The Unattainable Earth

The Unattainable Earth is the title of a song on Daniel Amos’ Darn Floor-Big Bite
The title “The Unattainable Earth” is drawn from the book of the same name by Czeslaw Milosz, Polish Nobel laureate
Unattainable Earth in Polish is Nieobjeta Ziemia.

C.S. Lewis says that heaven must exist because in man there is a deep yearning for it and man does not yearn for things that do not exist. I believe this to be true, and I know I feel the yearning most often when I’m around good friends. As is necessity, spending time with good friends inevitably means you must part ways with them. Adriene and I think of some of the great times we’ve had in places like Huntsville and Nashville over the past year and also the mild depression that always seems to come afterwards. There’s always that ache when they are gone.

If I had to describe my friendships in one word, I’d have to use the word “temporary.” I always seem to be changing the rules of engagement with my friends. Sometimes it’s due to outside reasons, people move away, people get busy, people get married, have children, and so on. Sometimes, it just the constraints of time. I’m too busy or they are too busy. Sometimes it’s due to things people do. Friends do stuff and make me angry at them. Mutual friends have fallouts with each other and so we can’t all be together and the same time. Friends lose interest in me, and so on. Sometimes it’s due to things I do. I’m thoughtless and forget about them. I flippantly say something that offends or anger them. Regardless, it always seems that whatever type of friendship I have with someone, in a year or two, our relationship is totally different, for better or worse.

A lot of people have a lot of misconceptions about heaven. Based on my reading of scripture, I see two things that I know to be sure about eternity in the presence of God. First is that we will be praising God and worshiping Him. Second is that we, as the church of God, the Redeemed, will all be together. That to me, is the realization and fulfillment of the glimpses that I get everytime with a group of close friends, and we’re all enjoying ourselves, and laughing and smiling so much that your cheeks hurt, that’s the completion of ache we feel for unity with the Church. It’s so far out of reach here on earth, but I live with a hope that it’s not ultimately unattainable.

The Shape of Air

The Shape of Air is the title of a song on Daniel Amos’ Darn Floor-Big Bite
The title “The Shape of Air” is likely drawn from an Annie Dillard poem of the same name from her book, Tickets For A Prayer Wheel
Plato named the octahedron as the shape of air molecules, so the ancient element of air is often associated with the octahedron

Some people may ask for proof that God exists. The evidence that I see, I think, is in the lives of those He has changed. There was a guy on my floor my freshman year who drank, cursed, and did whatever he pleased. A couple of years ago he spent a couple years in Asia sharing the Gospel with students there. A guy on my middle school bus who bullied the incoming sixth graders is now an associate pastor at a church. I know that’s not scientific or philosophical, but I when I see people whose lives have been radically and demonstrably altered, not by behavior modification, not by a desire to “be a better person”, I can only think it is by the Spirit of God. I know sometimes believers may not always act like they are people redeemed, made holy, and filled with thankfulness and love (in fact, some of the worst behavior I have seen in people have been from people who claim Jesus as their savior), but I think that also reinforces in me the dire need man has for God and that the process of sanctification is one that is still at work.

A balloon filled with air assumes a shape that we can see. The air inside we cannot see, but when the balloon is filled, we see the shape that the air takes up. I cannot see the Holy Spirit, but when the Spirit fills the life of a person, I see the Spirit filled in the shape of that person. I believe we gain knowledge of God primarily from Scripture, not from “visions”, “dreams”, or whatever, but I think in some ways we also learn about God from the interactions we have His children. Those whom God has redeemed are the evidence to me of a God who changes lives and directly impacts and interacts with His creation.

Looking back on my high school and college years, I have had people come to me and tell me how much I “ministered” to them in various ways during those times. When I think back on my high school and college years, I don’t see a lot of ministry. I see a lot of whining, complaining, fits of temper, and generally a bad attitude through most of my high school and college years. Yet, somehow through all of that, God used me in the lives of others through various means. This makes me thankful, that despite my best efforts to undermine it all, that people see “the shape of the air” when they see me.