26 February 2012

"Chemicals" by John Mark Mcmillan

"But I want to love you/When the blood of my veins/Don't know how to call out your name"

23 February 2012

"May God bless the reading of His Word"

21 February 2012

With a sunset like this, I start to understand the groanings of a creation longing for redemption's process to be complete.

16 February 2012

Stream of Conscience

I drove, willing my thoughts to be absent,
noticed you in loose clothes, a smudged white t-shirt—
like the one you get for donating blood,
only, maybe ten years ago.
I was about to make a mental note about your life,
and its hardship, when you yawned.
I yawned, too, swallowed my thought, and continued driving. 

14 February 2012

Consume me Lord, else I die.

I called myself a runner. I admire the fluidity of the human structure when it functions well, with a toe, heel, breath. Sweat to cool and blood to warm. Muscles taut then lax, and tomorrow's strength worth the pain. I used to be a runner.

My spiritual life was inseparable from my running life. If I ran well, I prayed well. If I was angry, I ran...so that later, I could pray. In running, I had definite limits--so I would work until I saw those limits, until I would nearly pass out, was injured, or plain had nothing left. Reaching my limits did not humble me. It did not destroy me. Seeing my finite nature and weakness made me push harder, run farther, prove that I was not the weakness I saw. If I conquered myself, showed that my effort was nearly killing me, I could present myself to God. (See, God? I am desperate for you. Use me. I am useful.)

I was desperate to be used by God, to be sure. The sincerity was present. But, as most of my peers knew at the time, I struggled with rest. Resting in God, being still and knowing who He is.

I used to be a fighter, too. My opinions were known throughout school. I approved of the person whose words are so crafted that passion was evident. Comebacks and sarcasm were my tools. Who knows how many people I made bleed.

There came a time when tendonitis in my hip flexor became severe enough that I could barely walk. When I began running again, the panic attacks began. I had to learn to pray without running.
As I learned pain from the divorces, deaths, suicides and burdens in this world, I had to learn to speak without adding to the pain. It was not the running that made me desperate for God, it was the resting. In my search for skilled words, it was not wisdom I ultimately sought but compassion. However, a joining in the experiences and pain of another really takes pain to know. It was not the fighting that kept me whole, it was the breaking.

Recently, I told a friend that I was afraid. I have not been accustomed to much fear, and seeing my will and decisions shaped by an emotion that cripples is shaming. She asked me to name the source of my fear, and I blurted out, after having spent over two weeks trying to name it, "I think I am afraid to disappear in Christ."


I am afraid of becoming nothing. Hence the running and the fighting.

Quickly and soon, I was set right through words of my pastor, who said that having Christ as our treasure means love for Him drives us, is our motivating force, is what consumes our choices, our lives. My thought, which can only be from our God, was "Consume me Lord, else I die."

Christ, if I do not die in you, I die outside of you. With the first, there is resurrection, with the second, eternal loss.

Consume me, Lord, else I die.

12 February 2012


That boy, “Abraham’s son,”
I don’t think was ever rightly called.
                  There is that flame,
that kindling, in the story of
the son-that-should-have-died.

Fate played no part. God himself
came down. There is no surer word.
The covenant could stand
and Isaac die and Abraham knew it.

He spent three days knowing it,
each step a mustard seed
to fell the mountain in his heart.

The knife. Did he shudder as he lifted it,
                  the sinews, muscles tense
Did he calm himself with words as shallow as his breath
                  I’ve done this before
                  a goat, a dove, an ox,


An old sinner,
longing to obey.

And Isaac died to Abraham. In between the knife’s up and stop,
Isaac became a son of God. 

"You cannot love a thing without wanting to fight for it" -G.K. Chesterton

I have been thinking. We are commanded to love our neighbor.
What if I do not love my neighbor?
Well, then. I must choose to love anyway.
I must purposefully,
           intentionally choose actions that will demonstrate love toward my neighbor. Sometimes, this will come at great cost to myself, either in the form of time, money, or pride. If time or money, do not worry. Neither our time nor our money is our own. If it is our pride that will be lost when love is demanded...praise be to our Lord and Savior. "We know our blessings by their cost" (Wendell Berry). To lose one's pride is surely blessing.

But listen. I have heard an excuse, as of late. "How can I love someone I do not love? How can I change what I see or how I see it? I cannot, for I cannot change what I feel." I've heard the excuse, but I've also been reading about virtue and the cultivation of virtuous action. I have been in some of the best educational systems my whole academic career, and yet the idea that courage and love are things to be practiced, not merely bestowed, was shocking. If a person must strive to be courageous, is he less honorable and more in sin than another man? Less honorable because, "well, the fact that he had to work for it means he didn't have it in the first place" and more sinful because, "he is trying to do it on his own! this fool is trying to better himself on his own power!"

Listen. I have heard these things. Some in what I have read. Some in my own heart and mind. The logic does not even follow. Tending to our spirits, tending to our virtues, this is not usurping Christ's rightful place in our lives. His pure blood flowed onto our stained soil in substitute for my lifeblood. I should have died, like Icarus, a fool in my foolishness. But in His death I died, and in His life I live.

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
          (2 Peter 1:3-8)

Make every effort, my friends. I think it is probably true, that one cannot love a thing without wanting to fight on that 'thing's behalf. But, perhaps it is more true that one cannot love a thing without needing to fight for that love itself, at times. Put on the new man, as Paul has said in Ephesians 4 and Colossians 3.  Pray for God's intervention to change your heart, while you act in such a way that says you expect your heart to change.

More later. I realize my thoughts are disjointed.