About Me

Phoenix, AZ, United States

Friday, May 23, 2008

Thinking out loud.

I couldn't have asked for a more perfect day in terms of the climate. It's cold, deeply overcast and sprinkling rain. It reminds me of my short time in Seattle and I remember again just how much I loved it there.

I woke up this morning in a strange mood. My initial feelings were that of disbelief. That somehow my ambitions for the career I had set out were really not going to pan out and it put me in a good deal of unrest. I used to dream about being on tour and performing night after night... I even had specific cities and venues in mind... and all of these visualizations started pouring into my mind...only I knew that they were in vain now. I've talked about all this before, so this is nothing too new, but the experience was different somehow.

It's difficult to describe...but I suppose we have all known our share of disappointment in this life. You can love something (or someone) so sincerely, so intensely, but that in no way insures any amount of permanence. Life will shift like the colors of new seasons with or without our permission.

My friend once told me that I was a boxer forced into early retirement... and though I find myself a million miles away from the ring, though my gloves have long ago been hung on the wall to collect cobwebs, I am still a boxer at heart... and I have to imagine God made me this way for a reason. But why...?

At the moment, I'm considering a substantial move, to a foreign country. This morning I imagined what it might be like living abroad, and playing my tired old guitar in coffee shops...filled with strangers, singing my tired old songs. And I thought for a moment that things would be vastly different, not perfect by any means, just different...but I feared at the same time that they might be the same.

If I do leave...this home that I have known for well over a decade what would I be leaving behind? And what exactly would I be going to? It's scary to think about, but maybe that's a good thing. On my recent camping trip, we ascended a mountain that put a real amount of fear in me and my company... but the journey was amazing and reaching the top felt indescribable. And maybe life affords us these opportunities to plunge into the unknown...and we will make of it what we will. We can shrink down and resign in fear or we can face it head on...

The better part of a year has passed since I began my involvement in a ministry here. Something relatively minor, leading a small group and I have seen God working through it. What he has done is nothing short of a miracle, in fact...but somehow I feel at a loss now. I wonder if this is really what I am meant to be doing...I guess my doubts come in because I feel displaced and probably more alone than I have ever felt. Maybe that is ok or all just a part of it...but maybe not?

I find myself in a bit of a bind... longing to be a part of something meaningful and real, something that will make real use of the way God has designed me before he laid the foundations of this world... I want to feel God and celebrate the destiny he has imagined... and maybe I'm doing that in differing ways now...I don't know.

I know that I don't want to runaway from anything...

I do dream of a community...a community that I have not found here so far. Of people who are intense about changing the world. People who aren't content with simply enjoying their lives and carrying about business as usual... I want to live side by side and co labor with people who want to fulfill the call in Isaiah to "loosen the chains of social injustice and to set the oppressed free" to watch over "oprhans and widows" as the book of James defines authentic faith. And I want to be inspired...challenged by the dreams of others...

But I'm starting to question whether I will find that here... and I don't mean to be critical and I realize that I haven't met even the majority of people here... but when sociologists, psychologists, doctors and statisticians conduct surveys they use a sample to represent the populous... could that apply here...for surely it isn't possible for me to meet everyone in town. Based on my sample, the general attitude among most people here is to live a good life. Get married, raise a family, get a job that affords you to live comfortably, furnish your house with IKEA and go to church on Sunday mornings...and I'm not saying there's anything immoral or intrinsically wrong with those ambitions...but it just doesn't tug at my soul as an imperative. I find no amount of passion or deep desire for that way of life.

Last night, my small group went through the 1st epistle from Peter. And we talked about how Peter says "The end of all things is near." This was in the first century, I think like 77 A.D. He felt an urgency as did Paul and James, and John... we are nearly 2000 years removed now...and I wonder if it shows in our general attitudes...

I guess people are people where ever I go... and this is more a problem with modern man...not Phoenicians or Americans... and so I need to be reasonable about this. It is a problem within my own heart too... but at times I feel the slow, calm pace of Arizona starting to wear on me... and I find it easier to resign to this way...Arizona is like peacefully floating down the Salt river on an inner tube on a warm summer day.... but I think I might be looking to face wild, feral rapids...to fear for my life and experience sheer reverence... I think I may be looking for more.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Fighting for dear life.

As I type this I sit outside on the verge of shivering from the cold. Spring had taken over as summer eagerly loomed....but late winter lashed out a final chilly breathe so as not to be forgotten quite yet.

It rained today in splotches, just enough to dirty our windows and fill the air with that smell...the smell of wet dirt and asphalt...that isn't necessarily pleasant, but still well received because of what it means to people living in a barren land.

And now it's cooled off dramatically, but I find less joy in the experience than I'd like, but I"m unsure why.

It's a quiet night where I'm stationed... and I watch little rabbits scurrying through an empty field...a small plot of sonoran desert sandwiched between a newly renovated business plaza and a suburban community. Industrialization is a strange thing when you consider it... We plow over acres of God's beautiful land to build odd looking structures in their stead (and everyone has to have a piece of their own) only then we recreate an artificial, manageable version of what once was to decorate a front and backyard... and then we retreat often times to the mountains, forests, the ocean...again to the natural, the natural we keep wiping away.

I've been trying to keep my head above water and the weeks have been quite difficult... and over and over again I find that I continue to forget the rudiments of my faith.

And I passively allow the world to convince me that I am incomplete, or inadequate or missing out on some portion of life... And it's pretty silly when you think about it...to allow this upside down world that much influence.

I think if the devil ever decided on a career change he might do well to seriously consider a job in marketing. The lies, the poison is all so cleverly packaged... so are the assaults. And that is one thing I've come to learn. That I have to be vigilant at protecting myself from these, at protecting truth.

You see, through a bible study, a church service, a scripture or the latest best-selling Christian literature I may experience profound moments of epiphany... and it feels like a veil has suddenly been lifted, the truth resonates deeply within and I get excited and intensely hopeful all at once... but through the course of days, weeks and months...before I have realized it...the rich truth has been snuffed out and bartered for a cheap falsity. And I can't even pin down exactly when I went wrong...or how... it just sort of happens... and I find myself again going about things as before... replacing God with the hopes
of finding a mate or a successful career or what have you... my demigods.

And so I feel that we must guard our hearts as the Proverbs advise, above all else.... For truth is ever sacred, but so easy to lose especially in a world of smoke and mirrors...

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Flying or Free Fallin' ?

I'm equal parts terrified, anxious, scared, uncertain, excited and free...I have no idea where life will take me now...could be anywhere, could be anything... I feel a swirl in the pit of my stomach and moisture on my palms...at the thought, but it's also exhilarating. I'm standing at the edge of an enormous cliff... the canyon below so profound, that it knocks the wind out of me...and I peer off the edge every scrupulously... I'm throwing little pebbles down to see if I can hear them hit against a surface any surface, but nothing...

Here's to a new chapter, where everything is different.

Learning to Fly by Tom Petty

Well I started out down a dirty road,
Started out all alone.
And the sun went down as I crossed the hill.
The town lit up, the world got still.

I'm learning to fly, but I aint got wings,
Comin down is the hardest thing.

Well the good old days may not return,
And the rocks might melt, and the sea may burn.

I'm learning to fly, but I aint got wings
Comin down is the hardest thing.

Well some say life will beat you down,
Break your heart, steal your crown.
So I started out- for God knows where?
But I guess I'll know when I get there.

I'm learning to fly around the clouds,
But what goes up must come down.

I'm learning to fly, but I aint got wings.
Comin down is the hardest thing.
I'm learning to fly around the clouds,
But what goes up must come down.

Im learning to fly
Im learning to fly...