Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Ninja Parade Slips Through Town Unnoticed Once Again
ps the reference to luther as a badass ninja pirate can be found here
Monday, October 29, 2007
this speaks volumes.
i do NOT believe that most people who are sincerely living out their beliefs realize that they need someone to be their scapegoat ... but as this song hilariously points out, we all do it.
i'll tell you mine if you tell me yours ...
Sunday, October 28, 2007
they had asked specifically about what journey's beliefs are about homosexuality. i talked about how at journey all people are children of god, period. and all people are welcome, period. if there is someone who's in a pattern in their life that's not healthy, we are teaching all the time about how god is in all things - so, look at your life. really look at it. all of it. and then say, Okay, is this healthy for me? what's in this that i can learn from? where do i choose to go? is this something i need support around? 12 steps? men's group? women's group? bible study? discussion group? small group? volunteer to help at journey? feed homeless people? find a good therapist? learn more ways to pray and connect to god? all of these are ways to get at, and deal with, patterns in our lives that aren't healthy - like sexual promiscuity. unhealthy patterns of drinking, or eating, or drug use, or pornography, or spending money, or not spending money. rage. victimhood.
i realized later that night that i hadn't actually "answered" their question - i had gone into how we at journey deal with our shit, our beauty, all of who we are, with god in the middle of it. that's what i think jesus invited people into. but they had wanted an answer to whether journey condemns homosexuality as a way to live. i emailed and told them that no, in fact, we don't. i have read the scriptures at length and don't see that homosexuality is a "sin" at all. american greed is a sin. america's preoccupation with violence is a sin. america's treatment of those in prison, and the poor, and the ugly or unintelligent or outsider - that's a sin. but the way god designs people to love each other? as long as it's between consenting adults - and that's true of heterosexuals as well - and done in a committed and loving and learning relationship, we don't see that it's anything we need to change in anyone. everyone is a beloved child of god.
(they had asked, when i talked about that general principle, whether if someone were an adulterer or a child molester, even though - they acknowledged this - that person is to be loved and welcomed, would journey not say that that behavior was wrong? i said, the real question is, what is the behavior/pattern in your life about? first, accept that you're the beloved of god. love god. be loved by god. then, look at your life. what's working - not, what feels good, but, what is really making you more and more healthy, more and more loving, more and more real? and any negative, hurtful behavior? jesus says, I invite you to change that.)
they emailed back a very respectful and sweet answer, which was, how much they appreciated our time together, and how they will pray for and support journey, and they're glad we're here doing our thing for god, but that's a decisive issue for them, so they'll keep looking for the right church. they were very loving and very principled, and i really respect that.
here's my question, not to this couple, but to the world:
why is this a deciding issue?
i mean, i'm just not sure i get it. why is this that big a deal? do people make decisions about a church based on whether it's greed-obsessed? or success-obsessed? or whether the leaders are contentious and mean?
is whether a church tells homosexuals that the way they feel love toward another adult all that important?
i honestly have come to a place where i just don't see it. i really don't.
i think - and i do not mean this as disrespect for this couple and other people like them, who are genuine and humble in their convictions - i think we're completely missing the point. it's a symptom, not the thing itself. is it about whether that church accepts the bible as literal vs. figurative? in which case, is that about whether the world is careening out of control because people who aren't holding on to something solid are causing people to lose what's most important? in which case, is that about fear - a model that says if someone doesn't enforce the rules, we'll all go down in flames and the bad people and forces will take over?
it's just not an issue for me anymore - like, at all. i have no interest in it whatsoever. i want to be with people as they deal with the real barriers to love in their lives - rage, violence, greed, selfishness, obsession with money or control, self-abnegation and condemnation, shame ... when those things are being healed (and jesus was a healer, not condemning ... except toward systems that excluded and shamed the outsiders), the kingdom of god is present.
soft on "sin"? absolutely not. the opposite. i fight it with all i am.
i guess it's an issue of what we believe "sin" is.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
i put my official picture they took at the austin american-statesman when i did an essay for them some months ago. check out the handsome mofos that look like that picture of me.
ummmm ... how do i even begin to respond to that?
now, granted, i'm not sure that mug shot really looks much like me unless i'm smiling nicely for a camera. which i never do. but still.
although, i do like the range - from o henry to telly savalas to maharishi mahesh yogi? (and by the way, everyone laughs about my unruly mess of hair - and i look like telly savalas?) i have to, and i do, respect that.
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Thursday, October 18, 2007
the truth in this music will set you free or just get something in your head to start making weird noises
iron and wine
this man, sam beam, lives in central texas and makes beautiful and strange and haunting and sweet and sad and gently loving and heartbreaking music. it has gotten into some places deep in my head, behind and beyond the front part where the reasons are.
here's some data. http://www.austinchronicle.com/gyrobase/Issue/print?oid=543274
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Thursday, October 11, 2007
it's a freakin' norman rockwell painting.
so, i went for 3 days this week to go advise/help/work with doctoral students who are doing their projects and dissertations over the next year and a half. they are brave and great. they are from south carolina, las vegas, new jersey, canada, pennsylvania - all over. and i had a blast.
Monday, October 8, 2007
ps i drew a cartoon strip for the school paper when i was in college. the main character looked like me - but he was much thinner and more angular than this me. what a difference 25 years makes ...
well, my wife's parents came for the weekend, to see my daughter's drill team friday night, and then hang out saturday, and then come to journey sunday morning. so thursday was clean the house day. and i've felt completely behind on my to-do lists at work and i hate that. so that's where I'VE been the last five days.
yesterday at jifc was really wonderful. lots of people. and lots of soul and Spirit. the "lots of people" part isn't the point; we journeyers have always said that it's not a question of how many of us there are; we don't count; we don't have growth goals or plans. but when the Spirit is on, and lots of people are there all up in it, it rocks. it's like a big feast and the more people there are celebrating and getting some good food and drink, the better.
what? no growth goals? that's insane!
i don't mean to be arrogant or snide. i am aware of the voices in my own head.
emily dickinson knew what it felt like for people to think you're crazy, just because you do things differently.
okay, e.d., do your thing:
Much Madness is divinest Sense -
To a discerning Eye -
Much Sense, the starkest Madness -
'Tis the Majority
In this, as all, prevail -
Assent, and you are Sane -
Demur, you're straightway dangerous -
And handled with a Chain
The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
i've been thinking and praying.
i don't think our calling is to fix anything. put emotional/spiritual bandaids on. give easy answers. i don't even think our job is to try to make people's pain go away. pain is a great teacher. it's at the heart of the human experience. (i hate to say that because people have said things like that as cop-outs or easy answers. no. that's NOT what i'm saying.) it's not about fixing it ... it's about being present in it.
i think our calling has to do with
- being with people in their pain and joy, with no agenda, no planned outcome.
- if they want tools to better understand their pain - and understand themselves - humbly provide those tools
- don't try to make pain go away; know that the pain is transformed when we let god in
- stand up as a community against systems that enslave and dehumanize people
- learn from the people we are trying to love and be with
- remember that god is mysterious and we only see one part of the picture
- fight like hell for what is about love
so far, in response to my post on some things are just good, we've had:
a few more votes for justin timberlake
timberwolves football (two of us have daughters in a high school with timberwolves as mascot)
a favorite author
sitting in the journey warehouse living room
my son's and daughter's laughter
my wife picking on me and tickling me
having the guts not to put something off