"Avant Garde"

A few days ago a homeless man walked up to me at lost sheep and said "Avant Garde" and turned around to walk away. Then he turned back and said, "Do you know what that means?" and I knew it was some kind of military command but I just said.. "No" and he said..."perfection". .. And then he left.
Clearly, he has been misinformed but I did some research (with the help of a wordy friend of mine :p) and found out that it actually has a very relevant meaning.

The adjective form is used in English, to refer to people or works that are
experimental or innovative, particularly with respect to art,culture, and politics.

Avant-garde represents a pushing of the boundaries of what is accepted
as the norm or the
status quo, primarily in the
cultural realm.

innovative and ahead of the majority

a small troop of highly skilled soldiers, explores the terrain ahead of a large advancing army
and plots a course for the army to follow. This concept is applied to
the work done by small collectives of intellectuals and artist as they open pathways through new
cultural or political terrain for society to follow.

The term also refers to the promotion of radical social reforms.

PLEASE God let me be that!


The Prophet

"Then a woman said, "Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow."
And he answered:
Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that hold your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy"

[from Joy and Sorrow by Khalil Gibron]


I like the little things

Someday, when I have a house that I plan on staying in for awhile, I want a few things...

I would actually prefer a small house, there is less to keep up with, and I work better with small spaces.
I would love to live downtown or near downtown or in some area where I don't have to get in my car and drive to the needy, I want to live among them.
I would be in heaven if I had a little yellow kitchen. (See picture above)... I feel like I would always be in a great mood in that kitchen.
And last but not least, in all honesty, I could care less what my house looks like on the outside, but I just absolutely must have a fabulous yard.. even if its just 2 feet of grass on each side, those little grass patches better be BRIGHT GREEN with wild flowers alllll over them.

And that... is about all I could ask for.


Praying for Presence

Yesterday I went downtown to walk.
I parked in the garage and walked up and down gay street, through market square, down through old city and back. On two different occasions old men who were driving down the street pulled over, rolled down the window and said hello and asked me how I was doing. Let me clarify first and foremost that they weren't being creepy, they had friends/ family in the car with them. So it wasn't a pick up or anything, just a couple of nice strangers.

I have no idea who they were, or why they did that.. but after it happened a second time, I really started thinking about it..
My first thought was "Do I have a sign on my back that says 'speak to me'?"
Then I started thinking about how ever since I started reading 'Captivating' (a book that I have a love/hate relationship with) I have been praying, that more than anything, the presence of God would pour out of me. That beyond my appearance, my personality, etc. I would exude a joy that is uncalled for and unearthly.
So I started thinking.. maybe I'm getting what I prayed for

I went to Panera for lunch and had some similar interactions, random people being exceptionally nice or asking how I was doing.
What sealed the deal on this thought process was my favorite part of the day.
After lunch I went back to Market Square to read (it was nice out) and when I got up to leave, a blind man told me I was beautiful.
Clearly I was kind of confused. I looked at him and saw immediately that he was blind (he had those glazed over blue eyes that are beautiful in their blindness) and all I could say was thank you. On my way back to my car I thought about it some more.
Obviously he had no idea what I looked like and had no idea who I was (or even if I was a nice person) but something made him say that.
A friend pointed out that blind people sense light.. who knows.. maybe I had some kind of spiritual light around me.

Honestly, having a blind man tell me I am beautiful is both humbling and wonderful.
It had absolutely nothing to do with me.
And everything to do with the God that I serve.


some call me a mystic

In the past week, I have come in contact with the word Pomegranate many times. While I obviously know that a Pomegranate is a very good tasting fruit, I found it somewhat bizarre that it came up in conversation so many times and in so many different contexts.
1. I had a dream that I was eating a pomegranate and in the dream, it was quite possibly the most delicious thing I have ever tasted. Every seed was like drinking a glass of juice.
2. While in a staff meeting the next day, someone randomly started talking about how priests in the Bible used to have images of Pomegranates on their robes but couldn't remember why.
3. After hearing the word in various other places, I remembered that just last Sunday, I ordered on a whim, a Pomegranate Italian Soda.

So today I asked one of my good friends (a woman after the heart of God no less) to look online and see what the significance of a Pomegranate is.

This is what she found...

"Exodus 28:33–34 directed that images of pomegranates be woven onto the hem of the me'il ("robe of the ephod"), a robe worn by the Hebrew High Priest. Jewish tradition teaches that the pomegranate is a symbol for righteousness, because it is said to have 613 seeds which corresponds with the 613 mitzvot or commandments of the Torah. For the same reasons, pomegranates are a motif found in Christian religious decoration. They are often woven into the fabric of vestments and liturgical hangings or wrought in metalwork. The fruit, broken or bursting open, is a symbol of the fullness of his suffering and resurrection.[31] In the Eastern Orthodox Church, pomegranate seeds may be used in kolyva, a dish prepared for memorial services, as a symbol of the sweetness of the heavenly kingdom."

Well shoot, no wonder it tasted so good in my dream, "the sweetness of the heavenly kingdom!!!"


classical music and depressing poetry: what a combo

"The Primer"
Christina Davis

She said, I love you.

He said, Nothing.

(As if there were just one
of each word and the one
who used it, used it up).

In the history of language
the first obscenity was silence.



There is a house that I pass by every day. It is right by the road, no other houses around. It's falling apart, paint chipping off in huge pieces, car parts littering the yard, and plastic toys strewn about in the lawn. There are usually an assortment of children running in and out of the front door.
On the way to dinner last night, I passed it, and saw a little girl laying on top of a car just staring at the sky. It made me instantly tear up, because I knew from that one glance, that she was enjoying the glory of God with a child like innocence that I long for.


Happy Valentines Day

To all the Gilbert's and Anne's of the world.
Who ever you are, and where ever you may be.


Kitchen Linoleum

"Kitchen Linoleum"
Audre Lorde

"The cockroach
who is dying
and the woman
who is blind
not to notice
each other's shame."


What I've been thinking about lately...

Tonight I was at a meeting and while on the topic of why there isn't more diversity in the church, (the place that was intended to be the temple of God) someone started talking about the diversity of God.. and it lead me to this conclusion.

We must learn to see God in every person. Diversity is one way of showing many of the different facets of God himself. He is so diverse in nature, that one ethnic background wouldn't be enough to capture him, one culture would not come close to his creativity, one dialect or language wouldn't approach the entirety of his vocabulary.

How odd that we would, as a people, tend to push away the unknown. Our very nature is to be with God, to know Him, to receive from Him, to grow in Him once we have the Spirit of the Lord dwelling within us...it just doesn't make sense to me.

I don't want to call out churches that I am not a part of but there is a church here in Knoxville (a church that I love, I love the pastor, the people, the idea of it.. I love the church) and they have graciously offered a wing of the church building to a predominantly African American congregation to hold service in. This is great! This is fabulous... but I can't help but think.. That is so neat that you are giving your space to a congregation with no place to go.. but why are they not all just worshiping together? Why are the white people having "church" in one half of the building and the black people in another.

I was talking to my dad about this over the weekend and we talked a lot about how the issue has become more of a cultural preference issue than a segregation issue. People worship in different styles. Some are more comfortable with standing up and dancing, while others prefer to sit in reverence. Quite honestly, many times it's not an ethical difference or anything fundamental.. simply a difference of preference. The other thing we concluded was that location has a lot to do with the diversity of a church. If you plant a church in the middle of white suburbia, naturally, your congregation will most definitely be predominately white. Even on other scales like economic diversity. If you plant your church in the middle of the projects, you are likely to get a low income congregation. It's only natural.

It make's me sick to think that Sunday morning is the most segregated time of the entire week, but I have no idea how or where to start changing that. I don't think that God intended so much separation, but there are so many factors that add up to making things the way they are.

All I know to do is to take on a stance of wanting to learn about and better understand the cultures, ethnicities, and economic populations that I am not a part of. I think exposure to differences creates change and that's all I know to do at this point.

Any ideas???

PS... I know this is ridiculous.. but I love this commercial (mainly for the song.. but still)


Digging Graves

Sometimes I forget that dying to yourself is uncomfortable.
And then I have days like today... where I am reminded of its un-comfort.
Whoever said life was full of candy and roses was largely mistaken.

Pablo Neruda

No hay espacio más ancho que el dolor
No hay universo como aquel que sangra

translated from the Spanish

There is no space wider than that of pain
There is no universe like that which bleeds



I used to hate my freckles..I'm talking, tried to cover them with makeup, prayed they went away, scrubbed my face trying to get them off... hated them.
Today I love my freckles.
The End

movie quotes of the day:

"You know what you've got? You have got a talent for love. You're like a love genius. And there are too many statues of generals and politicians, and there are not enough statues of someone like you. In this world, there is so much of what looks like love, and sounds like love, and calls itself love, but it isn't. It's just people saying and doing what they think they ought to say and do.
We are mysterious creatures, aren't we? And at the end so much of it turns out not to matter.
Mistakes are beautiful, baby. Mistakes are part of the fun. All that to say, you, are the greatest. You're the greatest. You're the greatest. So here's to love, an-and, here's to you."

"The choice was mine and mine completely. I could have any prize that I desired. I could burn with the spendor of the brightest fire, or else - or else, I could choose time. Remember... I was very young then. And a year was forever and a day. So what use could fifty, sixty, seventy be? I saw the lights, and I was on my way. And how I lived. How they shone! But how soon the lights were gone."



Check this song...

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone - Old Panda Days

So the weather of choice is snow.
Thank you and Amen.
More please?

I made a vanilla, banana, cream, pudding pie today. Haven't tried it yet, but we will see.

I am fairly absent minded at times. And I can't help but recognize how patient God is. I don't even know that I really understand that kind of patience. But I'm certainly glad for it.
I think about 25 people I know are having birthday's this month. I have decided that February is a good month to be born in because not much happens, ere go, no one is too busy to celebrate :)

Movie quote of the day:

Death of a Salesman

"I run out of that building and I see... the sky. I see all the things I love in this world. The work, the food, the time to sit and smoke. And I look at this pen and I ask myself, "What the hell am I grabbing this thing for? Why am I trying to become something I don't wanna become when all I want is out there waiting for me the minute I say I know who I am?"