||[Feb. 20th, 2011|06:19 am]
The term "mood altering" typically has the connotation of something sinister, unnatural, and false - it conjures up images of drug addiction, alcoholism, pornography, and the like. It implies substitutionary behavior as a coping mechanism for a perceived "inadequate" life, but to what degree is the notion of mood altering not a bad thing?
I drink a fair amount of coffee. I listen to copious amounts of music, much of it is spiritual in nature - "worship" music, or even "secular" music that aspires to notions of love, sacrifice, hard work, or high ideals. Some of it with wistful allusions to romantic pasts, or perhaps regrets of brokenness. I also attend church, interact with "friends" on FB, and work in/aspire to success in a lucrative and creative industry (TV/entertainment). Occasionally, I enjoy an alcoholic beverage or two. I have a family, a wife, beautiful children, and we enjoy good food and drink together. We watch movies. We work the budget. We do chores (from projects to the repetitive/mundane). Lots of different ways to engage in life. I have recently become a fan of fitness, and, although I have always lived an active life, I really enjoy the physical and mood-altering benefits that come with a commitment to working out regularly. It makes me feel good.
Sum total - I am highly aware of how my life seems to be one big series of attempts at mood altering. I am pondering the fact that every one of these habits, practices, or environments give me some sort of external, tangible value that would otherwise be absent, if it were not for the existence of these people, places, or things in my life - activating some new thought, emotion, or mood.
Is a life inauthentic simply because we engage in mood altering behavior? I think of the Amish and the Puritans whose cultures prime(d) them to be very conscious of their earthly activities - abstaining from certain substances, seeking to live quiet, simple lives of productivity and thrift, very extreme in their practices. It's like fasting year round, none of this crazy "licentious" behavior for them! Are they prudes? Are they living more authentic lives just because they don't drink coffee or beer, or because they sew their own old fashioned clothes and speak in the dialect of King James circa 1611? Some of this behavior is admirable, but some of it is downright pious Gnosticism - hatred of the empirical, the physical, the seduction of the senses. Fear of mood altering, as if passion will steal their soul.
Our world is a world of the senses, and God created it to enjoy. I'm not saying this is a license to sin - a pass card for promiscuity, or a seedy gospel of Grace (eat drink and be merry for tomorrow, Jesus will forgive). But I am thinking that before judging any "mood altering" behavior, you should look at your own life and ask yourself if your quest for wholeness, your quest for life, your quest for a passionate and rewarding marriage, etc, can be achieved by anything other than a mood altering behavior or choice?
Jesus-followers: When you chose the way of the cross, did it not lighten your load? Did you not accept a garment of praise for a spirit of heaviness? Did you not trade your sorrow, did you not trade your shame, did you not lay them down "for the joy of the Lord?" When you met a man named Jesus, did he not change your mood, or at least offer you the chance to walk out from under that weight of shame and into the light of freedom? And what better mood is there than the feeling of feeling free?
I say this to you, and it is a quote from the Bible. "To the pure all things are pure."
Enjoy your life. Enjoy your worship experience. Enjoy the things in life that you can eat and drink with a clear conscience. Let your life and your family and your community be to you a mood altering exercise in holiness. If a song, or a savory lobster plate, or a workout at the gym send your mind and body to a place they could not conjure up on their own, don't think yourself pitiful for needing some help. And if you should consider a garden, a cross, and an empty tomb as a lifeline to your own wholeness, let it alter your mood a bit, and send you reeling into the freedom that causes you to shout, throw your hands up and believe that your destiny is secure. Receive power for the here and now.
Let it purify you and make you a better person. A better lover. A better soldier. A better friend.
Here is that scripture verse in full:
To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. – Titus 1:15
tune in next week to hear me address the use of dating, yoga, weed, household cleaners, codependency, and monster trucks in your mood-altering pathology lol
PS - Saying no is a big part of radical freedom too. Lent is coming soon, so don't be reluctant to consider some of your mood altering behaviors as candidates for trimming. Many people like to take part in this tradition of giving up something during this time for a higher purpose. You could start with your inclination to assume no one understands or that you've somehow failed irreparably. But there's always the easy ones, like smoking and eating cheese. Maybe some moderation will help you with your perspective on yourself and others.
|Happy New Year 2011 - Here's to you!!
||[Jan. 2nd, 2011|06:24 am]
Good morning! I wish to send congratulations to all my friends out there who have made it this far. You're still alive, keep dreaming. How do you dream? How do you activate your dream, what is it that gets your gears turning?
Are you an 'aesthetic' like me? One who sees life through the grid of the visual, is driven from vision to action with an aim of experiencing each goal as a cinematic and creative experience?
Or perhaps you are, like my wife, a 'concrete'...One who sees life through the grid of accomplishment of physical tasks. Who sets goals and accomplishes them so that greater goals can be achieved, building blocks of life, ascending from glory to glory?
I have noticed that depending on which view you espouse (and I'm sure there are many more, but sometimes it's just so self-indulgent to say "there are two kinds of x in the world..."), your understanding of the other's method for obtaining and achieving success in the world, their life, or perhaps a calendar year, can be shadowed by quizzical-ness, and stalled with confusion.
And, depending on which of these two views you espouse, understanding the other viewpoint may seem to you irrelevant or unimportant. After all, it's not your viewpoint and you don't understand it, you never could, why even bother?
If you are a concrete, you provide the world stability and momentum. For better or for worse, that is what you do. You move tasks forward, paving the way for more and greater tasks. Even if the tasks are repetitive, without momentum or crescendo to speak of, you are still pressing time forward, laying the tracks of time, tie by tie, brick by brick, line by line.
I know this is a terrible burden for you, and that you appreciate the help of those who can team up with you to lay track. There is a lot of track to lay, mortar and brick to be laid, and an unending list of tasks to do. You do not wish to be alone.
Because I am in time, as you are in time, I promise that I am here with you, and that I will help you lay bricks. And tracks. And lines.
As we lay the bricks, I will be thinking about the bricks and noticing their color, texture and shape. I will think about how we are building a house for meaningful experiences, and I will imagine what those meaningful experiences may be. They will provide inspiration and motivation for me to keep laying bricks.
As we lay tracks for the train of time to run on, I will be thinking about the tracks, and how the sound of the train whistle and the clink of the hard iron wheels on the hard iron tracks means something - something about the "getting somewhere" of life - and I will notice that the track that lies behind us moves toward the rear horizon line and how, with perspective from the here and now, the parallel lines, while remaining parallel, move together and join at the farthest point on the horizon. I will think about what this means for the tracks that lie ahead and, imagining them, how they also move toward each other and join at the farthest point of the horizon ahead.
I will think of the concept of perspective and remember the lines that I drew on paper in school to practice "perspective" and see the synergy and connection between the three actions of brick-laying, track-laying, and line-drawing. And this will motivate me to keep laying tracks and bricks and lines, knowing that there is value in what I am doing.
Because thinking about these things - the very thing which gives me the energy to keep moving forward - requires some energy and can distract from the speed of my execution, you may find yourself frustrated with the pace with which I execute. You may feel that I am not helpful. You may feel that if I would just stop thinking about it all, if I would just stop slowing down the process to take it all in, to notice the texture, to imagine, to look retrospectively back and seal these things in my mind...if I would just stop stopping and start finishing, that I would get us further down the track, and therefore be more fulfilled, happier in my accomplishment. But I say to you no.
I would not be happier. I would not be more helpful. I would not be being true to myself and who I was created to be, what I was created to do, if I were to move faster and stop thinking about the pie, instead of just my slice only (task, do, execute, continue). I am an aesthetic and my purpose in life is to see the connections, the values and the hues in all of life around me, and to sing about them, to say what I see, to forecast the future, to tell tales of the past, to record and to write and to paint the wall, and to ride the train on the track that I lay, to make merriment of the execution, to warm by the fire in the house that I am building, to taste of the flavors borne here by said train, and stored in said barn.
I am an aesthetic, and it is my job, my task, my calling to remind you that you too are called to taste and to see that it is good. I realize that you will be happier, you will feel more helpful once you have refreshed out of necessity, so that you can get back to the track and the brick and the line - for you are being true to yourself, true to your calling, true to who you were created to be. But for now, you are tired, come sit here lazily with me, and let's think of all the fun we're going to have in 2011. Maybe we can take our time getting things done, enjoy getting there and if we don't make it to Rio by December, we can always set a course for 2012. The world's not going to end this year - we still have time.
Love you, and hope your new year is spectacular, full of cinematic moments and high marks on the scales of your progress-to-goals.
|Psalm 91:1 and more - In Remembrance
||[Sep. 11th, 2009|01:10 pm]
(New International Version)
1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust."
3 Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
8 You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.
9 If you make the Most High your dwelling—
even the LORD, who is my refuge-
10 then no harm will befall you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread upon the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
14 "Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life will I satisfy him
and show him my salvation."
|Power of a moment? / What do you want
||[Sep. 3rd, 2009|10:47 am]
(i posted this over 2 years ago...just thought i'd pull it back up because it means even more now then it did then)
Someone asked the question - asked it of themself actually - was asked it by someone else, I guess and decided to take it home as an assignment.
What do you want
I wanted to post a response, but I think the best way to post my thoughts about this topic would be to post here. Our answers to big questions like that are not always the answers for someone else - but what we feel they might be for ourselves. What do I want? and here's what my thought was, very simple.
My entire life is the process of asking that question and also is the answer. When I get to the end and add it all up, I will truly know what I wanted, the moment of my death will be the moment of truth. Did you get what you wanted?
So that was the thought. Where that leaves me now is this. Each moment is also the question, and I answer it with each moment, each opportunity. If I miss one of those infinite moments, one of those shooting stars, I have another one coming right at me. Sheeeeeewm! So while each moment simultaneously has the chance to be a failure of a moment, each moment that follows it is an equal opportunity for redemption. So I choose now not to regret the past failures, nor to regret the future ones heading my way. I choose now to be grateful for every shooting star I catch.
As it slices through my hand, burning the flesh of my palm, piercing through it like a spike against a cross at the infinite speed of time. I see now that each moment is an opportunity to take up my cross, to die daily. I did not realize that when I logged on to post this...but I hope to make the most of this momentary epiphany.
P.S. this does not mean I am overflowing with cotton candy clouds of joy. however. I am grateful. Peace.
|Enjoying the Summer Cornucopia
||[Jul. 26th, 2009|12:42 pm]
Okay, so I am using my LiveJournal to actually blog, which apparently is taboo on Facebook, even though they are kind of sort of the same thing. I have been blogging for almost 9 years, so it is funny for me to see FaceBook users announcing, hey, I've decided to start a blog!! And then there are those of us here, migrating to Facebook. It is kind of like having a land line, a cell phone, and a blackberry all at once.|
At any rate, this has been one fantastic (and yet surprisingly normal) summer!! I have great friends, a great family, a great life ~ This summer, I am enjoying the fact that our electric bill has gone down, which is really great, because I just quit a "part time job." God is really good. We adjusted our budget to accomodate living without my ministry stipend, and now, our electric bill is way lower for the first time in 4 years.
Some of this has to do with the fact that we decided to go non-AC this year. I had no idea that it was solely killing us. We bought a bunch of fans, and it has not been a sucky summer. We started using our attic fan which really helped. The house came with it, but we couldn't use it before because the windows were sealed shut and this would have pulled soot through the house via our super old chimneys.
Anyway. No time to finish this blog thing right now. Just to say, visiting churches has been fun and new, and God always speaks in his way. He is so faithful. Gotta go eat dinner with the fam now. Love you!!
|Pray for me
||[Apr. 17th, 2009|04:15 pm]
Please pray for me - I need favor regarding my transportation situation. Thanks!|
||[Jan. 31st, 2009|01:00 pm]
Things are going fairly well for me right now. However, I know that the intention for my passions about Jesus, my wife, and living well are stronger than the execution.
I was on a fairly good God high from late October thru the holidays. Am doing well with the physical exercise which helps me to have more energy for embracing life and godliness. I am in need of a re-charge, or perhaps a new alternator.
Small Group Study:
Starting the book "Papa Prayer" by Larry Crabb this week, with my group. Haven't got the book yet, and most of my guys said it's nowhere to be found. Actually, I found one at Lifeway Christian Stores in Kennesaw, and just now as I was typing about the book SERENDEPITY!! My wife called to let me know it was in hand (I sent her on errand to pick it up while she was in Kennesaw with the kids going to Chuck E. Cheese). YAY!!
Tuesday I dropped in after work to the Atlanta Living Waters group meeting at Church of the Apostles. It was great and great to hear the testimony of one God brought back literally from the brink of destruction and despair. Good to hear references to "Ezekiel" the prophet, who has been in mind by Christina lately. Speaking of Living Waters...
Saturday I am going down with Christina and Brandy to a Living Waters Leadership 1-day ministry/teaching time. I will be leading the warm-up early morning worship for session 1, Hoorah! Just a few songs. We have to be there super early. Please pray for me that I will have enough rest/energy as I'm working 2 double shifts back to back on Thursday and Friday leading up to this event. But it promises to be just the type of recharge I need, so I am excited.
God is blessing us! Please Lord, more!
||[Dec. 10th, 2008|12:59 pm]
I've always been a christian and I've always loved the funzies holiday tunes like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire, etc...
But just the other nite I found myself disgusted in the pit of my stomach with the secularization of Christmas.
I know this is directly related to how in love with Jesus I am.
The thought in my head was that, there's nothing wrong with these songs - to me there's always the integrated "knowledge of God" matched up with them, so I as a Christian can sing "Jingle Bells" and know that there's a christian subtext underlying my yuletide glee.
But when I started singing Chestnuts the other night, it just hit me how vacant of Christ so many ppls lives are and that they'll do anything they can to eliminate the knowledge of God from their lives and their "joyous celebrations" at Holiday time.
I could feel the vacantness, the emptiness, and it was horrible. Right now, there's not a lot of room left for "the secular" (which doesn't mean I won't watch a movie or listen to popular radio). I have to find my value and my entertainment in an unavoidable context of the church - and my heart goes out to those who can't or refuse to.
I just can't bear the thought that the person who wrote one of my favorite Xmas tunes might actually have despised the concept of the Savior, who is my life, my everything.
But I can choose to love those who deny him I guess. help me to love them, Lord Jesus.
||[Sep. 15th, 2008|12:21 pm]
|||||Atranta / Adairsville||]|
|||||ipod says: "If You're Going Thru Hell" - Rodney Atkins||]|
I am still alive and life is hard but good. It seems many of my friends have ditched LJ - I guess facebook is the new look.
He Saved Us - Oh...He Saved Us, Before Our Life Began...
I have not written a worship song (or any other kind of song) lately, too busy - but!!! My daughter Micailah DID write one, it is so beautiful and so "Hillsongs of Australia" to me that I had to help her with it and put it in our rotation for church!!! I want to get it recorded (I know I always overpromise on these things) and will keep you updated as a recording comes available. This song is awesome - and ROYALTIES WORTHY!!! Can't wait!
(9/15/08 12:37:00) I will try later today to put a tag in and post the lyrics under the tag
I had a great time on Saturday with my select men's group at Chick Fil A. The men's group I am a part of on Monday nights, a few of us got together to share our story more in depth and enjoy a biscuit. One of the guys left early and paid for all of us!!! Score!! Thanks be to God, he knows that cash is always a concern for me...Also my buddy Phil, he is great, we hung out Fri nite, & he gave me a crash pad so I did not have to drive so far. He also paid for my dinner!! God is soooo Good!!! It is great to have great men in my life that I can listen to and can listen to me and be a vehicle of God's love and of acceptance and forgiveness in relationships - REAL relationships.
Church is hard work
Unfortunately, though I love church, and everyone in it - it seems like it is a harder place to actually actualize these relationships, especially with the men in them. Perhaps this is because we are so busy "doing the work" that the relationship part of it goes away for me. Too much agenda is a relationship killer...Or is it just me??? However Phil, he is one exception to that rule.
I am blessed although through many trials. God grant me the serentity to have a pillow to shout in - so that the precious others around me will not be damaged by my sorrows. May I write a Psalm of desolation to glorify thy name. Amen.
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