Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Long Obedience in the Same Direction

Elvis Costello is my all-time favorite recording artist. Last year he started a show on Sundance Channel called Spectacle: Elvis Costello with... This season Bono and The Edge from U2 were on as guests. In the course of the interview Bono mentioned Nietzsche's quote about obedience:

"The essential thing ‘in heaven and earth’ is. . . that there should be a long obedience in the same direction; there thereby results, and has always resulted in the long run, something which has made life worth living."

As I was surfing around the web trying to figure out what the heck that was all about, I came across this book by Eugene H. Peterson, "A Long Obedience In The Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society," (ISBN: 0830822577). So I asked my wife to give it to me as a Christmas present.

Mr. Peterson examines Psalms 120-134, The Songs of Ascents, and applies them to our lives today. The book was published during my freshman year in high school, but the message is timely and clear. Bono and the Edge must have read Mr. Peterson's book also, because the rumor is that the next U2 album will be called Songs of Ascent.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Comforting Hands of God

I am slowly recovering from the emotional wreckage of losing one of my best friends and mentors last month coupled with the sale of my father's house, 10 years after his death. To lose the one and leave the other is just brutal. I am in a funk. Usually at traumatic times like this I can feel the comforting hands of God supporting me. It seems like that feeling should be intensified knowing that my father and my best friend are now with the Lord. God lifts me up everyday, but for the first time in a long time I feel lost. Maybe it's middle age kicking in, maybe it's the lack of any concrete goal in my life right now, or maybe it's the constant barrage of imagery from the devastation all around the world (I was awoken this morning at 4 AM by not 1 but 2 nearby earthquakes). Or maybe this is God's way of building up a desperation inside of me that He will use to achieve his will in my life. I haven't written in a long time either. During the times that I use to write, I now exercise. Exercise is another great outlet and tension reliever. I thought that by the time I reached this plateau in my life that I'd have it all together. But I don't. Sure, I've achieved many of my goals, and I am very proud of that. However, I am still just as broken and messed up as ever. Everyday is a struggle, a battle internally and externally. What scares me is that I now have fewer and fewer mentors and sage guides to go to for clarity and context. Of course I read my bible, and of course I know that I should be celebrating the victory of Christ's death on the cross, and not worried about the day to day struggle. But it's still a struggle, and even with the love of my wife, children, family and friends, I still feel alone in that struggle. So right now I tell myself that I am in that unknowing place between adventures in life. I am waiting for the next mountain to climb. I need to rest and be prepared for whatever the Father brings me next. While I wait I will do my best to rest in the comforting hands of God.