Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Boat, in the Distance

the sea and shore and blue horizon off
in distances, the brightest blip of day
aflame with tiny melodies and soft
so soothing, still difficult to explain
in ancientness, the faded red and white
transition out, from order to decay
and buried in the darkest dip of night
the hope at just the smallest scent of day
i raise my head, aware of every turn
the earth and it’s great axis spins away
the brokenness, the ashes in the urn
grabs hold of it, and slows it on its way

then there appears, off in the deepened blue
a raft, a great titanic as it sinks
the weather, like a husband that’s untrue
has pushed it’s tiny borders to the brink
the shifting eyes, half shut, and with disease
watch troubled trails, the blood soaked in their shoes
such fear, all astronomically extreme
of tragedies, and evil they once knew
but here, they took the hopeful, battered reigns
and set this tiny schooner out to sea
and charged like Alexander on their way
to find themselves that fabled liberty

the beauty, every smile that is flashed
aloof to all the deadly death a-chase
the devil, and his sinister deep laugh
in-tow with all monstrosities they face
so, crippled, dirty knees and shriveled hands
with agony and death draped round their waist
to golden shores, to streets, the people dance
and set their hope, ashine upon the face
now refugees, the refuge theirs to seek
awash with all the difficulty that waits
with open arms, and starving stomachs speak
I am here, by God’s unflinching grace

so rise with me, and let us take their case
the beaten odds, the death must turn to run
and out of this humanity, erase
the misdirected love, the knife, the gun
there’s beauty in the sadness, pure as light
the degradation, darkness rests undone
for in the deep recesses of the night
is hope that’s shining brighter that the sun
oh beautiful, the waves of amber grain
come, bring your tired, battered and abused
we rest and now as brothers celebrate
this righteousness, humanity anew

Monday, September 27, 2010

Follow Bob Goff

"The aroma of Christ is the smell of love gone airborne"

"Following Jesus involves a lot of falling forward"

"Jesus seemed to pick the people I avoid; I know which one of us needs to change"

"We have been invited to a banquet; don't come full, come hungry"

"What Jesus talked about either changes everything or it changes nothing; He didn't aim to change just a couple things"

"Activity to the point of exhaustion and inactivity to the point of boredom aren’t for you; put the clutch in and find another gear"



My head is awash with the last several hours. I went to my first English 1 class held at the IRC out in Decatur. Gosh. It was incredible. The “students” are all refugees, from places like Burma and Colombia and Eritrea and Nepal; beautiful places that we don’t ever see tourism commercials for. These people all have tragic stories behind them, but stories that are riddled with hope. The fact that they’re sitting in the class room is evidence that they have overcome a world of adversity and persecution, to get to the United States where their refuge waits. But, I’m learning, once they’re here, another very real struggle begins. Most of them don’t speak English when they get here. Many have spent most of their lives in refugee or displacement camps, fleeing all types of persecution. So, many of them don’t have marketable skills, or enough understanding of English to function within their skill set and find work. It’s tragic; the government lets them in, gives them a phone number and a case worker and wishes them luck. They don’t know the culture, the language, the way things operate here. But, here they are. And there they were, sitting in a classroom, 30 or 40 strong. It was beautiful. I sat with Mesias, Adalgisa, and Ronald, all from Colombia. They were dark-skinned and smiling and had no English to help them through this class that was taught in English. Beautiful people with beautiful dispositions, and I got to walk them through a vocabulary list of household items. Geez. It was wonderful. I’m learning a lot about how this whole English teaching thing works. It’s difficult, seeing as how some of these people don’t understand the western alphabet, let alone a single word of English. The IRC is in a fight to make it all work for the influx of refugees. It’s an uphill battle to cater to the different needs and levels of these beautiful people, and I think we’re going to see it happen. I’m so excited to be taking part in this, and can’t wait until i get to go back. Anyway, I’ll keep updating about all of these things. I love it here, life is happening in a big way. And off to it.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Philosophy Scmil-schoph-sch-schy

I'm taking some intellectually unimpressive courses this semester. I'm in my fourth semester here at Georgia State University, sitting pretty at 25 years old. The credit that I transfer is was almost all language credit, with some CLEP tests and humanities sequestered in. Because of this, almost all of my 17 hours consist of core, freshman level classes. So, it's pretty basic still. One of those classes is "Intro to Philosophy." I've been getting more and more frustrated with the content of said course. The professor is fine, she's passionate about her subject and takes time to memorize all of our names. The class has a couple of dummies in it, but for the most part consists of level headed thinkers. But, these guys that we are studying are what get me. Names like Fodor and Skinner and the like are commonplace, with their behaviorist theories and their over-analysis of the human psyche. These brilliant minds spend all of their lives trying to determine the subtleties of why the individual person acts the way they do, the reliability of the human mind, whether the human mind exists at all, why the mind and body cannot be inseparable, etc.I pondered today, amidst my other relentless and eternal ponderings, "why does any of this matter." It's so foolish, and is underlined with the intention of disproving the things that we supposedly know about who we are. But, why? Why do we need to faithfully study what makes us less "us" than we believe ourselves to be? I think it's nonsense. I may be ranting, and for that I apologize. I'm glad that I have something to cling to in times of oblivion and death, that I don't have to know all of the answers or disprove the existing answers to convince myself I'm alive. But, sitting in a class for three hours a week, dissecting the ins and outs of it all has got me annoyed. Here's the answer in a short and easy to swallow form,

1 Corinthians 3:18 Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their own craftiness”; 20 and again, “The LORD knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.”

There was a slide on the the board today, a flowchart about dualism vs. behaviorism and functionality and all sorts of other concepts that I don't know about. It started with "Do you believe that the mind and the body can be separated?" If "no," than you're a Dualist and "good luck with that." If "yes," then there are seven or eight schools of thought to determine what else you believe and how it can all somehow come together in harmony with truth and functioning life and value to the universe. We spent the entire class talking about the "yes" options. Somewhere towards the end of class, I scribbled this:

[it says "mondo=dualist
I'll take my chances"]

I'm Going to Try This Today

Being a disciple means deliberately identifying yourself with God's interests in other people. Jesus says, 'A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another...' The secret of a Christian's life is that the supernatural becomes natural in him as a result of the grace of God, and the experience of this becomes evident in the practical, everyday details of life, not in times of intimate fellowship with God.

- Oswald Chambers

Kris McDaniel kind of talked about this on Sunday at Trinity (which I love.) The idea is that faithfulness, and "God-likeness" isn't reserved for big, pay-off moments. Faithfulness is all about the details, all about doing the right thing; following Jesus, loving people, doing the most right, etc., in the face and context of the everyday. I think I live reclusively and spend most of my time and mental effort trying to figure things out and make growth happen in my spiritual life, in preparation for the big "pay-off" moment when Jesus tells me to go to Africa or Thailand or East St. Louis. But, this idea is one in contrast of all of that. This idea says to love in the now, to "identify yourself with God's interest in other people." I want that to be a reality in my life. I get so caught up inside my own head about how I'm doing, or how the "progress" in my life looks, or how ready I am to claim manhood. I think way, way too much. But, to seek to follow Jesus by being faithful in the tiny moments that make up my day; that's something to aspire to.

Monday, September 20, 2010

"there are still a few men who love desperately"

-J.D. Salinger

Sunday, September 19, 2010

breathe and breathe and breathe again
it’s not the breath that hurts
It’s pretty real, with everyday
I keep trying to make it work
belief is not a factor
my hope is not a verse
it’s more a broken stanza
in all its fragmented words
that don’t quite summarize the thoughts
the ideas that I fight
between the insecurities
that beat me down at night
and all the other voices
captivating me inside
some are invariably true
but most are broken lies
so living is a frightened thing
but it’s all I’ve ever known
and fear takes its advantage of
the days I spend alone
i run to the extremes
to the murder in my bones
then cower in my corners
where my hearts hopelessly moans
the words i keep believing and
the loving words I’m told
there’s beauty in the sadness
in the muddy filth, there’s hope
just cling to all the open arms
like you’re hanging from a rope
believe the truth you’re refusing to
that oft-elusive home
so, take these hands I’m flailing
in desperate attempts
and face these crying eyelids
in your perfect tenderness
say words like “absolution”
to my whimpering defense
if you want my smiling
My sadness comes with it
but, yes I think I’m ready
to start on this new quest
where nothing is for certain
but the bosom where I rest
so, take my petty fighting
all that contrite consequence
yes, take me in completion
I’m yours
I’m yours

Monday, September 13, 2010

Saturday, September 04, 2010

"there's only two things i love in this world: everybody and television"

-Sir Kenneth Ellen Parcell

"They would have to sing better songs for me to learn to have faith in their Redeemer"

— Friedrich Nietzsche

Friday, September 03, 2010

The Kid

by Charlie Chaplan