All posts by Jim Stitzel

Jim cultivates interests in a variety of areas. He is an avid storyteller, specializing in (dark) speculative fiction and webcomics. He is also a professional code wrangler and dabbles in amateur photography.

Battle Lines

The battle lines are clearly drawn — two sides, two agendas, one aching pain. On the one side, the old man. On the other, the new man. Some days it is merely a squabble, on others World War III. On the one hand, fierce, intense depression of the black hole variety, threatening to suck my soul from my body, to drain all the color from the world. On the other hand, a gentle, nagging hope, so soft and quiet that I hardly realize that it is there sometimes. Here, a desire to indulge in fleshly pleasures, to feed those pet carnal appetites. But then here, a craving for godliness, righteousness, a relationship with my Lord that actually means something and pours out onto others. This, laziness. That, a desire to work for what is good, knowing that it will involve the deepest pain I have perhaps ever experienced.

The battle lines are drawn. And I am at an impasse.

His Suffering

It’s funny…. I just received an email from my younger brother. In it, he included a journal entry that I had shared with a bunch of people a little over four years ago. I had been think meditating on Christ’s death and what He went through. And in light of Mel Gibson’s recent release of The Passion of Christ and the upcoming Easter season, my brother felt challenged by those words from the past and felt let to share them again with a number of people, myself included. And again, I was challenged with the thought contained within those few lines. And so I share them with you….. God bless….

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Friday, Februrary 18, 2000

We weep and sorrow with the pain and loss that others experience, particularly those we love and care about most. We sympathize when they are injured or undergo surgery, and we cry when they lose someone they love. We feel the frustration of a friend’s lay-off from their job, we share the burden of depression when things don;t go well, and we share the plethora of other emotions and burdens of those we cherish. But when was teh last time I wept for the pain and loss that God felt when His Son came to the earth? When was the last time I wept because God gave up Heaven to become a helpless baby? When was the last time I shed tears over the wounds that my Savior suffered in his hands, his feet, his side, his head, and his back? When was the last time I cried because God the Father could not look down on God the Son for a time because of the burden of my sins that he bore on His back? When was the last time I genuinely wept because of the ultimate sacrifice that anyone can give? WHen was the last time that I loved my God that much? I can’t help but shed tears of joy and rejoice right down to the very core of my heart and the deepest recesses of my soul when I think of the love that flowed upon my head through that act of total selflessness. I can’t help but weep with gladness that I will see my Lord on the throne of Daivd, seated in the highest of the heavens, to reign forever and ever with righteousness, turth , and love. I can’t help but cry when I think that my God will one day be declared the victor and will forever destroy sin and evil. My entire being rejoices and my soul loudly proclaims worship and praise to the One who loves me so much that He sacrifices so much for me, an imperfect creature that does not know how to return that love, so that I may spend an eternity with Him, to love Him and to praise Him and to know Him. Glory be to the Lamb that was slain. Honor and praise be to the Father, who gave His son to be the propitiation for my sins. Mere words cannot adequately proclaim the honor you deserve, Lord, nor can my actions, which are flawed, make up for the lack. Oh God, cleanse my heart and purify my wicked ways. Make me into a servant fit to bear your likeness. Amen, amen, and amen.

But He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way, and the Lord has laid upon him the inquity of us all.
Is. 53:5-6

Devil’s Advocate

I have this ‘annoying’ little habit of always playing devil’s advocate…. well, maybe not always, but I do it quite often. Whenever someone takes one position in a conversation, I will frequently argue for the other side (fair representation, anyone?). Why do I do this, you ask? Good question, and I’m glad you asked that one. It’s not to be irksome, believe me, at least not intentionally (I suppose there could be some Freudian logic to it, somewhere, buried down deep, but I suspect not). Mostly, I think I do it in order to make sure that all aspects of the topicslashissue gets covered. Pull out the salient details. Avoid the groupthink effect and the like. Remove the blinders from ones eyes and open up the conversation to more possibilities. (And no, this is NOT necessarily being open-minded. Just covering all the bases. Because open minds tend to stay open (BAD!), and eventually I settle down on one position and stay there. Definitely ‘close-minded’ and ‘narrow.’ But also Biblical, I believe, at least to an extent. But that’s a topic for another post on another day.) I just like to make sure that everyone has thought of as many of the possibilities and explanations as possible. Experience empathy. Avoid judgmentalism.

And as a Christian, I believe it is my responsibility to encourage others to think more globally, and hence, more Christly. More compassionately, with love and grace. So consider this: consider that you may actually be wrong on a stance long enough to consider the issue more thoroughly. Challenge the status quo, and don’t take your position on an issue for granted, just because you have thought this way your whole life and so has your family.

To Know Christ

My life passage….

“But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the POWER of his resurrection and teh fellowship of his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” ~Phil. 3:7-14 (emphases mine)

I’m crushed by this again today, even though I’ve read over it many times. I’ve spent too much time recently trying to be comfortable. I say, “Enough!” Time to get down to the business of walking again. I’ve spent too much time sitting still…

Myers-Briggs

Yeah, stole this from someone else, but since it is related to my field, I don’t feel too guilty about it.
Introverted (I) 55.26% Extroverted (E) 44.74%
Imaginative (N) 54.84% Realistic (S) 45.16%
Intellectual (T) 57.58% Emotional (F) 42.42%
Organized (J) 69.7% Easygoing (P) 30.3%
Your type is: INTJ
You are a Planner, possible professions include – management consultant, economist, scientist, computer programmer, environmental planner, new business developer, curriculum designer, administrator, mathematician, psychologist, neurologist, biomedical researcher, strategic planner, civil engineer, intellectual properties attorney, designer, editor/art director, inventor, informational-graphics designer, financial planner, judge.

Take Free Career Inventory Personality Test.

Days of Elijah

Days Of Elijah

by Robin Mark

These are the days of Elijah,
Declaring the word of the Lord:
And these are the days of Your servant Moses,
Righteousness being restored.
And though these are days of great trial,
Of famine and darkness and sword,
Still, we are the voice in the desert crying
‘Prepare ye the way of the Lord!’

Behold He comes riding on the clouds,
Shining like the sun at the trumpet call;
Lift your voice, it’s the year of jubilee,
And out of Zion’s hill salvation comes.

These are the days of Ezekiel,
The dry bones becoming as flesh;
And these are the days of Your servant David,
Rebuilding a temple of praise.
These are the days of the harvest,
The fields are as white in Your world,
And we are the labourers in Your vineyard,
Declaring the word of the Lord!

Behold He comes riding on the clouds,
Shining like the sun at the trumpet call;
Lift your voice, it’s the year of jubilee,
And out of Zion’s hill salvation comes.

There’s no God like Jehovah.
There’s no God like Jehovah!

Copyright © 1997 Daybreak Music Ltd.

Self-perpetuating Philosophical Lifestyle Cycles

I have a wondering, something I have thought about recently and frequently. I am interested in any feedback that anyone has on this topic. It’s called “self-perpetuating philosophical lifestyle cycles.”

Which came first: the chicken, or the egg? Or put another way, which came first: the philosophy, or the lifestyle?

I know a number of Christians who see one of their ‘fellows’ living a particular lifestyle. Let’s choose Goth, just for a developmental example (and for those of you who consider yourselves to be Goth, please take no offense; I am neither condemning nor picking on you; I just need something to develop this thought, so please bear with me). And let’s pick a person to be our Goth — Trudy, for instance.

So, Trudy is a Goth and has been for a couple of years now. She’s just in her first year of college. She is a Christian, been saved since she was seven years old. In fact, her dad is a pastor. Trudy is also very strong in her faith. But she prefers the dark look of the Goth, with the clothing, the makeup, the piercings, the works. Now, I repeat my former question: which came first? The thoughts and philosophies, or the lifestyle?

Put it in more general terms now. Does a person begin thinking a particular way and then ‘discover’ a lifestyle that fits that way of thinking? Or do they find a lifestyle that attracts them (for any variety of reasons) and fall into that lifestyle, with the lifestyle gradually (or not so gradually) changing the way that person thinks? Is it different for different poeple? (BTW – you can insert pretty much any lifestyle into this example — punk, hippy, drug addict, alcoholic, child abuser, pastor, businessman, etc.). Does the person choose the lifestyle, or does the lifestyle choose the person (in a manner of speaking)?

And then, once in the lifestyle, does it become a cycle? Does the thought encourage the lifestyle, which encourages the thought, which encourages the lifestyle, and so on and so forth? When, where, and how is ita good thing? A bad thing? How does one break the cycle if they decide it is a bad thing?

I have a theory on this, but before I choose to post it, I’m interested in hearing some feedback, if any cares to contribute…..