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pursuing the upward call with fear and trembling

just a 44 year old man seeking to share my meanderings with the world at large or the blogosphere at small

Monday, June 29, 2009


Cat Stevens is quite an intriguing character. He was one who vocalized the soul of the peace movement in the 60's and 70's, but converted to islam and affirmed certain violent actions when deemed necessary under islamic law. This is not about him though, but his song *moonshadow* is a very moving song and speaks to me in my life right now. The man or woman singing speaks of living life and experiencing the loss of much of their physical attributes, their arms, legs,sight until they are basically left with laying still and being conscious. Rather than become bitter,self-pitying or withdrawn into themselves, the singer accepts the condition and continues on with life as it is.

This is a metaphor for me in how I have dealt with fear and related struggles over the course of time. It is a weird paradox of the mind so much. On one hand I realized the necessity of God to be real and in control of ultimate reality after my dad died, and i also had a need to try and escape the pain and strong feelings experienced by it all at the same time. I knew then in a much more real way than before the reality of death actually happening and felt it about myself. I used to sing a song in the Catholic Church, *sons of God, hear His holy name, gather round the table of the Lord, eat His body drink His blood and we'll sing a song of love allelu allelu alleluiaaaaaaaaaaaa* I found it to be a comforting song and it included aspects of the victory Jesus had over death within it, as well as the reference to communion.

I have had the battle between acceptance and denial all this time, as I am sure each one of us do to some extent. Sometimes, able to come to grips with the fact of death as a reality which can happen anytime. But also wanting to fight against it and try to keep it away from doing what my imagination came up with. Part of the struggle has also been a tendency to distrust my own ability and sought reassurance from others, especially ones in authority, to confirm Gods reality and His love and grace toward me, because of my feeling of unworthiness which stemmed from things beyond any theological understanding.

It is strange to keep reflecting upon a feeling of lack of acceptance for myself and feeling a misfit but then again certain things help me see where it comes from. No matter how well I could come to grips in my mind in a social and outward way, the haunting thoughts held within have always lurked there and writing has been the main way to express them. Hoping now to accept and take on a challenge which I think my fears have been pointing me towards, to embrace ALL reality, no matter how scary and tough or overwhelming it may be, and to accept God calling me to let go of hiding, even from myself and to let Him lead me into a bolder faith journey which will be one where safety is never guaranteed but where His promise and hope of all being worthwhile in the end is held out to fix myself upon.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Heart Issues

Just got home from the hospital today. I have been there since Tuesday, due to a severe irregular heartbeat. My condition was complicated by my having congestive heart failure for a few years now. Kinda weird the way God works through actual situations. i have written so much about my struggling with having a fear of death and dealing with it, and sure enough a problem with my heart occurs. The good thing is the hospital I went to had a very great staff of nurses and helpers. I was able to chill while in there the whole time as well and not be totally stressed and scared the whole time.

I think God has helped me to come to a better realization experientially of His grace & acceptance. I have such a penchant to feel Him looking at me with dissatisfaction or exasperation on a feeling level because of my perfectionism towards myself. There is something in me that makes me feel like everyone else has all their fears under control and stuff. Of course this is totally unrealistic but it doesnt stop my inner critical parent from carrying on in its ocd style.

I will have to have am electric shock to make my heart go back to normal rhythm in a month. Scary to think about. I may need to get a pacemaker in a few months if no progress occurs. My Dr said one of the pumps in my heart was working at 25% when its supposed to be at least 65% ugh. So many new meds & stuff now Just wanted to share & appreciate all your thoughts,prayers & well wishes!!!!!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Good News Is Just That

The meaning of gospel is good news. The good news of Jesus Christ and His Lordship as Messiah. So strange that alot of people find it so much easier to use Him as a cussword. Bill Cosby had a comedy bit about that, saying he thought that was his name as a kid because his dad would yell that out whenever he was mad or chagrined by something Bill did. Good News. It really is isnt it??? Sometimes looking at life and all the ways man is still so inhumane to man it appears like this Good News did not sink in 2,000 years ago when God became flesh and dwelt among us.

The law was given to expose our inability to keep it and live by it. The very people who should have been the most lawabiding,upright and holy became lawless idolaters who rebelled in all kinds of ways against God who sought to have a personal relationship with them. Law is harsh and really knows little about mercy. If you break the law,you pay the consequences. Those who were charged with teaching the law to others circumvented it to their own advantage. Good News was sorely needed.

The law was given through Moses, grace and truth were realized by Jesus Christ. Jesus not only BROUGHT good news, Jesus IS good news!!!!! He is not good news that sits in heaven on a cloud twiddling His thumbs hoping His Father will tell Him to make His Second Coming which has been ballyhooed for eons now. He makes His good news present NOW in and for all of us!!!!! Christ in you the hope of glory. Jesus came to save sinner, He didnt come to save righteous people, why would they need saving??? So much emphasis throughout the foundation of the Church has been on moral behavior. Our lives are to reflect Jesus behavior, but because His love and grace have set us free from law and sin, not so we can perform in a way to gain approval from Him. Jesus loves us just as we are, all our faults and craziness and failing and everything. Good News!!!!! I want to articulate points i have more in my head, i shall soon. Just soaking in His Good News is yesterday,today and forever!!!!!!

Sunday, June 07, 2009


Velvet was my mom's cat, I actually helped pick her out when I was still living with my mom. We went to the pet store, took a look at the kittens and 2 immediately caught our eye. They were sisters, both black. One has a white stripe down its tail ala pepe le pew. The other had a tiny stub for a tail, and it was a lil twisted. We both held this funny tailed lil kitten, and she was the one. I named her Black Velvet but shortened it to velvet soon after. She was a charming lil cat, hardly ever made a sound and when she did it was more a squeak than a fullfledged meow. She had a fun personality and loved to play and purr. She was 14 years old and had diabetes for the last few years. Due to several complications, velvet had to be put down today. It was very tough. I can feel her soft fur and hear her purr in my mind and it makes me so sad even as i type this. I surely hope God brings animals to eternity,for i definitely want to see velvet again. You were a cherished pet and a special family member velvet. LOVE YOU!!!

Friday, June 05, 2009

Various Stuff

Sometimes titles for posts just don't materialize so I fall back on cliches. I wonder how Spock was able to maintain his absolute logical ability amidst all the push and pull of life swirling around him?? Well, he actually did have emotion in him, he was just amazingly resilient at controlling it. I had some very good responses to a few of my posts and have read so much moving words by people so many places. I find myself brough to tears out of nowhere while thinking over posts,comments and all the ramifications of everything i take in. I wish i had the ability to freeze myself and respond in the 3rd person, as though i was outside myself observing myself, trying to be like a director and tell me what to do and how to feel. It is an odd paradox i experience in living life. I can react in immediate ways to people,laughing,discussing,debating,disputing-whatever the interaction might be. I like to make people feel good and that is a modus operandi i use as I come in contact with people everyday.My treatment of them is very natural for the most part, of course there are times where ambivalence occurs, just part of being human. The paradox is when I am at home and just relaxing,not really doing anything. I find my mind fills with so much *stuff* of recalling alot of things in the past that hurt and caused pain and wounds, then how i let it affect the presnt and why can i not just get over it. I think of ways i have had victory in areas i struggle with but soon turns to ways i let fear,shame and guilt over past failures overshadow the successes and then wonder why I find the negative stuff trumps the positive so often in my mind??? What makes it worse is I can focus on all the Scriptures that speak on being set free from this very thin gand staying *in the present* trusting Jesus to keep me steady and safe within Him and the Spirit.

My psych professor/counselor once told me i was the best second guesser he ever met. We would be in a session and i am sure i could have spent the whole hour spouting off a litany of secondguessing a few different things. He asked me if i was tired alot lol Actually i sleep very little and i am sure its because my mind rarely shuts off. I think this was one of the initial lures of sexual fantasy because it becomes a fixation and almost like a drug where my imagination and feelings get caught up in a sensation that just captures my complete attention until it reaches a finish. Then the cycle renews itself of regret,guilt,shame,self-abasement,sorrow and repentance and a sense of relief until it happens again. So goes the addictive pattern. I think certain ways of thinking and relating can become addictive in themselves, but thats a whole other post.

I have been finding subtle changes inside over last several months. Maybe God is seeing i am ready to move on in certain ways. i certainly hope so. I hope that some who may discover my blog may do so because it is helpful to them in some way in dealing with a life struggle very close to my own. I greatly appreciate anyone who stops by and reads and takes time to comment because they felt like doing so,whatever they may say. 2 years away from 50. I just hope and pray i can take hold in a most enormous way the thrill that life is no matter what pain and suffering as well as triumphs and tragedies have befallen me since my entering this world. So glad i come across people sharing their lives who are realizing this in their own unique way as well.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Fear of the Lord-God Is Love- A Tension???

I would love to be a Psalmist sometimes. Just bare my heart and soul openly to God wanting Him to hear even what i just could not communicate verbally. The Protestant Reformation was a very long time ago, yet it has held sway over Christianity ever since I would argue. John Calvin is one of the most renowned theologians of all time, he has a whole systematic theological system named after him for goodness sakes!!!! Although truth be told Augustinianism should be the real TULIP as Calvin was greatly influenced by Augustine but i digress. The thinking of Calvin and Luther have dominated Christianity across the ages, and it seems like a swelling of new reform is actially *emerging* (had ti use that specific word for fun) if you take a gander across the blogosphere,and amongst various communities all over the world.

Sin is defined as *missing the mark* Failing to reach Gods perfect holiness. Hmmmm, I wonder could finite beings who were made a lil lower than the angels ever honestly achieve that goal??? Is that really what God wants and has wanted??? Translators sure have done a sloppy job in all the versions of the Bible that exist. Perfect in what God had in mind was NOT sinless perfection but maturity. BIG DIFFERENCE!!!! How many sermons are preached with either the outright call or the glaring implication that we need to get around to being sinlessly perfect because God is fed up!!!! There is talk about Gods love and that we cant do anything to make Him love us anymore, and nothing we can ever do to make Him love us any less. Oh no???? Really??? What about willful sin after having repented and accepted Christ as Lord & Savior??? Can a *real christian* decide at times to shake their fist at God and choose to disobey Him??? Can a *real christian* find themselves caught up in struggles mentally,emotionally,physically and other ways that lead to them NOT loving God with their whole being absolutely 100%??? I can hear many of you saying to this, of course *real christians* will struggle and fail, they are human and imperfect. YES so true,but take a look at alot of teaching and preaching around the globe and a simmering message lies underneath warning that God wants you to get up to speed as soon as possible with living holy and righteously or wham God will lay the smack down on you. i think this comes as a response to a perceived *soft on sin* approach taken by many in the Church today.

The fear of the Lord. It is said to be the beginning of wisdom. Wisdom to avoid folly?? To escape foolishness and disasters of life and relationships??? Why are there so many who lean toward Gods judgment and wrath??? They focus on Gods power and His holiness, absolutely parts of His nature that deserve our devotion. The problem is when they overshadow His love and grace and make us feel as though He is just waiting for that slipup so He can use His power and justice to make us pay for our failure. I have posted in the past on the imbalance when grace and love are taken to extremes as well, this just happens to be whats itching for me right now.

i think alot of my fear of death comes from thoughts of things i dont want to consider. My battle with sex addiction,especially continuing despite being in ministry and having learned and grown so much in so many ways. Having times where I just am so lazy and want to shut off the world and escape. Times where I am so angry with myself and then at God for not giving me what i need to break free from the fears and addictive tendencies I fight day by day..The ways I feel and think how could i have chosen to live my life seeking to hecome like Jesus and exemplify His character but still have shadows at work where I do things that go against Him and His will??? Why is it I find pockets inside me that just fight like a dog wanting its bone to stay active no matter how hard i seek to remove them and commit more to God so i can be at rest in Him???

These are rhetorical questions as well as genuine ones. So much of what i write on here are the deepest parts of myself which only see expression in this way, because they are just not what passes for regular interaction. Blogging allows us a buffer to share things i think we would find to threatening face to face for fear of rejection,disapproval and a whole host of other things. God IS love and He IS holy and there is a uniformity in that truth which i seek to understand lil by lil more each day. Hope to hear anyones thoughts who pass on by here.