A Spirit Crying Out

I have this sense, that what we see around us isn’t the world going crazy, in so much as it’s every person with a spirit crying out for a very similar thing. A Messiah.

It’s clear enough to see that most people perceive something wrong with the world or culture that we live in. Many people believe that by the hand of force they can make a difference. Others believe with the correct ruler or god or president, that this world will become more of what they imagine Utopia would be like. Some still believe if we follow the correct system, that will eventually work everything out in the end.

Whether we imagine we’re seeking justice, love, equality, truth, authentic, holistic, prosperity, or perfect …we’re looking for a way to make that happen. Usually with a leader of some sort to get us there. Someone who can see the problems and have a quick decisive way to bring order. Maybe even something that lifts up our own values.

The simplicity of this, doesn’t really sound like a world gone crazy to me. As matter of fact, the Bible might even explain this as birth pangs. A longing for something new to be birth, and to bring things into correction or fullness or redemption.

We call it “the restoration of all things”.
I see it everywhere.
Black Lives Matter, anti-Trump, pro-Trump, Isis, Jihadist, ect.

I find it really isn’t so different than these that took place while Jesus was on the Earth. Different names, yes. Different faces, I suppose. But the pushing, the waiting, the anxiousness and urgency -very much the same.

Sometimes (maybe often) we feel like God doesn’t work fast enough. Maybe that God doesn’t understand what it’ll like to have this trapped feeling of want something greater but not being able to affect change. Maybe God doesn’t understand time and history, because maybe he gets to live outside of time. Maybe God doesn’t care as much as we’d previously assumed, because nothing is worse than feeling stuck and watching glory & hope fade all around you.

Then again…

Maybe God does understand this. Maybe the only reason we even feel this way is because God felt it first. Maybe the push and the urgency within us isn’t just about a sinking ship, but it’s our spirits feeling a deep wind of change. A kingdom that has come and is coming into fullness. A world that’s beyond even the concept of Utopia or “heaven” and is more real the the turmoil we wake up and face everyday.

Maybe our spirits are intuiting birth, newness, life, …and yet it feels like its just beyond us. But how could it be beyond us, if our spirits already feel it? Already thirst for it? And already pushing to come forth into this life?

I get this sense of we are creating our own hell, because we don’t understand how to make heaven. We are actively involved the destruction of something beautiful, because we want it to unfold in our timing. Our curiosity needs fed, and it won’t wait in line. If there’s something great to be found from the hand of God, let us have it now! …Or so we often feel this way. Many people feel similar. Many are willing to takeover and show God how it’s done.

But Jesus faced the same thing in his day. This isn’t new.

The words he spoke aren’t irrelevant or old or un-relatable. They may even be the sharpest light into our own times.

The more the media kindles the fire and promotes fear, the more absurd things become. The more extreme “good people” start to think. The more we create our own hell within the distractions that pull us way from what are spirits are saying. “This isn’t truth. This isn’t right. There has to be something better.” And that would be the most correct thing that could be said.

There something better. There is a culture that brings us into fullness. There is a Promised One who brings justice, who rewards the hard-worker, who empowers the forgotten & oppressed people, who sets the world in way that allows fullness, purpose, order, fulfillment can easily flow.

There is that Promised One, a Messiah who brings the restoration of all things. One who doesn’t have a particular bent of a particular cause, but has in mind the way to bring all things into the beauty of what they were created to be from the beginning.

We are not too far gone. We not even as far as we imagine. God isn’t unaware or inactive. Instead, I purpose that there is a fighting, a pressure, a contending because there is something new, beautiful, and fulfilling taking place, even at this time. Our spirits feel it. How we respond is up to us. But there’s only one Messiah who can bring us into the restoration of all things. There’s only one “peace on Earth” that is truly peace for all mankind. There’s only one Promised One who truly knows and understands justice. We must be careful, not to pick an idol.

The world, our spirits, and heaven itself awaits those who will hear the call and respond to a gracious, humble Messiah. Not that we may have riches and wealth for ourselves, but that we may be servants who bring the restoration of all things. Who bring children to the maturity of becoming heirs of the Father. Who brings servants up into being wise & faithful stewards. Who can see hurt and know it’s birth pangs of something beautiful coming forth, and who can midwife that birth in its proper time. Therein bringing mother, child, and even the father into joy and fullness.

We are the people of God, through Christ Jesus, and we believe the Holy Spirit testifies to Yeshua HaMashiach bring us into the restoration of all things.
(Yeshua HaMashiach is the Hebrew name of Christ Jesus. The one and the same.)

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To the Unknown God: Perfect

We worship a God who is good. We quake before a God who is Sovereign. We know almost nothing of God because we allow this to be our prime definers of God. We are as children, barely understanding the world we live in, let alone the great world at large.

We are uninterested in God being anything but good or love. Somehow we think we can predict, control, or even manipulate what that means, and therefore how God must respond. It is not so. Yet we proclaim it.

Because God is good he would not allow his people to suffer such things.” One lady told her theory on pre-trib rapture. I may have accidentally laughed in her face and called her idealism a coupon-Jesus redeemable at anytime before tribulation. I laughed because I thought it be so childish, and she was much too old to not know or have seen some history we God did not save his people out from some kind of tribulation. Yet there she was middle class America living a “good” life. Serving a “good” God.

Early in my life I struggled to see God as good. God let’s a lot of things slide. Things that create destruction on others lives. And in my life. Such things don’t always make sense when we’re seeking a good that is God, as a defining characteristic.

Yet there’s something else that we don’t consider, which is tightly linked into this concept of God being good. Beyond good, God is perfect.  We, as people, hate perfect. It’s told to us as unobtainable.  We disdain a God who is unapproachable, but still requires of us. How very brutish! Yet if that’s how we view perfect, than we know not what perfect is.

Perfect, as defined by who & what God is, is: beautiful, lovely, fulfilling, victorious, honest, holistic, eternal, raw & pure.  These are not utterly unfamiliar traits, so why should we be scared of such things? We seek these things in our relationships, in our food that we consume, in our movies and music. It is not so foreign to us at all.

Instead, we more often than not, believe a tainted view of what “perfect” is and we despises God for it…when such things have little to nothing to do with God. That concept that “perfect” is what Hollywood portrays. A concept and commitment that tortures the souls of people who are “not good enough” and who have to always keep working to obtain an elusive goal.

This is not the perfection which God himself defines. We should not even believe that such idealisms have anything to do with perfect, for they are so vague and sketchy and demanding, that there is no hint of perfection within the requirement itself. This Hollywood-ish idealism, is nothing but slavery. God’s definition of perfection is fullness, which brings freedom. Restoration which unveils purpose and fulfillment, which gives joy and victory, and brings forth freedom and beauty.

How is it, then, that we choose “good” over perfect? We want a nice God, who is defined by our fickle sense of “love” instead of seeking how God defines Love, good, perfect, and therein securing ourselves to God’s definition of these terms. What makes it easier to accept God on our terms?

The second overused & abused term (imo) is that God is Sovereign. It’s kind of like saying God is god. Like God has the trait which we require in a god. Seemingly it’s non-statement. Although people who use, believe that they are making a big and defining statement, truth is they’re just being redundant. I find it to be unhelpful, and again vague. I find this definition of God to be a scapegoat style terminology. So basically we don’t take time to get to know God or understand his heart, his wisdom, or his character, therefore we come up with some scapegoat words and pin everything we don’t understand under that.  Somehow people buy this as theology. It’s laughable. It is not theology, it is a distraction.

Here’s something to look for:
God works in patterns. Jesus tells parables. This doesn’t happen because Jesus assume people are stupid (although I’ve heard preachers say as much, because too many believe this themselves)  more likely stories are used so that the pattern is available for those who turn aside to see, at anytime throughout history.  God is smart. Certainly God knew the tricks of devil, and distortion that the enemy uses. But as long as the story remains, the patterns can be found and read and understood.

God doesn’t treat people like the dirt Adam was made from. This is bad theology. God knows the price it is to even sacrifice even one of his holy people to the corruption in the world around us. It isn’t something he takes lightly or accidentally allows. But we ache and bellow at a God who is consider to be “good” when these things do happen. Where is that God now?

So much hurt comes from not knowing and seeking a God who is beyond good, beyond love, beyond Sovereign. A God who is perfect, a God who is holistic, a God who is relational. Then to meet that God at these times …to say it is painful, is woefully understanding it. Often it is devastating. Often people utter lose their faith in God here. We can’t hear the voice of God, because that good, loving, sovereign God is …vacant. Something worse, something overpowering is happening.  God -the God of heaven and Earth- is at work, and we don’t recognize him. We don’t know that voice, that hand, those moves. This God is foreign to us, and we think the enemy is attacking and God isn’t around. Desperation sets in deep.

Upon pausing to consider this, I think of the parable of 10 virgins that Jesus tells. Five wise and five foolish. The wise are consider the such for having taken extra oil…just in case a Good God doesn’t come to get us before the night. The five foolish are sure that the will be taken in before their oil runs out, for a Good God is plenty while it is daylight and even while it is dusk. Yet it is insufficient when it is midnight.

They need more oil. They haven’t developed a relationship with a God who can be perfect, holistic, relational, silent.  They head back to those who sell oil obtain more of the same, but this time it’s insufficient. It’s too late.  It’s too far removed from the God who has come to bring us into rejoicing, into fullness, into raw, pure beauty. They’re shut out. They miss out. As matter of fact, this God must even confess: I never knew you, because they never came to know him. How sad.

The easy way is devastating.

Hothouse Christianity while not have roots deep enough to weather the storms. It will not have branches hardy enough to endure the cold. It is not a wonder so many desire to believe in God who pull us up and take us back into the warm greenhouse before winter comes. It is absurd to call it maturity or fullness. For many who have gone on before us in the faith have made huge sacrifices to sanctify the purity of faith that would come to us. To settle with this “good” God and “good” Christianity is insulting to those who have preserved for us the good perfect and pleasing will of God throughout all the ages.

We need them. If we do not have the deep roots we will not be overcomers. And if we seek escape then certainly we are not conquerors. To be involved with a God merely for the sake of spiritual insurance is insulting to all of heaven. If we do not enter into the fullness which we have been granted access to, then certainly we are willing foolish. How can God claim to know us when we will not allow ourselves to know anything beyond the “good” “loving” “sovereign” scapegoat god?

In modern words: go big or go home.

Sitting With The Silent God

There I was well adjust to my thirties…far from high school, and yet…feeling exactly like I was in middle school again. In the middle of the camp dining room, a room full of adults, just moments ago talking to friends, but the dinner bell rang (so to speak) and everyone literally turned away from where I was sitting to sit with someone else.  It was just my husband and I sitting in the middle of the room…alone.

We both felt the sudden turn. What happened? We looked at one another. That was odd. We were just talking with people, and now that it was lunch time, everyone wanted someone else to talk to? No one else came to sit with us. It was too coincidental. Was God portraying something with our lives?

It was fine. My husband was still there. We had each other. I was fine with that. …And then… my husband decided he need to take a walk. I didn’t know it then, but he told me later that the pressure and the obviousness of the situation was too much for him. He felt it too.

So there I was. A living monument in the middle of the lunch room, and no one saw me. No one ate with me. I tried to calmly tell myself not to shove my tiny meal down and runoff like an awkward middle-schooler. I could do this. I could deal with sitting alone in the middle of the room where two minutes ago we had friends to talk to and now… suddenly…nothing. I could stand tall, or rather, sit like a normal person. No problem.

Quietly I was talking to God. It was too coincidental to miss. “What happening here, God? No one’s sitting with us? What is this?
And then to hear in my spirit, “I know. How do you think I feel?
It was heart-breaking. I continued to calmly eat my food and sit there ever-so politely, while fighting tears from these impactful words of God. Then came the unforgettable words: “At least you sit with me when I’m silent.

My heart broke. The Silent God, of course!

I finished part of my tiny meal, and threw the rest out. It was too much to ingest. I looked around the room more than once, and I didn’t catch any eye, not once. I was there in the middle of it all, and no one saw me. But to think…that I might have merely been a symbol of a God whom they didn’t want to endure, that…that was crushing.

Some months ago, I had posted about how I was currently learning about the Silent God (a side of God we don’t tend to like or believe in), and it was impacting then…but this! Hearing this: “At least you sit with me when I’m silent.”  was devastating… devastatingly beautiful. In that moment of hearing those words, I couldn’t believe that other people would miss this. I couldn’t believe that I was privy to hear the words and heart from the Silent God.
It was beautiful. It was honest. It was straight from a broken heart.
It was one of those moments that best friends share together.

I remember when I was kid, I always wanted my friends to be the kind of people who could sit with me, even if I was having a silent day or silent meal. Because best friends share stories, conversations, and share their hearts & lives even if words aren’t being spoken between them. Even in silence, the best of friends are still connected.

Yet we live in culture that promotes silence as being awkward. Silence in the ruin-er of moods. Silence is the killer of connection. Silence…silence isn’t as bad as we make it out to be. Not always.

I haven’t recovered.
I haven’t gotten over a God who would say to me, “At least you sit with me when I’m silent.
I haven’t stopped tearing up every time I think of it.

How close do you have to be to share a broken heart with someone? To feel their pain as they express it. To cry when they cry. To sit with them in that time and not try to change it, but just to share in it?
How quiet do we have to still ourselves before God shares his broken heart with us?

One of my favorite Bible verses say, “He who is faithful with little, will be faithful with much. And he who is dishonest with little, will be dishonest with much.” (Luke 16:10)
God is seeking those who are faithful with little. The problem is, we have heard so much from a culture that says God wants to give us much …and that entices us.

The problem is we live in culture were dating is the same thing as having sex together. We live in culture where you can watch movies instantly and any part of the movie only takes two clicks to get to it or maybe just a spoken word (long gone are VHS and cassettes!). We live in culture where my husband’s coworkers ask him where he got his lunch, and they’re surprised when he frequently says we made it at home. We live in culture where we play little computer games during our dead time, but then we pay real money for unreal power-ups & instant-builds (and so on) in said game.

We live in culture that wants a form of greatness, but we want it now, and we’re willing to sacrifice some of our greatness in order to gain some instant-ness. We want to skip ahead to our favorite parts.

The problem is we apply this mentality to our spiritual lives, because it’s our everyday mindset. We don’t have time for menial task. The reality is relationships (including spirituality) are built on things that might otherwise be considered menial. Have we forgotten that in our modern world?

We need to practice being faithful with little in our everyday lives. Everyday we have choices to make. Just for today will we pick something that guides to healthier or more holistic living? Maybe tomorrow we fail. Maybe yesterday didn’t work out. But today? Today we could choose to be faithful with little. Today we could build a menial piece in our relationships. Today we could be a little more honest with ourselves.  Today could be great, or it could be nothing of consequence. And that’s okay. It’s only a little thing.

When greatness does come we will not know it, unless we are faithful in the little things.

It maybe a long, long wait, but… don’t be afraid of a Silent God.
Unimaginably beautiful awaits those who persevere faithfully.

Self-Hatred: A Profile Picture Story

Have you seen those post on social media where it instructs you to post your first profile picture and your latest one side by side? A sort of comparison. A sort of looking back on your journey.  Yet how can you choose your first ever and latest one and not see all the ones in the middle? And how does anyone look at a photo they’re in and not remember that moment or how it feels or the stories one was attempting to convey at that point?
At least for me, this is some of what happens.

I know that my pictures say one thing to people, and that I see another thing. In my profile picture journey, I see someone who has learned, and yet is still learning not to hate this face. Learning to be comfortable in ones own skin, and learning not to hate oneself.
Too honest?

No. Not too honest. If only we could all be something close to this volume of honesty with ourselves. For we have all been on a long journey throughout the days, week, years of our lives. We posted words, pictures, videos, and essentially hints to other people …but did anybody see it? Have we seen it ourselves?

We have seen our own flaws. We have ignored our own wounds. We have stoned our hearts towards others on an occasion. We have been broken, transformed, affected by still others on different, rare, occasions. We have morphed into whom we are today.
Did we notice?

I like to take an account of my life once every so often. I like to ask myself where I am, where I want to go, if I’ve missed anything, if there are things I need to take care of now, if there are things I can’t yet deal with. Essentially, I like to run a systems check. Sometimes all it can do is make me aware of errors that I do have, whether or not I can readjust them at this time or not.

Because I don’t want to make it another age in life, and say to myself, how did I get here? I want to be aware of the journey that takes place along the way. Sometimes hindsight does give a fuller explanation, but I don’t want to miss this just because I can’t yet understand.
If it hurts, I’m still here to feel it. I don’t just turn it off. …Though maybe I try sometimes.

All too often, I know that when I look back, I didn’t do great. I see a lot of wounds. They’re not all healed. They don’t all make sense. But I look at them anyways.  I treat them the best that I can for now, and I move forward.

On a good day, I fight lies that have incubated some of the wounds or infections therein. On a bad day, I think about the ugliness of the scars that will come of this even if it does heal. But one thing that has changed, I stopped needing to fix myself. I stopped needing to change. I stopped hating myself more than anyone else hated me so that they couldn’t hurt me worse than I’d done to myself. I stopped trying to control nonsensical judgements, expectations, and imagery …all of which changes so fast and so frequently that it left me in ruins every time.

I started finding the most solid foundational things I could possibly believe in. I went way down to the bare bone of my soul, and I just sat there for a while. It ached. I longed to be covered up, but I refused to put on these destructive presuppositions.  I learned to be in my own skin and just feel what that felt like.  and I learned there was a lot –a whole lot– of ache in there.

A recent reality check came when someone I knew as a teenager retired and I went to their party. I hadn’t been seen or heard of for a decade & half, but I decide to show up in order to honor this person. I was surprised to find everything the same. I was even more surprised to see that they assumed that I would be the same.
Was my mask that good, back then?

I ached and no one saw it. I hide and no one saw me. I survived and barely did more, and they thought I was living a fairy tale. No one saw the war I felt.
Thankfully I grew up, and I grew away. I got out and got healthy. I learned to live my skin, feel my own bones, breathe in and out, and to be here in this moment and to feel it and to deal with it.

I learned what it is to be me. Well…I’m still learning in some ways. This isn’t perfect, but I actually feel like I am here. I am see-able. Whether or not people turn aside to see, isn’t my problem. I am living. It’s okay if part of living is failing, because if I am still living I can still try again. …on a good day.

Ultimately I found, a lot of my self-hatred came from not actually knowing or being myself. So much of who I’ve been has been told to me. But now…now I’m telling my own story. I am living my own story. I’m finding I am part of something bigger than this tiny point in history.

I’m finding that self-hatred can even be fueled by to two different wisdoms colliding. A wisdom of well-oiled-machine world that tells you to comply to its systems, and a wisdom of a God-created-world that tells an engrossing story which we are part of.
Only part, but knowing my life is a piece of that story helps.

Once I choose to direct my steps according the God-created-world wisdom, a lot of things started to make sense for me. I started to see why I couldn’t be what people expected. I started to see why I hated who I was when I tried to comply. I found freedom to be imperfect, but at the same time strength to walk towards perfection without shame.

I found home in the midst of a journey. Because more than getting somewhere, becoming something, doing some great thing in time …more than those I found myself as part of something timeless. I found an identity in the midst of ancient story of a people.
And all those expectations that people have, they don’t depend on me to accomplish it for them, because I am only part of something so much grander than myself and my little life. I am one, and as one, I am part of many.

This is my beautiful life.

Fools On Display

“Sometimes I think God has put us apostles at the very end of the line, like prisoners soon to be killed, put on display at the end of a victor’s parade, to be stared at by men and angels alike.”
– St Paul

Strangely, I get the impression this isn’t one of the first five things anyone thinks of when they think of the Christian Life or walking by faith. …and I wonder what it’s like to be that person who walks along without this weight. I wonder what it’s like to think of Christianity in terms of things done in or pertaining to a “church” building.
I imagine it’s terrible and boring.

1st Corinthians chapter 4 is very powerful in a humbling way. It’s like reading a story of how my ancestors got to America and got established into our modest life. It’s a reminder that we aren’t just trusting God for our day to day life, but we’re part of something greater. It’s a reminder that it isn’t just about what’s happening now, but our “now” is part of greater chorus which has been sung out in faith. We join those who have believed before us. We join those who believe now, and we join those who struggle to believe but keeping living for one more day, searching for truth…if there be any left in this world.

This is a challenge. This is a weight.

Later on, in 2nd Corinthians, Paul uses the phrase “eternal weight of glory”. A small phrase that has baffled many. What could it mean?
I think it means, when we get connected into the roots of our faith, and into the forefathers of faith, and we start wanting to be a part of their faith, knowing their God, and living that faith…then we’ve connected to something that eternal. Something that’s glorious. And there’s a weight to it all. “the eternal weight of glory”

When we think of the long lineage of history that has processed our stories and brought message of a living God down throughout history, we look small. Yet…in our “now” state of being, we feel so worthless, so insignificant, and sometimes so forgotten by God.  We feel like God puts us on display in the worst way. We feel foolish. We like stoning up our hearts, instead of opening them up. We feel like we have no faith at all. We feel insane. …but we keep going.

There is no alternative.  There is no following the system into a happily-ever-after. There is no daydreaming and one day  it’ll come true. …not without an attempt. Not without skidding through some failure, bristling through some doubt, drowning in stares of people who “admire” your “cute faith” but they sure don’t want to be you or live their own faith in the same “admirable” way.

Yet not everyone can.
Someone has to be at the base. Someone has to discover that old path that now seems overgrown and hidden. If it ever was here, then it’s still here. But my God, it isn’t easy to find, and to keep, and follow. …Yet if that’s all we had to do, it’d be easier than this. Yet we know, behind us will come those who are looking for this same path, and we need to put signs out for them. We need to clear some of the brush. But we need to make sure, it is the right path at the same time.

To say it’s hard is an inadequate understatement.

We are on display, and this display makes us seem like fools. We know. Yet we must. It’s not just for our sake anymore. When we enter into an ancient and eternal faith, then we become part of legacy. One that must be preserved. One that must be given to the next generation. And I just don’t have the faith to believe that our “church” systems are going to be the ones to pass on a living faith with a Living God, where even the words of God are still alive to us today.

To be eternal means there is no “Old Testament” God vs “New Testament” happy-go-lucky Jesus. Just one triune God working throughout all of history. Including now.

There is an eternal weight of glory, and it’s exactly what Jesus was talking about when he said, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light”. We preserve, because if we quit, we will never know what the saints of ol’ saw. We’ll never know why the cloud of witness is cheering us on. We preserve because there’s other children coming after us, and if we were kicked out of the church for seeking deeper truth in our perilous times, then what will happen to them?

This is why we are part of a faith that is on display before men and angels. Because God has a plan. …and that’s something that I want to be part of.  So here’s to one more try…

Walking through Depression

Perhaps all my growing up life I’ve heard about depression grimly. It’s a defeat, it’s shameful, it’s dark, it’s a weakness the devil can use. And I suppose I’ve felt all those things at one time or another, but now… Now I finding myself standing in the midst of a struggle I thought was over, and I am not cowarding to it. I’m standing in the middle of it, trying to understand why it’s back, how to cope, and what is to be learned here. In a sense I’m trying to make peace with my depression now that it has found me again and I am no longer a child. And why not?

Early this year, I listened to a man anxiously talk about “spiritual battle” and he tried to say if you have any weakness in you, you need to pray it away, because the devil will use it against you. I remember for a nano second this shook me, and then I told myself…yeah, that’s not how God works.

God uses the weak to overcome the strong. So why should I fear my depression? Why should I fear my weaknesses?

Hey, I’m not a hero… I feel stupid to have to admit to my husband I have depression in my life. It’s been gone so long, I really, really thought I was free. And I was. I don’t know what this new occurrence is for, so I’m trying to tactful use to for my own humbleness.

I have to talk back to that voices in my head that say to me, “no loves you” “you’re worthless“. The first time I heard (again, but first time in my adult life) it scared me half to death. I was mostly asleep, and it woke me up. Where did that come from? I’m not worthless, and I know that.  I think I know that.

Depression is terrible, but it is temporary. It can be overcome. It will be. I have not prayed it away, because I need to know why it’s found me again. I need to know why God’s people suffer this. And I know…many others do suffer this, and they suffer it like I did years ago when I felt like I was drowning. I felt like I was dying, everyday I lived through it. Everything felt defeating. It was horrible. But that was in the past. This time it’s different.

This time I try to fight by knowing I’m not the only one who struggles with this. I try to fight by encouraging others to fight. My life is not my own. I am one part of a intertwined people, a generation, a heritage, a voiceless sea. Yet we are not voiceless, we can be heard. Our stories can become beautiful, inspiring, hope-filled, courageous, remarkable, lovely, dream worthy.

Too often people fear their insecurities or their weaknesses, but guess what? Everybody has them, and it doesn’t disqualify any of us from becoming great. Or becoming at all. We can still learn, relearn, retrain, cope, and reassess whatever problems come to us through those drippy leaks in our system. We don’t have to ignore or hide them, and we don’t have to display them on the table of shame. It’s just a part of living. A part that needs a certain amount of attention and detail, just like all our other traits, qualities, strengths, weakness, ect.

We can change. We can adapt. But we can do it in a natural and holistic way, that wouldn’t demand invasive reconstruction. We are they who are still becoming and discovering that thing which we were created to be. There’s no need to rush that. Here in the midst of the desert of life God often trains, sends, accompanies, protects, and meets with his people. In comparison to some, this is a hard place, but knowing it’s still close to God, it’s not so terrible.

But in case the sand is blowing your face, leaving tiny irritating  wounds, or the sun is scorching your head and your body feels dry, almost lifeless, or if you’re in the night, dark, arid, mysteriously anxious & vulnerable …I get it. I’ve been through this desert before. It gets scary. But it’s not so bad when you know you are not alone. …and you are not alone this time.

I am here again, but today I am not afraid. I will overcome. I will be a light. I will cry and break and struggle …and I will win.  I will always win. Because I press on to know the truth, and because I fight for more than myself this time…and from here on out, I will always be fighting for more than me. And we…. We are overcomers.

 

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Dispelling Man Myths

Once upon time, I was told you can’t change modern Christiantiy if you’re not part of it. You can’t change church if you don’t attend the buildings. Luckily, I’m a skeptical person. I didn’t believe that then and I don’t believe it now. I very much live on the fringe, the outside, or the you’re-going-to-hell lane. I don’t mind, the air is good out here, and I can have all the truth I can forage for. It’s awesome!
Yet once in while I peek in to see how hints are things going. And of course, it’s always the same. No progress. No clue. No identity. Yet my most recent glance in this modern Christian culture still has me all twisted up inside. My spirit mourns like a death of loved one. My mind reels to imagine healing for this ridiculous offense.
Men. My dear men, are so lied to.

#1.  A man is a man. Period.

Dear men, you don’t need a woman or partner or a fling or a bed-warmer to be a man. A man is a man, and this has nothing to do with anyone else. No one can become a man by traits, looks, sexual identity, tendencies, strength, surgery, ect. Life is in the blood. XY makes you a man, and that will always be in your blood. And if it’s in your blood it’s in your spirit. Learning how to be you as another ambitious task, but this is a task everyone faces.

However if your identity is dependent on your interaction with others, there will come a time when that will bring you into question. There will come a time when you have to live with yourself, by yourself, and still be acceptable to yourself. I always find these are ugly, trying times, and they’re worth the refining which they are.

I read some big mouth Christian authors who want to say a man is suppose to  get married and have children, anyone else is abnormal. In case you don’t know, these authors are liars (If they weren’t previously, they are now.). There are good men who are single, happy, and Godly. There are good men who are divorced, childless, and still Godly. There are a hundred other combinations I’d rather not go through. These aren’t abnormal, outside the will of God, incomplete, nor are they “gifted” with singleness. They’re just good people who are living their lives, letting their stories unfold, and dealing with changes of life as they come. …and that’s freakin awesome!  The world needs good men.

#2. (Similar to one). Being a father, husband, leader, dictator, shepherd, teacher, ect. does not make you more of a man than before, it only makes you more responsible for the lives and outcome of others.  So it maybe wise to “man up” but other than that… The Bible tells us not to rush into becoming a teacher or a leader, because they will be judged twice as harshly as their “students”. (Did your church tell you that?)

Honestly, this is normal problem that does not require woman or children to be under you. As a matter of fact, in Christianity it is abnormal to be a leader according to top down strategies. Jesus was a big promoters of “the least of these” the “servant of all” and general servanthood. Take notes from Jesus, because this stuff is not only manly, it’s severely attractive.

You know those old myths about a gentleman holding a door for lady? Standing when a lady enters a room? Or offering your coat when a lady is cold? These were simple old school practices of treating a lady better than a servant, or making yourself to be the servant to elevate a woman’s good reputation. I.E. being a servant of all.

Luckily, nowadays we don’t really stand for anyone entering a room like dukes, lords, ladies, ect… It’s just not necessary, so it wouldn’t mean anything to repeat it for women. Actually, it’d probably be weird. Yet, there still the concept of doormen or greeters, and poorer people not having enough clothing, so there still meaning within these two old school practices.

Yet what we face is practices without meaning quickly become existent, therein that what they once stood for also becomes obsolete. Then we say things like, “chivalry is dead” “gentlemen don’t exist” “that’s old fashion”, and therefore further driving the point that to practices such things now would only be peculiar not debonair.

The way we interact shows our character, but it does not install character within us. You do not become more manly by takin on a higher role.

In reading the opinions of Christian authors, I cannot understand why being a man depends so vastly on woman being in your life and generally under your thumb. That’s not manly. That’s aggressive, abrasive, and avoidance of the real issues. If one cannot live with themselves, why should others be subjected to living under them?

A man is a man with or without a woman in his life. His choices make him into the person he choices to be. Manly, boyish, aggressive, subtle, playful, ect.

As people we work together to become a better version of ourselves. Yet at the end of the day, each of us must choose for ourselves who we have become up to this point and who we will become next. Choice. Decision. Intentions. These guides our paths.

#3. It is not your job to be the “bread winner” “bring home the bacon” or be “the provider” of your family, whether that be one person (yourself) or twenty. It is your job to use your resources (including talents and time) in the most effective means of stewardship and hospitality. I know, I’m stepping on toes here, but this is too off centered for me to leave alone. Here’s the problem with that…

Being a steward means knowing what you have is entrusted to you, but it will also be required of you to give an account for what you have done with it. We don’t hold too tightly and we don’t take the responsibility too lightly either. A good steward is gracious.

Hospitality means knowing your life, your circumstances, your choices do not effect only you, and therefore you intentionally engage others, usually through kindness and collaboration.  Somehow, there’s a modern belief that thinks hospitality means paying for someone’s meal, and I suppose it’s a start. But it’s hardly the whole definition, it’s hardly a skim of the meaning.

What I’m trying to say is money isn’t the point, and it never was. It disgust me how much the modern church system is into and obsessed with money. It’s so very Babylon. So un-Christ-like. So far removed from the things of God. …And then Christian authors are going to stand up and say this is what God requires of you!? Liars.

Many of us haven’t figured out what we would be willing to trade for money. What path to take. How to keep our souls and keep afloat at the same time. Many of us don’t want to be our parents. Many of see a problem with how greatness and wealth are currently obtained. Many of us have this pull, like there something more important than how you make money, how much, and for how long. There’s a reason why this has occurred in our generation. There’s something about it we can’t deny. It must be answered. I hope we can. I hope we do.

It maybe odd for me to write to men or about men and use the pronoun “we” but as far as I can read, half or more of being a man simply requires the knowledge of how to be a reasonable human, thus the “we”.  It’s amazing that when we hit some root issues, like being willing to be servant of all, like being willing to see ourselves as stewards, like realizing God has made us to be a certain somebody now, then it changes what we are capable of. Some things correct themselves when root issues are dealt with, but certainly all things have a better chance of making adequate progress.

Part of our problem is that we tend to add to the problem. Jesus argued with those who knew the word of God and were entrusted with it, because they “laid heavy burdens on the people” and did nothing to lift those burdens. But Jesus spoke of God providing a way that is straight (and narrow) and a burden that is light. Jesus regularly spoke on heart issues, root issues, original intent of God issues. Knowing this, I do not think I can be persuaded that many of the modern Christian authors are helping the people.

Treating the symptom is a sure-fire way to die from medication, that has created new symptoms and diseases. It’s a ridiculous cycle that needs to be broken. One cannot break it by repeating the same words as the last author. One must start with the heart and root issues. Because that’s what Jesus did.

To be a man is not something too glamorous for the commoner. It is obtainable. However, if I were you, I wouldn’t buy a book about it, unless that book is the Bible and you have a few good friends to discuss with. It’s crazy how far off-centered things have gotten.  It’s really not as bad as all that. Yet it’s bad enough for me to be a reminder.

God made man. Not the system, not the clothes, not the money… Just God and dirt. And you know what? It turned out okay. Let’s not get too glammed up. The original is beautiful.