Friday, December 19, 2008


These two bands have been changing me lately. Please listen to anything by either of them.


Sigur Ros - "Glósóli"

Explosions In The Sky - "Your Hand in Mine"

These aren't some best-kept-secret kind of thing and I'm not touting any band credentials. Both of these are kind of ubiquitous, and I'm certainly not gaining any kind of indie-credibility by mentioning them. They are just that good.

I need to write more. I'm suffocating.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

On Marriage.

This is still no substitute for a real essay, though one is in the works, I promise.

Has anyone else noticed (maybe/hopefully it's just me) that Marriage is under attack lately? Have you heard more stories recently of stumbling marriages, failing marriages?

Last week I had a parent/teacher conference with the father of one of my students. He was doting and proud, but concerned. He gave his family's allegiance to their daughter and her education.

This week, the student is pulled from school because he and her mother are divorcing.

The neighbors I used to wakeboard with are walking through the details of an exposed affair.

A friend of a friend found out that the guy she'd just rekindled a 5 year relationship with is actually now married.

If I'm honest, it's really hard for me to hear. It's hard for me to hear because it's something I want so badly, but I'm afraid of being that father of my student, the neighbor, the friend of a friend.

Maybe Marriage is so warred against because it's a direct invasion into enemy territory. It's the human manifestation of God's perfect metaphor. He in us and we in Him. It's marriage right?

I've been wooed and courted, loved and married. And I cheat and lie and demand divorce.

More to come. I truly do hope you haven't felt the same way recently.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Blogging from the Teacher Convention

I've been lacking in inspiration lately, I feel dry;dusty even.

But we have to fight for inspiration because it doesn't always fight for us.

I think so often we leave joy to chance, hoping it finds us. But while we're out experimenting, it's a bound captive waiting (needing) our ransoming.

So we fight for joy and we fight for passion because we have to.

How do we change the world? How do we come alive?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Conjuring up a new essay, but wanted to post this picture (I stole it from another blog.)

I just think it's perfect.

Monday, November 03, 2008

The Politics of Distraction

I’m going to make a bold statement.

I believe there is an enemy among us who loves this election; who loves our backbiting and our bitterness and our division. He loves this election because it’s got us distracted. Whether we’re screaming at the opposing protesters across the street, or quietly speculating about the salvation of prominent Christian authors, there is an enemy between us and he’s smiling.

We’re fighting so hard to deify this election (albeit not as bad as 2000 or 2004) and we’re using our Christian spirituality to fund and further our political agenda. With swords drawn and theology ready, we’re calling for the might of God to push forward our personal, political agenda.

I think this excites an enemy who hates us; we can see his work in taking us down, firing bullets of disillusionment, resentment and resignation by way of self-superiority.

It’s not just the religious-right either. Each side of the coin finds itself abused by religion-isms.

We make for ourselves our own partisan Jesus, wearing a red or blue robe, bleeding glory and promise for the Religious-Right or the Liberal-Left. But I think when we assign Jesus to our own political party we steal him from God, we strip him of the same power we’re seeking.

And our enemy is excited because the tinder is finally sparking.

When a Christian institution tells me, in no uncertain terms, that we need to pray for the passing of a certain proposition, what they’re asking me to do is join them in calling God to rescue our agenda, to sponsor our Manifest Destiny paradigm through legislative might. How far is Caesar going to take us this time? How far is too far?

We’re fighting boldly, but we’re fighting the wrong war. We’re taking the wrong tools into the battle, and the collateral damage isn’t worth it. I think that while we’re fighting from within the political realm, we’re failing to use our greatest means of social change.


It’s all about Love isn’t it? But isn’t Love the enemy of power?

I will no longer pour my passions into the red-herring of political arguments and infighting (thus satisfying our enemy’s agenda of trusting in our own might) because I believe that real change is only possible if we walk down the capitol’s steps into the capitol’s streets. If we truly believe that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness…” (Eph. 6:12) then we must question WHY we are spending so much energy in that arena.

Jesus’ work was done socially; he lived and worked in community, he opposed the methods of religious rulers. His healing was never for political gain, most of the time it broke the law.

We’re so vehement about Proposition 8 because the gay community hasn’t seen Jesus in us. We’re condemning those who have abortions because we haven’t loved them enough.

I believe we’re intent on pushing our political agenda because fighting is so much easier than loving.

And we have an enemy who would love for us to keep fighting.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

This is It.

She'll sing me to sleep tonight. I know she will.

She has for years.

Dreams crash against me like waves frustrated by steadfast rocks, stubborn in their pride.

And like them, I do not move.

Our pulses screaming through our chests tell us, "this is it"

This is it. But we lay heavy and we do not move.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Making time for time.

I did it again.

I looked at my watch (phone) and it read 3:50.

I've developed such a fatalistic mindset, I know I have to be somewhere at 6:00 so now, when I look at the clock I perform lightning-speed subtraction to know that I have only a little over 2 hours beforehand. An hour and a half really; what with traffic and all.

Why am I always squinting and straining to see over the horizon? Why do I doom most coming events and let slip the hours and minutes in between?

If you've ever been slacklining or tightrope walking (yes, I do this) you know that the only way to keep real balance is to focus on a distant, but not-too-distant figure, something still, something planted. Perhaps a tree or a person tied to a tree. You focus on the object to give you a still point of reference, this keeps your head straight, which, in turn keeps your body and legs straight.

You stay on the line, but you miss everything below you. As soon as you look down at the swaying rope you lose it, you lose all foundation and get thrown.

I think I'm doing this with life, and I think I hate it. Something inside me says "Don't finish that project."
"Don't commit to anything."
"Don't pour yourself into something because likely, it will fail and look how good you have it here, here you're still walking, still moving somewhat."

Lies. Each of them.

The rope in all its turbulence needs looking after. Situations need remedying. Life needs living.

Life is waiting for us to have time for it.

What are we missing by focusing on the next job, the next friend, the next show or the next degree? What aren't we tending to while we're busy speculating?

So now, I look down at my watch (rope.) I have two hours before I have to be somewhere.

Two whole hours.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

God is not Pro-Life

Saw a bumper sticker today that read: "God is Pro-life."

At first, it struck me as an obvious statement. Yes, of course God is "pro-life." Fire is hot, water is wet, God is pro-life. So why would anyone need a bumper sticker declaring that God doesn't want babies to die? Why was it red white and blue? And while we're at it, why am I growing so uncomfortable?

It hit me and it hurt. The sedan in front of me probably meant well, but the truth is that God is not pro-life.

If we strip away the assumptive reasoning we find a very divisive political agenda being placed like a filter on top of God. The terms pro-life and pro-choice are highly-caffeinated and politicized terms used to define someone's position on abortion. They are snappy political clothes used to summarize, in one hyphenated phrase, a person's political affiliation. But God doesn't have a political position on anything. Our invention of modern politics (or any politics for that matter) are mere tools for definition, used to explain or to embolden a group's collective opinion. A mode of translation used to classify our feelings about creation.

They serve wholly to divide. Politics are about the business of power.

God is not pro-life. God IS life. Our terms are too small.

Frankly what the bumper sticker is telling us is that God would not only VOTE pro life, but, vote for a candidate who is pro-life. Now, here's the long stretch the bumper sticker wants you to make: CANDIDATE VOTING PRO-LIFE = GOD.

That's really what that bumper sticker is saying, and truly, what that bumper sticker is saying, I want nothing to do with.

God is not pro life because he is not ever small enough to fit into yours or my political frame. I simply don't believe God can be bothered with it.

I would argue that one of the greatest and most dangerous heresies in Church is that we are a Christian nation. We think a strong and brazen gladiator-Jesus enters into our political Colosseum fighting the lions of liberalism and ransoming lost and wayward ex-patriots. The truth is, we are not a Christian nation. Too often we objectify the scriptures to enforce our position: we enslave them, we molest them. We are a people using scripture as a sword and God as a shield when it suits our purposes but we have forgotten that God is the whole of the battle.

Jesus asked us to "give to Caesar what is Caesar's" and indeed, we must. But what we're doing is giving God to Caesar.

Monday, October 13, 2008

His Three Words

I’ve been meaning to chase down and capture the best words for my weekend in Colorado, but it’s been difficult. I’ve been practicing lines and words all week hoping to paint the perfect picture.

The best I can do will probably be a series of narratives or thoughts that come to me as I pore over my experiences as I try to continue to feel the weight of that weekend.

I was angry. If I’m honest, I was angry with God.

There were 400 men here, telling what seemed to be intimate experiences with God, but to me they were nothing more than folklore or family legend.

Where was my story? Where was my definitive moment when God became bigger than theories or theology or a fanciful message? I know God exists but for as long as I can remember, I’ve known and loved a silent God. I read stories about him, about his son, about his love. And it’s perfect. I know it’s perfect.

There were 400 men here and when it was silent you could hear each one of them weeping. Each of them revisiting stories of hurt; stories of beauty and inspiration. Each of them streaming tears of breakthrough and recovery and renewal.

Powerful isn’t the right word. It was just power.

It was beautiful and it was God and I was still angry.

At the end of one of Eldredge’s lectures, he asked us, like he had done a few times before, to leave the building in a “covenant of silence.” Our posture of solemnity and introspection and prayer was to be kept in silence; he asked us to pray, to talk to God, to cry if necessary, and ask him to speak to us.

So we left in silence, each one of us red-eyed and expectant. We left no room for machismo.

I climbed the side of a hill looking for a vista. If I’m honest, I hoped that soaking in God’s beauty at the paramount of one of the Colorado Rockies would bring me closer to him. I took a “Tower of Babel” approach (Worked for them right?)

After a few minutes I found a rock suitable for asking God the tough questions. It was big and smooth and very sit-able, facing away from the wind with a view of the lowering sun and flamboyant yellow Aspens.

So I dove in. I was the interrogator; God was sitting handcuffed and speechless across from me. If there was a swinging light above us, I would have shone it in his face and yelled at him.

“Where have you been the past 25 years?” I’d shout.

“I’ve been waiting.” I’d continue. “You know I’ve been waiting and I’ve been listening and now, I’ve been lying. Each year deepens our crevasse, and each year you get harder to fake. Now, where are you?”

Nothing. I heard nothing. The wind rushed through the trees behind me, and I halfway wanted it to be the voice of God himself. “But God was not in the wind” crept in the familiar 1 Kings passage. God was indeed not in the wind. And if I’m honest, I wondered if he was in my heart either.

My demanding turned into pleading, I was begging God for affirmation now.

“God, I don’t need to hear your voice, I’ve gotten this far without it,” I said “if you won’t tell me about yourself, then tell me about me. Tell me about me. Give me my new name God, and I’ll be that new name. I’ve done it alone for so long, if you so desperately want to be with us, why don’t you speak to us? Seems to be the worst way to do things.”

Like a man possessed, lines of long-memorized scripture filled my head. They overlapped each other, competed for prominence, competed for my attention.

“Draw near to me, and I’ll draw near to you”
“A still-small-voice”
“Our God, who is mighty to save”

They swirled between my ears, drowning my own inner-voice as I dismissed them as a reflex of self-medication learned through years of Christian institutionalization.

My doubt overcame me, and instantly I turned on God. My thoughts turned to betrayal, of negligence.

Of abandonment.

Why haven’t I felt validated? Why have I never felt strong enough to rescue a woman? What is it that keeps me questioning my own strength and purpose?

“God,” I asked,” what do you want from me?”

“What is my name?”

I want so badly to feel the strength that felled Goliath, the same strength that empowered Samson, the same spirit that carried Paul through years of imprisonment.

I heard the bell announcing the evening’s lecture and left hearing nothing at the mountaintop.

My shoulders had never felt lower, my face, like my spirit, was worn and tired and resigned. I walked back to the conference center and saw one of my bunkmates, a 45 year- old winery-owner with whom I’ve shared a car-ride, a few topical conversations but little else. He motions to me and I walk over to him.

“I spent the entire time praying for you.” He said. “I don’t know why, and I don’t understand it, but I’ve never heard God’s voice that clearly before. These three words came to me, throw them away or take them in, but understand that I’ve never had an experience with God like that before; I prayed for you the entire time.”

I took his folded post-it note and put it in my pocket, saving myself the awkwardness of having to let him know God doesn’t speak to guys like me, that I was too weak for God to use.”

Mick walked away.

His note read:


Thursday, October 02, 2008


Having a "Rocktoberfest" at the Rock Bottom brewery. The place is awesome, big and trendy but with a very old-world feel.

Being alone is kind of awesome. The next part of my journey begins in a few minutes as I begin my journey into the deep heart of the Rockies, and probably, into my own.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

wild at heart

Posting from the plane.

Anticipation isn't the right word.

I'm expecting God to meet me in Colorado.

Will post in detail when I return. I love you for reading this.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Economic Eschatology

It's the end of a long(ish) school day, I'm sitting drinking my popcorn-flavored coffee (I swear Orville Redenbacher brews this stuff from the grave) reading economy speculations from a variety of news sources.

At my school (a VERY conservative institution) the opinions on the country's situation range from the consequences of consumer gluttony and corrupt and greedy banks all the way to End Times theology and impending Armageddon.

I have no idea where the answer lies, and I would sooner advocate U.S. secession from North America than turn and point fingers at our fine country, but truly, to quote a Jack Nicholson classic, "something's gotta give."

Who's to blame? Greedy banks passing out dubious loans like business cards at a networking convention, or the wide-eyed borrowers who know they cannot afford them?

Who's to blame? The banks that facilitate such transactions? Or the government that facilitates those banks. The chicken or the egg? Where does personal responsibility come in?

Why is it OK for John Q. Homeowner to lose his house, ruin his credit and likely his family, while banks are given a just-in-time last minute parachute.

The greater good I suppose. I just hope the good is great enough.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


For as long as I can remember, my life's compass has been set by assessing my projected future. I've smoothed-over present situations by focusing on my "inevitable" success in the future. I don't think it's harmful to have goals, I think they're necessary. But, I know that much of my pride and my self-assessment and comfort came from understanding that the future will be better.

C.S. Lewis in typical form, delivers me punishing blow in his essay "Learning in War Time." In the essay (actually a lecture) he's speaking to a group of military graduates; scholars who are battle-ready and understandably apprehensive. He encourages them to find security in the present, rather than in the potential.
"Never, in peace or war, commit your virtue or your happiness to the future. Happy work is best done by the man who takes his long term plans somewhat lightly and works from moment to moment 'as to the Lord.' It is only our daily bread that we are encouraged to ask for. The present is the only time in which any duty can be done or any grace received."

Don't we celebrate those who have embraced the day they're in? Don't we admire those who seem to exist inside every present moment, those who are changing their lives today, not tomorrow?

As usual, I think he's right. I need grace today, because truly, "tomorrow has enough worries of it's own."

Friday, September 19, 2008

I am a liar.

I am a liar.

I lie everyday, and more as I get older.

I tell people it's because I'm too young, or that I don't have time.

I tell people that I don't want to, or that I don't even think about it.

Sometimes I condescend them. Sometimes they believe me; often they do. Sometimes, I'm especially convincing and they're even jealous.

What I don't tell them is that I'm scared. At my core, I'm terrified of commitment. I'm scared of not being enough. I'm scared of her not being enough. I'm scared of settling and I'm too prideful to be that open. I'm scared that my novelty will wear off, or that I've made too many mistakes.

The problem with lies though is not that others believe them, it's that over time with enough consistency you start to believe your own.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

On Love

A thought sparked by last night's discussion.

Can you love someone who doesn't love you back?

Not in a parental kind of love, not in a general "love for well-being's sake" love, but a true and romantic love. Can someone be "in love" with someone who doesn't love them back?

I don't think it's possible, here's why.

Love at it's core is a reciprocal event. It requires the willful emotional trust of two participating parties. It means that you've given complete emotional power to someone else and you trust them with it. You trust that they will not only not be irresponsible with it, but that they will keep it, cultivate it, grow it.

Return it.

I don't believe that you can offer this level of love to someone without understanding that they are doing the same thing. There's no small beauty in the mutual offering of that trust. And it can't be gone alone.

Unrequited love does not exist. It assumes the appearance of love, yet suffers the inability to assume it's definition. In our limited human capabilities, true love has no jurisdiction where it is not returned. God alone suffers the heartache of this exception.

Now, can someone love someone and fall out of love with someone? Say a couple grows apart over time; does there exist an exception for my theory? Not necessarily, while to remain "in love" with someone while he/she no longer returns the sentiment is acceptable, it does, however require that there was once a true and mutual offering of love.

Simply, I believe that romantic love of this kind exists in human form as necessarily a two-way street.

If someone tells you they love you, and you do not love them, gently let them know that they do not love you, but an idea of you. The love they are expressing will never be fully and officially endorsed until you can love them wholly in return.

Feel free to disagree

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Mo' Money Mo' Problems

Interesting statistics:

Washington D.C. leads the states in teachers' salaries with California close behind.

Washington D.C.'s public education is abyssmal; with 88% of 8th graders failing to read and 92% far below proficiency in math, they are at the bottom of the list for student performance.

What's the correlation? Throwing money at inadequate teachers obviously isn't the solution, so lets throw money at students.

This link shows the new D.C. "Chancellor of Education" working in a new plan to pay students for academic performance.

I mean, it obviously works so well for teachers, it makes perfect sense that they would try their luck exploiting and patronizing underperforming adolescents.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


There's something about eating fish. It feels so right, so... biblical. Sure it's probably processed and canned by small-limbed indentured immigrants from Albania working 16 hour days in the humid Florida heat, but seriously, think of all the protein I'm getting. Great!

Back to teaching this year. It's been good so far, two days in, two days down. Classes and students seem to be a bit more manageable. I find myself sleeping at night, which is a step forward.

Speaking of steps forward. I've made it a mandate upon my life to each day move forward, or at least to move. Following college, it's becoming increasingly easy to find comfort in routine. It's easy to fulfill my own expectations if my expectations are limited to what I know.

It's cyclical, we do what we expect and we expect to do what we do. It's as redundant as it is asexually incestuous (I am nuts.) But if we adventure to live a life outside of what we know, we find security in understanding that God wants excellence from us. It's taken me awhile to understand that God wants us to be the best at what we do.

It's not a pride issue, it's not a strike against our humility, but why shouldn't we work harder than most? Why shouldn't we rise up as leaders in every field?

I keep repeating the maxim "Wrong action is better than inaction," and it's every bit as powerful and sobering and confronting as it was the first time I heard it.


Friday, August 29, 2008

Who I am.

Who you are now, is who you are.

I am not my potential, nor am I what I've done. What I am now might be the accumulation of answered questions a or series of made decisions. Who I am going to be is an extension of God's purpose.

But what and who we are right now, is who we are. That's really all we have.

Who are you right now?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

On Responsibility.


The word itself might as well be four-letter word for many of us. We avoid it's dooming claws, finding clever ways to dodge it like an oncoming football player.

The problem isn't in the nature of the word. By definition, it's an amazing word; respectable and worth embracing. The problem isn't in it's own definition; the problem is in ours.

We've demonized the term by associating it with negative experiences. The loss of free time due to working is "responsibility." The prudent managing of money due to loans and living is "responsibility."

These experiences are essential in life, much deserving of the term "responsibility."

Responsibility, however, has been vilified by those who fear it the most. When someone we know dodges not the "responsibilities" of life but the typical and expected career or personal path, we're quick to label him "irresponsible." We're quick to quarrel and concern ourselves with all of the ways he/she is being irresponsible, when really, what we're doing is absolving ourselves from our own failure to take the road less traveled.

When a high school friend chooses to attend a quirky out-of-state school rather than their parents' alma mater, how do we feel? When someone quits their promising desk-job to join the police academy, what do we do? When a co-worker quits to travel the world and start a non-profit organization in Beijing what do we say?

We call them irresponsible.

But we're jealous.

Pointing the finger is much easier to do from the security of an air-conditioned office.

We've been given the blessing of one earthly life in which we are charged with living boldly in the barracks of insecurity.

We're given passions and we're given skills and ideas and strokes of genius and we ignore them, trading them for the blessing of comfort and security.

To ignore these passions, I would argue, is being irresponsible.

Life is Epic. Come Alive.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I love you.

No you don't. You're besotted.

What's besotted mean?

It doesn't mean love.

Is it a step on the way to love?

No. It's terminal.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Vantage Points

I'm at Starbucks. this is what my computer sees. No idea who the lady is in the background, though she might sue me for unauthorized photography.

This is what I see. Note the myriad unfinished songs and stories. It's just how I roll. Bonus points for noticing what I'm listening to.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

God is good.

Too often I'm guilty of punctuating a positive statement with "God is good" or some variation of it. The problem though, is that when I say "I got a new job, God is good" or "awesome time up at the cabin, God is awesome" what I'm implying is that because something favorable happened, God is good.

The truth is, God is good when times are terrible too. God is good when someone dies. God is good when you lose your job. God is good when we aren't good.

If we tether God's goodness to a "good" time or a favorable event, we end up reducing his glory and creating for ourselves a genie-like God who exists only when good things happen. A spoiling and coddling God who is inexplicably absent during the hard times. I'm guilty of this completely.

It's just much easier to reflect on God's goodness during calm waters and perfect weather. When it starts raining, we turn to an "unjust" God who "must have forgotten about us."

C.S. Lewis, in his typical confrontational and largely irrefutable fashion says "We want, in fact, not so much a Father in Heaven as a grandfather in heaven." We want a God that will bounce us on his knee asking about only our best aspects. What we avoid is the Father who sees our hearts for what they are and loves us anyways.

No one wants to feel that naked.

"God is good" is not apart of an if/then statement. It is not a piece to an algorithm. It is not reason enough to only account for blessings. God is good because God is love.

And, as I'm sure I'll find myself pontificating on in the future. Love hurts sometimes.

God is always good. Please join me in trying to remember that when when it doesn't feel like it.

Friday, August 08, 2008

What you think you understand

"God is not what you imagine or what you think you understand. If you understand, you have failed." -- St. Augustine

Saturday, August 02, 2008


I used to feel bad for the flavor Grape because, while he had been my flavor of choice for all of my (then) 8 years of life, I secretly started coveting his archenemy, the dastardly and wildly popular "Strawberry."

Strawberry was the guy everyone liked. He was handsome and polite, your parents would love him (they probably already did.) Grape, not so much. Grape was a little looser 'round the midsection and while he had a crushing wit, he probably had more than a few problems with ladies. I liked Grape though, and he liked me. We had a strange connection, because while the Strawberries were out pushing each other into water fountains and collecting grass-stained knees and cheek-kisses, me and Grape were reading short stories or wondering what the pretty girls saw in guys who punched each other.

I liked Grape, and he liked me.

One day, a sweaty-palmed peer unsheathed a dagger of Now-and-Later's. He pulled from it his favorite and passed it to me.

I was faced with a choice.

Instinctively, I peeled back the wrapper to unveil my good old purple standby. But this time was different. I hovered over my friend Grape for what seemed like an hour, and, I confess, in a moment of temptation and weakness I walked up to Grape, I took his hand in mine, and I kissed his cheek.

I chose Strawberry. Despite the quizzically disappointed looks of my comrades, I chose Strawberry.

I liked it at first; Indeed I bought into it. I started doing trendy things like saying "dude" and "sweet" and I think my trembling hand even hi-fived someone.

By the end though, I became less enamored with Strawberry. He was, if anything, too sweet. He turned my mouth a brighter red than I was comfortable with; so I reached for Grape and wore it's bruise-color on my lips like a hard-won badge of loyalty.

Since then, it's "give me Grape or give me death."

Thank you for reading, it's taken me 17 years of sleepless conviction to type this out. Grape, I'm so sorry for my betrayal.

Friday, August 01, 2008



I'm coming back. Durham 09.

God is amazing.

Sunday, July 27, 2008


I've always had a fascination with words. I love their complexity and the subtle nuance each word owns. I love the way that each word stands alone, and I don't believe there are any real synonyms.

Words alone mean absolutely nothing, they stand as fragmented representatives of ourselves. Our meanings and understandings of them give them life and flesh.

Outside of the nonverbal, our communication is necessarily driven by words. They are the catalyst and the conduit.

They are in a sense, all we have.

Over time, we accumulate a vast army of words. We stack them neatly, squared away in our mental storehouses, some of them practiced and polished, some hiding in our recesses, dusty and untried.

Though we own a multitude, I would argue that we hear and interpret more words than we actually use. I think that most of the time we use the same construction crew of familiar words. The reliable ones, the ones we know will get to the job in the morning without wondering if they've stayed out too late drinking.

But our words are so much more important than day-laboring workhorses.

I believe our words are wildly important. Each exists as a tiny microcosm, literally, a brief sonic combination of utterances packaged together carefully and according to rules set forth by culture groups hundreds or thousands of years ago.

The words we speak are old and they are perfect, with the weak ones sorted out over time. Our words have started wars, shaped treaties, compelled assassinations, healed wounds, expressed love, and saved souls. Each word is bursting with opportunity, alive in its potential.

Our words could not be more important.

If we speak the same words as our fathers, and theirs before them, why then, in considering the weightiness with which we're charged, are we so audacious that we give our words a free-range leash, allowing them to represent themselves, removing from them our full endorsement.

When should my words ever mean anything less than exactly what I want? Why do I let my words choose me, rather than me choosing them?

Because, we speak from habit rather than from heart. We reduce our power and undermine our God-given authority to command them like readied soldiers to confront chaos.

I move to mean every word I ever say. That if there might be some cosmic stenographer recording my life, I may stand responsible and accounted for each syllable, calling them my own.

Let us find comfort not in fleeting compliments or arrogance in multisyllabic masterpieces, but in knowing that in each day we've meant every word we said.

Choose well.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Decisions. Life is Epic.

I'm a hypocrite in many ways. We all are. But lately, I feel like God's calling into question my convictions. Holding them to the light, if you will.

I'm the first one to beg people to live for something more, to never settle and to live wildly the calling of God. I try to be encouraging and I believe in every word I tell someone else. I truly do. Now, when faced with what I feel is a monumental decision, my own advice seems like a foreign language, meant to be interpreted for sport rather than practice and use.

It's hard to trust God when you can't hear Him, when you can clearly see choices laid in front of you and it feels like God's attention is elsewhere.

God seems so quiet right now.

Maybe I just need to be quieter than He is.

If you pray, please pray for me this week. There's some important decisions to be made.

If you had me as a teacher, now would be the time to tell me that I:
- A. Sucked horribly and couldn't teach a fish how to swim.
- B. Should keep my shenanigans going.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

I had

a good one. And now I have nothing.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

A Fantastic Post

Wish I had written this. The dude's right on the money.

"If Only"

Christie Brinkley was the Heidi Klum of the 1980s. She was one of the world's first supermodels, appearing on dozens of magazine covers and marrying musician Billy Joel at one point. Even two decades later she is a stunningly beautiful woman. But, she is unfortunately also a perfect example of the lie, "if only."

If only is something we Christians like to say when faced with a temptation. For me it usually looks like this:

"If only I could get a book deal, then I would be happy.""If only more people read my website, then I wouldn't be so insecure about my writing.""If only I had more money, then I would not worry so much."

If only is a phrase I use to medicate myself. Instead of turning to God in a time of need, I pretend the only thing that stands between me and perfect happiness is one "if only." But Christie Brinkley kind of ruined that for me. Or rather her husband did.

Her husband has recently been accused of having an affair with an 18-year old girl. He has been accused of having a $3,000 per month porn habit. He has been accused of spending $300,000 to cover up his tracks. What does that have to do with if only? Everything.

You see, in one single stroke, Brinkley's husband, Peter Cook, has effectively killed a bunch of "if only" statements:

1. "If only I could marry someone really attractive, then I wouldn't lust anymore."Cook married one of the top ten supermodels of all time. She was and is gorgeous. And yet he was addicted to Internet porn. Brinkley's beauty was not enough to fill the hole inside of Cook.

2. "If only I was rich, then I would be happy."Peter Cook is richer than I will ever be. He allegedly spent more on porn every year than some people earn in salaries. And yet, he wasn't happy. Happy people don't do things that require $300,000 in hush money.

3. "If only I was good looking, then people would love me."Peter Cook is good looking. He is tall and handsome and looks like the kind of guy that knows his ways around Beverly Hills. But he didn't feel loved. People that are content in the love they have don't desperately try to find it from 18 year olds. They don't trawl the Internet for attention.

I might be the only one with an "if only" in my life. Maybe you have never thought, "If only I could get married, then I would be happy," or "If only I had a different job, then I would be worry free." But if you have, if you are at all like me, I want to propose something. I think we need to retire the phrase "if only." Let's send it to an early grave. Let's strike it from our vocabularies and pull it from our hearts, because it's one of those lies that holds us back from seeing what is truly beautiful about our own lives. It takes our eyes of the good that already exists. It makes us blind.

What do you think? Want to retire, "if only?"

Sunday, July 06, 2008

drawing circles

I haven't read this book, and I don't know if I will (not that I'm protesting it, I just don't think I'll ever actually pick it up) but it's books like these that I think are distracting us from the community and growth intended by God.

Focusing on what we're not is reverse-engineering a problem with no solution.

I never want to be defined by something I don't do.

Christians forever have been obsessed with definition, drawing neat and solid circles around our favorite theology, making sure whatever our particular denomination upholds does not bleed into another. Our boundaries create a crowded false feeling of community, but in reality, we're distancing ourselves from brothers and sisters, while alienating a confused culture left outside the margins.

We remain smugly in the center of our circles rejoicing in our superiority.

My Macbook dictionary defines definition (See also: Department of Redundancy Dept.) as " an exact statement or description of the nature, scope, or meaning of something."

It is illogical to define something by all of it's non-attributes.

An image of a person is not clearly defined by understanding that he is NOT the same as any of the other 6.5 billion people in the world. An image of an apple is not realized by understanding that it is not a paper plate.

Our definition is fluid and dynamic. It is something powerful, and it needs to be captured. But I don't think that it can be done by drawing more circles.

So then what are we? How are we defined?

"By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:35

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Monday - Friday God

Sometimes I feel like I believe in a Monday-Friday God.

Like me and God fist-pound on the way out of the office and say things like "Sweet, man. See you Monday."

It's like I think God takes weekends off too, like we're just co-workers. Just two guys at work who help each other's weeks move faster.

Sure, I visit on Sundays and say a few words here and there on Saturdays but really, the weekends, when I actually have available free time, I pretend like I don't know God.

I have time to read and pray and thank God for another beautiful week of life. Another week in which my family was healthy and safe. But it's the hardest for me.

I come home on Friday and take Him off and store Him with my dress shoes, waiting for Monday when I need them again.

I think that rather than "see you Monday," God's saying "There's nothing I'd rather do. I've got nothing better to do than be with you, so give me a call this weekend."

"if you aren't too busy."

Thursday, June 26, 2008


I should sleep but can't.

Spending 10 hours of my everyday lulled by the humming of air conditioning and tick-tacking of computer keys is taking its toll on me.

I should sleep but can't.

I hate that the best parts of our days, the times in which we are most awake and alive are spent attempting to organize and contain ourselves, processing paperwork and propelling some distant mechanism that generates paychecks. I realize that work is work, I do. And I'm not complaining.
In the midst of such economic uncertainty I'm thankful that I have a decent job,

I want to dive into Life is Epic, I truly believe it's worth it. I think God's asking me to take a risk.

To move from "potential" to "potent."

Here's to hoping I trust Him.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Easily Pleased

I feel uninspired and uncreative, so I'll let a much better man do the updating.

"Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. we are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased. "
--- C.S. Lewis The Weight of Glory

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Update from the office

I am officially "Ryan the temp."


Tuesday, June 10, 2008


For the past few weeks we've been trying to carve out a short mission statement/manifesto to be printed on the inside of each shirt. It lets the wearer know who we are, and who they're supporting. Hopefully a little encouragement as well.

Please comment and let me know what you think.

We are not political. We are not businessmen. We are not black. We
are not white. We are no nationality. We simply want to breathe deeply the
breath of life. We understand that there is none more important than our
neighbor, and as long as our neighbor is suffering, we are suffering.

Life Is Epic was formed by a group of artists with a common cause: to
create apparel that means more than the fabric it's made of. We support the
relief effort for the increasingly serious Malaria epidemic by donating one
insecticide-treated net for every one shirt purchased.

We believe that a T-shirt can be more than clothing. We believe that living
can be mean more than being alive.

We are passionate.

And we believe that passionate people can change the world.

Life is Epic was born out of these convictions and we hope that it can
excite and inspire people to come alive and to follow their passions. To live
for something bigger than ourselves.

We believe that a world full of passion is a world full of love - full of
change - full of Life.

Come Alive. Life is Epic

Monday, June 09, 2008

The Road Less Traveled has Weeds and Thorns

Each day I wake up, face the day and begin.

Each day, I satisfy the pain whispering in my stomach and I walk out into a world filled with hard surfaces, with sharp objects and angry people. Each day I avoid these things.

It's like best hours of my everyday is spent giving my best effort to avoid pain. That's it really. You try to have times that feel good, but for the most part we're drowsily pacing through the day with the sole mission of avoiding pain.

At work, you make sacrifices given the nature of your job, but pretty much, all we're doing is biding our time, avoiding pain.

It's understandable, of course. Pain hurts for a reason; generally-speaking it's our biological way of saying something is wrong, a situation needs remedying, but I think we're missing out sometimes by sterilizing every situation. I think we're missing out on living.

I'm not pointing the finger, arguably I'm the best/worst case study in awkward-situation avoidance. Most of the time I'd prefer to pretend a high-school peer doesn't exist than talk to him/her doing the old "what's new with you" song and dance. But I'm realizing that in most situations, I'm missing out on so much because I'm choosing the road-most traveled.

So now, as a sort of personal experiment, I'm going to agree to almost every reasonable invitation I usually defer. I'm going to talk to people I normally wouldn't, I'm going to make plans and keep them, I'm going to honor people by telling them exactly what I'm thinking rather than stepping around an issue. I'm going to engage in conflicts, I'm going to confront people and allow myself to be confronted.

I'm going to apologize.

I'm going to get hurt.

Because I believe that our stories are better told with a straight face. I believe the our rising action needs conflict, and the greater the conflict the greater the resolution.

I believe the best songs are ones that combine minor chords and major chords.

I believe in a better story, and I believe God wants us to breathe deeply.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Fantastic Article

If you ignore the language and the questionable terminology THIS is an amazing article.

It's long but very worth it.

Obama's running mate?

Hillary? Webb?

I have to admit, when I was thinking about this earlier, I suspected that whoever he chose would need to be white. After all, a double-minority ticket might be a bit aggressive and alienate some of Obama's white voters.

So you have to choose a white guy (or girl) because you need the white voters.

I moved on to thinking about Obama getting the hispanic vote, and how he would need a hispanic candidate in order to dillute the longstanding black vs. hispanic turbulence.

But then, I started thinking about how truly racist that thought pattern is. In making that leap, I'm assuming that blacks will vote for someone because the candidate is black. A latino for a latino.

Even if, statistically speaking, cultural groups are more likely to elect a member of their cultural group, it's a racist mentality.

I'm basically saying that these groups are just simple-minded enough to simply vote for the guy who looks most like them. True, the candidate might be sensitive to issues facing the certain cultural group, but it's the assumption that's racist.

To me, assuming or predicting the motives and actions of someone (or worse, an entire group of someones) strips them of their humanity and perpetuates a racist formula. It reduces people to mechanics and predicts a certain outcome (voting their race) based on a given stimulus (their race.)

I pray that America votes by principle rather than a fixed cultural common-denominator.

For better or for worse, I think it would be unpredictable. And I think that would be perfect.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


With the school year winding down, the light at the end of the tunnel is bright and blinding.

More later.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

At church tonight we talked about Cain and Abel and how the descendants of Cain, because of Cain's murdering and lying to God would be cursed.

Cain pleaded with God, telling him that those who knew of him would surely kill him, but God marked Cain ensuring that those who saw him and wanted to kill him would not, now understanding that they would "suffer a vengeance seven times over" for their murdering.

Today, I feel like a descendant of Cain.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Ryan vs. Kelly

Kelly: If I’d have created a website with as many problems, I’d kill myself.

Ryan: Do you have a question Kelly?

Kelly: Yeah I have a lot of questions. Number one, how dare you?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

If you know me well

you know that I'm scared (like, completely terrified) of Klaus Nomi, but I think I have found a trumping hand.

Watch this only if you are deeply secure in your Christian spirituality (a little dramatic, but seriously.)


I won't even post the video code, it's got to be a link.

Vaya Con Dios

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Choose More

I was talking with a teacher friend earlier, and he brought up a truth I've been thinking about all day.

We were discussing politics and he remarked, "We always choose between the lesser of two evils, and that always results in evil."

I think this is a process widespread.

So, when and why did searching become choosing? I think there's a time and place for each, but they are not synonymous. They are not interchangeable.

How many times have we, when considering a career, or a school, or a relationship chosen the road oft-traveled because, while we didn't know where it would lead, we knew others were with us. We eumphemize "commiseration" by calling it"security."

We point our compasses towards the safe with our necks craned towards the unknown.
What about choosing passion over practical? What about choosing to come alive instead of simply not dying. There's a reason we obsess about mistakes, there's a reason we revisit missed opportunities, or spend lifetimes trying to replicate experiences. We're designed for more, we're bigger than boxes and I believe God hates it when we settle.

The easy way is seldom the right way. The lesser of two evils is always still evil.

Come alive, choose more.

One Soldier's Confession

I wish I didn't believe him.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Life is Epic

I haven't discussed this via blog. But it's a project myself, Mike, and recently, Travis have started to work on. I'll explain more later, but if you've got room in your prayer time, throw one up for a huge project that I think could change a lot of things.

I know it's changed me.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

My Roundabout

I feel like lately, I'm at a constant crossroads.

Stopped. Waiting, thinking, deciding.

I think a roundabout more accurately describes it. I'm circling a roundabout searching for the proper exit, fearing that the choosing the wrong exit will send me into a desert wasteland filled with failed opportunity.

We pacify ourselves through comforts and conveniences. After all, God wants us to be happy and peaceful right?

Peaceful, but not sedated. And certainly not stagnant. I believe that truly, though we're circling this roundabout, we're essentially moving backwards. We're losing time, we're losing opportunity and it's as productive as moving backwards. Since moving backwards in time is impossible, being stagnant is just as grievous.

We've been resting our laurels on cold cliches like "When god closes a door, he opens a window" and my favorite "pray until something happens." I think though, that our faith has become passive in that we're expecting some form of divine street sign signaling us into utopia.

I think though, that God wants us to risk, and if we're risking it means that we're acting proactively into the will of God. We know God's general direction, and for some of us, that may be all the assurance we get before we make a move.

We can be certain that when there are opportunities for change, and for peace and for love and growth and helping, there too God is. We need to make moves toward these things. Because circling a roundabout takes us nowhere.

Take an exit, make a mistake, but move.

"More is lost by inaction than by wrong action"

Friday, May 16, 2008


been a hard week. I'll be writing more tonight.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Think about this quote.

"The deeper you inhale the stronger you can exhale" - Erwin McManus - Chasing Daylight
and give me your thoughts

Sunday, May 04, 2008


I was walking through the mall yesterday when I noticed a huge annoying advertisement telling me that I need to "Get my Inheritance!" by supporting/going to the church ran by the picture of the pastor and his lovely wife.

Now, doesn't the word choice here seem a bit suspect? (other than the ambiguous use of the word "get") Doesn't "Inheritance" imply money? Why would this advertisement be in a mall, a place literally fueled by the spending of money? I don't think I'm stretching here to think that the advertisement was playing to our inherent association of the word "inheritance" with money, or resources or tangible goods.

I don't think it was an accident.

This problem is huge to me. Lately it's become close to my heart. We're propagating the idea that when one has faith in God, they begin to accumulate resources. That when you become a Christian, you become the smiling, wealthy, picture of contentment I found on the mall advertisement.

Is that what a Christian looks like?

What about the guy from the broken home who becomes a Christian?

What about the wife trapped in the abusive relationship? Will her becoming a Christian stop her husband from hitting her tomorrow?

What about the poor and uneducated? What about the fishermen?

Will they become prosperous by becoming a Christian? Will God transform their work ethic and opportunity, that they might be successful and prosperous?

Maybe, but maybe not.

I was reading today (after an awesome message on John 15) and the words from John 14:27 jumped off of the page "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

He said it.

The world wants us consumed with money and wealth. Isn't there is a very obvious correlation between the MALL and the word choice of INHERITANCE. We're constantly (and I'm so guilty of this) equating faith in God with success.

But I believe that Jesus would have told his disciples "Success I leave with you." But he didn't, he said "peace." He even made the distinction that he would give differently than the world, probably because he knew that later on, we'd start looking for Jesus to give us the same comforts as we expect from the world, when really, we're calibrated the complete opposite way.

I think really, Jesus is cutting to the chase, eliminating the middle-man of wealth and prosperity. Because think about it, when we buy a car, or buy new clothes or seek new jobs or relationships, what are we doing?

We're seeking peace, seeking contentment. Seeking to fill some hole placed within us.

Jesus is telling us that we'll find peace, which, I believe is what we're all looking for in the first place.

To give credit where credit is due, my students showed me this first. I thank God for that and them. John Piper says everything I just did, but way, way better.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

I own the world.

I was getting gas today (62$) and I noticed a well-dressed man walking through the pumps on his way into the store. As I was watching him, I noticed that he looked down and saw a snickers wrapper.

He looked at it, kind of kicked it towards the door, and finally he picked it up and put it in the trashcan. My first thought was, "this guy has to be the owner, why else would he pick up trash if it wasn't his property?"

But then I started to think, aren't we the "owners" of the entire world? God created everything, and it's all His, but did not God give us, humans, dominion over the earth and everything in it? Why don't we pick up "trash" with the same mindset of a business owner?

We've been given power and responsibility, and we should take pride in our ownership.

Our pervasive "in case of rapture, this car will be unmanned" mindset has left us consumed with getting the hell out of here while we're forgetting to get the hell out of here. The world is God's but He's given it to us, leased it to us in a way, and I believe we're charged with the responsibility to take care of it, to grow it and to watch it thrive.

So, next time instead of walking by the wrapper, or practicing your soccer dribbling with the bottle, what if you just grabbed it, and took it to the nearest trashcan?

In that way, we're taking it, and giving it back to God.

In that way, we're getting the hell out of here. While we're still here.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Quote of the day

"Janitor, you ever looked at yourself and wish that you were different in every single way?"

"Nahh, I'm a winner"


Well, at the behest (ridicule) of some of my students, I've realized the folly of my noonewilleverunderstandme-mydaddidn'tplayenoughfootballwithme macbook picture.

Now I have a moustache

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Something plain and beautiful.

I understand people because I am people.

There's a small beauty in everyone. I want to see it, each day I want to see it. It's a kind of assignment.

There was this lady at the grocery store, with a kind of beautiful pain in her face. She squinted when she smiled, and smiled sincerely, the kind that fades slowly so you know she means it.

And she liked me, I saw that too

But how she looked at people, she studied the lines in their faces, like rivers on maps. She understood people because she was people. She wanted more, wanted out of something, you could just tell.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Ask + Right Answer = Faith

Lately I've noticed that my faith in God is directly proportional to the amount of times that he gives me what I want. It's like the more prayers he answers (by answer I mean answers yes to whatever I'm asking for) the more willing I am to give and to feel secure in my faith.

Honestly, sometimes it frustrates me. To think of God as an unreasonable elitist who requires his followers to give things up, to measure themselves by an impossible standard. God wants us to sacrifice in order that we might gain?

I've heard it once, and it makes sense, that when God tells us not to do things, he's not arbitrarily throwing around rules for some divine amusement, really, what he's saying is "Don't hurt yourself."

Don't cheat on your wife. Don't hurt yourself

Don't steal. Don't hurt yourself

Don't concern yourself too much with possessions, people or feelings. Don't hurt yourself.

Because these things will hurt.

My experiences only confirm this. Any time I've spent following my own plan, earning my own trust, spending time distancing myself from where God wants me, has resulted in insecurity, worrying and pain in myself and others.

I'm always going to struggle with contentment, sometimes I feel like God could give me the perfect job/wife/car/child and I would still wonder if there were something more out there. It's my Achilles and I want nothing more than to overcome it. I'm learning though, that you can't crawl out of a hole by digging deeper (trite analogy.)

Freedom isn't found in having everything, it's found in having nothing and wanting nothing.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Pray for me.

How many times have you prayed healing for a sick friend? How many times have you asked someone to pray for you?

If God's will is that you are sick, you are sick right? If God's will is that you are suffering, you are suffering.

Is it God's will then, if you make a decision and are forced to suffer the consequences? Something profound has crept into my thoughts (through the help of Mr. Eldredge)

What if we understand that it IS possible to live outside of God's will? That God's will is his perfect path, but we're able (and often do) choose another way.

It is possible to live outside of God's will. To choose another way. If there was no way, why pray? Why evangelize? Why ponder the deepest meanings of scripture or recycle?

Because it's possible that we haven't made God happy. Think about the Lord's Prayer -- A scripture memorized by Catholics and Christians alike.

"Thy Kingdom come
Thy will be done
On earth as it is in heaven."
Why would Jesus tell his disciples to pray this way if it weren't true? Nowhere else in the bible does God have us repeat some mantra, in fact there are myriad verses describing that we're saved by faith, rather than works (Eph. 2:8 for example.)

So why, if God's will was not up for our choosing, would Jesus bother to pray for it? God doesn't seem interested in rote memorization.

But, what if God in his perfection created us to have stories that ended in us, and stories that ended in God and the ability to choose between them?

In one is found the peace of God's action, in the other, no promise of security. But each were written by the same Hand.

It almost seems like parallel events are happening in heaven, God's perfect will being acted out, and Jesus is begging God that what happens here on earth be a reflection of the goings-on upstairs.

Where people are choosing God's will.

So when Jesus prays this, he's asking that the perfect will of heaven would be made to happen here. On earth.

God's will is present in our lives, whether or not we are living it is our fight.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Green is the New Red (Herring)

Al Gore released his report showing that there's been no change in the climate since he released his Oscar-winning "An Inconvenient Truth."

There's an interesting phenomena that surrounds tragedy. It seems that people, regardless of their affiliation, like to surround themselves, at least partially, or perhaps "voyeristically", in tragedy. It's the reason people line up to attend the funerals of their acquaintances. There's a certain commiseration in corporate suffering.

I think the same thing is happening with "Global Warming." Now, I don't know exactly where I stand on the subject, I believe it's an issue the needs attention, but I think it's a bit blown out of proportion.

It's moved beyond a humanitarian concern to become a political and economical necessity. If you want people to vote for you, make sure you include the words "Green, Sustainable, Environment" in any order. If you want to sell cars, make sure you have a green leaf or similarly nature-themed icon located on your car.

I think we've been inoculated by our mass-hysteria. There is a placid sense of security, knowing that our impending doom is solvable, and solvable only through believing in our mighty government.

I'm not prone to conspiracy theories, but think about it. I don't believe our government created global warming, but isn't it possible that they've perpetuated it? Or at the very least supported it?

In hysteria, we become weak. We become needy, we become dependent. Isn't that an old military tactic? Starve the country and take them over? What if our recent obsession with sustainability has left us insecure and defenseless?

Here's the gravest injustice. While we're all paying attention to the waving hand of global warming, we're not paying attention to the suffering, and hunger and disease which is real, and not hypothetical.

People are dying today. The ice caps are melting tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Being an A-hole is something that never came naturally to me. It's just the sort of business you fall into. Like answering a mystery ad. in the paper, or taking over your father's business.

I feel like an actor some of the time. Like I'm playing a role designed for someone else, a better actor, someone who wants to be an actor. I've always wanted to know, and to be known.

Pride is an anchor dragging, weighing into me in still moments that require my strength. The anchor that proves me, that qualifies me.

It jumps in front of my character, speaking quickly, before integrity can answer, calling all of the camera's attention. It steals every first impression, and preceeds my physical presence, often my representative speaking on my behalf.

My New Book.

I want to write a book, I just don't know what about.

I think the crazy stuff I think of would make a fine book, maybe a "Blue Like Jazz" meets "The Great Gatsby." That would be excellent.

I'll call it "Hemingway and Fitzgerald are Raging Inside Me"

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


I have probably 500 unfinished stories and just as many songs in the same condition. I don't know why I can't seem to finish anything, the more I realize myself the more I'm understanding how distractable I really am.

I'm tired of being inside my head so much. This slothful start to a spring break has got me thinking about how much I really like being busy if only so that I don't have time to sit and think. Must turn the editor off.

I'm just sick of thinking about myself so much, not in a (well possibly in a) self-centered way but really, I'm tired of it. I think maybe it's God's agenda, the more we think about ourselves the more empty we realize that paradigm is.

See how distractable I am?

I want to start less sentences with "I."

Maybe the reason I have trouble finishing things is because I'm afraid to. I think that's what alcoholics call "a moment of clarity." I think that if I finish something, I'll be afraid of how good it's not. It's really easy to talk about all the things I "almost" did.

It's really easy because you don't have the responsibility of ownership. When you finish something it's done, and it's over and a new project waits to be approached, but if you leave things unfinished, there's always the possibility of revisiting it, or better yet, there's NO responsibility involved, no real risk.

But, the consequences of living a life filled with "almosts" and half-written pages is an empty one.

I will finish something everyday, starting with this stupid unedited blog.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Changing our "self"

I've been bummed out for too long, trying to outrun the confines of my "predicted personality."

While I do feel like there is some credibility to that Meyers - Brigg test, I'm understanding that it doesn't take into account the transforming power of God. I believe that throughout those personality quizzes, if you were to replace every instance of "personality" with "tendency," it would yield a more accurate and encouraging result.

You see, because tendencies are changeable. They are "fluid" as my bro Travis says. Tendencies do not give you a road map of your inevitable destination, rather they give you a sort of prognosis as to where you "would" go, providing no changes were made.

Provided that you choose not to change.

So yeah, according to my Meyers-Brigg "tendency" scale, I have the natural inclination towards melancholy, and provided I never changed or perhaps even indulged my God-given tendencies, I would end up happiest working as a teacher, or a counselor or in management.

But God is bigger than any constraint. He's stronger than our self-fulfilling prophesies and with time, effort and God, we can truly become who we want.

And, with God helping, we'll become who He wants, which is the biggest we'll ever be.

God help us.

Sunday, March 09, 2008


Apparently, this getting to know yourself thing is pretty hard.

Earlier this week I was given the results of my Meyers-Brigg personality test, it's a fairly long, complex psychological analysis tool aimed at reducing all of your quirks, intricacies, and tendencies into a compact, understandable four letter acronym. There's four categories and in each category there can only be one of two available results, with varying degrees.

My "MBTI" Meyers Brigg Test Indicator is: INFP

At first, knowing what it meant to me was great, it meant understanding that I am "Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Perceiving" this was great. All good things.

My experience got even better when I started reading the typical descriptions of what the characteristics of an INFP might be. Knowing that only about 1% of the population is made up of INFP's was great consolation. Affirmation that my feelings of being misunderstood and alone were founded on truth, I am misunderstood and semi-alone, just due to the fact that 99% of people aren't wired the same way.

Soon though, as I began to acquire more knowledge about what makes an INFP, I'm beginning to understand that the brooding melancholy note that plagues me, seems to define me. That is, most of what I'm reading tells me that I'm passionate while misunderstood, and deeply devoted though easily hurt.

The descriptions are starting to become discouraging; ranging from a list of occupations that I don't want, to understanding that I'll probably always be lost in my head and unhappy within most social settings. I hate that it's so accurate, as it just leads me to believe that even their prognosis is correct.

What if I am relegated to teaching? What if I am meant to live a life of encouragement, rather than participation? All of these things are starting to wear on me and I almost wish as if I hadn't taken the test, so maybe I would understand that my life is going to be a constant work in progress, that I'm always going to toil against my nature, but in doing so, I would grow and stretch and learn to love my diverse personality.

Should I learn to just accept myself? Or be frustrated that a test just told me that I'm very similar to a million lives I don't want?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Vague and pointless

I guess the decision was made for me.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


I think, rather than lowering the tuition at schools, or spending taxpayer generated income on financial aid for prospective students, we should implement a mandatory two year "workforce" experience for new high school graduates.

Borrowing from (among others) the Swiss and Lebanese system of mandatory military service following high school graduation, a similarly mandatory workforce experience would do wonders to stimulate higher education enrollment as well as encourage students' success once admitted. I believe that by forcing students to find employment after graduation would stimulate the economy ten-fold:
  1. A fully staffed workforce for "menial" (lower-wage earning) jobs, rotating every year.
  2. A much higher enrollment in higher education
  3. An overall lower amount of student loan debt
    1. (This is due to the anticipated savings accrued during one's "workforce experience, perhaps an employer-paid wage-matching system involved)
These are just a handful of reasons supporting the success of the proposition. Mandating that EVERY high school student must spend two years washing dishes, laying tile, scrubbing toilets, painting houses or making fast-food ensures a higher probability of continuing one's education, that they may increase their odds of finding gainful employment.

I would argue that most people do not seek a life of uncertainty, where the job that pays the most at the time of their high school graduation is the job in which they want to plant themselves. I think that many people see college or any other system of higher education as an economic impossibility. The concept of student loans or applying for federal aid seems an insurmountable undertaking when taking into consideration the probable occurrence of typical obligations.

A student who gains a perspective on what the job outlook for newly-minted high school graduates is, is a well-prepared student. He/she would likely understand the pressures and their own squandered opportunity by participating in "grunt-work."

All-in-all my plan seems effective, and while none of this is supported by fact, I feel that it's a fairly accurate assessment of humanity.

Thank you.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


It's been a difficult and strange few weeks. I'm not sure about much anymore.

I know God is good, I'm sure about that.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Waking Up

For me at least, It's easy to think of God in key moments of life, when someone is down, when someone is sick, when I am either sick or down, or when something goes really right or when something goes really wrong. It's easy to go to God when my back is against a wall, but I'm realizing that that's not trust at all.

It's like a fair-weather friend calling you on holidays and birthdays. God is amazing everyday and knowing that should make us want to join him in it.

Being thankful has always been hard for me, but I've been truly humbled lately and It's coming easier. With all the variables in our bodies, between the trillion cells in us that need to synchronize perfectly, it's a miracle to just wake up.

It's 6:25, Thank you Father, for opening my eyes from sleep.

"If the only prayer you ever said was, 'Thank you.' that would be enough."

Meister Eckhart

Monday, January 28, 2008

Resolutions: Everyday

As I sit here waiting for sleep to quell my usual Sunday night anxiety, my eyes wont close and my brain won't slow. My late Sunday nights, caused by staying up late and sleeping in through the weekend usually result in a mind racing with possibilities, doubts, vague hope and prolonged unrest.

It's funny/sad that I took the time a few weeks ago to drive up to the mountains for some personal reflection/worship goal-writing and now I can't even remember where I put the notebook containing all of my profound resolutions.

There's a strange phenomenon at the gym around this time of the year. Each year, the first week in January finds the gym packed and buzzing with sweaty determination. Christmas present memberships are redeemed and bodies are changing. There's a waiting list for the stair-stepper and a line at the front counter.

Just a few weeks into the month however, the gym returns to about normal and stays this way until the first warm days of summer.

What happens between the beginning of a new year and a month into it? We lose focus, we forget about ambition and change and we return to the comfortable myopia that's kept us from achieving much of anything during the past year.

It's just so easy to stay comfortable and afraid. I'm confident that if we found a way to harness the drive and passion of new beginnings, we could change the amount of our lives every single day. What if we change our life, everyday?

I submit that every single day we're alive is an awe-inspiring gift from God. If we changed our life, each one of those days the power would be unstoppable. It's easy to neglect some anonymous, distant "goal" but what if everyday, we tore away small chunks of these goals, consuming them, achieving them, and ready for tomorrow, a new day to change our life. I'm confident that this can be done, every single day.

This poem has spoken to me today in a beautiful and life-changing way.
I have studied many times
The marble which was chiseled for me --
A boat with a furled sail at rest in a harbor.
In truth it pictures not my destination
But my life.
For love was offered me and I shrank from its disillusionment;
Sorrow knocked at my door, but I was afraid;
Ambition called to me, but I dreaded the chances.
Yet all the while I hungered for meaning in my life.
And now I know that we must lift the sail
And catch the winds of destiny
Wherever they drive the boat.
To put meaning in one's life may end in madness,
But life without meaning is the torture
Of restlessness and vague desire --
It is a boat longing for the sea and yet afraid.

Edgar Lee Masters

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Not Yet Empty

Almost everyday for the past few weeks, I've turned on the computer, opened this blog, and typed some unintelligible mess of melodrama in attempts to reconcile myself, with... myself. It's like I have this seemingly impenetrable layer around my heart preventing me from feeling almost anything.

I'm fighting the daily battle between who I used to be, who I am now, and the man of God I'm commanded to be; the tug-of-war leaving me anesthetized and vacant.

To feel empty is to at least feel something, and I'm not there yet.

Friday, January 25, 2008

My brother Russ sent this to me today, I think this paradigm could change the world.

"God knows, I could be wrong.

It strikes me as odd that we, each of us, can be mistaken about the weather, about which direction to turn to get to a spot across town, about how we play the stock market, about any number of things, but we can be dead certain about religion and about God.

Perhaps, as most evidence suggests, Jesus was not born on what we now know as Christmas day. Perhaps Jesus wouldn’t make heads or tails out of evangelical healers in two thousand dollar suits while Austrian-crystal chandeliers hang within the camera shot. Maybe God’s love includes gays and lesbians, the Buddhist down the street or the atheist over in the next cubicle. It’s possible what you believe is not as important as how you express that belief, how you buy food for the homeless or comfort a stranger who is flustered at the store because she has just come from the hospital where her father is dying or remember that person who just can’t stand you with love during a prayer.

Maybe God is not found in certainty, which serves to limit God to our own comfortable conceptions, but, rather, in uncertainty and a healthy agnosticism in places, letting God be God instead of a judge and jury schooled in our own prejudices and preoccupations and self-centeredness. Perhaps “God knows, I could be wrong” is an admission of faith, not of defeat. We may be mistaken — the arrival of God will not come in the form espoused by novels about the end times or in the image of a holy city being lowered down from the clouds on pulleys like it was some kind of cheap scenery change. The arrival of God or the second coming of Jesus may very well have taken place already and, in fact, continues to take place over and over again in the people and in opportunities around us, if only we had the eyes to see and the openness of the heart to feel.

God knows, I could be wrong, and in that, I think, I am necessarily right."

Monday, January 14, 2008


Rob Bell had probably the perfect answer to the question of how he faces critics.

"There's over a billion people in this world without clean drinking water, and 46 million americans don't have health care. That means if they get sick, they don't have anywhere to go. Half of the world, 3 billion people, live on less than 2 dollars a day, so the world is an emergency. When followers of jesus can think of nothing better to do with their time than pick apart and shred to peices the work of other followers of Jesus who are trying to do something about the world, that's tragic and I don't owe those people anything."
I love this answer. To me, the Church has become largely concerned with definition. We seem to want to define ourselves as one thing or another, Progressive or Fundamentalist, Liberal-Christian or Conservative, Evangelical-Free or Non-denominational. We're always looking to define ourselves by labels.

The problem with this preoccupation though, is that definition exists to separate one thing from another. We define a word, give it a meaning so that it means one thing and only one thing. We define things so that other things cannot assume their identity. This is necessary, for say, underwear at summer camp, but not for Christianity.

Even "Christianity," in all its ubiquity has lately become taboo. Apparently "follower of Christ" has replaced the antiquated "Christianity" as the label of choice for the progressively serious disciple. I will agree that the term has been diluted so much that it probably resembles G.W. more than it resembles a loving and amazing Jesus.

But this is not a call to walk away. Rather, it's a call to take back the name that once meant "Christ-like" and extinguish our rampant feelings of entitlement.

We are called to humility and peace. I agree with Rob Bell, I feel like too much time is spent pondering the great intricacies of eschatology, when our brothers and sisters are dying from preventable diseases, in preventable situations.

I want to live a life of redemption. Let's fix the world and then argue. I have a feeling the lines of our differences will begin to blur.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

"Once" was an amazing movie. I bought the soundtrack already, good call Jesse.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

I'm moving to Canada

Now, I know that it was a horrible tragedy. Over 1,400 people lost their lives, buildings/families/businesses/homes were destroyed, but honestly, what the hell kind of hurricane inflicts over THREE QUADRILLION DOLLARS IN DAMAGE?

According to this article, one of New Orleans proud residents is suing the US government for over
$3,000,000,000,000,000. This fantastic piece of work feels entitled to reimbursement of about 220x the entire US 2007 GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT. This person wants over 220 times the value of ALL of the goods and services produced in the US during an entire year.

How does one settle on this amount?

"well my house is flooded... lost about $20,000 there... can't work much anymore... lost about $20,000 a year there... things sucked for awhile, this year was pretty much shot, a few friends died... 3 quadrillion ought to do it."

Times like this I really hate the American way. I probably seem insensitive, and I'm sure FEMA /Dubya dropped the ball, but oh my God, really? 3 quadrillion dollars?

What's ALMOST as worse, apparently over 250 people filed claims for over a billion dollars. This m
eans over 250 people thought that what they lost was worth over $1,000,000,000 dollars. Now, I'm don't mean to demean any of the New Orleans residents, nor do I want to put a monetary value on their lives (isn't that exactly what they are doing?) but I'd like to see some financial statements reflecting 250 different people with over a billion dollar net worth. According to my limited research, there is only about 320 billionaires in the entire US. And I highly doubt they were all visiting their summer homes in the low-rent district of New Orleans during the hurricane.

This is the ultimate welfare system and the ultimate in human opportunism. Seeking some irrational comeuppance by exploiting a very real tragedy.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Last Night's Bullet

For a month or two now, a few friends and I have been meeting together over beer and discussion. We read through a book and discuss the chapters after having read them each week. The books have been great so far (the one and a quarter that we've been through) each of them inspiring, refreshing and poetic in their own ways. We call it the BBC, beer book club for lack of a better name. I would say it's been a charging force in my spiritual renaissance.

Tonight though, BBC was terrible. Brady said something so terrible and true that it kind of hit before I knew what I had heard. It felt like what I would assume a gunshot would feel like. I kind of think (speaking in complete ignorance) that a gunshot probably hurts.

I'm guessing it really hurts. I think when it happens, it aches and stings at the same time, with equal force. I guess it to be a strange dulling feeling that aches like a broken bone, but stings like a burn.

What he said felt this way, what he said was probably the single most convicting thing I've ever been told. Hearing that someone thought you were a certain way, only to realize you were just like every one else is sobering, it's painful, and it's only the beginning.

The problem with gunshots though, is not really how it feels when it happens, or really how it ever feels.

The problem with gunshots is fixing them, repairing the wound, saving your life. You have to essentially reverse the entire process by which you were shot, the bullet needs to come out, things need reattaching, skin needs closing. It's like pausing the scene at the worst possible part and rewinding it slowly, frame by painful frame.

But the beauty is in the repair. I'm learning that.

The hardest parts of Brady's words were that they were true. It hurts like hell but I'm glad it happened. We talked last night about using these tragedies, thanking God for them that we have a new platform from which we can change and inspire.

Today's a new day. Today was harder than yesterday and I suspect it's going to keep hurting.