March 31, 2009

This morning I woke up
Feelin brand new, I jumped up
Feelin my highs and my lows
In my soul, and my goals
Just to stop smoking and stop drinkin
But I been thinkin I got my reasons
Just to get by, just to get by
Just to get by, just to get by

So, I was eating lunch with my friend Greg a couple of weeks ago when he explains to me that he found a camera earlier that day.  Greg lives in the woods in Chapel Hill and he immediately tried to sell it to me.  Greg and I have a good relationship so I told him that he should keep it and take pictures throughout the week.  My promise was that I would get his pictures developed and buy him some new film the following week…

Creativity is beautiful…

Creating God’s first Act…

We are “created” in God’s Image…

Our humanity is centered on the fact that we can create.  When we take away someone’s opportunity to create we take away their humanity.  This is taking the one thing that makes someone human, the one thing that brings someone dignity and the one thing that brings someone a sense of worth and purpose.

When we give people a way to create, we are restoring their dignity.  God created us to create…

Why is it that we find so much joy when we create?  Why do we find so much joy in art and music and literature? 

Think about your favorite music or your favorite artist…

Think about your favorite hobbies…

Think about your favorite books…

We find so much joy in creating and seeing other people create because we were made to do so.  It is integral to who we are as humans.  To create is to show our humanity and our ability to give beauty to our Creator and to others. 

Without our ability to create we lose our identity.  We become lost.  We become blinded.  We lose hope.  We lose Joy. We lose everything…

But, what would happen if a community gathered together and said we have had enough?  What if we decided to give back the ability to create to those who have lost everything…to those who are outcasts…to those who have no identity…to those without hope…

I wish you could see the excitement in Greg’s eyes when I told him I would have the pictures he took developed by the next Wednesday.  I wish you could see the excitement in my eyes to see the art that Greg was able to create. 

Create, create, create…it is what we were made to do…

Odd how the creative power at once brings the whole universe to order. – Virginia Woolf

Life is trying things to see if they work.– Ray Bradbury

The world is but a canvas to the imagination.– Henry David Thoreau

It is better to create than to be learned, creating is the true essence of life.-Barthold Georg Niebuhr

Never take a person’s diginity: it is worth everything to them, and nothing to you.– Frank Barron


You don’t have to be ashamed cause your a miracle through and through.  You don’t have to be ashamed of the miracle inside of you.  What has love become?  It’s not like we used to hear in those old songs.

Why have we decided that someones worth is determined by how useful they are?  It is as if we have turned the word love into the word useful…

It is no coincidence that when someone in our society is not useful we ignore, institutionalize or abandon those who we have no use for. 

In The Other Journal, Daniel J. Salinas  speaks of a time when his daughter, who was physically and mentally challenged, passed away and the pain he felt from the words of others.  He says at one point, “There must have been two options: “God heals her, or God takes her away.  I had people coming up to me saying, “She was better off now….”

He goes on to say, “Evidently, If anyone, like our daughter, for example, cannot produce, her life is meaningless, worthless.”

How many times do we think this way?  Unfortunately, I can count quite a few, for me.  We call people projects, clients or quick fixes without loving the unloved.  When will it be enough to love someone because they need love.  Why do we always bring an agenda to the table?

It pains me to see people that honestly believe that usefulness is the key to life.  I have a friend who is homeless and an alcoholic.  This friend left town recently and I have missed him.  My friend has been without love his whole life.  There is a local pastor in the area who built a relationship with my friend and my friend use to call him when he was very very drunk.  One night, the pastor had enough and took him to a treatment facility.  Yes, I believe that we need to help our friends when they are in need, but what the pastor told him is unbearable to think about.  He said to my friend, “If you don’t stay in this treatment facility then I am not helping you anymore.”  I equate this to, “If you don’t get better I am not going to love you anymore.”  My friend left three hours later……….

What has Love become?

That is not how love works…..we need to love until it hurts……no matter what.

“How can I love this person” is replaced with “How can I fix this person.”

“How can I serve this person” is replaced by “How can I get this person to contribute to society.”

They become bad “cases” instead of people who need love.

Nobody likes to be a charity case……

When will we be able to sit at the table and break bread with whoever will come?

When we look at someone what do we immediately think? 

Is it “that person is useless” or is it “that person is love.”

This is what Salinas has to say about his daughter whom people had made it very clear that she was better off dead:

“She was a bearer of God’s image, and that was more than enough reason to have lived.”

What does it look like to love those who are not useful?  Those who do not contribute to society?  Those who do not produce?  What does it look like to love those whom nobody else does?

Love…….What has it become?

My heart is in motion, for the song inside you……..

Grey clouds stuck together Fam.  Lightning piercing through another land.  Over the desert with the lost place, soul searching each and every way.   See the awesome sounds so profound when will grip you.  If you can hear it you can feel it, too.  It is something special I am running to……….

“I gave up Lint for Lent!”  These are the words of my best bud Dave who, honestly, is one of the most thought provoking people that I have ever been around.  There is not doubt that he can give the funniest most challenging comments of anyone I know.

He said this, jokingly, during a conversation about what some of us gave up for lent.  Because, honestly, we Christians talk about what we gave up during lent all of the time.  But, is that what lent is about?  Is lent about giving things up like chocolate and facebook?  Why do we have this constant obsession with giving up things and talking about it?  What the hell is lent really about?????????

Let’s start with me…….because I’m bad at this lent game.

Last year I gave up two things.  I gave up my bed (so I slept on the floor) and I gave up meat (including seafood).  Wow…….wasn’t I a good lent giver-uper……..

Well, not exactly.  Here is my confession…..

I longed for people to ask me what I gave up.  Why?  Because I could tell them what I gave up.  Pathetic, eh?  Ya, tell me about it.  Well, as you can probably tell, that lent did not exactly teach me much.  So, maybe I learned some discipline, but in the big scheme of things lent was about me and how much better I was than everyone else.  This is not lent, this is arrogance at its finest.

I secretly wanted people to ask…..still gets me every time I think about it.

But, honestly this is what we are taught about lent. Lent is a time when I give up something so that I can defeat my wants. 

So, I have tried not to talk about lent this time.  Yes, I gave up something, but it is more about what new things I am seeing……

Because lent is more than just giving something up.  It is a time to see the world in a whole new way–a radical way that reveals God putting it back together in the midst of our brokeness.

Lent is about re ordering our lives around God, instead of ourselves.  It is not about giving up things so that we can feel good that we accomplished something.  It is about entering into God’s story so that we can see the wonderful, beautiful things that are happening.

If it is about us, we might as well just give up Lint for Lent.