Archive for the ‘Spiritual’ Category

Because in a fit of nostalgia I drew him. It was quite cathartic, honestly. I feel like God’s been rewinding certain parts of my heart, undoing damages done with “backwards mutterings of dissevering power,” freeing my heart as an artist and lover to Him again.

I pray I am unable to get in His way.

Why the jeans? Well, for one, naked furries scare me. For two, I always thought he’d be the type to wear bluejeans since he’s a workin’ man type of guy.

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Tomorrow, I go before Kwan Jang Nim Tony Thompson, cofounder of Ernie Reyes’ World Martial Arts, to test for the rank of Sa Bum Nim, that is Third Degree Black Belt, the title of which means “One who is a shining example to those around him.” I do not go alone; many come to support me, and I test next to several candidates for First and Second, and two for Third. All of whom I am proud to share the field of battle with. It is for them, if none else, that I post this.

I am constantly beset by doubt and fear today. Every nerve ending in my body seems to be on edge, the very breath caught in my throat. But I will not be defeated. I will not be crushed. I have trained hard, I have put the work in. Aye, perhaps I might have done more – but that thought shall always be present. Looking back, one can always see where he might have put more effort here, rested more here, gone right instead of left here. I cannot help the past. I cannot change what other people think or say or do. But I can control my attitude.

I am reminded that in The Book of Five Rings, “attitude” is the word used for a sword stance. Our attitudes are not simple things – they are a stance we take against forces that war against our minds, both internal and external. This year, my attitude shall be once of ferocity and courage. Courage does not come to those who know the outcome, or those without fear. Courage comes to those who must face great hardship and the outcome is uncertain, but they cling to faith, and charge forward.

I am reminded of the Pilgrim’s Progress, and now see that his test that lies before me is a living allegory such as this tale:

The Interpreter took Christian by the hand, and led him into a pleasant place, where was built a stately palace, beautiful to behold; at the sight of which Christian was greatly delighted; he saw also upon the top thereof certain persons walking, who were clothed all in gold.

So the Interpreter took Christian, and led him up towards the door of the palace; and behold, at the door stood a great company of men, as desirous to go in, but durst not. There also sat a man at a little distance from the door, at a table-side, with a book and his ink-horn be-fore him, to take the names of them that should enter therein; he saw also that in the door-way stood many men in armour to keep it, being re-solved to do to the men that would enter, what hurt and mischief they could.

Now was Christian somewhat in amaze: at last, when every man started back for fear of the armed men, Christian saw a man of a very stout countenance come up to the man that sat there to write, saying,“Set down my name, sir”; the which when he had done, he saw the man draw his sword, and put a helmet upon his head, and rush towards the door upon the armed men, who laid upon him with deadly force; but the man, not at all discouraged, fell to cutting and hacking most fiercely.

So after he had received and given many wounds to those who attempted to keep him out, he cut his way through them all, and pressed forward into the palace; at which there was a pleasant voice heard from those that were within, even of those that walked upon the top of the palace, saying,

Come in, come in,

Eternal glory thou shalt win!

Set down my name, sir.

Stories, Empathy, etc.

Posted: July 8, 2010 in Life, Musing, Spiritual

Okay, before I get into the musings for tonight, have to say: Brave Little Toaster: best movie ever, period. Just got it as an early birthday present, and man. I missed this movie. It’s so ingeniously done! And such a great story of friendship and heroism. I’unno, I’m a nerd.

Anyway. I’ve been reading The Sacred Romance over the past two days, and my heart is burning in me again. As nerve-wracked as I am for my Third Dan test this Saturday, I’m already starting to look beyond it, at the God who’s romancing my heart. The book is honestly telling me stuff I’ve heard a thousand times before, but I’ve been reading Eldredge for years now. And yet every time I hear it, this message of the wildness of God, the depth and power of love, the danger and adventure of this Story we’re in, it smacks me in face as if I’ve never heard it before.

I find I’m like the prince in the Silver Chair, waking and wondering where I’ve been all this time.

And then tonight happened. My girlfriend went through some serious crap, and the Devil jumped right on it. I was all settled in and ready to chill out, watch a movie, and have a relaxed night and it hit the fan. If I hadn’t been reawakened, God only knows how poorly it all would have went. But I saw the meaning behind the pain she and our mutual friend were in, saw the love that drove it all, and was able to speak to it. More, in the midst of my effort to comfort her and encourage her, God suddenly swelled up in my heart and I poured out His words to her, since she was unable to listen for His voice on her own.

In one night, He brought her courage, broke through our friend’s illusions about happiness, and confirmed that what I simultaneously hope for and fear is true: He’s blessed me with Prophecy.

God above, that scares me. I don’t want to be that guy who pisses everybody off, or worse, shuts people away because I think I’ve got a private line to God. He knows I don’t. But it’s undeniable; when the chips are down, when my loved ones need it, He speaks through me in some capacity or another. It’s a gift made possible by love, by having empathy to other people. I believe empathy and love are the most powerful force in this world. The Hyperion cantos taught me that.

Which brings me to another thing I muse on often that Sacred Romance is bringing to the forefront again – how much and how often God speaks through stories. Of course our hearts are more ready to be brought alive, to learn to understand our own story, be experiencing others. The Dark Tower series and the Hyperion Cantos especially speak to me. I’ll be rereading them for my whole life probably. The power and tenacity of love and dedication, grace for those who have strayed, and the absolute power of empathy. All of these things I see more clearly through that lens.

In fact, tonight it was remembering the concept of Ka-Tet from Dark Tower that triggered much of what I needed to say to my girl tonight.

I think that’s one of the big differences from seeing thins as a collection of principles or rules vs a personal, passionate relationship with God. Anything in my life gives him a chance to talk to me, or me to him.

Anybody out there have thoughts on the matter? I KNOW YOU’RE THERE I SEE THE PAGE VISITS GOING FROM 2 to 4 D<

Independance Day

Posted: July 5, 2010 in Spiritual

I loved this movie when I was a kid; this scene always gave me chills. Still does. The idea of all of Mankind finally putting aside it’s differences and standing together inspires me to no end. I often wonder if it would truly take us all recognizing a single, universal enemy. Why not a single universal Reason, a universal cause or good?

We have both. Our enemy is hatred, bigotry, selfishness and greed. Our universal good should be love. Personified, it is in God and all that stands apart from Him that we find this dichotomy. I’m not talking about religion at the moment, just the simple fact of hanging up selfishness and treating others the way we want to be treated. I could get into my beliefs concerning the War that rages in this world, the Dark One who seeks to sow dissent among our people and keep us from ever uniting or loving each other that way. I could go into how we made such dissent possible by allowing that Dark One to convince us that the good we knew wasn’t good enough, that God was holding out on us.

Let me tell you, any time I’ve gotten upset because I felt like somebody was holding out on me, I can say I was most definitely being selfish. It happens when you skip right past being grateful for what you’ve got and start thinking about what you don’t, and how much you wish you had it. I’m telling you, in the past two days I’ve decided to make an effort to thank God for all the things I possibly can that I’m grateful for. (Got the idea from Book of Eli, believe it or not.) Man, it changes the way you think. You start realizing just how much you just…assume you had the right to have. The crap you’ve lost the sense of wonderment or gratitude in but should never, ever lose such gratitude.

I bet the flood victims know what I’m talking about. Family, clothes, homes, food, water, TVs and electronics. Jobs. How quickly we go from being grateful to almost being malcontent, just because we assume it’ll always be there.

I’m not really making a point here, just…throwing stuff out. Trying to point out the fact that there is a real, tangible divide between Good and Evil, Positive and Negative, Selfish and Selfless. I don’t think selflessness is never thinking about yourself; I think it’s loving yourself such that you know what you hope and need for yourself, and in so doing are willing to make sure others get it because you’d hope they’d do the same for you. If we all did that, no one would have cause to be selfish anyway.

But of course it ain’t gonna happen. Not in this life. So till then we’ve got to be the ones who make that choice to treat others with love, the way we want for ourselves.

I ain’t saying anything that hasn’t been said before, and that’s alright. I guess I just want to see more of us, as individuals and parts of a whole, stand up and rebel against this shadow of selfishness and negativity that tries to rule us. As POD sang,

“Rebel against the I and bring down the self, mutiny me overthrow you; Rebellion starts within, the time is now.”

Do something. Make yourself independent of the oppression of selfishness, love somebody. Don’t worry about making it perfect; part of love is forgiveness and grace, for yourself and others. Just try. I’m trying to do that now, and praying every day for ways to be illuminated. If it’s not so clear, go by what you know, what you’ve been taught. If that’s not quite right you’ll learn. Just…don’t give up. Don’t go quietly into the night, don’t vanish without a fight. Live on, survive. Live and love.

Celebrate your independence day. Celebrate your life.