Wednesday, October 27, 2010

To Be Alone With You.

In my Itunes library the most played song is "To Be Alone With You" by Sufjan Stevens. 216 times. I was thinking what that says about a person....the lyrics....

I'd swim across Lake Michigan
I'd sell my shoes
I'd give my body to be back again
In the rest of the room
To be alone with you
To be alone with you
To be alone with you
To be alone with you

You gave your body to the lonely
They took your clothes
You gave up a wife and a family
You gave your ghost
To be alone with me
To be alone with me
To be alone with me
You went up on a tree

To be alone with me
You went up on a tree

I've never known a man who loved me

I guess it's because what we long for in love is that beautiful isolation of being alone with someone. Someone who prefers you over everyone else, someone you prefer the same. Someone who you would give up everything for, someone for whom all the things of this world are meaningless when compared to you. Someone who knows your deepest darkest and doesn't turn away. Someone you would rather die than be without, someone who would die for you.

And in this way I know we are created in God's image because this is exactly what He wants....

To be alone with you.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Buster. Day Three.

My friend Adam took a job in Florida so I'm dog-sitting his pit bull Buster for a few weeks. Don't let the sunglasses fool you, Buster can see into the soul. And the soul is made of meat.

Buster barks at the wind, at invisible boogies that trouble him so. He growls when he's angry, happy, anxious, etc... It's easy to know the difference. Except in the dark, when he's standing over you in the bed, teeth shining in the strange half-light.

He has been a little down, missing Adam and all, and so he doesn't eat his food. But then when I add the special favorite gravy morsel goodness in a can to his dry food he scarfs it down. Come to think of it, Buster may be less melancholy and more a master of the human psyche.

To watch Buster belly up in the soft autumn sun, scratching his back on the grass, writhing like some strange beached sea creature, is to envy him. I suppose if I weren't so self-conscious I might join him. And I may yet still.

Things about me that spook Buster: My cell phone vibrating, my alarm clock announcing the waking hour, my sneeze, and especially me running into a wall or door in the dark, which I do, half asleep in a strange house.

Buster has one trick. He shakes. Whenever he isn't being paid his due attention he will remind you of that particular skill by placing his paw squarely into your personal space. He has a knack for finding your most personal space.

I used to have a number four on my keyboard. 123four567890. How many times do I really use the dollar sign anyway? I shouldn't have been typing during playtime.

Buster has a rope. It's a foot or so long with a frayed knot on each end, maybe 2 inches in diameter. He loves to grip it in his teeth and have someone pull the other end. It reminds me of the game when I was a kid and one of the older guys would let you get a free punch in on their shoulder. Just so you would know what it was like to punch a solid wall. Buster is just letting me know that with very little effort he could rip my arm out of it's socket and sling it around the room like a sock puppet.

Me and Buster, we'll do just fine. Besides, I'm skinny. I'm prolly pretty tough and stringy. But come to think of it that describes Buster's favorite chew toy.

The Little God Inside Our Heads.

On a church sign near where I work it reads " Like Coca Cola, God is the real thing."

Last night my friend Whitney stopped by. We stood staring at the black curtain of the new October sky and the thousands if not tens of thousands of stars that were visible in our little corridor of space. We stood in silent awe, amateur astronomers,
drinking in the majesty of creation.

Whitney spoke first. She asked if I'd seen the man and the woman walking down Hattiesburg's main drag carrying the large wooden crosses. I said I had. She asked in a somewhat leading tone what I thought. As is my particular idiosyncrasy, I asked If she really wanted the truth. Which my friends know means I have a strong opinion on a subject. She smiled. I smiled. And then she answered her own question, insightfully so. She said it kinda makes the cross and the sacrifice of Jesus small.

Yeah. Real small. Soft drink slogan kinda small.

Another friend, Laurel, has a quote from an As Cities Burn song on her Facebook page. "I think our God isn't God if He fits inside our heads" it says.

I tend to agree.

We live in a world desperate for something real. Something more than a slogan, more than a soft drink. Something, or someone that can save us from ourselves, from this path of destruction we're blindly ambling down. The church has that something, knows that someone, and yet we reduce it and Him, to sloganeering, second rate plagiarism, and a bland, watered down hipsterism that the world sees right through it. What if instead of wooden crosses we carried our cross like scripture dictates of Christ's disciples, by dying to our old nature and living the new life by the Spirit? What if instead of the symbols of things we lived those things? Isn't this why we have been warned against idols? Because the symbol of a thing becomes that thing, at least in as much as it becomes small, so easy to fit inside our heads.

What if instead of offering the world a Coke-sized God (and a smile) we offered them the One who created the universe, holds it in His hands, who knows every star by name. What if instead of a soft drink slogan we gave them the Living Water from which no one ever thirsts again.

So for Whitney who said, "I don't even like Coke." Let's buy us a bucketful of those letters and do some vigilante church sign editing....

And for Laurel who is the only person I've ever met who loves the sky as much as me, and for anyone else out there, may God grow larger to you every day and yet ever closer still.