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You Would Hate Half The Disciples

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In my Christian adulthood, few passages have been as convicting to me as this one. A simple list of those that Jesus associated most with during his time on earth. It reminds me that given our natural human line of thinking, we would probably hate half the people on this list. Working class fishermen were grouped together with intellectuals. Simon The Zealot, a political extremist who wanted to rebel against Rome, was called to travel alongside Matthew, a government tax collector. MAGA hats and BLM protestors hanging together. Simon Peter, the headstrong and impulsive disciple, would have been the bane of all of you with opposite Enneagram numbers. I won't pretend to know what numbers those would be. Even his mission subjected earthly expectations. People wanted a political rebellion, he said "Give Caesar what is Caesars, but give God what is God's". Religious leaders wanted him to condemn rule breakers, instead he dined with them regularly. But oh! The fact that we modern "cool" Christians hate to admit: Jesus ate with Pharisees too. There are few things more humbling than knowing that we are incapable of trying to politicize Jesus because he at all times skirted our political expectations. Not saying you can't be a politically minded person, of course. Please do. But, you know, give God what is God's, don't give it to Caesar. At the very core of Jesus's ministry was one that subverted people's expectations of what was important. In many different ways, people wanted Jesus to change the world in the way they thought was convenient. He said "No, I've got more important things in mind. I'm going to change your hearts and fix your relationships, starting with the relationship with God" Following Jesus isn't convenient. It calls us to die to our earthly way of thinking. And that's when we notice the most jarring name on the list of disciples: Judas, who was to become a traitor. Convenient thinking tells us we have to love ourselves before we can love others. Jesus loved a man who was going to betray him for the salvation of sinners who had run away from him. I can't pretend to understand that level of humility. Be humble

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Bourdain

Been thinking about Anthony Bourdain a lot recently. Re-watching old episodes of his shows, dreaming about what it would be like to make a living traveling the world and telling the stories of the people and places I’d see. I loved his ability to tell the stories, and in particular I loved his ability to tell the sad and heartbreaking stories as well. It was evident in his storytelling that those nasty truths affected him. Looking back now, a few years after he took his own life, and it’s evident in his shows the toll that the nastiness of life was taking on him.

I’d often lied to myself and said I could be a storyteller like Bourdain. I realize now the greatest difference between us was never upbringing, Northeast vs Dirty South background, the drinking or substance abuse. The difference being Faith. My faith is what allows me to confront the nasty truths of the world, to engage with them, and come out on the other side. Not unaffected, obviously, but unshaken in my foundation. I’m sad Tony never had that faith.

My mind these days is often burned with the harsh truths of life. We can battle against systemic racism, against the darkness of the world, etc. Yet in the light of progress made, we have thousands of years of human history that tell us hate will still be around. Injustice always returns. People will find new ways to hate other people for arbitrary reasons. Some new social media will bring out the worst in us. The cycle continues, and it’s exhausting and it weighs so heavy. I think that weight killed Tony.

But Faith! Faith tells me that the cycle only seems unending, but is broken! Hate only seems to continue because Hate is trying to rage against its own inevitable end! Racism, Anger, yes even the devil known as Facebook which all seem immortal are quite the opposite: they are already dead, they just don’t know it yet.

At the end of the day, when the sorrow of the world bears down on me, it is Faith that helps me into the bed at night and wakes me the next day with the energy to fight the seemingly neverending cycle. Sola Gratia, Grace Alone.

I feel the World’s hurt. But I feel my Savior carrying me. Sorry I’m not often more open about that.

(This post was originally published on Instagram. Turns out you can share Instagram posts on WordPress! So here it is)

View this post on Instagram

Been thinking about Anthony Bourdain a lot recently. Re-watching old episodes of his shows, dreaming about what it would be like to make a living traveling the world and telling the stories of the people and places I'd see. I loved his ability to tell the stories, and in particular I loved his ability to tell the sad and heartbreaking stories as well. It was evident in his storytelling that those nasty truths affected him. Looking back now, a few years after he took his own life, and it's evident in his shows the toll that the nastiness of life was taking on him. I'd often lied to myself and said I could be a storyteller like Bourdain. I realize now the greatest difference between us was never upbringing, Northeast vs Dirty South background, the drinking or substance abuse. The difference being Faith. My faith is what allows me to confront the nasty truths of the world, to engage with them, and come out on the other side. Not unaffected, obviously, but unshaken in my foundation. I'm sad Tony never had that faith. My mind these days is often burned with the harsh truths of life. We can battle against systemic racism, against the darkness of the world, etc. Yet in the light of progress made, we have thousands of years of human history that tell us hate will still be around. Injustice always returns. People will find new ways to hate other people for arbitrary reasons. Some new social media will bring out the worst in us. The cycle continues, and it's exhausting and it weighs so heavy. I think that weight killed Tony. But Faith! Faith tells me that the cycle only seems unending, but is broken! Hate only seems to continue because Hate is trying to rage against its own inevitable end! Racism, Anger, yes even the devil known as Facebook which all seem immortal are quite the opposite: they are already dead, they just don't know it yet. At the end of the day, when the sorrow of the world bears down on me, it is Faith that helps me into the bed at night and wakes me the next day with the energy to fight the seemingly neverending cycle. Sola Gratia, Grace Alone. I feel the World's hurt. But I feel my Savior carrying me. Sorry I'm not often more open about that.

A post shared by Joseph "Jackhammer" Craven (@thejosephcraven) on

Yeah, But….Why?

It doesn’t actually feel like all that long ago that we were so heavily involved in the weird Christian Blogging Circle.

I guess when I say “we” here I don’t necessarily mean you who are reading this or, really, any one person in particular. It seems somewhat important to point that out for whatever reason. There’s no subtext here. There’s nobody in mind as I write. Other than myself. Maybe all of us? Probably not important.

In those days, things began simply enough. I sat in an office and felt like I should be doing things that weren’t related to the office. It was full of paperwork and phone calls and all kinds of things that didn’t engage a significant amount of my personality. In the most basic of terms, I needed to create something, so I did. Read More…

Worth A Thousand Words

20171224_005345A picture may be worth a thousand words, but no camera in the world can capture the black night sky with the richness of the human eye. It makes itself into a beautiful unexplainable mystery. The common stereotypical thing to do when flying somewhere is to post a picture of an airplane wing on social media so everyone knows that you’re better than they are. But the sight of a faint wing silhouette cutting between the stars in the sky and the sparse lights on the ground below is astounding and humbling and lonely, but in a pretty good way. Read More…

The Luminous Orange

The air was orange tonight.

It was an ominous glow as I stepped out of the door and into the night sky. The glow that hints at a coming storm; a tornado that will disrupt everyday life. A glow that brings fear, unrest. As if the current political turmoil or other civil unrest might actually loom around the corner, waiting to tear us apart.

And the aroma rose and stank and lingered. It was bizarre and unique and terrifying in its own way, directing one’s attention even more to the strange and uncertain feeling that hovered around the neighborhood.

If one allowed themselves to get lost in the moment, then there is no telling where that road could take you. You could imagine that lurking nearby was some sort of zombie outbreak, or that the bombs might fall at any moment and looting would begin.

It was ominous, it was eerie, it was hanging thick in the atmosphere.

But at that moment, a light broke through. Specifically, it was the Little Caesar’s sign that I was standing under, which I then realized was the root of the strange orange glow.

And the woman in the car in front of me was smoking weed, so that’s why it smelled funny.

So I drove home and ate some pizza.