blogspot presents..... morgan reeves

Writing a blog is a really weird thing because one never really knows who the audience is. One entry might be written in hopes that a certain someone will read it giving you an uninterrupted forum, whether that means apologize, or berate, or profess undying love. An entry might be written to no one, a purging exercise. Entries may be written for oneself and only meant to let others look on. You can kind of tell by the tone of a blog. I think I have been a little moody on mine here- optimistic, funny, judgmental, maybe a little fearful. I just want to be honest. Vulnerable. Three dimensional. I think the most surprising thing to me is that this is where Jesus lives. In the gritty steps and tired shoulders of our lives. For me, it is the mediocre that is so itchy. Nothings wrong, but things aren't exactly right either. Don't get me wrong. I have a wonderful life. A baby who is healthy and sweet and funny. A husband I can talk to and who will sit out in his car in the company parking lot on his cell phone with me refusing to go inside until we have forgiven each other for the argument we had before he left that morning. He leaves no room for grudges or bitterness. He insists we keep our hearts soft toward each other. I have a home and a dog and a car and a cell phone and an awesome extended family. But those things do not make for a perfect life or bring complete peace in the quiet, pensive moments.

I think we can have joy in what is to come and the peace of God's presence now. But even when things are going good for me, there are others in my life who are hurting, lonely, grieving. The world is broken. It's a sad place. If you don't think it is then you are either living in a hole all by yourself or in a bubble where only happy fake people are allowed.
So, here is my point: if you are reading this you might be made uncomfortable, or offended, or validated, and hopefully, at some point, made to laugh. Those are my real thoughts and emotions and I hope to share them with you. Whoever you are. :)

amendment to "questioning my beliefs"

My last post was kind of ambiguous, I know. Looking back I think I was somewhat unclear. I guess what I was trying to say is that it is so tempting in this world to begin believing that truth is relative which, as I said before, is intellectual suicide. That being said, I also think it is far more tempting to close off your mind and cling only to what makes you feel most comfortable, to what you have been taught. What I meant to say is that Christians should not be afraid to hear what other people have to say about what they believe. As Christians, we think we are right about everything, and yet we can't even agree with each other on many issues! For example, women's role in the church or baptism practices. We write books about end times prophecy and even have charts diagraming how it will all take place. What I think we need to remember though, is that the ancient Jews studied the Old Testament for centuries. Beginning at age three they begin to memorize the whole thing!!!!!!!! And yet, in all of that immersion and waiting for the promised messiah, they never came up with Jesus.

I want to be open to God's voice and hold up what fellow Christians are saying to God's Word. And God's Word can be a very hard thing to understand sometimes as the Jews themselves have seen. Jesus came and He changed much of what God set up in the Old Testament. For example, in the OT Jews were to bring animal sacrifices to the alter of God. Jesus came to be the ultimate sacrifice and to fullfill that requirement of God's. With Jesus the Jews could beginning eating what were previously considered "unclean animals"; they were allowed to commune with Gentiles (non-Jews).

The New Testament can be just as confusing. Through the centuries Christians have changed some of the practices within the church citing cultural differences. Women are now permitted to speak in church and braid their hair and wear gold. (Interestingly enough, in Timothy the previous verse is considered a non-cultural issue- that of women being elders in the church.) It is my opinion that most of these issues which cause division in the church is not what Jesus wanted. I think that both wisdom and humility says, "We don't know for sure about these minor issues and so will will not let it divide us. We are the body of Christ."

That is what I meant when I said that there are very few things it is worth telling people they are WRONG about.

And I do believe in Jesus. I do love him. Sometimes my view of him gets polluted by the weight of this world. Jesus is always better then I remember him. The Church's purpose is to be Jesus on earth. We mess it up a lot. I mess it up a lot. A LOT. What I was trying to say previously is that I hope I never become so prideful that I think I have all of the answers about God. I want to point others to God who is good and all powerful and just. I don't want to try and get a person to become a Christian to confirm or validate my own beliefs, to get them on "my side". Truth is truth whether I've got it all right or not. Unfortunately, people can make the Bible say what they want it to say. The Church used certain scripture verses to justify slavery. And that was NOT that long ago.

Jesus said "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." Either we believe that is true or we don't. I do. I want everyone to know the truth and have the truth in their hearts. I just don't want to feel threatened by the fact that I don't know all the answers. I actually feel relief to know that I don't have all the answers and to know that God is bigger then me and that He is big enough to answer the deep, dark, and very hard questions in my soul.

writing in the sand: Jesus introduces tract evangelism

I guess I just don't want to be a puppet. I don't want to just tote the company line. I don't want to be a parrot. I am (possibly inappropriately) opposed to Bible tracts. People want real people, not directions like you get in the box with your new bookcase: "Step 1- Locate bottom shelf". God can't be reduced to a formula. He isn't in the 3 page tract people give out on street corners. If God is so smart why didn't He skip the Bible and just write a tract?

I know, I know. God does use those tracts to reach people sometimes. But I really cannot imagine that if Jesus was here today he would be handing out tracts at the bus station. I believe he would be doing, well, what he did in the Bible: visiting people in their homes, eating dinner with them, giving them food, talking with them about their real issues (their life story not- 'will you please agree with these three points here on this piece of paper?'). The Bible says that God is love and that love is action and deed. I think evangelism is messy and involves knowing someone and holding their hand and asking them questions and treating them as your EQUAL. People's lives are messy. A four step tract, however well intended, can be almost offensive to those whose lives are in complete shambles. Today I met with a teenage girl in foster care who needed so much more then a tract. I met a 72 year old african refugee living in poverty who needed food, prayer, and connections. My husband spoke last night with a guy who wants to have a friend, not be someone's project. I hope I never make someone feel like a notch on my spiritual belt. I hope I will always remember that I don't have all the answers, but only that I know Who does.

I do think that God has designed us all differently and that certain people work better in certain ways and respond better to certain circumstances, tracts included. I just don't get it. Maybe if you are in another country and cannot easily communicate the gospel, a tract would be helpful. I'm sure God uses them. It's just that I, personally, out of all the Christians I know, do not know one single person who was saved by reading a tract. But this is just my own personal experience.

I was once with a friend and we were with a group of believers, many of whom I did not know. Near the end of the night my friend looked into her purse and pulled out a tract. The same tract one of the guys had been carrying around earlier. It was so embarrassing. That guy had no right to stick that in her purse. I felt that he had intruded in my friendship with her. I felt that he was trying to take a short cut- and to pressure her. That's what tracts do- they impersonalize God. They make a relationship with Him seem like a business contract or a pyramid scheme. Tracts can exploit a relationship.

God wrote the BIBLE. It has love stories, poems, wisdom, instructions, commands. Not a check list. I heard a quote once, "Of 100 men, one will read the Bible; 99 will read the Christian." Another quote, "The greatest proof of God's love is a life that needs God's love to explain it." Maybe it's time Christians entered into the world of the hurting, the lost, the confused, the hardened. Not handing out tracts by sticking our hands out of the Christian bubble like a drive-thru window. Jesus said, "Go. And make disciples." Disciples. Not converts. To make a disciple involves much time and tears and living life together.

Wow. I probably am offending people. I hope I am not. I am intending to just be opening up dialogue. I also wonder what it would feel like to have someone try to give me a tract. Actually, now that I think about it, I have. The mormons have come to my door before. It was weird, feeling like a "secularist". I felt like a task, an exercise to be completed. Like they were told, "Go to this neighborhood and collect people.

What about "Who are you? What is your story? What are your needs? How can we love you? How can we serve you? How can we show you what our Jesus is like?"

questioning my beliefs

You know, sometimes I look around and wonder, "Is everybody faking it?" I guess I don't mean faking it in a devious way, I just mean in a "maybe if I pretend hard enough it will be true" kind of way.

Sometimes I stop and think, "Oh my gosh this is seriously CRAZY! How can this possibly be true? It doesn't even make sense."

Something has to be true. Not everything can be true. As nice and tolerant and friendly as that idea seems, it is intellectual suicide. Maybe nothing that we humans have come up thus far is true. But it can't all be true.

I am queen of middle ground. I am good at mediating. My personality hates excluding others. I don't like to compete. I ran track in high school for the practices, not the meets. I HATED the meets. Why does someone have to lose so that someone else can win? It makes no sense to me. Plus, I wasn't very fast.

I don't like telling people they are wrong. Unless it is my husband. No, I mean on issues that are close to their heart. I know a wonderful older lady who is so passionate and brave and strong. But I feel that she finds her identity in the republican party. She believes that the republican party is America's ultimate Truth. To a point where I don't think she really uses her own brain. I would never tell her she is wrong to swallow anything and everything republican. I have honestly never even entertained the idea. I guess what I think is that there are very few things worth saying, "You are wrong" to someone. I REALLY believe the world is full of a lot of gray areas. This is mainly in part because I believe this world is fallen from it's ideal and perfect beginning. It is amazing to me that there is one thing that every single person in the whole world in every time and every nation can agree on. And that is this:

something's gone terribly wrong here.

and we are spending our entire lives trying to figure out what it is and how to fix it.

Christianity. I was raised as a Christian. Protestant. I used to loathe Catholics. Baptizing infants seemed ridiculous to me. One time I went to a Mass with a friend of mine (I was maybe in 3rd grade) and the priest went down the aisle sprinkling Holy Water and a drip hit me square between eyes and I swear I had a headache in that spot the rest of the day (Oh, the power of the mind!). I more recently watched a South Park episode and laughed for 3 weeks straight about their satire on the Mormon faith (they sang a song with the chorus "Dumb-dity-dumb-dumb-dumb" and it still gets stuck in my head sometimes.) John Smiths' found and then "lost" golden tablets were obviously fake.

It is really great to get to know people who believe differently then I do and who are willing to talk about it. I know many Christians who never leave the Christian bubble. It's safe there, you know? Because what if a "non- Christian" asks you a question that you don't have the answer to? After all, Christians do have all the answers. But Christians shouldn't be afraid if they have found the truth.

Truth is truth.
Shouldn't we all be in pursuit of that?

I am just wondering where the line is between faith and foolishness. I could have great faith in a rock. But my strong faith does not make it a god. I can totally not understand something, but that doesn't make it any less true. Ahhh!!!! Can I hope that God will honor my good intentions? In my attempts at humility? In my honesty with myself about how little I really do know? What would He say at the end of my life if I said to Him, "I didn't know the answers. I never took a hard stance. I was afraid of making a mistake. I was afraid of losing you." ?

I REALLY REALLY do believe in God. There is honestly no question in my mind about that. I really truly believe it is the only thing that makes sense of this world, and of us. And, I have felt Him near. Not very often. But I know what I have felt and it was outside of me. It was something Other. And it was good. These two beliefs are the foundation of my life. If I didn't believe in God, my life would feel purposeless. And I believe to have purpose is an innate human desire and right. We were made with individual purposes. We are important to someone.

After that it gets confusing. But again, I say, something must be true about who God is and what his relationship to us is. I believe it is vital to our very hearts and souls that we find out. We cannot say god is who you personally believe he is. And there is no such thing as "that is true for you, but this is true for me". Honestly, people. How can we even pretend that works?

I think we are afraid of the Truth. And I think that is because we are, deep down, worried that the Truth will not include us. That there is something wrong with us or it will somehow involve us doing something we don't like, involve us being shown for what we really are, deep down. And not all of that is pretty or something we want others to see.

But I guess I really believe that I shouldn't be afraid.

I think I believe in Jesus. I think i even love him. It makes a strange sort of sense to me that this good God would have to disguise himself in order to woo us, in hopes of getting us to fall in love with Him.

I want to be honest. I think we all should be honest. And hopeful. I think we should be hopeful.

aww..... man, that sucks.

my sophomore year at northwestern college i was a cheerleader for the men's basketball team. during a time out my squad went out to center court to get the crowd on their feet and throw out some free t-shirts. There was one guy in particular, chuck, was being a really good sport so we decided that i would just hand him a t-shirt to make sure he got one (he was near the front).

so, we do our little cheer and then we start throwing out the t-shirts and i walk up to chuck and hand him a t-shirt. he begins to jokingly tease me by thanking me and shaking my hand really hard and not letting go. but then...

out of the corner of my eye i see another guy named matt. he has come out of the bleachers onto the court and is jumping up and down clapping his hands and the crowd is egging him on. now before i go on let me say two things. the first is that matt was very well liked and went on to be student body president. the second thing i want to do is describe for you what he was wearing. a referee shirt. big red (plastic?) overalls. a giant red cape. and a large, sparkly red old motorcycle helmet, which is very , very large.

matt decides to begin doing cartwheels.
no, he was quite sober.

i can see what is happening out of the corner of my eye, but chuck does not. remember? chuck is still shaking my hand. and not letting go.

matt's cape is now wrapped around his helmet. yet he is still going.

the timing was amazingly perfect. i yanked my hand free just in time for matt's foot to hook me around my neck and take me out.

it was a beautiful fusion of school spirit: cheerleader and bleacher creature united in a tumbling mass of red and white. i am absolutely positive i showed my spanks to every student, alumni, janitor, basketball player, parent, professor, and child there.

(pause: there are moments in your life in which you have a nano-second to make a decision. here were my choices: a) run crying from the basketball court, b) run screaming from the basketball court c) pass out. just literally pass out. or, d) shrivel up and die inside of myself and turn on 'robot morgan' to finish out the rest of the game.)

i chose d).

Baby Adoration

So, about my genuis baby. She was fourteen months last Saturday and she can say sooo many words! Let me be an annoying mommy and list them: mama, dada, no, more, boo!, night-night, nice, wow!, yum-num-num when she's hungry, woof-woof, quack-quack (kinda sounds more like kak-kak), the monkey sound oo-oo, the fish sound of making bubble sounds with her mouth, the squirrel sound of clicking her tounge. She can do sign language for more, please, thank you, all done. She can nod yes and no. She said hi today and a couple of weeks ago said bye-bye while waving but i haven't heard that one again. She is really excited about the word 'more'. She uses it as 'again' if she wants me to read the book again, or go down the slide again. She uses it if she wants more of the food she just finished or if i take her plate away and she is not done. She uses it if she gets off of her little bike and wants to get back on and ride some more. She uses it if i stop pushing her on the bike and she wants to go again. It's so cute. Like, if I take her plate away and she's not finished she will start to yell and cry and then it's like she suddenly remembers she has a word to use that will tell me exactly what she wants and she immediatly stops crying and says, "More?" while doing the sign. How can I resist?!! I'm trying to teach her that her words have meaning and power and to respect her when she asks for something or says 'no' to something. Within reason.
She's such a good baby. Earlier today she was fussing and i asked her, "Drink?" She said no. "Food?" She said no. "Hug?" She said no. The I asked "Night-night?" and she put her arms up immediatly to me and laid her head on my shoulder when I picked her up to go to her room. Awww.

Then at dinner she said "More?" and so I gave her more pasta. As I scooped it onto her tray she said, "Ooo nice."
She kills me.