Mercy Lens

I am taking it in
Through your mercy lens
Weakness fails me,
City life crowds me,
Hotel living it seems
Broken American dreams
On the carpet of the
Famous I wanted to walk,

Clicking the pics
Picking up their cigarettes,
Taking in their smoke,
Inhaling their lifestyle,
Making it worthwhile,
Filming stayed with me
When teenager outgrew me,

Now their lights seem like
Dark, Man of Steel steals
Me away but only for truth
To stay, unsatisfied is
Their color red that lines
Them dead, golden trophies
They accept,

Broke the world stays,
Future haunts me,
Cause this present fails
Me, it can’t stay this
Broken forever, and it
Seems a movie to me,
But no one can capture
Holy, can film purity,
Heaven only stays in titles,

Mercy lens has me in,
My life of poverty is the
Party I attend, for love
Does apprehend and take
A hold of me, let my
Golden dreams have silver
In them when the flame
Comes, revealed to the mercy
Lens it will only have me
And my love to stand,

Save the Hollywood in me,
Let the movie roll mercy,
Fade to black, my credits roll,
Recede like a scroll, its
You Me and mercy!

A Little Rejection

I dissect
I digress
I make small progress,
Easily impressed am I
With the stars in the sky,
I wonder of my breath
And the breathing I do,
I reject you a little more
Each day, for your goodness
Gets in my way of trying
To stay put inside myself

And beside me is my tragedy
I am a runaway, pain a getaway
Leaving me on the jetway
Of broken choices, I push
You back running on
Empty have I been,
Rejection is my greatest
Sin, how do you love me
Over and over again?

How is a now that rings in
Me now be the time to
Embrace the today
While it is called that
Help me not reject you

Pick Me

Pick me
Reveal me
You I see
Death, sorrow,
Turmoil, lack of
Oil, lamp fading,
Light dying, black
All around, the shadow,
The sound—hollow does
Swallow the dead man in me—
Empty, you say, empty it
Out today! Bored I am,
Dull I am, tired in sin coming
From within, me is a lost cause,
My is a because, because sin
Rules me, darkness stays close
To me—prick and pick the hardest
Parts, these parts that sink when
Trials take place, I need you now
To be my rock, my refuge, let it
Now flow out of me, the pages of
Tragedy—redeem them again,
A new story within, let me see
Light in a darkened dull lull
That I live in, cause me to live
And give my all to you—I
Surrender!

Red Eyes (summer 2012)

The use of Red Eyes first came from the Switchfoot song Red Eyes. It was such a perfect ending to Hello Hurricane. I can’t tell you how many times I have blasted this while driving and rocking out. The line in the song, ‘nowhere feels safe to me, nowhere feels home, even in crowds I am alone.’ I dig and when I was writing this I was thinking of how much I appreciate my mom. She is a flight attendant. I find it slips into many a poems my references to airplane and airport language. I love using the idea of traveling as a device to show the escapism in our souls. Jetway, fuselage, my samsonite, turbulence..Wanting to not be around certain people at times, feeling lonely, wanting to run away. God sees. And in God seeing our cry for acceptance should give us red eyes. Either we cry or we pull our hair out wrestling with longings that are most of the time just a sign that God is doing more in us and that their is more…

All my life been searching for that deep down satisfaction

Now I am lacking and missing in action, love has slipped from

Me, love has moved away from me, now the sky opens up pleasantly,

And draws near to me, hearts all around open up to me, now I can

Barely see, red eyes tonight, Persian queen tuck me in, make me clean,

Turbulence you lived in, turbulence you stayed in, out the door it became

Fall to blame, winter to never change, balmy breeze to put you at ease,

Orange town on fire now, down town a look to tell all, see safety is what

I want, but love is what you have, nothing now tastes the same, not that

Little bit of fame that I have to my own name, now all I want is for things

To never change, now I feel like I need to rearrange this time of mine,

And change my mind to be a man now, to grow up now, and give in now

To that which should overtake my choices, volition kicking, premonition

Down the freeway, just a backseat chaser listening to those in front now

To afraid to drive down this narrow road, unsure as always of that which

Sits inside of me, doubting that power so easily, red eyes tonight trying

To get it right, up late for all the wrong reasons, notebooks full of lies,

Continuing to pile up, now Lord keep me screwed up, fix up now on that which

Is needed, new revolutions per minute down this freeway drive, the

Summer sense changing now, all my expectations lifted now, just waiting

For change, but now Love is all that remains, time no more needed to be

Wasting away, time now for me to live and say yes to you today

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Confessions Of A Latter-Day Virgin: Part 2

Having a night to sleep on what I just posted yesterday I have some more thoughts regarding the themes involved in the discussion. But, to not get to off subject, I want to say more about the three I mentioned in the last post because those are very necessary to this book.
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First, I will give my overview. Nicole Hardy spans across at least 4 decades of her life from birth to early forties, but primarily she focuses on the bumpy, difficult years of 20 to 30. As well as her thirties. Nicole displays, what one reviewer called ‘Cognitive Dissonance.’ The reviewer wrote: “Cognitive Dissonance is described as: “The term cognitive dissonance is used to describe the feeling of discomfort that results from holding two conflicting beliefs. When there is a discrepancy between beliefs and behaviors, something must change in order to eliminate or reduce the dissonance.”
She struggles through her twenties with the idea of finding her sole value and purpose in two things: marriage and having children. Rather, she wants to stay true to her dreams and desires. She wants to be a writer and spend her time being creative. I relate heavily to wanting to write and be creative. The first 200 pages are full of Nicole sticking to her convictions and having trouble in all her relationships. She struggles with liking the non-Mormon or LDS(Latter-Day Saints) guys because they want sex after a few dates. And she struggles with the seemingly impaired LDS guys who seem to think that women are a means to an end. That we should be in love, but really I need you to bear me some children.

Nicole has a real crisis of faith at 35, nearing almost 36. She decides to stop caving into the pressure and the boundaries of marriage before sex. She succeeds at writing, at diving in the Caymen’s, and being herself. This is where that cognitive dissonance thing comes into play. How hard is it to stay pure outside of marriage? It is hard and I am not trying to champion what parts of this book I wouldn’t do myself. I said in the first part, that as hard as it is God’s boundaries are there for a reason. And we need to press through the lies of culture and value God’s word above people’s comfort. Doesn’t it say-in the end of the age-men would be lover’s of pleasure, rather than God? She comes to grip with these many tensions. And I greatly appreciate someone opening up about how hard purity can be, but also how confusing the “religious dating scene” can be. I put up quotes cause I don’t know what else you would call it. Dating, just by itself, is not easy. Its not the movies everyone. In the movie the guy is at the party with his bros and he figures out who the best looking girl is in the place and goes for it. Next scene: girl and guy wake up the next morning. And people would say: well, I guess the guy got the girl. No. The dating scene is more like this.”Hey, you don’t look your ChristianMingle picture at all?” Awkward…

She does give in and she does lose the label of “virgin” and then it just ends with her getting published in the New York Times.

Continue reading “Book Review: Confessions Of A Latter-Day Virgin: Part 2”

Book Review: Confessions Of A Latter-Day Virgin By Nicole Hardy(2013) Part 1

This will inevitably be a long post. Because I want to give due respect to breaking down the main points of this book I also have a lot of thoughts to add to what this book provokes in people when they think of Sex and Religion/Faith. I have read nearly 43(nearly) books in the year 2013 and this marks book 44 and the first to be finished in 2014. I desire to respond to this quote: “Good art tells the truth, and bad art doesn’t.” I have seen a multitude of films this past year( as you read about some on this blog) but I have also read a lot that hasn’t been spoken of yet on this blog. I want to start that conversation and be a student of faith, God, people, culture, and anyone who ‘tells the truth.’

This book was released August 20, 2013 and I heard of it from some very girly magazine that smelt not like my American Eagle cologne. I think anytime someone wants to express conflict(internally) with faith and sexuality; that makes for a point of interest. Its very clear to me, and as I get older, that I have grown up in an overly sexualized(maybe not a word) culture. I have, at 28, been exposed to hordes of perversion that have evaded my eyes, my friends eyes, my parents eyes( more so now, then what they grew up with), and most pertinent; the generation beneath me. Teenagers that I have ministered to summer after summer in Kansas City. There is a clear need for understanding what God has to say about sex. Now, this book is not so much about sexuality in a generation but sexuality to a person who has the pressures and ambivalence of “doctrine” and “church.” Needing to merge the understanding of what God says is a ruckus worth paying close attention to.

Synopsis(from goodreads.com)
Now in her funny, intimate, and thoughtful memoir, Nicole Hardy explores how she came, at the age of thirty-five, to a crossroads regarding her faith and her identity. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Nicole had held absolute conviction in her Mormon faith during her childhood and throughout her twenties. But as she aged out of the Church’s “singles ward” and entered her thirties, she struggled to merge the life she envisioned for herself with the one the Church prescribed, wherein all women are called to be mothers and the role of homemaker is the emphatic ideal.

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This might have to be two blog posts. I don’t want to make anyone read a five page post. But to get it started here is what this memoir is about 3 main discussions:

1. The role of the Women in church. Not just the Mormon church, but what does the church say about Women. I do not feel qualified at all to try to discuss Feminism, or women in ministry, or even just the women altogether. But what I do know is that God cares deeply about(yes men too) but about the women. The enemy rages against the power that a women has been given to have children. Mothering is the greatest ministry on the planet. The Ruckus of mothering. Means, mothering is more important than any other “calling” out there. Yes, other areas are important to but there is no greater thing then mothering. Nicole’s struggle with this in the book is very real. It is not that she doesn’t want to be a mother, its that everyone in her church culture had made that the pinnacle of success. She found it hard to side with the part of her that actually didn’t want that. She felt shame, less than, even condemnation for not wanting kids and, even marriage.

2. The conflict of Sex and culture.
Also, not qualified to talk of this. But writer’s should be confident in what they are saying. This will have to be carefully talked about and will most likely take all of tomorrow, or the next day, to talk of this a little, but the dynamics of crossing over from raging hormonal teenager( in America) to having to be taken seriously as an adult at 18, to the final stage of maturity–marriage and children. Well, it doesn’t seem as simple as it used to be. First, because we have this growing sense of prolonged adolescence. Every third movie made is about “adults” not wanting to change, or grow up. Hollywood understands that the culture has shifted. 30 is the new 18. And 18 would then be the new 12? There is no real formula for maturity, other then to simplify it and say: its a freakin’ choice! Women are always complaining of men being boys and that is because a lot of men are boys(read Gary Cross’s Men To Boys book). Don’t want to get sidetracked but all to say, it is hard and confusing at times to get older, with the way the body grows and changes, and live “single”. Single doesn’t mean negative, single seems to just bring seemingly more “ambivalence” to the innate desires in you. Nicole Hardy presents, with honesty and clarity, that it is hard to go through your twenties and thirties without having a pure sexual relationship in your life. This just is the beginning of the discussion because faith and religion adds difficult dynamics as well. I don’t disagree with that. As much as she parts ways with it in the end I firmly do believe Sex to only be for marriage, and that to be the best way to experience it. I just appreciate someone stating that it can be very difficult to stay true to those boundaries. Its not just a Mormon belief, its Christian, its the bible, its God, its Jesus, and all of American culture doesn’t want to adhere to that.

3. Lastly, this book is human.
This book presents the struggle people can have with staying faithful and true to God in the midst of culture and what everyone else does. It can be hard to have convictions and stick to them. What does God, what does the bible, and what does Christ himself have to say about marriage, sex, love and the individual purposes of why he created such distinct differences in male and female. We need to grow in love. We need to take from these difficulties the fact love is the cure for the many confusions that immorality( pornography and its violent assault on the human image) has brought to us, here and now in 2014. Men need women. Women need men. And both need love. And all need God.

Part 2 coming soon..(the actual breakdown of the book and more discussion on these 3 issues)

The Forecast

Its good to be writing some new stuff. I have been posting older reflections(some with weird, obscure formats–sorry about that) but it is because this blog just passed 100 subscriptions just the other day. I say this to say that, I want the new people to enjoy older reflections that have been long gone.

This is a fresh poem written today. I am just taking in everything that I heard this past week at the Onething conference. A whole post dedicated to that will happen. I am still processing but the storm will come in life. Life will be hard; difficult; full of disappointments(as some would say); and full of plenty of time to choose what to believe in. I am holding on to the fact that it will be hard until I die, but my choices will affect as Mike Bickle recently said, ‘the depth of my choice affects the depth of my experience in God.”(not word for word).

So, here’s my reflection..

Weatherman tell me the forecast
Do I have what will last?
Inside is where we should live
But outside the world does hide
Behind that, storms they are
Forming, winds they are coming,
Ears they are humming and
Deafening the voice that speaks
And calms the storm—disaster, once
Was my master and ruled me daily,
Steady was far from me, faithful and
Fruitful did drift away—my dreams
Kept me going, for so little was spoken
Over me—where could this life please
Be, the forecast is dark, dreary, deadly,
Not lively—cloud and loud hang over
Me for the future is full of conflict, full
Of scandal, full of a candle in need to
Stay burning—I ask if I can truly win,
When the world seems to be drowning
In sin, Noah save me from the flood,
From the pain that life brings, from
The things called suffering and
Resistance—forecast me a safe
Life with a good wife and a good
Thing and kids to add to my last
Name—bring me now, all these
Things—but truth be told, the
Weather is cold, a lie, a shadow
To come—for light and love shine
Through the seasons and the many
Reasons for my dedication—clouds
No more stay over me because I have
Given all of me—to this cause, to this
Flame, to this love that takes my name—
And one I know not of waits for me,
Waits for all who see the storm,
See the clouds, rejoice in rain,
Rejoice in the pain—press through
He says this new year, make it clear
Where you stand—that bad weather
Won’t change your stand—stay steady
When you feel uncertain, stay steady
When he pulls back the curtain—for
The one storm I can’t escape will
Come down from the sky miles
High and convert the earth from
Storm to clear, from pain to gain
From a life of suffering to seeing
His face—and that truly is what
Makes me wait—for weather, I ask
Come and stay, through it all, I
Stand—waiting!

Looking Back: The Impact Of The Onething Conference

Its that time of the year. Christmas is over and the the last four days of the year(for the past 10 years) has been spent in Kansas City, MO. I think it would be good to overview the lessons and experiences I have had from a decade of these conferences. I am listening to Mike Bickle preach as I am writing right now and looking for my friends in the audience(which is pretty hard by the way).

2003-04
This was the first time I ever went to Kansas City. Corey Russell had come to my youth group summer 03 and then again in October. After hearing him preach at our Annointed Generation Conference I was hooked. I wanted to know if what I was seeing was the fruit of a place like IHOP, then I wanted to be around that. I hit the road with my friends Jacob and Paul and I remember working on one of my Oscar winning screenplays in the process. This year at Onething was so gooodd. Jason Upton was given a whole day of speaking and a night of worship. His theme was ‘breaking off rejection with a spirit of adoption.’New Year’s Eve I had never seen so many people fit into one place. Delerious did the worship and Martin Smith gave his sweet and sincere exhortations in between all the songs.

All The Years After That

It would take to long to break down every single year but as these conferences have occurred for me each year I have grown in my ‘yes’ for the Lord. I have grown in my desire to go for it wholeheartedly. What I appreciate about Onething is that Mike Bickle and team are committed to saying the same thing every single year. They are calling people to live with all that they have. To live with passion. To live in holiness. To say no to the lesser pleasures of the world and yes to living before the eyes of heaven.

Rita Springer has that song, ‘its gonna be worth it!’ And it is going to be worth it. The Lord would say it is time to prepare. It is time to get ready. It is time to not be distracted by anything that would get in the way of this very special pursuit.

Here are some links to some Onething sermons that have impacted by Corey Russell.

Realize

When did you realize
I missed your sunrise
And came my demise
My downfall was wanting
You at all

I’ve painted this town your
Favorite color to shower you
With red with dead sounds
And leaps around this drama
For the season has changed
And love is not tame,
A safe man I don’t want
To be, a man do I have to
Be,

Would the world notice
My onus to you, my world
To shatter and thoughts to
Scatter, you are my disaster
My beat faster, my alabaster
Only one can have that and
Deserve that, but now tame
Is not sane or part of the game

Loving is a realization that
It can all be shaken in a
Moment so love like its the
Last moment you ever would
Have

Protection

Growing away from the new things that

Once made me new, growing apart, growing

Apart from you, laces I had, places to hide,

Tied up I was on the inside, needed you to

Tie up my laces and the loose things inside of

Me, absence was a place I had, when you

Left my protection was gone, you were to

Be the one to watch me and call out to me,

When I was down you were to be up, when

I was up you were to not keep me up to high

Above what I could obtain to, now the crime

Has been committed and the past is gone,

Erased I want to be for the pain of yesterday

Can’t be made up today, in need of a new start

 I need, now I need protection but I have no

Choice but to give it to those around me,

The ones that are in need