Sunday, September 18, 2005

The Great Reversal

Last week my wife received an email from a friend. It was an article they read and wanted to pass on concerning the tragedy in New Orleans. It stated that much of the responsibility for the inhuman scene fell on the "parasitic welfare collectors" who made up a large portion of the area hardest hit.

This article made me mad.

A few days later we received yet another article from yet another friend. This article was an open letter to the president. The writer of this letter placed the responsibility squarely on the president: how dare he not go to New Orleans sooner.....How dare he not mobilize a relief effort faster. The letter ended with a blatant accusation of racism on the presidents part.

This article made me mad.

In both cases, I sat for several moments and thought about how I could reply to both emails. I began to mentally prepare a lamblasting of my two ignorant friends and their uninformed opinions. I started amassing historical data to back me up and strengthen my impenetrably correct opinion. I searched the Word for ammo with which to hurl at them, shaming them both for their ignoble thoughts.

And that's when I heard it. My great hope is that it came from behind me because the only other possibility, the one that terrifies me, is that it came from right inside my very own chest. It was barely audible but still managed to elicit a chill: a low, guttural, bloodthirsty rumble of a growl.

I had heard the growl twice before that I can remember, both during my time in Kansas City. Once when I was alone in my apartment watching Alien and praying in the spirit and the other when Mark Douglas and I were listening to Tom York sing "...We want young blood" on a radiohead album.

Even then Mark had the discernment to identify it for what it was, although I was too frightened to imagine that, it both cases, the enemy could get that close without me knowing.

And that same frightened surprise is what I felt just days ago as I prepared my respective replies. He was close enough for me to feel his foul breath on my neck and I knew, I just knew he was smiling approvingly at my every foul thought. He was there, the living, breathing (err..) enemy and he was achieving to the letter just what I was told he would try to do:

"He will do everything in his power to LIE TO, DIVIDE and DESTROY this body."

Along with this enemy and his purposes, I have counting against me an insaciable need to be right. I think this is the most dangerous thing that festers inside of me and if you suspect for even a moment that it be true for you as well, may we both ask the LORD to judge us so that we would be free.

Acknowledging my need to be right, I will proceed best I can.

I think politics divide the body. This is not good. It is the enemy achieving his end.

Some of you who read this are very politically minded and active. Some of you are not. I used to be and now, am not. I don't know exactly how this happened and it wasn't completely intentional. It just happened. I think it was around the time my dad died. Presidential nominees were campaigning and backbiting like mad. Fox Newsers and New York Timers were going back and forth like four year olds. Rock stars were selling out to politicians. And the whole time, my dad was just physically disappearing right in front of me. I stopped caring personally about politics out of natural necessity then...And it just hasn't come back.

By the way, my peace has multiplied exponentially.

You might say, "Jesse, that's no good....To stop caring!! How dare you be so selfish!" Well, I still care, I think. I cry a lot at least. When both sides of an election used the private anguish of a family dealing with terminal illness and the dying wishes of their daughter, I cried. When I was called a "baby-killer" by a loved one for not voting, I cried. When my wife and I drove past the city-sized mountain of burning trash that the Dominicans force the Haitans to live in, I cried. And when a storm destroyed a city and reduced its people to such a level of primal fear and rage that they would steal from sick and dying children, I cried.

And when I stop myself just long enough to realize I've joined in the futile and divisive finger-pointing, instead preaching and being the gospel of Jesus Christ, I cry.

Don't you dare tell me that I don't care.

Something ironic:

God decided to make himself a man during a time of political oppression the likes of which most of us have ever come close to knowing. Jesus was born into a political hotbed. They wanted him to rant against Rome. They wanted him to overthrow. They asked him political questions looking for seething answers they could use to further their movement and uprising.

He did not do this.

He did however have the absolute audacity to tell his closest Jewish friends He found more faith in one Roman soldier than He did in all of Israel.

We hip gen x'er believers who think we got hipster left-wing Jesus in the bag should staple that one to our foreheads.

I used to think political activity was my duty as a believer. People would quote scripture to me about why I should vote, defend the moral majority and support our leaders because "they were the ones in power." In fact, someone recently said the president is the most powerful and thus the most dangerous man in the world.

Well I just don't know if I believe that notion of power is true anymore. Jesus talked about a Kingdom in which all those notions of power, wisdom and strength were all blown out of the water and flipped upside down. It seems as if political leaders have more influence than me...They can create policy that reaches millions of people.

Gee. All I have the power to do is visit someone in jail. Maybe clothe someone's nakedness. Perhaps take the edge off someone's hunger. Wait that all sounds familiar...

And as far as power goes, the reversal that Christ talked about left one and only one definition of power standing: the promise of His indwelling Holy Spirit. Any other kind of power is fading fast and becoming increasingly ineffective. Perhaps this is the source of so many good intentioned people's frustrations: the belief in a power that is not really there. Maybe Jesus told us to pray for our leaders because He knew what we are missing....These people need the power that we have.

Take a deep breath. I might be about to really piss you off...

Depending on who you are (especially if you are a believer) you may need to do one of two things with George Bush: either one, get over him and your anger that he's in office or two, stop kissing his ass and blindly defending him.

You have more power than George Bush.

If you do not agree you do not understand the Holy Spirit and are missing the reversal of Christ's Kingdom. If you believe the leader of this or any nation has more influence or responsibility with their position than you do with the gospel of Jesus Christ, repent, you are doubting the gospel. People in New Orleans have incredible need. Babies in South Africa are being devoured by AIDS. Eight year old girls are being sold into prostitution in Asia. If you think anything other than the gospel is going to have a long lasting effect, you are in for a lifetime of needless frustration. Your man may take office. Your policy and aid programs may get passed. You may see some positive change. Praise be. Really, I mean it. But if it is not rooted in the gospel, it is temporary.

I don't think Jesus refused to take power. I think He always had it. Then He offered it to us. I think we misunderstood what power was.

Oh...and to lighten the mood, I've also given up on all news anchors other than John Stewart.

Go pray.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Tell All the Truth but tell it slant-- aka AP US Government

As Lighting to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind----

recently been reading the high school Classics in World Literature textbook. that Emily Dickenson... and that Jesse Robertson, for that matter, un maestro mejor.

...of a more visual nature.

the storm that comes over the mountains everyday at 5:00
and Luis... who recently wrote a short story about a karate ninja named Wheezer... i like this kid.
mi Amour, David. David is a rider of the figuartive short bus. I tutor him two days a week. What is special about this picture is that both of David's eyes are fixed on the camera. Given a second or two the left eye would slowly trail away in search of something more interesting.

This is Carolina... the center of my attention for the majority of each day.

and Lil... the most beautiful third grader in the world.

and Julia, the pleasant little one who loves me simply because I was her cousins kindergarten teacher. Go figure. She hugs me tightly daily... she's the funny one.

Bittersweet Clincher

Despite some confusing math that blurs my vision, your St. Louis Cardinals clinched their second straight division title and fourth in six years.

That's a winner.

Here's to another World Series birth that I will not be in there to see.

Friday, September 09, 2005

So much to...

Here is a list of all the things I've wanted to write but haven't...

1. nalgene: the one that slipped away... also knows as 'au revoir' pee wee
2. week one
3. week two
4. the phenom that is my husband the chappeler speaker
5. the enthusiasm of high school kids in chapel who have had bible class every single
day since pre-k 3
6. on the other side of the 90 day warranty... also know as the 4 month anniversary

But alas the bell has rung.. ring a ding dong.
You will have to continue with the prompts i've given you. I will write the journal rules I give to Carolina for those of you who are more successful when given clear objectives.

1. You must write at least five sentences
2. You must have a subject and a verb in each sentence.
3. Your sentences must include at least five words.
4. Please write neatly
5. Be sure to check your spelling

Mrs. Robertson

Dealing With Kevin A. Still Dealing With John Cash

Grunge bands were big when I was in highschool and I was in a honky-tonk group. Somehow we went from Kurt Cobain to Grahm Parsons in a single semester. For me, that is proof enough that God exists. We practiced in Mike's basement. We played at Mike's because his mom gambled so much she was at the casino more than she was home. We played there for years, murdering Who songs until we discovered brilliance in the likes of The Flying Burrito Brothers and the grievous angel himself.

Then we found it.

Mike's basement had three concrete walls and one made up entirely of a pool table, beer bottles and old porn magazines. Or so we thought. I'm not sure what force it was that tore the veil down that day. Perhaps it was one dirty magazine too many pulled out of the foundation. Whatever the case, the wall fell one day. And right before our eyes, was the promised land. Canaan itself. Our heritage.

A fully functioning bar with it's very own tap, fridge and three stools tucked so neatly you'd have thought the barkeep was there just the night before.

We stared and we stared. And the whole time, he stared right back at us from behind the bar:
I wager a more welcoming bird has never known flight. We spent the next month cleaning and restoring our new personal tavern. And the whole time he watched us approvingly. We fixed the plumbing. We learned how to install a CO2 tap. We hung stolen neon budwiser signs. We stole every ashtray we could get our honky-tonk wanna be hands on and the whole time...he watched. Not one single time did the notion arise to move him. Not once. How could we? It was his place and on top of that was the suspicion that even a mere picture of John Cash might just have been able to whoop our collective asses.

That was more than ten years ago.

I have unforgiveness in my heart towards you Kevin. That was damn insensitive of you that morning.

"Wake Up!!! Imus said Cash is dead!!"

But I guess, for me anyway, he left the same way he entered.

I hate hate hate that it got cool to be a Cash fan. I will be the first to admit, I found him by luck. Drunk chance.

But my god if he didn't sober (me) up.

Some say it was Elvis. These people are wrong.

Now lets smoke some prison smokes.