Sunday, May 30, 2010

Confessions on Being Relevant

This was written on May 30th of 2009.  I don't know why I never published it; it's weighted, it's true.


Once upon a time, I prostituted my worship.

The covenant with God requires a full heart and no other idols.  But once upon a time, I chose to share the devotion of my heart with the world - no, not just the world.  I chose to take the gaze of my eyes off of my God to look at the expectations of man-pleasing churches.  I chose to verify my actions with second, third, fourth parties, instead of acting on behalf of His Word alone.

In the first decade of this century, a rising body of young adult believers began demanding "We need to tone down our Gospel." This popular trend declared that the zeal of the evangelistic church has damaged the name of Christianity, and that Christians nowadays need to be quiet and relevant and unitarian in order to reach this generation. So, I chose to take up the bitter and judgmental ranting sessions with fellow Christians, rather than unwaveringly boast about the Love and Truth laid out in black and white.

Once upon a time, I chose to be a relevant Christian.

I did not want people [aka, the Christian friends that I have / the people I know] to bash me for being radical, for being a Jesus freak, for being so forward with the Truth. Surely, to openly talk about loving Jesus, to bring out my Bible and read verses amidst a casual coffeehouse chillout, to suggest we stop what we are doing to pray and worship - this steps on people's toes. Oddly enough, doing this in front of a lot of other Christians makes them feel awkward.

I became a part of the relevant church because I did not want to be opposed. I wanted to stay liked. I wanted to be on everyone's good side.

But watering down my beliefs only made me unstable. And what good did I personally do to help the harvest by being a relevant Christian? Honestly? Did I bring people to the saving Love of Jesus by being relevant? No! The only thing that being a relevant Christian did was justify my lifestyle. It made it okay for me to indulge in the pleasures that the rest of society does. It made it acceptable for me to saturate myself into culture and all the glorified idols of self and infidelity and aesthetics. I did not expand the Kingdom by being relevant. It only made me able to stand beside the world, and look no different.

In the end, what will matter is the fruit. Do we pick our church because it will take us where we want to go, or are we really surrendered to where He wants us to go? Does what we do bear fruit?

I didn't bear any fruit. I wasn't a vessel that caused anybody to want to yearn for Christ. In fact, I didn't even bear fruit that edified myself. I was just another humanist with a God I could call on whenever I needed a boost. I wasn't sold out to Him. I didn't surrender everything, I didn't say He could have it all. Maybe He had my heart, but He didn't have my mind. He had my Sunday but He didn't have my Friday night. He had my closet prayer but He didn't have my sidewalk conversations. He had my journal entries but He didn't have my spoken words. He was my resting, but He wasn't in my dreaming. He had my communion, but not my covenant. He was my breathing, but He wasn't my living. He was my song, but He wasn't my worship. He was an idol, He was not my God.

My life is different now. I am in a relentless pursuit of Him. And it will cost me. If He took away my talent, my hands, my sight, my voice.. If He took away the people who are closest to my heart, if He asked me to stay single, if He told me to do the most radical things in the world, if He told me to love my neighbor, if He told me to say sorry, or even to forgive... these are all costly.  Like David said, I will not offer something to God that didn't cost me anything. This is going to cost me. But I am ready, and I am willing.

I am purging my life - not because of religious demand, but as a freewill offering to God..
"This is no sacrifice, here's my life."

I will never be the same.
I'm finally going to speak aloud.


currently watching: "Babel"

Monday, May 24, 2010

bread of adversity

Makes enough for one tired soul. Double the recipe if you've had personal intercessors that have scraped their knees in prayer for you. They deserve some reward.


1. In a golden bowl, mix equal parts of these dry ingredients:

  • frustration (can be substituted with anger, whichever one is more fierce)
  • pain/heartache
  • hopelessness

2. Gradually add blood-sweat-tears until it becomes cohesive. (BST can be homemade... or workmade. if you are out, ask Jesus to use some of His.)
3. Throw it onto a well-floured surface and beat the crap out of it until it forms a homogenous ball.
3a. If you find this process difficult, put the ball underneath the golden bowl, take a moment, and pause. Sigh. Yawn. Hum. Close your eyes. This will make it a bit more loving and cooperative.
4. Lightly smooth the golden bowl with the Oil of Gladness; return the dough into the bowl to make sure it is completely covered and saturated in the anointing.
5. Leave this madness and insanity alone for some time. Let it rise. Let your praises rise. Let your worship, gratitude, and affections rise. It'll seem like the dough is doubling in size, which it is.. but God's love is working in it. I promise. Don't freak out.
6. Punch the air out of it. Release. Let go. Exhale.
7. Turn your oven onto its hottest temperature. Put the dough in the center of the flame.
8. Bake until golden. Purely golden. Purely irresistible. Pure and holy.
9. Let it cool off in the peace and tranquility of God.
10. Smile. Enjoy the yummy goodness of the Lord.
11. Share.

Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; He rises to show you compassion.  For the LORD is a God of justice.  Blessed are those who wait for Him!  O people of Zion, you will weep no more.  How gracious He will be when you cry for help!  As soon as He hears, He will answer you.  Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying: "This is the way; walk in it."
-Isaiah 30.18-21



Currently listening: "You Are My Hope" from Holy by Matt Gilman/Cory Asbury

Saturday, May 15, 2010

for the moments of dreaming

we stopped asking ourselves, "wouldn't it be nice if we were older?"
because we're older now, a little wiser, a little stronger.
we're different now, a little braver, a little sharper.

our jokes are yet silly, while witty and sarcastic
our rhymes eliminated "you" + "too" and we converse with prose.
we stopped picking yellow dandelions and putting them in old glass jars,
we grow gardens with herbs and kale and peppers.

stick figures progressed to blueprints, and a piggy bank fueled an international cause
our puppy is wrinkly and lazy on the porch,
we look wrinkly, and only lazy on Saturday mornings.

we look wrinkly.
only a little.. if you look close, you say.
i like to believe you.
you're a lot wiser now.

and our younger dreams now look like furry stuffed animals that we pat on the head
and place in the corner of our twin bed,
inside a room painted with dandelion-yellow,
inside our aging mother's house.

we dreamt beautiful dreams.
of a large treehouse in a large tree, with a giant ladder and a giant tire swing
of flying bicycles with baskets full of blueberries and sweets
of desserts before dinner and dinner was pie
of rain when we're sleepy and sun when we're sunny

of marshmallow pillow fights and big red balloons,
of neverending sheets for our neverending fortresses
of running beside you and catching every rainbow
of loving forever and laughing right now

we dreamt beautiful dreams.

we put them inside a room.
we're a little bit older...

hand on the doorknob.

i don't want to close the door to this room, you can close it.
no, you close it.
but i can't.
i don't want to.
you don't have to
i don't think i will.

hand on the doorknob.

would you close the door?
you're hand is on the doorknob.
but would you close the door?
so why are we here?

to look at our childhood dreams.

wouldn't it be nice if we were younger?
we are young.

i like to believe you.
you're a lot wiser now.


God, that I would worship you with exuberance in the moments of dreaming, that in the appointed time of fulfillment, I would not forget my Maker.


currently listening: "Declaration of Dependence" by Kings of Convenience
currently reading: John 1-3