Subversion of the Day- Prayer, a Series: Part IV

 

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Wow, its been quite awhile.  A lot has happened over the last month in my life, which has been the reason for the absence in posts.  But I have now gained some power, love, and sober-mindedness from living in the love of the Spirit of God.  And so, it is time to be intentional about this being a blog with a legitimate focus on subversion, you know, everyday.  So with that in mind, lets get back to subversion through prayer!

Returning to the passage in Matthew 21, we see that as soon as Jesus got done Hulk-ing out on everybody, he did the very next thing you would expect a pissed-off saviour to do: he healed people.  Wait, that’s not what you would expect.  But this was what Jesus was about; afflicting the comfortable, and comforting the afflicted.  And the religious elite did exactly what you would expect the religious elite to do: they were pissed that He did amazing things.

Wait… Oh, wait, that is what most people expect the religious elite to do.

I don’t say that with joy.  It is unfortunate that many of those who represent the “one’s who got it right”, at least in America, are the one’s who you could imagine in this situation getting mad at Jesus for healing people, muttering that they only came to get healed.  Or getting mad at kids for yelling “Save us, Son of David”, cause they’re kids.  They need to wait until they are older and have something of substance to contribute instead of just being loud.  Please take them to Children’s Church.  So like some today would possibly say to Jesus, they say “Do you hear what these are saying?”  I can imagine Jesus saying with a you-really-don’t-hear-what-you-are-saying tinged “Yeah, yeah I do.”  And then he quotes from a Psalm which says out of the mouth of babies you have prepared praise, and then leaves.

Cut to the chase.  What’s this got to do with prayer?

Right.  The Greek translation of the word praise is ainos, and it means a saying, proverb, praise, or something said out loud.  So easily, you can see that Jesus, by defending the blind and lame by healing them (these disabilities were typically attributed to sin in their lives) and defending the children, he was saying that in My Father’s house, a house of prayer, even the ones you don’t welcome are welcome.  In prayer, we must consider and defend those who are pushed down and oppressed by others.  To further show this, when you look at this passage that Jesus quotes as translated in the Psalms, it reads more like “you make strength come from babies that silences the enemy and the avenger.”  God’s strength resides in those without strength, and by defending those without strength in prayer and in action, we silence the oppressors.  Subvert the powers today.

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
The words of Jesus, Matthew 5:5

Song- Where the Stars Don’t Hide

I seem to be blending more of my escapist songwriting with love songs.  I am pretty sure this is a good thing.  Here it is:

 

 

Well I’m tired of trying to look at, the constellations you know

Through all the light pollution, and the industrial glow

It’s like the neon’s are nebulae, and gas lights are galaxies

And the moon don’t shine the way we know it should be

And even in the day time, you know we can’t get far

Cause their sun’s burning out, and Lucifer’s their lodestar

We need to get going, where we can plunge our skin

Where the real heaven’s shine, as we dive right in…

 

I could float here with you, baby all night long

We could let the water drowned out the highway songs

Those lonely steel belts hum and the diesels whine

You know it will wear us out, it’s a matter of time

So grab your bag, honey, grab your coat

Grab anything you need to help you stay afloat

Just leave everything that reminds you of here

We’re going to sing a new song to heal our weary ears….

 

I want to go with you where the stars don’t hide

Where there’s only outside

And the only high rise

Is the hills we look to

To get us through the night…

I want to go with you where the earth and sky meet

Where we run in bare feet

Where we kiss under leaves

That drop the rain they’ve caught

That’s where we come alive…

Where the stars don’t hide

 

I say we go get lost back in the woods

We can help each other remember everything that’s good

About being in love, and falling in love

About love when it’s rough, when the going get’s tough

Cause even out there your life is still with out ease

You can get pecked by the birds, and stung by the bees

But we can escape in the river deep, or climb the mountain high

We’re going to look at view, to revive our blinded eyes…

 

I want to go with you where the stars don’t hide

Where there’s only outside

And the only high rise

Is the hills we look to

To get us through the night…

I want to go with you where the earth and sky meet

Where we run in bare feet

Where we kiss under leaves

That drop the rain they’ve caught

That’s where we come alive…

Where the stars don’t hide

Subversion of the Day- Have No Fear

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With it being Halloween, I thought it fitting (like I am sure a thousand other people) to tackle the subject of the day.  Though this may end up sounding a little bit like a past post, I want to take it in a new direction.  The Subversion of the Day is to have no fear.  On Halloween, fear and fun, or trick and treat, rule the streets.  I want to be clear on the onset of this that I am not out to bash Halloween.  I think that is kind of a fool’s errand, and there are much greater, much more evil of social institutions to throw my weight against… like Christmas or Easter (I kid… sort of).  But there is that common theme of fear that is associated with this holiday, or holy day to some.  When the night creeps in, and strange noises began to tear a part your mind, thinking that some crazed maniac, some ghastly specter, some evil-possessed entity is about to descend upon you…

But how often does that actually happen?


I think there could be something cathartic about the fear induced around Halloween, if we allow it to challenge our desire to flee from things that cause us fright.  But the fear I am speaking of is much more sinister, much more insidious, much darker.  Everyday we go through life carrying certain fears and doubts and uncertainties.  Fear of the unknown, fear of those different than us, fear of change.  We are often crippled by this.  And this is the realm that I think the real evil, the real darkness, the real demonic finds the fruits of it’s labors.  This Halloween stuff is chicanery, slight-of-hand.  The real powers of darkness want you to look the other way, while they are convincing you to walk through your life in fear of really living.  Because when we do that, we disconnect from relying on the God that truly loves us.

So how do we fight the real darkness?

 

I good place to start in subverting the darkness is not to wage an all out war on all things scary and Halloween-like… but maybe just take it out of your life.  Don’t watch so many movies, read so many books, think so many thoughts that relate to terror.  Instead, think about things that are good, holy, of great worth.  Think about how Jesus changes the world, and brings light to cause darkness to hide wherever He goes.  And then, when you are really ready to tackle the true strong holds of darkness, question the fear that society, and yourself, implant in you:

Fear of other nations/ ethnic groups

Fear of other religions

Fear of other orientations

Fear of other ideologies or political affiliations

Fear of failure

Fear of loss

Fear of death…

When we question fear to its face, it usually doesn’t have much to say.  When you carry the light of Christ with you, the darkness, and fear, has no other option but to flee.  Subvert the powers today.

PS:  I may talk big game, but the picture at the top of this page gives me cold chills every time I think of it, lol.

There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment.  So the one who fears has not reached perfection in love.

 1 John 4:18

Subversion of the Day- Help Heal Someone’s Wounds

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It’s been a long week.  Between getting settled in to this school semester, spending time with friends, trying to coordinate a big community event in Richmond, KY, and preparing for a sermon that I preached yesterday, I have been swamped.  But, today is Labor Day- and I am going to celebrate it by blogging!

Using my weekly meeting with my friend at Purdy’s (http://www.purdyscoffee.com) as a spring board, yet again, I want to talk about how you can subvert the powers of the world by healing someone, specifically those whose wounds are self-inflicted.  This is a very difficult subject, and many people don’t know the first place to go to deal with it.  I read a statistic that said 4 percent of the population self harms.  4 percent.  That may seem miniscule, but in a city of 40,000, that is 2,000 people.  And the vast majority of those are teenagers- kids.  Kids I work with.  It is a trend that has gained steam in the last few years, but one that has been around for a long time.  And usually, it is associated with depression- it is a sign that things aren’t right in someone’s life.

There are some great resources out there (which I will suggest later) to aid you in trying to help those who compulsively hurt themselves.  But first, let’s look at an old one.
People have been harming themselves for thousands of years, and in most cases, it is a gesture to connect with the deity they believe in.  But it is one that God forbade His people to do, because he knew that it harmed them physically, emotionally, and spiritually, but that also back then it could have led to further harm through infections.  There is also a biblical example of self harm being connected to demonic influence.  Jesus encountered a man with an unclean spirit.  He lived among the tombs, could not be subdued (even by chains), cried out day and night and cut himself with stones.

This must have been a teenager.

That last comment was not really meant to be a joke.  I see kids all the time that suffer under the same darkness- they go in and out of the tombs, either literally by spending time in a cemetery, or figuratively by thinking about and idolizing death on a regular basis.  They are trapped in a culture of death.  Many teenagers cannot be held down or made to think a certain way- if any shackled are placed on them they typically refuse them and shake them off.  And many, many adolescents cry out night and day from the pain they feel, and do not know any other way to deal with it, so they cut themselves.

But what can we do?

To begin subverting this dark power, we have to care enough to step into the pain of others.  Not tell them to suck it up.  Not say they are just wanting attention.  And definitely not just ignoring them.  Learn about what they are dealing with.  You can get some knowledge about this from To Write Love On Her Arms (www.twloha.com) But, beyond these things, it is important that people who self-harm know that they do not have to hurt themselves to deal with their pain- someone else has felt their pain, and He has stepped in front of the blade for them.  Subvert the powers today.

He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of suffering who knew what sickness was.
He was like someone people turned away from;
He was despised, and we didn’t value Him.

Yet He Himself bore our sicknesses,
and He carried our pains;
but we in turn regarded Him stricken,
struck down by God, and afflicted.

But He was pierced because of our transgressions,
crushed because of our iniquities;
punishment for our peace was on Him,
and we are healed by His wounds.

Isaiah 53: 3-5

American Idols

Here is a song that I wrote that falls in the vein of yesterday’s suggested subversion.  Let me know what you think-

 

American Idols

 

Well the talking heads are talking their heads off

About the latest fashion and who was wearing what

And I tried to speak my mind but I couldn’t get a word in

They said if it didn’t “pop” i should keep my mouth shut

 

So I climbed up a mountain to tell a dying world

That Christ died and rose again to bring us peace and love

And as soon as I thought my brothers were shouting with me

They told me to be quiet as the turned their TV’s up

 

So let’s tear down these American idols

And build back in their place an altar to the Lord

So let’s tear down these American idols

And build back in their place an altar to the Lord

 

 

Well they shake it on the Left and they shake it on the Right

So it seems there ain’t no middle cause everyone wants to fight

And politicians are wishing no one senses their precision

At collision and division so there pensions don’t go missing.

 

So there’s battles of the rich going up against the poor

And the black folk and the white folk are still engaged in war

And the genders are in combat but neither one of them are right

Cause there’s no Jew or Greek or slave or freak cause we’re all one in Christ

 

So let’s tear down these American idols

And build back in their place an altar to the Lord

So let’s tear down these American idols

And build back in their place an altar to the Lord