Thursday, December 11, 2008


“God touches us with a touch that is emptiness and empties us. He moves us with a simplicity that simplifies us. All variety, all complexity, all paradox, all multiplicity cease. Our mind swarms in the air of an understanding, a reality that is dark and serene and includes in itself everything. Nothing more is desired. Nothing more is wanting.” – Thomas Merton

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Dreams of Jonah

I dreamt of you last night, my son.
You lay sleeping softly on my chest, utterly oblivious of your mysterious actions, unaware of your own subtlety. You unknowingly liberated me by your simple existence, freeing me from the chains of my selfishness.

You are, my little Jonah, the synthesis of love.
You are the emission that bears witness of love’s union and further initiates love’s unfolding.
You are the culmination of ocean and earth; the breaking wave that consummates their wedlock. The roar of their interaction resounds with your delicate movements, rhythmically echoing love’s aria. Their fervent melody reverberates in your infant voice. The ocean breathes you, the earth receives you, and El Roi is the blanketing expanse of stars overhead, emitting His radiant approval.

He’s glorified at your arrival.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Insight from Emerson

"Music takes us out of the actual and whispers to us dim secrets that startle our wonder as to who we are, and for what, whence, and whereto."

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Journeying into the depths of the Psalter

Perhaps one of the most beautiful and refreshing things about the Psalms is that the spirit of apathy is nowhere to be found. In it contains the full gamut of human emotion, from the extreme frustration of a soul amidst catastrophe in question of the very character of God, to the broken spirit of the sinful man begging against the abandonment of the Spirit’s presence, to the psalmist wading in the goodness of the Almighty with the very taste of God in his mouth. And apathy is nowhere to be found. There’s such an awareness of God, even when questions are all that can escape the lips of the psalmist. You can sense God ready to break through, even in the midst of the doubt. God give us the same raw awareness of you…

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Truth Christening

The search for truth consumes me. Its veracity beckons me through the darkness of silent, empty streets. I’m summoned towards the unknown, but gently calmed by a recognizable Comfort, that “Notorious Illuminator”, as Merton once whispered. I loiter momentarily in front of the shadowy windows that bear witness to the credos of my past. They murmur of past instruction, but only induce me further into the mysteries that wait ahead. Truth invites the vagrant.

I know the veil that hides the secrets; the darkness that waits to envelop, like Abraham’s dream. A whisper that cuts through the silence, uttering the inexpressible phrases only my heart can decipher. My attention is gathered. My surrender is secured.
“I AM” is spoken.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


We got to see Ray LaMontagne tonight at the Ryman.
An amazing show by one of my favorite songwriters...

Jonah seemed to be really active during the song "Shelter".
Maybe he already comprehends the beautiful union that our little family shares.
"Listen when,
All of this around us'll fall over,
I tell you what we're gonna do,
You will shelter me, my love,
I will shelter you."

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Jonah Elliot Willis

For I will pour water on the thirsty land,
and streams on the dry ground;
I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring,
and my blessing on your descendants.
Isaiah 44:3

Friday, October 3, 2008


“If you want to build a ship, don't herd people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work. Instead, teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Thursday, October 2, 2008


Your patience, my love, has astounded me as I struggle to enter into the abiding rest that God offers. Your words consistently breathe calm into lungs so prone to panic gasps. I feel summoned to an existence of deep and unwavering peace, but it seems to be a realm that hasn’t granted an easy admittance. Though the deepest utterance of my spirit reiterates that the will of God is to be trusted, I don’t easily settle into these periods of such vague and formless unrest. The swelling and ebbing flow of shadows causes my instincts to initiate a frenzied search for escape, rather than settling into a resolved and patient peace. But I sense His promise to wake within me, even in the reverberating hours of darkness. Though it doesn’t immediately discharge me from my environment, it helps my eyes readjust to their surroundings.
This is where liberation lies, not in the escape, but in the awakening.

I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.
Psalm 130:5-6

“And it is the deepest darkness that we most fully possess God on earth; because it is then that our minds are most truly liberated from the weak, created lights that are darkness in comparison to Him; it is then that we are filled with His infinite Light which seems pure darkness to our reason. In this greatest perfection of our faith the infinite God Himself becomes the Light of the darkened soul and possesses it entirely with His Truth. And at this inexplicable moment the deepest night becomes day and faith turns into understanding.”
– Merton

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Poised to Receive

You broke through again.

Despite my best efforts, piercing my heaviest armor, You broke through. The shining visage of the Blameless engulfing the space around us, Your movement reviving our ashes, stirring the embers to a radiant glow. And we stood disarmed, defenseless, poised to receive.Your Spirit responded in waves of mercy, enveloping, restoring, renewing. The train of Your robe pervading the temple of our hearts.

Our deliverer is relentless. I can feel Him reverberate through the walls I’ve constructed. I can feel Him tearing towards us, restoring all that's been corrupted by our wastefulness and diluted by our apathy.

Freedom's melody grows slowly louder. I can hear its echo intensifying inside my spirit, shaking me into awareness. The voice of the Rescuer pierces me as my mind and memory are suddenly caught in recognition and recollection of His Spirit’s whispers. I know the voice; I remember the touch.

Passion is kindled. Ardor is awakened.


You don’t experience a willing vulnerability very often. Jes, my brothers and I went to the Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova show last night at the Ryman. The show was fantastic, but I was absolutely overwhelmed by the opening song. The lights went low and Glen Hansard came out onto the stage. He stepped to the very edge, guitar unplugged, his voice completely unassisted by technology, and started into “Say it to me now.” I’ve never heard a crowd at the Ryman more hushed. He sang defenseless; completely vulnerable. In a city of manufactured celebrities, it was something so raw and beautiful that will haunt me for weeks to come. Absolutely beautiful…

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Mystery of Self Abandonment

I just finished Jean-Pierre De Caussade's "Abandonment to Divine Providence" and realized that it has taken me about twice as long to finish as most books I read; I'm not really sure why. I have absolutely adored this book. Its very words whisper to me, drawing me into a desire for deeper places of holiness and a reckless abandonment to God's divine intention. This little book offers in its pages a treasure that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
It's just taken me forever to finish the stupid thing.
I think most likely the reason is the weightiness of the topic itself. I've been struggling over this subject matter so much in the past few months. It's not that I disagree with what de Caussade is saying. My spirit, in fact, stands in complete agreement with almost every bit of wisdom the author offers throughout the book. It's just been a difficult platform to adopt. He deals with the Divine will in a way that seems remarkably simplistic. I don't disagree with his viewpoints, I just haven't been able to fully and effortlessly abandon myself to them as of yet. God knows I want to.
Throughout the book, the overall echoing theme is that we, as Christians, should take hold of each moment, each choice before us, and view it as God's primary method of sanctifying us. In every second, God is placing us in situations that are meant to slowly transform us into holy beings. At one point he states that we should "embrace the present moment as an ever-flowing source of Holiness."
This, to me, has been a profound revelation. This means that God's will is a process instigated by the Divine and not something I have to restlessly seek after, always worried I'm missing something better. This is water for my perpetually thirsty soul. The problem for me seems to lie somewhere in the midst of the faithlessness that so often seems to define me and the anxiety that most often seems to plague me. Fear and faith make difficult companions. I am a worrier. I would love to define it as something innocent or as a simple vice, but the plain truth is, worry is the polar opposite of faith. And this anxiety seems to regularly obstruct the act of pure faith in God's will. I waver from being completely confident in the sovereignty and plans of God, to completely and hopelessly abandoned to my anxiety over my future. I am the man who is "like a wave that's driven and tossed by the wind" that the writer James speaks of in his letter. The least bit of discomfort, whether in mind or body, seems to easily shake me to my foundation.
But God's purpose is not to make me comfortable. The will of God is not meant for me to decipher the code, connect the dots, and as a result have a great testimony of exactly how God is working around me. This comes at times, don't get me wrong. Many faithful Christians quite often have the eyes to see and the mind to understand some of the plans and intentions of God. But God's purpose is to make us holy, whether we understand His means or not. Even if all our lives we are completely ignorant of exactly how his fingertips crafted us precisely, day by day, into holy beings, all will be revealed in the end. De Caussade states that "God is the center of faith, and faith is a gulf of shadows, and these shadows emerge and veil all the divine operations."
But we come from a generation no longer wanting to be "side-tracked" by the chase for holiness. If anything, I've seen most seek after the opposite, claiming the struggle for holiness as a subject far too "religious" for us to pursue.
I realize that I am among a growing minority that still view the Christian disciplines as a way to express my love towards a holy God. "Be holy, as I am holy." But suddenly the methods and practices of Christians for two thousand years before us now are now being labeled as too religious or old fashioned. This is deeply saddening to me.
I recently attended a church that doesn't put emphasis on the development of disciples, but concentrates solely on the pursuit of those who don't know Christ. I realize that this is the Great Commission and I won't for a second accuse this objective as being something unworthy. But I do wonder what happens to many who are "won" (a strange term in itself) for Christ after the initial meeting, if left to their own devices, without any emphasis on further growth. The desire for holiness within the church, sadly, seems to be waning.
I'm seeing that God seems to reveal His purpose in a way that both extends and expands our faith. Many times, God seems to veil His plan/purpose just to the point where we give out, lose faith, and delve into an abyss of doubt and confusion. Often, this seems to be his method of elongating an inelastic faith. We have to cling to God's will not just as the divine dance that we should try to emulate, but as the primary technique the artist uses to mold us, moment by moment, into something beautiful…and holy.
I'm more restless in this moment than I've ever been before. I feel strangely discontent with my present state yet inexplicably confident in the Divine Will. I pray for a deeper thirst to fuel passion in the places where passion has grown despondent. I pray for a deeper sense of urgency for my continual abandonment to His intentions for this moment I live and move across this trackless wilderness, waiting for one more glimpse of the path ahead of me, even if that glimpse is only momentary.
"Holiness is produced in us by the will of God and our acceptance of it. It is not produced by intellectual speculation about it. If we are thirsty we must have a drink and not worry about books which explain what thirst is...We must put all speculation aside and, with childlike willingness, accept all that God presents to us. What God arranges for us to experience at each moment is the best and holiest thing that could happen to us…It is a divine warmth from heaven and gives us a ceaseless increase of grace. It is the kingdom of heaven which penetrates the soul. It is the bread of angels which is eaten on earth as well as in heaven. There is nothing trivial about our passing moments, as they enclose the whole kingdom of holiness and the food on which angels feed."
- Jean-Pierre de Caussade