Chosen Are We

I just can’t seem to sing it away
No way
No way

I can’t stay strong with my own burden.
Imagining Your pain
Brings me to my knees, yearning.

God I’m hurting
My heart is a knot
Tied up
But not in You
No it’s not
No it’s not
So lost in myself
Tied up in me
I
I
I forget how great You are.
I remember only how miserable I am
With-
With-
Without You.

But I’m not done
He’s still the One.

There’s a fountain that flows
For you
Me
And for all.
By all I mean you.
It’s my Kingdom, it’s Your Kingdom
It’s His Kingdom.
If we get on board,
If we say “Jesus” instead of
“Just us”,
We stop caring about our kingdom
(Of dirt)
And start living for His.
What I mean by
“There’s a fountain that flows
For you
Me
And for all”
Is that you’ll be seeing
Every race
In Heaven.
Hallelujah!

He cares
He cares for ya.

Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the Kingdom, which he has promised to those who seek him?~James 2:13

He has chosen the poor
Lord, Lord
I am yours

Yours.
The word melts on my mouth like a heart-shaped chocolate.
I belong.
I am being made whole.

Happy Valentine’s Day. Everybody love somebody.

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It’s All God’s Anyway

Pardon the abrupt transition from airy hypothetical posts filled with wordy generalizations to, well, me.

Three days ago I started a “fast” from buying (I know that to fast traditionally means to abstain from food. Use your imaginations, people.)
Thanks to my ingeniously frugal mother I’m not a huge spender, (OK, so I pack my lunch everyday, never order anything but water, and make it a point to avoid weekend movies because of the price) but I am a rabid control freak. I want to be in control of….it all. A few days ago I noticed a thoughtlessly consumerist tendency in myself: when I get to what I see as a comfortable place financially I start to spend. I spend on me and I buy other people stuff and then I spend more on me. Not huge amounts of money, but the green is flowing faster than it was two weeks ago when I was tight-wadded due to worry. I hate that my spending (giving included) fluctuates depending on how I feel I’m doing financially.

And why worry about clothes? Look how the wild flowers grow: they do not work or make clothes for themselves…It is God who clothes the wild grass….~Matthew 6:28 and 30a

So I’m not going to spend. Extreme, you say?

Abject poverty is extreme. Not being ABLE to buy things to meet ones’ basic needs is extreme.
My aim with this silly little fast is not to save money; it’s about not having control. The time I would have spent in line, I will spend in prayer. The movies, book sales, dinners or sports games I would have attended will be replaced by conversation and by solitude. I’ll have to get creative. I’ll have to go without the luxuries I usually bestow upon myself with the swipe of a card. And next time I roll up to a couple of ladies sitting outside of the Salvation Army on 2nd street it will just be me. No brownies and baby shoes. I won’t be a giver or benefactor, I’ll just be a face, and hopefully, soon, a friend.

There it is then, written down. I won’t be buying anything but gas this month (not even Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zero’s new and undoubtedly wonderful CD!) My food is well provided for-gosh, I’m not that crazy. But right down to chewing gum and loose-leaf paper, I hand my control of the money that passes through my fingers to God. Sayonara receipts and restaurants.

Distractions minimized, I hope for two things: clarity towards my own wrong perceptions of money, and a better understanding of how to close the gap between the well-meaning rich and the hungry poor.

The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?” But the good Samaritan reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him? ~Martin Luther King Jr.

Fish Bowl

In two cultures I find myself a day to day observer. There is “A” where I make my money, there is “B” where I spend my money (and free time.) I am a fish out of water in both: uncomfortable, tortured by the screaming discrepancy.

A) West side. Big brick houses, private Utopias bursting with full-bellied babies. Laughing and playing on Ipads, eating fruits and vegetables. The mommys and daddys do their work and keep their lives pristine. They buy their kids a car at 16, a college experience at 18. Lawns are well-manicured, separating one family’s space from the neighbor’s. They are healthy; one generation looks no different from the last. Ray Bans. Religion. Restaurants. The ideal world in which to raise children.

B) Pockets of people in “project” housing. Hundreds of apartments with paper thin walls. A concrete maze winds through the community yard, littered with trash. Kids fly in and out of doors, living with Grandma and Great-Grandma and an uncle or two, never safe from gunshots, rape, or coarse language. There are no daddys. Mama is the rock but she was only a child when she got pregnant; she never had a chance to learn life for herself. They are surviving, one generation looks no different from the last. Potato chips. Pickles. Perverts. No place at all to raise a child.

If the traffic is light it will take twenty minutes to get from A to B. Yet no one ever does. To each, the reality of the other is unreal. People don’t actually live like that, they both say.
I bang my head against a glass wall, a fish seeking to break the barrier betwixt water and air, trying to alert one to the other. We have so much to learn from each other! I’m met with blank stares, emotionally detached well-wishes, sometimes disbelief, apparent apathy.
Quick to denounce what the government is doing, slow to confront the oppression.
The difference between my morning world and my afternoon world, separated only by a quarter tank of gas, is startling. Sometimes I forget it is real. I see how easily ignored that which we abhor can be.
How will we change this? How do I wrap up a blog post about issues I don’t know how to solve?
Today I am a learner. Tomorrow I hope to see things change. One has to come before the other so absorb all that you see, drive a little farther South than you normally do, spare some care, enact the change.