April 29, 2004

hear it in the stairwell:Damien Rice- Live

my favorite irishman of all time, C.S. Lewis,wrote it. I need to rehash it because I am constantly thinking about the risk of trusting in a GOD who isn’t safe… but who is by HIS very nature, good.

The following dialogue appears in C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia. In The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Susan and Lucy ask Mr. and Mrs. Beaver to describe Aslan. They ask if Aslan is a man. Mr. Beaver replies.

“Aslan a man? Certainly not. I tell you he is the King of the wood and the son of the great Emperor-beyond-the Sea. Don’t you know who is the King of Beasts? Aslan is a lion– the Lion, the great Lion.”

“Ooh!” said Susan. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he–quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”

“That you will, dearie, and make no mistake,” said Mrs. Beaver, “if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.”

“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver. “Don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about being safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

In The Chronicles of Narnia, Aslan is C.S. Lewis’ representation of Jesus Christ. He is depicted as the great lion, the king of wild beasts, who is anything but “safe.” But, Lewis adds, he is good.


blue sky

April 28, 2004

hear it in the stairwell:Vroom- Rosebud

Crazy fall flashbacks with chilly, crisp weather and Vroom playing.

In the dark room with Allan today. Sleepless day of chemicals and black and white.

trips galore

April 26, 2004

hear it in the stairwell: Dave Matthews Band- Crash

I’m tempted not to give at least some detail concerning my Colorado trip because it seems like so long ago already but I don’t want any of my faithful blog readers to feel cheated by my “details to come” promises. I flew into Denver, CO via the Dallas airport last Friday night and arrived around 10p.m. (12a.m. Ohio time) only to find that Avis car rental desk workers are the most inept humans alive. They denied me a previously-made car reservation and left me stranded 100’s of miles from home with no transportation. Having not slept in the past 20 hours and just spent a two hour flight hip-to-hip with grandma-talks-a-lot, I did the Christian thing: grabbed my bookbag and stomped away to spend another late-night hour scouring the airport for the ONE rental car company that would give me a car. And, praise God, it was a sweet car- CD player, sun roof, pimped out. So it’s a little after 11p.m. and I’m finally on my way to Colorado Spring…an hour drive from Denver. In an effort to stay alert, I open all windows and blast the stereo. Remember, I’ve never seen the Rocky Mountains so arriving in Colorado after dark is such a tease! I know mountains are looming above and around but I can’t see anything! So I’m about half way to Springs and I discover that in my rush to make it to the airport in time earlier that day I forgot to grab the handy map-quest maps I had printed out with directions to all of my destinations. I have no clue where Stef’s house is and it’s midnight. With only his street address in hand, I manage to find his apartment building with the help of but one gas station attendant. New discovery: I have his street address but no apartment number. I drive around the parking lot (mind you, it’s after 12a.m. (2a.m. Ohio time)) until I recognize his blue VW van and head to the closest apartment door to look for his last name on a mail box. I find it and enjoy a glorious 6 hours of couch sleep.

I walk out the door (very) early Saturday morning and freeze. Not only is it the most beautiful day thus far this year, there are the most beautiful mountains all around and a spectacular view of Pikes Peak from the porch. I spend about 3 hours hiking, climbing and exploring Garden of the God’s before me and my rental car begin the climb up Pikes Peak. Colorado is quite possible the most beautiful location I’ve ever been to.

After a quick stop at Red Rocks amphitheatre, I find myself back at the Denver airport and, via the Dallas airport, back in Dayton late Saturday night. Yes, I made a 24 hour trip to Colorado and it was more than worth it.

On to this weekend…

Friday morning Eric, Andy, Natalie, Trish and I set out for Nashville, TN with our game faces on. Yes, it’s marathon time.

(Eric spazing out next to pool)

Upon arriving at our hotel (which shared a parking lot with the Titans Stadium AND has a guitar-shaped pool), we meet up with the rest of our long-distance team, pick up our race numbers (and tons of other free junk for runners) and then off to eat ridiculous amounts of pasta at the Rain Forest Cafe at the Opry Land Mall. We head to bed early b/c of our 4:30a.m. mandated wakeup call. At the stadium, at 5a.m. we stand in line for the shuttle in a torrential downpour: thunder, lightening, and standing water.

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By 7a.m. we are officially drenched, freezing and at our corrals ready for go-time. One minute before the race begins, as 16,000 runners are perched and ready to run the most soggy race known to marathoners, the rain stops! And although our shoes and socks are already water-logged, the crowd begins to cheer and trash bags and rain ponchos fly into the air. Let the race begin!

Let me tell you now, after mile 9, no pair of shoes is comfortable let alone wet ones. The wetness factor, combined with the fact that the Nashville marathon is the most hilly marathon course in America did not make my first experience peachy. Luckily the weather was cool, every inch of the course was lined by people cheering, there was a ridiculously twangy country band every two miles, and gatorade was provided in abundance. Miles 5-7 were in neighborhoods and it was during those few miles that I experienced more white-booty-hanging-out-on-the-side-of-the-road than I ever care to see. Yes, many people decided against the plethora of port-o-potties and opted for the in-clear-view ditch for their bathroom needs. Lovely motivation to run just a little bit faster.

post-race happiness

All-in-all it was an awesome experience. All of us met our goals…Andy and Eric did under 9 minute miles (Andy did full marathon)and none of us girls walked at all! Pictures will be posted soon and more detail will be added then:) Stay tuned…

cave man

April 23, 2004

hear it in the stairwell:The Beatles

Marathoning in Nashville, TN this weekend. What am I thinking?


April 20, 2004

hear it in the stairwell:Live

Not sure when I’ll get a chance to include Colorado excursion details…for now…

I am a whore.

Shocked? You shouldn’t be. You are a whore too.

I came to this sudden realization one day, as I read through Scripture and wondered why God chose to refer to His people, so often in the Old Testament, as His adulterous people. Yes, His adulterous, prostituted, unfaithful, and harlot people.

In Ezekiel 16, this is pretty clear. The Lord refers to His nation as a child who was born and then cast aside. Squirming, covered in her own blood, the child kicked. Her death would be imminent without intervention. But the Lord passed by, took notice, and began to care for the child. He cleaned her and dressed her in fine clothes and jewelry. He watched her grow from a young child into a young woman. And the Lord entered into a covenant with her, and she became His wife.

She was very beautiful, because the Lord had made her so. Yet she shared her beauty with others, instead of reserving it for her husband. She took the attractive clothing her husband had made for her and transformed them into shrines to worship. She remade the gorgeous jewelry given her by her husband into idols to revere.

She has become an adulteress. A whore. And so have I. I am that whore.

It was the Jewish custom in the days of the Bible that a man and a woman enter into a betrothal prior to their wedding. During the betrothal period, the man and the woman were pledged to each other for life. They were regarded as husband and wife, although they did not yet share a bed. The betrothal included vows, and for either person to break those vows would make them an adulterer. And the results of adultery were divorce, or worse, death.

After a certain period of time, the betrothed groom would come for his bride, and there would be a large feast and a wedding celebration. At that point, the betrothed couple would then be married, they would share a bed, and the rest of their lives together would begin.

As Christians, we are betrothed to Jesus. We have entered into a relationship with the Lord. We have made a vow to love Him and serve Him alone. We have promised to be faithful to Him alone. At our baptism, we forsake all others who may pledge for our allegiance, and we become His bride.

Jesus, our bridegroom, is one day returning for us. A large feast will be prepared, a celebration is in planning, and the rest of eternity is ours to spend united with our husband. However, like the beautiful young girl that the Lord took in and nurtured and made His wife, I also have forsaken my groom.

As a bride, I am supposed to love and place Jesus, my groom, above all in my life. But I fail in this. I sometimes love to sleep in more than I love to get up and have a quiet time of reading the Scriptures and prayer. As a bride, I am called to be faithful to my future husband. But whenever money gets tight in my home, I often find that it’s much easier to put my faith in worry than in the God who can meet all my needs. As a bride, I am expected to remain pure both in what I see and hear, but also in what I think and do. But my innocence is lost so quickly in the age of the media, combined with my lack of self-control.

In actuality, whenever I embrace somebody in my life as more important than Jesus, I am committing adultery. If my job consumes more of me than my Jesus, I am prostituting myself out. If I forsake Jesus in order to indulge in any sin, than I am a bride who sneaks out on her groom and sleeps with another.

Sound terrible? It is. But do you know the man to whom we are betrothed? Because of our sins as a bride, Jesus has the right to leave us for another more faithful and loving, but the truth and the scandal is this: He doesn’t want anybody else. His desire is for us. His heart beats for us. We are the one and only bride that He longs to spend the rest of eternity with.

It is Jesus’ passionate and relentless love for His harlot bride that nailed Him to the cross. In Ephesians 5:25-27, Paul gives instructions to husbands in regard to how they should love their wives. He uses as his example for love and sacrifice the ultimate husband, Jesus.

Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church (his bride) and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church (bride), without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

Jesus loves His adulterous bride. So much that He gave His very life up for her. Our infidelity has dirtied us and our disloyalty has blemished us. But this sacrifice by Jesus frees us, who are whores, to wear white on our wedding day. We are forgiven as we walk down the aisle. We are in His eyes, the most beautiful and most precious bride that the world has ever known. And He is the one, by His death and burial and resurrection, who has given us that beauty.

Jesus loves adulterous people. Jesus also loves His radiant, holy, and blameless bride. We are one and the same.