September 12th, 2014

The 9/11 lights at Ground Zero. RIP.

September 8th, 2014
September 8th, 2014

in service of the un-me

"Salvation and power are established!
Kingdom of our God, authority of his Messiah!
The Accuser of our brothers and sisters thrown out,
who accused them day and night before God.
They defeated him through the blood of the Lamb
and the bold word of their witness.
They weren’t in love with themselves;
they were willing to die for Christ.” (Revelations 12:9-12)

The illustration drawn here in the Book of Revelations is vivid. A war breaks out in Heaven. A Dragon invades the realm. Angels throw the Serpent down to the earth. Strong paintings of a celestial battle. And then, a voice that proclaims the Accuser has been defeated.

This is important, because we know - I know - what it means to fight the Accuser. I am daily being accused - my warts and inadequacies pointed out under the bright and burning lights, my mistakes highlighted and circled in gleeful red - and more often than not, I listen. The Accuser knows the words and allegations that weigh on my soul. It works. It hurts. It wounds.

Here, however, the Accuser is defeated. Accusations are hurled down to the ground by the work of Jesus, by the bold testimony of our lives and what we’ve witnessed, and because we were not in service of ourselves.

That last part: in service of the un-me. I shake my head, because that’s so hard. I live in a world that is build to help people serve their own self-interests, our own ego. We must let people know about ourselves, we need to drive and herd all the motivations behind our actions towards the me, consciously or unconsciously. I know - I am the guiltiest one. That is what I am accused of.

So much so, that the removal of this house of cards will send me crashing to despair. Who will serve me if not myself? How will I stand tall if I don’t prop myself as high as I can in a world where I need to survive, to thrive in? In this game of cut-throat survival, isn’t the me the most important animal of all? How else do we live?

That’s why this call is for those with such bravado, such abandon, such risk-fullness. The call to let our journey speak for itself, and to serve the un-me. Oh, to trust in the saving redemption of the One who has grace dripping through his veins, and who will prove more than adequate to give wholeness to our broken selves. And in this choice, miraculously, we find ourselves in Him. I find a freedom from accusations, and I find such a revelment in my identity as, simply, His. Free to serve others, to walk, to understand the life of the un-me. To find myself in Him.

Oh Father, I have periods of loneliness, of doubt, of blame, shame, strife. Yet, you’ve shown a better course - one where the Accuser is defeated, where my journey bears witness, where I love you more than my ego.

Oh, I’m so far from there. Let me walk this journey with you, learning to be your witness. Learning to not believe the accusations of who I am and what I’ve done. Learning to live in service of the un-me.

Amen. 

September 8th, 2014

True poetry in motion.

September 6th, 2014

Gideon’s Army, a documentary on the work of American public defenders who take up the court cases of people who cannot afford to hire a lawyer, bloody made me cry. So moving. I’ll remember the quote. “Our job is to fight the system. Be a warrior. Go to war.”

September 4th, 2014

This cafe is showing Apocalypse Now on a big screen. Fuyoh.

August 27th, 2014

At the entrance of the J-school here, there’s this plaque bearing words written by the school’s founder, Joseph Pulitzer (the namesake for the annual Pulitzer prize for journalists). It reads:

Our Republic and its press will rise or fall together. An able, disinterested, public-spirited press, with trained intelligence to know the right and courage to do it can preserve that public virtue without which popular government is a sham and a mockery. A cynical, mercenary, demagogic press will produce in time a people as base as itself. The power to mould the future of the Republic will be in the hands of the journalists of future generations.

If that doesn’t inspire me to write, I don’t know what will. (at Columbia Journalism School)

August 25th, 2014

My school’s building! Place I’ll be spending a whole lot of time in over the next 10 months. Also boasts lots of nods to the man who started it here, Joseph Pulitzer. (at Columbia University)

August 25th, 2014

So. New York City. Still a little surreal, all of it. (at 42st Times Square)

July 17th, 2014

Revelation of the day: Everyone is on their own journey and living their own lives. And yes, that thought can be depressing at times. The way the world works can be depressing at times.

But… so am I. I have my own journey to walk. I have my own life to live.

And you know what? It can be pretty amazing if I just stop comparing myself with what everyone else is doing, and walk on my own path.

And a reminder from my dear, dear friend, on the amazing poem that encapsulates today’s thought:

Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

You’ll look up and down streets. Look ‘em over with care.
About some you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.”
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet,
you’re too smart to go down any not-so-good street.

And you may not find any
you’ll want to go down.
In that case, of course,
you’ll head straight out of town.

It’s opener there
in the wide open air.

Out there things can happen
and frequently do
to people as brainy
and footsy as you.

And then things start to happen,
don’t worry. Don’t stew.
Just go right along.
You’ll start happening too.

OH!
THE PLACES YOU’LL GO!

You’ll be on y our way up!
You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers
who soar to high heights.

You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed.
You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you’ll be best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

Except when you don’t.
Because, sometimes, you won’t.

I’m sorry to say so
but, sadly, it’s true
that Bang-ups
and Hang-ups
can happen to you.

You can get all hung up
in a prickle-ly perch.
And your gang will fly on.
You’ll be left in a Lurch.

You’ll come down from the Lurch
with an unpleasant bump.
And the chances are, then,
that you’ll be in a Slump.

And when you’re in a Slump,
you’re not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself
is not easily done.

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked.
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?

And IF you go in, should you turn left or right…
or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite?
Or go around back and sneak in from behind?
Simple it’s not, I’m afraid you will find,
for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.

You can get so confused
that you’ll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles cross weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place…

…for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or the waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for the wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.

NO!
That’s not for you!

Somehow you’ll escape
all that waiting and staying
You’ll find the bright places
where Boom Bands are playing.

With banner flip-flapping,
once more you’ll ride high!
Ready for anything under the sky.
Ready because you’re that kind of a guy!

Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done!
There are points to be scored. There are games to be won.
And the magical things you can do with that ball
will make you the winning-est winner of all.
Fame! You’ll be as famous as famous can be,
with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.

Except when they don’t
Because, sometimes they won’t.

I’m afraid that some times
you’ll play lonely games too.
Games you can’t win
‘cause you’ll play against you.

All Alone!
Whether you like it or not,
Alone will be something
you’ll be quite a lot.

And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance
you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.

But on you will go
though the weather be foul.
On you will go
though your enemies prowl.
On you will go
though the Hakken-Kraks howl.
Onward up many
a frightening creek,
though your arms may get sore
and your sneakers may leak.

On and on you will hike,
And I know you’ll hike far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are.

You’ll get mixed up, of course,
as you already know.
You’ll get mixed up
with many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life’s
a Great Balancing Act.
Just never foget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)

KID, YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!

So…
be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea,
You’re off the Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!

- “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” by Dr Seuss

Likes