Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Could...but didn't. (A bird took a walk down the street.)

(I've told it before.)

One day, it was a rainy day; I saw a bird walking down the street.

A bird, complete with wings & feathers, walked at least a full city block and a half.
I thought it was strange, in consideration of such amazing capabilities...this bird walked...with the ability to fly.

I still wonder why the bird didn't fly.

Maybe he was never encouraged to fly, and didn't know he could...
Maybe he was waiting for the right time, (the most stale of all excuses)…
Maybe he was never pushed, and became lazy...
Maybe he flew into a window, and adamantly decided to never be fooled again...
Maybe he tried to fly, but failed…and fell...
Maybe he just didn't want to fly...

Whatever the reason, this bird reasoned to not use his most enviable gift...


Can you imagine? 


Think about the time, maybe decades ago, when you dreamed of lifting off and freeing yourself from these "surly bonds,” spreading your arm-wings and soaring above cars and playgrounds and the mortals of terra firma!

No more stuck in traffic.
Your friends in utter awe.
With basketball skills to die for.
And how would you clear your mind? 
Oh...yeah...go for a little flight around the subdivision!

We wish. 
We dream. 
We fantasize. 
For this thing...this AMAZING thing...
That is the natural, innate ability...
Of a bird...
Who had the audacity...
To walk...
When he could fly.

It's enough to almost make you angry...
Plenty enough to make you wonder...
And beg the question "why?"

Why, bird?!


I saw that bird in 1998.
And I’ve lived almost fifteen years with this apparitional memory.

(Breathe for a second.)
Okay, honestly my deep concern isn't really for this unfilled feathered failure not living up to his potential.

What concerns me is the image I see here.

I'm haunted by the metaphor!

I'm haunted because I see myself...walking in the rain...afraid to fly...

Afraid to, refusing to, use that thing so bestowed upon me, others strain to restrain their envy.

And still I think of a thousand excuses…
I realize a thousand fears…
I focus on a handful of discouragers…(instead of the thousand of you who encourage.)

I know I can fly.
For me, my wings are words.
Spoken, written, crafted together.
In my gift of being a word-crafter, I HAVE THE SUPERHUMAN ABILITY OF FLIGHT.

I know this. It's what is true of me.
It is my delight and joy.
It is the means to my passion.
It is the means to my dream.
It is the means to my calling.
It is the manifestation of my calling.
It IS my calling.
It is the breath my Daddy uses, to breathe life into this pile of dust, held in Divinity's palm.

It is my brick in this eternal building.

With the haunting memory of that bird's walk, and his un-utilized gift…
I allegorically step to the edge…
Spread my arms,
And kick fear and denial where it hurts!

It's what I must do, to do what I must do!

And so now I'm asking you…
With bitter tears and a fear of making you feel judged…
But an even greater desire to see you live FULL…FULFILLED.

Why are you walking…beautiful bird?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Dear Church...are we?

John 13:33-37 (The Message)
"Children, I am with you for only a short time longer. You are going to look high and low for me. But just as I told the Jews, I'm telling you: 'Where I go, you are not able to come.' 34 "Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. 35 This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples - when they see the love you have for each other." 36 Simon Peter asked, "Master, just where are you going?" Jesus answered, "You can't now follow me where I'm going. You will follow later." 37 "Master," said Peter, "why can't I follow now? I'll lay down my life for you!"

I love this. 

The deal has been made. Judas sold him out.
Jesus is really just hours from the end of his natural life. 
Jesus has some very important information to impart.
Something new. (Remember, "new." Okay?)
Something Jesus has basically been waiting his whole life (not just the thirty or so he's been on earth…but the eternity before "earth" was even ever spoken) to lay out his plan and share it with humanity.

So, yeah…new.

Jesus said, "Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another."
"Let me give you a new command."
Jesus said "new."
But not new like the marketing department's ploy to make you think their product has been made better (but actually contains the same product, now just in a sexier package) when they post on the package "New Look…Same Product." (This is what I call "deceptive honesty." Um…yeah…okay...)
Not that kind of new.
But the kind of new synonomous with words like unprecedented, uncommon…wait, try this one…unheard of. Remember when I said to remember "new"?
Well, it seems to me, Jesus is talking to the Disciples, with this kind of wide-eyed, hold-on-to-your-seats, this-is-going-to-blow-you-away and shake-up-what-you-believe kind of new theology (doesn't "theology" sound completely inadequate?)
But that's exactly what this word "new" meant.
Jesus is about to be arrested, endure the most brutal, multiple beatings, falsely accused, wrongly convicted, and shamefully executed…and is trying to impart the most important thing he's ever said, and set forth the command for the church…and the identity obeying the command would confer.
Here's what he said, again.
"Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples - when they see the love you have for each other."

Two words: Earth Shattering!

Can you imagine?
You've spent your whole life trying desperately to follow an impossible to remember list of laws and commands.
Then you spent about the last three years with the man who claims to be the one who gave Moses those laws and commandments and those commands you had to obey to make sure you obeyed the other commands.
Commands on top of commands, on top of commands.

And Jesus comes along and says he's got a new command. 
Love people.

And not only that, but this. 
If you obey this command, people will know you're learning from me. 
People will know you're my disciple…
…Not because the robe you wear.
…Not because the tassels on your robe.
…Not because of any other thing…
…But showing love.

This was, even compared to all the crazy things they had ever heard from the mouth of the Messiah, in redundancy: earth shattering.

But you know what gets me?

In over 2000 years, the Church really hasn't changed that much.

Jesus says I'm outta here, 'kay? You won't be able to find me when I leave...and before I go and leave you to finish, you need this important order: love.

And what did Peter do/say?
Peter completely ignored Jesus' command and started freaking out about Jesus leaving.
"I wanna go with you!!"
"I promise I'll be good!"

Peter completely disregarded Jesus' command.
Peter was looking for something else in the Messiah…and sometimes it seems that's all he could see.
Peter was looking for a position. (That's what I used to look for.)
Peter was looking for prosperity. (That's what I used to look for.)
Peter was looking for power. (That's what I used to look for.)

But Peter wasn't looking in the mirror. (Me either.)

Peter was looking for something new, but Peter wasn't looking at Jesus "new command."

Dear Church…are we?