writing is a muscle…

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The other day I read something to this effect:

Your writing is a muscle. It is strengthened by exercise, and weakened by neglect.

That is good. It draws an ironic similarity between writing, which i love and to which I tried to commit, and exercise, which is very easy for me but from which I tend to shy away. And if your reading this out of fealty to my writing, it should resonate with you. It does for me, because it hits on the very purpose for which this blog was created. I did not think that what I had to say was so necessary in a world filled with books and blogs; I did not think I could be helpful in a way that other sources weren’t. I had the benefit of knowing and speaking to my readers, and that was all. Beyond that, I simply did not wish my love for writing to grow cold through disuse.

So this post comes with all the renewed resolutions to do better that you have grown to mistrust. I do want to perform my writing push-ups, and perhaps even renew the topics on which I have previously promised to continue. But I warn you, that the past drought of content has not come merely through procrastination.

If it were up to me, I would make writing on this site a daily thing…I would make writing poetry a constant thing. But God has seen fit to take away the time for the one and the impulse toward the other…leaving me staring blankly at the screen even late at night drinking strong coffee. If ever I have time to write, it should be now, but nothing flows.

In way, that should be okay…because the heading that rest over this blog, and that rests over my heart as a Believer in Christ. Seeking the Saviour. It’s not about me, or you. An when I say it rests over my heart, I don’t say that to create a spiritual glow about myself. It addresses a longing that resides in your heart, if you are His, and a characteristic that should and will define your life. Why? Not because of our super-spirituality. If we were a tenth as spiritual as we take ourselves to be, we’d turn the world upside down.

This heading of Seeking the Saviour hangs over our lives because of who He is…because He has handed us over to a form of doctrine…because the Holy Spirit has laid hold of us with a scalpel, and removed the gross, stony heart of who we are and what we want, and replaced it with a fleshy heart, that must love the One that rescued it…because we have a loving Father that sees when we cease to seek our Savior, and disciplines those whom He loves….Because He has lavished His love upon us, made us His sons and daughters through legal, justifying, sanctifying, glorifying adoption and therefore the world knows us not because we are not of it.

Tomorrow, we will wake up, seeking a Savior. And every single one of the 7 billion people that inhabit this celestial ball are going to wake up seeking a savior. And our Savior, the only true Savior,  who has down all that I spook of above, and so much more, has set us apart a particular people (not because we are worthy of Him, but He is worthy of us as the seed which He saw and with which He was satisfied)…So we no longer have the option of making functional saviors apart from Him.

What does that have to do with my writing, or lack thereof? Simply that every time I log into WordPress, there exists an active temptation to seek a savior in my writing. To find myself, my identity, in jotting down deep thought, or expressing myself, or in writing poetry. The as your reading the first thing I’ve written in months, except my sober confession that the lack of writing has been in the midst of a period a seeking. Every time I thought I could write. And the name that has been placed on this website is a constant reminder that I do not have the option of making writing my relief, or salvation. God has taken us, and made us Saviour-seekers. God has robbed us of the incentive or ability to find joy apart from fellowship with Him.

This is who we are. Oh that this constraining calling would continue to define everything about us.

Rutherford’s Christian Directory, Part One (oh, hi guys)

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The following few posts (oh, and hey guys) are excerpts from a letter which Samuel Rutherford wrote while in prison. They are far better than anything the author speaking could arrange, so they serve as a worthy placeholder for me while I work on new content. I’ve taken a rather long, but intentional break. But whether or not people are benefited by my writing, I won’t to press on for the value of the exercise it is to my mind; I hope, with God’s glory in mind.

I wish I could satisfy your desires, in drawing up and framing for you a Christian Directory. But the learned have done it before me, more judiciously than I can; especially Messrs. Rogers,35 Greenham,36 and Perkins.37 Notwithstanding, I will show you what I would have been at myself although I came always short of my purpose.

1. That hours of the day, less or more time, for the Word and prayer, be given to God, not sparing the twelfth hour or mid-day, although it should then be a shorter time.

2. In the midst of worldly employments there should be some thoughts of sin, judgment, death, and eternity, with a word or two (at least) of ejaculatory prayer to God.

3. To beware of wandering of heart in private prayers.

4. Not to grudge, although you come from prayer without sense of joy. Down casting, sense of guiltiness and hunger are often best for us.

5. That the Lord’s Day, from morning to night, be spent always either in private or public worship.

6. That words be observed, wandering and idle thoughts be avoided, sudden anger and desire of revenge, even of such as persecute the truth, beguarded against; for we often mix our zeal with our own wild-fire.

7. That known, discovered and revealed sins that are against the conscience, be avoided, as most dangerous preparatives to hard- ness of heart.

8. That in dealing with men, faith and truth in covenants and trafficking be regarded; that we deal with all men in sincerity; that conscience be made of idle and lying words; and that our carriage be such as that they who see it may speak honourably of our sweet Master and profession.

These are his direction, which are followed by an illustration of the challenges he faced, which I hope to post soon

Facebook, Twitter, and Longing for More…

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“If there is within us a longing which cannot be satisfied by anything in this world, then we must conclude we were made for another world…”

I stood next to the desk of the man who penned those words. His pipe and pen were encased nearby, accompanied by his pewter mug and teapot. I rubbed my face in fur coats, which hung in the wardrobe that inspired him to write about a girl who did step into another world; I stood at the desk of his colleague JRR Tolkien, whose stories had captivated my heart since I first read them. I couldn’t contain my excitement to be at what seemed like such a blessed place.

As I looked at it all, trying to breathe it in, I reacted like any good postmodern 18 year-old. I jerked out my smart phone and immediately began sending pictures to all the social venues that I had at my disposal. I did so because I couldn’t endure the thought of soaking in the goodness and sweetness of that time without having everyone know that my life was going so wonderfully. Maybe that was because I was so used to seeing them put the best of everything that occurred to them before me, whether in an Instagram photo or 140 or less characters with a shortened link. I sub-consciously believe that somehow they will pass me by, that I am insignificant, or uninvolved when others don’t see me and I don’t see them. Or perhaps if I don’t share the deep thoughts I have in the time that is supposed to be reserved only for God, people won’t form a true estimate of my character, and know me for what I want them to know me.

But I would never announce to the world that I had sinned, “I can’t seem to keep my mind from wandering, I am always just as willing to talk about movies as I am about Christ, I can’t stop glancing at that magazine cover, I am so angry at my siblings I think I’ll go mad,” et cetera. Nor would I expect, or desire, to get on and see someone tell me that they were crying because their parents were struggling with the house payment, or something that would seem to make their situation seem anything less than perfect (I would want to know, because I care. but I of course would never say anything similar). So I am able, in some small measure, to shape a world for myself where my relationships and what people think of me are more or less where I want them to be, as far as I can tell. Though reality may differentiate, I can’t tell.

Yet no matter how perfectly we’ve shaped our images and our world through the eyes of the internet, it never makes me happy. Unless I can speak from an honest heart about things that are utterly apart from my own little world, it always leaves the soul dissatisfied. We run to social networks because they present this world at it’s finest. It shows me the people that I love, and that I think are beautiful, funny, encouraging, intelligent. And it shows them to me when they are at their most beautiful, or in the throes of their deepest wit, or when they have the most helpful things to say, or are precisest in their intellect. But all this serves to raise the bar for myself, as I seek to make them believe that I am no less beautiful (which I am), just as funny (which I’m often not), deeply encouraging (when so often my words serve to weaken), and perfectly developed intellectually (you judge for yourselves). If my end is achieved, it only serves to raise the bar all the more, because they in turn seek to present their lives as on par with the standard that they see in me. Yet always, always, we are dissatisfied. Because when we are presented with these people in real life, or when they slip in our estimation, the perfect world in which we live crumbles. So the longing that we have within us remains. Unsatisfied by our vicariously living through others. Unsatisfied even with the picturesque world brought to us by Facebook, Twitter, or our favorite blog.

The irksome thing is that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with any of these things: the problem is with us. We have within us that longing for another world, as Lewis put it, that longing to be fulfilled in other people, in things, that longing that causes us to go from single to single on iTunes, to want to travel the world, to touch the desks of our heroes.

The problem is when we use the venues of our networks to address this longing. We can allow ourselves to become so caught up in trying to eek satisfaction out of this passing world that we forget our longing for the next. My constant access to social networks, as much as it helps me to stay in touch with those farthest and dearest to me, or nearest, can become the trap that tends to distract my heart from eternal realities. The media that we have open to us today has the capability to drive us after a deeper peering into the things that matter, such as when I open my daily devotional from GraceGems. But when my heart is so distracted by what so and so is doing, or how people are reacting to me, it is impossible to elevate my thinking out of the continual cycle of begin either obsessed with self, or giving a place to friendships in my life that they were never meant to occupy. And we can’t really blame the internet; it simply monopolizes on our inbred desire to find meaning and purpose in a world that has no meaning or purpose apart from its Creator.

I was in danger, at one time, of treasuring the pleasures of touching a desk and looking into a wardrobe, because of the people to whom they belonged, more than I treasured seeking Christ. I am in constant danger of wanting to respond to the buzzes in my pocket at those times when I have determined to renew my mind towards a daily seeking after God.

~~He alone is our Home, He alone is our joy. We have blogs, Twitters, Facebooks, phone numbers, text messages, and everything else in order to reflect our being at home with Him in the world in which He has put:  finding pleasure in the people He gives us to be our Spiritual family, and the places He brings us along the Journey, because they come from Him.

The world, on the other hand, has all these things because they need them.