Thursday, July 20, 2006

Soon it's gonna rain, I can feel it...

long time, no write. this whole myspace-facebook-crazyprofessorsassigningtoomanybooksfortoo little time stuff has had me not checking our blog--- and i'm not the only one!!! anyway---

Just wanted to let you guys know a couple of things:*Derek and Amy are OUTTA HERE, leaving early early Sunday morning. If you feel like helping out, they may need it on Saturday, loading up the moving trucks between fits of weeping (on my part). Let us know if you need directions!

*I'm having a "Shin Dig in the Yard" a mi casa next weekend, me thinks. We're going to try this one more time: movie. yard. you. me. a billion mosquitos (actually, they haven't been bad this year!). we need to make this happen before all you UNDERGRADUATES go back off to your respective colleges and universities!

*some of you met my friend emmeline at the last shin dig (her boyfriend is Bobby, who had the brilliant idea to put the tv on the porch-- yahoo bobby!), but whether you did or not, check out her blog: treesthattransform.blogspot.com .If I knew how to post links here, i would. anybody know how?

How's everybody doing? I'm going to set up an availables group on myspace, so if you're on myspace and we aren't "friends", let's mend that!!! if you just type in Samantha Swaney you'll find me-- let's hook up!

love you guys--
Sam

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

feathers from emmeline's nest

i've been thinking about the power of our words, and the beauty of sharing revelations with each other. my friend emmeline shared this most beautiful thing with me today, and i have to post it here...

(from elisabeth elliott): "How far shall we go with Him who calls us to fellowship with Himself? Shall we stop dead in our tracks if the water is bitter? Shall we turn tail and run if we glimpse a cross? 'Whoever cares for his own safety is lost' (Mt. 16:25 NEB). Think of missing the miracle of the water. Think of missing the resurrection..."

I prayed, over and over, the prayer at the end of the devotional: "Savior Christ, I want to go the whole way. Keep me from faltering today. Show the tree that transforms bitter water, and help me live in its shade." He showed me the tree that transformed this journey - himself! The gift of his love and friendship and understanding - His faithfulness in providing support not in the time that I thought he should, but in his perfect time. I needed to get to the end of myself. The end of my expectations, my desires. When I did, I found fellowship with him that was sweeter than anything else.

emmeline's reference is taken from Exodus 15...her summary of that story: The Lord has just delivered the Israelites from the Egyptians at the Red Sea, and Moses leads them into the desert for three days where they could not find any water. Finally God leads them to Marah, but the water there was bitter and undrinkable. So they start complaining, muttering amongst themselves about wanting something to drink.

Verse 25 says: Then Moses cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a piece of wood. He threw it into the water, and the water became sweet.

how many times have we cried out to the Lord that the water is bitter? how many times have we cried out that the burden is too heavy, that the darkness is too dark, that the depression is too heavy... ? and He would tell us, as He spoke to emmeline in the embrace of their friendship and intimacy, that He threw Himself into the waters for us.....

emmeline wrote: God leads us (even Christ) to pools of bitter water, so that he can glorify himself by making it sweet for us.

Selah.

Thursday, July 6, 2006

who, really, is welcome?

it's around 6:34am and i have to tell you that i left my house at 5:35, got to Paige's around 5:45, and was ON CAMPUS and sitting in the Woodruff scholar lounge at 6:13. This woman drives like a bat out of hell. i kept thinking that i was glad she's a nurse in case we're in a really, really bad accident. but she's a good driver, so there's that.

rambling.

i guess the thing i'm thinking about is the whole "who do we welcome?" thing in the church. i've been thinking about it a lot for the last few years, but especially in the last few months, and especially in the last few weeks. i have all these people in my life whom i love and respect, but for whom the inside of a church holds NO beauty or safety or longing. is it because the buildings aren't attractive enough? is it because our lawns aren't green enough? the azaleas aren't white or pink or red enough?

or is it because this "hierarchy" of sins we keep saying doesn't exist actually does exist? there's no hierarchy in the Bible-- the word clearly states that murderers and people who disobey their parents are equally guilty. i think the thing is, we are all equally guilty. and equally forgiven.

don't get me wrong-- i acknowledge that there is sin, and i agree with the lists of what they are. it doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out that it's wrong to kill, lie, steal, cheat, etc. there are some sins, however, that i find the church to consider especially repulsive. so what do we do?

well, we reject, of course. la la la la la, merrily skipping down the road of doing exactly what the world has accused us of--- kevin used the term "country club" yesterday in our discussion. it's true and how heartbreaking. and it's not you and you and you-- it's WE, us...if one of us is doing this to anyone, then we're all doing it to everyone. We are the Body-- one Body-- of Christ.

and if we consider some sins more especially hideous to our delicate sensibilities, why would we not rush to the scene of the crime, armed with grace and mercy in the hour of need? HERO units for our fellow man. instead, we make signs to remind them of how much God hates them and we bask in our smug sense of confidence that at least we don't struggle with that sin....

my heart cries out for something to be mended. not that this person would change and that this denomination would get a freaking clue or that this pastor would preach on such and such and blah blah blah-- but rather, that we would, as a people, become so utterly convinced of the beauty and faithfulness of the God we want to ram down everyone's throats--- sometimes i think that so much of our intolerance to the reality of neighbors on the planet who do not share our concerns, habits, political affiliations, belief systems is evidence of a darker unbelief that we are so desperate to mask. it's OKAY-- he's real, all this is true, but He is full of so much more power and grace than we know.

do i have a handle on it? no, but i'm becoming more and more convinced that the more i acknowledge what i don't know, the closer i am to finding the truth. Jesus simply does not make sense. love the unlovable ( you and I will differ on who is unlovable and who isn't)(and that's okay). love your neighbors. talk to samaritans, for goodness sake.

which doesn't mean "talk to bad people". it means that there's no place for prejudice in the body of Christ-- that Jesus saw a HEART and spoke to the longings sheltered there.

it's a little early to be thinking such things...perhaps i was inspired by my brush with death on my ride to decatur with Evil Kenevil (hm...i don't know that i've ever tried to spell that name). either way, it's always on my mind, and i'm wondering when we as a body of believers will wake up and realize that Jesus said that He would that ALL would come.

what part of ALL do we not understand?