Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Passion: MIA

Passion - Boundless enthusiasm. Intense expression of emotion. Fervor. Compelling feelings. Outburst. Extravagant fondness.

We have lost it.

Or, at least, I haven't seen much of it in a while in the church, myself included.
Myself at the top of the list.

I see more passion for movies, sports teams and the opposite sex than I do for Christ.

What's interesting, is I know a lot of people who love the Lord. Who study His word, who wrestle with His principles. And yet, there does not seem to be a whole lot of


"David danced before the Lord with all his might ... 'I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes.'" 2 Samuel 6:14, 22

I had a college professor once who told me he thought the word "passion" had been overused and overdone.

This man was one of the least emotionally passionate men I have ever met. He is close to the most intellectual being I have ever encountered. Intellect is fine; it's good to challenge our intellect. We can even be passionate about intellectual things--even things of faith.

But not at the expense of Boundless enthusiasm. Intense expression of emotion. Fervor. Compelling feelings. Outburst. and Extravagant fondness.

It must be expressed through worship.

Psalm 150
Praise the Lord.
Praise God in His sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with tambourine and dancing,
praise him with the strings and flute,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Are we passionate about Christ? Do we have boundless enthusiasm? Do we express our fervor for the Lord as we are called to in Scripture? Do we dance, and sing, and make music for the Lord? Do we feel anything anymore? Are we moved to tears when presented with a description of our Lord?
Or have American Christians, in general, become so intellectual, so reserved, so un-demonstrative that we have neglected to do what David did--become undignified before the Lord. Have we forgotten passion? I desire

Boundless enthusiasm.
Intense expression of emotion. Fervor. Compelling feelings. Outburst. Extravagant fondness.

David was passionate in his worship, passionate in his anger, passionate in grief, passionate in his pursuit of God.

Ps 119:20 "My soul is consumed with longing for your laws at all times..."
Ps 119:81 "My soul faints with longing for your salvation..."
Ps 119:136 "Streams of tears flow from my eyes, for your law is not obeyed..."
Ps 101:1 "I will sing of your love and justice..."
Ps 60:1 "You have rejected us, O God, and burst forth upon us ...now restore us!"
Ps 119:120 "My flesh trembles in fear of you; I stand in awe of your laws..."
Ps 84:2 "My soul yearns, and even faints, for the Lord..."

It breaks my heart when I am with the body of Christ, and I sense almost no passion.

Friday, October 24, 2008

I AM Job.

I AM Job.
"The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised." Job 1:21
Gut wrenching pain to the depths of my being. Never before have such emotions racked my body, wreaking havoc on my soul, clouding my mind. Look at me--really look! Do you see? How can't you see? You see strength, you say. Resolve, determination, might.
Look again. Outward glimpses lie. Look closely and you'll see a heart that's barely beating, a mind that won't stop racing, emotions that rage savagely, doubts that clamor to overtake all and a faint hope that grows weaker by the day. Every morning is another crushing blow; every swollen belly a hit to mine; every baby a cutting reminder. Such depression I've never experienced---such intense anger I've never felt. Such pain ... I can hardly breathe.
Chaotic emotions, ever changing feelings, bitter dark thoughts, brief reprieves of hope and joy. The waiting, the wondering, the worrying ...which emotion will come next? Why am I crying? Why these tears? I don't even know--couldn't explain it if I tried. Raving lunacy; fury and sorrow. The rollercoaster of my life.
Silently I grieve, quietly I fret. My resolve evaporates more each day. My heart slows, hope wanes, memories fade, dreams die. Innocence gone, never again to be found. Overwhelming excitement will now be debilitating fear.
Tell me not to worry; tell me not to despair and I'll tell you of the gut wrenching pain to the depths of my soul.
I AM Job.
"and in all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing." Job 1:22

Originally written March 9, 2007
Re-posted in honor of grieving friends and my own continued emotionally taxing journey.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

My Heart is Aching

I am a HORRIBLE mother. Cat owner. Same difference.

I didn't notice my cat was missing for, like, many hours. I spotted some shredded carpet at the top of our basement stairs and thought, "Hm--why would the workmen who are finishing our basement have done this?" And then BAM--it hit me.

Where is Sheridan?

We often lose Sheridan because she is terrified of the men who are finishing our basement. They make many loud noises. And speak a language she doesn't understand. We'll usually find her in the guest room closet, nestled in the plastic of my wedding dresses. (no, that's not a typo. Long story.) If she's not there, she's often behind the master bathroom toilet, between the tub wall and our scale that rests there. If she's not there, well, then we start to panic, but usually find her under the couch in the living room, or on the top shelf of our closet.

She was none of those places today.

We remembered that for only the second time in her life (or, I guess, since the basement has had workers...so...) For only the second time in the past 3 weeks, she had ventured into the basement to explore the changes to her lair. Nicky explores down there whenever we let her, but Sheridan would usually watch warily from the landing of the steps.

Last night, she ventured down with us.

I thought I saw her run up, so I grabbed Nicky and we went upstairs. Closed the door. Went to bed.....and didn't realize that she never once pounced on our toes, walked on our heads, sat on our backs throughout the entire night. I simply didn't notice--not surprising. (Apparently, she sits on my head while I sleep and I don't wake up. I'm told this by my husband who barely sleeps.) Erik said he just thought, "Wow--it's sure nice that Sheridan isn't keeping me up."

I started to panic after realizing she must be trapped downstairs. That she had clawed at the door for hours, probably with Nicky meowing on the other side--the side of freedom. The only place she would be able to get away from the workers would be under the stairs, with all of our crap. So, we started pulling out suitcases, Christmas decor, summer clothes, and random baby gear that I got at a garage sale. We got a flashlight, and finally, after many minutes of peering and calling, we heard a faint "Meow?!"

We are horrible parents.

Sheridan is now cowering in the guest room closet, shielded from our view by the wedding dresses. She glares at us, and I can just sense her feeling of betrayal. She hates us right now. This is all compounded by the fact that she has a boyfriend who comes to visit, often late at night. We have to continuously scare said boyfriend away, because Sheridan gets so riled up, and they fight each other through the window. So, she is usually mournfully staring out the window, waiting for her Romeo to come visit her. Now our adolescent cat, will not only sullenly stare out the window ... I fear she will also pierce our hearts with her dagger-like stares of condemnation.

Our carpet, shredded now at the top of the stairs, will be a constant reminder of how horrible we truly are.

We locked our baby in the basement for an entire night. And if that wasn't enough, the workers were here today, cutting and nailing wood trim, from 11am til 3pm.

And she was cowering in the storage area, scared for her life!! My poor kitty cat.

The End.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

And we wonder?

Sometimes I've wondered why our teens today are so, well, less naive than I was.

And then I went to see Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist.

I don't wonder anymore.

What could be a cute plot, and is actually, was marred by the many not-so-hidden underlying themes. Themes that teach our adolescents that certain values are obsolete. As the comedic relief is a drunk senior girl, lost in NYC, and the ever-present gay sidekicks play a main role in the movie, the main characters propose, by their actions, that sex as high schoolers is normal, that the dating scene is something to get into around age 14, and that orgasming is something all senior girls should have done by now. It's no wonder that our teenagers today are confused about what is okay and what is not. Are there no boundaries anymore? Are there no standard values? No, because we live in a post-modern, post-Christian society. We live in a society where sex rules, lust lives strong, and many family values have gone by the wayside.

Now, I know this doesn't surprise anyone. I'm not saying anything new here. But here's my key question: How do we teach our youth strong Christian values--heck, forget Christian values, how about just plain old "respect yourself and set some boundaries" values--and still allow them to be introduced to what this world really is? As I think of becoming a parent, I know that I will not be able to, nor will I want to, shield my child from the things of our culture. My children, and children in general, need to be able to experience and begin to understand our culture for what it is, BUT, they need to be allowed to do this with a strong support system behind them to help guide them and answer questions as they arise.

I don't even begin to assume that I have the answers.

However, I do have insight that parents do not. Because I am young, and because I am not a parent, and because I work with youth, I am privy to many things. Things most parents would like to believe their precious children are not aware of, not doing, and not accepting as normal and okay. I promise to make as much of a difference as I can, but when I sit in a movie theater, surrounded by 13-17 year olds, all in their tight shirts, short skirts and saggy pants, I am reminded that there are a lot of teens who are not being influenced by someone with sound values. There are thousands of teens out there who watch Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist and assume drinking is funny, the gay lifestyle is normal, sex is purely physical, boundaries are non existent, and the goal in life is to satisfy any and all personal desires, no matter what the cost, spiritually, emotionally and physically.

And I used to wonder where teens were learning these things ... they learn some of it in movies, but I refuse to blame Hollywood. It all comes back to the parents. We cannot afford to allow our children to learn only from friends, magazines and movies. Parents and adults in our community must be committed to teaching our youth--to using the current cultural trends to facilitate discussions based on values and life choices.

The real devastating truth is this: parents might not even know, or they don't care. And that just makes me weep. Weep for the children who are being lured down a dangerous path, with no parental or adult guidance--because why?

Because we either don't care, don't know, or think we can't make a difference.