Forgiving God

I’m a long way from orthodoxy on this one. 

I’ve been asking around, but concrete answers are hard to find. Everyone seems to think that I should do it, but no one (including me) likes the notion or thinks that “forgiveness” is the right word, but I can’t seem to find a better one.

I guess maybe I should tell the story, first. I’m not sure where the beginning is, but I’ll try starting at the first “offense.”

Continue reading “Forgiving God”

Walking Fast to Get to Nowhere

This is original; I didn’t get it from anyone else. The words and ideas are mine alone… so far. 🙂

I met a stranger here today
I did not know his name;
We smiled politely at each other
He nodded, and I waved.

And as we passed we cordially
inquired how the other fared.
We both replied in the positive
But neither really cared.

I met a friend upon the walk
I think I knew his name
We smiled kindly at each other,
I smiled, and he waved.

As we passed we cordially
inquired how the other fared.
We both replied in the positive
But wondered if the other cared.

I talked to God a bit today
I mumbled out His name.
I gave Him a passing nod,
And kept walking just the same.

As He passed he seriously
inquired how I fared;
I replied in the negative
Because I knew He cared.

I’ll pass many friends and strangers more
Before I end this day
We’ll give each other passing nods,
And smile, then, or wave.

And as we pass, we’ll cordially
inquire how the other fares.
We’ll both reply in the positive
But wonder if the other cares.

Happily Ever After, Part 2

Ree has a magnet on her refrigerator door. The first time I saw it, I thought it was Really Insightful. Since walking away from that moment, I’ve been gradually realizing more and more what it means and how true it is.

“For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin – real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, or a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life. This perspective has helped me to see that there is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way. So, treasure every moment that you have and remember that time waits for no one. Happiness is a Journey, not a Destination.”

Continue reading “Happily Ever After, Part 2”

No Happily Ever After

There is no happily ever after. 

The ingraining begins young. Little girls watch Disney “Princess” movies where love’s first kiss or fitting a slipper is part of a storybook retelling that ends “…and they all lived happily ever after.” (At least until the sequel.) Fairy tales end in Happily Ever After. Many romances are built on dreams of Happily Ever After. (“I’ll love you forever and forever and forever!!!”)

But smart, intelligent, thinking people know better. We can tell the difference between fairy tales and real life. …Can’t we? And if anyone would know that Happily Ever After is a fairy tale, it would be Christians, right? Well… Yes and no.

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Hope’s Cry

His name was Ariel. At least that’s what I’m going to call him. I don’t know if it’s a historically accurate name, or a Hebrew name, or if it was even HIS name, but that’s what I’m going to call him.

He wasn’t the littlest shepherd, or the biggest shepherd, or the anything that ends in -est shepherd. He was just Ariel. And Ariel had had quite a shock the other night when the angels sang “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” With the rest, he had run to find the baby in the manger wrapped in cloths. He had stopped long enough to recognize the sacredness of this moment. The birth of a baby, though routine, was also something sacred, and it always made him stop. But this one… this one was different. He didn’t look different. No halo appeared over his head, and when he’d awakened and cried, he cried just like any other baby.

“So you’re Messiah, eh?” he’d asked. “You’re gonna have to get a lot bigger than that before you can take on Rome, kid.” He’d smiled at the boy’s mother.

“His name is Yeshua,” she’d said.

“Our Lord saves. A good name for a Messiah.” And with the rest, he’d spread the news of what he’d seen and heard.

But now it was the day after. Continue reading “Hope’s Cry”

Controlling God

I wrote this paper for my Intro to Digital Media Arts class. The paper is confusing. So is that class. This paper has been modified from its original version. It has been formatted to look good on this screen. I have split long paragraphs to increase readability. Also, sorry it’s so long and “scholarly-looking.” Enjoy!

Christians are optimists. We’re insane optimists. We worship a Guy Who got brutally murdered on a Friday and Who we believe came back to life that Sunday morning. We believe in the impossible, for sure. We honestly believe some kid with a slingshot took out a dude who was big enough and strong enough to eat the toughest modern “ultimate fighter” for lunch. We go through life thanking God when parking spots just happen to miraculously open up in front of us.

So it’s not too much of a stretch for us to think that God will work some miracles, and not the least bit of a stretch for us to write stories about Him doing it. Because we think God needs Public Relations agents, (not witnesses), we attempt to help God do what He refuses to do for Himself. When we can “control” God (and, in our fiction, we can), we tend to make Him Nice. We tend to make Him the way we want Him to be.

The first time I saw an Alex Kendrick film (director of Flywheel, Facing the Giants, and Fireproof), I was in love. Flywheel wasn’t cinematically ugly or excessively preachy like so many of the other Christian abominations that I had seen; Flywheel’s message was just “Come to Jesus and everything will get better.” It showed a God consistent with what I had heard preached, so surely it was a good Christian film, and the plot seemed reasonably believable. It was exactly the kind of films I had always dreamed that maybe, someday, I could make, too. I even tried to get an opportunity to work with them before I considered Huntington University.

Continue reading “Controlling God”

Something Strange is going on…

Last night, while I was chatting with my mom on facebook, we were scheming about what I can do so I can come back to college in the spring: Take a job for the week before Christmas with FedEx or UPS; I’m still hoping to pull off getting another loan. I’m seriously contemplating taking a job of some kind to help with the spring semester. Then I realized what was going on: I was plotting, trying to figure out how I can stay at Huntington.

Continue reading “Something Strange is going on…”

Beauty Will Rise

I wrote this and posted it for homework, but it was important enough that I thought I should put it here, too.

Right now, I’m listening to the title track of Steven Curtis Chapman’s latest album, titled “Beauty Will Rise.” For anyone not familiar with SCC, he’s been an icon in Christian Contemporary Music for.. quite a while. I think it was within the last year, though, that he lost one of his children in a tragic car accident. A month later, Chapman wasn’t sure he’d ever be able to sing again. His latest album has shown that not to be true. But now… now his songs have a depth they didn’t have before.

From http://www.stevencurtischapman.com/music.htm

“It is weird for me to even call this a record because it is just my personal psalms from this journey that we have been on,” says Steven. “After we lost Maria, I did not know if I would ever write anymore songs or if I would ever sing again. The last thing I wanted to do is turn any of this into a song. Then you realize “God, this is what has happened to us and now what would you have me to do with it?” Slowly songs began to just come out as ways for me to try to process what I was thinking and feeling and what my family and I were walking through.”

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Control, Slavery, and “Biblical Surrender”

A few weeks ago, I heard a message wherein the speaker advised “surrendering control of your life to God every morning when you wake up.” (That may be a misquote, but that’s a risk I’ll have to take. Surrendering control of your life to God certainly sounds like a spiritual and Christian thing to do… but is it really? Let’s find out.

An early warning / apology / clarification to the people I’ve tagged: This note doesn’t actually have you in it. It’s just something I thought you’d find interesting. (And something I wrote). I thought it might make interesting conversation. But it’s a long (and perhaps a bit tedious) note, so I figured I’d clear that early…

CONTROL
Does God want control over our lives? Continue reading “Control, Slavery, and “Biblical Surrender””

The First Step

For your reading pleasure (in case you were interested)… I wrote this for my academic writing and research class. WARNING: Contains no deep theological truths; it’s just good clean fun. I have inserted more paragraphs than were in my AW&R paper.. it makes it more readable.

I was wearing a black Singing Rock brand climbing harness around my waist and thighs. As I waited for James to reach the bottom of the rocks, I barely even noticed the green of the trees around me, the blue of the sky above, or the rumbling from the machinery at the rock quarry across the mountain. All I knew was that Nate had promised I would be safe.

My turn had come. Nate Greenway, who had crew-cut blond hair, was twenty-four, and was my coordinator and my friend, opened the screw-gate on a steel locking carabiner. “Are you right-handed or left?” he asked.

“Right,” I answered nervously. In response to my answer, he folded the thick rope, which ran through two steel anchors that were sunk deep into the rock, to make a bight, or bend, in it. Then he pushed the bight through the wider of two holes in a piece of steel that was called a “Figure Eight” because it resembled the shape of the number eight.

Nate wrapped the bight around the thinner end of the eight and clipped the eight to my harness with the carabiner. “Screw down so you don’t screw up,” he said, reminding me which direction to orient the carabiner.

He closed the screw-gate so the carabiner wouldn’t come open, then started giving me directions. “Take this end of the rope. Hold it in your right hand like this.” He showed me how to hold it. “Don’t switch hands. Put your left hand behind your butt so you’re not tempted to use it. And no matter what happens, don’t let go with your right hand.” I obeyed mechanically.

“Stand there,” he said, “and face me.” He pointed at a spot about a foot from the ledge of the thirty-foot cliff we were standing on. Holding the long end of the rope behind my posterior with my right hand, I turned to face Nate and turned my back to the cliff. “Put your feet square with your shoulders,” Nate said. I squared my feet and spread them a little wider in the tight blue climbing shoes and gripped the rope for dear life. Continue reading “The First Step”