Monday, November 27, 2006

Ahhhhhhhhhh. . . J'adore Paris!

Les Escaliers de Montmartre, Paris

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Friday, November 24, 2006

Hell's Bell's la partie deux

Well, I fell victim to the new Beta system with blogger and ended up messing up my old template. I did my best to redo it with my limited technical abilities, hence the changes. I'm not happy with them, but alas, here they are.
'Tis what it 'tis.

Tant pis. Quel dommage.
(Too bad. What a shame!)

Glass Houses

Well, it appears that housing is big on my mind right now....

I hate to admit that at times the obvious is the hardest thing in the world for me to grasp, but for a long time I didn't really understand the old saying "People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones." Years of ministry and church involvement taught me the meaning. Those of us who lived through the eighties share the experience of watching the fall of televangelist Jim Bakker. Jimmy Swaggart railed against him, calling him a cancer on the body of Christ, only to have his own unsavory interactions with prostitutes publicly exposed a year later. One never knows if the rock we throw today might come crashing through our own window tomorrow . . .

There is a children's book titled, "There is a Nightmare in my Closet." And if truth be told there is a nightmare in every last one of our closets. All of us have allowed sin to get a foothold in our lives at one time or another. All of us have been swayed by our passions at one time or another. All of us have been selfish at one time or another, said things we shouldn't have and done things we shouldn't have done, made unwise choices, broken our promises, trusted the wrong person, been duped and deceived. When we are really honest, who are any of us to throw stones?

I wonder if we have any idea how much the words that we speak to and about each other are able to defile us? I was reading Isaiah six, you know the scripture about "I am a man of unclean lips and I live among a people of unclean lips..." Then if you go on to verse 9 it it says, " Go and tell this people Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing but never perceiving".... and in verse ten it concludes "otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn and be healed."

I want to serve God with all of my heart, but I just get sooooo utterly tired of the way we treat each other and the way we talk to and about each other. I want to love with all my heart, and to be be a genuinely loving and kind person, but sometimes I just feel like the current of the quagmire that is swirling around me is just so powerful, I get sucked in. But of course greater is HE that is in me . . . I'm not trying to blame others for my own failures, just expressing how I feel right now.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

St. Francis

"Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words."

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

House of Cards

There's a story in the Bible of two brothers. They approach the Messiah and make a request. They want to sit on His right and His left in the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus responds by telling them they don't know what they are asking. He continues his response by teaching about extreme servanthood.

I think a lot of times we are the same way. I wonder if we know what we are asking God when we pray, and if we did would we still pray it?

We pray to grow in our love walk.
God responds by allowing someone to come into our life who's behavior is anything but lovable.

We pray to be more patient.
God allows us to wait longer.

We pray to be a purified.
God turns up the heat and allows our motivations to be exposed.

We pray for a spouse.
God tells us we need to learn to be less selfish.

We pray for a new job.
God tells us to be more productive where we are at.

We pray for rain, only to discover we have been inhabiting a paper house. We pray for wind, only discover a windy day isn't a good time to be living in a house of cards. Rain washes away impurities, and wind blows away everything that isn't stable.

So I wonder at times if when we pray, we know what we are asking, and if so, are we really ready for the answer?

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Gypsy Rhythm

One of my acquaintances from school is a Jazz violinist. A while ago he spent some time in the Balkans living with Gypsies and learning their violin techniques. When he came back to the states he formed what is now known as the Gypsy Rhythm Project. I finally decided it was high time I went to hear his group and took along a friend who is also a talented violinist. They were performing at a very nice steak house. The music and the food were fabulous. During the performance I couldn't help but notice a man who appeared to be inebriated. He danced between the tables like Zorba the Greek, arms held above his head, fingers snapping away.
A while later he came up and pleaded with the band to play a request. His request was granted and before I knew it, he and his wife were dancing in the small space next to our table. I have never seen anything like it. He held her close, looked into her face and told her over and over, "You're my darling, you're my baby. You are the most beautiful woman in the world." I had never witnessed a man more profusely declaring his love for his wife. It was so beautiful. And even more extraordinary was the look on her face. It was evident that she believed every word to the core of her being.
Later in the evening when the band took a break, I was able to meet this dancing gentleman and discovered that he was not drunk, but was indeed a gypsy. He told me. "No one knows about our real culture."
And I must profess, that for me it is true. I know very little about gypsies. But watching that man completely uninhibited in pouring out his affection for his wife, I knew God was speaking to me and telling me, "That is how I want to love you if you would only receive it." For years I have known that I have difficulty receiving the love of God. I think that is true for a lot of us. Especially women who have been in abusive relationships in the past, or those who come from condemning or works oriented churches. But that night I got a breakthrough, and I wasn't at church, and I wasn't at prayer. Watching a gypsy dance with his wife in the candlelight by the side of my table, I finally understood the scripture that tells us that all of our righteousness is as filthy rags, and how utterly unworthy we are of that tremendous love God has for us - and yet, instead of being overwhelmed with my unworthiness, I was instead overwhelmed by the incredible generosity and wonder of such an incredible love. A love I want to drown in everyday.