Sunday, November 16, 2014

You are...

When you wake up in the morning and everything is gone, you are loved. When you fall asleep at night and smile at the good day that passed, you are loved. When normality drills a hole into your skull because you are bored, you are loved. You are loved. The cross stands permanently accepting you as you are. If you are like me, if you have heard the story all of your life, it can feel old. Yes, I know, Christ died for me but what about NOW?
Will you step back with me a moment, into a vortex of time, or into a vortex that takes you out of this current reality?
Imagine that you can see God in creation. Do you see, there: Man was made in God’s image with the ability to feel, reason, a sense of morality. There are Adam’s arms, his legs, his full body. Good. No, very good. Then woman appeared, so that man might not be alone. Good.
You are loved, personally, for you. If God is going to hold you personally accountable for your actions does it not make sense that He will also love you and want you personally? Why else would He care?
He made you. He made you finite, with limitations and skin and energy levels. He made you with a unique bent in personality; be that towards art, towards children, towards laughter, or quiet. He made you with the ways that you react and respond to life.
And then they were distorted.
When Adam and Eve sinned, distortions came in and messed up your completeness; your sense of wholeness. You were covered in guilt (be it when you first sinned, or by inheritance, you were covered in guilt and there wasn’t anything you could do about it). But still, you were loved. God did not abandon humans but over and over again as a race He has pursued us, from accepting Abel’s sacrifice to pursuing the Israelites, to the god-man on a cross.
And when the grave became empty, then you became whole and when earth was left without it’s human likeness of God, His spirit  came inside. If you have accepted Christ, you are a new creation. Your name is redeemed, holy, righteous. While you are still sinner, you are only sinner because you sin. And yes, you do still sin. Don’t  just stop when you see it and say “I’ll do better” because sometimes even morality can simply be a disguise of our disgrace. You are loved. You are loved, even when you hit God’s gag-reflex in sin.

You are loved as you are. Distorted image and redeemed image. You were created, distorted, and are accepted. And there is a side of you, an ideal picture of what could have been, and what will be. The perfect image of God. Pieces of it still sneak out on occasion, and in the process of sanctification those occasions grow in frequency. You are loved, not “when,” not “if,” but “now.” Why? Because God made you like He wanted, and He’s not about to desert you. You may be overly talkative, but God gave you words. You may be quiet and withdrawn, but God gave you a sense of hesitancy and caution. You may find yourself in the same sin, the same addiction over and over again. Change may not feel possible. You are accepted. Period. After the period, after that truth, change may be possible but sometimes I think we miss the point. Growth does not give value. Even seeking growth won’t. You are loved. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Good Writing

The mistake of strong writing is this: it is good. Too good. Constantly good. The mistake of good writing is that it causes you to ask questions, thousands of questions, without trusting any answers. In other words, the problem with good writing is that it is constantly causing a writer to doubt. The problem with good writing is that it is revised over and over and over again until the heart has been removed. Or maybe not the heart, but without a doubt any of the flaws, leaving the reader in awe of the person who can “just write.” And if you can just write, and have no mistakes then you teach me nothing about life because in life I make a million mistakes every day and people have to sort through all the typos and through all of the contradictions in a person’s live to see his or her heart. You see, I just contradicted myself. Good writing, strong logic, doesn't do that, but I just did. I did, and probably before I’m done pushing buttons on my computer I will do it again. It’s not unlikely. That’s another thing life is that good writing is not: repetitive. Most humans are not Anne Shirley, I cannot tell you the number of times that I have made the same mistake, faced the same dilemmas, heard the same words from friends. Life is full of repetition, but good writing eliminates repeated words (unless we repeat the words on purpose, like a prayer said every morning). Or, good writing is often free of parentheticals and yet life seems to be full of them: life and time itself is a parenthetical sitting in the middle of eternity. Eternity, that is another reason why life doesn't quite fit under the mold of good writing. Life, even in time, sits inside of something eternal: good writing begins clearly and ends clearly. A good chapter has a good beginning and yet we rarely seem to look big enough to see the book of time in eternity, and look at the continuity between the creation of the world and the re-creation.
Re-creation, writing is re-creation, perhaps that is why even when you write drafts over and over to show a broken world, it still romanticizes it: because writing is a recreation. If I really wanted you to understand why I am writing I will go back and revise it, at least once, rewording a sentence so that it will stick in your head like a photograph of a sunrise. Which is another reminder of beginning and endings: did you ever notice how we do have book markers to the day but we never stop to see them, or mark them or we rarely stop to see both of them, and so we complain that the days go on and on in a single stream with the same repeats without seeing the repetitions that were meant to be there, meant to be said again.

Writing is re-writing: trying again, and yet when you write in life the first mistake you made will not disappear. But at the same time: grace is revision. No matter how many times you write it, grace will come back to it, and give the words another chance to say it another way as it brushes through the words just the way they are.