Thursday, September 29, 2005

Aren't We All

The words I hear from the learned are only received by me through their actions. To stand before me and speak is meaningless without experiencing the action from the same source within you. Parents are told this all the time.

When I came to a certain man with whom I received instruction and asked for action from him, he declined. He would not consider my request. He tried to frame my need for friendship in another definition. So after some puzzlement, I found I had to walk away from his instruction. He may mean to do me well, but it doesn't run true to what he does. He wants my admiration for the great thoughts he espouses and for me to be cared for. Admiration from me for his well wishing. Comfort for me that costs him nothing. This is not beneficial to him or myself.

He is in the process of learning to "go the extra mile" as he had acted out the previous day.

The principal is grievously confronting yet again. I must give what I need most. I need to go the extra mile. This is not a kingdom of equality shared between "sovereign nations", but rather a generous revolution that cannot give but from the resources within.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

the God who sees

Image hosted by
I'm experiencing a state of transparency. For lots of reasons, and all the best ones, I am growing and learning. I have come out of hiding. Moving house numerous times, personal disappointment, and the 2001 events of terrorism, all equaled my hibernation. I am awake now and wanting what people are. So much time spent in prayer begs a field in which to work. That is my best explanation.

Here is a new thing: I am noticing how we dismiss one another. I can dismiss and pass over who is right in front of me. But I am making an effort to stay present with people and finding how little others stay with me. It brings out a sadness that also adds to the impatience of others.

Last night I was with my church, working on a common project. Mistakes of others led to impatience, unchecked it led to words of blame. Correction by myself toward the blamers led to dismissal. Of me. To stay present with them in their impatience hurt. But I couldn't run. I must practice what is true in me. But to be courageous, often means being alone.

It left me shaken. I don't want to be the prophet of bad tidings. Because no one wants to hear the warning. So I stay and wait and remember that God who sees and stays and pays sees me too.

Some have seemed surprised by my wisdom, hard wrought in a life that is invisible to them. It makes me wonder what they expect from this package before them. I die to self when they patronize. Where did that come from, they ask. That's a difficult book, one seemed to warn. Yes, help on this team, but only your husband will do all the talking. Do I have to sell them what I am to have them listen? I'm listening to them. And as I grow and learn, those who know me are equally surprised and tend to dismiss what I am becoming. So I tend to my brokenness and mix my coming out with the old disciplines of thoughtful people at all times. And if I cry, my soul burrows deep and makes an eternity that all of you can share.

Yes, it's all been better said before, but not by me.

Monday, September 26, 2005

We are all in the same condition, just different packaging.

I saw the crew working the cruise ship in an entirely new light. I wanted to hear their stories and to meet them. I think mostly of Cornelis from Indonesia and Christine from Jamaica. Both served me. I was humbled and grateful. Some of the crew referred to their children back home, saying that they speak to them every day, not seeing them for 7-8 months at a time. Christine told me how much she's looking forward to going to church; her next opportunity is November, when she gets off the ship. She says she's quitting. I hope there is something better for her at home...

Jesus would go on this cruise, I think, if he could somehow pay for it with kernels of wheat, and whatever was in the purse Judas kept. He would find the people I didn't want to hang out with. The ones I dismissed because they didn't value what I value. He did some stunning things from the inside of a boat. I regret I didn't let him do more through me.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

I've completed the quilting on this piece that is being offered up for chance ticket sales. Proceeds for Bethany Christian Services, a crisis pregnancy and adoption agency

Approx. 65 x 72"

Piecework by Lanny Alexander, Ruth Bingle, Vickie Tremper and myself
Let me know if you want to buy a chance....$1 each or $5 for 6
Drawing on October 15, 2005

The practical was in operation yesterday as I sat with the group of moms, all of which hunker down in the den of the pre-schooler. I had not set foot amongst them for many years. They asked me to mentor them and mostly what I have to say is in sympathy. O what a test of will to stay in the presence of a person under the age of 5. I know there are some who love it. And they don't need me. But I have been there and not too happily. The rush of the tension cloud I lived under in those years came back to me. I have been prepared to be compassionate in patience (redundancy for emphasis) and I see that I am giving that same tenderness to myself, or rather am receiving for myself. The principal stands up: those who sow shall reap. I had dinner with my three children last night. The grace of NOT cooking a milestone-we were at the corner diner down the road. Interesting how much I can enjoy them when I am not irritated about a table set and my averse attitude about cooking. So here we are and they are laughing and loving and I the keeper of the history. Their lives an amazement to me. So I dispense my Biography at the table talks and tell the moms that indeed they are not crazy, just learning as much as their children. Patience, patience child...

Monday, September 19, 2005

Compassion: A Reflection on the Christian Life

Henri Nouwen's book is my meat these days. Notes, journaling, prayer and patience. To practice patience is to experience compassion. We step out of clock time and enter timeless moments when we greet our circumstances with deliberate patience. We offer ourselves and those who are given to us at any moment the space to live the holy Spirit and find that salvation is present in the space we give one another. There is never a wasted time. Prayer becomes our patience and our compassionate hold on others, even our enemies. It is the space where we know all things are possible with God and our physical separation is not a hinderance to this outpouring of a compassionate God.
Compassion lives in mature community life in the midst of two poles: displacement and togetherness. Displacement: to move from the proper place to a place that is not comfortable, admitting that we cannot know the right way to live on our own. Nouwen explains that we "must begin to identify in our lives where displacement is already occurring". This is the place where we hear God's call. Solidarity forms around this call and we can speak and listen to the healing voice of Christ all around us. We no longer need to hurry though the moment in front of us, receiving God in the time. Patience is an action of faith, that often calls us to specific action in which compassion is revealed rather than our power.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

I'm settling down now. For the time being. And I did find a book, but it was dusty from my bookshelf. My old friend, Madeleine L'Engle, talking about stuff I was asking 15 years ago.
A Circle of Quiet. Good writing makes me want to write. But I'm not kidding myself, this is pure catharsis for me. Journaling with accountability. L'Engle talks here about intuitive language and I share that. She speaks of all of it being said before and probably more skillfully. But like her I want to say it too and in my way.
I appreciate my church so much. I need them. They too settle me down when I am a mess of questions. Tim and I have been going to the Youth Service, called the Core, for about two years now. It was rough at first and we went, just in the hope that if we stuck it out with the dream of what it could be strapped to us, somehow we'd get to the place the vision points to.
We're there. The glory is peeking out. Chris is able to say things and challenge us now that we're not so tender. We are past the experiment stage and we are really settling down into the familiar that can foster change. We seem to not be re-acting to grumbling, but accepting our faults and giving grace.
This kind of thing takes time!
It takes us letting the unuseful old attitudes gracefully fall to the ground and the repetition of the needed Word resonate over and over. We set our face to the day-after-forgiveness. We agree about good and how we all want it. And we don't leave. Maybe some are sent out, but we don't leave. And here again I am reminded that the Word is spiritual. Then comes the creation, the natural. Then God said God said (spiritual) ...and then there was light (natural)
I am trying to be patient. This is my spiritual act of worship. Today was grace to feel some sense of perspective, but I am moving on ahead already. I am home, but on a great quest.
"My heart went out to Him as He spoke" SS 5:6

Saturday, September 17, 2005

GodBlogCon God Blog Convention
I'm wanting to go to Borders to find a book that will settle me a question that distracts you? -Go get a book in order to hang up your idea.

I need to. I need to hang my idea on something. Are my ideas of creativity and relevance in the world being hung up on Emergant? I am so uncomfortable with the label. I have seen that others are also. Well, at least in a think-tank that recoils from confining labels, we can all agree that we don't want to be labeled. The Unlabeled, if you prefer. The Emergant conversation, whether you spell it with a capitol or not, is a divisive agent. If I may use intuitive language now, I will share my concern over anything remotely emergant.

I have stepped into a conversation that is morphic. Emergant wants not to be about "what will we do", but rather, "what we are". The emerging church by it's very nature is unaccountable. If you fancy yourself emerging, than you are unaccountable to the church you are emerging from. If you say no, I am accountable, than I would say you are not emerging.
I'm finding out that there is actually a "club" of sorts forming over this expression. In an effort to express my concern over things I heard last week at a conference, I have stepped into the stream. Some in this stream are card-carrying and others argue semantics over their relationship.

All we can ever do is process what has been handed to us. In this emerging church, I personally am filled with warning. I have been the one in the past to be the intrepid explorer, but at this point, I am a cautionary tale.

I am old enough to have had this conversation many times. "I need something that you're not offering, so I will go find it elsewhere." Let's be careful about this attitude within ourselves. The church is not about free speech. It is Holiness and Authority. An authority, which by the way Watchman Nee puts it in his book Spiritual Authority, is a lovely expression of what is best and right of any ordered creation. The pain in need is palpable to me. I know this pain and still feel it. But the rupture that seeks for healing, has in it's nature a repelling quality. In the context of the church, compared to a body, I see a struggle of others to bring about significance in the church, & the struggle tugs at the very organism that, out of it's nature must bind together.

I do want to patiently relate to the flesh and blood in this struggle. But will you patiently stay in it with me? Or do I just represent all that you are hurting over?

Have you ever been part of a church split? I have. Have you ever been in a divorced family? I have.
Some people find their purpose through their survival. It may have been homelessness, drug culture or an IRA bomb. But does our language of survival supersede the life we are left with? In our effort to create, do we really just make a more palpable destruction. I am here to watch. Accountability keeps me and you in the 360 degree gospel.

Let us be very calculated that we do not let ourselves, in our freedom to journey, be so shocking and offensive of speech and exploration of ideas that we lose our voice with those whom are called to commune. I see us in the struggle. I care about what is in us and the pain that puts us in that displacement. The gospel we share leads us to commune over that displacement rather than exacerbating the reality.

I believe Christians get it right when we stand on scripture, patiently ministering [dispensing] the living words of Christ. Know your audience. Be all things to all people in order to save some. He has come to seek and save that which is lost.

The life of Christ emerges out of the church. We ourselves must hold on to each other.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Is this God or is this a strange obsession? I have wandered into the "emergant" conversation and am pretty intrigued, or obsessed. Okay that's my problem, but I still have questions. One friend said, "I'm not Emergant, but I'm the emerging church" Okay I shouldn't label; no membership cards, but I go about the various links in this conversation and still see so much semantics. I am patient while I want to run.

A man in charge needs the framework, but the work of God will organically come out from the people to form the church. Is that emergant? How is that different than any other of the old thoughts of old books and movements of all old societies? It's not, and I guess that is the common link.

I go to a conference to see and hear how Christ is being expressed in the life of another. I do not want to battle definitions, although I see the battle is within me.

Maybe this is me coming to the end of my search for permission.

I am ready to go do it. When I got home to my turf, I realized that I had lost my memory for three days. I stepped back into the life that is presenting the field of harvest. My prayer at the end of our trip to Ukraine last month was "O Lord do not let me grieve the loss of Your hand on my life. Let my grief be my love poured out. I do not leave a people, but seek to continue pursuit of Your life as You live through me."

When I went to Ukraine in 1997, I came home and obsessed over the Russian language in order to stay connected to the people with whom I fell in love. I did that. I wrote to them and kept my heart with them and God was so all over it. I went back to see them 11 years later. Those who can listen know the whole story. Now, I am burying myself in this new language in order to stay connected to those with whom I fell in love. I'm writing to them and keeping my heart with them because God is so all over it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


....unfold the way
I speak &
place things

stay awake and eat
the prayer that
plays upon my fingertips &
waits to

dream when chants are muted
with the sleep that keeps on watching

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


From the mirror movement flashes
music hazy; earth re-pulses
Rockers loose and chilled
Manner, hands plunged deep as pockets
Beat on beat vibrate the heartbreak
Chatting core groups
lovers head hanged
Murmered night life
Lights false sunshine
Gathered work shifts
Beered up, brain buzzed
Rocked and hammered
Now soft and humaned
Sleep on now, sleep
Move up at daybreak
Lazy with the Night's Scent lingured

Monday, September 12, 2005

The paper had an article from the New York Times about blogging and companies who are writing protocol for their employees. A list and all of etiquette like the ones Si Johnston spoke of at Soliton. So more is coming around for me about this medium and I am all ears.
I am a part of a community who speaks and reaches out no matter what the medium. Now matter whether it is face to face, or through the window of web, I'd still like the success of being heard. And to the extent that you need to be heard and how that is fulfilled will be the extent of your blogging.
And I am thinking I should put that last sentence in the first person.
Right now I have the sense of standing on a corner with my sandwich board. First you meet my words, but what I really want is to be met.
My theme of growth these days are Gates Of Praise in the context of an ancient nation spoken of in the Bible. There a dream is being offered of community that is monoGod. I am monocreature. He lets me speak in His community. What does He say through it? I'm listening.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

It seems that God is always about the new thing. "Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?"
This is where I take a deep breath. Don't I love new friendships, babies and someone at my door?
But if I really am honest with myself, I am impatient and terrified by new things. I don't know the pattern. The new thing has to fit into some reference of the former; my history.
When I met my husband, we discovered we were from the same town and had grown up only a 5 minute walk from each other. A new thing, but a history that framed us from 500+ miles distance.
When I discovered the Reality of the Scriptures; itself a new thing by they're Spiritual nature, they were in reference to my history of Jesus folklore from my childhood.
I found something so new and beautiful at Soliton, but I am terrified by it thin and fragile frame.
To others, the frame may be bold and compelling. But I took in all that my ears and heart could hear and I am left shaken. I was not aware of the accountabilty to scripture. A new theology, but in reference to what? The ideas that were explored were out of my framework. My black and white unpopular unPC framework. Not all, but enough that I am having a hard time trusting. How can I take in the ideas and not the Soul Individuals that freely create them? This is touching on my co-dependancy. I want to take care of them. I am grieving over the gap I fear.
I am asked to make relationship with precious hurting urban people, to not turn from them.
I am losing courage. People are hard to hang with! I am writing my own song of lament. Micheal Card has written of this.
Psalm 119 touches on this. I want people to be heard and accepted and loved, but as Jesus would. Now even who He is has come into question.
Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me. Matthew 11:6