Reflections of a Broken Man

On The Tragedy of Humanity – Part 2: Tragic Figures by StephenMac
July 8, 2009, 7:30 pm
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**Currently listening to Zombie – The Cranberries. Have moved on to a random playlist until I get something new…**

In the words of MPJ: For all their created nobility, human beings are tragic figures, impaled on their own pride.

One of the few things I remember from high school English was that Shakespeare had plays that were comedies, and others that were tragedies. I thought these funny terms, especially when the comedies weren’t funny. It was later explained to me that what it meant was a comedy had a happy ending, a tragedy did not. We looked at Hamlet, and this became all the more apparent as character after character would leave the stage, never to return.

What makes humans “tragic figures” is that in contrast to our intended nobility at creation, our present condition is less than noble. And as the play progresses, we all exit, never to make it back on stage. The story of humanity is a tragedy.

**Song change: We are Broken – Paramore**

I think this song sums up our tragic situation well:

Cause we are broken
What must we do to restore
Our innocence
And oh, the promise we adored
Give us life again cause we just wanna be whole

Our sinfulness mars our nobility, and everything is messed up as a result. We are broken, and it’s our own fault.

The tragedy of humanity is still apparent today: we need only look at the death and brokenness around us to understand it’s reality. But we know this shouldn’t be, and our hope lies in the renewal of all things.


*Did I just make the naturalistic fallacy by moving from is to ought?

On Sin by StephenMac
April 23, 2009, 11:58 pm
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*Currently listening to Lost in the Sounds of Separation – by Underoath*

I’m currently reading Tim Keller’s The Reason for God. Heard of it? You have now, and there is no excuse to not go and get it! Do it! Right now! Stop reading this and start reading his book!

Anyhow, the reason it is so good is that Keller seeks to answer the most common objections to faith, seek to really understand the barriers, and then present the clearest cases for God. Again, we’re not just talking about the random impersonal force god, but the God of the Bible. But, in doing so, he makes it so easy to understand. For a Christian, it’s a fantastic way to better understand what you believe and have placed your faith in, but if you don’t know Jesus, can I please please please ask you to read this book, because Keller tries to understand where you are coming from, and respectfully show you that there is a real, rational, personal reason for God.

But what struck me most this afternoon was the definition of sin that he provides. Sin is such an awful word, conjuring up all sorts of images and feelings. But I think this helps: “Sin is the despairing refusal to fin your deepest identity in your relationship and service to God. Sin is seeking to become oneself, to get an identity, apart from him.


What this means is that you have a God-shaped hole in your life. Don’t deny it, it’s there. You have that void, that nothing seems to fill. You try sport, achievements, career, relationships, sex, drugs, parties, alcohol, church, family, bible-studies, altruistic societies. All of these things, they may be good in their place, but they won’t fit in that God-shaped hole in your life. Sin is trying to fill that void with things other than God.

Our problem today is that many of us don’t know what to put in that void, and we turn inward, despairing and melancholic. Where is your identity? Is it in the things of this world, the things that grow one day and fade the next? Is you hope and certainty in things that are transitory and passing? Or is your hope in the Eternal God who created you?


Messes of Men by StephenMac
February 6, 2009, 8:46 am
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*listening to mewithoutYou – Brother, Sister album again, or rather, still*

"I do not exist," we faithfully insist
sailing in our separate ships, and in each tiny caravel-
tiring of trying, there’s a necessary dying
like the horseshoe crab in its proper season sheds its shell
such distance from our friends,
like a scratch across a lens,
made everything look wrong from anywhere we stood
and our paper blew away before we’d left the bay
so half-blind we wrote these songs on sheets of salty wood

You caught me making eyes at the other boatmen’s wives
and heard me laughing louder at the jokes told by their daughters
I’d set my course for land,
but you well understand
it takes a steady hand to navigate adulterous waters
the propeller’s spinning blades held acquaintance with the waves
as there’s mistakes I’ve made no rowing could outrun
the cloth low on the mast like to say I’ve got no past
I’m nonetheless the librarian and secretary’s son
with tarnish on my brass and mildew on my glass
I’d never want someone so crass as to want someone like me
but a few leagues off the shore, I bit a flashing lure
and I assure you, it was not what it expected it to be!
I still taste its kiss, that dull hook in my lip
is a memory as useless as a rod without a reel
to an anchor-ever-dropped-seasick-yet-still-docked
captain spotted napping with his first mate at the wheel
floating forgetfully along, with no need to be strong
we keep our confessions long and when we pray we keep it short
I drank a thimble full of fire and I’m not ever going back

Oh, my God!
"I do not exist," we faithfully insist
while watching sink the heavy ship of everything we knew
if ever you come near I’ll hold up high a mirror
Lord, I could never show you anything as beautiful as you

brothersister Why am I even posting this song?!? It’s about adultery, and by posting it, am I admitting to that? No… thankfully…

There is something about the futility of sin that this song expresses. I’m reading a commentary of Judges for an upcoming Bible study, and the author mentioned the sheer monotony and repetitiveness of the sin of the Israelites. I think this song follows a similar line, in that sin is futile… we do it, but we understand that it doesn’t satisfy:

you caught me making eyes at the other boatmen’s wives
and heard me laughing louder at the jokes told by their daughters

And while there are a few lyrics which I am still trying to get my head around, I must admit to loving the final part:

If ever you come near I’ll hold up high a mirror
Lord, I could never show you anything as beautiful as you

I think that this is the thing I want in my life, that when people see me, they actually see the reflection of the Lord in the mirror that is holding his image. My life should reflect God’s work, God’s person.

Hang on, haven’t I ranted about taking God’s name in vain before? How is this song different? This is not a meaningless or empty use of God’s name… the context shows us that it’s a cry to God…

Oh to be a reflection of the Lord…


Home by StephenMac
January 12, 2009, 10:43 am
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*currently listening to “Define the Great Line” – Underoath. I think it matches my mood this morning… The Leeland album I recently acquired just doesn’t seem to feel right at this moment*

Yeah I know, it’s been a while since my last post. And the last one was merely the posting of lyrics, so it doesn’t really count as a post either…. I seriously play too much WoW

It became apparent to me these holidays, Christmas/New Year, that I lack love. I’m told to love my neighbour as myself, but what does “love” actually mean? Love is not that soppy bull that society would have us believe. Love is not that lustful crap that magazines and TV shows and movies and games want us to have. Love is care. Taking time out to make sure that you are serving others. Loving your neighbour as yourself means that you are spending your time/resources/etc on other people, just as much as yourself. I was chewed out (and rightfully so) for being unloving.

I did not love my family, becuase I didn’t spend time with them. I did not love my church family, because I would leave my sermons, my leading preparation, my kids talk, to the last minute, forget to turn up on time, and do things really poorly. I did not love because I spent time doing the selfish or mechanical things, and not the selfless and personal things. Like leaving setup for evening service so that I can be welcoming to the new person, who obviously needed someone to talk to. But I didn’t. Because I suck.

I tried this week… I really did. I planned things in advance. I made sure that I set time out to be prepared. And still I screw up. I was not loving, and the evening service reflected a loveless place… Church should not make me feel like crap… and yet…

I feel responsible. But I don’t know what to do. I know there are a million and one things that I could improve. But sometimes I feel that it would require me to put every spare moment I have into it. Maybe I should. But I then feel like I miss out on other things… the fear of burn-out haunts me…

Why do I feel like crap? I think the root cause of it all is my lovelessness. There is just so much that needs to be done. I need an attitude adjustment, but I fear for myself (selfishness).

“When life is in discord, praise Ye, the LORD”