Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Penolin,

Hello, it is my turn to write you. I received your last letter. I love the rose and the keys. Enclosed you'll find updates to the house, badly captured but there they are, etc.

Let's talk God. Obviously I'm being baited on both sides and i finally feel mentally cogent enough to address it. (not baited in a badway, as i feel God is His own best defender) Nevermind that yesterday, unrelated, I had this idea to have breaded chicken strips for breakfast and 2 pieces of frenchbread as toast. I threw up the chicken like a cat that overate within 1minute of the exchange. Trauma. I was out due to weirdness for the rest of the day. So it's not that we can't argue inexplicable things happen to people. And on the otherside LL's movie tithes 10% of whatever donations they receive to random people. And everyone takes a turn. When i saw LL on Saturday she gave me a small bundle of $20 notes. And she went on to explain, as i recalled what they do with God's money. And she says its not often they have it, but that she felt she was to give it to me. I had an overdue student loan bill for $119.76. They gave me $120.00.

I'm reminded of this conversation I had with Matt, like myself was inundated with legalism and religion from VCS but likewise had an opening to the spiritual side of life- so it's not that your and bruckners Catholic baggage is vastly different then our conservative evangelical non-denom baggage. It is specific though. It does carry certain things. He, like I once did, shares the same reticence of overt-God talk. The context always being judgment, condemnation, an inablility to communicate what is profound and personal. Believe this or else. But I believe, you believe whatever you want. But his brother and sister went to an even hoightier non-religious school and have no experience of overt God talk- as i tried to explain to him. And that sharing who Jesus is, is not a slap in the face that we can sometimes think it is. Jesus is radical. There is no other religion on earth that has what He has. It is not LOVE in the air-fairy sense. It is forgiveness. The concept of forgiveness so familiar to us is only because of our Christian heritage. You won't find it anywhere else. We take it for granted.

It goes to the core of who we think Jesus is. It's in your relationship with Him- that's where the power lies. The trappings of religiousness aside. Since hypocrisy is a crimson and too easy excuse to keep people out of the church. It should be to everyones great relief that belief in Jesus is not a pass toward perfection. It is an acknowledgment of being his, and being his by grace and mercy and choice and that we aren't from acceptance onward on some golden ladder upward to goodness in spite and because of the false things we do cling to. Except that being His we seek to be good but only through and by him- but its not an error free pass. From a personal place, most people who've encountered Jesus, think of Him as having saved them. That they don't have to carry their burdens anymore. That they are free. They can go from a place of desperate and clinging (trying to be 'good'/better people) to joy and freedom (being who they are, honest, broken, and wholly accepted and claimed by Him).

The arguments of the beautiful lost soul of Bruckner are common. Not less valid- but here knowledge of the Bible would go far to help walk with him in his observations. The people and stories of the bible say the same thing. They shout the same grief and tension of living in this world. Psalms for instance. Parts of Romans etc. Book after book infact. Brilliant wisdom in the heros of the stories- but glaring faults. Because i'm not arguing in the strict sense my answer is that nature itself is out of alignment, just like we ourselves are fallen. And while evil is allowed, i dont think God causes it. Can i easily explain this no, so i humbly submit we aren't arguing from an intellectual or theological base but experientally- which is why we'll return to Jesus. And a conversation that always starts from a lack of experience, and a very serious need to have experience. We are all looking for Him.

I am hesitant to believe Bruckner has had no experience of God though. But if he hasn't then i would say to ask God to prove He's there. And ask specifically how He could show up. It's an opening. It's a start. And the church as an institution is prone to corruption because we are prone and start from a place of corruption. Which is why it starts with Jesus. And ends with him.

The girl in laung namtha asked if she really had to forgive people- a basic, one of the most profound tenants of Christianity. A struggle. A journey. All of those words. Of the hows and whys. But still not less powerful because of it. It's not a debasement. Grudges, anger, hate, fear, anxiety- all of those are words of bondage. But then this is a language and a story that is familiar to me. And can our need to forgive actually be placed toward God-- i think so. and toward ourselves, definitely.

And it's not that my relationship to Jesus isn't constantly undergoing change- there was something there in this scripture for me-- And when the men had come to him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you, saying, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?’21 In that hour he healed many people of diseases and plagues and evil spirits, and on many who were blind he bestowed sight. 22 And he answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers[e] are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. 23 And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”

As i said, it had me weeping with relief. Some part of  me needed to know even now that Jesus is who he says he is. That like John the Baptist- in prison at the time, at the point of death- to know that all he proclaimed and heralded had come to pass and wasn't a lie. I think to reach out to God is an act of vulnerability. And to share the struggle or absence equally so. And to be in an honest place is the best one. I can say, more so now, that for me it's not proving a for or against- but that Jesus is who he says he is. And it is powerful and it is full of love.

And it's ok to not be at that point of speaking it out- but i do feel it's a worthy goal to walk toward- the concept of proclamation, and to ask God what that might look like- in a one day sort of way. Because it acknowledges who we are without him. I know we have natural capacities of 'good' just as we have capacities for certain 'evils'-- but to be assured in faith, in Christ- its not so much a phew i'm relieved, i dodged the hell bullet. And i got the heaven ticket- it is who he is for me right now, in the depth of my struggle. And who i am with him, and where i'd be without him. it's THEE STORY> your voice. A constant unending journey. I get what you say about showing vs. telling. And what you're cultivating in that, and it's true-- but it is also a protection against, if i fail, if i am this or that- then you won't blame it on me being christian kind of thing also. Or hold me to some impossible standard that we do and will fall short on-- but that's where being honest and humble come in, and where in our brokeness Jesus is allowed to enter in. The dark places-- to shed light in. To reveal. Allows people to breathe out their own darkness. Their own secrets. Their own chains they don't want to acknowledge or tell anyone about or ones they think by sheer will they can manage and fight their way through. Those places aren't of God you know, but it's where He needs to be. The power of being able to say THIS happened to me, and look where i am now. Look how God redeemed that wound. I was HERE and I met God and he slowly moved me to this place... That's no effort of will. It's a different kind of fight. It's his pleasure. It's his Glory- to free us.

He saves. I am forgiven. No struggle. No burden. He is with me. I am His. I try to pick them all up again. To examine the ugliness of myself and all around. He calls me back. He says set it down. He says I love you.

All this talk excites me. I am infact happy to be baited. Because I can once again and over and over revisit how great His love for me is. And in turn reflect, whether you feel it or not how great His love is for you and for Bruckner. And how excited i am when people discover it and know it for themselves. There is a freedom in declaring it. The waters are abundant. Unceasing. Neverending.

let's keep talking... but for now we may return for a small reprieve to the changes in my living room. the toxic furniture is gone-- note the tv is staying along with the xbox. to which i will refer to as  my dowry should i ever have a husband.... the picture is there just because i like it. joannas couch is covered in red-- but a lush dark leather underneath that's gone a bit wonky because of some sealant melting and whatnot. how do we fix that?! my table, the one the parents made for my grandma... etc etc. the chest is going though- and the wall color will be something else as well. we'll see.

my bedroom waiting for a queensized bed... sanding, restaining, repainting...  oh and my 19 yr old cat marley.
 home- is a meditation that home is where the heart is, and my heart is with God as he is in mine... i need to put sealant on the floor to help with the staining dirt traffic problem. to the left is the tea corner- totally new and exciting. as well as recycling. that's where dad is convinced a dishwasher should go. to which i shrug my shoulders. note the light blue on the wall is new too. and in the far bg the curtains hanging over the pantry-- until i get cabinets? one day? and the plaid floor... i'd like to remove the carpets but that's not until i seal the floor. etc etc. so glad to have a picture taking device again.

my love to you from over here, m.
 

4 comments:

Bruckner said...

I can't wait to dig into this! Mind you I've had one too many tonight so the words that populate this post are actually dancing up and down on my screen (perhaps I've had two too many). If you only knew the day I've had you'd understand why I've had three too many (or was it four?). Around mid-day I almost came to blows while standing toe-to-toe with an over-cologned Russian in the middle of Wilshire Boulevard (a man who became belligerent because I wouldn't drive through a crosswalk until a pedestrian fully made it across. Naturally, our unchecked male savageness led us to abandon our cars). And that wasn't even the craziest thing that happened today!!!! (Let's just say my day ended with a woman, her breasts fully exposed, yelling rape while tearing an envelope from my hands in a Ralph's parking lot. And let's just say that's how my day ended because that's REALLY how my day ended). I guess technically my day ended at my computer watching the dancing words.

Tomorrow, I'll read your magnum opus on God. Until then, bottoms up!

m said...

i wish there was some sort of format where you could write things and have people read them, but since we dont i am glad to be a little WHAT!?! and OMG! at what is inscribed here about your day.

and as penelope will attest, this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what i have to say about God. maybe not? but we can totally tease the threads out.

also 'unchecked male savageness' priceless.

Bruckner said...

I know, yesterday was nuts. And it is quite a story (I got winded from telling it to Officer Ruiz). I would like to blog about it, but my parents visit my blog. I don't want them to then worry about their son being targeted by elaborate con jobs on the mean godless streets of LA.

The whole course of events is certainly still contributing to my own insomnia (the roving gypsy couple in a menacing van could have found out where I live and be waiting for me to step outside of my apartment right now for all I know!!!). Anyway, I couldn't sleep tonight so I got up and decided to read your post (I figured it would be better to fill my mind with your spiritual words instead of letting the gypsies control my thoughts).

What this God discussion has made me realize is how little I actually give God a chance in my life. While I'm still not sure what to think, I will try to at least be more 'open' to God tomorrow, see how that works. Not that I'm expecting to be visited by angel or anything, but maybe making a conscious effort to reach out to God will produce some results. It's gotta be better than all the grudges, anger, hate, and anxiety that currently reside in my dark selfish heart.

Must try and fall asleep now.

m said...

so be it, bruckner. so be it.

also if you could describe the character of that day using 2 or 3 movies what would they have been?