montani semper liberi

Bloged in family, life by rod Monday May 31, 2004

So we’re off to the mountains to sleep in the rain. As soon as Allison expressed the desire to go camping a major weather system formed in the Pacific Northwest and made its way across the continent. At the moment, it is stretched from coast to coast and WV is receiving far more than its share of thunderstorms. My parents had a window blow out the other night. So we’re expecting to sleep in the rain until Thursday morning at which time we expect it to break bright and blue. It’s groundhog day in WV, where every camping trip is a déja vu, or a glitch in the matrix. I’m not sure which. All I know is, a rainy day by a trout stream is better than a sunny day anywhere else. That is, for a limited period of time. When chafing occurs, or mushrooms grow, it’s time to come home.
Welcome aboard Allison. Let’s paddle our sleeping bags together.

something new

Bloged in culture, worship by rod Sunday May 30, 2004

Today I decided to attempt something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time. About a year ago, I stumbled across a project by lizzie everard in which she assembled a photo presentation inspired by the beatitudes from Matthew 5. I was fascinated by the idea and by the presentation. Her photos are gorgeous, artistic and deep. She also kept a sketch book and made a video diary while working on the project.
I thought a lot about that, about true Christian art. I wondered at its impact, about transformation of the artist. It occured to me that even if no one else was changed, impacted, entertained or amused by what she’d done, she had read, studied and meditated on Jesus’ teaching. She had internalized it, been changed by it and expressed that change artistically. Just more evidence that the purpose and power of art is not only what we think it is. Obviously it doesn’t have to be consumed to successful or effective. Art can be only for the artist. Here is testimony of how imitating God’s creativity can bring us closer to Him through the process. We have no creativity on our own, we are entirely dependent on the Creator. The artist who realizes this can find Him by being creative.
It is the realization that art need not be consumed, understood, or popular to have worth that has spurred me to do much that I probably wouldn’t have done otherwise. I think it is important that we be creative outside our normal creative outlet, especially if that norm is what we do for a living. So maybe it’s possible for us to be most transformed, and impacted by the things at which we aren’t as good. These endeavors require more thought, discipline, dependence. Perhaps I can speak to you more effectively through my gifts, but maybe I need new, challenging, less perfected pursuits to keep my mind and heart on their mindtoes and hearttoes. Therefore, the blog - and now, an attempt at an occasional photoblog. Here is my first attempt, inspired by lizzie. I am not a photographer, and this only represents a couple hours’ fun. But I spent them with God and a camera and His creation that bears witness of Him. Here you will find an intentional progression of images and a thread running through. Will got it, but it is not necessary that anyone else does. It allowed me a few hours’ meditational observation. (maybe that’s observational meditation)

weather

Bloged in life, poems by rod Saturday May 29, 2004

I dreamt that it was raining
a slow, steady all-day drizzle
I awoke to sunshine, blue sky and birds
sometimes the rain is only on the inside

makes me wanna sing

Bloged in church, community, friends, music, nostalgia by rod Friday May 28, 2004

I’ve got two more friends heading off to the mission field. They’ve been planning this for quite some time, and have taken many lengthy short-term trips while they’ve been raising support. Support is a tough thing to deal with for missionaries. It’s very sad that God calls and it takes years to prepare to go.
So tonight some friends of mine held a fund-raising, mission support, get-them-to-eastern Europe-more quickly tribute to our 80s music influences concert. Many were involved – about 15 guitarists, drummers, singers, keyboard players, etc., so the mix of personnel on stage was constantly changing. There was also a good turnout to hear tunes that we haven’t heard in 20 years. Actually, I doubt that many people there had EVER heard these tunes. Back in the 80s, Christian rock was WAY on the fringes. Consider the song by the 77s, “outskirts”. Mike Roe and company were there already. Any 80s Christian rockers out there? Tonight we heard covers by The 77s, Steve Taylor, The Call, Adam Again, Keaggy, U2, Stryper, King’s X, The Altar Boys, even Petra and Smitty (and Rocket Town never sounded so good and gutsy).
I gotta say that this was one of the most fun musical experiences I’ve had in a good long time – especially from the audience. I was proud to be reminded that there are tons of people in this town who CAN PLAY. There are scores of local bands here. Even scores of local Christian bands. But mostly it is just cool (maybe even necessary) to have a band. Playing and making music don’t seem to be all that important, but being in a band sure is. It’s ironic that the best players don’t play in bands. Or maybe they have some friends with whom they get together when the mood strikes and set up a gig and go play. They aren’t courting labels or shopping their product around. Most of them remember 80s music first hand. Most of the bands in town have some polished, over-practiced, same-every-time songs. These guys have some chops.
Anyway, I’ll quit bragging on my buds. I just felt like I’d visited a festival gathering in some large city, but nope, it was just here in our own subterranean café. Wish ya coulda been there.

pure of heart

Bloged in apprenticeship by rod Thursday May 27, 2004

Yesterday, my friend Sid and I, inspired by a blog we’d just read, were discussing a topic that I just keep re-visiting. I’ve half-blogged several times about this but never got it postable. DP and I attempted to bring it to discussion a couple times. Every time it comes up, instead of getting clearer and more concise, it just seems to loom larger and get more complicated. This attempt will be no different. Because all roads lead to where you are, I am often able to find where I am by following those roads. If you catch me on the road, it can be very difficult to follow where I’m going. This is true of me both literally and metaphorically.
So it’s been playing around in my head all day and then tonight I come across another blog that makes the statement I’ve made a thousand times (but in other words). Purity is single mindedness. Pure of heart, then, means single-minded pursuit of God. Mea, at ignispati says, “i think it is almost impossible for us to truly trust in God, but it is not impossible to truly try continually to trust in God.”
“Lord I believe, please help my unbelief.”

We so easily give up on the impossible. The consequences permeate our lives. Because I can do nothing toward my own salvation, I become a lousy apprentice. Everyday, I see in my life, the failure to be like Jesus. This will always be, I can never be like Jesus. But I can continually try to be like Jesus. I cannot save myself, but I try until I realize I can’t so that I can truly surrender to God’s provision. Once He’s saved me I can seek Him with all my heart. I’m asked to pursue Him with all my heart. So often though, we realize our inabilities and our weaknesses and just stop pursuing. We become satisfied with crashing at Father’s house and never offer to help sort the laundry.
Maybe there’s an easy way to say it all – of course I can’t trust, believe, attain, but my friend Sid says it’s the desire that God sees. The desire allows me to surrender so that He can do His things in my life. God called David “a man after His heart.” If you read his biography, it’s hard to understand how that applies to this man. But if you read his blog, you begin to see what God saw in David. Desire, longing, pursuit, contrition, single-mindedness.

teenager moment

Bloged in random by rod Wednesday May 26, 2004

Way back in high school, I was getting on the interstate at the west end of huntington and had to change lanes. There was a camaro in the lane I needed to be in and he wouldn’t let me over. I’d slow down, he’d slow down. I’m about to run out of lane so I act like I’m going to race him to the bridge. Of course I couldn’t and didn’t have to, as soon as he recognized the false challenge, he punched his camaro, made up for his lack of testosterone with fossil fuel exhaust, and disappeared out of sight. I got on the bridge without bother.
Today, I’m trying to get on I-26 and a MINIVAN won’t get over. I slow down. He slows down. I speed up, he speeds up. Now if he were on two wheels and was a Ducati, or Beamer, I’d have just duped him like the camaro. But a minivan? Why play games? I’m about to run out of acceleration lane, so I found out how much acceleration lane is needed on my bike. Not much. I won’t tell you how fast how quickly, but a minivan was no match.
See ya, vanagon. And here’s an ear full of decibels. Stay off the autobahn.
Sorry mom.

mystery

Bloged in metaphor, poems by rod Tuesday May 25, 2004

Why do you fascinate me so,
against your field of pink?
(I think its pink, all soft and deep and feminine)
I follow you for miles until your field turns black
and you shine brighter blue.

Who hung you there,
draped on lunar shoulders
to steal the glances from the evening gown?
Would you tell the truth and
give the credit to the jeweler?

I cannot look away for fear that you will soon be gone.
It’s the end of the day, you know.
Already your shine has dimmed and you will soon be whole.
It’s the end of a season, you know.

Divine irony that as you grow more complete,
you seem to us to fade.
That as you’re moving closer,
to us you’re far away.

The mysteries of the changing seasons.

alborada

Bloged in poems by rod Monday May 24, 2004

hid by its glory
a tiny crescent goddess
rises with the sun

intrapersonal

Bloged in apprenticeship, community, family by rod Saturday May 22, 2004

I know I visit this subject often, but I am still learning about it. About balance. About giving and receiving. About frustration and expression. Today one thing after another led Will up to an emotional eruption. Those of you who don’t know this about him may be surprised. Those of you who’ve witnessed his sensitivity would be surprised when I say that he is incredibly strong for holding back so much before the eruption occurs.
It’s all perspective. We can tag someone with a behavior and not even realize how much more than that they are able to hold back.
So I spent some time with Will, prayed with him, tried to bring him some peace. I talked with him about his gifts, his creativity and sensitivity that not only allow him to notice things that no one else would notice except that he show it to them, but also cause him to wear his heart on his sleeve. He expressed frustration at not being able to explain his sensitivity to people (mainly grownups) who are hurting him. I explained to him that people without his sensitivity wouldn’t understand if he did explain it. I feel sorry for them. Often it is insecurity that causes people to be so egocentric that others’ feelings aren’t even on their radar screen, but this is very difficult to explain about adults to a ten-year-old.
As Will began to calm down, he connected the idea of gifting with Gardner’s intelligences. “Dad,” he said, “I know what your Gardner intelligence is.” I asked him what he thought. “Musical,” he said, “mine is spatial. That’s why you’re always telling me I’m your spatial child.” I laughed. He is spatial you know. He went on to explain that people have more than one intelligence. There are some that everyone has, like either interpersonal or intrapersonal intelligence. Interpersonal people, he explained, have to be around people a lot. Intrapersonal people have to be alone a lot. He told me that intrapersonal people think a lot about things and how they feel and what causes it and stuff. Since they think about it, they can also understand more easily how other people feel and what causes it. I asked him then what was my other intelligence, inter or intra personal? “You usually know how I’m feeling,” he said.

Yesterday I had a conversation that made me feel that introversion was a bad thing. Introversion seems to be something that should be overcome. It’s anti-social. We have to learn to be more comfortable with people. I am a bit shy, but I’m not uncomfortable with people. That is, if I have time alone to fuel for it.
It is ironic that introversion can enable closer interpersonal relationships through sensitivity to feelings and a more balanced relationship. Extroversion can actually be an obstacle to intimate relationships because the extrovert’s need for people can inhibit his ability to give personally. I hope it doesn’t sound like I’m slamming extroverts, actually I’m envious of them. It’s just that to me, an introvert, it seems that being fed in solitude leaves room to feed in community. If I always needed to be fed by other people, my ability to listen and give would be hampered. So if you’re an extrovert, more power to ya. I wish I could be more like you. But please don’t think less of me because I need some time alone. It helps me help Will. It helps me hear the divine whisper. It keeps me sane when you extroverts are all up in my space. (grin)
So the repeating moral of this tale is that I went to Will today hoping to make him feel better about himself. I hope that was accomplished. He certainly made me feel better about myself.

blogged with permission

the real world

Bloged in apprenticeship, life by rod Friday May 21, 2004

It’s been only a week since graduation ceremonies and a previous period of talk among seniors about being thrust into the real world, weddings, jobs – out of the bubble and into the field. I think a lot, as you know, about what constitutes the real world – how similar and separate we can be. I wonder constantly about what our students expect when they step out there. I think about what we teach and how we teach it, about preparing someone to live in the Kingdom, in the world. But all that is from the perspective of a student moving from a Christian education into a secular society.
Across the board, “into the real world” constitutes more of a get a real job, greater responsibility, fend for one’s self situation. So our perspective of “real world” is secular and unbubblefied.
Let’s say someone else is educated outside the bubble and embarks upon the next phase of their journey within our environment. Of course their perspective of “real world” is a new job and responsibility. From their perspective they are moving into the real world. From our perspective, they are moving out of the real world. I did it - from college, through a portal of public school teaching and into the bubble. I recently ran across the blog of another who is doing the same thing. If this real world inductee happens across this blog and would give permission, I’ll point you to an already interesting blogumentation of this move.
I wonder if our students, always feeling bubbled, would be surprised that their bubble is the real world for many of us. At least for the moment. I am not talking about a naïve erroneous idea that we’re living in the real world. I am talking about a fully informed, God ordained calling into the real life preparation of called-out, committed believers who don’t yet know the extent of what they can actually obtain within their “bubble” for their ministry outside the bubble.
Perhaps our definition of “real world” is always formed within our own perspective. “Real world” is the other thing – the one I’m not yet a part of. Perhaps what really defines “the real world” is that move into a life in which our primary purpose becomes giving. Of course we’ll still need to receive, but the primary purpose of our receiving will be to give. Some or our students have been in the real world throughout their stay in the bubble. Others will go out and still not find the real world. Some of them will come out of the bubble only to move right back in and find that it has become the real world.
Of course at some point we’re bound to find that all the world is God’s. It’s all real. Surely it’s our place in the world that makes it real for us – or not. When we follow His lead and find our place, it’s real.

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