So this used to be a separate page here on the site but I’ve migrated it into the regular blog posts. Perhaps that will make it a bit more regular then….
David Crowder Band
One of the several creative or counterintuitive tracks DCB has adapted or adopted, from well-known traditional hyms to a Sufjan Stevens cover. This one, written by a band you’ve never heard of, was popularized by Sarah Brightman, Andrew Lloyd Weber’s ex-wife and his inspiration for the character of Christine Daaé in The Phantom of the Opera. It’s a plodding minor-key dirge that feels like walking through knee-deep mud to get to someone on the other side:
All of my life I’ve been in hiding
Wishing there was someone just like you
Now that you’re here, now that I’ve found you
I know that you’re the one to pull me through
Musically the song never actually gets to the other side, so to speak, and instead ends with an instrumental jam that is even more desperate and furious than the song itself. There’s a break in the middle, though, a stop-and-breathe moment which is the part that gets stuck in my head, quoting lyrics from another hymn I also happen to enjoy:
Jesus, Jesus how I trust you
How I’ve proved you o’er and o’er
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus:
Many songs get stuck in my head because I happen to have recently heard them somewhere or have been thinking of them. This is one of the few that often enters unbidden in the middle of whatever I am doing and subtly and briefly takes me somewhere else.
I’ve put an end to it. Or at least tried to.
Since the image accompanying a post from the summer has soared to the number one spot in Google images searches for its kin most of the traffic coming to the site has been to find that image. Which is nice and all but if you’ve noticed I really haven’t written much lately, and especially not much with any thought behind it. So while I appreciate all the attention, people, I really can’t fool myself anymore and go through my days thinking my blog has become that popular. Seriously. It makes me think I don’t have to write anything else, just keep posting images that people want to put in their own posts. Hm. Perhaps an idea for another blog.
So I deleted the image today from my WordPress media library, and replaced it in the post with the same image, renamed and re-uploaded in an effort to fool the Google beast. However as of this writing 15 minutes later Google still sees it. Maybe they have hard-drive searching technology that turns up results from my very own computer rather than just what I post online. Oh right, they do. But I have not installed it. Maybe WordPress has only told me they have deleted it but in reality hidden it away knowing it drives Google traffic to one of their sites. Scammers, all of them.
Watch, now the image in this post will catch on.
I just haven’t felt like writing much lately. Ever get that feeling, the one where you know you probably have things to say if you could just get your mind up in your brain for long enough to sort them out and write them down? And so once again I am stealing time to say that I must have something to say, somewhere.
One reason I don’t write is I just dont’ feel like it. It’s not a laziness thing, or that I have more meaningful things to be doing with my time. It’s a feeling thing. A worn-out, grumpy, frazzled, or other mind-zapping feeling that just makes me think, ugh. I suppose you could call that laziness at times. And I suppose writing isn’t the only aspect of my life that suffers from periods of time like this.
This period of time has included a week full of barfing, thankfully not by me, but unfortunately the barfing pretty much all occurred between the hours of 11pm and 4am on various nights throughout the week as some sort of icky-poo virus made its way through my progeny. And out the other end too in colorful and glorious fashion. At least it didn’t all hit while I was at work, leaving Amber on her own to hold bowls, wipe mouths and change barf clothes. Bleh. At one point I simply undid the four corners of Zeke’s fitted sheet and pulled everything on his bed up in one oversized bundle, including his pillow, and carried it down to the wash.
Ick. Enough thinking about that.
We went to the informational/get plugged in meeting for new attenders today at the church we’ve been attending for the last few months. It was, um, informational. We’ve been going to a small group for a little while now, which has been great, but have been looking for ways to get involved a little further as well as address some of our own nagging questions and frustrations, some of which I’ve recounted elsewhere on this blog. It’s a large church, so much so that we’re lucky if we see anyone we know on any given week who isn’t on stage. So figuring out the scope of what’s happening there, and which sorts of things would interest us or be relevant to our spiritual journey has been overwhelming. Not so much now I think. At the meeting various folks broke it down into categories corresponding with different points on a spiritual journey, and then gave us events to try out, or names of folks to contact to make a shot at a next step. Which was nice. And actually pretty darn helpful. We will see how these next steps pan out for us, but hey – it’s a start.
Twelve minutes until Max & Ruby is over and I get to wrestle the baby alligators into their PJ’s. Time to go do something productive like surf the web.
I ‘ve been reading through Donald Miller’s much-accoladed Blue Like Jazz recently, and came across this quote:
I believe in God, and as I said before it feels so much more like something is causing me to believe than that I am stirring up belief. In fact, I would even say that when I started in faith I didn’t want to believe; my intellect wanted to disbelieve, but my soul, that deeper instinct, could no more stop believing in God than [my friend] Tony could stop being in love with his wife. There are things you choose to believe, and beliefs that choose you. This was one of the ones that chose me.
I like the distinction that there are types of belief that are intentional and types that are unintentional, whether through social conditioning and the like – which upon reflection may still fall into the first category of adopted beliefs, or simply the fact that they happen, like love. I feel like the last four years has been a shaking out of the beliefs I have chosen to adopt, more or less leaving only the ones that have chosen me, the ones that despite an extended series of poor circumstances and all the evidence a man would need to discard or significantly revise them have stuck around largely unchanged.
I can’t really explain it. The reason I’ve held to the conviction that God is real, and incredibly and consistently good, and interested and involved in my life isn’t because everyone around me has held the same belief, or that I didn’t have significant logical and circumstantial evidence contradicting it, or even the fear that I would be disappointing my family or many of my friends if I were to abandon it – rather it was more the sense that I would be disappointing God himself if I were to discard my faith, the awareness that despite all the above factors God had become no less real to me even through my lowest times, that there has continued to be someone who transcends the reality I experience and perceive and who still offers comfort, rest and inspiration to face what comes next.
It’s an interesting comparison as well between this unchosen belief and love. I don’t think love is an entirely unintentional process – perhaps some forms of it are, like having a crush or love for a child, but not the commitment-oriented, long-term sort that a fulfilling marriage requires. And even that kind involves continual decisions to stay in the process, make sacrifices and invest in the relationship. All this said, there is a persistence to love, a relentless belief that can’t be walked away from without painful self-convincing and heart-hardening, like trying to fall out of love with someone.
It’s again an interesting parallel. My faith is still around because I still love, and I still am loved. Turning around and walking away from it is turning around and walking away from love. I am or have recently been frustrated, confused, hurt, angry, even demoralized and depressed, but the love is still constant. I am aware of it on some days and unaware on others; I occasionally pursue it or often times leave it be. But it does not change. I don’t think it will ever go away.
I was struck in church this past weekend by a line from one of the songs expressing essentially that everything God does is right and good. A nice little line in the middle of a fun little song describing how far beyond human standards and experience God’s goodness and power go. A line which after thinking about it for a little while though actually seems more like the central question of faith than a nice sentiment.
Is everything God does good?
Clearly not everything that happens in the world is good. And clearly not everything that happens is God’s doing, unless you want to get into the omnipotence/free will debate which I do not. But in a life of faith that tries sincerely to do what God says in order to connect with him and have a meaningful life, there are inevitably twists of circumstance in which what began as something God seemed to have been doing or instructing becomes something disappointing, or frustrating, or even devastating. A prayer is not answered, a risk taken with the best of wisdom falls flat, or events within human control, or beyond it, conspire to squelch joy.
So there is still the question of causality in all these instances. Who made it happen? I don’t know. But I do know there have been times when, to the best of my understanding I felt God had directly instructed me or led me to a point where I made the best decision I knew to make, and I walked right into utter failure. In times like that it’s easy to blame myself. I made the wrong decision, I didn’t fully plan or think through things beforehand, or circumstances happened that were beyond my control.
But if I believe in a good God, and I believe that he’s only good, and doesn’t pull switcheroos or act in a mostly good manner and occasionally do things that are only for his amusement – that he doesn’t enjoy suffering or take pleasure in humanity’s grief in any way whatsoever, then I have to also believe that everything he does is good. Even when it feels like the opposite of good to me.
I could play the God-Is-All-Knowing card here or the somewhat condescending or authoritarian-parent sounding You’ll-Thank-Me-For-This-Later line, but I don’t think God plays those games either.
Is God not entirely good then? Or should I somehow convince myself that bad circumstances are in fact good for me? Or is God actually still good despite his not behaving as I expect him to or have been taught to believe he will? I don’t have any answers here, just wondering out loud. In the end though it seems the only hope I could possibly have in life hinges on the belief that God is good in everything he does, and while in the grand scheme of things I don’t really merit an explanation for the things I don’t understand I have to think that he is still there, and still worth pursuing.