Tuesday, February 22, 2011

An "Art Bible"?

Thought I'd post here of my excitement for The Four Holy Gospels. It features paintings by Makoto Fujimura. The only other book I've ever heard of that does this is The Book of Kells. Which is an actual book. I think it's roughly 400 years old. Both have paintings representing the four Gospels [Mathew, Mark, Luke, & John]. I currently have only seen pictures of the covers of such books. And the photos of the paintings from the Book of Kells that appear in Iona's album of the same name. Hearts & Minds has a wonderful post about the book here. You can also go to Mr. Fujimura's website & watch a video/ interview here. When I get it, I may give some thoughts on this work later on...

May His grace drip from your fingers,

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentine's Day & a song 4 a friend

Well. So much to say about Valentine's Day. I used to hate this holiday -even after being married! I'm not into being "made to do something". I should not need a day to remember to "date" my wife. Ok, you get how I felt. Now, though, it's more of "another chance to" spoil her. An "excuse" to come up with a unique, romantic way to show her how important she is. [as only a "strange romantic" like me can scheme it] I took a net of white Christmas lights & hung it from the ceiling of our unfinished basement. hooked up the really old Harmen/Karden receiver & four speakers to my TV/VCR/DVD through the TV's headphone jack. So we'll go down there, probably Fri. night & watch another concert. I scored tix to Brad Paisley in Hershey for this Thurs. He is a really good guitar player, & if he lived here & wasn't famous, we'd get along fine. He has a similar sense of humor to me. However, truthfully, [sorry Brad] I have to confess, I'm really not a "big Brad Paisley fan". I'm a big fan of a Brad Paisley fan.
That's what love does, though. It doesn't say "your mine" so much... it says "I'm yours" [often without the use of lips & vocal chords].

Well, for Mom... & for a struggling friend. Here are the many videos, & lyrics of the closing song from Sun. morning... first video, second, with may J. Blige
by U2, from the cd: Achtung Baby

Is it getting better,
do you feel the same?
Will it
make it easier on
you, now
you got someone to blame?
You say
one love,
one life,
when it's one need
in the night.
One love,
we get to share it
Leaves you baby
if you
don't care for it.

Did I disappoint you
or leave a bad taste
in your mouth?
You act like you never had love
and you want me to go without.
Well, it's
too late
to drag the past out
into the light.
We're one,
but we're
not the same.
We get to
carry each other,
carry each other...

Have you come here
for forgiveness,
Have you come
to raise
the dead?
Have you come here
to play Jesus
to the lepers in your head?
Did I ask too much,
more than a lot
You gave me nothing,
now it's
all I got.
We're one,
but we're
not the same.
Well, we
hurt each other,
then we do it again.

You say
love is a temple,
love a higher law
Love is a temple,
love the higher law.
You ask me
to enter,
but then you make me crawl
And I can't
be holding on
to what you got,
when all you got is hurt.

One love,
one blood,
one life,
you got to do what you should.
One life
with each other:
One life,
but we're
not the same.
We get to
carry each other,
carry each other.

personal history.
I came to this song first as a song to be sung to "religious people". There are many who just don't like me because I... "see life through a radically different lens". Recently re-listening to the whole disc, Acrobat is a song that also works for me from that time. [a pre- LW era, time. which is where the King's X lyric from a previous post is coming from as well]
Now this got old. Achtung Baby is an album that I got rid of for a while. It came out as my world seemed to be burning down. It became a soundtrack for that. I saw all the songs as about what/who I was loosing [& it never occurred to me, that I should maybe be glad...until much later on].
Only in recent times have I begun healing on a "story wide" level, & can see the songs in different ways & get more meaning out of them. It doesn't seem as dark "this time around". As I have listened to one in a marriage "sense", it seemed wrong for a song about marriage, yet the second video for the song lends itself to a "marriage image". I also see the whole disc as being about marriage.

I currently get to hear one side of a struggling marriage. A marriage ...trying not to die, while not sure if it wants to live. Full of painful questions...& doubt. Some look at my parents & think that they "make marriage look easy". Nothing worth anything, is ever easy. We don't write songs about people who did things that were easy. We don't stand up & cheer for people who did things that anybody could have done. We stand up & cheer for people who faced darkness, doubt, fear, false accusations, painful life experiences... And they said I will not be defined by this. I will not stand by & just let this continue. I will not take the easy way out.
People ask: "any good quotes on marriage?"
My Mother asked me this on my wedding day. I'm sorry that only in the past year or 2 can I truly say "YES" to it.
"Don't marry her, because you can live with her.
Don't marry her, because you can't live without her.
marry her, because no one will love her like you will."
[I've told Mickey many times, in tears, the only man who loves you more than me...
has holes in his hands]

Love is not a woman walking down the aisle in a white dress,
it's kneeling next to the toilet, @ 3:30 in the morning,
with her hair in 1 hand, & a towel to wipe her mouth in the other.
Love isn't pretty, it's pretty necessary. We all need it [whether we say so... or not].

Pastor Steve has 2 of my favorite sayings on love:
#1. If you are better tomorrow than you were today, God won't love you any more,
and if you are worse tomorrow than you are today he won't love you any less. Because God loves you to the maximum.
#2. It may be a "match made in heaven", but it has to be lived out here on Earth.

to anyone struggling tonight, hang in there. It is worth it [& so are you]
Bono says it better here...
May his grace drip from your fingers,

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

a song of Lament

Steve Garber mentioned that the church needs songs of lament. Steve, here are 2 of my favorites...

Hold Dearly To Me
(by Michael Roe, from the disc “Safe as Milk”)

what do you do
when you're in total frustration Lord?
what do you do
when you're in total despair?
what can you say
when you dial that number
and the only person you want to talk to is never really,
really quite there?
this person
cannot bring me happiness
this person
cannot bring me joy
Gracious God lift me higher,
let me see your beautiful face
i gotta know
who my true friends are
and where's my home sweet home
many nights i've wandered
alone down this street of pain
many days i've stumbled
out into the darkness of daylight
many years i've wandered,
wondering just where i'll end up
in a festering heap of flames
or a shivering cold
cold night
good God almighty
scoop me up
and set me free
let me walk in Your forgiveness
make a man out of me
Lord i've been jumping at shadows,
like a snake
i've been eating my tail
let me trip,
let me stumble but
please don't let me fail
i'm a fly by night,
i'm a dog by day
i've got a room full of beautiful memories
growing old and in the way
i got a heart that's been broken
over and over again
some by lovers, some by brothers, but
most of all by my own dirty little hands
let me sit at your holy feet,
let me count the hard cost
of what is right and what is wrong,
of who is kind and
who can only be the boss
let me lie awake
and seek the truth from thy holy face
out of the holy mouth thundering forth
out of the holy place
let me walk
stand and talk
with the mind of one given over
only to the things
that i know you hold dear
let me soften my heart,
let me harden my footsteps
as i press toward the mark of
your safe place
without any fear
hold dearly to me
hold dearly to me
hide me,
drape me,
closely and safely Lord

I Need God
(by Michael Roe, also from “Safe as Milk”)

need God
in all
the familiar places
that this lonely
of mine embraces
need God
well i
need God
but i've wandered
so far away
more and more
each and
every day
go astray
well, his open arms
reach out to me
longing and begging
to set me
will i reach out
and take them
or turn away
forsake them?
well, i
need God
but i wonder
if He can still
hear me
and if so,
You please
draw near to me
please, please God

I was going to add an old poem I wrote. However, I have yet to find it. So, perhaps I'll post it when I do. I wrote it shortly after the Amish school shooting. I used to live in Lancaster, PA when I was young. I only remember the title off the top of my head.
I called it: "Why must the children die?".

I have many thoughts on Valetine's day. They are in the "collection & sort through them" stage right now, though...

May His grace drip from your fingers,

Saturday, February 5, 2011


Went to "The Summit" today. My Babe [1 of the 50 some nick names I have given my wife] went with me, which made it so much cooler. We did separate for the afternoon sessions. [Thanks Heather & Jen for sitting with her through those!] It was very good for me. Steve Garber seems like someone I would hang with. Eventually asking what movies he's seen lately & liked as well as who is musically grabbing his attention. I like finding people who allow God to speak to them through very unexpected places. From children's movies, to Marvel movies, to mainstream musicians, to art, to books. I smiled as he played 40 by U2 & later on I had a very strong reaction to him playing The Fray's You Found Me. If I dig, I might find a post on here where I wrote a poem kind of "brought out" by the song. It was sad to hear that some musicians have had bad experiences with the church being opposed to the way they write &/or play. Saying that God can't be in or happy with it. I've had my own bad experiences with people within the church in a similar regard. I even had a rather harsh conversation with a Senior Pastor once. [Not @ LW, not Pastor Steve] I hate to be forceful with people, yet sometimes you kind of have to speak the truth firmly to some people. Then hope that later on they become glad you did. I've had it work that way, it doesn't make it easier to do, though. I'm definitely "not a fan" of it.
Today has made me wonder... is/are my blogs, poems, photography my vocation?
What eternal significance does my writing on here have?
You can answer...yet I really want an answer from Yahweh. Truthfully, is this from/ for him?
Another question to ponder, came from the last session. Steve spoke of Issac [from The Fray] wondering about writing darker songs. Steve questioned us on it, LW's own DeAnn even spoke of people being receptive to our more painful poems. Why is that?
I find it so..."strangely inexplicable" that when we share [in story, song, talk, poetry] our own broken messiness, our scars, our longings, our hurts, our hopes that lie unfulfilled...we find a line from Message in a Bottle to really be true: "a hundred million bottles cast upon the shore. seems I'm not alone at being alone, a hundred million cast aways, looking for a home..."
the painful part of this is our hurts... are often what we have in common. Pain is, can be, common ground. Issac sings something...& suddenly I can feel like "yeah, ...me too. I've felt that way." or he has found a way to say, with the proper expressiveness, what I feel. Or... he says something I long to hear from someone close to me. The oddness is we don't share because we feel that people will see the real me, and decide "oh, ah, no good bye. I don't want to be near you now that I know ____ about you." When it is in this knowledge that we more often go "you get me". [and now I think I've said the same thing twice, I say again...] My other session was very confirming that I am in a vocational/ career change. Now I need to do the steps she mentioned. So as to keep moving forward.
I'm still sorting through a great many things here.
Before I go...my mood is steadily improving. I'm becoming easier to get along with again. My stomach is settling down again. I'm returning to my rhythm, slowly. Breathing is better than ever.
You found me really hits me in it's chorus.
"you found me
lying on the floor"
I've been in moments where I was just lying on the floor, or ground. Unable, sometimes unwilling to move. Hoping not to be found. I've had a few people who have done some really self absorbed & cruel things to me. Others, whom I've told a few details to, say they want to hurt the ones who were cruel to me.
being cruel to someone, doesn't erase the cruelty that they've done, to someone else.
today, as I think of this, I was reminded of a few lines from a King's X tune, called Charlie Sheen [which I don't think has anything to do with the actor]
"...and you can have your reasons
for the bloody war
but I don't wanna hate you
for what your not sorry for..."
sorry this is all over the place, and without a closing poem...