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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Selective Hearing Delay Disorder (SHDD)

shigeko had been asking me to change the door knobs of the master bedroom and bathroom for sometime. my selective hearing delay disorder (SHDD) kept me from fulfilling the request until, somehow, a crack in my thick skull got wide enough for me to finally respond. I went to the local hardware store, bought the knobs, returned home and replaced the defective knobs with the new ones.

done deal, right? not quite. you see, the first knob went in just fine, but the second knob, due to the poor craftsmanship of the cookie-cutter housing fellahs who installed the original knobs, didn't. long story short: i had to chisel a hole in the door jamb so that the bolt of the new knob would line up with it. needless to say, the work looked like sh#@*! when shigeko got home, here's how the dialogue went:

"So what do you think?"
"What's that?"
"That? Oh, that's what the cookie-cutter guys did..."
"I don't think so. That hole looks new...and ugly."
"What's so ugly about it?"
"Do i need to describe the obvious?"

And from here it was all down hill.

"Well, why don't you do it next time?"
"Next time i'll hire a professional."

needless to say, with that last sentence from my wife, all the blood rushed out of my brain and into my face—my proud, sullen, arrogant, "that's not fair" face.

"Ok, then why don't you hire a professional to fix the gate in the backyard!"

you see, i was also asked to fix the dilapidated gate in the backyard some time ago, but due to SHDD i had just started on that project as well. well, just as the words were released from my mouth, i had a slight conviction that i was going down the broad slippery road to destruction. no more words were exchanged between the two of us. i just stood there on the apex between the flames of heaven and the flames of hell. fortunately for me, by the sheer grace of God, i chose the flames of heaven—i prefer being saved as by holy fire instead of the outer flaming darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.

i knew what i had to do. since I had the materials and tools to begin work on the gate, i would do that and would purchase the stuff to patch up the terrible knob job at another time. so, i went into the garage to get the necessary tools to fix the gate. after plowing through a mountain of junk (since moving from our swiss avenue office, my garage has become the storage unit for all the stuff from the office), i found what i was looking for and pressed the garage door button to close it. the next instant i unexpectedly heard a loud "boom!" for some reason, the garage door became a living demon of twisted arms (i.e., the rails), disheveled scales (i.e., the lopsided, sections of the door itself), uncoiled sinews (i.e., the lift cables) and hideous decayed teeth (i.e., the rollers) both hanging and falling from their greasy sockets. i stood before the beast unable to move. how could the Lord allow this monstrous failure to assault my life on the heels of the door knob fiasco? For an instant i felt like unsheathing my sword (i.e., grabbing a sledge hammer) and commence in the utter destruction of the fell beast with all my pent up rage. but something stayed my arm. was it fear? no, i was fearless in my wrath. whatever it was it began to spread throughout my person and i soon found myself laughing at myself. it was a joke and the joke was on, the joke was me. just as with the knob, my fault found its source in viewing the source of my worth in the work of my own hands and how that work was perceived by myself and others. the Lord, God love him, was unwilling to nurse my madness by allowing me to go from one state of insanity to another without making me see my folly. rather than pouring ice on my heat, he poured gasoline on it in the form of a garage door monster run amuck. yes, i chose the flames of heaven the first time, but was it truly my choice or one simply out of habit? the second test revealed that it was the latter.

"ok, Lord, i see my fault. forgive me for my foolishness. forgive me for measuring my worth by the work of my hands. now let the work of my hands, come failure or success, find their worth in the work of yours. i'm not sure how or if i can fix this fell beast, but i will try one step at a time." and so i tackled the beast, and within an hour or so, miracle of miracles, i pushed the garage door opener and up rose the door without a hitch. later on i told the story to shigeko (actually, it was more of a confession) and she laughed with me at the Lord's humorous way of humbling and uplifting me at the same time.

pray that the Lord would continue to knock the SHDD out of me and replace it with his humility and grace.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Today I Read Something

Today I read something I’d like to share. John 13:14, if then, your LORD and Teacher have washed your feet, you too ought to wash one another’s feet. (NET Bible)

Share because I’m perplexed at what I’m experiencing within our church culture. I use our because I too am included. Also, when Nehemiah prayed to God for Israel, his people, in their effort to rebuild Jerusalem’s walls, he didn’t pray, those Israelites have sinned against you; no, he said, I am confessing the sins of the Israelites that we have committed against you. I digress; please forgive.

We are colorful church-going folk. All the colors precious in God’s sight and contemptible within our own insidiously separate within our we’re going to do church our way buildings on Sundays and other days of meeting. I do not know if that makes us Christians—followers of Jesus. If we are, we should be shamed by our evident disrespect and contempt for each other, our employers, and those we call pastors. Church hopping when we get our feelings hurt or don’t like what we hear shows contempt. Disrespect of our employer, as we demand time off for church, get paid what we’re worth, and don’t do the work—shame.

Jesus did things that were truly menial and commonplace. Jesus got down on his knees, took a basin of water, and washed dusty dirty feet and wiped them with a towel. Can any of us use a towel like Jesus? Towels and dishes and all the menial life tasks reveal what each of us are made of—with shameful quickness.

It would seem with the entire God talk happening as we lounge on the job and gossip in church, we’d understand that our ministry opportunities are not selected by us. They are selected and engineered by FatherSonHolySpirit God. Oswald Chambers’ comment slices; the characteristics we manifest in our immediate surroundings are indications of what we will be like in other surroundings. If any of us believe we will perform as required when we get to our mission field while behaving spagglley (sloth, pride, anger, greed, gluttony, lust, lying, envy) within our workplaces or churches, we are sorely mistaken.

We display rebellion, disobedience, gossip, and disrespect; and, enjoy our racist gospel. I am amazed at our belief we actually expect our pastors to cow tow to our whims and desires. Our church culture is in general disarray and unkempt. We are sloppy in our responsibilities and this must change because of who we are (or say we are)—followers of Jesus.

We’re held to a higher standard, not subject to philosophical or theological debate.
If we do not do the running steadily in the little ways, we shall do nothing in the crisis. Go Oswald!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Nothing Works

Nothing works for me when I’m rundowneyesburningkneeshurt tired—nothing. Not cookin’, juicin’, readin’ my gottamakeyoufeelgood devotion—nothin’. And I hurt on the inside with words I can’t find within my vocabulary lost in the winds of my mind; stuck and can’t come out. So I just sit in my blue chair and watch Babylon 5 on my computer and get lost in an unreality confused about its own god and think about prayer and fasting and reading my bible and not being able to answer the question about how I’m doin’ and what’s goin’ on with me and all that other mess. But to survive I’ve got to go through my room of jello and hope it doesn’t gel and I get stuck in the pain position—no movement, just stopped still.
But I’ve put these words on paper; incomplete as they are…
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