My Sister

Ashley Nicole Martin!

"Who is she," you ask? She entered into my life as Oingo Boingo and I was Ka-Ching. Island Lake Camp was the stage and these were our stage names. I entered her sphere of reality as a actor portraying an actor. At Island Lake there was a reversal of pretense, whereas in the outside world one may shield the fact of their faith behind a world-wise shield of cynicism, in this world the air is dense with judgement and "holy rebuke". I was violently departing from this falsehood internally while flying with kamikaze speed into a stronghold of Christian pride. Enter Ashley four weeks before camp ended. We were friends immediately as is we had known each other for many lifetimes with the simple details of our lives just formalities. She was an oasis of acceptance in this desert of seemingly judging eyes. Thus our sojourn began.

Ashley and I were roommates for a year in a place called Maple Leaf, in Seattle. Our apartment was previously a brothel, with a drive-through. It was a casa style building with stucco and a rotting overhang for a porch. We affectionately dubbed it the "Mexican Whorehouse." Ashley suffered me and suffered with me through depression, addiction, two doomed relationships, and all the other benefits of walking away from Jesus. Through all of this she was a beautiful friend and persevered in spite of my abuse and generally disagreeable state. If love is tempered by trial then, as it stands today, ours is stronger than most.

What makes Ashley a treasure of God would be cheapened if I tried to portray it fully now with my feeble words, but even as dipping a ladle in a raging river will not bring forth the power of that river, it will still give a taste of what makes that river rage.

Ashley is the picture of female intuition. She so often has been the perspective that cures my blind spot. Her gold-green eyes that curl at the edge like Cleopatra, see much more than a face when she looks out. Her vigilant heart sometimes drives her to anxious fear, but somehow she shines even brighter in the midst of desperate need. She channels God's beauty through submission, the fight in her igniting through suffering toward God.

If the laughter that has erupted between us could be bottled it would drown the sorrow of the world. Our handshakes, code words and knowing looks comprise a language all their own. We two people that are violently different endured each other, we bled into one another's lives painfully yet with joyful irreversibility.

She now lives in Portland, but it might as well be Pluto. In moments when the world seems cold and bitter, memories of our friendship warm my soul. God's love runs in her veins and she transfuses those lacking with that sustaining flow.


Faith, Hope and Love

New Year's Eve.

To a girl.

I want to bring in the new year with your voice in my ear. I want to share what I have, but will it be anything at all? My heart is timid. I long for your great treasure and wonder if my hands are worthy to behold it. I will approach with all the fear and trembling of a priest on the Day of Atonement.

I will inevitably be unworthy, but I will accept grace if it is offered. To enter your presence will be worth the risk.

I cannot wait.

"This is the holiest and the most unholy thing I have ever done"
From "Perelandra" by C.S. Lewis


Plank Vision

Life begets Life.

Death begets Death.

Love begets Love.

Hate begets Hate.

The world is a mirror and what we see in it reflects our hearts.

Hate begets Hate.

Love begets Love.

Death begets Death.

Life begets Life.

Barbarians in the Nursery

Is it getting better?
Or do you feel the same?
Will it make it easier on you now?
You got someone to blame
You say

One love
One life
When it's one need
In the night
One love
We get to share it
Leaves you baby if you
Don't care for it

Did I disappoint you?
Or leave a bad taste in your mouth?
You act like you never had love
And you want me to go without
Well it's

Too late
To drag the past out into the light
We're one, but we're not the same
We get to
Carry each other
Carry each other

Have you come here for forgiveness?
Have you come to raise the dead?
Have you come here to play Jesus?
To the lepers in your head

Did I ask too much?
More than a lot.
You gave me nothing,
Now it's all I got
We're one
But we're not the same
Well we
Hurt each other
Then we do it again
You say
Love is a temple
Love a higher law
Love is a temple
Love the higher law
You ask me to enter
But then you make me crawl
And I can't be holding on
To what you got
When all you got is hurt

One love
One blood
One life
You got to do what you should
One life
With each other
One life
But we're not the same
We get to
Carry each other
Carry each other


Angry Bastard

What do I know?

My heart is ragged. I don't have a clue what is going on in my life. I fear that I can't trust my own thoughts. My heart has proven to twist every brain wave to it's dark intentions. If I had a dollar for every time I thought that I had the answer to this darkness figured out I could probably afford counseling again.

My heart wants to wallow in self-pity. I'm inconsolable. I cannot let go of this martyr spirit. I cry out to God with this pitiful, pain-driven moan. I say, "Save me, give me life, make all these promises worthwhile." I honestly don't believe I can keep on going as a Christian if it just keeps getting harder and more disappointing. If God is teaching me a lesson with this darkness, then I wonder when it will be done. When am I gonna get whatever He's trying to say to me? And if this isn't some lesson, well, I dare not even consider that option.

Maybe I will. So say my salvation is no more. Say I blew it. Say I'm Judas, a tool, an example of what not to do. Maybe I'm the seed that fell in shallow ground. I shot up and withered. That's what it looks like to me. I was so in love, and now I feel like I'm outside suddenly not knowing what happened. I fear I wanted too much. Maybe everyone was right, and I just got my hopes up way to high. I can just hear there voices,"You thought you could live without medication? You thought you would be a tool of God? You thought you would ever amount to something?"

I really believed those things. The joy of believing those promises was so beautiful. I was like a child completely content to just know that he was loved. I fear that that love is gone. I'm so certain that everyone has got a Bible verse for me. God loves you this, no one can snatch you from his hand that. What the hell good are those words to me if I can't be sure that I am the one being talked to? I don't know that God loves me. How can I be sure that I'm not headed for Hell? How can anybody?

I came to rely on the feeling that God was giving me. That certainty of my salvation. My heart was set. But now somehow I departed from that certainty and now my heart is guided my mind to see all the evil possibilities. How is it possible to know that God really loves you if you can't feel it? I can't believe the words if I don't feel loved. I feel hated. I feel like I want to die. I can't help myself to even accept love. I am defeated by myself.

I want to scream at all the people who are out there saying, "Look at you sad sack. You've got a roof over your head, lots of opportunities, friends that care about you. Why don't you stop bitching about life, and step with the rest of us. Just suck it up and stop being a baby."

If you have thought those thoughts toward me, then fuck you. I'm trying to be honest with life. I realize my own fault, and if you think that I'm crying over spilled milk, then you have never known love, and have have never lived.

I'm a broken man. I'm selfish. My heart is black. I admit to the world that I have got know answers about life. This is my petition to God: I cannot help myself and I don't think that I even want to. Powerless. Okay? Are you happy now? I take responsibility for my sin. It's all mine, but as I try to find the desire to change I find that I am bankrupt. I have no good thing to offer. I am completely at your mercy. I can't take credit for anything. I've tried. I've given all that I could. It was a pitiful offering if you could even call it that. So it's this again. I feel like I've said this to you a million times. How many more? How many time will I have to learn the same lesson? Why do I have to keep on spinning in circles? I need you. I know I do. I just don't know what to do about it. Do something. Please. I've got nothing to give.

Please do something, God.




The longing is unbearable.

What creativity was in me has left. The life in my body is mechanical. What remains is a machine that thinks with only one goal in mind and mystery has become my enemy.

Although mystery is the joy of life, I haven't a got a dime to my name to toss into that well. I know that I'm cornered. I'm crushed down into nothing. Good intentions and false hope have betrayed me. This battle called life is confounding. The true complexity of it is as impossible to behold as it would be to see 360 degrees at one time.

I just don't know where to go or what to do. Where should I invest my heart? What can offer peace, what can offer truth? I want to find it in the Bible, but I fear that I foul it up. I can't understand because my mind is bereft of that initial faith. It seems that it dwindled down and withered. I hate to think this because I then have only to believe that I'm doomed, hated by God. How can I tell? It's clear that my self-diagnosis has failed me countless times. I've thought I had something pinned down so many time in the last few months, tidbits of wisdom that would carry me. I thought I had something I could build on, but now my proverbial house is blowing away in the storm. I hate that I am so fluid in all the wrong ways. I writhe around like a snake when someone tries to tell me I'm wrong, but when I trudge through my thoughts I refuse to put stock in anything. I guard so desperately the exterior but the interior is empty. What tragedy.

This seems so disgusting to me. My blog sounds like whiny, self-indulgent blather. I hate myself again. The clarity of truth in my heart has burdened me with it's memory now that it has left me. It is worse to lose your sight rather than be born blind. I'm infected with a foulness that I thought I would never have to know with Jesus.

Maybe this is exactly how it is supposed to be. Maybe this is exactly what every person who has ever loved God goes through. Maybe I'm just going through the typical experience and I think that I'm special so no one else could possibly understand. I just don't know. How can I?

At this point you probably are getting the theme. My own mind is treacherous. My thoughts are untrustworthy. The only thing that I know is that I want good. I know the difference between good and evil. I know the difference between life and death. The dilemma is that there is no way of telling what thoughts that would guide me are motivated by. My pride, self-destructive ego or the Life that is within me.

Ah. It seems clear now. Faith is suicidal but only if you value the approval of man. To believe in something that you can't control or understand is to betray the fallen human instinct and also betray anyone who still abides by it. I must deny my allegiance to the Fall. I see that my mistake has been believing that blessings of a life of faith would cancel out the cost of that faith.

I will believe. My only option at this point is to devote my mind to the Bible. It is clear that my mind of it's own persuasion will lead me toward a death that I've been pardoned of. To filter faith through my intellect and trying fit faith into my intellect is trying to fit the ocean in a swimming pool. It is also like using mud to wash your hands. I cannot get clean using the dirty faculties I have. It is clear: I must abandon my reliance on my thought and my experiential understanding and submit my mind to the thoughts of God. I am hopelessly lost guided by intelligence. It's time to pray.


So. You pointed the way. I will submit my mind to your word, the Bible. I will let it transform my mind with out reservation. I will accept your truth without trying to control it or twist it to my will. I offer my mind to you. I pray that you give me the strength to stop trying to think my way out of obedience. I pray that you guide me as I relinquish navigational control of my life to you. I pray that you free me of the bondage I have submitted to under my intelligence. I want my thought to glorify you and reflect your truth. I pray that I can use my mind as a tool and sacrifice to you, rather than a hindrance. I pray to stop trying to work my way to you by understanding. I pray that I have the humility to love you in all your mystery and I pray to be consumed utterly by the unfathomed depths of your nature. I pray to accept you as a child, and lay aside my prideful attempts to master you with postulation. Allow me to enter your court as a servant, an unworthy sinner.

Jesus, sweet Jesus. I want you. I want to fall deeply in love with you. Drive the sin from my heart so you can reside in me more fully. Cleanse your temple, make me a pleasing sacrifice to you. Please let me accept your grace. I just want to be completely absorbed in You. I can't live another day with this sin. The things I do are so pitiful. They could never fill the need I have, yet I submit to them daily. It's tragic. I need your love. I need your grace. Create something from nothing within me. Grace does dwell in me. I pray that it flourishes without ceasing. I pray that I be consumed by it for the rest of my life. I want you. Hear me! I want you!

I'm broken yet again, and I need you. Please be here. I accept, I believe, I submit. I don't know anything outside of your word. Your truth is the place that I will build. I will make my home in your words. That's it. I surrender again. Here we go.




I have some questions for you. First off, what is it that I can know? What can say with confidence? Anything? Anything at all?

My mind is scattered like a coast town after a hurricane. All the innards of life strewn about in disarray. The secrets that lie hidden in the houses now are flung across park benches and street signs. With it all laid out in front of me in violent chaos, I'm simply overwhelmed by the incomprehensible weight of it all. Questions that torment me have no beginning nor an end.

Where do I even start?


The work is believing. The battle is knowing what you cannot know. Am I wrong? God?

If this is true, then it seems the protective veil between faith and delusion has been torn down. There is no defense for true faith. To truly believe in you, it seems I will have to accept that I will look and act absolutely insane. The Christianity I've known has been a interloped with the standard of mistrust that lies embedded with the flesh. It has been a mix breed of self reliance and true faith. God I want to cast myself onto you. I want to abandon my flesh. So much of human knowledge, my own knowledge, is tainted by the desires of my charred heart. I want to transcend past the need to have evidence and dive into you without reservation.

I see that I have asked for this so many times, and covered my eyes when the opportunity to seize it arrived. The cost is so great, Lord. I haven't got the courage, but I know what is to be gained, and I know that it is all that is to be desired. Give me the strength to purchase the pearl of great value. I have wrote the check so many times, only to tear it up. I want to cash it. I want to trade it all for what I know is waiting in You.

God. Father. Daddy. I'm a baby. Compared to you I don't scarcely exist. I don't know what to ask for. Trying to tell you what I need would be a farce. I'm at your feet begging for whatever your will is. I'm a beggar, saturated by my sins, entirely unworthy and despicable. Jesus, for you to consider my plea is grace immeasurable. To know that I have even been heard by You is more than I could ask, yet in my insolent ignorance I will dare even more. Save me. Transform my mind to reflect the truth of your reality. Wash away the infectious sin that crusts over my eyes, so I can gaze upon the Truth.

You won me.

You own me.

My now is yours.



The end of the honeymoon has arrived.

I put all I had into the Christian walk. Every hope and dream. I longed so much to be close to God. I longed to do what is right. I saw the light. It was so beautiful that it consumed me. Now I have fallen from grace. My hearts desire has been crushed.

I'm backsliding as you would say in Christianese. It started with my counselor quitting. He broke my heart, but I thought,"It will be okay. I have God. He will show that He is enough. No sweat." Then I started fighting with all the friends that I have made over the last six months. The fights have gotten nastier every week, and end with more finality every time. The people that once trusted me have started looking at me like a burden. They try to give me advice, but it's like throwing pennies at a tank. I can never extract the love from them that I need. They know how much I need. They can tell by my blackhole presence threatening to consume them if they let me have my way, so they parry with the advice and empty words.

The people that once respected me, even looked up to me, now see only a helpless child. I've exposed myself as a fraud. I've exposed myself as a fraud to me. Have I really done enough? Did I try to hard on my own strength? The impossible nature of this walk has brought right to the edge of myself. It's impossible to ignore the feeling of betrayal here. I thought that it was understood that I couldn't keep myself out of trouble and you would take care of it. Where are you now? Why did you let me come to this place? Is there some divine purpose in you letting my treacherous soul run out of control? I know all the agony that this sin that grows in me now will bring, and has already brought. It's no secret. I know better. I cringe every step of the way. BUT I CAN'T STOP. Where are you? I can't do this.

The place I've come to is desolate. In my very soul the desire for blood is raging. I don't care who's it is. Could be a hapless aquaintence that stumbles unfortunately on my plight, but preferable it will be my own. The biggest tragedy of me is that I am the purveyor of destruction in my own life. I don't know how I so quickly descended to this place of hopelessness; was it really so sudden or have I been careering toward this path all along under the delusion that I was pursuing God. The only sliver of light in this cavern is the battered voice that calls to God aimlessly. You couldn't call it hope, but instinct, or corneredness. The monster that dwells in me in perching proudly over my soul. I'm overthrown, heartbroken and alone.

I can't fight myself. I'm entirely confused and confounded. The million words and meanings swirl around me like a hurricane, nothing slowing enough to identify it. I thought I held something. It was good and I sold myself to it. Now I feel it was a false deal, and I haven't a soul left to give to anything else. Like a jilted lover I wait outside my love's door with no where to go.

I've gotten drunk with the intent to bury the pain of my unloving soul. I've tried to bury it in sex. I've tried to bury it in romance. I've tried to bury it with drugs. This is that last two weeks of life. God. I needed you. I couldn't hold to you. I wanted to do your will. I failed. How on earth can I even dare another try? I've got no more to give. I feel dead inside.

I give up.


No Escape

What does your servant say to you, the infinite, the self existing God?

Oh, Jesus. You are so amazing. I've been so unfaithful and unworthy, yet there you are picking me up out of the dirt again, washing my wounds, healing me. I've been a fool sweet Savior, I've fought you every step of the way, but you have gently guided me through the dangerous world and my dangerous mind to a deeper safety in you.

I've used up every excuse in the book and now I stand faced with your goodness and your call. I admit defeat. Checkmate. I submit to your will. I vow obedience and loyalty to your glory at all cost. Lord, please give me the desire and faith to carry out my promise to you. I don't want to be the worker who says, "Yes", and does not go. Make me faithful, as I am yet rebellious in this life. I give you my thoughts that they would be inspired of you. I give you my heart that I may fall deeply in love with you. I give you my soul to only know you.

The world is huge and sinister. I'm a helpless child in a lion's den, and I will obey your every command as I have no other option for survival. Every second terrifies me and the pitfalls are beyond my reckoning. Please show me that you are the only one to be feared and that this world is yours. Consume me. I want to die to this world and to myself, that I may be only yours.
Destroy me that I may know all I have is you. Crush every idol in my heart without reservation. Claim me as your property, because I long to be yorus.

Create in me a clean heart, Oh God,
And renew a right spirit within me.

Cast me not away from thy presence, Oh Lord,
And take not thy Holy Spirit from me.
Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation,
And renew a right spirit within me.


Third Movement

Epiphany: I've taken to this emotional revolution like a crusader. Control!

It has been really exciting to really take stock in heartache. I've found the strength in Christ to care about myself enough to give grievance to the things that happen to me. In my fervor I've gone and taken control of this stuff. I am carrying all this intense weight around on my shoulders. Heavy stuff, it is.

Tonight I release my troubles to Jesus.

1.)My counselor quit, leaving me in an abandonment whirlpool.
2.)In the wake of that, my friends have left me to flounder with the pain.
3.)I've been unable to air out the pain, for the fact that I've been focused on it, and the attempt.
4.)I don't feel love for people anymore.
5.)I slept with a girl last weekend whom I had just met, after getting drunk and stoned.
7.)A close friend has distanced herself from me and condemned my choices.
8.)I'm still unable to grieve my bad relationship with my Dad.
9.)I'm gaining weight.
10.)I don't know how to pay all my bills and they keep piling up out of nowhere.
11.)I'm at a loss for what I'm suppose to do with myself.
12.)I'm bored.
13.)I feel like I'm not growing.
14.)I've hurt so many people, and I feel unable to be honest with my brokeness
15.)I'm scared that if I don't try hard enough I'll not be good enough.
16.)I afraid that I'm not doing something right because things are so crazy.

That about does it. I feel better already. phew.

They are yours, Jesus. I am yours. My heart feels alive again.

Nowhere else to run

I'm addicted to the internet.

I'm addicted to the vague hope that I might connect with another human soul from the safety of my keyboard. I'm no better than a gambler hoping that the next pull will let him quit. I'll peruse all the blogs I follow hoping that someone wrote something I can relate to. If I'm really lucky I'll even get a shout out or subtle nod. When I've exhausted all the personal connections and checked my gmail ten times, I'll take the consolation prize of web comics. In the lives of characters existing in little Utopian rectangles I find solace. They deal with their "problems" by consulting their quirky but perfectly understanding friends. If only I had some two-dimensional friends that always understood me even though they had a weird fetish or OCD. When I've squeezed all the emotion out of the panels of my web comics, I move on to Post Secret. Cathartic at best, wryly self-pitying at worst. This is always a nice end piece (although never really satisfying) with all the pathetic desperation. I relate so well, yet despise the self-loathing of each sad attempt to be known. I rue the creeping loss of the last post. Alone again, as if I ever wasn't.

If I don't pry myself off the vestiges of humanity scattered across the internet I typically end up wandering toward YouTube then darker arenas of "intimacy". The wrong trail always leads to the wrong quarry. Yet, I take chase almost daily.

After the binge comes the purge. Blogging. I'll chase my sin as far as I can then in sullen defeat take up my whip of words. I come to expulse all my vanity. In most cases it is much more veiled than today. Here is the truth.

I am utterly lonely. My counselor left me. He was the one person I was sure knew me. I could enter the sanctuary of his office with complete security that he would accept me in my childish folly. I was safe there. I could be me. I know that he had to leave and it was an inevitable circumstance but I can not help but feel abandoned. Now, facing the world at large, hoping to find a new safe haven, I'm overwhelmed. I've awakened enough to know how heavy my soul is. I want to be known. I want someone to behold my soul. I know what a huge request that is. I long to be known so badly that I feel I may die if I don't find relief soon. Go ahead. Laugh. Say I'm just creating drama for myself to wallow in. God, knows I mock myself enough, what's one more person? But, no. I refuse to be numb. I won't must leave the cave.

This is my sad attempt to be known, I know. I pray for the courage take my heart out of the box. I pray to surrender the outcome to God. I pray to stop trying to control the world around me and let myself be who I am. I pray that I find my outlet in Jesus. I am surrendered to the simplicity of it. I will wait here and hope that God delivers me or die waiting. I know this isn't a balanced, safe, advisable path. I'm crazy, and I expect that every single person who reads this will disagree with me. If I'm wrong I will be wrong. If that happens to be the case at least I can say I put it all on the line. My friends have looked at the life I'm leading and they see someone who is letting everything go, everything fall apart. Maybe I am, but I trust in God, barely. I will hang on to Him alone, no matter how insane that looks to everyone around me. I won't limit God to live a socially pleasing life.

Yes, I do love to make a scene and I do strive to be different. You pegged me. That is how God made me, and if He wants me to stop being this way then He will change my heart. Til then I'll be the attention-whore, bleeding heart lunatic that I am. Thank you, Goodnight.

How Long?

My output does not match my input. I have so many thoughts that feel like they may hold the keys to existence. The information flowing into my mind is all overwhelming. There is so much. I want so badly this thing that has no name. Perhaps it is God. I have cried out with every fiber of my being and to know lasting avail. Staying faithful is like holding your breath it seems. The necessary implication is that taking a breath is failing. That's how it feels. I keep my eyes on God as long as I can though it feels like it will kill me, and when finally I lose my nerve I tear away and ironically I crash. I want so badly. I simply want. Faith dictates that I want God. I turn to Him and I often feel let down. The deeper my understanding of life gets the heavier my need to express, be known and love becomes. The more you learn the more you need. The more you know the more you hurt.


Here I am yet again. Things are unclear. The information overwhelms me. The fact of life, the very fact of my being paralyzes me. I feel like trying to trust you has left me dry. I feel as though you showed me life abundantly and I gave in to you without reservation. Now I feel like I committed to something horribly difficult. I thought I could count on you for peace, for joy, for all of that. I thought that was enough to get through whatever the world would throw at me. I thought that was enough to do your will. Now I'm failing at your will. I can scarely call out your name, and when I do it's out of resentful rage. Everyone at every turn is telling me that I'm insane and you are silent. From every angle I'm being told that I am not enough, and I can't change. I don't know where to turn. Where are you?

I'm writing this prayer to vent at you God. I know that you have given me the very life to understand pain. I'm using what you've given me to complain. I'm using what you've given me to hate what you've given me. How can I trust? I'm unable. I'm unable to love, to live. I'm so broken, and I can't understand what you could possibly want me to learn or what good could come from this darkness that you've let me into. I can't follow you faithfully. I know that I can't, so why won't you help me? I don't know what to do. I'm so lost. Again. I've done my best for you. It's not good enough for anybody else. My friends all judge me. They tell me I'm a mess, a loser, a black hole, a pathetic slacker, a selfish callous user. I am these things. God, show me why I'm doing this Christian thing. Show me again why it's better to follow you. I'm so weak and this is so hard. I can't do anything perfect, I can't "go and sin no more". How can I tell people to come to you, when I don't even see what good comes of it. "Hey everybody! Come suffer with me! It's great. You can feel lonely, rejected, worthless, and ruined. Who's in?"

What am I suppose to do when your word doesn't enter my heart? What am I suppose to do when I can't find any truth in your word? I read and long so hard for something, and I can't get it. Reading my Bible feels so trite and empty. Where are you?

Where are you? Where is the peace, and fulfillment? I can't do this. I am unfaithful. I have been broken, my spirit. I can't say, "God is good." I want to and I'm scared of not. But how can I say that when nothing around me show this truth. Not even in my heart. I feel dead.

Here is my heart: I don't have much faith left. Life is torturous. I feel like a failure. I feel like I can't even surrender. I can't let go. The only hope I have is you, if you could even call it hope. I'm smashed on the rocks and haven't got anything left. I have no where to turn but you. Everyone has failed me and I have failed them.

Here I am. Where are you?




I could explode. The inadequacy of my words, my tone, my face, my heart. There is a raging torrent inside me and it is gathering pressure. If my emotional health is an engine, then I am firing on too few cylinders. How does one reconcile functionality and honesty? I lack the wisdom, nay, the capacity to possess the required information to make moral decisions.

A strange trend is developing in my experience. Lately I've found gems of wisdom and truth hidden right under my nose. The Bible is the most obvious of these gems. It's been in ludicrous proximity to me literally my whole life. Another less powerful, but still enjoyable is the Self-Titled Jars of Clay album. My aunt bought it for me in 1995 on a cassette tape. A couple weeks ago I was longing for something comfortable to have a break down to, I put it on my stereo. I heard the lyrics for the first time in the notes I'd heard hundreds of time before. The pain, the beauty and the devotion resonated at long last in my soul.

Things that I have dismissed in my arrogant ignorance have become so valuable with the glorious advent of humility. My greatest capacity for wisdom, creativity, and love come with humility. Oh, Jesus, break me further and further into nothing so that you can be glorified through me. Glorify your servant that you may be exalted.

"Worlds Apart"

I am the only one to blame for this
Somehow it all ends up the same
Soaring on the wings of selfish pride
I flew too high and like Icarus I collide
With a world I try so hard to leave behind
To rid myself of all but love
to give and die

To turn away and not become
Another nail to pierce the skin of one who loves
more deeply than the oceans,
more abundant than the tears
Of a world embracing every heartache

Can I be the one to sacrifice
Or grip the spear and watch the blood and water flow

To love you - take my world apart
To need you - I am on my knees
To love you - take my world apart
To need you - broken on my knees

All said and done I stand alone
Amongst remains of a life I should not own
It takes all I am to believe
In the mercy that covers me

Did you really have to die for me?
All I am for all you are
Because what I need and what I believe are worlds apart

I look beyond the empty cross
forgetting what my life has cost
and wipe away the crimson stains
and dull the nails that still remain
More and more I need you now,
I owe you more each passing hour
the battle between grace and pride
I gave up not so long ago
So steal my heart and take the pain
and wash the feet and cleanse my pride
take the selfish, take the weak,
and all the things I cannot hide
take the beauty, take my tears
the sin-soaked heart and make it yours
take my world all apart
take it now, take it now
and serve the ones that I despise
speak the words I can't deny
watch the world I used to love
fall to dust and thrown away
I look beyond the empty cross
forgetting what my life has cost
so wipe away the crimson stains
and dull the nails that still remain
so steal my heart and take the pain
take the selfish, take the weak
and all the things I cannot hide
take the beauty, take my tears
take my world apart, take my world apart
I pray, I pray, I pray
take my world apart



Today I considered yet another phrase to plaster on my mirror. I'm always tempted to place my latest thought up there in distilled form, hoping that it will anchor me to the truth that seems to work today. The problem is that my mind and my heart do not often align. The words that I cling to in a desperation for control quickly become trite. Thus, I have not yet come to rest on adequate string of words. Today's idea was "You are going to die, perhaps today."

I've run the gamut of idea that will keep me stabilized, but my end resolution has been to keep my eyes on God instead of a memorable tidbit of wisdom.

Case in point: I had been inundated with Bible and biblical truth for the first 18 years of life and it for what it was worth it didn't keep me close to God. Most of it went in one ear and out the other. Even now I will read my Bible sometimes and have no clue what God is trying to say to me. My very comprehension is by the grace of God. It seems clear that every lucid moment is directly of God. I can't control my ability to think clearly, so I have to to trust. I'll claw for control down the last thought of my dying day. But I have been infected by the truth that God is good. The most authentic experiences I have had can be chalked up to Him. I can't stray from Him without knowing that I'm inevitably going to hurt myself in doing so. That truth grows in me like a virus unchecked. I've succumbed to it.


I pray that you seal my heart. I pray that you seal my mind. Protect from the siren's song that is intellectualism. My darkened heart seduces my mind and coerces me to twist truth and create a false reality. I pray that you consume my heart and mind, that I will irrevocably rely on you. Break me down so far that I can do nothing but cry out to you in utter acceptance of your rule in my life. I'm yours but you know my how I am. It overwhelms me to even glance down the hall of my cavernous heart. I want to seek you in every moment of my existence. I want to know what it is like for the things of earth to grow strangely dim. Compel me, seal me, overwhelm me me. I know longer wish to have the choice. I'd give up my free will to know that I would never stray from you. I suppose you have a reason for all of this, and I will just accept that, but you know how hard it is for me. It makes no sense at all, but some how in the midst of all this pain I'm thriving and feeling more life in these veins than I have in years. I don't understand, Father. I trust you. You've proven yourself to me, and the fact that you would acknowledge me at all is proof enough of your goodness.

I'm a living sacrifice. I bring you this restless soul full of rebellion. I betray myself to you. Take me over. You're all that matters, and I commit my heart to you that I might live to reflect the truth.

I love you.



It's autumn now. The acorns that fall on the sidewalk are ripe enough to crack when I step on them. Trees are still green but they are beginning to hint at the coming undress with a tinge of blush in their leafy complexions. The Belltown air is beginning carry a clarity, like the cool of the first bite into a crisp apple. My heart echoes the ambivalence of the warm street tired from the hot sun, anticipating the approach of the steel gray sky.

The bus is a gallery of Belltown life. Young and old, rich and poor tensely partake in their common need for movement. The bag ladies with their found treasures of tragedy, the boys hiding inside business suits with their conference call cacophony, the dilapidated mother with peek-a-booing cub in tow, they all come and sit with reverent silence. In the Metro we ride intimately crammed feigning perfect solitude. Loneliness is the art form on display, silence the paint, fear the canvas.

Friday and Saturday night are marked with the arrival of a migratory flock of clubbers, hipsters, lady killers and gold diggers. They are met by the local army of call girls and dealers. The street comes alive with longing. All seeking the same conquest, perhaps believing they've found El Dorado. Oh, shining Belltown. The night expends it's prize the seekers slowly begin their homeward journey. As the darkest hours of night come the true beast rises from the ashes of the enticing creature that has withered. It's cries resonate through the alleyways, the business men of the night threaten, the prostitutes scream, the addict wails. From my apartment the sound muffled comes like a gurgle from the belly of the beast.

The morning always comes. The sun leaks through the blinds and and promise leaks into my soul. A "good morning" to God. Bones creak across hardwood. I wash away the unnamed terror of the darkness with a Name. The morning always comes.



Trouble ahead, trouble behind.

Life is to be lived. Feelings are to be felt.

What becomes most agonizing for me in any given bad situation is not the painful feelings but the suppression of them. When I get violated and refuse to feel violated, I'm not living. When I get I hurt someone and I don't feel guilty, I'm not living. When I get a compliment and I don't beam, I'm not living.

Life is the experience and the reaction to it in our hearts. Without Christ I'd have been too afraid to cry when I'm sad, or laugh when I'm happy, or scream when I'm frustrated. I would never have believed that another could care enough about me to "impose the burden of myself". Now I know that Christ cares about my aches and elation, and I'm not ashamed of them. I won't be told to settle down and contain myself. I've got life abundant, in all flavors.

What I've discovered is that I can enjoy life without being happy. It is the authentic experience of what happens around, the relevance of that experience as God masterpiece, that is joy. As we are created in the image of God, we have consciousness, we have the gift of meaning. We possess something that is greater than the sum of the physical form. Consciousness. The spark of life. And thus, it is an act of worship to pursue the authentic reality of that consciousness as it happens, as the sovereign God has ordained it to happen. To reply with an appreciation for every sensation with the knowledge that is part of this gift called consciousness.

I've been fixated on the "happy" corner of existence. I drew my own lines about how I should experience life, and those lines were inevitably insufficient. When my heart crossed out of those boundaries, resentment came barreling down the path with a vengeance. Far be it from me to see that I was insulting God for giving me eyes to see the world, be it scary; for giving me a heart to feel, be it painful. So I say, relevance is the meaning of being. The real discomfort comes from me trying to make a real experience irrelevant. When unfortunate things happen trying to force a different reaction is agony, like suffocating your soul. To cry when you get hurt feels right. It is giving relevance to the human experience.

I'm going to be a different man. This changes everything.


Fake Fruit

My life consist of epiphanies and the space between them.

What does a Christian do differently than an unbeliever? You wouldn't have been able to tell by looking at me recently. The life I've been leading has slid back into a mode of self-punishment. What being a Christian means is that we're no longer blind to what sin is, no longer subject to the pervading guilt of it and free to live life to the fullest. The mindset of needing to pay a debt or earn my way to a closer walk with God had crept back into my frame.

I've lived like a prisoner the last few months, subconsciously taking salvation into my own hands. The foolishness of this can best be understood by thinking of me like a prisoner who has been pardoned and continues to live in his cell even though the door has been opened. The jailer is me, now.

I haven't been taking care of myself. I've stopped working out, I've stopped pursuing my passions, I've stopped eating healthy. The list goes on. Grace has eluded me. I thought I should stop doing everything that isn't perfect and "wait for righteousness". Not to say this isn't the case in some areas of my life, but I mistook this verse to mean "sit on your hands and wait for God to move you." Taken to the absolute meaning, I could start saying that I should stop brushing my teeth because I'm doing it for selfish, vain reasons. Oh I've been a fool, yet again.

The verse says "Let yourself be transformed by the renewing of your mind" I may not completely quit trying to perform my own surgery forever, but I will quit today. I'll let the Surgeon handle it today, and I'll just love Him for it.

I went to a parenting conference a couple weeks ago and the speaker told an amazing analogy about righteousness. The speaker, Ted Tripp, took it from somebody else and I took it from him, so if you're really concerned giving credit to the right person, good luck. Anyway, the story is of an apple tree that consistently grows bad apples. The man who owns the tree tries everything to help the tree grow good apples. Fertilizer, more water, aeration, everything you could think of. Finally in a desperate attempt to have a tree that had good fruit on it, he picked all the rotten apples off the tree and tied fresh, good apples to the tree. His wife comes to see the tree and is floored by the ridiculous superficiality of the work her husband has done.

The point of the story is that the heart is the tree the and what comes from the tree is determined by the quality of the heart. By forcing myself to do "good" is like tying fruit onto my tree. I've been doing so for a while now. The righteousness must come from with in. Yes, I could go out and do good, but it is superficial and ultimately more work than it is worth. All recipients of such "good" will be painfully aware of the phoniness. I will wait for Jesus to change my heart. In the meantime I'll stop wasting my time tying phony fruit to my branches and just live the life Christ has given me.



If the world is a stage I'm a costume designer.

The infinite labyrinth of my thought has consumed me again and I need rescue. I'm a simple man, if you could call me a man at all. Yet I engage the darkness and confusion time and time again. The image I see is David standing in Saul's armor. The attempt to be secure has encumbered me with more weight than I can carry. And I'm paralyzed again. My freedom is naked.

My counselor asked where I was this week. I'm hiding. That's where. I'm hiding behind all this apologetic thought. The shitty thing is that in turning my eyes to defense I've lost sight of God, and thus lost all the joy and benefit of the thing that I'm defending. Caleb asked who I was trying to convince. Yep, it's me. I can't remember what happened first defense or insecurity.

The idea behind "Surprised by Joy" is just now settling although I finished the book two weeks ago. Lewis said you cannot contemplate an experience and enjoy it simultaneously. The concept was easy enough but the implications are still creeping like roots into my life. One of those implications is that I can't be joyful in Christ while worrying about being joyful in Christ. Nor can I enjoy Christ while expending my thought on less than His glory.

Reading over the last few weeks of posts the trend of trying to formulate my approach to God emerges. All the plans in the world will never build a tower. I've got to move. I've got to worship through life, engage in Christ through life, not in spite of it.

In my hopelessness I've worked my way into an esoteric corner of "surrender". It was really fear driven paralysis.

I've got so many thoughts that feel like they need resolution, but I think they can wait their turn. I've got things to do.


Show's Over, Folks...

I'm my own audience because I'm so scared no one will take me seriously. Sometimes I feel like a one man vaudeville show. I'm a broken record, too. No new material. Same poodle on a tricycle shtick as always. Woe is me.

Not today. I'm settling into a new groove. Before I knew Christ I had two lenses to look at myself through. I could tell myself that I was alright and deny my shame, and go on a self-righteous war path of persecution. The second option was to be honest with myself and dive into the deep pool of self loathing, in go war against myself. This usually came to head with suicide attempts. Today the third option is evident to me. I can take an honest look in the mirror and stand taller than I ever did in my self-righteous haze, because I am forgiven, and indeed, a new life grows up through the wreckage I see in my soul. I plead guilty and walk free.

I pray that the days of crying to the imaginary emptiness are gone. God's listening. I pray that I never leave this freedom found in honesty. God, hear me now, I'm scared of losing what you have given me, and for that fear I'm prone to flee to the things that have brought me sickly comfort in the past. I wish I could paint myself into your corner, but I fear that the beginning and end of this security lie in your hands. I pray for enough to feel secure and not stray. That's all I ask.



Time for another bleeding heart confession. Here goes.

Sometime this week a big realization fell into place. It was the answer to an presumed innocence and resulting distance from God. I discovered the truth of resentment and it's implications. I formerly thought resentment was simply holding a grudge. I have a feeling it is more complex.

I can recall an incident in my childhood that has been something of a mystery to me until recently. My mom would tell me that it was time for bed and offer me a drink of water. I would refuse it and go bed. I would wander out of my room shortly thereafter and request more water. She would, of course, say, "No, I offered you some earlier. Go back to bed." Then all hell would break lose. I would cry the cry of a martyr. I basked in the pain of "helplessness". I would eventually break my parents by virtue of my self-induced martyr's high. They would offer me water at last and I would deny it. Victory wasn't what I wanted. At least not in the sense of dominating the strongest force in my life. I wanted the feeling of being justified. I wanted to play the victim. This scenario was not uncommon.

Up till last week I thought I was unique. This phenomena was my little freak show and I was the star. 12-step speaks much about resentment, and most strikingly, that it is just as powerful as lust, alcohol, drugs, etc. "Hmm, I don't hate many people...I guess I don't have a problem with that." With my definition of resentment falling only on people and situations that I felt justified in harboring contempt my blinders were perfectly in place. Almost.

Remembering back to the intense sensation of longing and drive behind the seemingly senseless drama of the water, I questioned what was to be gained there and then it all clicked. I had been placing myself in situations where I could feel justified in abusing people and myself since I was old enough to talk. I've been a self-destructive martyr since day one. My mom was not wrong when she said I should have been a lawyer.

Powerless is what I am over this. This was my first addiction. It is hardwired into me. Victimizing myself, setting myself up to be abused in increasingly sophisticated ways has been my trajectory of life. My most elaborate facade has been against God. I have done things that He has told me not to do and then I blame Him for the consequences. Then I sin some more, because I've convinced myself that God has abandoned me. I "deserve" to, why bother trying not to? So it has been.

My latest escapade of resentment has just ended. I have plunged into self pity again with the circumstances that have "befallen" me. I have no money and I have stopped trying to do anything for myself. I've been telling everyone along the way that God will provide and take care of me. What I left out was "in spite of my lack of cooperation". I've set myself up again.

I do believe God will take care of me and He has, but I've rationalized my inaction under the guise of "surrender". My attraction to surrender has not been the promise of God taking care of me, but the goldmine of opportunity to play the victim when things don't go my way.

Resentment is a drug and I am an addict. God, I'm sorry. I'm sorry I was so ignorant of your love and tried to excuse myself from your mercy. I'm sorry I used my insolence to defame your glorious name. I truly am a wretch of a man, and I need you more than I could express if I fill the universe with books about my guilt. I accept your grace. Change this perpetually treacherous heart. The door is open, come inside.


I hate smart people.

Purge. I want to spew my insecurities onto the internet as if the people I'm scared of will read them and then see that they are just as scared as me and then let there guard down. I feel naked. I feel stupid.

I want desperately to be artistic and create something that people will relate to. I want it so badly that I'm willing to pour myself out on the pavement. I fear that I will open my soul and people will see what an artless barbarian I am and I will be destroyed.

I have this nagging feeling that my desire is hopeless and that I should just surrender to God. I'm scared that the people around that I'm trying to impress will think that is a horribly ignorant thing to do. I can just hear the thoughts:"He's so weak and pathetic. He just can't hack it in life and he runs back to his simpleton faith every time things get real.

I can't stand it. The intellectual community that I have idolized is everywhere. I hate that they make me feel like a dullard with my simplicity and blind-eye philosophy. I want to be free of the perceived judgment of the greats.

I feel so lowly with what I've got to give. I feel like a beggar who thought he got invited to a high society party and shows up with all the excitement of a child to find that he was never really invited.

The best part is that this is all probably in my head, because nobody is even paying attention.

How do I pour my passion into something without endangering my stability? How do I pour my passion into something without putting my self worth on the chopping block? So, I digress. Back to where I started with my simpleton creed. God, I give up. I'm cowardly and self defeating. I'm too scared. I'm just a little boy with huge dreams. The world seems like a monster waiting to swallow me whole if I crack my door open an inch. Ugh. I give up again.


Spiraling Up

Welcome to a place were you can lay down all of your burdens. You can lay down all of your fears. You can be free like a child. You can be completely at peace now.

What? How?

Surrender, duh. But I got lost somewhere along the way the last few months. I took "surrender" and made it mean "give up things as I think of them" instead of just "give up". I started making the list for my moral inventory and it became a laundry list of things that I would surrender. I took the terms of the surrender into my hands and took control back. It would be like Japan saying to the United States after WWII, "We surrender! but we'll make a list of things that we want to surrender and let you in as we see fit." Not much of a surrender.

What I've realized as I reached the end of myself last weekend was that I need to surrender my attempts to surrender. Yep, true to form, I cannot do anything good on my own, including surrender. So, my prayer is now revised. This is looking like what could be the foundation of my relationship with God, behold:


I pray that you will give me submission in all things. I am willing because I have seen enough of you to know that are a good God. I believe that will take care of me and that I will be best off in your will. Therefore I desire to surrender to it, but I have seen that I'm powerless to do so despite my best efforts. I need you in all ways and wish to rest in your love. I believe, help my unbelief.

I've been praying this prayer for the last two days and so far, so good. I feel all the peace that I felt in the beginning. Every time I feel myself starting to feel anxious or unsure I pray that God gives me submission of my fear. Every time I feel powerless or insecure I admit my powerlessness and pray for submission to God's truth. It seems too bold to say that peace and contentment could be this simple but the Bible does say to come before God like a child. In complex theological discourse I see only attempts to control God, control the behavior of God and control our own lives. I'm not saying that theology is bad, but in comparison with the practical truth of surrender to God theology seems kind of elementary and petty. Something like train-wheels for faith. I think I will leave this topic because I can't say much more without being flagrantly offensive. The important thing is that the concerns of life are now out of my hands.

In receiving a surrendered heart, all the commands of God become compulsive. They are like ripples in a pond vibrating out from the disturbance that is God's power in my life. I don't fret about how to be a better Christian. It takes faith to believe that God will fulfill these things in me without effort on my part. This becomes a little easier to live with when you think that the One who engineered the very mind that ponders Him is in control. He is greater than the sum of all the energy contained in the universe and His love for me is greater than the sum of all the love that has poured from lovers over human history. He loves me so much that He relinquished all the control of the universe to die at my hands. For me. All these thoughts make what ever I little push I could give seem pretty laughable.

I believed that God was pursing me, but I was more concerned with my pursuit of Him. I made the mistake of believing that I needed to. God wanted me and He came for me. He won me. I love Him now. And I believe that all that infinite power is continuing to pursue me. Infinite Love is loving me right now. It's hard to worry about whether I am giving enough money at church, or if I'm loving my neighbors enough when I think about who God is. His will will be done, and it is good.


Quit Trying to Quit?

I haven't got much to say today. I'm praying for surrender of all things in my life. The Fourth Step inventory has really got me over the barrel. I'm painfully aware of how much I fail and how powerless I really am over everything. I haven't a vague idea of what "right" is and I know how far from it I usually end up. Even the things I do right I manipulate myself into by guilt or back breaking force of will. I get that I'm weak. I get that my attempt of doing good for myself is a black hole of necessity.

So, I lay the reigns in God's hands again. I have thought that praying for the right thing could yield me some results but now I'm certain that I don't even know what I need, and if I did I would foul it up. Now this may sound like I'm beating myself up, but I'm not. I don't feel sorry for myself right now. I'm saying this as an objective fact. The sum of my experiences lead me to believe without a doubt that my attempts at good are futile. Simple and true. I discovered God's strength and love in the confined arena of lust. I thought that I could distill that power and apply it to everything and I tried. I failed. In fact, in trying to do so I proceeded to fall back into my old habit of acting out lust. I'm not sure why God let this happen to me, and maybe someday down the road I will be able to look back and say why. As for now, I just know that I can't surrender on my own. That's right. I can't even stop trying to do good for myself. So I pray that I can surrender. I pray for God's strength, and the courage to stop using my own.



Submission is a bitch.

I'm so totally exhausted. I may not have said this in the past because I've been scared of what people would think of my "miracle" faith. Not today. I'm broke down and I'm wearing it like the clown suit it is.

I have story to tell today. I have been troubled by the impracticality of the paradox of God's sovereignty and free will. I have this slick little diatribe that arose from the period in my life when I was concerned with proving everything. It goes like this: It is true that we can not reconcile the characteristics of God in this finite mind, but this fact is assurance because it illustrates the infinite nature of God, His hugeness, if you will. And that is reason to worship Him, because He boggles our minds, He shows His worthiness in incomprehensible enormity yada, yada. This little chunk of cheeky philosophy does so little for me in application.

I ask God what to do with myself. I ask for advice when I don't know what to do. The other night I was invited to a friends house for dinner, but I didn't know what bus to take and it was getting late. I prayed to know what to do. I knew I needed to go see people because I was feeling really isolated and depressed. Of course, I didn't want to. Something curious I have noticed: My perception of God's will seems far too often to be not what seems right but whatever is contrary to what I want. I contradict myself. So I decide that I think God wants me to go.

So I go. I get on the bus and ride down to Beacon Hill. I feel good about things at this point. On the way down I start fantasizing about how things will go down at my friends'. I imagine that I will be courageous enough to let my guard down and lean on my friends to help carry my pain. In short, I start gearing up for encounter. I get off the bus at what I later learned was the wrong stop. Unsure of which direction exactly my friends' place is, I wander around a bit looking for the street. I fail to find any sign of there house, street or their neighborhood. I wander back toward the bus stop starting to feel really dejected. On the way back I pass a lit window in a warehouse with the words "Christian Church" or something like that on it. I walk closer and see that there is about ten black people in chairs listening to a man pray. The only words I remember him saying were,"...and God loves you no matter what, whether you like it or not!" I decided not to go in, and right after I did a little girl opened her eyes and waved at me. The whole scene spoke to my heart and a sobs started creeping up my throat. I snuck away back toward the bus stop. My frustration was building.

Back at the bus stop I succumbed to the loneliness of the moment and sobbed at my inability to be known. 45 minutes later the bus came and I for some reason continued to trudge on my mission even though it was now two hours past when I said I would be there and completely dark. I get off at the right stop find a bike path that I think goes toward their house. I walk down it for about a half a mile and realize that I have no idea where I am. This is the last straw. I sit down on the bike path and cry. I mumble through sobs,"Why?" I lay back on the path and stare into the sky. A man rides bike and asks me if I'm alright and I snap, "I'm fine."

I wander back the other direction still unable to let go of my plan to find the house. I follow the bike path past the bus stop the other direction and end up so lost that I finally give up and concede to just walking until I find a bus to get home. By now I felt like I was in other world. I had never been to the place I was walking. I was in an emotional whirlwind of pride and sorrow. As I wandered the scene changed into a view over a lit span bridge reaching out over the intersecting road below. There was a pagoda looking gazebo in the grass behind me. It felt like an empty scene out of Blade Runner. I wander up a hill and I come up on the Veteran's Hospital. The place looks like an insane asylum. It is lit from top to bottom and sits on top of a hill surrounded by skinny trees that filter the light reflected off the monolith.

Past the hospital was the destination of my journey. I came to a parking lot on the side of the hill and the view from there looked something like this:

I was still too prideful to allow myself to enjoy the adventure at hand. The smells that night were bizarre too. Each place I wandered had a smell about it that took me back to random places from my life. It was strange. I caught a bus across from the parking lot and rode home. When I got there I was confused and defeated. I thought I was pursuing something God wanted me to do. I ended the night by checking my email and seeing that 6 people had read this blog and prayed for me at random. I only got about half way through the first email and broke down again on the floor squeaking out sobs. This time there was distinct tinge of guilt to my self-pity.

I finally came to end of myself back at the place I started. The whole night God let me run to the end of myself to the see the beauty in surrender. I'll still complain after seeing that things are okay even though they are out of my hands. I still haven't settled down. I've got my agenda and it seems to me that I can't even see it until God let's me run my self ragged.

Something about the catharsis of the night landed me in a place of raw reality. On the bus ride home a man was sitting opposite me who looked like he was traveling. He had a mullet with one dreadlock, hiking boots and canvas bag. He incited the wanderlust in me. The heady drink of staring down reality with suicidal abandon had intoxicated me with the courage to pursue the thought. The tenets of societal norms and mandates of secular control have once again ensnared me. I'd thought maybe I was courageous or enlightened before, but evidently not. The need for control of life through possessions, relationships and security are felt like an snake that has outgrown his skin. So many things govern my life that are not God. I want to be free.

I'm not sure why God get all the credit for good and I get all the credit for the bad. I am a little man, and a confused one at that. I want to try and end this story with a nice little bow to tie it all together with some profound meaning behind it all. The only thing I've got for a bow right now is shoestring. I guess surrender today accepting that I don't know what the hell is going on.



I've been so wrapped up in thought that the reality that it pertains to may have passed me by. I feel like I've gather up so many theories that the state of my heart and the relationship between God and I has been neglected altogether. I feel like a man who fears losing his marriage and rather than talk to his wife, he goes to a counselor, buys every marriage book he get his hands on and isolates himself in a study trying to find out what is wrong. What good is all my thought and struggle without talking to God about it?

I'm going to pray.


Hi, I feel like it's been so long since I talked you in earnest. I'm tempted to parrot off some nice things that will sound Christiany and faithful, but I would betray my heart. I've been arrogant and I've strayed. I've sneaked out the back door of my mind. My thoughts are stalling out right now, trying to protect me from acknowledging the truth of my ignorance. I pray you give strenghth to not disosociate right now. I want to be real with you. I know that I've tried to find ever way around surrender that I could conjure. I'm so sorry. It's who I am. I lie to myself better than I can lie to other people. Please let me see myself honestly. I have relied on my own understanding so much lately that at this point I feel effectively blind. I'm stumbling so hard. Turn on the lights in my brain, please!

A while back I felt really confident in You, I was trusting in You and I had faith that everything was surrendered to your sustainence. A fear has grown in me that I have to maintain that reality because I've commited to it so vocally to those around me. I've lost faith because my fear of everyone thinking that what I believed so wholly is just a sham. I'm so scared that people will think I've deluded myself and what I was running around saying was just in my head. I'm so sorry that I didn't trust you to keep me safe. You know that I still don't. I can't really relinquish control on my own. I don't have the courage to let go. Please Jesus. I tried my hand at life again. I really only decieved myself. I'm back at this juncture knowing that the life that I am in control of is an anxiety-ridden dirge. I know only that I need you, and I don't have the courage to turn over the reigns. I'm like a terrified back seat driver. I need so much. You know this. I don't. Show me how. I'm desperate to walk closer to you. I need you to show me how to do it. I surrender what I can. I pray you give me courage to give up more of me. Take all of me. I give up my fear of people. I'm ashamed that I've let them come between us. Please take my fear.

I'm yours Jesus. I'm giving up in spite of what people are going to think. I want what your joy more than I want people to think well of me. I'm a wreck, a coward, and a traitor. I don't care if the whole world knows. I only want you. I love you the best I can. Please make it more.

Further Up and Further In

I've been noodling for awhile now on the connection between addiction, love, philosophy and God. I remember hearing once that compulsive gambling addicts actually get annoyed when they win. The curiosity of this phenomena worth looking into.

In addiction, ritual becomes a big part of the cycle. For the discussion's sake I would like you broaden your definition of addiction to anything that one does compulsively regardless of it's perceived negative effects; anything from smoking crack to folding socks. In my own experience, the actual pay off of the object in desire is always a let down. The preparation, the anticipation is the real joy. When I arrive at the terminal point of my pursuit I'm inevitably disappointed. In chronic pursuit of addictive pleasure the ritual develops in order to postpone the pay-off and prolong the anticipation and the buildup as long as possible. I think that there are two separate things that happen. The desire and the actual pleasure. What I just realized is that I've also liked the desire better than the actual pleasure. The "getting there" is better than the destination.

I've said earlier that I think desire for God is what we are after when set out to fill ourselves whether we know it or not. How does this fit into what I've just wrote? Well, the disappointment that occurs when we reach the terminal point of pursuit need not occur when we pursue God. The disappointment occurs, I think, because we are seeking the infinite, and all worldly solutions are finite. They end. God does not. If we seek God we can continue to desire Him forever, for we will never reach His end. The letdown never comes.

Thus far what I have said is speculation. It makes sense to me but it may be way off. I'm writing this primarily to hash out my thoughts against the possibility of another person reading them. I'm forcing myself to think at least rationally enough to be presentable. Maybe I'm losing something in doing this, but oh well.

My understanding of things, especially of God, is handicapped by the finite nature of my brain. God is bigger than the rationale of His creation. At the end of the day my approach to Him is (God willing) that of a humble servant. I really know nothing compared to the infinity of God's mind. I pray to keep the humility of that fact near to my heart. It would be easy for me (and I've done this so many times) to think I've got God all figured out and from here it's just "play my cards right". In keeping with what I've come to believe about God, a relationship with Him is the only hope of receiving the Joy-without-end that desire and pursuit of Him promise. I pray I don't fall victim to the hubris of thinking I've got God figured out.

"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
2 Corinthians 12:9



Christian Hedonism: Seeking God's pleasure and pleasure in God.

In "Surprised by Joy" C.S. Lewis defines joy in a very strange way. He says that joy is not getting what you want but the actual desire of it. He describes it as a longing. An intense desire ignited by something incredibly good.

Mark Driscoll described his hell as an airplane. He evidently hates everything about flying. But he described how the experience becomes a heavenly one when accompanied by his wife. How the loneliness, the discomfort and the pain of flying is erased by the presence of one whom he loves dearly.

When we are near people that we care about our desire for them is increased. In the same sense with God the more time we spend with Him the greater our desire becomes. The more we experience God the more we want to experience God.

In a sense, I believe God's love is the antithesis to the seductions of the world. Whereas reliance on all earthly pleasures for fulfillment will lead us to unhealthy, unfulfilling and even deadly dependency, reliance on God's love results in a dependency on something healthy, fulfilling and life-giving. Reliance to worldly solutions can cause a person to deteriorate into a shell of a being. The reason that addictions are so prevalent in the human race is that we are designed to love something with reckless abandon and we pridefully choose things that are controllable but insufficient. I would even be so bold to say that our need for love is infinite and we apply the finite, that which has a beginning and an end to that which does not, our souls. We are designed to be addicted to God's infinite love.

To illustrate my idea in the negative, imagine that sin as the Bible refers to it is offensive to God because it steals His glory and harms us. It takes from us our native purpose. Many of the things that seem so good, and in fact are good, become harmful when used wrong. That is to say when we use what God has made for us as though we were made for it then we sin. And the thing that gets overlooked so often is that sin is offensive to God because it harms the ones He loves so dearly. We often don't see how something that feels good could be harming us, so we naturally assume that God must just be a killjoy. Unfortunately, we make this uninformed judgment on God because we are ignorant to how much we are missing out on.

In light of this belief it makes sense to try fulfilling our every desire in God. This means when you feel bored, horny, depressed, empty, ugly, unwanted, hateful, anything and everything, you turn the desire over to God. Love is the answer to all these things. Turning our need for love over to God is what He requires of us,"Love the Lord, your God with all your Heart." We desire every day. The opportunities are there. In seeking to let God fill me when I feel these needs occur I allow my love for God to increase and increase my desire (joy) for Him. In loving God, you necessitate more need for Him. He grows like an addiction in you.


The Aftermath

I still have no idea where that outburst of hatred and self loathing came from. What I do know is that it is the lowest I have been since April when I gave my life to Christ. I am still angry, but I've calmed down some at least. I had such hope in remaining close to Christ. I had faith that he would keep me close. I feel so marred. It wasn't like I didn't know my natural inclination to run away from him. I just thought He would prevent me from doing so. I thought He would keep from doing myself in. Evidently not. I know full well how powerless I am to keep myself from doing myself harm, not to mention other people, but I thought that God would protect me from myself. I feel some serious doubts happening in me.

What am I suppose to think when God lets me fall? Where do I turn when I feel like I can't trust myself and I can't trust God? I feel doomed. Maybe like God is toying with me, that maybe I'm not one of His children and He's just starting the torment of Hell early.

How uh...This is stupid. God loves me.

The question in my head was this: Why does God get all the credit for good and I get all the credit for bad. Why do I get the credit for torturing myself, judging and hating my self? Why does God, or rather how does God dodge the bullet for all the Bad? The question gets undermined by the more practical question: Will I demand an answer or accept the love that is available to me? Will I picket the pearly gates with a sign that says,"The garden of Eden was an inside job!" or will I put down my sign and let God love me?

God doesn't make sense at all to my little mind and admittedly I have risen yet again to think that I could formulate Him. An astounding mind once thought for man to understand God is for a stream to flow higher than its source. In a manner of speaking, there is an intended place for me to meet God, a role that I am intended to play. My heads gotten too big again and I've tried to grab something that isn't mine. I demanded it. I've forgotten whats good for me. I'm officially embarrassed.

So the Jonah picture becomes clear. He hates himself. He punishes himself and tries to punish others. He denies God's grace though he witnesses it in epic, miraculous displays. He fails to let himself need God. He thinks has a better plan, and God saves him from himself. What God was trying to show Jonah was His unrelenting love. Jonah says, "Never mind the whale, never mind the shade plant, I don't need you, I don't want you, go away and let me do this my own way." And God replies to me, "When will you see that I don't need your payment of misery, I've already got it covered. Just relax and let me love you."

So, here we go again.


My church just did a sermon series about Jonah. It's agonizing to look deeply into the story of Jonah for me because in doing so I'm forced to see the things that have driven me and continue to drive me.

Jonah had a calling. It was simple. He was supposed to go to a big scary city and tell the people there to turn to God. He decided he wouldn't go and that he had a better plan. He took off in the other direction. En route he got swallowed by a fish. After the fish spit him out he went and did his assigned task. He got the lesson that God was trying to teach him, right? Nope. He preaches in the city and they repent and instead of rejoicing at God's mercy, he goes and sulks. He hates that these people, whom he doesn't even know, get to be spared. He writhes in agony in the desert, wishing for death under the hot sun. What is striking to me is Jonah's affinity for putting himself in these life-threatening, miserable places when it seems there is always a more pleasant and suitable alternative. When on the boat he could have said, "God, I'm sorry please forgive me, the sailors will turn the boat around, I'll go do your work now." Nope, he says,"This is my fault and I will pay the price. Toss me overboard. Save yourselves." When the city is saved he could have celebrated with them and rejoiced. Nope. He crawls out into the desert and pouts, waiting in vain for the city to get the Sodom and Gomorrah treatment. He hates them from afar, even though he has been the instrument of their salvation.

The book of Jonah is short. Only four chapters. The last chapter is about Jonah conversing with God about his anger. God asks him if he does well to be angry and Jonah answers,"Yes, angry enough to die." The dude is so angry he wants to cease. And why? Because God grew a plant over his head to shade him and then God killed it the next day. He was angry because a plant died? This bit confused me in an unnerving way for the majority of the series. It finally made sense when I realized the common factor between the two instances that Jonah tried to commit suicide. The common denominator is his pride. Jonah's twisted logic: he rages at the destruction of a soulless plant and doesn't bat an eye at his own self abuse. He tries to carry his own burden then blames God for the pain he suffers when he finds he cannot bear the load. Rather than swallow his pride and accept freedom from his self-inflicted chains, he persists in paying his way. This results in a self-hatred so severe that he wishes for death.

Oh the pain of learning Jonah's story. I am so much like him that it seems he lived only to show me how God isn't baffled by my indignance. This weekend I have done so much harm to the people that God has used me to help. I have seen God's power work through me in the lives of my dear friends. Alas, my own inability to accept grace for myself has turned me into a jealous prick. I don't know how to explain the pathology of how I got to the place I am at, but I know that it is a bad place. I'm angry enough to die. Somehow the burden that I had lain on Jesus has crept on to my back again. I have prayed three time in the last 24 hours for God to let me die. The future looks bleak to me. I can only anticipate more of this torment and I don't know how I'm ever going to make through, never mind why God would want me to. I can say all the things I know I'm supposed to say, but I would just be parroting.

I wept in church again. I cried and cried and this time it didn't feel good. I didn't take communion. I sat there wallowing in dissociated self-pity afterword. I tried to go home but only got the first stoplight and turned back toward the church, hoping again. I found Travis and we went to pizza. I was insufferable and vicious to Travis and Laurie as they tried to cheer me up, and tell me all the right things to do. I tried my best not to bite their faces off. We left and Travis asked for the millionth time what was wrong and I told him not to worry about it. Perfect 10 on the self-pity maximizer. I struggled to not abuse his care for me although all I wanted to do was tell him to fuck off. I said something similar to Katie last night, although I think there was much more transference from my mom in her case. I'm sick of playing the strong one, the leader. I wanted it, and now I despise those who gave it to me.

Travis's face looked like the kid in "Old Yeller" when he realized that Old Yeller wanted to hurt him.

I am a hateful monster at my core. I need to be healed or put down.


Love Me, Love Me, Say that You Love Me

I have a horrible quandary. I fear certain people that possess the very things that I want to find in people. I want to learn from people that have skills and talents that I admire, but I'm terrified that I won't have anything to offer them. I'm terrified that I will be unappreciated by people that have what I want. My binary understanding of people and values is so unwieldy.


I feel like a ship.

The rudder, dragging in the past, trying to steer the future. How strange.

Even as I write I attempt to steer myself. What I lay down now are what I hope to be the foundations, nay, the requirements of the future. Dynamics are astoundingly simple yet overwhelmingly complex. Doubt will destroy you before you set out if you attempt to have a perfect plan before execution. The striking thing about navigation through life is for all our attempts to plot the course, it will never be certain, for the abstract is only an echo of reality. Finite minds can never know. Relativity seriously crushes my mind like a black hole.

Back to the point. I use the past to leverage the future. Reality is the contact point, the line if you will, between the past and the future. It's so bizarre to me, how this thing called "Now" imprints into our minds. The "world" as we refer to it is the real abstraction. Somehow the stimuli coming into our sense translates into meaning, and into cohesion. But the things we generally live as though they control us, actually only exist because we believe they do. We believe what comes down the line from our senses is what is out there. But without the mind, what would it all be? Darkness, silence, emptiness. What you are experiencing as you read, right now, is reality. It exist because we exist. The plans and plots of humans are all based on abstractions of what we have come to accept (on faith, mind you) as what reality means. What the heck am I trying to say?

I guess all this is to say that humanity, reality, perception and the whole thing is just too impossible pointed and strange when you look at it to conceive that this is a random chance. This thing necessitates God. The finite nature of man, his relativity is also necessary. We know something, but not everything for that would be self-existence, and not nothing for that would be non-existence. We're in the middle. We're on the line. It seems the soul is the line between nothing and something. How does God work into this?

Honestly, I'm scared to make inquiries about God. I'm scared of people telling me I haven't read enough, or that I'm blasphemous. I'm only slightly scared of God Himself. This seems so backwards to me. Whatever.

This contact point idea of the human soul being poised on the edge of meaning and nothingness begs the question: Why? We have some control but only relatively speaking. We can't contain all the knowledge of the universe, but we can't know nothing either. It seems that we can only change the direction we choose to face. It seems to me that God set us here to choose. The material world is an illusion that seems to seduce man's desire for control. But without the capacity to control, any attempt to do so seems hopeless. On the line we can face in the direction of Something or nothing.

I feel like I'm losing steam writing about this. And confusing myself.

Three things have happened in the last three days that have piqued my interest.

1.) I've been sitting in a coffee shop for the last two hours and two girls have sat at the table behind me at separate times and each were wearing perfumes that two of my ex-girlfriends wore. One was Victoria's secret something or other. The other I don't know. The incident took me back to places in my heart like a driving into a fog and beginning to think that you are somewhere you are not.

2.) Last night I was laying on my bed (ever notice the distinction between "on" a bed and "in" a bed? Does anyone else treat their bed like a cocoon?) and feeling sorry for myself about something or other and I prayed that God would do something to help me out of this self-pity. The strangest answer to prayer came. I opened my eyes and looked at my dirty sheet and could hardly recognize the fabric or the bed or my pillow. It all looked so foreign and weird. "What is this?" I thought. That moment I was just lifted right out of context and saw my tiny slice of reality as so strange and petty that it was almost comical. I just layed there and stared at the oddity of a sheet, and pondered it and appreciated the strange concept. It felt new. It was mystery found in the mundane. The tiny criss-cross soaked with skin oil and littered with bread crumb boulders. Then I got up and walked to the coffee shop and ogled the majesty of a cool Seattle night with all the awe and frivolity of a child at the circus.

3.)This incident requires a bit of backstory. I have been pretty poor lately. I have bills piling up (not that that is a new aspect of my life) and my cellphone just got shutoff. My wallet got stolen a few days ago. I don't know what God is trying to orchestrate through all of this, but I've been praying for some deliverance, providence, whatever. So I get the notion to go out and trying and make some money on the street playing guitar on Thursday. I figure this will be a great way for God to shower me the money I need, (and feed my ego). I find a good spot on First Ave. on this three step stair case to nowhere in the middle of the sidewalk. I'm sitting there and this guy walks up to me and asks me if he could play a song on my guitar. I say sure and he takes my guitar and howls something that sounds like a cow that has smoked crack for 30 years. I laugh and thank him for the "song". He sits down and I play some more. Then he asks me if he can buy my guitar. I say no, of course. But then he offers me $500 dollars for it. I instinctively decline again and he looks at me like I'm insane. I considered it for a second thinking how I could pay almost all my bills with the money and then I turn him down again. He left and I played for another two hours making about four dollars and fifty cents. Just this morning it hit me that God was providing. I prayed and prayed for some providence and when it came around I said,"Uh, no thanks. I need guitar. I'm gonna be a rock star, and besides it has sentimental value." The trade I made was my security for a piece of wood and metal that is an idol representing my prideful attempt to be admired. I bow to it. It'd be easy for me to whip myself about this now, but I'm choosing grace. God will still take care of me in spite of my noncooperation.

A Note: I found myself feeling alienated after write this entry. I am fearful that making a statement from where I am will be suicidal. I am afraid that I will paint myself into a social corner by being bold/stupid enough to muster a thought and proclaim it. I'm not sure what's right and true, but I'm trying to know. I hope it does not ruin me.