Advent, awakening, worship

Catching Up on Advent

“I am so, very behind.”

For many of us, this can become as constant of a mantra as, “I’m so busy,” or “I can’t believe it’s already Christmastime,” or “I have so much to do.”

When we say things over and over again, they tend to become true, even if they don’t start out that way.

Regardless, I feel behind. And this, in fact, is true as it relates to the Advent season. The second Sunday of Advent has come and gone, and I have yet to really enter into this time intentionally. Well, that is, until today. And I believe there is some purpose behind it.

Fr. Richard Rohr has written a wonderful little book called “Preparing for Christmas: Daily Meditations for Advent”. I highly recommend you get it on Amazon here. I decided to pick it up for the first time this morning and try to catch up on the readings. And I am glad I did, because it brought together my entire Sunday experience: all bound up in the word “Hope”.

It was this passage that got me.

‘Come, Lord Jesus,’ the Advent mantra, means that all of Christian history has to live out of a kind of deliberate emptiness, a kind of chosen non-fulfillment. Perfect fullness is always to come, and we do not need to demand it now…When we demand satisfaction of one another, when we demand any completion to history on our terms, when we demand that our anxiety or any dissatisfaction be taken away, saying as it were, “Why weren’t you this for me? Why didn’t life do that for me?” we are refusing to say, “Come, Lord Jesus.” We are refusing to hold out for the full picture that is always given by God. “Come, Lord Jesus” is a leap into the kind of freedom and surrender that is rightly called the virtue of hope. The theological virtue of hope is the patient and trustful willingness to live without closure, without resolution, and still be content and even happy because our Satisfaction is now at another level, and our Source is beyond ourselves…’Come, Lord Jesus’ is not a cry of desperation but an assured shout of cosmic hope.” (emphasis mine)

So, here’s to learning contentment in the midst our unresolved, fragmented, and often confusing lives.

What does it look like for you to hold to hope?

I encourage you to also read Jeremiah 33:14-16 and Luke 1:5-25.

awakening, church, city, Musings, Suffering

Suffering | Two Quotes

I’ve had some conversations with friends about the concept of suffering. This is a great mental exercise until you actually have to go through it, and then…well…it’s pretty terrible.
I would love your thoughts or experiences on this issue as it relates to the following quotes:
Two quotes:
The first is from a very conservative professor that I had. He said some pretty quotable stuff (i.e. at the end of class, he said the following: “‎If God spares the United States of America, he will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah. Be safe.”)–but that’s not the quote I want to focus on…it’s this:
If you have never shaken your fist at the sky, do not covet the experience; it will come. Never look into the eyes of someone suffering and say “God has a reason” or “Someday you will understand”. Both are lies. It is a grave invitation to offer comfort that is not true. The Lord comforts those who are in pain, but he does not do it through deception. The answer to human suffering is that there are no answers. We are not going to understand. The result of living in a fallen world where everyone dies.”
And the second:
“The truth that many people never understand, until it is too late, is that the more you try to avoid suffering the more you suffer because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you in proportion to your fear of being hurt.”
— Thomas Merton
awakening, Musings

Why I Had to Kill Netflix

I had to kill Netflix.


2 words: Battlestar Galactica.

Now, before you go being all anti-sci-fi judgy on me, hear me out.

Battlestar Galactica is one of the best sci-fi series I have ever seen. And I have seen a lot. It has a great social-commentary subtext to it that I really enjoyed. And I kept wanting to see more episodes.

And that’s the problem. It sucked me in. And rather than me having a Lost-like addiction which went on for years, I was able to watch the entire catalog of the Battlestar re-boot in a matter of weeks. Which meant there were some days that it was all I did (seriously, all I did). It was like this episode of Portlandia. (this is hauntingly close!)

And it was killing me. Because I was totally wasting my time. And it wasn’t filling at all.

Because I have learned something about what does fill me: creating. I feel most alive and most filled when I am making something: writing, making music, planning something…it fills me up.

So all the time that I should have been using to create, to write, to use my gifts…I was using to find out who was a cylon-robot.

Now, I sometimes feel fullness when I am appreciating what is created. But..not as much. Which is why I am not compelled to tell all of you to do the same thing I did with Netflix (and other reasons, like..I’m not your dad). My personality is different. Some of you can watch an episode of Downtown Abbey and not have to watch the entire season. I can’t.

So, I pray that you are able to find those things that fill you and stay away from things that you think will, but won’t at all.

Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” 

Sometimes you have to kill something before it kills you.