The Loudmouth Protestant

January 29, 2010

Tell Me Something I Don’t Know About You

You’ve heard the statement before. It comes around during the “Getting to know you, getting to know all about you” period. It’s the statement that you love hearing because when someone asks you that it means they really do want to get to know you. But for the intents and purposes of this post, “Tell me something I don’t know about you”, has nothing to do with our horizontal relationships and everything to do with our vertical relationship. You know, the one with God?

I just started reading “The Gift of Being Yourself: The Sacred Call of Self-Discovery” by David Benner. I was initially interested in reading this book because my colleague told me that the book helps you to discover your core sins so that you can handle them and move on with living a blameless life. This sounded pretty awesome to me. Of course I want to know what my core sins are. I was ready to get my enneagram on! But, as I began to delve into the book, the notion of finding out about my core sins took a backseat to finding out whether I really know God as much as I profess to or whether I only know about God. It’s a hard thing to take a look at yourself and figure out if you only know about God or if you know of God. Are you a Pharisee or a disciple? I meditated on that for a while and I continued to read until Benner brought up an  “ouch”-worthy point that some of us know God less well than we know our common acquaintances. Benner went on to talk about how relationships develop when people spend time together and how our spending time with God ought to be in the essence of prayer. But he pointed out that we treat prayer like a text message or an e-mail to God. We do a whole lot of talking about what we want and need and rarely much listening. We talk a lot to God but barely allow Him to talk to and with us. When we are having conversations with our friends, we always talk and listen, within the span of the conversation. We don’t just talk for 30 minutes and then walk away from the conversation leaving our friend with no opportunity to talk. (Or maybe we do and this problem extends to other areas of our lives.) But, when I considered it under that lens, that we handle our horizontal relationships better than we handle God, I had to stop and think about how I was going to bring that level of attentiveness and diligence into my relationship with God. After all, He is all I have. If I lose every family member and friend I’ve ever known, I will still have God. If I am trying to move from knowing about him and knowing of him partially, to knowing of him in whole, what can I start doing now to nurture the relationship and open the gates of communication?

It didn’t take me too long to figure out what I needed to do. I needed to ask God to tell me something about Himself that I currently don’t know.  Something I can’t read in the Bible or hear from a pastor, something deeply personal that only He could tell me as I result of my staying on Him like white on rice. Something He’d tell me because He wants me to know and because He wants to deepen my personal experience with Him. I decided that as part of my daily prayer time with God, I would ask Him, “Tell me something I don’t know about you.” I want to sit and wait for His answer with the same type of anticipation that I would with a potential suitor. If it means that I will wait all day for His answer, then I will wait. I will wait with my ears open. I will actively engage myself in waiting for God to tell me something I don’t know about Him. I will watch for His answer, I will listen for His answer, I will wait for His answer and set my mind on Him because I’m really interested in knowing something new about my God, because I am really interested in knowing God in that intimate way. A way that is personal to me.

The reality of the situation is, I AM really interested in God. I love God. I’ve said those three words to Him, over and over and over again. I love thinking about Him. I love thinking about thinking of Him. I love thinking about spending time with Him. I love thinking about His word and His history. But, I desire so much more of Him. I want to and need to desire more of Him because He desires more of me. It’s hard to turn your back on a love that strong. A love that loved you before you were even born. That’s love. A love that loves you regardless of what you do. That’s love. A love that sacrificed himself for you. That’s love. A love that knows everything about you and still desires to sit and talk to you and listen to you talk for hours on end about everything and nothing. That’s love. How could I not want to spend myself growing deeper in love with God knowing all of that and much more? He IS love.

And so today, I ask God and challenge you to ask Him, “God, tell me something I don’t know about you.” And watch Him take you into a whole new place of knowing Him, personally.

PS: In case you are interested in reading the book that inspired this post, here it is:

January 28, 2010

iPad, A Bloody Ripoff?

Filed under: life,randomness,Steve Jobs,technology — nickisym @ 1:39 pm
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I’ve come a long way since yesterday when I was excited like a virgin on her wedding night about Steve Jobs’ coming into my technological bedroom and breaking me off with the iPad. Yeah, it’s revolutionary, but really is it? He’s essentially selling people an iPhone on steroids. No groundbreaking new technology from the house of Apple, just a copy and paste of iPhone technology placed in a bigger package. Now, don’t get me wrong, when I see all the pretty pictures and when I visit the Apple store to see it in person, I will go back to my wedding night jitters. But for now, this is the position I’ll take on the iPad:

January 27, 2010

Anxiously Awaiting Apple Announcement

I admit it, I am totally a Steve Jobs’ girl and I’m proud to join the ranks of millions of Apple freaks who will be glued to their monitors and televisions starting at 12:30 today to hear Jobs’ announce his latest messiah machine, the Apple iPad otherwise known as the Apple tablet. I don’t know that iPad is the official name, but as a woman, I like the thought of it being called an iPad. I think I’m more excited about this announcement than I am tonight’s State of the Union Address. Mostly because I know this will make me happy, even while it makes me feel inferior.

So join me and millions of others as we watch what is sure to be the best news we’ve heard since the 2010 started.

Watch Apple event live… 

January 26, 2010

This Valentine’s Day

Filed under: life,love,relationships — nickisym @ 9:20 pm
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A dozen white rosesI bought these for myself on a whim while grocery shopping last night. I’ve always wanted someone to buy me flowers, someone I actually like. I’ve received flowers about four times in my life. Two of those bouquets came from female friends on the same day, the last day at my old job. One bouquet came from a young man who was trying to “holla” at me in college. I’ll admit, he did a good job with buying a dozen red roses and getting into my apartment to leave them on my desk. It was a nice touch, but sadly, I didn’t like him. And the last bouquet actually came from my last Valentine, which would seem like a good thing, but it really wasn’t. This Valentine’s Day, I want flowers.

I’ve danced a lot in my lifetime, by myself, in big groups, facing a man, not facing a man, but the most memorable moments were the slow dances. They always took place with people I remember to this day. There were the slow dances that took place at high school homecomings and proms; the dances that happened at parties in college; the dances that happened in my room—get your mind out of the gutter; each of those dances I remember. They were slow, intimate, deliberate, sentimental, gentle, memorable. I remember them all. This Valentine’s Day, I want the slow dance. The real one, not the bump n’ grind one to Trey Songz’s “Invented Sex”.

I’ve only had one Valentine in my 29 years of life. Hopefully I am not forgetting one, but if I am, I suppose that means it wasn’t that memorable. This one Valentine wasn’t even necessarily someone I liked a whole lot, but, he pulled out all the stops buying me the dozen roses, the card with writing that went beyond just “Heart John Doe”, the dinner that wasn’t modest for a college student’s budget and I seem to recall a slow dance. Yeah, all that from someone I wasn’t even in love with, but I remember it well because he thought enough of me to do those things. Eight years later—I’m telling on myself—I hope for something different this Valentine’s day.

As my dear friend Jovian put it, “I typically don’t get overwhelmed with the hype of Valentine’s day”, but I had to come clean this year.  I’ve come a long way since I was dressed in all black like the omen on Valentine’s Day. I’m a little more like India.Arie in my readiness and El Debarge in what I’m waiting to give. This Valentine’s Day, I just want things to be different. Ideally I want to wake up on Sunday February 14th and, with the joy of the Lord in my heart, I want to think about someone and get butterflies because I know, without a doubt, someone is thinking about me too. Everything I said I wanted above, is everything I am more than willing to give. I just want Valentine’s Day, for once, to be different than it has ever been…

January 23, 2010

Finding God in the Rubble of Haiti

Filed under: recent news — nickisym @ 3:19 pm
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Like anyone else, I have kept up with the situation in Haiti. I don’t wear myself out with the news coverage, I instead resign myself to prayer. But, when I do watch I am amazed to see that God is in the midst of it. It may be hard to see, but He really is there. I came to this realization last night, first as I watched Hope For Haiti Now, and then as I spoke to a friend about it later on in the evening. I marveled at how proof of God’s existence is so clear in the rubble of Haiti that if you don’t believe in God exists after seeing so many people being pulled from the rubble, alive, than you may as well concede now.

Today I continued to ponder God’s awesomeness in Haiti and I decided to compile a list of the people, who against all odds, and against what is par for the course, live today to tell the story of how “God Blocked It“. So without further delay, I wanted to share some of the proof of God’s existence.

  1. Marie Carida Roman, 84-years-old, rescued after 10 days under the rubble
  2. KiKi, 7-year-old, rescued after 7.5 days under the rubble
  3. Emmanuel Buso, 21-year-old, rescued after 10 days under the rubble
  4. Josyanne Petidelle, 19-year-old, rescued after 3 days under the rubble
  5. Bea, 13-year-old, rescued after 18 hours under the rubble
  6. 16-month-old girl, rescued after 68 hours under the rubble
  7. 11-year-old girl
  8. 12-year-old girl and her 7-year-old brother

These 8 instances are by no means the only proof of His existence and by no means is this a comprehensive list of those who have been pulled out from the rubble alive, these are just the names I could find for the time being. Look upon this list and the great number of other survivors and consider God. Consider His awesome sustaining power, which is all most of these people had to live on. Consider that most of these people praised God once they were rescued and some were singing songs to God while they were buried in the rubble. Now tell me you don’t believe there is a God out there. Better yet, tell God you don’t believe He is out there, because by this alone, I know too much about Him.

January 21, 2010

And I’m Tefillin You

Filed under: recent news — nickisym @ 2:21 pm
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The tefillin is not a bomb. I’m going to make this short and sweet for those of you who don’t know what tefillin is and may encounter one before you leave this earth–the teacher teaches what she too needs to learn.

Here’s what it looks like:

Here’s how you put one on:

Here’s who can’t wear one:

and   

In other words, women.

Here is some of the scriptural justification–according the Jewish people–for wearing them:

And it shall be for a sign for you upon your hand, and for a memorial between your eyes, that the law of the LORD may be in your mouth; for with a strong hand did the LORD bring you out of Egypt.
—Exodus 13:9

And it shall be for a sign upon your hand, and as totafot between your eyes; for with a mighty hand did the LORD bring us forth out of Egypt.
—Exodus 13:16

And you shall bind them as a sign upon your arm, and they shall be as totafot between your eyes.
—Deuteronomy 6:8

You shall put these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall tie them for a sign upon your arm, and they shall be as totafot between your eyes.
—Deuteronomy 11:18

Any questions?

Class is now dismissed Gentiles.

Thanks to http://www.tiferesjudaica.com, http://www.bejewish.org, http://sospire.blogspot.com, http://www.hasoferet.com, and Wikipedia. 🙂

Give Us a Heart

This song embodies my prayer for us all as it pertains to our position in the midst of the Haiti situation. I know compassion doesn’t come naturally for everyone, but that’s where prayer comes in. You are never too far away from being someone who can make a difference in someone’s life and God is never too far away to hear your prayer to become that person.

God, give us a heart for the least of these…

January 20, 2010

The Moral of the Story: The Book Of Eli

The Book of Eli

If you’ve read this blog for a good length of time you’ll know that I always have great ideas for recurring sections, but hardly the time to keep them coming. So, as I always do, I introduce to you yet another recurring section that I am hopeful will occur again. “The Moral of the Story” will be a review of recent movie release’s spiritual relevance to the body of believers. Nothing more, nothing less. So, let’s get right into it.

This past holiday weekend I had the opportunity to see “The Book of Eli”, the Hughes brothers post-apocalyptic flick about a man who is carrying the last known Bible and risking his life to protect it. Denzel Washington plays the title character of the film, which comes as no big surprise since he is pretty vocal about his faith in Hollywood. The movie follows Eli’s journey as he navigates the grayish lands of the post-apocalyptic world in search of cat meat, nice boots and clean water. In between all of this he carries with him the precious treasure/weapon of the last King James Bible known to man. He guards it with his life, participates in a little bit of Christian fundamentalist violence to protect it and does all of this while remaining just as cool as he was in “Mississippi Masala” with the gangster edge he had in “Training Day”. He is a man’s man endeavoring to be God’s man.

When I first considered writing this review, I was going to talk about all the awesome messages about faith that are packed in the nearly 2 hour film. But then, in a conversation with a friend, I realized that not only is about a faith, but faith from a perspective that men can actually grasp, comprehend, and be changed by. Far too often, particularly in Christianity, men are turned away because they feel like the church caters to the emotional whims of women. The Christian church is filled with more women than men, so men can hardly find a connection there except through the pastor, and even then, he is too distant. But “The Book of Eli” does well to deliver a message that men can find themselves in because it embraces the masculinity of the faith. It draws attention to the one area I believe most men have a problem with when they are navigating the faith, walking by faith and not by sight. It hearkens back to the notion that men are logical creatures while women are emotional ones and thus it is simple for us to get wrapped up in a relationship with an unseen God because our hearts are moved by all that we read about Him. Most women don’t need much proof to be swayed to worship the only wise God. I mean, think about it, we are the ones that go in droves to see romantic comedies and buy Harlequin books because we are wired to desire love. This is not to say that men aren’t looking for love, but they have to go through a process before they even begin to be ready for love on the level that I feel we were born with.

Nevertheless, back to the point at hand because I am no expert on the matter. In my conversation with my friend she mentioned that a guy friend of hers said that the movie changed his life because of the concept of walking by faith and not by sight. This is all Eli did throughout the movie. He possessed the great faith to walk around with a book that others wanted to possess for evil and were willing to kill him for and didn’t bat an eyelash. He was tough, but still weak enough to realize that He could do nothing without God. He knew how to be chivalrous and cavalier in the midst of a bunch of brutes. He could wield a bow & arrow, a machete or a gun, but he knew his way around the Good Book with ease and cunning. He was just an awesome example of masculine faith in a marketplace sometimes too dominated by women of faith. He was Denzel Washington for God’s sake, toting around a Bible, reading a Bible and reciting the 23rd Psalm and there was nothing femme about it.

I don’t really want to belabor this review any longer suffice to say that if you have a man in your life that is teetering on the edge of his faith, this is the movie for him to see. I’m not going to guarantee you that he will walk out of the theatre a changed man, but what I can say is that any man with an iota of a heart for God will be moved by this movie’s message, walk by faith and not by sight.

January 18, 2010

Quote of the Day: Dr.Martin Luther King, Jr.

Filed under: faith,God,spirituality — nickisym @ 12:48 pm
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On this day, many of us are off from work because of a man who made it his life’s work to fight for our rights and equality as a people. Sometimes I feel so far removed from his legacy because of the things that I see in the world around me today. But then I look back at his body of work and the passion that drove him to continually fight for our freedom. In thinking about that it leads me to one of his great speeches, which, comprehensively was amazing, but there is one portion that was so telling and such the summary of why God put him on this earth.

“Like anybody I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place, but I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will and he’s allowed me to go up to the mountain and I’ve looked over and I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight, that we as a people will get to the Promised Land. So I’m happy tonight, I’m not worried about anything, I’m not fearing any man, mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”

On this day, if you do nothing else to acknowledge the life and work of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, take the time to consider his words and his faith to do God’s will against all odds. Like the great men and women of faith in the Bible, he passed being commended for his faith, but not receiving what was promised, but God provided something better for us in that Dr. King became a modern day example of faith. On this day we celebrate your great faith Dr. King.

Happy MLK day to all!

January 13, 2010

Texting for Haiti

Filed under: life,recent news — nickisym @ 2:47 pm
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As we all turn our thoughts and prayers toward the people of Haiti, I also wanted to point out that donating to the disaster relief fund for Haiti is so painfully easy that there shouldn’t be anyone who doesn’t give today and within the next few days. Considering we are all so synced up to our cell phones and we spend much of our time texting, BBMing, Tweeting and updating our Facebook status, I am asking that as many that would, would do the following:

Make good use of your phone, FB status and Twitter account for Haiti today by doing the following: Donate to the Red Cross via SMS by texting “HAITI” to 90999 to donate $10. Or, you can text “YELE” to 501501 to donate $5 to the Yele Foundation, founded by Wyclef Jean. (Post this as your FB status update and encourage others to do the same.)

And just in case anyone is concerned about the technicalities of this donation process, I have already done it. It’s as simple as it looks. Text the number 90999 with the word “Haiti” in the body of the text. They will respond asking you to confirm your donation with the word “YES” and then they’ll send you a response thanking you for your donation and letting you know that the amount will be charged to your phone bill for Red Cross International Relief.

Never has giving to a cause been so simple and I encourage everyone to take this step because every dollar counts. It is moments like these when I thank God for technology. Take this step because it could have been you, your family or your friends caught in this devastation. Be your brother and sister’s keeper.

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