About Me

Phoenix, AZ, United States

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Dwelling in Darkness

I should be asleep, but I am restless for some reason. I stayed up all evening into the early morning working on a paper for my History of Modern Philosophy class and thus I am going on very few hours of sleep. I suppose the writing of this blog, the subtle hum of the hard drive mixed with the sound of the tiny clicks that result from my key strokes and the silence of another day turning over will soon make heavy my eyelids...

I went outside to write on the patio because I thought it would be perfect on a night like this. But that lasted about 2 minutes. It was too cold outside. The idea of it was better than the actuality and I suppose that much of our lives are this way. We romanticize things, pursue them with all our might only to find that we are met with disappointment. Perhaps it is for this reason that some have resorted to enjoying the anticipation of an event more than the actual event; like the preparation of a trip over the trip itself.

This evening ended with a conversation that I had with my friend Chad. We talked a bit about how it is that we as humans tend to imprison ourselves. He likened it to a prisoner that find himself in Alcatraz today; despite the open cells and the constant visiting of tourists, such a person is deluded into thinking that he cannot leave. I thought that was an interesting metaphor; a true one. I have been thinking a great deal about the reason why such phenomenon occur, that is, why do we continue to keep ourselves shackled to our old, desparate ways of life? Or why are we so slow to change for the good?

At church our pastor often teaches about the reality of self deception and self justification in our lives. Scripture is saturated with examples. That is to say:

"The heart above all things is deceitful and desperately wicked." - Jeremiah 17:9

In our conversation we talked about how we hate the light just like it says in the prologue to John's gospel. Katie and I had a discussion about this the other day also. The gospel writer says that the word became flesh and dwelt among us, and that it was the light of nature. Further, those in darkness hated this light because of what it exposed. I have this picture in my mind of cave dwellers who know of nothing better than their dark, dingy, holes of earth. Then as light is shined upon them, it exposes just what a hole it is that they are living in. But instead of heading toward the truth (the light), it is as if the inhabitants simply shut their eyes, turn around and move only further into the depths of their depravity... but it just doesn't make sense why we respond in this manner. It is after all, a cave. It might be a different matter if we were flourishing; but we aren't.

It is incredible that I continue to hate the light and that I run from it. To add insult to injury, what I run to is worthless. This is our nature the depravity of sin in our lives. We are disgusted by what is beautiful and enticed by what is foul. Who can save us from this body of death?

Friday, April 2, 2010


It is Good Friday. It is the day that we believers commemorate the trial and death of our Lord. I woke up this morning as if it were any other Friday barely getting myself out of bed. I went about my routine and attended class and nothing was too far out of the ordinary. I returned home this afternoon and fell asleep for a time as a result of the lack of sleep I have experienced for much of this week. As I woke, I realized that it was in fact a special day and found myself upset that I had so easily forgotten.

I brewed some coffee and went for a short drive only to get out of the apartment for a while and upon my return began reading Matthew’s gospel beginning in Christ’s last teachings before he is brought before the Sanhedrian. Here is the picture: Jesus has just shared a number of parables with his followers, all of which seem to be centered on being watchful and prepared for things to come. Then they proceed to Simon's house just before the last supper when an unidentified woman (John records her as Mary) anoints Christ with costly perfume. The disciples grumble that she has wasted money, which is something that I could easily imagine myself saying in their place. John records that it was Judas in fact that led this charge interestingly enough. The Lord’s response is instructive as usual; he challenges the disciple’s narrow pragmatism; they are missing something of vital importance.

Christ's explanation cut me like a knife. Matthew recounts the savior's words as thus: “When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial…” It seems then that she knows and believes what is to come, something even the disciples will struggle to understand. Christ must be crucified to fulfill the prophecies, to save the world; she fully anticipates it. John provides us the further detail that she washed his feet with her hair and I think this is a beautiful picture of her adoration for Jesus. She knows that he must die at the hands of men, that he must leave her and I don't imagine this was easy for her but perhaps she has the will of God in mind something that Peter will soon wrestle with. Again it appears that Mary has paid close attention to the details putting the disciples to shame. If you will recall this is the same Mary that sat at foot of Christ in a previous episode, listening intently to his words while her sister Martha was busy with preparations. Mary is said to have chosen the more valuable...

I missed the bulk of Good Friday because I was busy with business as usual. I am most interested in what this might reveal about my divided heart these days. Am I seeking to know God above all else? Is He my portion? No, I continue to wrestle with God. I continue to get entangled in the vain things of this world. I am more like the disciples at the garden of Gethsamane who in light of the fact that their Lord is in deep distress, and in light of all that is to come, with heavy eyelids keep falling asleep...

"Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak." - Matthew 26:41