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Disruptors

There has been some pressure at work and at home this week. I have had a sales slump which I am working hard to overcome. For a couple of weeks I was distracted by the problems at home and a sense of foreboding concerning my daughter, as well by some sadness or maybe depression about the general situation of this world and my part in it. I put in long hours this week and traveled many miles as I missed some work last week because of the hurricane.

On the surface of things, my daughter is not doing well. She returned from Washington emboldened in her rebellion and hostility towards Sikki and I. I suppose she intends to relocate to Washington as soon as she can. For my part, I am trying to treat her with patience, with the patience of God if that is possible. The Lord is gentle and kind, and has compassion on all that He has made.

I’ve been tossing around the idea of starting a podcast and spent some time researching what equipment is necessary. I think the planning and writing that would be required for a 15-minute episode each week would help to keep my mind focused on things above. I am tired of feeling like I am just slogging through life in survival mode, without a sense of transcendence over my body, mind, emotions and circumstances. Most of my prayer life in the past year has been marked not by a sense of joy and ecstasy in God’s presence with the discovery of truth, but by distraction and general sighing in my soul. This isn’t what Christ died for.

The called-out ones are supposed to be challenging and disrupting and bringing divine order to the natural environment, not getting tossed around by blowing winds and stormy seas. We are supposed to be proactive agents of change, not reactionaries. There is something missing. I need grace, and vision. Humility, faith and hope are what open the doors to the supernatural and extraordinary life. I realized this week that there is much in the Word of God that I’m not hoping for, that I’m not expecting to see at all.

Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” Mark 9:24

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44

Hurricane Dorian demolished the Bahamas early last week and reached our area as a Cat 2 storm on Thursday night. We fared extremely well in NC compared to Hurricane Florence last year and Hurricane Matthew in 2016, with the exception of Ocracoke island on the Outer Banks. A lot of Christian acquaintances of mine here in NC think it is because they prayed hard for the storm to move out to sea. One person on Facebook posted these words: “I don’t believe the meteorologists got it WRONG…I believe our FAITH filled PRAYERS got it RIGHT! Don’t discount the miracle!!!” But I had seen a video of a woman praying for her household in the Bahamas as the storm was wreaking havoc, and let me tell you, she was praying:

Prayer in the Bahamas

I can’t help but think, what about the Bahamas and the people of faith who genuinely put their trust in God there? As she prayed I noticed that she cried out for God to be a refuge. Not to save her landscaping, or home, or things, but for those around her. I wonder if our attitude might sometimes seem somewhat proud to our fellow believers around the world. Sikki and I talked about it last night. She was actually mad about what some of her acquaintances were saying. I told her part of the problem is that most people — even most Christians — are not very global in their thinking. They live in tiny bubbles of existence. Many of the people of the rural area we live in may have traveled a little, but their consciousness is still embedded in what is familiar and peculiar to southeastern NC, and it is natural that they have trouble thinking “outside the box” of what they know and love.

I have never had a sense that any patch of ground on this earth was my home, perhaps because my family moved so often when I was little. Anyplace I am is only an extension of “this world” to me. I am a sojourner. I could sojourn here, or in upstate New York, or in Timbuktu, though I notice and am aware of the cultural differences of every locale. But this is not most folks’ experience or maybe more specifically their feeling.

It so happens that I am reading Job right now. The central question of Job is not how much faith he had or his opinion of things, which basically matched those of his friends and the entire perspective of the ancient world for that matter. One moral lesson of Homer’s Odyssey is that Poseidon punishes Odysseus for his lack of humility before the gods. The Babylonians and Persians had tales similar to Job, arriving at similar conclusions: that good people do not suffer, only someone who has offended the gods by acting immorally will suffer pain and catastrophe. But the story of Job is different because that is exactly what the adversary says to accuse Job: “God, Job is only righteous because You bless him. If you took his blessings away he would be different.” Really, this is still how people think.

It is not Job but God Himself who is on trial in the story. And God doesn’t answer to any of the charges. He just says, “There’s a lot you don’t know, Job. I have responsibilities and things in play in the world that would never even enter your mind. You can’t begin to imagine them because you are too small and finite. Too small even to have them explained to you in a way that you could comprehend at all.” In the end, Job places his hand over his mouth, which in the ancient world was a way of showing great respect (and of course, sweet silence.)

I wish that attitude of humility was a hallmark of believers in Christ.

Today marks the beginning of the 44th year of my pilgrimage.

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Hurricane Dorian

Another year, another hurricane bearing down on us: Dorian. “Dorian” means “child of the sea.” We spent the day boarding up the house and cleaning and trying to make sure we’re up to the task of being without power for a week or so. I parked my wife’s and daughter’s car in our one-car garage by parking them parallel to the back wall, which took some doing. The garage is the lowest point in our home. We moved our mowers to our front porch, hoping to get them up higher. Did the laundry. Showered, taking care to exfoliate. The worst part of being without power is making the transition from having air conditioning to not having air conditioning.

It’s always a crap shoot with hurricanes because no one really knows what they’re going to do. I spent a few minutes looking at hotels out in western NC, but after Hurricane Florence last year it was such a hardship to get back home that I really don’t feel like leaving this time around. We’ve been catching some rain from the outer bands today but the wind and sustained rain aren’t supposed to pick up until tomorrow morning, at which point it will probably be too late to leave. We live with the Intracoastal Waterway in our backyard, surrounded by trees. Hurricane Matthew in 2016 drove the waters up to about 15 feet of our garage. I’m hoping Dorian weakens overnight and that the surge of the water isn’t more than Matthew.

We have plenty of water, two tanks of propane for the grill, and plenty of lights and batteries. Sikki took care of buying the food. We’ve done the best we can to prepare. I’m feeling pretty tired from the day’s activities. There is nothing left but to wait, and pray.