My Addiction: Declaration of a Metal-Head

A Little Fight Music

All my life pRock fingerseople have told me that I’d outgrow my love of hard rock—that I would mature out of my youthful angst and leave Headbanger’s Ball in the dust. I never did—the more I grew, the more my metal-head grew, too. I earned my nickname “Haze” when I was barely into double digits in age, because of my love of Jimi Hendrix. And so began my addiction.

Earlier this week I drove to my office for a couple of days; it takes just over two hours when there’s no traffic. I take that time to think, pray or listen to music. On this trip I listened to my go-to favourite, RED — master of non-standard Christian themes, hard-driving rhythms, and pulverising vocals. Master of making me feel closer to God. I listened to every drumbeat, every guitar riff, every lyric as if I didn’t know them by heart. I paused when the guttural screams were coming. I took a deep breath when they were done. By the time I made it to Deerfield Beach I was in tears. Music does that to me. Continue reading

Authenticity and the Deeper Magic

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Being authentic

I doubt there is a person alive today over the age of twelve who isn’t familiar with the term “being authentic”. It’s become such a cliché I cringe when I hear it.

Just over a year ago I co-wrote a book with a beautiful soul, Dadi (Elder Sister) Janki, administrative head of the Brahma Kumaris (Daughters of Brahma) World Spiritual University (BKs) entitled, Feeling Great: Creating a Life of Optimism, Enthusiasm and Contentment (HCI 2015). I was commissioned by the publisher to write Feeling Great based on Dadi’s years of teaching. She turned 100 years of age in January of 2016. She is a truly beautiful, gentle soul who has made it her life’s work to rid the world of darkness by teaching love and humility. To this day, Dadi continues her commitment by sharing messages of peace and tolerance from her home in India. I doubt she will stop until the day she takes her last breath.

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Yes, It’s Enough, Larry

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My beloved father, Hesketh Johnson, who has been a Christian for 70 years and a pastor for about as long, asked me the other day what I think it means to be “saved”. I answered quickly, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ”. Feeling it was too simplistic an answer, I follow ed up with “… if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Rom 10:9, ESV) My dad is asking everyone the same question these days, I think he wants to know what each of his loved ones believe so that he can have peace in these later years.

Sometimes believing isn’t so easy.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my answer and what it means – to me – to be a Christian. It’s such a complex term in “world-speak” and even more convoluted in “church-speak”. There are so many versions, so many descriptions, so many interpretations. As soon as I give what I think is a simple, clear answer, the guillotine comes smashing down. I’ve been going through a lot of beheadings—or at least some good sound thrashings—lately from a variety of sources and it’s disturbing. Even more distressing—heartbreaking, actually—is the vitriol with which some defend their theology. Before I go any further, let me be clear — I’m a novice, a layman’s layman at best, I ask my dad about almost everything that requires genuine Biblical knowledge and understanding. Continue reading

Inner Satisfaction Brings Creativity

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Dadi Janki turned 99 years old in January. This message from her was just posted on the Hindu Blog – words from a life of light!

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Inner satisfaction brings creativity

We often find ourselves falling into a routine. We perform tasks the way we have always done them – often for no particular reason. Life becomes monotonous, and we find it difficult to become inspired.

Only when I am happy within myself can I bring creativity to my life. Even though I have to do a number of routine jobs each day, they do not have to become dull – when I am happy, I can think of innovative ways to doing them. Even small changes have a big impact, and I will soon be inspired to make even larger changes to challenge me further. Continue reading

Contemplation and Restoration

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I never had a spiritual “aha moment” — that life-changing awakening that comes like a smack on the back of the head from Special Agent Gibbs of NCIS. It just never happened.

I grew up a “preacher’s kid” in the Bahamas with wonderful, compassionate parents. My father was a local Bahamian minister who married a lovely American missionary girl who never went back home. From them I learned a lot about caring and sharing, morals and ethics, but I never learned how to develop intimate communion – that connection to the Divine that only comes with soul-searching and meditation. But maybe that’s something that can’t actually be taught. Continue reading

Following hard after God

Following Hard after God

O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need of further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, that so I may know Thee indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me. Say to my soul, “Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.” Then give me grace to rise and follow Thee up from this misty lowland where I have wandered so long. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

— from The Pursuit of God, A. W. Tozer (1948)

The Apprentice

Every picture tells a story, and every life tells its story in pictures. I know mine does.

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I wasn’t fully aware of the master artist who was painting my story behind an easel that I mistook for a business plan, until I learned how to sit still and listen. You can’t know much about life with your fingers in your ears and scales on your eyes—even worse, with your third eye closed. All you will know is what you see and hear using the limited eyes and ears on your head. Through no fault of the painter’s, though, I let hundreds of occasions to experience the progress of the composition escape me, and each time I did, I squandered an opportunity to participate in the creation process. Continue reading