Thursday, September 15, 2005

packing up

used to be, when you left a job, you packed up your personal things in a box and headed out. me, i'm uninstalling software and burning dvds. today is my last day at my current job. i'm terribly excited but of course it's a little hard, and somewhat awkward. my boss actually went away wednesday morning, so the last two days i have used to wrap things up, bossless, which probably worked out well. i'm not sure if i will be having an exit interview with his partner or not. i am leaving here in one point five hours and still have a ton of loose ends to attempt to wrap up.

Friday, September 09, 2005

deer droppings

been spending a lot of time in parks lately. last night jordan and i tried not to freeze looking up at the stars and satellites at valley forge park. there were deer everywhere. one of them came to visit us around the same time as a fox did, and toward the end we chased five or six of something small (young deer?), just trying in the dark to figure out what they were. jordan had brought the Biggest Blanket Ever to sit / lie on, but in the end the whole thing was wrapped around me several times. jordan has a random mind like mine, so that sitting i became a pale bodiless head in the starlight. lying down i was a retarded worm. jordan is good people. with my tiny blue LED flashlight i could make my new blue sneakers glow in the dark. it might be against the rules but when summer comes back i want to spend a night out there under the stars, with a good thick blanket to fend off deer droppings. this morning i started a sort of Bible study journalling exercise. each day i'm reading a verse of the book of james and picking it apart not so much from a theological perspective but from the perspective of my own emotional response... what resonates &c. james seemed like a good book to use because it has a very high density of meaning per verse. this will take me 108 days. already i feel like verse 1 has packed a real wallop based almost solely on the word "servant."

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

boat right on the water

So. Most recent news is that i gave notice at my "boring day job." Anyone reading my blog in late May would have probably noticed that i've been feeling that it it's time to move on from my job at the law firm. I was treading water in both career and ministry, and it was time to make some changes. So over the summer i bided my time, did a lot of prayer and soul-searching and counsel-getting and it just seemed very clear that this was how the Lord was leading. In prayer in August i thought i heard that i should give my 2 weeks notice on September 1st. I prayed and got counsel. I was praying for a big Sign that would say Quit your job 9/1 or Stay at your job until you have a firm offer... Neither of these Signs appeared in the heavens. My only desire was to be obedient to the Lord in this. And then the morning of the 1st i just got this peace about it, that God was leaving it up to me: that i should choose whatever i really wanted, because my heart was submitted to Him. When i thought about it, it became clear that giving notice 9/1 was what i wanted. So i gave notice. The 15th will be my last day of full-time employment at my current job. Almost as soon as i did it -- in fact, even while i was having the Conversation with my boss -- little things and answers to prayer started to happen that just confirmed that this was the right move. I can't say with 100% certainty that I will have a job on the 16th. Basically, there are options i am exploring, nothing quite firm yet, and i need to be freed up to explore better. The Lord has really been teaching me about trusting him. I keep remember what one of my rabbis loves to say -- i'm determined to allow no doubt that God is good and that He loves me. So even if i made the biggest mistake of my life by quitting (which i didn't) and even if i find myself living in abject poverty in a few months, i will consider it an adventure with Him and will know that He is taking care of me. The best part of all this? For the first time in months, every time i think of the future (a week or a month or more) i get terribly excited, without fail. Good state to be in, from what i can tell.

Friday, September 02, 2005

more on new orleans... links

If you have livejournal, bookmark their LJ page: this is a livejournal blog straight from a building in the middle of new orleans. they have been watching over the city and blogging about flooding, looting, disaster and military relief or lack thereof, and so on, for days. not only do they post constant updates and photos, but they have links to various mirrors a camera on the roof of their building that shows the smoking city live. Wired News has a sharply critical article about something i alluded to in previous posts, namely, the warnings from various scientific communities that something like this was likely to happen: They Knew What to Expect. some good donation sites: obviously there is the red cross but another good one is the extremely cost-efficient (and homegrown, for my fellow pennsylvanians) mennonite disaster service.

my problems with two judgment theories.

if you haven't read my previous post, that might give you some context. two theories that i've heard: 1. "judgment" as regards israel: the international christian embassy jerusalem had an interesting take, and i think as foreigners (largely american) who unquestionably support israel, they have a right to be heard:
...my friends, be careful. "Vengeance is mine", says the Lord and we should back away from playing God! It is not time to pronounce judgment but to humble ourselves, repent and call upon God for mercy. Mercy for ourselves and for all of our nations.
as far as israel goes, obviously G-d says He to judge anyone who divides up His land. but the Gaza disengagement buck stops with israel, not america. the Gaza withdrawal was a decision taken by the nation of israel. now, a lot of Messianic Jews want the L-rd to have compassion and avert His judgment from that nation, and we must pray for that. but for those of us in the USA, shouldn't we also be praying for the aversion of judgment from our own nation? and if something bad happens to our nation, shouldn't we be getting on our knees and praying for those suffering, in mercy and humility, forgetting what lies behind and pressing on toward the upward call? also, one of the important details that people seem to miss here (ICEJ points it out in their statement) is that the USA is the staunchest friend of israel. europe, on the other hand, has been consistently undermining israel ever since she was reborn. so why hasn't europe had disasters to the scale of 9/11 and katrina? here's a notion (i don't fully subscribe to this either, but it's a thought): maybe it's the other guy who is attacking the USA. 2. "judgment" as regards immorality in new orleans and america: i have heard this one too: that it is because of the immorality, and new orleans has always had this reputation of being a bastion of immorality. in fact, i have even heard that there were warnings from the prophetic community that new orleans would be flooded if america didn't clean up her moral act. now, i give credit to those who said something beforehand rather than after the fact. but like i wrote here, anyone paying attention in the Fall of 2004 could have predicted this would happen to new orleans unless drastic action was taken. such a prophecy was almost a safe bet. in addition, my dad pointed out that this prophecy / warning most likely never made it into the hands of president bush or the mayor of new orleans. so who was the prophecy to? the body of believers. and we should have been praying. the way my dad sees it, if this was truly the case, then we are all responsible. if i'm going to give credence and actually listen to anyone saying this is judgment, they'd better be saying it from the place of a broken heart for the people who died, lost their families, lost all their worldly goods. they'd better be saying it while looking ahead and begging G-d for mercy and revival, not looking back at how bad this nation is and how much we deserved it. they'd better be saying it without a judgmental bone in their body, fully humble and recognising that their nature is just as sinful and depraved as the "Them" that G-d is supposedly judging, and only by the grace of the L-rd are they not a body in the water themselves.

a few notes about new orleans.

pray for the city. pray for the area. if you have money, donate it. in whatever way you feel led, love the people there. they desperately need it. next, the "judgment" issue. i have been hearing this from a few quarters (just a few, which is good) and it concerns me. in the Bible even when G-d harshly and blatantly judged a nation, His heart broke about it. He had compassion and His prophets had compassion for the people who were being "judged." i was just reading in jeremiah 45 where G-d is grieving over moab, whom He is about to judge. the things that are happening in that part of the country right now are horrible. the situation is horrible. it is worse in many ways than 9/11 and people did the same thing then... they rushed to say it was judgment on america. and i hope that folks will forgive me for being a bit angry when i heard that, because it took me several days after 9/11 to verify that my friends were all okay (some by the skin of their teeth). speaking to believers: i'm sorry, but these are human beings, many of them believers, most of them no more lost than we were before we came to know the L-rd. we should be absolutely consumed with compassion for these people. go to someone who lost everything and tell them it was judgment from G-d, and just watch how fast their heart hardens toward your god. essentially, i don't think it helps anyone to say "it was judgment" after the fact. the prophets always warned people before the disasters came. after they happen, i think it comes down to matthew 7: judge not, lest you be judged. seek and save the lost. that is our call. be examples of mercy triumphing over judgment and love even our "enemies," whatever we perceive our "enemies" to be (the conservatives, the liberals, the pro-palestinians, whoever). we also happen to be in the highest (ie., worst) point of the 70- or 80-year atlantic / gulf hurricane cycle, and we have been utterly idiotic about the levee system in the mississippi delta for decades. after new orleans' near-miss in the 2004 hurricane season i read about this, and even a cursory look at the situation made it clear that unless drastic action was taken, the city would be turned into a toxic cesspool by some storm or another in the next 2-3 years. as soon as i heard about katrina i feared the worst and started praying against it. sadly, instead of addressing the root problems with the levees / sediment situation after the 2004 season (or sooner), and instead of sending all those national guard buses and assisting the evacuation before a potentially horrendous disaster struck (instead of the almost lackadaisical response in light of the current situation), our nation ignored the danger and hoped it would go away. in a purely practical / scientific way, one could say we have been "judged" for our abuse and deliberate ignorance of the environment in that area. we have to be careful of aligning the latest disaster to fit our political / idealistic affiliation. last year i saw a map showing how the florida hurricanes in 2001-2004 hit the counties that (apparently) voted for mr. bush in 2000. or maybe katrina and subsequent gas prices are judgment on our nation for our addictive abuse of oil. i don't subscribe to any of these theories but it just goes to show that you can read lots of things into phenomena like this if you really want to. to date, i have heard two main theories of judgment about this hurricane. this post is getting long so i'll post them separately.