What’s the definition of a rogue nation?

I’m interested.  I really, really am.  And I guess it depends on who’s defining the term as to who’s defined as one. I’ve got an idea for a definition.

How about:  a nation that consistently and egregiously defies international law to do what it wants, caring only about its interests and neglecting the good of the whole.

We, the United States, certainly have used that against that loony Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, against North Korea, and it was one of the main substantiations for the war in Iraq.  We said things like “That Saddam Hussein is a rogue leader of a rogue nation, constantly thumbing his nose at international law.”

Try these links on for size.

“Memo, Bush’s power trumps laws on torture”

In an excerpt from the article,

The president’s wartime power as commander in chief would not be limited by the U.N. treaties against torture. ‘Our previous opinions make clear that customary international law is not federal law and that the president is free to override it at his discretion,’ said the memo written by John Yoo, who was then deputy assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel.

The memo also offered a defense in case any interrogator was charged with violating U.S. or international laws.  ‘Finally, even if the criminal prohibitions outline above applied, and an interrogation method might violate those prohibitions, necessity or self-defense could provide justifications for any criminal liability,’ the memo concluded.”

Here’s another fun link. “Chertoff; Laws to be waived for Border Defense”


The Department of Homeland Security will bypass environmental and land-management laws to build hundreds of miles of border fence between the United States and Mexico, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said Tuesday.  “Criminal activity at the border does not stop for endless debate or protracted litigation,” Chertoff said. “These waivers will enable important security projects to keep moving forward.”

Chertoff cited a congressional requirement that 361 miles of fence be completed by the end of the year. He also pointed out that Congress had given him the authority to bypass laws.

And the international image of the United States slips further…what’s the definition of a rogue state again? Oh,  a nation that consistently and egregiously defies international law to do what it wants, caring only about its interests and neglecting the good of the whole. And a couple of the quotes again; “customary international law is not federal law and that the president is free to override it at his discretion,” and “Congress had given him the authority to bypass laws.” I smell hypocrisy.

Another title for this post could be “When nationalism is idolatry.”


How to hamstring a nonviolent protest…

Photo from cpt.org in 2005

Israel plans violent IDF response to a non-violent Palestinian protest against Israel turning Gaza into a ghetto

Because encouraging Hamas to keep firing rockets into Israeli settlements so that you can respond with overwhelming force is working out well for both parties. I mean, really, the Israeli and Palestinian civilian lives are a small price to pay for Hamas and Israeli governmental “leaders” to play with their fun toys and continue the generational ethnic violence.

It seems that Hamas (who, like it or not [I certainly don’t] is the “legitimate” Palestinian leadership right now) has chosen a different, more just way forward here in the short-term than rocket attacks of responding to Israel’s sealing off of the Gaza Strip. What Israel’s action has done is prohibit the import or export of many goods and services, including the shutting off of water and electricity into Gaza. The practical effect of this action is a splitting of many Palestinians’ land so that they can’t get from one side of their property to the other.

The fun news here is that Israelis have taken advantage of a generational land ownership system (fellahin communal ownership) that they do not recognize to seize Palestinian lands for the Israeli state.  As this website very practically describes, a law dating from the Ottoman rule of the area, I believe, declares that if a land is “unoccupied” by an owner for a certain period of time, the land then can be “owned” by the party that squats on it for a certain period of time.  It dates back to most inhabitants being Bedouin nomads, who roved the land.  What Israel has done is to seal off a certain area that is owned by Palestinians and declare it a “closed military zone,” or “security zone,” splitting farms right down the middle; thus forbidding farmers from accessing their fields.

Photo from cpt.org

When the farmers try, they are often turned back or consistently beaten by soldiers and Israeli settlers.   After a period of time, the Ministry of Agriculture issues confiscation orders regarding these fields due to “neglect” by owners, thus freeing Israeli settlers to purchase the land.  Recently, some Palestinian farmers have undertaken what I would call a heroic effort to stay on their land despite beatings, blatant ethnic hatred, warning shots, harassment, and flock abuse. Here’s a link to their efforts.

The security wall, however, makes concrete (pun fully intended) the reality that farmers WILL NOT access that part of their land, thus making the land “neglected” immediately since it’s a little tough to get a herd of sheep over a 25 ft security wall.


All of that is the necessary context for the present situation, where a nonviolent protest was planned for massive numbers of Palestinian citizens to somehow scale the fence and climb over to protest the injustice of the wall and break the economic blockade of Gaza from Israel as well.  But Israel found out about this plan. Take a gander at their response (from this story by Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz)

Israel is already enforcing sterile buffer zones near the fence, especially in areas near Israeli settlements. Which is to say the IDF shoots anyone who attempts to approach the fence in those areas…the IDF has also carved up the area inside the Gaza Strip, at least on the army’s maps.

The army intends to prevent the marchers from advancing on the fence when they are still inside the Strip, using various means for crowd dispersal according to a ring system: The closer the marchers get to the fence, the harsher the response.The army plans to fire at open areas near the demonstrators with artillery that the Artillery Corps has been moving to the area over the past couple of days. If the marchers continue and cross into the next ring, they will face tear gas. If they persist, snipers could be ordered to aim for the marchers’ legs as they approach the fence.

Am I going too far to suggest that an IDF soldier could *oops* shoot a little higher than the knees ever, you know, “in error?”

In a later comment, Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai said,

“We don’t plan to fool around in this regard,” he told Israel Radio. “We will use measures in the way we deem necessary to prevent people breaking into the state of Israel’s territory.” Asked if this could include using live fire against Palestinians, Vilnai said: “Anything that must be done, will be done.”

This quote came from the same man who in late February said, “The more Qassam fire intensifies and the rockets reach a longer range, they will bring upon themselves a bigger ‘shoah’ because we will use all our might to defend ourselves.” Link to story here. In case you’re not familiar with the terminology, “shoah” is a word rarely used in Israel beyond being a name for the Nazi Holocaust of the Jews. Yeah, the guy was threatening genocide; as if it hasn’t already taken place before in recent history.

It seems this threat and military buildup dampened some of the Palestinian spirits and plans for the protest, though 20,000 people showed up on February 25th and formed a human chain 25 miles long in (relatively) peaceful protest. Leader Rami Abdu of the Popular Committee Against the Siege said, “Our message to the world is that we will not be silent until the siege is lifted.” Protestors carried signs that read, “The siege will only make us stronger,” “The world has sentenced Gaza to death,” and “Save Gaza.”

In case you didn’t know about Israel has been doing recently in Gaza, you may want to look up what the Nazis did to Jews in Germany and Poland and surrounding territories in the mid-twentieth century, herding them into ghettos where they limited or shut off the inflow of supplies and prohibited commerce. I’m assuming you’ve heard of the Nazis? Now this disgusting practice is being carried out by the Israelis.

This is putrid.

But, hey, who am I to judge? Keep that cycle of violence going, Israel! Forget this change in approach by Hamas, because who wants an end to ethnic strife anyways, especially when any significant peace agreement will involve concessions on both sides that limit “sovereignty”?

Maybe the children can inject some sense into this disgusting situation. Please watch this video and pay attention to the little girl’s story and wisdom midway through.

I love/can’t stand Mark Driscoll

mark driscoll Maybe this post will be the beginning of more than a few focusing on Mark Driscoll’s Christian MPD (multiple personality disorder), because I’ve been sitting on a few thoughts from his talk at the Convergence Conference at Southeastern Baptist Seminary back a little while ago too.

Right now, my pleasure reading is split between several books I’m picking up for twenty minutes at a time; sometimes bathroom reading (I know, too much information), sometimes work avoidance, and sometimes divine coincidence (a sense that I was meant to pick the book up at that time…don’t push me theologically on that because you’ll find my Christian MPD).  The main ones are Brian McLaren’s The Secret Message of Jesus, Barbara Brown Taylor’s Leaving Church, and Mark Driscoll’s Confessions of a Reformission Rev.  If that lineup doesn’t hold the potential to confuse me, I don’t know what will, but I digress.

I’ll just go ahead and say this;  Mark Driscoll holds the power to both deeply convict me and deeply disgust me; sometimes in the same sentence.  And I think I’ve been able to pinpoint the times he disgusts me from a wide range of exposure to him (the Convergence talk, videos on Youtube, his blogging on the Resurgence blog, and comments he’s left on other blogs).  Mark is brilliant.  Flat-out brilliant.  And his insights into discipleship and what it takes to be a church planter have changed my life and radically affected my thinking about human/God interaction.  This is why I’m excited to read his Confessions of a Reformission Rev. But Mark, in an attempt to be funny, especially in his freedom from a script (but not necessarily), says incredibly hurtful things about various groups and then in the same breath claims to have great love and appreciation for Christian leaders with theological convictions much different from his own.  I’m not the first one to say this (and I won’t be the last); Newsflash Mark, you can’t have both.

This twisted way of relating with others was shown perfectly in his Convergence talk where Mark in one breath gave a stunning repentance of the juvenile, un-Christlike ways he has interacted with others in the past, and about fifteen minutes later said “Brian McLaren has a new organization called ‘Deep Shift,’ and I think somebody inadvertently put an ‘F’ in there.”  Really Mark, really?  You’re really repenting?

I go out of my way (seriously, I do), to pay attention to Mark’s good thoughts, because he has so much that is wise and passionate and mentors me as a young man.  But I can easily see how others, either because they’re lazy or they’ve been so deeply wounded by inconsistent relationships in the past, shut Mark Driscoll out, never to give him a listen again.  And that’s unfortunate, both for them and Mark; and, I should say, for the gospel.

These thoughts have been spurred by a little section in Confessions where he says (my asides will be in italics),

“Since the movement (emerging church), if it can be called that, is young and is still defining its theological center, I do not want to portray the movement as ideologically unified because I myself swim in the theologically conservative stream of the emerging church. (sounds ok so far)  I am particularly concerned, however, with some growing trends among some people; the rejection of Jesus’ death on the cross as a penal substitute for our sins (historically speaking, Mark, this as the only understanding of the atonement is only one thousand years old; half the life of the church), resistance to openly denouncing homosexual acts as sinful (with you); the questioning of a literal eternal torment in hell, which is a denial that holds up only until, in an ironic bummer, you die and find yourself in hell (funny, but oversimplifies a complex Biblical issue); the rejection of God’s sovereignty over and knowledge of the future, as if God were a junior-college professor who knows only bits and pieces of trivia (sovereignty and knowledge are two completely different issues, and again, this is a complex Biblical issue); the rejection of biblically defined gender roles, thereby contributing to the “mantropy” epidemic among young guys now fretting over the best kind of loffah for their skin type and the number of women in the military dying to save their Bed, Bath, and Beyond from terrorist attacks (shut up Mark); and the rejection of Biblical names for God, such as Father, which is essentially apologizing before the unbelieving world for the prayer life of the flamboyantly heterosexual Jesus who uttered the horrendously politically incorrect “Our Father” without ever having the decency to apologize for being a misogynist patriarchal meanie (I get your point and agree with it, but the majority of the sentence is so juvenile that it completely obscures your point).  This is ultimately all the result of a diminished respect for the perfection, authority, and clarity of Scripture, all of which was written by patriarchal men (again, Mark, the Bible never claims perfection, it’s not all on the same level of authority, and you, as a teacher, should know that the Bible is the opposite of clear on the surface, and in some cases on a deeper level is intended to remain a mystery).

Then, four sentences later, Mark says, “I assure you that I speak as one within the Emerging Church Movement who has great love and appreciation for Christian leaders with theological convictions much different from my own.”  Oh.  My.  Word. How could he even write that after all that had come before, writing it off as “poking fun”? And is Mark willing at all to step back from what he has inherited as “true” to ask some serious questions about whether it’s something clearly expressed in the Bible or whether it’s a way of thinking relatively recent in history? This is a wisdom question. If he admits that he is changing continually (which we all are), shouldn’t that lead to stifling knee-jerk reactions he has for those who would challenge what he thinks is “true”?

The willingness to question what we’ve inherited is an important (and I’d say necessary) element of the best that the emerging church has to offer; because much of the questioning is helping us all to read the Bible in a deeper and more wise way. Do people go too far? Yes. But is my opinion on whether they go to far inherently truthful and wise? Of course not. So I suggest we all get off our theological high horses and take a strong dose of a humility pill before we throw folks under the bus (wherever on the spectrum of belief we are). I’ll go ahead and say this; there are plenty of ways to stand for what we believe is true in a passionate way that respects the perspective of others. Slapping the label of “heretic” on folks who disagree with you (which Mark does three times in the Convergent talk) benefits no one.

That wraps up my extended thought on Mark.  A horribly inconsistent, repenting yet wounding, wise yet juvenile, relational yet relationally-destructive follower of Jesus.  Sounds a lot like me, but I do try to be careful about how I word my skewering of others’ sacred cows.

You mean, like Kyoto?


Here’s a fun link with a fun title; U.S. prepared to cut greenhouse emissions, Bush says

Bush called on “all the world’s largest producers of greenhouse gas emissions, including developed and developing nations,” to come together and “set a long-term goal for reducing” greenhouse emissions.

It seems I’m having a deja vu moment here…what happened in 1997 that you’ve refused to push to ratify, Mr. President?

On the dangers of blind following…

So Pat Robertson’s a “Christian” leader, huh? I’m glad the church is more and more holding him accountable for his words AND his actions, but if there was any consistent pursuit of accountability, broadcasting stations would refuse to run his shows and/or folks would turn their brains on and quit watching his shows…but that sort of thinking could be applied to TBN as well.

You know what I think? I think those of us who know the religious hucksterism (see Steve Martin’s movie Leap of Faith ) being pushed by Pat and the TBN folks should speak out louder and more often about how destructive this sort of “evangelical broadcasting” is to the message of the gospel. I often watch just long enough to either laugh or feel so angry or intensely sad that I want to cry/hit a heavy punching bag, then walk away.

But people watch these guys and ladies and think they’re legitimate. Really.

Do I hold incorrect beliefs? I’m sure. Am I willing to be accountable to others for these beliefs? I endeavor to every day. Am I making millions off others in the perpetuation of twisted beliefs? No, and if I did, I’d have to trade in my soul…

Ariah’s good point…

“Missions Cruise an Oxymoron?”

“…It’s also disappointing to see all the musician’s and speakers willing to join in this disgusting display of privilege. Starting at $695 per person, I wonder if anyone is going to be raising support for this mission trip from their church.”

Rest of Ariah’s post here.

Thoughts from a big fan of the concept here.

The “Vision” of Praisefest Ministries for this idea:


The vision of PraiseFest Ministries is quite extensive. It all revolves around reaching people for Christ. We seek to bring Christians of all denominations, races, and various backgrounds with one purpose. That is to reach people for Christ. We plan to do this through outreach crusades all over the United States and abroad and through efforts like the Cruise with a Cause. This may even involve multiple mission cruises at some point.

We would like to be able to host 10 crusades per year plus the Mission Cruise. That would be one crusade per month, excluding December and the month of the cruise. To do this, we would need to operate by raising at least $2 million dollars per year. This would enable us to offer a mission cruise at reasonable prices and then to take 10 two night crusades to areas all over the United States . We actually go into a community and invest a minimum of $100,000 into a two night crusade outreach effort. For information, please click PRAISEFEST CRUSADES. It seems like a lot, but we are believing God for this. Again, all money donated goes straight to reaching people for Christ.”

My thoughts.

I have a major problem with this statement: “More than 1700 people saved through the efforts of the inaugural cruise with a cause.” And this one “Thousands of people saw God face-to-face as a result from the mission opportunity they provided. Many souls were won for Christ and those who already were part of the family of God grew closer to the Maker during the week.”

Why? One, for the reason Ariah mentions in his post. You’re paying $695 dollars to listen to Josh McDowell, Kutless, hand out some flyers about Jesus, and give toys to people that come to listen to a crusade…and you’re calling that mission!??!! This is a major problem on the scale of Bruce Wilkinson’s Dream for Africa that’s handled well here. One of my housemates was a missionary working with orphans in Swaziland who said Wilkinson’s “Dream” was putrid, culturally insensitive, and had the long-term effect of numbing citizens of Swaziland to Western missionary efforts.

My problem stated quite simply is this: Missions efforts that define their successes by sheer numbers of folks who “come forward” at an event to be “saved” are inadequate and ultimately skewing the message of the gospel. I like that Billy Graham integrated a strong local effort over time to connect those who came forward to “make a decision” with local churches…and this “PraiseFest” organization seems to be doing this in evangelistic efforts in the U.S. But if the gospel is narrowly defined as several verses from Romans and “souls saved” through said message, we are dealing with a terribly inadequate understanding of the gospel.

A simple suggestion for PraiseFest ministries for your whole “Cruise with a Cause” crusade. Link up with a cut-rate airline organization to shuttle your folks down to the Bahamas instead of a coddling cruise down and back. Link up with local Christian organizations working to solve the problems of homelessness and poverty on a grassroots level in the Bahamas, and organize and push seminars for your participants where they get a chance to hear the reality of missions on a daily basis there. Plug your people in with what these missions are doing. And maybe throw a concert or ten where you share what you see Christ doing in the world and celebrate. Do this for ten years. Gain the trust of the populace. And once you’ve gained their trust, work to spread the message of Christ through the local contacts who are there…listening to their input on what is most effective over the long-haul for the spread of the gospel in the Bahamas and trusting their judgment.

(Ex. of a lack of cultural sensitivity from the website: “My group was given the assignment of canvassing the lower income areas of Grand Island. We walked from house to house, inviting residents to the crusade, passing out flyers, and telling them about Jesus. Each Bahamian met us with a smile and a few even sang songs for us. We talked about where we were from and why we were there, all while being received with an incredible spirit of hospitality.”)

And keep this in mind:
The presentation of the gospel will deeply affect the concept of what means to be a Christian more than you will ever know.

Now think: how does a $700 cruise, listening to Sting, handing out flyers and talking about Jesus without taking time to understand what makes Bahamians tick, and pushing for “decisions” at a concert affect the concept of missions you build in the heads of those who participate?

This “missions” effort is typical these days of the perpetuation of the separation of the importance of the “soul” from the daily physical existence of humanity.

It is INCOHERENT (in my flawed opinion) to try to separate one’s soul from their embodied existence today. This ridiculous emphasis on “souls” comes almost directly from the apocalyptic evangelistic message of D.L. Moody, who said,

“I look on this world as a wrecked vessel. God has given me a lifeboat, and said to me, “Moody, save all you can.” God will come in judgment and burn up this world, but the children of God don’t belong to this world; they are in it but not of it, like a ship on the water. This world is getting darker and darker; its ruin is getting nearer and nearer. If you have any friends on this wreck unsaved, you had better lose no time in getting them off.”

Essentially what Moody is doing is giving a giant “F you” to the world and making sure people are “saved” from this darkening, nasty, sinful world. So let’s all sit on our hands after we’re saved, because there’s no use in the gospel affecting anything else in this sinking ship. Let’s all wait for the sweet by and by.

Dead. Freaking. Wrong. Moody. Deal with all of what Jesus says.

Rant. Over.

The impact of Half Nelson on my life…

I saw the movie “Half Nelson” on Friday evening, Oct 27th, at Court Square Theater in Harrisonburg (which by the way is a sweet place), and I walked out of the theater with strong emotions. I’ve been trying to get a handle on those emotions since then, and in the process found two things:

1)It’s not often (in this age of relatively shallow Hollywood movies that have resulted from our relatively shallow culture and our willingness to chuck out large amounts of cash over a long period of time to find something (anything!) to take our minds off reality) that I walk out of a movie feeling intense emotions, and
2)I often don’t pay attention to tracing the emotions to their root, or at the very least spend some time thinking about why I was so affected, and thus walk right back into my life as if the movie and the time spent in it never existed. Given time and other priorities, the movie is often reduced to “good” or “bad” or “mediocre.” And so I place it in the unofficial movie pecking order of my life and move on.

As a result of this awareness, I am going to try to slog through what I thought I saw in this movie, how it moved me, what it exposed in me (honestly!), and how I’ll respond with my life. If there’s one thing I’m tired of in my life, it’s mediocrity and simply occupying a place in the long line of humans who have lived and died on this earth…sucking in my oxygen, exhaling my contribution to global warming, and living a life centered on Nate.

So what did Half Nelson have to say to me?

It’s the story of a middle school history teacher who carries an ideal that he wants to affect at least one person in his life for the better. That’s his goal, and in that mix he carries an unorthodox teaching style where he seeks to have his kids look deeper than just memorizing and regurgitating fill-in-the-blank and multiple choice answers that don’t help his students comprehend and make sense out of reality.

The trouble is, Teacher Dan (Gosling) doesn’t know how to make sense of reality himself. His life is full of mountains and valleys, and he copes with this unpredictable reality with cocaine, crack, and some quick booty without relational attachments. His drug problem exacerbates rather than evens out his bumpy life, and he makes the mistake of smoking crack in a spot where one of his seventh grade basketball players finds him. Instead of ratting him out, though, this girl becomes a positive influence in his life. Maybe she can be the one he impacts for the better? She seems engaged in his class, eager to learn…but in taking her home several times, he sees the lure of the drug trade and urban decay threatening to suck her in.

He tries to be the hero, and fails…continuing to exhibit a hopelessly broken life. But this girl, instead of packing it in and giving up, continues to care about and for him (maybe that’s because she’s got a teacher crush on him…very possible given the nature of emotional attraction for ignoring reality…or maybe she just genuinely cares and wants to be an influence for good in his life). In the mix of things, Dan spends some time at home, where his parents, once Vietnam agitators who had a compelling vision for their lives, have fallen into middle-class numb existence, thinking they’re living out their ideals (while their ideals carry no practical reality) and ignoring reality by medicating themselves with perpetual drunkenness.

This has to be a commentary on the sad state of the American left; pretending to care about problems like poverty and social inequity in general while doing little to nothing about it other than punching a ballot, intellectually claiming to believe that liberalism is the answer for the world’s problems, with no life-altering commitment to either. (this is where I insert my belief that the opposite extreme of conservatism is just as insidious and incompetent and elitist and sad as its polar opposite).

The movie didn’t resolve. No, “I’ve been waiting for you,” or “I’m drug-free and happy for life,” or some heart-warming basketball championship for the girl and the teacher that enables both of them to exorcize their personal demons. And I’m glad.

Running with my idea of the status quo in our society mentioned above, I wasn’t surprised in walking out of the movie theater to see all the endorsing blurbs on the movie poster having nothing to do with the substance of the movie…I don’t know if they’ll be big enough for you to read in the above picture, but the blurbs say, “Ryan Gosling gives an astonishing performance!” and “Powerful. Gosling is among the most exciting actors of his generation!” and “A near-perfect film. The acting is flat-out amazing. Epps is a major find.” Are you kidding me? A movie like this, and all you can talk about is the careers (realized or potential) of the individuals? For my money, I don’t go see a movie because you tell me the actor or actress has an “astonishing performance.” Maybe I’m supposed to; that way I can maintain some degree of separation from the raw reality that this individual movie portrayed, and deny the fact that I see strong parallels in the weaknesses of humanity I share with the teacher. If I maintain that separation, I can walk out of the theater, plunge right back into my life, and forget that I ever felt uncomfortable at certain points as the story got close to MY struggles.

My thought upon seeing the movie poster was, “Finally, a solid movie that doesn’t buy into the movie peer pressure to resolve a big problem with a neat little bow in an hour-and-a-half or less, and I gotta come out of the theater to this?”

And maybe my next thought illustrates how much my ADD mind flits around from idea to idea and situation to situation, but I immediately thought about how this applies to the church. How often, on average, would you say a pastor hears one of two things from the congregation?

1) That sermon was good. Well-delivered.
2) Thank you for what you said. Hearing it that way made me think about (this or that aspect of my life…or this or that weakness…or this or that calling)

I’d guess the average pastor hears the first 97% of the time. Because you and I are enculturated to be surface people…because we’re enculturated to be consumers…and because we’re enculturated not to pay attention to the cries of our hearts; just hop around from entertaining thing to entertaining thing; rate each thing on the 1 to 10 scale of the excitement it offered for you, and refuse to go deeper.

If there’s anything I bring away from Half Nelson, it’s two awarenesses:
1) The system is broken. We are broken. Irretrievably.
2) We need to admit we are powerless to effect any long-term change in the system by ourselves. (because the change will be short-term, and our problems cyclical)

In response to what I consider to be two truth statements, I need to be willing to ask myself and others some questions…deep, searching questions…about how that raw awareness impacts my life. Do I need to alter my life in response to this movie? What did it uncover in my heart? Will I seek to separate myself from the teacher but pointing a finger at his drug habit without pointing a finger at my weaknesses that are crippling me? Does it jog me out of the semi-numb state I exist in much of the time to be deeply invested in something?

The prevailing message screams at me daily, “Stay busy. Forget about the layers. Don’t think about or listen to your heart. Just perpetuate the status quo.” And more often than not, because I’m weak, I give in. I let myself be mediocre. But because God entered the picture, turned my life upside-down, and called me to follow Him, I don’t want to be mediocre any more; I’m tired of being an object for others to manipulate and extract resources from; I want my life to matter.

The question that remains now is if my want will turn into a physical reality. My life will give the answer.