Do all titles need to be capitalized? Is world war three about to break about? Is Gog and Magog in Ezekiel and Revelation 20 have to do with what is happening right now? Thankful for Hal Lindsey and Tim Lahaye for getting us to think very, very literal about everything. And some more thoughts on current events to follow. Actually, if you have been following this blog for some time you will know that I don’t really talk about current events very much. I am aware of what is going in in the news but I don’t follow it enough to really comment on it. I will say that whatever is happening in Russia is important, especially since U.S. troops are heading over there as we speak. But I don’t ever get to pumped on the currency of history where it has to all be in the bible. That takes some serious study and hearing from God. If someone want to give a prophetic(be careful how we use that word) word on current events then it has to be tested. And if it doesn’t happen, then it needs to come from that person that they were wrong about it. Simply put: everyone is accountable. Just because you “feel” or its an “impression” doesn’t mean you can say whatever you want and let God sort out the rest. Ahhhh…to hard of a subject to talk about in this moment.
I do this as often as I can where I post my thoughts on metaphors and phrases or ideas in my poetry that I feel needs some explaining. Forgive me if I am ranting a little bit. I do that because that is how my brain works sometimes. And if you haven’t figured out yet, the song ‘Take Me Home’ I think is about a man in a mental hospital that wants to leave but the world around him doesn’t get him and doesn’t understand that he is a prisoner to the hospital. Just a thought..
The Freeway and the interstate
About five years ago my good friend and brother in the Lord Kody Ternes came to visit me in California and he introduced me to John Mark McMillan. I had always heard how he loves us, which is still being sung ten years later in churches everywhere. Kody and I blasted the Medicine which has a lot of abstract and poetic language working through it. Carbon Ribs just got me and I repeated it almost daily. John Mark has a couple of times where he references the freeway or the interstate. He sings, ‘its the interstate slipping in your pores,’ and ‘a thousand pairs of fiery eyes, burn like the serpent down highway five.’
Ahh,, headlight? The five in California? The working class? The nine to five man or women that is stuck in daily life just going through the motions. All of these are correct and maybe it also means something else. Songs have that powerful thing in them where it can mean multiple things. When I started blasting Fading West(Switchfoot’s latest album) I felt the same message coming from the song ‘Back to the beginning again’ where Jon Foreman sings, ‘I am stuck in traffic on a dotted yellow line/I am busy living in a single file line.’ He is basically telling us that ‘the weight of machines on his back(paraphrased)’ is killing him and killing the world around him. I think he means to say that we need to take a second look at all the distractions around us and get back to the meaning of life.
In recent poems I have mentioned the freeway and the interstate and also nine to five language. Living in California you learn pretty quick that life with traffic is just apart of the day. The very rare and fortunate few that don’t need to take any freeway have truly entered into semi-eternal life(on this side of heaven). It is such a pain to live in traffic but the irony of it is that I believe its a reflection on where we are really at as people. We stuff ourselves full of distractions(mostly by entertainment) and noise that we have no space for God. I believe God wants to speak in and through everything that we do. It feels like in order for God to speak then we need to make room to hear. So, embrace the freeway and the interstate but don’t let it distract you from hearing Him. We are not machines in a factory line and God is looking for more production from us. I believe we do need to work. Everyone needs to labor in something, but our labor should lead us to God, not away from Him.
Anytime you see the word summer just know that its a collective reflection. I mean that when I write that I am thinking of summer 2012 a lot. That summer was by far the best summer of Awakening Teen Camp that I have ever experienced. You might be wondering if there are girl references in those summers. Yes, there is. But its pretty much hidden behind lots of pronouns. The poem ‘Front and Temperature’ and even stuff as far back as August does elude to friends sitting in the backseat of my car trying to be a certain way. That is a real situation that refers to me driving friends around and me paying attention to their reaction to my bad driving. I don’t shy away from talking about relationships but I don’t want to blow things out of proportion when it comes to things not working out with certain people. I hope there is an honoring of people going on. Summer has always been like that sad and sappy Dashboard Confessional song called Age Six Racer, ‘so long sweet summer, so long sweet slumber/ I stumbled upon you but you gracefully fell away.’ Take away the bitter part and just take with you the part that sometimes it only lasts a few summer months with people. You can reflect on that and embrace it as not a bad thing.
Pain is fuel
Overall, in all of my writings, I do value pain and hardship. Pain and suffering and hardship forge something in us that I don’t think we can get any other way. Easy and less hard usually don’t brand us as well as the former things. Its not to say that God wants us to suffer or takes pleasure in our difficult lives. Its that the whole of creation is broken. When I say ‘creation’s broken photography/creation calls out to me/the earth’s medicine’ that is what I am thinking of. If the world wasn’t broken and we weren’t broken then we would be that much closer to Jesus, but because of our brokenness we have this finite time to reflect on what hurts. The poem ‘It hurts so good’ is my only published poem(outside of this blog) and it really captures that concept.
Good things happen and they can fade away. Good people can love you and then love you not as well as not-so-good people loving you. All experience rejection at some level. We all mistreat each other. And all of us who name the name of Jesus are all growing in love and character through these hardships. Our writing should be a deep reflection on that which stings, brings death, brings pain and hardship BUT, and a very big BUT, it needs to lead to Jesus Christ healing that pain. Without the redeemer we have very hopeless writing. Pain just festering and staying painful leads to a heart that will not function in life. It will lead to depression, oppression, sadness, loneliness and a deep mistrust of any person. But when our pain speaks to others with hope that Jesus came to ‘heal the brokenhearted’ then our writing has power and authority to save those who might not have ever thought that God is good and has sent Jesus for us. That is hope. Write about that.