Saturday, October 28, 2006

Horrible News

Sadaam Hussein was sentenced to death today. I shed a tear—yes, for a sinful man. I am not convinced that a sentence to be killed (hanged in this case) heals anything. Well perhaps it fulfills the desire for revenge, but that’s not Gospel. Perhaps it puts a Band-Aid over the fear some may have about what’s happening in the world, but that’s not Good News. That’s Horrible News. If you would like to read this Horrible News, below is a link to the article on the BBC news website. May we be moved to ask, “Is there another Way to live in this world?” and never give in to accepting “No” for an answer. And may we hear Jesus when he says “Do not be afraid,” even if that means living among "wheat AND tares."

(The picture above is from the day they captured Sadaam in Iraq. It's taken from some guys sick website in which death and revenge is glamorized with words like “God bless America.”)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

AMEN (Let it be)

When I observe this world, the influences on my life, and the tensions of embodied spiritual growth,
God reveals to me speaking freely, “Let it be.”

When I realize that I can't create a plan to rescue my family nor the world,
My dad resonates, “Let it be.”

When I wonder who we've been and where we’re going,
Danny calls me from Wabash street reminding, “Let it be”

When I think I'm born for Something amazing,
My nani smiles at me, “Let it be.”

When I don't know if or what to try,
Brian, Jake, and Charlie experiment with me, “Let it be.”

When I offer an absurd question of confusion about our Creator and The Way,
Craig slowly en-courages me, “Let it be.”

When I begin to think God can use me in the Hope for the Church,
Dr. Leth interestingly affirms, “Let it be.”

When I question whether I'm at the right place doing the right thing,
Jennie stretches her hand with an ear saying "Embrace and 'Let it be.'”

When the body is broken and the blood is poured before my friends and I,
Jesus nods to me and urges, “Let it be.”

When the world around me thinks I'm crazy,
My brother Mark comes to me in vivid memory and laughingly declares, “Let it be.”

When I wonder if I should really be in ministry or if such a thing is really real.
Katie repeats, “Let it be.”

When I have a new idea that might make others cringe,
Megan shrugs with the peace of curiosity, “Let it be.”

When I don't know if I'm on the right mission,
My mom cautiously whispers, “Let it be.”

When I've committed to being over my head,
Ricky opens a book and dares me, “Let it be.”

When I want to be defensively define myself and then realize it’s not working,
The Spirit swarms the group and reaches my lips to whisper, “Let it be.”

Let it be. Let it be. Let it be. Let it be.
Simple words of Wisdom: Let it be.

Monday, October 16, 2006

A Theo-political Conclusion...well for now.

I don't think I could live in the suburbs ever again. As that sentence is read by fellow 20-somethings, I could imagine multiple nods of affirmation...but I still feel need to explain. I've never actually lived in a suburb as I imagine it. You know what I mean; those neighborhoods that feel so "perfect" that you think they're wax or plastic models only to be observed. I have however attended school at ONU and grew quite comfortable in that suburban utopia. I love ONU, but I currently live in Kansas City...and actually in the city. I work at a bank two blocks away from my apartment so I get to interact with my community in one of the most vulnerable areas of life. I have stories from the bank, but instead I want share a little of what Eric O. Jacobsen characterizes as a city in his book, Sidewalks in the Kingdom.

He says a city has a variety of architecture, houses that come right up to the sidewalk, and local businesses that make the city unique. Suburbs, on the other hand, were created for people who wanted secure neighborhoods and privacy. They created the "front lawn" so interaction with neighbors or those walking the dog could be minimal. The houses are clones which means that although individualism is found independence (creativity) is squelched. And corporations run the joint up close and from a distance depending on where the mall is. The suburb is quite impoersonal as it creates a physical lie. Cities give much more opportunity for us to live out the fruit of our Holy Spirit. The randomness, busyness, dispair, wonder, diversity, and collection of ideas give us more chances to be patient (like in traffic), kind (like to the poor smelly person who "bothers" you for help), peaceful (like to the guy who wants to mug you), and faithfulness (like when considering where to shop). This view does tend to give divinity to cities, but hey, God does reveal the end as being a CITY (in Revelation).

One thing I've really noticed about living in the city is that it keeps me thinking about the poverty, racism, and crime that results from U.S. systems and structures. But they become more real, because I have daily conversations with those in dire need. It's like they are no longer a "topic" or "object" of discussion. These are people in my life--people I discuss with. So I've begun a new practice. When someone randomly asks me for money...instead of simply giving money or simply refusing, I engage in conversation. Sometimes I give money but if I'm broke I let them know, "Yo, I really want to help you out, but I only have $2 to last me the day...and I gotta get lunch later today." This sounds wierd, but I think it may begin to interpersonally break down the ideas that the requester is an object in need and I am an object without need. Life begins to be shared. Perhaps this is a not the best way to deal with these sorts of situations, but I'm okay with that...I'm in the city. I'll learn as I live here.

By the way, my apt is in that picture.