Poverty

There’s a power in poverty that breaks principalities;
that brings the authorities down to their knees.
There’s a brewing frustration and ageless temptation
to fight for control by some manipulation.
 
But the God of the Kingdoms and God of the Nations,
the God of Creation sends this revelation
to the homeless and penniless: Jesus, the Son!
The Poor will inherit the Kingdom to Come!
 
Where will we turn when our world falls apart
and all of the treasures we’ve stored in our barns
can’t buy the Kingdom of God?
 
And who will we praise when we’ve praised all our lives
men who build kingdoms and men who build fame
when Heaven does not know their names?
 
And what will we fear when all that remains
is God on the throne with a child in His arms
And love in His eyes,
and the sound of His heartcries?
 
 

I’ve been re-re-reading Crazy Love and Chan mentions a question that one of his professors in college would ask: “What are you doing today that requires faith?” That question resonated with me because honestly, there isn’t anything going on in my life right now that requires me to have faith. I have a steady income, good health insurance, a grocery store down the street, and the biggest anxiety I face is if it’s going to be good hiking weather this weekend.

I live in a bubble where there isn’t room for faith. Faith is risky and it’s so much easier to settle into security, comfort, and status quo. We congratulate ourselves for not being like those silly Israelites who went around worshipping wood and gold statues immediately after witnessing God’s work in their midst, but how quickly do we lay our offerings at the feet of Retirement Plan and worship Flat Panel Screen?

What would it look like for an American Christian to truly live in a way that required faith? My mind goes first to money because we are filthy, stinking rich, but there are certainly other things that require faith of us. It takes faith to step into situations where you could be in trouble if God doesn’t come through. That could mean standing for justice at my job or speaking truth that might cause me to lose relationships. But mostly it’s about money, because that is what we have faith in in this country.

All Creatures…

All Creatures of our God and King
Lift up your voice and let us sing
O Praise Him! O Praise Him!
Alleluia

Creation sent to me the centipede
to witness the complexity
of one hundred legs that were moving unexpectedly
ironically

just as they were meant to be,
they’re fearfully and wonderfully made;
An organism praised in circadian rhythms:
the sun will rise and then the sun will set, and then the sun will rise again,
so lift up your head!

this is life: not a static object preserved and displayed like a relic from the dead
You are not a fruitless tree with a rootless disease
growin’ in a bucket in a rich man’s home
next to the TV tamed and alone
learnin’ to lust for the things you don’t own
like an arm chair warrior who’s been dethroned
Declawed and fixed
fighting for you life with unattended slit wrists.
Don’t let your name get intermingled with the number cause its time to awaken from the devilish slumber,
to freely follow the Forerunner
to the fatherland and rally round the renaissance man
and the wisdom of His ways
and all the work of His hands
catch come as catch can
concentrating on the good words of the Son of Man,
the plan is to withstand the demands of a confused oppressor:
a wolf in sheep’s clothes
with monotonous lectures
and questionable gestures
unequal measures
cultural pressures
and synthetic textures
force fed instead of the most beautiful architecture
of our long lost, forgotten origins:
Unseen fiber in the blood of my King
And that old rock where we confessed our sins

Oh, my God, fellow man
in this great land they all cry out for
full restoration
and this will take
patience
And this will take the tribes
And the tongues of all the Nations
and all of creation groans in anticipation
Waitin’ for the Son of God to be manifest
I can feel it burnin’ in my chest
The liberation for the oppressed

And it’s beautiful like the feet that bring good news…
Its beautiful like this freedom tune
Its beautiful like the power to choose…to change
Beautiful like the long awaited rain
Beautiful like the healing pains
Beautiful like the holy flames…coming down!

All creatures of our God and King
Lift up your voice and with us sing
O Praise Him!   O Praise Him!
Alleluia….

Dustbowl Dance

Dustbowl Dance, by Mumford & Sons

The young man stands on the edge of his porch,
The days were short and the father was gone,
There was no one in the town and no one in the field,
This dusty barren land had given all it could yield.

I’ve been kicked off my land at the age of sixteen,
And I have no idea where else my heart could have been,
I placed all my trust at the foot of this hill,
And now I am sure my heart can never be still,
So collect your courage and collect your horse,
And pray you never feel this same kind of remorse.

Seal my heart and break my pride,
I’ve nowhere to stand and now nowhere to hide,
Align my heart, my body, my mind,
To face what I’ve done and do my time.

Well you are my accuser, now look in my face,
Your opression reeks of your greed and disgrace,
So one man has and another has not,
How can you love what it is you have got,
When you took it all from the weak hands of the poor?
Liars and thieves you know not what is in store.

There will come a time I will look in your eye,
You will pray to the God that you always denied,
The I’ll go out back and I’ll get my gun,
I’ll say, “You haven’t met me, I am the only son”.

Seal my heart and break my pride,
I’ve nowhere to stand and now nowhere to hide,
Align my heart, my body, my mind,
To face what I’ve done and do my time.

Seal my heart and break my pride,
I’ve nowhere to stand and now nowhere to hide,
Align my heart, my body, my mind,
To face what I’ve done and do my time.

Well yes sir, yes sir, yes it was me,
I know what I’ve done, cause I know what I’ve seen,
I went out back and I got my gun,
I said, “You haven’t met me, I am the only son”.

Show Me How to Die…

Show Me, by Audrey Assad

You could plant me like a tree beside a river
You could tangle me in soil and let my roots run wild
And I would blossom like a flower in the desert
But for now just let me cry

You could raise me like a banner in a battle
Put victory like a fire behind my shining eyes
And I would drift like falling snow over the embers
But for now just let me lie

Bind up these broken bones
Mercy bend and breathe me back to life
But not before You show me how to die

Set me like a star before the morning
Like a song that steals the darkness from a world asleep
And I’ll illuminate the path You’ve laid before me
But for now just let me be

Bind up these broken bones
Mercy bend and breathe me back to life
But not before You show me how to die
Oh, not before You show me how to die

So let me go like a leaf upon the water
Let me brave the wild currents flowing to the sea
And I will disappear into a deeper beauty
But for now just stay with me
God, for now just stay with me

I love her voice. And I love this song.

I Asked The Lord…

I asked the Lord that I might grow
In faith and love and every grace
Might more of His salvation know
And seek more earnestly His face

Twas He who taught me thus to pray
And He I trust has answered prayer
But it has been in such a way
As almost drove me to despair

I hoped that in some favored hour
At once He’d answer my request
And by His love’s constraining power
Subdue my sins and give me rest

Instead of this He made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart
And let the angry powers of Hell
Assault my soul in every part

Yea more with His own hand He seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Cast out my feelings, laid me low

Lord why is this, I trembling cried
Wilt Thou pursue thy worm to death?
“Tis in this way” The Lord replied
“I answer prayer for grace and faith”

“These inward trials I employ
From self and pride to set thee free
And break thy schemes of earthly joy
That thou mayest seek thy all in me,
That thou mayest seek thy all in me.”

-John Newton

How Did You Find Me Here?

Tonight I fell in sorrow
And knew I was alone
A dozen good time friendships
But my heart is still unknown
I thought I saw your footsteps
In the sand along the shore
And I mumbled empty phrases that sang so well before

Now inches from the water – about to disappear
I feel you behind me, but how did you find me here?

I couldn’t reach for rescue
I hid myself from view
I couldn’t stand to see me
From your point of view
Cause I knew I’d disappoint you
If I showed to you this child
Who is crying out inside me, lost in the wild

Now inches from the water
About to disapper
I feel you behind me
But how did you find me here?
I feel you behind me…

Laughing in the water
Wash away the tears
I feel you behind me
But how did you find me here?
I feel you behind me
But how did you find me here?

It never ceases to amaze me how certain songs that I have heard many times before suddenly gain new meaning and crystallize the haze of emotions in which I always find myself.

Tonight I fell in sorrow,
And knew I was alone.

Except the night actually lasted a month. It might not have been so long, if I weren’t so prideful, but I was… am. But there is a light. God is faithful and I am beginning to see that.

A dozen good time friendships
But my heart is still unknown

This verse basically sums up the ache I’ve felt for over 6 years. And sadly it’s probably that modest pride that keeps me from experiencing deeper relationships. It is a pride that is also an anti-pride, such that I want either to be a consistently deep person, or I want to wallow in artificiality.

But God is faithful. This I trust.

A Christmas Song

This is a great song by The Roosevelts. It’s a Christmas song and the only reason I’m putting it up here is because I absolutely can’t find the lyrics anywhere else online.

There’s too many reasons, this time of year
To not wonder why we are here
Should I find it strange if all of these reasons
We stay the same?

I know it’s a sight, with all of the lights
And the snow and the old Christmas cheer
But all of these things, in the end,
Don’t mean anything

So let’s try, try, to remember why we are here
And why we have this holiday
And sing, sing, praise to the King and let known
The only reason we celebrate

So let’s decorate trees, and sing harmony
But we can’t let it get to the point
Where Joy to the World, becomes less important
Than toys for boys and girls

With all of these reasons, this time of year
That remind us of why we are here
Well I know I can explain with all of these reason
We stay the same

So let’s try, try, to remember why we are here
And why we have this holiday
And sing, sing, praise to the King and let known
The only reason we celebrate

And sing, sing, praise to the King and let known
The only reason we celebrate
La da da da, La da da da da da da
La da da da, La da da da da da da

Green and Gray

I’m in a room full of people, hanging on one person’s breath.
We would all vote him most likely to be loved to death.
I hope he still wants it, but it might remind him of when,
he aimed for the bulls eye and hit it nine times out of ten.
That one time his hand slipped, and I saw the dart sail away.
I don’t know where it landed, but I’m guessing between green and gray.
We thought nothing of it, but it still haunts him like a ghost.
With all eyes upon him, except two that matter the most.

He says, “Green is the color everyone sees all around me.
Gray is the color I see around her, and she’s just a blur.”
The more the corwd cheers, the less I can hear
and they don’t really care what I play. It might be for her.
But for now it’s between green and gray.

We paid and we cheered. Now we’re gone and to us that feels right.
But for him every one of those evenings turns into a night.
With another hotel room where he lays awake to pretend
that he’s doing fine with his notebook and discman for friends.

He says, “Green is the color everyone sees all around me.
Gray is the color I see around her, and she’s just a blur.”
Night after night what I hear, what I write fills the room
and my head starts to sway. It might be for her,
but for now it’s between green and gray.

I want you to love me, he whispers, unable to speak.
And he wonders aloud why feelings so strong make the body so weak.
Then he awoke. Now he’s scared to death somebody heard.
If it was you, and you know her, please don’t say a word.

-Nickel Creek

This song is both beautiful and frightening to me. Beautiful because the melody exquisitely projects the upbeat front the subject puts up for the crowd, while the high strains and vocals tell of his loneliness. Frightening because if I were better at darts, this song could be about me.

Second Coming of the Pharisees

Tonight in the line of the merchandise store
While they were packing up my bags
I saw the pictures of the prophets of the picket signs
Screaming, “God hates fags”

And it feels like the church isn’t anything more
Then the second coming of the Pharisees
Scrubbing each other ’til their tombs are white
They chisel epitaphs of piety

-“Come, Lord Jesus”, Andrew Peterson

So there’s so many good subjects that are brought up by these lyrics. Subjects of hypocrisy and humility; Subjects of purity for Christ and purity through Christ; Subjects of anger and love.

I don’t have time to discuss any of them right now, so I’ll just leave the words to simmer.

The Road to Emmaus

Have you ever said goodbye to a hero?
Have you ever had to lay away your dreams?
Have you ever been so lonely that a stranger is your best friend?
then you’ll know what I mean

So this is our highway to heaven
our American dream
the two fools on the road to emmaus
well they might as well be you and me

Have you ever been angry at your country?
Have you ever been angry at your God?
Have you ever been so angry that you can’t see what you’ve got right in front of you?

Have you ever been distracted by the homeless?
Have you ever thrown your dollar with disgust?
Have you ever thought the great commission’s just too great a cost?
Have you ever played the fool?

The story of the men on the road to Emmaus is one of those stories that makes the Bible real to me. Two men returning home after witnessing the rise and fall of one they thought was the one who would bring about a new age. Their disappointment palpable, their hearts shattered, and their minds confused, I can relate easily to them. The situations behind them are so strong in their minds that they cannot recognize the joyful truth standing right next to them.