Category: Romance


**Writer’s note: What follows are some thoughts directly transcribed from one of my favourite moleskin notebooks that I carry around and record my thoughts, questions and ideas in and in italics are my current thoughts on the transcription. These are mostly curiosities that may or may not end up as longer posts in the future. I have a stack of molskins, the following excerpts are only about 30% of one of them. I hope to use more of them with more finesse later.

I am curious: what was the attitude of the early christians and general educated public (pre-Athenasias) toward the scriptures (before the canon was constructed)?

I realise that a rational belief doesn’t quite cut it for tough situations. A purely rational belief doesn’t go far enough, only a belief coupled with faith goes far enough to bring relief and peace when we run into trouble too big for us.
** I have been slowly reading through Romans, and chapter 7 specifically from the message version comes to mind with regard to the comment above.

Why is it that I continue to go to church at all? To continue to be encouraged to believe.
** A friend of mine TUE and I call ourselves and others like us coffee-shop christians. The kind of christian that often doesn’t feel comfortable in a normal Sunday church service. I realise that church serves (among a few others) the following purposes:
– fellowship: being in contact with other believers who can support and understand your world view.
– edification: being put into contact with good solid teachings on the fundamentals and complexities of the christian faith.
– service: being in a community that helps to put you to work practicing your faith so as to have a well rounded faith – practical and theoretical for the sake of a respectable (and not hypocritical) pursuit of truth.
– preaching: a place to preach the truth of Jesus Christ to those who have not yet heard or grasped it so that they might begin their own pursuit of it.

What this year has taught me (2011):
– I am smart; I enjoy teaching; I like robots; I miss fighting; I like assignments not tests; faith > belief; I can do this romantic relationship thing.
** I doubted for a long time whether I was actually capable of maintaining a mature and good romantic relationship. 9 months with theillustratedwriter.blogspot.com have taught me that I can.

On post FINAL DESIGN dissatisfaction: one has to learn to focus on the things that one has done right. You can’t; and it’s too easy to focus on the mistakes. Even though there are so many things that are/were correct.
** A note on human nature I think. Surely this must be adopted into any successful human philosophy – obtaining the ability to consider the mistakes and dwell on the successes instead of the opposite. Does Christianity preach this? I think so – the concept of the grace of God deals with this.

Below are my notes from the planning for the predating outing on which I hoped to impress the illustrator:

image

** it worked

How to write music? What way works for me? Do I start with guitar or words?
** I must still discover the answers to this. I only have one song with both lyrics and words. The words came after the music. A lot of acoustic guitar (as opposed to electric) and practice with singing this year (2012) has helped a lot.

Humility = accepting other people’s flaws.
** Not one’s own.

On challenging people to improve upon a flaw: this is good but making them feel bad is not alright. Maybe it is? But how do we/I balance this art? Show acceptance? How?
** This is a question that should come up for any leader. Part of the answer may be found in Hebrews 12 with regard to discipline being painful for the moment but reaping the final result of righteousness.

Humility, shyness and fear. How are they related? Shyness – there is pride in this too.

Should we be careful to have less regard for people as well as more regard for God. Are these directly inproportional?

So what if you gain the whole world (like professorship and academics) but/and lose your soul? Do I follow Wilke or Ingles or Jesus?

Some thoughts on meaning in life:
Ravi:
– Wonderment
– people/friends/family

Frankl:
– love of a person
– hope for a future something
– an activity to keep one occupied
(All of these are items based in the future)

** CS Lewis: Don’t be too concerned with the future or the past because neither exist such that one may be lead astray from reality based truth. What about time transcendent truths (those which are based in the future but we know them to be true now) like Frankl’s hope and Ravi’s wonderment? These become present tense. Hope of a future something is only edifying then when it is an assured hope. Christianity calls faith “the assurance of what is hoped for”.

The role of relationship? A helper. Someone to pursue life with.
**A partner in the pursuit of all life has to offer.

Notes from Thesis work in Mechanical Engineering final year:

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The end of the world: should we fear it as christian?
** I am still unsure of the answer to this. We should be nervous but confident. When the day comes we will be in awe. Neither/both fearful and full of joy. Our Lord and saviour will be returning – but we will face judgement in the face of his glorious and frightening perfection. Judgement founded on grace toward us who have come to him in need though. So awe rather than fear I think.

Ahh wow, Singapore – this city gets me, it understand me. It provides a 24 hour Starbucks 10 meters away from a pristine and perfect subway. It has clear and clean walkways for pedestrians and cyclists. It has the beauty of high rise buildings with their lights, blue tinted windows and gun-metal grey architecturally alluring angular walls, reaching for the sky in pure prideful self indulgence (buildings are tall here because they can be, that is all) and an atmosphere of forestry due to the beautiful green grasses, South East Asian trees and the many twisting lakes and rivers winding through the bright streets and shining cars and busses. This is what strikes me most and first about this country compared to South Africa, nothing is dusty. I haven’t seen dust in my 3 days here so far – everything is clean and nothing is any less than its true colour. Everything seems to be bright. The gray roads even seem to shimmer like silver and the sidewalks like precious stones.

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Singapore city (c) JSB

Thud thud thud, went the sound of my feet as I took my first run through this concrete jungle this morning. I woke up early enough to take a 30 minute run and be back at st. Andrews village before breakfast. My brand new New Balance running shoes were perfect for the occasion, new like everything else in Singapore. This city is a shopping mall. Actually it’s like some grand city creator opted away from the cheaper brands and walked straight into the designer city chop, picked Singapore in it’s expensive packaging off of the top shelf and payed for it with a Platinum Credit card. Unwrapped it from it’s pricey plastic wrapper and placed it in the ocean for the amusement of the Chinese, Indonesian and other South East Asian people. This city is fresh like a Samsung Galaxy S3 right out of the box, comes with its batteries pre charged and like an Asus Transformer: Primed to go.

I run out through the automated booms unnecessarily guarding st. Andrews village from one of the safest places on earth. I take a left through a group of Asian school kids making their way to school for morning classes. I keep my pace up, measuring my stride by my breathing, not growing tired simply because of how entertained my mind is at the people, streets, buildings, grasses and Singapore river which has now come up beside me as I move through the streets. I am amused, I am very amused. 1.3 gadgets per person as I get to a bridge girded by purple flowers, I have never seen such a technology integrated culture before. I am reminded as I join the runners walkway next to the river of two nights before when in my jet lag I took a walk to an all night Chinese diner through dark alley ways and obscure corners in the shadow of the government housing apartment skyscrapers with my eight thousand rand tablet loosely in my hand, not a fear in the world. My South African nerves took a few minutes to calm and then the safety of this world sunk in. Thud thud thud, the feel of my feet hitting the perfect pavement still reverberating through my body as I pass old Chinese men and women stretching in Tai Chi stances against the railings by the river. I make a mental note: “stop to stretch in a tai chi fashion when you’re too tired Jeremy, that’ll be cool”.

“I should probably turn back” I think to myself, 07:55, I read the time on the watch of a 5 foot tall Chinese lady runner because I can’t understand her Mandarin when I point to my wrist in the global sign language of the developed world, noting that 25 minutes have passed and I’m getting quite far from my base. I don’t want to stop though, this is too good. A perfect running experience, the pain of the air straining through my lungs and the developing stiffness in my calves are a dull backdrop to the sights, sounds, smell, atmosphere of where I am. Dull like the streets of Pretoria – a whole nother world, more than a world away.

Soon I’m in the city, and an hour later I’m finally back at st. Andrews village. Having gotten lost in the city and circled around with the help of locals until I finally found myself in a familiar area and on my way back to Patong Pasir, my Singaporian home suburb.

“Glorious” I sms to a friend back home in South Africa. That run was glorious. This city is almost perfect. Only three days in and I am enthralled with what I have seen.

The last thing that I mentioned was that I had completed my degree after 5 arduous and astoundingly special years at University. I was off on an adventure, with the first stop being an outreach to the LIV-village orphanage in Kwazulu Natal in South Africa where I was privileged enough to logistically head up the musical worship aspect of the outreach…

Though I have many thoughts on this time I thought it would be more poignant and critical to fulfil my promise and extrapolate on what my plans were and are now, for the next phase of my path finding journey. So have a look around for the post after or before this one where you can read the stories of LIV village and its people. Right now though:

See, about 4 months ago the very guy who now inscribes his thoughts on your internet met a girl. This guy and this girl had liked each other for a long, long time, however providence and fate conspired such that this guy and girl only got together at the end of their degrees. Two months before each setting off in prospectively opposite directions. The guy, off to who knows where and the girl off to show and produce hope, love and meaning to the downtrodden and poverty stricken of the rural Transkei, South Africa.

As vagabond doctrine condensed and took on shape and further significance in the mind of the guy; a plan, a sacrifice, a solution and an adventure began to find clarity, with a first step being in the form of a roadtrip down to said rural Transkei, South Africa.

The girl and guy therefore travelled down to the LIV village together in the landrover defender that would come to be called Livingston, named after the missionary explorer, with the intent to backpack their way down the Eastern coast of South Africa, so as to eventually reach the Hospital where the girl would work for the rest of 2012.

I (the guy) was embarking on this journey for at least 3 reasons:

1)      Support the girl in her move toward her calling among the poor and uncared for.

2)      Finally complete a goal that was set 4 years prior and take a roadtrip along the coast of South Africa

3)      Attempt to discover God’s calling on my life. Discover where He is leading me. To determine if there was an opportunity near to the girl where I could be a missionary and continue to be close to her (who he was gradually beginning to realise he couldn’t do without for very long, such were his feelings for her)

4)      Begin the process of adapting and discovering the merits and truths of this idea of living as a christ following vagabond, as a free agent of the lord, a traveller and a real seeker of truths and all that is really important in this world.

The journey began as the other LIV village volunteers left in their bus early on the 16th of December, on their way back to Pretoria and their holidays and lives back home. The girl and guy packed up the landrover and with a rumble of the engine and the clatter of camping gear in the back set off on their adventure.

The extent of the couple’s planning covered about two pages of my moleskin notebook and a hastily scrawled A4 itinerary; we were going to wing it. Not necessarily by design, but that’s how things worked out, and we felt freed by the open possibilities presented to us through minimal planning.

We travelled from backpackers to backpackers, realising that for R100 per night one could spend the night in some of the most beautiful places in South Africa. On a whim we took the 4×4 route through the mountains of the Transkei, traversing some of the most beautiful scenery and scary off-roads I’ve ever seen.

Livingston carefully carrying us for days on end across the mountains and valleys, small Xhosa huts dotting the landscape, children running alongside us and friendly villagers giving us directions whenever our GPS failed.

At one point we found ourselves at the entrance to a game reserve we never intended to reach. The friendly guards  at the entrance explained to us through broken English where we lost our way and so we turned around and began heading back, we were intrigued however by a little dirt (off)road (very off road!) leading up a little hill onto a grassy slope. So we decided to see what was at the top. Livingston carefully climbed up and then, as we edged up the hill, a sudden and unexpected view I will never forget came into view…

The coast stretched out before us, hundreds of meters below us the waves broke upon kilometres of beach, reaching out to sea again on another cliff and then retreating back inland to meet more sheer cliff face and lush forest greenery.

After many more such experiences we eventually reached Madwaleni Hospital where the girl was to work. This hospital is 60km of mostly dirt roads to the nearest little town. Rural in its deepest form.

After a night here the majority of our journey was over and we began to head back to Pretoria, via a much more direct and tarred route.

There are many more stories to tell, for now I’ll leave it here though because this post has grown quite large.

The next instalment will follow, and will be available for when you find yourself with a few minutes of free time on the webternet.

What comes next?

The next couple articles you’ll read here are:

1)      How I have officially become a full time missionary and the mission I’ll be involved in till June.

2)      How I will be travelling to the East to do more missionary work there, including my plans for taking a Muay Thai fight in Lat-Krabang, Bangkok, Thailand.

3)      The stories that unfolded out of the LIV village adventure

4)      The rest of the roadtrip story.

5)      Lots of photography.

6)      I may even upload some music I’ve been working on.

Peace.

Jack Figure (aka Jeremy)

Romance

Romance …
… romantic beauty and poetry, in the form of interpersonality

interplay of sanctity – in the metaphor of loving me

with attention to what needs to be, in the gallery of hypocrisy:
I wrote that night:

“Wow, I have a lot to learn” is the statement that has found itself acceptable in my estimation. Like a small coarse rock that has been tossed around in the ocean and swept up onto and down off of beaches for many enduring days – the summation of this cumbersome experience has finally become smoothed and rounded into a form that is comfortable to grip.

As the saturated hours have poured themselves out into the mixed pool of memories, creating the backdrop for all currant and future decisions; the moods, emotions, experiences, sights, regrets have formed a kaleidoscopic picture of who I am.

With the regularity of a heart-monitors display of blips due to the health of an athletes heart, so have my thoughts swayed from amplitude top to bottom, finding constancy for a moment half way up the hill.

“I don’t know what you expect of me?” comes the soft, just short of trembling voice. She is not so much fragile – her strength is almost unique, but the ambiance plays tricks on our perceptions. Spoken affirmations of love and acceptance in forms of stories, jokes, interests sneak upon our ears…

Subtle subliminal intervening in the form of butterflies in the stomach creating an air-tight dome in which occasional eyes lock for moments too long to miss but brief enough to dismiss…

Way above our misty isolation are stars beyond number, beyond description, beyond science – blinking with constant assurance of their life. Since the beginning they’ve stood as a metaphor to the two; peace, tranquility, a life of adoration so far removed from sinful Earth that issues do not find persuasion…

Two heavenly bodies suspended in the sky – a new metaphor takes shape as the young couple provides words in attempting to speak when a hand in hand would fulfill the need…

Alone in space, one million light-years from the nearest body of light, in this moment they are to each other the closest beings in existence but with words too few and barriers too contrite. One thousand light years still lie between…

If only love could become an expression of Christ’s blessing of togetherness in shared experiences they’ve not yet seen, if only it were simplified, our lives would intertwine.

… and she would be mine…

This is an article I wrote in January of 2009, I got a lot of positive responses and rereading it lately, I have found that I still believe most of what I wrote (though some ideas are less clear now and others clearer, and I have changed much since I wrote it). Consider this the first entry into my book of vagabond doctrine, in the chapter called romance:

January 5, 2009

This note is dedicated to all those dear people who have found a person to whom they can dedicate the energy of the rest of their lives to help perfect before the throne of God.

This author has to admit that this subject first took shape in his mind while browsing facebook status’. A look at the status’ of a few friends never fails to find me at least one sentence such as “so-and-so is totally obsessed with So-and-so and wishes he/she was here” or “I couldn’t be happier, there is nothing better than being with So-and-so right now”.

I am quite the lover-boy myself, I fall in love almost too often. I am a seeker of beauty and so when romance can be applied with sensitivity and grace and quiet adoration is given a moment to overwhelm any distraction – I am content. However I am also a seeker of truth and so when I entertain thoughts like these or view outcries of emotion as in these statuses, the truth strikes my fluttering heart like a red hot poker simultaneously. Survival mode kicks in and I know instantly that there is something dreadfully wrong with this sort of unbridled adoration…

It would be untruthful of me to be in the pretence of not being affected by this high affinity for companionship. I believe without much doubt that this longing is extremely common among young adults today. However they wouldn’t be wrong to be longing in this way. I think that to some degree; It is this period of a person’s life that God so designed in the hope of securing beautiful families with the purpose of ensuring a lasting covenant of faithful belief and following of Himself. Ultimately, God wants us to raise our children as stewards of His children. He hopes and waits for the time when our children will become His, through the adoption justified by Jesus.

So I realise the terrifying intension of companionship.

In a world so obsessed with God (one can see this obsession if one’s eyes are opened to see), so aimed toward the glorification of an “immaculate Messiah who wants your whole life and expects you to give it”, can one hardly be surprised when it is suggested that this extreme focus on God and His covenant of grace applies to companionship too? Surely one can realise that we are truly supposed to be a God consumed people. A people that were created for that purpose and will not be satisfied until that purpose is fully lived.

I have a friend who studies people. In fact I study people myself, the easiest subject of my recreational studies being myself. People are complex creations created as vessels and filled so far beyond biology with emotion, feeling, thought; filled with so much humanity that this humanity explodes out of them into literary expressions of emotion in poetry and prose, often into song and melody, lyrics and compositions, brush-strokes and sketches, in such moments of inspiration even drawn out silences become infused with passion so thick it can warm the skin like a thick winter coat.

God had all of this in mind when He designed His system of companionship. His system of perfect union of man and woman, husband and wife. God knows his favourite creation intimately. As a carpenter knows every groove in the great table he’s been carving away for months so much more does God know His great object of unselfish love. He knows it from when it was only a thought in His mind, a glorious picture that would cost so much to bring into existence that only He could fathom it, He knows the extent to which He was willing to sacrifice in deciding to make it a reality, and he knows the glory it shall express in the end of the end. When all things come to completion and the picture becomes fully expressed for all who formed a part of it to see.

We find that young adulthood is the time most saturated with emotion and passion. I believe that God intended no coincidence when He planned for such desperate emotion to occupy the same time frame as this far spread longing for companionship. Our Lord is utterly sovereign and in His world and His people that are so foundationally, intrinsically (but deniably) Christocentric, nothing can be ascribed to chance and no experience can be assigned to chaotic evolution. Our greatest passion and most prominent longing can become intertwined if only we will allow it it’s proper timing. Long before He formed us in the womb, our Father in Heaven decided on the path that our lives should take to most glorify Himself through fulfilling the purpose He designed us with. If we trust Him as is natural when we recognise Him for who He is, we must present ourselves as subject to His ways and regulations in everything. Especially companionship in this time of our lives.

Slow down. We must pace ourselves. Let us bring to God the glory that we long too, as He deserves.

He will glorify Himself with power and majesty as any great King is able to do but to take up our cross in submissive reverence for His statutes will enable Him to bring glory to us in chorus. His glory is His focus and our happy companionship could not be more glorious in that it pictures that very image from the mind of God before creation: the image of Jesus and the Church, that image of unselfish sacrifice in the hope of an unbreakable covenant. The companionship in the mind of God contains more beauty then what minds less then God’s can grasp yet in His design of humanity: emotion, feeling, thought, passion – in this design He allows us rather to experience it.

Hear me lovers: God is whom you glorify in your companionship. And your companionship is what God beautifies so as to sanctify you in more Godly glory. Never forget what your purpose is in companionship and strive for that grace, love, humility and sanctity that accompanies any such image of Jesus and the Church. Great responsibility rests on those whom He has chosen to place into companionship. Only people truly committed into the changing process of boy to man, girl to woman can bring glory to God in the way that He has ordained and called companionship. So seek, oh you seeker of love with all your soul for the God who will make you able to bring Glory to His name, and to His covenant through your companionship.

Greetings to the saints. I hope to find companionship in this glorious image of Jesus’ covenant with the church soon. Till then, in pain of sanctification I present my prayers for them already on this road to God my Redeemer.

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