Sunday, July 27, 2008

Will we ever fly our colors?
in the arena where we belong?
"look how they love each other,
facing lions with a song"
In the arena?
and what of fists and guns and war?
what has He put fight in us for
There is a time to hate and kill
the evil in "men of goodwill"
we are wearing bloody clotted rags
and selling soap with promise tags
'this will make us all that clean
forget the wrongs we all have seen'
so throw a vote to the abyss
and let the winner blow a kiss
goodbye to messianic hopes
while the puppet master pulls the ropes.
For the rightful King had come before
but two thousand years have cooled our core
and we leave it to children to adore
too late! their blood has stained the floor.
We have long outgrown our virtues
and memory so please excuse
this clamor for a gimmick King
who will give us all our share of things
and make us feel about ourselves
that we are good and never delve
into our duties and our faults
like an egg without the salt
tasteless hearts about to halt
caught with our mouths full of his straw
our judges have open-sourced the law
and when they come for you and me
we'll stammer that we didn't see
we will not then speak total lies
for long ago we sold our eyes.
Reading 2 Kings yesterday, the story about Naaman the Syrian. A few things I found interesting.
#1, it says that the Lord gave Naaman victories for Syria, apart from any real involvement -pro or con- with Israel. That's just another little interesting tidbit to me that makes it clear that our God wasn't ignoring the rest of the world as He was concentrating on Israel.
#2. Naaman's response to Elisha's Word from the LORD "wash 7 times in the Jordan". I remembered that Naaman got upset and thought that if any rivers would do the trick, the large clean flowing ones in Damascus would do a lot better.
What I DIDN'T remember was Namaan's expected method of healing. Naaman says "look, I thought for sure that he would come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place and 'cure the leper'."...
The reason I find that funny is because that process (standing, 'calling on the name of the LORD' while waving a hand over the illness and hey presto! "cure the leper!")
Is what always comes to mind when I think of "healing". It's funny to me that a stereotype of healing has been around for that many thousands of years, and how few times (relatively) it works out like that in scripture.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I missed a chance to give an old lady (well, middle aged) in a walker a quarter...:-(
and I lied without thinking about it. I told her I didn't have any cash - when I did, I had seen a quarter floating around in the bottom of my bag 15 minutes earlier. I don't normally carry cash, so "I don't have any cash" is my stock response to ppl asking for money. My MO is usually to NOT give people money, especially physically well men, but this woman I would've made an exception for if I had been thinking right. Bummer.
AND I lied.

Monday, July 21, 2008

I've got a sore throat.
The only good thing about a sore throat is the deep manly voice it gives me.
I can't remember where I put my Halls...
Today was very relaxed. Listened to Kodo "Taiko" drums on my Ipod during the Bus ride and reading 1 Corinthians 15. when I came in to work I found that I was 2 hours early, apparently my schedule changed without my realizing it. So I took off my ballistic vest and overshirt and wandered down to the library square to read. I'm re-reading "The Text of the New Testament" by Metzger. Then I went down and talked to the financial aid people and made some friends, the guy who I talked to was a Brian McLaren fan, but other than that seemed like a good guy, we had some conversation about authors. I explained where McLaren & I part ways. Then I wandered into the library & checked out a book for Brandy, all of the books I wanted to check out were not where the system said they should be, so I checked with the library personnel who made a solemn covenant to track them down for me. Missing books? What's up with the security in this place?!?
I should obviously spend more time in the library to deter theft. If only I could convince my bosses.
Then I talked to some teenage kids at the Worldview Academy, they were staring at me so I stopped & said Hi. I mainly talked to the boy, and remembered how much work it is to talk to a high school boy - there was so much joking and sarcasm and "out-there"ness it was a chore to stay on point, but he wasn't bad, just a victim of his demographic. Worldview academy seems to be a cool program explaining the Christian Worldview to kids and comparing it to other worldviews to see how it measures up as Truth. The boy seemed unimpressed, but one of the girls actually seemed to have been paying attention. Why do girls care more often than boys, in general? My guess is he was paying more attention than what he wanted to let on.
Their Names were Andrew, Mattie, and Andrew's cousin was in Napoleon Dynamite apparently, or at least in the Yearbook. He said they used an actual yearbook in the film. I hadn't known that Napoleon Dynamite was filmed in Idaho.

When I first came in, I got into a really good discussion with Ray where he asked me to define "Objective" and "Subjective" - he was reading a book by John Piper, which to my delight he really likes. Apparently Flame (the Holy Hip-Hop guy) had gave it to him at a concert in Seattle.
Our conversation went from Objectivity to the history of Postmodernism & the enlightenment, the ghetto, beat downs, pot, buddhism, and Seattle Mariner's merchandise. That was the most fun I had all day. I even got to recommend some of Francis Schaeffer's books to him-and he wrote down the titles!!!

K, the time has come for me to go lock up some buildings. I'm here til 11pm.
That's really late.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

I'm annoyed with church services.
There are very few pastors that I can listen to eagerly or gladly, and I'm thinking that our current one isn't one of them. Nothing against him at all, he seems like a strong believer and great guy's just that if I'm taking an hour out of a day to hear the word of God, I'd like to benefit from it in some way. I don't want to just sit in a pew week after week being unexcited.
It would be nice to have a pastor who I looked up to, who I wanted to learn from.
Or even one who presented the things I already know in a way that kept my attention.
One of my major peeves is when a scripture is used out of context. It doesn't mean that it's being used to teach heresy, most of the time the teachings are doctrinally sound - it's just the fact that they're using something as a prooftext that doesn't have anything to do with their topic. It might not annoy me so much if Calvary didn't have such an emphasis on the superiority of "teaching through the word". The whole point of teaching through the word is to give the people a good understanding of the bible overall, but how can that be accomplished when through the teaching the congregation is being trained by example to ignore the 'context' which gets talked up so much throughout the sermon???

Personally, I have more respect and listening power for well thought out heresies.

Well, there it stands...I am annoyed. I don't see the point of occupying a seat and pretending to pay attention - When I explained my pensive look to Brandy she said she wasn't able to empathise - she had been too busy trying to stay awake to notice the misuse of scripture that annoyed me. Great. Then she said she hadn't been able to pay attention to a sermon ever since we got here. What does she do? Just zone out? When I pressed her she admitted that there have been very few times when sermons have really taught or moved her, most of them being Dominic's.
So, there's my dilemma. I really don't like the idea of sitting down for an hour for the sake of convention, I would like to be roused, moved, educated and edified.
So I guess all I can really do is pray for wisdom on what to do. Because I just don't know. I don't want to church hop or develop the palate of a sermon connoiseur, I would just really, really like to be taught. Actually taught, at church for that hour. Is that asking too much?
The people, the people I love, I like hanging out with Christians, talking to christians, They are my brothers and sisters. That I have no problem doing.
The music? It would be nice if we could listen to something that hadn't escaped from the second half of the previous millennium - but I can worship to just about anything so long as the lyrics are decent, and I just skip the ones that aren't. But wouldn't it be nice to worship God with music as it is? Modern music? We don't (for the most part) speak or pray in King James language anymore, why must we worship to musical arrangements from the 60's?

It the back of my mind my church training is telling me I shouldn't complain, yes, I know, but to say I'm just complaining doesn't answer my questions. And I think they need to be answered.

I think I'll go to sleep now.
We don't even know what we want.

Most of the time we think we know what we want, what will make us happy, but then as soon as we receive or achieve it we discover that it wasn't what we were looking for after all. It was definitely not that thing that was going to bring us happiness.
Since it seems like such a constant that we are wrong in what we want, would it be surprising if we turned out to be clueless as to the thing that WILL bring us happiness? We may think we DON'T want that very thing. (Of course, the biggest example would be God, in Christ)
I don't, honestly, want him at all times. But I believe that below all my confused and apparent desires he really is the only water that will meet my thirst, He's what I really want, even if I THINK i really want the used motor oil of sin, some girl to look at, some duty to neglect, some vindictive feeling to enjoy.
Just a little bit ago, I realised as I carried my bible to the couch to read that I didn't feel like reading it. I didn't feel like connecting to God at all, I just wanted to be left alone to do whatever popped into my mind.
But I read it anyway, and after the first couple sips I realised that it was what I wanted after all.
And I accuse women of not knowing what they want!
I guess none of us really know what we want most of the time.
Some would-be pop philosophers tap into this conundrum of desire (the incorrect identification of its object, and following sense of disappointment) and react with a sort of smiley despair & say something like "True happiness is to be found in the wanting, not the having" (Which to my mind seems to be a sideways admission that true happiness isn't to be had by anyone) A paraphrase might for this philosophy might be "Since the disease is terminal it's best to stay on painkillers til it's over."

I'm very glad that's not true.

I FINALLY finished N.T. Wright's "Resurrection Of The Son Of God". I've never taken that long to finish a book (as best as I can remember) It was a very good and informative book, I'll probably write a review of it or something, but not now. I don't think I'll read it again anytime soon, but I'm sure I'll go back and reference it frequently.

I love my job. I'm sure I've said that already. I cant wait to start going to school there again next year. (Lord Willing). I have one concern, My female co-workers have informed me that the student population is 70+% female, and they said that It was my destiny to get flirted with. Apparently (according to them) girls call in for security escorts across campus when they know the good looking guys are on duty. That's frightening to me because I'm such a beggar for compliments of any kind in the first place. I always want people to admire me and say good things about me-it's a weakness I've had as far back as I can remember. So I don't want to end up enjoying any of that sort of attention if it comes my way. I let Brandy know what they said and shared my fears with her. She's always a lot more compassionate than I would be in her position. Apparently she has been getting holla'd at when she walks the 1/2 mile down to the store lately too. My reaction to that thought was less composed.

First responder classes have been going very well. I passed all the practicals in the mid-class assessment, and found out that one of my trainers is a Christian. (I figured she was when she said C.S. Lewis was a good author after noticing me reading "Out of the Silent Planet" on a break). I also got chosen to act as a burn patient for the my classmates to treat in a practice session. I made it fun by yelling for morphine and aspirin, complaining that my burned jeans cost me sixty dollars and accusing my rescuers of trying to kill me. When they asked me if I had any allergies I responded "Fire".
It was a lot of fun.
They'd asked at the beginning of the class if any of us had seen a severe burn victim. I told them Pastor Chik's story, so that was the scenario I was told to act out for the practice.

I got some new and glorious music. Some Japanese Taiko drum music (gets the blood flowing) & some "bellydance" drum music at Brandy's request (which is very dance-able), then I got some Very, very beautiful acoustic fingerstyle guitar music by Andy McKee and Andy Fox that I'm listening to now.
I think there is some music that's like solvent to the soul-as it's playing your consciousness diffuses into it, and when it's over your sould re-precipitates, still reverberating with the vision-like impressions of the music. This is that kind of music.

Going to church tomorrow morning-looking forward to everything except getting up and ready. I'm getting sick apparently.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

I woke up at 11am this morning. I was going to go to the DMV -but it closes at 12noon on Saturdays. It's just as well, since I still don't have the proper documentation.

I got offered the 40hr/wk position at work-and took it.
I also got my personal size reference ESV bible in the mail, I'm pretty excited about it. It's just the right size, and it's signature bound. (That means it's stitched in little folded bundles called "signatures" to the spine, rather than glued to the backing. Stitched bindings last longer)

Met a kid on the bus the other day, his name was Aaron. He was a black kid (I say "Kid", but he was in his early twenties) from Michigan-apparently a pretty tough neighborhood in Grand Rapids. He's a Christian, has been from when he was a boy, and started the conversation by saying he liked my shirt & saw me reading my bible & thought that was cool. He reminded me of Averill from St Paul. We got to talking, and he asked for my cell #. I pray for him that things go well, he said he's having some hard times here in WA. I was very glad for his company on the bus, since I haven't really run across any believers to talk to on the bus here so far. It also made me want to give Averill a call. It's so strange to think that there are these people who have affected and been affected by you, who've had heart to heart conversations and shared the good and bad with you, who've had real communion with the Lord Jesus Christ with you, that just drift away from you until they're hard to remember.

I can say I really miss a lot of the people from Minnesota ("a lot" being about 20). I've spent a longer time there than any other place I've ever lived, and that's where I walked through the door into Life, where I met my first Christian friends, my mentors and heroes, my first close friendships in Jesus, my great adventures, the place where I was able to give help to those who needed it, and really get to know people. And now there's so much space between us, space and time. I wish I had a better memory, I wish I put the one I have to better use.

It's good to have a wife, someone who shares my experiences like no one else. So much of understanding and communication has to do with shared experience. Commonality in our vocabulary, our stories, our values, our joys and terrors are largely dependent on common experience. And shared experience isn't something you can go to school to learn, or pay to get, it only comes with commitment, and a shared life.
Granted, we don't share all our experiences, I don't really know very well what it's like to stay home all day and take care of the kids, go to the grocery store, cook and clean, and Brandy doesn't know what it's like at my work or on the bus, but I guess that's probably why we spend the time listening to the stories of each other's days-to do our best to gain what common experience we can through imagination.

Watched "Gandhi" last night with Brandy. After a little research I found he was influenced by G.K. Chesterton and Sundar Singh, it also became clear that what set him apart most from other men were not the Koran's or Vedic teachings, but rather the teachings of Jesus that he attempted to follow. His non-violence was based in the gospels, which he freely admitted. But I still don't know what to think of even that interpretation of Jesus' words. I haven't known for 27 years for sure how Jesus meant for us to carry that out, and I haven't really ever changed my position on violence-using it only to protect the weak. I pray and hope I'm not wrong, but unless I have a revelation I don't think there's enough in scripture to call for strict nonresistance. It would cost too much for such an uncertain interpretation that seems in other parts of scripture to be contradicted.

Sometimes I feel like I have a very, very weak grasp on reality and sanity. I felt that way for part of this afternoon. The only times I don't feel that way is when I'm acting on stimulus-response mode, or when I'm in open communication with Jesus. I was having a hard time until I flipped to John 8:12 where Jesus says, "I am the light of the world, whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." Jesus says that if we follow him, all that darkness and confusion will disappear as His light shows us what everything really is, and is like. And not only will we see all of that by the light, but we'll Have that light. I forget sometimes what it was like before. When I didn't know what the meaning of life was, or what I wanted to do, what I should do. I'm grateful for the difference. Right after reading and trying to memorize that verse, I started reading a Biography of Eberhard Arnold that quoted Jesus' words in John 8:12. I took that as a confirmation.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Just got back from my first responder class.

I asked a lot of questions this time. Probably the biggest impression I came out of it with is that Man is mortal. Very mortal. They were describing all the ways in which one might be seriously injured, for example a stab about two or three inches deep into the center line of the body could pierce the aorta, and kill you in less than a minute, or a broken femur can pierce the femoral artery and do the same. There were quite a few more examples until I raised my hand and asked "Is there any part of the body that isn't vulnerable?!" The answer was basically a no. Then they explained (while we were practicing on the mannequins) that CPR in a lot of cases is simply keeping the organs alive and viable for harvesting because more than half of the time with an unconscious, non-breathing no-heartbeat person they're not going to live. CPR by itself rarely saves anyone whose got no heartbeat, what it does is keep the brain and other vital organs oxygenated til they can get a defibrillator to re-start the heart.

All this got me looking at everyone a lot more carefully, how delicate we are! We're like tissue paper in water, just a little bit of hard current & we're torn to pieces. I found myself acting very gently towards the mannequins, they're shaped like people, so I want to treat them like people-especially the chil & infant mannequins, I feel a lot of compassion on them, even though they're not "real". I carry the infant mannequins like babies, and make sure to set them down gently. It's wierd, but I can't imagine acting any other way, I would feel like I was losing my humanity if I threw them around like some people do. I even defended the baby mannequins when another guy called them ugly babies.

I remember being like that even when I was little, I had stuffed animals and I would treat them like they were alive, I would get furiously upset, scream and fight and cry, if someone was being rough with them or pretending to hurt them. I was that way with animals too. Even back when I didn't want to have any babies of my own (when I was young) and didn't see what was cute or endearing about babies, I still felt an innate protectiveness towards them. I didn't really want to be around them, but I knew they had a claim on me. I knew they deserved my help and protection by the very fact that they existed. I didn't like the fact that they were sticky and stinky, but I would have died protecting them.

I would much rather be this way than any other. I dont want to change. I think Jesus is that way too- "A bruised reed he would not break, a smoldering flax he would not quench."

Why do people have to die? I will be very happy when they don't anymore. It's so horrible to think that human beings will be in hell - but I suppose they will have rejected the gift of humanity so completely by that time that they won't really be human beings anymore.

Its so good to know that Jesus will raise the dead, to never die, that people will be alive and protected, never to be attacked again.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Yesterday I went to the Safeway to withdraw some cash that I needed to pay some legal fees. I had to get a limited power of attorney (I thought) for my dad in order to get a police background check on him for his work in Korea. Apparently they need a notarized, apostille'd background check in order for him to continue working in the country.
There I was coming out of Safeway with my cash, walking through the parking lot, when I saw 2 bald guys in t-shirts guys walking in my general direction. One of them my gaydar registered immediately as a flaming sodomite, so I figured they were two specimens of that species together. Once they got within about 20 feet walking past me, I heard one (the flaming one) yell at the guy who I now realized he was following: "that's a nice round a** you've got, you're gonna be really popular in prison b****!" I shuddered @ first thinking this was some perverse mating ritual, but then the guy in pursuit yelled in his Michael Jackson lisping falsetto "CALL 911" at no one and everyone in the parking lot "CALL 911, HE HIT ME!" he continued making vile comments towards the guy he was following, who was attempting to walk quickly and quietly away as the flamer guy grabbed his shirt and tried to swing him around. The guy broke free and tried to hurry off as the sodomite remained in flaming hot pursuit.

In other circumstances I might have called the police. I figured that guy #2 probably did hit the gay guy, but it must have been pretty minor for him to keep following him like that-I saw no visible injuries - and with the gross commentary I really felt no compulsion to call 911, and apparently no one else did either, because when I looked back up from unlocking my car they were gone and everyone in the parking lot was going about their business.

So then I went downtown, where after a lot of confusing rigamarole, spending $50 to the county recorder's office and paying a hefty fine to the parking ramp attendant (I can hardly call 8.00/hr a parking fee, that's a fine in my book) I got the limited power of attorney. Then they told me that I didn't need a limited power of attorney to get a police b.g. check, I just needed to pay State Patrol 10 bucks and I'd get the report online. That sounded fishy to me so I asked the Sheriff's department in the city hall for a 2nd opinion, but they seconded the recorder's office. So I went home and did the online thing, which felt wierd and resulted in a very small and unofficial looking 1 page form.
So now I've got to actually go into the State Patrol office to try and get them to sign it or something. Then I've got to drive down to the State Capitol to get the apostille (which is like an international notarization)

So that was all very interesting.

Then I got home and Brandy & I watched "Sophie Scholl, the Final Days". It's in German, naturally, as it's a German film. It's about the last week of Sophie Scholl, a German College Student during the last days of the 3rd Reich who was secretly (via literature and graffiti) protesting the war, Hitler, the inhuman slaughter of the Jews and the handicapped; and calling for a student uprising to protest. Instead she and the rest of the protesting students (who formed a society called "The White Rose") with her on campus including her brother and close friends were arrested by the Gestapo. The movie chronicles the interrogations, how she handled them and answered them, and the quick mock trial and execution of her, her brother, and close friend by the german court for treason. It's a really great movie, you get to really feel for and admire Sophie and her brother for how they faced the challenge & fear. Sophie was a christian, they bring that up in the movie well. They show her praying in fear to God to help her not be afraid, and talking to her mother before her execution about trusting Jesus, and telling the interrogating Gestapo that they needed a new, different Germany, a Germany with Compassion, a Germany with God, and telling him that every human life is valuable & created in God's image so they don't have the right to take the lives of the handicapped.
Even Brandy cried, which surprised me. Usually I'm the one who cries during movies like that. I wondered if it might be because Sophie is a girl about Brandy's age, and most movies like that have a guy suffering and dying-it's probably easier for girls to empathise with girls in a situation like that.
I like (such an inept word - need would be better, but not quite sufficient either) watching movies like that. A few I recommend are:

The Mission,
The Hiding Place,
Sophie Scholl, the Final Days,
Beyond the Gates.

And Books:

Tortured for Christ,
The Saffron Robe,
Foxe's book of martyrs

In the 3rd and 4th century, there was a large portion of the Church (at least in N Africa) that idolized martyrs, called the Donatists. They would go to the graves of martyrs and pray there, sometimes TO the martyrs as a modern day catholic prays to saints, as a kind of intermediary - someone who had borne witness to Christ to the point of torture and death, they figured, would have clout to ask favors of Christ to make them likewise worthy.

That's not my kind of Martyr fixation, but I do believe there's something special about martyrdom. And considering what happened in Nazi Germany and WWII Europe over all, I'd say it's only a matter of time before the same thing happens on a larger, more intense & far-reaching scale. So I want to watch movies and read stories like that to keep the right frame of mind when the day comes that I & mine will have to face those circumstances. It will be important to know that we're not the first to be persecuted when the persecution and martyrdoms come, so that I can have strength to stand up for truth and justice for the opressed, to the point of Death. Those movies make me think and feel necessary things, they're like a jolt of caffeine for the soul, to jar me out of the trance of all the amenities and vanities of life as we know it here in the overfed, overentertained USA.

I got my tactical boots today. They fit well.
I'm reading Lilith, by George MacDonald, and understand it a lot better than I did 9 years ago when I read it last.

I had a fun conversation about literature with my co-workers Nathan and Rebecca. Nathan dislikes most C.S. Lewis except for 'Til We Have Faces and Surprised By Joy. Becky likes most of Lewis. I said I loved Lewis' writings but don't understand the point of having symposiums or writing books about Lewis' books. Becky disagreed with me, and went on to say that Mercedes Lackey was one of her favorite authors but is so no longer. We discussed feminism in literature, my annoyance and her defense. I said the way in modern fiction that women are always rescuing men stretches the limits of credibility. She said that the motif of the man rescuing the woman and stealing a kiss at the end stretches it equally. I disagreed, and disagree.

I'm also reading C.S. Lewis' "The Allegory of Love" charting the idea of romance and the value of romance in stories from the middle ages where it began. He makes a good case that it didn't exist as a motif before then, and since then it's become a fixture in our psyches.

I went to my 1st responder training this evening at the Red Cross. I'll be going to the 4 hr classes every tue. & thurs. for the next two months, paid for by my employer: SPU. We practiced "rescue breathing" (CPR style breathing) on mannequins-adult size, child size, and infant mannequins. It was wierd performing rescue operations on an infant mannequin especially, I kept on thinking: "what would this be like if it were real? If it were Enoch or something"?! that made it seem much more serious. I'm glad I'm taking these classes.

I guess that's long enough for now.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Acknowledge and connect, offer and receive
The Ruach Hakodesh.

The true worshipers worship the Father in Spirit and in truth.

I was reading a section in J Gresham Machen's "Christianity in the Modern World", in which he was explaining (in an attempt to counter a false perception as much alive today as in the 1930's when he wrote it) that Christianity can't be boiled down to a shared experience, off of which we build doctrine, but rather a doctrine, from which comes an experience. He used an interesting example: The Samaritan woman at the well. Jesus spoke to her about himself, the living water, and then addressed her situation with the statement about her having no husband. She responds by what seems to be a sidestepping of the issue (her own personal sin) with a doctrinal question-"Where are we supposed to worship? In Jerusalem, or Samaria?"
Machen points out that Jesus doesn't (like so many who want to share the gospel today) brush aside this "rabbit trail" and tell her "Never mind that, we'll deal with that after you've had an experience-let's focus on your sin and it's cure" - no, Jesus answers her doctrinal question with a direct answer, - a teaching about true worship. I appreciated that from Machen, I've never noticed that about Jesus' response to her before.

Later, Josiah asked to see "The REAL Jesus movie" (By which he means "The Gospel Of John" - by Visual Bible) so I put it on for him and sat down to watch. I really appreciate being able to listen to the whole gospel with visuals so I can put what's being said into context. As I watched it came to the part where Jesus is speaking to the Samaritan woman, where he says: "But the time is coming and is already here, when by the power of God's Spirit people will worship the Father as he really is, offering him the true worship that he wants. God is Spirit, and only by the power of his Spirit can people worship him as he really is." I think that's where the doctrine hits the road. When you hear something like that, you can either ask God to give you the power of His spirit to worship him truly, or you can ignore it and worship him falsely-or not at all. It's expressed so naturally, as a doctrine, but it needs to be experienced to be obeyed.

And gosh, God knows I need His Spirit to really worship Him! I know it doesn't come naturally, at all.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Interesting Dei.

On the way to work, I "talked" with a deaf guy who struck up a non-verbal conversation with me at the downtown bus stop in which I got to share my faith with him, then at work, I met Jen the student worker who watched old Battlestar Galactica episodes on her computer the entire day at dispatch while training me in (she also gave me a donut and a handful of pringles! Nice!). Ray,( who reminds me of Robert (Berto) Perez back in MN), came into the office sporting a ghetto fabulous wardrobe and commented on my shirt's new-looking-ness. Joe noticed Ray had gotten a haircut, upon which observation Ray removed his hat for a haircut inspection by us. I said it looked shorter, Ray followed up with a smile and the comment: "I hate white people". I educated him as to my heritage, and we got into a conversation about the jews, and my theory that a majority of the world's population has some sort of Jewish heritage somewhere (since they've been scattered through the whole world for the past 3000 years) then Ray & I got into a conversation about the books of Judges and 1 Samuel, which he'd just finished and I'm still reading through. We talked about our favorite judges and the messed up ending with the Levite who was a class-A hole to his concubine (Ray & I agreed) and the horrible benjamite nastiness which brought it out, the conflict between Benjamin & everybody else plus the ensuing slaughter on both sides and shenanigans in general by the rest of too compassionate (in my opinion) Israel to make sure the nasty tribe of benjamin continued to crawl the earth...bleah. I want to slap that Levite around every time I read that story. The Benjamites and him are what flamethrowers were created for.
Oh, and I ordered two pairs of tactical boots for work. Really cool ones. And processed quite a few applications for the Flexpasses that SPU gives out to FT employees (Think "Multipass", like in 5th element. I do.-that's one of my favorite parts of that movie, when He's trying to get them to believe that Lilu's his wife while she keeps holding up the card and repeating "Multi-pass!" with a beaming smile.)

Anyhoo... On the bus ride home I missed my first bus, witnessed a partial beat-down from a half a block away, (which was broken up by the time I got there) Got a call from my little brother, got lost on the bus system, found my way back, had a gay shirtless heavily-pierced guy at the bus stop prance around in front of me trying to elicit attention which I all to gladly and nauseously withheld, was subject to the bus stopping while the bus driver gave a first and last warning to the people in the back of the bus to stop smoking their ganja, (oh my goodness, I almost got a contact high-and then they had the nerve to deny it with straight faces!) and finally at about 10pm I made it home. Reading "Out of the Silent Planet" (for like the fifth time so far) helped me stay awake. I also read most of J Gresham Machen's "The Christian Faith in the Modern World" (written in the '30s, but perfect for today as well. I've come to the conviction that there are very few really good books out there, and tons and tons of books that are basically attempts to re-write something that an author of a preceding generation wrote with much more skill and inspiration, and then put a snazzy new cover to it and market it like a panacea. Machen's books I'm beginning to think belong in the realm of classics, along with C.S. Lewis & Francis Schaeffer.)

I've just noticed that I use a LOT of parentheses.

And further, I found it's becoming frighteningly easy to put off reading the actual Scriptures of God in favor of reading a book about the scriptures of God. When these moments of realization hit I'm confronted with the absurdity of my choice (why bother reading something that's only meant to enhance that which I'm avoiding?!) So I caved in to the Holy Spirit's influence on my reason and read Matthew 5-7

I read Matt 7:13-15 over and over until it sank in. It's been too long since that one sank in. I've read it a gazillion times, but not often have I read it and stared at it until it comes into mental focus.

If you prayed for me about the apartment's response, I bless you. And may the Lord bless you.

I just called our apartment manager back today at lunchtime, and she informed me (in a very kind voice no less!) that she had credited our account for THREE HUNDRED dollars! That's like 50 dollars more than what I invoiced them for! I told her they didn't have to do that, she said 'no, we're happy to, since you've done the work and all' WOW! That was the opposite of what I was expecting. I am happy. My heart is full of happy juice. A crap free deck and money in the bank! life doesn't get much better.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

I spent the better half of yesterday "fixing" our deck.
For the past month, dog feces, dog urine, cigarette butts, ashes, and a mysterious white slime have been dripping on our deck from the people upstairs. After I asked, they scraped the actual piles of crap off their deck, but enough fecal matter and urine were still crusted in the cracks for swarms of flies to want to make OUR deck their home. We've not been able to go out on our deck for the past month because of this, and I've talked to the management 3 times about it. The first time they sent someone out to power wash it, the second time they said they were going to power wash the upstairs neighbor's deck as well but didn't, and we were still left with a stank-nasty unuseable deck. Brandy convinced me to buy a kiddie pool to put out there after she said she cleaned it off and it hadn't rained for a couple days. The kids played in it, came in smelling like dog piss, and in the morning there were ashes floating in the pool. So for the third time I went to the management and asked them to provide a permanent solution, or let me put up some sort of barrier and reimburse me. They said OK to option #2, so I went to Lowe's and went to town. A very kind brother in the lord let me borrow his truck for the day while I worked on the project, and when the day was done, we had a very decent looking second roof made of corrugated polycarbonate sheeting. All for the low low price of 250.00. I wrapped the receipt up in a letter detailing what I expected them to reimburse me and options for reimbursement. Brandy delivered it this morning (she said the woman at the desk didn't look very happy at the figure, apparently she thought I was just going to drape a tarp over our deck to loosely funnel the excess piss towards the edge of the deck. I have a missed call from her on my cell, but aside from the cordless drill that I bought to finish the project, I'm committed to making them pay for it all. They agreed to it beforehand, they haven't done anything effective despite my repeated requests, since they haven't done anything, my kids have been exposed to animal waste, and the deck smells like it, so does the area of the carpet directly in front of the deck door, and really, I could have charged them for labor! It took me half a day to finish! That's not my favorite way of spending my day off.
So, if you could spend five minutes and pray that they would see reason and reimburse me for the whole thing without any trouble, that would be great.