Friday, November 11, 2016

PDX Wordstock 2016 and Words

The sun rose pink over Portland last Saturday. It was delightful to be footloose and fancy-free on Portland's streets with a hot coffee in hand, sans the children, and a day of words looming large.

I volunteered at Wordstock; it was my first time attending Wordstock and working it. And I am ever more convinced that our words matter in the world. What we do with our words shapes who we are, our families, our communities, and our nation.

Today, Portland's streets are fraught with frantic fear and anger.
I wrote these words last Saturday, taking in the human bodies amidst the crush of books:

One comes to the conference to buy  books. She pretends to write, but is an author junkie. The other silently takes notes, listens. A mass of humans will be distilled down to one myopic viewing - through her lens alone. 

The Portland couple in their matching REI jackets, is, underneath it all, searching for their identities, and deciding if they will craft and create them together. 

Above all, they voraciously read, run around in the rain, choose comfort clothing over "class", wear a wet coffee laden look, and they listen. They are hungry. 

Tonight, they will go and taste Portland and see if they can discern what it means to them: these words hanging in the air, hoping to latch onto someone, something, some place, and some time. These words tingling on their palates, will they swallow?

Will they act? Will the whitest city in America act? They vote, but will they live, and will they use their words to shape the world? And will they follow their words into the world and offer true sustenance?
This morning, I found myself reading Jeremiah 23 about the lies we believe, and the lies we buy into about the lies we live, and the lies we are told.

Who then is righteous? We desperately need Him in the days ahead.

I don't know how the days will turn for my children or the children we sometimes take into our home. I am doing my best not to make judgements or speak outcomes. But, neither have I swallowed the pill that believes there is an elected savior, save Christ. And we don't seem to put Him on our ballot.

We may soon be finding ourselves in one mighty mess - but then many have lived that for a long while now in this nation. So it does not surprise that we are broken, and what flows from our hearts and mouths is brokenness.

Our words, our votes, they matter, and so too their fruit in the world. What is it that we believe and then speak? Are our beliefs and words founded upon Truth?  Or, have we bought and sold a lie? Lies? Are our myopic viewpoints simply our own navel gazing, or do we truly know how others live elsewhere and how they are impacted by our actions?

Maybe it's time we go back to living simply, so that others may simply live. Maybe it's time we go back to listening so others may be heard. Maybe it's time we hear and look, so others may be seen. Maybe it's time we be silent, so we may once again hear the voice of God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God. ~ Mathew 5:9

Let us hold fast to Him,