Friday, February 18, 2011


     Ever since Tyler and I got married a couple of years ago, I have not lived with a TV. This was mainly by choice. It was an easy way to cut costs and we wanted to eliminate this distraction from our lives. We waste enough time without the help of this modern marvel.
     We do have a computer and through that we have access to Netflix. Lately, I have been challenged to learn about the world: to learn about the way that people live, to see it with my own two eyes. I plan on going a lot of places in my lifetime, but for right now I can only do so much. With all that being said, I have been watching a TON of documentaries.
     For a while the films were about India. Then they were about places and things all over the world. Today, it was Africa. I met ex-warlords in Liberia who gave me a tour of towns full of violence, brothels, and children without a school in sight. Some of these men wait for the day when they will be called upon to fight once again. Others have converted and seek peace in compounds where they pursue healing for themselves and others like them. I met white Zimbabwean farmers who fought the corruption of a dictator so that they could live in their home and provide jobs for hundreds. After winning in court, their farm was burned to the ground. I met children from the war zone in Uganda whose lives are being transformed through music and dance. Some of these children have been raped, some have been orphaned, and others have even been child soldiers.
     Is it enough to be amazed by these stories? To be shocked? To be appalled? To be moved to tears? One of my favorite songs, Albertine, by Brooke Fraser, challenges me. Here's the chorus: 

Now that I have seen, I am responsible, 
Faith without deeds is dead
Now that I have held you in my own arms, 
I cannot let go 

Friends in Oaxaca Mexico

    I accept this challenge, but what does this responsibility look like. Do I keep watching these documentaries, hoping one will move me to action? What I have been doing is praying for the people in the films. As strange as that sounds, I pray for them because I believe that God cares for them. He sees their circumstances. He's actually there. He loves those warlords, those children, those dictators, and those farmers as much as he loves me. My action today is to allow my heart to be broken for these people. To ask God to give me his heart for people; to show me his heart of mercy, justice, and grace. This way, when I do get a chance to go or an opportunity to help, I will do it whole heartedly with the mind of Christ. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Introspection: the perfect disguise

     For the past five years, I have been studying man. The human. By no means have I figured out the human race. Possibly a little more confused about it then when I started. The more I studied inner workings, the more depressing and dry life got. Like a black hole, my brain sucked all the life out of the life that God intended for me. Going into this commitment to study, I thought that the opposite would happen. I thought by understanding the world of men (and possibly myself) better, I would understand God better. Backwards, I know, and not my true intention, but this is what it became. But instead of ending up in heaven, I ended up in the hell of myself. No life. Only lies. Confusion. No chance of recovery. This was my world of introspection.

     Introspection is kind of like those popular music videos where the music plays forward but the story plays backwards. Life doesn’t stop moving forward, but my heart wants to constantly replay my past. Introspection loves mistakes. It highlights them. Like an echo, they replay over and over and no matter how hard you try to fix it, it always remains. Pain is also a favorite of introspection. The daggers of hurt get shoved deeper and deeper until numbness sets in and you are forced to leave it alone. But they remain to be visited another day, triggered by something a little too close for comfort. See what I mean? Black hole for sure.
     Through these visits to the past, we start believing in it. Not in what it could become. Nor do we remember how they were truly redeemed. Rarely do we remember those happy moments because we would rather believe the sad ones.

These lies for me became:

You have no voice, no one wants to hear your thoughts. They only get rolled over like wet asphalt.

You are great at starting amazing things, but you will never complete any of them. You may try and it may appear like it on the outside, but you are the master of masks.

You have lots of love for others but its not good enough, it doesn’t make a big enough difference.

All of your pain is your fault. Even if its not, you figure out a way for it to be.

     I will spare you the rest, but you get the idea. Introspection has put me out of commission. Like our pastor said on Sunday, I got 'benched' by this tool of the enemy.

     The thing that gets me here is that all of the things I was believing could very well be true. I accept that reality. But my identity is no longer in those things. My life is found in a new reality. A Kingdom with new rules, new standards of living. LIFE!!

   “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people, once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” 1 Peter 2:9-12

This is my future… in forward motion.