somewhere over the rainbow

rainbow2

the last few days…weeks…
I shake my head
I don’t know what to think, to feel
and so,
I keep silent.
all the while, this tension builds inside of me.

so, here, using this platform,
is where I have chosen to process

where to start…

I am a Christ-follower.
I am an American.
as I witness the events and the backlash that has resulted from those events
I am wondering if those two things can live in harmony?

do I know what it means to be a Christ-follower?
do I know what it means to be an American?

just as sitting in a garage doesn’t make me a car…
going to church (or not going to church) does not a Christian make
and living in one of the 50 states doesn’t necessarily make me an American.

being an American is a liberty that I too often take for granted…
my unalienable rights – those that are impossible to take away or give up…
***screech***
hold on…back that trolley right up!
what are my unalienable rights…as an American?
do they just simply include – life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?
and if so, what does that look like?
are they the same for you, for me, for next-door-Nancy?
for someone who looks differently than me?
for someone who worships, or chooses not to worship, the same way I do?
for someone who rejoices over a SCOTUS decision, or one who laments over that same decision?
for someone who lives differently than I do?

life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness…
American

Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high,
There’s a land that I heard of
Once in a lullaby.

Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue,
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true.

Someday I’ll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far
Behind me.
Where troubles melt like lemon drops
Away above the chimney tops
That’s where you’ll find me.

Somewhere over the rainbow
Blue birds fly.
Birds fly over the rainbow.
Why then, oh why can’t I?

If happy little blue birds fly
Beyond the rainbow
Why, oh why can’t I? – Somewhere Over the Rainbow from The Wizard of Oz soundtrack

the mention of “rainbow” is intentional…
rainbows have flooded the internet, Facebook in particular, in recent days
to stand in solidarity with those who have chosen
to live
to pursue happiness
and who I imagine finally feel some freedom.
a promise
a covenant…a rainbow
what are my unalienable rights as a Christian?
could they too encompass – life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

more crucially, what is my responsibility as a Christ-follower?
Scripture makes that pretty clear.
Love God
Love others.

how is loving God manifested in my own life?
how does it flesh out?
what does it look like?

does it look like
hate
bigotry
racism
jealousy
anger
needing to be “right”?

 

what does God require of me?

…to live justly and to love kindness
    and to walk with your True God in all humility – Micah 6:8 (the Voice)

 

all of these ramblings…
all of these thoughts…
do they mesh, do they fit together?
do they make any sense?

I don’t know the answer to anything, really.

my heart hurts because we hurt each other
we can’t, or maybe we choose not to, see individuals

“We should hope not for a colorblind society but instead for a world in which we can see each other fully, learn from each other, and do what we can to respond to each other with love.” – Rachel Held Evans

whether it is race or religion
or sexual orientation
or choices
or whatever is trending today…
the common denominator is that we are ALL created in the image of God

maybe we can bring the land that is over the rainbow…
where dreams do come true…
here to the present, to the hear-and-now
where we lay our stones down…
we look at those we are prepared to cast those boulders at…
and we see them through a lens of love.

one final thought to ponder…
so many in our culture have been quick to arm themselves with life-altering stones…
armed to destroy…
ready to pounce.
since when did the stone that was rolled away – the stone that sealed the tomb –
since when did we chisel that down to form the stones
which we are eager to cast?
because, if we continue to act like we are acting…
what was the purpose of the Cross?
is there meaning in the resurrection?
did Christ die for nothing?

grace…taste the rainbow

 

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risky business

quote by Erin Hanson

quote by Erin Hanson

Jesus Falls the Third Time – Malcolm Guite He weeps with you and with you he will stay When all your staying power has run out You can’t go on, you go on anyway. He stumbles just beside you When the doubt that always haunts you Cuts you down at last and takes away the hope that drove you on. This is the third fall and it hurts the worst This long descent through darkness to depression From which there seems no rising and no will To rise, or breathe, or bear your own heart beat Twice you survived, this third will surely kill And you could not wish for that defeat Except that in the cold hell where you freeze You find Your God Beside you on His knees.

risk…involving the possibility of something bad or unpleasant happening I am sitting at home on this Sunday morning… contemplating pondering just thinking about Church and the fact that I didn’t go this morning… where to go? why didn’t I go? why don’t I try a new one? why go? do I miss it? … I listened to a short video this morning by Rachel Held Evans about the death of the church about risking it all for Jesus risking it all for the mystery do I do that? maybe my idea, my ideal of what “church” looks like needs to die, to be reborn to fall so that in the end, it becomes new and fresh and living to me Jesus loves us violently and fiercely not just to secure a place with him forever but His teachings have taught us have shown us what it looks like when Jesus is among us…living, breathing, working the life – the walking, breathing, eating, communing – of Jesus is not a back story to the crucifixion and resurrection but a demonstration of the love the liberating force the way out…our way to fly and not fall my own view of what church is, or is not, or needs to be …does it embody Christ? is my own view a demonstration of falling or flying? an example of risking it all for the mystery… the glorious unfolding ? new every morning… sadness to joy… lament intertwined with doxology… death enmeshed in resurrection… the Church the future, the mystery it’s worth the risk… Jesus is worth the risk. “what if I fall?  Oh but my darling, what if you fly?” risky grace… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKMjEvF2Fkw

your story matters

dayspring.com magnetic photo frame

dayspring.com
magnetic photo frame

 

story…
adventure
anecdote
chronicle
drama
memoir
parable
scoop
tale

what is your story?
how have you survived?

sometimes, I realize that we think that our story isn’t dramatic
exciting
thrilling
“redemptive”
enough
to be
listened to
make a difference
or even that it matters.

“…the drama of the ordinary because it is unfolding and evolving every day and thus is not often seen or appreciated by individuals.   It is veiled in ordinariness.” – Gysbers, Heppner, and Johnston

your story matters.
you matter.

so often, we don’t hear those words spoken
see those words lived out
feel those words deep in our gut
taste the sweetness
or we aren’t able to touch anything tangible to bring them to life.

but, you might say, I am a mess.
I am confused.
I am just ordinary.

oh my friend.  that is the beauty of it all!

Embrace the glorious mess you are. – Elizabeth Gilbert

embrace your story.
embrace your mess.

God knows exactly what makes up your glorious mess

You know me inside and out,
    you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
    how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Psalm 139:15 (MSG)

 

but, you don’t know what I have done
what I have been through
what has happened to me…

you are correct.  I don’t know.
I don’t know your brokenness, fear, anger, shame, sin and hate.
but,
I do know mine.

and I can tell you that you matter, your story matters, because I matter, and my story matters.
it has taken me the better part of my life to come to that realization and embrace it.
I still struggle with this….
a lot.

but of this I am sure…
your
story
matters.

the headlines are full of terrorism
full of scandal
full of brokenness
full of shame
full of deceit…

but, believe it or not…
those people involved in those stories
and those living out those headlines matter.
their story matters.

Caitlyn matters.
Josh Duggar matters.
the un-named, hurting mother matters.
the newlywed same-sex couple matters.

we may not agree or even understand things or people
but their story matters.

think of your own narrative, your own story…
has it worked out just as you had planned?
have you faced adversity?
have you been broken
hurt
full of shame
fearful?

are you living God’s narrative for your life?

“God’s narrative for our lives is different from the ones we may construct out of fear or insecurity.  The realization of God’s narrative isn’t contingent on our level of belief in the truth of the narrative.
Lean into that.” – Dr. Tony Donofrio

God knows us inside out.
God knows our story.
God has written our story.

I have had the extreme privilege to sit across from some fantastic young folks
and listen to their stories
to help them carry their brokenness and shame
and verbalize to them that
they matter
they are courageous
and to help instill in them some hope.

not to sit in judgment or condemnation
or shake my head and wag my finger at them

but to strive to violently love them

(for more about the violence of love, http://www.relevantmagazine.com/god/practical-faith/why-are-christians-so-judgmental)
they matter
they are important
and let me speak truth into your situation today…

you are important.
you matter.

share your story.

a scoop of grace…

earlier bits

June 2015
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