Tuesday, December 30, 2008
i love christmas. honestly. it's a celebration of winter and family and friendship and the christ child and gift-giving. it's wonderful. i love christmas music and christmas movies and christmas break.
and i'm glad it's over.
waylon jennings sang, back in the 70s, "are you sure hank done it this-a-way?"
i feel pretty sure jesus didn't want it done this-a-way. but then, jesus isn't in charge of christmas any more than god is in charge of christianity, so ...
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
saw this on naked pastor's blog. i don't know why it struck me, but it did - the muted colors? the mixture of beauty and danger in the story of the coming of god through a baby in a war-torn, occupied country? the risk mary and joseph took ... and the risk that any one of us takes, not when we're part of cultural christianity, but when we open ourselves up to the change that Love produces - demands - makes inevitable.
i wish for you in the next week or so that you feel Love. that it disrupt you. that it call you into places in which you may have to look for a small glow amidst seeming darkness, in order to find where god is at work.
in other words, that Love call you deep into your own life.
i'll see you there, even if i don't see you there.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
there's a song of theirs, "megalomaniac," that i was listening to again recently. it's perfect.
watch this clip. for real.
here are the lyrics; they speak to me of the bosses and parents and friends and co-workers and pastors and CEOs and corporations and advertisers and tyrants who try to push us around and steal our hearts. fuck that.
I hear you on the radio
You permeate my screen; it's unkind but
If I met you in a scissor fight
I'd cut off both your wings on principle alone
On principle alone
You're no Jesus
Yeah, you're no fucking Elvis
Wash your hands clean of yourself baby and
If I were your appendages
I'd hold open your eyes
So you would see
That all of us are heaven sent
There was never meant to be only one
To be the only one
You're no Jesus
Yeah, you're no fucking Elvis
Wash your hands clean of yourself baby and
You're no Jesus
You're no Elvis
You're no Jesus
You're no Jesus
You're no Elvis
YOU'RE NO ANSWER
You're no Jesus
Yeah, you're no fucking Elvis
Wash your hands clean of yourself baby and
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
here's a favorite post from way back. i think my answers are still pretty much the same now.
James Lipton on "Inside the Actors Studio" asks each actor the following questions at the end of the show.
i'd love to know your answers to these ten questions. here are mine.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
it was 75 degrees today.
that's the wonderful christmas season in texas. dammit. i wish it would snow more. i think i'm part viking.
of course, austin is such a kickass place to live, it's worth it.
but ... i'd still like it to be lower than 75 degrees at christmastime ...
Thursday, December 11, 2008
it snowed in austin night before last.
BIG FLAKES OF SNOW. LOTS OF 'EM.
it was ... transcendent. i felt my spirit go kind of loose.
i think i must have viking blood in me, or northern european encoding in my dna. when i'm in really cold, snowy weather, i feel the kind of joy that usually accompanies mystical epiphanies or christmas morning when you're six.
the world i grew up in is not a place where it snows. and it's hot for about nine months, and oppressively hot for about four of those nine, and unbearably hot for around two of those four.
plus, from 5th grade til i graduated from high school, i lived in far south texas, which is flat and humid and a cross between the tropics and a desert. seriously.
and i wanted to live where it snowed. i dreamt of colorado. mountains. trees.
and then in december we'd sing "white christmas" and "winter wonderland" and "sleigh ride" and i felt as if i were LIVING A LIE. it was just wrong. i prayed for a white christmas. it never came.
i prayed that we'd move to the mountains. we never did.
tha's when i decided that there is no god.
but, i've collected little christmas figurines and toys my whole life, and every december i make little snow scenes with snowmen and santas and little houses and rudolph and elves, and i sprinkle it all with little fake snowflakes. it's my personal alternate reality / wished for utopia.
so, tuesday morning, the day started off in the 70s. at lunchtime a cold front came. by suppertime it was really cold. and about 1030 or 11 it started snowing.
AND IT'S NOT EVEN CHRISTMAS YET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! in austin, we usually get a day or so of some sort of frozen precipitation in, say, february. mostly ice. everything shuts down, and we all play with the snow/ice/sleet, and it's good. but it's no winter wonderland. and on top of that, christmas songs are long gone.
so, this is as good as it gets.
for those of you who are in the northern parts of america and the world, i know y'all seem to feel about months of snow and cold the way i feel about months of heat. but ... dammit ... this is my moment.
by the way, the high sunday is going to be 72.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
here are some excerpts from the holy bibel, for people who think spelling (or correct translation?) isn't important:
"And Dog saw how great the wickedness of man had become.
So he said to Noah, 'I am going to put an end to tall people.
Make yourself a shark of cypress wood.
And behold I do bring a flood of waiters upon the earth.'"
thy kingdom come. thy will be done, on earth, as it is unleavened.
give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our bus passes, as we forgive those who bus pass against us....''
... i'm starting to wonder if the bible says a LOT of stuff that somebody misspelled along the way ...
no, thats nt posszbl ... Dog wouldn't alough thatt ...
Friday, December 5, 2008
he happens to have parkinson's disease, so, when he's being interviewed on the radio or tv and people find his speaking uneven or halting, that's what's happening.
he's also about six months older than me.
and i have no idea if he's a good person or not, but the man is nothing if not tenacious.
i'm not into boxing. i don't like the violence. but i get that at its highest levels, boxing is choreography, and drama, and thinking, and strategy, and large-muscle-memory based in rigorous and extensive training and hard work. and i saw part of the hbo special about the upcoming fight between oscar de la hoya and manny paquiau, and then i've been listening for interviews with freddie. he's absolutely fascinating. i'm listening to him talk about training his fighters, and there are about twenty things he's planning and working out about his fighter all at once - psychology, pacing, fears, plan a in the ring, plan b in the ring, what to say and what not to say, and so on. this is big big business, and it's not won based on who can hit the hardest.
i heard him in an interview with jim rome a few days ago say, about boxers:
eddie says, that thing they truly are? that's what'll come out, and fight.
i got very tired earlier this week. i started to get mad. sad. discouraged. worried.
my awesome wife said, "when we are afraid, or tired, we lose good judgment. we lose the ability to see what is real and what isn't."
and she was right. because i rested, and rested some more, and cried and got quiet, and when i was more clear, it's not that i talked myself out of what i was feeling; it's that what i was feeling at the surface wasn't truly, truly what was inside me. what was deep within me is hope, and strength, and i'm up. i got hit. the first rush of pain was sadness, discouragement, worry. but then i went down into myself further. and what came back swinging was hope and power and peacemaking. swinging. sort of. still wobbly. but here. some days i want to go back to the corner and sit. some days i wish i'd never gone into boxing in the first place.
lots of people never get into the ring.
lots of people hide over in the corner.
lots of people won't train, won't listen, won't swing, won't cover.
lots of people will train, will listen to their trainers, will swing hard, will cover up, and will find who they are past the pain and shock and fatigue. but it takes guts and endurance.
who are you when you get hit?
Thursday, December 4, 2008
here are some entries from the website mymiserablechristmas.com, in which people tell stories of sadness or crisis or whatever during the holidays. just thought i'd help put things in perspective for us all. or, i could show pictures of poor children. or of santa kneeling before baby jesus, which is weird.
9. The song of a child (12/13/99) - Little Drummer Girl, Age 26
When I was a child from the age of about 4 till I was nine my cousin and I were made to dress up in velveteen dresses and sing xmas songs Shirley Temple style. I'm still in therapy.8. Make an offering (12/9/99) - Judy, Memphis, Age 25
I was a little tipsy on xmas eve. I threw up during the candlelight service during the quiet time all over the lady in front of me. It reeked beer and cheese, it made me puke even more. The worst part about it was that I forgot to change my baby's diaper and things just reeked even worse. I cried so hard, and got up and slipped and fell on the lady I threw up on. Then, the diaper came undone and soaked into the material of the pew.
243. Holidays up in smoke (12/06/07) - Connie, New York, Age 32
When I was six my dad got dead drunk and plunged headlong into the Christmas tree we had all worked so hard to string popcorn for and make beautiful. After I got married things went progressively downhill from there. One year my children set the living room rug on fire. Ex hubby and I quickly stomped it out. Last year my idiot boyfriend spent all my money on weed, so guess what both of us got…Nothing. This year was better. I spent the holiday with my new (non-druggie) sweetie and his family. One good Christmas - I think it’s a fluke.
247. As if I didn’t exist (12/06/07) - Gabriela, Maryland, Age 18
Last year on December 23 I got into a huge fight with my father and it got very violent. I left the house and slept in the car in the parking lot of my work. The next morning, I returned, hoping to reconcile, but was instead told to pack my things, give up my car keys and leave the house, even though I was the victim of the violence, not the other way around.
I was taking care of my neighbors’ house while they were out of town, so I ended up spending Christmas Eve and Christmas Day across the street from my own house, sleeping on my neighbors’ couch. Through the window, I could see my family celebrating Christmas without me, as if I didn't exist.
201. Felled by flatulence (12/14/06) - Brandi, Virginia, Age 17
At Christmas Eve dinner with my boyfriend's family and three of their close friends, my boyfriend's stepfather passed out on the kitchen floor. We'd thought he'd had a stroke or heart attack, and when they examined him at the emergency room, they told us that it was a gaseous buildup in his intestines. He'd held in his gas throughout the dinner, and when he was walking to the bathroom it overwhelmed him. The next day everyone was still traumatized by the event.
254. It’s just a flesh wound (12/06/07) - Nick, New Jersey, Age 18
The Christmas right after the Xbox came out, in addition to the console and games, my brother and I had asked our dad for various knives and swords. He got us some pocket knives. One of them was razor-sharp and came in a leather sheath. After opening it and examining the blade, I tried to force it back into its resting place. The blade went through the sheath and through the web between my thumb and index finger. My dad freaked out and said I ruined Christmas. My drunken mom just screamed until he took me to the hospital. (She couldn't take me because she couldn't go out in public without any make-up.) I got stitches. The whole episode, which my older brother had videotaped, later was used as evidence in my parents’ divorce.
1. Santa's gonna get it (12/3/99) - Jase, Boston, MA, Age 25
When I was six, my drunken father threatened to blow Santa away with a shotgun if we weren't good. He said - "You little bastards better straighten up and fly right or I will get my shotgun and wait at the foot of the chimney for that fat fuck to come down and I will blow his head off." He was swaying as he said this to us. We didn't have a chimney.
and, my personal favorite ...
256. Vigilante dad (12/06/07) - Tim, Maine, Age 33
The worst Christmas I ever had was three years ago. My ex-wife had taken our two offspring for Christmas at “her house” (with the prick she had been cheating on me with while we were married). I spent Christmas Eve with a bottle of bourbon, watching "Face/Off" on my laptop and listening to the wind howl around my apartment building. Christmas morning, I woke up to the phone ringing, and it's my daughter crying her eyes out. She told me that Todd (the jagoff my ex dumped me for) had touched her in her “swimsuit area” while my ex was asleep.
I hopped in my car and went to my ex’s house. I pounded on the door and yelled, “I want to see my kids!” Todd opened the door and said, “What the fuck are you doing here?” I grabbed him and started beating the shit out of him. We fought for about 15 minutes, then the cops showed up (thanks neighbors!). The cops dragged us apart and began hitting me with their nightsticks. I yelled, “This cocksucker was raping my kid!”
The cops shoved me into the squad car and I spent the day in the holding cell. Then one of the cops told me that my kids were being released to their Grandmother. The next day, I got out of jail and went home to my answering machine. There was a message saying that neither my ex or Todd can care for the kids now. So my mother is bringing up my kids. She will do a better job than me. Now I have to find Todd and kill him.
Monday, December 1, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Sunday, November 16, 2008
i just knew i liked them and they had beautiful souls.
the other part was gravy.
the more we get to know them, it's more and more apparent that they just have warmth, and soul, and love. part of that just comes from god, i think. and part of it comes from serving in ministry in lots of different churches, and interacting with different kinds of people. julaine's like my wife leslie; she has a deeeeeeeeeep intuition about what god is up to; she listens. jimi's more like me; we tell stories and laugh. when they went to belize, and served there with a group of people for eight years, something changed in them. when they got back, they couldn't do the same churchy thing anymore. and they started ... emerging. and emerging-church-ing. and after a few years they ended up in austin, and through bob c they ended up at journey.
and then when we all started sharing our stories, we realized we knew all these same people blah blah blah, and had had very similar ministry experiences that had led us all off the grid.
jimi spoke today in worship gatherings at the jifc warehouse, and it was beautiful. just a man telling his story and encouraging us to get past skin color, and labels, and what we think we know about people, and realize that god prepares a table for us in front of our "enemies," and we're to offer the table to them, and invite them in.
and who knows ... sometimes we're on parallel paths with people, and know lots of the same people, and then you find somebody who's a friend, and you've already been soul friends for a long time and you just didn't know it ...
Thursday, November 13, 2008
i just saw this on my igoogle page, which carries short news blurbs:
NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (AP) -- This isn't music to anyone's ears: The restoration of a church's 130-year-old organ has been delayed because four delicate pipes were damaged when a visitor napped on them.
The 18-foot pipes were among about 50 stored in the basement at First Churches in Northampton during the sanctuary's renovation.
The Rev. Peter Ives estimates the damage at close to $15,000. But he says the organ can be played without the pipes. Ives says the church will not press charges.
The man apparently mistook the pipes for rolled-up rugs and slept on them. He is a homeless man who was in the church for a job counseling meeting.The congregation traces its history to the 17th century, and was home to 18th century preacher Jonathan Edwards.
there's just something sweet and adorable about every part of this story as reported - especially that a homeless man is at the church building, and he's looking for a job, and he falls asleep on some rolled-up rugs, and they turn out to be church organ pipes, and ... the pastor says the organ can be played without the pipes, and they're not going to press charges. i dunno. most news stories about religion make me angry or depressed; this one just gives me a little hope.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Friday, November 7, 2008
you got to love the prophet! he speaks truth. not only about obama but about himself ... but then, anything i say about someone else says more about me than it does about the other person .................. and what the prophet says about himself is that he is dedicated and loyal and guarded and wise. duh.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
mobileme gallery - obama 44th president
i feel every bit of this.
is obama perfect? not. is he our savior? nope. we the people are called to do the work of america.
but i believe he's a good man trying to do a good thing. and that's rare in this world, much less in politics. so let's pray for him and help out.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
this meme is fairly simple:
- each blogger posts 44 things about the 44th President of the USA
- somewhere in the post, the tag #44:44 is included, so all the posts are more easily tracked
- each blogger then tags 4 other bloggers (or 44, if they are wacky) to invite them to post their own 44 things about the 44th President on their blog
- i'm tagging: fenech @ raging bear talks; julie @ one hand clapping; jules @ afrique-in' out; gordon @ reallivepreacher.com; the road less traveled; mikey @ mikeyllikesit; carl @ simplegestures; and nonprofitprophet. many of you have already posted insightful and beautiful things in the past 2 days, in which case, you can ignore bob's guidelines and post fewer than 44, or cut and paste ... or ignore this (this is the land of the free-to-not-write-if-we-don't-feel-like-it)
1. barack obama is a funny and great name.
2. he and i are the same age.
3. that makes him a part of the same post-Baby-Boomer / early Gen-X generation as i am. (sometimes we're called postmoderns.) that means he is a part of a group of people in america who, in large part:
- 4. trust relationships more than external authority
- 5. have hope around, and belief in, serving something larger than themselves
- 6. are realistic optimists / optimistic realists
- 7. live in a space of those who were raised before the cyber-revolution, but live in a post-cyber-revolution world, and feel comfortable in both
- 8. see spirituality as holistic and large rather than limited and specific
- 9. have never known a world without political cynicism
- 10. were influenced as children and young adults by both the idealism and struggles of the New Frontier, the Great Society, and the Civil Rights movement
- 11. lived as teenagers and young adults through disco, punk, bad hair, bad fashion, 80's hair bands, the invention of MTV, VCRs, and cable television
- 12. have a strong aversion to what they see as the self-absorption of Baby Boomers
- 13. admire and respect the Great Generation
- 14. have never had a unifying "cause" ... until now
- 15. do not see racial differences and reject racial and ethnic characterizations
- 16. aren't afraid of change
18. this is in part not due to his philosophical bent, but because he has been both black and white, both privileged and poor, and both authority and advocate
19. michele obama is strong and beautiful and smart and is the kind of woman most men would love to be partners with, but are in some ways afraid of (because of their strength, beauty and intelligence)
20. this says even more about the character of barack obama
21. as stephen colbert said, obama is our first Hawaiian president!
22. obama's hair is already getting gray
23. obama needs prayer - and not because his hair is getting gray. this is a big responsibility.
24. obama is vastly more attractive to me as a person and as a leader than hillary clinton would have been
25. in part this is because he has a humility that she does not
26. i saw in his face last night that he is feeling the weight of what he has signed up for
27. he will learn a lot as he goes; i believe he is someone who learns as he goes, and that's a helluvah good thing
28. he will do well if he picks very smart and centered people to surround himself with
29. he has already shown the ability to do that in those who advised him and helped him with his campaign
30. obama's political and philosophical values are, for me, the best of what christianity says it is about but mostly isn't about
31. this election has made me so proud of america
32. obama is going to piss a lot of people off because he will refuse to play to the lowest common denominator in people
33. obama will inspire many more people - as evidenced in his landslide victory - because he will refuse to play to the lowest common denominator in people
34. he has a great jump shot
35. as some commentator said last night, he is not interested in being a black president; he is interested in being a great president.
36. i honestly don't think obama has the jackie robinson burden - as in, the first black baseball player had to be head and shoulders above the expectations of anyone watching him as a player and as a man. i think the vast majority of americans are for the man and don't hold it against him that he's black, or half black, or whatever; i think what we're much more interested in is whether the man will do what he says he will do.
37. i believe obama has inspired and spoken to lots more americans than black people, young people, or well-educated people. and i'm glad about that.
38. i want healing. i believe barack obama will set a tone that is about healing in this culture
39. there will be people who will not want healing or reconciliation or hope or unity. fuck them. i'm tired of their rhetoric of hatred and fearmongering.
40. okay, okay. let's not discard them; let's love the shit out of them. for real.
41. god has called me personally to be someone who loves the shit out of them for real.
42. i want to meet barack obama and tell him i trust him and am praying for him
43. i want barack obama to read the book i'm writing about how i believe jesus is only love and the rest is bullshit
44. barack obama is brave and principled. that alone makes him worth supporting.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
barack obama has today been elected as the 44th president of the united states of america.
no matter whom we would have elected today, this would have been a time to pray, and be still, and listen, and pledge ourselves to what is best about america.
john mccain's speech is classy, and powerful, and the right thing to say. my daughter just said, as he's speaking, "that's the john mccain i've always respected." me too.
president-elect obama's speech was all about what i believe in: unity. possibility. reaching out past party lines and partisanship. service. honor. respect. hope.
that's my jesus. and that's my america. and that's my heart.
it's time to stop being red states and blue states, and be the united states.
it's time to stop being against each other, and for our country together.
i reach out to my brothers and sisters, and fellow citizens, of all faiths, all parties, all beliefs, all opinions.
i am ready to work.
this is important. this is a moment that we can't see the importance of yet, no matter what happens.
pray. be still. listen. serve with humility and hope.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
and this time, there's no incumbent. that's odd, too. it almost never happens, right?
so NOW, A LITTLE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION HISTORY, which i got from the interwebs.
- 1948 - harry truman was fdr's v.p. and then replacement as president; he defeats dewey.
- 1952 - eisenhower vs adlai stevenson - no incumbent there. except that eisenhower was god of america after winning the war in europe, so that almost doesn't count.
- 1956 - president eisenhower defeats stevenson again (is that right? that's what the history webpage said)
- 1960 - nixon, eisenhower's v.p., runs against kennedy.
- 1964 - president johnson, kennedy's replacement, defeats goldwater.
- 1968 - former v.p. nixon runs (again), and defeats johnson's v.p., humphrey.
- 1972 - president nixon defeats mcgovern.
- 1976 - president ford, nixon's replacement, loses to jimmy carter.
- 1980 - president carter loses to ronald reagan.
- 1984 - president reagan defeats jimmy carter's v.p. walter mondale.
- 1988 - reagan's v.p. bush the 1st defeats dukakis.
- 1992 - president bush loses to bill clinton.
- 1996 - president clinton defeats bob dole.
- 2000 - clinton's v.p. al gore and bush the 2nd ... tie? sort of? gore is elected but bush takes office; how's that.
- 2004 - president bush defeats john kerry.
v.p. cheney doesn't run. that means the republican nom is wide open. the man who is nominated is longtime senator john mccain.
former v.p. gore doesn't run. that means the democratic nom is sort of wide open. i mean, the former first lady runs, but that's not exactly a presidential incumbency. and illinois senator barack obama is nominated.
tuesday's election is a huge "what's it for?" moment. this is, in many ways, a fresh start, regardless of whom we elect.
and so my question is, as i think about this election, and what's coming in our next few days and months and years, is, what is it for? what's this fresh start for? what can we do with it? not, what can our new president do with it, but, what can i do? what can we do? what can jifc do?
i want to respond, no matter what happens, with love and hope and courage.
i think there are millions of people in our country who are trying to do the same thing, on both sides.
there are also people in our country who are responding with fear, and paranoia, and blame, and hatred.
i say, No. i will respond with love. i will respond with courage. i will respond with hope.
that's what it's for, for me, in this moment.
ps if i got any of the history wrong, let me know. i'll forward the comment to the interwebs.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
as i live intentionally, and with attention to what i'm doing and why, i find that this question is more and more satisfying to ask. i like it. i mean, i DON'T like it when what i find is that there's really no good reason to do something ... or, that there's every reason NOT to do something i like doing.
- journey i.f.c. exists and operates, for over 4 years now. what's it for? what does it accomplish? why is it here?
- marriages exist. what're they for? what do they accomplish? why do they continue? why put effort into them?
- there's a friendship. what's it for? what does it accomplish? how is the world different because it exists? what if it didn't exist?
- your business, where you work - what's it for?
- your house, or apartment, or mansion - what is its purpose? how are you using it, and for what?
- the way you eat, or drink, or read, or play, or ride a bicycle, or knit, or garden, or watch movies or tv - why? what does that pattern accomplish?
- your money, and what you do with it - what's it for? what does it produce? what does it achieve?
there are other negative or hurtful things i've chosen, and i don't see any redemption in them at all ... what i see is that i wasn't in awareness when i was in the middle of it. i was hurting, so i was hurtful. can i learn from that, and make different decisions next time? yes. i hope so.
jesus was all about awareness. he was a mirror. a mirror with god in it, but a mirror nevertheless. he'd ask people, "What do you want?" and then he'd say, "Your faith/trust/hope/guts brought about your healing." you were willing to look deep into what you have been choosing, and why you've been choosing it, and decide. and you decided healing and hope and possibility. you chose to get up and walk. you chose to trust something bigger than yourself.
what's it for? god asks us. like god in the garden of eden, after adam and eve had done the thing god told them not to do, and god says, "Adam, where are you?" god asks me, "What are you doing? why?"
when i am strong and patient and compassionate with myself and others, i can look honestly, and own whatever it is, and what it produces, and what it's for ... and ask, is this a good thing?
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
our early 20's: we looked GREAT in the early 80s, when we were just getting up on our wobbly young-adult legs. christians. late 20's: we began to feel our power in the late 80s, and direct our passions toward meaningful things. still christians, but not so sweet.
but we were disillusioned in our 30s, and asked, something's wrong but what is it? and we sang about it. we realized it's a mystery - and a mixed bag at best.
we felt like just checking out at a few points. tired. laughing. but not. where's god now? whatever.
and then, in our 40s, our hearts woke back up. partly because of our pain. and we rediscovered joy. and there was god. but not a cute god - deeper than that. now, as we leave our 40's, we're more deeply passionate than we ever were - still pissed off, still hopeful, but breathing and not anxious. i would wonder what's next, but there's only this moment - and now that's fine.