the time is coming

forgiveness is terribly hard for me. i do believe there are people who can pump it out of a bottle and slather it on generously, but i'm alot more "careful". i'm not extravagant. in fact, you may as well call me frugle. believe me when i say i'm not proud of it--it's a conviction these days.

alot of Bible prophecies began with the words, "the time is coming". i never really thought much about them until tonight, when i picked up an incredible book i'm reading called Gilead. it's a pulitzer prize book by Marilynn Robinson--it's the first novel she's written after her first one 24 years ago, and the book is one to muse over for hours. i was thinking about how i bought it months ago--probably in march or april. i started it but got bored, and for some random reason, felt drawn to it this fall. in light of certain events in my life, the time certainly came for it to be relevant. the time came for me to read it, and it's made an impact on my dedication to forgiveness.

i said in my last post that i feel more prepared for Christ. . . for once in my life, it's like i truly believe he'll be here on Christmas. it's like i'm a kid again and i truly believe in santa, only there's no comparison because a son of God full of peace is a whole lot better then we can imagine. and i believe i'm more ready this year because God's teaching that, if my heart is going to enthrone him, then i've got to make a place for him. he can't be in there with crappy guilt or bitterness. even if they could both fit together, which they can't, how can I subject a pure, perfect child to it? and when i can't forgive properly, how can i love him?

the time is here--i've hemmed and hawed enough and now i just need to pray and ask God to help me forgive. when it comes down to it, it's really that simple. we ask, he does the work, and here's the hard part: we let it go. can i just get that printed in neon lights somewhere? it'll coordinate nicely in downtown Reno!


my apologies. . .

lately i've been suffering bouts of guilt for not keeping up with my blog. it's really not what i want it to be, not reaching its potential, as a teacher might say.

but lately i've been suffering bouts of guilt for everything. the enemy's been laying it on thick, and i haven't been able to muster my way through the fog of regret surrounding me. it's difficult to be rational. it's true that Christmas business, family health problems, scheduling, work stress, church stress, etc has been heavy this year, but i'm blowing it extravagantly out of proportion. i shoulder burdens i'm not responsible for, i feel particularly untalented and ungainly at life,

and through it all, i noticed the other day that Christmas has a deeper meaning for me this year. i wish i could explain it in words, but it's more of an impression. i've taken more ownership of preparing my heart for Christ.

maybe that's why the guilt? it's hard to tell. but i would like to say that this blog will soon be up to par, and until then, i won't let guilt smother incarnated grace.



tonight Jonathan and i were laying by our beautifully decorated Christmas tree listening to music (we cut down our own tree this year, and so it's more sparkly then ever in our eyes). the voices rose into an emotional crescendo during O Holy Night (my favorite Christmas song), and at the moment i was thinking terrible thoughts. . . thoughts about the evil in the world and the darkness that tumbles uncontrollably into our lives. i realized then that if i were ever to be emotionally furious, that is, powerfully full of feelings, good or bad, then singing would be the only way for me to express it fully. i can imagine myself singing in the deepest of grief, that being the only way to rid myself of the toxicity of pain.

at the same odd moment, i was astounded with the perfection and purity of music. . . the joy of it so raw it makes us hurt. I've always wondered what makes it as influential as it is, and my reading this morning shed new light on it.

it was a verse i learned as a song when i was little, so i found it again tonight because i remembered the reference as a melody. "the Lord, the Lord is my strength and my song" (Is. 12).

i have a great aunt who struggles through alzheimers, and even though she can't talk and doesn't remember people, she remembers every single hymn she's ever sung.


pray for my Mom

moms are indescribable. unfortunately, because i have such a thick head only recently have i truly come to understand that.

my mom is indescribable. unfortunately, i'm all the way in reno and she's all the way in denver and she's just been re-diagnosed with breast cancer. that means i can't give her a hug, or see her every day, or hide little notes in her school bag for all the days that she manages the energy to get up and go to work (which was every day the last time she had it because that's the kind of person she is.) so this really sucks.

if you're reading this, please keep my mom in your prayers. she's trusting God and she's amazing, and he provided her a way to find it right away. she even told me not to pray for her, but to pray for my youngest brothers who are still living with her at home.

i will learn from her faith for a lifetime.



Last night Jonathan and I went with some friends through a corn maze that reminded me of the Harry Potter movie, only it wasn't as scary because there weren't magical, evil spells being cast on me. I loved the experience. Yelling teenagers and the men that blew cigarette smoke on me couldn't ruin it, and I felt like a kid again, being able to get truly and utterly lost somewhere.

Jonathan (my husband) and I started out with some friends and then split off into couples. In retrospect, we were disappointed we split off. Once we lost track of each other we didn't find each other until the end, and of course, who knew when we would finish? Some people took fifteen minutes, some took an hour. It really didn't depend on your sense of direction, because as we all know, a maze doesn't have to go in one specific direction. We finally learned the second time around what it is that really matters when you're trying to find your way through a maze.

We had wondered around the maze for about twenty minutes, probably. We were fresh and the cold hadn't seeped into our bones yet, and Jonathan especially was propelled by his competitive desire to win (even though I reminded him many times that we weren't racing and that there wasn't a contest.) Still, we forged ahead and got caught up in the excitement, people busting out of the corn to scare people, families laughing, flashlights beaming. There's something about being in a corn maze under the October moon that's surreal and magical. It makes me understand where people got ideas for horror movies like "Children of the Corn."

After about thirty minutes of aimless wandering we found ourselves back at the entrance. But as we looked through our headlamps disoriented, we didn't really know what to do. Finally we settled on going in a different direction, and suddenly, t was like an automatic mode switched on in our heads. We turned and walked into aisles without deliberation. We made decisions without thinking. And before we knew it, we were at the exit! I almost missed it because it was a bridge, and I didn't even realize it was the way out. I just thought it was a scenic overlook and almost kept walking.

We took a breather and since none of our friends were at the entrance, Jonathan was excited and ready to go back in again. But as I stood there, I felt uneasy about it--mostly because I tried to retrace our steps in my head, trying to see if we would be able to find our way through quickly. I realized I hadn't memorized a thing. Apparently I just walked and turned through the maze like a zombie, without ever memorizing the way or making an effort to imprint the route in my head. It was because of that mistake that, when Jonathan finally convinced me to go back inside, caused us to get lost again and take about thirty more minutes getting out the second time. In fact, it was the second time that was probably the hardest. It was colder, I had to go to the bathroom, and we kept running into the same orange-vested security guys who just shook their heads and laughed at us. "We've been through it already!" we tried to tell them. Unfortunately, unlike our friends that found their way out in fifteen minutes their second time, we got ourselves more lost.

I wonder if it's like this for us when we don't live life intentionally. We wander around, make floaty decisions, choose whatever we feel like, and as a result, forget what we learned from our failures and our successes. It makes me think of the importance of imprinting life experiences in our minds as we go new places, meet new people, fail, succeed, and in general, just live. Because we know that we don't know where we're going in life, it's interesting that we don't make more of an effort to reflect on where we've been already and learn as we go.

So what if we had been smart like our friends and imprinted the route in our minds, and made road markers? we could have done it easily a second time. In the same way, if I take seriously all my priorities and decisions in life, if I intentionally go about my passions and directions, if I journal about my experiences or record them in some practical way, there's a greater chance that I will gain from what I've lived, and life wouldn't be a lost cause. What every single generation has searched for since the beginning of time would be mine: wisdom. After all, wisdom is really just a matter of intentional remembering, of living and learning from our mistakes and successes, and not just sitting on a couch taking whatever TV gives us. No, wisdom is about processing, thinking, and feeling. It's about setting aside time to sit in a silent space, maybe in nature, and provoking questions to spend your life answering. When we do that, the maze isn't so scary to get through. It's easy, and more importantly, rewarding.



Quite frankly, it's very obvious to me that music is an ethereal spiritual mystery that we'll never completely grasp.

i'm sucking Spanish wine at the moment I write these words. Take it as a disclaimer to this post, or just keep it in mind as you read, if you'd like. Either way, I suppose I'm purposely writing at this moment to avoid witholding important information from you. After re-reading my last post, i realize I didn't quite clarify my very strong feelings about musical styles in worship. I realize I said generational worship is very important, and yes, I do believe it wholeheartedly. At the same time, I think it's vital we consider the powerful emotional, scientific power of music.

I'm despising church these days. I hate going. Thursday night Bible study--awesome. Sunday morning Bible study with women ten-thirty years older than me--wonderful. But i can't handle the same old same old services. I have nothing against "traditional" music. I think it's exactly what alot of people need--alot of people connect with. But I don't relate. Alot of kids don't relate. And i was reminded of that tonight when parents expressed a deep sorrow to me that our older church members don't realize how quickly they are losing the youth. It pains me to realize that no one wants to make the effort to change that. Such a simple thing--such a simple problem. And I realize there's only a certain amount of effort we should put towards catering to individuals. It's a hard balance. But still, how much are we causing their need, and how much does their need just naturally exist?


We Are Family

I went to a beautiful wedding last night. Of course the decorations were elegant and the food was delicious. The bride and groom were handsome and extremely gracious hosts. But really, those details aren't what made it meaningful. Instead, it had everything to do with the cohesion of family in the room.

Two sets of grandparents were there, and each had been married for about 60 years. In fact, 60 years prior to last night, the bride's grandparents had met on their first date in the same exact room the reception was held. Most appropriately, the groom's father gave his toast as a recognition of the blending of two families--two families that shared the same, deep faith in Christ. Together, they created a strong foundation for the new couple's marriage. When the dancing began, the floor breathed with an air of familiarity, comfort, easy laughter, and lightness. As a friend of the couple, I felt privileged to be a part of it.

I can't help but compare that wedding to a conversation I had about the importance of a generationally diverse church. Most people who know me know my passion for what's termed "contemporary" music. As a side note, I hate the term. What's termed "traditional" music still exists in churches today which makes it just as contemporary as what we also call "praise" music. The only reason I use the accepted terms is because I haven't thought of anything better. Still working on that.

So about this "contemporary" music. It's true that I connect with it better than I do with organ liturgies. As a result of my church background i've worshipped often with both, and therefore have great respect for both, but I've wondered recently--am I limiting my community by having a preference of music? If I choose to attend services that cater to people my age (and yes, I realize that some senior citizens enjoy contemporary music, but they're the exception) then I'm limiting my connection to those older than me. The opportunity for relationships dwindles to a very small group of peers, and I find that a dimension of my life is gravely missing. It's the same dimension that I noticed when I graduated college and left my residence in my grandparent's basement. Suddenly, I didn't have upstairs access to their lifelong wisdom. No longer could I bond over soup and salad on their sun porch. My grandma's stained glass art and my grandpa's stained wood projects couldn't entice my imagination on a regular basis.

The design of a family is miraculous in many ways. It's a cocoon in which we can be nurtured in safety and love, prepared to go out into the big, wide world of scary people. We grow because we have parents who have lived in that world, who know what it's like, and therefore, (no matter how much we deny it) know better than us. If we're blessed with siblings, we learn how to get along, how to be generous and giving, how to sacrifice, and how to play with people closer to our age. The church is the same way. What would happen if we continued to have age-divided services? Youth and twentysomething services are spreading rapidly. Children attend "Children's Church" in the middle of the service in some churches. Senior citizens have their traditional services and some attend contemporary.

I have a grave premonition that in the near future, or maybe later than better, we'll realize our mistakes. Then again, maybe I'm wrong. It's happened before.



Hehehehe. . . they think we're not so smart. They think they'll suck all the money out of us before we can say "move". Well, I'm on to them, and I'm going to get the message out to all of you so that you're aware of the manipulation and you too can prevent soap scum!!

Yep, that's right. The dreaded SOAP SCUM. And not just any scum--I'm talkin about the kind of soap scum that sinks deep into the crevices of bath tubs made specifically by money-hungry apartment renters to eeke out every ounce of deposit left in our account when our lease is up.

You ask how I came upon this invaluable information? Gladly I'll share. It was when I began cleaning our first apartment bathtub that I recognized the signs. The bathtub was uncleanable. I tried every type of scum remover, every kind of tub cleaner. It was so bad that my husband set out himself, without any kind of suggestion from me, to soak it with clorox over night--more than once. But to no avail!

Thus, when it came time to move to a new apartment our tub was full of dirty scum, unattainable, untouchable. We received a notice after moving into our new apartment that the staining of our tub meant we would not be getting our deposit back. *sob*. It was a dark evening.

Until tonight. Tonight I just got angry when I cleaned my new apartment's tub for the first time and *gasp!* came upon the same cavernous crevices collecting crap.

That's it. I'm writing a letter to my senator.


Redemptive Writing

From "Writing Creative Nonfiction"

"Creative nonfiction writers are in an ideal position to be one-person "truth and reconciliation" commissions, to uncover "the small stories that have gone missing," as one writer put it. Rooted as it is in telling people's stories, creative nonfiction is a particularly well-equipped genre to deal with events that have been forgotten or understudied by official histories, and to unearth lives at the margin of bigger events" (pg. 32).

An interesting position to be in. . .

". . . one-person "truth and reconciliation" commissions. . ."
". . . to unearth lives at the margin of bigger events."


Next Door Worship

I love mountains. I mean, who doesn't? Unless of course they're ocean lovers, in which case they can still do water sports on big lakes like Lake Tahoe CA, my new beloved home away from Colorado home. There's nothing we can't do here (except maybe surf and hope for a job with Bubba Gump Shimp Company).

It's easy to worship when we're in nature . . . majestic mountains, towering waterfalls, comedic ocean life. . . and the people who are the kind to validate God's existence are those that have no problem seeing God's presence in it. We can't forget that God reveals hiimself on a mountaintop all through Scripture. But I'm afraid I'm missing a grave truth beginning in Genesis that continues on through eternity. Yes, God began creating nature on the very first day--a preliminary of sorts (not that God's preliminary is anything short of perfect). But the grand finale? The creation that probably stopped all the animals in their tracks? (And at that time, probably b/c they were amazed and not scared). Man. Woman. People. Us.

Sadly, I've had a history of seeing God's majesty only in the outdoors. And I don't know of too many people who escape nature to find God in the city. I think I need to start reminding myself that I don't have to go anywhere but right next door to my apartment neighbors to learn something new and exciting about God. I might learn that God suddenly had a creative urge to make a freckled, red headed girl who has an obsession with hamsters and decided that at the same time, he would give her parents that are allergic to them but love their girl too much so they're sneezing every five minutes and have kleenex boxes sitting every five feet in the house, and all because of the five hamsters rolling along in balls everywhere. . . it could happen.

I could also learn that God has a tendency to put people in our lives that reflect our own problems, and somehow, when we reach out to them, we end up becoming stronger as they help us and we help them. Then, maybe people are the better reason to worship.


Grace Is Not. . .

I feel judged when I try to obey Christ. Now, before that's interpreted as an egotistical, Pharisitical phrase, let me clarify and say that my frustration has absolutely nothing to do with my attempts to live a perfect life. It has everything to do with my trust in a Savior that enables me to lean on grace. And as an example of my need for mercy, sometimes I have angry words I need to get rid of, and now's one of those times.

Heaven forbid I try to live my life to please Christ, to bear fruit, lest it be considered as an effort to attain salvation!

I think my frustrations came about when my eyes were first opened to the differences in denominational beliefs, and the different attitudes that came about from a particular emphasis or perspective on God. I suddenly noticed that cheap grace does exist. People actually lift up what they call "works" to a place of sin, almost making the assumption that if anyone makes an effort to bear fruit in their life, to obey Christ, then they don't have a proper understanding of grace. Has it gotten to the point that, I hate to say it, but, obedience is sinful? If so, what does it mean to suck the blood of Jesus and live by his flesh, if nothing changes as a result of him in our life?

I am motivated by love, therefore I seek restoration. Grace is both my reason and strength, but it is not the end. It is what holds the universe together, but it is not the meaning. It is the solution and power that enables us to keep on keeping on, to persevere, to encourage, to be strong . . . but when grace comes to its full fruition, it is because we have come to understand love in its fullest, most eternal capacity: we will worship face to face with our Creator--the God of the Universe, the God of us, the God of Love.


Speaking of Boxes. . .

I'm sitting in my apartment surrounded by piles of boxes and wow. It makes me happy to be moving! We're finally doing it. Nothing major, of course, just to a new apartment, but it's completely worth it. Yesterday a friend got really excited for me and told me how much he loves moving. He went on and on about the joys of re-arranging furniture and his smile got bigger and bigger--well, I did get a little concerned about him but then I laughed. I agree with him. The actual task of packing and taping boxes and moving heavy objects (like our piano, which will be moved from the second floor down precarious cement steps. . .) is somewhat daunting, but the after effect will be lovely. It's necessary to get a new start with new walls and new organization. It's also extremely cleansing.

Speaking of moving, here's a question: how often does the organization of church need to be re-evaluated? I've been struggling with the design of church services for awhile now. When Scripture doesn't explicitly lay out commands about something or other, like what a worship gathering should look like, I think it's natural to question our methods. I think it's necessary to get in Scripture and re-evaluate. So, how often do we need to "move" our churches, so to speak, and start over with a fresh beginning?

For example, I know many church-goers who enter church doors and never speak a word to anyone. I also know many church-goers who have left because of it. We acknowlege in our doctrine that community is important, but do our services, programs, and overall Christian love and friendliness convey our beliefs? In my devotional this morning I read "Forgive all my sins and graciously receive me, so that I may offer you the sacrifice of praise" (Hosea 14:1-2). I thought and prayed very seriously about that verse, and Romans 12:12-2 came to mind about offering our bodies as living sacrifices. Our bodies praise God. Our lives praise God. But when we come together on a Sunday morning, that should be a culmination of our sacrificing. And a sacrifice should be painful in a good way. We're giving something up for God to honor him. What do we give up on Sunday but an hour of our time? Is the worship gathering organized in such a way that we are required to give our all? And there's then the ever pressing belief about Christ living in all of us Christians, not just the Pastor or leaders. Do we enable ourselves to believe in the authority Christ promises us, or do we leave all the "good works" up the our ordained professionals?

Honestly, I don't have answers, just questions. But I read a book awhile ago I'll recommend for your reading list: The Millenium Matrix by M. Rex Miller. It's a good one.


Dusty Boxes

It's day two of my return to Reno. After a three week vacation in which I camped at Lake Tahoe with my parents and brothers, housboated on Lake Shasta with our youth group, and then camped again at Tahoe for a church retreat, I'm finally able to swing back into regular life--as regular as life can be, that is. Vacation reminds me that life should never fall into a predictable routine--we should have a party all the time! Still, I should never take a vacation from writing and I did these last few weeks. The last post I wrote was quite awhile ago and I never finished the thought process. I left you hanging with a question: what does creative nonfiction have to do with worship? I believe the answer is found in the formation of creative nonfiction and worship, and from creative nonfiction, I believe worship could learn a thing or two.

Creative nonfiction has existed since the origin of time, whether it was in family storytelling or oral history preservation. Worship of God also began at the beginning when Adam and Eve walked with God in the garden. But as history proceeded to stomp through the earth, human systems and agenda began to take priority. Soon we had a name for everything, a system for routine, formulas for our problems, and practical goals to attain. As a result, storytelling is now labeled and put away in the proper box: screenwriting, novels, poetry, non-fiction, etc. Worship is also labeled. Traditional, contemporary, spontaneous, spirit-led, liturgical, etc.

Labeling and boxing is one thing, but putting those boxes away into the attic and doing everything by memory is tragic. I say we take down the boxes, brush off the dust, and ask some important questions, just like some of the new literary thinkers have done. They weren't happy with the genres as they were. The labels were too limiting and left necessary art forms homeless on the street. For example, what about the memoir? Where is the art of factual human experiences? Where's the story we're forgetting in people's lives? And TA-DA!! a mix of many of the genres was named creative nonfiction, and it is now appreciated and a part of our life. So when it comes to worship, I say we do the same thing. We take down the boxes, brush off the pages, and ask important questions. Why do we do what we do? Why is worship structured the way it is? Why is it worth the effort? To what extent do our real beliefs govern the way we worship God?

I'm going to take a coffee break now.


The Odd Couple

I think it's necessary to have a sort of introduction to my blog. I've said the "how do you do's" and introduced myself (and still have yet to lay out my soul for the world to see) but there's more to it than me. I am looking forward to a long, mutual conversation, because hearing myself talk is not one of my favorite activities (but hopefully other people find it enjoyable.) I'd like to hear what you have to say about the two quirky topics of my blog because, well, let's be honest. The subjects are oddly paired. Creative nonfiction and worship? Some of you may be saying to yourself, "what is this creative non-fiction anyway?" And some of you may very well be saying, "This blog sounds deathly boring and I'd rather be sitting in a broken down elevator with a yapping dog and a headache."

So let's move onto a good question. What is Creative Nonfiction? Despite the genre's seeming elusiveness, it's very accesible and, you've probably already been exposed to it. I'm still learning about it, but I think I've developed some definitions I'm happy with. Cheaply put, it's an excuse for us indecisive writers who are stuck in the median of the road with fiction and non-fiction passing by at record speed in opposite directions. But of course, if I really felt this way I wouldn't choose it for myself (although indecisiveness is a rather boulder sized problem for me. . .) Liberally put, it's a natural literary form to arise out of the postmodern era, proving that stories do not have one final say, or one sure reality. In more literary terms, it's an opportunity to craft true stories into literary art. Notice that I use the words "true stories" rather than truth, for as we all know, truth exists more heavily in literature than in real life. Some people call creative nonfiction, "literary factual prose," "literary journalism", and "narrative nonfiction". It can include memoirs, personal essays, meditations, and plotted narrative (Taken from WRITING CREATIVE NONFICTION, ed. Carolyn Forche and Philip Gerard, 2001). Annie Dillard, Madeleine L'Engle and Anne Lamont are all considered writers of creative nonfiction.

So aside from all that, what's it for? In my opinion, one of the most appealing aspects of the genre is its freedom. If you haven't seen the movie, "Everything is Illuminated" with Elijah Wood, I HIGHLY recommend it. And besides being perfectly descriptive of the movie, the title helps me explain what creative nonfiction does. Somehow, putting real life into the language of literature, using plot elements like setting, dialogue, conflict, suspense, character development, etc., enlightens experiences. Somehow all of the nuances and crannies and nooks that once were invisible to the naked eye are visible to the literary eye. In a very similar way, creative nonfiction takes us back to the ancient's history preserving method: orally passing down histories from generation to generation. How did people remember an old story told by a campfire or a candle? Because it wasn't just a history textbook they heard. They weren't stone cold facts ignorant of anything but themselves. They were beautiful words that told the truth about the human condition.

There's a certain amount of creative license issued to former journalists and reporters who have been stuck in a rut most of their life, unable to express their art. When someone grabs hold of creative nonfiction for the first time, the story ideas are endless. You can draw from your own life, or someone you know, or a historical figure, or your apartment neighbor. But one thing I have to make clear: show the big picture, not your own narrow perspective.

I went to a writer's conference a few months ago where I heard editors lament over the number of memoir proposals they receive. Memoirs, or life stories, are the big "to do" these days. I'm sure there are quite a few people out there who believe their stories are interesting to the world. . . they may even think they have something just because they tell the truth in one big piece, rather than a million. In any case, as interesting as my day at work was I have one rule: I don't write for the world unless the world has something to gain from it. In other words, make it universal. Don't make it specific to your life so that no one gets it, or people drool from boredom.

As you can see, I didn't get the topic of worship and what it has to do with creative nonfiction. Maybe you can do your own detective correlation work until I write a new post. . .


French Women Don't Get Fat: on the pleasure of writing and worship

The book is called FRENCH WOMEN DON'T GET FAT: THE SECRET OF EATING FOR PLEASURE, by Mireille Guiliano. No, I'm not starting my first blogging post with a book review. Actually, it's more of a life review. Reading about the necessity of leek soup and whole milk and chocolate changed my writing and my living for good, and I think it's necessary to inflict the philosophy on you as well. Why, you may ask? A famous writer, loner, thinker, and forest dweller explains my enthusiasm best. Henry David Thoreau said in WALDEN, "I went into the woods because I wanted to live deliberately. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life...to put to rout all that was not life; and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."

After I read Mireille Guiliano's philosophies for eating, I was struck with the vital purpose of pleasure--the desires we all have to live deep and suck life for all it's worth. I have to admit--the concept initially conflicted with my faith, knowing that the idea of pleasure has long been considered hedonism by Christians. Our fear of pleasure goes back to the virtue of Christian suffering. I cannot deny the cross and the promises of character through trials and struggles, however I do think it's easy to go to the opposite extreme and live without the joy that we have in the resurrected Christ.

Hedonism by definition is motivated by selfishness (motivation, by the way, is an untapped cause of many divisions in society today, but that's another topic.) But the Bible actually speaks about good pleasure, the kind that results from our worship of him. God designed humans for joy, fun, contentment, ecstasy (in a non-drug sort of way) all to worship him. Sex, for example. Humans, with the exception of pigs, are the only beings that enjoy intercourse. The others go at it because of animal instincts. Worship? Of course. Then there's the world--creation--nature. What God would create such a beautiful world if not for our enjoyment? What God would create humans with emotions--with the capacity to feel amused and humored occasionally? And like my mom would say, what God would create penguins if he didn't want us to laugh? And yes, all of it is for his worship.

So what does this have to do with words? WIth living deep? It wasn't until I took my first linguistics class that I saw the power in words--the sort of power that even Superman and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles can't match. The book of James talks about the power of the tongue and words. Proverbs 12:18 says that "reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." The power of words and speech and tongue are all over the Bible, because words do not stand alone. They represent meaning and motivation and whether we admit it or not, truth. And their existence is strung by the God who IS. The God who is, who was, and who is to come--the I AM--he spoke the first words, and life happened. Breath happened. Love happened. And it is for his good pleasure that we subsist.

We all have plenty of chances to make an impression on people we meet. We can bring hurt or healing, life or death. I choose to write for his pleasure, and those around me. I hope I live deeply for the same reason I write: to communicate truth and meaning, wrapped in the pleasure of worship.