welcome to the disparate musings of a Christian-existential-zen-wanderer on the fringes of everything in pursuit of God

What’s your name? February 23, 2013

Filed under: faith,Prayer,random stuff — GraceHabit @ 12:44 PM

Names are a big deal. In the Bible they were frequently prophetic. In our time – they can impact how you get teased, who hires you for what kind of work and be the basis of your friends’ nickname for you – not to mentioned how your mother hollers for you when you’re in big trouble!


The name Jabez (1 Chronicles 4:9-10) became an inspiration and a whole marketing movement a while back – and suddenly everyone was aware of this obscure Hebrew Scripture figure who’s name meant “borne with pain” who despite this name was “more honorable than his brothers” and took the bold step of asking God to “bless him indeed and enlarge my borders.” I think this prayer is valuable – as is the living more honorably – but regardless – the way all of us who experienced that sensation hear Jabez differently now.


my name is stickerThen there are the names that the various prophets gave their children … like Isaiah’s two children “Speedy is the Booty, Speedy is the Prey” (Isaiah 8:1) or Hosea’s daughter “She has not Obtained Compassion” and his son “Not my People” (Hosea 1:6-8).


But here’s the more pragmatic question for today … what if your name became full of meaning by your conduct? Or to take it a step-further – what if your name became a verb? When Google was founded in 1998 – people thought “huh. what a funny name” but by the early 2000’s – Google became a verb – and now we can hardly imagine not using Google as a verb. In fact – I just googled Google’s foundation date – and I imagine I spend a fair amount of time every week googling various facts.


So – what about it? What if you were so submitted to God – and so in tune with how He’s gifted you to bless the world – that your name were a verb? For me – thinking about my name this way immediately clarifies the degree to which I am not yet as clear as I would like to be about WHO He created me to BE. But the idea fills me with humility and inquiry. And – I do not believe this is a question that is answered by defining or finding ourselves – but rather by peeling away layers of baggage, our Old Self as Paul refers to over and over in Romans 6-8 – and by standing ever more firmly in submission to “Thy will be done.” I believe it’s a matter of discovery and recovery – rather than self-determination because He’s already promised to give us a new name. (Revelation 2:17)


because God’s not in school … December 15, 2012

Filed under: random stuff — GraceHabit @ 4:05 PM
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gty_ct_outside_church_newtown_vigil_thg_121215_mnWithout question – the shooting in New Town, Connecticut yesterday is a profound tragedy – and casts a grim shadow over the season. The senseless end of so many young lives should provoke us all to pause and consider – again – why does this keep happening? What enrages some so much about life that they conclude to rebel against misery with misery?


There are today – all over the internet – comment after comment about “this happened because God’s not allowed in school.” While I would personally like more of God in school – as well as work, downtown, the park, my neighborhood etc. – I’m not sure that we’re all talking about the same thing.


newtownAt the risk of landing in a heap of trouble – I’m doubtful that the successful alteration of educational legislation to allow class-wide prayer, the 10 commandments, nativity scenes etc. would diminish this phenomena of violence. These things are the trappings of faith-filled lives – not the substance of them. I believe we need more of God-likeness everywhere in our lives – not more symbols. For instance – grieving with the families and members of Newtown – before knee-jerk grasping at a one-dimensional solution to a very complicated and serious problem – one that warrants prayer, fasting, earnest dialog – not platitudes.


Relying on legislation to force symbols of Christianity into classrooms – seems a futile fight against symptoms. The most powerful manifestations of Jesus we encounter are bound up in the faith-filled actions of those so moved by love for Him that they choose to model His teachings as much as they can in their actions. Against this inspirational witness no legislation can be written – and I’m saddened every time discussion of spiritual growth, or how to impact our communities for Christ turn towards discussions of how to legislate this or that Christian symbol into the public sphere. These battles – whether won or lost – seem to do more to increase resistance than increase the Kingdom.


In light of yesterday’s events I turn to my faith for comfort and I usually enjoy seeing crosses, the 10 commandments, nativity scenes and such in my community. When I look for ways to expand the reach of God’s Kingdom where I live – I look to Galatians 5:16-26 – and hope and pray that the choices I make, and the priorities around which I structure my life, and the conversations I engage in with others will lead those God’s put in my life to trust Him more.  I fear a battle cry to fight to stuff symbols of God into schools where the rather the substance of God is needed will harm the Kingdom it’s intended to strengthen.


the problem with “safe” September 27, 2012

Filed under: Christian mysticism,faith,random stuff — GraceHabit @ 1:32 PM
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So – there’s an obsession – it seems – in our culture with finding “safe” people with whom we can have “safe” conversations and we desperately want to keep our tender underbellies safe from the slings and arrows of misfortune. And really – is that such a bad thing? I mean – really – don’t we have a word for it – when someone recklessly courts self-harm – called masochism?


The problem is – as the prophet Jeremiah via inspiration reveals in 17:9 – is that “the heart is deceitful above all else and is desperately sick” and the rest of scripture would imply that only God actually understands the drives and whims that govern our heart. The lack of accurate understanding of what’s actually raging in our chests – makes it highly unlikely that we can always determine what’s really relationally safe. I’m not speaking here to the profound tragedy that is abusive relationships nearly as much as I’m speaking to the plethora of little decisions we make – the promises we make to ourselves in the wake of an injury, insult or season of hardship about how “I’ll never again be vulnerable to …” fill in the blank. These decisions anchor our souls to a pain in the past – and by morphing the injury into a boundary-marker – we cement it into the fabric of our lives. This action – at least for me – makes it significantly less likely that God can actually move in my life – via forgiveness, gaining of new wisdom, greater comprehension of His eternal truths about me – and ultimately heal me from the injury. In effect – my determination to learn “forever” from the incident – assures that it will in fact be with me forever. And my “safety” device – has … presto! … become a permanent gaping wound – invulnerable to God’s loving and healing touch.

More and more – I slow (so slowly sometimes) learn that the safety I long for – and surely God does not want languish in pain from relationships – is only found in more love for Him, more love for His truth and His truth alone about the value of who and what I am, more forgiveness and healing from the wounds of the past – most of which were suffered primarily from an incomplete understanding of His Truth and Love than anything else. The insults, judgments and hurts suffered from those I “let in” only carry weight in so far as I believe their truth (little t) over God’s Truth (very very big T).


In the last few weeks as I strive to work with God’s efforts to minister to and pour love on those He’s put around me – the damage caused by the false hope of “safety” keeps coming to the fore – and so I’ve been taking it as a hint to examine myself and see what compromises I’ve made to God’s efforts to heal me with the cheap allure of false safety – and clean my spiritual house again and make more room for more of His Love and Truth. I hope this encourages you too.


a brief absence … September 20, 2012

Filed under: random stuff — GraceHabit @ 4:10 PM

My apologies for my absence over the last week – which was without a doubt the busiest of the year. It just wasn’t going to happen – well – not unless I’d been willing to forego any time alone with God – which would’ve been way too ironic. So – here’s hoping you had a great week – and that you’re headed for a splendid weekend.




gritters welcome … cuz we’re all gritters September 5, 2012

Filed under: Christian mysticism,random stuff — GraceHabit @ 9:26 AM

Long before the term “white trash” crept up – my hometown highschool referred to kids existing on the fringe of dropping out, becoming alcoholic/drug addicted – and generally headed for working minimum wage and riding bmx bikes forever as “gritters”. None of us ever thought much about this term – it just was. And there was no greater shame to your teenage honor – than being called a gritter in the halls of the school – within earshot of all your peers.


Imagine my chuckle when years later reading the town facebook page motto I saw “cuz we’re all gritters.”


Now – all teenage existential despair aside – we’re not really all gritters … and yet again we are all truly big, mongo gritty Gritters!! No amount of pursuing this, or praying for that – changes anything. The only hope experiencing more of God’s presence offers anyone – is a glimpse, a faint breeze, and maybe sometimes a lasting image – of something so very not stuck in the muck with all us gritters. That hope in my soul that I can transform – and experience more of God – gives me Life. It puts the posturing, the social-Christianity, the jonesing – and the one-up-man-ship that gets tragically traded in lieu of true community – right in its place. Thank God Jesus loves gritters!


I can’t bear to post a picture of people under a post titled “gritters” – so here’s a pic of my pooch instead. 😀



banana conversations and a boring walk with God

Filed under: faith,random stuff — GraceHabit @ 8:43 AM

granted – everyone – and I mean everyone – who lives in any pursuit of God – occasionally hits a point where he or she struggles to maintain faith. A point where they doubt – suffer cynicism, skepticism – you know. In these moments of intense battle with despair – for belief in God’s wise and good purpose for the baffling natures of our lives – it’s easy to forget what’s real/certain about our relationship with God. I don’t know how these moments feel to you – but to me – I am immediately reminded of my childhood conversations with pookas and imaginary friends on this thing. amiright?


And sometimes – when really going through a wringer – my conversations with God don’t even feel that real. Then I’m reminded of Max Smart – talking into his shoe – or worse – as if I’d picked up a stupid banana – and started yakking away.

[picks up perfect, beautiful banana, holds to ear]

“Hello God?” …

“This is your problem child … ”

(oh – and by the way – can you even believe that thing to the right exists?!)


Honestly – whether you relate to me or not on this one – among the few certainties I know – is the next time it all hits the fan – this will happen again. Maybe this is the trade off for generally making no bones about wanting anything BUT a boring walk with God.


And – truthfully – re-reading back through that – I kinda feel bad for talking about a “boring walk” … what IS that anyway? And how arrogant? Is it necessary at this point for me to “out” myself as passionate? Let me clarify though – the boring/not boring is all on me. I’m not into drama, and not EVER into faking, concocting or manufacturing some trumped up emotion. I have a strictly no-bull policy in my walk.


The boring – for me – evaporates the moment I seriously attempt to apply any of the “one another” passages, or the “abide in Me” principles – or support a friend/loved one through a truly challenging situation. It also vanishes the second God’s double-edged sword of truth slices into my pet delusions. “Boring” usually only occurs to me when I let myself get very comfy turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to the very real problems. So – really – “boring” doesn’t exist – the moment I submit myself sincerely before Him – the work waiting to be done is immediately apparent – and there’s only one direction to go in.


why random? August 26, 2012

Filed under: Christian mysticism,random stuff — GraceHabit @ 7:06 PM
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So – discussing this little experiment with a friend and the question came up of why use the word random in the title of this blog. Sure – random can connote a wandering from topic to topic – but even more importantly random implies … “any”. As in any old. Random suits better than generic – because there’s too much of a “low quality” flavor to the word generic. There is an exact opposite flavor going on here from the terms unique or exceptional. Not only do I have no expertise in these things – only a longing to grow – but frankly – I’m not sure how you measure extraordinary qualities when it comes to mysticism. Those who are most fluid and compelling with their words could be most misleading – or not – and I am quite concerned about possibility of flying off the rails – but greatly comforted by the clarity and purity of passion to know Him and Him only in this pursuit.