risking it

June 30, 2004

hear it in the stairwell: Broken Social Scene, Radiohead, Coldplay, DMB, Wilco Mix

Ok, so let’s picture it…

It’s late one night and the disciples are rowing across a lake while Jesus is asleep in the stern of the boat. And they see this huge and amazing thunderstorm rolling in across the lake. At first they watch and are amused by the lightening. But minutes pass and they see that this storm isn’t losing any momentum- in fact, it’s becoming dangerous. Before they had time to prepare, their old and questionable boat is being slammed by ten-foot waves and begins to take on water. They were in danger of sinking. They were in danger of losing their lives. They wake up Jesus in an act of despairation screaming, “We’re going to drown!!” They must have been thinking You’re the Son of God, you make storms…do somehthing!!

And Jesus did do something. He said, “Be Still.” Two simple words and the terrific storm stopped. The crashing waves were immediately as calm as glass. The sky was silent. It became eerily still and I believe the disciples were petrified- even more so than in the midst of the storm. I bet they didn’t move for a good thirty minutes and when they did, it was one of them leaning over and saying, “Don’t make him mad” in a whisper to the others. The disciples had a firsthand experience with the danger of Jesus.

Jesus is anything but a safe and predictable God/man. Crying one minute and knocking over tables the next; showing courageous compassion one minute and cursing hypocrites the next; blasting the Pharisees one day for having a narrow view of adultery, then on the next day forgiving a woman caught in adultery. He was dangerous- dangerous to the power structure, dangerous to the church and most definitely dangerous to the crowds of people who followed Him.

So doesn’t this mean that the followers of Jesus are to be dangerous as well? Shouldn’t everyone be awed and dazzled by Christ-followers? Shouldn’t Christians be known by the fire in their souls, the wide-eyed gratitude in their faces, the spark in their eyes, and the holy-mischeif in their demeanor? Are we considered dangerous? Unpredicable? Threatening to the status quo? Living ouside the lines? Uncontrollable? Fearless? Wild? Beyond categorization and definition?

Living IN CHRIST is, afterall, a world of very dangerous, almost ruthless living.

I like imagine it like Narnia after Alsan has come back from death. Lucy and the children, eyes wide open with astonishment, recognizing him, and then Aslan speaks,

“And now-”

“Oh yes. Now?” said Lucy jumping up and clapping her hands.

“Oh, Children,” said the Lion, “I feel my strength coming back to me. Oh, children, catch me if you can!” He stood for a second, his eyes very bright. his limbs quivering, lashing himself with his tail. Then he made a leap high over their heads and landed on the other side of the table. Laughing, though she didn’t know why, Lucy scrambled over to reach him. Aslan leaped again. A mad chase began. Round and round the hill-top he led them, now hopelessly out of their reach, now letting them almost catch his tail, now diving between themm now tossing them in the air with his huge and beautifully velveted paws and catching them again, and now stopping unexpectedly so that all three of them rolled over together in a happy laughing heap of fur and arms and legs. It was such a romp as no one has ever had except in Narnia, and whether it was more like playing with a thunderstorm or playing with a kitten Lucy could never make up in her mind. And the funny thing was that when all three finally lay together panting in the sun the girls no longer felt in the least tired or hungry or thirsty.

Wow, if only I were more Lucy-like in my pursuit of my dangerous God.


June 24, 2004

hear it in the stairwell:U2- Joshua Tree

I use exaggerated hand gestures when I talk on the phone.

And I always burn my tongue on my first sip of tea.

I smile when I catch the clock hands on 10 and 2.

And on clear summer evenings I still go out to catch fire flies.

I take every chance I get to use sidewalk chalk.

I’m afraid of birds flying into my car.

I bend the page corners to mark my spot in a book.

I sprint the last two blocks of a long run even if I know it will kill me.

I often honk and wave at people on the sidewalk.

I think every sunset is the most amazing I’ve seen.

I have my clocks set 10 minutes fastand I’m still habitually running late.

I’m overly sentimental with songs.

And I adjust the water temperature at least three times before I step into the shower.

But I always, always look both ways then I cross a one way street…

And that bothers me.

As if the large black and white arrow sign isn’t enough to reassure me that a car won’t come barreling down the road, blatantly contradicting the sign and demolish my jeep with me in it. But my neighborhood is full of narrow one way streets and I can’t seem to break the daily temptation to be annoyingly overly cautious about an unfounded fear.

And then I ran across this verse in Isaiah the other day…

“Free yourself from the chains on your neck…for the Lord will go before you and the God of Israel will be your rear guard.”(52)

And I realized that it’s not only in my everyday run-ins with traffic signs that I have a sense of fear, it’s something I struggle with in my spiritual and relational life. What is it that I’m so worried about? I mean it’s one thing to look both ways when crossing the busy two lane road we call life, afterall, God does call us to be “wise as serpants” (Matt.10). But it seems that even within the perameters of having an omnipotent personal Savior I lose my willpower to trust that God truly does “got my back”. I’d rather look keep a lookout on my own, hoping to convince myself that I’m “safe” as long as I can see everything that’s going on around me. When in reality, as long as I stay focused down that freeing, one-way road to God, there’s no need to look back.

Now if only I didn’t eat my ice cream directly from the carton…

June 22, 2004

hear it in the stair:Andy Davis

My date with Ryan. June 19th 2004

June 16, 2004

hear it in the stairwell: Over the Rhine- Films for Radio

Wednesdays are my Saturdays. No job to rush off to, no obligations because every normal human is at an 8-5 job. I rolled over in bed sometime around 9:30am and remembered that the one thing I did commit to today was to jog over to Mattlevi’s house around 10am to do a tandem phone call to his mom in Ireland to straighten out some details of our upcoming trip. Little preparation is needed on a rainy Wednesday morning to go running so I quickly brush my teeth and throw on some running gear. And I get a call from Mattlevi. “Um, I know I said we could call my mom this morning but I’m in the Meijers parking lot and my car won’t start so I’ll have to call you later.” I instinctively laugh. Maybe it wasn’t the most compassionate thing to do. “Mattlevi, do you need me to come and get you?” “Well, I called my roommate Brad but he must still be sleeping, and I just got this old couple to try to jump it–unsuccessfully.” I forsake all compassion and laugh again. “Matt, do you need a ride?” Why can’t guys just say when they need some help? So I drive to Meijer to find a helpless Mattlevi sitting in his dead Passat (I’m sure jamming to Guster). Before retreating he says he wants to try to jump it again. I agree and put on some shoes to help. But in order to get the engine of my jeep anywhere near his we have to push his car to a different spot. Ha, by this time it’s absolutely pouring. Did I mention that Mattlevi has a bum foot? Yeah, he broke a toe or something and is wearing an aircast and a now soaking wet sock. The two of us manage to steer and push his car into a nearby spot, connect the cables in the monsoon and successfully jump his car. Matt goes to disconnect the jumper cables and realizes that they don’t have rubber on both sides of the clips so he gets a double shot of jeep engine shock. Excellent.

June 15, 2004

hear it in the stairwell:Guster Live

My “it’s already 95 degrees outside at 9a.m. so I’ll go trail running” Day.

The end product of any successful Ohio wooded run

Ha, ha. I found this random picture album Jon I made AT LEAST two years ago. So pointless-funny.