Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Thinking deep on a drive.

The other day while I was driving and I started thinking about the people in life I respect the most.
Why do I admire them so much? What was it about them I appreciated so much that made them stand out from all the rest of the people I know?
Then I began thinking of who in life has had the greatest influence on me. People that I have wanted to emulate, be like, copy--even become. Why did I want to become them? Had I?

Humility. Of the traits I found myself both admiring and desiring to imitate in my own life, what stood out to me was that many of the people I loved so much are humble. What does that even mean? 
"God created the world out of nothing, and as long as we are nothing, He can make something out of us." -Martin Luther

Luke 22:26 says "The greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves."
This verse might as well have never left the original language it was written in. It has for the last twenty-two years of my life had absolutely no bearing on my life whatsoever. I'm sure every time I've ever read or heard that verse spoken it has had little or no weight on my heart. Now I look at it and wonder, how do you live like that?
How can I, a naturally selfish person who out of impulse looks for the shortest line, changes lanes frequently and ends prayers quickly because I'm hungry even BEGIN to understand what this means?
Luke 5:8 Peter cries out "Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man" which is how I've lived my entire life.

It is the fullness of the Spirit that makes me take in Christ and live as if He is in my life. Not anything I do.
Andrew Murray writes, "...the reality is that external teaching and personal effort are powerless to conquer pride or create the meek and lowly heart in a person."
Jesus came as a man not to be served, but to serve. That is key. The connection I am beginning to realize is that it is not through my own empowerment I am redeemed, but through riding the wake of Christ that I begin to realize what humility truly means.
I have been given a tremendous gift of grace, a learning curve in life that allows me to pursue relentlessly becoming exactly it is that Jesus has for me to be. Unlike drag racing, I do not have a straight line I need to adhere to, but instead the freedom of the law to live in. I can chase after becoming a godly man and discovering what it is God has for me without worry that I'm going to mess things up or fall short. 
It isn't about the end goal, it's about the journey. It's about following Him moment by moment. 

James 4:6 says "God opposes the proud." This directly affects and deals with me, as I am by nature of my humanity, prideful. But this is not a stand alone statement. "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." And it is there I must live. 
I suck at the daily tasks of submission. Serving, praying, thinking about holy things, these things don't come naturally to me. But God delights in me, His child, somehow anyway. I am promised this, told this, shown this, and time and time again reminded that it isn't about me. It isn't about me. 
It isn't about me.
It's to the glory of God.
Donald English says in his book The Message of Mark, "At the source of all Christian service in the world is the crucified and risen Lord who died to liberate us into such service." Our service then, my service, is not what brings about humility. It is the act following the submission of my heart to His, recognizing that I am not deserving of any pride. None.
I cannot serve my way out of this prideful hole my life so often exists in. 
Instead, I need to recognize my position as recipient to a huge kingdom, my place being to serve that kingdom and in as many ways as possible, effectively communicate the love and sacrifice that Jesus is to our hurting world.

What I have admired most in the people I respect are their humility, how effectively they communicate, how often they choose to serve, and their love they have for others.
These things come from a perfect Savior who promises the same to me. I can become what I see and long for.
It starts with the decision to realize with humility that I have been given much; many opportunities to serve, many chances to love, and more than both combined to live the way Jesus has asked me to.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Making Progress

I read this article in the New York Times today and found it really encouraging.

"Craigslist, by shutting off its “adult services” section and slapping a “censored” label in its place, may be engaging in a high-stakes stunt to influence public opinion, some analysts say.
Since blocking access to the ads as theLabor Day weekend began — and suspending a revenue stream that could bring in an estimated $44 million this year — Craigslist has refused to discuss its motivations. But using the word “censored” suggests that the increasingly combative company is trying to draw attention to its fight with state attorneys general over sex ads and to issues of free speech on the Internet.

The law has been on Craigslist’s side. The federal Communications Decency Act protects Web sites against liability for what their users post on the sites. And last year, the efforts of attorneys general were stymied when a federal judge blocked South Carolina’s attorney general from prosecuting Craigslist executives for listings that resulted in prostitution arrests.
“It certainly appears to be a statement about how they feel about being judged in the court of public opinion,” said Thomas R. Burke, a First Amendment lawyer at Davis Wright Tremaine who specializes in Internet law and does not work for Craigslist. “It’s certainly the law that they’re not liable for it, but it’s another matter if the attorneys general are saying change your ways.”
Attorneys general and advocacy groups have continued to pressure the company to remove the “adult services” section. A letter from 17 state attorneys general dated Aug. 24 demanded that Craigslist close the section, contending that it helped facilitate prostitution and the trafficking of women and children.
The “adult services” section of Craigslist was still blocked in the United States on Sunday evening. “Sorry, no statement,” Susan MacTavish Best, Craigslist’s spokeswoman, wrote on Sunday in response to an e-mail message.
Analysts said that if the block was a temporary statement of protest, it could backfire because of the avalanche of news coverage that the site had received for taking down the ads.
“I’m very convinced that this is permanent, even if it was not their intention to make it permanent,” said Peter M. Zollman, founding principal of the Advanced Interactive Media Group, a consulting firm that follows Craigslist closely. “I think it will be difficult, if not impossible, for them to go back and reopen that section without really running into a buzzsaw of negative publicity and reaction.”
Attorneys general in several states said they had so far been unable to get any information from Craigslist.
“If this announcement is a stunt or a ploy, it will only redouble our determination to pursue this issue with Craigslist, because they would be in a sense be thumbing their nose at the public interest,” Richard Blumenthal, the Connecticut attorney general who has headed the campaign against Craigslist, said in an interview by phone on Sunday.
Mr. Blumenthal said Craigslist’s outside lawyer had been in touch with his office, but that the lawyer had not clarified whether the shutdown of the section was permanent, or said when Craigslist might make a statement.
Even though courts have said that Craigslist is protected under federal law, Mr. Blumenthal said part of his mission was to rally public support to change federal law.
“Raising public awareness is extraordinarily important, because it increases support for changes in the law that will hold them accountable,” he said. “Their view of the law, which is blanket immunity for every site on the Internet, never has been upheld by theUnited States Supreme Court, and I think there is some serious doubt.”
Richard Cordray, the Ohio attorney general, said in an interview by phone on Sunday: “We’re taking it at face value. I think it’s a step forward, maybe grudging, in response to the efforts of the attorneys general.”
But Lisa Madigan, the attorney general of Illinois, was more skeptical about Craigslist’s intentions. “Certainly because of the way they did it,” she said, “it leaves an open question as to whether this is truly the end of adult services on Craigslist or if this is just a continuing battle.”"

Friday, September 3, 2010


There are many, many things I would do in life before I'd say on paper that God isn't real.
Anything, for that matter.
That's probably the single most terrifying thing to me I can possibly imagine doing, ever.
It's my greatest fear.