Friday, September 23, 2011

"Not the Flame-Thrower Again, Jesus!"

"There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him." - Jesus in Mark.

Jesus had just finished lambasting the Pharisees for "teaching as doctrines the traditions of men", when he layed this one on everyone.

I don't know about you, but Jesus hits a little too close to home a little too often. I'm not sure what I would have thought about Jesus had I been around him. He drops "truth bombs" all over the place. And if I'd been around, I'd be ducking behind every rock and camel, tossing little Zacheuses into his path.

Let's take a look at this bomb. What is Jesus driving at? I think, and I could be wrong (even though this is now on my blog, in print and therefore must be true of course), that Jesus is describing the difference between inward and outward righteousness. Or to say it another way he's showing us the difference between inward and outward sinfulness.

I heard a helpful illustration from a pastor, who had heard the illustration from another pastor, (and since it's third-hand I might as well claim I came up with it) that we human beings are all like water bottles full of sin. When we're shaken or squeezed by circumstances what comes out? "Umm, sin?" (I'm a really good student by the way.)

It's not that our circumstances cause us to sin, it's that we have sin lurking in us ready to spill out of us, and circumstances give sin the opportunity. It's kind of a sobering thought, but I think it's right on. And it's right on with what Jesus said about it's what comes out of us that defiles us.

So I was thinking, I wish I was a water-bottle and not a dang tea-cup! Or better yet, I wish I could be a sippy-cup.

To be uncomfortably honest, I seem to be a perilously perched tea-cup, on a dashboard, in a mini-van full of screaming toddlers, driving through the Grand-Tetons! Everywhere I look I'm being defiled - spilling all over everything. And the sad part is I don't know the half of it, because deep down, comparing myself to others of course, I still think I'm a good old water-bottle on the shelf at home.

Life is shaking me enough these days to know that the reigning principle of Philip is that "Philip needs Jesus."

I don't really know how to wrap this entry up, because I've been shaken up pretty bad recently, but it's just a comfort to know that Jesus' power-forgiveness-grace-stuff acts like a flame-thrower to my tea-cup of sin. Poof. Gone.

Now that I think about it, I guess I should be a little more shaken by his flame-thrower. I guess getting used to Jesus' truth-bombs and flame-thrower is part of this whole Christian walk thing. It just makes me kind of jumpy.

(Note on picture: I don't think Jesus was a monk. But it's the best I found when I typed in Jesus and flame thrower into Google images.)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Singing to Momma about Satan

"I need another story
Something to get off my chest
My life gets kinda boring
Need something that I can confess

Till all my sleeves are stained red
From all the truth that I've said

. . .

So I'm gonna give all my secrets away"

- "Awake" by One Republic

I'm not much of a poet. Or at least I don't know how poetry works. Who knows? I could be an amazing poet! I might be like Michelangelo if he was never introduced to paints. (Of course I wouldn't paint naked people).

But that's not what I want to write about. I want to focus on the interesting power this songs have over me. Whether it's the type of music I'm listening or the lyrics that strike a chord (blah-ha) in me, music tells a lot about a person and what's going on inside.

For example, I've been on a classic rock kick. I caught "Give me some that old time rock and roll" last night on the radio, and it got me thinking the nostalgia for "old time rock and roll" seems to be just that pure nostalgia. Maybe it's because for me classic rock consists of a lot of 80's music. The 80's were not the epitome of "deep".

In fact my classic rock kick went so far this morning (heading to work/Starbucks) as to have me grooving out to ACDC's "Highway to Hell". I listened as long as I could handle the guilt (when my ears began to tingle) and then switched to the song above. [On ACDC: Why do so many fun songs have to have lyrics like (really screechy voice) "Hey Satan, payed my dues/ Playing in a rocking band/ Hey momma, look at me/ I'm on my way to the promised land/ OWWW/ I'm on the highway to hell/ Highway to hell..." Try singing that at the top of your voice and not feeling a little guilty as a Christian! You're singing to your Momma about Satan for crying out loud! Now that's bad.]

But then I heard these lyrics: "I need another story/ Something I can get off my chest ... Till all my sleeves are stained red/ From all the truth that I've said." First off I want to give One Republic a real hand for its play on "shed" and "said". Good stuff.

But there's something in these lines that spoke into a deeper part of me than I often recognize. Writing can be lying, or at least stretching the truth. Trying to confess something profound, or finding that life is sort of boring so sort of making stuff up. I try not to do this, but I imagine my writings have been tainted with it. I'd be shocked if this wasn't the case.

Then there's also how these lyrics speak about a weight that many of us feel. A weight on our chest begging that if we'd just be honest, really dig into truth "Till all my sleeves are stained red" we'd be relieved.

Here's the problem. It's hard to be honest. I suspect my life is so wrapped up in lies, save from Christ's work in me, that I wouldn't recognize honesty or authenticity if it smacked me ("gently please, David") in the face.

It's not that I think I'm always lying or intentionally dishonest about my life. It's just that I've worked with my fellow humans long enough to hear a lot of my own lies bounce back at me in their talk. I'm grateful for this. I'm grateful that God is ever so gradually waking me up. But it's painful to realize that this whole transformation thing is not a tweak here and a tweak there, but TRANSFORMATION!

But if it wasn't painful we couldn't make really cool word plays like truth being "shed/said." You've got to love it, and there is a whole blog of implications on truth as something that's both shed and said. Gospel undertones...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


"For not in my bow do I trust... In God we have boasted continually, and we will give thanks to your name forever." Psalm 44:6,8

This morning I just don't seem to want to get going. I finally got my rear end firmly planted in Starbucks, and was semi-ready to face a day of fund raising, when a group of about 20 mom's with toddlers scooted in next to me. OK, they didn't scoot. That many moms with "todds" don't scoot anywhere. It's more of a horde invasion.

Somewhere in all the chaos, with Starbuck's cheesy jazz music (turned up to 11 decibels) blowing any semblance of coherent thought out of my brain, I found myself typing away some half-hearted blog entry about my own self-righteous prigishness. Thankfully I had sense enough to move outside, and find a calm, though freezing, environment, where I could write in peace.

So what am I going to address this morning, when my mind feels like an over-soaked spunge, full of toddler yells? I guess I'll write about being stalled in life. But first I'm going to go grab my sweatshirt before I die.

Stalled in life. I've lived in this place. At least I've lived here in my head a lot. To tie it to the verse above, unlike the Psalmist, I've often trusted in my bow. In fact I've drawn it time after time only to find my arrows straying all over the place and my arms turning to jelly (and I won't even mention how bad my wrist hurts because of bad form and sharp stinging string - I remember shooting bows in middle school and finding that the only cure for string slap was some really hissing some really juicy and robust explitives). Then finding my bow to be totally useless I've tried to beat my enemies to death with it, and when all else has failed I've used the string to strangle them. Pretty graphic metaphor eh? I like it.

I've lived much of life paralysed by fear and frustrated by lack of productivity. I've lived the life of viscous self-dependance: When I feel good, I go nuts (like with my bow above) and when I feel bad I brake out the suction cup arrows and despondently stick them to my forhead - pop, pop, pop.

I give up on life pretty easily. Heck, it only takes a 20 mom/toddler horde to break my concentration.

So how does the good news speak into all of this? This tendency that I think is not unique to me to stall out in life. This tendency to go hard in our own strength and then give up.

Is it as simple as boasting in God as the Psalm above talks about? In that Psalm the Kohathites, whoever they were, say that even though they boasted in God, he doesn't go out with their armies and they are forsaken.

They say that they have been "rejected" and "disgraced". They go on a tirade of describing the disgrace they have experienced at God's hand, ending it with "Yet for your sake we are killed all the day long; we are as sheep to be slaughtered."

They scream at God to "Awake... Rise up and come to our help!"

Why do we look to God, rant at God or run from God when life doesn't make sense or go our way? Because deep down, we all know that God is in charge. He's the one to blame either way.

What I find is interesting is how the Coke-ites end the Psalm. "Redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love."

They knew something about God that we don't, or don't like to admit, when we're aimlessly swinging our bows around in frustration. They knew that they were loved. And they used a key adjective when talking about God's love. They called it "steadfast".

As the Hebrew word for steadfast is hard to translate and very, very deep, I can thank my little horde for their "Jesus Storybook Bible" that describes it with a "Never Stopping, Never Giving up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love".

This is the kind of love we all hope exists and should know comes from God. And belief and acceptance of it is able to move us out of life's stall-outs. It's what I'm banking on this morning.

If not, it's God's fault anyways, right? Pop, pop, pop...

Monday, September 19, 2011


"Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus... hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope." Hebrews 3:1,6

I don't know about you (in fact I don't know anything about you - unless you let me know you're read this), but I spend a ton of time taking my spiritual temperature. Am I "in" God's will or am I "out"? Am I drifting from him or towards him? Am I even his?

When my eyes are focused on me, I don't have much time for all this look to Christ and "hope in him" stuff. This hit me like a really soft ton of bricks last night.

I was just laying in bed minding my own business, when I realized how little I look, consider and meditate on Christ - his life and work. And this is strange if my life is indeed tied to his.

I would rather make sure I have perfect thinking and doctrines, than simply consider Jesus. But as I began to just think about Christ (and my hobbies of course - I always think about biking as I fall asleep. Idol? Maybe...) last night I grew in confidence. For if I am his and he is mine than I have the greatest freedom in the world - the freedom to dive into the deep realities of God, WITH CONFIDENCE.

I don't need spiritual check-ups or navel gazing anymore, I need and have Christ.

I think this is what this whole growing in gospel thing is about, learning to quit trying to save our selves and learning to look at our savior. It's kind of obvious I know, but it's fun when it hits me and fun to share. For if this is true than we are indeed free, free to look to and hold onto Christ, regardless of what kind of mess we're in, or are.

Monday, September 12, 2011


"Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For here is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God." - Paul in Romans.

I have such a skeptical attitude when Sunday rolls around and we begin all the rituals that surround going to church (like tucking in my shirt). But when I go, I'm almost always fed. I leave surprised and grateful.

Yesterday was no exception. In sunday school we talked about obedience to authorities and how authorities are instituted and appointed by God. Being the American individualist and natural rebel I am (I'm such a rebel, cool.), submission does not sit all that well with me.

But I think God has began to dig around in this cluttered soul-space of mine (I think of it as sort of a dusty attic, with all sorts of weird things stuffed in chests). He began to show me what a terrible attitude I had towards the authorities in my life.

Let me illustrate: the major authority for me and work is my support coach. My coach continues to push me to make support calls, look for referrals and just stay in the game that God's called me to.

And I chafe at this. I often just out and out refuse. I get depressed, I complain, I make excuses, I call the task "impossible", and I fill up my time with anything but support raising. And then when I can bear the burden of my irresponsibility no more, I either get authentically depressed or I put in a token day of support raising.

In a lot of ways I'm a terrible missionary. I groan and grumble when I should be thankful and grateful that God has asked me and is leading me into a task with him.

I was going to talk about obedience to authorities, and how the measure of our obedience to our human authorities equals the measure of our obedience to God. This flies in the face of American thinking.

But I think I'll go elsewhere. Why do I grumble about the task God's given me. Is anything too hard for God? No. Yet I think that little old me, dwelling in the universe of me, am just not up to it. So I grumble, rant and quit.

My universe has no real resolve. My universe has no determination. My universe has no real grit.

Thankfully my universe doesn't exist. Last I checked this whole "kitten-cabboodle" (how in the world are you supposed to spell that?) was God's. Difficulties don't exist for God. Obstacles don't exist either.

I'm growing to the scary, and humbling, realization that the only one standing in the way of God is me - his worker, his servant and his son. Ha, if Christ hadn't taken all of my spankings (worst illustration of what Christ did ever), I'd be needing a few!

Thankfully God still disciplines those he loves. I don't think he's satisfied to have us grumbling and aimlessly wittling away our days (unless we wittle wood by trade of course). I think he's more satisfied in seeing us trusting his process, believing in his abilities and living gratefully in hopes of seeing his kingdom right now in the middle of our lives.

After all God is a good king and people like my support coach are worth following, precisely because God is a good king. It is not my job to evaluate everything I'm asked to do (who do I think I am?). It's my job to look to the one who's asking me to do it.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Close Call

Maybe I'm being a little dramatic, but I feel like I almost lost my daughter yesterday. I really felt deep fear.

I was jumping my jumps, oblivious to what was about to happen. As I crested the last jump I saw my daughter on the landing right underneath me.

It was a really sick feeling. But I've got to write about it. When she saw me she screamed bloody murder (for once it was appropriate). I too screamed, tried to adjust my bike as best I could to not land on her and sort of bounced/jumped over her, using the old tuck and roll. Thankfully she did too.

As I held her in the woods, I checked her all over for some gaping wound. She had a tiny cut on her arm, a bump on her head, and other than that was just covered in a bunch of dirt. We held eachother and cried, while we both said how sorry we were. (I still don't know why she was sorry. Perhaps it was because I had just warned her a few days ago never to sneak up on me while I'm jumping as something like what happened could happen.)

Even as I write a wave of relief is rolling over me. My extremely precious, beautiful daughter was spared harm by God. I have nothing but gratitude.

This touches on something I've been reading about recently. The idea that God doesn't micro-manage. When we think of micro-managers we think of pesky annoying bosses who just won't let us do anything.

But for God, I believe He's in a different category. I believe that it is appropriate to feel anger towards God when bad things happen. I believe it is appropriate to feel gratitude when good things happen. I don't believe that God is responsible for evil, but I do believe He's in control.

Where else are we to take our feelings of anger and gratitude. True much and all evil (in a sense) is our making, but if we can't be angry with God, or more appropriately take our anger to God (I guess this is more what I mean) where are we to take it?

So this morning I am very grateful. God spared my daughter possibly great harm, and in doing so reminded her father just how fragile life can be and how precious.

God did a lot as we clung together in the forest yesterday. More than I can express in words. But another thing I've been thinking about is, while I would never want to harm Teya (other than on long car rides), how my absence, distance or preoccupation could wound her deeper than my bike ever could. It's a lesson that I'm glad God is bringing to light, and yes I believe God does that sort of thing.

But I also believe that we often miss his lessons when we start trying to figure everything out. Or claim that every event has a moral. God's in control, and in these fleeting moments called life, and in the bigger backdrop of the fall, God clings to us with the same sort of love that had a very frightened father clinging to a bruised and scared daughter in the woods (Did I mention she was wearing goggles? My life never seems to be without a pinch of humor). In fact it was his love.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

"Humungus" is our God

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” – Jesus in John.

Were these just hollow words? Sometimes I feel like they are.

Melissa and I were looking at an email from one of her young friends: “Do you think, and I know this seems crazy, that the Aztec calendar is right and the world is going to end in Dec. 21, 2012? I mean, I know that I’m safe and will go to be with Jesus if I believe in him. The trouble is I’m not sure I believe in him. My mom says I shouldn’t worry, that God grants belief on his timing and not mine. I’m just not sure that I believe in heaven and will go to hell. I like believe in George Washington as someone in history, but when it comes to Jesus it’s so hard for me to believe. Anyways, let me know what I should do…”

Her theology sounded all too familiar as I read. (Other than the Aztec stuff, which has never really bothered me. Maybe it should, it means we’ll miss Christmas next year!) While humorous, I’ve wrestled with the exact same fear. And still do.
But the truth is my fear has begun to pale as I’ve focused on some key questions that unearth my faulty understanding about all this faith stuff. First, what is belief anyways? And second, how big is God?

When I look at these questions in light of scripture (at least I think it’s in light of scripture) some things begin to go click in my brain. Is belief something I produce or is it something that God produces? The more I read my bible the more I “believe” that belief and faith are things that God grants. And my salvation is not something that rests on the strength of my faith, it rests in the strength of God. Period.

I think the big reason we all focus on our faith, or lack of faith, is that we have no idea how sinful we really are. We have no idea the rescue mission that Christ willingly took on in his life and cross. We have no idea how faithless we really are. If we knew that we were utterly faithless, we would be more surprised by any response in our hearts drawing us towards God. I believe that faith as God produced (or created) longing is a gift, not a response of our autonomous (big word alert) wills. And I believe that the girl above is expressing belief even in her questions.

Second, how big is God really? Is he big enough to understand our lack of belief? Is he big enough to atone for even that? Do we go this far in our belief and he meets us here? Or is this the wrong formula altogether?

I think it’s the wrong formula. God is HUGE! God’s work is thorough and complete. It goes all the way to the bottom of our depravity and fills us all the way to the top with His perfect right standing. Our faith is a magnetic response, longing and hope in Him which he produces. We can’t imagine the depth of our faithlessness but if we did we’d be slack-jawed at the work of God, saving us rebels, and perhaps we’d then have more faith.

And isn’t that just it? We don’t “believe” that we are that bad off. We “believe” that we can “respond” to God. We don’t “believe” that we were enslaved to our lusts. We don’t “believe” that God’s grace could cover or take care of our lack of belief.

But somewhere deep down we all know don’t we? We all know how faithless we really are. But we cover this up because it’s just too painful. We cover it up because we see it as unspiritual and even untrusting.

NO! Jesus said “I am the light of the world.” If we are to believe we need to begin to suspect our beliefs about God and ourselves. Maybe then we wouldn’t worry so much about the role we play and just stand back in amazement at what God has done. Jaws should hit the floor!

Believe in a big God who paid the biggest cost, to gain the biggest victory. Forget your lack of belief and just look at this God. And if you can’t see it by looking at the cross, just pinch yourself and look at the world around you.
You are breathing. Are you breathing because you believe enough? Trees are growing. Are they growing because you believe enough? The world is revolving and rotating around the sun billions of light-years from other galaxies.

Bigness. “Humungus” is our God.

And we think that part of our faith should rest on our shoulders. Call me a Calvinist, but something in that just seems really, really backwards.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

"Ouch David!"

"He who is often reproved, yet stiffens his neck, will suddenly be broken beyond healing." - Proverbs 29:1

I have ancient Hebrew stiff-neck syndrome.

Just the other night I was carrying our 3-yr.-old David on my shoulders. For some reason, whenever he gets on my shoulders, David digs his little pointy claws into any head-orifice he can find. He's like a mountain-climber desperately clinging for purchase. So my eyes, ears and nose pay a price that should only be payed by rock faces.

But all this clinging causes him to put most of his weight on my head and not my shoulders. For this reason, turning my head is an impossibility. I walk like I've had a few too many drinks, and occasionally when he's clinging to my eyeballs I walk into stuff, much to the amusement of others.

So there's your visual of me with a stiff neck. And I have no idea how it applies to all the instances of stiff-neck syndrome in scripture. Perhaps the ancient Hebrews carried their kids on their heads and knew what a pain in the neck it was (I couldn't resist, even though I should if I ever want to be published).

My guess is the neck illustration has something to do with being guided. That to have a stiff neck would be like hollering at me to check out the magnificent rainbow on my immediate left when I have David on my shoulders. David, upon hearing you, against all reason and terrified that I'm about to move my head, would meet out his method of facial/head torture and grab a handful of lip, hair and ear. I'd miss the rainbow for sure. And you would have done something quite unkind to me. Enjoy your rainbow, jerk.

Apparently, God wants us to have loose necks. He wants to be mobile, experience life, walk in his ways and, as the verse above states, to be open to being reproved. Life is full of obstacles, stumbling blocks AND things that God wants us to experience and see. We often over-emphasise resisting and running from evil (as if this is something we can do on our own) when what we really need is God and his guidance.

Typically I'm so busy pursuing my goals and ambitions, that when God asks me to pause, breathe and take a look around, I stiff-neck him.

To take another look at it, I'm that kid on God's shoulders desperately clinging and directing because I don't trust that God has really got me.

And to look at it from another angle, I doubt his love because of my own repeated sins and stiff neck. I doubt that God could love someone who has a constant bent towards evil (that's the best way to express it). And I doubt that God can turn my stiff neck.

And on an asside from that angle (I give you permission to be totally lost by now), I also believe my repentance earns God's love. I believe that I must turn my head on my own. But what precedes repentance is God's great mercy and love (not to mention patience). Repentance is a gift of grace.

While I'm talking about God loosening necks I'm reminded of the times I've put my head in the hands of a chiropractors. For some reason, no matter what my ailment - "I think I have a foot-fungus Doc" - they try to snap my head off.

To borrow from the chiropractor metaphor, I'm trusting that if I put my head in God's hands today, that he will show me life and he will get rid of those silly cricks that keep me thinking that life is about getting this and life is about having that. For life, all of life, comes into focus when we realize that the one who cradles our heads, lets us scramble up on his shoulders and see (to mix up my metaphors into a pasty mush), is our life.

God-life. I guess it's the cure for ancient Hebrew stiff-neck syndrome. And it's what I need today to live in his world.

(Note on picture above: Man I wish I had found this before I'd written the post. This picture pretty much sums up everything I tried to do in writing about stiff-neck syndrome and riding on God's shoulders. Then I wouldn't have had to write anything and wouldn't have gotten so lost in my plethora of metophors and assides.)

Friday, September 2, 2011

1,000 Demons! I think.

"And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid." - Mark 5:14

I don't know much about demon possession. I try and steer clear of it as a rule. As a kid I had this rule never to point my finger at the word Satan in my Bible or something bad would happen. I also thought that perhaps I was the next Messiah, as I really never did anything bad, and I had valid reasons for everything I did that "looked bad". I was a curious kid.

But I've had a few brushes with "evil" in the past couple of days. The first was at a used bookstore where I was looking for Christian Fiction and found myself walking down an isle labelled "Occult". I normally would have run, but there was a lady perusing and I don't want this Satanic woman to think I was an easy target and cast some horrible curse on me that she had just learned from her book. My second was this listening to Michael Jackson's "Thriller" this morning. It kind of gave me the creeps. Although I feel brave for having listened to the whole thing. (Not really. How could anyone be afraid of someone with that high of a voice?)

Here in Mark 5 we have an extreme example of demon craziness. This poor guy had been possessed not by 1, nor 2 but an entire legion of demons! I feel really dumb right now because I can't remember how many a legion is. I think it's 1,000 so we'll go with that.

This poor guy had a whole demon community dwelling in him. Can you even imagine what he must have been involved with or gone through to have arrived in his state? Maybe he listened to "Thriller" over and over and was terrified of high voices.

And that community had reeked havoc on his home community. I don't blame them for being mad. Being the sensitive and caring folks they were, they had tried to tie and shackle the guy with chains, and he'd broken them. Can you imagine braking chains (just as I typed that some really creepy music came on in Starbucks. Yike!)? And then this group of people saw some dude come into town and simply have a discussion with the demons and get rid of them. I'd be thinking, "Yike, yike, yike, run away, just run away!" I'd definitely send this Jesus guy away, but of course I'd have already run far far away.

And can you imagine the damage that being possessed by 1,000 demons, let me say it again - 1,000 demons! - would do to your psyche? This poor guy's soul and self-awareness must have been utterly and totally gone and lost.

And then Jesus. Then a man. Then peace.

Jesus does this in our lives. He clothes us and puts us in our right mind. The power of the gospel message - that we are utterly freed, healed and forgiven - should leave us sitting in a stupor, as I imagine this man was. But sadly it doesn't.

I don't know exactly why it doesn't. Perhaps because our experiences with Christ are less dramatic. But they really aren't if we think about it. Jesus took on all of hell for us didn't he.

We were not only open to 1,000 demons, but to the prince of darkness himself (my fingers tingle even typing this). And we would follow this prince to the grave. We were "happy" in our sin. In a way we liked cutting ourselves and braking chains.

We participated with Satan in a grand rebellion that ripped through the cosmos, a rebellion that tore through every atom in our bodies. We ruined everything.

But for me, this morning, even these words seem hollow. They don't express the depth of Christ's rescue. He did something for me that I'll never be able to express fully. And I'm glad for that. I'm glad that hear I sit, at peace and in my right mind. At least sort of.

And sorry about the picture, it's very creepy.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Being Rad

"I'm a pretty amazing guy." - Me.

This morning Melissa and I were sorting through our old papers from school. We're trying to sort through our belongings and repack/get-rid-of stuff that we just don't need. And I was finding all these papers I'd written in Seminary and I was like, "I don't even remember most of these classes and even some of these professors but DUDE these papers are all in the B to A range (actually they never really reach a full A because we all know professors are snobs, sorry Dad)!"

As I perused through my own works of sheer brilliance, I savored the comments from the professors(just the positive ones). I even got a "strong work" from JI Packer. I think I might frame that one.

I'm sharing all of this because first I like to brag, second because I really like to brag and third because I'm kind of stunned. I'm stunned by all this stuff we humans learn and forget. There was this class called "Success, Failure and Faith" that was team taught by two professors and I've pretty much forgotten the entire thing. It's like it never even happened. I've even forgotten what the professors looked like! I remember we watched a movie though. (It was one of those poignant, meaningful ones that I only ever want to watch once because there's no funny quotes.)

As I often struggle with despondency, melancholy, depression and I-wish-I-could-die-or-every-one-else-would-just-die, I also struggle with low self-esteem. Surprise, suprise! I think of myself as sort of dumb. And I am, I'm dumb enough to learn a lot, write a bunch of "brilliant" (all of my professors should write this at the top of every paper) stuff and then...time passing... forget it ALL!

I think it's because every time I learn something new, old stuff is squeezed out. I don't know exactly, but I've probably forgotten most of the debates that rage about historical biblical criticism and hermeneutics (fancy words - you like?) because I had to learn how to put on a cloth diapers, on my children of course.

(Just to clarify about diapers, I've only had to wear them once and it was highly contextualized. And it's not really something I'm comfortable blogging about. Or at least talking about it really "depends" on whether I feel very very safe, snugg and dry.)

How do we humans learn and forget so much? And how am I going to spin this into a nice little neat sunday school lesson? I don't know, and I'm not.

But I do think there was something being unearthed in me this morning as I dusted off those old papers. So much of God's image poured out and into those words I wrote years ago (and I just a 20-something punk moron back then right?). It was really refreshing, and a reminder not to underestimate how God's put us all together.

A lot of people struggle with feeling stoopid. And as I looked at all the reams of work I'd done, I realized that no matter how we feel and no matter how much we forget, we're pretty amazing. In fact, since I began this blog bragging, I'll end it with what my sister-in-law so often says, "We're totally rad."

We reflect our creator, and I, when I'm really reflecting, wear those dope shades in the picture above.