I was in the car yesterday with Amy and I realized that my shoulders are no longer tight and painful.  So, this shutdown, in a way is a good thing.  It’s good to look on the bright side of things whenever possible.

I almost made it in yesterday.  I was even writing and then got side tracked elsewhere.  It’s surprising how busy one can be during a government shutdown.  There have been some difficult things happening to our family lately, not the least of which was two car accidents and weird things happening to my mail, and of course, the government shutdown with no end in sight (with Trump’s legendary stubborness who knows).  Well, the point of this post is not to gripe.  But hopefully to orient myself back to the bright light of Christ.  No matter what is happening he is able to “do exceedingly, abundantly above and beyond what we can ask or think of”  and “nothing is too difficult for God”.  That is not to say that I am expecting deliverance as such.  I do hope and pray that God will see us all through this muck.  He certainly has been there for us in the past.  True faith clings to Christ even when things get difficult.  It doesn’t mean that we won’t be afraid, angry, sad or any other emotion.  It just means that we remain steadfastly attuned to Christ.  And that is what I plan to do.  Peace out.

What do you know?  This poor, old, neglected blog still works.  It’s like coming upon an old telephone booth and finding that it still has a dial tone and makes calls.  It actually seems a bit magical.

I awoke at 5 am this morning burgeoning with thoughts that were overcrowding my headspace.  So, here I am in hopes to exercise them.  What to write?  Hmmm…not sure.  I guess I’ll start somewhere.

I watched the movie Boyhood last night which was very well done.  No, I’m not going to do a movie review.  Perhaps another time.  I did really like the dialogue between the main character when he is a middle schooler and his father that went something like,

Boy:  “Dad, what do you think about magic?  I mean do you think elves are real?”

Dad:  “Why not?  Why can’t elves be real?  After all, we have things like whales.  I mean, what if you didn’t know what a whale was and I told you that there was a creature that lived beneath the ocean waves, sings, finds things with sonar, and has a heart so big that man can crawl into its aorta, would you believe me?”

Aha!  Belief!  Magic!  Faith!  That’s awesome!  Life is magical!  There is much to get excited for in life.  Even at my, *ahem*, middle-aged’ness, there is much magic.  Today is a gift and what might it hold?  I guess that’s up to me.

Sooooo…in a way, I’m grateful for this government shutdown.  It has afforded me the time to just take a breather and look at things.  Refocus, retool and get a new perspective.  I don’t want to squander my time.  It’s astonishing, but I’ve started unraveling the tasks to form my ritual to-do list and there is still plenty to keep me occupied.  So, maybe the trick is scheduling time for magic to occur.  Scheduling time to just be.

Btw, if you are reading this, and I thank you fellow intrepid sojourner for reading this, I do highly recommend that you see Boyhood if you haven’t already.  It’s full of good stuff.

I hope to return here at least once each day and scribe some thoughts.  It’s time to get the juices flowing again.

 

So, I’ll be gut level and share that I am feeling very dry spiritually. As I read scripture it is very dry. And when I pray it feels like I talking to the air. I’m sure it’s brought on by constant loss and feelings of being overwhelmed. I’m worn out. But I will cling to Christ no matter what.

Today’s reading from Genesis in lectionary recounts the story of Abraham sacrificing his beloved son. Or more accurately, willing to sacrifice him. He is obedient to God and willing to give up that which is most precious to him. The message in this is obvious when applied to my life. Am I willing to give up that which is most precious to me? Whoah. That’s tough. I guess I’ll start with a desire to do so. I’ll start with confessing my sin before God and ask for his forgiveness. Then starting from that clean place begin again. Try to put everything into perspective and centered in Christ. Pray for God’s strength to be able to do that and go from there. Each moment of each day is faith walked out. Not easy, but it is true.

I feel myself drawn by an awakening hunger for deeper spiritual connection to God.  I feel drawn to spiritual discipline.  I resonate with the need to declutter my life, get more balanced, more centered on Christ.  I like the idea of a spiritual rule in that it puts activity to belief, a sense of belonging with other Christians all over the world and belonging to God most of all.

This is my, 4th day of keeping at least two “offices” a day.  My goal is to eventually keep three.  I’ve been using Shane Clairbornes app that utilizes part of the Book of Common Prayer that and the Northumbria Prayer Book.  It is mystical and supernatural.  Prayer is connection to God and scripture is the set apart Word of God written to human-kind.  It is the place where heaven meets earth.

Which leads me to point of contemplation.  The course I’m going through calls Lindisfarne the “Holy Island”.  I will answer the point that Lindisfarne is just a place and it’s not magic.  And that is true in the sheer, literal sense.  But, Lindisfarne IS significant if alone for it’s historic value.  And, to me, it represents a place which was a bright moment in the history of my faith.  Further, that ancientness is informing my faith today.  Not to recreate that old practice.  But to take the philosophic heart of much of it and let it change me.  I believe that this reflects the heart of God.  It is a way to develop the mind of Christ and strengthening of faith and resisting evil etc.  So, perhaps, Lindisfarne is significant more as a symbolic place.  A pathway that winds through space and time to my present reality.  And I hunger for this path.  I hunger for simplicity, and deeper meaning, and mission, and intimacy with God and peace with all human-kind, and care for creation, and creativity, and more.  It is w/holistic, and wild like the Spirit Himself.

I may never visit literal Lindisfarne.  But, I do think seeking refuge and retreat for the hectic day to day pace of normal life is important.  To seek those “thin places” where heaven is close to the earth.  Small moments of this can be experienced any time, any where. I am experiencing them quite a lot lately.  They are like streams of water flowing through the dry dusty desert of my life.  And that is a glorious thing.

So, fellow sojourner, stay tuned if you will.  I’m sure I will have more to say as time progresses.  Peace to you.

 

 

I am returning to my blog after what seems like forever. It’s actually only been since January. I recently joined a class that is connected to the Holy Isle of Lindisfarne community. This class is more of an introspective journey. It comes at just the right time. As part of the process I will be assigned a mentor and I will choose a friend to journey with and whom I am accountable to. I think I really need that. To be honest, since my Mom died two years ago, I’ve been experiencing a lot of depression and a crisis of faith. I’ve been praying for a sense of direction and purpose. This could be just what I’ve been needing. I sure hope so. Any how, I just renewed the yearly fee on this blog, so I hope to use it to share bits and pieces of insights. I don’t know whom be reaching, but I might reach out to select people here and there. I’m not the same person I was when I first started blogging over 10 years ago. But, that’s ok. Someone in my class said “God continually reinvents us over time”. Time to delve into that.

What does the Bible have to say vs. fear?  Let’s see, “Do not be afraid.  I am with you even till the ends of the Earth”. – Isaiah 41:10, Jeremiah 1:8, Matthew 28:20
“I will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Deut 31:6
“Perfect love casts out fear” – 1 John 4:18
“God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, and power, and a sound mind” – 2 Timothy 1:7

These are wonderful promises.  But how do I actualize them in my life?  The woundings of the past and the loss of my mother seem to run down to my core being.  But, if God is God, and all powerful and if He really made me and loves me like he says he does, then he can make good on these promises (and will). That is where faith comes in.  Ok, back to practicality.  Good old fashioned answers are the answers:  prayer, scripture reading, fellowship, SERVING.  The last one is actually the hardest.  Serving takes the mind off of issues and problems.  It gives a sense of purpose.  Fellowship does as well.  And interestingly prayer can be serving (intercession) and scripture can be serving (teaching).  Good stuff.

The only entity I want to have sway over me is God Himself.  Which leads me to a thought, a reminder really, that there is a war going on.  There really is.  Not to get all freaky, but there is a dark tyrant enemy who would like nothing more than to destroy me and those whom I love.  Having said that, I won’t be afraid.  Or more to the point, I won’t allow fear to rule me.  That’s the issue.  I think there probably is an element of warfare going on here.  So, the Bible also says “Draw near to God”…stop, this part is the most important!  Pray, seek His face, listen for him, confess sin and be humble, SERVE others, ok…now go on…”…and He will draw near to you.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you”.  I am really starting to see this resisting as being sanctification and resisting temptation.  Because really, we can’t fight the devil mano e (sp?)…angelo diabolique, no we need God to do that.  And He will!  Jesus told Peter that the devil wanted to “sift him like wheat” (modern translation:  kick the shit out of him” but Jesus also said “but I have prayed for you”.  So, prayer is POWERFUL and God is POWERFUL. As Kemper Crabb entones (reciting Biblical verse) “The Lord is the warrior!  The Lord is mighty in battle!…The Lord is mighty to save.  He gives strength unto his people.  He guards his own with his right hand.  The Lord is a deliverer to those who put their trust in Him.
So, kind of back to an old cliche’ (that is actually true):  It’s not about religion, it’s about a relationship (with God).  It’s the gospel!  John 3:16.   God became a man so that we could no him and he sacrificed himself for that purpose.  So, our response is trusting.  Which I’m not saying is easy.  Far from it.  When the menure of life hits whirling blade it flies all over.  But there are ways to get to faith and trust.  Ways to build it up.  And God IS real (though invisible) and does give us the ability to trust and have faith.  The deep truth is that God is the very reason we have life, energy in our cells, breath in our lungs etc.

Well, a hearty “selah” is well served at this point. And if you have actually read this, blessings on you fellow sojourner.

I find myself now in a new season of life. It is a season of change. It is exciting and yet quite exhausting. One major change has been that I have accepted a new job. There are so many good things that come with this new position. It’s like a clean slate, a new beginning, a chance to learn and experience new things etc. But it’s so easy to see this from a selfish point of view. But God has reminded me today of the true reason why this job has come. It’s actually really easy to figure out. It is a job that helps bring food to needy people. That’s right, feeding the poor. Literally bringing food to feed people. That is true kingdom work. The Bible speaks tons about this. For some reason, I’m finding myself drawn to the passage where Jesus is asking Peter three times “do you love me”. And, you know the passage, Peter is frustrated when he rounds to answer Jesus the third time. I totally get his frustration, for I hate having my word questioned especially when it deals with my character. But, in this case, Jesus has every right to be a little hard on Peter for it’s right after Peter betrayed him. So, I can imagine Peter, full of his own pride, and probably tons of shame, and being faced with Jesus confronting him. Finally, I see Peter breaking down and saying from a gut wrenching level, “Yes! Yes! Lord, you know I love you!”. Then, once Peter is essence is repenting, Jesus finally says “Feed my sheep”. I can relate to that, for I hear Jesus saying that, “feed my sheep”. Not that I’ve betrayed him, but let’s face it, we all actually have any time that we sin…which is often. Any time I find myself thinking “what’s in it for me?” that’s pride. So, here Jesus is again saying “feed my sheep”. And here I am, humbled again, saying, “Yes, Lord”.

I’m in San Diego with Amy.  Great vacation.  It has been a much needed respite.  So, very many good things.  It’s such a beautiful city.  I always loved San Diego growing up.  But it’s like experiencing it anew with Amy.  So, wonderful to share it with her.

The ocean was incredible yesterday.  The tide, in and out, were like a reminder of the rhythms of life. I did my best to just exist in the moment and soak it all in.  My goal is to take a bit of the ocean away away in my heart.  Or perhaps, it will take me away with it.

I’m still experiencing some mild anxiety about the possibility of a new job.  Weird, b/c I’ve wanted a new job so badly.  But it does come with some degree of a learning curve.  It will be a challenge.  And there is fear in it.  Could it be that real faith is not the absence of fear, anxiety and other negative feelings?  Perhaps faith is more about walking out into the unknown and trusting God.  I do think that that trust is well founded though.  Jesus has always been there for me in the past.  He will continue to be there.

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