Till We Have Love

This is my complaint:

Every beautiful strength has a hideous weakness. My brother, Mufasa, is truly a trendsetter of that adage.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my brother. I have always wanted the best for him. However, the kingdom of the Pride Lands was turning into a nation bound for doom due to his weak incompetence. That said, I refused to call him King Mufasa as the rest of the nation does. I love him far more than any political title can represent.

My name is Scar; the younger sibling to Mufasa and frequently seen as the Ghost of Christmas Past in his shadow. Mufasa was always the “good” one in the eyes of others. He foolishly relied on his Faith. Even through it all, I was never jealous of Mufasa – to the contrary I loved him but simply disagreed with his ways of doing things.

Mufasa and I were inseparable growing up. Mother used to say that we counted on one another from birth. There has always been a joy-filled pride in me when it comes to my brother. I looked up to him. He was the fastest in the pack, he had the 2nd best looking mane (second to myself of course), and his leadership presence was quite satiable. Rafiki, who serves as shaman of the Pride Lands, spoke of Mufasa as, “Having a temperament rivaled only by the angels.”  But a boring temperament if you ask me. He’d always waste many hours a day staring at the distant mountain gorge. Foolish.

We had plans to rule Pride Rock together, but the political tradition of our nation put my brother as the sole heir to the throne. Before his crowning, I pleaded with him three times to instead fight with me so that we could rule together. This was for the good of him, me, and the kingdom itself. I failed miserably in my attempts.

Things worsened when his son was born. Whatever piece of intimacy our relationship had left was forfeited over to his investment in Simba, the next heir to the throne. That was the real day I lost my brother – not today.  I love Simba, but Mufasa needed a brother in arms not a little kid in waiting. See, Mufasa cannot sustain this nation without me. We are best when we have each other which, in turn, benefits society.

Therefore, I am writing this letter to you, Lord, with my fist raised. My complaint comes against you. Even though I have done nothing but serve and honor my family their entire life, they have given nothing in return but pain, grief, and destruction toward me. Even more scary is that it can affect the Pride Lands. You are a cruel God who must be blind to the needs of this world. I recognize that I am powerless before you, but if there is one thing I can do against you, it is to make my complaint known by speaking it to the nation.  

Before Mufasa fell to his death, I tried once more to reason with him. The plan was not for
him to die. To the contrary, you know that it was simply scarto scare him into submission. No one is at grief more than I. It was the hardest decision of my life. Even then you could have saved him but you failed.  What do you have to say for yourself?  You have no answer.


Dear Scar,

my name is Leo. I am a head angel in Heaven writing this letter to you on behalf of our Father God, our Savior Jesus, and The Holy Spirit.

We have heard your complaint in Heaven and watched your life long before receiving your letter. The Father watched your life even before there was a second of it. You are worse than you think you are, but you are more loved than you can ever imagine you are. There are many things that you will not understand, but I will try:

In one way or another everyone on earth is just like you. You are the bitter cynic who cannot possibly understand the love between God and his creation. None of you understand. Your perspective of the very love that you claim to have for your brother is infected by your fallen heart. We know you loved your brother. No one “on Earth” loved Mufasa as much as you loved him. You loved him overbearingly so.

The feeling that you call love has ended in the death of your only brother and the estrangement of your nephew. And now you put God on the judgement seat?

Mufasa used to wake up in the mornings and stare at nature. He’d think to himself, “The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing – to reach the Mountain, to find the place where all the beauty came from – the place where I ought to have been born.” Do you think it all meant nothing, all that longing

What do you long for, Scar?

The Mountain that Mufasa longed for was The Kingdom of God. The Mountain you long for is one of yourself. Without the Divine Love which comes from God, any other love become corrupted. Any other type of love turns in on itself and becomes narcissistic. For example, without the presence of selfless divine love, the beautiful gift of erotic love becomes lust-based and power-based. This is when so marriages break down. fourLoves

The “joy-filled pride” for your brother turned in idolatry. It grew to the point of wanting him to be at a height of perfection that is unachievable on earth. Mufasa was always destined to be crippled in your eyes, no matter what philosophy he followed or action he implemented. Your love of the Pride Lands and every living creature in it drove your fear into manipulation and control.

Instead of following the God that Mufasa follows, you created your own version of God that only saw life how you see it. You have a wicked heart. The nature of sin isn’t always the obvious bad thing. Sin can also be the internal twisting of good things by the heart. You would rather kill your brother than have him attain joy apart from you.


Dear beloved Leo,

Had I known before how the Angels watch earth, I would’ve shuttered at the very thought of an audience to my humiliation. I now see that it was not they who treated me so wrongly, but me who treated others wrongly. I am my worst enemy – Not anyone else and certainly not God.

All my life I doubted the validity of the love which comes from Faith. For now all I can tell, the only difference [between our love and God’s love] is that what many on earth “feel” we call a real thing, and what only one feels we call a myth. But things that many feel may have no taste or moment in them at all, and things that are felt only to one may be waterspouts of truth from the very depth of Truth.

Now I see well why God did not speak to me and used you instead. Till the true understanding of love can be dug out of us, why should He listen to the babble that we think we mean? How can He talk to me about love till he gives me His love?

God is the answer to my question. In front of His love, all questions die away. What other answer would suffice?

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The Young Boy And His Fear of Dogs

 

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Young Todd could barely catch his breath as the neighbor’s dog attempted to chase him down. He hid behind the playground wall that was just high enough to cover his entire body. Todd’s heart pounded with fear as he tearfully pleaded with his own thoughts for the dog to go away. In his mind this was a matter of his life being on the line. He was a long ways from home at this point.

The young boy had always struggled with a borderline phobia of dogs. Dogs were mean, hateful, and always seemed to chase or bark at him relentlessly. He had never even patted a puppy before for the fear that the puppy would bite him. Though his brothers would love to own a puppy one day, their parents have always opposed because of Todd’s fear.

After less than a minute of searching for Todd, the neighbor’s dog finally gave up and left. Little did the young boy understand, all the dog wanted to do was play. Still, in Todd’s head, that dog wanted to eat him skin and bones. No sense in taking chances and playing with fire.

By the time Todd made it back home his mother was standing on the porch, tapping her foot. Frustration was practically stemming from her – “Where have you been, Todd? You’re supposed to be home by 7:30 and you’re not supposed to be out alone either. It is 9:00; your brothers are already in bed and we’ve been worried sick.”

“But but Mm Mom,” stuttered Todd, “Brodie jump over the neighbor’s fence again and chased me all the way to the park.”

Remorseful, but still frustrated, “Ok Todd. Come inside. But you’ve got to eventually get over your fear. Dogs aren’t here to hurt you. One day I hope you’ll understand that.”

Todd and his mother went inside the house where there were leftovers ready for him on the table.

His mother still concerned said, “Todd, I’m going to pray over you. Heavenly Father, I thank you for my son. For his heart, his laughter, and his joy. We thank you for the gift of life. I want to ask that you take away the fear of dogs from my son. Help him see that dogs aren’t dangerous. Help him see that you created them in all their beauty. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.”

After finishing up dinner, Todd heads to bed and is tucked in by his mom.

“Goodnight, Todd.”

“Goodnight, Mom.”

That is when it happened:

Next thing Todd knows he is in a dream. Though, apart from most dreams, this dream seemed magically real. Todd starts off walking through the lobby of a building. His is the only one around but can hear slight commotion from behind the walls. Suddenly, tall, light brown double doors appeared that led to behind the walls. Oddly enough, at the moment, Todd had no sense of fear. Having nowhere else to go he opened the doors to walk through.

Todd was now in a gigantic room filled with people everywhere – so many that he could not count. Todd was a short kid anyways, so even if he could count that high he would not be able to see overhead enough to look yonder. The sea of people parted as they created a pathway for the young boy. By this point all the chatter settled and all eyes were on Todd as he naturally walked down the aisle. It was as if Todd knew where to go. On the other hand, he had no other direction to go. Still, there was a strange sense of peace in him.

Eventually his gaze left the crowded people to focus straight ahead up the aisle. What he almost saw now was a man – though he wasn’t fully a man. Todd vision was distorted a little as his eyes tried to figure out what he was looking at. He’d never seen a man like this before. He was half man, half spiritual-like, wearing a long robe. When Todd was finally directly in front of the man his eyes finally adjusted to see the angelic being in front of him. Todd was in awe. The hairs on the man’s head were white, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire. Still, Todd felt a calmness that he never felt before.

The man standing before Todd then slightly bent over to hover above him.

“Hello Todd,” stated the man. His voice threw Todd off guard. The man’s voice was not simply that of a human’s voice. It sounded similar to the roaring waters he had heard when his family went white water rafting. “I love you. I am going to put a crown on your head. Right now, I want you to see my creation the way I see my creation!”

Instantly, dozens of dogs came from behind the angelic man coming toward Todd. Though his inclination was to panic, this time he could not do so. The dogs looked different. He could absolutely see they were dogs. That did not change. What Todd sees now is “Love” in the dogs. It was as if Todd was looking at multiple real-life hieroglyphics in a 4th dimension. Todd can see his mother, his father, brothers, his favorite teacher, his favorite food, all his warm life moments, AND each dog simultaneously…all while he looks at the dogs. Todd could not believe it. For the first time he did not want to run. He wanted hug all the dogs. And that is exactly what he did. With all joy.

The man, still standing there then uttered, “You see Todd, I create Love. Nothing that I create is bad.  You view things dimly. I have the ability to open your eyes to more joy. Now wake up, and see”.

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Don’t Cry For Me

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I am a dead man. Eventually, that is. If you’re very familiar with my blog, you’ll know that the book of Ecclesiastes is my favorite in the Bible. In his old age, King Solomon becomes the grandfather that I never had. One of my grandfathers died before I was born. The other died when I was young. Therefore, Solomon has become both my spirit animal and quasi-granddaddy.

Some of my favorite moments of Solomon’s wisdom writing are his uses of paradoxes. As when he says verses such as:

“The day of death is better than the day of birth”

“You learn more at a funeral than at a feast”

“Sorrow is better than laughter”

“A sad face is good for the heart”

(Verses above from Chapter 7:1-4).

Just those verses alone are enough to make you think King Solomon was in a loony bin. Who in their right mind would say, “Oh yeah, dying is way better than being born!”

However, looking deeper we will see that Solomon is saying that it is beneficial to look at our own lives and be introspective by paying attention with where we stand with God and with our life. He is saying that it gets tougher to do so when you’re laughing at a party or stuffing your face with a delicious food. Solomon, who loves to host parties with thousands of people and eat giant feasts (1 Kings 4), is claiming that in those joyous times….no one at that moment thinks deeply about their life. He and us are too busy laughing and having a good time. King Solomon is saying that times of sorrow are better because they make you think. They will slow you down and sometimes being slowed down in such a fast-paced world is a good thing. A funeral makes you realize that your day is coming sooner than you realize.

I have been to about 12 weddings in the past 3 years and I never had a moment when I thought about the deep parts of my soul. It is at the funerals where I stopped and became honest with myself. See I could be wrong, but people don’t usually question life during a Super Bowl party. On the other hand, anytime there is a terrorist bombing or natural disaster, people then realize how precious their time on earth is. It is in the deserts when we realize we need God. Maybe Solomon and the Word know a little something.

As Matt Chandler put it, “birth” is about the potential of what can be done. For the Christian, “death” is about the fulfillment of ALL that Christ had planned for us here on earth. It is finished and now it is finally time for the Promised Land.

But wouldn’t I be upset if I died so young? What about getting married with a family and kids? Wouldn’t I be sad to miss Kobe Bryant make an NBA comeback at the age of 42? Don’t I want to one day see N’Sync perform their 30-year reunion tour? Well yes, I would absolutely love to experience all of that. Still, when compared to the glory of Christ, none of that matters. Any other elevated view is idolatry.

By faith, if I were to suddenly die today, no worries. I have had a life lived well. The opportunity of life given to me was a glorious gift in itself. But on top of that, let’s forget about focusing on what we didn’t get to do. How about what we DID get to do?! Here is a snippet of an ongoing list I have that, if I died, can be read at my funeral. Anytime something stirs my soul I try to add something to it. Especially the little things.

So if I die, don’t cry for me.

Don’t cry for me:

– I have laughed until my abs started hurting and I started crying.

– I have already made my family proud.

– I have eaten enough potato chips to feed a small country. Seriously.

– My eldest nephew has cried every time I’ve left his house. So he’s cried for me enough. He has taught me unconditional love better than anyone else in this world. And for that lesson, I owe him more than I can ever repay.

– I have seen people worship the Lord and get saved.

– I have seen someone get prayed over and healed before my very eyes.

– I have been in fist fights and won.

– I have been in fist fights and lost. And learned from them.

– I have watched some beautiful YouTube videos and cried my eyes out with joy.

– I once took a 4th of July vacation to Selma, AL that was more fun than my 4th of July vacation to New York City.

– I got over my fear of dogs….just to impress a girl. But I got over the fear, nonetheless.

– I have been dancing a few times until my legs went numb. And I danced some more.

– I have made friends that I can call family.

– I have been to Vegas and won $128 on the first night.

– I watched the Notebook movie over 60 times.

– I have won a sports championship. Softball. Twice baby!

– I have traveled.

– My mom and dad have become more than just my parents.

– Twice, I have been loudly cheered for onstage in front of hundreds of people for poetry.

– I have been booed offstage in front of hundreds of people doing poetry. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Not even getting cheered again.

– I have seen all the Harry Potter movies.

– I have intellectually debated atheists for the faith and not backed down.

– I have discipled and seen.

– I have read a good book.

– I have been to some extremely hippie towns and had a great time.

– I have been involved in 11 car accidents and lived.

– I have witnessed people truly love on one another.

-Some of my favorite memories were playing baseball for hours in the back yard with my brothers.

– I have played soccer in the front yard for hours with my little nephews. Or at least, the odd variation of the game they call soccer.

– I have had times of doing absolutely nothing during hangouts with friends and had a blast.

-I did a summer internship in Vicksburg, MS and….well actually you can cry for me about that. Good gosh that was a very boring time!

– I spent some amazing summers at Clemson University.

– Don’t cry for me…Jesus Christ saved me. I am dining with Him now.

– Don’t cry for me….I am home sweet home.

 

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O, How They Danced

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The live band began to play as the newlyweds walked onto the floor for their first dance. O, how they danced. The young, twirling couple – a boy and a girl. Her head nuzzled into his cozy neck. His hand in her soft hair, clinging tightly. Her hand resting on his strong shoulders. His head slightly tilts toward her. The bystanders gawk as they watch the couple’s suave footwork. The wedding party watch as their friends prance the floor. The teary-eyed parents watch as their child has reached a new pinnacle in front of their eyes.

The couple, on the other hand, is unaware of their mannerisms and footwork. Neither can they recall the dance moves they are carrying out. They would be hard pressed to even remember the song that the live band is playing when the song ends. You see, they do not need music; their bodies find their own rhythm. They are lost in their own world – the boy and the girl. Their dance became one: a twirling, spiritual vibration invisible to the naked eye.

O, how they danced. Unbeknownst to anyone present … their dance is simply the first sketch of its true transcendence. The vibrations of their dance surpass the dance floor itself – pass through the ballroom – through the city – outward beyond the borders of Earth. The vibrations of their dance travel throughout the infinitesimally dense gravitational pull of every event horizon of every Black Hole in the universe, exploiting the laws of physics that we do not understand yet and ceasing the dimensions of space and time; cementing God’s plan as eternal. Divine Romance. Timeless. Holy. Fierce. Christ-like.wedding 4

The vibrations attain the job description of messengers. The divine vibrations surf across the edges of Hell as if to taunt Satan and boast in the new Holy matrimony. The demons cringe, shamefaced, as they are unable to stop God’s divine plan for the boy and the girl. Images of Joy and Beauty, shown from the flowing vibrations, flash across the outside walls of Hell, causing there to be a glimmering of light that is otherwise foreign to the occupants of Darkness. The light of Joy and Beauty fades away as quickly as it appeared.

The messaging vibrations of the couple’s dance are so tangible that the reflection of their footwork can be seen on the floors of Heaven. The vibrations swoop upward toward the Heavens, completely losing their worldliness and becoming something else entirely. It culminates into its true identity … GLORY, embodied!

The angels of Heaven celebrate another victory of the image of Jesus and His love for the Church being displayed through marriage. A beautiful symbol of glory. The angels leap and sing thanks to God for what he is doing. Saints of old joyfully laugh as they recall their wedding day back on earth. Moses and Noah smile as they remember their first dance.

The LORD is delighted.

O, how they danced. The girl whispers something faint into the boy’s ear. The onlookers imagine the melodic nothings being said. The bride and groom rest in each others gaze, sinking into the realization that they have become newness in time. Their love, their family, their future has switched from possibility to reality. Times of joy, future vacations, careers, evangelism efforts, children, grandchildren, and retirement parties are inevitable. Their future arguments, moments of stress, times of pain, and times of unknown are coming. But not tonight. Tonight, they can dance all night. And on this night, nearing sunset, the boy dips the girl and gives her a kiss.

O Goodness! How they danced! How great a blessing it is to find someone to dance with on the floors of eternity. Still, no one can see the spiritual vibrations of the dance. No one sees the spiritual messages flying around or its culmination toward Glory. No one sees the simultaneously wonderful effects it has on eternity and the Heavens. In due time, we will see. Until then, the boy watches the girl…the girl watches the boy…the friends watch…the parents watch. O, how they danced.  Divine Romance.  Timeless.  Holy.  Fierce.  Christ-like.  Sovereign.  GLORY.  O, how they danced. 

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An Ode to Bruce Jenner and Chaos Theory

My taste buds tingle at the nearness.

The forbidden pleasure – ever-so close,

The possible fulfillment – ever-so tangible.

My eyes visualize the initial beauty,

To the touch I sense the delicacy.

Even my heart jumps for more.

.

Warnings of its truth flutter in my thoughts,

Yet the promise of instant satisfaction overrule.

‘It will satisfy me! It will better me. It will satisfy.’

The chant of song rings, confirming my heart’s reason.

Hitherto it was secret; now it is publicly my love.

Once far, now near. Once forbidden, now accepted.

My heart jumps for more.

.

The acceptance from others guide me deeper,

The change in their ethos makes me a hero.

‘It satisfies you! It completes you. It is you.’

The chants of the crowd rally me to reassurance.

Hitherto my eyes used to see the true sin of it all,

Now my eyes only see beauty.

Thin, shallow, false, beautiful beauty.

Lost, my heart jumps for more.

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Abortion, Cancer, and Netflix Marathons

With arthritis-ridden knees and a cancer-stricken body, the older gentleman laid there in his hospital bed. Being in his last stage of life, Brian’s body was barely functional and his lowly speech was almost undetectable. Neither was his vision as clear as it once had been. Nevertheless, through all the chemotherapy he was blessed to still have a sharp brain in his last few days of life. This came in handy, as the only two things he had left in his life were his relationship with Christ and family.

Brian’s granddaughter, Alex, walks into the hospital room. They say it is not right to have “favorites” amongst family members – however, the old man adored Alex. Not only was she his favorite but she also was following in his footsteps by attending his college Alma mater, Clemson University. She was entering into her junior year majoring in history and sociology. She’d visit him regularly during his early stages of cancer. A hint of jealousy would sometimes flow through his veins as he noticed the energetically familiar gleam in his granddaughter’s eyes as he listened to her tell stories of her adventures in Clemson.

Today is different. She is different. Brian noticed, through his blurry vision, an unfamiliar facial expression on Alex’s face as she walked in. Her footsteps slow and purposeful. Her posture tense. She avoided eye contact. “Oh gosh, this can’t be good” Brian joked aloud in a whisper, attempting to put a smile on Alex’s face.

“Morning, Grandpa,” Alex began, “you’re probably wondering why I haven’t visited you in a while. I’ve been wanting to ask you something about your past.”

Those words naturally developed nervousness in the elderly gentleman. He immediately began thinking of every wrong he may have done in the past. “Go ahead Sweetheart,” Brian managed to reply in a soft voice.

Alex continued, “As I’ve gotten deeper into history courses I’ve noticed some things that worry me. We’ve studied the horrific atrocities of the Holocaust and how people stood around and did nothing. We’ve studied the amazing neglect of the treatment of blacks before and during the Civil Rights Movement. In your time, abortion was a hot, problematic issue. It was a brutal, disgusting ordeal. The sophistication of science grew during your time to undoubtedly prove that you were taking lives.”

Alex paused for a few seconds in order to regain emotional composure. She glanced away, nervously avoiding eye contact, and then continued, “The death toll of Joseph Stalin’s regime was 40 million. Hitler’s was 30 million. From 1973-2015 alone, America murdered 56 million babies. What on earth were you all thinking and what did you do to try to stop it?”

Silence ensued. Memories of Netflix marathons, Super Bowl parties, YouTube videos, innumerable hours at the gym, and girls flooded the old man’s mind as the remembered the things he focused on during that time period.

He sluggishly responded, “But … back then … science was cloudy on that topic. With limited technology anyone was able to back either side with science. “ Brian hoped that answer would be sufficient and she’d move on.

“What about the fact that the Bible already gave you the truth?” Asked Alex.

“Sweetheart…” the old man pleaded; as to again insinuate the desire for a topic change.

Noticeably unsatisfied with that response, Alex leaned further into his bedside. She looked into Brian’s eyes as if she was begging to hear something more satisfactory. “Grandpa, please tell me I’m wrong. See, it seems that you and America were just as apathetic and indifferent on abortion as Hitler was with the killing of Jews. As if you were killing babies and loving it. What is worse is that the babies had no chance of even defending themselves. Did you at least stay up at night worrying about the large number of children that died in the womb that day? Most of the abortions had nothing to do with difficult circumstances but rather a means of convenience.”

Finally calming down, Alex’s speaking pace slowed, “Sorry … for randomly throwing all this at you. It’s just frustrating … to know all the horrendous things that happened during your time, namely to unborn children, and knowing that you were there. That you claimed to love Jesus. To love people. But you sat idle, as millions upon millions of helpless lives were loss. It is embarrassing to know that my grandfather was a part of that generation and did not stand up for the murder of babies.”

Vexed with shame, the old man laid still in his bed. The pain of his granddaughter’s disgust outweighed the physical pain of his cancer. Expectantly, his heart could take no more. His heartbeat grew uncontrollably fast into a cardiac arrest. Alex yelled for a doctor. Tears feared her eyes.

“I’m sorry Grandpa!” she exclaimed.

“No. No. No, I’m sorry … Alex” he exhaled – his final breath.

Suddenly, Brian awoke from his deep sleep. He was young again, sitting on the couch with his laptop in his lap. He realized it was all a dream. He glanced at his laptop to see an internet article on abortion. Presumably, he concluded that the article must have put that nightmarish dream in his mind when he read it before his nap.

Brian turns on the television. “Ha, weird dream there”, he thinks to himself. “At least I got a good nap out of it.” He opens Netflix. “Now it’s time to continue Season 5 of Friends. Ross just found out that Chandler and Monica are dating now!”

 The hand of an 8-week old. Aborted after 8 weeks.