25 May 2006

Psalm 119:92
If your law had not been my delight,
       I would have perished in my affliction.

The above is my past and my prayer. unfortunately, i often forget what my delight is and suffer under my own disobedience and forgetfulness. it's not just affliction, something spurred by an outside force, but it's "my" affliction...my psyche searing into my life, through every facet. but it is His words that should be infiltrating all those hidden places.

as i struggle to find community and acceptance in this bustling city, i am reminded that i have choices, and that i am being humbled daily to one day blossom into something that God has fasioned me to be. it seems that we have many moments of bloom that occur throughout life...those epiphane type of moments where we feel like we've arrived in something special, accomplished something great or have all the wonderful things we've always dreamed of. for those times, i gladly trudge through the affliction. it produces in me something so much greater.

24 May 2006

i ate a sausage this morning...a real, bonofied pork sausage. now, this may seem highly normal to most, but for me, the non-beef, non-pork omnivore, this is a rarity. there must be something about being pregnant that is making me want it...i crave that protein. i also cooked with garlic for the first time in nearly 6 months! and it didn't make me gag. in fact, i found it quite delicious. this is great and wonderful. i feel so encouraged about my eating future.

but what this entry is really about, is the Great challenge...that of being what Philippians 2 calls us to be. i have been reading The Case for Christ, which is probably long overdue, and one of the passages they mention is in that passage, regarding Jesus being at a lower level than God. for some reason i decided to look it up this morning, and was utterly humbled by its all too familiar words which i used to have memorized, and should again:

Imitating Christ's Humility
 1If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

 5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
 6Who, being in very nature God,
      did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
 7but made himself nothing,
      taking the very nature of a servant,
      being made in human likeness.
 8And being found in appearance as a man,
      he humbled himself
      and became obedient to death—
         even death on a cross!
 9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
      and gave him the name that is above every name,
 10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
      in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
 11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
      to the glory of God the Father.

Shining as Stars
 12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

 14 Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe 16 as you hold out the word of life
—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing. 17 But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you.18 So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.

today i am beginning a 6 week summer class on the psychological novel. oddly, this is not something that i deal well with mentally, but i need a class to further my achieving a degree. the description of the class seems to come from a point of extreme secularism, with acceptance of the depravity of humanity as something to be grasped and almost embraced-but not embraced in the yes-we-are-all-sinners-lets-work-this-out kind of way, but in the nihilistic, hedonist type of way. for some reason, i must be called to be in this class for it was my last choice, but the only one that seemed to fit in with my schedule. i am a bit scared of what i may encounter, but then humbled by God's words. i am to be fearful and trembling, but God wants me to work out his purpose, and what if my purpose is to be light, a shining star in the midst of a class that is consumed with human darkness? i am humbled by my position...not just as fellow student, but my being suddenly thrust into new roles, that of wife and mother.

there is so much good in life, i cannot complain. but this season has proven to be particularly difficult, even with all the blessings. it is really quite ironic. i feel stripped of so many comforts and alone in this new life. but paul reminds me that i have a higher calling...this renews my hope and causes me to strive for what's right, what is good and beautiful.

i am grateful for the humility. it's really all i have, and that is perfect.

23 May 2006

some rants and some raves...

bureaucratic red tape...what's the deal? can one ever escape it? i simply want to have my baby, which is covered by insurance, and also receive the maternity leave which is legally entitled to me. ha. well, i can certainly have my leave and get my 66% of my salary granted i confirm it, and fill out copious amounts of paper, from numerous state and starbucks groups. i had no idea the depths to which i would have to crawl to make this work.

and this comes after my vain attempts at cashing in on savings bonds. of course, since they have my maiden name on them (mind you, my maiden name is now my middle name), the bank refuses to cash them. i have my old license, my marriage license, my old social security card...but alas, i could be a fraud, a thief, or better yet...a terrorist? of course, for all those covert government agencies that are now putting a watch on me for caustically alluding to my self as the "t" word, i do not subscribe to any radical, fundamentalist groups, spiritual or otherwise. although, i did work for greenpeace for one month, 2 years ago.

anyway...the least stressful part of living, having a baby, getting married (in no set order) is actually doing those things, contrary to popular belief. we stress ourselves out more by all the information overload and proof we have to have that we actually are in these situations. clearly, i'm pregnant. hmph.

so the rave this week? NORTH PARK. my jared's lovely new starbucks (which so happens to be one that i was supposed to work at) is nestled in the fine community just east of downtown SD, and boasts a wonderfully eclectic crowd of folks who i love being around. the houses are quaint little craftsmen beauties and the shops still lack the letters "corp." behind their name (save starbucks, of course). jared and i have agreed that this is definitely a place we wouldn't mind living come early next year. obviously too poor to buy, i would not mind at all renting one of the cute cottages down the road.

which leads me to the whole reason behind moving...our beautiful, precious gift from God. of course, i haven't actually seen anything but the definitive spine in the ultrasound, but i'm telling you, our baby is the most beautiful EVER. hands down. i have this inkling that it's a boy, but not enough to state it to the whole world. of course, i have random strangers telling me it's a boy because i'm carrying so high...but who really believes that? awww...it could be my little noah...or chloe. but for now, we'll just call it "noe"...sounds good enough. it's been kicking so much. i think it must have had the hiccups last night because it was relentlessly moving around like a little snake. it was the most bizarre thing to lay there and see my belly button roll with each squirm. i love my little nocturnal baby. last week i finally decided i was big enough to put headphones on the belly...and boy did the baby go crazy! i'm not sure if it was from shock and annoyance or sheer joy, but it was nonstop kick-fest for 1/2 hour. and despite the discomforts of pregnancy, the joy of this baby outweighs anything else...and because of that, my baby gets the vote for rave of the week (but then again, the baby gets my vote every week...forever).

17 May 2006

a resurgence approaches.

as i have so much more time to ponder the previously imponderable, i am becoming hypersensitive to my creative, introspective nature. i feel that urge to learn, and to seek after wisdom and God like i haven't in so so long.

i am about to embark on yet another english course, this one called the psychological novel. when i went to sdsu last year to meet with an advisor, i remember sitting in front of this very mysterious, heavily ornamented office door of an unseen professor. i could hear his voice, and saw many students go in and out with papers, but never saw him. his door, and the outlying walls were plastered with pulp art, old movie photos, poems, quotes, spanish, etc. i remember being very curious about what lay just beyond that threshold. well, i will now get to find out. apparently, this one dr. nericcio is going to be my teacher. i went to his numerous websites, which have the exact same ornamentation as the office door. i became deeply fascinated by this seemingly normal looking man (in the photos) who seems wildly obsessed with the obscene, erotic and the hidden.

why? One may ask...Well, because I've been there. Maybe not to the degree that this fellow has, but I have always been somewhat overly curious about what lies beyond the eyes and how I can penetrate the mind of my fellow man. And now, I feel like I may get a chance, in 6 short weeks, to delve into the bizarre curiosities of another human.

reading through his websites, i felt highly inferior to the extensive knowledge that he clearly has on various subjects, which always challenges me to seek out more. obviously he is quite older than me and has a doctorate, thus his knowledge would surpass mine. but it makes me wonder how people get there...how do they come up with the odd dissertation topics and unique obsessions. i am fascinated with erotic art, taking photos in fluorescent-lit rooms and eclectic electronic sounds. but why? and how could i make that my life's work? will fellow students be more astute and educated than i, or will i surpass them? it seems a silly game of comparison, but i always become so challenged when i get back into the area of study that i'm actually interested in: literature and the arts.

the fine artist and the writer always seem to politely coexist, another phenomena that intrigues me. i was once the illustrious art major that touted around my big portfolio like i actually knew something about feeling and depth, which i maybe did to a point. i find it funny that when one gets in upper division art courses, the climate suddenly changes...they become pseudo-intellectuals ready to digress on every facet of the art in question. this is strikingly familiar to my upper division english classes. there are always those few students who can't wait to tell of their latest theory on Lord Byron or oscar wilde; or to prove that they know all about the unique language of joyce. and in these characters, i see myself (the characters being fellow students). if i were the more outspoken, proud type, i could see myself using every available moment to harangue about some topic when i am really just a dilettante. so, there it is. as artists and writers (which are really one in the same, right?) we seem to find it so necessary and urgent to profess our own intellectual state, to prove that we have knowledge (and hopefully more than you) about some rare subject that no one else knows about. yet, the teacher always knows more. i was always proud and honored when a teacher would grade my essays and talk about how unique the topic was. it was like i was something different and special...when really, they'd probably seen it before, and done better. same in art class...when i had a weird series of drawings or photos, i felt special and proud when they were bizarre or questionable...it was like i had become a true artist. but, as for the coexistence, this drive to be different, smart and a bit nutty, seems to be the glue that binds us together. Mathematicians are necessary, but there is an element of the objective which keeps them from confronting the sticky parts of life...answers are black and white and they move on (not to say that they have no philosophical wanderings). but artists and writers question everything, because to them, what they look at or read is completely subjective. they long to challenge what has previously been said, to dissect it into a million parts to understand the deep leanings being the psyche. here in lies why so many of this type are more prone to being liberal-minded, existentialists with a fear of believing in an absolute God.

this is where i often feel in the minority. but that is good, i guess, for my pride...not so much for the people that deny Him. jared always says i'm a paradox and i'm beginning to understand why. somehow, in my brain, i am able to be completely immersed in a subculture of subjective thought, while maintaining a very objective view of spirituality and faith. i am both an existentialist and a Christian, and i'm not sure how the two are reconciled. i hate the objectivity of school and certain classes...but i love the power and absoluteness of God. i love to question meanings behind everything...but i am somehow content with having faith in the Bible and its Word. before jared, i never really noticed this dichotomy, but it becomes more and more apparent as i become a part of the literati. i imagine maybe people like cs lewis and kierkegaard had similar confessions.

the objectivity of Jesus Christ is the ongoing premise for being. so, i guess, i'm not really an existentialist. that would be a complete oxymoron. if their were no solidification in my faith, i wouldn't understand this being that i am. i would be a nihilist who followed nietzsche instead of Jesus. the beauty of the artist, the explorer, the writer, is their quest for knowledge and understanding. to me, it ultimately all leads to God. it seems impossible to explore even the most sensitive, hidden areas of existence without recognizing that it all stems from One. the fact that our brains are even capable of the depths that they are is evidence enough. i suppose God endowed us all with a subjective side or else we'd be robots that only clamored after Him out of obligation. subjectivity allows for love and choice, which can be both a strength and a downfall. but He pines for us to rest in His objectivity out of our own subjectivity.

no artist, writer, biologist or professor can compare with God. all our attempts at godhood through personal conquests and flouting are simply futile.

11 May 2006

I just feel like writing. it seems to plague me lately. as i do my research and posting for the book review, i find myself becoming envious of all the creative writing, etc., going on in the world of blogs. a lot more time on my hands makes me think so much of this wonderful, mysterious world around me, and causes me to muse on its idiosyncracies.

dan brown-the da vinci code---we've all heard the hype, seen the trailers and the silly soda machine boxes flaunting the mystery and supposed "truth" set forth by the controversial novel. honestly, i have not read the book and don't really plan to. but what is so interesting to me, as i peruse the numerous blogs, is the high concentration of Christians who spend mass amounts of time digressing about the book. not to mention the number of churches that are erupting with sermons on the novel; how to defend our faith against it; how to prove its innate fallacies.

as a Christian, i can see the concern in having people believe something that is wrong about our faith. but, i have just as much concern about us becoming obsessed with downtrodding a novel which is out there, is going to be out there and there's nothing we can really do to stop it. are we simply spending too much time trying to prove our Christian code against Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code? i would venture to say we are.

there must be precautions taken, and we should certainly be ready to answer any questions that people may bring up. but it just seems like maybe we should be majoring in the gospel, how to defend it DAILY, not simply when something threatens our belief system. if we were lost on a desserted island, alone, with no human challenges to faith, we should be immersed in the gospel. if we only associated with Christians (which i would not suggest) we should still be immersed in the gospel. if we are lost in a world that is depraved and hungry, we should be immersed in the gospel. it must be a part of our daily lives. i know that i falter in this area. i seem to have my battles that i wage. but God shows up everywhere, not just when disputes arrive.

my concern is that it will become an us verses them mentality in which we continue to alienate ourselves, as believers, from the reality that exists. this is not to say that we should become like the rest of the world, or subscribe to their value systems or personal spiritual beliefs. but we are commanded to love. living in factions dissolves the love of Christ.

frankly, i think we just need to get over it.

10 May 2006

rehearsing this passage in my mind today-

"Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power; in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning, thou hast the dew of thy youth." psalm 110:3

-i was astounded, first at this beautiful translation, but then curious about what exactly this means.

this passage is taken from psalms, and is considered to be the last Messianic psalm, which alludes to the coming of Christ, not just as the saviour in human flesh, but as the King who will one day conquer all evil on earth and reign.

The NIV version talks about us being that dew which pours forth at the coming of Christ. we are new in the morning, as Lamentations so eloquently states.

i love the idea of birth, how it seems to be incorporated throughout life, especially that of the Christian. we are born physically, by our mothers. when accepting Christ, we are reborn spiritually, into the type of life that is eternal. in this passage it is as if we are born warriors, but not the kinds of warriors we know today...something more loving and precious...not malicious or with selfish ends in mind; but with the mind of Christ and with a youthful vigor.

i've always found the dew of the morning so pleasant, peaceful and remeniscent of the way life abounds in so many different facets of nature and the world. how interesting to use this metaphor in the Bible. there are reasons i see things certain ways. and yet, it only becomes more clear as i dig into the depth of this Word.

08 May 2006

 John 7:37
Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink."

I have neglected writing for too long. my paper journal has remained unused and sadly lonely, even though i should be writing more now that i'm pregnant than ever before. i used to spend every morning reading my Bible AND writing commentary. my journal was full of so many random, beautiful and often silly thoughts. i suppose with this new life coming upon me, spending more of my time online doing work, the long dead online journal of kelly should be revived. thus, i am here, and happily so.

now, to comment on this verse i read as i perused the online pages of biblegateway...

a couple weeks ago, my husband and i had an unfortunate experience regarding church. regardless of how one believes on issues of salvation, there are certain levels of respect that one should have when speaking to the masses. at our now former church, the elder speaking disrespected a great many believers, and in turn, lost my respect. this is a long story that isn't really necessary for public display, but i will say this: the one comment that still floors me, is when he blatantly stated, "Jesus didn't die for everyone. If He died for everyone, then He didn't die for anyone." my heart dropped and tears started to well up in my already well saturated eyes. i felt hurt and betrayed, angered at how that could be derived from the Book that i have so trusted in for the last 12 years.

but this morning, i came upon this verse and was reminded of how beautifully gracious our Lord is; how he longs to have everyone, no matter how depraved one is. we are all utterly depraved; i have never claimed not to be. but some in other sects of Christianity seem to feel that having a belief in a certain path to salvation must mean that one cannot possibly think that they are utterly depraved, but somehow exalted and worthy of a prize. frankly, i just don't see this, but i could be blind, as i have been before. haven't we all?

i have been so humbled, forced to drink from the water that i unknowingly denied. the reality of having a child has made me so thirsty again. it reminds me of salvation, of the beauty of being birthed into the family of God through His grace and mercy, and loving Him out of a conscious choice rather than obligation. i long to be thirsty EVERYDAY, that i may earnestly seek He that refreshes me. i am ready for that saturation that i used to so often revel in. the depth of the wells of my heart are longing to be filled...and i am ready to drink.