There is a lot of music I enjoy hearing. There are a few, however, that inspire me to write. There are a lot of people whose company I enjoy. There are but a few that inspire me to be a better person, to find my weaknesses and face them head-on until they are no longer who I am. The same goes with books, and movies, and art... there are always a few that inspire me to create, rather than just watch.

Those few that inspire... those are my favorites.

A while back I read something, somewhere, that said the word "inspired" came from an old root word meaning "breathed into". I think that makes sense, because being inspired, for me especially by music, feels like something inside takes a deep breath and comes to life.

It's mouth-to-mouth for the soul.

So it had been a while since I had heard music or read a book that truly inspired me. I hadn't written a song I really liked in a few months. I hadn't even been writing in my blogs much lately, for lack of things to say. I used to write in my blogs daily, sometimes twice daily.

It isn't that I have nothing to write, actually... it is just inspiration that keeps my mind focused. The inspired part of me is the one that says "look back over here, you spaz monkey!"

Lately there have been some pretty inspiring things in my life. I feel that part of me starting to come alive again. People I've met, stories I've heard, songs I've listened to, a special young lady... all have begun to inspire me. I feel that creative, focused part of me coming back.

I wonder if, when God "inspired" the Scriptures, He had already placed the words and ideas in the minds of the writers, and merely had to breathe life into what He had already created inside of them. I wonder, also, if God would ever use the words "spaz monkey."

Seriously, though... there is so much beauty in this world, in the people we see. There is just so much brokenness and dirt to distract us from the beauty inside. Maybe that is the "dim reflection" we see, and we need God's inspiration, His "breath", to awaken the part of us that will create beauty and truth.

Or maybe I'm just a spaz monkey who needs a special dose of the Spirit to keep my head on straight. Either way, I'm cool with it. I just wonder what inspiration really is, and why it is so stinkin' awesome.

This World Is Broken

I heard today about how hard it is for cops to share the news of someone's death with their loved ones... and that it happens thousands of times a day, through murder or suicide or a myriad of other avenues.

I read about how one man, one church, trying to hide the whole truth from the world, ended up further casting doubt upon the entire church when the truth came to light. There was already one truth that came out, why not let them all out? Why do we hide? Why do we act as if we could hide forever? There are so many why's in this...

I heard from a friend that a songwriter and worship leader lied for over a year about having Cancer, just to cover up the fact that the song he wrote about God being his healer was really about his addiction to pornography. Should we be more concerned that this worship leader was addicted to pornography and lied about it to millions of people, or that the church has allowed a culture in which lying and appearances are more important than truth and true compassionate healing?

I see how a band is releasing their music to Christian markets as well as secular, even though their hit single is based on doubt and being okay with doubt. They didn't release the first one to Christian markets because they "didn't have time". But what is the point of a Christian market? Should I be concerned that this band has conclusion that catering to Christians would be a good business move, or should I be concerned that they are right, but unaware of the forthcoming judgment and debating of their merits by a cannibalistic Christian sub-culture?

This world is broken. The church is broken. And what do I do to fix it? I can't help but wonder, as I play my guitar and sing and practice and organize and learn, if there is something more I could do.

Could it be that God has given me, given us, the tools to change the world?

"All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work." 2 Tim 3:16-17

For those reading this who are not Christians, let me assure you that the Christianity that "should be" is the one that changes this world with Love and action rather than united dissent and judgment. I ask this question knowing full well the answer, and asking this one as well...

Why am I not doing more?

What I am going to be posting about this February...

Now, I have a new girlfriend, and some of you may be concerned. You may think that this blog is going to end up being nothing but literary PDA.

Well, you thought wrong :-P.

I have been inspired to write some posts this month, in honor of Valentine's Day. They are as follows:

Idea #1: Sloppy Make Out Songs for Jesus ("Your Love is Extravagant", "In The Secret")

Idea #2: The Inaccessability of women who claim "Jesus" as their boyfriend. I mean, who can follow that, really?

Idea #3: God Told Me You Are The One. (Then He changed His mind)

(not sure where i was going with the grammar on that one)

Idea #4: The Church Camp hook up.

I was going to give these ideas to Stuff Christians Like, but then I decided I wanted to have fun with them. Even if they were going to be read by significantly less people.

Distracted (in a good way)

History was made today.

I was distracted. I was busy getting materials for a new pedal board, and making loops to go with an amazing video. In fact, the inauguration wasn't even on my mind. I've been happily distracted for a few weeks now, lost in my life of music and... well, other stuff :).

I think it is good, though, when we are occasionally distracted from the world by our own lives. I mean, we should always be looking out for ways to serve, and for people to whom we can be the hands and feet of Christ... but sometimes it is cool to have a life interesting enough to distract you from the outside world.

Perhaps when you follow God, He will put things in your life that will consume your time, your energy and your thought.

For now, I'm okay with being distracted.

Hypostatic Union

You know, I get why there are mormons and jehovah's witnesses and other Christ-based cults in this world.

I mean, we have this amazing and beautiful figure, Jesus. He is a savior and an example of love and an all around great guy. Who wouldn't want him as a founder and leader of their religion?

Then, He claims to be God. The line is drawn in the sand, and you are either all in or all out.

"To be a Christian is to believe the impossible. Jesus was human. Jesus was God." -Madeline L'Engle

The disciples even said this was a "hard teaching". The technical term is "Hypostatic Union", the dual nature of Jesus as fully human and fully divine. It is a huge thought, if you really think about it... that Jesus had full omniscience and omnipotence and yet was still fully Human. Many consider uncertainty and weakness parts of the human experience, and they are.

Jesus had these at His disposal, and yet did not touch them except at the Holy Spirit's leading. This is what "life abundantly" is... and this is what full humanity is. To be led by the Holy Spirit is something we can all aspire to, albeit imperfectly.

That is a huge idea, and if you've never struggled with it, you've probably never really looked at it. I assume that at some point, people said to themselves, "You know what? I bet there is more to the story." I mean, we constantly try to explain our world without a shred of actual knowledge, and present our assumptions as fact until they are proven wrong.

So, Joseph Smith has his burrito-induced dream about an angel he heard of in the bible, and a leading figure who sounds disturbingly like an italian entree (is that just me?), written on tablets that conveniently vanished, in a language that conveniently never actually existed (seriously? reformed egyptian?) that could only be translated by Smith himself in what appears to be an attempt at King James English, 300 years too late. His new "scripture" presents a God who we can literally become just like, and a Jesus who was just the first of many "spirit-children".

And people eat it up. It's easier to have a God who was once completely human without that pesky "fully God" business at the same time.

Then you have the Jehovah's Witnesses, claiming that Jesus was created by God, and THEN everything was created through him. Jesus is actually an angel, according to them... specifically, the angel Micheal (who, I am sure, is quite flattered but slightly confused at the attention he's recieving).

This is much easier to wrap the mind around, rather than a Jesus who is the Son of God yet somehow equal and eternal and trinitarian and not a created being.

I believe that these two beliefs, along with many cults and divergent teachings, are a result of people coming to Jesus Christ from a non-spiritual viewpoint, and deciding he needed to be fixed. In the show "Firefly", a ridiculously smart and severly troubled young lady goes to a preacher's bible and begins ripping out pages and rewriting things to "fix" the "inconsistencies" of the Bible.

The truth is, without faith in Jesus Christ and the Spirit's help in understanding, the Word will eventually be too big to accept on it's own. Hypostatic Union is too big an idea for us to truly understand or even fathom without a bit of the supernatural inside of us, which is why Jesus told his disciples to wait for the Spirit.

I encourage those of you who doubt, or those of you who are not believers, to reconsider Christ. I know He's a big idea to wrap your mind around, but I promise you He is an even bigger and infinitely more beautiful Savior, Lord, and Friend. Don't stop just short of the truth, because anything outside of truth is a lie, no matter how many of the same terms and ideas it uses.

2200 Miles Later

I realize now why people fly places they can just as easily drive.

I had two 15+ hour drives this past week.

Somewhere around Abilene and Tucson, I just didn't want to drive anymore.

But the visit was amazing. I saw family and old friends and newer friends... learned what it meant to be a best man, and just how much I dislike New Mexico... and realized how much I already love my new life, just by how much I missed it :).

The lesson in this post is this... don't drive 1100 miles by yourself in one day. Ever.

Especially not with your check engine light on. (it turned off once I got here)