05 September 2010

Advanced Words

We got back from PAX today and while the expo was fun I found myself missing the kind of Jesus-tinged experience that I really have come to expect on these things. It's not that we totally missed Him but in most spiritual ways it felt more like a day at the (non soma) office.

But just as I was rolling into my driveway something came to mind that I want to capture. It has the feeling of a fleeting and incomplete thought though so I don't know where this will wind up.

Whenever we get ready to go intonation boot camp we pray that god would give us "advanced words" for that event and he's always there to do so. Now I don't to go too far here lest it turn into some kind of superstition but I realize today that we've seen something similar with soma in that we often see our first experience of a trip to be somehow a pre-taste of the trip in general, or at least a vivid picture that tells us were walking with god. At first I thought this trip lacked such an event but in hindsight I'm not so sure. The first meta-experience of e trip was how rushed I was trying to get out the door. I just couldn't seem to get things wrapped up. That sense of work-pressure was in fact a constant struggle for me in this trip and took me out most of Saturday as I was too focused on ND and barely felt like I was in gods will at all - I was clearly working and not walking. But the first real "experience" came when we stopped by County Cousins for dinner. I've come to really enjoy this place on i5 but when we arrived we were shuttled off into the lounge where our waitress, while nice enough in her fashion, was a kind of dirty old lady making constant lewd jokes. On the one hand you try to laugh it off but it was not the kind of holy spirit encounter I would have liked...or was it?

I've observed before that I don't feel like the gamer community is hostile to god, they just don't know him and in a sense they don't know any better. I think this waitress was like that. She wasn't evil in any sense that I saw, just worldy - in fact very much like the kind of person Jesus got grief for hanging out with. And in that way she was like a focused in-your-face picture of what we s at PAX all weekend. People whose hope rests often in distraction and something like grave humor - you might as well laugh lest we cry our eyes out.

It made for a couple of days that felt thirsty but I was IN it all, as opposed to being separate, maybe to help me remember what that feeling is like. I wasn't feeling oppressed or opposed or anything like that, just dry. Vaguely missing something though I didn't know what.

Perhaps god was showing my something this weekend that I almost missed entirely.

Then again, maybe not...still need to chew on it.

Sent from my iPad

11 August 2010

Welcome Back Weary FB Refugees

It may be a bit premature but I think I’m stating to see a return to blogging in my circle. For a while it seemed that the demon Facebook had siphoned away all the people I cared to read about and forced us al into short little snippets and pointless pokes. But I was starting to miss the blogs a lot. Though in truth, I think Kathie soldiered on alone and I too long neglected to read her ongoing adventure.)

Anyway – I’m glad to be blogging again, and gladder still to see others back in their respective saddles. Now somebody bug Holly.

02 August 2010

Informed Innocence

We were singing a song in church yesterday where Jesus was described as being innocent. In the context of the song they were using the word as the opposite of guilty but in one of those strong moments of  insight I found myself drawn down a different path.

We also use the word innocent to describe a child and while the root thought is certainly related to a lack of guilt we mean something subtly but importantly different. A child’s innocence, for one thing, is understood to be temporary, even illusory. We loose that kind innocence not when we do something sinful but when we first understand the world to be broken. Perhaps we loose that innocence first when we eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and its only after that knowledge arrives that we try a little evil or ourselves. Indeed, when an innocent toddler says he didn’t spill the milk (the dinosaur did) we don’t generally condemn the child for lying because we perceive that there is no ill intent only the active imagination.

Maybe there is another way to put this. We loose our innocence to the degree that we no longer assume the world and the people in it to be good and safe.
And sadly, we say that childlike innocence is, in point of fact, erroneous. To “grow up” often means to loose hope, loose faith, doubt love, and expect bad. At the pinnacle is when we accept our own mortality as inevitable, normal, and even good. Innocence in this way is in many ways simple ignorance.

So I’m wondering how (if?) Jesus could be somehow innocent and fully informed. I don’t think I can say that Jesus always expected the best in every situation. After all, he wept over Jerusalem knowing something dreadful was about to happen. And while I might think, “Sure, but he also saw the even greater good behind it” - I’m not sure that really washes with me. Maybe there’s a place where we know without doubt that the very best thing could happen, even that it ‘wants’ to happen, but also that the same possibility exists for evil.

It was only a glimpse but this image of our king knowing every rotten, horrible thing in the universe but remaining in some way childlike...it was an infinitely beautiful image for that instant I caught it. I pray I’ll catch it again.

31 May 2010


So back in March I had the honor of being quoted in the Wall Street Journal. 
In another day I'll get he honor or appearing on-stage at Computex during a keynote presentation.
The way things have been going, I suspect there will be other honors to come.

Jesus talks about the things we do and the way we do them (Matt 6) and how for those who act in public and seek the validation of men, they'll most likely get it - but that's all they'll get. Solomon talks about fame and fortune and all of that as chasing after the wind - he's right. (yeah, big surprise there...)

I gotta tell you, the whole thing with the WSJ, I had a lot of people who thought it was a much bigger deal than I did. I mean, I can see how it confers a certain kind of credibility to what we're doing, it helps get the name out and all that but who really cares? I need to be clear here, I really do see these things as genuine honors. I don't put the word in quotes as though the name is somehow dubious. It's just that I find myself pretty darn uninterested in them except insofar as I see them as things God has been doing. These are doors He is opening and I don't know to what end. So I do the interview or write the article, or get on the plane not because I seek the column inches...but it is remarkable fun to find yourself on God's adventure.

Ecclesiastes 6:1,2 says "There is an evil that I have seen under the sun, and it lies heavy on mankind: a man to whom God gives wealth, possessions, and honor, so that he lacks nothing of all that he desires, yet God does not give him power to enjoy them, but a stranger enjoys them. This is vanity (hebel); it is a grievous evil."

I want Soma and Code-Monkeys to succeed, I really do, but I also find myself at least mildly nervous. I can't seem to read the Bible without seeing that God wants to bless his children, he wants us to prosper, and in some cases that might mean fame and fortune. But I am also very aware of Jesus' words to and about the rich. Money seems to be the only thing he says might in fact cause us to loose our eternal souls. I'm convinced that success is usually a blessing, but it is also a test, a challenge. And it seems to me that nothing in this world temps us to isolation and unaccountability like fame and fortune. Rich people are allowed all manner of character flaws that a more modestly endowed person would not. 

It is of ultimate concern to me that Soma's success not cost me my character. Nor by extension my integrity, friends or (heaven forbid) my family.

And yet I don't think it would be wise to turn away the gifts that God hands out either. I'm reminded that Moses tries to get out of his calling that day at eh bush several times and eventually God just gets mad, "But [Moses] said, "Oh, my Lord, please send someone else." Then the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses..." I know we need to remain humble but at some point we cross a line between humility and disregard for God's gift, spitting on his desire for our lives. What's more, it seems fair to say that God lifts people up for a larger purpose, a purpose beyond merely blessing - though He needs no larger reason to simply dote on his children.

We've started to see this more and more often in Soma. Somehow people find out about us and we get letters from folks who are moved or encouraged or inspired by the simple fact that Soma exists. In the last 12 months, we've made friends in the highest and most unlikely places all over the world. It's been a fantastic ride. ANd from where I sit now, it's obvious that it was providence and guidance and blessing. Sure, we all had our roles to play in those meetings and conversations but we haven't been actively seeking this stuff. In fact, I look back on this season and while it's been "busy" in one sense it's been effortless in another. I know what it's like to be really busy and come away feeling like all that effort availed nothing but if anything this season has been the opposite of that. I'm generally more relaxed, I  feel more 'present' and things just happen. How long that will continue is anybody's guess but so long as I can keep telling the sorry and pointing up...then I'll keep doing it.

OK, so I think I've wandered just a bit, but the point is just this: when I feels God's pleasure in what we're doing, whether that's on a stage in the spotlight or in deep obscurity, I have joy. When men bestow honor on me - I really don't care and I think that's the right attitude...I only pray that I can keep it.