and brought them up on a high mountain

I'm afraid of heights -- but only to a certain degree. I have no qualms, for instance, of being on airplanes. I have many qualms about looking over a cliff face, even with a railing. I have no qualms looking out of windows in a building many stories up. I do have a problem with the Empire State Building open-air observatory. I have no problem rock-climbing. I have problems cleaning the gutters on a fifteen-foot ladder.

The difference in these situations leads me to believe that the actual height of the situation does not bother me; rather it is the levels of protectiveness that is the issue. Confined space like an airplane or building? Safe. Harnessed? Safe. Thin metal railing? Unsafe. Potential to spill off a small ladder onto unforgiving concrete? Unsafe.

Is it death I fear then? Even knowing my eternal destination, is it death I fear? I don't think so. But maybe so. No answer here.


one flock with one shepherd

Been thinking about this a lot lately: leadership in churches. All churches have elder boards that represent the congregation, and these boards (along with the pastor/rev) lead the church, decide the direction and vision. Two branches here:

On the one hand, I'm a natural leader. Relate well to people. Can convey empathy. Organized. Focused. And at this point in my walk, feel like I have the presence.

On the other, I'm a natural leader for work, not the spiritual. Relate well to clients, but how about to peers? Convey empathy, but empathize...? The organization and the focus -- well, that's fine. And sure, presence now, but where's it been? And why's it taken so long? And how long you planning on staying?

Are the best church leaders real leaders or something else? Must one actually care for the flock, or want to care for the flock? Ready or doubting? Me or something shadowed else?


was born blind

Been away for various reasons: holiday, tiredness, otherness. Reason for absence doesn't matter. Again, for me anyway. So missing a day shouldn't guilt me like it does, eh?

What to make of the annual news magazine coverage of religion during the holidays (specifically, Christianity). Make no mistake: none of these media come to the table with no viewpoint. Even if their investigations proved something, if it disagreed with their arrogance and personal bias, nothing will come of it.

Folks who read these magazines (looking at you Time and Newsweek) come with a bias anyway. So they're merely reaching out to their constituency. A wide-area boycott does nothing, realize. They only need so many to stay afloat. Fortunately, there is no threshold of constituency that makes a difference at the pearly gates.


his sight and he said

This may make no sense in reality but it's making sense in my head today. And it's the idea that words have colors. Similar to tastes being adjectives, there's something about being able to visually see sound, to sense something beyond the flat dimensions we place around the five.

In this case, I don't imagine Heaven to be a white place -- that's the imagery, right? The robes and the clouds and the purity? That's all well and good, but suppose beyond the visual, the other colors emerge. Not talking about the gold and the bronze and the jewels mentioned throughout Rev -- but the worship.

Hallelujahs are blues, I tell you. And the holy holys red. And the salvation belongs green. Just throwing guesses out with no real motivation. Except the hallelujahs I know to be blue.


for this reason i have

This is what I meant to post yesterday. Thought about backdating it but didn't feel right about lying on Christmas. In any case, here it isPosted by Hello


for His message was

For many, the only message they'll get about Christmas will come from the lips of a cartoon character. Fortunately, that cartoon character says it better than I ever could.

Linus, take it away:

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this [shall be] a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.


used for the poll

According to a Newsweek poll (the fullness of which can be found here):
* 79% of Americans believe that Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary, without a human father
* 67% say they believe that the entire story of Christmas (the Virgin Birth, the angelic proclamation to the shepherds, the Wise Men, etc.) is historically accurate.
* 55% believe every word of the Bible is literally accurate.
* 82% believe Jesus Christ was God or the Son of God.
* 52% believe that Jesus will return to earth someday
* 62% favor teaching creation science in addition to evolution in public schools
* 43% favor teaching creation science instead of evolution in public schools

Some of these figures are heartening, and others confusing. Example: 82% believe He's the Son of God, but only 79% believe in the virgin birth -- what do the missing 3% believe?

55% believe the Bible is literally accurate, and yet only 52% believe in His return? Again, the missing 3%, where are you taking the literal accuracy?

55% believe in literal accuracy, but only 43% believe in replacing the false dogma of evolution in schools. The missing 12% of literalists, start at Gen and believe what you say you do.

were found in this Daniel

can they be meant to snap you out to draw you closer to remind you even though they've always been the other way to snap you to draw you further to remind you can they do both


and made loud lamentation

considered by many to be the most joyous season on the calendar and yet always the hardest for me to survive they're always increased during the season blaring about seasons past and seasons to come and always this sense of lacking and always this sense of never enough and always this sense of too much too much and how must the others feel and always the reminders reminders reminders and no matter the nearness this sinking feeling passing once the survival happens of course but still such a very very long season


and served the creature rather than

Here's the leading paragraph of a story that is not getting nearly the press it should be getting:

NEW YORK Dec 9, 2004 — A British philosophy professor who has been a leading champion of atheism for more than a half-century has changed his mind. He now believes in God more or less based on scientific evidence, and says so on a video released Thursday. At age 81, after decades of insisting belief is a mistake, Antony Flew has concluded that some sort of intelligence or first cause must have created the universe. A super-intelligence is the only good explanation for the origin of life and the complexity of nature, Flew said in a telephone interview from England.

Oh, really? You don't say?

The article goes on to say (excerpted -- the full article can be found here):

There was no one moment of change but a gradual conclusion over recent months for Flew . . . biologists' investigation of DNA "has shown, by the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed to produce (life), that intelligence must have been involved," Flew says . . . "It has become inordinately difficult even to begin to think about constructing a naturalistic theory of the evolution of that first reproducing organism," he wrote. "My whole life has been guided by the principle of Plato's Socrates: Follow the evidence, wherever it leads."

Flew told The Associated Press his current ideas have some similarity with American "intelligent design" theorists, who see evidence for a guiding force in the construction of the universe.

Here's something more for Flew to chew on -- a big I told you so from the NT:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools (Rom1:18-22)


up and covered him

imagine this is your path to the presence or some other narrow windy path covered over with the leaves of your baggage hidden by the overgrowth of yourself imagine the path however feels like eternity but stands in actuality measured in inches of your will the destination is sunlight  Posted by Hello


and they sang the song of

I don't get anything out of Christmas carols, usually, which is probably a problem. Maybe it's the fact that they're all you hear from Thanksgiving onward on TV and on every radio station. Maybe it's the secular familiarity, in advertisements, classrooms, and malls -- played without intention or meaning. Maybe it's the fact that they existed in my mind before I even knew what's what.

Today was a bit different. Maybe it was hearing them sung live in a sanctuary. Maybe it was their following other songs whose purpose was worship. Maybe it was because I now know what's what. Had to keep reminding myself that the presence is always there for the drawing near, familiarity breeding apathy or not.

saw it, they gave praise to

More on the thing we've been focusing on lately. There are four types of people in any given congregation on any given Sunday during any given hymn/song:
1) Worshipers: Have the snapping trembles; know that the time is all about them & Him, one-on-one.
2) Singers: Sing because they think that's what you're supposed to do; just do it, but don't feel it.
3) Listeners: Sit (or sometimes stand if everyone else is doing it) and do nothing; think those leading the worship are there for their entertainment, or something; don't see that this is an active and critical part of worship. Songs aren't like sermons for the soaking -- listening is akin to doing NOTHING.
4) Unbelievers: Unsure what to do; maybe lipsync a song, usually casually observant; respectful of the worship going on around them, without them.

What's the diff twixt 3) and 4)? Outwardly nothing. And that should give those in 3) some reason to shudder.

What's the diff twixt 3) and 4)? Inwardly everything. And trust me, to God that's plenty of shuddering material for consumption.

2) is a step up from 3) and 4) -- but that's like the winner of a worm-eating contest. If you aren't in the 1), you're missing the whole point.


hypocrites, does not each of you

Seriously, first He feeds the thousands. Then in Matt15, He repeats the incident -- and the second time around, the response of His followers is no different than their first response. On the one hand, it seems really boneheaded -- you're following someone working miracles left and right, you know He's special in ways only a relation to God could be, and He just fed the thousands a few days/weeks earlier. If He asks a similar question, for goodness sake, you might still have the baskets from the first time around to give you the answer and the right response.

Then again, following Him is never an easy task. I know my repeated sins are probably far stupider a repetition. The casting of the first stone is easy, I know.


the earth will mourn

Matt14 kills me because it shows such a human side to Jesus. People see Matt14 for the miracle of the loaves and the fishes and the thousands of fed mouths. But people don't see the other miracle here: the miracle of God incarnate in human form -- so human, He mourns for the loss of His cousin.

His first reaction to the news is to try to isolate Himself and to get some time alone to grieve. He doesn't get that chance immediately because there's a horde of people following Him -- not too different than say the widow of someone famous trying to grieve privately, but crushed by public expectation. This is when the divine side of Him comes forth. Instead of focusing on His own very real needs, He takes the time to serve the thousands. Then afterwards, He sends His disciples off and finally gets the chance to be alone.

There are other lessons here, I think, about the proper response to the death of a loved one, but let's just stop at the miracle of divinity made humanity.


went to his home

Short analogy while I have it in my head. Me: tired, not well, want to go home. Him: my strength, the healing, home. The appeal to Heaven to me is not the idea of a place where only good things happen, and all your dreams are fulfilled. The appeal of Heaven is not a sparkling white city with streets of gold and all wear robes of silver and crowns of grandeur.

The appeal of Heaven is finally, finally belonging. And knowing you are home.


to be swept away with the flood

Matt12 overwhelmed me this morning. What to focus on, what to focus on. I'll give you a listing of the potential posts for today -- which as in the past, I may follow up on, well, whenever. The ones:
* Desiring of compassion not sacrifice hearkens to OT (I think) with Him desiring a repentant heart. Had a thought about this last night relating to the whole hand-raising thing for a later time. But in short, not talent, but a worshipful heart.
* He won't contradict the law. Doing good not equal to work is what He is saying. If you are being your natural state, it is not work, ergo...
* Sinning against Holy Spirit/unforgiveable sin. Still can't resolve.

Stopping here. Overwhelemed.


that is the one for whom i shall

Changing tunes, are we? Not sure. Thinking all along this was for me. But lately, thinking some of this benefits us all, really. At the same time, there's the whole this-is-mine-don't-steal-ideas-from-me mentality. But then there's the whole when-I'm-preaching-everyone-will-hear-anyway piece.

When I'm preaching? Hold your horses, crazy. Too much to figure out in there to bring it out here.

First, figure out who this is for. Maybe not mutually exclusive, but maybe so.


is a difficult statement

People think it's easy being a follower: simple, blind faith in things unprovable. They have no idea the level of courage required of all who believe. These days, you're mocked for holding morals; mocked for not believing in the foolishness of pseudoscience; mocked for clinging to inspired teachings.

Matt10 tells us that He doesn't think today any different than then. Not much of a motivational speaker, He tells his followers (then):
* Evangelism won't be your calling due to the high pay
* You're sheep in the midst of predators
* They will scourge you
* Family will betray you (and you family)
* You will be hated
* They will persecute you
* Boy will they malign you
* Killing? Yeah, your body

Trust me -- there's no courage required to mock, or take the broad road. Narrow's the tough ticket.


his personal presence

Breakfast with Jesus? Breakfast with God? Simply Breakfast with Him? My wife suggests Breakfast with the Savior. Whatever the case, a work focused on bringing people/churches to the presence.

Based on a previous post of Peter, focused on the whole redemption from the crowing incident, the jumping into the water, the privacy and intimacy of the beach. Chapter for an intro. Chapter for the background of the redemption. Chapter on the actual redemption conversation. Chapter on the idea of jumping by instinct, braving the cold. Chapter on beating the other fishermen (maybe same chapter). Chapter on the reward on the beach. Chapter closing with Peter in Acts.

Publishers, start your engines.


when the true worshipers will worship

Posted prior: no excuses; you need to draw near and lift them up and be there. Here’s the outline for that:

- Remember AL Wild Card vs Yanks? Griffey and Edgar?
- Remember Seahawks comeback against KC in KC, Derrick with six, Skansi from Krieg, 17-16?
- Remember Jordan v Utah, wrist bent, retire with the ring?
Hands raised? To celebrate what? Something meaningless.
But not to God in song?

I. Why the need
A. Because distinct diff twixt in Him/with Him and in His presence (Mary & Martha)
B. Closer you are to Him, the more you will feel and draw from His power – you can do nothing away (hem healing)
C. For your own good, for your own pleasure (hem and M&M)

II. How (Rev?)
A. Eyes closed
- Remove fear of others watching
- Remove vision of others modeling
B. Thoughts clear (and many times A will help with that)
- Just you and Him (remind self)
- Enter in holy of holies
C. Hands raised (doesn’t matter how)
- Start slow (palms up)
- Head to shoulder height
- When there, all up to heaven

III. Application
A. If believer, draw nearer, nearer, nearer Lord to thee
B. If not a believer, you are missing a thrill greater than any playoff chase, any last-minute comeback, any search for a championship. You are in fact missing the whole game. Ask Jesus to draw you close, closer Lord to thee.

Idea of 1-yr itinerant. Will need 52, you know. We’ve got two down, at least in form. Scraps of maybe half-a-dozen else. Let’s keep it up.

enter a second time

You have to know that one of the greatest things about Him is that He doesn’t give up on you, ever. Even when you feel like you can’t do it, or don’t know how to do it, or don’t want to do it. Even if you think that it doesn’t matter, or isn’t in you, or it’s just too early, or there’ll be another chance. He says I can, I know, I want you to. He says it matters to me, I’m in you, it’s not too early. He is the great Second Chance.

Reminder: you really can’t do anything. Never have been able to.



observe how great this

Have to get this, because it's amazing for all the right reasons.

The splendor of the King, clothed in majesty,
Let all the earth rejoice, all the earth rejoice.
He wraps Himself in light, and darkness tries to hide
And trembles at His voice, trembles at His voice.

How great is our God, sing with me,
How great is our God, all will see
How great, how great is our God.

Age to age He stands, and time is in His hands,
Beginning and the end, beginning and the end.
The Godhead, three in one: Father, Spirit, Son,
The Lion and the Lamb, the Lion and the Lamb.

How great is our God, sing with me,
How great is our God, all will see
How great, how great is our God.

Name above all names,
Worthy of all praise,
My heart will sing
How great is our God.


11.35, deux

Just clearing my desk and came upon my outline of an earlier idea. Let me rid myself of the scrap by immortalizing the outline here.

- One of my favorites
- One of most famous
- One of most powerful
- One of most telling about character of God
- Known by toddlers and adults
- Answer to trivia question

First, dispel myth of weakness in weeping (i.e. Big girls don't cry, men don't cry, "cry like a baby")
Who wept?
- Joseph (CEO of Egypt)
- Job (friend of God)
- Peter (rock of church)
- Jesus Himself
- Commandment in Romans

I. Says of God
A. Sympathy for mankind (why we weep for others)
B. Feels sorrow (for Lazarus)
C. Regret (for fate of mankind upon death -- separation)
Note: wept twice -- also in Luke over Jerus

II. Says of Us
A. Friend of God
B. Beloved of God
C. Worth it to God

III. How to react
A. If believer in sin, turn from sin -- that death not you anymore
B. If believer in dumps, know you are beloved (be loved), weptover
C. If not believer, what are you waiting for?
- Why you weeping (angels, Jesus)
- In Heaven no tears
- Weep with joy


according to the pattern you have

Speaking with my wife yesterday, I made a connection which completely changed the way I think about my search for true religion, religion in general, and God. The revelation was this: for sufferers of OCD, Catholicism is the perfect religion.

Think about it: Is saying the rosary and its patterned Our Fathers and Salve Reginas any less different than checking the front door lock three times? Is crossing repeatedly in the name of the Father, Son, & Holy Spirit any different than not walking on cracks on the floor? Is the whole liturgy and recitation and chanting any different than whispering under your breath whenever you pass by a street whose number is even?

The greater questions: do we seek religions that conform to us, or do we conform to religion? Is religion merely a reflection of us and not of God? Is God's image in us meant for us to fit Him, or our image of us defining Him to fit us?

And really, all these numbers in the Bible that I'm understanding and not understanding -- is it the numbers or me?


of the will of man

They say that if you force yourself to smile, even if you aren't in the mood to smile, but if you keep forcing yourself to smile, you will actually feel yourself wanting to smile eventually -- that by willing yourself to do an action, you can proactively change the underlying feelings behind the action.

I believe this is so, and I have been experimenting with it in another action: worship. The scenes described in Rev are clear when discussing worship before the throne: everyone is doing the same things, whether it be prostrate, hands raised, or voices raised. There is no variation like you see in church where some are standing, some are seated, some have raised hands, some are merely lipping the words half-heartedly. No, in Heaven you cannot but help to fully worship. Which makes it clear that here on earth, some issue with will prevents people from fully experiencing the snapping trembles.

Here's where the smile approach comes in. You can force yourself to worship, and if you do, you will eventually change the underlying feeling of not wanting to. This is not a matter of new Christian vs old Christian. This is not a matter of traditional staid Christian vs charismatic. This is not an issue of quiet, reserved person vs outgoing person. This is an issue of wanting to fully worship vs not wanting to fully worship.

The struggle of will is twofold. First, you are wrestling with the Devil, and be not unclear on this point. He does not want you in the presence, that's a certainty. So you already have a base level of resistance in the standing, the singing, the raising of the hands. The second struggle is overcoming your own internal feelings -- which are really the front being used by the first struggle, mind you.

But you're not an outgoing person. But what if people see you. But you've never done it before. But you're embarrassed by what people will think of you. But you feel a little silly. But you used to get irritated by people who do that. But you've never understood the reason for these things before. But your relationship with God is of the quiet type.

Here's the thing, luke (as in warmth): these are excuses no better than involvement of a canine with your schoolwork. You're not outgoing? You will be with God in Heaven. People will see you? They will before the throne. Never before? Never experienced the snapping trembles either; you don't know what you're missing.

The other objections fall flat in the face of the sheer truth: amidst a congregation of whatever size, it isn't you and them in worship. It is you and Him. It is you in the presence. The others will disappear, especially when you close your eyes and experience the presence. You won't feel it at first, but that can and will change. Those underlyings will change, and when they do, these questions become moot the next time won't they?


and lead me in a level path

Definitely its own Sunday, this idea. Clearly related to rising, and it's a good idea, so maybe its the kickoff. Here's where the stairs come in: your whole life, everyone's whole life is a struggle to climb to the top of a four-step staircase. Four steps doesn't seem like a lot, but the difference between story one and two is an eternity.

I/You/We start at the bottom step. You begin your life and spend most of your life living in this pit of sin. If all you know to do is live within that pit, you think you're doing all right with yourself. Thing is, you're in a pit, man. Looking up is when you see Him, hand out, asking you if you'd like help out of that pit. Take His hand. Take His hand. Because if you do, that's step one.

Once you're out of that pit, you're ready for step two. Crawling out of that pit, even with an extra helping hand, is tiring. You're exhausted, spent, and often face-first on the ground. Looking down, you see the effort of your struggle out of the pit has stained your robes, has stained you and you again find yourself looking up. Only this time, the helping hand reaching out to you is nailed to a cross. But take His hand, because this is the only way past the second step, friend.

Now that you find yourself clinging to the cross, above the ground, above the pit, clinging CLINGING to that tree, you find yourself looking for that next step up. Step three already finds you in a place from which you cannot slip, a place from which you're already above where you deserve, but it's still not where He needs you. And looking up, again, you peer into the Heavens and there He is still above you, and there's that hand. And if you take that hand, that ever-reaching hand, you can proceed even further. There He is reigning in Heaven, waiting for you to see and live beyond the whole clinging. You don't reach Him yet at step three, but being that close with the snapping trembles, you know you're not that far at all.

You won't reach the fourth step here, brother (sister). That fourth step is pretty much taken for you. At your end, you'll take that fourth step and find yourself looking up still; there He is, enthroned. Waiting for you to take His hand one more time. He's got somewhere for you to go, where there is no looking up; arisen you are.

and they will level you to

While in the presence, this image came to me. Its explanation to follow later. Posted by Hello


God has sent speaks the words of

Consider Gabriel. Unlike Michael, not known for his power, but his gift of gab. Imagine him on day one, wondering what the task was when called. Given the order to speak to an old man about a mere pregnancy, imagine the arrogance of a mortal man questioning his message from God. Imagine almost the bored response of someone ready to return for other (hopefully) more important duties.

Then imagine day two. Imagine being called for the grandest task possible for a communicator. Imagine the sheer wonder of a message beyond comprehension. Imagine the privilege of being the one to be the first to announce the onset of the grandest plan in all the universe.


take special note of that person

Every parent looks at his/her children and wonders about their future. Every parent also looks at his/her children and recognizes their specialness, their uniqueness. Every parent thinks about how his/her children's specialness, uniqueness will shape their future.

But only Mary, the mother of God, had to think of these things before her child was born. Only Mary was given some certainty around the specialness, uniqueness of her child. Only Mary was given some certainty about her child's future.

The heartbreaking perspective from which to view Mary is this: she could not foresee the third: how her child's specialness, uniqueness would shape a future that ended on trees upon which she would wish He would not climb.


have given me I lost

We're back to names again with Matt1. The Gospels take an inordinate amount of time to reconstruct the lineage of Jesus traced purely back to God. In one way, this used to trouble me. The point of His birth in a manger was to show the humble roots by which He entered the world: no place to stay except a stable, no bed except a manger, a disgraced mom, a carpenter's son, a man of Galilee, etc. All this paints a good context. And salvation is to come from the Jews, so He had to be Jewish, not arguing that point. But part of David's lineage? Direct descendant of Isaac? I'm thinking the humbleness could have been taken even further if traced from an even more unwanted lineage, no? Cain? Abraham's son by a mistress? Just thinking aloud.

I'd be remiss to ignore the 3 mentions of 14 right off the bat. As an even number, as a number containing 4, I have to say I don't see what the specialness is in 14. I also don't understand the whole lineage thing as outlined above, so I'm missing something.


and reaching forward to what lies ahead

Previously I wondered why Rev is in there at all. When you come upon the end, you'll understand. First, in Rev19, you have perhaps the most exciting and gripping and pulse-pounding and stand up stand up STAND UP lines you will ever read in any book ever. Then, you have the wondrously peace-giving description of Heaven in 21. Then you end with the poetry of 22 that bookends with the poetry of Gen1 perfectly.

The prose and the pacing and the tone, if not the message itself, close the sense of accomplishment from the straight reading. Slogging through the middle, I always forget the finish. This is a lesson I need to learn for future reading, if not for all of life.


two hundred denarii worth

Every word in there is supposed to be there for a reason. Every word in there is no less golden than any other word. Every book is to be seen as valuable; every chapter to be seen as instructional.

Why then do some of the Rev chapters make it seem like these tenets aren't to be trusted? Why do some of these spark the wonder of why Rev is here in the first place? Sure, Ezek and Levit could make the same arguments. Either I'm missing something, or I'm missing something.


because of the great number

Numbers have always been important to me in irritating ways. I have aversions to even numbers (especially 4 or 6). I have affinities to odd numbers, especially primes (and especially 1, 3, and 7). I can't read or see a number without first internally digesting the worth of that number. The mathematician/nerd in me values unique numbers with special properties.

Throughout the Bible, one of the most attractive features to the stories told are the adherence to these special numbers. Three is a magic number in more than just a song. In Rev, we see 7 always getting its special due (albeit in incomprehensible end time visions). We also see 144,000 [though even, 144 being 12 squared, with 12 for some reason holding special meaning to God (tribes, disciples)]. There's something about 40 that I can't figure being a 4 and an even number -- yet God holds it special with the flood, and the days in the wilderness, and the days after the Resurrection, etc.

When the Bible was written, these numbers hadn't the special study and properties attached to them later by Renaissance mathematicians. But God destined these numbers for greater things since the very beginning.


and by chance a

Not my fault there's nothing from yesterday. Between air travel, mulfunctioning high-speed connection, and then the whole thing being down last night, I call a mulligan (note: I have always wanted to use this in conversation, regardless of the level of appropriateness).

Yesterday's Rev reading made me smile at the level of detail-orientedness and randomness of God. 8:1 mentions a moment of silence that lasts a random half an hour. 9:10 discusses scorpions with the ability to hurt men for a random five months. Half an hour? Five months?

Love it.


and reach here your

I'll reserve opinion on my church's study of Heaven till I know more than a biased thought on the topic. But here's something -- why this dichotomy: when people allude to Heaven, they point up to the sky; yet most when pressed admit they aren't sure if up is the correct direction. How could it be since science and experience shows clouds, sky, sun, moon, and stars? But no angels.

Here's how: it exists but can't be reached by men. But it is still there. Can you see/measure radio waves? What about UV and gamma rays? Until the last 50 years, no one realized these even existed. Cosmic rays? Even more recent.

So what of Heaven? Unmeasurable? Yes. But unmeasurability is not tantamount to nonexistence.

Unmeasurable? Not really. To measure it, use the correct tool, the correct units: width of the cross, one Son of God.

tabitha cum

Another future topic to cover in detail: rising. It's as important a theme as any in all the Bible, and deserves to be its own seasonal theme (if not annual theme), really, due to its encompassing broadness.

Some of the covered weeks could be:
* Resurrection, His & Laz (et al)
* Pit to Heaven, upwardbound
* All of the lames now afoot
* Adam from the clay
* Waters/flood/Red Sea
* Enoch & Elisha
* Kneelers, prostraters, forgiven

This is all pre-Concord, so I'm sure there are others. First one to find the link twixt rising and all prior posts gets it.

also performed in the presence

Once you've experienced it, it's hard not to try and have it again. You find yourself reaching, really reaching. It's like the Missing Piece by Silverstein without the dumb PC ending. If you start with a burdened heart, so all the harder.

But when it returns, man that's a sweet reunion.


for a different gospel

No matter how often I read it, Rev comes off as half-crazy and too different for inclusion in the rest of the Bible. Half-crazy because John's rantings make no obvious sense with the stars and the lampstands and the glowing image of God. Different because the NT is made up of parables, active scenes with Him, and non-ranting letters.

This time through the start, a few things actually caught my eye and made me reconsider my opinion:
* The realization that though different in tone than other NT books, this is surely no less ranty than say Ezekiel and the wheels and the six wings and the multifaces.
* Phrases like standing at doors and hearing voices and the knocking are clearly reminiscent of MMLJ.
* The grand issue of names returns; here we're given some cooler nicks for Him (the Amen being my fave) added to Son of Man et al.
* Sword of the mouth made some sense this time around (see Eph).

I'm either reaching, or reaching.


as he approached to look more closely

While running today, something occurred to me. Been on this nearing presence thing for the last week or so as should be obvious from the postings and all. I'm not sure if I ever considered the center of the whole nearing business. But it's not Him drawing closer, but vv. Much like Galileo correcting the man-centered universe myth, the running did the (non) blasphemy against inner dogma.

The hymns have it right (Nearer my God and Jesus, Draw Me Close as two examples). His path is fixed. The whole separation is not a withdrawal by Him but a wandering by us. The whole nearing presence thing is us relocating the lost.


and though his eyes were

Not going to do the whole thanking thing today. The rest of the days can do a bit of that, in fact have been doing that if not expressly. But remember the whole "of all" thing. One is neither appropriate nor enough.

Will discuss IJohn though. Like the start and its focus on light -- been saying that all along. Haven't gone into any detail on that aspect since it's fairly straightforward: illumination of sin, skulking in shadows to do evil, bright idea like a lightbulb, blinded by own sin, etc. I brought up light being pure energy a few days ago, so there's also that.

Here's an idea I'd like to try, and the opposite of one mentioned above. What really can blind you is staring straight into the sun -- only in this case, blindness is a better world. Stay with me here, but what about being blinded to your own sin? What about having to be led because you cannot see and do not know the way? What about relying on every sense except what is obvious, what is in front of you?

There are better things here in the light of these ideas. Let's develop another time.


and if he repents

Follow-up to something much earlier: not the whole interview, but a mention of it. So I'm not the only one who saw this thing, and I'm not making up the fact that even a killer (alleged) can eventually stand in the presence of God.


and to change my tone

IPet1 is one of the most eloquent reads in the entire NT. Most amazing to me is the blinding confidence of the author in what he is saying, as if directed by God Himself. Going back to our current discussion on presence, this is not surprising (ergo the use of amaze not surprise). The turning is clear, and the depth, love, and confidence that accompanied the turn -- that, well, wow.


and drawing near to

Jam4 has two sentences, two powerful sentences -- as powerful as any in the whole -- and they stand right next to each other. V 7-8. The first states that resistance will cause shadows to flee. Really? Because I've tried that. But here's the thing: I'm realizing that v 7-8 aren't meant to be split; the reason the fleeing comes about from the resisting is that the resisting isn't you doing anything other than what's in 8. And what's in 8 not only drives the fleeing, but also protects the flee from returning. And speaking on the drawing near, what we just discussed yesterday, maybe I've solved it, maybe I've really solved it.

a sponge full of the

Reading James is like getting the Constitution printed onto a grain of rice, especially if you're reading it in a sitting (there's probably some issues with the metaphor but I don't care). You could literally spend a year dissecting the book and preaching each Sunday on single sentences. It becomes a book that you want new believers to read if they only had one book to read, and a book that you want to shield new believers from ever reading.

Reasons for inclusion:
* Begins with an encouragement to persevere through trial
* Heads straight to importance of wisdom
* Discusses sin and temptation and God's role in it
* A whole paragraph follows containing famous one-liners later adapted into hymns
* Heads into doing vs mere believing -- and this and all of the above is just Ch 1!
* Attacks churches who don't love the poor.
* Faith v works
* Great paragraph on tongues
* Attacks the wealthy
* There's more, but frankly, I should just post the whole book.

Reasons for shielding:
* Faith v works, lotta trouble here
* Loss of salvation
* Whole Christian Scientist angle at the end

Again, lots here.


that occurred in connection with

You’re not keeping up here, I know. Reminder for the nth time: not for you. These all linked but only my heart can make the connection. But one day your heart will connect on its own and maybe all this will make sense.

What it is all about (trying for the nutshell): A source of light (pure energy, scientifically) who will bring you into His presence, a Stephen-like glimpse spiritually and emotionally (and maybe even physically) if not visually, if only you ask. And if you ask, you will get it in spades.

I cannot tell you enough: to get it and connect; to touch it will hurt so good; the snapping trembles will hurt so good your soul may never recover; a turning so complete you’ll wonder why it took so long for you to ask.

The journey there is important, yes. But just ask.

and he will have an abundance

He discusses in Matt 7 (and Luke 11) what kind of Father He is. If earthly dads would give bread, fish, and eggs (not rocks, snakes, and scorpions), what would He give? Well, you can't imagine it, and here's why: I'm convinced you/we don't know well enough what to ask for. Career? No, He will provide. Family? No, He is your family. Deliverance? No, He will undross you.

Then what? Intimacy. Closeness. If you ask it will be given. Ask for a walk. Ask for a breakfast alone. Ask for nearness that brings the trembles. He won't just give bread for bread, but something you cannot imagine: whole fields that make out your bread for what it is (plain slices). But the grandeur of all of Heaven awaits you for the trade.

and in my place I tremble

I know what they are, the snapping trembles. Not coherent here, because of the trembling. Rambles: third rail in NYC and Bos can't near it touch it static electricity like nearing that lightning ball and the hair rises taser and the shakes the real thing.

That's what they are: nearing the Actual. Even though so impossibly far away -- the length of a life, but the width of a cross -- getting even that close and it hurts so good. The tears actually of pain, but a pain of being so close and so far. The cramps actually of pain as well, of restraint. Running up to Heaven, all the way to Heaven not possible.

Not yet.

from for You


but the water that I will give him

Last time I harp on this (maybe not). Heb9 discusses the new convenant made with Him -- different but parallel to the original covenant with priests before God in the OT. And how did the priests initialize their covenant with God, their first cleansing? The sprinkles of course. I'm trying hard not to puff here, but really, it's hard.

will not all sleep

Not a wink last night. Explains the semi-early posting. I don't know sometimes if I do this to myself or if it's just the shadows. Before importance this happens, almost always. Is it the shadows trying to make the importance fail? Considering it never has succeeded, maybe they'd see the pattern. Is it Pavlovian at this point, and a used-to body doing what it knows is successful? Considering how it makes things physically harder, I doubt it. Is it just the dirty, doing what I know is useless? Don't know. Too tired right now to answer.


for you to carry

Confidence is a funny thing. Sometimes people you wouldn't think would have confidence overbrim; other times people who have every silver spoon in the world lack it. I flail away in the middle somewhere. I know myself and know my limitations so within those limits I'm good; with the shadows barking, and the inners knowing, well I'm not so good.

I thought I had it with me, but it was shaken. Though shaken, I'm still good, and here's why. I could hear the light remind me that confidence in my shadows, my inners, myself -- all shaky, always shaky. But light, outer, Him -- have confidence. So I will.


they themselves got into the small

Nervous for the first time in years -- real nerves, the kind that sink the stomach, twist the stomach, tickle the stomach beneath its sweaty feet. Not sure why it's only the stomach that gets mentioned usually. There's also the tingling in the digits. Have to remember that I can go to Him with this little stuff. Lord of all -- that means small stuff too. Not selfish; dependency on Him for all is what He wants.


everyone who hangs on a tree

I'm not one to fall for cheesiness or sentimentality. I think I tend to see it as a weakness, that you can't control your own emotions. If you can't control yourself or what's inside you, what can you control?

The one topic (cheesy or otherwise) where I can't control my emotions is when it comes to the Cross. Check the prior posts, but I can't control the snapping trembles. I don't want to be able to control the snapping trembles. And I'm pretty sure He doesn't either, especially because He knows I'm no good at controlling anything.

This preface is so that I can post the following edited story that I read, and within half a minute, the trembles had knocked out the rivers within (apologies to any copyright issues I may be violating):

Once upon a time there were three little trees who all had a dream of what they should grow up to be someday.

* Tree #1 hoped to be a beautiful treasure chest.
* Tree #2 hoped to be a strong ship.
* Tree #3 hoped to grow straight, and to be the tallest tree in the forest.

Time passed, and one day three woodsmen came and cut down the three trees. They were each made into something that was far from their dreams.

* Tree #1 was made into a feedbox for animals.
* Tree #2 was made into a small fishing boat.
* Tree #3 was cut into long large beams and left alone in the dark.

Many years passed by and the three trees almost forgot about each of their dreams; but God had not forgotten.

* One starry night in a Bethlehem stable, tree #1 held the greatest treasure in the world.
* One evening a great storm arose, and tree #2 didn't think he could keep his passengers safe. Then one man who had been asleep in the boat arose, and He calmed the storm.
* Finally, tree #3 was made into a rugged cross; a man was nailed to it. High upon a hill, He died upon that cross.

God always had a plan for the trees . . . a different plan to fulfill their dreams.

For a longer version of the same story, check this out. No trembles? Still feel really badly for you. Still do.

I have spoken wrongly, testify of the wrong

It's been brought to my attention that there was a bit of a slip-up in a recent blogging. I mentioned that all pics were and would always be B/W because -- well, go do the research on the why. The point is 11.5 makes that a big fat lie. I could try to justify that one pic -- since it's not one reflecting me or one of my moods, but one explaining something blogged, that there's a difference.

I won't take the easy road. Just call me a liar or give it to me as the exception that proves the rule. See? Still B/W.


that which comes down out of

Reading 2Tim1 made me a little sad today, but also a little encouraged. Saul has a short little mention of two names (minors, really, except they're not nameless). He tells his "son" (keep up with me) that he is mindful of Tim's sincere faith which first dwelt in grams and mom, and is probably in Tim.

Sad 1: He's worked with Tim and knows Tim, but is only mostly sure about the sincerity of Tim's faith? How sad for Tim.

Sad 2: My mom nor grams (nor dad nor gramps) had first dwellings of anything passed down to me. Without Him grabbing me, I would have fallen short after having lived in emptiness. And if the shadows came with the light that grabbed me, I'm telling you that's a good trade, don't try to dispel both.

Encouraged 1: I'm trying. Lord knows I'm trying. My babies will escape this second sadness someday. I will die trying to ensure that.


openly of Him for

Making up for the late posts and the skipped posts (three today, so leave me alone). In I Tim, Saul calls Tim his son and his child in the faith. It occurred to me that is where Revs get the whole father label. Prots think it arrogant (modeling after God) -- especially the whole Forgive-me-father-for-I-have-sinned spiel. Readings lately have begun to make me question my whole stance, my open-to-Prot-ideas-they-can't-all-be-wrong stance; maybe I was right all along.

one on either side

For those wondering why all pics here are (and will always be) in black and white, here's the answer (same answer this whole thing is about): it's for me, not you. I see the world in black and white, and were it possible I'd make myself literally color-blind. The reasoning is that the world believes there are shades of gray. But the world once also thought the whole shebang was flat, so there's that. Shades of gray only exist when there is no right and wrong; in business and law, compromise is king. Fine, but in all other things there are clear sides, and a compromise is only the result of blindly not understanding or ignoring one side.

Ex: in the abortion debate, what is the compromise here? One side says infanticide is wrong, and the other says babies don't vote, so screw 'em. What is the middle ground here? Evil would have you believe that you accept that it's wrong but you can't make everyone believe it's wrong (can't force belief) so let it be. That's not a compromise, that's a con-job.

Black and white is the only way to see things, and I believe to Him there is no middle ground. But I'm a good person. But I never did any really bad stuff. But I thought I had more time to make a decision. But I was raised wrong. Guess what? On J-Day excuses cut nothing. To Him, you've taken a side when you tack to the center -- and that side is the wrong one.

Short answer: B/W pics look cooler.

to Him, "what is truth?"

My church just went through what was to me an interminable series on rewards in Heaven. In past years, I think I would have violently attacked teachings which were unfamilar to me solely out of defense of my learned faith rather than out of a defense of the truth. What was different about my critical and admittedly closed-minded listening to this series was that I truly did not start closed but open -- it was as if the closing began on its own, some force closing the door without my selfish hand aiding it. That "force" I attribute to HS, for the first time activating my long-dormant sense of righteous anger over untruth rather than anger over unknown truth.

Either I'm doing something right, or I can't tell right from wrong any longer. I'm a little scared of both answers.


they do not tremble

I woke up this morning, and it was shaking -- my heart, that is. Even a hypochondriac like me knows it isn't arrhythmia. That's why, maybe, it's in my head this morning -- a verse, and a great one at that:

sometimes it causes me to tremble

The song misled me for many years since the start of each verse and the title itself leads one to think only in the past tense; but the trembling, that's the present, the now. At least some times, just as it says.

That some time for me is today for some reason; been trembling all morning. If you've never experienced the trembles before -- well, I feel really badly for you. It's one thing to love, but something altogether different to love so much you get the jimmyheart.

I once had my heart drop at the sight of a woman in white -- a beauty so bright it snapped the girders that are meant to stabilize the shakes. That's what the trembles really are: snapping the stabilizers, something so bright it snaps the stabilizers. Most people experience the snapping and the trembling at various non-religious moments in their lives. But if you can't feel the snapping trembles with Him on a regular basis -- seriously, I feel really badly. For you.


was sleeping between two

Note for some other time: I Thes has Saul discussing being sons of light and day contrasted to those who belong to the night. And those that are dark, sleep. There is a warning to not sleep as others do.

I've mentioned sleepiness before, and I think there's something larger here which I care not to develop now. But quickly:

* 106 refs for sleep
* Refs range from literal sleep to metaphorical and spiritual sleep. Lots of analogies here that also vary between death and evil.
* Tons of parables: Laz, little girl, Adam prior to the rib-snatching, etc.

Some tie-in here to my own sleepiness (literal) and sleepiness (spiritual) and sleepiness (emotional). Another time.


and patience, not knowing

Just a quick post since I don't want to miss another day, but at the same time, I have nothing to say. 32 more days until the release of the extended cut of Return of the King. No sleepiness, just anxiousness. No joke: I wake up most mornings and within a few minutes of consciousness, I count the number of days left till release. I started counting about 40 days ago.

Patience is a virtue; this I know from the constant barrage of reminders throughout Prov and the NT. To me, patience does not reflect a lack of virtue but a lack of intensity and passion. If you really care about something, how can you not wait for it to be near you? A loved one away on a long trip; a spouse serving overseas; the birth of a child. Obviously a DVD release day is not comparable, but in all these things, how is constant focus and day-counting a bad thing?

Perhaps its the intensity of focus on something other than Him that's the problem...


he will never taste of

A week later and I'm back in the senses saddle. In case you forgot where we left off: we stink. I know for sure about me, and I'm only guessing about you -- but it's a good guess. In any case, which of the other four shall we hit on today? Well, considering I'm craving that chocolate cream pie downstairs (soon to be not downstairs), let's try taste. Sounds odd to think we have a taste -- and maybe we don't since I've got nothing on this right now. But a concordance later, and let's see what we've got.

* 32 references to "taste". That's about 32 more than I thought there'd be.
* The first few in the OT deal with taste of crackers, honey, food. Nothing. The next few make it a verb -- but again, nothing.
* Ps 34 (the hymn not the school) gives us the first indication that this is more than an untamed V-flyer hunt. It's an invitation to sample the goodness of God -- partaking of His blessing as your very nourishment, but sumptuous not basic. Ps 119 repeats the usage but applies it now to itself, the Word.
* Jumping to the NT we get another goody -- the salt reference and all of that symbolism. No need to be redundant here.
* We get five, count'em FIVE references to tasting death. Odd in that death is a permanent thing, but tasting is by definition just a hint of the larger. The warning being used frice (thrice=three, frice=five -- work with me here) in the NT implies you can sample the larger. I'll call it here: tasting death is enjoying the tinny tang of sin and separation.
* We get a few more NT refs of sampling kindness, goodness, and gifts. The opposite of tinny tang.
* A Communion link? Hmmm. Something brewing, maybe.

Thesis: Since we're not part of this place, and since we haven't gotten to our place, we can't ever get the whole thing. It's bits for us right now. Those bits can either hint of the larger bitterness, or hint of the sweeter whole. There's an extension here if you can make the (hopefully) non-blasphemous cannibalism link but I don't even venture to try. Let's leave it with what we've got.

in the cloud, and

Yes, I know. I didn't post anything yesterday. But lately, I've been feeling branchy. This is a representation of what my thought processes feel like. You try sorting through this mess and retaining a sensible thought.

The follow-up question, I'm sure, is well, isn't this how it always is? Yes, but now there's snow.


on either side

I'll try to make this quick since I'm already late. But reading Gal5 made me both puff and wince. Let's see both:

I'm not Bundy, Aguilera, Britney, Brigham, Copperfield, Hatfield (or McCoy), McCoy (or Hatfield), Gin Blossoms, Shaq, Kobe, the South, Stiller-Black, Kennedy (T), or Kennedy (J). You got me on the Nicholson, sure, but if I can go 1 for 15, I feel all puffed-up.

Then comes the dawn. And I'm not Cupid, Gladys, hippie, Job, Mother Teresa, Debbie, Samwise, Thomas, or Brannigan. To go 0 for 9 is worse than the 1 for 15, really. So who's puffing now, Puffy McPuffy?


like a garment they will also be changed

I watched an ESPN interview with Ray Lewis last night that skipped my heartbeat at the same time that it raised my guards. I think they're related and contrary, and we'll get to both. The long and the short of it is Ray Lewis is apparently a Christian (?!). Note: I've searched high and low for a transcript of the interview; if I find it, it'll be up, you can guar-an-tee that.

Upraised guards: This is a man who wears expensive mink coats and drives fancy cars and is spotted clubbing with groupies. Like lionsaver, this is who we want as a representative? He can't be a real Christian, can he?

Skipped beats: These images of him are old images. Maybe the change is recent. Maybe the minks and the cars and groupies are out with the fire-direction. And if he can be changed, what's that say for others? Promising, right? And really, the glamorous sins are no different than my plain ones, really.


the great supper of God

I don't deny that at the age of twelve, you generally know squat about the deep mysteries of the faith. I didn't even realize what Communion was until I was at least sixteen. And I didn't even understand there was a whole thing about it until I was eighteen. I'm not even at this point going to try to reconcile what I was taught with what I may know right now. Frankly, I don't think it matters. What matters is what I said earlier: me, God, something internal, intimacy, us.

made Him a supper

We had Communion during service today. Odd how this is something that has to be announced rather than assumed to be a critical part. It's the one thing I think I miss most about masses. Sure, there's the whole old-guy-wiping-the-holy-cup-folding-the-holy-napkin spectacle. But there's also the intimacy of Communion that non-masses simply miss.

If the central part of what's going on for you is the learning and the hearing of the Word, hey, you and I have no beef. If the central part is the singing, you and I? Still cool. But confuse not the ritual act of mass with something lacking worship. Because I'll tell you what: me, God, internal reconciliation, symbolism, and reminder of the passion? I'll take that seven days a week and twice on Sunday. Literally.


recognize you foolish fellow

Alright, I'll bite (impending pun intended). Seriously, man. What on earth were you trying to do? I don't get it. It's hard enough to convince the world that what they see, and what they experience isn't all there is. It's hard enough to coax them from the darkness. But when the light that is shining is shining with crazy, that darkness looks mighty fine, doesn't it?

* If indeed you were hoping to convince the lions to turn to Christ, realize that nowhere in the Word does it mention that those kings would be the ones in celebration with us. And were it otherwise, how did you know the pride weren't already believers?
* If what you were screaming was directed to yourself and not the lions, what were you trying to prove and to whom?
* If you felt you were the modern-day Daniel, realize that Daniel didn't provoke the whole biting thing.
* Seriously, this doesn't help us.


will also enter the beautiful

For those of you not keeping up with the light -- and that includes me -- this is what it's talking about.

so that I may awaken him

Have you seen this? I don't think I ever saw this one before. But there it is in black and white for all the world and mostly me to see. In 2Cor7, Saul says it loud and clear "God, who comforts the depressed". This, this is all I've been waiting for the past eleven years.

as it is written, how beautiful

It's easiest when the light decides to overwhelm the darkness and not give me the chance to hear but else. It's then I can listen without doubt, think without question, and hear without failure.

And today at least, this is the light

Wonderful, So Wonderful
Is your unfailing love
Your cross has spoken mercy over me
No eye has seen no ear has heard
No heart can fully know
How glorious, how beautiful you are

Beautiful One I love
Beautiful One I adore
Beautiful One my soul must sing

Powerful so powerful
Your glory fills the skies
Your mighty works displayed for all to see
The beauty of your majesty awakes my heart to sing
How marvelous how wonderful you are

You opened my eyes to your wonders anew
You captured my heart with this love
Because nothing on earth is as beautiful as you


there will be a stench

Simmering now for a night, lid cracked open, and here it comes: back to this whole scent idea. Definitely a sermon on its own, with the other four brothers forming a solid 31-day month of Sundays on the homophonic Census (challenging you this morning, yes). Won't do more than an outline right now because still unsure this has a point.

* Only 11 references to "nose" and more to do with piercing than smelling
* Only 8 references to "smell" but there's a doozy of a one in Gen8
* 25 references to "scent" -- but wait, trickery's afoot. Actually only 4 since the other 21 are word organs.
* Here's the real kicker: 50 references for "aroma" and almost all of them preceded by "soothing". Now ExLevNum take their unfair shares being lawyerly and all but don't hold it against them.
* 2Cor, Eph, and Phil round out the NT but replace soothing with fragrant.
* There's some key events that involve scents indirectly without the concordial ease. Two that come to mind: Laz done for 3 and the wasteful Mary.

Thesis: Like an oenophile, our scent is meaningful to God. Rotting is the opposite of what we want to be. Nothing out of the ordinary about this thesis, so obviously something more has to be sniffed out. And maybe this makes more sense with an overarching thesis with the four brothers, I don't know.


but they thought

A few more loose thoughts in no particular order. I need to empty them since they're still banging around and I need the space. I have a hard enough time focusing on Him without the additional banging around:

* Victory sounds like this (sound up, please)
* In 2Cor2, Saul discusses how we smell to God. This is definitely a sermon in the making, I can tell. Something here about scent and the importance of the nose in the Bible. I might be reaching since nothing really comes to mind beyond this passage. In any case, the contrast between the aroma of death and the aroma of life is clear and almost tangible.
* In 2Cor3, Saul discusses veils. I started a short piece about afterbirths and prophesy and maybe there's a connection here, I doubt it. Why mention it then? Because of the whole need-space-no focus-banging thing.
* The Bride's lain down before -- what was the difference in last night's bout? I don't know and I don't care, and I hope the fight stays in the Bride.

to God who gives us the victory

There's a Simpsons episode where Bart gets hopped up on sugar and basically can't control himself. That's sorta how my mind is working right now. I'm so hyper giddy from last night's results that I can't process anything rationally right now.

Loose thoughts:
* Why do I feel victorious? I didn't do anything except pray -- which is the best thing I can do, actually, so maybe victorious is the appropriate sentiment.
* Why do I feel victorious? Only God could have carried out a victory where the incumbent has done everything short of drinking on camera to lose an election. To win by 3.6 million can only be attributed to God. Maybe victorious is the inappropriate sentiment.
* What would I have felt had the results been otherwise? Betrayed? God has no obligation to answer my prayers. Disappointed? God's will should never disappoint anyone.
* Why am I questioning my feelings? Because...well, isn't that my thing??

I thank you that you have heard

Nothing else to say but THANK THE LORD. Thank the Lord for getting His bride to do the right thing; for answering prayer; for reminding a country that separation is only separation from reality.


you did not choose me

By the way, He's either:
* praying His bride remains faithful;
* weeping over the state of a declining society, knowing the awful outcome; or
* shaking His head over the awful outcome, over a schizophrenic bride;

Either way you cut it, my prediction bodes ill news.

can I not follow you right now

May the bride of Christ turn out in full today and vote His conscience not its (their) own. Take your separation argument elsewhere, hardheart. He's not separating Himself from the world He died for.


who sees me sees the One

One of the reasons I've resisted dampening the voices is that I don't like my mind to feel clouded. Sometimes coffee does it to me and I can't bear the stark silence. I'm under the weather right now, and the worst part isn't the throbbing back right side of my head -- it's the cloudedness. So nothing to say from me, but below is an excerpt from a Schilling interview with some Boston sports people (the full interview can be found here

While many think you're a great pitcher and a courageous human being, some don't understand why you think the supreme being cares about whether you win a baseball game or not.

CS: "I never said He did."

Don't you pray before every game?

CS: "Yes."

What happens with your god when you lose?

CS: "With my God? Or God? I don't think anything happens to Him, but I think pretty much every time I do lose I get taught some sort of lesson. Be it preparation, aggression, execution, or humility."

Wasn't he listening that day?

CS: "He listens everyday."

If there is a supreme being of some sort, some may question whether he cares who wins the World Series. There just might be a few more pressing problems in the world.

CS: "Agreed ... I never asked the Lord for a win, or a strikeout, or to be better than anyone on the other team. I simply asked Him to provide me with the strength to get to the mound and compete, and to give me the strength to glorify Him when I was done. I have had the opportunity to do this in my career, and until this year I had basically passed. No more. Like every other time in my life when I looked to Him for help, for answers, He answered. But this time He answered in a way I felt. I always thought that when I asked, He was supposed to answer in a way I could easily see and understand, but I know now that a lot of times I am asking for one thing when I really mean something else, or asking for something I don't need. So now I stop asking the old way, and start letting Him decide what I need and how I need it.

"There are so many more pressing problems in the world I agree, but I can't be more than one person, so I asked for me, and for everyone on the field, the ability to compete, and do right, and wisdom.

"I proved to myself Game 1 that I didn't have the strength to do it, to overcome whatever it was I needed to overcome, Game 6 and Game 2 were all His. He got me out there, and my teammates took care of the rest.

"If you haven't checked it out, read Philippians 4:13 -- can't do anything these days without having that reverberate in my head."

There are other lines in the interview where Schilling wears his faith on the front of his uniform. It's so much more becoming than any team logo imaginable.


and my head

Maybe I have one of these or one of these or have this or maybe even this. What's clear is at the very least I have this. The long and the short of it is that I feel miserable.

In the garden, under intense suffering and knowing what was about to come, He still took the time to heal the soldier's ear. When I'm miserable, I take it out on everyone else. I gotta tell ya, I don't know what is wrong with me -- but hopefully it's more curable than all the above.


the branch cannot bear

I dreamt it was snowing. At the same time I feel this branching in my overstuffed head. Something's covering something but I don't know what.

i lost not one

So I missed a post yesterday. I thought it would be a bigger deal. Being OCD and all, I thought maybe I'd wake up with an urge to stop doing this whole thing since I missed a day. Refreshingly enough, I don't care. This is for me, not you, me. And me? Me doesn't care.

Alright, me cares a little but me cares more for a day alone. Me cares more for me.


comes to the light, so

i think it's clear that whoever's bringing the sleepiness isn't for me that there's a somebody behind the sleepiness is clear beginning to notice that whenever i'm getting sleepy i'm also getting turned away from the light and tonight night feeling the lullaby a lullaby not in the least melodious to me i turned away turned back clear then that this isn't a sleepiness maybe at all worried about another sleepiness when maybe this is just a long lullaby designed for against me maybe i'm close to something bright opening my eyes in the middle of it i saw that it was just a lullaby light the light still up ahead and as Saul says will soon crush crush under your feet


I stand at the door and

By later I guess I meant a few hours. This whole knocking thing has been knocking around my noggin for a bit and still not gone -- like a persistent Jehovah's witness, except this one's not hysterically crazy and wrong.

Besides the whole Rhoda thing, the NT has a few other listings of knocking incidents. M and L have what was quoted earlier (scroll down, lazy; I'm not requoting -- if you can't keep up knock elsewhere). L has another mention of a much more negative degree: Jesus saying He's not answering the late or pretend doorknockers. Then we have Him revving with a promise of dinner for an answer. I'm thinking OT has similar references of a knocking nature -- to wit, I think of Samuel and Eli with knocking replaced by whispering through a window.

In any case, that's the thing of it all. He's not simply an answerer, but also the Knocker. It's one thing to be up so high you only have a one-way upward relationship. It's another thing entirely to be the one the One initiating the conversation and saying knocking's my thing. Two-way, all the way, and that's worth something.

who enters by the door

I think I'm at my creative best when I'm not intent on being my creative best -- when I write rather than try to write. The lesson here is that the fount of inspiration is more and better filled by unkempt and unkept emotion and thought than by planned, plotted intentional manipulation. It's why these things might be random or incomprehensible or misspelled or simply wrong. I don't care to find out what happens otherwise, however. I'll take quality over suspect artsiness any day.

The rambling intro here is to mention that I like perusing these things for the first time. I suppose I should do it prior to the whole sending off but reminder: the whole unkempt and unkept thing.

I noticed a similarity between two recent ones of these things: knocking (Rhoda and nameless readyman for those with amnesia or just joining). I think there's something here which I should explore some time, so this is one long mental note. He calls Himself the gate. He says knock and it will be opened. I feel like I'm always knocking and some time there's no answer and other times I'm supposed to answer the knocking but don't get off my hay pallet.

Again, something in all this for later.


was wrapped around

A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.

I don't know who first used that line, but maybe they were talking about Saul in Rom 7-9. It's not so much the mental linguistic acrobatics as it is the spiritual gymnastics required to grasp even a tenth of what he's saying here. He lost me at hello. I gathered something about elect and sin and law and may it never be but beyond that it was like playing "Who's on First?"

I don't think it was so much that he was incoherent or that he was simply babbling. I think his whole life after Damascus Road was a leaky faucet. Tweren't his mind leaking, no. It was his opening the Holy Ghost like a tap, a drip alone containing more wisdom than he could contain. Hence the gushing forth of Rom 7-9.

Not babbling, bubbling.


all things had already been

It might be that terrible ABC theme in my head being Monday night and all but the idea of readiness is in my noggin. Good segue and topic sentence for our next minor. Up to bat is that guy, another nameless. The best minors usually are -- otherwise they're practically major. Frankly, Rhoda might be the last named minor we have seeing as how if you have a name maybe you're not so minor and you can stay unpicked with the rest of the kickballers.

The theme of identity and names is big in the Bible, a topic we'll cover at another juncture. But a few quick thoughts on it while the ditty plays on:

* It's important enough that Jesus changes a few people's names (Cephas, for one)
* It's important enough even to those bringing the sleepiness -- cast out by name
* I AM, need I say more?
* weptover ain't for nothing

Back to nameless in this instance -- by instance I refer to Mark 14. Da vinci makes famous the Last Supper (though really the Holy Roman Catholic Church might want to claim this fame first). But someone set this all up -- answer, our hero. He has a furnished room, all ready for a big meal, this being Holy Week and all. And two strangers come to him and tell him The Teacher (their attribution not mine) needs the guest room. And without hesitation it is given up.

I suspect another back story here. Someone who has been preparing this room every year, not knowing why, just knowing he needs to be ready just in case. This guy is the patron saint of OCD sufferers like me. And every year, maybe he's a little disappointed to only have friends and family over. And maybe last year like Linus in a pumpkin patch he really, really felt that it was his year and he hears that knock at his door and the servant comes up and it's just the servant reporting the water's ready and he half-smiles and knows it's only for family. And the next year comes along and here's this other knock, and he hears half-whispers of strange men at the door and he comes down the stairs and they look like they could be disciples, dirty and ragged duo that they are and before they can even ask, it's yes yes the room is all ready yes its ready ready when is He coming is He coming is He coming?

Are you ready?


going there again

Just finished (re)watching Return of the King again -- by my count 32 times all the way through. No depression this time, just finishing it with my beloved. All my favorite parts remain intact. That's half the fun of (re)watching it these days -- figuring out which part will move me most that time through (for those of you tracking this, "For Frodo").

Sometimes I fear that watching the movie while not sleepy would bring about sleepiness, an adverse Pavlovian effect since I have used it to mask the screaming so often. There's always this fear that I'll trigger some chemical imbalance. Fortunately, that has yet to ever bear out. Perhaps these have all been pre-emptive strikes.


also does in like manner

one of those days where I feel off and on days or weeks rather still hard to decipher whether the light or the dark is the winner tried playing 18 today and if the result was any indication of the state of things it isn't the light which brings up a strange similarity where last week or days rather the 18 was as fine as fine could be as was i and what if this is the pattern 18 as metaphor for life shall i be swinging more simply to gauge the state of my soul or swinging less because really i don't want to know


will be turned into joy

throughout his journeys Saul met stiffness wherever he turned in many cases it must've seemed like he was turning into what he turned away from seeing as how a few times they followed his turning in an attempt to re-turn him before he returned speaking about His return

something like that

the problem with low self-esteem is that you think you're not worth the re-turning from those being turned away from that you're not worth all that following but that's not the way He sees it He sees it as something more common as common as someone walking down the street and simply turning look out for the turners intent to turn you the secret for you is turning to face His return turn to that and the other turners won't turn up

something like that


do you not understand

What's the lesson here? My prediction comes through and the Sox pull off a miracle in the ALCS and head toward fulfilling my prediction of a World Series victory, and yet my day is not joyous?

Reasons aplenty:
* An enemy who's joined my rooting interest
* A hero cooperating with an enemy who's joined my rooting interest
* An awful coach being hired for my other rooting interest apparently destined to toil in the cellar for the length of the new coach's contract
* An election headed toward disaster for the believers

Aside from not caring this strongly about sports in the future and about winners and losers and about forgiveness and about focusing on the joy and not on the anger not on the anger not on the anger and about not losing hope and praying and praying and praying what's the lesson here?


speaking of literal sleep

Sometimes I suppose I can surprise myself. Even out of anger even out of frustration even out of tiredness I can overcome the intent with something approaching the gentleness and tenderness required of me. I think it's sad that there is any surprise at all -- though it's understandable considering I know who I am, an abyss of intent I wish I could put down as easily as a crying son.

loved them to the end

I'll tell you right now what my problem is: there is no group of people I can think of (outside of immediate family) where I'd undergo an optional surgery just to better fit in and not stick out. Especially surgery dealing with certain parts of my anatomy.

How much must you love an unknown group of people, people you've never met, to do such a thing? I suppose the answer is that it has nothing to do with your love for the people, but for the peoplemaker. And I suppose it would have to be an endless, unconditional love.


we know that his testimony is true

The thing of it, hardheart, is that I don't care for your perspective on the reality of it all. I care for the reality of it all. There are two things I appreciate that to me make it all the more real: the little details and the listed faults.

On the first, details like someone running away naked from the fray, the medical proof of the suffocation, the crestfallen smiles, or the grimaces or the unbridled joy. To me these aren't boring moral tales, but stories I have lived and can see and can feel.

On the latter, the heroes that we understand in all their warts. We don't get the impossible standard (although there's that); we get the identifiable weakhearted ones, challenged ones, discouraged ones, angry ones, lost ones. These are the ones we're called to learn from. And we can because we've been there.

Today we see two friends parting because of another friend (sorry, you're not psychic -- Acts 15). Just a few simple sentences that mask over something larger, I'm sure. They both end up successful, but the longing, the wondering. Still there.


and no one will take away your joy

Another minor for you: Rhoda -- not the sitcom, the narrative-carrier. In Acts 12, Cephas gets arrested, but for the second time in a short while, he gets a six-winged chaperone holding an orange chance card with no monetary value. In the middle of the night, knowing his plight, he heads to some friends' house and knocks.

Knock, knock.
(Enter our minor) Who's there?
Hello in there?

No joke, no answer, bailjumper. Our minor is in action. She recognized his voice whether or not he mentions his name and because of her joy she runs from the door to tell everyone who was there. Imagine being so joy-filled you don't even open the door to the person who filled you with joy?

I think that's part of the lesson here. Still on the joy/trial ladder match (and still no countout), the caution is not to let the joy overwhelm your sensibility in dealing with the joybringer. Shutting him out to celebrate is the opposite reaction you want.

Lesson#2 follows. Though they questioned her sanity and her judgment, she kept insisting what was so. She clung to her knowledge. I imagine there's a deep backstory here between Rhoda and Cephas, how she grew up with a secret crush on him how she watched him fish with her master how she served him with extra width in her smiles how she missed him on his journeys with her Master how she was dismayed to hear of his capture but how she was overwhelmed by his escape and how when she was just then thinking about him and how he smiled at her that one time here comes this late knocking knocking who is it and just from the sound of his voice a voice she maybe carried with her for lo this many years daydreaming of a life together with the joybringer well no one could crush her joy or her knowledge of what was true.

The second lesson in there is yours for the taking. Hint: it involves you, joy, Joybringer, and unbridled affection.


if you believe, you will see the glory of God

I've wondered before whether tis easier to see God during trial or during joy. I took a mulligan on the question and looked at both sides (the whole spitclay-eyes episode). I don't know why I bring this up again if I'm only taking another mulligan; I just want to describe something remarkable.

In John 11, Martha loses a brother but gains eternity. Asked a direct question, in v 27, she worships. Doesn't matter that she lost Laz; doesn't matter that she partially blames God; doesn't matter that she has no clue what is going to happen. She knows one thing, and that one thing she clings to it, clings to it, in the midst of loss/trial.

SJ are going through something right now. SJ lost something. This loss and trial, I don't know what I'd do. I don't know if the whole clinging is what I'd be taking with me in someone else's post. But today in the midst of a congregation, SJ worshipped in a way that twists something inside you.

That's what worship is: clinging. And to do it during trial doesn't answer the earlier question (the first), but it answers the direct question. SJ, eternity is on line one for you for pickup.


is accursed

If you believe that there is a Grand Design, it's hard to imagine also believing in curses. I'm not going to argue the predestination/free will question -- not relevant here, hardheart. Back to curses: one mortal man cannot be the focus of all bad luck, simply can't be. The bigger question is: can a collective group of people be that focus?

Case in point: Sox-Yanks. The former built for the postseason; the latter looking tired, armwise. The end result? 2-0, tired arms.

My fault, with $30 riding on the outcome? Or the fault of a region of pessimists hoping against hope, hoping against fear?


you may remember that I

I'll take minor characters for $600, Alex.

Who is Barsabbas?

Great question, better answer. Matthias probably thinks he's the headliner, the answer to some Biblical trivia. Who replaced Judas as the twelfth disciple? The early church would consider him a leader. He probably received special honors and recognition whenever he showed up. There he is -- one of the twelve! I vaguely recall twelve seats or such in New Jerusalem, but I'm not revving yet so that's a crapshoot. My point is that he won the head-to-head primary, so round of applause for Matt.

Give me Barsabbas, though. Still on minor kick, yesiree. But here's the thing: I can't imagine Barsabbas getting anything less than the above as well. Trivia? Sure thing. Who was the other disciple nominated to succeed Judas beside Matthias? Still reckoned a leader, I reckon -- to be nominated from the 120 required something special, I'd imagine. The honors? Considering the pattern of success after humbleness, and the recognition can be yours for $6. And the seats were imaginary anyway.

The edge lies in the lack of recognition as one of them. Let me do my job, and go. I don't need to stay for the rest.

Peter, turning around

I played 18, which is maybe why this metaphor is in my head -- or it's the right comparison at the right time. Regardless, three outings ago, had you offered me 150 yards down the fairway I would have traded you five balls each time. That's $6 an offering so don't downplay the trade. Nevertheless, several online articles and a crooked right and a straight left later and that $6 is staying inside my pocket. My point? It was an immediate change. Gradualness is for suckers; give it to me straight up.

Cephas in Acts is like my driving -- outright flopped, steps suckered. He has the confidence of Bonds, the power of Bonds, and the persuasion of Bonds (that's Robert, Barry, and two Jims for those counting at home). Only a few weeks removed from the rooster debacle, he's clearly the driving force behind a new movement.

No online articles for him; the power of God.


and He calls His own

They aren't the same favor; I think they're all separate. That's the reason He asks three times. It really isn't because He didn't know. Even Cephas knew He did. I think He asks in triplicate because he wanted to make sure Cephas knew it and felt it and really knew it. Secondly, it's a perfect reparation for the rooster humiliation from before. Deny thrice, acquiesce thrice, that's the deal. Lastly, let's get back to my initial point: those are three different favors.

The first deals with lambs -- not adults but babies. That's spiritually as well as staturely.

The second deals with shepherding -- guidance, protection, provision. Its the practical and dirty and humbly servile upkeep.

The last is the tending -- nurture, encourage, adore.

Great. 0 for 3. Add that to the other 0fers, please. I'm running a tab.

the two were running

Cephas is the Bible's true rollercoaster. He went from hill to dale more often and more quickly than anyone else. And that's what makes him easy to identify with, and ultimately so endearing -- to me and to Jesus.

Case in point: John 21. In v 7, he drops everything (taking the time only to put on a shirt) and hurls himself seaward in order to reach shore faster than everyone else. Not competitively, mind you, save with himself. A perfect response, sure, would have ignored the shirtlessness and bothered not for the shocking cold. But the response was golden as is.

The reward, a private conversation with God after breakfast. This days after the humiliation with the rooster. Exaltation after humbleness -- I think there's a pattern there.

are you weeping

There are a number of reasons why Jesus weeps over Lazarus in 11:35, but I'll cover only one of them here. He wept because He knew that prior to His own death, all death was futile; all death separated man from God; all death without His work on the cross hurt on a spiritual and eternal level that man could not grasp.

The proof of this can be seen in the almost joyous questioning that greets the two Marys on Sunday morning. What is the first thing said to Mary by the angel guarding the tomb? "Woman, why are you weeping?" What is the very first thing Jesus asks Mary when she sees Him? "Woman, why are you weeping?"

The question is asked (in my mind) incredulously. Don't you understand what just happened? Don't you understand that death is no longer eternally futile? Don't you understand that through Me there no longer is separation between God and man? Don't you understand that it doesn't hurt, it doesn't have to hurt anymore?

Don't you understand?


sickness is not to end

frustrating so frustrating unable to see whether this is the start of something new in which case why is it so close to the end of something old? or whether this is the end of something old in which case this is the longest something there has been or whether this is nothing nothing then why do I feel something?


will come to you

Reading John is like a trip to Best Buy -- what do you choose, what do you choose? The possibles fly at you so you just stick out your hand and hope something sticks. I'll just grab one and go. Just go.

In 14, v.6 gets all the press (natch), but v.18 is the one that stuck just now. Eleven words, but the gist is much:

* A promise to return (in another form)
* A foreshadowed promise to return
* A likening of self to dad
* A tender reassurance

The way is felt-lined, I gather.


was one of those reclining at the table

The follow-up to one of the greatest stories in the history of the world is less than a grand event; rather it's intimate, and thus all the more moving to me. He doesn't merely command the unbinding and the coming forth and the letting him go. No, he stays.

John 12 has Lazarus reclining and eating and staying. Imagine how much he already owed Him. Second life. But to also get the closeness of a meal, too? Salvation and a side order of friendship? Give me two of those.


as it is day; night

I have a whole series on minor characters in the NT that I want to start soon. By soon, I mean soon. Like now.

The easy reading of the Gospels is that the main character is Jesus (obviously). I think this is in some ways not the perspective that He would hold reading about Himself. Two reasons: as God Almighty, He is the main character in everything -- that's how He wants it [Lord of all]; secondly, part of the importance of MMLJ is how you and all others respond. The minor characters -- trust me, you are minor -- become, in effect, the true narrative-carriers.

The world works today via these minors. Leaders take the headlines while their nameless ones take the load. And the NT functions, really, as the lessons learned by these minors and these nameless ones. Side note: one of the benefits of eternity to me is removing their -less.

Let's start with spitclay-eyes (John 9). In v. 12, he is asked the question that defines him to me. His answer: he has no idea. In inarguably his greatest moment in life -- not regaining but gaining something lifeshattering -- the excitement of the great overwhelms him to the point of lostness (lost being defined by being nowhere near Him).

I've always seen trial and joy as two sides to the same coin. During trial you feel apart because of the crushing weight of suffering; but you also feel the comfort and can focus on the knowledge that all this, too, shall pass away. During the joys, you get the thankfulness, so there's that; but you also get the effervescence of it all, and the accompanying celebrations often envelop the Joybringer.

Spitclay-eyes fortunately gets the second chance, and he takes it and runs with it and gets it right, forehead to ground.

father, I thank you that

Happy Birthday, Ba.

I love you.


the light is not in him

My assumption all along has been that all is not shadows, that some must be light. What if the light is also shadow; false light, true shadow?

I've never done one sacrifical thing for anyone. Self-sacrifice requires positive self-worth. The sacrifice is giving up the worth for something else, someone else. One cannot do that if the self-worth is something less than worth. Then nothing is given up for the someone.

That's not sacrifice -- that's a poor trade.


if we let him go on like this

Have you ever tried to fix something that was broken and actually made it worse? Like trying to sop up spilled paint on a carpet and discovering yourself spreading the stain and ingraining it? You wonder what would have happened had you simply let the problem remain: would the remaining truly have been better than the worse?

I don't speak of my condition(s) or the details around it(them) simply because I want to avoid the inevitable response. You know they have medicine that can treat that now. It's not that I'm unaware of the existence of these (false) balms. It's that I don't believe in their usage on a fundamental level, and I fear the potential staining and ingraining.

On the first point, if you believe in evolution (fool) then mental illness is a way of thinning out the weak. No reason to subsidize what shouldn't be. If you believe other than foolishness, then mental illness is your cross to bear. Bear it, bearer.

On the second point, I know who I am and know how to deal with me (for the most part). I don't know how to deal with me after the sopping, or even if there would still be a me. And while some of them may be shadows, some of them are also light; losing the shadow at the cost of losing the light is no small risk. I'll keep both if it means keeping the one.


if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles

If you want to read something that will change your perspective on things, read The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis or This Present Darkness by Frank Perretti. Reading those two books gave me a different perspective on the shadows within me.

Anyone who knows me or meets me will know/meet someone exuding confidence. Publicly, I am never unsure, never self-defeating. And little would they know how often I torture my own conscience, create my own fissures of doubt and self-loathing. But it's not me. Not me. Someone's bringing the sleepiness, but it's not me.

if he has fallen asleep, he will recover

Sometimes obsessions aren't what they appear to be. Sometimes what's being repeated isn't the action itself but some underlying feeling. Sometimes they're another XXX-ion. Maybe for instance diversion.

I've seen the Lord of the Rings: the Return of the King in its entirety an obscene number of times: 31. 15 times in theaters; 5 times on hotel pay-per views; 7 times on DVD on my laptop on the road; and 4 times at home. And those are just the times I've seen the movie from start to finish. There are particular favorite scenes I've seen literally a hundred times. On its face, I'm an obsessive fan, one to be genially teased and mocked. You've seen it how many times? Maybe if they understood that many of these viewings were for relief and not for entertainment it would be encouragement I'd be receiving and not mockery.

During the first week of the movie's release, I watched the movie seven times. During the first week of its release, I wanted to sleep forever to stop the bickering in my head. During the first week of the movie's release I memorized the film line for line. During the first week of its release, I wept without reason and withdrew without consideration. Coincidences?

The movie for me is like Ritalin for ADHDers -- something that provides a measure of such intense focus, all else is drowned in silence. And when all you crave is silence some end to the screaming some end to the mental noise some end to the overwhelming some end some end

some end

Well, what if for 3 hours and 20 minutes you could stop them all? That for 200 minutes all that was before you was that something golden and all of it would stop and not talk but listen? What if you could weep from being moved by visual stimuli rather than from frustration and self-contempt? What if the internal peace you'd dropped on the way to the corner store had made its way to the Loews and had saved you a seat?

Obsession? No. Distraction from depression.