I had almost forgotten
what it’s like to have that ache
in my chest, what it’s like to
want to touch another person
in any number of small, intimate ways–
not the two-becoming-one way,
but a holding of hands, a head on the shoulder,
the post-it note reminders of a shared affection
displayed right in the living room of our lives.
That touch is not yet mine to claim,
and it may not be that you are the one
to whom I give them.
But the want is there, a want
that I gladly hold in my open hands
for the Giver to leave or take as He pleases,
because He has always held me
and will even if you never do.
But if He grants that I could enact those
little rituals with you, that I could
show you in body what’s going on in my mind,
I would leave these hands empty
so I could give them to you.
William Shakespeare, Henry V, act IV, scene iii, performed by Kenneth Branagh:
The spiritual disciplines, and how bad I am at them.
The way different people’s hugs feel.
What it’s like to be in such deep darkness that you can’t see any light at all, and what it’s like to love people who are there.
Knowing my neighbors.
Being in the suburbs, for the suburbs.
Going without makeup.
What it means to dress in such a way that loves God and loves my neighbors.
To quote Mumford & Sons, “You are not alone in this/As brothers we will stand and we’ll hold your hand.”
Ordering time differently than the rest of the world.
Being intentional with how I think and make choices.
Long-sleeved shirts, eventually.
What I heard the other day: Ritual is the physical enactment of spiritual and emotional realities.
We do not have to assign things meaning that God has already given meaning.
Reality vs. abstraction. (Always.)
What it looks like to live as a whole person.
I tried to put you on like
a wedding ring
like a cap and gown
like a crown of glory
you are just a beggar’s rags
that left me cold and
bruised and bleeding
which is the way
it ought to be
Here’s what you do: Put your music player of choice on shuffle, and write down the first twenty tracks that play, no matter how ridiculous or embarrassing they are. Ready, set, go:
1. Jimmy Eat World, “Big Casino”
2. Caedmon’s Call, “Sarala”
3. John Alldis Choir & the London Philharmonic Orchestra, “But Thanks Be To God”
4. Sufjan Stevens, “Come On! Feel the Illinoise!”
5. Rosie Thomas, “Pretty Dress”
6. Vampire Weekend, “I Stand Corrected”
7. Wilco, “Solitaire”
8. Mayfair Laundry, “Lovely Feet”
9. Derek Webb, “What Is Not Love”
10. Coldplay, “The Hardest Part / Postcards From Far Away”
11. BBC Concert Orchestra, “A Christmas Festival”
12. Andrew Peterson, “Lay Me Down”
13. Willie Nelson, “Someone to Watch Over Me”
14. The Civil Wars, “Poison and Wine”
15. Les Miserables OBC, “I Dreamed a Dream”
16. Howard Shore, “At the Sign of the Prancing Pony”
17. Steven Delopoulos, “Here I Go Again”
18. Luka Bloom, “Bad”
19. Kendall Payne, “Wonderland”
20. Delirious?, “Majesty (Here I Am)”
Q:TV chef celebrities have become a dime a dozen. Do you think they’ve been beneficial to the American culinary landscape, or harmful?
A: Both. A lot of food media idolizes food. We’ve done food some disservice by objectifying it, which may very well have played a role in some of the obesity issues in this country. That idolatry takes food out of context, out of its proper place, and makes it about that item rather than cooking for your family, breaking bread with each other, the spiritual aspects of cooking.
–Alton Brown (who is a Christian, to my knowledge), in this interview with Serious Eats. I detect some echoes of Robert Farrar Capon in there.
1. My coworkers make me laugh like an idiot every single day I’m at work.
2. On Sunday, we sang “Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken” together as a church, and it was one of the most beautiful moments of my whole life (no joke).
3. I don’t have to go to work until noon tomorrow.
4. My boss bought us donuts and kolaches on Tuesday morning.
5. God has been convicting me of a lot of attitude sins lately.
6. This guy named Glen Weldon at NPR has been tweeting jokes combining Star Wars and Project Runway and they are hysterical.
9. The blog Green Wedding Shoes (thanks again, Steph).
10. Friends who will let me crash at their house in Montrose so I don’t have to drive home from community group in West U (again, thanks, Steph).
11. The coolish weather in the mornings here in Houston lately.
12. The trailer for War Horse is out.
13. The fact that there is a movie coming out called Machine Gun Preacher.
14. Hugs. (Even the awkward Christian side-hugs.)
15. Strings are back on my guitar. Amen.
We do not just ask You
to be here in this place tonight
we need You to bust down the doors
break down these Berlin walls
until every continent vibrates
with shouts of wonder
we do not just want to praise You
we worship mars and aphrodite
with Your name on our lips
we need You to burn them off
with the coals of the offering You offered
what i mean is
of all the times we
try to contain You
with phrases that
might have meant something
to our fathers and mothers
but they are not ours anymore
because You are Word
with no entry in the dictionary
it would take a million tomes
to define You
1. My experience with evangelical guys not asking girls out is that the cause is either fear or cluelessness; I tend to forget that another reason, one which is unfortunately rarer but still legitimate, is that they don’t want the distraction while they’re pursuing Jesus in particular seasons. I think I vent about this issue a lot and fail to love my brothers by letting them be free to struggle with this for whatever reason (even while I’m still challenging them to step up whenever they’re ready). And I think that’s born of my own impatience and desire to be loved and failure to remember that Jesus is enough for me.
2. And I’ve often said recently that I’m sort of glad no one’s dating me, because I am a hot mess and no man deserves to deal with that, but I wonder if that’s not the result of my own fear of being that vulnerable with another person who, by some miracle, might be willing to love me in my messiness anyway.
4. I guess my whole point here is that no matter what, if we belong to Jesus, we all belong to one another anyway, with all of our particular sin and shame and quirks and bad habits, but also with our beauty and love. Obviously this is going to look differently with a boyfriend and girlfriend or a husband and wife than it will in other kinds of relationships in the church, but the root relationship of all of it is Jesus and His own bride.
5. I went to a concert last night, part of David Crowder’s last tour. Now, I love me some David Crowder Band, but one of the opening bands was this group called Gungor, and my new goal in life is to kidnap them and have them do the music at my church. A couple of examples: