Tag Archives: Thought

just right, right now

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I have this great desire
to look you square in the eyes
in the way that looks
beyond and through your eyes

to those places where you are
asking questions
raising doubts
blaming yourself
doubting your capacity
questioning your integrity
and holding your own peace hostage

to the ideas that you,
and others for you,
have created about

what you are supposed to be by now
what your past really means about you
how you really should feel about this
what you really should do about that

I want to look you in the eyes
in the way that looks
beyond and through your eyes

to those places that hold the truth

and when you think all’s lost
because the truth is finally known
because you have to admit
that you aren’t who you want to be
that you aren’t who you hope to be
that you aren’t what you think you can be

it’s those moments;
that’s when I want to grab your arms
between your shoulders and your elbows
and shake you like your life depends on it
and shake you like my life depends on it

it’s those moments;
that’s when I want to grab your arms
between your shoulders and your elbows
and look you in the eyes
and beyond your eyes
so you know the truth about who we are is known
and it’s mutual.

And then,
I want to take a deep breath
and pause
and let you know

how incredibly proud God is of you
how incredibly pleased God is with you
how incredibly jealous God is for you, and
how incredibly restless God is because

you are still too afraid to say
the refrain he’s been waiting to hear you say
for quite some time now:
“I am just right. Right now.”

I have this great desire
that you can look yourself in the eyes
and say, “I am just right. Right now.”

djordan
Pine Tree Dr.

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the ground remains

the-ground-remains

The weather has finally permitted for my backyard in the evening to transform once again into a glowing outdoor room. A friend of mine and I sat around the rickety wooden table under balls of chicken wire and lights puffing our pipes for nearly three hours this evening.

In my day to day schedule, I like to pretend that I am too important, so I don’t have time for moments like these. There’s no space for propping my feet up, bringing the music outside, lighting up a cigar and laughing, talking about ideas, and wrestling with what we are learning as it is shaken and stirred with who we are becoming.

But tonight, even though as it approached I felt as though I didn’t really have time to indulge this gathering with a friend a needed to catch up with, it was in fact exactly what my mind and soul needed to find each other again.

The work is good. The meetings and projects and plans and research and people are all good, and there is progress toward good things no matter how tenuous or temporary it may be. The calendar pages are flying off the wall faster than the second hand on the clock is ticking, but I am keeping up as best I can nevertheless.

There is something quite magical, and humbling, and ultimately holy and important about stopping long enough with another on the same journey to realize that when I prop my feet up, the ground remains. I am not holding things together, but merely participating in their newness. The meetings and projects and plans and research and people are all good, and for me to be a valuable asset in the mixology, I must make the intentional effort to take time to prop my feet up with thoughtful and entertaining and humble friends. I must hear their questions and see what they are thinking. I must join them in wrestling with their own demons and delights so that I can, in the morning, put my feet back on the ground and start again.

The ground, however, remains. The tasks are still there. My momentary pause from standing on my feet to push ahead is a reminder that I am not the one holding anything together. Propping my feet up every once and a while makes the work a little more honest, a little more true, a little more humble, and a little more holy.

So cheers to the rickety wooden table in the backyard on a brisk evening under the chicken wire lights and stars with good people on the same road.

djordan
Pine Tree

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the risk of narrowing the voices

asking questions, freedom, safety, church, power

Choosing a paint color is one thing; seeking the truth is another.

One of my favorite lines of Madeleine L’Engle’s is, not in quotations because I can’t remember where it was, that God does not need our protection, and welcomes as many questions as we can dream up.

And I’ve noticed in the meantime that we are at risk not only of taking other people’s answers for truth, but also of taking other people’s advice on what the questions are to be asking in the first place. When our questions are guided, we are of course lead to certain answers from certain narrowed voices.

When we narrow the voices, we weaken our ability to discern at all. In thinking throughout history of all the situations and all those power and all those in the church, even, who have been led in obedience because they trust that someone else is doing the discerning, it is horrifying. We mistake proclaimed expertise for due diligence, and we are left unthinkingly joining in protection of the status quo.

Stifled questions means stifled dialogue, and it is in dialogue that progress is born and we get a little closer to the truth we are all of us after. Dialogue requires broad voices rather than a single voice, and there is perhaps no doubt in the promise that where two or more are gathered, there is something more true and holy present and happening.

I’ve been reading, this time by choice, the book that we long ago read in high school by mandate: Fahrenheit 451. I remembered thinking at the time that how ridiculous the notion was that people would be told what to read and what not to read, and that reading and thinking off of an approved list could result in death.

Book burning followed driven by those in charge, under the guise of protecting humanity from dangerous thought. Children then came up into families never knowing the art of book reading, thinking, questioning, debating, creating and imagining.

I thought it foolish then, but it doesn’t seem so foolish now. In fear of discerning many voices, we seek to narrow them down to the ones we know, or the ones we have been told to agree with: the approved book list. To read past the first page of another voice becomes treacherous and intimidating, because we wont know what to do with another line of thought. And so, as encouraged, we don’t think anymore. We ask the questions we’ve been told to ask and take the answers we’ve been given.

If we idolize those speaking or writing, or simply take their words, we aren’t able to listen to multiple voices because we have challenged the ability for the spirit to work in community, and given authority to some single voice.

With broad voices, however, we learn the art of listening and asking, hearing and being heard. With broad voices we learn how experience shapes understanding, and how injustice and power breed certain lines of thought. We learn where we are blind, and where we are gifted. With broad voices, we think enough to welcome for dinner a Boo Radley or a Hester Prynne. With broad voices,  the combination of these truly human acts yields compassion and humility.

I’ve been in meetings where a million voices made it impossible to choose a paint color, and it has indeed been a nightmare.

I’ve also been in meetings where power is used to beg discussion, criticism, thoughtfulness, ideas, questions, dreams and disagreement…none of which should be mistaken for disunity…and it has been a beautiful and community-affirming endeavor.

There’s a difference between choosing a paint color and seeking the truth.

And what have we to fear if it’s the truth we’re after together.

djordan
Pine Tree

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