some rambly thoughts on a temperate June evening

thoughts born at a local shavery we know

Some stray thoughts I would like to share:

  • Today I discovered yet another way that God intended for us to live in community. I was talking to a meesheree about self-esteem and how, when you have the assurance, deep in your heart, that you are liked by people in your life (whoever it may be: family, friends, etc — people who genuinely and deeply care for you while knowing the true you), it’s easier not to crave attention and approval from EVERYBODY else because you already know that you’re likable and lovable. And if the people who like you and love you are people you also like/love/respect, you have an even deeper sense of self-worth because you value their opinions and judgments, just by virtue of who they are and what you know of their character. But let’s generalize this a bit here; expand it out. How much greater and deeper would the sense of self-worth be if I truly (deeeep in my soul) knew how loved I was by God? And if I truly and deep-within-my-soul knew how GREAT this lover was, how much MORE confidence would I have in my lovability and likability?! It sounds so simple, but it’s so hard to do — envisioning God as the lover of my soul isn’t always tangible or accessible with my leetle human brain (and heart). So God gives us fellow humans whom we can love. And be loved by. And get from and show toward a little glimpse of what God-love is like, and to gain and share all the benefits that come along.
  • I also talked to the meesheree about my recent and giant tremblings of heart because of my conversation with another (nonbeliever) friend about the lack of archaeological evidence for the Jewish enslavement period in Egypt. Apparently there is no historical/archaeological evidence for the period described in Exodus. I had been doing a lot of confused searching of the internet these past few days and basically being distraught because everyone seemed so sure of what they believed, with scores upon scores of (the lack of) evidence on their side. what is a girl to believe? how is everyone, all believing in opposite things, so convinced that they are all right? m, in response to all this, said that historical lack of evidence and whatnot…she isn’t too fazed. Because 1. (and we agreed on this) Anyone can make an argument and a case for anything and dig up some kind of evidence to back up their claims. The world is more mysterious than we give it credit for sometimes. A lot of the time. Case in point: the endless number of theses being written about every aspect of every argument or every discipline, like all the time endlessly. So I needn’t be so troubled by the fact that everyone seems to believe opposite things and yet seems to have Definitive Evidence about all of those opposite things because, ultimately, it’s all about how your framework of perception and Life Reality is built, and how you’re working toward fitting (or not fitting) new information and data into that framework. Faith is a crucial part of how Christians’ frameworks are built and how they work, and observable evidence is what a lot of atheists’ frameworks are built on/with. And 2. Because no matter what randos on the street or bloggers on the internet or even what people in her life may say about the realness of God, she says, it doesn’t really debunk anything she feels about God himself because he’s been so undeniably real to her, in her personal relationship with him. It’s like, she said, if someone came up to her and started telling her things about me that seem out of character from what she knows of me. Because of the relationship we have, she’s not just gonna take that person’s word as truth and believe these hearsay claims about me — she’s gonna suspend judgment and at least seek me out to ask me about the allegations. Like, there must be some kind of misperception or miscommunication that this person thinks this about Madison! That would be her first reaction. Because she knows me. Because she likes and loves me.  Because she remembers the history of our relationship together. This part made me feel small and weak in my faith.
  • And another thing that makes me feel small and weakly and unmoored from anything is the fact that my emotions have such a sway over the way I decide (or don’t decide) things. Ultimately, I’m unable to do something if I just don’t FEEL right about it. And I can’t not do something if it FEELS right. In those moments of strong feels, I am the most decisive person in the world! But feelings change — o fickle heart. This affects the way I behave in my human relationships, in my general attitude toward life, in my thoughts and hopes about God and my relationship with him. How can I ever trust to do anything right if I’m so dependent on my fickle emotions to make my important decisions?! But then m reminded me that I’m not just a feeler — I have to make sense of a situation to feel a certain way about it. Whether that involves logic, or a certain way of reconciling two seemingly irreconcilable things, or a steadfast decision based on principles or values I would like to live by. And this part wasn’t fleshed out so well in examples but I do agree with her about this. More reflection needed, I think. And prayer. For my heart and mind and soul not to be so easily swayed by feeling, but more on truth guided by emotions.
  • Observability/logickability isn’t all that smart seeming, after all. A random thought that popped into my head as we pulled into my parking lot, this one — but. When viewed from the construct that everyone simply has a certain worldview they’ve created and are continually trying to fit new data into, organizing it all in a way that makes sense without too much disturbance, the argument of the strict scientist or historian isn’t so appealing anymore. If your construct only allows you “truths” that you can observe, take in, digest with your human mind and body, how limited is the world in which you live! Either that, or how arrogant you are to think that this universe is even remotely understandable in its fullness by your relatively small human life and brain. There are vast stretches of the galaxies (not to mention the OCEAN. on planet EARTH) that we haven’t even figured out how to experience. The world — and explanations for why we’re all here — is bigger than I am. And I hate that this gets boiled down to the Christian cliche: “God works in mysterious ways.” But the truth is that he ACTUALLY DOES! And that cliches are ACTUALLY the biggest, the underdoggest truths in the entirety of human experience. That’s why they are cliches, dang it!! Because everyone keeps realizing the same human thing over and over.

There is absolutely no need or pressure for you to respond to these rambly thoughts. But let me know if you have anything that could add to my understanding of things!

email-thinking on Tuesday, 14 June 2016 after some snoxream in a K Mart parking lot. mysteries and hipsterness abound.


Danielle and Paul and Don

Paul continued. “I’m saying there is stuff I can’t tell her, not because I don’t want to, but because there aren’t words. It’s like we are separate people,and there is no getting inside each other to read each other’s thoughts, each other’s beings. Marriage is amazing because it is the closest two people can get, but they can’t get all the way to that place of absolute knowing. Marriage is the most beautiful thing I have ever dreamed of, Don, but it isn’t everything. It isn’t Mecca. Danielle loves everything about me; she accepts me and tolerates me and encourages me. She knows me better than anybody else in the world, but she doesn’t know all of me, and I don’t know all of her. And I never thought after I got married there would still be something lacking. I always thought marriage, especially after I first met Danielle, would be the ultimate fulfillment. It is great, don’t get me wrong, and I am glad I married Danielle, and I will be with her forever. But there are places in our lives that only God can go.”

“So marriage isn’t all that it is cracked up to be?” I ask.

“No, it is so much more than I ever thought it would be. One of the ways God shows me He loves me is through Danielle, and one of the ways God shows Danielle He loves her is through me. And because she loves me, and teaches me that I am lovable, I can better interact with God.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean that to be in a relationship with God is to be loved purely and furiously. And a person who thinks himself unlovable cannot be in a relationship with God because he can’t accept who God is; a Being that is love. We learn that we are lovable or unlovable from other people,” Paul says. “That is why God tells us so many times to love each other.”

Blue Like Jazz, Don Miller

“I love you”

Just a thought, plucked from the ethers of another long-drive conversation with Mr. Mark–

for lots of people, maybe salvation is kind of like the first confession of an out-loud “I love you.” like you’re really genuine, earnest, and you do mean it, but you also sort of don’t know what you’re talking about. and it’s only in living out the relationship post-“I love you” that you learn what love is all about. and how to do it well.

or something.


looking carefully

There’s something about peering into the face of a person, up close and personal, as they say, and seeing a kind of beauty that just isn’t seen from further away.
And then, there must be a kind of beauty others see in me, too, when the face is peered into with care and unjudgment. Not cause I think I’m pretty (I think I am pretty, sometimes) but just by virtue of the first statement of this post applying equally to all humans, which is a category of things including me.
Like, there are sometimes when I catch a reflection of myself somewhere, under certain lighting or in a certain kind of mirror, and think: oh…yay!! And other times when the same situation happens, and my response, instead, is: …AW MAN. And I think that this peering closely and unjudgingly thing can have the tendency to elicit the first kind of response in people, of the people they’re observing.
Something very beautiful about that, right? Something like “Understanding leads to love.”
Not fully developed thought-connection that I think is related, but like I just disclaimed, not fully developed:
Per Pastor John Piper:

God is the only being in the universe whose display of his own glory is love. Display of one’s glory, done by anyone else, would not be love — that would be selfishness and pride and undue self-glorification. But God is unique in possessing this quality because the display and experience of God’s glory is the only sure source of full satisfaction of man’s soul (not to mention his chief end, right?) in this entire universe. So God must show himself as glorious and must require all his creation to sing out his glory. And in this, he shows LOVE.

Observing God, seeing and knowing his glory, leads to increased gain of love.
Looking closely at his humanly creations, peering close into moments of unguarded normalcy and undaunted peer-backs, leads to increased gain of love.
So maybe…by the law of the a = b, a –> b, b –> c, then a –> c ness of the logic of the law (dear math/philosophy majors, please forgive me)…maybe these peerings, up close and personal, as they say, are like…seeing moments of God in people.
Woah. Is that too bold? Either way, isn’t he beautiful, our God of love? Dah. I wish to peer more deeply more closely more intimately. More love-ingly.