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Monthly Archives: August 2010

It amazes me how we tend to allow our relationships to define our truth.
This should be a good thing, but tends to unleash lots of trouble. Perhaps the reason we allow our relationships to define our truth is because of an inherent insecurity that fuels a fire to belong and resonate with people who we believe “agree” with us (or so we hope?). This seems to be often at the expense of good reason and sound perspective. Once we experience what we believe to be a resonant relational orbit it seems to so enamour us that we quickly start redefining our values in order to sustain this alliance. This is very seldom a premeditated conscious action but nevertheless, a very real and present potential danger. Perhaps that it is mostly unconscious is what makes it so perilous. Much like the proverbial “moth circling the flame” metaphor.
The seeds of deception?
Is it because we so desire to belong, to resonate with significant others and have a mutual witness to our lives that we fall prey to this so easily? The harmony of another in resonant orbit with us is such a desirous thing.
Perhaps we so want to believe that we somehow close our eyes to what is in the shadow of our infatuation with what we hope could be. It is usually only when the relationship is really tested and found wanting that we are first able to painfully re-enter a (hopefully) more reasonable perspective on the truth as we see it.
Could this be why the feelings of perceived “betrayal” are so devastating when relationships hit the rocks in some way?
Relationship and truth – strange bedfellows indeed.
If we were more circumspect about our relational contexts might we avoid these pitfalls and forge better, longer lasting relationships?
Truth refines relationships but relationships cannot be allowed to exclusively define truth.

The travel agent never really left his office. He devoted himself to the study of all the possible destinations available. He was a busy man. He spend virtually all his time going through glossy books filled with glossy pictures of wonderful, glossy places. He constantly read through reams and reams of detailed information. He devoured the details published in text about every conceivable angle on all of the most amazing trips. He read through the many different ways one could get to these destinations. He became an expert in all aspects of the travel experience, the best available routes, all the possible connecting points, even the costs structures of each journey with all the necessary travel documents needed to cross each and every border. He had indexed all the significant places of interest. It was a huge and time consuming exercise. Many who had traveled before had taken pictures of their journeys. Many of these records were in glowing colour, some even in hi-tech 3-D, many had even taken detailed video footage sometimes even with recorded commentary included as they journaled their delightful experiences. He had even developed a photographic memory of the photographs he had studied.
He loved his job and it captured his passion. His mind was filled with details of so many possibilities. He so wanted to encourage as many as possible to go. In his mind he had been there himself – he was sure he had been there himself, but he hadn’t. …… isn’t he a bit like you and me?

disillusioned

Most of us have experienced disillusionment. Even if we can’t recall the experience we often hear of someone who says they are disillusioned. Disillusionment can cause devastation. Many who express disillusionment have felt let down by people through some sort of experience. A cheating partner, lover, or a liar can be extremely difficult to get over once the deviance and betrayal is exposed. After the initial shock disillusionment sets in, often leaving the victim almost in a state of total collapse. I have heard of people who claim to be disillusioned by God or the church, or by some institution like marriage, a political party or a social club. Some express disillusionment with men or women. I have even heard of people who claim to be disillusioned with life. These people often feel severely let down and usually they express great pain and discomfort, even torment in their situation.
I love words and the meanings they convey. My mind naturally gravitates to the possible applications of words. I love to know the origins of a word or saying so the concept of disillusionment jumped out at me and I decided to check it out just for fun. I was amazed at what was obvious in the meaning of the word. It changed a lot of things in my mind.
I logged on to http://www.thefreedictionary.com/ and typed in “disillusioned”. This is what I got straight off the bat: [To free or deprive of illusion. n. 1. The act of disenchanting. 2. The condition or fact of being disenchanted. adj. having lost one’s ideals, illusions, or false ideas about someone or something; disenchanted]
Isn’t that fascinating?
Now to my mind to be enchanted means to be under some sort of spell. In other words to be bewitched. I dug a little bit deeper and found out that the origins of the word comes from Latin meaning: action of mocking, from ‘illudere’ or ‘incantare’- to mock at. All this suggests the action of deceiving, the state or fact of being intellectually deceived or misled, even made a fool of.
To be under an illusion means that one is under the perception of something objectively existing in such a way as to cause misinterpretation of its actual nature.
So, what pain do we feel when we are disillusioned. The pain of perceived betrayal is very real and hard to bare. But maybe it doesn’t stop there? Could it be that the trauma we experience is the pain we feel being pressed into releasing our own make-believe world? An imaginary world we seem now to have lost as a result of the perceived betrayal? Could it be possible that the pain we experience be that of our being exposed not so much by the ‘perpetrator’ but by our own folly? Perhaps that might be just a little harsh, but it is worthy of serious evaluation.
In short, when we begin to understand the real meaning of the word, disillusionment is, amidst the huge discomfort, a good state to be in. Disillusionment is at least potentially, the start of a process of having the illusions in our lives weeded out and destroyed.
Perhaps we should rejoice when we are disillusioned as it could very well be the beginning of clarity of mind for us pertaining to our thinking and/or our environment.

A nephew of mine recently celebrated his birthday. As is the usual custom on facebook friends and family sent congratulations and many exchanges flowed. Now my mind has its own little expanding universe and in keeping with it’s own intra-galactic orbits, black holes, births and deaths of stars, and other mostly inexplicable phenomena it naturally spat out a spontaneous and as usual, a somewhat spooneristic play on words and images that resulted in a birthday message to him that went something like this:

hippy marrow returns!!

instead of just tying another yellow ribbon round the old oak tree

you’ve managed to lay another ring around the trunk of life

no more barking up the wrong tree now  : )

happy birthday dude!!

Lloyd

And then, just as I had pressed the send button my intra galaxy went into its usual wham-bam, bigbang walkabout for an eternal micro second and the birthday wish suddenly exploded outwards in all directions and the simple salutation turned into a wonderful thought process which had me tearing away at high speed like a little human Hubble Telescope. It suddenly dawned on me as I sped past multitudes of other intra-constellations that in these days of global political, social, ecological and economic meltdown we seem to be coming to a very sticky end. Sort of much like tearing down a highway at full speed and suddenly realising that the sign we just zipped by looked ominously like a cul-de-sac warning and not an Autobahn go-as-fast-as-you-can encouragement.

I was born in 1960 so I can legitimately call myself a child of the 60’s but I did not see or experience the hippy movement first-hand. I was too young and also, I was born in South Africa which at the time was having its own little revolution which in hindsight can clearly be seen and renamed as the “Dippy” movement. But I digress a little. From what I have picked up about that wonderful hippy time is that a few dissonant individuals became a groundswell of some magnitude that challenged the status quo and made a global impact. In some ways a Pandora’s box was opened but in many other ways a new way of thinking about things was unleashed and things changed dramatically. Many of the participants in this movement went on to be key players in many strategic fields of life. Great breakthroughs and creative inventions were made, and many are still with us in some form or another today. The pros and cons are for another discussion but perhaps one of the things we can learn from is that a similar situation exists now that was the soil for the hippy movement back then. A system was seen to be failing hopelessly and a few people felt moved to attempt to do something about it. Against all odds action was taken and at the risk of life and limb something started and a revolution resulted. There was a marrow in the bones of many of those hippy’s. Maybe that’s just what we need right now? Where are those with steel in their hearts and purpose in their minds? Where are those prophetic little voices who will spark into flame the beginnings of a solution that evades us all at this point. Stupidity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. It’s got to be fresh and inspired. It’s got to be radical and dangerous. Instead of a feel-good tree with 100 comforting yellow ribbons wrapped around its swelling trunk perhaps the bark needs to be loud and snapping at the heels of corruptive mediocrity and stagnant political wishful thinking.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to read a bold news headline across the face of global media that reads, “HIPPY MARROW RETURNS!!”

… don’t you just hate it when that sonic anesthetic sub-culture leers, drips & drools over you from some insidiously hidden 3″ speaker in the corporate elevator and you simply cannot escape? …. you long for that destinational “ping” as the elevator motor rumbles, swooshes and whirrs like some hidden porno camera as your floor seems like it will never be reached? ……  then a jolt breaks the spell momentarily and you then shuffle out frantically, rabidly wiping and scraping the excreted slime off your shoulders and out from your inner ears just as if some albatross had suddenly emptied 5kg’s of intestinally eroded sardines on your head …. the toxic stench can hang for the rest of the day ….. lavatorial musak that seems to say in a phased Orson Wellian tone, “…relax, this is not going to hurt you, you won’t feel a thing! …. just lay back, relax, and in no time at all … you’ll simply drift off…..” …. all this as the lyrics of Tommy’s “Fiddle About” and the sweaty-palmed clandestine chortle of wicked uncle Ernie echoes you off to an infernal insomniatic slumberland…..

dusty foot and hoof sufficed

no royal chariot needed

riding the bent back of the beast of burden

the submissive servant trudged on

the procession advanced

welcome the king!

we welcome the king!

humble servitude supporting the glory of the mighty warrior

striding together as one over thrown down garments of frailty

walking triumphantly over mantels of mourning,

over tassels of despair-filled prayers long lost in years of tears

shreds of defeat laid open to receive the passage of hope

who sees, who hears, who is it who can understand?

the legislation of failures

the demands of spirit tested

the first spark of the coming as foretold

had they only known the day

this day,

long set in time

had come

peace in the heavens

peace offered below

but the path remained crooked

the way could not be prepared

the messenger in the wilderness had come

and gone

the voice in the wilderness had cried

in vain

a den of thieves awaited

hollow prayers remained silent

the dwelling of the Holy

the dwelling of the Holy

the name of the Most Holy

trampled underfoot

had become a robber

the promised one burns

the plan is dismounted

a stroll breaks into a stalk

anger consumes

the lion roars and pounces

the market is disrupted

with winnowing fork flaying

trade is scattered, tables overturned

the retreat

unsatisfied hunger, unquenchable thirst

in burning righteous anger a curse breaks out

the axe it at the root

the fruitless tree is cast into the fire

the mountain is hurled into the sea

the holy hill is cast to the gentiles

god does not need a large audience. his voice through the clay lips of mortal sons speaks into vast eternal spaces, locking down time and space into eternity and releasing eternity into that same space and time. as one warrior will chase one hundred and overcome them, one single voice can set thousands of years to flight. one single voice can turn ages and kick-start seasons, remove mount zion from it’s legislated confines and cast it up and out into the great gentile sea of humanity. this is a seed falling to the ground only to germinate, put down roots, rise up and give life. this is seed reproducing after its own kind, multiplying, expanding, reaching on. this is life, the prophetic moving of god being sowed, germinating and exploding forwards and outwards.
god needs only the will of the willing to shake the unshakable. one willing pair of clay lips exhaling the breath of the living god can be more beautiful than a 1000 voice choir singing in perfect harmony. one single breath can silence the storm. the living breath of god cascading through the clay lips of the redeemed … responsive, resonant, resounding, redemptive.
wisdom calls out in the market place. not to the market place, but in the market place. at the head of the noisy street a single call goes out.
god needs no marketing process, one voice can do it all.

why is it that so many rush on and in
without a care for anything
whilst others tread carefully and get crushed
why do the careless succeed and the careful stumble
while those without a thought for the thoughtful remain unhumbled?
and then there are those who choose with care
only to get trampled underfoot by those who don’t
what good is wisdom in this life?
and of what value is being mindful of the meaning of things?
to seek out the origin is as futile as searching out the conclusion
we all will come to an end
and though we believe this way or that
we all choose to believe what we believe
there are no unbelievers
merely those who choose to and those who choose not
however, most choose not to think about it too much at all
we will never know until believing itself comes to an end
and faith is of no more use than the air that eventually will serve us no more
and what will we breath then?

though it causes me much pain
I cannot help but choose to believe
that there must be more
than the nothing we claim to be everything

…. and, speaking of words …. and the textualization thereof … one of the thoughts which has intrigued me much is the way that Jesus himself lived in relationship with the culture, theology and religious order of the day. Then as now, his life and teaching were filled with controversy. Jesus made some extremely bold claims and possibly at the top of this pile is the claim he made to be the awaited Messiah. If one believes these claims to be true it could possibly be argued that if anyone had the ‘right’ to get dictatorial, even anal about ‘truth’ and anything pertaining to ‘absolutes’ it was Jesus. If anyone had the right to publish his teachings and doctrines and set them down in measureable form it was Jesus. But in these days there are books, blogs and papers on every conceivable issue. Men and women write their opinions down feverishly. Indeed, it is not difficult to begin to think that perhaps there is not a single thing that has evaded the scrutiny of the human eye. And there seems to be as many opinions published as there are people who publish their opinions. We seem to love to be ‘right’, and for the average fundamentalist this means a strict and unyielding adherence to the ‘letter of the law’ as contained in the scriptures (and I include the so-called New Testament scriptures in this). Yet to my mind the life and teachings of Christ is in stark contrast to all of this. We tend to publish books by the millions. Jesus, never penned a single word. Now clearly I am not Jesus, but if I were to take a little liberty here and, in keeping with my fundamentalist grounding, and using the theology and methodology of our ever so enlightened times, reflect on what I as a healthy little modern day Pharisee and religious leader might have done if I had been Jesus, I would surely have recruited a vast troupe of scribes (elders and deacons, if you will). I would most probably have lined them all up with parchment ready and quill and ink pot charged. I think then that I would very possibly have sternly instructed them to be clear and concise, obedient, articulate and accurate in every detail. My next step would have been to dictate the specifics of what was needed in terms of everything, and I mean EVERYTHING. I would have got them to record for all time all the words of life and truth. I would have explained in great detail the reason for my being there, the significance of my actions, the times and seasons set by the will of God over all eternity. I would have dictated a detailed narrative of the history of man and God – the why’s, the when’s, the where’s, the how’s …. I also would have focused on the future in great detail, especially in the light of my immanent departure. I would, like any good religious leader and strategic planner have given them a 1-year, 5-year, 10-year, even a few 1000-year plans to make sure that all were clearly informed and in line with the overall strategy of Heaven. My intent in this would have been to leave something for those who would follow that would be clear, incorruptible and more than adequate for clarity and undisputed interpretation and process ….. But clearly, I am not he as Jesus did nothing of the sort ….. and in the light of this disturbing revelation it strikes me that other than what was apparently written in the sand when a woman, allegedly caught alone in the very act of adultery, was thrown down at his feet to test him and his theology, … there is nothing Jesus wrote at all. … and even that which he had written in this instance was etched with his own hand in dry soil, in mere particles of sand which was totally at the mercy of the wind and other natural elements as well as exposed to the mercilessness and insensitivity of the trampling of mens feet. Jesus spoke to his closest disciples in veiled terms and withheld much from them (mainly because they were unable to bear it). He left them mostly clueless as to the present time they were in as well as the times that were to come. He also tended to confuse them with his special and mostly unusual interpretation and application of the scriptures they all knew so well. Most of the time he taught in metaphors and in them used common content and everyday situations rather than the direct scriptural texts the religious rulers of the time used. In fact, right up to the time he disappeared from their collective view for the last time they were still virtually totally in the dark as to the social, political and chronological realities of the time they were in let alone the future. Compared to the standards and systematic ways of church leaders of today Jesus was a pretty bad leader. Even the team he picked would never have been chosen by any self-respecting church leader today. He picked a real pack of inflammatory, divided ruffians who constantly quarrelled amongst each other over the most fleshly of issues and it’s possible that if many years later Paul of Tarsus had not come along they would really have been deep in the proverbial doo-doo. And by their own confession, even Paul’s teachings were very confusing and difficult for them to understand. This is why I suggested the method of recruiting a set of scribes earlier. It was clearly really very necessary. Yet Jesus was not at all bothered too much about this. He spoke on about another strange ‘comforter’ who would come along and be a guide and a companion to them after he had gone. He told them that the Father would send what he called the “Spirit of Truth” and that this individual would not only remind them of the things he had said, but also take them further into more of an understanding of things that were clearly way over their heads at the time. Even this was completely confusing to them and near the end they seemed to all but give up and possibly they just nodded energetically when he spoke on and tried to look as intelligent as possible. Surely a written codex was urgently needed under these circumstances? Surely a tight structure with clear lines of authority and a streamed-lined business strategy was what was needed? Organograms, lines of accountability, shepherding areas, overseeing leaders and area pastors, worship team leaders, worship musicians, psalmists, intercessory teams, prayer schedules, cell-group structures, office badges, official ministry allocations, Christian merchandise salespeople, ushers, stewards,  velvet lined offering trays, and the like. Surely Jesus urgently needed to take them all through a rigorous training schedule, perhaps a retreat somewhere in the mountains, a Leadership Training School perhaps where all the points of Kingdom leadership and theology, missiology, methodology, outreach strategies, feeding schemes, banking procedures (we can’t forget that most important of all worship tools), prophetic workshops, etc. etc. etc. be alpha-numerically delineated, indexed and implemented according to target timelines and accountability schedules? Strangely, Jesus did none of these. He just walked with them for a few years and left them in the hands of a mystery friend whom no-one could even see. And the most amazing thing of all is that they did pretty well under his shoddy leadership and lack of ministerial definition. As I have said before, this is indeed in stark contrast to the religious leaders and intelligentsia of his day and ours.

Why, I ask, would he conduct himself in the way he did?

And why, I ask, do we continue to conduct ourselves in the way we do?