Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Lets Get Quackin

I think my soul is a tame 'ole duck
Waddling around in the barnyard muck,

Fat and lazy with useless wings...

But sometimes when the north wind sings,

And the free ones fly up overhead

Something stirs within his breast
Something that was lost and dead.

And he cocks a wary and puzzled eye,

And makes a feeble attempt to fly.

He's fairly content with the state he's in
But it's sure not the duck that he might have been.

(Author unknown)

One week from today I'll be on my way to a study, an adventure, a sacrifice, a beauty, a love, a purchase, an answer to the call "Come, follow me..." I would be lying if I said I wasn't fearful but I know that without obedience there is no faith and without faith, no obedience. Preparing for the trip has been a roller-coaster ride but I urge anyone who feels the call to lay aside theirselves and take a risk in Jesus' name to do what you are called to do, not even look back, but fall in step, letting the hem of his garment touch your shins as you follow.

For the many that are bathing this visit in prayer I thank you. To my wife, suffer all things for a season for your joy comes in the morning and your righteousness will be afforded to you as a warm sweater on your naked shoulders in the autumn evening. When I hear the prayers of my children

echoing the love for Christ that you show them I am assured that God's plan for our lives is being fulfilled and the fruits of his works will be forever evidence of that.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Preparing to Go to Alaska

The dehydrator has been going full for a couple weeks now. Please pray for me as the date draws near for my departure. As of this evening I do not have a contact within the village that will actually email me back so the mystery of whether I'll be welcomed or shunned remains. If I have to spend 5 weeks outside the village praying for the people of Kokhanok, so be it. I don't believe that will happen but I am prepared for it. I have explained the trip to so many people without really knowing what God's plan is for my visit there that it seems almost like I'm talking about someone else's trip. I've had blueberry muffins that were so full of blueberries that they wouldn't hold together and also muffins that had like one blueberry in them and to me they were both muffins and I didn't hesitate to eat them. I guess I'll view this trip like that, a blueberry muffin - God will be the one to decide the number of blueberries, if any, and I'll just make sure the coffee is hot to go with it.
Love and Joy

Thursday, May 11, 2006

I tested myself on this Orthodox page and here are the results

You scored as Chalcedon compliant. I am Chalcedon compliant. The test says I am not a heretic. I believe that Jesus is truly God and truly man and like us in every respect, apart from sin. Officially approved in 451.

Chalcedon compliant




























Are you a heretic?
created with QuizFarm.com

Happy Birthday Son

Dear Roman,

I know you don’t like it much when I wax sentimental (you don’t like the drama) but when I think of you I can’t really stop myself from going that route because I miss you so. There was a snowball fight we had when you were about 3. There was fishing at a pond in a park in Englewood, Ohio where you caught the biggest fish and it was a catfish, while everyone else caught little sunfish. We played basketball at our concrete court in New Carlisle, OH. We went rabbit hunting and you were the dog in back of Grandpa’s house. We drove down to get your Rose and I saw the look on your face when you picked her out. There is so much more.

Some people come into your life and you think that they’ve come straight from the depths of Hell because with them they bring a load of trouble and they somehow touch every last nerve in your body. We are tempted to flee them because they bring up reactions that make us uncomfortable.

Some people come into your life and you know that somehow God knew just what you wanted and that person fits the bill and awakens in you a pleasure or a laugh or a sensual thought or maybe they just flat out make you feel like a million bucks.

Some people that seem to come and go in our lives and they don’t really leave much of an impact one way or another. We share a school project, play together on a team, share a room for awhile, party together, or go on a date with them and the time passes by and they go their way and we go ours and it seems there is some unspoken agreement that we are not going to continue the relationship past the season of life we find each other in.

Then there is your family…..

Your family somehow fits into the first two categories but unlike all other people, your family is not chosen, they are gifted to you. I know, they don’t always seem like a gift but they are! We go through life and at every stage we feel that WE know just what it is that we need to advance. First it’s the necessary things like baby rice and formula and human touch and sleep and maybe a little lullaby to sing to our heart. Next it’s the selfish needs, juice instead of water, ice cream instead of peas, a boost of confidence when we’ve just used permanent marker on the wall, etc. We cry out for these things and sometimes we get them and sometimes we don’t. During adolescence our needs from our family are mostly physical (some of the understanding of what is good for us rather than what we want begins to form) but a pat on the back for a job well done is also very much needed. Then there is the pre-teen years when we develop bonds with our family and we go to them for moral support and we are starting to mature so we want to do “responsible” things to show how grown up we are. This is the last time we really feel our family could possibly be a gift for many of us.

I don’t know where to go from here because based on my own experience there is absolutely nothing that happened with my family after that period that remotely seemed like a gift at the time. I look back now and see it was mostly because with a gift there comes the responsibility of receiving it. Sometimes the gift from our family is positive and sometimes its negative but God has a way of working it all out to prosper us as promised.

You have been a wonderful gift to me son. You spent most of your childhood trying to live up to my fantasy expectations that, even though I didn’t say much to you about them, you knew. Pridefully, I spoke about you as if what you have to offer somehow came from my genes and as if I somehow had control over what genes you ended up with (you are God’s creation, not mine, I just got the privilege of growing with you). It didn’t matter what you began, you could be above-average at it. Nothing you ever did was mediocre (well maybe baseball and basketball but you didn’t spend a lot of time on those and were still a little above average). Even when you didn’t meet my expectations you, as a gift, kept on giving by dredging up my own insecurities so I could offer them to Jesus to take with him to the cross.

You still give. Every time I extend my hand to you and you don’t accept it I realize how many times I’ve done that to God myself. Every time I send an email that doesn’t get an answer I am reminded to approach the world in humility and with a teachable spirit. Every time I hear you speak about your future plans I am reminded of how small I’ve lived my life and how I need to live more strongly “To whom much is given, much is required”. Every time my heart aches over the time we are missing that normal fathers and sons get to spend together I am reminded by the spirit within me that I am not a father of a season but of a lifetime. I am also reminded that this life we are living here is but a breath. Every time I feel that I may never be forgiven by you I am reminded that first I must forgive others.

Happy Birthday(it should be called Lifeday),

Love Dad Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Law of the Spirit of LIfe

Romans 8:1-2:
[Life Through the Spirit ] Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.

What a wonderful Orthodoxy it would be. A return to the basics of life in Christ Jesus whereby Christians met in fellowship to rejoice over this good news. Where Christians met in fellowship bringing what the Spirit has led them to or from to share with the saints. Where questions of the mind were answered with wisdom of the heart and given the added value of being shared in fellowship for all with ears to hear. Where our faith, while being thick and sweet with the richness of the story that God has given us, could, at the same time, be lean and windswept and as true as a matchhead in the dead of night. Where Eastern and Western could once again see each other as persons and not as enemies of the faith. Where the Priesthood of all believers and our responsibility to God's desire to reconcile all humanity to himself, once and for all time, becomes the desire of our hearts - marginalizing our own pain and suffering as mere inconveniences rather than the center of moment by moment contemplations. We are a people both blessed and cursed. The bounty that we have enjoyed has detached us from the raw beauty of God's plan, the appreciation of the story, the excitement of the mission. We can get an "edge of your seat" experience from tens of thousands of sources in media and we drive past the VFW post, the Crisis Pregnancy Center, the RAVE office, the Drug Rehab centers, and the homeless shelters in our haste to get home to "catch the game" or "see this week's episode". God help us. God forgive us. God build us.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Draw Near

I've a terrible memory but I once heard or read about a group of Navy Seals on a mission to rescue some POWs or hostages- someone being held and tortured. When they found them the people were huddled and hid their faces from their rescuers. They would not get up, possibly over disbelief of such a blessing and fear of reprisal from their captors. One of the seals took off his gear, curled up within them and assumed their posture, with the utmost compassion(something their guards would never have done). The victims, one by one, began to trust the interloper and were convinced of the truth in the rescue.

Our hurting brothers and sisters do not need how-to books, doctrinal diahrrea, or lofty prayers. Our people need hearts full of true love and compassion. The type of love that will take us to the streets, to the jungles, to the cess-pools, to the smoke-filled rooms where despair consumes its host.

I pray to be granted the wisdom to draw alongside those in despair. I pray for the strength to be impoverished and emptied of myself and filled to completeness with the Dance of the Trinity. I pray that somehow I am not a chord of cynism strangling the life out of hope, mercy, and all that is good.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Ayaan Hirsi Ali :: Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Dutch rebel Muslim's book due out Tuesday

"We Muslims" may sound curious coming from Hirsi Ali, who was raised a strict Muslim but now calls herself an atheist. She would like to see a Muslim Reformation of the kind that remade European Christianity in the 16th century.Muslims need "to develop a different relationship, a different concept of God, of what God means," she says - not just total submission to God's will but "a dialogue with God."Such a reformation is more likely to emerge from the West, she said, because for reformers in Muslim societies "there is always the fear of being killed, of being shunned by your community, of being exiled, jailed, tortured."

Pray for this sentiment to be heard among moderate Islam. The God her heart cries out for, in spite of her words, is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. If she would dig just a little deeper she would see that Christ provides the completeness that Islam cannot provide.

Humility against Despair

This is a chapter in Thomas Merton's "New Seeds of Contemplation". What a blessing this chapter was to me this morning.

I relish the way that God moves. Yesterday my wife and I had a disagreement. My idea of preparing for retirement is to intentionally rid ourselves of most of our possessions and the responsibility associated with them. When my wife suggested that we add some furniture to our bedroom I resisted vehemently even though the furniture she was talking about was free from some friends of ours that had purchased new when they moved into a furnished home. We compromised by getting rid of some of the furniture we have so we'd have no net gain.

While we were at odds over this issue, several other long-distance-type disagreements came up and we were using the "always" and "nevers" that Satan has taught us from childhood. I'm very good at this and WIN every time our conversations sink to this level. I wish I'd have read the above chapter before this struggle but I hadn't. I steamed, then I sulked, then I played some guitar, and finally I prayed (why Lord do I continue to come to the solution AFTER I've hurt her). I went to my beauty in humility, not contrived humility but genuine, Spirit-birthed, humility, and begged her forgiveness for sinking to the cowardice of having to win an argument. Rejoice!, Rejoice!, another victory over death at the hand of the one God whose saving Grace and boundless mercy guides me and strenghtens me and calls me on the carpet when I stray! Build in me a fortress against my own fleshy nature Lord! Give my words meaning not confusion, love not controversy, healing not wounding, understanding and not religion and chains.