Saturday, January 31, 2009

took long enough

You know what feels good?

Standing up for yourself.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Getting Hazy

The world is too loud right now.
I need to turn it down
Tune it out

Hear my own voice
but is my own voice echoing the voice of the Lord?
are they even in sync anymore?

Have I succumbed to worldly ways and desires?
Am I merely wearing a Christian suit?

Im not choosing God
and Im not choosing myself either
So what am I doing?

I know my destination
and the train I am on is not going anywhere near that stop.
sometimes the people on this train look all too familiar.

Everyone knows what i should do,
how I should do and when....
All that noise is too loud, too static, too much,

Sarah, What did GOD tell you to do?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Crawling in the dirt

Tonight I went to Sunshine Gospel Ministries on the Southside to see my friends, Matt, TJ and Paul rap. I learned alot.

First of all, I learned Matt has skills. He also has flow. And good hair.

Secondly, I was so blessed by a bible study led by Pete Blodgett. We read through a passage in 2 Cor. about how Christ died to sin, just once, which is all that was necesary and accordingly we are new creations and dead to our sin once we are are in Him. That was tight, but the part that was so memorable was an analogy Pete used. He said we are like catepillars. We crawl around and are not super cute or anything, we burrow in dirt and exist on the ground and people flick us off them and we are gushy. Then, through salvation we enter our coccoon and emerge as a new being. A beautiful butterfly is completely different from a lowly caterpillar. Butterflies fly and have glorious wings with intricate patterns and land on flowers and barely touch the dirt. A butterfly would never think to return to the life of a caterpillar and choose, as a butterfly, to crawl in the dirt---
so how can we as Christians return to a life of sin. The story of the butterfly is perfect because the caterpillar is no where as wondrous or prized as a butterfly.

I began to think "Why am I choosing lately to roll in the dirt on my belly and inch along when I have wings?"

I want to embrace my butterflyness and the salvation that it represents and not long for the familiarity yet the death that sin ultimately brings.

I want to take solace in God and trust in Him.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Altruism is not dead. (alternate title = DePaul Winter Quarter 2009 vs. my Christianity)

So I signed up for this class on Ethnographic documentary making. Its one night a week at Depaul. I love documentaries, on everything. If you know me, then at some point in our relationship I have talked to you about some documentary I watched and as I spoke to you with fervent interest and intense inner rumination, I bet your eyes glazed over and you drifted away. Anyway, I thought it would be cool to make one of my own and I can think of several cultures in Chicago that I specifically have access to that most of the population does not. Its not actually that others dont have the access to these cultures or groups of people, but that they dont think they do and are hindered by fear and ignorance.

I love documentaries because I love to learn and I am a very visual person. I learn by seeing, I am moved or excited by visual stimulus. If I see something, i will never forget it but tell me something and it falls out of my head when something shiny catches my eye. I love the insider view and the intellectual layers of the documentary movie, and the implicit art and critical thought that has to go into the editing. I love that the person who made the documentary usually wants to teach us something, and that they have to go out and work for it. Its not scripted, technically, and those people arent actors in the Hollywood sense. We all act, but to act in the course of real life or to accept a role and follow a script is two completely different things. We had to come up with 2 cultures or people groups in Chicago that we want to film. I didnt need a week, I knew before I signed up for the class what I wanted to learn more about and what I wanted to teach people through my documentary.

First, I want to do a documentary on the homeless. All of us are like three careful steps from homelessness. Lose your job, cant find another, no one to help you = potentially homeless. The world is cruel,I have seen it countless times with my own two. The men and women I have met through out life have shown me this. Yes, sometimes its the choices you make and I am aware of that. I am not interested in a victim mentality ever. I dont want to identify people as a victim, I dont want to patronize a victim, I dont want to blame a victim....Nothing. What I want to do is show everyone, this can happen to anyone. If people can embrace that fact, I believe :
1. They would be way more grateful and appreciative of what they have and that GOD has blessed them unduly and undeservingly.
2. They would be more apt to share these blessings, to pour them out and pay out what has been merely loaned to them by God for His glory (not our personal gain or acheivement, but as a way to love others.)

The second idea was to follow up with the prostitutes I met while doing outreach on Madison in front of the Rockwell garden housing projects like 2 years ago. The housing project there has since been torn down and apparently that particular stretch of the street is in the last stages of gentrification so the women have moved west about a mile or so. I was interested how they interact with one another and especially their pimps. Particularly, the tiny not scary ones that ride bicycles. Seriously, this has bothered me for like two years. There was this one pimp in my mind I remember. The women would never talk to us or accept any offering of food or clothing if the pimps were around so we had to learn who was a pimp quickly. This one seriously rode a little kid's bike and was like 100 lbs soaking wet. What is he doing? So many questions, so little answers. Anywho, also I see the other pimps and some were like old men with fuzzy canes and white suits that were embroidered with multiple offensive words, but in pretty raised cursive letters and glitter. Maybe not the prostitutes then, but the pimps I was interested in for this project. I dont know. Im still working this second idea out.

But the point of this post was the talk about this idea that my professor threw up onto my life yesterday. Yes you read that correctly, he PUKED THIS WRETCHED IDEA INTO MY LIFE. I am someone who accepts things, and I make them personal (I had this conversation with two of my friends last night, G and Emery. They were like "Stop internalizing everything." Um, read my last post). So what my Professor said was "Altruism doesnt exist. Helping the homeless isnt about them or love or any of that sh*%, its about you.You feeling better about yourself for helping people. Its all about what you are getting out of it." Then he paused, and thought and I was like whatever, thats not true but when he went on is when he GOT me: "Unless, of course, it pains you. If it pains you, then ......that's different. But you know what, no, because if it pains you, then you are CHOOSING pain and then you are getting what you want anyway so it is not altruistic." The thing is, It pains me. It all but kills me to work with the homeless like I have. I stopped doing outreach purposefully in September. I see the men all the time but I had to disengage because of the pain and brokenness and how right now, I cant do that. I cant devote my life to working and loving them and still pay attention to school and work. But that will be my life, in some facet. That the Lord will use me to love and serve the poor and potentially homeless, in Chicago. I have know that since a very young age. Praise God for revealing my purpose, some people travel all through life wondering, but I have always known (maybe not embraced it, but always known). So the statement was personal. When he looked at me and thought and then said that about being pained instead of feeling good, I felt like he saw me. Just a part, but a deep part.

Now my professor, alot of professors, at DePaul are not typical college professor. This particular one swore so many times and in such creative ways that I wrote some of them in my notes. He told us he stole the shoes he was wearing, used to be a crack dealer and admits to using intravenous drugs for most of his life. He swears and talks casually about gaining people's trust, then learning about their lives and vulnerabilities and then freely and consciously exploiting these for the use of his film and career. He speaks flippantly about pretending to care about people he is filming and then using them. Other students in the class warmed up and began to speak as casually and callously as him. My heart was heavy and during our 15 minute break in the 4 hour class, I listened to worship music and prayed for endurance and peace and other things. He said such horrible crap, his mouth just opened and these irreverant, harsh, mean things came pouring out with a smile and sometimes I just laughed and shook my head. Eventually, he caught on that I was not laughing WITH him.I cant decide if this is an act he is putting on, or if in fact this is who he is. He appreciates my presence and told me I am a live wire, but I cant help but be interested in how this quarter will play out for me. I am not one to keep my thoughts and beliefs to myself and this is an emotionally charged environment as we delve into conflict and how to "exploit" that.

I cant drop this class, or I wont graduate on time. and honestly, if I had to pick a class to drop it would be my 'Sex and Gender in the City" class. We are doing a case study of the SEX and the city tv show and learning about sex markets in every neighborhood of Chicago. People in that class are just sick, talking openly about sick crap that makes me want to punch them. THAT is a requirement for my major, not to punch people for being proud sluts but taking a class on sex and gender issues.

Um, Maranatha. Quick.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Thats not mine.

Recently I have been convicted of how sin affects a community. I never understood this, even though I have heard it countless times. I have been horrified how people get in each other's business and I still am at times, but I been to the other side! I can see that no man is an island and I feel nervous at the weightyness of this revelation.

What I mean is, through several situations (personal and not) I have seen how sin that you havent committed directly can still drastically affect your life. We all pay the price for sin and not only is it a biblical mandate to be your brothers keeper and to lift them up, but it is in your best interest as well to keep them from the wide road to destruction and to lead them toward the narrow path of rightousness.

Due to the fact that would be pretty bogus to blast someone else's sin on here and then exemplify how its messing with my life, I am going to use Israel and the whole Gaza Strip situation. So back in the time of the old Testament, Abraham and Sarah were desiring a child. Sarah did not trust in the Lord and took matters into her own hand (Sarah's are always not trusting!!!) and sent her maid servant Hagar to lay with Abraham and produce a child. As usual, the Lord delivered on his promise to Sarah in His own time and she was able to bear her own child thus rendering Hagar's child undesirable. AND so it began = unrest in the middle east stemming from the Jews being Abraham and Sarah's child Issac and the Middle Eastern ethnicity (I couldnt figure out what to put there? Palestinians? Iraqi? Saudi? Islam? After five minutes, I settled Middle Eastern Ethnicity. Dont dwell on it) which was the fruit of Abraham and Hagar. So Sarah's sin and lack of faith in the Lord to satisfy her desire has a very obvious and lasting result. Hatred and ethnic divide and genocide is under way to this very day. People, children, moms, elderly, whole communities are trembling in fear and being assaulted and have inherited this sin and its results. Do they even know what they are fighting for anymore? I dont know. Land? Really? Land?

On a more personal note, sometimes people do mean stuff. I assume that into myself on such a personal level. I assume in the most extreme way, that somehow I am to blame for their actions. People have told me before, "its not about you" and I never listened deeply to that. I never understood what that meant or rather, I thought people misinterpreted my feelings as somehow I thought I was important enough to make that person sin. I was just taking on responsibility that somehow, I was ridiculous enough, or bad enough that this person had no fault and i caused them to act this way. But I am realizing what "its not about you" means.

Everyone sins. We have to, we are human. Perhaps the way someone is treating me is their own sin and nothing to do with me. When i snap at the lady in front of me for going too slow, its not really her fault but my own lateness, disorganization and lack of patience that causes me to do that.

Perhaps I was just there. Perhaps, I was in the line of fire.

This not only has present day applications for me, but life altering implications.
All that stuff in the past, all that SUPER RIDICULOUSLY HORRIBLE family issues that I cant see fit to get over on....Maybe most of that was so not even about me but I was just there, plodding along and stepped out into the dangerous traffic of their own sinful strugles. Maybe, I dont need that apology and reckoning because after all...

It wasnt even about me, was it?

I want to hold onto that thought. I want to take that truth and cuddle up and intertwine with it so I can soak every bit of relief out of it and allow my life and heart to be changed and renewed.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Too Old and too Pretty

Being sleep deprived, stressed beyond all get out, and frustrated I yelled that at the top of my lungs last night in my friends apartment.If you know me, I'm pretty sure you know I dont think either one of those things about myself, but my friends pounced on it and want me to accept it as my personal 2009 mantra. I feel like that last little something just broke last night.You know, straw...camel...

We are having some serious family issues, ones that I cant even work through right now. Since about Wednesday, I have this block and I cant even pray. I can simply just sit in silence and think about God. I am not sure if I am angry, or so incredibly hurt or scared. have you ever had a stomach ache for like 6 days straight?

I also think its time for Sarah to stand up. People mistake my kindness for weakness a little too often. People mistake my desire to serve as a doormat. People mistake my constant extension of forgiveness as an excuse to hurt me over and over.

I need to find a balance between the super soft sensitive Sarah that loves too much and wants to be loved too much and the Sarah that takes up for everyone else and stands strong in the face of all adversity. It's like I have all the qualities to fix myself, on one side I am super vulnerable and weak and the other I'm a beast. If I could put those together and take up for me and protect me, I would be better.
But there is this bridge out.... that those two sides cant come together for me, and I'm pretty sure thats one of the reasons I need Christ. He is that bridge. His love fills in all the brokenness.

Im stubborn and sinful. Why wont I rest in Him?