Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Sing Me To Heaven

Sing Me to Heaven
Daniel Gawthrop (b. 1949)
(Dunstan House)

In my heart's sequestered chambers
Lie truths stripped of poet's gloss.
Words alone are vain and vacant and my heart is mute.
In response to aching silence
Memory summons half-heard voices,
And my soul finds primal eloquence and wraps me in song.

If you would comfort me, sing me a lullaby.
If you would win my heart, sing me a love song.
If you would mourn me and bring me to God,
Sing me a requiem, sing me to heaven.

Touch in me grief and comfort;
Love and passion, pain and pleasure.
Sing me a lullaby, a love song, a requiem.
Love me, comfort me, bring me to God:
Sing me a love song, Sing me to heaven.
-- Jane Griner

Monday, January 17, 2005

He had a Dream

He shared his dream with the world. A national holiday is a great honor for anyone, but I think it would be better if we realized that the best way to Honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is to work on fulfilling that dream in our everyday lives. This is hard, especially for those of us from a priveledged race. We don't want to be made to feel at fault for what "happened in the past." Well the reality I am coming to understand is that its not about finding fault, or even righting wrongs. It is about how we treat our fellow brothers and sisters in this world. As Christians, I believe we have the responsibilty to seek out and meet the needs of our neighbors regardless of the cause. When Jesus met the woman at the well, he did not deny her his love because she was at fault for being an adultress, nor did he make excuses for her. She was what she was, but Jesus saw past that and shared what she needed. In her case it was spiritual guidance. In our day, meeting someones needs may take shape by enforcing affirmative action, or spending more money in predominantly black neighborhoods to ensure the same education is reaching these kids as is reaching the white kids of suburbia. It may even take shape in ways we dont understand. Regardless, it is our duty to love people. Here is the transcript of his speech. I pray that it will still find root our hearts today.

I Have A Dream:

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves, who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we've come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds."

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so we have come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must ever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecutions and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends. And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right down in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I will go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day. And this will be the day, this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning, "My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring!" And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

And so let freedom ring -- from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

Let freedom ring -- from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring -- from the heightening Alleghenies of

Let freedom ring -- from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

Let freedom ring -- from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that.

Let freedom ring -- from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring -- from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring -- from every hill and molehill of Mississippi,
from every mountainside, let freedom ring!

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual,

"Free at last, free at last.

Thank God Almighty, we are free at last."

Monday, January 10, 2005


Today in my Early Church History class our professor gave us a really awesome definition of what it meant for the Church to be Catholic in its beginnings. First he asked if we knew what it meant and the general response was that it meant "Universal." He told us how that definition was actually pretty weak.

A better definition was this:

"The whole of the Church is present in each place, and each church is present in the whole."

How cool is that?

God has really been prodding my heart in thinking about how the Church could be more representative of a single body rather than the many body parts we really act like. It breaks my heart that we even have to say things like "Oh I'm not protestant, I'm Christian" as if it is some superiority thing. We are Christians, that is what unites us. There are so many petty arguments we make to seperate ourselves from each other. Blah. It is my prayer that we would once again be known by the remark of Tertullian when refrerring to the Early Church: "See how they Love one another!"

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Jesus has made me whole again.

"Lord, my body is tired, my mind is tired, my heart is tired, my spirit is exhausted. If I am running this race it must be by your strength. I remember the promises of Isaiah 40. I need you Lord, I need you to pour out your spirit into me. Break the pains and chains of depression. It is so weird, I must learn to be an independant being, but also a dependant one Something I don't even begin to undestand the workings of."

Journal entry April 9, 2004.

that entry pretty much sums up the state of my life for most of 2003/2004. I didn't really have much hope, or entertain the idea that I really could be free from depression or anxiety.

The other night as Katie and I were driving back from a party, I was hit hard with the realization that Jesus has come in power and brought me new life. If you have read my blog for the last month or so you can see that I was heading towards this realization, but it finally hit me like a ton of bricks. I am full of Joy again. Genuine happiness is something I possess. That night I spent over five hours at a party where I didn't know too many people and I was able to enjoy myself, without the social anxiety that normally sets in within a couple of hours. This is MAJOR for me.

My grandfather in Florida even made not eof a difference in the sound of my voice yesterday as we talked on the phone.
Hope does exist, it is a gift of the Lord. I still face many problems and issues, but I have a sense of what Jesus is doing now. Praise the Lord!

On a different note, Last night we went to see a performance by The Groundlings. They are similar to Second City and are an improv/sketch comedy group. People lke Phil Hartman, Will Ferrell, Lisa Kudrow and others have all worked there in the past. It was so much fun. There were a few sketches that were a little over the top, but for the most part the show was quite clean which was refreshing. But anyway...things are going well here and I am happy. :)

Thursday, January 06, 2005

New Quarter, New Classes, New Experiences

It has been a great week.
At first I was unable to registered, but God has provided and brought the help I needed to do so. I am officially registered as of today in some pretty awesome classes.

I am continuing with my studies in Greek this quarter.. we focused on nouns, pronouns and adjectives last time, this quarter we are going to work on verbs. I ended up with a 96.2 for my final grade last quarter and am pretty psyched about this one.

I am also continuing in a course called Foundations for Ministry. It isa class that is half seminars and half small group sessions. I enjoy the small group, but the seminars are very long and tend to be very boring and off topic.

As for my new classes this quarter, I am in Early Church History, and a class called The Gospel of the Kingdom: Ladd's Theology I am most excited abou thte class on Ladd's Theology. George Ladd was a prof. at Fuller for about 30 years I think and he has been one of the more prominant scholars in the NT, specifically in terms of eschatology(study of the end times) and the kingdom of God. My favorite prof. from last quarter, Dr. Hagner is teaching this class so I am looking forward to a great time.

Outside of class I am still trying to figure out what to do with work. I gave them my availabilty and then was scheduled at times when I cannot work as well as I now am in class on mon/wed mornings so that narrows down my availability. I have a pplied to a work study position here on campus which will be more flexible, and also be more consistent. But, I am praying, I do dislike the valet job very much, but I know that I cannot quit without something there to back it up with. argh. frustrations.

Mostly I am recoginizing the many blessing god has been showering me with lately. He has provided a great community out here in Pasadena that is still widening for me. I have also been blessed by many people from back east. Whether it has been a random IM conversation, a christmas card, a phone call or just a fond memory, I have been seeing the people god has put in my life at all stages and places as some of the most important things I know. God has blessed me with my job, regardless of my enjoyment level at the moment. He has provided me a place to worship in a good community on sundays and chances to start getting involved at church more. ANd yes, he has blessed me with a wonderful new relationship, but even more important than that, is that he has brought me to a much healthier mental state than I was in a year ago. Bad things happened then, and they still happen, but I am not in a place where pills or anxiety are the answer. I am much closer to him and have a greater sense of his peace in my life. For this reason, I am confident 2005 will be a trying year I am sure, but it will be a good and wonderful year as well.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

New Years Blog

So it is now 2:17 am in Pasadena and I just got home from work a little while ago.

It was probably the most interesting/frustrating/weird new years I have ever had.

As I was watching CNN on my break at 8:30pm, I realized that the Ball drops at NINE FREAKING PM in California. That was not something I had even thought about before. They watch a REPLAY of the ball dropping at midnight. So that was my eastern standard time moment of the day.

As for the rest of my night....ugh

I was sent to take a Man, woman and their daughter to a restaurant. Taking them there was not a problem. Unfortunately the restaurant was located at the heart of the rose parade route down Colorado Blvd. So, when I went back two hours later to pick them up, I was suddenly being rerouted in a direction opposite of where the restaurant was. forty minutes of traffic later, I am able to get to the restaurant and thankfully they were running even later than I was and I had to wait on them. The parents were both a little inebriated, and the woman spent the car ride down Colorado Blvd. talking about how the people who were camping out on the sidewalk reminded her of homelesspeople and how it made her ill....yeah that was anoying. The man was also tipsy, but mre fun. He was talking to the people on the street and having a good time.

After we had a discussion on the origin of my name, the man turned to me and said "Richie, do you have to be any where in the next ten minutes?" I said not really and he then had me drive past the Hotel and towards this neighborhood where there some amazing christmas lights still up. The entire street was lined with huge trees that were all lit up. It really was a great display. when the guy ended up tipping me 30 bucks for the night, but that all goes into a pool and is split between all of us. He did give my bosses great remarks about me though. That was cool.

The actual count-down was non-existant for me and so I don't have anything to say about that lol.

I am now exhausted and will probably not get up to even watch the parade on tv since it is on at 8 am. I need my sleep so I can go back tomorrow night.

God Bless you, my friends


I have now officially watched the ball drop...at 3 am pst thats 6 am for you folks out east.....

oh yeah, and I have been told I haven't mentioned how great my aunt kim is enough in my postings, so let me just say that she is awesome and I love her :)