Dream come true

If the title has you excited, I’d hold your applause and congratulations until the end of this post… it’s probably not what you think.

In my last post, I admitted that my pride had kind of snuck up on me and all of a sudden I was planning my future life and career like I know what’s going to happen, like I know what’s best for me, like I’m in control. I knew I needed to come back to that place of open-handedness with that future.

Open-handedness…? That is, what if my dream job isn’t the thing I’m “supposed” to be doing? Would I be okay with that? If I were honest, no, no I wouldn’t be okay with that. Why does God’s best for us have to be so unimaginable that it’s hard for our rebellious human nature to trust Him?

Well, last night I dreamt that I was in LA, making phone calls, pitching to execs, desperate to make my scripts happen. The unfortunate downside to the dream career that I’m pursuing. Maybe it’s a personality thing, but I’m just not a good verbal communicator. On the page, sure, maybe… but I have to be mentally prepared for a spontaneous presentation. Anyway, I like to think that my passion for the craft is big enough to make that kind of stuff bearable, but today kind of challenged that.

There have been countless theories on dreams and their meanings and interpretations. One of them is that dreams prepare you for real life situations, something like a built-in simulation mechanism. I don’t know if that’s true, but that’s besides the point.

I wake up feeling stressed and shoot my roommate a text about the dream, to which she replies, “it’s prophetic!” I smile, knowing that should make me feel better but it doesn’t.

I walk into my first class of the day, the highlight of my day — Screenwriting. Except, the agenda is — you guessed it — pitching our final projects.

Given the nightmare I held back any and all participation. But as Irony would have it, the entire class called on a classmate and I to pitch. He’s a fairly performative guy and as talented as the best of them, so I figured I’d go first… don’t want to get stuck on the follow-up act.

Needless to say, the pitch was an abysmal failure — I didn’t get to the end of the story, I blanked on what made me love this story and what excites me about it. I even blanked on what actually happens, who the characters are… I knew I wanted to get to the big twist reveals, but didn’t know how to set them up dramatically… I only found solace in the fact that now no one else in class will be nervous about pitching their ideas.

And that is the story of how my nightmare came true.

Thankfully there were no real stakes, and my prof and classmates were so generous and gracious.

In all seriousness, this little incident was an eye-opening reminder of how small I am, how powerless and insignificant I am, that I’m not special, and that I have no reason to boast about any skills, knowledge or talents that I have– that I’ve been given.

As I write to cope with the mortification, I’ve got Ascend the Hill’s Be Thou My Vision blasting on Spotify…

O God be my everything, be my delight, be Jesus, my glory, my soul satisfied.

What a balm to this heart floundering in years of insecurity drudged up to the surface. I’ve still got the adrenaline rush, that fight or flight response, and my body screaming FLIGHT! I want to run away, crawl into bed and hide for the rest of the day, and that’s no exaggeration. What a strange impulse. Have I been fooling myself this whole time? Is this industry actually not for me? Do I turn back while I still can? I thought I’d found my “thing,” do I have to go back to that state of aimlessness?

Some might say, “don’t quit! Nothing was meant to be easy.” Others might say, “do what makes you happy.” While these are true and helpful to some degree, it is still a limited degree.

My identity isn’t in my career. My ambitions may not be what comes to pass. In fact, my ambitions may not be what I actually want. It shouldn’t be where I go for satisfaction.

My vision shouldn’t be on how high I can pull myself up (and anything higher than 0 is a delusion), but on how I can make much of the name of Jesus in all aspects of my life… in this case, giving him praise for this humbling morning.

It is incredibly easier to say “I am nothing apart from Christ” today than it was yesterday. The life He calls us to, a life of holiness, is hard. It hurts. And yet… it’s so sweet to return to Lord and be reminded that the pressure’s not on us to “be all that you can be,” it’s not on us to look all put together, it’s not on us to be the champions of this world, it’s not on us to be our own saviours, it’s not on us to fix ourselves, or anyone else. He already did the work, and we are free to train, and learn and fail.

In a way this whole pitching snafu reminded me of the hidden inspiration for one of the big reveals of the story in the first place: “No longer I, but Christ in me.”

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Happy Back to the Future Day!

October 21, 2015. The day Marty and Jen arrive in their future with Doc.

Tons of people will be celebrating this “auspicious” day, and posting about it, tweeting about it, remembering the BTTF franchise…

I will admit, Back to the Future is my go to answer to “What’s your favourite movie?” You’ve got the mad scientist, the kid, the car, the stakes, the romance, the comedy, the “feels” …

“Maybe one day you’ll write something like that,” people tell me. Maybe. I wish! But at the same time, I don’t really feel like that’s the goal.

Writing for fame, writing for “success,” writing for the market… that’s the fast lane to hating what you love. Writing for the grade, the reward… you miss the point. Writing is the reward. For the record, I have no idea where this post is going. Call it a warm up/productive procrastination for the work I should be doing, writing. Wait, what? But I just said– yes, I know. Oh the paradoxes of life and the universe.

It’s a peculiar thing. I love writing. I have an assignment to write. I don’t want to write. So to procrastinate, I write. Because I love writing. I don’t get it either.

Timey-wimey? No, wait.

Welp. Better get writing, it’s time my writing got better. Maybe when I’m not as brain dead I’ll come back and put something a bit more substantial to this post… and no one will be the wiser…

OR– if ever I get to time travel, you’ll know it because I’ll come back to this moment and make something happen on this post.

Man, today would’ve been the perfect day to run into a store downtown, ask what year it is, and then run out screaming, “it worked!” Or better yet, “Great Scott!”

Oh well. Maybe when I revisit this day. Maybe I already have.

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Only We Would Leave the King of the Universe Hanging

What happens when runaway thoughts spin themselves into a hurricane inside your heart, but all you want at that moment is to go to bed?

“Spirit, can you hold these thoughts, bookmark them or something ’til morning?”

The storm only presses upon me like a firm and gentle push on the swings, adding momentum. Very well. Here I am.

In the past two weeks, I’ve experienced the same conversation several times, which I found rather curious. It went something along the lines of, “Well you have your Christianity thing, but I prefer the buddhist philosophy if I had to choose.”

I’ve heard many people express their admiration for the buddhist worldview, my own grandmother being a devout practitioner.

I’d always wondered what made it so attractive until I saw a booth on campus a few semesters ago, that encouraged students to develop spirituality or oneness with the universe… but where God was optional.

One part of me said, yeah um, good luck with that. God is inviting you into true spirituality, that is, a relationship with His Holy Spirit (and the Son and the Father), how can you possibly do that without Him? You can’t fist bump without a fist to bump! There have been many times when a friend would hold out their fist and I’d miss it, so to add some dramatic flair to the situation and reduce the embarrassment, they’d make a big deal about leaving them hanging. I do it by accident of course, though Freud might disagree. However, we do do this on purpose to God all the time, on a daily maybe even hourly basis. He’s set up the relationship so that He contacts us, we just have to be there and be willing. Instead, we don’t just leave Him hanging, we left Him, the King of all things, high and dry!

But back to the booth. The other part of me empathized. We were made to worship, and worship we do. We are constantly searching for it. Some will worship things like money or success or approval, not in the golden calf sort of way, but in putting their identity in relationships (self is only in relation to so and so), image (I live to appear like this to the world), reputation (I am who people tell me or expect me to be) or a career (I am no one without my career and/or my salary), and so many other things. Others will worship virtue, being and doing and living according to some moral standard, a constant process of atonement. In fact, since the Fall, these are the defaults in you, in me, and in everyone else who ever lived.

In seeking just spirituality, people are looking for the “way of life” part of worship, which is why I can understand the thought process behind “why can’t people just believe what they want to believe, do what works for them?” Another phrase I’ve heard often, but oddly more frequently in the past bit.

Worship, the kind that we were designed for, includes another component: loving and generous volition. In other words, a relationship. Without that, nothing will work or satisfy your soul. At least not forever. When we say that Jesus, and Jesus alone, is the way, the truth and the life, we’re not trying to take away people’s free will! If a treasure hunter finds the room with the jackpot, a sea of treasure, won’t they say, “hey guys, come here, I found it!” It’s a jackpot, you really can’t miss it, which is why it doesn’t make sense for the other treasure hunters to ask, “are you sure you found it? There’s a smaller room here with some cool trinkets, that might be it.”

As followers of Christ, we are not just servants to the King of the universe, but heirs. Heirs! The one who holds the name above all names is not just our Lord or our Master… He is our friend and Father who knows us deeply. He cares much less about us and His rules than us and Himself. Matt Chandler puts it this way, “God is more interested in progress than perfection.” Progress of course, requires an interaction with the one assessing you.

I’m not sure what kind of spirituality people have found without a deep and personal relationship with God, but I can imagine the peace it brings is more about keeping your hands busy than finding rest and purpose… A peace that comes at the price of never ending toil, with the resulting fruit leaving something to be desired.

Here’s another one I hear often enough: “So many other religions and worldviews are similar, what makes Christianity right or better than them? It’s not even the first one.”

Many people go to this point of the argument to discredit Christianity, but to me I see it as a proof of its legitimacy. Communicating what I see is of course the issue, but I will try. The most basic common ground for all the religions of world history is the human condition. It’s all about advancing or improving the human condition in some way. That is the common thread — a sinful heart that needs fixing.

This common thread extends far beyond religion, and into everything we do, since everything we do is a direct result of our sinful heart. But written on that same heart is God’s law — our conscience, our own moral standards. I’m most interested in storytelling, and so I see echoes of the soul yearning for the gospel all the time there.

The villains must always get their just deserts, because we know that sin and evil must be punished. The hero always starts out flawed or unprepared for the task, because we know that we aren’t perfect and need something or someone to make us whole, to prepare us for our destiny. The hero must always go through a great ordeal before succeeding, because we know that justice comes at a sacrificial cost. The hero always achieves the goal and overcomes the ordeal, rewarded with honour or revelation.

But these are just the standard givens of story structure, of the monomyth or infamous hero’s journey! Yes, but why? Why are they taken for granted, why is this what we want to see, why is it that if a story defies these laws, we are left cheated or unsatisfied?

After all, a story where the hero dies and the antagonist wins and the whole journey was for naught, is often considered a bad story, not a creative twist. We feel like we’ve wasted our time. What’s worse is that sometimes life is like that, intrinsically wrong and a waste. It’s that deep pit of dissatisfaction and despair.

I propose that at the root, we know in our core that there is a certain way things are supposed to be, and every human knows it. The gospel tells the story that is the balm to our souls. It doesn’t just give us hope and peace and love and fuzzy, flimsy emotions… it is a solid anchor to cling on to.

The hero’s journey example I just used is only one of many places I’ve seen the yearning for the gospel. There are more specific examples. Take the superhero boom. Of course many factors played into this, but at the root, I would say its appeal comes from our deep intrinsic need for a saviour with greater power or skills than ourselves. One, or a small group, must represent and save all of humanity from evil and tyranny. Or how about a show like Once Upon A Time? At the time of writing this, a saviour is being tempted in the wilderness to turn to darkness so that the laws of storytelling might be reversed — villains will get their happy endings, evil will reign, heroes are forever fated to fail and their redemption becomes a futility. Will she succumb and leave everyone without any chance of hope, or will she prevail and let redemption win? Or how about a movie like Jupiter Ascending that I just watched a couple hours ago? SPOILERS: it ends with the protagonist inheriting the Earth… Sound familiar?

I see elements of the human condition echoing the biblical narrative in stories, on TV, on the news, in movies, in people, in other worldviews… it’s everywhere! And I’m not surprised. In awe, definitely, but not surprised. The bible itself was written across centuries by different people in different contexts for different purposes through different mediums. Letters, instructions, songs, poems, historical documents, prophets, fishermen, tax collectors, priests. All this… and yet the common thread tying all these things together is the narrative of the cross. Everything pre-cross in the old testament points to it, and everything post-cross points to it. Prophecies of a Messiah, of a coming kingdom, meant as an encouragement to God’s people in the old testament, and a proclamation of what was done on the cross meant as an encouragement to the early church in the new testament.

My point is that, if the gospel is a common thread throughout the incredible diversity within the Bible, why should it be any different today? The existence of common threads among religions and worldviews isn’t discrediting the gospel, but rather reaffirms it in that we can all agree that we’re broken and need help — admitting this is the very foundation of our faith.

For some, this still doesn’t answer your questions or satisfy your stirrings, and this is to be expected. I couldn’t possibly explain everything because there is still a lot that I don’t fully understand. Even the apostle Paul said “I am perplexed, but not crushed” in 2 Corinthians 4. The guy who wrote most of the new testament still didn’t get stuff, so there’s no way I will.

However, I’ll touch a bit on why Christianity not being the “first” is not really an issue. Firstly, God understands what it is to exist outside of space and time, so linear thinking can’t really be applied here. I know that answer isn’t good enough for some of you, so I will go further.

Christianity didn’t “start” when we entered the story. The beginning wasn’t when humans finally understood what Jesus meant all those times after he died and rose again. It wasn’t when God showed us a virgin birth. It wasn’t when the prophets of Israel told God’s people that God was coming to humankind through a Messiah. It wasn’t when God himself told Adam and Eve that their seed would crush that of the serpent’s. No.

Everyone knows how it goes. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” In the beginning, God. He is the beginning, He is where it all starts (and ends, but I won’t get into that here).

God planned everything from before creation, whenever that was. He wasn’t surprised at man’s rebellion, He wasn’t scrambling to come up with a plan to save humanity after the rebellion… He knew all along. He planned all of history before time existed. The cross and Christianity pre-dates time itself.

Your acceptance of this answer inevitably depends on your own worldview of course, but there is no talking about faith without faith.

I guess if there’s a take away point at all from all of this, it’s that God wants a meaningful relationship with you and has programmed that desire in you. That programming has come out in, among other things, the value we place over spirituality, our eternal search for steadfast peace everlasting, and our intrinsic sense of justice and redemption.

CS Lewis describes this unique God-us relationship like this:

You asked for a loving God: you have one… not a senile benevolence that drowsily wishes you to be happy in your own way, not the cold philanthropy of a conscientious magistrate, nor the care of a host who feels responsible of the comfort of his guests, but the consuming fire Himself, the Love that made the worlds, persistent as the artist’s love for his work and despotic as a man’s love for a dog, provident and venerable as a father’s love for a child, jealous, inexorable, exacting as love between the sexes.

If you’re searching for steadfast peace everlasting that does not waver in even the worst of circumstances and that transcends a mere code or creed, I can only tell you that I have found it here in Christ and have not yet heard of someone who found the exact same thing elsewhere. Will you cave to the backwards instinct to fight and run away from the very thing you’re looking for, or will you be called a friend of a King?

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A curse and a Kingdom: An Unriddling

Yesterday I finally watched The Giver and started a post about it… but alas I did not save and it was lost, so rather than try to type it all out again, I went back to my scripts.

Today however, is a new day (well, night), and as David composed the Psalms to unriddle his heart, so do I write to unriddle mine.

I won’t get into The Giver just yet, other than that it’s a fantastic book. I may revisit it again some other day. Right now, is just good ol’ blogging, virtual journaling. No real direction, no real lesson to be shared, only thoughts. We’ll see if a nugget comes out of it. A nugget of course, being some lightbulb moment when a thing clicks or when a sense of something ceases to be a feeling, but rather something more tangible that can be articulated.

As my media course is making more aware of, everything we do online is data. Flat screen versions of ourselves that in the future will be an archive on who we were, it will be a part of our legacy. Legacy has kind of been the thing I’m noticing lately.

When we’re gone and the digital age goes full blown, digital archaeologists will dig up “deleted” data, compile all our accounts, uncover forgotten secrets. What will our children see? What will our grand children or great-grandchildren? What barbaric acts of oppression are we allowing or fighting today that will make them ashamed or proud? What lifestyle, what mentality are we perpetuating in culture at large? What world are we setting up for them?

It’s unsettling to me how complacent I am towards these questions, which I suppose is something of a step forward. But legacy goes beyond a lifetime, or a few generations. Sure, generational memory only lasts for about 3, maybe 4 of them, but I’m talking about the thought of eternity. Looking at legacy through that lens is… dizzying.

“Walk by faith and not by sight.” I see it every Sunday at church as we walk through the book of Genesis. God makes a promise over and over and over again, and no one has seen it completed to the full. Yes, there’s the nations as numerous as the stars and the sand on the shore, yes there’s the promised land, yes there’s David’s kingdom of Israel, and yes there’s even a Messiah in Jesus Christ. But the promise of restoration, of His kingdom come, of perfection and order in the cosmos and reality for the rest of eternity…

People who don’t believe in eternal life tend to be afraid or at least anxious about death – its finality, the unknown. But as someone who believes firmly in eternal life… it’s not as scary as it is daunting. I mean, the sheer size of it. The Bible says we’ll be of flesh and bone, not these wispy spirit-like beings in another realm or plane of existence. Real bodies. Going on forever. Doing… life. Real life. True life. As it was originally designed.

Speaking of cosmos, one of the scientific laws (thermodynamics?) states that the universe tends toward disorder. That’s a physical law now. Is it even possible to imagine when it wasn’t so? What would that mean, what would that do?!

Hearing ice crack on a frozen lake is almost a surreal experience. Like thunder beneath your feet. Personally, I get a little rush of adrenaline when I hear it in my dad’s little ice fishing tent. When Adam and Eve took those bites out of the forbidden fruit, they fractured the universe. Who knows if it made a sound, but if it did, could you imagine? I’m getting goosebumps just thinking about it.

They lost their innocence, their perfect health, their immortality, their joy. The distance that sin opened up between God and humanity became as infinite as the peace and goodness they once had in Eden.

We don’t know what that kind of universe is like, and yet our hearts and souls somehow remember it, long for it. We chase it in relationships, in careers, in achievement, in affirmation, in our pursuit of happiness and self-actualization. We know there’s more than this, we know we have to go up. But not up the social ladder. The curse of sin has flipped everything backwards, upside down and inside out. Up in the eyes of men is down in the eyes of God. Success in the eyes of men is failure in the eyes of God. Love in the eyes of men is hate in the eyes of God.

Men would have us be at the billion dollar penthouse, God would have us serving the least of these. Men would have us pursue the American dream. God would have us pursue an everlasting kingdom. Men would have us love ourselves to find ourselves. God would have us love Him and love others.

I love how death and man’s Fall is described as a curse. It reminds me of the show Once Upon A Time, where all these fairytale characters are cursed and wake up in a land without happy endings: our world. They think this is home, but they know somehow it’s not, even though they can’t articulate it. They don’t know who they really are, and they’re stuck living this “new life” trying to figure out this new given identity. There’s even a story book that tells the characters who they really are, who they were, who they’re meant to be. It’s hard to believe you’re a fairytale character though, and Henry is trying to convince everyone of the truth, but is instead labelled as crazy. The curse caster tries to keep the citizens ignorant for as long as possible… There’s even a prophecy of a Saviour that will lift the curse with true love.

So we’ve got a lost home, a curse, a loss of identity, a book that tells us everything we need to know about our true selves, someone with enough insight to see the truth but is scorned, an evil force holding on to its power for as long as it can, and a Savior to lift the curse. Or in other words, Heaven, death, sin, prophet, Satan, Jesus (who gave His life out of True love, breaking the curse of death). Of course, while strong, the parallels only go so far and are NOT completely representative.

But all that’s probably my biggest draw toward the show. I mean, I know it’s supposed to be polysemous so that audiences can superimpose their own readings on it like that but… what if this is evidence of a fallen heart reaching out to a homeland they’ve never seen?

However, with dystopian literature becoming more and more popular, the idea of true Paradise doesn’t seem so appealing. Every time we try to think of paradise, it ends up becoming one of ignorance or tyranny or both. It’s unsustainable. In other words, perfection does not compute. That’s part of our “curse.” In true curse-like fashion, we know perfect peace and a perfect world exists… somewhere, somehow, but we know we cannot attain it. We can never attain it.

It’s not far spatially… we won’t find it at the end of the universe, if there is such a thing. It’s not far temporally, we won’t find it at the end of time if such a thing exists. The distance is ironically at the closest and deepest level: our hearts, our souls.

I suppose this is where The Giver could come in. In the movie, Meryl Streep’s character calls humanity weak and selfish, and if given the choice we’ll always choose wrong. Always? Maybe. Maybe not. But we are not pure beings. Whether it is in thought, or deed, or word, or motive… there is at least one drop of poison.

But enough doom and gloom. Being the faithful Father that He is, there is a remedy. His name is Jesus. I’m tempted to kind of gloss over this bit partly because it makes people uncomfortable (if I haven’t already), partly because I’ve told this story so many times, practicing or preaching it to myself to remind me… I need the repetition, even if it does make me feel like a parrot.

That’s another part of the curse, I think. Forgetting. We are so easy to forget, which makes it so easy to blame God. No wonder all over the Bible, there are laws and events to help us remember. Remember what happened here, remember what was done, what was achieved, remember the fallen, remember the promise.

Remember the last supper, when Jesus broke the bread and poured the wine. His body broken for us. His blood shed for us. He fills that infinite chasm between us and what our hearts long for. He satisfies that anxiety, that insatiable pit in our gut. He exchanged His perfection for our condemnation. When we lost our right standing with God, He had every right to destroy us before we ran the rest of his creation into the ground. And this sin will eventually be destroyed. But what Jesus’ death on the cross means for us is that, when that sin is destroyed, if we exchanged our “death tag” for Jesus’ righteousness, that sin isn’t on us. The sin is destroyed without us.

Where did it go? On Christ. He is destroyed with sin. Except if that were completely true, we’d have no hope and all was for naught. Our hope is in the resurrection, that Christ put death in its own grave. This is the sign of the curse lifted. Of a kingdom of perfect peace restored.

I’ll say it again, our hope is in the resurrection. Crazy, right? It seems like our salvation is hanging by a thread, and in a way it is… but are we walking by faith or by sight? It is a leap of faith across infinity. If we try to make that leap on our own, we will fall. God is called the author and perfecter of our faith… everything about our salvation is God’s work.

But why? Why do all of this for us? Why not wipe us out and start over? Why not snap your fingers and fix us now? Why let us suffer through this life? Stephen Fry, an atheist, was asked what he’d say if he were to meet God. Every time I come across people like this, I can feel the deep anger and frustration rise up from the pit of their souls and roll off the blades of their tongues. It’s like my intuition and empathy sensitivity or whatever, spikes. Suddenly it’s like my soul has goosebumps.

I’m not at all offended by their answers. I’m heartbroken. I’ve never been a relationship so I don’t know what it’s like to get dumped, but somehow I doubt that it compares to this. The rebellion, the cosmic treason they may or may not know they’re committing by attributing the work of sin to the work of God is heartbreaking. It’s indescribable, and I know people who haven’t experienced this heartbreak will have no idea what I’m talking about. When I made myself read Fry’s answer, my emotional reaction let me into a glimpse of “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

We don’t want your pity, they say. You can’t tell us what to believe, they say. None of it makes any sense anyway, they say.

This isn’t pity. This isn’t disappointment. This isn’t hate. What I felt was… mourning. Deep mourning.

Hearing someone rejecting God isn’t like when someone trash talks your mother. It’s like watching someone commit suicide.

My friends try not to take the Lord’s name in vain in front me, and while I appreciate the effort, I know they do it just so that I’m not “offended.” But though they say oh my word, or gosh or goodness, in their hearts, they cry god louder than their voices can.

But what’s the big deal, they ask? This is the God that gave up everything for us. His heavenly throne, his life… I asked earlier why didn’t God just fix us or destroy us. He gave us a way out instead, he’s inviting us back to the garden. Some are accepting. Some are ripping up the invitation, chewing it and spitting it in His face. That’s the big deal.

People out there call my worldview intellectual suicide, that we use it like a crutch. It’s meant to roast us, but… in a way their hearts are crying out that truth. We need the crutch. Can you imagine? A hospital wing full of people with broken legs… the ones on the crutch, on the mend, and the ones trying to stand without them.

I’m sure there are some of you thinking what a load of BS.

Suffering, disease, death, torture, evil, murder, rape, genocide… I don’t want to worship a God who allows that to run rampant, they say.

How short-sighted, through the lens of eternity. As a part of fallen humanity, you’re longing for a perfect world where there’s no war, no death, no sadness, no grief, no sickness or disease… but you cling to the flesh that allow all those things to exist. Like the citizens of Storybrooke from Once Upon A Time, you’re trying to find home, but you’re trying to find it in the cursed land where you don’t belong. And you want it now.

But home for the fairytale characters doesn’t operate in a world without magic. Home for us doesn’t operate in a world without God. But still our sinful pride says, but why should I worship Him?

If you were an orphan child just escaping disaster, lost everything, suffered unimaginably… and were rescued, then adopted, then supported, then loved unconditionally, would you not adore this Father? Not because you had to, but because… you just did. If other children who went through the same ordeals got adopted into this new, whole, family, wouldn’t your bonds be stronger than blood? And then, what if you learned that the man who adopted you actually went through the same thing as well, wouldn’t you try to be like him, to persevere out of this struggle? And then, what if He told you that you could help him adopt more people into his family, wouldn’t you go out and say, “come, there’s room!” And how would you feel when someone you knew declined or blatantly rejected that invitation? Now how would you feel if you learned that that person chose to go with an abusive family instead?

Because that’s what the pleasures of this world are. Abusive. Addiction, whether it is alcohol, drugs, pornography, instagram, image, self-pity, self, anything… who’s really in control there? And for you who consider yourselves good people, what are you really striving for in life? Happiness? Money? Success? Inner Peace? Happiness ebbs and flows. Money is earned and squandered. Success is fleeting. Inner Peace is Tantalus’ fruit; always just out of reach. These are empty wells that sin taunts us with. A bratty lion cub cruelly playing with its prey. A master abusing his slave. A trail of food leading us to the slaughter house.

We need the gospel. Daily. We need to be repaired, renewed and redeemed daily by it.

But there’s another thing that’s unsettling me, and this is to myself and my brothers and sisters out there. It’s terrifying saying, “come there’s room!” The world has made it so. This is where the tension I’ve been feeling lately is coming from. On the one hand, I just want to be done with this curse and see Your kingdom come… but I know that in wishing that, in a way I am condemning the billions that have declined or haven’t opened that invitation.

In my media course, we talked briefly about responsibility, and how as we have had the privilege of education, we ought to use that to change the world. As Christians, we have the privilege of knowing God, and knowing that His wrath and His kingdom are coming. Is it not our responsibility to change the world? To build the kingdom?

Not the physical kingdom obviously, but the numbers of people to fill it. Here’s where legacy comes back in, if you’ve been reading this far. Those who stood by when the civil rights movement was going on can’t say much if their children ask what they did to change the world. How much will we be able to say when we have to give an account to the God of the universe of what we did to change the world? HIs world. His people.

Going out there to save the lost is scary yes, but shouldn’t we be more afraid of God than of men? Who’s disappointment would we rather receive? The answer is obvious, and yet what I know in my head hasn’t yet reached my heart.

The tools I believe I’ve been equipped with are my words, my pen, my quill, and I write the same story over and over and over. To remember. To keep saying, “come, there’s room!” I know full well this message isn’t always a nice one. I know full well I’ll be scorned. Creatives are perhaps the most sensitive to rejection and yet must face it more than anyone else. And now I’ve got this added layer of rejection?

It’s hard. It’s exhausting. It’s heartbreaking.

I’ve come to terms (I think) with rejection in my career. Rejection for bad writing, bad ideas, bad timing. If I never find success as a screenwriter or any kind of writer… I know my God will take care of me. After all, I have life eternal to look forward to.

But if I get rejected for my faith, for my beliefs, if spiritually I get a stoning, and feel that mourning… Am I ready for that?

And here’s where grace comes in yet again: I want to build the kingdom with words and with scripts – but the kingdom is not contingent on my success. Because all the work is God’s. He’s the One who moves in the hearts of men. He’s the One use picks and chooses what tools build the kingdom. I’m not the one bringing people in. I don’t host the event, I’m only the one mailing the invitation. Rejection is not failure.

See? I know all this. But still I don’t do it. That is, sharing the gospel vocally. It means seeing people face to face. It means physicality. Do I really want to use written word to spread the gospel, or am I just hiding behind my screen because it’s easier? As they say, the cause is just. But my motives? Uncertain.

This is tonight’s struggle. These are tonight’s thoughts. I don’t know what tomorrow brings, but with each morning i’ll rise and sing.

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P.S. Song/mood while writing this post: Rosebud by Marco Beltrami. Lyrics that inspired this post: This I believe (The Creed) by Hillsong.

I believe in God the Father. I believe in Christ the Son. I believe in the Holy Spirit, our God is three in one. I believe in the resurrection, when we will rise again, for I believe in the name of Jesus. I believe in life eternal. I believe in the virgin birth. I believe in the Saints’ communion, and in Your Holy Church. I believe in the resurrection, when we will rise again, for I believe in the name of Jesus.

#HeSpeaksToMeThroughSongs