Samwise, how do you feel?”

But Sam lay back, and stared with open mouth, and for a moment, between bewilderment and great joy, he could not answer. At last he gasped: “Gandalf! I thought you were dead! But then I thought I was dead myself. Is everything sad going to come untrue? What’s happened to the world?”

Jason Gray, in the song of the album, asks

The winter can make us wonder
If spring was ever true
But every winter breaks upon
The Easter lily’s bloom
Could it be everything sad is coming untrue?
Could you believe everything sad is coming untrue?

Broken hearts are being unbroken
Bitter words are being unspoken
The curse undone, the veil is parted
The garden gate will be left unguarded.

“Everything Sad is Coming Untrue” shows us what was always there but we never saw. It tilts the frame so we see things anew. It puts words to our hearts’ deepest dreams, longings, and fears. It shows us things we’ve seen a million times in a way we’ve never seen them before, and it shows us things we never imagined could be true that are. It provokes us, pushes us to see the world in a different way. It lets us see the world through the soul of another.

 Listen to good music, kids.

Newsboys – God’s Not Dead (Official Music Video) from newsboys on GodTube.

Also: What news sources were the newsboys getting their articles from? I’ve never seen such headlines!

Edit August 9, 2012: Christopher Rodkey wrote his essay as a student at St. Vincent College in 1999, not a professor as was stated previously. He is now the Reverend Doctor Christopher Rodkey and is currently the pastor at Zion Goshert’s United Church of Christ in Lebanon, PA. He now teaches part-time at a college and a seminary. For more about Rev. Dr. Rodkey, please see Zion Goshert’s web site. And thank you, sir, for your correction.

Projects and Promises

“God, if You don’t want to control everything I do, and I can’t control what You do, then what is our relationship good for, anyway?”

Controlling God.
I was pondering how my prayers don’t really tend to impact too much what God does. That after I prayed that the cold would stop. (I woke up this morning to a day that never pulled its way above freezing.) It occurred to me that a lot of my prayers seem to go unanswered. So many have come true, though.

Imagine. “Prayer coming true.” What a phrase. It’s almost like a wish. I used to know kids who would start their prayers with “I hope…” instead of “I ask…”. I tried to explain that they were using the wrong format; you don’t tell God you hope He does something; you ask Him to do it. But maybe that makes the disappointment easier to handle – you told God you hoped He’d do something, but He doesn’t.

Instead of asking God straight-up, we tell Him how we hope things will turn out. That way He’s not obligated to accept or reject our requests, and us with them. ‘Cause let’s be honest, we all have at least one thing we asked for that God answered no. Suffice it to say, our prayers don’t control God. Continue reading

Be Better.

As a culture, Americans aren’t very nice to ourselves. We have a million self-improvement classes, we go to school to get grades, and we measure our value by the numbers on our paycheck and 401k, the words that are or are not in front of and behind our names (PhD, President, etc). We judge ourselves by the cars we drive, or the cars that other people drive and we can’t, the houses we live in, the houses we don’t live in. The college we get accepted into, our GPA, how beautiful or handsome or rich our spouse is, how respected we are, or aren’t, or how famous we are. Or how our bodies look.

As Christians, we’re not much better. And we’re more committed to our self-improvement. No gym memberships for us, we go to church. We worry if we don’t spend an hour every day in devotions. (Some of us get so discouraged at being unable to spend an hour that we don’t even spend five minutes). We worry about our prayer life, then feel guilty about worrying because Jesus told us not to. We measure our value by whether we’re called, or (some of us) whether we speak in tongues, or tithe, or how much we tithe, or how much we volunteer. Whether we’re good people. Continue reading

Know

Readers looking for a bullet-proof treatise on the existence of God are advised to look elsewhere. I am prejudiced in favor of God, and this tale of mine is one filled with holes and assumptions. In many cases I trust arguments made by others that I don’t bother to link, repeat, or even reference. But the rationale presented below has been sufficient to convince me of my conclusions. Ironic, in a post titled “know.” But we know very little anyway. Just ask Descartes.

Is God Real?
The central realization when I decided I wanted to give myself to God again in 2007 was the realization that “God is real, and He loves me.”

And so the central question for my doubt would have to be “Is God real, and does He love me?” The doubt had been a long time in coming. In most stories, things happen that shatter your faith, and in my story things like that sure had. For a long time, I held onto faith out of sheer desperation. At some points, I knew for sure that God was real. And at other points I wondered if He even cared… until His love overwhelmed me and I was sure He did again.

But the deep doubt finally resurfaced: Does God exist? And does He love me?

And so I asked. I wrestled. I talked. I prayed to a God I wasn’t 100% sure existed. I begged Him to exist.

Creation, I decided, could have been the product of random chance, maybe. Love could just be biological. Beauty could be a trick of biology, too. It could be familiarity assumed as beauty – mankind has seen trees for as long as we’ve been around, and we’ve all seen trees on warm sunny days which we decide socially to be “good.” Maybe Trinitarian theology – God is three and one in loving community – was created out of the realization that people are happier together. Large coincidences, to be sure, but that could be all there was to them. Coincidences and naturally occurring phenomena.

But creation was the crack in the armor, the Achilles heel of doubt. So many things are  set such that if they were only a little tiny bit off, life would never have happened. Even if Biological Macro-Evolution had been the cause of all life, random chance must have had help. And philosophy insists on a first cause. God must exist.


What Manner of God?

But what manner of God is He? Does He care? Or has God adopted a sort of hands-off approach to creation: Plan really really well and thus not even need to give it nudges? Continue reading

Really Weird Bible Stories That They Didn’t Tell You About In Sunday School.

When I was growing up, I heard a ton of Bible stories. The Creation of the World, Adam and Eve and The Fall, Cain and Abel, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and Joseph and his coat of many colors… But I’ve recently discovered a few that I never really heard in church, Sunday School, or anywhere. They’re weird. Really weird. And they’re hard to stamp a moral on. I’ve never heard them preached on. Not once. So without further ado, I present…

Episode I: Wives For The Benjaminites (Judges 19-21)

Here’s the setting: It’s the time of the judges. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are long off the scene. Moses has been buried by God. Joshua has led the children of Israel into the Promised Land, given his speech about “As for me and my house, we will serve YHWH.” All the cool judges you know about, like Ehud (kills a fat guy with a long sword in a quiet room), Gideon, Jephtha, Barack and Debra… they’re off the scene. Samson has crashed a Philistine party for the last time. We’ll skip (for now) the particularly weird story about a dude named Micah who makes a god and hires a priest but has the Danites swipe both from him and tell him “Shut up and go home.” But we’re skipping that. For now.

Scripture honestly says it best.

In those days Israel had no king. There was a Levite living temporarily in the remote region of the Ephraimite hill country. He acquired a concubine from Bethlehem in Judah. However, she got angry at him and went home to her father’s house in Bethlehem in Judah. When she had been there four months, her husband came after her, hoping he could convince her to return.

Weird, right? Why’d he wait four months? Scripture doesn’t bother to mention it. Maybe he missed her after all that time.

It gets weirder. Continue reading

Fire

You just can’t sit still, can you?

I was taking off my shoes in my apartment when this thought hit me.

There are some people who just can’t sit still. There’s this fire deep inside them, something that refuses to sit down and shut up. They can go do stuff they don’t care about for a while, but eventually the fire will burn a hole in them if they don’t do something they care about. It’ll move them to leave jobs to go do something “important,” and then leave the something important because there’s something more important. Everything is an emergency, everything is priority. These people give themselves 200% when they care, and 50% when they don’t. Feed that fire, and they will be the best workers you’ve ever seen; ignore it, and they will eventually leave. I am one of those people.

If I don’t think what I’m doing will matter for eternity, I get restless. I have to have a God-project, something that I think God wants to have done. I had a long, passionate conversation with one of my friends about that – kept him up ’till about 1:30 one night figuring it out.

I came into my apartment and took off my shoes, and as I did, that thought materialized in my mind.

You just can’t sit still, can you? You always have to have some project, a something burning in your soul. Something central. That fire is meant for Me, not for any of your goals.

It was true. Whether it was God talking or me imagining what He’d say, it was true. So I wrote it down in my prayer journal and hopped in the shower, where the thought continued.

You haven’t been given a mission because you can’t handle a mission. You would worship the mission and not Me.

Busted. Every time I get something that looks like a mission, I turn that fire in my soul on it. I let it take over my life. I might even destroy it, or myself, or others, for the sake of the mission. I let myself run to the point of exhaustion. The fire is meant for Me. I realized that sometimes I let my mission take priority over loving others. I know it. In letting the mission take center stage of my life, I let God slide off center stage. And that’s a dangerous place to be.

God is the only safe containment field for that fire. He is the only safe fuel. The fire was meant for passionate love for Him.
It was not meant for accomplishing His goals.
It was not meant for completing His missions.
It was meant for Him, and Him alone.

That’s my explanation.

What’s yours?

Questions

i come still broken and a bit confused
How many times does the road we’re on
wander through the valley of the shadow of death?
Can we trust You to give us less
than trials and tribulations?
You only promised You’d be with us,
not that where you’d be with us
wouldn’t be hell.

I used to think that being with You
would always be heaven
even if it was in hell
but it seems the times we need You most
You seem so far away
and it’s only later,
when life seems better,
that we know You carried us
that You were there the whole time

almost like You
inserted Yourself
after the fact.

Why do You love us enough
to let us do things You know will hurt us?
I sometimes wish I could trust You
for a lesser love.

I find You not to be safe
but good
though I wish I could find You safe.

But You insist on surgery
to remove our idols
when we insist upon
keeping them
because You really do love us after all
and because You want us
all of us
eventually

So do the ends justify Your means?
Do You care about the ways You lead us
and abolish those things we hurt ourselves with?
or just the doing?

Lord, have mercy
let me not go
to places where i will hurt myself

and yet I thank You for the pain
that leads my broken cries
to You.

O for a way to You not covered by thorns
Come rescue me.

Preach

I learned during my very formative years that the world was largely filled with people who were going to hell because they didn’t believe in Jesus. I also learned that my primary job as a Christian is to get other people to believe in Jesus so they will go to heaven and not go to hell.

I heard sermons telling me that on God’s final judgment day, I would see every person I had ever met and not told about Jesus and heaven and hell and they would ask “Why didn’t you warn me?” I even heard a story about a man who had “seen one person saved per day.” For years, he prayed with at least one person who wanted to accept Jesus every single day.

I was raised roughly Arminian, I think, which is to say that I believed that people had choices about whether they would become Christians or not. Being raised Arminian is pretty rough, because you believe two things: Everyone in the world has a choice about whether they’re going to accept Christ, or reject Him, and it’s your job to tell them. Matthew 28:19 was often called “The Great Omission” because every Christian was supposed to go make other people accept Jesus, and so few actually were. It never occurred to me that Jesus has been saving people without my help for over 4,000 years.

I always had a hard time with that because I was selling other people something I hadn’t actually experienced for myself but believed was true and couldn’t prove. Life-after-death fire insurance. Also, I was taught in church was that accepting Jesus and living for Him means accepting a boring life where one gives up anything that is remotely fun in exchange for what is spiritual. In a paraphrase of Rob Bell’s words, “Religious people don’t throw very good parties.” And so I’ve lived most of my life with a screaming in my heart that says that I have to get other people to accept Jesus. And I’ve had jobs where I’ve woken up every morning with a profound sense of emptiness because I wasn’t getting other people to accept Jesus through those jobs.

Then I heard Mark Driscoll talk about how only the “elect,” those God chooses, are going to heaven, and everyone else is going to hell, and how that’s completely fair because God *should* send everyone to hell, and the elect will become Christians when they are preached to. From that perspective, if I don’t preach to someone who is elect, then someone else will and they will become Christians anyway because they are elect, so that takes a little bit of the pressure off… but it still makes God seem kinda mean because he chooses some people to go to hell, no matter how you frame it. He’s just and fair, but kind of mean to everyone he doesn’t choose to be gracious to.

So when Love Wins came out, and Rob Bell said that maybe people who don’t “receive [Jesus] by that name precisely” (Athol Dickson‘s words) may find their way into eternity with God, I almost cried when I got to the end because of three things (I didn’t quite realize what they were until I had had a few months to process it and read other books):

  1. Maybe I don’t have to go out and sell everyone on what I was raised to believe was “the gospel” (that everyone was bad and going to hell and Jesus came and died so they wouldn’t have to).
  2. Maybe God is more gracious than I first thought.
  3. Maybe there is indeed something about Christianity that is worth sharing that isn’t guilt, condemnation, and fear of hell.

The first has been discussed already, so I’ll grab the other two.

If God is, in the words of Paul in II Corinthians 5:19, “…reconciling the world to Himself, not counting men’s sins against them,” then that could truly be good news! Maybe people don’t have to believe that they’re evil and God is angry with them for their sins to be reconciled to God. And maybe those who have been harmed in Jesus’ name may one day be reconciled to God in spite of their inherent distaste for the name they believe to be responsible for their wrecked lives. Maybe some people who haven’t heard about Jesus may still be counted righteous. Maybe the doors of heaven are open to more people than we thought.

I have not become a universalist. I still believe that “no man comes to the Father except through [Jesus]” (John 14:6). Like my facebook post said the other day, “Jesus is the front door to the dining hall, and there are no other doors.” But haven’t you ever been somewhere and not known where you were or quite how you got there? Tell me you’ve never had someone ask, “Did you come through the foyer?” and said “What foyer?” They pointed back where you just came from and said, “That one.” I’m beginning to suspect that people may be able to come to the Father through Jesus without necessarily realizing it.

There are some who have said that if God lets people in who haven’t accepted Jesus by that name precisely, then that makes Jesus death, burial and bodily resurrection irrelevant. I don’t understand how that logic even works (though Ree tried to explain it to me). If God accepts more people, it can only be by Jesus’ work on the cross, thus making Jesus work on the cross more effectual, rather than less!

But these are rabbit trails. The real discussion I wanted to start was this:

What would you do with your life if you stopped believing that the eternal destinies of other people lay in your hands?

Because I really don’t know what I would do.

I posted my question on facebook and got no responses from the usual suspects. Nobody touched it. But this is hugely important for me. I’ve lived my life with a screaming inside of my soul that won’t sit down or shut up, telling me that people are going to hell, and they need to accept Jesus, and I need to tell them about Him, so they can stop having “fun” to have “real fun” which is usually… not really fun.

But if Rob Bell is right, and if Jesus was right and being a Christian means living life to the max (John 10:10), then maybe I can live my life with arms, eyes, mouth, and heart wide open. Maybe I can live free like the birds who don’t have to worry. Maybe I can live righteously and feed the poor and be delighted in giving (because I have experienced that! Giving is fantastic! It’s way more fun to give money to someone who needs it than it is to use it for yourself!) Maybe I don’t have to feel guilty about enjoying the good gifts that God has given to me.

And maybe I can tell this screaming voice inside of me to finally shut up… because voices that scream aren’t Jesus. He whispers.

On the other hand, maybe it’s the Holy Spirit, and it’s actually a consistent quiet whisper. Because I still need to do work that feels meaningful, work that actually translates into things that are good. Maybe that’s why I like Jumonville so much. I haven’t had to tell anyone that they need to become a Christian. I’ve told them they’re beautiful unrepeatable miracles. I’ve told them that Jesus loves them. Some have accepted Jesus during Wednesday Worship… but there isn’t this compelling to tell them.

And never once have I woken up wondering why I do what I do.

So now I’m trying to figure out what I like to do. What work it is that makes me wake up in the morning with the sense that this is what I was made for? What has God made me for? How can I be a part of God’s good and creative work in the world?

A lot of my life has had to do with affirmation – having people pat me on the back and say “Good job, kid.” I’m a pleaser. I want people to be happy with me and what i’m doing. …So largely I end up not doing what I want, but doing what I think will make other people happy. Ree asked me what I do when there’s nobody to please, nobody watching to say “Good job.”

…And I told her that I don’t know, because i’ve hardly ever had time like that except when i’m completely by myself, and then i’m usually bored and watching movies or something… because I’m alone.

What would you do?

Reflections on the Holocaust

Not for the weak of stomach. Exit while you can. Written on a sheet of notebook paper and transcribed.

I’m sitting outside of chapel, They’re doing praise and worship inside, and I can’t go in. Not yet.

We just watched a holocaust video. For the first time, I cried over it. The inhumanity. This must have been what YHVH saw when He sent the flood. I can’t go into chapel. I need to process this.

God, You let the human race go on? After such inhumane, abominable atrocities? There are no words, no adjectives, to adequately describe the horror, the revolting… the camera pointed at a corpse on a man’s shoulders… and stayed on him, and so many others. To run the camera, and not point it away because the world needs to see it. Why? I don’t really even know. Because it’s true. Because it’s terrible. You want to cry out “NEVER AGAIN,” but it has ALREADY happened again. And somewhere in the world, it is probably happening now.

Thousands of dead
starved beyond recognition as humanity
tossed – unceremonious – into mass graves
calloused guards, uncaring citizens
bulldozers, and a sign:
__“Grave No. 3, No: 5000” on the grave.
Typhus, lice, starvation
Blood crying out from the ground
__Am I my brother’s keeper?
Human skin, cut off, and used
__as lampshades.
This is what Elie Wiesel saw.

Beware of lies that poison the soul
calling any less than human.
Auschwitz’ sign, a stark bleak warning:
“Do not repeat this desolation.”

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