Tuesday, September 29, 2009

This cross can be found in the little chapel on the oval at the Colorado State University campus. It has one line of pews that goes all the way to the back and a wall of little square windows to the right. It is incredibly dated and a bit cold in the winter but it is beautiful. Just to the side of this building there is a walled in area that is something like a garden, though I never recall seeing flowers there. There are some trees and it feels like a private British garden where you can go and feel secluded in the middle of the day.
Of course, the student lifestyle is magical by itself. A class here and there, some time to study, a nap, some time to pray. It is a good time in life, and like any good time very few people appreciate it until it is long since past. Nevertheless, I never took this small, sanctified space for granted. I remember sitting between classes in the pews praying, in the garden resting and thinking how amazing that a "public institution" once honored God enough to put a chapel on the center circle of their campus. It was a precious place. I snuck in a few times to find other students praying or studying the Bible. Most often it was someone I knew, and we would pray together. I wish there were more sanctified places like that in the world. Little humble buildings with a cross on the wall and nothing to steal. Immediately all of the horrible things that would happen to that building spring to mind. Perhaps so. It doesn't make me want that any less.
There are people that are like that precious building, and while this small structure will always be the truest archetype of the word "chapel" for me, there have been a number of people with whom I can always rely on to accompany me to that sacred place. People who point my gaze at Jesus and hold it there steadily. I'm thankful for those people. Deeply. The Bible tells us that we are a God's Temple. 1 Corinthians and Ephesians give us this clear picture. In the KJV Ephesians uses the words "fitly framed." I love this picture. My head wants to build more little buildings. My heart knows that I must trust in Him and be part of the building that He is creating.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Be a friend, be a fan, be a brother...

Romans 14:13

Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.

Let us NOT judge one another…

Now, how does this work? How does this fit in with the greater sweep of Scripture? Are we to be judging yet also not judging simultaneously? The first, and most important issue that we consider when interpreting a Bible verse is the context. The context of this verse is the argument and the situation between “weaker” and “stronger” brothers in the Lord. The issues that are being discussed are non-moral issues, or issues that don’t have a clear Biblical ruling. There is an issue of the heart here.

Often times, as humans, we are jealous of others who do what we do. This can apply to work situations where two people who do the same job at a company dislike each other because of the sneaking suspicion that the other fellow may be better at it. Another example of this is why friendships among the “pretty” and the “popular” are often quite shallow: they are burdened with jealousy. Sadly, because of our active Sin Nature we can very easily see this pop up in our hearts towards other believers. Other people with our same spiritual gifts, or even simply just others who seem to have a special walk with the Lord, may offend our delicate sensibilities right at the point of the depths of our insecurity, causing us to dislike, reject, or judge them. We may even try to make things more difficult for them, and we may use the most pious and self-righteous fa├žade to do it. How many “prayer requests” are used as a platform to share slanderous gossip? Obviously one is too many.

Be a Friend, be a Fan, be a Brother

This gives us a new and beautiful picture of our relationship with our brothers and sisters in Christ. We are to be rooting for them, helping them and moving them along. Thus we find that where are heart is, and how well the person is known can dictate the right action. Think of the dearest and closest person to you in a relational sense. If you found out that that person was doing something that hurt them would it not be the loving thing to act, and then help to restore? If the person, however, really liked a food that you found disgusting you would say nothing (nothing seriously, anyway) because you love them so much that the petty, non-moral issues look like nothing in the eyes of your love for them. You are rooting for them and welcome their idiosyncrasies. The person you hate offends you by breathing. The person you don’t know offends you with their horrible taste in music. But with the person you love you will sit through a whole movie that you would otherwise have hated, just because they love it and you love them. If we loved our brothers and sisters in Christ as we ought to, would we even bother trying to judge them about the peripheral issues? If jealousy and pride weren’t ruling our heart would we care that they weren’t keeping our set of extra-scriptural rules? If smugness weren’t the dominating factor in our personality would we need to show them how stupid their extra-biblical rules are? Or would we all just be so consumed with spurring one another on towards Christ that we may not even notice?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Danse Macabre

She was born onto bony knees. Though from a perspective she was caught by a professional whose function was to catch babies, she was actually born onto bony knees catching her. To be born upon that lap was to be claimed by its owner, as all of her kind were. The same bony kneed personage whipped the girl’s mother and brought a cruel kiss of fleshy lips to hard and crooked teeth. The kiss was bitter but the transition sweet. Sad to end the Dance, but glad to see Reality.

The girl was cradled by the bony kneed specter, so pretty and so soft, he nearly kissed her there and then, and let her only memory of the Dance be the dance of the rocking arms of people who had Danced for many years. But the time was not right, and he was not allowed.

Through the years where the gifts of locomotion and loquacity are acquired the Dance continued. Haltingly, stumbling, many times she pitched forward and nearly crashed her lips to his by accident. But more than chance commanded the Music to continue.

Moving to the three beats of the Music she learned to step, to step, to step and to follow the lead and avoid the kiss. She learned to fear the kiss and love the Dance. Sometimes she wondered if the fear of the kiss drove the dance altogether, because the kiss was the only way out of the dance. It must not drive the dance. There is no nobility in denying the kiss, no beauty in dancing from the place of fear. So she danced on, seeking to dance beautifully.

The tempo advanced and increased in is speed and intensity. The dance became rough and her partner abusive. Whipping her around spins and turns, wrenching her arms and legs, leaving her sore and gasping, begging for respite. The rough dance left her wondering if she could not learn to love the kiss, wondering if it were wrong to ask the Choreographer to pencil the kiss in a little sooner in the score. The dance would go on, after all. But just as the steps seemed unbearable and she was about to tumble from her feet to the ground, the music slowed and the tempo changed again.

Wondering why she must Dance with this hideous partner she looked to the Composer. As she danced along He showed her the Sheets that preceded her page. There were many. As she studied the ancient music she saw that the Composer, Choreographer and Musician had planned a perfect Dance with music that would never end, but not static and unchanging, rather it was ever increasing. The Music would grow louder and louder, climb higher and higher without end.

However, one of the butlers wanted a chance to compose. He wrote his twisted tunes and raunchy melodies and offered them to the original Dancers. If they Danced to His melody, they would soon be able to write their own. They did. His melody came with a partner. The slender partner looked beautiful for a moment and then faded into the gaunt figure that the girl recognized as the man who caught her on the day of her birth.

The Composer was heartbroken as his beloved Dancers chose another melody to dance to. And the Choreographer prepared to dance with the gaunt man and swallow his bitter kiss, drinking it to the dregs. The Composer wrote the music for Dancers to once again transition back to the dance for which He had made them. All they had to do is trust the Choreographer in his claim have Danced, and take the Steps He would have.

Why, if this ghoul had been drained of his power could she not simply dance with the Choreographer? The grasp of the fiend that held tight to her hand, though he had no power, could not be removed from her body without the kiss. The consequence remained, though the penalty was paid. But there was no longer any reason to fear the kiss, it meant only that the dance with the specter was over and the dance with the choreographer begun. The haunting image of her born partner seemed to fade and she saw only the loving Choreographer and Composer as she once again danced to the Music. Meanwhile, her partner continued to try to return to the waltz that he had written, but he could only make her dance to his beats when she stopped reading the Score, stopped Listening to the Music, and stopped watching the Choreographer. So the Dance went on.

Another danced near her. The Choreographer had clearly planned for them to Dance together. They danced near each other. They danced and danced. The kiss again became something to fear. As they continued to dance closer and closer in the circles of the Choreographer the composer added new notes and soon there were new dancers. Each of them was dancing with the same gaunt partner in their tight circles. Sometimes closer and sometimes farther. The Choreographer was pleased and gave notice to the Composer that the crescendo was near.

The Music took on dissonant tones. Screeches and shrieks that could hardly be borne by the ear. Like the sound of crushing metal, and screeching brakes. Her unwanted partner whipped and tore at her, but she saw only the Choreographer walking out onto the dance floor. As the fiend tore her body and finally curled her into his arms and smashed her fleshy lips into his cruel grin. She passed through him to the Choreographer’s hand. She was spun to a dip and raised. He bowed and she curtsied to the thunderous applause of the countless onlookers who were, until this moment, quite invisible to her eyes. She considered the old Dance, she saw the purpose of every strain, how every attempt to destroy it had been used to propel it. And she gazed lovingly at the Choreographer who smiled and nodded to the conductor. And the Dance went on.

Award and Sharing

I am honored to recieve this wonderful award! Even though is is mis-spelled (that is to say, unless it was started in Germany.) Many of my favorite blogs are in the same web of blogs that Mom is connected too - nevertheless, here we go:
1 - The Nexus Vivus blog...will totally understand if this isn't quite up his alley, but it is a creative and fun blog that encourages my soul each time I go to it.
2 - The Doan Currant - a good friend and brother in the Lord. Always witty, fun to read and well informed. Also, some really beautiful photography, great stuff.
3 - The Creative Output - My wife's blog of her knitting creations. I simply love to read and see all of what she is doing here, cool stuff.
4 - The Briar Files - This fellow has a fun view of pipes, pipe smoking, and life. The author just seems to have a rather poetic view of life, which I enjoy.
5 - The Campbells Possibilities - My sister has a fun way of viewing her life and times. She hasn't updated in a while, but she has a fun tone and a sweetness to her writing that is entertaining.
6 - Blogspensational - This is my friend and brother Randy Peterman's blog. It is very fun to read and informative. A worthwhile discussion on theological matters and thoughtful replies to comments made by the general public.
7 - A Bit of Peace within the Chaos - It doesn't update as much as I would like, but it is fun and interesting as an intimate look at the innerworkings of a family that is deeply in love with Jesus.

Now, seven random facts about myself.
1 - I love quiet moments.
2 - I like writing poetry.
3 - I am addicted to books.
4 - I love spending time with my kids when my head is clear enough to see how very imporatant they are.
5 - I have the most amazing wife. Really.
6 - I am richely blessed by Christ.
7 - I am excited for the adventure ahead!

Thanks for reading. Big love.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The World is a System, Neo

This clip always brings into sharp relief what is really going on all aroud us. We wonder why people are so hostile and against hearing about the truth, about the Lord. They are too deeplycontrolled by the system. A person who is unsaved is plugged into the stystem and will fight for it because it is the system that they have always known. It is strange to think that the people we love and that we would love to come to faith in Jesus are born into this anti-God system that prevents them from seeing His love and believing that He is who He says. The World has turned the idea of sharing the Good News into a shameful thing, it has fought to defend itself at every turn. People twist, turn, and writhe to escape looking into the eyes of love. They would rather gouge out their own eyes than to gaze at Jesus Christ and admit their own imperfection and inability. This has always been a shocking picture, but a realistic picture, of evangelism.

For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, - Colossians 1:13

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. Eph. 6:10-11

Monday, September 7, 2009

I have been told that I was born some year too late. Is it a sin to wish you lived in a different time? I suppose it depends how hard you wish, how much it distracts you from enjoying the days that you have been given. Yet I can't help this special little envy. I want to live in a time before all of the technological advances. I want to live in a time when I could smoke my pipe in-doors. I want to live in a world where books, music and thought can be discussed over glasses of dark glasses of beer and when there were places for men that women respected, and places for women that men respected. I think there is a beauty to the separation between the sexes, the mystery grows, we can't harbor the modern illusion that we are all the same. What stupidity. Of course we are the same in many ways, two halves of a whole, but if the two halves of your body tried to act like eachother you wouldn't so much as be able to walk.
I love the idea of cold weather and handwritten letters. I love the idea of answered mail. I love the ideas of days filled with words, read and written, and not filled with wood. I'm thankful for the jobs that I have. Thankful for the gifts that have been put in my life. But if I could pick up the relationships and tuck them away in the images of the movies I've seen about britian in the 1950's I don't imagine that I would hesitate. I'm sick of seeing so much to buy, so much to want, so much to earn. I'm rather ready for a change of pace, and I would give up every single advance that has come since then to get it. But alas, it's the cruelty of the world, just like life. You can't go back to grade school, college, the years when the children were young, or the years when the economy was good.
In just the same way we can't go back to a simpler life, I suppose we can only appreciate the moment that we are in now. Somone will lookback in 60 years and say that they long to live in the world we do. It insults God to look back and wish. The moment I have is never good enough, I always wish for a cleaner one, a fresher one, a simpler one. Those aren't my moments. THESE are my moments.
These are the moments He selecte
d for me. Like two children, each given a special gift by their father, the gifts have been especially selected based on the character and interest of each child. The foolish child looks past the thoughtful gift, and his father's careful love, knowledge and understanding of him personally and wants the other childs gift. Strange isn't it? I still want to smoke my pipe indoors, though.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


I feel it is my personal duty to alert everyone to the fact that the entire first season of Voltron is available on YouTube. Which is your favorite lion? I always liked the red lion. I thought it was cool to think of that lion sleeping beneath a great lake of lava. For some reason now I find myself liking the blue and green lions more. The green lion is, of course, piloted by the nimble and agile man-boy Pidge. I like his attitude, and find him to be irresistibly funny and honest about both his strengths and some short comings. I think I like the green lion for resting beneath a tree. I love the idea of walking through a forest and coming across a large metal lion that would use all of it's powers for good instead of evil.
The blue lion is also great. The idea of breathing under water, much less sleeping, has always been rather appealing. And water just looks so cool when you burst out of it. Piloted by Lance, who is clearly the stylish and sarcastic one of the group, you always know he's got something witty to say (by 1980's cartoons standards). Though on more recent viewings Lance is found to be a tad whiny and is to be preferred to the cool head of Sven who died and was replaced by the princess in the piloting of the blue lion. I don't know why they didn't then paint the lion pink to match her outfit. They probably didn't want Voltron to look like a pansy just because the pilot of the blue lion preferred pink. I'm inclined to agree with them on this issue.
So I hope you make time to take in some Vultron sometime this week. It probably won't get you through life any better, nor will it reveal anything deep and important about yourself. You don't even get to see the lions until well into the third episode! Even still, I'm interested to hear which lion you do identify with. Which Ninja Turtle, while we are at it?