29 February 2012

Like Saturn is on His Knees

"For refusing to believe in miracles because miracles are the impossible coming true—and everything is possible."

27 February 2012

The only currency they know is revenge.

It breaks my heart to read the news. To hear of stories of retaliation. Bloodlust. Seeking revenge. I know beneath all of that is hurt and pain. The loss of loved ones. The once vivid world around them collapsing into a broken dullness. A world of repetitive noise: rat-a-tat-tat, rat-a-tat-tat. A rhythm of explosions followed by a chorus of cries. The rumbling of shifting sands beneath their feet. The breaking of mountains above their heads. These mountains are not being tossed into the seas. They are falling in on their towns and homes. They are flattening the landscape, and filling the valleys. They are exposing the great darkness within and blocking the marvelous light without.

And so it is. They seek revenge in an economy of tit-for-tat. An eye for an eye. They feel stripped, robbed, and beaten. Without a possession in the world. With no place to lay their head. But God's economy is of mercy. His currency is grace. And if only they knew that He would turn their world upside down, that these mountains breaking and sands shifting were only the bottomside of an old world order. That God plans to take this world, and like a clay pot with a many cracks, throw so much light at it that it explodes. In a blaze of a glorious fire. In a light show for the ages. The cracked vessel will be filled with so much light, that it becomes light, and there will be no darkness within it.

And so, again, I admonish you—with much love in my heart, and much pain in soul. Look for the crack. In the darkness, there's always a crack. That's how the light gets in.

18 February 2012

Can I have this dance?

Schopenhauer, a pessimistic philosopher, had a theory of human relationships that was about porcupines. And he used that as the metaphor and what he said was that in love and in relationships—whether that be with our families, our spouses, our friends—we are all of us, on this earth, because we are so uncomfortable with our emotions, we are all of us like porcupines who are out on a cold winter's night.

They get cold, and they need to huddle together for warmth. And they crave connection; they crave warmth. So they come together, and then they prick each other because they have these horrible spines and it's painful. And so in order to avoid the pain they retreat, and then they get cold. And so they come together, and then they get spined, so they retreat, they get cold, and then they come together. 

And this dance of intimacy is what defines our relationships with everybody we encounter. There's this need to be close that's followed by this need to be separated in order to protect ourselves from the inevitable hurt that happens when you get too close. 

And Schopenhauer didn't have much a remedy for that. He didn't think that that was every really going to end. He sort of saw that as innate to our human nature. What he suggested was that those who had learned to generate their own warmth were able to keep the safest distance from the other porcupines. Which didn't necessarily mean living a life of isolation. It just meant not impaling yourself on other people so that you have that critical little space in which to be a little bit self contained, to create your own warmth, your own sense of your own humanity, so that you could be close without being stabbed. The path to that is as close a secret to happiness as anything I've ever learned.

— Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love

An Open Book

In other words, God is so much more concerned for us than we could ever imagine or be concerned for ourselves. And the goal—the prize of the upward call—is to be more like Him in our concern for others. It is to orient ourselves towards others and to learn to lay down our lives for another.

14 February 2012

Today was a good day.

I like lists, so let's make one,
  1. Our team got accepted to the summer fellowship at Yale.
  2. Finally launched Modest Peach, a freelance project I've been working on.
  3. Our apartment started a Costco membership so we can stop buying from not so great food places.
  4. I cooked the roommates dinner. My most elaborate attempt yet. Chicken piccata.
  5. Brown called me at 7 am this morning to torture me but also to say hi. And my dad called me later in the evening to remind me that he's proud of me—to tell me that the whole family is.
  6. Google's Valentine's Day Doodle made me smile.
Today was a good day :)

09 February 2012

Isaiah 43:19.

I'm doing this new thing where I write in my journal every day.

It turns out to be more honest. It's not just more honest because it's my journal, and it's private, and it's on pages—but it's more honest because I write in it every day. I can't pick and choose between the good days and the bad. I don't get to preselect the interesting parts of my life and shape them for the audience. I must, by necessity, let the story tell itself.

In other words, when writing becomes a daily commitment—a natural fact of life for me—I become less the story teller and more the story told.

07 February 2012

Looks amazing.

Reminds me that I am called to go. I am on a mission and there is no time to waste: Love Costs Every Thing.

06 February 2012

My Second Heart

One of my fondest childhood memories was watching my kindergarten class caterpillar grow. Our teacher had read through this story for us and showed us all the illustrations. We all knew what was going to happen, but we didn't really believe it could be true. The caterpillar lived in a little box, and there were other bugs to keep her company, and there were branches and leaves and rocks. Whoever was the lucky kid that day would get to feed her during recess. Then, one surprising morning, the teacher announced that our caterpillar had made and gotten into her cocoon. We all surrounded the little box and marveled at the silky creation, wondering what was going on inside. The teacher said it would take some time, but she was in the middle of a transformation. We could not see it at the moment, but she would soon emerge a butterfly.

I remember that day vividly. The fat caterpillar cocooned so long from the world, wiggling her way out of her safe place—and she was no longer fat. And she was no longer a caterpillar. She had grown and blossomed and was a new creation. She was beautiful, and I remember feeling, at that moment, that anything was possible.

03 February 2012

I Will Exalt - Bethel Live

Your presence is all I need
It's all I want, all I seek
Without it, without it there's no meaning
Your presence is the air I breath
The song I sing, the love I need
Without it, without it I'm not living

I will exalt You, Lord, I will exalt You, Lord
There is no one like You God
I will exalt You, Lord, I will exalt You, Lord
No other name be lifted high

There will be no one like You
And no one beside You
You alone are worthy of all praise
There will be no one like You
And no one beside You
You alone are worthy of all praise

02 February 2012

Everyday we are faced with a choice.

Follow God or turn to the world.

I often forget that I have a choice. I sometimes think that sin has me all wrapped up in its schemes, that there isn't much I can do other than what I want to do. I fall victim to my flesh without so much as a fight. The truth is, however, that we do have a choice. Every day we have a choice. God gives us the power not just to recognize sin, not just to hate it, but to overcome it. My good friend Piper once said that grace was not just pardon, but power. So when confronted with the many temptations that this world has to offer, remember that you have a choice.

You can choose to follow the world—or conquer it.