Saturday, January 15, 2011

On Crying...

You have kept count of my tossings, put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book? Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call. This I know, that God is for me.
–Psalms 56:8-9
                As a boy I was told that real men don’t cry, but that the shortest verse in Bible was “Jesus wept” (John 11:35). I figure that people lied to me, because Jesus most certainly was a real man and a manly man if any man can truly be manly. So that meant that real man can and do cry. I figured they just don’t in public. In my mind tears are like a cleansing rain for your soul, without them your soul will stay dirty and gross. I am very in-touch with my emotions and I am not shy about expressing them one bit; if I feel the need to scream and yell I will, if I need to laugh I laugh with reckless abandon, if I am happy you will see me smile and dancing about, and if I need to cry I will. I have learned the power of crying, not power as in something that will get things done outwardly but that inward release. I don’t go around crying all the time, it is only whipped out when necessary, I don’t cleanse my soul every five seconds like a housewife who just loves to scrub the tub so much that the paint starts coming off. But when I see injustice being celebrated as justice, I cry, when I see children suffering intolerable cruelties at the hands of adults who know better, I cry, when I think about all of the goodness of the Lord and how He made a way for me to walk in freedom and dignity instead of in sorrow and despair, I cry. I cry for joy at the sight of orphans being adopted and welcomed into their new “forever families”. Laughing through tears is a rather enjoyable experience; I love it because it reminds me how God can turn mourning into dancing, and sorrow into joy in the morning (Psalm 30:5, 11a) I think everyone should spend more time crying, not a lot, just more than they do. Crying is good for you, it allows you to release those pent up emotions, mostly ones you are afraid of dealing with.
                For me crying also is vulnerability, it leaves you open. Some of my best moments with God have come after tears (one or two after I was yelling at Him, but that doesn’t happen often). In relationships with people crying in-front of others (when it is appropriate) always seems to deepen a relationship. After someone has cried on your shoulder you will automatically feel closer to them. Sure, science has proven that it’s because tears have hormones in them that cause our bodies to want to be more compassionate to crying people, but before science ruined the mystery we just knew that crying brings people together. Even on the playground when another kid starts crying before a mom or dad comes to pick up the child, the other kids surround them and ask “What’s wrong” or “Are you okay?” In the same way crying causes our brothers and sisters in Christ to ask about us, to look after us. It reinforces our community of faith before the Father comes to pick us up and make our “boo-boos” better.  It is sad but sometimes the only way to wake up our fellow believers is tears, keep in mind the prophet Jeremiah was a “weeping prophet”.
                To sum up my rant on crying, I leave you with the words of Jesus “Happy you who weep now: you shall laugh.”(Luke 6:21b) I love that crying isn’t where it all ends, but where the joy actually begins. Not only does joy come in the morning, but the joy is encouraged by the tears, like rain brings life to plants, tears give joy the momentum to enter in your life (At least in my mind). If you find yourself in a state of emotional constipation, let it all out with a good cry.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Who do you follow?

I am currently reading a book co-authored by my favorite living Christian author Shane Claiborne and his mentor John Perkins called Follow Me To Freedom in it they ask the reader to list some of the people that they follow. I am a book lover and somewhat hate writing in books, so I am posting this list on my blog...because its my blog and I can do what I want. I would list Jesus on this list but that would just be lame and tacky(although I do follow Jesus) so here is the best of the rest of my list.

1. Shane Claiborne - This kind of goes without saying, but he is one of my favorite authors, I love how he practices what he preaches. He doesn't just say "Help the poor", he gets on his hands and knees and gets to work, and lives among those whom he wants to help. I also love his humility, he never takes credit for anything but always gives God the glory. I wish I could be more like that.

2. Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove- I love JWH,  he is such a great writer and very down to earth. I love that he is very human and personable, he doesn't distance himself from people.

3. Phil Wickham - I have this secret dream that one day I will wake up and be Phil Wickham. But seriously I wish I could be half the worship leader that Phil is. He is a professional at getting out of the way and yet still leading people in worship, while maintaining a humble attitude.

4. Dr. Roger Olsen - Read his book Questions to All Your Answers, and you will follow him too.

5.MLK- Yes, I am putting up Martin Luther King Jr. I love MLK, not just for his civil rights activism. But the man could preach a good word. Don't believe me? Go and read some of his transcribed sermons. Amazing stuff.

6. Dorothy Day - A Catholic woman who leaves a life a privilege to serve the poor and live in the inner-city. She dropped out of college and moved to NYC refused to live off oh her parents money and supported herself. She was a bohemian then in 1927 joined the Catholic church. In the 1930's she started the Catholic Worker Newspaper. She advocated for women's rights, birth control, and free love, yet maintained opposition to the sexual revolution. What a woman.

7.  The Bobo Spiritual Life Staff - Go to Baylor and meet them, you will love them all.

8. Brooke Fraser - I love Brooke, she is a great musician and artist that doesn't sacrifice actual music just to sell a few more albums. Every bit of her heart is poured into her music, because she sees everything she does as an offering to God.

9.  My friends - Yes, when I ask for advice I am asking for you to lead...sometimes. Maybe.

Well, that's all I can think of at the moment. Yes I am leaving it at 9. Yes it is not an even number. muhahaha (that is a sinister laugh, I learned it from a friend of mine).