more about this sight

"you're packing a suitcase for a place that you've never been...a place that has to be believed to be seen"...'Walk On' by U2

WATERSHED: A voice in the wilderness. DARYL UNDERWOOD.


The concept of Centerpoint Christianity briefly stated is:

Christianity from the centerpoint outward.

Christianity from the climax forward.

This blog constitutes concepts for a new view of Christianity that begins with what is foundational and moves forward from that point. It is based on the assumption that we are being pulled towards something unseen and pushed from a place that once was.

What Centerpoint Christianity attempts to do is bypass some of the constraints imposed by metanarratives by using the life of Christ and particularly the climactic actions of Christ as beginning points.

It supports the conviction that God is essentially timeless. From this beginning point we endeavor to move outward from the definitive moment of the parousia (visitation) of Christ and forward to the future which functions as a type of magnet to "what can be--and is coming".

When we begin at the life of Christ and move outward as from the centerpoint of a web, rather than in a linear timeline of history, another wide picture emerges.

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to my debbies...

I know 'exactly' what you mean. Let me tell you why you're here. You're here because you know something. What you know you can't explain, but you feel it. You've felt it your entire life, that there's something wrong with the world. You don't know what it is, but its there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad. It is this feeling that has brought you to me. Do you know what I'm talking about?—Morpheus in”The Matrix

This is a rather melancholy, personal post, and should not be read unless you have the grace and resolve to understand it. You must be ready for it or it will make no sense at all.

My sister and my wife, both Debbies, have lovingly stood by my descent to the place where I am now. To their love and resilience I write this entry. They did not run, they did not hide, they walked the road with me, pleading all the while. Sometimes I think they have been concerned that I may be going over the edge a bit.

Jesus had His Marys'

Jesus had His Mary's...and I have my Debbie's.

And who really knows in the kingdom--perhaps in the economy of God descent really is ascent and ascension. Sometimes I fear I will die alone. But then doesn't everybody. Perhaps two people will understand and be at my 'proverbial' cross on the hill where I make this stand.

And, finally, to Jesus I say as I look to the sky...'now I understand what you tried to say to me, how you suffered for your sanity, how you tried to set them free. They would not listen, they did not know how, perhaps they'll listen now'

Jesus suffered for his sanity? Are you serious? It's true. His family was concerned with what He was saying and what He was doing.

"When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, 'He is out of his mind'" (Mark 3:21).

They were concerned. He seemed 'just off'. It turns out He was right on--although it certainly didn't appear that way from a general concensus of the people of His day. However, He was clear in His own resolve. Walls that had been erected over a long period of time needed to come down. And so it seems still. Walls that insulate, isolate, and create boundaries must be brought down.

The wall that divides the weak from the strong is solid and strong. And, alas, I fear that ears are blocked, eyes are blind, and hearts are hard. The question today, as it has always been, is; Will the ones with power ever relent?

There comes a time when silence becomes betrayal...when we float along in life knowing others are thrashing around in the deep...we say a prayer of thanks...'I thank you God that I am not this man'...but what does God hear and see...

Listen to Jesus' discourse on power and powerlessness...

God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortionists, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

According to Jesus it's not the drowning who are in such deep despair, it is the man that closes his heart to the cry, who carries on as if all is well, and rejoices that he is not found in the deep sea in the dark night, and shuts his ears to the horrific cries, and builds sandbars and dams, and fortresses to block out the sight and sound of the struggling. These structures are perhaps subconsciously constructed and serve as insulation, isolation, and boundaries to serve and protect. A watershed so 'they' won't get wet. Debbies have heard enough to get my drift. Some drown while others purchase raincoats with designer tags.

And I ask, 'What am I to do?' to go down to my house justified, which means of course, to be clothed in God's justice (the antithesis of human injustice). To 'be about or found in' the viseo, dream of God, is to be walking in justice. For what does God really require of you O man? 'but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?' --Micah 6:8.

So I ask, 'What am I to do?'

And I hear the reply.

'How shall they hear unless one is sent'

...and I count the cost

...and I hold my breath

...and I contemplate

...and I hesitate

...and I consider going to Tarshish. Surely I can avoid God's call and command there.

I don't move...for a long time. I delay till my spirit can not stand myself no more...and then... I subconsciously self destruct...I come undone from the inside out...until I am the one to thrash around, and then, and perhaps only then, do I have the urgency and the courage to 'speak'. Until I am somehow personally involved I can stand clear and remain obtuse. Until I am the bird on the wire I have no fear. And no one wants to leave the nest to crawl out on the wire. Not if it can be delayed, put off, ignored, avoided.

No one. Which is why this is a lonely road. And I know I chose this somehow.

MLK says this, in respect to the situation he found himself in, as he walked the lonely road of his own 'via doloroso'. He, the bird on the wire, picked off by a shot in the Memphis sky, said these words. It was about his context, his inescapable time. He could no longer stand on the sidelines, he was in the words of Jack to Rose on the the windy deck of the Titanic, 'involved now'. So he removed his shoes and readied his spirit to jump in the ocean, the vast open raging sea. The words he spoke could be applied to any situation where one acknowledges that one group holds power, while the other group slowly sinks.

We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct-action campaign that was "well timed" in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word "Wait!" It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This 'Wait' has almost always meant 'Never'." We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that "justice too long delayed is justice denied."

People who are comfortable are never in a hurry, are always saying 'in a little while'. But the bird on the wire knows he may not be able to hang on, he knows that there is a chance he will be 'picked off'. He doesn't have the luxury of time, of wait. When you are grasping at the edge the face of the mountain the time till rescue seems long. When you know you are slipping it may not come in time. Hang on is easy from the easy chair but not so much in the boxing ring.

And I hear Jesus, and I see Jesus, and He is still saying the same stuff, 'He has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.”

Understand me, I am no Jesus, no MLK, truth to be told, I don't even have half the courage of Jack Dawson on the deck of the Titanic. I have no illusions of grandeur. OK...I admit that if I did I wouldn't know it or claim it. People who suffer from illusions don't know they are illusions. It's just that sometimes...well...we don't choose our battles...they choose us. And I see the wall. And I hear the distant cries in the deep. Sometimes I turn to Tarshish. But I seem to always go back. There is a big fish out there. I know there is.

You know, somehow, I'll do anything to avoid this road and everything to walk it. Indeed I have become convinced...'wait has almost always meant never and justice too long delayed is justice denied' and 'there comes a time when silence becomes betrayal'. I am culpable in these crimes if I stand silent. I, God help me, cannot stand still and buld my own nest. So in the end I may have no nest.

No nest. No nest egg.

And to the Debbie's who have walked this way with me, when it was very hard, and suffered just to be near me, I say that... 'I shed a silent weary tear for those who mean to love me'. I know it is hard. Others have chose not to go. You have less of a choice.

Jesus had His Marys'

The tale has not yet been told. I am ready for the storm but that doesn't mean I am not afraid of the dark night, the deep abyss, the raging sea and the tide of popular opinion. I just ask that you remember 'wisdom is justified by her children'. Time will tell. I hope I make it to the end of the book.

What drives this engine...

“There are two kinds of people in this world, Charlie. The first group are the people that face the music;
the second group are those who run for cover. Cover is better.”

--Lt. Col. Frank Slade in
"The Scent of a Woman”

Dustin Hoffman plays the part of Colonel Frank Slade in the movie 'The Scent of a Woman'. He is a survivor, seen enough of war to know that when you stick your neck out in battle there is a good chance someone might cut it off. Only fools rush in where angels fear to tread. Better to just take cover. If there are indeed, 'two kinds of people in the world' those who 'face the music' and those who take cover Jesus clearly was the first. What He did as He set His face towards Jerusalem could hardly be seen as anything other than instigated suicide. When it came time to 'make a righteous stand', as Springsteen puts it, Jesus clearly, stubbornly, faces the music. The inevitable did not stop him from doing the right thing. He was in control of a hopeless out of control situation.

Indeed 'Cover is better' if you want to live without trouble. Let someone else take the bullet, sit back, wipe your forehead and sigh 'yet for the grace of God go I'. Be conservative, bend to the Man, don't fight city hall. Don't take unnecessary risk, don't get involved, take care of your own. Insulate and isolate your self from trouble. Create boundaries with enough padding to soften any blow, save for the rainy day, and you will get by to live to a ripe old age.

You may lose your pride along the way, you may leave friends on the battlefield, you may walk about blind, but it is the price to pay. At least you didn't die.

Like Jesus did.

He died.

He rushed in.

He risked.

He took the hit.

The late Mark Heard asks, 'What kind of friend would do you in when the bomb goes off and the shelters his?' Why, of course, no friend at all. We sing 'What a friend I have in Jesus'...but the question lingers is 'Are you, am I, a friend like him?'

If there are two kinds of people in this world, as the Colonel observes, then Jesus was the kind who would face the music no matter what the cost.

When God emerges on the other side of silence he sets his face like flint towards Jerusalem. This is the beginning of the end.

And the end which speaks the beginning. Final word. What follows is the story of a courageous man who did the right thing, faced the music, and died. A person who held the power of the atom, the devastating power that could make the a-bomb seem miniscule. He didn't drop that bomb.

He could have.

He didn't.

If I really want to be like Jesus...well...Fools rush in where angels fear to tread...and we are after all, fools for Christ.

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    Lovely Site, Continue the fantastic job. Regards!

Reader Comments (2)

No fear, Daryl. Keep calm and carry on.
... that second you say yes, you walk onto a bridge between here and there with nothing under your feet but faith...
...and what of faith, old friend? it will sustain you. And Grace will keep you. And nothing can separate you from the love.
you know these things to be truth... and the truth always sets us free.

February 27, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterks

Wow what a powerful post. I think back on all our late night discussions and all the times I couldn't understand your passion. Then there was the night I said "It is not that I don't get your passion, I am just not wired to get what you are hearing. I want to get it. I try to get it. But it is simply not so clear to me." You simply said "I guess I never realized it that way". Seems from that evening on, little things began to have a hint of understanding. A few little pieces seemed to gently float down, rest, and germinate. Little buds flower from time to time and I catch a glimpse of your higher understanding. I think I am getting it….little by little. Not as fully as you do. Not as eloquently as you do. Not as passionately as you do. Something is taking hold, be patient. With all that being said, I am honored to be one of your Debbies!

May 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterOne of your Debbies

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