Thursday, March 19, 2015

On death (many questions)

God said Adam and Eve would die if they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. I'm sure they were surprised when they didn't actually die the way they imagined they would, but instead got cut off from their unwavering connection with God. I guess this is the Judeo-Christian explanation for why we continue to do things that hurt us in the long run, even after learning the hard way.

Once learnt that it doesn't bring about the consequences we'd expect right away, it seems OK to continue. But I guess that's just a misinterpretation of the consequences/warning signs. While our definition of death may look more immediate and severe, once we learn that it is relative and causes longer-term suffering it seems almost human or natural to reject our creator. Idolizing people who die young but live hard.

God did us an interesting service as the human race to not eliminate what he had created in a literal way after they chose to go their own way. If Adam and Eve had literally stopped breathing and living, we would never be here. Would have God started over again from scratch, or was it illogical for him to destroy what he had created? Is it possible that to a timeless creator, this whole story plays out to him from beginning to end in a larger, clearer narrative? A narrative that continues to play on, building upwards and upwards from its foundations?

And when God himself took on human form to live and die, and pass through this separation we experience, back to full communion with his Father in heaven--did he finally understand what this original death meant? For we do die, but we do not cease to exist as one might think after disobeying God. This space between disobedience against our source, our life and the eventual end of our bodily life is an interesting one. Full of speculation. There is no prize at the end of our conscious life, no prize we can take with us, even our legacy still lives on in a death filled world. One that is seperate from itself, unable to truly connect. Much as we are with God.

We have all tested this fruit, metaphorically, and have all seen that we haven't died in such a shocking or fearful way as we might have originally expected. To have fear is an echo of our days before we spiritually died, as Adam & Eve may have been fearful of God's wrath to destroy them. In the aftermath, when the smoke of their fear cleared away and they became ashamed and disconnected with God, it was as if they might've felt relief that it wasn't what they expected. They lost their fear of wrath, only to experience death inside. By allowing it to take over our lives, we gain nothing that we can take with us when our bodies are gone.

And what then, when all is finished and we cannot move another step or take in another breath because of disease and aging? Do we re-experience an echo of that fear Adam and Eve had. A fear of what might happen after eating a fruit that is said to cause death? If it is impossible for us to take full eternal responsibility for our actions, can it be that Jesus Christ can be believed to have done so for us? I truly hope so.

It is said the Holy Spirit comes and helps us understand better the life that is given when we believe God himself humanized and walked through the Eden experience once more. He lived in this experience of knowledge of Good and Evil in full war against every aspect of our human life as it was originally designed in full communion with God our maker. Was Jesus Christ a second Adam, born of a virgin Eve, who had not been corrupted by disobedience in her seed?

So often before I've experienced something dangerous I've never done before, sense tells me it isn't worth trying, but then curiosity tells me it won't be as bad as I think. That I can get away with it. Maybe this is the root of all evil, and the cause of all suffering. But it is inevitable isn't it? Every human being will do things--that according to God--are evil, and discover they may be able to get away with it. I suppose with that in mind, it was inevitable for such a loving God to help us with a real, physical solution. I like that my creator is so ready to act in ways that will never let us go. He continues everyday to offer us the possibility to pray and believe his spirit of perfect holiness and goodness in Jesus can intervene through the halls of time right to our moment. A moment of rest, a moment of life.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Thoughts on suffering

This afternoon, my muscles felt seized for yet another day, and my joints were stiff. Overall, I know I don’t have the muscle coordination that I could have. You see, I have Ankylosing Spondylitis. A disorder relating to the immune system that causes my joints and bones to react adversely to the regular wear and tear of daily life. Living with chronic pain is possible, but it interrupts the natural flow of things and forces you to accept slowing down and being weaker than you’d like to be. Having a stiff spine has affected the way my muscles work, because for years I would force myself to try to have good postureor at the very least—be in a more comfortable position. This constant unnatural shifting to attempt to undo or correct something that is unnaturally out of balance has affected other parts of myself that are not even related to the source of the illness. What I mean by this is that my muscles, my thinking, my breathing, my walking, the very experience of life is altered simply due to a reduction of ordinary function of my immune system. The unnatural and exaggerated attacks my body produces against my joints and muscles are like being locked out of your own house in the cold. It is like locking your keys inside your car with your cell phone and all your resources. At times, it feels as if I’ve lost my ability to reason how to proceed from this point forward.

But proceed I’ve done, and without fail have seen the power of time. At first, I thought time was looking at me, laughing at me, like a mean group of kids. Trying to take advantage of my embarrassment, that at this moment, I was incapable of being in charge. It felt like time itself was observing me in cruel judgment from a place I could never be. Being a body, with fragility and pain, never able to reach a place of understanding and maturity that time offered. But as I kept getting up and walking forward, I realized that in my nearsightedness, no one was laughing at me. No one was even waiting for me. The meaning of time was obscured, as if I wasn’t wearing the right glasses to see the scene that was happening in front of me. These glasses are not worn by any human being. But still, we try to squint and interpret the meaning of our time in this body however we can.

This brings me to suffering. There comes a point after so many days of moving forward that you get tired of suffering. You wish to be overcome with a reality that only contains loving, compassionate kindness. If you are fortunate enough to have received this, it gives you the arsenal to be able to dispense it. Dispense it to yourself, dispense it to others when you are ready to sense if it won’t be lost on them, and boomerang back to you like so many mocking words that cut the goodness of your intentions down to size. Yes, in suffering we are small people that like to see a shrunken life, one that can be understood with eyes narrowed. Eyes that are tired of squinting for meaning and purpose.  Eyes that starts to convince the brain that time moves in a linear way; in a way that cannot recover the selfish glory and innocence of its earlier half-revelations and mistakes. One that begins to understand, in ways that truly understand less and less. This is the strain of suffering. Suffering affects everything, it does not exist in a vacuum of the mind, or in the body without affecting more than can be controlled. This total viral epidemic of suffering bottled up brings a new kind of death, that eats away at willpower, goodness and compassion. A kind that masks our deep and necessary needs and intentions with pithy and selfish half-visions and dreams that close in on themselves, getting smaller and smaller, creating less space for movement and growth like a cramped muscle. As Eugene Peterson puts it in The Message version of the New Testament: “ It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on.” (Galatians 5:19-21).

Yes, I interrupted my train of thought with words from a letter, written to a group of people, by a man named Paul, translated in the 20th Century by some American pastor/scholar. Why would I do that? Because this list is brave, and it comes from a place of understanding suffering.
My last point and final summation is about the suffering of God himself. You see, God, is like time. There are no lenses I can wield or manufacture—by any means—to be able to see what He is clearly and with precision and clarity. This body of mine offers little explanation in and of itself, nor can it produce the right tools to explain or understand what God is doing, who or what He is made of. He is there, like a blur of something. It is easy to misinterpret meaning. I know I did. As I had said before, seeing Time/God as mocking, teasing, like a group of kids at school who have status and power that cannot be obtained in that particular moment. The most amazing twist in God's revelation to the world is through Jesus Christ. And like any good story, it is not until the end that things start to come together to really make sense. 

Tonight, as I laid in the bath, trying to let go of all the tension of stress of being human, thoughts flooded my brain, reasoning out the possibility that the single most important thing about the revelation of Jesus was to show how much God suffers also. It is an image, a representation for history, human record for all time to just simply know that God experiences suffering. Jesus could have prevented the suffering of a guiltless accusation. He has certainly proved himself worthy of dodging and escaping all prior attempts to destroy his life. It was like a game to him, except not the way his creation had grown to see things unclearly. He was not playing to win, he was playing to lose. He was playing to be imbued in the silent cries of being. To be identified as one of us. 

Suffering, this total body, all affecting angst of guilt and exhaustion is not exclusive to me. It isn’t even exclusive to the human race. It includes God himself. Those former obscurities and assumptions of abused power and bullying against my condition cannot be intended from Him for me. It is simply a distortion by my own insecurity. He, with all power in his being, slowly lowers his head and nods “Yes” in compliance with the fate to suffer. In all vulnerability He exposes truth and time not sitting regally at a comfortable distance, as would be safely assumed. He shows he is not above it, although he has the power to avoid it, in full compassion, love and kindness He willfully agrees to surrender to the worst of it. The valley of the shadow of death. Fearless and faithful in all the ways I am incapable. Simply so I can see him with my heart and soul, and not be fooled by my own lack of vision, or thrown off by the pains of human weakness.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Hungry? On a budgy? Making rice and beans CAN be delish (true)!

Here's how I have been making it. I got the recipe from a Jamaican How-to video on youtube, so I guess this is the Jamaican way of doing it.

 You will need:
-Coconut Milk; powdered or canned
-Rice; basmati
-Beans; black turtle or red kidney (canned is easier)
-Green Onions
-Fresh Thyme
-Hot peppers; Scotch Bonnet or Habenero (if you want it *spicy*)
-Other optional stuff; garlic, onions, ginger (comme vous-voulez)

First measure out the quantity of rice, I use 100ml or roughly half a cup of rice.
Now, put that rice away! Either in a cup or a bowl.
Now, measure twice the amount of rice in coconut milk. I use the powdered kind. Just measure out in warm water then add a spoonful or two and mix.
Next, take two pieces of green onion and separate it in halves. You'll put this in the liquid as is to add flavour. 
Also, take a few sprigs of thyme. You can put this in as is, or just put in the leaves.
Next thing to add is the hot pepper. Scotch Bonnet peppers are really spicy. I cut them into whole pieces so they can be removed after.
With the pot set to high heat, put all these things in together and wait for it to boil.
Next, open up a can of beans. Usually there is liquid inside. I drain this out by opening the can almost to the end. Then using the lid to hold the beans, pour out the liquid.
As a fun and delicious option, one may add curry powder. Simply add... and stir!
OK, so now that it's all boiling and whatnot, you add the rice that has been chillin' all alone waiting to be called on.
Stir it all up nicely and wait for it to boil. When it starts to boil, cover it and put the heat down low to SIMMER or LOW.
SIMMER down now!
After about 10 - 15 minutes it should be done. Make sure it's covered with a lid. If you don't have that, you can use a plate, but make sure you handle with care, because it'll be HOT HOT HOT.
You're gonna wanna remove the peppers... (this should be easy because everything gets pushed to the top when it's done cooking)
...the thyme sprigs...
...and the green onion (if you wish).
THERE YOU HAVE IT! Eat as you wish, but it's extra good with chopped up spinach and served in a whole wheat tortilla (great snack idea).

Saturday, June 4, 2011


i've decided to start reading the gospel of john everyday for a week (any maybe more). I like this one because it focuses on Jesus being sent from God as a word. Like he was born to tell a story, born since the beginning. As far as written evidence goes for his time on earth everything he says makes him sound either like a total madman, or the son of God.

His discourse on being "living water" that you will never thirst again if you drink from it is very interesting. It makes me think that beyond all doubt and human knowledge there is a deeper current of living water that I very much wish to understand... that I would more than understand but to take part in.

Again he describes the Kingdom of Heaven. He also talks about the devil as a liar, which I would very much agree with. It is laid out here that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. For many years, I wanted to be left alone, as if it would be easy to ignore this religiousness of those that try to do good for their own salvation, or on the other hand become rebellious and pragmatic -- to believe that we simply must live our lives and forget about any other Gods or Jesus in the sky to save...

Either way, leave me alone God... I want to do this myself... I will have no part of you, because I'm quite comfortable living a lie... living in my own kingdom to preside over and make my own decisions for.

Good thing there is a third way... JESUS... the man from God, the word from the beginning sent to earth to tell the truth. The ultimate act of love and mercy. Every step of the way, few believed in him, and those that did feared to be public about following him for fear of being killed. This doesn't sound very much like the ubiquitous "popular" church on every corner kind of thing....

I'm just going to keep reading everyday to understand the layers and complexity, and I would encourage you to do so as well

Saturday, February 5, 2011

goodnight moon

spirit come spirit go
like the moon it's hard to hold
once you see it maybe you'll know
but look again, now it's gone

round again round the bend
spirit blowing in the wind

Monday, January 31, 2011