Sunday, December 26, 2004

how the time does fly

i know i promised some massive posting from oregon. i also know that i have yet to come through on this promise. i have no defense for this, i can only say that i will do my best to get something up in the next few days that is actually worth reading. my sincerest apologies, specifically to myself, whom i have let down a great deal.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

no need to countdown

here i am. roseburg in zero days (or to put it better, roseburg for fourteen or so days, no that i'm not counting down until i arrive, rather taking stock of the time i have here)

Friday, December 17, 2004

the days are just packed

i stole the title from a calvin and hobbes collection from 1994. i'm stealing this title because it serves as good reasoning for my inability to post yesterday, which i had wanted to do every day until i left for LA, which happens to be today. so for yesterday, let me say this:

roseburg in two days.

now that i've taken care of that, i can move on. i think i realized last night that i'm going to miss the guys here in phoenix a bit when i'm in roseburg. maybe i won't miss them a ton, since i'll be occupied pretty well by everything there, but i will still miss them a little, and i think that's good. there's not much else to say. i'm taking off for costa mesa in a few hours, and after chilling there for a little while i'll be heading north to biola for the night. then tomorrow is the long trek to roseburg. and the final countdown:

roseburg in one day.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

second and third grade tomorrow, and then i'm done until 2005

pretty crappy title, i know. honestly, you don't have to tell me. today i was finally at a high school. well, it was junior high too, but it was so nice to have high schoolers. tomorrow i will be terrorized by second and third graders all day, but then i will be done, which is awesome. my posts have been really fluffy since i started working a job that i kind of like, and that is disappointing to me. maybe there's really something to the "starving artist" thing: when i was working at quizno's i wrote stuff that was a lot better, and i wrote more. i also read a lot more. bah. at least i have almost finished the hauerwas reader, just one essay to go. enough of the random ramblings, i'm leaving soon for choir practice and a cookie feed.

three days until roseburg.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

the countdown continues

i subbed at a school today where they expect substitutes to never come back. it was great. (take that however you want) this afternoon i got called because i was requested as a sub for a school. let that sink in. i have finally arrived. tomorrow i'll be subbing for music for junior high and high school kids. could life get much better? only if i were heading to roseburg soon...oh wait, i am.

four days until roseburg.

Monday, December 13, 2004

P.E. again...and counting

i was a p.e. teacher again today. i think that subbing for p.e. is one of my favorites. i mean, smiling is my favorite, but subbing for p.e. is up there. hopefully i get some more good (and easy) work this week, and then i'll take off for LA on friday, followed by the long-haul trip to roseburg on saturday. i am excited to go back.

roseburg in five days.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

just keeping the countdown going

six days until roseburg. get excited.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

the GRE

i finished taking the GRE a short while ago. i was able to get my score on two of the three sections as soon as i finished. i did alright, but i still wish i would have done better on the verbal section. my score was high enough to get me into fuller's phd program (which i'm not applying for, just their ma) so hopefully it's high enough to get me into duke's mts program. i have to wait on the analytical writing section--which i didn't realize was going to be there, thanks to my old test-prep book and laziness. i think i did alright on the two essays anyway, probably in large part because i have continued to write since i got done with school, mainly on this very blog. that's all i've got for now, i just thought it was worth posting.

seven days until roseburg.

Friday, December 10, 2004

an addendum to the following poem/song

i wrote this the other night. i apologize if you are offended by my two uses of profanity. i do not apologize for using them, just for the offense that they may cause you. i think that's all.

roseburg in eight days.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

In the wake of discouraging news about a friend, sadness gives way to hope.

How could I ever think that anything was pretty when you’re gone?
But you’re not gone, yet.
How could I ever laugh, or be happy to hear my favorite song,
After you’re gone? Yet…

Life keeps moving not only on the street but here for me,
And soon you’re gone.
I don’t know how to go on, but all I do is just go on.

When people die it’s ‘cause they’re old or sick or even murdered too.
But that’s not you, yet.
I know you’re sick but somehow it still seems like this just can’t be true:
That it’s not you. Yet…

Life keeps moving not only on the street but here for me,
And soon you’re gone.
I don’t know how to go on, but all I do is just go on.

(You know the saying “shit happens”? Well this is what I think:
God can even make this shit smell nice but right now all I know is that it still stinks.)

I’m sure all things work for the good, but where’s the good working for us?
We have to trust
That God can take all of this pain and evil, suffering and death
And make it beautiful again.

How could I ever sing of beauty when you’ve suffered long and hard,
And all for us?
Your pains much greater than the worst we face that even leave us scars,
And all for you.

Life moves again but in a way that couldn’t possibly be known
Until you came. (Until you left.)
Bring peace and hope and joy and grace to make it through (not on our own)
All of this pain. (This pain of death.)

on the way to posting my usual drivel, life happened

when i say life, i mean post-fall-life. it seems that a very good friend of mine, karen, has become very sick. she first got sick a while ago, then seemed to get better for a while. then she got sick again right before i came home for spring break. now it's hitting her harder than ever, and i'm not there to visit. that is hard. pain is so real, and it always makes me want to take stock and be grateful and all of those other cliches. but joy is real too. and that's harder to see. anyway, i'm going to make a phone call now. i know this hasn't been much, but it's been something. pray for karen and her family and her church and me and you and the world. i think that covers it.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

back in phoenix, for the interim

i just got back from chicago last night. that after being gone the week before in costa mesa. so it's nice to be back in phoenix, but i'm excited to be heading to roseburg in less than two weeks. i don't have a lot to say, since my mind is going pretty quickly, i want to read some salinger stories luke emailed to me, and i'm a little sick. but i want to write more of my story, and talk about the last few weeks. so i'll do that sometime soon. it might not really happen until i'm in roseburg, but it will happen. to all of you who have been checking to see if i've updated: i appreciate your commitment to me. i share that commitment to you, i've just been travelling. we were on a break. now we're together again. i hope that our time apart has drawn us closer together.

Monday, December 06, 2004

on my way out

i just wanted to make a quick update from wheaton. i take off tomorrow to go back to arizona. it's been pretty good, but i'll give a better update on things once i get home...i mean, back to arizona. so ashley, here is the update you's lame, but it's all you get.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

women's division III ncaa soccer championship

i'm listening to the wheaton women's soccer team in a penalty kick shootout to win the championship.

and the shot...soon...

they made it.

wheaton has one chance, if they make this they win. last kick. it's tied right now. come on...

wheaton just won the national championship.

you have no idea how excited i am right now, and i'll get to celebrate with them very soon.


this is awesome.
very very very awesome.

Thursday, November 25, 2004


i'm here in sunny costa mesa with my parents and my brother. yesterday we went to disneyland, which was pretty fun. i've never liked roller coasters or rides resembling them, but yesterday i went on all of the ones that my dad and brother went on. it was really fun to ride with them, and i enjoyed the rides themselves. last night we just hung out at the apartment. i watched a bunch of episodes from season one of the oc. the more i watch that show the more i think it actually has some really good things to say. granted, last night i watched a few of the steamiest episodes, and i think there are better ways those could have been done, but on the whole i think the show has a lot of value. today we're just haning out, watching football, and eating. i'm looking forward to a nice rest of the day.

one other note: i went to bed at three o'clock pacific time this morning, which is roughly 24 hours after i got up to go to the airport yesterday. it was great.

happy thanksgiving. in a trite end to this post i'm going to give some general thanksgivings, so here it goes:

things i'm thankful for:
creative outlets like writing
days at disney-related theme parks with my family
video games
trips to california
trips to illinois
rock shows
money to pay for things i need
not enough money to make it easy for me to fall into materialism (the vice, not the metaphysical viewpoint)
the oc
other forms of media that make me think, laugh, smile, cry, get frustrated, or open my eyes to the way others feel or think

Friday, November 19, 2004

temping: day two

i don't think i said exactly what i tought yesterday. four periods, and they went like this:

first period: ninth grade algebra
second period: college prep for seniors (imagine if there were a class in which you worked on scholarships and applications and other college related things...that's this class)
third period: international studies (this class was made up of freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors...insane)
fourth period: same as the last one, with a different group of students

today i was at another tiny school, this time teaching p.e.

actually, i thought i was teaching p.e., and i did some, but then it changed. in the morning i taught p.e. for first graders, then kindergarteners, then 2nd/3rd/4th graders, then 5th/6th/7th/8th graders. those are all of the classes this school had, four of them, broken up as i've shown. there was no feild, no track, no gym. there was very little in terms of equipment. it was rediculous. but i'm still the best sub ever, so it worked out. then, in the afternoon, i took over in the 2nd/3rd/4th grade class. they were hellions. it was amazing. but i survived, and it was far better than making sandwiches, and i made more money, which is nice. now i have a weekend, then two more days of subbing, then thanksgiving in LA with my brother and my parents, then two more days of subbing, then a trip to chicago, then nine more days of subbing (tempered by another weekend) and then i head to roseburg for christmas. i'm quite looking forward to the next few weeks, what with all my traveling and hopefully getting into some real high school classrooms.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

in the aftermath

today was only a half-day, which is too bad. but i still got paid as much for a half day as i would have for a full day at quizno's, and it was fun, and i'm the coolest substitute teacher ever. hopefully tomorrow will only improve on today.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

temping, for real

tomorrow morning i will become ned, mr. s. after waiting for so long on the certification, and then applying to districts on monday only to find out that i wouldn't be able to start subbing until january or february, i was terribly distraught. on tuesday i ran across an online ad for substitute teachers, called the number, and proceeded to get hired by them today. it really is like a temp agency. most schools or districts have substitute coordinators. the place i was hired by serves as a sort of third party substitute coordinator, in which schools call them when they need subs, and their hired subs call when they want to work. you may be wondering how i'm so sure they'll need me tomorrow. well, they told me that they've had more assignments than teachers this whole school year, so that they are trying to recruit new subs all the time just to cover their "client" schools. all this is to say that i'm finally doing what i want, and i can't wait for it.

of course, i will wait, because sleep will be good tonight before heading into a classroom tomorrow for the FIRST TIME EVER. but sleep will only come after choir practice at my church.

Monday, November 15, 2004

roper show

i just got back from the roper show at asu west. it was quite good, though reese had some classic off-key vocals on several songs. i hung out with one of the guitar players, stephen till, for a while both before and after the show. i also talked to reese for a while, which was very cool, especially since i never had that chance when he was in five iron. it was pretty funny to see just how obsessed all the kids there were with reese. the grandest personality cult of out time, i might say. also, he shoved the microphone in my face for the vocals on part of one song, which was a lot of fun. i'm a wreck, i'm too old to go to shows with a bunch of junior high and high school kids, so i think i'll sleep now...or soon...or never...but hopefully soon.

interview with a favorite wheaton prof

this interview happened sometime last year, but my roommate luke just found it. all you have to do is click on the title of the post and you'll find's that easy. dr. jacobs, the interviewee, is an english professor at wheaton. i had him for african lit my very last quad (half a semester) of school, and wished that i could go back and be an english major just to learn from him for four years. as luke said, jacobs doesn't really say anything earth-shattering, but the eloquence with which he speaks on a great breadth of subjects is fantastic, and i think it helps me think about my personal faith, as well as our corporate faith as the body of Christ.

one note: there is no way that jacobs called stanly hauerwas stanly harakas, and i think that's pretty shoddy journalism by pbs. it's always good to see one of my favorites quote one of my favorites.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

an apology

i just wanted to say i'm sorry that the last chunk i posted about cornelius isn't very good, i'm afraid. i like it, but i don't think it's very good. once i start revising everything, when the whole story is out, i think it could become good, but not yet. also, i realized the other night that someone could probably steal my writing. i don't say this because i think it's so good that someone would want to, just because the paranoia hit me and i needed to at least put it up so that if someone does steal my story he or she will feel badly about it later.

i've been writing this in our new living room. the walls aren't new, but having furniture, and having pictures up on the walls, makes it feel new and extremely livable, quite a contrast with how it was before.

The Unauthorized Autobiography of Cornelius Scott, Installment Two (2)

Since I told you that “the second explosion happened…” I suppose I should tell you that the third explosion happened in such-and-such a way. Of course, I defy convention, since I never learned it very well, and instead I’m going to tell you about a summer trip I took with Jake and Emily.

When I was seven mom decided that it would be good for me and my twin younger siblings—my brother Jake and sister Emily—to spend some time with my aunt and uncle on their farm. Mom thought that the fresh air would do us much good. (This is fairly ridiculous, since Roseburg is hardly a big city, and in fact has very little pollution—or anything else—to make the air not fresh.)

The procedure was that we would drive halfway across the state, and so would they. On the side of the road in the middle of nowhere mom would hand over the goods, namely, me Jake and Emily, and then my aunt would return to the farm with her new hired hands. (Then again, hired probably isn’t the right word, since we didn’t get paid anything.) After that we would live normal farmers’ lives: doing chores, painting fences, pulling rye, pulling weeds, riding horses, breathing “fresh” air, and doing anything else imaginable to make the time tolerable.

The plan went off splendidly, almost without a hitch. Jake, Emily, and I loaded into the car with mom and drove across the state. Once there, our aunt helped move us into her giant truck, where our cousin Elizabeth was eagerly anticipating our company. We rode together, the five of us, the rest of the way across the state. When we arrived at the farm there was no lack of fresh air, and our two weeks there were filled with horse riding, rye pulling, fence painting, chore doing, and anything else we could think of to make the time tolerable.

This wouldn’t be a very interesting part of the story, my story, if it hadn’t been for that little hitch. As I said already, mom, Jake, Emily, and I drove across the state to meet my aunt. There were no problems on that trip: no giant pot-holes to blow tires out, no crazy drivers to push us off the road so we could plunge into the Umpqua River, no black ice in the mountains to surprise us and send the car careening into some tree trunk. And the drive the rest of the way also occurred without incident. (Well, there was one incident—I threw up, but I’ll get to that, and besides, kids throw up in cars from motion sickness all the time.) And as surprising as it may be, there were no accidents with horses or hay bales or pigs or goats or any other dangerous farm implements during our stay. My attempt to build suspense has no doubt left you a little restless, as I’m sure you’ve spotted the very moment that the hitch occurred, and have just been waiting for me to say so in order that you might feel smug. I hope that you do feel quite smug, because you were right all along: something happened between driving halfway across the state with mom and driving the other half with our aunt.

Once we reached the middle-of-nowhere spot on the side of the road, mom pulled over next to our aunt’s truck and the two of them began unloading us and our stuff. I was expected to help, since I was (and still, for that matter, am) the oldest. Since I was helping, I grabbed a favorite toy of mine to keep me company in the truck. As much as I enjoyed Jake and Emily and Elizabeth, their intellects weren’t quite enough to keep me entertained. I suppose this is as good a time as any to tell you how old they were, since I haven’t mentioned that yet. Jake and Emily were almost five, and Elizabeth had just turned five. This is the perfect age for an older brother or cousin to constantly entertain with his showmanship, as will be explained in a few short moments, but not for them to keep me entertained, hence my grabbing of the toy, which was a dart gun. It wasn’t the type with sharp darts, the kind some mean children shoot at neighborhood cats, or stereotypical warring tribes from Africa put poison on and use in battle. Instead it had suction darts.

Once we were all settled in the truck, mom and our aunt took a break to catch up leaning against mom’s car. For a while we just watched them, but after approximately five seconds this loses all appeal for anyone under the age of 83. As the three in the back were getting quite restless (as I’m sure you are too, once again, since I seem to be delaying the climax of this little vignette) I decided to entertain them myself. I pulled the dart gun out, and with a mind as clever as any entertainer—alive or dead—I invented a show for them. The show consisted of me shooting a dart into my own mouth. I did this by putting the dart in as normal, but then turning the tube around and sucking on it instead of blowing on it to shoot the dart out. The trick was that I didn’t just do this with my teeth together: that would have had no entertainment value. Instead, I used all the force I could muster with my mouth wide open on each self-inflicted shot, and then right at the last second I would jam my teeth together, effectively catching the suction dart before it lodged itself in my throat.

My entire audience found this incredibly amusing, especially my brother Jake, who nearly had his head cut off by his seat-belt strap at least three times. With each shot I would become more daring, tempting the shooter, who happened to be me, to hit his target. It finally happened after 11 or so shots. My teeth weren’t quick enough to close, and the dart slid between them and down my throat. There it lodged, never to release itself.

This last shot was more humorous than any I had previously attempted, and once again resulted in Jake’s near decapitation. Emily and Elizabeth also found my fake choking to be quite funny. Of course, I would have found fake choking funny too, but the real choking going on in my seat was anything but comical. After struggling for some time to dislodge the dart, I gave up and accepted my fate.

I died the exact moment I gave up. Of course that’s not true, but I thought I had died. There was a flash of blinding light and a huge crash from behind the truck. I thought they were the signs that I was entering the after-life, but they were really just signs that lightning had struck a telephone pole. Mom and our aunt were of course quite startled by the lightning, and rushed to the truck to make sure we were okay. To their shock, and also to their surprise, I wasn’t okay at all. They hadn’t expected to find a choking child in the front seat.

The Heimlich maneuver feels a lot differently than you’d think it does, but it works. Once the dart came shooting back out of my mouth—an event that once again landed Jake in convulsions of laughter—I could breath again. All that fresh air I breathed for the next two weeks couldn’t compare with the sweetness of that first breath. After that I was fine, other than the after-effects that produced the vomiting incident I’ve already told you about.

Once again an explosion tied mom and I together, but this time it didn’t save the lives of our whole family, just mine. There had only been a few clouds in the sky when mom and our aunt started talking. They didn’t notice—being outside—nor did we notice—being inside—the clouds multiplying and becoming much darker. Maybe they didn’t. We still aren’t sure, but mom and I do both remember the explosion when the lightning hit the telephone pole, and of course neither of us could forget the extremely lucky timing of that event. Once again I was saved by an explosion.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

apartment furnishings

luke brought back a couch from mesa, today, and then we got several shelves from his classroom. now the apartment is feeling a lot better. also, i've put a few pictures up already, pretty soon i'll put the rest up. tomorrow, we're bringing back an end table from tim and lisa's in fountain hills, then we'll go to goodwill, pick up a chair, coffee table, and an entertainment center that i scoped out today. by tomorrow evening, the apartment should be a lot more livable.

and in case anyone is anxious, soon i'll be putting up a second installment of cornelius scott.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

temping, again

next week will be my last at quizno's, and i may not even be able to work the whole week. the reason for this is simple: friday i will be certified to substitute teach, and then next week i'll be attending orientations and hopefully getting into the classroom. this all makes me quite happy.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

the verchant of menace

tonight i saw scottsdale christian academy's production of the merchant of venice, or as my friend ian called it, the verchant of menace. i had forgotten just how funny shakespeare is. it made me think that i might start reading his whole works once i finish with salinger and hauerwas, since my grandma gave me a whole set of his plays. i don't have much else to say on this. oh, hopefully very soon i'll have a second installment of very rough fiction for you, dear reader, to loathe.

The Unauthorized Autobiography of Cornelius Scott, Installment One (1)

This story isn’t anything new, or even terribly original, but it certainly is twisted, and that twistedness lends it, if nothing else, credibility…maybe even originality, after all. I should first clear up a misconception you’re certain to have: by twisted, I don’t mean in the manner of a pirate’s dagger—you know, the type with the metal handle that appears to have been woven from hell-forged gold—or even in the manner of some mad scientist’s mind. No, the twisted I mean is the type you would see on the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in the freezer, the one that is “2TWISTED!”. It’s the combining and intertwining of two previously existing, and apparently tasty, flavors to create a new one. That’s the sort of twisted that this story is. I’m not saying that I stole this story from someone. In fact, this story is very much mine. But the way I tell it will make you think at times you’ve heard it before, as I can’t help but say things that PK said in The Power of One, or that Asher Lev might have said, or that Anthony should have said in Bottle Rocket. In fact, this whole introduction sounds a bit too much like Holden Caulfield.

I suppose that a real introduction is in order, one in which I introduce myself, since I really am the story. My name is Cornelius Scott. I was born on February 18, 1981, exactly nine months after the eruption of Mount St. Helens. I’m sure you want to know why that is of any significance, since there were certainly numerous other babies born around that time, and some on the very day of its eruption. Well, it seems that I was conceived the day that St. Helens erupted, thus continuing a familial trend. My mother was born in St. Helens, the town, on August 7, 1959. I was conceived in Roseburg, Oregon, on May 18, 1980. Roseburg exploded on August 7, 1959, and St. Helens blew up on May 18, 1980. My mother and I are forever tied to explosions, especially ones that produce tremendous damage and tragedy, and we’re tied to them together.

The second explosion of my life came just before I turned two. Being a curious toddler, I was doing what curious toddlers do: roaming around the house searching for something new to put in my mouth. My father was at work, and my mother was in the kitchen working on dinner. I was free to eat anything I could find, so I did. After trying an assortment of treats, including yellow play-dough, which does not taste like buttered popcorn, I finally settled on the perfect bit of nourishment. My parents have always claimed that I was smart even as a child, so it must have been the knowledge that charcoal contains vitamins and minerals of all sorts that led me to eat the ashes in the fireplace.

I ate to my heart’s content the remnants of a fire that my parents had snuggled by the previous night, or perhaps the night before. Finally, having thoroughly gorged myself on this feast of squalor, I wandered into the kitchen to see what my mother was cooking for dinner. She was having quite a time mixing, cutting, marinating, and in all manner of other ways preparing what would become our dinner, so she didn’t notice at first the black drool coming down my face. It took quite some time before she turned to see me with my face covered in soot. Of course, she didn’t know that it was soot. She had no idea what my face was covered in. Always giving me the benefit of the doubt, she finally decided that I had come across some of my father’s grape gum, and that this produced the black drool now ruining my face. This answer was quite enough for her, and so she let me play a bit longer until my father got home and could help her clean me up.

Dad got home only a few minutes later, heard mom’s story about the grape gum, laughed with her, and then set out to get me cleaned up and ready for dinner. His amusement stopped, however, when he felt the gritty truth of my pre-dinner meal while wiping my face off. In a panic, my parents rushed me to the hospital, having finally noticed the tracks I had left from the fireplace to the kitchen. As it turned out, there really were quite a few nutrients in the remains I had eaten, much to my two-year-old delight. With the knowledge that I had built up my immune system in order to fight off poisons of other kinds, we drove home.

The steady scream of sirens and the steady stream of fire engines didn’t seem peculiar until we were only several blocks from home. By that time we could see the smoke billowing above the neighborhood and the flames grasping for any chunk of fuel they could get. A house in our neighborhood was burning. A house quite close to our own was on fire. As it turned out, our own house was not only burning and on fire, but had exploded. It seems that there was something wrong with our gas line. We had never had any trouble with it before, but something about the change in weather, or its age, or just happenstance, had led the line to break in some way. Mom had forgotten to turn the stove off when we left for the hospital. This meant that the gas continued to flow, but at a rate that was quite dangerous. In addition, it didn’t only flow into the heating element in the stove, but off into other parts of the house. When it had finally seeped back into the kitchen, it only took the pilot light in the stove to send the whole house up.

So at the age of almost two we moved out of our house—our charcoal house—and into a new one with gas lines that were properly maintained. This is how my mother and I unknowingly conspired to produce not only another explosion, but a reason to be in the right place when the wrong time came, just as she had been in St. Helens instead of Roseburg, and I was started in Roseburg instead of St. Helens.

Monday, November 08, 2004

the coming fiction

i'm working on my first great work of fiction. depending on how the writing goes and where the characters take me, it will either be a short story or (gasp) a novel. we'll see. i'm posting rough drafts, which is somewhat scary. please rip the chunks to peices. that means you, jacob and krispin, but also anyone else who feels like it. i'll accept any form of flattery, too, but i really would prefer criticism. i think there's a pedro the lion song called criticism as inspiration. that's what i'm looking for, i suppose. and on with the show...

spilling my guts

i wrote this after seeing the movie garden state. i know that i posted something the next day at the library similar to this, but this is what i wrote when i came home. it's pretty raw, and so i'm not sure what anyone will think of it. i say that because i'm not sure what i think of it. in the original version i swore twice, and right now i'm trying to decide if i keep those in., i don't think so. i don't know what i'll do with them, make them socially acceptable to christians by changing them to things like "darn," or make them the same only without the letters by using symbols. maybe i'll find the meaning and see if i can't use other words. also, i'm debating whether to leave in the most personal thing i would have ever posted on here...again, i don't know whether to do it or not. i think not. we'll see. i'm not telling you my final decision on that one. without further ado, here is something i wrote a while back:

i think i’m beginning to understand what it feels like to be suicidal.

that’s not to say that i want to end my life, which seems like the proper meaning of the statement. i think it has something to do with desperation—a feeling that i’m not living at all, just surviving—and not knowing how to act on it.

so instead of wanting to end my life, i want to truly begin it. no more surviving. i can’t stand this going to work, making a little bit of money, wondering why i’m not doing something else, thinking about people from wheaton or from roseburg or from God knows where else, all the while not thinking about home because the only home is the idea of being with these people. for the most convoluted sentence i’ve written so far tonight, that one may hold the most meaning. of course i’m ripping off garden state, which i just saw…alone. and i’m also ripping off some of stanley hauerwas’s ideas about community. but the last time i was back in roseburg i said that it wasn’t really going home, it was going to roseburg. and when i visit wheaton soon it won’t be going home either: it will be going back to wheaton. but when i’m with luke i’m home. when i’m with eric and alec and griff in wheaton i’ll be home. when i’m with julie or ashley or jacob or aj or val or krispin or my parents or any number of other people in roseburg i’m home. when i'm with my brother or patrick who-knows-where i'm home. the question, then, is why can’t i be home right now?

maybe i can’t be home right now because i’m alone. but i’m in the apartment that i’ve paid for—this isn’t some place i’m living in for free, some hostel that’s allowed me to mooch off it’s benevolence. no, it’s much more like a motel room: a place i can stay for a few months while i figure everything out. but, in all honesty, it won’t be figured out when the lease runs out in six months time. no, i’ll be as confused/undecided/content-to-not-know/ready-to-find-out/messed up as ever. what will i do then? if i go back to roseburg i could survive a while longer working at the mill so that i can pay for grad school. if i go to honduras i could risk everything to see a friend i sometimes think i love, but who is very busy actually living. maybe that’s the trick: if i go there, i’ll have to live. there’s no surviving in honduras except for really living, because the former will just wear you down until you can’t keep it up anymore. i think that’s "the power of one" coming through, bryce courtney’s words and ideas being eschewed by me as my own. that’s the trick; maybe i’ll go to south africa. i think there are too many tricks in the last few sentences, because there really isn't any trick to figuring all of this out.

the problem still persists: when will i ever be home? of course there’s the nice christian answer, and one that i sometimes believe—and wish i believed this very second—that i’ll truly be home when i’m in heaven with God. but even when i look for that, i can’t picture it. i can’t taste it. i don’t think it’s like what many preachers say, that we get a taste of heaven when we’re worshipping God together. i think i got a taste of heaven tonight watching garden state, because it showed me what looked like real love, and real choices to make love work. as a human with a finite grasp and no real understanding of the immensity of God, his gift to us of love-for-each-other is the thing that most makes me think of heaven. at it’s best this sort of love is a reflection of God’s character. i don’t believe that there can be an “at it’s worst” of real love-for-each-other, because if it's real, i mean really real, the way God intends us to love, then it can't be done badly.

from a long time ago, but just now published

i must begin this post with a sincere apology. i said that i would be offline for a while, but now it seems that it may be longer than expected. the service i was going to go with has no more available ports, so i’m not sure how this situation will be fixed. in addition, i put my phone number up and said it would be up and ready for incoming/outgoing calls on october 20th. well, i’m writing this post on the evening of the 20th, and my phone still isn’t working. i suppose this apology is more because i’m unhappy about not being in contact with anyone, but in case anyone decided to try it, this apology is for you as well.

in addition to writing this post, i’m watching the red sox beat up on the yankees in game seven. this is one of the most enjoyable sporting events i’ve ever watched, and the only person i can share it with is you, dear reader. it was great to have luke here last night, and i can’t wait until he moves in for good, but it’s a bit lonely now that i’m by myself. i really wish that anyone from home or from wheaton could come visit me. that’s not to say that having luke, ian, james, adam, and the lovings here isn’t great…or that once i have a phone and can get in contact with ross that won’t be really fun. i just wish i were in contact with all of those friends i’ve made in the last, well, i suppose in the last seven years.

i’ve enjoyed the lap pool here at the apartment complex each of the last three days. it’s been fantastic, and i’ve really enjoyed getting back in to the pool. in addition to that, today was my third day of work at quizno’s. the first day i hated it, but since then it hasn’t been as bad. i received a raise on the second day of work, so that now i’m earning $6.00 an hour. it’s terrible pay, really, but until i’m subbing…ahem…temping, it will make me enough money to help take care of living expenses.

i don’t think i really have anything else to say right now, it’s quite too bad that i have no idea when this will be posted…it could be a long time from now, but i think i won’t add anything to it, instead i’ll make a post correcting anything that is wrong because of posting so long after writing.

hauerwas #3

in the essay “reforming Christian social ethics: ten theses,” hauerwas makes ten claims about the way ethics should look. here i quote the third thesis, which can be found on page 112 of the hauerwas reader.

3. The ability to provide an adequate account of our existence is the primary test of the truthfulness of a social ethic.
No society can be just or good that is built on falsehood. The first task of Christian social ethics, therefore, is not to make the “world” better or more just, but to help Christian people form their community consistent with their conviction that the story of Christ is a truthful account of our existence. For as H. R. Niebuhr argued, only when we know “what is going on,” do we know “what we should do,” and Christians believe that we learn most decisively “what is going on” in the cross and resurrection of Christ.

i don’t have much else to say about this entry, i think hauerwas nails it on the head, and i need to take this to heart when i think about the ways i act and the ways i think about actions and ethics. the first task cannot be to change things, but to understand what it means to be in relationship with Christ, both as an individual and in community, because they are both of utmost importance.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

more posts soon

i ordered netzero dial-up internet yesterday. i should get all the stuff to make it happen by friday, so then i won't have to come to the library to make posts, and i can use my own computer, which already has some stuff on it that i want to post. that's all i've got, since i can't wait to get out of the library.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

the art of grad school searching

the title of this post may be misleading, because i don't actually know the art of grad school searching. i've now requested info from princeton theological seminary, in addition to my duke application that is under way, and the wheaton one i plan on doing. lastly, i'm trying to find a seminary on the west coast to which i would like to apply. i think that i'll end up with fuller, but maybe there's another one out there that would suit me even better. it's taco tuesday, which means that in about an hour i'll be heading up to del taco to join scores of students and teachers from scottsdale christian academy for the "three tacos for $.99" bargain. yes, every tuesday. it's nice, i'll tell you, but it would be nicer if i didn't have to figure out the sales tax too. i just finished reading catcher in the rye. i had read it once as a junior in high school, and i still think that it's amazing. i'm continuing on in the works of salinger and reading his nine stories next. in addition to that, i've finally started reading hauerwas again. he is just amazing. here's a quote from what i read yesterday:

I was raised a Methodist. That means before I was twelve I had already had all the experience I could take. That is the reason I sometimes suggest that there are some words that certain religious traditions should never be allowed to use. Anglicans should never be allowed to say "Incarnation" because they usually mean by that "God became human and said, 'Say, this is not too bad.'" In like manner, Methodists should not be allowed to use the word "experience" because they usually mean that salvation consists in having the right feelings at the right time and in the right place. Rather than our confrontation with God being an occasion for challenging our endemic narcissism, the emphasis on experience thus only underwrites our fatal narcissism.

that's from the essay "Casuistry in Context: The Need for Tradition." it's just the first paragraph. i know that it's pretty heady stuff, but he really is amazing, and as much as i have decided to apply to more places than just duke, i sure would choose to study there if i get the chance.

Friday, October 29, 2004


i just read a post about a boy from roseburg passing away. i didn't know chris at all, just that he was a good lacrosse player, a good teammate, and a fun guy to be around. oh yeah, and that he had cancer.

this summer a friend of mine from school died while he was serving others in the name of Christ. he died in a car crash. he was serving God and he died in a car crash. that really doesn't make sense, does it?

this summer one of my brother's friends from school died of a blot clot. he had been taking medication. he was around 20. that also doesn't make sense, does it?

you know what, death never makes sense. it's always sad, and because we were originally meant to LIVE, dying seems so unnatural. i'm not trying to sound cheesy, but hearing about chris' death, which makes me very sad, also reminds me just how messed up everything is, how messed up I am (i am the problem), and that we all need God.

specifically, i need God. and i need his grace. thankfully, he gives of his grace and himself more than i could even imagine.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

the red sox, and other important news

in several hours i will be picking my friend adam up from the airport. he went to wheaton, graduating in 2002, and is a teacher at luke's school, sca. i'm picking him up from the airport because he's flying back from st. louis, where he watched his red sox win the world series. i don't think i'll be able to stand him, because i'm sure his face hurts from being unable to stop smiling.

yesterday at the library i asked a girl for her phone number.

(let that sink in)

(a little more)

i was sitting here, and i turned to go, and i saw my friend jaime sitting at another computer. she graduated the year before me, and i haven't seen her since then. she's living down here by herself and doesn't really have any friends in the area, so i'm glad we ran into each other and i got her number. had the red sox not won, seeing her would have been the highlight of my day.

i doubt that they read this blog, but shout-outs to kelly and nate, as their birthdays are today and tomorrow, respectively. also, good luck to the roseburg boys soccer team, since they're playing right now.

i think that's everything i wanted to say...i'm going to start counting down the days until i leave, i think. although that might be hard, since i don't know for sure when i'm leaving, it could be a "fun" running gag on my blog. that way all of you regulars have something to look forward to checking.

glad you liked that last joke.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

a few quotes i'm staring at

i'm sitting in luke's classroom, at his computer, and i just looked up at these two quotes while trying to think of what i wanted to write.

"...if I'm anything by a clinical name, I'm a kind of paranoiac in reverse. I suspect people of plotting to make me happy." --j.d. salinger

"We can only do what it seems to us we were made for, lok at this world with a happy eye but from a sober perspective." --w.h. auden

i don't know how much i agree with either of these quotes (although i think i agree with the second one a lot more) but i do know that they're great quotes that stimulate my mind. of course, i don't think i'm going to write anything about the product of this mental stimulation, just that it happens thanks to these quotes and others like them. i really don't have much else to say. or anything, else, i supose.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

you're with stupid...that is, if you're with me

so i'm the biggest lamewad ever. my phone number is not the one i've been posting, but one very similar to it. i think that the guy gave me the wrong number from the beginning, because i did the repeat-it-back trick to make sure i had it right. oh well. in case anyone's been calling and getting a busy signal, or someone else altogether, the real number is this:

(602) 867-4676

(sigh) i wish i hadn't screwed that up. i just got back from watching the seahawks lose to the cardinals, which was terrible. it was only made worse by the fact that cardinals fans must be some of the dumbest people ever. seriously, they're really stupid. i think this library is going to be a very common place for me to spend evenings, as i'll be able to read and to be online.

roper is awesome. (just thought i'd say it.)

Saturday, October 23, 2004

in the library

so i wish that i could get internet in my apartment, for the sake of convenience, but there's a library just down the street where i can go to get online, and i don't have to pay for it, which is always good. of course, the problem with that is my posts i've been writing on my laptop that i can't publish without an internet connection. we'll see what happens with those.

in other news: i saw garden state last night. i've wanted to see it for a while, and was really glad i finally went. what a great all-around performance by zach braff--writing, directing, and acting. i don't think i have too much else to say. while i was gone last night luke must have brought a mattress home and then drove to mesa. words cannot describe how much nicer it was to sleep on a mattress than on the floor. well, maybe they can: it was WAY nicer. having a phone has been the highlight of my week...oh wait, other than the sox beating the yankees and the seahawks getting the greatest receiver ever. i've been calling a lot of people, so if you're someone that i haven't talked to in a while, expect a call sometime. or call me, if you'd like. i'm reposting my number because the phone has become that important to me.

602 876-4676

Monday, October 18, 2004

phone number


that's it. it won't be hooked up until wednesday, but there it is, as i promised, and without me selling out to the wireless companies. hooray for all of that.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

much to say

i finished another book today. i finally heard back from quizno's and will be working there starting tomorrow. luke and i did, in fact, sign the lease yesterday and i moved most of my stuff in. on top of that, i will likely begin living there tonight. hopefully my loliness will wane with the move, which will give me a roommate that is also a great friend, and with the job, which will give me a daily chance to interact with people. isolation is good for a while, it allows one to read, to write, to think, to spend time alone, to spend time in silence, to have "alone" time with God. but i think that being with people is far superior and can benefit all of those things already mentioned, except "alone" time, which i don't think is as important as many evangelicals do...our relationship with God is so shaped by community and his relationship with his people, and he uses others in our lives to such a great extent--and us in their's if we'll let him--that even though we can't have as much "alone" time in community, i think we could be better for it. hopefully i'll get phone and dsl service set-up tomorrow, so that i'm still connected with the world.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

the lease signing

today is the day...supposedly. right now i'm taking a break from packing stuff back into my car to make the trip into phoenix, where luke and i will be signing our lease at three and then moving in. unfortunately quizno's hasn't called me back yet. my papers should be in process right now so that i can get a fingerprint card, the only requirement other than my official transcript showing i graduated in order to get a certificate to substitute teach. what about all of those other places i applied? oh, you mean borders and starbucks and best buy? i haven't heard a word from any of them. quite disheartening. this could be my last post for a bit, as the apartment is not yet furnished with internet or phone, though those things should be happening soon, maybe as early as monday. i don't believe i have much else to say, i've been poor about posting more of the hauerwas quotes, and for that i apologize. soon, soon. in the meantime, if you've missed my interminable posts about philosophy, check out and read the comments to the post entitled "the heresy." i was quite pleased with myself, and think i really will re-work that a bit and submit it to relevant magazine. (end of bragging...paper, take it home. crap, that only works on strongbad emails.)

Monday, October 11, 2004

why is it that when i try to get to bed early i can't fall asleep?

the majority of the post is in the title. i've just been laying in bed for over an hour, not sleeping, and i'm getting up early to go get luke's application for the apartment and take care of some other stuff. (sigh) man i wish i were sleeping right now. and if not that, then hanging out with someone. no no, instead, i'm sitting here staring at a computer screen and my own writing, imagining that me reading it is someone else talking to me. doesn't it sound like i'm ready to be asleep? or course it does, but that doesn't mean i am.

in case you that that "or course" was a typo-it's not. that happened in a conversation with ashley today and i thought it sounded very much like strongbad, so i put it in here. what's that, you don't think it sounds like strongbad? okay, imagine him saying this:

"hey-a the cheat, do you think these electronic boots are cool?"


"or COURSE the ladies will like 'em, i was just wondering what you the ladies...OR COURSE! the ladies like 'em."

see, just like strongbad. (sleep, please come quickly)

on my way

per an update:

i will soon be employed by quizno's, which i consider temporary until the substitute thing works out.

in addition, luke and i are planning on getting an apartment very soon, even moving in as soon as this weekend, perhaps. to see where we're going, check out we will probably get a studio, but i need to see one first. today i looked at the one bedroom/one bathroom model. they're nice, though a little small, so that the studio might be just as good.

not much else to say yet, though i think i'll probably have a phone by the end of next week, whether it's cell or land...not sure yet, but probably one of them.

Friday, October 08, 2004


so i had a realization arizona all you need to be a temp is a four year degree, some fingerprints, and an application. apparently the slowest part of the process is the prints, which take 3-5 weeks. so by the end of the year, i may be a substitute teacher. that's right kids, just call me mr. s.

hopefully i'll get the fingerprint packet in the mail tomorrow or monday, finish it in no time, get it turned in, go get school district apps, and have stuff in so i can start sooooooon. that's in addition to the food-service jobs i interviewed for yesterday, and the call to best buy i made today with my new number. hopefully soon i'll be living a real life.

i really am excited about the thought of being a substitute teacher. it would be a lot more enjoyable to be in an "academic" setting than even a coffeeshop or electronics store, and those are my two other best options. plus, the pay, if i can get work three to four days a week, would be better. and it would only be three to four (maybe sometimes five) days a week. plus, i'd be in at least a similar world to my friends, all of us teaching. so that's the latest.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

still in a quoting mood

this is from psalm 18, in the message. verses 25-27 or around there:

the good people taste your goodness,
the whole people taste your health,
the true people taste your truth,
the bad ones can't figure you out.
you take the side of the down-and-out,
but the stuck-up you take down a peg.

these verses grab me for so many reasons. i often don't taste his goodness, or realize that the taste i'm getting is his health or his truth. and i can hardly ever figure him out. how discouraging.

except that these verses don't discourage me, because in reading them i taste those things; i realize that God is for me, because i am the down-and-out...and he is even more for so many others that are even lower down and further out than me. in fact, i am grateful that i sometimes get taken down a peg, because that sort of thing reminds me that, while those first few lines are true, without the act of christ, the work of the spirit, and the communion of the church, i would never be able to taste those things.

i often don't spend time reading the bible. i just read a 500 page novel in four days. it was great. i am very glad i did so, as i not only enjoyed myself while reading a good story, but it was something that i can chew on intellectually. in that same time i've continued reading a few psalms. i think God has used the novel in my life, there's no doubt. but i know that the bible is still his inspired word, and while i don't think that life should only be spent with our noses in his word, i do think that more of my life should be spent reading, thinking about, and praying through scripture. am i confessing online? hopefully a priest reads this, with the power to forgive...just kidding...kind really...or am i...sorry, i should go to sleep, i'm going crazy.

on my way to finishing up applications and getting interviews, i stumbled upon this

well, that's not a completely true title. i didn't stumble upon this, i was reading the sports guy's article because i love to read his stuff. but this was too funny, so i decided to pass in on to my readers. (and i AM turning in two applications today, going by best buy to give them this phone number, and going to an open interview at starbucks...see, i want to work) without anything further, here is some great stuff from today's column by bill simmons, the sports guy:

The more I'm thinking about it, they're like the Stepford Wives of baseball fans: Everyone wearing red, everyone banging those Stix, nobody actually knowing anything about ins and outs of the game. They would chant "Pedro sucks! Pedro sucks!", but at odd times, like when there were 2 outs in the inning and he had just struck someone out. They would stand and cheer when the scoreboard told them, but they wouldn't stand with two outs at the end of the inning when Colon had two strikes on someone. It was like watching a bunch of foreigners. There was almost something cute about them, like they made you want to say, "Ohhhhhh," like watching a dog wag their tail when they get a treat.

The classic Anaheim fan story: My buddy Hench and I were walking into the game and doing the "Let's go Sox!" routine every time we walked by someone wearing a Sox hat or jersey. I mentioned how there were a surprising number of Sox fans walking around, followed by Hench joking that the number of Angels fans at Friday's game at Fenway would be either zero or zero. So some Stepford fan turns around and sneers, "You gotta get there first!"

Um ... what?

"You gotta get there first!"

Apparently the chip in his skull was malfunctioning.

"We're up 1-0 in a five-game series," Hench said. "I'm pretty sure we're making it to Game 3."

Then the Stepford fan came back with some "You guys have been losers for 90 years" and "19*8!" stuff. About 20 seconds too late. I think they immediately returned him to the factory for repairs.

no, my style as a writer hasn't been influenced by him at all, why do you ask?

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

hauerwas #2

(hauerwas #1 can be found in an entry called "a taste of what i'm reading")

this bit comes from an essay entitled "on keeping theological ethics theological," and can be found in the hauerwas reader on pages 71 and 72.

It is my suspicion that if theologians are going to contribute to reflection on the moral life in our particular situation, they will do so exactly to the extent they can capture the significance of the church for determining the nature and content of Christian ethical reflection. This may seem an odd suggestion, for it seems such a move would only make the theologian that much further removed from being a serious conversation partner. It is assumed, by theologian and philosopher alike, that any distinctive contribution of theological ethics must begin with beliefs about God, Jesus, sin, and the like, and the moral implications of those beliefs. And of course there is much truth to that. Yet the problem with putting the matter in that way is that such "beliefs" look like descriptions of existence, some kind of primitive metaphysics, that one must then try to analyze for their moral implications. To force Christian moral reflection into such a pattern is to make it appear but another philosophical account of the moral life.

But that is exactly what it is not. For Christian beliefs about God, Jesus, sin, the nature of human existence, and salvation are intelligible only if they are seen against the background of the church--that is, a body of people who stand apart from the "world" because of the peculiar task of worshipping a God whom the world knows not. This is a point as much forgotten by Christian theologians as by secular philosophers, the temptation being to simply make Christianity another "system of belief." Yet what was most original about the first Christians was not the peculiarity of their beliefs, even beliefs about Jesus, but their social inventiveness in creating a community whose like had not been seen before. To say they believed in God is true but uninteresting. What is interesting is that their very understanding that the God they encountered in Jesus required the formation of a community distinct from the world exactly because of the kind of God he was. From a Christian perspective, the atheist cannot understand the kind of God he or she does not believe in apart from understanding the kind of community necessary across time to faithfully worship such a God. The flabbiness and banality of contemporary atheism is, thus, a judgment on the church's unwillingness to be a distinctive people.

i'd love to put the whole essay on here, but that would be far too much and would probably break copyright rules. instead, i encourage each and every reader (yes luke, i know you've already ordered the book...that leaves the other four of you) to buy it for themselves.

a note on style: because i'm quoting him, i have decided to use proper style rules, as hauerwas does, in order to stay true to the original. (except for indenting, for some reason i can't figure out how to do it...unbelievable) but of course i will continue with my "jr-high-im-conversation" style the rest of the time, failing to capitalize.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

future posts

pretty soon i think i'm going to post a ton of quotes from all the hauerwas articles i've been reading. that's right, now that i have no life i've been reading again. just know that there will be a lot of insightful, worthwhile, life-changing, intellectual stuff on this blog soon. (of course, that means i'm not going to be saying what i think, but what someone else thinks...there's an oscar wilde quote about that, check out to see it) well, i just wanted to give a heads up, and i'll put the proper references once they're posted, but i don't want anyone ever thinking that they come from my mind, which is why i'm giving warning now. that was long and muddled, another sure sign that i didn't quote anyone in this post. and now back to reading watership down.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

so many jobs

list of places i have applied or have applications for:

best buy



doesn't that just make me look like a sellout to the corporate machine? i mean, when i first got to wheaton i wouldn't go to starbucks because it had helped push out this little coffee shop i saw when i visited. now i'm applying to work there. (sigh) too bad money is such an important part of paying off loans, having shelter, being able to go from place to place, and having an occasional meal.

fountain hills

well, i made it out here to the phoenix area on thursday. this is the first time i've been able to get online, and i just wanted people to know that i made it. i'm staying at the house of some friends, and it appears i just lost my connection. they have dsl, but it's pretty weird and crappy, so we'll see if i even get a chance to publish this post. the trip over here was better in some ways than the trip to LA, just because it's so much shorter. i've unloaded some stuff into their house, but i haven't unpacked at all because i'm hoping to move into my own place (with luke) hopefully by the end of the week. we'll see how that works out. not much else to say, i may start sounding like my brother and ending every post with "i love you all and miss you," but while that's true, i just can't do it. enough for now.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

costa mesa...again

i made it down here alright today. it's really crazy that i sat by myself in a car for over 12 hours only eight days after doing the same thing. dreadful, really dreadful. thankfully this time i had spent some time with a normal human, packing with my dad and then eating breakfast with julie, so that i could imagine what other people look and sound like. it's nice to get to listen to a lot of music, too, but i just didn't know what to pick today, so even that was hard. well, no more whining. i'm here, and it's good to see these guys again and hang out, even if only for a night. just in case you didn't check this out yet, i can't stop listening and every one of you (oh so many of you, i know) should have it stuck in your heads, so here's the address again.

download all twelve songs, and listen. then listen again. they deserve a lot of attention. listen in sequence, since that was the point of the album. alright, that's all.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

newspaper story from texas

i just thought this was a good story with brief, albeit sound, reasons for supporting kerry. and it comes from texas. read on good reader, read on.

Tiny Crawford Newspaper Endorses Kerry

CRAWFORD, Texas (AP) - A weekly newspaper that bills itself as President Bush's hometown paper endorsed John Kerry for president, saying the Massachusetts senator will restore American dignity.

The Lone Star Iconoclast, which has a circulation of 425, said in an editorial dated Sept. 29 that Texans should rate the candidates not by hometown or political party, but by where they intend to take the country.

``Four items trouble us the most about the Bush administration: his initiatives to disable the Social Security system, the deteriorating state of the American economy, a dangerous shift away from the basic freedoms established by our founding fathers, and his continuous mistakes regarding Iraq,'' the editorial said.

The Iconoclast, established in 2000, said it endorsed Bush that year. It also said it editorialized in support of the invasion of Iraq, and publisher W. Leon Smith promoted Bush and the invasion in a British Broadcasting Corp. interview, believing Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.

``Instead we were duped into following yet another privileged agenda,'' the editorial said.

The newspaper praised Kerry for ``30 years of experience looking out for the American people'' and lauded his background as ``a highly decorated Vietnam veteran.''

Sunday, September 26, 2004

bad sources

the other day my mom brought up the scandal with dan rather and cbs concerning the forged documents that provided the basis for their new story about bush. she thought it was terrible that someone could use such bad sources.

tonight i was going through a bunch of political cartoons online that kept showing how terrible it was that dan rather could use forged documents, and how stupid he was to have been duped. the point often being that there was no longer any credibility in cbs news reporting.

fortunately there were also a few cartoons that reminded us of some other poor sources, and this is what i talked about with my mom: several years ago president bush and his advisors relied on sources we knew were bad because they gave us the evidence we needed to allow us to invade iraq...well, to make our invasion a little more plausible. i heard about this at the time from a history professor at school. it is amazing that a professor at a small school in illinois could know something that only comes out two years later in the 9/11 commission hearings. i agree that it was terrible journalism by rather. in fact, to use a quote i often said when i was editor of my high school paper, "that's shoddy journalism, my friends." but i think that it shows how inconsistant we are as a nation that we can talk about a loss of credibility in a news organization, yet we are heading towards an election in which an administration that should have lost the same credibility may stay in office. and the consequences of their act were so much greater: the loss of life for americans and iraqis, the new terrorism stirred up by our blazing saddles antics, the incredible monetary cost, and the general loss of respect around the world which will hamper future attempts at peace. to me, these are much greater damages than those inflicted by dan rather and cbs. i think it is quite a shame that someone would report something because it seems to say what they want about someone they don't like (foxnews, anyone?) but i think it is worse that someone would use sources that are known to lack credibility to support a political move that will help solidify their power. far, far worse.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

wedding #5

i just got back from attending my fifth wedding since graduation. how surreal to see a friend from high school, one who thinks like me in some ways (of course, not as much in others) get married. i guess it was cool, too, just weird. and odd. and a bunch of other synonyms i'm not thinking of right now.

in other news, it seems that i haven't updated my blog in a while, and that i haven't written anything of any substance for even longer, so for that i apologize. since coming home my bible reading and hauerwas reading have both gone down hill a bit, but are still doing okay. i sang really well today at the wedding. i'm going to be quite honest and what i view as cocky/humble and say that i rocked. you see, the thing about being a good singer, in my opinion, is that it is mainly something you're born with. at least that's the case for me. so when people tell me i have a good voice, all i can do is agree and say i'm thankful that's the one i got. really, i didn't do anything to be born with a good singing voice or an ear that can hear tunes instead of not. so i blatantly say that today i sounded awesome. but i blatantly insist that very little of that has to do with me, and most has to do with the certain gifts God happened to bestow upon me at birth. sure there's been some music theory and some practice, but come on, those things aren't what make the average listener think i sound good. all that to say i was very pleased with how my song turned out at the wedding.

one more not: brian o'neil is the man. that kid crawled all over the front of the stage filming during his sister's wedding. as patrick, brian's older brother said, he has "balls of steel." pretty good for a 14 year old. and with that, i will soon go watch bottle rocket.

wait, one last important thing to mention: i'm stoked that the rhs girls pulled off the win today, and i think it's great that val scored. very cool. the end.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

new music

this is mainly for mitch and krispin, though i don't know if mitch actually realizes i have a blog, or checks it based on the aforementioned knowledge. anyway, there is a concept cd two of my best friends from school worked on last year that you can download. the link is this:

there you have it. it's really really good stuff...good writing, and a cool concept. tell your friends.

roseburg again

notice i didn't say home again. i think i really am homeless now. in my mind i'm still a wheaton kid, a roseburg kid, and now maybe a phoenix "adult." it's fantastic to be back, though. hopefully i get to see as many people as possible for as long as possible before i take off for good next week. not much else to say, i'm glad to be

Monday, September 13, 2004

a taste of what i'm reading

i just wanted to post some hauerwas quotes on here. this is the theologian i want to study with at duke, and he's fantastic. so here it goes. this is from "the hauerwas reader," an essay entitled "why the sectarian temptation is a misrepresentation: a response to james gustafson," and is on page 100.

therefore, the most important knowledge christian convictions involve, and there is much worth knowing for which christians have no special claim, requires a transformation of the self. christianity is no "worldview," not a form of primitive metaphysics, that can be assessed in comparison to alternative "worldviews." rather, christians are people who remain convinced that the truthfulness of their beliefs must be demonstrated in their lives. there is a sense in which christian convictions are self-referential, but the reference is not to propositions but to lives. while such a view has similarities to some pragmatic theories of truth, i suspect that the christian sense of "fruitfulness" involves a "realism" that might make some advocates of those theories uneasy.

there you go, some really good and challenging stuff. this is what i want to spend two years studying starting next fall. man, i really can't wait. but i can, since i have to. so i will.

finally, a working vehicle

i just got my car back. everything seems to be working, finally. hopefully it stays that way, and this means that i can make my way to phoenix in the next few days. as soon as i'm done with this post, i plan on heading up to a big mall where i'm going to apply at a restaurant/bar that should produce good money if i can get it. so, we'll see what happens. more job this morning, it's amazing. and yesterday i went to a church i really liked...did i say that already? i can't remember if i posted yesterday after i went to it. more to come.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

riding waves

today we went to the beach for a while and i got my first real taste of boogie boarding. it was awesome, and i really look forward to trying to surf. i would rather go when there are not nearly as many people there, but that's just because i think most people at the beach are idiots.

the 405

no, i'm not talking about the interstate i drove on while getting to costa mesa...that's how much MORE my car is going to cost me to replace some fan and a motor to run it so that my engine doesn't overheat. if it really gets fixed then it's worth it, but geesh. i think we're going to the beach soon. on monday, if my car is working, i'm going to really get on my horse and do the job search thing. it feels really weird to be doing that when i don't even think i want to live here, but that's what i need to do. so i am doing it. i talked to jacob last night for a little bit and i talked to ashley too. maybe tonight i'll try to call aj or val or some other peeps from roseburg. wow, i just almost gave shout outs, something that would have lowered my opinion of myself. for the second time in this post i say: geesh.

Friday, September 10, 2004

more about my awesome car

it turns out that there is no power getting to my relay/fuse box under the hood. on top of that, even if there were, the motor for the engine fan doesn't work. so it seems i'll be needing to drop some dough in the next few days. hopefully it gets fixed in time for when i was planning on going to phoenix, because i really can't go if my car isn't working yet.

i applied for a job last night (did i already post about this...i don't remember) and i think it could be cool. it's at the boys and girls club of huntington valley. i would be the athletic director, organizing an indoor soccer league and a basketball league for something like 1500 kids. yeah, that's a lot of kids. hopefully my resume looks good, it seems that my experience working in residence life and leading the junior high ministry would be pluses.

i've been reading job and hauerwas. it's really funny, because hauerwas's point most of the time has to do with morality and ethics being a practice of the church. he suggests that the church as a body should be growing individuals of virtuous character, and that this is not so they will "be good" or "make society better" but because these things are tied up in our worship of and service to God. right, i said there was something funny. in job, his friends accuse him of doing something wrong. it's funny because they didn't even live in the same community as him. for hauerwas, it would have been better for him to have friends there who were not as wise but who lived WITH him and were striving WITH him toward righteousness. by the way, job is amazing to read, especiall in the message, but God's word is God's word no matter what translation. wow that sounded like cheezy evangelical subculture rhetoric...something i haven't used while meaning it in a long time. feels kind of good...and kind of like i'm selling out. but i'm not. so we're cool. yes, i'm awesome.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

what was i thinking...

i don't know if i'm going to be able to hack it here with brad and stephen. granted, i'm not being driven insane like i thought might happen, but the living conditions here would be a little weird. it's funny that they hang out with a lot of freshman girls. this is funny because the girls they hang out with seem less mature than the high school kids i spent all summer with. and then i remember that, as much as i love brad and stephen, they are two pop-punk emo sellouts to the corporate machine, so their lives are based on feeling sorry for themselves because things aren't perfect. so of course they hang out with younger girls who are also immature...3...2...1...and there ends my self-righteous judging part of the blog. i bougt the message remix yesterday and the stanley hauerwas reader. i started reading job in the message like jacob's been doing, and i want to read a lot of the essays from the man i want to study under at duke. well, i miss the people in roseburg and want to go back, but realized last night that "i just can't do that, dignan." as anthony says when dignan wants him to cut his hair, another thing i just can't do but might have to.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

in costa mesa

my car made it with no problems. it's great that i can drve 70 mph up huge hills for long periods of time and the car is fine, but i can't sit in traffic for more than half an hour without it getting to be too much for the engine. i'm hoping to get that taken care of pretty soon though.

i had a good time with patrick, and now i'm down here with stephen, brad, and the rest of their vanguard cronies. it's already pretty hot here, which isn't a very good sign for me. in the next few days i'll start getting my foot in the door at some different places of work. i really have no idea what's going to happen. thanks for all the comments on the last post guys, good to get some feedback.

Monday, September 06, 2004

should have bought a new car...

so, my car officially sucks. it nearly died yesterday, though i did make it to patrick's. i'm here in berkeley now. he and i went to get some parts for it today that i think fixed the problem. hopefully that's the case, since i plan on driving through the grapevine tonight so that it's not too hot. we'll see about everything though. i'm beginning to think--unless it's fine now, which i hope it is--that i may need to get a new car anyway. and that will suck. or be cool. but probably both. i miss people already. it's funny how the way i perceive things changes based on who they remind me of. so i can see something that would usually make me really happy, but instead of feeling happiness i miss someone because it reminds me of them. weird and lame. that's all for now, hopefully i'll be able to update from costa mesa soon, and even more* hopefully from phoenix not too long after that.

*when i say even more hope i mean it takes even more hope to think i'll be able to make it to phoenix in my car. this is because it seems that i have much less hope of making it.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

i'm gone

well, i'm not gone yet, but by the time anybody reads this i probably will be. i already miss people, and i'm a lot sadder than i had anticipated. stupid emontions and relationships and community...blast. time to go.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

link to a cool transcript

this is a link to the transcript of bono, the lead singer for u2, on the o'reilly factor. i didn't know what to expect, but it is really good, and hits on some of the reasons i think it is important to care what is happening to people that we can't see and that it doesn't seem like we can actually help. go read this story if you have time.,2933,131198,00.html

okay, for some reason this isn't linking. copy and paste is the solution. seriously, it will be worth your time.

opening scene-wedding/airport

Fade in from black to a military wedding scene. Smiling faces, hugs, everyone excited about the ceremony. Ushers seating people. Guests exchanging pleasantries. Every couple shots follow our man, Ashley, as he goes through everything. All the while the song “Sinner’s Prayer” by Ray Charles and B.B. King plays. Finally we follow Ashley as he takes his seat and leans back in his chair.

Ashley muttering under his breath: I can’t believe she’s doing this. Seriously, it’s like she decided to just turn her brain off.

He’s interrupted mid-mutter by a bunch of uniformed marines doing their thing for a military wedding. (research what kinds of things stand out in a Marine wedding)

A: seriously, I just don’t know how she could do this. I mean, just because a guy asks, do you have to accept? Seriously. I don’t know if I could be any more serious.

Unnamed guest: excuse me, you’re being very disrespectful.

A: oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t realize that caring enough to call an insane person crazy was disrespectful. I mean, how else will they ever get help? I guess it’s just better to hold their hand as they walk over the edge. Here we go, let me just grab a prilosec and fall in line with the rest of you. *Fakes pill-popping motion.* There it is, now I’m a happy idiot too.

Unnamed guest: prilosec is for acid reflux disease, don't you mean zoloft or some other anti-depressant?

A: no, i meant prilosec. i get really bad heartburn from crappy weddings like this.

Unnamed guest, disgusted, turns and complains to her husband, who doesn’t seem to empathize with her.

A to himself again: I mean, this is the same girl who told me a year ago that she thought people who got married to someone they met boot camp were being foolish.

He heaves a humongous sigh and sits back popping his ipod earbuds in, finishing the song that began the scene.

Zoom out and cross fade to airport with the title 13 months earlier. Montage of airport scenes that signify lateness and the hassles of flying. Wide shot of people waiting for passengers at airport. Settle back on crowd and scan, until finding a girl who is waving. Zoom in.

Paige: Ashley! It’s so good to see you! Here, let me help take one of your bags.

Ashley: no, I’m really fine. I only have these two carry-ons, and they aren’t a problem. Sorry you had to wait so long. Not that I could really do anything, but I still feel bad.

P: oh, it’s not a problem at all. It worked out better anyway because Bill’s plane was delayed too. I got to just sit with him while I waited for you to get in.

A with obvious scorn in his face: oh, that’s great. So Bill was here…and I missed him…too bad. Maybe next time we’ll finally get to meet.

They’ve been walking and are almost to the exit.

P: do you have any checked bags to get?

A: no, I don’t really like a lot of baggage. Things tying me down, things like that. The less I have to worry about the better off I am, I guess.

P: sounds good to me. My car’s over here.

They leave the terminal, cross the bridge to the parking lot, and ride up to the top. They begin approaching a green mustang…very ugly green mustang.

A sarcastically: oh yeah, I forgot you had a mustang. Wow, that must be great…but how does Bill fit in it?

P missing the sarcasm: oh, he just puts the seat as far back as it can possibly go. It’s really not too bad for him.

A: wow, that’s great.

They get in and take off, some music goes in the car (question whether to use pop music that might have actually been played, or music to help move the story) montage of leaving the airport type shots, parking booth lines, paying, merging, near-wrecks, etc.

Back inside as they drive down the freeway

A: so, you and Bill seem to be getting pretty serious…how’s that going…I mean, are you getting any pressure to get married?

P: oh no, mom thinks that it’s good to live a little before you get married.

A: wow, imagine that.

P: yeah, and I’ve seen too many people in boot camp get close to someone they barely know and decide then and there to get married. I mean, how can you develop a relationship in that kind of environment so quickly? I just don’t think it’s possible.

A: so then you and Bill aren’t serious?

P: well, of course we’re serious. I mean, he was just out here visiting. But I think that it would be a huge mistake to get engaged now. If we can make it through the next six months, while we’re stationed at different bases, then maybe we can start thinking about marriage. But until then, it’s just too soon to commit long-term like that.

A: wow, after all the other sentiments on marriage and relationships I’ve heard in the last month, you are a great breath of fresh air.

Zoom out from her smiling face, cross fade to her smiling face at the wedding. The minister pronounces them man and wife and they walk through the saber tunnel. Cut to Ashley, sitting there listening to another Ray Charles duet, “Here we go again” with Nora Jones. He files out of the sanctuary area, only to get in the receiving line. Multiple cuts showing the awkwardness between him and other guests as he listens to his ipod. As he approaches the bride and groom, he gets several more dirty looks from marines and decides to turn the music down (which happens correspondingly in the soundtrack) and then takes his earbuds out (music fades even more, just a whisper behind the dialogue)

A: wow, umm, congratulations. I guess you guys are married now. Wow. That’s fantastic.

He gives Paige an awkward hug and tries to shake Bill’s hand. The whole time looking over his shoulder at several mean-looking marines.

P and B: we’re really glad you could make it. Your mom didn’t think you’d be coming.

A: yeah, I guess I just had to be here to see it happen. I mean, you know, to "celebrate" with you. Really, congratulations. Wow.

He takes one more look at the marines that have been scowling at him, gives a smile, and puts the earbuds back in. the song picks up, quite loudly, on the organ solo. He makes his way out and gets in his car. As he pulls away the music changes to the title music, “I’ve got it bad” by Duke Ellington, the title appears, and the proper opening montage starts. All things to come.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

the grand circle

three hundred sixty degrees is a long way to travel. fortunately, i did it over the course of three weeks or so, make the journey less arduous. i am no longer a consumer whore, at least not the kind who's willing to go into even greater debt and escalate his monthly insurance payments. no, i am once again quite content to keep the grand prix. after dropping a bit of money today to fix it's air conditioning, i plan on this thing seeing me through grad school.

it's funny, my thinking has changed a lot in the last four years, so that now i care a lot more about money going to the poor. while i don't think that it's inherently sinful for me to have a new car, i do think that there are so many better ways to spend my money, even if that means not spending the money right yet. it's hard to explain exactly this whole thought process, but i am quite glad that i no longer have the intention of going into new debt to get a car. i think that's all i really wanted to say. it's nice to feel like myself again.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

going soon

yesterday was jacob's birthday. his mom had a great idea to throw a surprise party for him and i was glad to help by calling people. it's still funny to me that i can be in this sort of situation. it was a lot of fun, and it was cool to see that many people celebrate jacob's birthday. more importantly, he and i got music for three more songs. that puts our total for the summer at six. hopefully we can record these very soon. they're pretty good, and i love jacob's lyrics. ingenious. well, i just felt the need to post, since it had been a while. i leave on sunday, and i'm getting more melancholy about it than i thought i would. it's weird because recently i've been talking with some people who are still at wheaton, i'm going to see wheaton people and my brother, and i'm still sad to be leaving these "high schoolers" who are my friends. not much else to say. or there is, i'm just not saying it. maybe.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

multi-twist movies

i hate those movies that set you up and then trick you several times. at one point the plot makes you want something to happen, and it is about to, and then all the sudden everything goes to pot. then you get over it and get involved with the new direction, but all the sudden what seemed impossible is quite possible again, and appears inevitable. and just as whatever you want to happen is about to, it falls through again. the double plot twist. high marks in the olympics, but not in movies.

that's all a lie. i actually like movies that do that, if they do it well. what i don't like is when that happens in real life. like right now for me. the xB was almost mine, then out. then i got over it. then all of the sudden it was a very real likelihood, so we went up today to get it. and then the assistant manager said they couldn't take the dvd setup out, which adds abour $2,200 to the car. so i said there was no way and walked out. i don't think my mouth has had this much bitter taste for a while. contentment with what i have sure seems like a great option, though something that can handle my stuff still seems like the closest thing to necessity without being one that there is.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

the plot twist

sometimes i decide something isn't going to happen and i stop worrying about it, and then what i want falls in my lap. well, this isn't exactly one of those cases, but close. i had given up on the xB, since i couldn't get my color, and it just didn't seem like it would fit with the timing of my trip and all. today my parents called from a dealership in eugene to tell me that my color was there, but instead of a manual it's an automatic. really, that's not a huge deal to me. i was sick of working with the guy from the other dealership in eugene anyway, had wanted to go back to this guy, who we'd talked to first thing when we started looking, and now it's all falling into place. i think i'll go up tomorrow and see if we can't get some things settled on so that hopefully i can get the car later this week. crazy how things work out, or at least how this looks like it will work out. and once again, i'm a consumer whore. (happily)

Friday, August 27, 2004


now i'm trying to find a good used car online. the xB fell through. probably all for the best. if it becomes an option again, that's cool. but i think it will be better to not have too much in extra loans, so i don't get pigeonholed. what the heck does that term mean? no idea. oh well, always good to say things you don't understand.

pet sounds

so i'm still stuck on the movie love actually. i didn't watch it tonight again, but i was talking to my mom about the film on our way back from portland. what's funny is that tonight i finally watched kill bill vol. 2, a movie i've been anticipating, and even though it was a master work of cinema, i think i enjoyed the sappy english chick-flick more. so i'm left thinking about the scenes in love actually that i wish were from my life, and the ones that i hope are never part of my life, and the ones that strike me as amazing, and the ones that for whatever reason i can't get out of my head. right now the song god only knows, by the beach boys, is stuck in my head. it runs through the final scene. great song. it's on the album pet sounds, which is one of the best albums of all time. i suggest you buy it as soon as possible. i suggest that i do the same.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

girls love musicians, don't they? even the really weird ones get girlfriends.

that's a quote from love actually, which is still rattling around in my head after watching last night, and which i may decide to watch again tonight. i really felt like posting, but i don't have much to write, so i'm just writing whatever comes to my head. the first thing to do was to go look at some of the quotes from the movie, 'cause there were some great ones. the one i chose for the title to this is awesome, and i think i've thought about it's content a lot before. it certainly seems that girls love musicians until you actually become one. and then you realize that girls love musicians just as much as they love athletes, or geniuses, or rich guys, or any other special type of guy. then again, i do remember singing onstage at school during our chrictian rock all-stars show, in which we did classic ccm stuff, and watching girls scream in joy as i sang in their general direction. that was weird. i've never felt more like a rock star. i mean, it was really pretty crazy. but other than that, i tend to disagree with what jack black said in school of rock, that you can be the ugliest sad sack in the world, but when you're rocking, girls love you. sure if you make it big that might be true, but then they aren't going for you, they're gunning for fame. no, the cynic in me has taken over completely and decided that appearance, personality, and all those other things that go into making me attractive (or not, as the case may be) to girls are the things that do it, not anything else. well, i somehow ended up writing about the same sort of crap i've been on for a while. sorry. oh wait, who am i apologizing to? ah, the joy of writing solely for my own sake.

love, actually?

well, krispin and i just finished watching the movie love actually. i'm the type of sentimental romantic putz that hates movies like this one because i like them so much. i get done watching and move quickly from my everyday situation, which is being content to not have a girlfriend but still wanting girls to have crushes on me, to wishing i were a lovesick fool who threw my life away at an early age to get married to some girl i thought was "the one." (huge sigh) isn't it great that i can move so quickly from being a cynical bitter bastard to a bleeding heart romantic? i was just going to write several things, and i mention what they were going to be because they come from the two extremes i just mentioned. on the one hand, i was going to write about taking a risk with someone. and on the other i was going to talk about how these sorts of movies set up a false view of what love is. but really, i don't want to write about either of those things right now. instead, i'd like to just wish i had a girlfriend, or wife, or significant female friend whose companionship i value more highly than that of guys, and that instead of writing at this moment i could be spending time with her. those are the feelings evoked from this kind of sappy movie. (another huge sigh) ah well, that's the thing about life, it's both thoroughly enjoyable and thoroughly deplorable at the exact same time. i value my freedom and ability to find meaningful and fulfilling relationships in community, and yet i wish that i were one of the silly people i complain about who gets into other people's business because it has to do with his girlfriend, or writes corny notes to her that have all sorts of cliches in them. (wow, third huge sigh) i've said it before, but it deserves repeating: some day i should really grow up.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

time is a funny thing...

several summers ago, while working at roseburg forest products, i developed my very own philosophy of time. of course i didn't write it down, but i remember most of it, especially since that fall we studied kant's philosophy, and some parts were kind of similar. this post isn't about that though, it's about how weird time is...well, i guess then it's related to what i thought of then, but not wholly based on it.

this summer i've gotten to spend a lot of time with some really cool kids. i say kids because, well, they are a bit younger than me. i don't mean to be pretentious, it's just part of my point. you see, i would probably judge someone my age hanging out with a bunch of high school people, but here i've been, doing it all summer. all that said, i don't regret it at all. i consider them my friends. so the first funny thing about time has to do with age. it often seems that there are these rigid societal rules for friendship, and that age is an important barrier in keeping society structured the way it should be. the fact of it is, though, i've had meaningful relationships with my friends this summer, much like the ones i had at college, but most of these have developed in a much shorter time period.

that brings me to my next observation about time: sometimes a lot can happen in a very short amount of it. i have some friends from this summer i had hardly ever talked to, or never even met, before the summer started. when i go away i'll miss them like i miss friends from school who i spent four years with. so often people think that quantity of time is a prerequisite for anything positive. while i agree that it is good or can make things better, this summer has evidenced to me that it is not always necessary.

i think i originally had three points to make, but i can't remember the third one. that's another funny thing about time, it can dull even the sharpest mind, inspire even the weakest wit, or anything in between. at school i could write a paper in the middle of the night that was better than anything i could think of during the day, and much more quickly too. or i could write so much crap down that i ended up embarrassed when the paper came back. time is like that, producing different results at different times, never allowing me to predict how it will affect me. then again, maybe i should be trying to predict how i will affect me, instead. and now i've gone to a new subject, which means it must be time for bed. that's the only time that matters anymore, i suppose.

Friday, August 20, 2004

me, or some version of me

i’m not the same person i was last year. nor am i the same person i was four years ago. this is certainly not a new insight, but it is something that i’ve been reminded of all summer. there are things about me that i’ve realized this summer that i’m surprised by, disappointed by, excited by, and perplexed by. something i have known for quite some time is that i struggle with faith. by faith i mean the type of intellectual mindset that we equate with making a conscious decision. during my last few years of college this struggle led me to a reliance on past feelings (or current ones, when they come) to convince me of God’s work or God’s presence. this was a workable solution.

it no longer is.

i don’t think it is good to be addicted to feelings, even good feelings, even God-given feelings. while these can be nice or reassuring, the very fact that they come and go leads me to believe that relying on them is quite unhealthy, and looking for them shoves God—the real God, not the one i think makes me feel nice—into the background. instead, i have come to think this summer, in talking with krispin and jacob, in reading several different books, and in spending time in God’s word, that there is a much better way to persevere through this struggle of faith.

in galatians 5, paul encouraged the people of that church to emulate christ, to “live God’s way” as the message puts it. as i was preparing for my lesson last week i was struck by the wording of this translation and the change in emphasis it produced in my own thinking. it says in verse 25, “since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives.” often the dichotomy of head-knowledge and heart-knowledge is preached in evangelical circles. here, paul seems to be flipping this on its head. while he doesn’t say that these are useless, or that we should not be concerned with them, he doesn’t dwell on them either. our focus should not be on having a perfect understanding or a wonderful feeling, instead it should be on seeing our faith lived out everyday in all the spots of life.

this shift in thinking moves me from a dilemma, trying to understand things, falling back on experience and feelings, then realizing that’s not enough so going back to my head, living out my faith daily. i can do this even when i don’t feel like it. i can do this even when i don’t understand God, his word, or his precise calling on my life. in fact, i have seen my faith strengthened by this process, because it forces me to continue serving God even when i don’t feel like God is there to be served.

this isn’t a blind faith, one that just keeps going because that’s what i’ve always done. rather, this is the type of faith that says, “my actions will reflect what i believe to be true, even though i don’t feel like it or understand how.” this sort of faith also reminds me of God’s grace and love. i know that i’ll eventually tire of living this way if God doesn’t give me some feelings or better understanding. but by his grace he will sustain me until then, as he has done so far, and will reveal himself at that point. and if the “until then” doesn’t come while i live on earth, i know that he will sustain me still.

what this means is that i choose to continue serving God in my everyday life. i don’t see that coming in the form of full-time church ministry. at this point i don’t even see that coming in the form of volunteer church ministry. instead, i think this involves loving God’s people well by living in community and serving the body of believers. it involves reaching out to the poor, the broken, and the downtrodden. it involves worshipping God, whether in front of people or alone, in all circumstances. it involves loving my neighbor as much as i love myself.

i still see myself fitting into the academic community. i still desire to study theology, not so that i can understand perfectly so that my faith will be real, but because thinking about God and what he has done and how this affects all of life is really fun to do. i think God is glorified when i do what he has created me to enjoy, as eric liddell suggests in chariots of fire, and studying is one way to do that.

i also enjoy working with people, and this summer has been no different. but that doesn’t change the fact that i’m very tired of “professional” ministry, if i can use that term. by professional ministry i mean being in charge, getting paid, and seeing what happens in the group as based to some extent on my performance. even if this is a wrong view of ministry, which i think it is, i have felt this way this summer. perhaps my mindset could change, but i see “amateur” ministry, living out God’s love in everyday life, as what God has called me to. this could include getting involved in the lives of junior high or high school students, but is simply focused on being the type of neighbor jesus showed himself to be: one that loves well and proclaims the gospel in word and deed.

this paper was written for the youth pastor i've worked with the last two summers, but i liked it enough to decide to post it here in case people wanted to rip it apart or give me nice feedback.