Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Have you ever noticed how statements like that sometimes seem like frustrating preliminaries? They provoke in you some emotions, because you understand everything that is associated with that sentence, but to others, it is a frustrating preliminary.
Nevertheless, I babysat some girls a few nights ago.
They were beautiful. It struck me. They were each intrinsically, inherently captivating. The kind that melts your heart and makes you want them to only experience the best all their lives and not be tattered ever by the world and its ways. 10, 7 and 2. I think. They all had the same mother, but three different fathers, and even though I have never met any of their fathers, I could see them in those girls.
The youngest they called Tator, a little girl who is as raw in her beauty as two-year-old girls should be. She behaved in such a way that results from the mindset and heart attitude, "Look at me! Look at how pretty I am!" - a mindset us older girls lose grips on much too quickly.
We watched Old Yeller which produced in me, as movies often do, an array of a deep monologue of thoughts and a representation in symbols of concepts deeper than the actual movie (that is worthy of its own blog), but the present demand for attention is one little girl who didn't care much about anything on the tv, but stared at me as I watched it. In her gaze, she reached her little glommy hand over and touched my arm softly. She was enamored as little children often are with new and had a grin as she looked at me. But there was a question she asked by her gesture. Am I lovable? Do you, new girl, do you love me? Am I lovely?
Of course you are, dear one, "Do you want to come by me?" She nodded in response and came next to me where we watched the movie together.
Sunday, June 25, 2006
There is a certain girl who longs for Prince Charming. And while she waits, fears grip her. They try to sink their talons deep inside of her and captivate her so deeply that she is far beyond the reach of liberty.
They do for a time. The fears grip her. They make her hate. They make her doubt. They make her feel worthless. They make her feel unlovable.
1) The first fear is that no Prince Charming actually exists.
I have, for a time, believed the series of lies that this fear whispered to me - the lie that there truly isn't anyone who is worth waiting for.
The series of lies might be best introduced by a man's explanation to me: "It's every man's final goal [to get a girl in the sack]. It's built into us." That every man not only has within him an obsessive desire for sex at some time, but also that every man harbors it and lets his mind violate women while licking his chops and not caring for her in any way. He reduces her to a thing that gives him intense, mindless, brute pleasure. He takes no note of how it makes her feel. And he will never change.
This man makes her feel afraid - like the whole world is unsafe and every man is abusive and longs to lord his hot dragon breath all over her. She feels hate. He has no regard for what lies she considers true: she is nothing more than sexually appetizing. She is repulsive in every other way. If she really wants a man, she must settle for one of these because they are the only type of man that there is.
The fear: all men are only capable of caring about what she is and desires her only sexually. He neither cannot nor does not care about who she is or value her in any other way. There are no good men, only no-good men.
This fear, if harbored, gives her a twisted outlook of the way of things. When she compares herself with him, she seems better, higher, somehow more noble. Her place above him may be due to her vision of herself too high, her vision of him too low, or both.
On the side: I really believe that the whole movement of feminism exists because, at least in part, of this world view. Women, and, for that matter, men also, are, in and of themselves, truly amazing - fearfully and wonderfully made. But because of men like these, women question their own worth. After a battle deep inside themselves, those women recognize a truth - they are worth much more than those men think. They launch a crusade on that truth's behalf demanding due honor and respect. They demand appreciation, but the men in their lives deny that they are anything besides sex appeal (or dishwashers or whatever dimishing lie those men believe). Those men lord their power over them, and those women fight to keep their reputation upstanding. They know no other choice because all around them, there exists the whole male dominated world who refuses to acknowledge their worth. The whole world is against them, and they must fight against it.
2) The second fear is that if Prince Charming, a man that is desirable and does not cultivate lust exists, he will not find or he will not pick me.
These lies I have recently stopped believing still make me shudder:
There are too few Prince Charmings. The ratio of good men to good women is like that of a ballroom dancing scene in Pride and Prejudice, "Men were scarce and many were in want of a partner."
Someone else will captivate him first. I will just be lucky enough to be too late. Or I will be on time, but he will have arrived at the place much too early.
Or we will just miss each other and never know it. A fluke will keep us from walking our destined-crossed paths.
Or I will meet him and recognize that he is Prince Charming. I will know him, but he will not find or take the opportunity to know me. He will be far off, and I will watch longingly as he passes by just out of my reach.
Or we will meet and we will know each other, but he will want something other than everything I possess. He will think that I am repulsive, or, at best, entirely uninteresting. I will not only be rejected, but I will know that he has rejected me and will experience the pain of that rejection.
The fear: good men exist who can both appreciate and desire women , but those good men will never desire or appreciate her.
This fear, if harbored, gives her a twisted outlook of the way of things. When she compares herself with him, he seems better, higher, somehow more noble. His place above her may be due to her vision of herself too low, her vision of him too high, or both.
3) The third fear is that Prince Charming exists, but he will not think that I am desirable.
We will meet and we will know each other. He will think I am interesting. He will appreciate me and make me feel like I am worth something. He will want to be around me. We will share dreams and exchange thoughts. We will be of like mind. Life around him will be wonderful because he will treat me like a precious girl, but I will only be that to him, a precious little girl. Like a sister, or a daughter. He will not want or he will not pursue more.
Some can cope with this. Some can not feel sorrow at this. In fact, I am there in my relationships with many men and even hope for this type of relationship with many more men. But the fear comes with the thought that this will be the only type of relationship I will ever experience - that the other part of me that longs to be desired will always go unsatisfied.
The fear: men appreciate her for all that she is, but will never have any desire for her beyond the realm of friendship.
This fear, if harbored, gives her a twisted outlook of the way of things. However, all unhealthy comparisons are gone. He is at the very place where he should be; she also is. She values him. He values her. But thise type of relationship coupled with hopelessness has the potential to leave a girl feeling quite sad. What if she can only be seen as untouchable to every man all the days of her life?
But this girl is beginning to be freed from those lies. In fact, someone keeps on pursuing her freedom from captivity. He prevails over and over again. He whispers to her regarding her first fear, "Men are evil, but I have redeemed some of them. Some of them look like Me because they have gazed on me. I have taught them how to love." About her second fear, He says to her, "I have created you, my love. You are exquisite. You are lovable. You are beautiful. You are captivating. I take utmost interest in you. Be satisfied with My love. It is satisfying." And her third fear - her third fear is a wonder. He takes special care in revealing to her the truth about her third fear. He gives her someone at just the right time. He gives her one of the men that He has redeemed - one of the ones that look like Him because he has gazed on Him. He gives her someone that He has taught how to love, and He lets him love her. Her creator loves her through him. And He says to her, "You will experience this love. You will not be an old maid forever. I have made one just for you. See?"
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
As I sank further into myself after watching it, I related to the heroine of the story. In case it's been awhile, Ever After is sort of a Cinderella story. Towards the end, everything is lost. She has been bought by this really ugly, yucky guy. But, somehow, she worms her way out of the whole situation and is leaving his estate. Just then, the handsome prince comes to save her from the ugly, yucky guy, but she's already saved herself from the ugly, yucky guy; yet, she knows that something's still missing. She's saved herself from some things, but not everything. She still needs to be saved from the destiny of filth that's been handed to her and expected from her. She needs to be saved from being forced to settle for the drudgery of everyday life. She needs to be saved from the absence of hope of Happily Ever After.
The handsome prince does it.
I have saved myself from a lot of painful things - wormed my way out of some pretty helter skelter situations, and still, I need to be rescued. I need someone to be willing to openly view the sorrows that this life has handed to me -big and small- and free me from them. I need a prince charming to say to me, "I'm so glad you've waited for happily ever after. You don't have to let go of your dream. You will live happily ever after, and you will do it in my strong arms."
And then the Lord Jesus whispers to me, "Your hopes about happily ever after will not be dashed to pieces nor forgotten. They will not fail. You will live happily ever after, and you will do it in my strong arms."
Sunday, April 16, 2006
* There is a God. He is real. The world shouts of Him as an incredible Designer. Without Him, we wouldn’t live because He gives life to us.
* He came as a man, Jesus Christ. He lived and died as God. He wasn’t just a man; otherwise the world as it is wouldn’t make sense. Spiritual beings yield to Him. History was altered because of Him. People change completely in relationship with Him. And He desires intimacy with me. As I draw near to Him, He draws near to me. I know only by experience. He and I can be close so long as I seek closeness. He is a personal God, but I can only know Him as a personal God as I draw near to Him.
* There is heaven. Our Spirits, renewed by Christ, long for it completely. We have a desire in us for an ultimate utopia- peace, a world without hate and destruction. We long for it from the very core of our beings.
* From the very core of me, I am junk. It doesn’t matter how well my mother raised me, I still have a monster that lives inside of me longing for everything my way and for the world to bow down and worship me. Laugh at my jokes. Think I am wonderful. No matter who suffers, all must think that I am wonderful. Push others down, kt, so that you can be built up! Drown them. No matter how hard I try to stifle it, without Christ, it comes out, pushing its way through the surface of existence. Crowding out charity and benevolence. There are moments when it rests, but not for long. My selfishness always resurfaces in varying degrees for varying lengths of time without Him. And as it is, if there is some sort of perfect world after this one is over, I can’t be there. I need a Redeemer.
* And, if Jesus really is God- if He really lived, died, and rose again from the dead, then He must hold the key to my redemption. If He beat death by dying and then living, then in Him is hope.
* And so the story is. I am covered over by the blood of One who overcame death. Why would I rejoice in His blood and death? But His resurrection follows! It is the symbol of the foreshadowing reality that He conquered the stuff in me that keeps me from perfection.
And something deep inside me calls out, “This God is more real than anything you have ever laid eyes on.”
Friday, March 24, 2006
Last night, I was the last person to bed in my suite. That is no unfamiliar occurrence. Nevertheless, when I looked into the mirror, I noticed a huge piece of food stuck in between my teeth. And what was my first thought, naturally?
"Oh good. I wonder how long that's been there."
I started typing this blog after I finished brushing my teeth last night. Somehow, at 1:30 AM, this whole experience was profound. But as I got sleepier, I went to bed without finishing it.
Perhaps it should have remained unfinished.
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
You know what he said? Probably not- I'll tell ya. He said, "kt... you're blaming the wrong person."
I thought to myself, "Oh yeah."
Herein lies the beginning of the answer to my struggle with the questions of freewill and power and the like - the questions of evil in the world; and how could a good and loving God allow so much of it?
You know, as a kid, my teachers always told my class and I, "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem." And the concept of guilt by association was always a dominant theme. Standing by and watching the problem is just as bad as creating the problem in the first place. Like when a kid's being picked on, and ya'll just stand around and watch it happen instead of sticking up for the little guy. So, God's the big guy, and while the little ones here are being beaten unreasonably or given no good discipline, overfed to the point of diabetes, or going hungry, He stands by and watches.
But after being callused over in belief in that very statement and softened again, I have found that that argument really doesn't work. God knew what He was doing when He gave us freewill.
I've been thinking a lot lately of The Matrix. You know, the scene when Morpheus the big black guy asks Neo if he wants the blue pill or the red pill - that all of his future would rely on that one move. If he chose one, he would forget the realization of the Matrix; he'd forget that everything he always knew was a lie. If he chose the other, he would live in truth, but he would experience overwhelming pain and be handed an overwhelming platter of hardship and impossibility.
Let's pretend for a moment that the movie was only a half hour long and there was no trilogy at all because Neo chose the pill that would make him forget. He chose the bliss of ignorance (for those of you who've watched the movie, he chose the steak) for the sake of avoiding the pain of reality. Welp, the big black guy wouldn't have been able to do anything about it. If the choice was ever really there, he wouldn't be able to do anything if Neo chose wrong.
Welp, in an extremely oversimplified sense, that's sort of how I picture God's stance. He sits facing us with a blue pill and a red pill in His hands. Both of His hands are open no matter how much He longs for us to choose one over the other. He holds them out to us and says, "What will you choose? Will you choose My way? It's harder. But it's better. Will you choose your way? It's more fun, but it leads to death. Will you live for this world whose glory is fading away? Or will you live for the next whose glory is ever-increasing."
He gave us power in choice. He reliquished His omnipotence (for a time) in His love. He gave us the freedom to decide whether or not we would give the power back to Him by letting Him rule in our lives. How it must have grieved God's heart as He gave some of His power - the freedom to choose - to us knowing full well the terrors, the injustices, the pain that His move would cause. But perhaps, He also experienced an overwhelming joy that so many would choose Him, that many would also go against the grain. And Oh! He must have experienced the joy of giving a good gift that was not a pogo stick or a balloon. His gift was much more complex; it's use carried and still carries ultimately heavy weight.
Friday, March 10, 2006
I smile with a mischievous grin as I type: sometimes reaction emotions make for some really great heated discussions - usually, the type of discussions in which you say something that ends up coming out nothing like what you meant it to and one for which you think of the perfect response to much after the opportunity is gone. Fortunately, typing things out on blogs gives the opportunity to take time to ponder responses, and gives us the wonderful option of deleting something that reactively spewed from within.
It seems to me as though most religions - on second thought, maybe all religions - try so hard to get to God (or whatever it is they are trying to get to) that they lose sight of the real thing. Their focus disappears. While this is probably true of all religions, I have most experience of it in Christianity. And, since I believe in Jesus Christ as the ultimate truth, I think it matters most that Christians lose sight of the real thing - who is Christ.
Before I take the credit for a new thought, I must point out that the whole book of Colossians focuses on this very concept. As the church of Colosse struggled on their own, outsiders came in and tried to add to the simple truth of the gospel of Christ. They added all sorts of beliefs on rituals and traditions that should be done in order to follow Christ, but really, all of those things were shadows of the real thing.
The point should be made that some of them were shadows of the real thing. In other words, not all of them were abscure, completely revocable concepts that were to be eradicated hands down. Some of the traditions could have been good for their faith, but none of it was, because their focus was all wrong. They worried so much about the traditions that they could not see the reason for the traditions.
The Colossians never experienced the joys and sorrows of the book because they were too mezmerized by the cover.
They never walked into the mansion and witnessed all its beauty and mystery because they spent so much time being captivated by the complexity of the door.
They never became rich from the treasure inside the chest because they were too busy polishing the lock.
How often do we, as Christians, worry so much about acting like a Christian, looking like a Christian, and doing what Christians do that we forget that the substance of our faith is the fullness of Christ Himself - not Christianity, not Christian culture, not church, not church functions, not being a good evangelist.
Colossians 2:17 Such [things] are only the shadow of things that are to come, and they have only a symbolic value. But the reality (the substance, the solid fact of what is foreshadowed, the body of it) belongs to Christ. (Amplified Version; emphasis added)
For more, read Colossians. It's a good book.
Thursday, March 02, 2006
But no matter, the thoughts that strike me tonight are ones of longing. All of them. And all of them about different things. Longing for the people I love to stop making stupid decisions. Longing for the Lord Jesus. Longing for unity with Him. When I won't have to look at Him through this dark glass, but see Him face to face.
There is a certain thing that I eagerly expect. It might be the one thing I don't ever question. It's so deeply ingrained in me- whether taught or not, I do not know - that I cannot deny it for more than a moment. It is the hope that there is more to this life than what we see now. If this is the end, nothing makes sense. Evil, hunger, pain, sorrow, breakups, people crushing others beneath their feet...I question all those. I question God's justice there. I question my beliefs. I question everything I have always known. But I cannot question the hope of Heaven. I may forget about it for a time, but when it enters my mind, there is no turning back. There is Heaven. There is resolution. There is beauty beneath all the drudgery.
I don't know what Heaven will be like. I know that it won't be most of the things that we picture it being; we simply can't fathom complete goodness. Even our best thoughts of what good entails are tainted by a mind that sees dimly. But as I try to ponder the unponderable, I feel at home.
Resolution. No more battles. No more struggle. No more.
My heart longs with the very deepest longing for the fulfillment of the hope of heaven.