Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Real Dreams

I'm reading Ann Voskamp's 1,000 Gifts this morning, just so desparately trying to see God in my mess.  This line hit home: "I believe in the power of the pit."
Anger, stress, bitterness, rage, pride, offense, accusation, murder, hate, lies, and then the pit is ever so deepening within me some days.  I used to be a prisoner to it.  I knew the prince well.  I guess I still do.
Jesus my friend wants me to lay aside old powers and cling to him.  Will he not be enough?  Is he not enough?  He feels distant on cold Tuesdays with deadlines missed and old names like "failure, wretch, slacker, messy, disorganized, hopeless, weak" whispered into this frail human mind.
I need to taste God.  I need his peace to overwhelm me.  That he is generous towards me is so very hard to believe.  I'm his delight, that's crazy right?  But that he sees not just potential in me but his very own son.  I am perfect to him, his perfect delight.  That his heart that bled for me still bleeds with deep emotion towards me seems audacious, sacrilege.  To good to really be true.
Who is this God of the half-hearted, the lazy, the tired, the weary, the worried, the anxious, the prideful, the boasting, the mean, the bitter, the cold, the resentful and the unforgiving?  Is he not?  Or dare I say he is, the great I AM.  The presence, who by very solid as rock truth, defies all odds and lies, giving truth for lies, Christ for sin, love for loss, acceptance for rejection, peace for rebellion, and loves me, Philip.  Truths so good they seem like lies.
He says my name.  Oh do I dare believe he says it.  I come running.  My name means "lover of horses."  I proclaim my hatred for horses and God laughs.  He loves my jokes.  He loves me.  He rubs his hand through my rough unwashed hair. He stoops low, sniffing my head - relishing the smell of me.  He whispers in my ears words of his joy over me, of his crazed attitude of righteousness covering all, his tears rolling down my cheeks as he kisses, tears that speak deeper to my pain than any I have ever wept.
That he can be this close seems far off.  A pipe dream.  But if he's not, I'll take these dreams over life.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Day 2, In God's Image

Flecks of sawdust spun up and around my face, gently pricking my cheeks and occasionally catching the corner of my eye (protective glasses absently on my head).  I eased the spinning saw again into the wood, watching as the blade made grain give way to air.  Watching the wood disapear to blade gives me great joy, just the simplicity of a straight line and obedient wood (or at least semi-straight and semi-obedient).

My friends came over today with their families to help me build my tree-house.  Actually it’s for the kids, but since they hardly ever go up there and I’ve been slaving away at it for over a year, it’s sort of mine.  And I guess it’s “slaving away” if I consider all the time I spend just thinking about doing it and procrastinating.  And then if I factor in all the should and ought-to feelings that generally rule my life as a chronic procrastinator then yes, I’ve been slaving. 

But as I worked today, with friends beside me, watching wood obey the drill. my hammer (every other swing) and my hands I felt satisfaction.  I also felt anxiety.  Leading friends in a work project is hardly my field of expertise.  I doubt my leadership qualities all the time.  But I am dubious, indubitably dubious and prone to second guess everything – it’s the writer in me.  

Yet these friends were kind enough to listen when I told them I felt anxiety leading them, and they didn’t run away.  I need friends like that, friends that won’t run away when they see my neediness.  Friends that don't run from you are good.  One even waved to the tree-house, trying to open my eyes to help me celebrate, “Phil, you made all that.  It is amazing!”

And well, I’m not being prideful when I agree it is amazing.  The tree-house stands eight feet off the ground, is attached to big evergreens and is like a wood castle in our firn covered swamp/yard.  I’ve lined the actual house with wood from a friend’s old deck.  Rotting and black with mold, he was going to chuck it.  But I took it, ran my saw along it and saw bright reddish pine (I think) underneath.  Propping the boards on their edge and running my saw along the wood’s surface I’ve pretty much ruined my saw, but the woods rough look on the house makes me happy, it looks so rugged.  And I feel that the wood is worth more anyway.  Salvaging is good for my soul.  So yeah, it is amazing.  My tree-house is amazing.  And with a little help, I’ve made it.  Almost.

In Genesis I’m told that I’m made, perhaps carved, in the actual image of God.  It’s a little crazy to actually believe it.  That I bear the actual stamp of God.  But that’s not enough, I don’t just have God’s creative stamp I’m made in his actual image.  Making a tree-house is fine work, work that fulfills and that I enjoy.  Imagine making a human being.  Imagine pouring yourself into that creature.  Imagine the joy you would have at seeing it come to be.  To exist.  And to have it reflect you.  Made in your image.  There’s something profound going on there.  And I can’t figure it out.  And I’m not even sure I want to I like it so much. 

Friday, January 3, 2014

God Spoke

God spoke: “Light!”

For the month of January I've taken on a free-write challenge from Jeff Goins to get my blog going again and to begin walking through my questions on scripture as well as other random thoughts.  So if stuff is rough, sorry, I'm going to try and keep the editing to a minimum.

God spoke: “Light!”And light appeared.
God saw that light was good
and separated light from dark.
God named the light Day,
he named the dark Night.

 It was evening, it was morning—
    Day One.

God spoke.  Is that really all it took?  I wonder.

My 5-hr-old David, prayed over breakfast this morning and I asked him if he'd like to thank God for anything else.  He said, "Thank you God for nature."  That's my boy.

He loves lizards, catapillars, is scared by snakes yet fascinated.  He cares for goldfish in distress.  He's seen many a burial and cried over his loses.  David, God's beloved, reflects his creator.  

In nature I see so much detail.  It's so carefully orchestrated.  It works so well.  I need green.  My cubicle at work is covered in it.  It's why I love the Pacific Northwest so much.  It was there that I first began to really taste and see that God is good in his creation.

So when I hear "God spoke" and boom there was "plants of all kinds" say, I think I have heard it wrong for a long time.  I see God hovering above the waters in sort of a spirit cloud thing and pronouncing on high his words.  He has a huge white beard, flowing robes and just says stuff and it happens.

But if I look at what happens, the result, I'm in awe.  This God who I know the Bible says hovered over the waters, created such intimate detail.  His nature speaks of such care and design.  I can't think that Moses had anything like the trumped up Platonic, gnostic version of God who doesn't get fingers dirty when he wrote "God spoke."

Maybe there's something in words that conveys intimacy and power.  I think that's a better take.  John says Jesus was there in the beginning, creating as the word.  The mysterious here would give me migraines.  But if Jesus was present, and the Spirit, hey-ho, we've got the Trinity doing there thing, making a world. 

And if I know the theme of scripture, I know that what they make is good.  And what they make, they make carefully.  With power yes, but with great care as well.