Comfortably Numb

2 Sep

One of my all time favorite rock bands wrote a song called Comfortably Numb in 1979. Now most people think this all about drugs – but here’s the rest of the story.

When Roger Waters, of Pink Floyd, was a little boy, he had a high fever. The feeling he got was kind of a detached reality. As an adult, he got hepatitis and didn’t know it. Pink Floyd had a show to do one night in Philadelphia and the doctor that looked at Roger gave him a sedative to help the pain, thinking it was a stomach disorder. At the show, Roger’s hands were numb “like two toy balloons”. He was unable to focus, but also realized that the fans didn’t care because they were so busy screaming. He called this comfortably numb. He stated once that most of the album “The Wall”, which the song was on, was about alienation between the audience and the band.
(Lyrics)

I am sitting in my living room watching the devastation that is New Orleans. It is almost surreal to watch. Looting, killing, raping, total destruction of entire cities. Hundreds of thousands of people displaced. Stories of dead bodies floating around, being pushed in a corner left to rot. It doesn’t seem like America. Rescue workers shot at, helicopters shot at, hospitals shot at. It is incredible. Is this really the United States I live in? I want to feel something. I watch the TV. Images flash by, over and over and over. I don’t feel anything. People crying out for food, transportation, water. I don’t feel anything. There has to be something wrong with me. Why don’t I feel anything? I’m watching it, I see it – but I don’t feel. I know I should feel something. I just sit there. Staring at the TV. Comfortably numb. Detached, alienated. Not feeling anything.

OK God. What is wrong with me? It is just so much to process that I can’t? Have I been so bombarded by myown trials that I’m just worn out and don’t have enough feelings left for strangers? Have I become so indifferent to suffering after watching all of the death and destruction in Iraq? There is one clue – deep in the back of my head. In the Marines, we were trained to put our own feelings aside and just do our jobs. It makes fighting a war easier. In the Gulf War, I was scared at times but I didn’t have the luxury to feel scared. I had a job to do and if I or my team were going to make it home, I had to do that job to the best of my ability. I had to detach. Focus on the mission. Maybe that is what is going on. It’s been almost 15 years – but yet it is still with me.

I pray…

Lord, develop in me a compassion for the suffering of others. Help me feel again. Enlarge my capacity to empathize with those who are suffering. Give me opportunities to engage those who are in need. Stretch me that I may serve you more.

Amen

Goose bumps

17 Aug

I just had to send this out. I have this saying on my wall in my office. As I wrote the Cornerstone entry this morning, this just seemed appropriate!

Enjoy today, but get goose bumps about the potential for tomorrow!

I hope you have an enjoyable day!

Reality Church

12 Aug

Dan Kimball wrote a piece called Reality Church that really spoke to me. I’ve watched people go through all of those stages.  I’ve been through some of them myself.  Being raised a preachers kid, I have always been interested in why people leave churches.  I think it is healthy to always evaluate your spiritual life and to involve others in your spiritual growth.  I live by one rule when it comes to church. If you are getting bored with your church, then look inward to your own spiritual life.  What are you doing to further the kingdom of God on this earth?  I understand that this is a generalization but it is a question that I believe needs to be honestly answered before you look at external solutions.

 

Thanks Dan for your insight.

 

 

Displaying His Joy… [Bonus Entry!]

17 Jul
Therefore every breath we take, every time our heart beats, every day that the sun rises, every moment that we see with our eyes or hear with our ears or speak with our mouths or walk with our legs is, for now, a free and undeserved gift to sinners who deserve only judgement.
 
I say “for now” because if you refuse to see God in his gifts, they will turn out not to be gifts but High Court evidence of ingratitude.  The Bible speaks of them first as “the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience” that point us to repentance (Romans 2:4).  But when we presume upon them and do not cherish God’s grace in them, “Because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed” (Romans 2:5)
 
God created us to live with a single passion: to joyfully display his supreme excellence in all the spheres of life.

Biblical Fireworks

4 Jul

I just heard this on the radio and I thought how appropriate it was for our Independence Day. Here is a fireworks display – courtesy of David.

Happy Birthday America,

May God continue to bless us.

Psalm 19

    1 The heavens tell of the glory of God.
       The skies display his marvelous craftsmanship.

    2 Day after day they continue to speak;
       night after night they make him known.

    3 They speak without a sound or a word;
       their voice is silent in the skies;

    4 yet their message has gone out to all the earth,
       and their words to all the world. The sun lives in the heavens
       where God placed it.

    5 It bursts forth like a radiant bridegroom
       after his wedding. It rejoices like a great athlete
       eager to run the race.

    6 The sun rises at one end of the heavens
       and follows its course to the other end.
       Nothing can hide from its heat.

    7 The law of the LORD is perfect,
       reviving the soul. The decrees of the LORD are trustworthy,
       making wise the simple.

    8 The commandments of the LORD are right,
       bringing joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are clear,
       giving insight to life.

    9 Reverence for the LORD is pure,
       lasting forever. The laws of the LORD are true;
       each one is fair.

    10 They are more desirable than gold,
       even the finest gold. They are sweeter than honey,
       even honey dripping from the comb.

    11 They are a warning to those who hear them;
       there is great reward for those who obey them.

    12 How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart?
       Cleanse me from these hidden faults.

    13 Keep me from deliberate sins!
       Don’t let them control me. Then I will be free of guilt
       and innocent of great sin.

    14 May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart
       be pleasing to you,
       O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

Fathers Day [Bonus]

19 Jun

 One summer evening during a violent thunderstorm a mother was tucking her small boy into bed. She was about to turn off the light when he asked with a tremor in his voice, “Mommy, will you sleep with me tonight?”

The mother smiled and gave him a reassuring hug. “I can’t, dear,” she said. “I have to sleep with Daddy.”

A long silence was broken at last by his shaky little voice: “The big sissy.”

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Charles Francis Adams, 19th century political figure and diplomat, kept a diary. One day he entered: “Went fishing with my son today–a day wasted.” His son, Brook Adams, also kept a diary, which is still in existence. On that same day, Brook Adams made this entry: “Went fishing with my father–the most wonderful day of my life!” The father thought he was wasting his time while fishing with his son, but his son saw it as an investment of time. The only way to tell the difference between wasting and investing is to know one’s ultimate purpose in life and to judge accordingly.

Thank you to all the fathers (like mine) who invested the time to take their children fishing, camping, to the park, to the baseball games and all the other places where Dads spend time with their kids.

That reminds me… Where’s my fishing pole? I think I’m going to teach some girls how to fish!

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I was thinking…did you ever wonder about the trust Isaac must have had in his father Abraham?