silentprophets

Short sentences. Lots of periods. Something. Profound.

at me, he stared right through

the saddest story I’ve ever known
was of a man who’s stature was a wobble
who’s breathe was as thick as the Listerine bottle was empty.
he was so close to the ground
that he was nearly underneath it
most days he wished he was.
his eyes were glazed over and his soul was too
but I still believe that on that day
at me, he stared right through.
but more sad than his circumstance
was that long before I offered my arm to lean on
so that he could start to walk,
he had lost his will to stand.

— J.A. Williams, “From My Heart, For Your Soul”

Today I am reminded of this poem I wrote a few weeks back. It’s about a man I encountered during Christmas break. It was Christmas Eve and I had just arrived in Edmonton to visit my family for the holidays. I was just leaving the bus station when I saw a man stumbling a few meters ahead of me. His clothes were tattered and dirty and he looked 60. He was falling over on the ground, reaching for a 5 dollar bill that he dropped.
I offered my arm to help him stabilize and he accepted. He then proceeded to dump the rest of his listerine into the garbage can next to him. He was drunk beyond the point of comprehension. He could barely speak or walk straight. I helped him to a taxi and directed the taxi driver to take him to the nearest hospital. I got in to make sure he would make it. He wanted to go somewhere else, but the taxi driver would not take him anywhere if he didn’t have an address, and since the man could barely speak or walk, he couldn’t remember or even pronounce where he wanted to go. I decided it would be best to take him to a hospital.
We arrived. I got out of the taxi, opened the man’s door and asked him if he would join me. He refused. I tried to reason with him for 15 minutes. I failed. Since the man would not leave the taxi, nor heed my help, I called 911. I told them the situation. As I was doing this, the man finally got out of the taxi, and I approached him again to talk and see how I could help. He started yelling “F*** YOU” to me, over and over and over until I left.

This was by far the most terrible I have ever felt in my life. I tried to help him, but my naivety prevented me. I ended up just pissing him off and he wandered away down the streets, and I could do nothing. I felt so helpless. So useless. The man on the phone said they would send a someone to make sure he was okay, but I don’t think they found him. He was long gone. All I could do was pray. So I did, and still do, for the broken man at the bus stop.

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For this, I am tragically sorry

I haven’t written in a while. Well, I have… but not on this blog.
This isn’t much. It’s just a quick poem on how our culture views women.
It’s pretty straightforward.

“I like to believe I’m not good enough for most girls
not because I think lowly of myself,
sometimes, I could argue, I should;
but because most girls, I find, are tragically beautiful.
tragic because they’re beautiful,
and don’t know it.
and beautiful because their lives are mostly tragic.
and tragedy births intellect, wisdom and character.
by habit they’re taught that if they have an original thought,
stab it.
if their confidence grows
grab it
and try to fit it into a size 0.
and it’s because of men.
me.
though, you could hardly call us that.
most men, I find, are tragically ignorant.
tragic because we’re ignorant to what’s truly beautiful
and ignorant because we’re destroying it
by only covering it with our eyes and hands
and not our hearts.

For this, I am so terribly and tragically sorry.”

—J.A. Williams, “From my Heart, For Your Soul”

My theological “coming out of the closet”.

If you’re a close friend of mine you may already know that I have been discerning whether or not homosexuality is wrong for a while now. It’s not something that I tell a lot of people because in a community full of Christians who believe that it’s wrong, it’s hard to explain to people that I don’t think the issue is that simple. People often get emotional and stop listening or it ruins friendships because it’s such a big issue for some people, and that’s the last thing I want.
I’m actually getting really nervous as I write this because I know a LOT of my friends will disagree with me even questioning whether its right or wrong.
But I have to be real with you and I have to be real with myself because I have a few things to say.

But before we get into that.
First,
If you’re reading this and you’re one of my Christian friends who believes homosexuality (or any sort of sexuality that is different than heterosexuality) is wrong, then I would just like to say:

1. Yes, I do know where in the Bible it says that homosexuality is “wrong”. (I put that in quotation marks because I don’t believe it’s quite as black and white as Christians have always believed and because I’ve come to different conclusions.)
2. Yes, I have prayed about it. I’ve spent many hours saying “God, if you tell me straight up whether homosexuality is wrong or right, I WILL listen. Just tell me. It’ll make things a whole lot easier. ” and I’ve gotten no answer.
3. Yes, I would like to continue our friendship even though we may disagree.
4. Yes, I am open to hearing your opinion and discussing it in a healthy manner. But if you’re just going to send me an angry message telling me I’m a “false teacher” and that I’m terrible Christian and I shouldn’t be questioning these things… I probably won’t listen. So don’t bother. I’ve heard it many times before.
5. Yes, I am still follower of Christ who is actively living and seeking to live my life in a more Christlike way.

Second,
To any of my friends who are non-Christians or LGBT and have never struggled with the question of whether or not homosexuality is wrong or right and probably don’t understand why its even an issue and see the church as a hateful entity, I would like to say:

1.  I’m so terribly, terribly sorry for how the church has treated you and your community since this issue has come up. They are good people. Just misguided and blinded by emotional anger.
2. I know it may seem blatantly obvious to you that it’s okay and that this shouldn’t even be an issue, you have to understand that this is a belief that the church has held for a VERY long time, and questioning theological tradition always comes with MUCH struggle. So bear with us.
3. I have grown up in a home where issues such as this were never questioned. I was told since a young age that it was wrong, and that’s just what I believed. So, again, please bear with me.
4. I’m writing this mainly to Christians, so if you read this and wonder why I’m saying certain things and are even offended by what I’m saying, just send me a message and I’ll explain why I’m saying it.

now, what I want to say.

Christians, you may ask:
Why am I writing about this?

I think that as Christians the issue of homosexuality isn’t something we can continue to ignore, nor is it something that we can continue to be uneducated in.
This is the biggest issue within the church, hell, the world right now.
You may think that because you’re part of a church that’s dominated by middle class, white people that you don’t have to worry about it.

I’m here to tell you that you’re wrong.
This is something you should be thinking about.

Chances are there’s someone in your congregation (probably more than one) that is either LGBT, or they’ve had homosexual thoughts/desires.
That someone (if they’re Christian or grew up in a Christian home) is probably going through inner turmoil.
Not only are they struggling with their own sexuality (understanding whether or not they are attracted to the same sex) but they’re probably struggling with questions of what that would mean to their faith.
They don’t want to tell anyone because they’re afraid.
They’re afraid they’ll be rejected and scolded for simply BEING who they are.
They’re afraid that if they are honest with themselves, they can no longer believe in God because God rejects the very concept of them.

We also have to look at how the church has hurt and rejected people that are LGBT already.
“If you’re practicing homosexuality, you can’t come to our church.”
Or
“It’s wrong! We don’t condone or accept that behavior, so stay out of our churches!”
Or
“Come to church but change who you are!”
or
“You just have to practice chastity and live a life of celibacy.”

You must understand that someone’s sexuality is no small issue and that you can’t simply tell someone that if they pray hard enough, God will “take the gay away”.
It’s so much more complicated than that.
Please please please please please, regardless of what you believe about the issue, NEVER say that to someone.
It’s not as simple as practicing chastity.
It’s not as simple as rejecting your sexuality.
You’re basically saying to someone “hey, you can never experience love”.
Yeah, okay, cool, thanks man. Who wants love anyways? Yuck!
I’m not saying you’re wrong, I’m just saying that you need to be so wary of what you’re actually implying with your words.
Be empathetic.

I’m saying this because I’m not necessarily calling all Christians to recant their beliefs on homosexuality.
That’s just not realistic.
I’m saying this because Christians need to stop being so rigid and ignorant.
Even if you believe it’s wrong you need to approach any situation with love.
Put yourselves in their shoes.

Why?

Because we’ve screwed up.
We let our emotions get the best of us and it’s escalated to the point where, 1. The global church is splitting in two on the issue, 2. people hate the church because of how we’ve reacted/treated LGBT people.
That’s not okay.
That should tell us that we’re doing something wrong.

Christians, take some time to reevaluate what you believe and why.
It’s important that you come to your own conclusions. Make your faith your own. Don’t just believe what people tell you to believe (it doesn’t get much more post-modern than that).
But also, don’t exclude others from your faith. Discern with people. Ask people on both sides of the issue what they think. People you trust and respect. And don’t just follow along, coasting on your preacher’s faith, believing everything that’s said with no questions asked.
ASK QUESTIONS!

Why???

So you know where you stand when the time comes to deal with an issue.
So you don’t end up hurting someone and pushing them away from the church or their faith.
I can’t even imagine what it would be like to be LGBT in a church community that preaches that it’s wrong, and that all they need to do is believe and pray and their “gay” will go away.
Can you?
If not, take some time and think about it.
Think about the fact that it’s happening right now to countless people.
People who love God and are being forced by most churches to make a decision between their faith or being true to themselves.
Put yourselves in their shoes.
Just try to imagine.

Last week I met a girl who was transexual (which means that she believes she’s a boy born in a girl’s body).
This was her first time at the youth group.
After worship ended, all the other kids went downstairs to clean up.
She stayed upstairs. I sensed that something was wrong so I went over and started talking to her.
She was crying.
I asked her why.
She opened up to me that she was a transexual and because of that, her parents kicked her out of the house.
She’s 16.
16 YEARS OLD
SKL;DJFIDSAFPUASIFIUUEWPOIRJLSDAFKJHDGKJHDALGKH;DSFJAUIHWEIRUHSAFHDSKGHXCKZVBLCZXVBZ,
AGH! HOW COULD THEY?!?! DIOPAFIUD (this is exactly went through my head).
Now she’s living in a foster home.
I struggled to hold back tears (and failed horribly) as I prayed with her for 45 minutes, told her was that God loves her no matter what and that I want her to come back.
She replied, with tears streaming down her face, “I finally have somewhere to go”

As I drove home that night, I stopped several times because I would start thinking about her and I would start crying.
She’s so young. So smart.
Yet all her parents saw was her sexuality and her confusion.

This issue is real.
What you say and what you believe has real consequences.
It affects people.
Stop being ignorant to it.

Conclusion.
To end off this post, I will link you to a podcast.

http://www.raincitychurch.com/2013/10/10-13-13-homophobia-stops-here

It’s a podcast from a church that hasn’t taken a stance on whether or not homosexuality is wrong.
There’s people in the congregation on both sides.
I URGE you to listen.
It’s 40 minutes long, but worth every second.
You may not agree with all that’s being said, but that’s okay.
It will give you a little perspective into the issue.
It will help you understand better the effects of your words and the words of the Church.
It will help you better understand the pain and suffering that’s happening right under our noses.

Hope brings peace

Leaf dew(For your enjoyment: an artsy picture of a leaf with dew on it that I took while wandering the paths next to the river the other night)

On this day, I am content.
The good kind.
The peaceful kind.
I’m thankful for all that I have been blessed with in my life, for I most certainly do not deserve it any more than any other shmuck out there.

Why am I peaceful, you ask?
Well, it’s not because I’m listening to Bon Iver (though it helps)
And it’s not because everything in my life is perfect, because it most certainly is not.
Most things in my life are actually fairly chaotic right now.

I owe over $10,000 to my school because of certain things that happened last year concerning student loans, whom I will have to start paying back soon.
+
I owe student loans over $20,000 for the past 2 years of going to school, whom will be sending me mail soon regarding a repayment plan.
+
Those expenses will then be stacked on top my other expenses such as rent, food, gas, etc.
+
I only have enough money to pay for rent and food this upcoming month.
+
I’m currently unemployed.
=
The perfect mix to implode with anxiety.

So why am I so content and peaceful?
There’s really only one answer for that.
God’s Peace.
It surpasses all understanding.
That’s actually the meaning of my name.
Jeff means “God’s Peace”, which I personally think is awesome (thanks mom and dad 😉 )
With all that’s happening in my life, it doesn’t really make that much sense for me to be content and peaceful.

Yet I am.

I’ve given all these things to God and I’ve said “Lord, my life is yours. I’m in Saskatoon for you, and I’m honestly seeking your guidance. So I trust that you will guide me.”
That doesn’t mean I sit around and do nothing.
I am actively doing all I can to fix these things
But once I’ve exhausted all of my options myself and I’ve done all I can, all I can do is trust.
Not because I believe God has a perfect plan laid out for my life
But because I know that God’s plans for EVERYTHING are so much bigger than whatever miniscule thing I think I should be doing.
I believe that God is working to restore the world.
And I don’t mean in an otherworldly way like by sending all the bad people to hell and all the good people to heaven.
No, I mean through the actions of his people.
People that are actively rescuing women from the sex trade, and spending time to rehabilitate them and make sure that they can actually live a normal life.
People that are working in seniors homes, caring for people that could never possibly repay them.
People who will actually take the time out of their day to help out a stranger, even though they’re already late for whatever they’re supposed to be doing.
People who act as role models to kids who’s parents haven neglected them, beaten them and left them for dead.
People who love their kids, regardless of their sexual orientation.

People who care and love in the small, practical ways.
Because love isn’t just a feeling. It’s an action.

And I’m confident that God’s work is already being done through the people that live lives of love, whether or not I am a part of it.
I gain my peace and contentment from knowing that.
I have peace in believing in a loving God who is actively involved in his creation.
And that’s what we call hope.
Hope is belief that there’s greater things to come.
Hope is trusting that God will actually follow through in restoring the world.

And that Trust brings peace.

So as my life swirls chaoticly around me
I will continue sitting here drinking tea
listening to indie music (doesn’t get much more hipster than that)
Because I choose to be still, and know that he Is God.
And this too shall pass.

Social Media Intentions

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I haven’t written anything in a while. That’s mainly because I haven’t felt the need to write about anything.
I haven’t felt inspired. I haven’t been overcome with passion for some cause or some issue that I’ve convinced myself that is
destroying our generation. That’s usually what causes me to write a post. Hence the irregularity of my posts.

I don’t think that’s the only reason I haven’t written anything though.
There’s another reason.
Fear.

Fear has kept me from getting twitter (which I now have, but never use)
Fear has kept me from getting instagram (me not having a smartphone also helps with this one)
Fear has kept me from posting a lot of things on Facebook (mostly music related things, yet I still post a decent amount)

Basically fear has kept me from making any sort of presence on the interwebs, other than this blog of course.
Fear of what?
Pride.
Seeking Acceptance.

I don’t want to get involved in these follower/like based social media websites because I know that I’m a prideful person and worry too much about others accepting me.
That’s not very healthy and I know that. I don’t need to seek acceptance on the internet because I have people in my life that I know love me for who I am.
I shouldn’t need to seek acceptance from anyone else.
But the little apple in my brain labeled “ego” would puff up (community anyone?) every time I got a like or something.
That’s why I avoid it.
Now I try to post things that I think people need to hear. (key word there is “try”)
I try to not worry about whether or not people like what I have to say. (again, key word “try”)
I mean, of course I do to some degree because I appreciate
other’s opinions because I’m obviously not always right.
But do you get what I’m saying?

Don’t get me wrong though,  I think it’s normal to seek acceptance.
But we’re taking it to a whole.
notha.
level.
(and by we’re, I mean us 20-somethings)
I think we’re all aware of the amount of time we spend on social media sites.
It’s a lot.
Too much.

What I don’t think we’re aware of is why we do it.
Acceptance?
Pride?
Loneliness?
We really want the world to know we’re drinking bubble tea? (the little bubbles on the bottom are nasty, by the way. sorry bubble tea lovers)
Or maybe you just enjoy taking pictures and want to share beauty with people.
Or maybe it’s not any bad reason at all.
I don’t know.
But I think it’s important to know why you do it.
Why know why? Why ask why? Why? why why why?
Because we shouldn’t be oblivious.
Especially to ourselves.

We need to take some time and seriously look at ourselves and our lives and question why we do things.
It’ll help you understand yourself better and how you interact with the world around you.
Social media is a huge thing nowadays
it can really give some important insights into how you interact with the world and why you do what you do

do you do it because you want people to like what you have to say?
why?
do you do it because you want people to like your pictures?
why?
are you doing it because you want people to know where you are and what you’re doing at all times?
why?
I’m not trying to hate on anyone here, but I think some self reflection is necessary to knowing, understanding and growing.
And by that I mean if you’re posting to seek acceptance or to not feel lonely, maybe those aren’t the best reasons. Maybe they’re okay reasons. I don’t know. I think it’s up to you to decide if its healthy or not. You’re old enough to know.

I guess the main question I want to ask is:
Are you posting for the right reasons?

A letter to anyone who bought GTA V

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Hi. Hello. Howdy.
This is not a typical letter, as the demographic who will be reading this is not… typical.
Okay.
So.
This is a letter to anyone who bought GTA V,
and with buying a game, I would assume that means that you play the game.
If you bought it and plan to just leave it on your shelves because it looks good…
Well.
That’s stupid and you’re weird. (but people like that don’t exist… right?)
Anyways.

I’m writing this letter to you for three reasons:
1. I want to say a few things about the game
2. I want to ask you a question.
3. I want more readers on my blog and this seems like a relevant issue that I can say a few controversial things about and I’ll get more readers. (not actually though.)
(okay maybe a bit)

First, A little about me.

I used to be a very avid video gamer. It started with Diddy Kong racing, Goldeneye and Perfect Dark. I never started with a Super Nintendo. Me and my brother received a N64 as children and never looked back (we discovered the glories that are Mario games later, don’t worry). I also played WoW. It consumed 2 years of my life, and when I say consumed, I mean it. After realizing what the game was doing to me (devouring my soul and turning me into a black abyss of sorrow and despair, until all that was left was a hollow husk that was once called “My 14 year old self”) I promptly quit and to this day I have never returned. In high school I spent a good 4-5 hours a day playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. My pew pew skills grew great and my K.D. ratio was that to be marveled about (sorry to all you non-gamers for the lingo). Then it moved on to Halo and Battlefield and whatever other game tickled my computer generated trigger finger fancy.
I was no stranger to RPGs either. I loved the Final Fantasy franchise and spent many of my hours on FF7 and FF12.

So essentially, what I’m trying to say here is that I used to play a lot of video games.

Now, I don’t know if you’ve noticed but I am using past tenses when referring to my video game playing.
There’s a perfectly logical and reasonable explanation, that really doesn’t need explanation, for that.
I quit video games for a while.
I recognized how they were negatively affecting my life
“Hey Jeff, you wanna come do this super fun social thing with your real life friends and actually see the light of day once this week?”
“Nah. I need to do one more battleground.” (WoW reference. I don’t know if it’s still relevant)

I quit for a while and managed to stay away from playing most video games for a decent amount of time, but eventually I realized they were way too fun and as long as I didn’t become terribly addicted to the point where I forgot what sunlight and friends were, it was okay to indulge a little bit.
So now I like to play video games socially (and recently, due to my unemployment and massive amount of free time, I started playing a little Skyrim) but for the most part I really really try hard not to become addicted.

So now that you know my past and my credentials, you can know that I understand the draw to a game like GTA V.

Okay, now onto

Reason #1: Things to say about the game.

I’ve played all the past GTA games. I know the franchise. They’re extremely well made games that are shining gems among the sandbox open world genre of video games. I recognize that. I also recognize the appeal. YOU CAN DO ANYTHING YOU WANT! That’s awesome. Whenever I played GTA, I would always just rack up as many stars as I could and try to evade the cops for as long as possible. Hell yeah. (and maybe sometimes I would just drive up and down the sidewalks because I enjoyed watching dozens of people fly 100 feet through the air like crash test dummies, just to stand up and walk away)
I don’t think I ever played through the campaigns, but I hear they were decent.
Essentially what I’m saying is that I understand why it’s successful. I get the appeal.
What I don’t get though is why we are so fascinated by it.
I don’t know if you’ve heard yet, but GTA V has raked in the highest gross sales in entertainment history. It beat out Avatar, COD: Black Ops and the Avengers by making $1 Billion by its second day of release. (http://www.challies.com/articles/the-greatest-entertainment-launch-in-history)
That’s crazy.
EVERYONE wanted this game apparently.
I wasn’t even aware of the release date.

There’s a whole lot of people out there playing this game.
A game that outright glorifies everything that is wrong with our culture.
I find it a little strange that a demographic of people, who I assume watch the news and are generally horrified when they see that people are being murdered, shot, stolen from, screwed over, swindled and abused,
who I would assume do not support practices that cause us, as a culture, hell, as humans, to become more depraved and impoverished
who I would assume at least try to be nice, honorable people,
play a video game that encourages all of this.

That just seems a little odd to me.

I mean, in this game, you can steal a car, go pick up a prostitute and then promptly after the encounter you can kill her and take back all your money. And there’s no consequences. That’s. Disgusting.
ANY one of you that plays this game would, in a second, say that you would never do that in real life and would most likely be very appalled by anyone who did. I know that.
But for some reason, in this game, you’re okay with doing all these things.
Of course, since there’s no real world repercussions its not a huge deal right?
Every gamer KNOWS the difference between the real world and video games. (that’s not sarcasm, I know that gamers do actually know the difference.)
But does every gamer know that what’s in your heart comes out in every decision you make?
Including the ones in video games.
I’m not saying that you’re a terrible person for going on a 5 star rampage.
but maybe I’m saying that it’s not the most productive thing you could be doing with your time.
maybe it’s not the most positive thing you can put in your mind.

Don’t just take this as feely/whiney garbage.
It’s logic.
You put shit in. Shit comes out.
You’re not going to go rummage through your garbage can looking for basketballs.
You know there’s garbage in there because you put it there.
Same goes for your heart and mind.

That logic also applies to our culture.
GTA V (aka, shit) gets put in, GTA V comes out.
Probably not in the form of school shootings or real life grand theft auto, but maybe in other ways.  What are those ways? I don’t know. I’m only making observations.
I am in no way claiming that games like this are causing kids to go out and steal cars, but I am claiming that they do something.
They DO have an effect on you.
That much I do know.

So now comes the second part of this post.

Reason #2: The Question

I don’t expect you to respond on the blog but if you do that’s cool. I’m open. They’re more so for the purpose of making you think critically about what you’re putting in your mind and what Entertainment companies are contributing to the world.

I remember one of my teachers in elementary school. He made our class watch T.V. advertisements and try to figure out what was going on in them. He pointed out all the underlying messages that were hidden in them. The amount of subconscious messages astounded me. I was baffled and appalled at the fact that I had never noticed that these commercials were actually trying to convince me of something.
Most forms of entertainment have messages. Whether they know it or not.

What message do you think this game is sending to its players?

I think we can agree that it’s not a positive message.

So, then what is it?

After thinking about all this, I want you ask this one last question to yourself.

Why do you play?

I understand that it’s entertainment.

But at what cost?

What are YOU doing?

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I was sitting in a coffee shop today. Yeah, it’s pretty typical of my generation.
Even more cliche than that, I was blocking everyone out with my iPod headphones in, listening to music.
And to add another dimension onto the cliche’ness, I was writing in my journal.
The reason I do this is because, naturally, I’m an extrovert (big surprise), and I spend a lot of my time with people because that’s just naturally how I like to be. But in the past year, I’ve become much more introverted. Its lead me to actually desire to go and be alone and reflect, write, pray or listen to music. I now really really enjoy those times I have to be alone because they’re often the times where I get most inspired.

Well, today was an interesting day. I went to the coffee shop because my heart has been heavy lately. I don’t know why, but for some reason something just feels off. Still does. That’s sort of irrelevant though because as I was sitting there, listening to music and writing in my journal, I became extremely aware of the suffering in the world. Like, really aware. I don’t know what caused it. It could have come from thinking about Syria, and all the death and displacement that’s happening there or maybe it came from watching a new series on Netflix called “Derek”, which is a (fictional) comedy/drama about a man with special needs who works in an old folks home. It spends a lot of time highlighting how, as a culture, we ignore the difficult issues.
Now, me, as a writer/feeler/thinker and whateverthehellitisthatcausesmetobesosensitive kind of person, I am painfully aware of all the issues that go on in the world. If there’s some sort of injustice, I will most likely have a very passionate opinion about it. And today as I was thinking about the suffering in the world (no issue in particular, just basically the problem of evil) I was brought to tears by a certain phrase (yes, I was half weeping/trying to cover up the fact that I was weeping, in a coffeeshop).

“Jesus wept” ()

His friend Lazarus had just died, whom he loved very much. So, what does he do? He tells everyone that Lazarus is just sleeping, and when they don’t understand that he’s implying that his intention is to resurrect him, he says it plainly to them, “Then Jesus told them plainly, and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” ( ESV)
He then proceeds to go off his planned course and go to Lazarus and his family to resurrect him. Now, I understand that what John was trying to portray here may not necessarily be what I’m taking from it (a no-no in Bible reading 101), but I believe that a whole other depth of God’s love for humanity shows itself here, so I don’t think it’s bad to draw this conclusion here. Jesus goes the grave, and sees the pain that this death has caused the family and friends and when he sees this, he is brought to tears. Jesus wept.
This is where we need to slow down and think about what’s going on (and to emphasize my point, I’m going to write like Rob Bell).
Jesus.
The Son  of God.
The creator of the universe and all that’s within it.
Shed tears, for one of us.
I never really thought about this text until now.
Holy shit.
That’s a big deal.

That got me thinking (again) about the problem of evil and how God allows suffering in the world and I was brought to tears (yes, it happened a few times. Luckily, I don’t think anyone saw me).
If God wept over a single man dying, how much more pain he must feel for the thousands and thousands of people dying each day. How much pain must he feel towards the suffering and oppressed. The displaced and disgraced. Those who have lost their homes to war, their friends to hatred and their dignity to apathy.

How it pains him to see seniors abandoned by their families and lost to demoralizing diseases that cause them forget who they are and everything they’ve done.

How it must pain him to see homeless men and women rummage through garbage, trying to find anything to salvage so they can make it another day.

How much pain must it cause him to see children’s rights abused, their innocence stolen from them by war, abuse or neglect.

How much pain it must cause him to see millions of people living in wealth, and yet struggling to get through each day because they have everything, yet their depression takes away any joy or life they have.

How much pain it must cause him to see women objectified, when, truly, they are his beloved daughters. Their images distorted by billboards and advertisements telling them that they must look a certain way to be beautiful.

How much pain it must cause him to know all these things, and to have given us a way to fight it, to heal it, and yet here we are, sitting on our computers watching another video or scrolling through another array of funny pictures, wasting our time away.

I don’t believe apathy is the killer in our generation. I believe lack of action is. We care about these things, I know that, but we’re not willing to put in the hard work to fix them. We’re willing to throw our money at the issues, but money doesn’t solve things. Relationship does. Time, effort and love does.  We’re so focused on becoming rich or becoming famous, or getting that next new thing, that helping people and serving people is something that someone else should do, but not me. I’ll support them, but I don’t want to get my hands dirty.

How it must pain him to see us in a culture, with so many opportunities to learn about the atrocities that plague our world, and yet the farthest we go to combat these injustices is to make a comment about how someone else’s opinion on the issue is wrong.
And yes, we could get into a big argument about why there’s evil in a world that has a God who could abolish it. But that’s not the point I’m trying to make here. Let’s take our focus off of that issue and point it back at us. Why are we allowing evil in the world when we could do something about it.

Well, I’ll tell you the main reason. It’s hard. It’s bloody difficult (I want to use other words here, but I’ve already sworn too much in this post for it to be considered Christian anymore, so I’ll stick with “Bloody”)
I’ll tell you something. I’m tired of watching videos and reading articles about how to change the world. Yeah, it’s great that people are raising awareness (really great actually). But what good is being aware when you’re just going to sit on your ass and not do anything about it.

Moral of the story: Jeff sat around on his ass and got really passionate about something, so he wrote a blog about it so that other people would get off their asses and do something about the problems in our world. Ironic.

Don’t misinterpret what I’m saying though. I know that much is being done (actual, tangible, practical things).
But what are YOU doing. I’m talking to my generation. The generation that thinks nothing of (and often makes memes about) sitting in front of our computers and T.V.s, mindlessly wasting complete days away on our favorite show or Facebook page. Yes. You. I know you’ve done it, and still do it.
It’s easy to talk about, and to come up with ideas to fix these problems (I would know because that’s all I do), but when was the last time you got your hands dirty and actually did something for someone else and didn’t expect anything back from them. When was the last time you just outright served someone, out of the kindness of your heart. When was the last time you got passionate about an injustice in the world and actually did something about it, no matter how small that something was?

For me? It’s been a while. I’ve spent a lot of time watching Ted talks and other things and sat there fuming, wondering how we, as a culture, have let ourselves become to depraved. Then 5 minutes later I’ve completely forgotten about it.
And this is something you’ve probably heard a million times before.
but seriously.
do something about it.
think about where your life is going and what you’re really passionate about, and then work for it. Work to make this world a better place. If you don’t think it’s your responsibility to do so… well, come out for coffee with me and we’ll talk about it.
let’s be as compassionate, empathetic, understanding and loving towards the people caught in the tragedy of human suffering as Jesus was.

And thus ends the vague rant/call to action.
Think about this in 5 or 10 minutes when you’re back to doing something meaningless on the internet again 😉

Proleter – April Showers (the key to feeling cool, while not actually looking it)

If you ever need to feel really cool while doing something, this is the song for you.
Listen to it while you walk down the street, do the dishes or whatever menial activity that you must do during the day that needs spicing up.
I listened to this song probably 10 times a day when I was working in an office last summer. It truly did make me feel 10x more cool.
That’s what it is. A cool multiplier.

In fact, It’ll multiply the cool levels by 20x if you add in a little dance. It really doesn’t matter if you can’t dance either because it’s not about how you look to other people (crazy) it’s about how you feel. 😉

cyclical, natural and no where near beautiful

Image

elegant master bedrooms
whimsical classic tunes
clean healing needles
almost as common as beetles
when your colors match their blues.

but if there’s no color coordination
you might need some exploitation
followed by some red and blue
then some orange and white.
and happy times follow
with the vacant and hollow
bibles and books
presenting principles
far from the original examples

but you’ll make an example.
it’s all you’ve ever known
it’s all you’ve ever known.

 

   

What am I really asking for?

I’ve gotten to the point in my life where I’m no longer asking God for things. I mean, I do still ask him for things, but it’s always with flexibility. I know that God may or may not answer my prayer if I ask him for something physical, such as a car, or a a job, or even a place to live (luckily, i’ve got those things covered).
I mean, there are definitely times where I pray for physical things. An example would be last summer when I was living in Saskatoon, and I was jobless and moneyless. Me and my roommate didn’t have much food in the house and I was huuuuungry. So I prayed. I asked God to provide us with some food.
God answered that prayer, twofold. I was very grateful. That was awesome.

Now I’m at this point where I’m unsure of what to ask God for. Do I ask for physical things? Do I really need these things? Is this where God wants me? What if I don’t get what I ask for? I know that God gives people things even when it may not be best for them, such as when the nation of Israel asks God for a King in 1 Samuel. That scares me. It’s like God is saying “hey, this isn’t right for you, but I’m not going to try to control you, so here. Maybe you’ll learn the lesson on your own.” What sort of things am I asking for that I don’t really need? Last summer I asked for food because we actually needed it. But now, I’m praying for a job and I’m skeptical. What if it isn’t the right job for me? What if God wants me somewhere else?
It’s all so confusing.
I don’t think I’ll ever truly know the answer because all these questions bring up big theological questions that we won’t get into. I’ll just trust my instincts, my passions and make sure they line up with scripture.

With all these questions in mind about praying, I do know some prayers that God for sure always answers. That’s prayers about your own attitude.

 

There have been many times this summer where I’ve been heading to work, thinking in my head “how the heck am I going to get through today. I don’t know if I can handle those kids today.” and shortly after recognizing my crappy attitude, I ask God to give me the strength to make it through the day. It’s amazing how those days turn out to be the best days. Not only does God answer my prayers in regards to changing my own heart, but he gives me tenfold the amount of joy on those days. It’s incredible how it works.

A very wise speaker(his name was Phil Wiebe), who had just lost his 6 month old son, said that we can’t control the things that happen to us but we can control our attitude and our reactions to them.
That’s something that I’ve taken to heart.

So with this in mind, I’m trying to pray more about changing myself, rather than changing the environment around me, or asking for things that I don’t really need.