Friday, May 22, 2009

Honoring Those Past

So I was talking to Heather yesterday, and something kinda hit me. She was complaining about having to read the gruesome (nevertheless true) stories about the Holocaust. At first I sympathized with her...she did show me a passage in the book that sort of illustrated the horrors seen and heard throughout the genocide.

Part of the aversion to reading about such things, I think, is because we know that we are helpless to do anything about it. Every one of those people are long gone, and their pain and cries of despair have long sense ceased to echo through the passages of time. A good book will naturally tug at your heart, and if you cannot do anything to help them, then it seems almost worthless to read the book in the first place.

How, though, does this apply to fiction? With fiction stories we can console ourselves by saying that it really didn't happen, and the pain depicted is, well, fictional. It's much easier to sit back and enjoy the ride with fiction stories, simply because it didn't really happen.

But the Holocaust did happen. People were senselessly murdered, slaughtered, for no reason other than Pride. The greatest sin of all.

I think that the pain of the Holocaust has naturally lessened because of the time that has passed. Every moment that passes after 9/11, the pain grows less and less.

But is that right? Should the past slowly slip into obscurity, succumbing to the overpowering waves of apathy and ignorance?

I don't think so.

If you were caused great offense, would you want it ignored and forgotten? Wouldn't the fact that people are ignoring you make the pain that much worse? It seems that the best cure for pain is to tell someone else about it, and have them carry a little bit of your pain off on their back.

It sort of relates back to the Doctrine of Substituted Love that we learned about in Decent into Hell. For those of you who haven't read the book (I do recommend it), there is a girl named Pauline who is going through considerable trouble. She tells a guy named Stanhope about it, and he empathizes her---in an extreme way. He sort of begins to go through the pain that she goes through, and feels what she feels. All the while, Pauline feels her load lightened and is set free from her burdens. Stanhope becomes a sacrificial lamb; he takes her sin and bears it for her.

How does this relate back to what we're talking about?

The voice of those who suffered in the Holocaust cry out in pain. Their pain never goes away, but our perception of it does. The anguish caused by the lives lost on 9/11 never really goes away. Like I said, every step away from that day merely lessens our perception of the pain. It's still there, it's just getting ignored.

Can we, 60 years later, actually lessen the pain of the Holocaust by merely listening to the voices? By learning their struggles, bearing their pain? Can we experience, in the smallest measure, the extent of their torture and promise to bear it for them?

If we learn, if we listen, if we empathize, than I believe that the pain of the Holocaust, and other (true) stories like it, is lessened.

So go read a true story. Go listen to an honest tale. And bear a little more suffering and darkness away on your back.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Term Paper driving me crazy. I wrote it in a day, and I'm pretty sure it needs some help. Blah.

Chemistry test tomorrow. No fun!

I have to start reading Edmund Spencer, too. I'm sick of poetry and over school! Basically the only thing that stops me from going insane is church, and my incredibly beawesome friends there.

Thanks for keeping me alive, guys :)

Gasping for air,


Monday, May 11, 2009


I am ridiculously busy.

Term paper.
Worship night.

And everything else I have to do.

But I am learning.

I am learning to stop, to be still, to be quiet.
I am learning to step back, to step in, to step up.
I am learning to love, to lean, to live.
I am learning to walk, to move, to breathe.
I am learning to work, to rest, to trust.
I am learning to speak, to teach, to care.
I am learning to stand, to fight, to stay.
I am learning to listen, to hear, to be.
I am learning to learn.

And it is a beautiful thing.


Monday, May 4, 2009

Staying Strong

So Jono's message on Sunday really made me think: what happens when we are spiritually on E? The answer for me is simple: I look to things and people to fulfill my emptiness.

I've been on E for a long time. I looked to a person to fulfill that emptiness...where did it land me? In a world of hurt. But now that I have been filled and renewed, things are much different. I don't feel like I have to be searching for acceptance and "love" from earthly things and people, I find it all above.

It can be hard, though, when those things which so easily ensnared me in the past will not go away. It is, truly, a constant voice in my ear pulling me away from the path.

"But wait!" you say, "That sounds like a Bible verse!"

Hm. Turns out, it is.

Hebrews 12:1

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."

How do we do this, Hebrews author (no one really knows who he is...)? That sounds hard. I mean, those things that ensnare us and entangle us...I mean, we kinda like that stuff, don't we? Deep down, when we are empty and looking for fulfillment, where do we turn?

To the sin that so easily entangles.

2nd Samuel 11:1

In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king's men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem.

It's interesting that David decided to remain in Jerusalem instead of going with the armies of Israel. Now, he could have stayed simply because the army didn't need him, but you will notice that the author specifically says that the spring is the time when kings go off to war. David was a king, so it follows that he should have been off warring.

What could the other explanation be? He was spiritually empty and this transferred over into his desire to lead his armies into war. I know that when I haven't spent time with God for a long time, I begin to lose passion in doing His will. We know that David had just returned from a huge battle with the Ammonites, and he had probably not spent much alone time with God during this altercation. So, he goes home and stays there instead of continuing in God's will for his life.

Before we move on, this *cough* sounds kinda like me. A couple of years ago, I had gone through some rough times in my relationship with God. Not only that, but there were various trials that hit my family as a whole. Instead of continuing on in God's graces, I decided to return to a place where I could get easily tempted. And I, like David, fell:

One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace.
From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David
sent someone to find out about her (2 Sam. 11:2-3).

David, being spiritually empty and having nothing better to do, decides to take an evening walk. Part of me wonders...why didn't he just start praying? But he decided to take a walk, and was tempted. And he fell, as we see in the rest of the chapter.

When we are spiritually empty, we turn to earthly objects to fulfill our heavenly desires. This, however, is not unavoidable. The author of Hebrews tells us how to stay strong when we get spiritually empty in verse two and three of chapter 12:

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set
before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the
throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you
will not grow weary and lose heart.

The only way to avoid spiritual emptiness and misguided desires is to fix our eyes firmly on Jesus Christ, who humbled himself to death, even death on a cross, for our sins. The last phrase is key: "so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."

Oh, for those that grow weary! Alas for those that lose heart! For we know that those that wait on the Lord, with eyes fixed firmly on Christ Jesus will not faint, will not grow weary, but will rise on on wings like eagles (Is. 40:31).

Thus, let us flee from every temptation (1 Tim 6:11). It is a daily struggle, friends.

Genesis 39:10: "she spoke to Joseph day after day."

It's the truth, unfortunately. But here are some good tips:

1. Gear up (Eph 6:10-11)
2. Be a weapon to righteousness (Romans 6)
3. Flee temptation!

Staying strong,


Saturday, May 2, 2009


Holy cow, it's May already. I'm gonna be 17 in less than a month! I can't believe it...
So much has happened since I turned 16. I'm not the same person, which is a good thing. Much has changed, little has remained as it was. The constants in my life consist only in God and my family...sorry, friends, but you guys are prone to much drama and tides of rumor. Those that love me unconditionally, and those that I love back, seem to always stay the same. Which is interesting.

What is it about agape that causes consistency and sameness? Is God the same yesterday, today, and forever because of His unchanging love for us? Would we seek stability if we chose to love everyone unconditionally? I wonder if that is what Paul meant when he wrote that "Love never fails" (1st Corinthians 13:8).

Heh. The things I think about.


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