December 30, 2006

Far, Far Away

Staring at the shoreline, wishing for some hope, the weight of empty fishing nets is more than twisted rope. And underneath stern faces, they wait with baited breath with broken hearts from hoping while casting out their nets. See the figure on the shore-- He speaks his words like plain men sing. His hands they still have holes in them. Glory to the King! Can you hear the bells are ringing far, far, away? Can you hear the voices singing far, far, away? And Peter was a liar-- a traitor just like me... and Judas was a hypocrite, and Paul a Pharisee. When truth can be so distant, and hope evades our reach... Peter swam across the water and found it on the beach.
-Five Iron Frenzy

December 26, 2006

Things I've learned

Friendship is not something that is built on what I have in common with someone, but what we've been through together.

"Home" is rarely ever locational.

Singing Patsy Cline's song, "He Called Me Baby" will sooth any sort of pain or discomfort.

There is nothing more heartwarming than your German Shepherd puppy climbing on top of the dining room table before Christmas dinner.

Some people are really immature-- try not to be like them.
React. Don't act up.


December 14, 2006

Thou my best thought, by day or by night.

"In Christ Alone"
Stewart Townend, Keith Getty
In Christ alone my hope is found.
He is my light, my strength, my song.
This Cornerstone, this solid ground--
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.

What heights of love, what depths of peace!
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease.
My Comforter, my All in All--
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone, who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe.
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save.

'Till on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied.
For every sin on Him was laid.
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain--
Then bursting forth in glorious Day,
Up from the grave He rose again.

And as He stands in victory,
Sin's curse has lost it's grip on me.
For I am His and He is mine--
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me.
From life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.

No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
'Till He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand

December 08, 2006

The Passing of Arthur

As many may know, I left my previous church in May. I had no idea why God had placed within me the discontent I knew. I had reasons for disliking the specific church, but it was a strange feeling. Except for not taking part in communion, I felt absolutely no guilt in not attending a church. I didn't know where God wanted to lead me next, but I knew that whatever it was absolutely had to require three things.

1) Reverence and Respect for the Sacred. I did not want to attend a church where the main focus was to "get something out of it." I had a huge problem with songs and sermon that did not in any way glorify God, but rather demeaned Him in one of the most insulting ways-- by ignoring His depth and Heart in order to appeal to the masses. I was even irritated by the smallest things-- people clapping for the worship band, guitar solos in the middle of a beautiful, theologically inspiring hymn, and so on.

2) An Attitude of Compassion Toward the Lost. In my last few years at this church, I do not believe I came across more than one professing Non-believer. The one Non-Believer I knew was a dear friend of mine who eventually left the church because her small group leaders would not accept her "punk" lifestyle. They attempted to give her a make over, in which they wanted to replace her spikey green hair (which looked fantastic with a black and white polka-dotted dress) with something more normal, and her safety-pinned, hand-made clothes (which she now SELLS) with something more tame. Her appearance, however, was not her heart-issue, but the church and it's supposed youth leadership failed to recognize that... and they lost her. They lost her.

3) A Wise and Discerning Use of Resources and Influence in the Community. It is a common-known fact amongst youth groups in this area that, if you want to get a big church to involve themselves in one of your events, you certainly do not ask the church I previously attended. Not only were they introverted, they were egotistical. What kind of church, that has such enormous potential and resources, gives it all up for a minimal territory and a bad reputation within the body of Christ?

I never could have imagined what God had in store for me. Not only did He place me in a body of believers who share my heart and convictions about the second and third concerns I hold, He also directly addressed the first concern by placing me in a denominational tradition of reverence, abstinence, and charity-- three of the things that I value most in the world.

I was more than excited about the Missionary Church. More than I even let on, really. But the idea of casting off all traditions and building it all back up by Scripture alone sort of shook me a little. I never really voiced it, but still I looked for solace in trying to allign with far more traditional religious views. Nothing seemed right. However, two things have come up in the past week that have completely changed my mind about seeking out more traditional worship.

The first thing happened when I was surfing Myspace, and I came across an old, old friend of mine. I'm talking... we were best friends when we were 12. He wanted to be a Christian Apologist. I wanted to be a writer. For a while, he really wandered away from the Church. We lost touch a lot during this time, but I know God had his heart all along. He is currently going through much of the same thing as I am-- struggling to find something true and real in the mess of religious monopoly in the world. While I am participating in a derrivative of the Organic church, he is a part of the Emergent Church. Anyway-- There was one word on his entire site that just jumped out at me-- "Sacred." He said it over and over again-- as if it were something that needed to be notice and applied. This caught my heart, and has been there ever since.

It wasn't completely tied together, though, until today when I read "The Passing of Arthur," a poem by Lord Alfred Tennyson about the death of King Arthur.

After Modred nearly kills Arthur, Sir Bedivere returns Exalibur to the Lady of the Lake, and then has a final discussion with Arthur about the future of the kingdom. Bedivere is horrified-- he is the last knight of the round table, and he realizes that it would be foolish and dangerous to carry on chivalry and knighthood without King Arthur or the precepts used to form Camelot, but he refuses to give up his status, his traditions, and his lifestyle as a knight. The era of knighthood is gone, and Arthur recognizes this. In consoling Bedivere, he said this;

And slowly answer'd Arthur from the barge;
"The old order changeth, yeilding place to the new,
And God fulfils himself in many ways,
Lest one good custom should corrupt the world."

It then dawned on me-- Even if all of the traditions and customs I had loved so dearly had been good in their own time, they are a hindrance to the things that God wants to accomplish in the world-- and this will eventually corrupt the world beyond repair. Everything changes, especially religious expression, but it yeilds place to the new. This new movement I am participating in is not traditional, but God does not call us to worship with tradition. He calls us to have reverence for what is sacred. It may not be perfect, and we may not know exactly what it will look like, but it is becoming more and more clear to me that True Vine Missionary Church is certainly one of the many ways that God has decided to "fulfil himself in."

December 05, 2006

Some Updates

Just thought I would let you all know about some stuff I just changed. I got a new counter, though it isn't working well right now-- or at all. :-) At any rate, you should check it out, it's a pretty neat concept for a counter.

Also, I switched some stuff around on my sidebar, so if you want to, it's much easier to check out my friend's blogs, as well as some of my other favorite sites.

Finally, I added someone to my friends' list-- "The One and Only Shotgun" This guy is nuts-- in a good way (sometimes :-)), but he has a fairly interesting blog, mostly about politics and religion. I've been corresponding with Shotgun for about a year now on, and he has been quite a character, and an interesting addition to the now-dying forums on there.

As for my other friends, I have a lot of them on the list. If you read this, I know you well, and you want to be listed on my friends list, just let me know (or if you're listed, and you DON'T want to be!) I do realize that there are only men on there for now. I am constantly searching for female bloggers, so check back periodically to review my list.

Other updates:: Only 2 more pages of my American Lit. Final... PRAISE GOD.

On Aprils

Ten years ago, I sat in the dining hall of a Christian camp. A man my father's age sat with me. It was April, and I had no idea... I had...