“I’d rather be a comma than a full-stop.”

I realize more and more, that respect and kindness in our communication with those closest to us is a Christly commodity. LISTENING to each other, caring for the person THROUGH the proofs, holding tightly to love as the first thing and equally tightly to truth as the second thing, not allowing the lie of separation to chisel chasms between us and us–all these things they are part of the heart of the Gospel and truest life, real ZOE (abundant life of Christ).

Living in relationships where respect for the other’s divine significance and love-filled truth informs the greater part of our interactions feels like Eden. Especially when people can’t possibly pause to hear each other over the screaming of their infinite needs and insecurities. Especially when a twenty-something throws a tantrum over the illogicity of his mother’s refusal to let him exercise his fullest powers of unearned irresponsibility. Especially when grown men rant over and beyond each other in public Facebook forums. Especially when the empty love of universalism lulls the would-be kind and courageous into righteous indignation and “love” sanctioned war. Especially in the world where the ruins are said to be whole by merit of their ruin alone, not by any power outside of their mess. Especially in the world where tall, gentle professors of biology, with pain-laced eyes, leave their cathedrals to find love and family in the stony temples of cold post-modernism.

How can we be agents of communication? How can we be channels of transformation? How can I, Kristi, be someone who helps people listen and hear and love and speak with truth and grace and dignity for God and his children?

It starts with me, right? I need my ears unplugged, my eyes opened, my tongue loosed. I need to die. But Christ makes ends, full-stops, into beginnings, commas. Christ turns death to life. That is my plea. That is how truth can come to love.

//

Inspired by:

  • Life
  • Lewis (“The Weight of Glory”, The Abolition of Man, “Affection” from The Four Loves)
  • A Unitarian Universalist church service
  • The heart of a kind, Catholic professor of biology
  • Freud
  • Steven Brubaker, “A Mennonite Thinks About Thinking”
  • Stephen Russell
  • Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro
  • Lesslie Newbigin, “Faith as the Way to Knowing” and “Through Faith Alone” from Proper Confidence.
  • Coldplay, “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall” (holla)
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Feelings on the Church

I’ve spun and spun and the cogs are all worn down now.

Their teeth keep missing each other and they don’t catch and make progress.

The same problems ricochet from neuron to neuron and bounce back in reply with the same tired, maddening questions.

The paths between my synapses are scraped smooth and hard and cold just like the prison where their teeth rattle their chains and eyebrows knit tighter and tighter a shroud, inescapable.

Always in ceaseless, useless motion,

in the background,

wearing it all down and out to less and less progress and answer and truth,

the problems roll and scrape until they’re so smooth and flat that it’s useless to try to grasp them because they just slip and scatter

It’s like trying to juggle a thousand bowling balls in a shuddering tin. They drop everywhere and they bounce and bounce

and keep bouncing and bouncing and bouncing until it’s only cacophony and clatter and you can’t even see the question anymore.

There has to be a way out.

If not a way out, a damper pedal.

If not a damper pedal, a rhyme? A rhythm? A key?

 

Is there really no answer?

Did God really pose an impossibility?

Is there really no other way?

 

Compromise means someone goes hungry.

Compromise means someone loses.

Compromise means we can’t all come home.

Compromise means that “redemption” is just a word.

 

The way it looks to me

Either we, the household of faith, have the hard road,

Or they, the fatherless, get the short stick

 

To whom much is given

Much is required.

 

Even so, come Lord Jesus.

//

A few days after I wrote this, in great frustration. God answered me, and I tried to listen

//

A Response 

 

Sometimes the cogs spin and wear down

Sometimes problems ricochet

Sometimes there’s only cacophony and clatter

 

But then you let the clatter out

And you share it and it gets softer

It’s not quite as clamorous

 

God looks at you through your brother’s eyes

Humility breaks your back

And Love returns to the center.

 

The ricochet transforms into something holy

Something lovely and mysterious

The fingerprints of the Spirit.

 

An echo, a note, of hope.

Come and See


John 1:35-51

Come and see.
Come and see the goodness of God in the dewdrop and the fog.
Come and see the mercy of God in the lightning and the rain.
Come and see the love of God in your mother’s eyes and your baby brothers cries.
Come and see.
Come, open your eyes.
Behold, the Lamb of God. The sacrifice, full of grace and truth.
Messiah. Son of Joseph, Son of God, Son of Man, Creator.
Come and see your brother, the firstborn of the dead.
Come and see.
Let his Light penetrate your darkness because your darkness cannot overcome this light.
Come, see, and believe.

Ghost

I’m not often haunted,
But when I am
They visit together.
All at once,
My heartbreaks.

My sin and them,
My dead, my dying,
My face trying to see me.
My wasted time and stolen eyes.

Doubt like acid rain.
Fear like putrid pain.
Loneliness,
A dull, soft stain.

My heart
Not wasted,
But unkept.

9/3/17

Siemens Soldiers

Below, green and brown.
Dry and warm and lovely.
Sage brush, pink rocks.
Above, grey, deep blue, and every shade between.
Sheets of rain in the distance
Then there they are
Twixt earth and heaven
Encouraging earth
Holding back heaven
On the hill to the left.
Rank upon rank upon rank
Standing straight and tall
Grounded in flight
Turning turning turning
Pushing the world into better days
Hopeful and proud
Sure of a future full of green.

It Will Be, Just as I AM

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It was a night for eternity.

We were a family; whole people because the Spirit was working and we filled in each other’s gaps. We were sirens and the sea threw itself at us.

Joy Unspeakable and Full of Glory.

The sky would not give up her stars so we made our own and wondered at the strength of light and love.

God is with us, in us, through us.

We laughed and ached and delighted in the image of God on every man. The ache was beauty, but also pain. We weren’t there yet. The night ended. The fire died. Cold descended with the heavy dew. But it won’t always. It won’t forever.

For there is coming a day and it will be, just as I AM.

 

#TIcabinretreat17

I AM, yeah, but Who?

I thought I knew God. Sure, you can never fully know Him, but that’s the beauty of life, right? You get to keep digging deeper into His beauty and kindness and goodness. But over the last months I’ve been getting this sneaking suspicion that I don’t know God at all. I only know His Shadow. Then I read Leviticus and I realized I didn’t really know who my God is. Then something bad happened to someone good who shouldn’t ever have to deal with another bad thing ever again. And then I really realized. Who could this God possibly be?

The same God who met me and cradled me and carried me in the darkest time of my life turned a stony face to a child of His who sought His love. The same God who was served by prostitutes and sat with sinners said that no Levite with any physical defect could serve in His tabernacle. I mean really God? You let men with fallen sinful hearts serve in Your sanctuary, but no, a limp is too much, that’s where You draw the line? The same God who said He is not willing that any should perish sent thousands of innocent Egyptian boys to an untimely death. The same God who showers me with better gifts than the purest prophet ever deserved takes and takes and takes from faces who are genuinely turned towards Him.

I know it’s not a new question, but I didn’t know it was my question.

I don’t want to see a flat God. But my capacity for knowing and understanding is so insufficient.