Thursday, December 29, 2005

are you here?

Today I was driving back from lunch, and I was thinking of how much of what is written on the blog’s of the people of theRealZoo is really from their heart. I am so glad that God has invited me to be a part of His thing here. Maybe you have been reading along for sometime or maybe today is your first time. The thing that seems to stir in my soul is to say to you “you are not alone!” Thank you for stopping by from time to time. For those of you who have left comments, thank you, because by your comments you have given us comfort that we are not alone. If you have never made a comment I want to invite you to join the conversation even if it is “hey.” Comments can be anonymous, which is one great thing about this space, all are welcome. May you continue to search for what it is that yearns to be known, and May His face shine upon you today.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

bringing Heaven to Earth

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Keep us alive with three square meals. Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others. Keep us safe from ourselves and the Evil one. You're in charge! You can do anything you want! You're ablaze in beauty! Yes. Yes. Yes. "

In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can't get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God's part.

The question really is am I actively participating in the act of bringing heaven to earth?

Thursday, December 22, 2005

checking my life lens

“Is the gospel God’s work in the world for us or is the gospel what God has done for me? Does it operate, to borrow an image from Donald Miller’s Blue Like Jazz, as if this world is a movie in which God has appointed me as the central actor (or actress)? Or is it the work of God as a universal and cosmic thing in which we get to participate? More likely the gospel is the staged drama of God’s work and we get to take part; God is the central character.”

What is the gospel? Cover story article by Scott McKnight from

What does this matter? Why ponder such theological issues? I think it matters a lot for someone like me who can be very self-centered. It is so easy to try and look at life through the cracked lens of “what does God want me to do?” rather than the holistic approach of “where is the work of God and do I want to participate?” I guess it might be time to change the prescription of my way of looking at life. Just as with any corrective eye solutions, regular examinations are essential, so must the eyes of my soul be tested that I might regularly examine my way of understanding the Truth.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

john carryman speaks

this is an audio post - click to play

words from the past

Fear and guilt… Two words that as a child I knew too well. My fear was mostly of snakes. I remember having dreams as a child where my entire front yard was covered in snakes of all kinds. I had to make some kind of vine to swing across them in order to land on my porch to gain safe entrance into my house. This was probably due to my fascination with Indiana Jones movies. I loved the adventure but was terrified of the scary bugs, snakes, and spooky stuff.

Later in my childhood, my fear became tied to the loss of things around me. Around the age of 10, I noticed my parents (mostly my mom) constantly yelled at everyone. I began to sense that things were some how coming apart. The atmosphere of my house was like a war, a war with raging words like missles and grenades flying through the living room, dining room, and bedrooms. I began to fear that, FAMILY, the only thing that I had known as true and good was tearing a part. And there was nothing I could do about it, as much as I thought I could. My situation was hopeless.

And then at age 12, it happened. My fear turned to guilt. My parents separated. And everything in me said that I was to blame. In my world everything evolved around me. So if my family world was crumbling down on the outside so was my little spirit on the inside.

I share this story because it is real. It is my life. It is how I came to know fear and guilt. Wrong as they are, this is the point of reference at the center of me.

In her recent book, Christ the LORD, Anne Rice captures the atmosphere of the child Jesus growing up in Alexandria, the most prominent city in first century Egypt. In the last two chapters, in which I finished last night, the boy Jesus finds about his past. He comes to realize that because of the situation surrounding his birth, over 200 children were killed by a paranoid Herod. At the age of seven, Jesus was surrounded by war as the Roman Republic fought to become the Roman Empire. In every city, children lived in fear of the soldiers knocking on the door demanding the life of the children in the house. Jesus knew fear and guilt as a child.

Maybe now when I read the “red letters that speak to fear and guilt,” I realize they came from a child who became a man - who became the greatest Rabbi the world has ever known, and I will remember that He struggled though the emotions of strife and even death to find hope. He came that we might find, as he said, “this life.” Hope is alive. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

wrestling with the unknown

Many thoughts of transition have raced through my mind these last few weeks. Could there be something happening that I am not aware of? Is it possible that there are things set in motion that have been a part of the sacred story that only now will come to pass? Where is the thin line of being alert and sober to the events and things around you to let them unfold as they may and crossing the line to control or twist them to the way I wished they would turn out?

Where do my thoughts end and divine inspiration begin? Which ones do I pull the trigger on? Sometimes I think of Peter who was so zealous for the LORD and in so being did some foolish and unreasonable things. Yet it was his passion for the truth that led him to act. I am thankful for the LORD who forgives those like me who get all excited and run off to do silly things. Yet He is always faithful to remind us where we can find him.

Why does he keep sending people and money to help us along the way when it doesn’t seem like we are on any kind of path? This is crazy! It feels like being on life support as though we are in a spiritual ICU where there are moments when we fade in and out of consciousness.

Thank you to all the messengers who have brought gifts of encouragement to us along the way. You have no idea how sustaining your words are to Darla and I. May you sense His presence as you inhale and exhale deeply today! Amen.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Narnia - through the eyes of a child

Good morning to all, yesterday I took my family to see The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, of the Chronicles of Narnia. As a boy, I can remember watching a cartoon version shown on regular TV around Christmas time. In that version, the demons and henchman that worked for the White Queen terrified me. And when they shaved off Aslan’s hair, it was though a dagger was driven through my heart. Terror gripped me like a sudden heart attack. I can’t remember back then who I felt the most like, as a child I think we try to imagine who we are in the movie. Have we lost the art of finding ourselves in the epic stories all around us?

After the movie the girls asked who do you think we are? Needless to say we have a little Peter, a little Susan, some of Lucy, and even some Edmund. I was taken by surprise when my oldest said that I was most like the centaur who fought with Peter in the great battle. How humbling it is to know that my daughter sees her father as a champion. If I could only see myself that way, the simple eyes of a child.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Portrait of the Champion Idealist (eNFp)

I am usually not real big on taking these test but this one is scary close to my inner thoughts and feelings...

The Champion Idealists are abstract in thought and speech, cooperative in accomplishing their aims, and informative and extraverted when relating with others. For Champions, nothing occurs which does not have some deep ethical significance, and this, coupled with their uncanny sense of the motivations of others, gives them a talent for seeing life as an exciting drama, pregnant with possibilities for both good and evil. This type is found in only about 3 percent of the general population, but they have great influence because of their extraordinary impact on others. Champions are inclined to go everywhere and look into everything that has to do with the advance of good and the retreat of evil in the world. They can't bear to miss out on what is going on around them; they must experience, first hand, all the significant social events that affect our lives. And then they are eager to relate the stories they've uncovered, hoping to disclose the "truth" of people and issues, and to advocate causes. This strong drive to unveil current events can make them tireless in conversing with others, like fountains that bubble and splash, spilling over their own words to get it all out.

Champions consider intense emotional experiences as being vital to a full life, although they can never quite shake the feeling that a part of themselves is split off, uninvolved in the experience. Thus, while they strive for emotional congruency, they often see themselves in some danger of losing touch with their real feelings, which Champions possess in a wide range and variety. In the same vein, Champions strive toward a kind of spontaneous personal authenticity, and this intention always to "be themselves" is usually communicated nonverbally to others, who find it quite attractive. All too often, however, Champions fall short in their efforts to be authentic, and they tend to heap coals of fire on themselves, berating themselves for the slightest self-conscious role-playing.

excerpted from The Pygmalion Project: Volume 3 The Idealists, by Dr. Stephen Montgomery
Copyright © 1989 Stephen Montgomery
While the shy, seclusive Monastics [now called Healers] (Myers's "INFPs") devote themselves largely to cultivating inner purity, the high-spirited Advocates [now called Champions} (Myers's "ENFPs") turn their energies outward to investigate the public world and to develop their social awareness. Keirsey calls the Advocates "keen and penetrating observers," who "can't bear to miss out on what is going on around them." And he has referred to them both as "Apocalyptics" and "Heralds" because of their fervent desire to spread the news of their experience of good and evil.

Brimming with life, Advocates live more spontaneously "in-the-flesh" than Monastics, and at first glance they can be rather easily mistaken for Artisans. But more than simply seeking the excitement of new experiences, Advocates are interested in understanding the significance of things, and more than simply taking people as they find them, Advocates care about nurturing ethical and sympathetic social relationships. To be sure (and unlike the impulsive Artisans), Advocates are serious and conscientious in their relationships, wanting to nourish human potential and to awaken what they believe to be the latent morality in their fellow-men. In a word, Advocates are romantic in their relation to the real world, seeing high drama in their quest for life, and hearing an irresistible call to enlighten those around them.

Although Advocates are thus more public-minded than the Monastics, and more confident in dealing with people, they are only slightly more directive in their private interactions. Like all the Idealists, Advocates want harmony above all else in their personal relationships, and they are far more inclined to "re-form" their loved ones by presenting them with information than by giving them commands. Nevertheless, Advocates can be quite coercive in their role-informative style of defining relationships. Advocates delight in free discussions of current issues -- they burn with convictions and bubble with meaningful details, yearning to unveil what they believe to be the "true story" of significant events. At times, Advocates will champion a cause with such zeal that they can be carried away with the rightness of their position, and find themselves preaching to their friends and loved ones, trying fervently to convince them of their point of view. Indeed, in their penchant for investigating and reporting "the truth," Advocates can quite easily strain their relationships by reading too much into their loved ones' behavior, by over-interpreting the hidden meanings in their loved ones' words, and by overstating their own romantic views as apocalyptic revelations.

All I can say is this is crazy! Its almost like looking in the mirrow translated into words.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

what are you looking at?

"To look at something as though we had never seen it before requires great courage.”

Henri Matisse
At first glance this quote really grabs my attention, but the more I think about it the more captured I am by its simplistic yet profound meaning. Here are some questions that I have wanted to ask:

What does it mean to be a family?
Why do we work?
Why do we laugh when it hurts?
Can I really let go of the fear of pain?
Are my children going to have to suffer through life?
Why can’t I find the movement of Jesus?
What are my children learning in school?
Why do some people hide from their shame?
Can AIDS be cured? What is church?
Why does violence run so rampant in some areas and not in others?
Why don’t people say what they mean?
What if the rules are broken? Who made the rules?
Why do children from age 5-8 ask so many questions?
What would it take to look at things as though I have never seen them before?

It is good to have space that one can explore the questions that haunt the soul. May those who read these words find a still place to humble themselves before the One who created all things in Heaven and on Earth and bring to the light that which has been in darkness.

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