Friday, August 31, 2007

i am a warrior and my path is sacred

people keep asking me about my warrior experience.

i went on the new warrior training adventure initiation weekend just over a year ago. my awesome friend and fellow journeyer Brady Bragg invited me to go on a Warrior Weekend spring before last. i didn't want to go to another damn retreat. i've done the retreat thang, as you may imagine, since i was in the organized religion business for a dozen years. i had done it ALL ... wild at heart, emmaus, spiritual formation, men's retreats, encounter groups. men's retreats. co-ed gatherings. church things. para-church things. denominational things. seminary things. all good ... all filling ... all meaningful. okay, some more than others. but still.

so, i was reluctant. journey was just getting hooked up and healthy. i was very busy. plus, i didn't want to go be nice and spiritual. i'd had it. and i was tired of all the macho bullshit that men take on to push other people around - patriarchy, male supremacy, us vs. them, warfare as a way to control the world, bravado. i didn't want to go beat drums and assert how important male assholeness is.

but, brady kept hounding me.

one of the things that made me feel that new warrior would be different was that brady is gay, and he said that gay and straight men are part of this experience. he also said that christians and non-christians are part of this experience. he also said that it was about being real, and honest, and not composed and not cool and together. he said that it used mythological archetypes, and native american spiritual imagery. he added that men of different races and backgrounds are part of warrior work.

all of these things interested me and touched something inside me.

brady also said that it's an outgrowth of the men's movement. i love robert bly's iron john, and richard rohr's work with men. i'd always known that there is something important about men getting in touch with their hearts - in a way that our culture neither encourages nor talks about. i had always felt afraid of men, unable to trust men, afraid of my own power as a man.

and something in me said, I'm ready for this. i was scared shitless, reluctant, weirded out. but my soul must've known it was time for me to take this leap.

i went, took my fishing poles, drove my truck out into bum-fuck egypt nowheresville where this particular retreat center was (there are lots of places new warrior weekends are held; this one was about 2 1/2 hours east of austin).

it absolutely knocked my dick in the dirt.

i reconnected to my wife and children, to my own purpose, to a sense of power i'd never experienced, to my shame and guilt and fear, to my joy and mission and reason for being. to my relationship with god. to my commitment to teaching and casting out fear with liberation and love. to my determination to pursue peace. it made me more and more compassionate towards men in my life. i saw that being a man is all about the kind of strength that leads to love and peace and clarity and never about using one's power to dominate or shame or manipulate. it's about being honest and open and real.

it was hard at first to put into words or to live like this. my poor wife. she was there through all my re-entry and beginning practice. we made it through it. she loves what has happened in me. but it's a big life change and not easy.

i want every single man on the planet go on a new warrior training adventure.

let me know if you're interested. men will help you register. check out the website. whatever. but go.

your journey as a man is sacred. your life has meaning. your path is important. you have a gift to give.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

gone native part 3: finding something

So I went to a nice Christian school. On the one hand, I wanted to get out into the world beyond the bubble of that sweet Christian school. On the other hand, I worried that once I left that bubble, I’d end up lonely or lost or screwed up or on my own. I hadn’t had an exactly stable home life. I was afraid to be on my own. I wanted to be on my own. I didn't know what I wanted.
It was easy to be rebellious and individualistic and iconoclastic in that bubble. It was like a test flight, baby steps. Nothing terribly bad would happen to me there. And nothing terribly bad did happen to me there. And I started to discover my own voice, my own beliefs, my own thoughts. I didn't have to go to church if I didn't want to. I even told my mother that I didn't want to be a lawyer – I wanted to be an English major and be a writer and teacher. I rejected the fraternity system that, at the time, was about looking like a businessperson (businessman, actually) in a navy blue blazer and oxblood loafers with a corner office, or someone in a navy blue blazer and topsiders with a yacht. I grew my hair out. Hung out with funny troublemaking young men. Dipped snuff, drank beer. Many of those men went on to be very successful in business in life. At least on the outside. That wasn’t for me.
But what was I going to do? I hadn’t a clue.

I was talking to a friend yesterday, thinking back to why on Earth I went to a Christian university at all. I was so damn tired of church and why it was so important to me to get away from the mindset of the world I grew up in.
As I said in going native part 1, I grew up as the world was changing. I became infected with this change – and then became a carrier.
The churches we went to when I was a kid were nice, white-bread, thinking, club-neighborhood-churches establishments. Traditional. Stained glass. Organ and piano music. Hymns. Pastors in robes. Pleasant people.
As it turns out, they were people who were, often, nice and sweet on the outside, and bitter or angry or sad or addicted or lonely or broken on the inside. The inside part came out when they were at home, or alone. Secret places.
The system they were a part of, and which at that very moment was being rejected by a whole group of people in this culture, was performance-based. One’s responsibility was to serve dutifully. To do what one was told. To behave. To obey. And at the same time, to be individualistic, to succeed, to climb every mountain, to make the world better, to raise perfect and happy families. Fit in, and do your part. But be your own person and find your own path to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
That is a total mindfuck. It’s impossible. It’s exhausting. It’s what St. Paul called “the Law.” Following the rules and being good. Paul said that the Law cannot give life – it only produces death, spiritual death, exhaustion, fragmentation. A deep sense that you're not good enough no matter what you do.
(I have never met someone who came from that cultural mindset who was peaceful about him/herself. Wait, that’s not true; I have met them – but they are in the smallest minority. And they are always those who have come to terms with the reality that it’s okay not to be perfect. For life not to have turned out as they had planned. For it to be good enough, that they were good enough. Usually this acceptance comes from a deep sense of faith and trust in something large. God, America, goodness, truth, beauty, honor. I think that’s very, very cool. I respect that.)
And while I was growing up, that system, that way of seeing the world, was under siege. Hordes of people were turning on, tuning in, and dropping out. Reading poetry. Wearing weird clothes and hair. Not playing by the rules.
America was at war; these people decided it was an unjust, immoral war, and they said so. They asked questions that no one had permission to ask – about the systems of the world, about the leaders of the world, about the way the world worked and thought.
When I was a teenager, I just wanted to hang out and have fun.
When I went to college, I wanted to be free like that.
The Summer of Love was, by then, ten years back, and lots of the hippies had turned into corporate drones, and music was 80s big hair bands.
And I was just turning into a hippie myself and had no clue about what to do.
I didn't believe in God anymore. I was just learning to believe in myself. I studied philosophy and literature and history. I wrote and wrote and wrote. I was figuring something out.

Monday, August 27, 2007

i think this is a good idea, actually

nonprofitprophet posted this and i think it's a good thing.
i think it might be great for journey.
i realize we all love being together ... maybe someone could come and hang out at the warehouse and welcome people who don't know it's a day off, or are new, or just want to be there because that's their sabbath and rest. still have the coffee and donuts. music playing. maybe watch a movie.
but what if we all just sat home and drank coffee and ate a late breakfast and our way of resting that day was to chill and nap and sleep late and be with loved ones? or take a walk in the park? or fed some hungry people?

hippie non-church

bob carlton posted this about surveys regarding why young americans aren't interested in church.
i'm not interested in church either, and i'm 46 1/2. i realize i'm not a young american anymore. shit. but i think i have the heart of one.
or maybe it was just always wanting to be a hippie and now i am one.

press release from god seems timely

Thursday, August 23, 2007

this book is just wrong

okay, actually, it's beautiful. i'm just saying, it's fucking with my head. horribly.

i'm in agony. and it's ecstasy.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

gone native part 2: welcome shadow

this is part 2; part 1 is here.
it turned out that i could ignore even the most irritatingly persistent jiminy cricket for as long as i wanted to - maybe indefinitely.
that didn't mean i didn't hear and feel my conscience, my heart and soul, my truest self, my imago dei, speaking to me, nudging me, whispering through my body.
but my shadow and my intellect made more noise.
as i've written about before, i had YMD, Young Man Disease. from which i continue to recover ... and the way to recover from it is just growing up. but i live in a culture that promotes not growing up. and i know, our culture is full of many, many wonderful things. americans are generous, courageous, hopeful; americans rally together; americans have a lot of pride and belief; americans have built/popularized some of the coolest inventions and innovations; americans love the new.
but i also live in a culture that encourages us all to be happy, to find the answers, to refuse to accept the inevitability of death and pain; to see life as something to be won and defeated rather than to be embraced and experienced. this culture deifies youth and beauty.
this focus on defeating and mastering life by being successful, can make people sick in many, many ways. it contributed to my sickness. it didn't make me sick, but it didn't help either.
i was afraid, insecure, worried, angry.
i was also golden. beautiful. fine. but i didn't see that part as clearly.
the shadow said, Oh, i don't believe in jack shit anymore. i don't believe in anything. but i did. i believed in god - i just didn't call god that. i fell in love with ideas. poetry. a beautiful short story. a powerfully and carefully written philosophical statement. history. art. the workings of the soul.
i'm lucky. many men and women, on their way away from what religion or culture told them god is, fall in love with drugs or violence or alcohol or self-destruction. i fell in love with ideas and beauty.
god is in everything, so god can be found anywhere. but i'm glad, looking back, that that's what my soul picked.
my shadow side, my fear, added cynicism to the mix.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

am i the last person

to discover this amazing band? good heavens. beauty, power, insight, soul. stand back and be amazed.

over the rhine

this is good stuff.

i want to kill that intruder

our older cat olivia knows in her head that our younger cat daffodil is no threat. or, i wish she would. i wish she would get that. we tell her all the time. not only in people language - "olivia, daffodil is a nice cat. you can let her live here. there's nothing to be upset about" - but also in cat language - saying the same thing only with exaggerated ups and downs, in a higher vocal range than normal, softly and reassuringly.
still, olivia pretty much just wants to kill daffodil all the time.
it's better now, a couple of months after we brought daffodil home and introduced another cat into olivia's world. olivia isn't seeking daffodil to intimidate and attack her; she only hisses and swipes a paw at daffodil if daffodil gets too close. or just pisses olivia off.
but we have explained it, so olivia should have figured it out by now, and dealt with her feelings.

okay, is that possible? does a cat have the ability to differentiate logic and rational ideas from instinct and emotional responses to stimuli? can a cat be talked out of what her body tells her?
i'm not sure that a cat's instincts and emotions can be overridden by conversation. i don't know that talk therapy will help a cat. i mean, talking to a cat helps - but it seems to be all in the key words we've taught her ("treat" "livvie" "good kitty" "nice kitty" "no!") or in tone of voice. it's not rational. what really seems to work is getting to her at an emotional/instinctual/experiential level. we spray her with a water spritzer when she's mean to daffodil. she stops.
i'm starting to think there's no getting through to a cat.

i'm starting to wonder whether there's any getting through to a human being, too.
i know there absolutely are moments in which we get insights, see things; a new piece of information just clicks and we realize something. and our life changes.
i'm a teacher and inspirer. if i didn't believe in the possibility of people seeing new things about themselves and changing, i'd quit. but i have seen it, and do see it. all the time.
it sure takes a long time sometimes. and a lot of the time, the idea sounds good in the head but stops somewhere around the nose or the neck or the shoulders and doesn't get down in the balls and the bones and the guts and the arms and legs and hands and feet. and heart.
that's where it has to be different, for anything to change in us.
when we're kids, that's where things hit us. in the magical places. the bones. the fear, the wonder. we see. we hear. we feel. it's all immediate.
and then our brains kick in, and people tell us, "oh, no - that thing you're feeling? it's not real. here's why..."
no wonder i'm so confused sometimes. no wonder it's hard for me to figure out what i'm really feeling, and get the messages in my head out of the way. and then, to feel what i really feel without judging myself or feeling something honest and then jumping back out into my head and an explanation.

how can we change? i think direct experience to re-connect us to our bodies and our bodies' memories is really maybe the only way to reboot some of these systems. and new ideas and insights to help reinforce the new way to be. to act. to see. to do.
that's why at journey i like doing both bible study (mostly rational, ideas, insights) AND worship (a lot of it is non-rational, body, smells and pictures and tastes, letting go of ideas) ... AND service to the poor (ideas and body collide; body won't be silenced - it's right there in front of us) ... AND eating together (just body; good!) ... AND REALLY listening to each other (body and soul all at once).

i just want to do whatever i can, use whatever tool will help, find whatever healthy tools there are, not to tell my instincts to shut up, but to connect to what i'm feeling - and figure out what's true and what's not true. put things out in front of me so i can embrace them and thank them. and then decide. but not deny, and not say, "oh, daffodil's no threat" without saying "i want to kill that fucking intruder!"

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

because life is hard sometimes ...

need some healing?

gone native part 1

i grew up in the 60s and 70s. (yes, i am that old. and i love it!) i was a kid just when the western world shifted and a series of cultural revolutions changed everything. gender roles. attitudes about sexuality. skin color. disability. music. hair. clothing. morality. sometimes i think it's no wonder that the people in america in their 40s and 50s aren't all crazy. no, i mean, really crazy. it is hard to grow up during a war - or, in our case, lots of wars in our country all at once.
i had a crew cut in first grade. we all did. by fourth grade i had hair in my eyes.
we went from listening to "the sound of music" to simon and garfunkel.
i remember my parents walking in after seeing "the godfather"; they looked like aliens had landed and hit them in the head. the increasing violence and sexuality of cinema were overwhelming.
these may not seem like big shifts, but they were earthquakes at the time, for nice families in the suburbs.
my upbringing had been based in being a good boy. grow up to be a good man. "good" was defined as "successful." that was how my parents' and grandparents' world defined a good man: stable, successful, well-behaved, clean-cut, respectful, churchgoing.
but i wanted to be a hippie. i went from the beatles to crosby stills nash & young to jimi hendrix. and then it was all over.
the voices in my head kept telling me to be good, so i was. i did well in school, was class presidentl, didn't smoke or drink, was a pleasant young man.
but i had been infected.
and since young man disease is all about pushing away from what a young man - or woman - is afraid of becoming (see luke and darth), i decided in high school to make some Bs - or even Cs. my friends and i (all student council, band, choir - fine young men, seriously) dipped snuff and drank lone star longnecks. i got drunk. threw up. told my mother No. didn't clean my room. i went off to college and had sex. (okay, not much, but still.) drank more beer. smoked a little weed. played hooky. made more Cs. didn't give a shit. it felt good. didn't do laundry for months. slept late. was not class president.
it was good for me. it made me feel strong. i didn't want to be a good boy anymore, and dammit i didn't have to.
all along, a voice kept telling me, You're going to fail. you're going to ruin your life. you're fucking up big time.
i didn't know whether it was the voice of old ladies with beehive hairdos who thought elvis was the devil, voices in my head that were still trying to keep the world from changing ... or whether it was jiminy cricket, a true conscience, trying to help me find my way.

next: part 2, welcome shadow.

Monday, August 13, 2007

bishop becomes child of god upon retirement

i was reading a blog by a lutheran minister, a very brave woman. she had been listening to people at their recent big worldwide conference, and posted some quotes. here's one:

"My inner 14 year old has always sort of leaked out but now I'm just going to let him loose!"A retiring bishop in answer to the question, "So, what are you going to do now?"

so ... since jesus said the kingdom of god is made up of those who have the faith to be like little children, i guess this bishop has been missing out all this time? it is perhaps hard to be true to one's soul when one is a bureaucrat, boss, administrator, protector of the sacred. i'm glad for the bishop. i just wish he could've gotten there before retiring.

wouldn't it have been wonderful for a bishop in a large institution to have been living with his inner 14 year old awake and alive every day, playing with god and other people? riding bikes? playing music? dancing? crying? acting like an idiot? not resisting joy and tears?

wouldn't it be wonderful for any of us? doctors, pastors, moms and dads, bean-counters, managers, drivers, sellers, buyers, advertisers, nurses, teachers? i mean, what's the holdup? is it that we think our life is a big institution, corporation, denomination, which we must manage and hold together?

and all along the Spirit says, Let's put dad's playing cards in our spokes and ride really fast down the big hill!

end slavery now

at journey we're learning that the unthinkable is happening right now. the use of human beings as slaves, in the world, in the united states, in austin. for sex. for labor. for warfare.
we feel god talking to us, calling us to make a stand on this issue.
on september 9 we're using our whole sunday morning thing to show the concert to end slavery. we're praying about becoming an "abolitionist church," where people trapped in slavery can come for safety and connections.

it's scary. and exciting. feels like the right kind of battle to fight in order to love our neighbors the way we want to be loved.

or, we could just have theological debates and work on being nicer christians.

Monday, August 6, 2007

great questions - what curious wanted to know

in response to my post on the purpose of a church, it's not really that big, Curious left this comment:

Success is ultimately achievement of want or desire or an acceptable or good outcome.SO I want to know
1. What do the worldwide denominations say they want? What do the worldwide denominations really want? What does their leadership want?
2. What do the mega-churches want? What do their leadership want?
3. What does your Journey want, what do yo want? What's your measure of success? How will you ever now you achieved success? Is it Joel Olsteen type money. Is it Pat Robertson type power and influence? Is it Pope-like reverence? Is it reaching the one million saved mark on your golden arches?
Don't give us some easy pastor-like (political) answer either? Why are you a pastor and why have you traveled the [path] you are on?

that rocks.
lemme take a stab at this.
i don't know what the worldwide denominations really want. each denomination, each church concept, each model, has its own purposes - stated and unstated. i like this book, avery dulles's models of the church. it's a resource journey ifc used in bible study when we were first starting. we spent a lot of time with this book, thinking about the different models of what a church overall, and an individual congregation/group can be. we wiped the slate clean. what's the model we think god is leading us to? what do our souls tell us? what have we brought with us, from previous churches, or no church - that worked, that didn't work?
and the big question was: what do you think god dreams of, if god had a group of people who just asked, over and over, What do you want us to be?
we boiled it down to what jesus said the most important thing was. love god, love other people, learn to be loved. we figured if it was good enough for jesus, it was a good thing to put at the center of everything we did. so that's our model.
we chose NOT to be an institution. NOT to be a club. NOT to be a tool for proclaiming salvation through formulas or doctrines. instead, we chose to be a serant community. our understanding of "love" as jesus meant it, was to serve, forgive, be present with, show compassion to. feed. clothe. listen to. to heal and be healed.
that's it.
so, i don't know what other denominations/churches/models choose.
if i had to guess, here's an example.
so, let's say a local congregation is part of a larger movement/denomination/association. people become part of it because it attracts them, for whatever reason. maybe it's the building. maybe it's friends who've brought them. maybe it's the children's programs, or youth programs, or some other thing that meets a personal need or life stage they're in. maybe it's a message the church proclaims about god, or people, or the world. maybe it's just how it feels. maybe it's how the group worships together.
here's the trick: what does the church say it's about? define that. learn that. read it, ask about it, listen to it.
then, what is the church really about? watch. listen. ask people. pay attention. live in it. feel it.
when those two things are congruent in a church, or denomination, or whatever, then you've got integrity and that's a good place to be, a good group to be part of.
if those two things are not congruent, there's a lack of clarity. integrity. focus. honesty. whatever.
every church uses the tools that serve its purpose - either stated or unstated, either consciously or un-. are the tools clear in their usage?
and, are the people dealing with their own shit - and their beauty - or are they in denial about it?

i don't know what the largest churches want, but i bet it's about money and success and size, and they use whatever tools serve that purpose. maybe it's that they use size to do what they believe in - build healthy community, reach people, whatever. that's fine. i don't know what an institutional/hierarchical church wants, but i bet it's about laws and doctrine and order. maybe it's that they use order to do what they believe in - build healthy community, reach people, whatever. that's fine. i don't know what a proclaiming church wants, but i bet it's about the primary role of words, and scriptures or sacred texts, and rituals supporting that. maybe it's that they use words to do what they believe in - build healthy community, reach people, whatever. that's fine.
what do i want? i want to be with a group of people who do what they say they do. i want to be part of an organization that has the balls to stop and pray and listen to god - and to do what they understand god to tell them, whether that fits our cultural training or not. i want to be part of a group of people who are humble and are dealing with their own shit, and accepting their own beauty. i want to serve among people who genuinely give a damn about other people. and about loving other people. and about loving god. and about learning to love themselves.
my measure of "success" is that that's happening, in little or big ways, every day.
that's why i'm a pastor - to be part of something that believes in that. and that's why i am a part of journey.
there is no objective way to measure or track that. any more than there is to measure or track love.

journey's prayer labyrinth for our easter vigil. it rocked. those stripes were made out of shredded prayers at our maundy thursday service. wow.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

do your work, you healer. yeah, i know it's hard.

leslie was watching "bobby" and i caught the last half hour or so (crawling out of bed after the sunday afternoon nap). i heard a quote at the end. turns out, it was from an amazing speech robert f kennedy gave the day after martin luther king's assassination.
and i know, i know. it's a lot of work to think about making the world better. to find ways to heal ourselves and others. to stand up to what oppresses people. to be healed, and to heal. to accept love, and to give love. yeah, it is hard. but here's some of what rfk said. may it give you hope. it did me.

btw, this is what jesus said, too.

the mindless menace of violence in America … is not the concern of any one race. The victims of the violence are black and white, rich and poor, young and old, famous and unknown. They are, most important of all, human beings whom other human beings loved and needed. …
What has violence ever accomplished? What has it ever created? …
this much is clear: violence breeds violence, repression brings retaliation, and only a cleansing of our whole society can remove this sickness from our soul. …
When you teach a man to hate and fear his brother, when you teach that he is a lesser man because of his color or his beliefs or the policies he pursues, when you teach that those who differ from you threaten your freedom or your job or your family, then you also learn to confront others not as fellow citizens but as enemies, to be met not with cooperation but with conquest; to be subjugated and mastered.
We learn, at the last, to look at our brothers as aliens, men with whom we share a city, but not a community; men bound to us in common dwelling, but not in common effort. We learn to share only a common fear, only a common desire to retreat from each other, only a common impulse to meet disagreement with force. … The question is whether we can find in our own midst and in our own hearts that leadership of humane purpose that will recognize the terrible truths of our existence. …
Our lives on this planet are too short and the work to be done too great to let this spirit flourish any longer in our land. Of course we cannot vanquish it with a program, nor with a resolution.
But we can perhaps remember, if only for a time, that those who live with us are our brothers, that they share with us the same short moment of life; that they seek, as do we, nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and in happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment they can.
Surely, this bond of common faith, this bond of common goal, can begin to teach us something.

Friday, August 3, 2007

post #100 ... wisdom

i'm excited. this is my 100th post. yay.
i think i'll share something very deep and profound. because that's how i roll.


if your wife says, when you get into the minivan, "there's a mosquito! kill it! quick!" and
a. you hate mosquitoes because they love your blood and swarm around you and you must have some sort of allergy or something because their bites swell up and itch horribly, so you always try to kill them every chance you get, and
b. you're a big guy like me with big hands and long arms and you're pretty strong,

... when you see the mosquito, don't whack at it really hard to make sure you kill it. especially if it's next to the windshield.

i have spoken. may this wisdom pass down through the ages.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

listening for what feels like nothing

so yesterday i go visit a man in the hospital, a friend of a journeyer. i didn't know this man, but the journeyer asked me to go see him, so i was happy to. turns out he had a big honkin' car accident a few weeks ago. snapped his pelvis. broke a bunch of ribs and his left forearm. had to have all that screwed back together, etc.

they didn't know if he was going to make it, but he did. he's going home and starts physical therapy next week. he's a lucky man. blessed. whatever, based on your view of the universe.

as he's telling me how he's doing, i can tell this has been a big wake-up call for him. that's good. he says he's an executive who works 80-90 hours a week, and he's busy, and at the center of a lot of activity. he has a lot to do.

he also says that this accident has made him start thinking about things. what his life means. what he's supposed to do next. i guess he's 50ish. i'm thinking this is a good time for him to think about what he wants. what he longs for. what he doesn't need anymore.

he's thinking the same thing.

he tells me he wants to do something for god. he doesn't know what that will be. but he's hungry for it.

my guess is, his soul has been hungry a while. he seems like a good man. seems kind. genuine. and the look in his eyes doesn't just look kind or nice - he's searching. he wants to know something. he can't put his finger on it.

i say, All you have to do is listen.

i realize that i have just suggested that he try to do one of the hardest things a businessperson in america can attempt. it probably feels like being told to flap your arms and fly to the moon.
he says he tries to listen, and sometimes it feels like there's just a wall there. no god. even though he believes deeply and wants to hear god speak. i tell him he's definitely not the only person to experience this.

he says he's hungry. he's trying to read his bible, pray; it's quiet late at night on his floor in the hospital and he's had a lot of time to think. i tell him thinking is probably the problem. he might try journaling, and not thinking, just writing. and when a genuinely not-the-monkey-in-his-head thought comes, that's god.
he asks how my wife and i knew to start journey with all these amazing people. how'd you know god was talking? he says. i say that we just got as quiet as we could, over and over and over, and asked other people to pray, and god sent us all kinds of messages. lots of them. weird, strange ones ... beautiful, simple ones ... i say that that's the only way i know how to do this.
i also tell him, he can do this. it'll just take practice. a few small steps at first. it'll be a surprise.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

many christians wear bracelets, t-shirts, buttons, and other paraphernalia that advertise their beliefs. many times those t-shirts are connected to a worldview that says that christians must "hold the fort" against the evil influences of the ungodly, the non-christian and therefore evil world around us.
here are some of the shirts that my family and i wear, and bumper stickers we put on our vehicles.

now, the reason for this is not so that we can show that we're more hip or more spiritual or more anything than other christians. and i know many christians who wear their t-shirts or buttons or put their bumper stickers on their cars just because they're sincere and want to say what they are about.

but many christians do these things as acts of defiance.
i am going to go ahead right now and own that part of what we diamonds feel is also defiance. the difference is that we don't think that we're right and going to heaven, and everyone else is doomed and evil. what we're passionate about is that we have been called to send a message of love and healing and tolerance and courage to the world around us.
i'm taking my own inventory here and realizing that there is a part of me that thinks i'm right and closed-minded christians are wrong. in which case, maybe i'm more like them than i realize.
isn't there a saying, "what you resist, persists"?
and ... jesus said to love one's enemies. for real.
having said that, i do recall jesus going off in anger against the selfishness and arrogance of the super-religious of his time.
i just realized that these messages aren't for christians. they're for non-christians, or post-christians, or christinaity-is-irrelevants. "there are people who follow jesus who aren't interested in beating you up, or promoting you're-going-to-hell messages, or converting you. some of us who follow jesus just want to let you know, we're for love."