Thoughts on Baltimore (and other issues)

I’m sure by now you’ve heard about the riots in Baltimore. You’ve heard about how people have taken to the streets to destroy, loot, and hurt. You’ve probably read the stories about the 15 officers (last I saw) who were hurt by the rioters. But what do we do about it? We can sit here, behind the comfort of our homes, our keyboards, our tv screens, and criticize, call them criminals, and tell them they should have done it another way.

And we wouldn’t be wrong.

But it’s not their fault.

If you are looking for someone to blame, look in the mirror. Continue reading

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The powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse.

“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”

“The powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse.”

From the first moment I found out about the passing of Robin Williams, this line has been stuck in my head. Over and over and over it plays.

“The powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse.” Continue reading

The Greatest Love

13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends … 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” ~ John 15:13, 15

So it’s Easter morning, and I’m sitting here trying to find something to say that isn’t cliche, but is still powerful and relevant to the celebration of today.

Then it hit me. But I want to look a this backwards, verse 15, then 13.

Jesus was our Lord, but also our friend. He says that we are no longer His servants, because HE HAS MADE KNOWN TO US EVERYTHING HE LEARNED FROM GOD!!! When we enter into a personal relationship with Jesus, He makes God’s knowledge and wisdom available to us!

So with that understanding, that we are His friend, then now we see the greatest love that we could ever know: He gave up his life for us. He died for you. For me.

To save my life.

To save yours.

But the story doesn’t end there. It doesn’t end with his death.

It ends with his coming back to life. You see, Death could only be defeated if Death lost. If Jesus had stayed dead, Death would have won.

But oh the bliss of this glorious thought: that He didn’t stay dead! Instead he overcame death and by His resurrection, we have been washed clean and whole!

We don’t deserve it, we can’t earn it, we aren’t worthy if it. But that is why they call it GRACE!

So this morning, rest in the peace that passes understanding, knowing that there is no condemnation for you, for your sins, for your past.

Jesus died to take your sin upon himself.

And he rose from the dead to wash it away forever.

Amen.

Life and Love and Death

There is a sacredness in tears.
They are not the mark of weakness, but of power.
They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues.
They are messengers of overwhelming grief…
and unspeakable love.
~ Washington Irving

This weekend was a whirlwind of a weekend. A weekend of polar opposites, yet of things so closely linked together.

Saturday I was at a wedding. A celebration of love. It was the wedding of two very unique individuals, and their personalities were reflected in the ceremony. There was this new life beginning in love. A life together, of two becoming one. And then I had plans on Sunday to go meet with two friends who are getting married. I am doing sound for their wedding, so I was meeting with them to talk about music and all that. I began Sunday morning coming out of one celebration of life and love, and preparing for another.

Then, in a split second, it all changed.
Continue reading

On Losing One of My Heroes

 

Last night, I wept for a man I never met. I wept for his family, his friends, and for the world. As some of you may or may not know, Steve Jobs, the former CEO & co-founder of Apple, passed away yesterday. Something that not many of you did not know, but are probably not surprised to learn, is that Steve Jobs was one of my heroes. It actually really doesn’t have anything to do with Apple. I watched his commencement at Stanford University in 2005 on YouTube shortly after he gave it, and it was then that he became my hero. So here are some of the things that I admire most about him, complete with the things he said that led me to that admiration.

You can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever – because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path, and that will make all the difference.

Continue reading

Learning How To Die

All along I thought
I was learning how to take
How to bend not how to break
How to live not how to cry
But really
I’ve been learning how to die
I’ve been learning how to die
~ “Learning How To Die” by Jon Foreman

Why are we so afraid of emotion? We are so scared of letting people see us cry, or see us upset, or see us on the verge of losing it all. Why is that? What are we so afraid of?

I love this song by Jon Foreman.

But when we deny these emotions, we deny the very thing that lets us know we are truly alive. By denying them, we learn not to be strong, but how to die.

Slowly.

This then leads us to so much more pain. When we deny ourselves these emotions, these feelings, and allow ourselves to begin to die, we try to feel alive any way we can. We seek thrills, we seek pain, we seek anything to make us feel alive again.

I believe that tears can be one of the most healing things that our body has. Not because of the tears themselves, but because when you cry, you take all the pent up, bottled up emotion, that is way to full for the jar it is held in, so full it’s about to break, and we just pour it out.

Empty the bottle

Release the pressure.

And we feel better.

But then we take that bottle, and as more stuff happens in our life, we begin to fill it up again. And that bottle gets full. And this time, we don’t take care of it on our own, and it shatters all around us. Now, in a way we can’t control, we’ve lost control of our emotions, we lash out at those we love, we make stupid decision and do something rash.

Then we get labeled as unstable.

And that label hurts. So we bottle up the emotion. and the cycle continues. At some point, we have to break that cycle. We have to willingly, in a healthy way, let the emotions out.

How we do that? It’s different for each person. But I do know one thing that is the same for everyone, we can’t do it on our own. How you let your emotion out in a healthy way will change, but you should never do it alone.