Thursday, August 31, 2006

Purging of Dross

Lately I've begun to feel apathetic. Apathy is not emotion that suddenly forces itself to the forefront of your consciousness- it's not a strong sensation. I'm always amazed at the way this state of mind creeps up on me. Every other emotion I experience is immediately recognizable (fear, anger, or happiness) and it motivates me effectively to take some kind of action. But apathy crawls into my mind and soul slowly and, unnoticed, begins to make me numb. It's a long time before I realize how lazy I've become, and by that point I'm too comfortable with my indifference to make a change.

I'm beginning to feel stagnant, like a filthy pond that's been cut off from its water source. The worst thing is that I know where to get fresh water, and I'm the one who cuts it off. I want to be a "tree planted by streams of water, who yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither", but I'm not prospering. I'm not pursuing the Lord and I feel dull and lifeless; I'm just "going through the motions". I feel like a picture with no color, an old black and white movie with no sound.

I need to stir myself up! I need to rouse myself from my slumber! I always get to this point and wonder how I allowed things to get so bad... stirring myself up is something I must do everyday. I go through phases where I'm really, really good about it- I'm in the scripture everyday, I'm on my guitar worshipping regularly, I'm writing, I'm singing, I'm praying, I'm filled up and overflowing and walking right in step with God. Then I fall out of the habit, I get busy, I stop spending time, my Bible collects dust, I start taking in the world in little, seemingly harmless bits, I stop hearing the voice of the Lord and I stop feeling the promptings of the Holy Spirit, and I end up depressed and totally empty. (As evidenced by one or two notably angry recent postings)

Does everyone have this problem? Is there anyone who remains steady and strong and focused? There must be a way to maintain a sure footing and a firm pace, and fix my gaze on the Lord, even as the world and my flesh pull me and distract me. I'm sick of living in this cycle of zeal and vapidity. I need a real change.

"For there is not a just man on earth who does good and does not sin."
Ecclesiastes 7:20

"But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus." Romans 3:21-26

I don't have any comment to add to these scriptures. I just feel like I should spend time meditating on the word and pressing into prayer. I need to seek the face of the Almighty.

He will melt my hard heart so the dross can be seperated and I may be made like pure silver. Not dull, but molten, and reshaped, shining with His reflected glory.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

NOVEL: Lucky Jim

I love to read. I am always adding books to a "Read-Me" list and I have trouble keeping up- I add books faster than I can read them. Anyway, I thought I should review the books I read on my blog. I don't want this to just be my bitching outlet- I want to educate and inspire the masses! (IE, my 0 readers)

Recently I read Lucky Jim by Kinglsey Amis, about a university history teacher named Jim Dixon who, the more I read, the more it seemed he was anything but lucky. It's set in Britain in the 40's, and like a few of my other favorite books (CS Lewis' science fiction trilogy), is played out against the backdrop of academia and the politics of position and social standing. Wrapped up around the story line of Jim trying to secure his tenure is the story of Jim falling in love with Christine, the girlfriend of His superior's son.

The book sounded vaguely interesting to me. I read a little blurb similar to the one above and for some reason wrote down the title and author, thinking I might like it. When I actually went to the library and all my first choices were not available, I remembered Lucky Jim, but upon reading the synopsis on the book, wondered to myself why I had wanted to read it at all. I borrowed it anyway (due to lack of other options), and I'm actually very glad I did.

This book made me laugh the whole way through. Amis created a character so despicable, so juvenile, so lackadaisical, so gauche, and yet somehow you can't help but develop an affection for him. You find yourself rooting for him to get away with his silly plots and lies and ridiculous fabrications. He's a character whom you cannot help but relate to- as he is misrepresenting, omitting, and outright lying for the sake of promotion, appearance, or simple amusement, his inward narrative is entirely honest and plain. You can't help but root for Jim because he is more than his foolishness; Amis has created a real character, a human being, in whom you must recognize the good and the bad. I must add that, though Jim is the central character, I felt that the other players could have been developed further, especially Christine, who remained one-dimensional and aloof throughout.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, although it wasn't a "can't-put-it-down-page-turner". It was absolutely hilarious (had me laughing out loud on the train, much to the discomfort of the other passengers), and a delight to read. Overall, a great choice for something in the light-hearted and funny category, and totally worth the read just for this fantastic character. I recommend!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

This is a photo from Improv Everywhere. They're a comedy troupe based in NY, NY that stages stunts and pranks, from setting up a "Meet a Black Person" booth (pictured below) in 99.5% white Aspen, CO, to flooding a Best Buy with "Agents" dressed like employees. Take some time and read over the various missions they've staged- my favorites are The Moebius, Slow-Mo Home Depot, all the "No Pants" missions, and this awesome black guy. Check out the video for him- a man shouts "Hey, Mom! There's a black guy down here!!", and one guy takes his picture with him.

Too Funny Not to Post.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

First of all, a big ol' Happy Everyone Gets Flowers but Rachel Day to all yall' out there!!! Here at the office where I am the receptionist, everyone is receiving huMONgous floral arrangements. EVERYONE except ME. Flowers directly delivered to you at work say, "Someone loves me this much!!! (count flowers) Where are your flowers?" I keep thinking and hoping that maybe someone thought of me and sent me an efflorescent display of affection, though it's not a special occasion, so I have no foundation to expect any such display, aside from really wanting one. As bouquet after brilliant, rapturously fragrant bouquet keep getting delivered (for other people), my hope rises and little higher and ends up a little more crushed.

Just now, the phone rang. It was a woman double-checking our address so she could send her sister flowers. DEAR GOD!!!

My face as more flowers for "everyone and their mom" arrive in our office.

I have a flair for the dramatic- it's actually not as bad as all that. In fact, my sweet and considerate boyfriend just bought me roses the other day, completely without external suggestion on mine or anyone else's part. Seriously, though, if you're reading this and you know me, please, for the love of all things good, send me some flowers immediately.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

OH MY GAAAAWD totally making my night right now:

Tony Danza fully EATS IT! Click on that for the full picture- high-laaaaarious, and I don't use that word lightly.

my favorite is that face he's making in the second picture... I've been so grumpy but I couldn't stop laughING at this aaaaaahahahaha!!! I almost want to put it on my desktop. it made me THAT happy, like, crying having trouble breathing laughing.... aah... I feel better. I had to share this with the world, which is to say, my 0 readers.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Shalom, Jerusalem

Israel is heavy on my heart today. War continues to surge in the Gaza strip and along the Israeli-Lebanese border, and I begin to question what the deeper issues at hand really are. What is God's purpose in the midst of this chaos? We're sending politicians, trying to hammer out some kind of peace plan. Nations throwing their weight around, trying to break up this fight, to support one country or another, one cause, one religion, one whatever. Even as I express pride that America has stood behind Israel, and continues to do so, reports flood in about a bombing by Israel that flattened a building and killed some 20-odd Lebanese refugees. What do I make of it? How can I judge the hearts of kings? How can I say definitvely who is right, who is wrong, and how to make peace?
What I know is that this war is about much more than any social group or any nation. It's an age-old division with spiritual roots- this goes back to the old testament and has been prophecied for centuries. There is no true peace until Jesus returns, and I am commanded in no unquestionable terms to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, to give the Lord no rest until Israel is established as a praise in all the earth. I am called to be a watchman on the wall and to seek the good of Jerusalem. And while I do not understand the current conflict or the real issues at the heart of this crisis, the Lord God is the Holy One of Israel and He is sovereign and omniscient. So I will do as I am commanded:

"Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: 'May they prosper who love you. Peace be within your walls, prosperity within your palaces.' For the sake of my bretheren and companions, I will now say, 'Peace be within you!' because of the House of the Lord our God I will seek your good."

Psalm 122:6-9, NKJV

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

One More Night

I'm suspended
Every movement heavy with intention
I am unresolved
This, some kind of unreality
but I've got this clarity
a rarity
So while I'm thinking clearly
with the wind in my face, headlights
bright on the dark pavement
I'm gonna make a change tonight
I can't wait to be alright
One more night