Saturday, March 31, 2007

If I lived in the first century, and my family for the last 40 generations had carried with them the weight of imprisonment, I would take freedom very very seriously. In fact our whole attitude and way of life would be centered on one ancient but profound act that set our family free from 4 centuries of oppression. A tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation would involve remembering the great Divine work of Freedom. The best way for our people to understand freedom was to remember that we were liberated from our enslavement.
To truly know freedom is to remember captivity.

This “remembering time” would occur around the time of spring known as Passover. As I am just learning about this I think I will journal this time on my blog, maybe others will learn as I learn. My hope is that this journey is more than obtaining knowledge; rather that it is an internal journey.
As I follow in the footsteps of many who have walked before me, I recognize that the Creator of All is the One who transforms all who travel the great path. It is our choice to acknowledge Him or not. I choose to acknowledge what I do not understand, but rather choose to go beyond that point led by the Spirit of YHWH.

Friday, March 30, 2007

My Own Prison
Originally uploaded by ryan_carville.

what is freedom? is it just doing what i want when i want?

Am I not then just a slave to my whims and fancies? What if my fancies are not really coming from me? Maybe I have desires that were placed in my head by others. Am I truly free if I follow those desires? What if I have instinctive drives that are harmful to myself? Can you call me free if I am bound by those drives? What about compulsive or addictive behavior? Bad habits? Can't you also be a slave to what you want?

True freedom is the ability to express who you really are. If there are levels to your personality that have not been explored, if your soul has not had the opportunity to be expressed, then you are not yet free.

"Passover is all about breaking out of our constraints, attaining personal freedom. Each of us is enslaved inwardly in some way or another and Passover helps us break out of our personal slavery and become free. Doing things that are beyond our comfort zone, pushing our limits for the sake of a higher purpose, a higher calling, actually liberates us.

I think this is a concept many people don't recognize. We think of slavery as someone else enslaving us, but in truth, we are often the ones enslaving ourselves. We are so busy being influenced by money, by society, by external pressures, that our true identity and abilities can be hidden.

It is this slavery that keeps people caught up in "Egypt," in the false safety net of their lives, in their external distractions, and it keeps people from going into the wilderness of their souls, from delving deeply into themselves.

It is only when we realize what we have within, that we can act from the inside out instead of the outside in." Matisyahu

Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Sages tell us that the leaving of Egypt is a constant process. It means realising our freedom, in all aspects of our lives. What does this mean?

For a plant, freedom means good soil, water and light. To be trapped in one place does not worry the plant. It does not expect to be able to move around. But an animal does. For an animal food and water are not enough. The animal also needs freedom of movement. But the animal does not feel deprived if we do not teach it how to read and write, how to think and be creative. So we come to the higher freedom of a human being. He or she needs food and water, freedom of movement - and also education, creativity, freedom of self-expression.

what do we mean by self-expression? It means a sense of identity, the quest for knowledge, for the "imago dei" expression in daily life. If we take this away, or limit it, then the aspect of the person - his or her essential aspect - is not free. It is in Egypt.

The way to go free is to let this "imago dei" aspect express itself. In every generation, and indeed every day, this is our private Exodus, our personal, our "true self' liberation.

The Exodus and Daily Meditation

There is a kind of personal deliverance from 'Egypt' every time we stop and still ourselves before the Creator. The soul of each person is a sacred portion of the Divine. However, the soul feels itself to be trapped by the limitations and self-centredness of the body and the ordinary material concerns of the person. For the soul, this is a kind of Egypt. In fact the Hebrew word for Egypt, Mitzrayim, is very similar to the Hebrew word for 'limitations', meytzarim. Sometimes the person is able to leave these limitations of material concerns, at least for a few moments.

This is a brief moment when the person is actually focused on the One of Being. For those few seconds one is oblivious to the weather, the state of the world, the meal one is going to eat, the possibility of buying a later model convertable. At this moment there is just the individual and God. Temporarily at least, for the soul, this is freedom.

What does all this mean to me here and now?

Today I felt the warmth of the sun and the spray of the sprinkler on my feet. I looked deep into creation through the evergreen blades of grass glistening around my feet and for just a moment I was ok... in the center most part of me... I was free for a moment.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

a dialogue worth having

i began reading "the meaning of Jesus" this weekend. it is a difficult read, yet i am completely intrigued by the first two chapters. borg challenges me on one end, wright pushes me beyond what i thought i knew on the other. i wonder what it was like for the two of them to work on this project coming from such diverse perspectives?

Friday, March 23, 2007

reading the foot notes

i just finished reading "sex god" by rob bell. it was fantastic. i think it was better than his first book. there was a lot of material in this book that i hadn't heard him teach on. and the real bonus is the reference/notes/comments section; he gives people a whole new rabbit trail to chase. whether you are single or married this book is a must read just for the exposure to a larger understanding of what sex is and isn't all about.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


i ache today
from the center of my being
i try to look away
but the ache remains
i don't want to be alone
love is such a mystery
she wounds
she heals
deep in a cave
i want to hide
heavy is my chest
where is the air
hear me
beautiful One
come to my aid
do not let this depair
grip too tight
humble me
restore hope
or live with pain
if i must

Monday, March 19, 2007

and he shall come riding a red stallion

and a cry of great joy was heard throughout the land! for the rider and his steed had come at dusk and rescued the winn people from their plight. the great horn of hampshire was blown as the red stallion rolled upon the wild plains of overgrown cloverleaf and dandelion.

can i just tell you how overjoyed i was to see my good friend pull up in his truck with his mighty red riding lawn mower. not only did he cut my grass, but all the leaves were sucked up like some wicked kirby vaccum was unleashed upon the fields of weeds and such. then all the kids got a turn riding the mower. it was as good as pony rides at a birthday party. my friend stayed and the rest of his family came over as we shared a fine meal together. we topped off the night with a game of apples to apples. if you haven't played, you are missing the boat.

seriously, i want you to know it really did my soul good for my friend to show up just at the right time. he may or may not have read my plea for help on saturday, but when he came with mower in tow, he brought a little piece of hope along with him. when the lee and winn family come together, the ten of us make one heck of a party.

i think God does hear the whinning and complaining of his kids. and unlike me he responds using all the resources under heaven and on the earth, so that we might know His goodness to us.

thank you anthony, my good friend... may your deed be returned to you 100 fold!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

the movement of creativity

"A man who works with his hands is a laborer; a man who works with his hands and his mind is a craftsman; but a man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist."
(St. Thomas Aquinas)

Saturday, March 17, 2007

broken camera - lens of life is cracked

things are breaking all around us. this week our garage door buckled while trying to close, today while walking at lake ella our camera dropped and busted into two pieces, and then this afternoon one of our girls pushed a boy down and he fell on his glasses cracking the lens. his mom came down and told me that he had just bought the glasses and they were nearly $200. she is a single mom i think and has five boys one who has mental disabilities. who knows what kind of life she really has behind the doors of her house.

ok all of this is going to sound really stupid but here it is. we sold all of our stuff because we were hoping to move to hawaii to start a creative community center or something like that. now we are back in our house and have minimal stuff. the minimal stuff is not so bad. but we have no lawn equipment and now it is time to do spring yard work. it is a different feeling not being able to just go out and do what it is you need to do because you don't have the tools to do it. it sort of is a trapped kind of feeling.

yes we have neighbors and friends who would gladly let us borrow their lawn stuff, but that flows against the grain of being self sufficient. so does being self sufficient somehow work against the idea of community?

now the family camera is broken, this has become almost a 6th member of our family. we have shared many moments of our life with our friends through the pictures taken from our camera. but does a broken garage door come first? not to mention my wife's glasses are just about out of prescription. oh yeah i forgot that the timer on our dryer doesn't work so sometimes it just goes for hours and hours if we fall asleep and forget to check it. oh yeah and the ceiling fan in delaney's room doesn't work, well the light part works but the fan part doesn't. is it neglecting these things or is it trying to get by with minimal stuff? at this point i really don't know.

is this the grip of materialism or is it being lazy or is this simply being retarded? once again i don't know. and if all men struggle with wanting to fix things what does all this broken stuff say about me. i really don't like this post one bit. in fact i think i should just delete it. i really don't want all you people out there to know that i am this whacked out about this silly crap.

self taught artist - art in public places

"You can find God through your art for God is spirit. The nature of God is love, that's nature. You use that God nature to reach out to people. The universality of life - and the universality of art - is based on this spirit. They're one and the same."

James Washington

Friday, March 16, 2007

akeelah and me

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.

It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – by Marianne Williamson

this is a quote from the film akeelah and the bee. laurence fishburne co-stars in it, when he reads this quote he sounds like the voice of a rabbi. his character plays that of a teacher, i can't help but to hear the voice of morpheus from the matrix films (which i love). we checked this movie out from the public library so i am sure many of you have already seen it. if not go to your local library and check it out for yourself.

ps. when i was in elementary school i also entered the spelling bee. needless to say i did not win. i didn't even come close. somehow along the way i forgot how to spell. i mean really spell, like the way the doctor teaches akeelah in the movie. i wish i could learn again, because i love words. a little secret is that my wife edits all my posts so that i don't sound like a third grader. one day i will grow up and learn how to spell big words like entrepreuner or something like that.

pss. therefore i really suck at scrabble.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

reading the pages of my life

last week i picked up rob bell's new book SEX GOD. i am reading session 2 "sexy on the inside." i realize that lifting one section out of any book is a dangerous thing. in light of the tone and thoughts of my entire blog, i think this quote is in context of my journey.

"you can't be connected with God until you're at peace with who you are. if you're still upset that God gave you this body or this life or this family or these circumstances, you will never be able to connect with God in a healthy, thriving, sustainable sort of way. you'll be at odds with your maker. and if you can't come to terms with who you are and the life you've been given, you'll never be able to accept others and how they were made and the lives they've been given. and until you're at peace with God and those around you, you'll continue to struggle with your role on the planet, your part to play in the ongoing creation of the universe. you will continue to struggle and resist and fail to connect." pg 046

that is just as plain as it gets.

identity. acceptance. relation.

the merger of role, soul and creation.

Friday, March 09, 2007

tap tap tip tap - sounds of the true me

over and over there is this phrase that seems to come up -
“be who you were created to be”
this language is not new by any means but it does have a nuance that has been lost in translation for me. coming from a western evangelical background, i thought that who i was created to be was to look like a certain cookie cutter shape of the average middle-class american republican christian. that definition doesn’t work for me anymore. i am walking away from that understanding and embracing the idea that I am uniquely shaped from the inside out. To get to the core of the real me is to search for the imago dei.
i am reorienting my life around this concept. if I am the truest me that I can be, then the natural outcome is a sort of ripple effect to those around me. It impacts my wife, then it impacts my children, next are those that I have regular unplanned contact with, and then lastly those that I may only meet once. It is not really me affecting them (like putting on a bright yellow jacket.) it is a sort of divine spark that somehow just comes out from the center of my being.
the divine spark is in everyone.
it is like breathing, when you stop breathing your spark is no longer seen by those on earth. what happens beyond that i am not exactly sure? i hope that all sparks are gathered together into the Original Light of Being.
so how did I get to this place? i am constantly confronted by the pure life of the rabbi from nazareth. the narrative of Jesus captivates me. the more i read and experience the story; the more it transforms my inner man. from the Jesus story I look back to the people of Yahweh before him, and through their story they remind me to remember what was the “original intent” of God and man – to be together and walk the earth in harmony with all things.
tonight we went to see happy feet the movie. i think it is a great story of “being true to who you are” regardless of what others try to tell you about who you should or shouldn’t be. the film portrays well that life will hand you difficulties in the midst of that pursuit and it may come a great cost. but those momentary losses will pale in comparison to the significant ripple caused by people who are truly authentic. as in the movie, your identity may turn out to be the small key to bring about great reward to many; hmmm, that sounds a lot like the narrative of the kingdom of God at work to me.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

why go to the pool if you're not sick?

this is a very interesting painting: follow the artist story here

Thursday, March 01, 2007