Looking way up!

Alas, the ways of man will not succeed.  The way of the King is thanksgiving, rejoicing, praise and exaltation.  This defies the heaviness of an earthbound sight, and literally brings into creation the very thing that is lacking.

When all that I can see is the dominion of darkness and how much I despise it, it has won.  The prince of the power of the air has a rule that is far inferior to that of my King, Jesus.  I fix my eyes on Him. 

Where there is injustice, look up, and see Justice.  Where there is hatred, look up, and see Love.  Where there is hopelessness, look up.  He is our Living Hope.

The war against darkness is not first won in the affairs of the earth, it is first won inside of us as Jesus is given reign in our hearts and minds.  The kingdom of God is truly within us, and it grows and advances as our hearts enthrone Jesus. How do we do this?

“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise,  dwell on these things.” Philippians 4:8

In our response to pressures of the world, all that threatens to prey on our peace and joy, the enemies for which we have no answer, let us look up.

“For we are powerless before this great multitude who are coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on You.” 2 Chronicles 20

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What I see defines who I am becoming, part V

What I see defines who I am becoming, part V

It is not about me, yet it is. It is impossible to offer something that I am not, how can I offer peace to a world of war if within me, I have none? How can I offer love to a world bound in fear and hatred if I have not love? I’ve come to see things from a very different perspective, realizing that more important than academic knowledge or technical skills, is the ability to see and embody hope when all that is visible is despair.

I have discovered that this is my place in international engagement; to ardently hope against all odds, and in so doing, to bring a reality that has been re-named9, a whole story being shared, and a future that redeems its past into existance. Hope is born out of perseverance, and is not truly hope lest it touches the ordinary, speaks into the problems of daily life, and exists in and through relationship. I want to learn to have relationship with undiscovered brother and sisters around the world who continue to struggle towards justice when there is none. I want to see their stories from the inside out, not only to position myself in a theoretical way void of experience, but to recognize that my place in ethical engagement is not distance, but relationship; relationship that dismantles ‘development strategies’ and challenge hollow attempts towards economic revitalization.

References: (part I-V)

  • Adichie, C. “The Danger of a Single Story” ://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/chimamanda_adichie_the_danger_of_a_single_story.html
  • Freire, P. (2007). Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Continuum International Publishing Group Inc. Chapter 3, pp 87-124
  • Galeano, E. (1973). Open Veins of Latin America. New York: Monthly Review Press.
  • Nouwen, Henri.(1975). Renewed For Life, Daily lenten meditations from the Works of Henri J. M. Nouwen. The Crossroad Publishing Company. p. 16
  • Said, E. on “Orientalism” [four part documentary]retrieved 02/03/2011 from:http://youtube.com/

4 Adichie, C.

5Galeano, E. (1973) Open Veins of Latin America. New York: Monthly Review Press.

6Friere, P. (2007). Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Continuum International Publishing Group Inc. Chapter 3, pp. 87-124

7Friere, Paolo

8Nouwen, Henri, Renewed for Life

9Freire, Paolo

What I see defines who I am becoming, part IV

I recently came across some words of Henri Nouwen that captured something profound for me;

As long as we imagine and live as if there is no peace in sight, and that it all depends on us to make it come about, we are on the road to self destruction. But when we trust that the God of love has already given the peace that we are searching for, we will see this peace breaking through the broken soil of our human condition and we will be able to let it grow fast and even heal the economies and political maladies of our time.8

What I see defines who I am becomingpart III

Paolo Friere talks about true words; and I believe that it is a true word that is the catalyst for true ethical inquiry. The process of becoming. Accepting the reality that many things exist in a tension, and moving on towards completion, wholeness; a dynamic equilibrium between that which is, and that which is coming, both in and around us. In a world of idle chatter, false stories, and realities disconnected from their historical contexts, we are all longing for a living word. A word spoken out of a life lived, a word that embodies someone’s interior reality. A living word names, and re-names7 that which is wicked, sees beauty in despair, and in so doing, transforms the world that it sees. Friere talks about naming the world, and I too wonder how the way that I see creates and defines the world around me. If what I see is what I bring into existance, than it is imperitive that I focus on that which brings life and hope, for more than smart development strategies, what we need today is hope.

What I see defines who I am becoming- part II

My journey of ethical inquiry has brought me to a place of realizing that although the structures that bring chaos in our world may not change, who I am in response to that world must. Social and economic development cannot originate in another country, rather it is something that must begin in me; my interior landscapes need to be changed daily. I believe that this interior transformation pertains to what I see; that vision is directly connected to who I am becoming. Edward Said talks about one aspect of this in his discussions on Orientalism1. Specifically referring to western views on the Orient, Said raises an excellent point that truly, how we see the other will define who we are in relationship to them.2 My creative piece is a window into this journey of learning to see; an attempt to create a picture of the complex layers of social, historical, and political interconnectedness that tend to shape our lenses of ‘the other’3. Images of people, a single story about them superimposed upon their true story, the whole story4, lie beneath layers of a history that is difficult to piece together. I question how the historical exploitation of Latin America has come to define the present day lives of its people5 I ask, who are the oppressed? What are the words written across the faces of the other, the “verbalism, the alienated and alienating blah6” that I speak, think, and use so often to fabricate stories of the other?

What I see defines who I will be, part 1

What I see defines who I will be.

In asking about my role in a multi-dimensional world, is is easy to get lost in a sea of unfinished stories, fragmented realities, and half truths fused together to create an impossible picture. That impossibility causes me to wrestle towards finding a place of engagement with a world that is out of alignment, a world in which we harm and oppress one another and the beautiful earth that we’ve been given, taking little care for the fragility of life that surrounds. At times I wish I could withdraw from that reality, one that is hostile to hope. I think that innately, we all long for a different way. Perhaps the grief we feel towards the cracking and breaking of humanity is merely evidence that we were meant for something whole. What if we were meant to live glorious lives, in the true sense of the word, that embody justice, exude mercy, and overcome the surrounding darkness?

Hymn 528

Break, day of God, O break,  Sweet light of heavenly skies! I all for thee forsake, and from my dead self rise: O Lamb of God, whose love is light, shine on my soul, and all is bright.

Break, day of God, O break! The night has lingered long; Our hearts with sighing wake, we weep for sin and wrong: O bright and Morning Star, draw near;  O Sun of Righteousness, appear!

Break, day of God, O break! The earth with strife is worn; The hills with thunder shake, hearts of the people mourn;  Break, day of God, sweet day of peace, and bid the shouts of warriors cease!

Break, day of God, O break! Like to the days above!  Let purity awake. And faith, and hope, and love;  But lo!  We see the brightening sky; the golden morn is drawing nigh.  Amen.

Henry Burton, 1840-1930