July 17th, 2003


Time and the tongue

When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

—James 3:3-12

Tuesday held a good groove at the office as well as evening time at Victrola with Annette, Heather, and Nate. Concern over an issue related to our pastoral search grew deeper and deeper; by the time Nate arrived I found I had a lot to say, and with passion. Also ran into Bob there: he wanted to talk with me after about some veiled concerns regarding the church, which covered some further veiled concerns about himself. We'll hopefully talk more Friday, as our time Tuesday was redirected to conversation with Richard, an intoxicated homeless man who approached us. Spent my time poorly upon arriving home, which set up dominos for Wednesday.

Thoughts spurred by Annette: Time is a resource. It is something we spend. How am I spending mine? Where? On what? On whom?

Yesterday was a marathon, one I'd have done well to start on better footing. Got up later than intended (in part because I stayed up later than intended) and yet again spent time poorly. Need time with my Creator, my Lord, my Shepherd, my Abba, my Love— thankfully, He is making me more acutely aware of my need. Morning coffee with taci, which was a welcome surprise.

The work day was peppered with annoyances and dilemmas coming my way in increasingly rapid succession. Felt it coming in advance, which enabled me to steel myself somewhat. Dave and Phil got to hear a new kind of rant from me, and I managed to grind the Pulpit Committee to a standstill. More confusion and distress toward evening, made possible by the wonders of postmodern technology and a global lack of consideration. Why do people say the things they (we) do, and why do they (we) repeat them?

Beginning to thread together some of what God is teaching me, although clumsily so. He isn't saying anything new (it's all in the Book), but He's speaking it into my life. Lessons of waiting, of silence, of wisdom, of faithfulness, of love, and of the consequences of disregarding these.

Outrage usually bores me immediately— it is often misspent and too often an outgrowth of the predilections and egos of the outraged. And I am chief among sinners.
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