Sunset Limited

August 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

After watching the movie “The Sunset Limited” 5 times, I think, I’ve decided to try life like the character “Black”. I highly recommend EVERYONE watch this movie. It’s not a faith-based movie, or even a movie directly about God, but a movie about the eternal argument of God and an afterlife VS. death and nothingness. Both views are easily defended and understandable, but one is based on faith and the other on logic. Great movie, check it out.

The 2 characters in this movie are unnamed, but in the credits it labels Samuel L. Jackson as “Black”, the devout Christian, and Tommy Lee Jones as “White”, the depressed atheist. In one scene Black says “I need Jesus. I get up in the morning and try and grab a hold of his belt, sometimes I go into manual override, and I catch myself.” This quote really hit home for me, and that is the reason behind this post. I’m going to attempt… ATTEMPT… to live my life like this for one month. He views everything through a “God filter” I guess. His drives and passions, all “sprinkled with the hint of divinity” (cool quote, right?). So I’m going to try this view with my whole life.

I will blog about my thoughts and heart daily, but won’t be tagging it on Facebook. If you’re interested, come back. Honestly, the only reason I’m even blogging this attempt is, if I have made myself accountable to other people, I’m much more likely to follow through.

-Blake

A hardcore quote from the atheist in the movie…..

“If people saw the world for what it truly is. Saw their lives for what they truly are. Without dreams or illusions. I don’t believe they could offer the first reason why they should not elect to die as soon as possible.”
-Tommy Lee Jones

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Wilfred

August 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

There’s a new show on TV called Wilfred. It’s a dark comedy about a guy, Ryan I think, and his neighbors dog, but this isn’t a normal dog, it’s a man in a dog suit. The main story line is that the guy is a total pushover and at his lowest, he starts seeing this talking dog that only he can hear. To the rest of the world, Wilfred is just a dog. Anyways, Wilfred is a “bad dog” I guess and persuades Ryan to say “screw the world, I’ll do what I want”. As time goes on, it seems like Wilfred is basically Ryan’s bad conscious, always in the background telling him what to do.

Basically, this dog reminds me of sin in a very real way. It’s always in the background telling me to do what feels good, what will benefit me. I’m 100% sure this wasn’t the intention of the show, but I’ve never seen a better example. At one point Ryan realized that Wilfred had totally taken over his life and had allowed him to make all his decisions. At this point, Ryan decided he isn’t going to let Wilfred push him around anymore and trys to stand up for himself. It’s funny, the dog immediately obeys and acts all defeated, exactly like sin. But, like sin, Wilfred comes back with a vengeance. Like “you really think you can get rid of me THAT easilly?”.

I’m not even sure I know where I’m going with this. Just a very real way to look at sin and it’s effect on your life.

Go to hulu, watch the show, if you enjoy dark humor, it’s just for you.

Blake

Curiosity and God in the Universe

August 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

Let me preface this by saying that I’m not as smart as Stephen Hawking. I can’t provide you with the inter-workings of quantum physics or a reasonable explanation for everything that is ‘science’.

Ultimately, the science argument made by Hawking is that, since time didn’t exist before the big bang, a ‘god’ couldn’t have existed either. Valid point I suppose if the God that Christians worship is constrained by time. I’ll get to that later. I always heard in science class that “energy can’t be created or destroyed”. According to Hawking, this is no longer true. Energy CAN be created from absolutely nothing, for no reason, as long as something balances it out. The big bang is now explained using a metaphor of someone digging a hole. Energy was created for no reason, because it was displaced by ‘negative energy’. Perfectly logical. Actually, everything explained by Hawking was perfectly logical.

When I roll this over in my mind, I can’t help but wonder what keeps everything from deflating? If we are in this world of positive and negative energy, what’s keeping everything from equalling out? Really, this question is irrelevant. I want to talk about the existence of God, not question the quantum mechanics of the universe.

If a god was controlled by the same laws and constraints as the universe, would said god be something to be feared or worshiped? Would this ‘god’ have any power that a dolphin or cricket doesn’t have? undoubtedly no. What Hawking doesn’t understand about God, is just as profound as the things I don’t understand about the Universe. The God of the Bible (and the Universe) ISN’T IN our universe. Removing the god he is talking about from our universe, makes an omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient deity 100% possible.  I’m not saying that God isn’t ‘in’ the universe, but that He  is bigger than the universe. He isn’t constrained by our reality. I know people will argue that everything, including our reality, is all controlled by chemical reactions in our brain, and however scientifically proven this is, it is irrelevant if you fully understand the God I’m talking about. This god intricately designed the chemical reactions that happen in out brain. He made it possible to question EVERYTHING, even His existence, because we are called “by grace, through FAITH”, not through scientifically proving his existence.

When you remove God from the equation of science, and realize that He CREATED the equation itself, it makes understanding the possibility of a creator much easier to grasp.

I’m sure I’ve left a TON I wanted to say out, but I’ve ran out of steam. Please comment if you wanna add or argue. LOVE IT.

 

In Christ,

Blake

Me, Myself, and I

July 3, 2011 § 1 Comment

I’m becoming more and more pensive as I grow older. I ponder the real meaning of life, what true Christianity actually looks like, what “being a good person” really means, and many other things of which there’s not enough time or space for me to articulate. I guess, at the root of it all, I wonder why these are even questions I think about. If you believe in the Bible, all of these questions are answered in one word. Jesus. Therein lies the problem I can’t get past, and wrestle with daily. If I claim to follow Christ and believe in his word, why are these things so hard to settle with. Some will claim it’s a “lack of faith”, and however true that may be, I feel that that term has been spread too thin. Just like the word “love” being overused and abused, claiming that anything and everything you can’t grasp from the Bible, or you can’t make sense of about the character of God, is a lack of faith if absurd. I guess I could be wrong in that statement, so don’t hold it against me. Until I fully understand “faith”, I shouldn’t speak so freely.

In my deep, deliberating thought process……. HAHA…… My shallow and easily distracted thought process, I’ve come to the conclusion that all sin, at its root, is selfishness. If I am wrong, please correct me, but take a glance at the ten commandments and tell me which one isn’t selfishness. It’s putting yourself above everyone and everything else. It humored me greatly when that thought first crossed my mind. I’ve always thought of sin as a complicated set of rules. Like there should be a book called “Do’s and Don’t’s”. Gosh life would be easy if that were the case. Morals would be non-existent because there is a strict guideline. Lawyers unneeded. Sorry guys.

Fortunately, against popular world and even Christian belief, the Bible isn’t this book of do’s and don’t’s. The world for the unbeliever is a shade of grey, sometimes darker, sometimes lighter, but nothing is definite except for each individuals ever-changing moral values. Wait, that doesn’t make sense… Definite AND ever-changing… oh snap. Anyways, with a glimpse of sin as selfishness and nothing less, it makes the life of a Christian A MILLION times easier. Think with me for a second. If this is the case, and selfishness is something of the individuals heart, not something constant for all believers, doesn’t that mean that something that is okay for you, might not be okay for me? (The following example is not fictitious, but really the way it is) EXAMPLE: My father is one of the hardest working men I know. He would work his fingers to the bone, wrap em in tape, and keep working if it would benefit someone else. I, on the other hand, might work the SAME EXACT WAY, but my drive for doing the work is for gratification and acknowledgement, where his is out of selflessness.  Now, I’m not saying that the work done isn’t beneficial, but you see the point? I’M SELFISH.

I guess I’ve come to the conclusion that, for Christians, it’s up to the Holy Spirit to decide. My acts of selfishness are so many, the TI–89 calculator I used to count them got confused. This idea though, shines a whole new light on my previous questions. What is the meaning of life, What does true Christianity really look like, and what does “being a good person” really mean. Again, the answer remains the same, Jesus. Jesus, the selfless savior, placing God, his whole creation, and all of humanity above himself, to the point of death. That is the meaning of life, that is true Christianity, that is being a “good” person. People can argue the Bible and it’s truth until we live on the sun, but NO ONE can argue that selflessness is pure and good.

This is still quite profound to me, so please don’t bring the apologetic hammer down on my head if I’ve said something unbiblical, I’m just puking thoughts onto the internet. I believe that pondering this thought is helping me to deepen my understanding of Jesus, and I hope it does for you too.

old poems

June 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

some old poems I found on my computer…. they might not make sense?

———————————————————————————————————————————————–

Like a sweet sirens song, I was drawn to a watery grave

A tarnished and decomposing sailor on a course for destruction

Slowly enticed from afar, towards the Rock of Life

Running from the overwhelming melody

Deaths effect, obvious and wearing on the fleeing ships

 

Sweet nothings in my ear, luring me away from this Earth

Whispering, soft and warm, comforting and firm

A temptress of my yearnings, seducer of my soul

Calling my attention from myself

Directing it towards the only Deserving One

 

Spinning like a top, lost in the chaos of love

Spiraling out of control, an unknown path

Twisting and turning, a pleasurable madness

Uncontrolled and yet beautifully orchestrated

The madness of reliance, the pleasure in blind faith

———————————————————————————————————————————————

Among the stalking wolves and ravaging lions, I grew to despise the world. Bitter to the taste of anything unknown and cautions of the darkness that lies outside of my comfortable reality. The only love I had known, I rejected. The only love I gave was selfish. I spent my time making a bed of lies and deceit, complaining about the uncomfortable rest which ensued. Beyond all hope, I saw a shimmer, a tiny speck of something greater. Something overwhelmingly beautiful but so far from reach. As hope grew, I found expectation. Expectation to see the light in the midst of the darkness which encompassed me. I fear expectation, like a harlot, she is great for a time, then lets you fall, without a hint of remorse, but this little light shined ever brightly, and that expectation became reliance upon that guiding light. I trekked through the world of hunters and predators only glancing for a second at the enemies that pursued, always focusing on the ever growing spark which now fills my vision. Blinded by this fire who’s crept into my sight, so used to the darkness, I felt I must look away. Look away to what? The tiny speck which once caught my eye, now surrounds me, engulfs me with an unknown fire. A fire that burns to the soul. The source of which I do not know, but the thought of being closer is my only drive. My yearning to be near this flame is beyond control, to find its source, to give in to it’s sustainer. This fire has become my life, my love, my happiness. I long to know and be known by this everlasting inferno that burns the chaff and purifies my soul. Burn me up Lord

 

MORE TO COME WHEN I DECIDE TO WRITE 🙂

 

 

Ill With Want

June 4, 2011 § 1 Comment

As I was driving to work yesterday morning, stuck in 76-E traffic and jamming out to some tunes, this song called “Ill With Want” by the Avett Brothers came on. Receiving awkward glances from passers-by, I began singing along with this song. Funny, I’ve heard this song hundreds of times and never really thought about the words, I just knew them. It then occurred to me that most of the songs of “praise” I sing in church, are memorized and the actual words are lost to me. There’s no real meaning in the words because, unknowingly, I’ve become so accustom to the songs, they’ve lost their meaning to me. Feeling like an idiot, I replayed the song so I could actually listen to the words with intent. I got a little past the first verse before I found myself at the end, singing along without a second thought. Angrily I replayed it again. This time, I listened to the words. All of them. I was amazed at the effort it took to concentrate on every syllable for only 3 minutes. I should work on that…

After that difficult few minutes of confusion and aggravation, the words sunk in.

“Ill With Want”

I am sick with wanting
And it’s evil and it’s daunting
How I let everything I cherish lay to waste
I am lost in greed this time, it’s definately me
I point fingers but there’s no one there to blame

I need for something
Not let me break it down again
I need for something
But not more medicine

I am sick with wanting
And it’s evil how it’s got me
And everyday is worse than the one before
The more I have the more I think:
I’m almost where I need to be
If only I could get a little more

I need for something
Not let me break it down again
I need for something
But not more medicine

Something has me (Something has me)
Oh something has me (Something has me)
Acting like someone I don’t wanna be
Something has me (Something has me)
Oh something has me (Something has me)
Acting like someone I know isn’t me
Ill with want and poisoned by this ugly greed

Temporary is my time
Ain’t nothin on this world that’s mine
Except the will I found to carry on
Free is not your right to choose
It’s answering what’s asked of you
To give the love you find until it’s gone

I need for something
Now let me break it down again
I need for something
But not more medicine

Something has me (Something has me)
Oh something has me (Something has me)
Acting like someone I don’t wanna be
Something has me (Something has me)
Oh something has me (Something has me)
Acting like someone I know isn’t me
Ill with want and poisoned by this ugly greed
Ill with want and poisoned by this ugly greed
These lyrics weighed on me pretty hard. Almost a modern day Ecclesiastes. I thought about the line  “The more I have the more I think I’m almost where I need to be If only I could get a little more”. My daily thoughts. “Just a little more”. If only I could have this or that, then I’d be set. I even tell these things to God. “God! just do this for me and I’ll be happy and be able to love you without distraction.”. What?…

I’m now sitting at a coffee shop laughing at myself for the ignorance of my thoughts. How could I even entertain the thought that God works that way? History has proved He doesn’t, but I like the thought of a god that does… Actually, after a few pensive minutes, I’ve decided I like the thought of a Blake that would follow through with the promise, not the God that gives it. God does give us the yearnings of our heart, WE are the ones that aren’t satisfied with those gracious gifts. We are “ill with want” .

Also, consider the line “something has me, acting like someone I know isn’t me”… enough said…

The point of this was to talk about the lack of attention to songs and how we “worship”. Turns out I had a little more to say. I hope this makes y’all think a little, or at least makes you listen to the Avett Brothers… they’re pretty great… just saying..

Fig Tree Madness

May 31, 2011 § Leave a comment

I’m sitting here, looking at a wall, pondering Christianity. Not the religion most think about, but truly loving Christ and his people. This faith I’m trying to figure out has perplexed me. I know what I’m supposed to do, or at least what I’ve been told I’m supposed to do. Read the Bible, pray, go to church, tithe, give to the poor, etc. All these actions, in themselves, are great things to do, but I’ve hit a wall in my thinking. I believe all these things, and more, should be done because I love Jesus, not because that’s what I’m supposed to do. I’m finding that the term “worship” isn’t limited to singing songs like I had grown up thinking. There was a separation between “worship service”, “preaching”, “Bible study”, “communion”, and “quiet time”. I now consider all of these things to be worship. All of this is done BECAUSE I love Jesus, not because that’s what a Jesus lover does. I’m not sure this makes sense, but stay with me.

I was reading the other day, and ran into a passage about a fig tree. Because God and I have an interesting relationship right now, and I wasn’t really feeling what I was reading, I decided to check out the biblically infamous fig tree. Why a fig? From the beginning, the fig tree has been significant. It was the first fruit bearing tree mentioned in the Bible, and with it’s leaves Adam and Eve covered themselves in fig leaves after the fall. hmm… So I dug into a nice google search. Interesting…

Fun fact about a fig tree. A fig tree produces its fruit BEFORE the leaves and foliage. I’m sure some of you can see what I’m hinting at, but let me add a little to that thought. Like the pharisees, I used to think that clothing myself in the Christian image (religion) would make me a good person. I didn’t understand the fruit was to come first. I wasn’t supposed to look good to produce fruit. Check this out. “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. And he said to the vine-dresser, ‘Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?’ And he answered him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure. Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.'” Luke 13:6-9

With that in mind, think about yourself as the fig tree. Think about why you go to church and read the Word. Is there fruit, or only the appearance of abundance? I’ll be honest and tell you that the ax should have fallen on my root years ago. Thank God for grace…

So, here’s where I’m at. The appearance of fertility should come after the fruit is produced. I’m not sure what that looks like in my life, but this is where I get stuck. If my feeble attempt to understand God is even remotely accurate, I can only love Him because of His mercy. He is the strength that sustains me. He gives me the faith to love. He is the only way I can produce the fruit that determines if the ax falls or not. That leaves me… dependent…

I know that, by now, some are thinking I’m pushing the “lack of free will” pretty hard so let me clarify. We have free will, but if God is who He says he is, and I believe with my whole heart He is, then our ability to love him and the strength to continue following him is from the Spirit. We CAN’T love Jesus right without help…

My goal here was to lay my thoughts out, not only for your good, but for my own as well. True Christianity isn’t being a good person. It’s not going to church, tithing, reading the Bible, or anything else. It’s completely relinquishing our control to God and recognizing our need. If fruit being produced is dependent on God, and the lack of fruit is punishable by God, the only constant and needed thing is God. God is the only way to produce the fruit needed.

Moral of the story, we shouldn’t do things for appearance sake. I view the fig leaves as religion. I used to cover myself in religion to appear fruitful, but in reality, we should only love Jesus and from that love, our lives will flourish and produce fruit. It’s actually easier when we realize we only have to love Jesus and from that love, everything else happens as an act of worship. It’s a cause and effect of sorts. Because we know who God is, and love Him because of that knowledge,  these actions that appear religious, are actually acts of love.

I typed 3 times more than I had wanted and I still don’t know that I said what I was trying to say, but I hope this was, at least, somewhat insightful. Please comment and let me know your opinions.