Doubt

(from Sunday… and partially inspired by a conversation with Aaron 2wks ago, although the idea was one I’d pondered often prior…)

We are defined by doubt.

We are defined by doubt, because certainty is the antithesis of faith.  If we did not doubt, we could not believe.

Certainty is of the enemy, because only God is perfect Truth, and our imperfect perceptions can never hope to approximate true knowledge.  I thank the Lord for the wisdom and the courage to embrace doubt, because the strength we cultivate by wrestling with angels will serve us well when wrestling with demons.

We were made curious and questioning, with hearts and minds that ache to search for Truth.  Let us pursue this relentlessly, and never give in to the desire to think that we already know.

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Published in: on March 17, 2010 at 8:50 pm  Comments (2)  

“Worship”

All this talk of worship the past week, especially in discussion last night, reminded me of a song that I wrote a couple of years ago (April 11th & 20th, 2008, to be exact, hehe, I’m such a dork!)  I don’t know; I think it’s relevant, so I figured I’d share it here:

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We see your strength in rushing river, crashing tide

We see your countenance upon the mountainside

We see your beauty in each flower and each tree

The earth reflects your majesty!

***********

Here we stand

Upon the wonder you have wrought, Lord

Here we stand

Imperfect ecohes of your voice

Here we stand,

and honor you with every thought, Lord

We thank you for your gifts with every choice

***********

You are the answer when we shout into the storm

You are the glory of the function and the form

You are the dancing of both melody and flame

With all the stars, we praise your name!

***********

Here we stand

(etc)

***********

You are in the night,

You are in the day

You’re in what we do, and in what we say

You are in the sky

You are in the sea

You’re in all you’ve made

and You are inside me!

***********

Here we stand

(etc)

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So, yeah – there you have it.  I don’t share my songs very often, so consider yourselves lucky! (even though – or perhaps moreso because – you can’t hear the tune hehe!)

Published in: on March 4, 2010 at 7:08 pm  Comments (3)  

From the “Is this Inspiration?” file…

Last week, driving through my neighborhood returning home from I-don’t-know-where, I was struck my the make-up of our community.  Not in terms of people, but in terms of businesses and services.  I commented to my boyfriend James that as a city, we are filled with places where people go to make themselves sick, and places they go to get well… but we are severely lacking in places for people to go just to BE.  At the time, I was specifically lamenting the lack of art, and the way that art is treated by the people here… but the important thing about that exchange is that at the time, I was most sincerely classifying our multitude of churches under the “places people go to get well” column.

Last Sunday, God told me I was wrong.

Or, rather, that I was right, and that it grieves Him, too.

During worship at church, I had one of those moments where I have to stop everything, pull out my notebook, and begin writing feverishly.  This is what I wrote:

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A church – our God – is not a doctor or a therapist.  A church in the glory of God is a theater, a museum, a gallery, a concert hall.  Too many come to church, come to God, for healing – which is possible, but not the point.  We sin all week, cause sickness in our souls, and think church is where we go to get well.  NO!!!  Church is where we go to stand in awe!  Like any great art, it can be a balm to our soul, but it isn’t about us.  Do we go see a great painting, an amazing play, and assume it was done all for our benefit?  Even when it touches us so deeply that we feel that way, we know that it serves a higher purpose.

Others treat church – God – as the drug rather than the treatment.  We come craving a high, wanting to feel good about ourselves.  NO!!  The Word is not a bar where you can choose your drink, your favorite line, and ignore the rest.  Like all great art, God challenges as often as He comforts.

Faith perfectly attuned to a perfect God sits at the place where both healing and hurting touch, but cannot enter.  It isn’t about the future, or the past.  Like a great symphony, it captures us.  It forces us to EXIST, in each perfect moment, in perfect communion.

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Just a rough scribble.  Take it for what it’s worth 🙂

Published in: on March 4, 2010 at 7:25 am  Comments (2)  

Welcome!

Hello to all who read this.

As much as I love writing, and as much as I love talking about myself, I’ve never quite been able to pull off blogging.  My ideas generally come either too thick and fast to catch, or not at all.  I scribble notes at inopportune times in unlikely places, and then sit in front of a blank screen for long, painful minutes, my words somehow having lost all magic.  I have no illusions that this will be a valid representation of my thoughts… but it’s such a wonderful idea that I at least wanted to make the effort.  The idea of people from a church community making a concerted effort to express their feelings and opinions and struggles, and make them open to one another, and invite dialogue and conversation, is an idea that is long overdue.

I thought I had something meaningful to say here today.  Eventually, I may supplement with songs and poems and past ponderings.  For now, though, I’d like to share an anecdote.  On Tuesday night I had the pleasure and the privilege of hearing playwright Tony Kushner (“Angels in America” among other things) speak at the University of Iowa.  He is a brilliant, thoughtful and well-spoken man, and I would give much to have thought to bring a notepad to chronicle his most compelling comments.  One thing he said, though, struck me deeply enough that I don’t think I could forget.  He was asked by an audience member how he feels about calling himself a “writer,” and if he’d ever had any doubts (the fella asking the question was a recent college graduate who often felt awkward at parties because of the looks from his classmates when he threw his identity as “writer” up against their own “real” careers of banker, lawyer, etc.)

Kushner talked about how he felt that ANYone who does anything that matters tends to feel like a fraud.  He imagined what it must feel like to call yourself a “nuclear physicist” when after all, it’s not like being Neils Bohr.  He said that sometimes, yes, it is weird to fill out a form and under “Occupation:” put “writer.”  However, he said: “There are words that make you embarrassed, and I think those are the most valuable.”

“There are words that make you embarrassed, and I think those are the most valuable.”

Amen and amen.  This struck me deeply in a couple of ways.  First, because it described so precisely the feeling I had on Saturday night, when my band played our first gig.  No matter how deeply I feel that singing is at the very core of my being, I still have a hard time applying the label of “singer” to myself.  It feels utterly fraudulent.  *Doing* it felt utterly fraudulent.  Listening to people’s comments afterward was profoundly uncomfortable, because it didn’t feel at all real… but it WAS real.  Everyone there knew it.  They treated me like a singer, because I am.  It’s just that it’s embarrassing to acknowledge a reality outside of my own experience of myself.

Likewise, the other reason Kushner’s comment resonated with me: it applies just as clearly to issues of faith as to issues of occupation.  It can be profoundly uncomfortable to name oneself a “Christian.”  In part, it’s because we always feel like we can’t measure up to those who came before us – just as the average nuclear physicist isn’t Neils Bohr, the average Christian is hardly, say, Dwight Moody.

More, though, I think that it’s because it’s embarrassing to acknowledge a reality outside our own experiences.  We live inside our heads – sometimes all we can see is our sin and shame, just like sometimes all I can hear are my dropped notes and forgotten lyrics… but that’s not the only reality.  Whether we’re comfortable claiming it or not, if we behave in a genuine manner, the world will know.  We can’t deny it, it’s part of who we are.  However, if we allow our embarrassment to get the better of us, the world will assume that it’s our faith that shames us, and they will start to see us as the frauds we fear that we are.  If we own it – if we acknowledge the reality instead of fearing it – then they will be drawn to us like moths to a flame, and will see the value of our faith in us.

Like always, the things that I start out thinking are profound end up boiling down to simplicity.  None of this is new, or unknown… but it can still be a source of struggle.  At least, for me it can.  I hope any readers out there enjoy my writings.  Thanks.

Published in: on February 4, 2010 at 10:27 am  Leave a Comment