Restless (ˈThē Tranˈsendənt III)

restlessThē Tranˈsendənt is Orthodox Ruminations’ series about the transcendence of art, music, and culture. These would be things that lift the soul to its Creator and bring us to the experience of the Divine. These things take us above the here-and-now of our dreadful, yet hopeful, existence on this life. These things show a light of the Divine that helps us to gain a taste of the things to come. These things are a beautiful collision of our depravity with His divinity to paraphrase David Crowder. These things lift us! They unite us! They speak of things not fully here, but nonetheless present.

Paradox.

Beauty.

Mystery.

Tranˈsendənt!

The third installment is bringing a song that caused me much thought today. While getting ready for an interview I decided to listen to Switchfoot. The song “Restless” came on and it caused me to stop and think about the hecticness of not only American life in the 21st century, but also my own life. We are so disoriented much of the time aren’t we? I know I have been for most of my life.

What do I mean by this? I mean that we orient ourselves around things that don’t matter in the light of eternity  or that bring us distress, anxiety, and restlessness. The lyrics to this song described not only American life, but also my own life! Every since I graduated I feel like I’ve living in a haze, in a fog! I’m restless and disoriented and discouraged.

I AM LOST…

Upon graduating from undergrad, I once had a clear path and what I thought was a calling in mind. I imagined I’d be heading straight into seminary and pursuing full time ministry. However, that is not how the page turned, which is usually how it is in life anyways.

The page turned to a chapter yet written!

BLANK

WHITE

PAGES!

That is the page before me. I hold the pen back, resisting the first stroke upon these pages. I know not what to write! This is an anxious time in which I live! I feel like sometimes I want to write a chapter that has me waiting on the priesthood; taking a chance on something that may never be. However, I honestly don’t know if I trust God at this point or if I trust His Church. I hate the Evangelical cliche saying “Oh, just wait and trust Jesus”, but yet I feel like that is one thing to write, but if I do this and the priesthood chapter isn’t not written then I would have wasted valuable time and years sitting around not progressing or taking advantage of other academic interests or vocational paths.

So that is the other chapter: one where I pursue other graduate opportunities, but which ones? More anxiety! More pressure!

Restlessness.

My passion and my zeal primarily lie in what I find to be a gift of teaching and preaching! When I read a theologically-geared book, like Michael Gorman’s “Inhabiting the Cruciform God” (which I’m about to finish) I get excited. I love being led deeper into theological truths of the Scripture and Faith! I love leading people into these truths and wrestling with them! So on one hand I could pursue this and a Masters of Art in Theology, which really would not give me a job! There aren’t enough seminaries in Orthodoxy to rely on a career of being a professor, which I could see myself doing. So there goes that!

On the other hand, I love counseling and therapy as well! I could really pursue that as a vocation and find joy in my work. I’m fascinated by relationships and how they work. I desire to help lead people into healing emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and relationally. I take what I find to be justification in Scriptures, which is restoration and reconciliation, and bring it into the public sphere! This could be called social justice if you like. I don’t care what it is called, but I do have a desire to help people.

This all causes me great anxiety and restlessness.

Listening to Switchfoot’s song made me think that perhaps I’m looking for doors to open instead of finding Christ in the midst of this restlessness. It has deeply disturbed my prayer life and faith in many ways. I’m frustrated and anxious about my future, my wife’s future, our family’s future.

The song describes me right now and how I feel, but perhaps it also gives me an answer. I can pursue these studies and opportunities, but perhaps I’m failing to pursue Christ? Perhaps I’m restless because I’ve gotten no rest outside His arms. I don’t know. These anxieties and restless things become weightless in the eye of eternity’s light. I don’t know. I felt that this song and what I’m experiencing right now were tied together somehow. I’ve been wanting to express these feelings in words for some time, and Switchfoot’s song helps me to do that. It shows me where I’m at, but where I need to be.

I need to find rest.

Solitude.

Silence.

Peace.

I hope to carry out my plans to visit Hermitage of the Holy Cross in December to clear my mind and heart from all 21st century distraction and my own personal anxiety and restlessness. I need to find rest. One cannot make a clear, good decision from such a position. I want to proceed with my life through the doors that He opens. I just hope in finding Him I find rest from these restless things. I know this blog will be random rambling and such, but a part of me hopes you get it and can at least appreciate the transparency.

I don’t know what to do with life right now! It is confusing, frustrating, disappointing, and restless.

However, I know I need Christ, and I need His rest. If you need it too then this is for you. If you don’t then pray for us sinners who remain restless…

DISCLAIMER: I will include hyperlinks in the titles for all the post, so for the music to this song click on the title below:

Restless

I am the sea on a moonless night,
Calling, falling, slipping tides
I am the leaky, dripping pipes
The endless aching drops of light
I am the raindrop falling down,
Always longing for the deeper ground
I am the broken, breaking seas
Even my blood finds ways to bleed

Even the rivers ways to run
Even the rain to reach the sun
Even my thirsty streams,
Even in my dreams

I am restless, I am restless
I am restless, looking for you
I am restless, I run like the ocean to find your shore
I’m looking for you

I am the thorn stuck in your side,
I am the one that you left behind,
I am the dried up doubting eyes
Looking for the well that won’t run dry

Running hard for the other side
The world that I’ve always been denied
Running hard for the infinite
With the tears of the saints and hypocrites

Oh blood of black and white and gray
Death and life and night and day
One by one by one
We let our rivers run

I am restless, I am restless
I am restless, looking for you
I am restless, I run like the ocean to find your shore
Looking for you

I can hear you breathing,
I can hear you leading
More than just a feeling
More than just a feeling
I can feel you reaching
Pushing through the ceiling
’til the final healing
I’m looking for you

Until the sea of glass we meet
At last completed and complete
The tide of tear and pain subside
Laughter drinks them dry

I’ll be waiting
Anticipating
All that I aim for
What I was made for
With every heartbeat
All of my blood bleeds
Running inside me
Looking for you

I am restless, I am restless
I am restless, looking for you
I am restless, I run like the ocean to find your shore
I’m looking for you

I can feel you breathing
I can feel you leading
More than just a feeling
More than just a feeling
I can feel you reaching
Pushing through the ceiling
’til the final healing
I’m looking for you
I’m looking for you

 

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I Will Wait (ˈThē Tranˈsendənt II)

a0816486088_10Thē Tranˈsendənt is Orthodox Ruminations’ series about the transcendence of art, music, and culture. These would be things that lift the soul to its Creator and bring us to the experience of the Divine. These things take us above the here-and-now of our dreadful, yet hopeful, existence on this life. These things show a light of the Divine that helps us to gain a taste of the things to come. These things are a beautiful collision of our depravity with His divinity to paraphrase David Crowder. These things lift us! They unite us! They speak of things not fully here, but nonetheless present.

Paradox.

Beauty.

Mystery.

Tranˈsendənt!

The second song in the series is a song by Bombadil called “I Will Wait”. This song literally embodies the transcendent hope of which I have spoken in this series’ purpose. The song embodies a strong eschatological longing! In the New Testament, we see the Saints expecting Jesus to return at any time. The NT encourages strong ethical living because of this; Revelation itself is about hope. The hope we have is to be eschatological. It is the hope that lives in the moment, but longs for that which has come and is still to come. This song echos what Crowder says on the inside booklet of “A Collision”, “It is the hope in a rescue that has come, the hope in a rescue that has found us, and the relentless hope in a greater rescue that is still coming–one that has not yet arrived but is no less present.”

Some may mistake the song’s lyrics as speaking of rapture, but I do not see it as that. St. Paul says, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” I believe the song’s internal meaning is a journey of man’s desire for God while still dealing with his own sins. It is the struggle of salvation that this song embraces. It is the eschatological hope of death that the song embodies. It expresses a man’s longing for God to have mercy on him and perhaps to take him to death, which as St. Paul says, is to gain Christ. I could be wrong, but this is the meaning most profound for me in this song. I hope you take from it what I have.

Keep the hope, friends!

DISCLAIMER: I will include hyperlinks in the titles for all the post, so for the music to this song click on the title below:

 I WILL WAIT

Oh my Jesus Christ,
can you bring me back to life?
Can you lead me to an afterlife that I would like?

Oh my Savior of the Meek,
can you teach me how to speak?
Can you teach me how to love myself when I am weak?

Oh my Lord of Love,
where are you hiding far above?
Why don’t you come to me and show me what I ask you of?

Oh Emmanuel,
will you guide my way?
Did you see, but do you understand how far I fell?

Oh my Righteous Man,
will you give me solid land?
Will you give my own the greatest gift so we may stand?

Oh my End of Days,
am I headed for a path
that will lead me to the mouth of everlasting pain?

They will pray but if you listen you will hear me say:
I will wait for you to swing below and take me away.

MUSIC AND LYRICS BY BOMBADIL

Hold Fast Like an Anchor in the Storm (ˈThē Tranˈsendənt I)

ImageI have long contemplated creating a series within Orthodox Ruminations about the transcendence of art, music, and culture. These would be things that lift the soul to its Creator and bring us to the experience of the Divine. These things take us above the here-and-now of our dreadful, yet hopeful, existence on this life. These things show a light of the Divine that helps us to gain a taste of the things to come. These things are a beautiful collision of our depravity with His divinity to paraphrase David Crowder. These things lift us! They unite us! They speak of things not fully here, but nonetheless present.

Paradox.

Beauty.

Mystery.

Tranˈsendənt!

First up for this series is a song fitting for our times and our culture! It is a song of resistance against the powers that be! It is a song of endurance against all trials and suffering! It is a song of hope, of longing, of overcoming! Enjoy this first post of ˈThē Tranˈsendənt series! I choose the part of the lyrics about holding fast like an anchor in the storm because I feel the depths of faith in our culture are often a mile wide, but an inch deep. We do not like to plant deep roots in our spiritual lives. I believe it is, as Revelation and other books like I and II Peter attest to, our faith that holds us, that grounds us, in the midst of a failing, hurting, broken, and declining culture. It is our faith that carries us on! Above all we must never loose our faith! Take heart for He has overcome the world! Hold Fast!

DISCLAIMER: I will include hyperlinks in the titles for all the post, so for the music to this song click on the title below:

The Resistance 

I was born into a system constructed for failure
It’s a sinking ship manned by drunken sailors
An escape artist behind the bars of a jailor
An asthmatic attack when we forgot the inhaler
If the shoe doesn’t fit what good is a tailor
In the midst of a crisis please cancel the gala
Without a symphony there’s no need for a prelude
To foreshadow what’s to come.
See the secret committees, commence with their meetings
To make red tape in response to simple questions
Questions threaten the perception of the beneficial systems
A pyramid scheme with it’s cogs and it’s pistons
Mechanization of men, making more and more
Live in a miserable exhistance
How can so few, claim so many victims
And this begs the question
My rest is a weapon against the oppression
Of mans obsession to control things
Look at the long line of make believe kings
The lord of the flies want’s you to kiss his ring
Follow new rules with invisible strings
And become a puppet in the diabolical scheme
How do good men become part of the regime
They don’t believe in resistance.

Hold fast like an anchor in the storm
We will not be moved

Lesson number one, overcome
Every fear of regret and confusion
It’s all illusion, delusion
Sent to disconnect the holy fusion
Of spirit and the flesh
Every mortal breath, is meant to bring forth fire
But only when the fear of death, gets consumed
On the funeral pier
So let the flames rise higher
Let every man be considered a liar
If he doubts the goodness and faithfulness of God
Itching ears will compulsively nod in approval
When unbelief is taught in all our temples and schools
But God can restrain the madness of a fool
He can bring His truth through the mouth of a mule
You can move an mountain without any tools
It just takes the faith of a little seed
to make a way through what might seem to be
Impossibility,
And the ability will match the occasion
The outcome will defy explanation
The liberation will not be televised
When it arrives like lightning in the skies

Hold fast like an anchor in the storm
For your love, we will rise and overcome
Through the fire

Hold fast my people and sing
Through peace and through suffering
All for the joy that it brings, to be free
It’s gonna cost us everything
To follow one Lord and King
True love endures everything
To be free

Hold fast, like an anchor in the storm
We will not be moved

credits

from Love & War & The Sea In Between, released 15 June 2011
Vocals, Keyboards, and Drum and Sample Sequencing by Josh Garrels
Electric Guitars by Scott Frantz