25 July 2009

Excerpts from my Journal.

July 30, 2007.

For the ones you love--you wish you could take all the suffering. You can't just stand by and watch. You want to do something--anything--but you can't. There's nothing to do to alleviate the pain. All you can do is watch. In your helplessness, you suffer too.

But God took all our suffering upon himself (a task impossible enough to do, let alone conceive). He loves us.

There should be a new KCM protocol for dealing with homeless children: sing to them, play with them, talk to them, and pray for them.

I wonder if they'll remember us. If they do: what will they remember?

August 2, 2007.

9:50 am.
Just finished teaching.

Today I described beggars to my students: their dark faces etched with wrinkles from a hard life, the deep sorrow in their eyes, the thinning hair filled with grease and bugs, their rotting rotten teeth, their rags for clothes, and their empty palms as they plead for mere rupees. They cling onto us as we walk by. But we always walk by.

As I described this to my students I looked out into the classroom and saw the faces of my students--some had tears in their eyes, in their deadlocked stares. They were captivated, entangled by emotion. I couldn't but help pause midsentence and tilt my head up towards the heavens--and tell them, "My heart breaks too. My heart breaks every time."

18 July 2009

Preface.

Allow me to deviate from my normal mode of expression on this blog. The previous two entries and those that shall follow will be part of a series exploring our conception of passion: its purpose, necessity and fruit. My examination will proceed in cross-sections from top to bottom. The objective will be to offer a lens with which to view lives of passion and to present purpose to the compelling tugging of hearts: why do I feel the way I do and what am I supposed to do with it?

In his book, God in Search of Man, Abraham Joshua Heschel writes:
Awe precedes faith; it is at the root of faith. We must grow in awe in order to reach faith. We must be guided by awe to be worthy of faith. Awe rather than faith is the cardinal attitude of the religious Jew. It is "the beginning and gateway of faith, the first precept of all, and upon it the whole world is established." In Judaism. yirat hashem, the awe of God, or yirat shamayim, the "awe of heaven," is almost equivalent to the word "religion." In Biblical language the religious man is not called "believer," as he is for example in Islam (mu'min), but yare hashem (one who stands in awe of God).
Ah. I'm inspired! Aren't you? Okay. Let's go!

4

You'll know when you know.

17 July 2009

To carry, to bear or to barely care.

I choose the former two.

Allow me to continue to expand upon what I mean by living metaphorically. That is, holding certain beliefs or perspectives that may or may not be true, as if they were.

There are certain principles that we should live by whether or not they hold absolutely true. Among these, I mentioned the burden of living as if enslaved yourself, knowing that even one among us is enslaved. Another, that refusing or neglecting to condemn injustice, is in itself injustice. These as empirical statements may or may not be absolutely true. However, we as Christians are called to live as if they were.

Where do I find statements such as these in the Bible? Let's take a look at Jesus' own words on his forthcoming return to earth:
But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only... Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
This passage tells us three things:
  1. We do not know when Jesus will return.
  2. Jesus will return.
  3. Therefore, live as if Jesus were coming tomorrow.
Note, however, that Jesus may or may not come tomorrow. In fact, I have been proven wrong each day that I live believing that Jesus will come the next. Today has come, and we still await our Lord's return. The cynic may be well-tempted to say, "It wasn't true yesterday. What makes you think it will be true today?"

Indeed, we are hard-pressed to continue on living the way we do. Yet, my friends, we must take heart. We hold hope in a promise. And promises are as strong as the one who makes them. The Word assures us:
He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.
And more,
If we are faithless, he remains faithful--for he cannot deny himself.
We shall not be let down.

14 July 2009

And she has only four thorns to defend herself against the world.

From the soulful song by Solomon Burke:
None of us are free. One of us is chained, none of us are free.
I agree with the heart of this statement. By heart, I am referring to our calling as Christians to live metaphorically. That is, we must live as if it were true.

Likewise,
If you don't say it's wrong, then that says it's right.
Tells of our indifference to sin. A major theme of the Prophets was the sin of apathy. And a modern day prophet, so to speak, spoke,
Folk just trying to fit in. How come? Because they've been told that success is becoming well-adjusted to the status quo. But don't be well-adjusted to injustice. Don't be well-adapted to indifference. Indifference is the one trait that makes the very angels weep. Indifference is the essence of inhumanity.
Speaking prophetically entails foretelling and forth-telling. The latter refers to speaking the Word of God into our cultural context. And to that end, we are called to speak prophetically to all.

From the book of Hebrews:
Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.
My good friend preaches:
How does that work? He says that there are people that we should care about who are imprisoned and mistreated. We tend to forget them. So he says, “Remember!” And he says: “As though with them” and “since you have a body.” So how does it work? It works like this: You have a body and sometimes it hurts. When it hurts, remember that there are people right now who are being mistreated—who are hurting much more than you. Imagine yourself in their shoes, and treat them the way you would want to be treated.
The root word of passion means to suffer. To have compassion means to suffer with. God gave the Apostle Paul a thorn for vision: that is, he suffered for the blind. That is why Paul spent his life preaching, that the blind may see.

We all have God-given thorns.
Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Live knowing that yours is for a reason.