"Inspired By Tozer"

Just unwrapped an advance copy of "Inspired by Tozer," officially releasing by Regal November 1st. I'm honored to be a contributor...so much quality content packed into these pages. For all Tozer fans, or those wanting a creative push toward God, here's my November recommendation.

Biting Waves

Apparently being eye level with ocean waves is scary.

Or being a dog approached by ocean waves is scary.

 

The rush.

The sound.

The texture that swallows your skin in milliseconds. 

 

We took our dog to the ocean this weekend. 

Our big, tough, scary rottweiler. 

Who turned into a soft, frightened, bewildered baby. 

Petrified by the personality of ocean waves.

Biting them, as if an enemy to be destroyed.

 

Maybe it’s not ironic that our dog’s name is Moses.

Oddly Ludicrous

Picture this scenario—You’re observing a cluster of people gathered in your home.  Maybe you’re sitting in a corner chair, or at the base of a stairwell, savoring people you know…friends who are practically family and maybe a bit of family you’re quick to call friends.  Sounds of laughter and familiarity fill the air.  And as conversations settle around a table and meal, you’re touched by the mere gift of presence in the midst of these people.

For some, maybe this picture is too lofty.  It’s a far out dream for community that you’ve yet to experience.  For others, you’ve had glimpses of this communing—nights, or meals, or conversations you wished would never end.  Experiences where you actually felt present in the company of others, and recognized as who are you really are.

Bono and Perspective

Reread, “Bono—In Conversation with Michka Assayas,” this weekend.  The book traces an atheist (Michka) interviewing Bono in various settings over a period of nearly two years.  A fascinating bunch of pages, to say the least.   

 

At the end of the book, Michka asks: “What do you fear the most inside yourself?” 

To which Bono replies: “Hmmm…Losing perspective.”  

He goes on to define this as “not seeing things in their proper shape.”  And then, requesting that he be a bit more intimate, he explains that, “When I wake up in the morning, I sort of put my hand out—spiritually—and I reach for what you might call God.  Sometimes I don’t feel God, and I feel lonely.  I feel on my own, and I wonder where God is.

Envy

St. Augustine (who's worth your gander if you’re unfamiliar with: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augustine_of_Hippo ) wrote extensively about virtues and vices and how they affect our relationship with God.  One of these was “envy.”  In “Saint Augustine’s Prayer Book,” we find the following breakdown (including envy’s subsidiaries, jealousy, malice and contempt):

 

Envy is dissatisfaction with our place in God’s order of creation, manifested in begrudging his gifts and vocations to others.

Jealousy: Offense at the talents, success or good fortune of others. Selfish

or unnecessary rivalry or competition. Pleasure at others’ difficulties or

distress. Belittling others.

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Sorrow and Joy

Sorrowful, yet always Rejoicing (2 Corinthians 6:10)

Sorrow was beautiful, but his beauty was the beauty of the moonlight shinning through the leafy branches of the trees in the woods. His gentle light made little pools of silver here and there on the soft green moss of the forest floor. And when he sang his song was like the low, sweet calls of the nightingale, and in his eyes was the unexpectant gaze of someone who has ceased to look for coming gladness. He could weep in tender sympathy with those who weep, but to rejoice with those who rejoice was unknown to him.

Joy was beautiful too, but hers was the radiant beauty of a summer morning. Her eyes still held the happy laughter of childhood, and her hair glistened with sunshine’s kiss. When she sang her voice soared upward like a skylark’s, and her steps were the march of conqueror who has never known defeat. She could rejoice with anyone who rejoices but to weep with those who weep was unknown to her.

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Lessons from a Nine-Month-Old


My nephew Owen has been teaching me about life lately, specifically the spiritual life.

1. Learning to walk is no easy task. It’s crammed with imbalances and wobbles, searching for stability and any surface that will lend dependence.  So it seems with our spiritual sojourning.  Imbalance and wobbling are part of being human; discovering solid ground and stability are part of knowing God.  We stand on the base of one who is with us and able to lend dependence whenever we reach for it.  Cease striving to hide your wobbling today, or wearied imbalances.  God may be using them to teach you how to walk.

2.  Leaning on someone is natural.  Babies are ahead of us in this sense.  They don’t need to be taught how to depend, or given permission to snuggle into the care of another.

Grace and the Dog Named Moses

I married into a dog.  Named Moses.  On many occasions we like each other.  Others we don’t. 

Moses and I walk most mornings.  His German rottweiler breed lends my Irish human one the look of various lethal weapons.  Few know he’s little more than a slobbery teddy bear who usually just wants to cuddle.  Nevertheless, the script of our daily walks typically looks about the same. 

  • Abbie exits back door. 
  • Moses jumps rambunctiously on Abbie, zealous to run a marathon.
  • Abbie gets frustrated.
  • Abbie says in loud voice, “Calm down, you idiot!!” (or “big talker,” “pill,” “*$&*,” depending on how bad my attitude is that morning).  In twenty minutes you’ll be begging for mercy.”
  • Moses continues jumping rambunctiously.
  • Abbie and Moses walk. 
  • Approximately nine minutes later, Moses poops in wealthy person’s driveway.
  • Abbie gets mad.
  • Eighteen minutes later Moses starts lagging behind.
  • Abbie condescendingly looks in Moses’ tired eyes, “You never learn…”
  • Moses pants heavily.
  • Abbie drags Moses home.

 

As I made fun of Moses on our morning walk today, it dawned on me that as much of an idiot as he seems at times his issues really aren’t that far from mine. 

To be in love...

"Nothing is more practical than finding God; that is, falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you will do with your evenings, how you will spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love; stay in love, and it will decide everything." -Pedro Arrupe, SJ

The Way of Love

If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
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Life. Living. Becoming human. Loving. Love. Learning to love. Being. Growth. Death. Birth. Laughter. Tears. Friendship. Hope. Dreams. Longing. Desire. Rebirth. Failure. Silence. Noise. Joy. Fear. Pain. Story. Peace.


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