September 10, 2014

On Finding Love

Myself and doubtless other foolish Christians have probably wondered time and time again, throughout history, "Will I ever find someone I love as much as her/him?"

Short answer is it doesn't matter. That's heartless and doubtless makes everyone want to leave, but it's O.K. The door's somewhere between Ctrl and W.

Anyway, let's get down to it. So what I mean is this; if you love God, it'll ALWAYS be O.K. Got it? God loves you. Jesus loves you. The Holy Spirit actively, really, functionally helps you through life.

This isn't just about how things are going to be okay or anything like that, though. It's also about how, because God constantly, completely, unreservedly loves you, you can be confident that, as his love grows in you, you will be forced by the grace and love and his forgiveness of your sins to show that love forth.

And you know what, it'll be glorious. Amazing. Spectacular. Unimaginable.

Often, I find myself wondering if God's love could be sufficient, as, after all, falling in love with a girl is really, really amazing. Right up until she says no and over the course of the next six months you're forced to accept that you're still on your own...with the God of the universe.

I've also taken some comfort knowing that she'll be there praising God for eternity. It's like, hey, girl, I'd really like to go out with you, but if not, that's okay.

I'm gonna spend eternity with you praising God. Now works. Tomorrow works. Next year works. But if all I see of you is you glorifying God 'til and then past the end of time, so be it.

But back to my point. God loves you, and because of that, you love people more. Right now is never as good a time to fall in love as tomorrow when you've got God unreservedly loving you for the rest of time, and then throughout eternity. Tomorrow is okay. I will know more fully God's love, and my love because of that knowledge will be greater for whoever I find then.

He loves you today, and he'll continue loving you tomorrow. He'll love you 'til the day you die.

It took plenty of grace and love to realize this, but it WILL be okay if I fall in love/get married in my late twenties. In my thirties. In my forties. In my fifties. In my sixties. In my seventies. In my eighties. In my nineties. In my hundreds. I guess I can settle for that many years.

Trust God. He's busy living out the greatest love story ever written, and you're worried that tomorrow you'll not have a date. He's so in love with you that he wants to spend eternity with you; how could you imagine that, if a relationship was actually good for you, he would keep true love from you?

I hope that made sense; these sorts of things I primarily write out for my own sake, but if this helps you, eat up.


September 05, 2014

To God:

I am tired. Exhausted. My energy is expended, my heart hopes and dreams, yet beats without rhythm. For God's glory would I toil, but instead my heart is divided, and indecisive, hoping for lesser wonders, for smaller glories.

I don't really know what to say. I'm so, so fatigued, weary, and broken. I could claim that my work situation provided sufficient work and stress to cause my current distress, but that would be half the truth, at best. I am beset with desire, I am continually diverted by longing, and my heart is in no way purposed or directed for anything. I am a lost sheep with muddied fleece and confounded mind. I am lost and confused, I am fickle and in mere breezes do my blades sway and rock. I turn one way and another, only to find further confusion and longing.

To say this, does it make me weak?

I think not; the condition of a Christian is one of weakness, one of being continually lost and repeatedly found again. It is one of constant improvement, but it is also one of a great abyss, whose depths are unexplored and unknown by us, which houses the greatest of rottenness and the foulest of diseases. Our lives consist of continually falling through said chasms, seeing further and further evidence of the darkness inside our own hearts...

...but simultaneously we fly upward through the darkness toward unimaginable light. We careen like the foolish lemmings we so often are toward such beauty, majesty and glory that our condition can be none but that of immense and spectacularly serendipitous and fortuitous condescension. We are hunted by the knight of light, the desire of our wayward hearts, though we know him not, and run, terrified like deer of the hunter.

Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!

In this terrible, wonderful journey I find myself. When in my flight from God I remember him, my tears come and of two minds, two hearts, divided by the waves of the sea and the gusts of the air...

I am split.

Lord, find me near your heart, and saturate, fill, drown my heart in your love. All else is secondary, tertiary, even nil. Renew my heart and mind, and send it as you will, without hesitation or division. Let it be your vessel and your vehicle, a great red flying, swimming ice cream truck of love, following the fault lines of your heart tirelessly to the end of time, through the rivers of truth and beauty, glorious for the destination it will one day find. Spare no expense to love me to my knees, to grace my feet to the velocity of your desire, to forgive me with less hesitation than I so continually turn away from you...

In all things, Lord, let my life dance to the rhythm of your heartbeat, my feet run barefoot on the footpaths of your love, my heart and head hand in hand fight the lies, desires, and folly that keep me from you.

In this unending ocean let me bathe forever in your love, and swim, continually exhausted and driven by the power and magnitude of your grace, bombarded without end by the typhoon of your mercy.

And for goodness' sake forgive me for my foolish pride in the words you give me to speak back to you. They are yours and they are yours. I but speak the love that you have caused me to tread in for all these years.

One day I will write you an unending love song. One day I will sing to you in fullness, and in your spectacular radiance and the perfection bought with such unknowably precious blood, my voice will falter not for a thousand and one years.



July 17, 2014

The Winter Soldier is a Christian Movie

Don't even try to question it. It's true. Let me explain.

So in recent TV and movie trends, one thing has been fairly common. People are bad! At least they will be at some point in the future, right? They'll kill someone, steal something, bully someone. Yeah. Person of Interest...I'm trying to think of more examples, but I'll leave that up to you. Think of a movie or TV show where the plot involves some government entity or rogue group who believes that humanity as a whole, or part of humanity (HEY DREDD) ought to be stopped, incarcerated, or, far more likely, executed pre-crime. (oh hey Minority Report)

Got something in mind? Well, guess what, The Winter Soldier is the same way. Oh, and spoilers. I'm sorry if you haven't seen this and thusly discerned the general plot, but I've gotta say this.

Now these plots usually involve these entities, groups, or even the government, which believe that they should stop people from being bad, and in the case of The Winter Soldier, Hydra (under the guise of S.H.I.E.L.D) sets up plans to kick the proverbial buckets of about twenty million people so the world will be safe.

The plot-hole shotgun in me points out that these people have families and loved ones of other sorts who, upon the death of a family member or friend, would suddenly have a mountain of anger and nowhere to point it.

Hey look! Hydra!

So what? They kill another hundred million, say, and problem solved.

Except this escalation simply results in the entire elimination of the human race. Heck, the Strike agents in the helicarriers would eventually turn on each other.

Sorry, I'm getting a little off track, but this particular watching of this particular movie leaves me with enough nervous energy to type this out on a keyboard I'm not used to on my phone. (ooh technology booyah)

Ok, so The Winter Soldier is a Christian movie.

Right? So the plot of the movie is that Hydra is going to kill  bad people so they don't be bad. Their lack of forethought proves they don't know what they're doing, but actually their actions are characteristic of the Obama administration, if I can say so.

Sure, the administration isn't planning to kill anyone before they commit murder or anything, but the ultimate purpose of such ubiquitous surveillance is to keep people safe. Logically, if such surveillance could prevent a murder or burglary, the government would take action.

And it's inefficient, ineffective, and extremely expensive to arrest and subsequently incarcerate said evildoers.

So what do you do? Put a bullet  in their head, send their family a note explaining the situation along with the body, and move on to the next target.

Now how unrealistic is it for this to come to pass? How far off is this? I personally think the the direction we're heading has the potential for this kind of reality, but that's another gigantic tangent I don't intend to articulate right now.

Again, I repeat, Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier, is a Christian movie.

Remember back in the garden, when Adam and Eve decided to give God the proverbial finger by eating an apple he told them specifically not to eat? This, by the way, in a garden filled with fruit, which, by the way, God gave Adam and Eve to eat, freely.

(it strikes me as ironic that one of the most easy ways to express a complete disregard for everything is to eat an apple.)

But let's get back to the point. So Adam and Eve disobeyed God, right? He was obviously obligated to give them (and us by extension) a second chance.

Heck freaking no. God had every reason to just nix the little blighters, trash the project, and enjoy life as a perfect, whole, complete, holy, wonderful person. All on his own. Without any need for company or anything.

But instead, he decided he'd give us a second chance (and by the way, if you think that's the last second chance he gave them, or that he hasn't continued giving out second chances like they were nothing, um, no).

He gave us a second chance we definitely didn't deserve, and you know what? Hydra didn't. Hydra tried instead to kill a few of us with the expectation that that would make the world good. Again, they obviously lack foresight...

...or should I say insight...

But yeah. Hydra was trying to kill bad people. People who would become murderers, robbers, muggers, petty thieves, rapists, traitors...the lot. That's good, right? Let's kill some bad people before they be bad! That'll help!

I figure there's a lot to be explored and thought about when it comes to that specific concept, but it strikes me as ironic that the very thing God gave us so that we could love really, truly, actually, is the very thing these plots suggest we take away from ourselves to cure the world of evil: free will.

It's not as elegant a solution as perhaps mind control or something, but killing people prevents them from making their own decisions and having their own opinions, etc.

It prevents them from having free will.

Now, remember, God specifically gave us free will so that we could choose to do the right thing, so we could choose to love him, and so that we could choose to love our neighbor (which are kinda all the same thing, if you think about it. I just repeated myself to make a point).

So suppose Hydra had succeeded. Those people wouldn't have their free will anymore. Sure, there's a lot more that they wouldn't have, but that's not really the point.

If Hydra had an option to steal people's free will and leave their lives (in whatever sense would be left at that point), I think they would have. They have a complete lack of foresight, but they might be able to see the advantage to some sort of mind control over simply eliminating the human race.

I'm getting there, I promise! Ok, so Hydra wanted to take away their free will (ultimately, that was their purpose), and to do so they decided to kill everyone who was going to be bad.

Also remember that God specifically did the opposite of this at the very first opportunity. God gave us a second chance the first time we blew it. He continued this until this moment in time, and I have faith he'll continue as the sacrifice of Jesus is more than sufficient for the sins of everyone.

But there it is! See? Jesus is the second chance we've been given, and Hydra's whole purpose was to say, yeah, you guys don't seem like good people. Have a bullet.

Jesus, on the other hand, says, you know, you guys messed up pretty bad, but because I love you, I will willingly die in your place, and thus you will live in eternity with me and my dad.

Now, what is Captain America fighting for during the entire movie? Well, there's tons of plot and lots of action and filler to confuse you, but part of what he's fighting for is the right of those twenty million to make the decision between good and evil.

And that is some powerful stuff. Seriously. A man who will defend another person's right to do the right thing? Old hat. Everyone does that.

A man, however, who will fight off diabolical maniacs and shortsighted half-Nazi blockheads just so you can decide whether or not you want to steal, murder, or rape someone?

That's just freaking crazy level good-doing.

It blows my mind.

And guess what. God came down and died on the cross so that YOU could decide if you want to steal that thing, hate that person, kill someone, rape that woman...or to love people, friend or foe, be honest, to defend the innocent, to further spread the infinite love of Jesus because there are people out there who are thinking about killing, raping, and stealing.

God's own son died just so you can have that choice between good and evil.

And that, my friends, boggles my mind.

January 25, 2014

I'd Like you To Know...

This is a bit of information/background for those of you who don't know.

So here are yesterday's developments.

Manager at Annie's Parlor will be giving his supervisor a full recommendation for me and assured me that when they begin ramping up their staff for the patio season, I'd be at the top of the list. (gives me goosebumps to be validated that much)

My general manager at McDonalds, literally fifteen minutes later, after a short conversation, asks me if I want to join the management team there.

Bullet points one and two cause me to pause and thank God for his goodness and grace. I definitely don't deserve this, and it's really incredible to finally have to choose between eager parties rather than be eager to have a party to choose.

Wow. Just wow. The manager at Annie's in particular sort of wowed me. While I did sort of impress with a good suit and tie and greatcoat fashion as some will know me for, I can't really think what else I did that would make him that impressed with me. I'm downright curious. XD

My general manager at McDonalds, on the other hand...there's a similar sort of mild confusion going on; I don't necessarily know why they want me to be a manager; I can't see myself easily becoming a great manager, and I don't think I see a ton of great manager potential in my current work. Maybe I'm a bit blindsided or whatever. I might not personally be seeing the whole picture, or understanding everything.

To make a good day better, I spent a mere 15-30 minutes at the DMV getting my license renewed. Hardly any line.

It was also snowing, so I managed to get my greatcoat rather white-looking walking between bus stops on the way home.

Thank you Lord.

My decision is leaning toward staying at McDonalds and receiving what seems to be nearly legendary training in management. It seems to me an excellent opportunity, and management training from almost anyone else would probably be simply ignored on a resume. On the other hand, Annie's is like one of my favorite places on Earth.

Maybe next year. *shivers*

Thanks for all your prayers and stuff, guys. I appreciate it.


January 07, 2014

Word and Heart

He saw the stars and the countries of the world, the glories, graces, and graces; he saw Ireland, he saw what he most wished for. Where was it from? He knew not.

But for all he saw, his eyes darkened to the power of fear; his skin tingled with the death it afforded. When its power crept upon him, his limbs clattered amongst themselves, as death made short work of his flesh, and dried his bones until they sounded of Death’s own foul socks.

Darkness went on vacation, drinking martinis and eating caviar; it cut all ties with the land, and made its ways that of the island. Its holiday was indefinite; not merely infinite. It would return, somewhere in the breath of infinity, but the light was golden.

The boy woke, suddenly, stupifyingly more than he ever previously was. Words came from fearful tongue, rattled the cold air, which, unnerved, unready and utterly, utterly faithful, carried all the heart and soul they were made for unto distant, far fairer eardrums.

What estate is this, words cried, baffled midflight; we fly and resound, oh so softly.

What life have we now, they murmured in fearful wonder. Oh! the light we finally feel.

Words learned the weight of tears and of laughter, and the immense gravity of themselves.

The words were proud, for ever so slight a moment; they smiled and laughed in the air, sending astounding life into the world’s grey, cobwebby corners.

They lived. Their life was not short, as they once again found heart, and knocked with abounding vigor thereupon.

The heart was silent for a moment, patient and thoughtful in its still.

The heart burned, but the words would not say why. They were captive to the heart.