Journaling: Smelling the Roses

Life moves pretty fast. … (wait that’s Ferris Bueller). 

Tonight, the SPR reminded me that one’s rest, self-reflection, and relationship with God are connected. This counsel led to me perusing through 10 years’ worth of journals. Most of them begin around Christmas time. Journaling and Advent are a time of anticipation – a mixing of expectation and hope. 

I begin each journal with a title. I noticed that running them all together said something profound about how we wait for (and in) those moments of rest, self-reflection, and divine relationship…
“The End (or the beginning of someone new)” – “The Days Following” – “It Begins and Ends, And Does So Again” – “There is Always More to Learn” – “Feeling My Way Forward.”

Notice the repetition that life holds. We seem to always be in transformation … giving and receiving, winning and losing, forgetting and remembering … as we seek rest, an authentic self, and the grace of God. 

Maybe you’re waiting right now for something; anticipating who you might become as you experience God and life. Waiting can be stressful and rough. Look what was in one of my journals …
Eric Speir notes 5 reasons why God makes us wait.
Waiting(1) reveals our true motives, (2) builds patience in our lives, (3) builds anticipation, (4) transforms our character, (5) builds intimacy and dependence on God. (Relevant magazine).

If the waiting is weighing on you, you might look at some of the Psalms (69 is a good one) because the Psalmists seem to be always waiting on God.

… “If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

Henry

An incredible young man gave me a drawing after church. I have several by the young artists in his family on my office door, so I wanted to reciprocate out of appreciation for how welcome he made me feel when I became his pastor. I took his tree and merged it with elements from Byzantine icons, so that what we ended up with was the Tree of Life and River of Life – symbols of a restored Eden (Rev 22) – with Adam and Eve (humanity) climbing out of the grave. We created an Eden where all humanity is invited to ascend. We shall title it Rev 22:3a – “No longer will there be any curse”

Thank you Henry and church family for seeking to create, renew, and reconfigure the beautiful frailty of our humanity into something eternal. 

Transformative Gratitude

As of the 1st of June, I have been at FUMC for 12 years. In that time, you have allowed me the space to make mistakes, to learn, to grow, and to heal. For me, this has been a transformational space (which is why it is not hard for me to imagine and hope that it will continue to be for many others in the future). You have guided and taught me on my journey to be a good father and a good human being (ok at least better). I think being ‘good human being’ is just letting the potential God has within you come out. And I don’t believe that can truly happen apart from connection to God and to a community of faith.
In much the same way Paul did in his letter to the Philippians, I want to thank you not so much for what you have done, but for how ‘who you have chosen to be’ has encouraged my girls and me to become more than we could have imagined apart from the grace and love we experience among you.
One year ago, Scott described how wonderful it was for his family to have the blessing of growing up in New Iberia, I realized what an honor it is for him to have hired me, knowing I would be his children’s youth director. I acknowledge that sometimes we ministers can get lost in ‘the job’ and lose sight of the organic nature of this diverse eclectic group called our family of faith. As I journey back on the pastoral road, with greater passion because of you, it is important for me to remind myself and you of your importance to me, so that the power and passion of the following words are clear … “it has been an honor for me – for you to be ministers to my children.”
I tell you this for three reasons (and I am happy to step on my own toes in reminding you of the three). Read more…

Valentine’s Day

Why be a Calvinist, when you can be a hopeful romantic.

Total attention
Unconditional acceptance
Limitless affection
Irresistible grace
Perseverance

Chance

There is an element of chance in life, yet it doesn’t overpower the importance of perseverance and dedication. Things change but it is hardly by chance. Chance is that moment of uncertainty after a choice is made. The duration of change (the emotional) is proportional to the amount of time between choice and action. Before I get to far off in the philosophical and leave behind the playful – the fear of chance is the moment between when my daughter choses to change the paper doll’s clothes and the act of putting on new clothes: nakedness. Naked seems to be a good word to describe the point in which we feel all our emotions at once – joy/excitement and fear/uncertainty concerning the future. I have been trying to express this in art … this is what I have so far.IMG_2683 IMG_2680

The Belfry

These are 2 prints I did for the Youth at FUMC New Iberia. One is of the Belfry (bell tower) of the church and the other is of the stain glass window in the belfry printed on old hymnal pages. 

Embracing

I used to say with pride that I was a Texan, then I realized that I have lived in Louisiana for over half my life. So, now I say I’m from South Louisiana. This might have saddened me 15 years ago, but now I revel in the mysteries and adventures this area brings. Its just backwoods enough to have a great oral folklore, but modern enough to call it folklore.

Read more…

Grace Wheel

Grace is often described in black and white terms. In the religious tradition I was raised, there was grace and then there was dismissal. With age I have learned that grace is experienced in a spectrum. Expressions of grace are colored by the giver – his/her character, life experience, self-identity, etc.

Read more…

Midnight: G15.5

He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Read more…

Ancestral Dance

The struggle between ‘who we are’ and ‘who we can be’ is a mysterious dance between what we were taught (up bringing) and what we have learned (personal experience). Read more…