Home is Where You Should Fit in Your Skin


I grew up in a family that grew into Jesus
At around the same time I did.
In a lot of ways, they are probably
The strongest Christians I know
Though we all have our faults
And we would be the first to admit that
Our faults:
They’re the things that make us human
And show our real skin
We are the church not in the
Formed from a mold off the assembly line
Kind of way

Our convictions were not mass-produced
You can see it in the way the don’t fit
Quite friendly into the seats
In the church I was baptized in
That I baptized my brother in
That my sister was baptized in

And we’ve seen this response
From people before
In other buildings, in other
Worship centers
With coffee cups and
The same unbearable
Contemporary music that all sounds the same

Words cannot describe how much
I want to punch David Crowder in the throat.

The Bible tells us
The church was built on outcasts
And every day, normal people
So, maybe if my experiences
Had been a little difference I might be willing
To cut some people a little slack

Believe me
We’ve all tried to show some grace
To the people who have said mean,
Offensive, bigoted things
Behind the back and to the face
And my parents come to me
For words of wisdom on how to handle
Not feeling comfortable in their own skin
In the place where all should be welcome
And we are all gracious around sin

God, damn those people
Who make my mother feel small,
My father apathetic,
You didn’t make them this way
So what gives your followers
The right to do it?

You, in your wisdom have adjusted me
With a very high-strung sense of right or wrong
Think trip-wire, or claymore mine
Add to the tension,
Hope you live to regret it
And I can’t be kind anymore.

I refuse to swallow one more bitter pill
In the attitude of “truth with love”
Because that is a set of bald tires
With a nail in the wall
It’s easier to overwhelm and sabotage
Then listen to anything at all
That might mean you’re espousing hate
And you’ve put my family deeply centered in the crosshair

Church, I have grown tired of your abuse
You’re a whore, I know this
And I’m supposed to love you
Which is hard
For someone who has never really
Understood love fully
And lost the only person who could really
Explain it in a way that made sense

You wonder why I’m angry.
Call it hate, call it intolerance,
I don’t really give a flying fuck anymore.
Thought I lacked a filter?
Well, the censors are out
Of the office for a while until my nerves settle

“Oh, but we need unity in the church,”
Then start being more like real Jesus
And less like the one you get from talking heads
Because blessed are those who
Don’t put people’a lives on chopping blocks
For gender, race, socioeconomic status,
RELIGION,
WHY DO YOU HATE PEOPLE
OF DIFFERENT FAITHS?
IS IT BECAUSE THEY’RE MORE FAITHFUL THAN YOU?

You are your brother’s keeper
That’s what I believe and that’s
What drives me every day
While others declare war on culture
They haven’t even taken the time to understand

My parents are braver and bigger than I
At least they’re willing to go back
Because I’m the one who reaps the whirlwind
On purpose; I stand for them of my own accord.
I haven’t been with you, church,
Longer than I can remember
But there’s no baby with that bath water

My struggle is in finding the answer to the question:
Is it possible to ever go home again

On the Church


Today I grieve beyond measure as I see the horrors unfold within my country. I have been asking myself, “Have I been asleep this whole time? Am I only now awakening to the evil and hate people are willing to inflict on others in the name of an assumed superiority based on race, religion, sexual orientation, and gender? I thought myself fairly well-educated about the hatred people were capable of but I look at the reported acts of violence, the racial slurs, and the rhetoric being spewed forth by people who are supposed to be the salt and light, the hands and feet of their savior and I am appalled, distraught, and dismayed at the reports of their actions.

To the church: you have made it very hard for me to love you. You have proliferated so much of what is now a national phenomenon of hate, discrimination, and contention that I have been content to stay in my apartment and just ponder how anyone who believes the Bible, the teachings of Jesus and the Saints, can be capable of ripping off a Muslim woman’s hajib and telling her to put it around her neck and hang her with it or leaving a note for someone in the LGBTQ community that they’re going to burn in hell. The spirit of God is not in you. Don’t hide behind God as justifications for your actions or your hate.

It’s hard to know where to belong now. I have felt a great alienation from the church because of the unfortunate ties to conservatism which, to me, is a tradition that needs to be broken and fast. Conservatism in a lot of respects is regressive to the message of Christ because, in my experience, it drives people to policy and platforms that serve individualistic purposes. I die a little inside every time I hear someone say, “Why should I have to pay for X with my tax money.” To me that is tantamount to Cain asking, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” In case you weren’t aware, I’m a registered Independent, Progressive Liberal with bent towards Socialism. I know absolutely no one in the church who would agree with my stances and that’s fine. This has also made me a target for the contingent of conservatives in my home church on more than one occasion and I do not take my stances on anything with a grain of salt or without thorough research.

It’s heartbreaking to love someone who can’t accept you for who you are. It’s impossible when it’s somewhere you should belong.

I’ve tried. I’ve tried so hard not to give up on the church but recent events have seriously made me rethink my stance on this. Is this the straw that broke thee camel’s back? I don’t know yet. I need more time to think. For every act of hatred, for every bit of invective released from the mouths and hearts of people who call themselves followers of Christ, my willingness to engage and be part of the body corporate becomes less and less. We all know the church is a whore but now she has turned to a whore who sold herself for the lowest bid and the highest risk: hate. The church has become a pack of murderers in their hearts and I don’t know what to do despite not wanting to just stand back and watch the whole show as our country is setting itself up to burn.

My shoulders are heavy with sorrow. I am all raw, exposed nerve and I’m doing my best to find a way to heal this. It’s not supposed to be like this.

It’s not supposed to be like this.

Preacher Propaganda

Yep

“The mass media serve as a system for communicating messages and symbols to the general populace. It is their function to amuse, entertain, and inform, and to inculcate individuals with the values, beliefs, and codes of behavior that will integrate them into the institutional structures of the larger society. In a world of concentrated wealth and major conflicts of class interest, to fulfil this role requires systematic propaganda.”
Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media

I have a love/hate relation ship with social media which, invariably, bleeds into my love/hate relationship for news media. However, sites, like Facebook, give me easier access to the news stories from the sources I trust more than most all in one place. It’s so hard to type in all the different URL’s or risk navigating away from the page I’m on. So, in my feed, I get to see updated news stories from The Young Turks, Al Jazeera America, Vice News, TED talks, and various bloggers whom I resonate with. There is, unfortunately, a few various downsides to this influx of information and the ability to share it.

Eventually, your friends will post something you don’t agree with or a news story that is obviously biased from the far right to the point of being absurd (like Fox News!). Don’t get me wrong; I love my conservative friends. On top of being really great people, they also give me a point of view to check my ego and my stances against. For someone as opinionated and skeptical of news sources as I, that’s a really good thing to have. I still think they’re wrong most of the time, though.

Once in a great while, though, something will come along that will inflame my sensibilities so much I can’t help but react. Granted, it’s a huge waste of my time, ability, and intelligence to argue with someone over the internet but there are a few things I cannot abide. Some of my more infamous “conversations” lately have been over open carry, concealed carry, and things as recent as the defunding of planned parenthood. Things get pretty heated sometimes but I’ve learned to step away when it just turns into a game of rochamebeau.

Recently, there was a clip of megachurch pastor Matt Chandler from The Village Church going on a six minute tirade calling abortion murder and seemingly vilifying anyone who would consider such a decision. I was floored at first because it was just so vicious and vitriolic I felt sick. There was an ache in my chest because it didn’t feel right; there was something missing from the message. Here’s the clip I saw:

Granted, there is plenty of what he says that is true and good information. But, as I said, it’s missing something. Questions started popping up in my head, the greatest of which was, “How does this message exalt and explain the love of Christ to someone who has made the choice to abort a pregnancy in her past? The size of his congregation matched with the statistics of abortions in the us guarantees there is someone like that sitting in a chair in that building or in one of the satellite locations around the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. This seemed like the kind of actions I’d expect from Fundamentalist nut jobs like Steven Anderson in Tempe, AZ.

Then I saw who was pushing the message out. One of the big ones was the Gospel Coalition, a group of people who are ardently trying to spread the Gospel, acting as a resource for church plants and pastors. I’ve had my issues with the tactics of this group before, mostly because their council includes the culturally inept and John Calvin worshiping Jon Piper and, up until his forced resignation, the browbeating tough guy pastor Mark Driscoll. When I saw they had posted this six minute clip, I started to put the pieces together.

I realized I was being fed propaganda to support the agenda of the religious right as a means of fortifying the anti-abortion stance for all those who would take what they were fed without thought. Don’t get me wrong. I believe life begins at conception and abortion is not a means of birth control; actions still have consequences though I may vote pro-choice. Just like things like drugs, alcohol, or firearms, if you make them illegal people will find other, and usually more dangerous, means of obtaining whatever it is they want. It’s a tragedy that a baby’s life is ended before it has the chance to see the outside of the womb, but it’s even more tragic when the mother dies as well because of inadequate training, equipment, or sterility of environment because she had to resort to some backroom clinic. All life is equally sacred which, incidentally, why I’m against the death penalty. I’m pro-life in the cradle-to-grave by conviction as well. If that’s inconsistent to you, too bad.

So, I did some looking into this particular message because I knew there had to be more to the sermon than what felt like stereotypical angry Christian rhetoric. I found video of the entire sermon, found the point where Matt goes off in the six minute clip then found something interesting at the 30:49 mark:

There! That was the Gospel truth and the compassion I was expecting and was not seeing in this clip that was being exalted by a bunch of my Christian friends. There was truth to that small snippet but, in a sermon that’s 50 minutes long, the message is lost and all you see is the righteous anger which just comes off as shaming when it’s not bookended with compassion in love. Like it says in Ephesians 4:13-16 [ESV]:

…until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood,[e] to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather,speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped,when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

This propaganda put forth by whomever thought six minutes of shaming people for the sins they committed, likely a Christian, seems to have forgotten this. That and the importance of context in media of any kind. It seems to me like an intentional act to bolster the stance of those who are violently pro-life. I’m a firm believer in the church getting involved in stopping abortion but not through blind faithfulness to a situation they’ve never had to experience. What a lot of people don’t realize the effect of content like this presented to the wrong person is dangerous not only to the souls of those who know what it’s like to make that decision to terminate a pregnancy but, presented to the wrong mind, can result in disastrous consequences and is as dangerous as any firearm:

A woman who bombed an abortion clinic called the police. She gives her reasons for what she did:

Before I got married, I got pregnant. Everyone told me that a fetus was just a little shapeless blob anyway, so I got an abortion.

Then, after it was too late, a friend gave me some literature one day showing how the baby developed at different stages. I never realized at that stage, a fetus is so much a baby that some of them have been born at that point and LIVED!

Well, you cannot imagine what that did to me, knowing I had not just had an “unwanted intra-uterine growth “removed” but had KILLED my baby! It just about ruined my life. Even today, several years later, I lay awake at night sometimes crying about it.

So maybe you can understand my reasons for doing what I did.”

Leonard Stern “Abortion Wars” The Ottawa Citizen Sun 28 May 2000

I guess the lesson in all of this is to be careful what you consume and be as skeptical as possible when presented with any kind of clip strongly supporting any stance. Do your research and save yourself from looking like a fool or, in this case, a woman-shaming misogynist. Remember everyone as an agenda, especially the church and that agenda runs the spectrum of far right to  far left just like politics which is really sickening when you think about it. We, as the church, could be doing so much to be part of the solution but the majority of us are ardently stuck, and okay with, being part of the problem by approaching problems with their mouth instead of their heart.

Jesus never resorted to violence. Why? Because, if he did, he would not have been offering anything new.

No Struggle, No Progress

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There has been a lot of change and a lot of talk of change in my life as of late. If you know me well you know I don’t embrace change. In fact, it’s usually something I try to keep at arms’ length if not further for as long as possible. That’s the anxiety talking and it’s got a voice like an M80 in a closed fist. I’ve talked in the past about how I will not allowed myself be defined by my various maladies and health issues. Most recently, I have embraced myself enough to recognize the rut I was in. I read a great quote somewhere that goes, “You can be in a rut. Just don’t decorate.” So, with the anxiety slowly sizzling in the back of my mind I moved towards some change.

This may not seem like much but it’s a big set for me. And this step has actually fueled the other movement in my life towards something new and different, even if it isn’t what I had planned. Man makes plans, God laughs you know.

My plans to go to school in California has been essentially removed from the table at the moment and I can’t say I’m entirely disappointed. Yes, I would love to move to California but the rejection letters haven’t disappointed me as much as I thought they would have. Deep down, I think it was just a way to escape. Escapism is a pet peeve of mine only because I’ve seen it used too many time to outrun problems that require direct address. I guess that’s what I lowered my head and ran head first against recently.

I have since left the church I’ve been attending for six or seven years. There were various reasons, none of which I really feel like airing out here. Those that need to know have been made aware from what I understand. On the suggestion of my parents and my little brother I went to a church near Midtown Omaha. The culture shift as well as the soul shift I felt just being there was as if someone had uncaged something long since left dormant. My therapist pointed out I hadn’t really talked about feeling like a part of a community for quite some time. So much felt right almost immediately, like someone had plugged me into an electrical socket for the first time in forever.

Since then, I have applied for a new job. I was invited to an open house (read: party) at their office and I met a lot of really cool people and ran into some old friends in the process. It was so much more of a relaxed environment. So, I’m praying this job comes through and it pays as much, if not a little more than I make now. It will still be a couple weeks until interviews from what I understand. But I’m patient.

I’ve also gone back to the gym, or been trying to, at least. I haven’t done lifts like the ones I’ve been doing for over a decade. I gave myself dead-legs after doing barbell squats. I couldn’t go from sitting to standing without bracing myself against something for about a week. I’ve since been back and I’m only a little sore. I’m doing alright. I love the iron.

Life seems to be gaining some momentum for me for the first time in a couple of years. I’ve been more or less drifting, trying to figure out what to do with myself. What I discovered about myself is I have to untangle the knots in my life and figure out what’s holding me back or down and try to move away from it. It’s like people and boundaries. You keep the drama at a distance and only keep close the things that are healthy, energizing, and evolution triggers.

I saw a set of eyes my first time at my new church and I kept seeing them. It triggered something in me I couldn’t put my finger on. I’m extremely perceptive and empathic. But this was like someone flipping a switch in my chest that appeared to do nothing even though I know it was connecteed to and turned on something, somewhere. I’ve been trying to breathe through that and try not to obssess. A day at a time is about all I can take anymore.

Still, there are times when I am incapable of being happy for people. My little brother got his first girlfriend. She’s cool. But it always comes back to me. I remember my past and how screwed up it has been. I contemplate how it can be so easy for some but then I remember it takes a very special breed of woman to handle all that comes with me. I don’t know.

I feel 24 at the age of 29. More and more I’m agreeing with the satement, “Age is just a number.” I’m somehow nearing 30 when I don’t even feel like I’ve hit 25. My options are wide open and I’ve nothing to hold me down or deter me from doing whatever I want. Maybe that’s the freedom I need right now; freedom God has given me to figure out the questions I’ve been asking. I’m hitting an environment now I may be able to do that healthily.

I can only hope.

Church. Family.

I don’t know how long this post is going to be but I thought I would share this moment because it was probably one of the most beautiful experiences I’ve ever had in my church aside from watching friends get baptized.

I love my church, first of all. It is one of the only churches I have attended (and I’ve been to a few) where I feel like I have a family there. I feel like I belong. Since I came back from my hiatus caused by my health issues I’ve had hugs, pats on the back and all sorts of other stuff. People have expressed their sentiments about how happy they are to see me back. Most of them were aware of some of the problems but that was enough and it was like being welcomed back home.

There are a lot of people I’ve become friends with over the last few years. We don’t have a lot of what you would dub “Normal” people in our church which is entirely fine with me. I’ve made friends with a lot of the people that were like me when they were younger but due to jobs or just growing up they decided to shed their garb for more normal clothing, families, children and such.

Today we prayed for a family that have become good friends since they started attending. They’re an Air Force family and the husband is still active. He’s being deployed for a few months which I could already tell was going to be hard on his wife and I’m sure his young daughter was going to miss her father.

So, our pastor called them up and asked every one to gather around them. And the entire congregation got up and surrounded them as we prayed for them. I was able to take a spot right behind both of them. Being their friends that seemed important to me for some reason. But it was just wonderful to see our entire congregation, though small, rally around a family as they approach this difficult time.

There were so many hands on my back and on my shoulders as not everyone could lay hands on them it was incredible. When it was all over, I looked up to see my pastor and best friend and all he could say was:

“That is how you do church”

Ecclesia

August 12, 2012

I stepped into church for the first time in two months today.

There was probably a time where if you would have asked me whether or not I would have missed that much church ever I probably would have told you there would be no way. Well, I did. For the reason of sleep I missed two months worth of church services at my home church that’s not 3 miles from my house.

In a strange way I didn’t miss it.

I think I missed it for all the wrong reasons. These are things that are somewhat important but maybe not the only reason to go to church. I have a lot of friends there and I have quite a bit of history there in the three or so years I’ve been attending. So, there were people there I missed seeing since I didn’t see them outside of church. Just like anywhere that you establish a network of friends you are going to be missed and, if your life is as bereft of social activity as mine, it’s about the only place outside of work I get to see people that aren’t my family.

I missed being cared about on a large scale like that. So many people whom I hadn’t seen since the last time I was there came up to me or said “hi”. My church isn’t that big so it’s hard for people to not know who you are and what’s going on in your life. It also doesn’t help that the pastor is one of your best friends.

I’ve got a lot of moms at my church. Not necessarily older women but people who have kids of their own who are my friends but can’t help but mother hen me just a little bit. Being a bit of a mama’s boy, having someone treat you like their kid is welcome every now and again. There are also men who are there like fathers. One of our elders is usually out greeting and he didn’t wait for me to get to the door. He walked out to me and, foregoing our usual firm handshake, he gave me a hug and told me it was good to see me.

Maybe it’s not the wrong reasons. Maybe it’s the right reasons for today.

I don’t remember what the sermon was about except there was something in there about delighting in Christ and the passage was out of James. I honestly didn’t miss the sermon or the worship so much. I realize I’ve spent the last two months either tired or miserable and almost all that time by myself it made me realize that today was probably supposed to be more about the people and the friendships and actually being relational at a level I haven’t been in a long time.

And now I wonder to myself if my hiatus from people, my fast and short trip through hell with (legal) drug withdrawals weren’t meant to sort of reset the part of me that gauges my social activity and adjust my energy level accordingly. I don’t know. There have been so many questions since I stopped taking Seroquel that every facet of my life I newly approach elicits one or two new questions.

Someday, I’ll get answers.

Reflections of a Church Planting Intern: Week 4

In my my unplanned post Friday evening I referenced my feelings of being rest-less. That is not to say that I was feeling some dis-ease but that I was feeling like I was going days without sleep. This was happening no matter the amount of time I slept or what time I went to bed that night. It just felt like I’d get to places I need to be and would want to curl up in a ball and nap right there on the floor. What I hypothesized and sort of proved myself right about was the amount of real rest I was getting. That is, I was not unplugging from people completely for spans of time to allow myself to recharge. I have since done that and feel like I have recovered quite a little from that exhaustion that plagued me. I’ve hidden in my office and my bedroom for a while and I got about 12 hours of sleep last night.

I’m feeling a little better.

This past week the theme and topic of discussion was leadership. From “go” we knew that it seemed like a waste or just somewhat ridiculous to talk about leadership. I’m used to that kind of talk, myself, from almost 7 years in the teleservices/customer service industry and all of that in a corporate environment. So, as we began to talk I think i started to import my attitude about those kinds of discussions and it was really hard for me to see what was in front of me as a topic at times that compounded with some serious fluctuations in my mood that I could not pin down. It’s usually something I can work through or ignore but that got to be pretty difficult this week and I really wish it hadn’t taken me until Friday to figure out my problem.

We did have some really good discussions though. A lot of it centered around the providential failure of Ben’s copy of some of Erwin McManus’ sermons on DVD. We were supposed to watch “The Barbarian Way” but the DVD would not yield anything up except for one called “Character Matrix”. I refer to this as providential because the content of this particular sermon was, as Ben even said, far more applicable to the topic of leadership. I remember a few things from it that really stuck out to me. One was that one of the key components to being a leader is integrity. Integrity is born out of a combination of humility and servanthood. He also talked about courage and how it’s important that a leader have courage. But McManus was convinced that courage was not how people had stereotyped it because it is not really the absence of fear.

It’s the absence of self.

The gravity of that statement nearly pulled me out of my chair. Why? Because of its implications. Fear is something I’m pretty familiar with. Sometimes I feel I have almost an agoraphobic response to a lot of social situations and even some not so. That kind of anxious response makes me wonder sometimes if I’m just a big coward. What strikes me then as crazy is the times when I need to push through it I literally just step over such things without much regard to that feeling in the pit of my stomach that screams, “No”. The missions trips I’ve been on, the service projects I’ve done have all been a conquering of some kind of fear but the reason I was able to step into those situations was that I was more concerned about the project or the people than I was of my own reservations about the whole thing. Fear is an obstacle but rarely an option for me in those situations and so I just go.

There was something else McManus said that was kind of interesting and it became a topic of discussion because I really had to think about it. He talked about how, in the church, we choose our leaders not based on integrity but based on a 30 minute presentation. As much as I would like to believe that so much isn’t the case I have to say that, as I have seen, that seems to be how things play themselves out. But then I asked myself how you would go about avoiding that sort of process in hiring a new leader. In our case, we lose leaders much more often to moral failures than we do anything else it would seem. In the case of a pastor giving up his role in the ministry for retirement or other opportunities I can definitely see allowing for more time, thought and prayer into the whole process. When the pastor has to be fired or resigns due to moral failure I think, then, you have a problem.

Where an expedient decision must be made sometimes I wonder how much gets lost in the shuffle. The problem then becomes how do you hire someone quickly. Then how do you compensate for whatever failure the previous pastor had? After a lot of thought I have decidedly thought that there is no right answer to that question. And you can’t take the time to analyze integrity so you must then fall back on the resumé to determine who is actually right for the job. And, to me, that is probably more stressful and difficult than I would like to think about right now. I think I’ll jump off that bridge when I come to it.

And now for something completely different.

Last week was mostly, if not completely, focused on writing a sermon and getting it prepared in a lot of different ways. Because of the fact that I was preaching in a church where the only people I knew were the pastor and his wife the message was somewhat impersonal. Not that I didn’t care for the people but I didn’t know what their needs were so I went pretty broad and it seemed to work okay. What you should probably know about me is that in any engagement like this where I get to talk about God and the Bible my prayer is that it strikes just one person right and that’s really all I ever selfishly ask for. So, when someone told me as I was about to hit the door that it was exactly what they needed to hear and then hearing later that she had told the pastor’s wife the exact same thing I was satisfied that God had worked through me and that was sufficient.

But the camera zoomed out and the picture got a lot bigger.

So it turns out I was completely unaware that for the first time in a long time someone and his girlfriend had come to church. The someone was a son of one of the congregation members and he and I had some common ties. They spoke with and then met with Jon later and he basically told me that as many connections as there were yet how random the event seemed that it was really difficult not to see God at work. It made him tear up which floored me because Jon doesn’t strike me as much of a crier. But I was left without words. I think of the odds. What are they that I should show up on the one Sunday when this couple decides to come to a church pastored by a friend of mine. Especially when this person is connected to some people I live with. And then put the location of this event about 90 minutes from where I live.

Wow.

And so I reel from that.

At the same time I have begun to think about my friends more and more. There are some people I consider friends whom I’ve not spoken to in a long time. Some of them, I think, gave up on me because I’m busy and so are they. Others live far away and so it’s really hard for us to communicate some times. And what’s really been boiling inside my brain is how I really feel about people and friends. This can of insanity has been open for quite some time but, admittedly, it takes a while for me to process. Especially when it comes to things at an emotional level. There’s a lot of mess to work through because my emotions aren’t entirely reliable sometimes. What I’ve discovered is that I do not have a difficult time loving people but I do have a really hard time telling people that I do.

I don’t want to blame my family but that’s just how things were when I was raised. It’s not that we didn’t love as a family but we did it through action and a lot of that still plays out today not just in the family dynamic but in the way we treat other people as well. So, when I had a friend tell me they loved me last year my brain seized and I found difficulty reacting. That three word phrase is something I have struggled with mostly because of having been desensitized to it and seeing that same desensitization in others. To me it was as if a lot of people use it without actually meaning it and that phrase carries so much weight that it shouldn’t be tossed around mindlessly. But sometimes that phrase is the closest thing I can get to accurately describing how I feel about a person. I know people I would do anything for, drop everything for, and fight anything for. And those same people are the ones kind of pushing this phrase into my head either by word or by deed.

I guess I have to blame Ben because this is where it all started. I told him all the stuff and more like what I’ve said above a while back and he seemed a bit saddened by it. I’m assuming he told his wife because she made it a point to say, “I love you” as I was leaving their house one night. And since then she’s made it a point of showing me what that looks like until I could actually say it back and not feel weird and actually mean it.

It’s a process. Much like a lot of things.

But when I find a friend worth holding onto I still find it difficult to tell them the importance of their presence in my life. I value a lot of people but I don’t tell them because I think part of me is still holding on to that idea that they’ll see it in my actions. What I’ve learned about myself is that my actions suck. I also find it ironic that I have such an attachment to words and yet I have this trepidation about using them in certain situations. Though I have friends that I do tell that I love them when I feel it necessary I am still trying to overcome this.

And so God continues to work.

Music
Iron & Wine – “The Shepherd’s Dog”
KT Tunstall – “Eye to the Telescope”
P.O.S. – “Never Better”
Astronautalis – “The Mighty Ocean & Nine Dark Theaters”
Brzowski – “MaryShelleyOverdrive”
City & Colour – “Little Hell”
Joy Division – “Substance 1977-1980”
Rancid – “Let the Dominoes Fall”
Third Eye Blind – S/T
VNV Nation – “Empires”
War of Ages – “Eternal”
American Head Charge – “Trepanation”
American Head Charge – “War of Art”
American Head Charge – “The Feeding”
Greg Graffin – “American Lesion”
Neurosis – “Through Silver & Blood”
B. Dolan – “Fallen House, Sunken City”

Movies
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: The Secret of the Ooze
Gone in 60 Seconds
Star Trek: First Contact
Empire Records
Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

TV Shows
Intervention
Hoarders
Obsessed

Books
Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton

Bible
Judges 6-20

Verse
Judges 6:34