Friday, April 29, 2005

where I am lately

When I'm online I am mostly over at the Delphi ICOC forum, talking about the doctrinal issue of baptism, that dipping in water is irrelevant for salvation. The conversation is going well.

I am also talking over at Fellowship Hall with an evangelical who thinks that God accepts polygyny.

I have a couple of blogs formulating in my mind, and I plan to write them at the right time.

Today I was at bithright, and a boyfriend called very nervous about his girlfriend potentially being pregnant. They are both Christians. She came in and took a test. She and he both said that they were amazed at the help and respect they were given. He says it's a stark comparison with going to Planned Parenthood.


I told her I was a Christian, too, and I told them of my own experience of receiving forgiveness of my sins and how I named my daughter "grace" because of the conviction that God had indeed forgiven me even though I didn't feel like it. She was amazed to talk to someone who had been in her similar situation. I am glad that God sent her on this day to Birthright, and that He used me. Those two weeks of my prayers to God "Please, let this cup pass from me," regarding whether or not I was pregnant, was a torment I would not want to repeat or wish for anyone. But it is all worth it when I realize that God can use me because of my experience (we comfort those in their time of need with the same comfort we have received from God).

God was also faithful to me in that He prepared me to speak to her. I was a little nervous because I had the impression they were considering abortion. And I feel such a burden to love them that I almost can't bear it. But God was very good to me because He made everything about me come from the heart and made me trust Him with completing the task of loving her.

God is good to me.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005


The fact that under the hand of another, and through my own choices, I have been made aware of my low self-worth, allows me to be set free to follow Jesus without being encumbered. Encumbered by the opinions and requirements of men.

So many I know choose their religion because it looks good to them. It fits with their ideology, their scheme of thinking, their goals and aspirations. It was how they were raised to think and act. It acknowledges and heightens their sense of their own self-worth. They do not choose a religion foremost because of the reason of love of other men and being loved by God. The relational reasons.

See how it's all about fit? About putting it into a box among the several facets of who you are, a compliment to the awesomeness you know you already have.... Rather than the oppositional being made a foundation for your every sense of personhood. Kind of what the Newsboys sing,

"I'm not following a God on a lead around
Can't invent this diety
And that's why Jesus is the final answer
Of who I want my God to be
His ways aren't mine"

Who has made who? Am I essentially on the throne, a king of my domain? I ought to be able to tell the difference.

If a man would choose his church's title because he needs to be loved by God personally, and loved alone, then we would all be of the same church. We would all see the extinction of modern-day Pharisees, no matter what their church title.

Why? Why is this so?

Because. Loose a restraint on a man. And what happens? He becomes who he is in his heart. Like the Israelites who constructed a golden calf to worship once Moses took off to talk with God. They said "Partaaay like it's 1999 B.C.!"

The OT is filled with similar examples of Israelites--left to their own, they stray.

So if we are going to lose the act, and become something really meaningful, we have got to answer the question of the "core."

What is at your core? What really matters to you? Did you get hurt? Was it unfair? Was your ideal trashed?? What really matters in this life? Are you waiting for an apology? Are you waiting for a rescue? Do you just want to be let alone to do as you please? Do you have it--what really matters; or are you on a never-satisfying quest for it?

Religion must absolutely start at the core. No other daily level will do.

"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside will also be clean." matt 23:25-26

When I was doing all that digging and housework, I had a lot of time to think. I was a self-pity machine. I told myself, "If I could only make my own decisions, everything would be different." I promised myself that my life would have meaning. That I was going to make a difference. This was my reason for living--what I could do given the chance. At first I didn't want God to be a part of this purpose. But then when I was 17 I let him into my heart.

Meanwhile I lived a very secluded life. The only time I was allowed to be around people my age was when I was at school, and even that my dad understood and often took away from me. I was not allowed to participate in anything after school. I saw a girfriend about once every six months, just for a few hours. I was desperate for contact. Even in college I was told that I was not allowed to join any clubs until my grades were straight A's. I was not allowed to talk on the phone, up until the day I moved out when I was 20.

When I was finally set free, what did my life look like? Was it a path of meaning and making a difference? Not at all. There was too much damage. I found delectable every fun thing that passed in front of me. I ate like a pig. I slept in my bed, day and night, for a month. I skipped class. I tried a cigarette, started drinking, went to frat parties. I had no discipline over my life, because I had never made decisions for my self before. Everything was decided for me. The posture I sat in my chair. The words that came out of my mouth.... This kind of release from total control could destroy a life time of work. But I only spent two years in this state. Why? Because God was there on the inside, wooing me and loving me to wholeness, and giving me reason to come to Him.

Jesus started with me at the bottom, and worked up from there.

Either you have this testimony about Jesus being at the core somewhere, or you don't. This is what James was talking about when he said, "You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that--and shudder." 2:19

Now, imagine if I became a Christian because I was attracted to the idea that I wasn't required to obey the 10 commandments. Or because I liked the doctrine of predestination. Or because I thought that Jesus was a cool guy or that the sermon on the mount was insightful for reality. Or because I had a lot of associates who were proud of their spirituality, and I wanted to compete with them. Or because I liked to sound and think I was wise because I could quote the bible extensively. Would anything be different?

Yes. Maybe on the surface things would look a bit better. But I am sure that my roommates would notice my skipping class, my coming home at all hours, etc. These things would continue because there would be no agent by which to cause change. There would not be in my heart, a desire for obedience.

Obligation produces superficial obedience, which, when removed, proves lawlessness.

However, the man who abandons his pursuit of increasing self-worth and leaves it in God's hands, proves true obedience, regardless of obligations that come and go.

Do you think that you are a man of principles? Your training keeps you from healing. Because the core has been lost from your vision. You do not know what you are really like because you have not been given the chance. You know this and you sense it. You secretly have dreams of being set free to do that which you know you can't right now. For you, your obedience is a matter of a lack of opportunity; not a matter of a lack of desire. Those principles were put in place to keep you from doing those things that come natural to you. Do you really think that you are "better" than that? When you finally discover the training that protects you from your nature, you will see that this is just another form of obligation. What would you do if absolutely no one were watching? Mmm hmm. You are like the Israelite too.

Has Jesus been introduced to your core? Have you showed Him what's in it? Have you shared with him your drive, your reasons for living, your struggle with finding that meaning? Have you told him about the relational things--the time when you were jipped, the time when you sought to be truly appreciated? Have you asked Him if He has those values for you in His storeroom of riches? If you have, then you will find as I have an obedience that can never be corrupted.

I am not better than anyone else because I have let God touch my core. It was a hard move. I am still doing it. If it takes all your life to let Him in like that, it will be worth it. Timing does not matter to Him in that way... And it only takes a simple introduction, for the whole lifestyle to change about-face.

That's enough??

Since I was a teenager my mother has called me her "eraser child." This means that I am never satisfied to the point where I am always re-doing it till it gets closer to perfect.

I have always been a reflective-sort. But I fear, through watching my behavior post-blog creation, that I am increasing in my introspection. Is it really good to increase? I don't know.

Considerations... (hence proving introspect once again kee hee hee)

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Tug of War

I have been experiencing a week of exploration into the depth of my self-centeredness and haughtiness this week. It has hurt to then go to a Birthright benefit dinner last night and then church the next morning.

I prayed midweek the vision He gave me: "Lay me down and break me apart, God." My vision was some large object just crushing my chest and breaking me open. Sounds graphic. And exciting.

I have been desperate and alone for this whole path of exploration. I knew God was lurking. But He was not close to me. I knew that His grace was still carrying me in the grand scheme, but I was far away from Him for the moment.

My pastor's sermon was on checking the filter; the "lint traps" of our conscience. He said "You could have even a passionate relationship with God, if only you'd change your filter when you notice it's clogged."

That word "passionate" caught me. My soul started growling with hunger pains.

I watched "The Dead Poet's Society" this week. Quoting Henry David Thoreau, it says in the club's motto: "I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately, I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow out of life, To put to rout all that was not life and not when I had come to die, Discover that I had not lived."

That's me.

I have a lot of passion. There's a lot of passion that I have for things that are not in God's light. And I have learned just as I write this, that even with all the soaking passion, there is still no meaning. I may feel strongly about many things, but how relevant are they to the rest of my life? How relevant are they to loving others?

I can sense in all my man-made ideals and ideologies that they are very anti-life. Meaning that they are self-centered and self-serving. I know that there is no power nor any satisfaction in it. I know that if I pursued them, people would get hurt, not helped. They are a statement summed up by "I," and not "Others." That's not what I really want!

I want to have a life of power. And of deep love and compassion for others. But I can't write the rules. My rules suck. They don't equate to reality as God has made it. I need to submit myself to the Author.

I feel like I must keep wading in these deep dark places. Because God wants to heal me. The depth of my darkness, and my weakness, will be a countermeasure for the height of the righteousness and wholeness He will put in their stead.

I must keep my eyes on the cross. Even when I am surveying with a penlight how much work needs to be done.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

The visible and the hidden

When you watch a ballet performance, you see the dancers move to punctuate and express the music accompanying it. Yet they can't express every part of it. So you have to pick and choose. Which parts are the important parts? Which movements to which parts of the music will express a plot, a story, without even saying a word?

I love to learn the stories behind the things that are obvious and well known. That is why I became interested in human anthropology, geology, reconstructing historical landscapes, animal psychology, etc. It is why I appreciate nerds and geeks. (Once they open up, they know so much.)

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Dear Diary

Even today I read (in a JW publication) that talking for any real investment online is a waste of time. Because people can be whoever they want to be. I often wonder about those I have met online. I wonder how much of their life is really a reflection of the "together-ness" they emit electronically.

For me it brings out the exact opposite effect. Because I am not there in the room with them I am not submitting my own opinions, desires, or speech. Because this is all that is left when you take away physical presence. So it makes my ideas, speech, opinions that otherwise goes unnoticed or accounted for, take center stage.

Instead of being less honest, being here and blogging helps me to be more honest. There is nothing I have interest in holding back about. Except when I think about dropping links to others to come and read whom I know in real life, like my husband or girlfriends or whatever. Then I lose out a bit. But nothing's perfect. I always gotta try and be considerate first and foremost. Or do I?

This is my diary. With a little of the most extreme (if such things exist) parts left unspoken.

Friday, April 08, 2005

What's my worth?

The only thing I own of any worth,

is the name of Jesus Christ.
("I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me." gal 2:20)

A friend of mine recently said about me that I seemed like "a woman without a country."

Usually I don't spend a lot of time thinking about me, or at least it has been my goal to not do so. Thinking about my identity in a way opposed to that already provided in scripture. Some people in this world love to give their name and then a one-liner to describe themselves or to identify themselves with some cultural icon or value or goal. Like all those dumb bumper stickers that say things like "boy crazy" or "cowboy up." Not to say that putting on cowboy hats and boots is something lacking intelligence or the persona of it; honestly. I can assure you my honesty, by the fact that I buy all my jeans "boot cut."

Shortly after becoming a Christian, titles and associations started becoming offensive for my own sense of self. I don't do things this way any more, although I used to a lot before.

What was my friend trying to say by saying that I seem to be without a "country?" I think I can interpret with a single word to describe it: "untamed."

That word "untamed" has a lot of positive associations these days in our world, mostly for the wrong reasons (when describing people). There are good and bad aspects to being untamed. A good aspect would be honesty. Not trying to be something that you aren't. A bad aspect would be recklessness. An incapability to follow any guidelines, and fit in and treat others lovingly.

Am I flitting here and there without alighting? Maybe that is what he meant. More likely he meant that nothing seems to hold me down, contain me, define me... I am generally as of yet proving myself to be not yet satisfied.

Having a lack of satisfaction and being dissatisfied are two different things, though. I could reject food and water altogether as something to ingest for living, for example. They can not keep me satisfied for a long time. Hunger and thirst are met in a moment-by-moment basis. The effect of needing more, returns, and needs to be dealt with again. I get satisfied, but only for a time.

I remember the poem one of the boys in the class of the "Dead Poet's Society" movie wrote: "It's like a blanket that is too small. You pull and tug, and tug some more. But when you finally cover one part of your body the other gets exposed. No matter how hard you try to arrange it, it'll never work--you just can't get warm."

I attribute this quality to everything and everyone I have ever known in my reality, with the exception of Jesus Christ as He has personified the Godhead.

How do I feel about this aspect of my being, my being untamed? I say, let me go crazy. Yes! Let me go; let me be what I am, boldly even. If there are unreconciled, confused, unbelieving, disobedient aspects of my life, I am not afraid. Let me explore these. Let me express them completely, on one condition: I express them while in the presence of my God. Another words, I acknowledge the existence of God to want Him to be involved in translating my pieces into the light, and making meaning of why I am the way I am, for the purposes He wants to carry out on earth.

If there is such a God as that, then He would truly deserve my praise and evangelism. What man, what force, what revelation could take such a wild, unruly thing and make it quiet and humble? Such a picture would not say so much about a motto for me, but a motto about Him. Can He succeed to reconcile all my parts?

So far, the answer is yes.

Take each moment. If Jesus really doesn't strike me as interesting in the moment, that's okay. I am free to walk away. But where exactly could I go? I could go so far as to rewalk the path that initially led me to Him. I know where I have been. Done that; been there. When everything is consumed and the embers are left, there I find Him. He is still there, at the core of my heart. I cannot deny this. I already tried. I tried to ignore the fact that I had a simple belief in him for 4 years, when I wanted to live my own way. It didn't work. I couldn't deny that Jesus simply was the solution; the One who satisfies.

So what if I walk away. For a moment. For a day, for a year. Isn't this the measure of a great God? I have come to think so.

The more untamed I find out I am, the greater the number of times I have found it proven to me that He satisfies, unlike all else.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

give yourself a day (or two)

I suggest for a whole day of movie-watching entertainment, watching the A&E production in 1996 of Pride and Prejudice, starring Colin Firth, and then watching Bridget Jones and Bridget Jones: the Edge of Reason. A total of over 5 hours for the first and 3 for the last two. Definitely a day of a marathon. Because I have kids I had to split it up over a couple of days and even then I was pushing it because there is no way I'd ever get that kind of time anyway. To be honest, I really had to fast-forward through all of the non-relevant non-romantic portions of all movies in order to make it to bed on time.

The reason why they chose Colin Firth to play opposite Renee Zellweger is because Bridget Jones is a modern-day rewrite of the Austen novel "Pride and Prejudice," the most famous novel ever written. Firth played the exact same character in both movies! He is Mr. Mark Darcy.

Imagine it: the actor who plays the love interest, coming back, to make the movie all over again in a fresh scenario. In the 1996 movie, based off of 19th century England, we get to see them reconcile their feelings and admit they love each other in the last 4 minutes of the movie. Let me relate that to you in a mathmatical equivalent to increase comprehension: resolution and joy of fellowship in love happens for a total of 0.01333333% of viewing time. It's like the perfect cliffhanger to the work of the movies that ensued after entering the 21st century. Guess how much time we get to see the couple finally come together in the Bridget Jones movies? That's right, a ratio of 1:2, or 50%! The whole second movie's thematical significance is stated within the first, first-person overvoice of Bridget's thoughts, of the whole movie: "what happens after the 'happliy ever after?'" And, yes, ladies and gentlemen, we do indeed get to see them living their lives out together a little bit. Now I don't have a thing for Colin Firth. But I sure do have a thing for their romance. It is quite lucky of Bridget, and as she has learned at the end of the second movie as I am currently learning in my own life: "Next time I will not bleep it up." She has realized she has made a huge mistake by worrying about the fact that Mark Darcy folds his underwear.

Ahh; I love marathons.

this could be fun...

Finally! A place where I can be as silly as I want! No more pressure, just me as it comes, and as it goes.

"If 'con' is the opposite of 'pro,' then isn't Congress the opposite of progress? Or did we just blow your bleepen mind?"

See? I've been wanting to share that joke with someone since last January, and I never had a good time to bring it up.

That's a quote from the study questions at the end of the congress chapter of the book "America: The Book," by the Daily Show.

Sunday, April 03, 2005


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