Sunday, June 21, 2009


Every now and then, I pause and take a reality check. Which is kind of funny, because it means that somehow, somewhere, we've lost track of exactly what reality is. But maybe that happens because in some way, our reality is rarely what it appears to be, or even what it should be.

A lot of my friends tell me that when they grow up, they want what has been often classified as the "American Dream." They want to get married, have a big house, a nice car, one (or none) kids, and lots and lots of money. Fairly standard, in fact, I wouldn't be surprised if several of the people reading this wanted the same thing. But I always want to scream at them "WHY???!!!!!" That sounds like the worst and most boring life I can imagine. Because in the end, you are only living for yourself. Our selfish little awful lives where no one talks to their neighbour next door and everyone is dying of loneliness and disconnection. Sometimes I even question the purpose of university, the "institution of the highest forms of knowledge and discovery." I mean, really... how much do you learn there? How to write a paper with the appropriate margins and word choices? How to draw a diagram without error? and this helps me how? not to say that I'm not learning. oh no, my 4.21/4.3 GPA will most certainly get me a job. or maybe not, since it took me two and half months to find a simple summer job since I've gotten back. And I applied for restaurant positions. hahaha. well, anyways, God blessed me with a job better than any restaurant position anyways and I am learning to be patient with His help. anyways, now I'm off track. lol.

All this to say that maybe our pursuit of money is not the reality that would make us most happy. Because in the end, money doesn't talk to you, it doesn't have a shoulder to cry on, it will never love you or hurt you or make you a better person. It will only give you THINGS. And at the end of our lives, I don't think I'd want to be known for the money I spent. I want to be known for the love I gave to the relationships with the people around me. And if that's the case, what should my reality be? Should it be university? Should it be the great job, the perfect family, the never-ending supply of money? Or should it simply be living in such a way that I can love people until it hurts? I choose the later.

The next time you say you want a certain life though, ask yourself why. And then why you answered that way. We pursue certain lives and certain lifestyles because of the things the government and the media tells us. But who says they're right? Decide for yourself :)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

To Passivity and Keats

So I thought I'd share some thought from some of my reading this week. In the book, Jesus for President by Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw, they talk about peacefully approaching our "enemies." They suggest DISARMING others. To refuse to oppose evil on its own terms but instead to transcend both passivity and violence in a third way. I thought I'd pass on a beautiful quote to whoever might read this.

"Evil can be opposed without being mirrored... oppressors can be resisted without being emulated... enemies can be neutralized without being destroyed."

In the three examples Jesus gives in Matthew's account, there are outlined three ways to disarm others. One is to look them into the eyes and let them see your scared humanity, not responding in anger but in humility. In Jesus' times, if you hit someone with your left hand, you could be banished for ten days, so you'd use a backslap to hit someone on the right cheek. A backslap is an insult, degradation, and form of humiliation. By not responding but leaving your right cheek available for the slap, you are showing them exactly how inhuman they are acting.

Second example is that if someone sues you for your clothes, give them your cloak also. In Jesus' times, only the poor were subject to this abuse since they had nothing else to give. By stripping themselves naked, the poor expose the greed of the rich and pour shame onto the one who has caused their nakedness.

The last example was that if a man asked you to walk a mile with them, you should walk two. Under Roman law, a citizen was required to walk a mile with a soldier to help them carry their supplies. To walk a second mile was actually an infraction of the military code. By walking that second mile though, they were saying, "I want to get to know you; You're important to me and I want to get to know you as a friend. I am willing to do more than you ask because I realize that you are a child of God."

These responses are "neither submission nor assault, neither fight nor flight." It is simply a loving call to those who haven't experienced the love of God. Our enemies are simply versions of humanity that have gone a little astray. And since God is love, if we deny someone love, we deny them God. And I'd hate to be the one looking into God's eyes when He finds out that his little child was denied access to his love because of a stuck up Christian.

To change the topic again, I read a beautiful poem by Keats and thought I'd share it with you.

"Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art--
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart
Like nature's patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors--
No-yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow'd upon my fair lady's ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever-or else swoon to death."

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Comfort isn't very satisfying

I'm bored with my life. I have all this stuff and if I can be completely truthful, I really don't need it. I like it, but I don't need it.

You see, life is full of these things that last close to half an hour and then get boring. I buy a new set of clothes and am happy with them for about... 2 weeks and then get bored with them. I go out all the time because I'm never happy to do something in my own home and always feel like I need to be entertained. Why? I'm pretty sure my life is full of clutter and things that I need to get rid of. It's time for some spring cleaning in my own life. Ugh.

I want to escape the stupid lifestyle that everyone tells me I need to have. Maybe I don't want a lot of money, a nice house, a beautiful car, or some perfectly clean house that looks like its never been lived in. If I had a ratty old shack with a roof that was falling apart at the seams and old used furniture, but at least had friends and family who I loved and who loved me more than anything, I would be the happiest person on Earth.

Jesus was an amazing guy. He loved people sooo much. He lived, he cried, he laughed, and he loved like no person before. not only that, but he did all that with only the sandals on his feet, the clothes on his back, and the small provisions that he picked up along the way. If I can be even a tenth of the person he was, I would say that my life meant something. now, to get rid of the clutter... *sigh