Thursday, January 31, 2013


Pinned Image
My goal this year for blogging is to try and consistently post once a week.  That way I will stay disciplined about writing, but not end up overwhelmed espeically once classes start in February (almost a 1,000 pages of reading, yipe!).  However, when I saw this quote (see picture to the right), I wanted to share. 

Eating and drinking with friends is one of my favorite things to do.  A meal is just a meal when you eat alone, it becomes an experience, an adventure, a renewal of soul when it's with friends.  About once a month, give or take, I go out to eat with some girls I've known for years.  We eat and drink wine and talk and probably disturb the entire restaurant with our shenanigans and always have a good time.  Whenever I walk away, no matter how long my day, not matter how down I've been during the week, no matter how exhausted, I always find myself refreshed. 

There is something lovely about fellowship with believers.  We are all screwed up, often short tempered, foolish, irrational, impetuous, bad examples, and down right crazy, but we share the Spirit, and when we spend time together in mutual encouragement something incredible happens.  Talking about my soul being fed sounds a little new agey as I write it and maybe even a little hippy-dippy-trippy, but it's the only phrase I can think to describe it with.  God feeds my soul through fellowship with the small piece of His body He has graciously decided to share with me, and I am always so grateful when He does. 

Appreciate your time with the Body.  Always be aware of your own faults and failings when they piss you off and love them with humility.  Encourage and pray and confront one another!  Realize that God has chosen to bring His kingdom through His flawed and foolish people.  And thank Him that He's graciously decided to use you. 

Acts 2:42
They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
Philemon 1:6
and I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective through the knowledge of every good thing which is in you for Christ’s sake.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Shadows of the Divine

There are shadows of Christ in all forms of art.  Ever since I was a kid I’ve loved superheroes.  Growing up my brother and I watched the old school comic book cartoons; X-Men, Superman, Batman, you name it, we were into it.  In recent years I’ve started to notice a common trend within such fandoms: the hero, already set apart from other in his city, sacrifices himself for the sake of those who lack the ability to defend themselves, those who call him a vigilante, those who might kill him for fear of what he is.  Moreover, I realized that this trend did not exist only within the limits of comic books and their subsequent TV shows or movies, but extended into other stories like that of Sherlock Holmes, Disney movies, and even Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  What became very apparent to me was that the authors of such stories all realized one undeniable truth: that the greatest good is to die for those who cannot save themselves. 

 Yet, a few problems remain for these heroes who cast aside their lives in order to protect the fate of others, once they are dead, they are, for the most part (depending on what sort of world your story takes place in) they are done.  There is nothing more they can do, no possible way to save others from death that will inevitably take them, no real and lasting effect they can have aside from the memory they leave behind.  So while their sacrifices are beautiful and powerful, they are not truly lasting, their story in the fight ends.  I think that’s why so often, writers find a cheat within these stories: Sherlock survived the plunge, Flynn Rider is saved by Rapunzel’s tear, Buffy is resurrected by a witch.  They realize that, aside from disappointing the fans of these characters, their hero’s story can’t end.  They want to believe in one that can truly face death and come back to carry on. 

 The problem is that they focus too much on these shadows and ignore the One Who is casting it.  They miss the point of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, viewing it with suspicion and cynicism rather than recognizing his fulfillment of their deepest desires.  I don’t say this as if I, in my brilliance, discovered it on my own, I say it as one who was blind, deaf, and dumb who has been struck so that my every sense has opened up.  Death to life.  As cheesy as it might sound I’m the chief of police wanting to arrest Spiderman whose heart has been changed to understand. 

 Our hearts long for him and we fill them with empty things to try and shut them up; empty things that are good within themselves but never meant to satisfy.  The truth calls out all around us, echoing in our dull ears that can only be opened by the work of the Holy Spirit.  May He give us eyes to see, ears to hear, hearts to understand.

Psalm 19: 1-3

The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
2 Day to day pours forth speech,
And night to night reveals knowledge.
3 There is no speech, nor are there words;
Their voice is not heard.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Restarting a Blog on January 1st is Too Main Stream...

Read: “Courtney’s been lazy about her blog”.  That’s only the partial truth, the self-deprecating side that often makes people laugh and puts them at ease; the other side of it is that I’ve been assessing my motivation in writing a blog at all.  Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about how narcissistic I can be, how we all can be, and it made me wonder if keeping a blog was just feeding this self-focus.  With things like Facebook, where we can present to the world a cleaned up picture of ourselves, it’s so easy to post something and think “dang, I’m awesome, why aren’t more people ‘liking’ and commenting on my posts?”  Add to that Pintrest with its motivational posters that tell you how awesome you are and how crappy most everyone else is (men, “stupid” people, anyone who disagrees with you) and it feels as if we are setting up monuments to ourselves, begging others to validate and worship us, and bemoaning what we perceive to be a villainous lack of “deserved” attention.

I know this is true because I do it myself.  Looking at my Facebook I’m actually bummed if it appears that no one has paid attention to what I consider to be my brilliant posts and the very thought of conflict has my stomach churning.  Moreover, when I analyze the motivation to most of my actions, whether commendable or despicable, I realize that all are muddied by some desire to bring glory to myself, to make myself comfortable, to honor me.  In this painful moment of clarity I crumble, knowing I’ll never be able to do anything with a truly pure heart, without that old man, my old sinful self, telling me about how much “x” will benefit me.  I’m reminded of Gollum in The Lord of the Rings, always debating with himself about what decision will get him what he wants, never making a decision because it is right, but because it will get him closer to the ring.  He has a moment of the dim light of hope only to fall back into slavery to the precious.  What’s the point then?  I can’t even do good without dragging sin along with me!

“For the good that I want, I do not do…Wretched man that I am!  Who will set me free from the body of this death?”

The beautiful thing is, when I find myself in this depth of despair, feeling utterly useless and contaminated, God doesn’t leave me there.  He reminds me that this is the very reason I am in need of Him, that alone I wouldn’t even notice this tainted motivation, that I would stumble on like a zombie, dead flesh animated.  But he reaches into my life and replaces my still heart with a beating one, beginning the change that will, one day in glory, make me holy.  I like to think of it this way, to imagine someone placing a live heart into the body of the walking dead because I imagine the effects of the change might be slow.  The zombie might look the same for a while, but the new heart would start to pump blood through its veins and day by day humanity would reveal itself.  Old habits would be difficult to kick, beauty difficult to see at first, but the zombie would no longer be what it was before; a dead man walking.

So I’m still a healing zombie with tainted motives and a bad case of narcissism.  I won’t be able to write or post on Facebook or do anything without the effects of sin, but God still calls me to do good, still calls me to use the talents He’s given me, and promises to sanctify me while I walk here on earth.  I’m praying that I will begin to see a change in the attitude of my heart, that I will be humbled by God’s work, and that He will use what little I have to offer to bring His kingdom here on earth, but it’s only by His power that I can do so.      

“Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

*Romans 7:19, 24, & 25