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Decompression week

It's a minimal week for work. "I want you to go into the office as little as possible," John told me a couple weeks back, so I'm gladly obeying. This morning it's Irwin's for coffee and bagel, reading and writing. Beautiful sunshine in my city today. It's a good day to be free.

John preached a positively kick-ass sermon yesterday. Not so much for style or flash, but simply for content. It was on Luke 2:1-20, the Christmas story retelling immortalized by Linus' recitation in A Charlie Brown Christmas (can you imagine such a thing being tolerated in a Christmas special today?). John took us through the concepts we all think we know (Savior, manger, Bethlehem, shepherds) and discussed their actual, contextual meanings. It was all new and surprising to me, and helped me to see Christmas and Jesus in a completely new way. You can listen here if you like; I really recommend it. I was stunned by the meaning of it all.

A woman just ordered a latté with four shots. Nothing like the sensation of your heart exploding in your chest to wake you up in the morning.

The earthquake/tsunami tragedy is on my mind and heart. So much death. I hate how casual so many of us (the privileged and unaffected) are in the face of such devastation. We might feel it for a bit, but we have the luxury of going back to our entertainment, our celebrities, our distractions. It makes compassion all the more glorious, and I don't want to minimize the good things that happen in the least. Even that, though, often takes the form of some kind of production in our culture, and often stops short of real sacrifice. I guess I'm just tired of all the other things we continually worship, and maybe I'm tired of my stuff most of all.

Comments

I like it when you say ass.
You'd love me in person.
I thought the largest size always came with 4 shots.....

I sometimes order small americanos with 3 shots. What the use of coffee if it's not STRONG? ;)
All the Seattle coffee shops I know of are two shot standards in all drinks. But I've never been a barista, so I could be wrong.
I have a secret obsession with the slide shows of badly dressed celebrities on the red carpet that they have on MSN.com every now and then.

It's difficult to feel anything for these tragedies, because it's so far beyond anything I've experienced--death itself is foreign to me, nevermind massive devastation. It's also hard to allow myself to feel it because I don't know how to let my heart break for people. And there are so many people to be brokenhearted for... I don't know what to do about the ones who are actually in my life, I'm even more clueless about the people across the world.
I agree with this (celebrities aside). I think it convicts me about how far my heart is from His. Not that I believe one must be morose to be faithful, like some kind of spiritual quota. It just shows me how actively I run from being like Him, and how much my "care," "compassion," and even "love" are really about having my own sensibilities tickled.

On the other hand, He's the one who can and will change me, and I don't want to have disdain for the seeds that He's growing just because they are small and weak.
I honestly don't think it is within the normal range of human nature to mourn distant tragedies, however large they may be, the way we mourn more personal losses. We are local beings by design. We can only handle knowing so many people, as real people instead of just as ciphers, at once. Intellectually I know 20,000 people died in Sri Lanka and that those people are suffering greatly but emotionally it simply doesn't make a scratch on me.
I agree, yet I wonder. We're definitely personal beings, and created to be such, but we seem quite selective in what we personalize. Celebrities (in sports, entertainment, politics, etc.) are people most of us will never know but many of us are still captivated by. Though overwhelming, most of us felt something on September 11, 2001—these were lives we could imagine and imagine ourselves in.

These people, for most of us, aren't "our" people. I think the numbers are a factor, but mostly, I wonder if our ability to choose indifference is a function of our massive idolatry of self—the more outside my world and comforts someone/thing is, the less it matters, regardless of the actual value. I'm struggling with it.
1. Glad you're free. Whatcha reading?

2. Looking forward to a listen.

3. We watched Linus' speech at a Christmas party I went to a couple weeks ago. I had the same thought - this would never make it now.

4. I ♥ caffeine!

5. I know what you're saying. Even though I took Perspectives, (for which I now make a shameless plug in your journal) I only thought for a moment about the people who died there, not knowing Jesus. Then I went back to my iPod. Priorities. Eesh.
I'm still reading Bobos in Paradise and Daring to Draw Near. I'm slow because I don't read often and don't read much when I do. My attention span is shot from TV and the internet.

I'm praying that God will glorify Himself in this tragedy and bring many to Himself through Christ, as well as comforting, protecting, and healing those who suffer. It's not an easy prayer, because it requires me to submit to His sovereignty when I don't understand, yet without killing my heart. And I am so very distractable as well.
I'm amazed at how few people know about the Tsunami/Earthquake/Massive Death Toll. But you are right, even when we know about it we only think about it for a little while and then go on w/ business as usual. I'm not sure what to do, though, you know?
Prayer and support are huge, of course. The other thing that I've been finding myself led to do, though, is repent—repent my lack of compassion and love, my many distractions, my lack of urgency with regard to seeing the gospel spread. Something like this shows me just how far my heart is from His, and that's the core of repentance. And that's a gift from Him, a gift I need to respond to, even if it's in struggle.
Good thoughts.
the total number has risen to 52,000...i'm amazed and stricken in the same breath
an addendum: call me cynical but we americans will care if somehow "it" reaches us, disease, etc. otherwise we won't
If I were to think very much about such a tragedy (60,000 is the current count), I would get so overwhelmed I would not be able to function very well. And like it or not, I do have a live I have to live right now. My compassion is very occupied by my client, who has been running fevers for a week, and his mom, who is in an abusive adulterous relationship. This I can barely handle. I can't handle 60,000 people.

But I can and will pray for the relief workers. That I can handle.