This blog is not updated often enough. This blog often has typos in it because I post too quickly. If you follow it, you won't be bothered too often.
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September 19th

Today, in the bright windy
beautiful day, under the
Redbud tree,  I begin to
see how great joy
and great sorrow live
together.

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October is tomorrow

Okay, so a month later, I suppose I'd like to write a bit about college. I'm not sure what I want to say, or where I should start.
The first thing I want to talk about is trees. Six or eight months ago I realize that while I really loved trees, I didn't know much about them. I wouldn't have known an oak tree from a sycamore. I think that part of loving something or someone is naturally wanting to know about them. Tom tells me that N. T. Wright says "Knowing is a form of loving." So a little over a month ago I bought myself a "Field Guide to North American Trees." So, starting more or less from when I got here I've been learning the names of trees. One free afternoon, I set out to the lawn in front of my dorm to name trees. Finding sugar maples, paper birches, ginkgo's, and oaks - I was surprised by how almost instantaneously my love for trees grew!  Weeks later, I notice immediately the shape and size of each tree's leaf, the type of bark it has, what fruit or flower grows on it. It's wonderful. Soon I began to notice just how much diversity in the trees there was! The front lawn of Blanchard Hall, one the academic buildings, is like a miniature arboretum. There is a bald cypress that has no business being there, but there it is! I begin to really love trees.

I am constantly surprised by the capacity people have to matter to me. That the new people I am starting to know and live with can be important to me, the friends I'm starting to make . . . I begin to love them a little bit. People who only weeks ago I had never met or imagined before, have meaning to me. I care about them.

I didn't really consider how I would relate to my professors. But I find myself seeking their approval, especially my philosophy prof. Somehow, I suppose, I imagine if he thinks I'm bright or quick-headed then I will have confirmation that I matter, or can do well in philosophy. It's true that his approval would say something about my ability, but I seek it as some kind of affirmation of my person, that I'm worth something. It can prevent me from engaging well in class, and from humblly learning. I'm not here in this class, in Philosophy 101 to sound smart or be affirmed, but to learn. I'm here to be humbled, to be built up, to be challenged - Oh! and I am! I am being challenged. It is far better than a professor just thinking I'm intelligent and not forcing me to grow. I'm very grateful for classes, and I really love learning.

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Abraham and Isaac and the Trinity

I deleted this post by accident. So I'm posting it here again because I'd like to be able to find it.

The Child is promised, Isaac to be born (of a baron woman, who cannot give birth), he will become a multitude of nations, children of his father Abraham.
The Messiah is promised, Jesus, Immanuel, to be born (of a virgin, who cannot give birth), and he will adopt a multitude of nations to be his brothers and sisters, children of his father, The Father (from whom all fathers get their fatherliness).
Time passes, when will the son be born? How long, oh God, will Abraham continue childless?
Time passes, when will the Christ be born? How long, oh God, will we remain in bondage? (Did God, The Father, yearn for his son to enter the world?)
The son is born! And the mother and father rejoice! He is called “he laughs”, his name marks the joy (and perhaps the absurdity) of his coming!
The Son is born! And the mother and father, Father God, rejoice at his coming! He is called Immanuel, God with us, Jesus the Christ.
After these things, Abraham must sacrifice his son, his only son, whom he loves, who is not guilty, so that God may be satisfied. He is told and, in some way, at that moment Isaac dies for him.
After these things, the Father must sacrifice his Son, his only son, in whom he is well pleased, who is not guilty, so that he may satisfy himself.
Isaac takes on his back the wood of the burnt offering, and carries it to the mountain, the place of his sacrifice.
Jesus takes on his back the cross, and carries it to the mountain, Calvary, to the place of his Sacrifice.
Abraham cannot be understood, he does not doubt. ‘God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering.’
Jesus cannot be understood, he is to die, but he will rise again and return to them, and he is the sacrifice that God has provided for himself, the lamb for a burnt offering.
Isaac asks his father, where is the lamb? And Abraham tells his son to trust God.
Jesus asks his Father, may this cup pass from me? And the Father tells his Son, trust me.
Isaac’s fate is left not (in some way) to God, or anyone else, but his own father, Abraham. Abraham will kill him.
Jesus’ fate is left to none other than his father, not Joseph, but his only father, his father in heaven, The Father will kill him.
And Abraham, Abraham does not sacrifice his son, God spares him that, he spares him suicide of posterity.
But God, God did not spare his own son. The Father did not send an angel to prevent them from crucifying Christ. Nor did God spare the Ram, the scapegoat, the propitiation for Isaac, and for the fruit of his loins.
And on the third day from Abraham hearing of Isaac’s death, Isaac, who has walked as a dead man these three days, is restored, alive again. Isaac is the first of the sons of Abraham.
Jesus, died and lay three day in the grave, and then rose again, restored; the first of the sons of God.
And the adopted sons of the living God, are also the adopted sons of Abraham, they are Isaac’s brothers and sisters! Grafted into both lines, which are one.
After these things Isaac seeks a wife. And Abraham sends his messenger with fine jewelry and when they find her, Rebekah (“to bind, to tie, beautiful, captivating.”), they adorn her and prepare her as a bride to be given to the bridegroom, Isaac.
And Jesus seeks a wife, a bride, and the Father sends his Messenger, the Holy Spirit with fine jewelry (kindness, love, patience, peace, wisdom, goodness, beauty, truth) and when he finds her, he adorns her and prepares her as the bride to be given to the bridegroom. She is The Church and its members are bound to one another, they are beautiful, captivating, a living ivory statue given to Christ.
The messenger of Abraham brings Rebekah to Isaac in the field, and while she is still a long way off he sees her and walks through the field to meet her. And she (beautifully adorned as she is) covers herself, knowing herself as his bride. And he takes her and loves her.
And the Messenger of The Father will bring The Church to Christ and while she is still a long way off he will run to her and call to her, and she will cover herself (beautifully adorned as she is with the jewels of the Spirit), and her veil will hide the multitude of her sins, so that Christ may take her, she whom he has died for, she whom he has created and made beautiful, and he will love her.

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Starting at Wheaton

Saturday, August 25th
Written in orientation session "Your calling as a student"
I'm so glad to be here! I want to use my time well. I see this time stretched out before me, and I'm excited for it!

I do not want to waste my time, or talents. I'm excited to get to know people, to encourage other students and learn from them.
To be frank, I really don't want to be influenced by the ironic and sarcastic coolness of some Wheaton students. I want to be genuine - and straightforward.

Risk to let yourself be known.
Risk in academics - Sin boldly!
I want to grow my relationship with Tom, I want to be genuine with him, and love him well . . . And I feel like I can really use a friend like him.

Thursday, August 30th
-Oh! I've waited too long! I want to share a little of my college experience with you few readers of my blog (and I love you so). But it is passing already. Second day of classes today. I had Philosophy 101 with Dr. Benson, which was phenomenal! I am so pumped for this class! I'm afraid to be "that guy" in my philosophy class. I'm still wanting to learn to be quiet. My excitement for the subject makes me want to talk a lot, but I'm learning (this has been an intentional project of mine for some time) to keep more of my thoughts to myself - to use discernment for when what I have to say would be most helpful.

I'm really looking forward to getting to know the guys on my floor - we're of all sorts! I'm very grateful for Corin, the "CLC" (something, something, council) on the floor. He's the most genuine, inviting, warm person I've met here - he welcomed me in, and best of all I believed him.
The leadership of Corin, Ben Fasano (our RA), and the returning sophomores is so encouraging! And their almost obsessive focus on openness is so refreshing!  - And it is full of life! Ben said something the other night at our all floor meeting . . . to live in the fullness of life. - I see in them the desire of my own heart (in the spirit) to be wide awake, striving after righteousness, to live in the fullness of the resurrection now, in this life.
"And so I would like to be a true
human being, dear reader - a choice
not altogether possible now.
But that is what I'm for, the side
I'm on."
I see in them, and in this school's heart the solid rock of the truth (pursued by faulty, sinful human beings - I mean that more than just as a "christianiese" qualifier, but as essential to the idea)  - the truth being preached back to me. - Sometimes it flows through me, enters me as subjectively true. Other times I only beat up against it, too consumed by worries, or tiredness, or sinfulness to let it enter me - but there it is anyway. The Truth; A resistant reality. (And he that has ears to hear, let him hear)

I'm grateful that God has put me here.

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Blessed Are The Poor in Spirit

I want to write about the people at L'abri: my friends.

Living with these darling people showed me that new people could become truly valuable to me. That my sense of belonging, of who may be a part of my life and whose life I could be a part of, was too small! They showed me love and friendship, understanding and sympathy. I listened to them share their lives and thoughts and shared myself with them. I laughed and (yes!) cried a little, we argued and made it up. And, when I was poor in spirit, they held me, both literally and metaphorically. We opened ourselves a little bit to one another, as the time would permit. We were a little naked, and we covered each other with love and forgiveness.

Yesterday I went to my friend Liz's graduation party with Katie. Hayley, Lilly, and I went for a walk together and talked happily.
Later, Liz and I walked through a field with funny grass and she gave me her friendship, and listened to me when I needed someone to listen, or to sit and enter into my sadness.

Today I worked for my uncle in the early morning, and afterwards I went to Christ the King church in Cambridge. I hoped a little that I might see some L'abri people there (we had gone there together before). Half way through the worship I had given up or forgotten about it when Drew slapped me on the shoulders from behind. I turned around and smiled and he hugged me in his boisterous way!
I sat with Drew and the others: Lilly (a different Lilly), Calvin, Emily. I felt lavished upon, and overwhelmed with affection.

Love. I am being so incredibly loved!
By a dear friend, with a patient, painful, loving silence. A difficult love, thick with integrity.
By friends touching me and willing to let me know I fit.
By Liz meeting me and saying what she can.
By God, reaching out in all these people, shouting "Here I am!" And I, "How great thou art!"

The sermon was on "Love hopes all things." What is my hope in?
In God's goodness, guiding my life. (Surely goodness will follow me in the house of God forever. . .)
A tenacious friendship, a shared brotherhood of love, united in the truth.
To be rich and full of life, to give and be loving and a light to other people, warming them.

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Walking to the store I read a Wendell Berry poem and felt poured into, not catching much of the meaning, I drank in the "meditation in the spring rain" like unlooked for refreshment, too surprised to be greedy. The next one would be greedy. To show forth life I need to be filled up with life - life given by other men, by God.

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April 13th

Sitting on this old roof
with wind chines behind me
and a bird in a tree before me

With the wind at my back
I imagine I am in the
absolute quiet of a mountaintop.

I can hear the cars
far below me, like ants
racing to and fro

To my right and left,
before and behind, there
are other mountain-roof-tops
with newly blossomed trees
stretched out between
us all, like clouds
obscuring our foothills.

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April 4th

Always
Always you are with me
Always you
Always you are.

In the greatest Joy of love
the blessedness of wonder
the brightest morning of Hope,
always you are there to thank!
there the wellspring of life!

In the darkest shame of sin,
the fearfulness of wonder
the deepest silence of the night,
always you are there with me,
you close in around me

In my shame you accuse me,
and in my shame you comfort me.

Neither life nor death, Joy nor shame,
nothing can separate me from you.

In my fear and blessedness
I feel your embrace
I cannot wrench myself
from your hand.

Always you are
Always you
Always you are calling me.

I am rich in wonder!
hemmed in on every side!
caged in love.

"Wonder, however, which is the beginning of all deeper understanding, is an ambivalent passion that in itself contains fear and blessedness. Or was it not fearful, my listener, that what you sought was so close to you, that you did not seek but God sought you?" - On The Occasion of a Confession, Søren Kierkegaard.

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Western Haiku January - March

"Haiku was invented and developed over hundreds of years in Japan to be a complete poem in seventeen syllables and to pack in a whole vision of life in three short lines . . . I propose that the 'Western Haiku' simply say a lot in three short lines in any Western language." - Jack Kerouac

Snow covered trees
in the dark,
my footprints already fading

Stop striving, Michael
trust in the Lord.
Wind in the trees - peace

Waves on the pond
birds in the trees
-a school bus howling

Eighty degrees
leaves falling
- Spring

Lying in the park,
reading Wendell Berry
The geese croaking themselves hoarse

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