I’ve been thinking about this page for a while. Truthfully, I wanted to set it up differently, and have been struggling with the mechanics of it. I should have known that that struggle was metaphoric (if that is a word… this is the cry of my heart, so I’ll just make it up) for the state of my soul.
I just flashed back to when my daughter was somewhere in the neighborhood of 1-2 years old. I was watching her position a book on the coffee table. Obviously, because of her age, she was not as skilled at the logistics of space and movement, so she was having problems getting the corners of the book to neatly match the corners of the coffee table. She got visibly upset that she couldn’t complete her quest in the way she wanted. My response was not to fix it for her, but a somewhat horrific realization, that “she gets that honestly”.
This year, or longer, has been somewhat of a quest for me. Years ago, I told myself and others close to me that there was this guy named Kenneth that I used to know, but I didn’t know where he was anymore. He was fun, always smiling, and adventurous. Now, people would tell me that I was that guy, but if they knew the Kenneth that I knew… I had to find him again. I’ve seen him from time to time, show up in a coffee shop, or dash around the corner, but in the more recent years, he was harder to find.
Anyway, I’ve been getting close, and this year has been pretty pivotal in starting to see him again. Writing has helped, for Kenneth is a writer (someone I was talking with was surprised that I started writing when I was 6… truth be told, I really started when I was probably 4 or 5, but the first real stories I remember being tied to the time my parents split. Another story in itself…). The other thing that has presented itself again this year is the potential for missions. Now, before some of you turn me off as a right wing conservative, doing missions to westernize the pagan world, look me square in the face and ask yourself “can I really imagine Kenneth being that kind of person?” That’s not the focus of this particular post, but it is one of the keys to my journey. Missions is something that Kenneth (that one I am trying to find) would definitely do, as he was always doing ministry outside of the norm: praying at track meets, watching God work in movie theatres, feeling more at home in the world than in the cathedral hallways…
Over the last couple of days, the group I hang with and I have been sitting before God, much like Israel did in the wilderness. In the middle of their camp would appear a pillar of fire, which was God basically saying “I’m here, and I got this”. It had to be an awesome sight, especially knowing that it was more supernatural than natural. We’ve had a couple days like that as well. Part of what this has done for me is made me not only seek God in a new way, but also start looking for Kenneth again. I think I’m getting closer…
So, this page… outside of the normal Life, Love and Wisdom that is shown on the home page, Pillars of Fire is going to be more intimate. It’s the “thoughts in my quiet place” (or my place of rage that no one knows about), my journey, my quest, to search the world, literally, for what God is doing, and for what He is doing in my world.
I don’t expect it always to make sense, and sometimes it may come across as totally churchy. It’s not the intent, but I don’t offer excuse for it either, for that is who I am (well, I’m not churchy, but I am a crazy Christian, so…). I do invite you into my journey, as journeys are better with friends and loved ones. I have learned that from many of you, especially this year. I don’t really know what I expect from this. Maybe that Kenneth and I will never really meet, but I will understand more of who this Kenneth really is, and who I am supposed to be.
Crossroads are never easy, unless you have a nice neat map or GPS that can tell you when you have missed your turnoff and how to get to your destination after recalculating. On this quest, there is no map, and GPS cant get through the brush… All I have are markers that tell me I can go left or right, but they don’t give a destination… only a heading. Good thing, cuz the goal is not about arriving, but rather about becoming.
So this will be more “journal-ish”. I’m sure there will be some Life, Love and Wisdom that is sprinkled in it all, a lesson or two here and there. Mainly, it will be my heart, that you can laugh with, rejoice with, cry with, and walk with, as we experience the wonder of this thing called Life.
My bags are packed… here we go… 🙂
Pillars of Fire – 10/13/11
I’m reading this book called Chasing Francis. I got it from a friend, who read it and went through a serious life transformation. I don’t know if I’m going through that same level of change, which first has me thinking “What’s wrong with me?” I’m not unaffected by the book though. Sometimes I feel, as a story teller, it’s hard to be affected by others stories… I want to start telling their story in my own way. So, I’m resisting the urge to rewrite the written, and just take in the story for what it is
I was explaining to Imani that it is one of those stories that uses all the right elements to grip you, where you can feel one with the main character, and little kids dying early is always one to grip your heart. Again with the flashbacks… this one from 15 years ago. My son Jon and I were in a play together. By all rights, I was one of the main cast, but from the reviews, you would never know it, cuz in the story, Jon’s character drowned… didn’t matter what anyone else did or said, everyone remembered this cute 8 year old, and the last scene of him dancing on stage. The reviews totally forgot me. It was ok, cuz I wasn’t doing it for the reviews. I did it cuz I like acting, and being able to play opposite my son was a blast. (yet, in thinking about this, there is something “still there” I need to be able to address…)
Anyway, back to the book. Yes, there are things in the book that have me gripped, but I think if this was another period of my life, I might not be affected in the same way. That’s how it was when I read The Shack. Two things were working against me: first, I was seriously depressed when I read it, and had been for awhile. Because of this, I had no expectation that a book, any book, was going to break the state I was in; second, everyone raved about the book in unhealthy ways. “you gotta read The Shack! It’s the best book out!” You would have thought it descended from heaven in gold leaf and was delivered by cherubs with the sound of an angelic choir in the background. I so wasn’t having it. It was just a story, and a fictional one at that. People were so taken with the book that I ended up, through no fault of my own, having theological discussions about this work of fiction. I had a hard time taking it as seriously as others did. I refuse to look at books like that in the same way I look at Scripture. Sure I can learn from them, or simply enjoy them, but I’ll not stake my faith on them.
Strange… you would think that a preacher that is bent on storytelling, and using stories as his primary method of delivering God’s word would be more sensitive to the power of stories to communicate God’s truth… it’s not that I’m insensitive… it’s just that “it” is not the golden egg. It’s a mechanism. Something God can use to show His truth – I realize that… Guess I’m just trying to keep balance. Chasing Francis, just like The Shack is fiction that has truth in it, so I can’t just disregard the whole thing (nor do I want to). Just keeping perspective, and trying to hear what I’m supposed to hear in the process.
I am looking forward to finishing the book, cuz it’s a good story, and it mirrors where I am in my life: quest to find oneself in ways and areas you never thought possible. Who knows what truth will stand out from there. I found it in Tron Legacy… I should be able to find it in this book
Pillars of Fire – 10/16/11 4:52pm
I have been thinking about this since it happened, and I’m still pertubed about it. Not that it was a big deal, but I think it touched a sore spot in me, in my quest for being.
I got a text the other day. Clearly it was a mistake, as I wasn’t the person named in the text. That happens, no big deal. Sometimes I let it go and just delete them, other times, I let the person know they have the wrong number, so there are no misunderstandings (and so I don’t continue to get them). Anyway, the text was a prayer for this person, who apparently is going through something pretty deep. I applaud the sender for reaching out to this person, trying to get him on the right track. I responded “who is this?”, just in case it was someone I knew (but deep inside knowing it was not), and thus commenced a sickening pseudo spiritual conversation that makes me wonder what Christians are thinking half the time.
When I told the sender I was not the intended recipient, the reply was “well I thought it was for this person, but God meant it for you”…
First, I didn’t identify with the prayer at all, but regardless, why couldn’t you just say “I’m sorry, I thought this was his number”. If there was something I needed to get from all of this, we could have initiated a dialogue and God could have done what He wanted through it. Instead, I was put off by the bait & switch tactic, the lack of spiritual sensitivity, and the false spirituality presented in the text…
Harsh? Maybe… I guess this really touched a sore spot… maybe because I can easily drop into that person, acting the part, being churchy, saying all the right things regardless of what’s really going on in me. The more I connect with people outside the church, the more I see how out of touch we church people can be, all the while we are inviting the world into a “better life”… Is it really better, or is it rhetoric? Or, do we (or do I) focus on the simple expressions of faith (like that text conversation), instead of really pressing into what this life is supposed to be? People should know I am a Christian, not because I can spew christian rhetoric, but because my life reflects the life. The real life…
I would have been more blessed, appreciative, and open to God if the person had asked me if there was anything I needed prayer for. Even if I wasn’t a Christian, I might have felt special that someone was willing to take the time to do it.
I know that the message of Christianity can be offensive, but I don’t want to add to it by being insensitive. I want to be real. I want to really connect with people, and not just superficially. I want people to know God in the way I do, not because I said the right “salesy-type” stuph, but because they can see God in me.
Ghandi said “If Christians would really live according to the teachings of Christ, as found in the Bible, all of India would be Christian today”. Tall indictment or tall order? Maybe both… time to dig in deeper…
Pillars of Fire – 01/23/12 8:27 pm
I have had the hardest time writing lately. I sat down today with the intention of writing. I could have even cheated, and posted some pics of my latest trip to the beach. Thinking about it, I’ve been cheating a lot more lately. Taking a lot of pictures and sharing that part of me… but it’s really not me. It’s something outside to get the focus off of me. There’s a good reason for this – life has been hard lately, and it has shut me down emotionally.
I do have to say, I have some great friends, who both allow me the room to work stuff out, as well as give me the permission to open up to them. I am careful to not abuse the privilege, because some of this I just need to go through. But knowing that I can make a phone call, and be with some great people, and I don’t even need to talk about the mess? Just sit around, watch a movie, have a drink, or do something that will make us both laugh… That is a true friend.
Kid Stuph, Twitter and Facebook have been quiet lately, and may be quiet for a little while longer while I work through the mess. My hope is that there will be a bunch of lessons in all of this, and so much that I can give back after it is all over.