Monday, November 28, 2005

Picasso

Casual sex is like a paintbrush in the beak of a dodo bird.

Paintbrushes were created to express and put into being an artist’s mind. A paintbrush in the beak of a dodo bird, however, would be a bummer.

I picture the bird pogo-ing around in ecstatic delight of its discovery of the paintbrush and then using it as a q-tip or a shovel.

The whole scenario makes me pity the dumb bird who has no idea what a paintbrush is really for.



Friday, November 18, 2005

I still live.

This is a link that began a cycle of thought for me. Because of it, I began to ask the Lord about His thoughts on vanity, beauty and appearance, and especially, my vanity, beauty and appearance. See, many women have this powerful tool, a weapon even, that we are so used to using that we are often unaware that we are even using it.

It feels really nice to be adored. And there is a longing within us girls to be loved. And often, being wanted feels like being loved. And often without knowing it, and sometimes with full knowledge, we pursue being wanted - maternally, sensually, sometimes desperately. Sometimes, we use the tools we possess to manipulate subtly. They are not always obvious, but they are powerful and can be destructive.

Proverbs gave me a clear picture of a yucky part of myself this morning. It was a blow from the Lord, and those always hit profoundly close to home. Too close for comfort.

Starting at 7:6. a compilation of a few versions.
“For I looked out through the wood-work at the window of my house. And I saw among the empty-headed and empty-hearted a young man without wisdom and understanding. He passed through the street near her corner and took the path to her house. It was dusk, the evening coming on, the darkness thickening into night. See, a woman comes to meet him. She is dressed like a woman who sells the use of her body, and with a heart that wants to fool and trap someone (NIV says she is "with crafty intent"; Amplified Bible says she's sly and cunning of heart; KJV says she's a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil [which is Old French for subtle] of heart). She is boisterous and rebellious; her feet do not remain at home; she is now in the streets, now in the squares where people gather. She lies in wait at every corner. So she catches him and kisses him. With a hard face she says to him...Come, let us take our fill of love until morning. Let us make ourselves happy with love. Soon she has him eating out of her hand, bewitched by her honeyed speech. All at once he follows her, like a bull going to be killed, like a wild animal goes into a trap, until an arrow cuts through him. Like a bird that hurries into the net, little knowing that it will cost him his life.”

Holy mackerel. Talk about destructive. No, I don’t sit on the street corners just waiting for some na├»ve youngin to come around so I can be wanted. It’s much more subtle than that and also more unconscious than that. It’s not a blatant intent to kill, destroy and devour, but it is not less destructive because of its subtlety.

So, there are two separate kingdoms fighting for control inside of me. There is my kingdom. One whose king I am who seeks to uplift my own glory (vainglory nonetheless), and whose streetcorners are wrought with cunning hearts and crafty subtlety. One that destroys itself. My kingdom uses my beauty to manipulate and captivate for my own glory. Beauty there, in the pursuit of uplifting myself longs to be seen; and though it is beautiful, cannot be pure.
And there is the Lord’s kingdom. One whose king the Lord is who seeks to uplift His glory in me as His unique creation (that is an image of Himself nonetheless), and whose streetcorners are wrought with gifts that fulfill the best interest of those who walk in it. One that is complete. One whose beauty is not less glorious, less attractive, or less stunning. Beauty in that kingdom is not used as a manipulative tool, but is the result of gloriousness. Beauty there, in the pursuit of uplifting the Lord, cannot be impure.

So the two kingdoms are fighting against each other. Beauty longs to be seen in purity. It longs to not be used as a tool. It longs to be seen in truth, but as long as these two kingdoms fight inside of me, I can’t handle the truth very well. I’m really good at distorting my own beauty so it is no longer a mode of “shewing forth” the Lord’s glory, but a manipulative tool designed to chisel an idol out of myself.

Galatians 2:20 “I am crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ live sin me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God who loves me and gave himself for me.”

And so, the blow: I still live. And my kingdom still lives. And my heart is divided. And longs for rest from war. It longs for peace and truth, when all things will be unveiled. Who will save me from this body of death?
More reading: 2 Cor. 3, Romans 6-8

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Another paper for Christian Tradition

Freedom
The theme of Exodus is one that echoes throughout the entire Bible. It is one in which God releases His people Israel from the grip of slavery. In reading it, I am amazed at the facet of God that displays His gutsiness. He is no faint-hearted care-bear figure who flitters around in pastel colors or frolics in the clouds. He is a passionate, indomitable being whose word is all-powerful and whose plan is extraordinary.
God demonstrates this to us often in Exodus. He appears to Moses on Mount Horeb in the form of a blazing, burning bush. He transforms a simple staff into a hissing serpent. He rains down fire from heaven, and He dominates the Egyptian enemy army in the Red Sea, all in the pursuit of His first love – the hearts of the Israelite people. He longed to free them from the physical burden of slavery, but also from the spiritual bondage that their hearts were captive to. Slavery comes in many different forms – spiritual and physical - and even today, He is willing to do the same freeing work in our hearts.
The story of my own freedom from captivity starts long before my time. It begins when three little girls, the eldest of whom was my mother, sought to be loved and valued in a broken home. Fear gripped her heart as she scrambled to round up whatever would bring momentary peace. Shame and guilt formed the bars to her prison of never measuring up, and harsh memories formed the pictures on her cell walls. She grew up without the luxuries of a richly warm, loving and complete family. She did not know what such a family scenario would look like, but years later, when she married and started her own family, she longed to give her own children a better future than what her past handed to her; and maybe even more than that longing, there was a time when her heart cried out for spiritual truth.
She searched for it in all the wrong places before coming to know the Lord Jesus as her redeemer and friend. She found hope in Him. He accepted her. He renewed her. He gave her a fresh start and promised healing. As Psalm 103 says, he forgave all her sins, redeemed her life from the pit and renewed her youth like the eagle’s.
Her faith and commitment to the Lord Jesus made her surrender her parenting to Him. She had had no one in her past to look to for advice on parenting rightly; no one had shown her how to do it. She, many times, was terrified of continuing the cycle of bondage that her parents passed on to her. Yet, as she trusted God, He provided for her. He did it in obscure ways -- James Dobson would come on the radio with just the right topic at just the right moment or other events would occur that were too perfect to pass off as coincidences. The Lord Himself taught her how to be a good mom. She, in turn, taught us kids about Him. She showed me how to love and honor Him. She was also, and is now, a prayer warrior for our family, melting away the obstacles that loom over us in our spiritual journeys.
Because of my mom’s story, I have a story of freedom. I know what it is like to come home after school to a complete family. I know what it is like to be loved by my parents. I am free there!
The sequence of events that has led to my freedom is mind-boggling to me, because the sequence of nature is so often quite the opposite. Children wallow in the consequences of their parents’ bad decisions, and they learn there. They always learn. Then, when they get older, they know nothing besides mud. Their parents placed them there years ago just as their parents placed them there before that. They all grow up in it, and they all live in it generation after generation. But, because of the Lord Jesus’ work, I have not inherited that slavery from my mom! Instead of being given the heavy burden of fear and shame, I was given life and love!
He does that amazing work everyday in the lives of those He seeks to save. “The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel.” (Psalm 103:6-7)