Feeling, healing, and embodying

Philadelphia has been in touch with suffering this week. The Phillies (for a day) had the worst record in baseball and Utley can’t get over .130. We marked the 30th anniversary of the state firebombing a whole block with impunity (until a civil suit in 1996, no criminal charges). Less than two miles up the road from me a train going 106 in a 50 went off the tracks, killing at least seven and injuring over 200.

I spent a few minutes near the scene yesterday morning, but couldn’t get close enough to see too much. I did see the looks on many faces of people who had been there for a while. Whatever prevented me from really feeling it before then was removed. Reading stories, seeing helicopters, and understanding numbers got me interested and sort of vaguely sad, but I drove away from the scene in tears.

When Scotty wrote We Are All Lepers Here he had been studying leprosy, a misunderstood disease. Rather than being a disease that makes limbs and whatnot look gross and fall off, it’s a neurological disorder caused by bacteria. The disease often makes one unable to feel – at least certain parts of the body, thus not pulling one’s hand away from a candle while sleeping or attending to early infections. As a metaphor for the Body of Christ, the song asserts that in order to feel the pain of the Body – we need Jesus to help us feel again rather than just “tending to our own.”

My brilliant friend Randy Woodley takes this body image a step further in his book Shalom & the Community of Creation that it’s not even just Jesus’ followers that He made us one with, through discipleship Christ restores us back into a natural harmonious rhythms as part of creation.

How I wish more of us in the US could feel the sting of Nepal’s earthquakes this month. Over 8,000 are dead from the quakes, aftershocks, and tremors. That number doesn’t register very easily with us but when experts say over $5 billion in damage (over 25% of their GDP) we sort of get a better sense. If we felt it – I’m not just talking about tears, now – couldn’t we shave a little off of the federal $600 billion “defense” spending to help out?

At my cell’s meeting this morning, we talked about how depressing it can be to learn or think about some of these situations and facts – feeling isn’t always our problem in the same way. Rather than feeling our limits as in a place to reach out for God we feel powerless and often ambivalent about faith. I know what that’s like, I’ve even described it as feeling too much.

If you have that kind of sensitivity today I hope you can allow that to be a space for you to acknowledge Jesus – the very sensitive person of God. Not only does Jesus come into the suffering of the world, He offers hope that our work is not in vain, that doing our small part is worth it, and that being faithful to the cause makes ripples throughout time that we can’t even fathom yet.

If you are not feeling very sensitive to some of these issues (or others), I hope that space can also be ripe for Jesus to bring some feeling back into your body. I hope that your emotional and spiritual scabs might fall off or that God will touch you and you’ll help pull the proverbial hand off of the hot stove before it gets too badly burned.

We are all connected in this great big Community of Creation, and those trying to walk with Jesus can have a richer sense of what it means to feel pain as well as heal and to shine hope in the face of despair. There are a lot of folks who want and need to be made alive again. Let’s embody what it looks like to be a people who bring hope to the challenges of our day.

end of semester, beginning of…

Lots of things coming to a good end lately:

The 2007 Frankford renovation.

The college semester (one more assignment and final).

Lots of good things beginning:

Wed night baseball

Shalom House Festival (May 13, 6:30pm at 2007 Frankford)

The Discerning Team has met twice about the next church plant.

Composting in the backyard, getting ready for our little garden (Japanese cukes, cilantro, some flowers already going)

I also managed to sprain my ankle during the first inning of the first game of the year.  I go to a specialist tomorrow to see how bad the damage is.  Today was the first day that the swelling went down, that’s encouraging.

i’m always thinking one step ahead . like a carpenter that makes stairs

A few things that are great right now.

1.  The Phillies are in the NLCS, and it begins tonight.

2.  My brother Jonny hit a home run yesterday.

3.  We are leaving for the retreat in like 20hrs.

4.  The Office is back on tonight (and I have DVR).

5.  I have DVR (and the Office is back on tonight).

6.  Randy’s blog about the show Heroes, called The Heroic Life.

the post you need, not the one you deserve

Last nights baseball game was rained out (W.N.M.W.G.P.U.G.), and martha already had plans so I made some.  After bathtime and bedtime fun with the kiddos, Jeremy and I went to see the Dark Knight (with 6 other people in the seats).   I love that vibe for these kinds of movies.

there were definately some exciting parts (when Zeus did the thing on the ferry), but overall felt like one of those movies that was on the verge of something and decided to instead celebrate post-modern irony.

More irony…this movie is like a year old and no longer being talked about, I’m so behind on the times even writing about it.  I guess it wasn’t movie that I deserved, but the one I needed.  (If you haven’t seen it yet than you may not get this line).

At least the Flyin Hawaiin is giving us something to root for tonight!  Go Phils!

people like angels

I watched Angels in the Outfield with my children last night because it was On Demand and I was treating them (and didn’t want to watch new fangle kids cartoons).  What shit!

The only comfort I have is that I know that 2 sequels were made.  Angels in the Endzone, and my favorite-that I kind of guilty pleasure wish I would have seen before…Angels in the Infield.

Christopher Lloyd didn’t pull it off as the angel that helped the football players, I guess.  Part 3 they totally mix everything up and have a girl kid pray to angels and David Allen Greer (what happened to him?  In Living Color was so great!) comes to the rescue.  Holy crap.

Besides things like the head angel telling the 11yr old that his friend/hero was going to die in 6mo and nobody knows, it brought up a lot of intersting questions for my kids.  Are angels real?  Do they really appear in coke cups?  Do they like baseball, too?

I was tempted to tell them stories that always seem to begin with angels saying “don’t be afraid”, but I instead told them about mystery and how I don’t totally know a lot of details.  They are definately not as cheezy as that movie, though, and they probably don’t need you to pray to them.

friday night lites

With all the running around and hectic-ness of this week, I’m glad that I’m going to play baseball.

This pic was taken by sarah weiss last season.  This year has only gotten better.   Not just my batting average (and OPS!) but I’ve had a year to acquire better gear and uniforms from thrift stores.  I hope the rain holds off long enough to get a game in.

I was having lunch today with my friend Marcus who plays basketball nearly every friday at those courts you can see in the background.  Small city.   Lots of fun.