Monthly Archives: August 2015

Do Christians Ever Face Kobayashi Maru?

From a prior post (or two), you might remember that I am a die-hard fan of the Star Trek series, preferably the old one. I’ve watched most of the episodes, seen just about every movie but the first two as they were released in theaters, and read every book set in that world.

One of the hardest concepts for me was the Kobayashi Maru. Everyone studying at Starfleet Academy had to take this test. It was designed to analyze the character and constitution of each cadet as they navigated a no-win scenario. Only one cadet ever passed the test according to fan lore and some vague references, and that was because he cheated! The way a cadet handled this test determined his future, including what track he was on and the color of his shirt (redshirts usually don’t last more than one episode, except for Scotty).

As a writer and thinker, I always saw the Kobayashi Maru was an exaggeration of life. There are situations that we all face where no one seems to win: the cancer diagnosis, the missed promotion, the family dinners that turn into skirmishes, the lack of love connection.

But does a real Christian ever face a real Kobayashi Maru, a true no-win scenario?

The real answer is no. A real Christian never has a no-win scenario. Whether we live or die, all we do is to bring honor and glory to Jesus Christ.

Have a cancer diagnosis? If it’s terminal, you’ll soon see Jesus face to face, and the troubles of this world will fade away. If you face chemotherapy or radiation therapy, you have struggles to face that can sharpen your perseverance and faith, and if you face them with joy and gratitude, you can brighten the lives of those around you, including medical professionals who might see tragedy day in and day out in a way that makes them feel empty or jaded or calloused.

Miss that promotion? God may have some lessons still in store for you to learn in your current position, and if you do it with a good attitude, you show submission to the authority God has placed in your life, your manager, who is most like the slave owners in Paul’s epistles. Or God may be preparing a new opportunity for you, full of new people to meet and share His love with.

Relationships (family or love partner) not going well? Maybe God has placed you in their lives to love them with His perfect, unfailing love as closely as you can imitate it. Or maybe God intends to lead you to the depths of your own heart for a ruthless seek and destroy mission, searching for all those areas where you’ve not submitted to Him or where you don’t have the mind of Christ Jesus.

Even in a prison (physical, emotional, or spiritual), a real Christian knows that God is in control and that His Will is supreme. Joy is the order of the day, and we rejoice always in the God of our salvation.

The world may see a Kobayashi Maru in your situation. And that’s okay–they are not at your place in the journey. The reality is that until the day we die every tough situation is a place where we can choose to have the attitude and actions of Christ with grace and contentment. On the day we die, we will have a crown of victory and eternal happiness.

In the end, the real Christian always wins… because Christ’s life, death, and resurrection purchased that victory for us.


One Hour / Matthew 26:40

“Couldn’t you watch with Me even one hour?”
He asked, His sorrow not yet heavy,
His agony not yet drawing blood

They, His leaders, day in, day out
Asleep, out of step with the moment’s immensity

We too sleep
Standing watch
Instead of ministering

“Couldn’t you watch with Me even one hour?” He asks

  • As the widower alone and weary gardening on the corner lot
  • As the maiden aunt sitting in a wheelchair at a nursing home
  • As the Goth girl draped in black crepe hiding an empty heart
  • As the geek guy lost in World of Warcraft with only virtual friends
  • As the fairy princess latched up alone until Mommy comes home from work
  • As the recovering addict looking for a quiet cup of coffee

The God of all the universe, alone, weary, scared sees His People in His image alone, weary, scared

We His disciples are asleep, not able to watch even one hour

A Story of Life

Weary, worn, wise, old fool walking
Wobbling, weaving, hobbling
Her rusted joints find no oil
Scream for relief fading into oblivion
Her incessant babbles bauble over the crowd
Blowing like bubbles on a wind of apathy, carelessness, self-absorption
Yet if one could just center a world on her, bring her stories into crystal focus
Wit and wisdom would flow in torrents of life and love
Oh what is missed when electrons and attention flow away from hearts and blood!

A Stormy Minuet

She walks in darkness
In storms of chaos and confusion
She finds a storm
Of unending change and malleability
She sees no northern star, no guiding light
Yet in her heart beats His
He leads, He loves, He whispers
His cadence, simple and sweet and unique,
Guides her feet though she can’t see
A step left, a slide right,
Pirouettes around the storm
His true calling leads her to her heart’s home

Death of a Blogger (AKA Disturbed and Distressed)

I was in the middle of an office day this week, working on my second cup of coffee for the morning, when the news feed popped up a short little story about a blogger killed in Bangladesh. It put a pall on the rest of my day, and I did more research.

The blogger’s name was Niloy Chakrabarti. Since I don’t have much time to read any of the WordPress bloggers I follow (sorry, gang), I’m certainly not following his blog. Evidently, he’s an atheist, and the fourth to lose his life in Bangladesh in about six months. Other reports claim that six more bloggers (some poets, some bloggers, and a journalist) are being targeted, and the police are doing little to nothing to help.

I am filled with dark feelings.

First, as a writer, I deal with words and ideas. The thought that someone else who deals in words and ideas, even if they’re not ones I share, was silenced with the ultimate silencing of death fills me with a feeling of dread at the thought that the tables could turn and someday I and others could be targeted here in our relatively safer corner of the world. I’m also filled with a bit of guilt that sometimes I throw out ideas and words without any thought for the price that was paid to win and maintain that freedom for me and without any concern for those who don’t have that freedom but chose to push the boundaries at great and costly risk.

Second, while I don’t agree with his rejection of a supreme deity, I don’t agree with the idea that you kill someone who doesn’t believe in your supreme deity. As a Christian, that would put me at direct odds with the heart of my Abba who doesn’t want anyone to lose the opportunity to choose His Son; if I killed you because you don’t believe, I’ve cut off every chance you have to change your heart. I fail to understand a religion of any kind that chooses to kill those who don’t accept your supreme deity; that certainly isn’t a religion of peace.

Finally, as a mother, I’ve dreaded even trying to discuss this story. I blog, and I don’t want to have to deal with the heavy questions of what ifs and whys that I know will come. I don’t want to try to explain why people kill over words and ideas and whether I could face the same cost. And my youngest is somewhere on this deity abandoned network of wires and electrons semi-following in my footsteps with some fan fiction (if you showed me where it was, I might drive readers to it… except it is Frozen related); I don’t want her own fear or anxiety to take away the voice of my princess, and I don’t want to be afraid that someday she could write something so profound and edgy that someone could try to silence her voice.

Where do we as a community of poets and photographers and writers and thinkers go from here?

Don’t cut and run. Don’t give up. Keep writing and sharing and thus show solidarity even if we don’t face mortal danger. If we somehow have the opportunity to protect or to succor, by all means, use it wisely.

Writing and thinking and sharing are the signs of health and life. Choose life, and choose it to the full!

My D-earth-y Little Secret

I was surfing the web recently. Ever since college, I have wanted, desired, coveted a pair of Birkenstocks. I can’t tell you why. I guess something in them spoke to me of comfort and freedom and peace, love, and joy.

I came across a web site about earthing. Now, it was a new term to me. Then as I read the site I got both excited and offended.

I got excited because I recognized it. The idea is that you walk barefooted to connect with nature and become more grounded after a time of being trapped in the shoes of the modern world. I roared.

You see, I’ve been an earthing earther since I was 3. I’m not sure that I ever bought the “connection to mother earth” marketing ploy, but I was always terrorizing my mom by shedding my shoes and hiding them if she didn’t pay attention.

I loved freshly cut grass–the living grass was warm under my feet and bent to the will of my toes while I could make the dead stuff fly through the air like I was the captain of a fairy army.

I would splash through puddles and small streams feeling the subtle pressure of any currents and getting a little achy around my joints.

I could feel sand slowly flowing in response to my heel and then the balls of my feet and then each of my toes waving in freedom. It would also subtly resist my efforts to move it where I wanted, and I could feel that resistance creep through my ankles and up my calves.

Dirt–dry and powdery–was and still is a special sensation for which I have no words; I just know the simple feeling of sensuous joy and relaxed pleasure that creeps through my body as my toes push the powder around. I often had a hard time finding the magical dirt as it resulted from the right weather and wind combinations.

I hated my dad’s paranoia about bacteria in the environment and germs in animal poop and the risk of slicing my feet open. It was a special act of defiance to wait until he left and sneak those stupid shoes off my feet and wiggle my toes in the breeze.

Even in college and graduate school, I would shed my sneakers or sandals and wander across campus. I got older and gave it up, but now as I grow into my adult skin I find I still enjoy it if no one’s watching.

Why did I get offended? A simple pleasure like walking barefoot has turned into a marketing nightmare of modern proportions. You have sheets that can ground you and yoga mats and wristbands. There are mouse pads and keyboards pads and special pads for your feet at a desk.

But the most horrific product of all to me, regardless of the provider, are the earthing sandals and footwear. Why would you wear any kind of shoes if you want to feel the earth beneath your feet grounding you to all the universe?

Looking for me? I’m driving around in my flip flops, looking for the best place in the world to plant my bare feet and walk away the anxieties of the modern world unimpeded by the imprisoning shoes and sandals.