Thursday, May 31, 2012

Live Out Loud (practical Christianity as explained by an orthodox rebel)

"Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your husbands.... Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with your wives with understanding, giving honor unto the wife as unto the weaker vessel.... Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one for another. Love each other as brethren...."
I Pet. 3:1, 7, 8

So far, Peter has laid down and unpacked the precedent that we are those who are different and therefore we should be different. We should live differently in this world; not because we have to, but because it is who we are. The only question now is what exactly this different living looks like. Anticipating this, Peter gives three examples that help us flesh out what it means to live differently. (NOTE: The two uses of "Likewise" and the use of "Finally" show that these examples are all a part of the same flow of thought from chapter 2.)

The first example is the submission of wives to their husbands' role as familial head, a very unpopular notion in our egalitarian-to-a-fault and hyper-individualistic democracy. What is interesting, however, is that the same idea was unpopular to Peter's readers as well. Peter was writing to believers living in Rome, and there was no other place in the ancient world that epitomized the same over-bloated egalitarianism and individualism of modern America. Case in point: Rome was home to the cults of Artemis, Isis, and Dionysus, all of which encouraged a wild and raucous lifestyle for women (think "Girls Gone Wild," Ancient Rome edition). Thus, the believers that Peter was addressing lived in a culture that was absolutely saturated in sex and a desire to act-out in every immoral way imaginable. (Does that sound familiar?)

In order to counter this culture of degradation, in order to live differently, Peter commands the Christian women to "be in subjection" to their husbands. How, exactly? By their "chaste manner of living" coming from the fear of God, who is above all husbands (vs. 2). The idea is that the Christian wives let their husbands (who were most likely unbelievers in this case) know that they were different, that they feared God and God alone by living a chaste life, full of a "meek and quiet spirit" (vs. 4). Such a life would sharply contrast (and thus completely counter) the Godless culture surrounding them, and such a life would show that they were not like everyone else. They had been made different by God.

The second example is for husbands to understand and honor their wives. This is an interesting pair of admonitions for two reasons. First, to "honor" a wife was an outrageous idea at the time. It is well known that the ancient world (in spite of their sexual cults) viewed women as lesser beings than men (and even as the property of men sometimes) precisely because they were the "weaker sex". Peter, however, turns the whole thing on its head: you honor your wife because she is the "weaker vessel" (i.e., physically weaker). To the ancient Roman culture, that logic made no sense; but to those who are different, it makes perfect sense. This is where the "understanding" part comes in. Peter tells husbands to live with their wives "with understanding". This understanding was not just an understanding of their subjective personalities as human beings but also their objective reality as a believer, i.e., "being heirs together of the grace of life" (vs. 7). That was the "understanding" that they were to have, viz., although their wives are physically weaker, they are still the daughters of God and heirs of His salvation, and on that basis husbands were to honor them. That is how they lived differently.

The final example Peter gives is for all believers to love each other, a principle that he laid down before (2:17) and that was first stated by Christ when He explained to His disciples how the world would know that they were different (John 13:35). Their love for each other was not (and is never) based on mere sentiment or shallow toleration. Rather, it is a direct result of the love of Christ being shed abroad in our hearts by His death, burial, and resurrection (Rom. 5:5-8). In short, we love each other for the same reason that husbands are to honor (and by extension, love) their wives: in Christ, we have all been made new, we have all been made different. And in that common difference, we love each other as heirs of the same salvation.

Perhaps now we will better understand a rather famous (and perhaps misunderstood) verse: "Always be ready to give an answer to every man that asks you for a reason for the hope that is within you" (I Pet. 3:15). A favorite verse of apologists (who are not entirely wrong for commandeering it), Peter actually has in mind something less specialized and more practical. We are to be ready to give an answer to "every man that asks" us about the hope within us. The question is: Why would they even ask? The answer should be obvious by now: they ask because they see that we are different. Our lives so sharply contrast with their own that they cannot help but ask what makes this contrast so. Herein we see that Christian living is not just a matter of holiness; it is also a matter of evangelism. Or to put it another way, holiness is evangelism. Christian living is not rule-keeping but a declaration, the main way that we "show forth the praises" of God. How we live is meant to be both our worship and our witnessing. Our life is the loudest voice that we have, and as those who are different we would do well to let it live out loud.

-Jon Vowell (c) 2012

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Those Who Are Different (practical Christianity as explained by an orthodox rebel)

"...for you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, that we should show forth the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.... Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.... For so is the will of God, that with well-doing you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men --- as free, but not using your liberty as a cloak for maliciousness, but as the servants of God."
I Pet. 2:9, 11, 15-16

In chapter 1, Peter set down a precedent that we (as Christians) are to be different because we are different (vs. 15 & 23). He then spends the first part of chapter 2 unpacking that difference and then the rest of the book on putting that difference into practice. Though his applications are somewhat unique to his time, the precedent and subsequent unpacking are universal.

The first thing that the precedent entails is our purpose, which is laid down in 2:9 when Peter says that we should "show forth the praises" of God. In the Greek, "show forth the praises" is "aretas exangeilhte," and it literally means to revel/proclaim the heroic and mighty deeds of someone (specifically God, in this context). Herein is our purpose as those who are different: we are to tell God's story, especially in regard to our own lives. He has done heroic and mighty deeds, namely rescuing us from the kingdom of darkness and translating us into the kingdom of His Son (Col. 1:13). We will not hide such things away, but rather we will show them to the generation to come, proclaiming the praises of the Lord, and His strength, and His wonderful works that He has done (Ps. 78:2-4). Thus is our purpose: to proclaim God to be the hero that He is, both at our salvation and in our day-to-day sanctification.

The second thing that the precedent entails is directly related to the first. It is our identity, which is laid down in 2:16 where Peter says, "As free, but not using your liberty as a cloak for maliciousness, but as the servants of God." In the Greek, "free" is "eleutheros," and it was the word for a "freeman". In the ancient world, a "freeman" was someone who had been a slave or debtor but had been set free by someone (usually their master). Thus, even though they were legally free, they always considered themselves indebted to the one who had freed them, living to freely serve them out of love and gratitude. Herein is our identity as those who are different: we are the freemen of God, who has set us free not for freedom's sake, but so that in our freedom we might live unto righteousness (I Peter 2:24b; Rom. 6:18), which is the truest expression of our gratitude and love as well as the truest proclamation of who God is: the Righteous One who has set us free.

Perhaps now you are beginning to see the whole picture. We are the freemen of God, and as such we are the "servants of God," and we live to show forth the mighty, heroic deeds that our Lord has done, viz., saving us from the power of Sin and the wrath of God. That is who we are and what we do, being those who are different. We are free, but our freedom is a means and not an end, a means to give ourselves in love to the one who freed us, and to praise Him, and to show forth His praises to those who are as we once were: enslaved to Sin in dungeons of darkness, never knowing the freedom to love and serve God.

-Jon Vowell (c) 2012

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Believe Your Beliefs (practical Christianity as explained by an orthodox rebel)

"...but as He who has called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of living...being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which lives and abides forever...." I Peter 1:15, 23

Christian living is holiness and nothing less. It is not bare morality that we are after but God-likeness, for holiness means (esp, in the Greek) the unique attributes that make God separate and unique from Creation, i.e., the attributes that make God God. Unfortunately, holiness too often boils down in people's minds to mere rule keeping: dotting i's, crossing t's, and checking off all the boxes. A vigorous duty for duty's sake. That is not holiness, however, but legalism. Holiness is not about keeping the rules because they are rules. Rather, holiness is about being different because you are different. In other words, you are not trying to be a good little boy or girl because you know that you should be. Instead, something has fundamentally changed inside, a foundational transformation wherein you feel compelled to live and act and be this, that, and the other. It is as if another life has been birthed within you, which makes perfect sense if you have been "born again". You have died, and now Christ lives within you (Gal. 2:20). Therefore, you are commanded to be holy because the holy God dwells with you. You are commanded to be holy because that's what you are. Thus is the truth and the mystery.

The trouble with modern Christians, however, is that they don't believe anything anymore. It is a strange tragedy, but it is still a fact. We are in possession of incredible truths, truths that purport to involve themselves down to the most practical scruples of our lives, including how we eat and talk and behave towards others. We have been told that we have been indwelt by the Holy Spirit of the Almighty God of the universe, a gift bestowed upon us because that same God became a man and died, and in dying defeated death. Now by faith in that outlandish yet true victory, we have been "made new," born out of the kingdom of darkness and into the kingdom of light (Col. 1:12-14; I Peter 2:9b). As such, we walk as aliens and strangers amongst a perverse and crooked generation, among whom we shine like the stars (Phil. 2:15). These are the truths of our holy religion, and yet we treat them like inconsequential abstractions, fanciful thoughts for the occasional Sunday. In the pews we are Christians, but in life we are all practical agnostics. Brothers and sisters, these things ought not to be.

The truths that we believe are not mere thoughts and abstractions. They are practical and actual realities of our day-to-day lives. A holy God has actually called us to His actual holiness, and He actually died and rose again so that we could actually be holy in the here and now, and He has actually given us His actual Holy Spirit so that we can actually live that holy life in the here and now. The question is, do you actually believe that? Even now, wherever you are sitting? Do you believe that you are possessed by the Spirit of God, and that it is He who has called you to be holy, and that it is He who works in you to fulfill God's good will (Phil. 2:13)? If not, then why not? What obstinance or obstacle bars your way? Whatever it is, pray to God that it is removed. Life is never the same when you finally believe your beliefs.

-Jon Vowell (c) 2012

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Boil to Rags, Part 8: Amen (a devotional series by an orthodox rebel)

(See the first post in the series here.)

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16

I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever, for He has given us All. He has given the greatest, the highest. He has given Himself. Life has given Himself for us, has given Life to those who seek and find Him. Now we who were restless have found rest. We who were bound have been set free. We who were dead now live. Our bones were once out of joint, but now they are knit together, and breath has filled our lungs. A living breath, full of passion and purpose, burning with the very heart of God. We only thought that we lived, but that was but death's dream kingdom. Now we dead live. We have been made new, raised to walk in newness of life. A life beyond life, new life, life more abundant and free. Life bound up in holy, intimate communion with the Godhead: hidden in Christ, filled with the Spirit, known by God. For herein is everlasting life, that we might know Him, the one true God, and Jesus Christ, He who was dead and is alive and lives forevermore.

What have we done to merit such favor? What gifts or strengths did we bring to catch the eye of the Almighty King? None. No righteousness. No goods. No power or might. All our righteousness is filthy rags before Him. All our goods are as good as evil. All of our strength is mere weakness. Before the I AM we are No-thing. Yet He has come for us, not because of us but because of Him. Because He is righteous. Because He is good. Because He is mighty. He is Love unstoppable, Life unkillable, and Light unquenchable. His goodness is in giving, a giving of Himself and nothing less. Not on our account, but on His. He loves to love, and He has sought us as His Beloved, not because we are lovely, but because He is God.

What is left for us to say but, "Amen."

-Jon Vowell (c) 2012

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Boil to Rags, Part 7: The Last Enemy (a devotional series by an orthodox rebel)

(See the first post in the series here.)

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish...." John 3:16

Everything dies.

Everything fades, fails, burns out, and runs its course. Even secular skepticism cannot deny this one unalienable truth, this last absolute left to willful unbelief. Everything is perishing. Even as we speak, men and animals and plants and planets and stars and all things are moving faster and faster towards a static equilibrium, a silence and stillness and dark and cold. Long after every living things is a corpse, the universe itself will rot away leaving behind dead planets and empty voids, the skull and bones of existence. To those who do not have God, or redemption, or any other hope outside of this material deathtrap called Nature, death alone is crouching at the door, and its open maw will be satisfied with much blood.

We think very little of death until it's coming for us or those we love, until we discover that every place wherein our soul has trod is its hunting grounds. Then it is no longer a morbid abstraction. It becomes an enemy: a living, breathing, calculating enemy. An enemy with all the advantages: inescapable and unstoppable. It takes at will and seemingly at random, stealing young and old and friend and foe. Many today laugh and mock the "simple" view of a being whose ways are malicious and meaningless beyond all imagining. But let them taste of death, let their lives be stained by its horror and great darkness, and they will never be so naive again. We have a great foe, the last enemy left to mankind, who touches all of our lives on a relentless day-to-day basis, and he does not have red horns and a pitchfork but a black hood and a scythe. Indeed, the power of death is the Devil's for a season, but in the end even he will have to give up the ghost before that infinite dark.

See, now, why the Gospel is good news. It is not because another sage has taught us morality. It is not because a martyr died for a cause. It is not because a humble rabbi rebelled against his superiors. It is because whosoever believes in Christ shall never die. Death may claim a body, but it will find it a hollow treat, for the soul belongs to death's Great Enemy, the imperishable and incorruptible God-man. When long ago death met the Being of Life and the Life of Being face-to-face in a man, what else could happen but its power crumble like a hollowed-out house before an earthquake? When death swallowed Christ, it was as if a corpse swallowed a live coal and in turn was swallowed up with fire unquenchable. That is the Gospel: the immortal God has scattered the immortal dark. Christ died and rose again, and death has been swallowed up in His victory, and every soul surrendered to that victory shall not perish, for death owns nothing in them anymore.

-Jon Vowell (c) 2012

Monday, May 14, 2012

Boil to Rags, Part 6: Free Indeed (a devotional series by an orthodox rebel)

(See the first post in the series here.)

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him...." John 3:16

Faith is the very heartbeat of existence. The world may doubt faith, but it can never live without faith, for faith is trust in action, a very common and yet a very magnificent occurrence. It touches everything, from the flowers that trust the sky for rain to the child who trusts their parents without fear or question to the very heart of the Godhead Three: their perfect communion breeding perfect knowledge, and perfect knowledge leaping out in perfect trust. He trusts in His will, and into His hands He commits His spirit. So you see, from the highest to the lowest, faith is trust; furthermore, it is trust in another, for where there is no other, then there is no faith. Faith in Self is not faith at all but the very essence of Sin, and what is of Sin is not of faith. Likewise, faith in faith is not faith but foolishness, for faith is an action and not a being, and an action turned back in on itself is aimless and therefore lost. Thus, it is not good that faith should be alone.

Without faith, it is impossible to please God. Without trust, we dishonor Him, claiming Him to be unworthy of our lives and our love. Yet we abandon ourselves to everything else: to pleasure and power, to dominance and doubt, to money and markets, to self and satisfaction, to work and causes and fads and all the unstable chaff of this world. We abandon ourselves anew every day to a myriad of vaporous lovers, but we will neither submit nor surrender to Love Himself. Oh, we will disguise our fear and arrogance by calling it false names like rationalism or "healthy" skepticism or "humble" agnosticism, but we are all liars and self-deceived. Our skepticism is always selective, and we will always trust in our doubts as long as they will keep us both safe from the living God and free for our own will.

Yet the doubting soul is never free, for freedom belongs to faith alone. Doubt pulls one into the self: our lusts and desires and will to dominate our own life. It is a vacuous narcissism that pulls all inward, making a cage out of its own desire. But faith knows no cages, for it is an ever-expanding thrust outward, breaking barriers and walls and bars, discovering newer and newer undiscovered countries and canvases of souls. Never stopping until it touches and is caught up in that Soul whose very essence is faith, an endless giving and receiving, trusting and loving. For in God alone our faith find a resting place where its movements never cease, and thus it is ever-satisfied.

-Jon Vowell (c) 2012

Friday, May 11, 2012

Boil to Rags, Part 5: Behold the Man (a devotional series by an orthodox rebel)

(See the first post in the series here.)

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son...." John 3:16

What can God give to man? What haven't the gods given to us already? Favor and apathy. Blessings and wrath. All arbitrary, all done before, and all very wearisome. By the noonday life of the Roman Empire, the world had grown weary of playing favorites with the gods. Their wills had grown old like the gods. They had altars aplenty. They had hedged every imaginable divine bet that they could find. So what of this one God? What could that Incomprehensible Dance give to comprehensible man? What could that Majestic Infinite give to the fallen finite? What was there to give that could outdo and outstrip all the false deities of the human mind and heart? Nothing less than Himself, for all that He gives is Himself, for there is nothing greater that can be given.

What offensive mystery is this? The incomprehensible becoming comprehensible. The infinite becoming finite. The Word becoming flesh. Many gods have made worlds, and many more have made men and walked amongst them, but only one has dared to play the man. Many gods scheme and plot and plan as though they were playing a game with mankind, but only one chose to play the game Himself and keep all the rules. He was born in blood and filth like us, raised by imperfect parents, lived in poverty under the heel of tyrants, and watched the dead formalism and religious hypocrisy of His people's faith. He tasted the bitterest cup that humanity has to offer: of sorrow and pain and death. Yes, the incomprehensible has comprehended death as intimately as we all will one day. Life more abundant was swallowed by the grave so that he might swallow it up in return. Let the world say what they will about this God, but let their lips be silent on this one point: we have not a High Priest who is untouched by our infirmities. God knows our frame and pities our frame because He made and has been our frame.

Yet this is only half of the gift, only part of what has been given. For though the Almighty God has played the man in every way, yet He has done what we cannot. In older times, holy men wrought miracles of all kinds by the power of God, even raising the dead. But none of these men could ever end death. When faced with that awful darkness, the last enemy before whom even Satan himself will succumb, all men have fallen. All men, save one. One who was like us and yet not like us. He was man, and He was God. And when Death killed the man, it found the God, and against that unrelenting Light and Life and Love pouring forth with ravenous splendor and strength, what else could Death do but die?

-Jon Vowell (c) 2012

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Boil to Rags, Part 4: More Than Words (a devotional series by an orthodox rebel)

(See the first post in the series here.)

"For God so loved the world that He gave...." John 3:16

The love of God is as much action as it is existence, but here we see that that action is no mere talk, no fruitless abstraction for wandering minds. Here we see the most incredible of philosophies: that the Almighty Love of Being and Being of Love, united in His triune dance and romance without confusing the Persons or dividing the Essence, that living, breathing incomprehensibility has touched the warp and woof of history, the bones and blood of time. When we speak of the Love of God and the God of Love, we are not only speaking of that which exists and that which acts but also of that which has already done. The movement has happened. The myth is fact. It is real: it is more than words, more than mere sentiment and vaporous talk. The Love who is and does has done.

Now let every ivory tower come crashing down, and let all hollowed out halls of learning be offended and ended. Let every obfuscation be put to shame, and let every mad theory be astonished. You will not find a fact more wild than this, nor a thought more bursting with substance. May every obscurantist come and step into its light, and may every pragmatist drop their swords and plowshares. May they all come and see and worship and bow down before this one true thing: God is, God loves, and God can be found. The infinite has touched the finite. He has breached the silence. He has stepped into the text. He has reached down into our impenetrable black box. His infinitely-colored strand has woven itself into our beleaguered tapestry, and how shall the image ever be the same again?

-Jon Vowell (c) 2012

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Wriggling in the Crushing Grip of Reason (an aside by Bill Watterson)

Bill Watterson explains Existentialism in one panel:

Boil to Rags, Part 3: The Purpose-Driven God (a devotional series by an orthodox rebel)

(See the first post in the series here.)

"For God so loved the world...." John 3:16

The love of God, of Infinite Substance and Divine Glory, so rich and pure and measureless and strong, is not aimless. It does not fritter about without direction, madness without method, all sentiment and no will. There is a will in the divine heartbeat. Its thunderous rhythms move to a steady, purposeful pulse. The Love of God is Acting as well as Being, a holy verb as much as a sacred noun. An unstoppable overflowing as wild as a flood yet as directional as a river. It is like an arrowhead or the tip of a spear. It is a sword sharpened with much thought and thrust with great intent, the intent to draw blood.

To where, exactly, is this love aiming? To what destination has it set its mark? It is this world of ours that bears the awesome burden, the eternal weight of that living glory. It is to this world that He comes, this world of shaggy rocks and bleeding seas, whose lands are perforated with the tombs of men. A world of barren wastes and lush landscapes and all the hopes and horrors of every man, woman, and child that has ever been sung or said or screamed. A world of Sin, of howling narcissism and vain minds, from the highest to the smallest, both oppressor and oppressed. It is all one boat, and we all are its drunken crew, sailing without mast or rudder, tossed about by every wind and wave of doctrine and doubt and fad and fashion and plan and scheme and vision and paranoia and panic and fear and failure. Maddeningly and recklessly we fling ourselves upon the deck, upon each other, and into the boiling sea.

It is to this, this ship of fools, this land of white-washed vanities and seared hearts, it is to here and nowhere else that the holy wind is blowing, stirring, rolling onward with furious passion and purpose and joy. Despising all shame, path unmovable, eyes wide open, gaze fierce and full of meaning.

-Jon Vowell (c) 2012

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Boil to Rags, Part 2: The Great Dance (a devotional series by an orthodox rebel)

(See the first post in the series here.)

"For God so loved...." John 3:16

Herein is a great mystery and lovely beauty. The God that we serve and adore is neither mechanical nor inert. The core and source and glory of Reality is not a lonely dynamo whose silent energies are all centripetal and not centrifugal. The Empyrean Prime, who is beyond and yet sustains all appearances, is alive and He loves. All three of Him dances to His love, and all the elements and pieces of the universe dances to His love. All great galaxies and subatomic singularities and every mind and soul under the sun lives and moves and has their being in the ever-dynamic Being of Love Himself, His love for Himself and His love for all things made and begotten and proceeding from Himself.

There is no discontentment in His love, for it is a Dance and not a trade. Its transactions are giving, and it receives so that it may give, and give all the more. So the begotten is given and gives the proceeding, who gives and receives of the Father so that it may give further. So you see, there is no discontentment. No pride or bitter jealousy. No raging accusations or schemes of humiliation. Rather, all is a gift of Love. Love beating out and pouring forth from the very heart of existence like golden heat from an eternal furnace.

Yet there is also no contentment in this Love, never a moment where it utters, "Hold, it is enough." All of its endings are beginnings. All of its deaths are resurrections. All things are made new and newer still, further up and further in to newer and newer perfections, deeper still into the divine substance of the Perfect Himself. He is not satisfied with anything less than Himself, and He is not satisfied with giving anything less than Himself, so that He might receive nothing less than Himself. And it is we, we few, we happy few who are meant to be caught up in that holy reception, made one with the Divine Dance, finding our measure and place. Not lost in the impersonal ether, but found. Found by Love at last. Seeing Him face to face at last. Knowing Him as we are known. There is no fading here, no ceasing to be. You do not cease to be once you rest in the bosom of Being. There you Are. There you finally Become. In the center of His Love is the ending and beginning of our very existence.

Let the heathen rage. Let them weep and gnash their teeth with their gods of sex and money, of self and self alone, of noise and chaos, of static and silence. The Threefold Heart and Mind and Lord of all is calling. His voice is in the stars, on the winds, on the very lips of the morning: "Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away."

-Jon Vowell (c) 2012

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Boil to Rags, Part 1: Ultimate Reality (a devotional series by an orthodox rebel)

"Christianity, even watered down, is hot enough to boil all modern society to rags." -G.K. Chesterton

"For God...." John 3:16

Here is the grand assumption, the presupposition supreme. Here is the first cause and mystery, reality resplendent at the back of all appearances. A fountain of ever-flowing Fact and ever-vibrant Life, a Life strong and taut like a bow string set for firing shafts of splendor into the outer dark, or set for playing symphonic sights and sounds that break against all weeping and gnashing like infinite waves against a dead shore. Nothing is barren in that Almighty core, a holy seed ever-germinating newer life, newer still with every harvest. All things new with every reaping. There is no stopping this Life, this Three-Person Life. He is the only power remaining, the only that ever was. All others are derivative from Him and dependent on Him. All strength is weakness beside Him, all truth lies, all beauty corruption, all goodness filthy rags. He is the paragon par excellence, and without Him all is No-thing.

He speaks his Word against our lies, against our raging, simplistic notions, against our mania for fads and fashions and all things temporal and fading away. He is the rock smashing our feet of clay, the immovable mountain which no man can ascend. He breathes His Beauty across our ashes, stirring dead, dull things to life more abundant and free, inspiring despair to come out of its self-inflicted desolation, and bringing us to the threshold and consummation of all desire and pain. He is the fire that consumes our filthy rags into glory unimagined. He lives His Goodness amongst our diseases, our diseased minds and hearts. Our diseased souls that want no good and find no rest. We all are cripples before His ecstasy, and His dance sends we lame leaping. He is the unhidden origin of all our health and happiness and being. He is Being sui generis, and outside or beyond Him there is No-thing.

-Jon Vowell (c) 2012