Monday, August 25, 2008

So, I'm repenting in dust and ashes from my earlier complaint about my pastor here. Yesterday's message out of Colossians was very full and filling. I came out much encouraged and re-calibrated to the Truth that's in Jesus. So, I feel really bad about my griping. A good lesson on the dangers of hasty judgement.
Then he announced that he was clearing out his library and had a bunch of books out on the tables in the hall. So after the message I wandered out into wonderland. It was a really good selection too, I made out like a bandit with a partial Church History set and the full set of "The Fundamentals" which I'd been thinking of buying anyway. So I was very happy, walking down the hall with a huges stack of books under my arm, and Pastor John, one of the other staff pastors asked me if I was looking for an outlet to teach the word, and suggested the young (pre-teen) group, but was open to see if something else would suit me better. So I asked for his card and he requested that I call and set up a lunch meeting or something to talk about it. So I'm really excited and feeling blessed about that, since that's kind of the reason I came out here.
After church we all went down to Centralia to my aunt's place so that my dad could see his mom and we could all kind of get together. It was interesting watching them get together and tell stories, my dad and his mom emphasize very different parts of his/their lives. At one point I saw him feeling the back of Jaelle's head for something and I asked what he was looking for, and he said really quickly he was checking her skull shape. His mom and uncle were in the room and always give him a hard time for being "wierd", so he quickly said "Nothing" when granny asked what he said. On the drive home I re-asked the question figuring he'd feel more free to say, and he said he was checking to see if they have anatolian bumps, an ethnically specific bump formation on the back of the skull that indicates Central asian ancestry, he and I both have it. Then he pointed out an alternate scenic route that went through all of his old childhood romping grounds. He kept pointing out historical landmarks and geological landforms like the Tenino Plain from back when he was really into geology and archaeology.
I've really enjoyed having my dad with us, we've been staying up all hours of the night talking for the last three nights. He's telling me all about Korea, his life as a young man, a lot of the reasoning behind all our moves and life changes when I was too little to care or remember, a lot of philosophy and anthropology and Cultural information about Korea, Japan and the surrounding areas, it's very rare that I get someone just to ask questions of for a long period who can fill me in on a lot of things I'm curious about. He's also very fun to talk with about the paranormal. I have a little handheld MP3 recorder that I'd bought in MN to record family conversations, but I have forgotten to turn it on for almost every one of the really good conversations we've had.
He took us out for Mexican food the other day, at a little Taqueria down the street, that was nice, although I have a hard time taking things from him. The kids have been swarming him every time he comes out of the room for stories and wrestling and questions, and he's been trying to teach them some korean and little tidbits of linguistics, they've been having a blast.
Josiah said he doesn't look old "'cause he doesn't have any stripes, and that's how you get old, you get a lot of stripes"
(read "wrinkles")
That got us all a good laugh. I really do hope and pray that he will come to believe in Jesus of Nazareth again, that's the only way I can see that things could be any better.

Friday, August 22, 2008

So, here I am at work again. We just went through some training on fire alarm systems, and when my boss Mark was giving us an informational lecture, I was losing consciousness in a bad way. It was good information, but I kept waking up, and nodding off, and waking up, until he said "and soon we're going to go out and test the actual alarms outside so Judah can stay awake" -at which point I asked to break and get some coffee. Which worked for the next 30 minutes of lecture or so.
A man can only pinch the skin on his leg so hard, after all.

Well then, My lovely wife is moving the kids beds into our room for the duration of my dad's stay, I'm happy to have a chance to exercise my very rusty hospitality (Brandy's a natural) and also the 5th commandment. I figured it would be better to let him have a door, I always like to have a door when I'm staying with other people, it makes me feel less like an invader.

It's strange with me, any huge thing I adapt to within the first day so it feels like it's always been this way. I have no gift for novelty. I wonder if it got burnt out of me from all the moving when I was young?
It feels like my dad's always been here.

But it's still strange, trying to resume a relationship which hasn't existed in person for over a decade.
And last time I saw him, he was taller than me.
Everything changes. Well, except Someone.

That's one of the most comforting things about our God, I think. He's a person, and he's a person who doesn't change. Change is like wind, and it's nice to have a windbreak to step into, a feeling of comfort, of home, someplace and someone to go back to when everything around you is rushing through a swift process of change and decay.

I've decided (well, I decided it a long time ago) that the thing which makes our faith in Jesus Christ special, and different, is because it's faith in JESUS CHRIST. and through him, in a specific God, Yahweh, the I AM. He's not just some generic "God" - for there are many "gods" and many "lords" but He's the one we know and believe. The philosophic system can be ripped off or superimposed onto another religion, but we're not asked to trust in a philosophic system, we're offered to place our belief in a specific person, Jesus Christ.

Been reading Thomas Wingfold, there are some points in that book that almost...well...they do...make my eyes water up. I was at work so I had to duck down my head and suck 'em back into my tear ducts.

I keep on expecting life to slow down. At least the maintenance part of it. But it never has, and I'm starting to think it never will. After reading T.W., I decided to try and actually obey something of God's word, the "Do all things w/o arguing or complaining." it's strange to think that I, calling myself a Christ-ian, have not consiously tried to obey anything He says for a long long time.
My dad has arrived from Korea. It has been fun.
We talked a lot yesterday, about all sorts of things. Brandy says I must have gotten a lot of my facial & verbal expressions from him, as well as my head shape.
More to come.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

So here I am at work again, I got here late... I'd asked Nate to change my schedule so I could come in early and get off in time to pick up my dad from the airport. But then after getting off at 10pm last night, I had to take the 2 hour bus trip home, got home at midnight, and stayed up with Brandy for a couple hours.

The bus.
I was kinda looking forward to riding the bus so I could have time to read, but it's not turning out that way. A couple nights ago I rode home next to a black woman tweaking out something serious on meth. NOT FUN. She was little, so I figured if she went crazy canadian on me and tried to stab/decapitate/cannibalize me I'd be able to hold my own, but I didn't feel it was wise to take my eyes off her either. She was twitching and frieking out, devoured her bag of gardettos like the cookie monster, (slammed mouthful after mouthful all over her face making animal noises-crumbs ended up everywhere) she'd keep on twitching like she was having a siezure or something, and shouting and jumping like she was constantly being surprised. I flicked a piece of pretzel off my knee that she'd launched in her ravening, and the movement startled her enough to jump and yell like a psychotic hyena.
Which she kept on doing after sinking into a semi-unconsious state.
Needless to say, I didn't get much reading done. And that's it for my sitting next to crack/meth/other heads on the bus. If they start twitching, I'm gonna ask em to move or I'll move myself, but I've done my share for the year.

On other fronts... Checked out Beowulf for some reading on breaks, a new translation my Seamus Heaney. I've been looking for a translation by JRR Tolien - I could swear I used to have one - but I can't find evidence that one ever existed.

I've been letting lots of people into buildings. And telling ppl to keep their dogs on leashes. I'm trying not to let the power go to my head.

Reading "Thomas Wingfold, Curate" again, it seems like I've been re-reading a lot of books lately. I want to buy that one though, and found a nice site where they do reproductions of McDonald originals.

Watched "Bonhoeffer" the other night, and got so interested I dug out his "Letters and Papers from Prison" to read the last section. Bonhoeffer was a interesting guy, I really like his stuff. A lot of the "new" waves in theology seem to be trying to duplicate his work in a 2-D sort of way. I want to read his "Ethics" to see if he can make the statement: "It's better to do evil than be evil" more convincing than it initially sounds. I'm pretty sure I'd lie if the gestapo showed up at my door and asked if there were any jews inside (providing that the were jews inside), but still I can't really get over the idea of lying being OK.

Also read a book my aunt gave me called "Restoration, restoring the Torah to christians" or something like that. He says we should all keep kosher and observe sabbath + festivals. He makes a decent argument, but I think it still has a lot of holes. I remember almost coming to that conclusion on my own (I should be keeping sabbath etc...) after a month and a half in Israel. I do agree with him as far as the statement that Jews can/should keep the Torah laws, and that they were never abolished. But as far as us gentiles go, I can't buy that having read galatians etc...

Also, reading N.T. Wright's commentary on Colossians where he believes Judaic commandments and traditions to be the heresy Paul's trying to contradict. Which goes directly against how the guy from the other book interprets it. Funny how they can get opposite conclusions from the same book.

I'm very tired.

God's been very good to me, I have yet to be assaulted on the bus, aside from the odd food item splattered on me by druggies, and home has been good as well.
I'm off break now, will write more later.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A little bit of life
Strangeness upon strangeness
Got a call today from the St Paul Police department, there was a little girl that got molested in a library basement somewhere there the other day, and when they searched the records of cards for witnesses, they found that among others, my card had been used that day.
What the heck??? I haven't lived in St. Paul for a year.
So I gave them all my info and dates of when we moved - it's horrible. I guess that's a lesson that even library cards aren't safe to throw away, makes me feel like buying a shredder.

I've been spending the last week in training with the WACLEA campus security training group for IED recognition, an overview of terrorism, bomb squads, gangs, sexual assault and rape, and all sorts of depressing things.
I found out there is a gang problem in WA (still not like Minneapolis), got some info on the local gangs/sets/cliques, watched graphic videos of gang violence, and learned the origin of the major gangs and their symbols/codes.
Before and after that we saw graphic footage of people getting blown up trying to defuse IED's (NOT pretty! people looking fine one moment on video, then with half their face blown off and body on fire the next, still twitching in shock)
We learned that Bin Laden's 100 year plan for war is going just as He predicted and that when we pull out of Iraq & Afghanistan they will follow us here, as that's the next phase in his long-term plan. So we will have to deal with domestic terrorism more and more frequently as a nation, and especially as an extention of law enforcement.
The IED/terror presenters were an englishman who has been dealing with IRA terrorism for the past 15 years or so, and a trainer for the FBI academy who's seen a lot of action out in Afghanistan/Iraq, they let us know that the IRA, of all people, have been training all the terrorists around the globe in explosives, and that Thailand is the worlds hotbed of IED terror right now, and it's -you guessed it-musilms who are responsible there too.
Anyhoo, I am now paranoid. I had to look up a bunch of verses on fear, courage, death and immortality to regain some larger perspective on it all.

Then Brandy calls me and tells me she got a suspicious package in the mail with my name on it, she was afraid to open it - so much that she decided to conquer her fear by...OPENING IT!!!
I asked her never to ever ever do that again, and that I want her whole, not in pieces. There are better ways to overcome fear!

The package turned out to be some saldalwood "worry beads" that my dad sent me from Korea. Oh yeah, he's being forced to come back to the states to re-up his visa, so I may actually see my dad for the first time in a decade and a half sometime soon!!!

Well, there's a lot going on. We've been visiting with my wonderful relatives down in Centralia, we camped out in their front yard (they live on a wooded hill overlooking a beautiful valley in lush green WA) and Brandy spend the next couple days down there while I would go to the classes here in Lacey and come down in the evenings.
Got to chop up some dying fruit tree branches with my cousin Aaron, that was fun. I like Aaron, it seems like we have a lot in common but he's even quieter than me and he's got a girlfriend he really loves so I never get to talk with him. So that was good stuff.
My aunt is using E-Harmony.
My other cousin is leaving for London on Saturday, going to her going-away party on Friday
Got to hang out with my old friend Ian last week, we ran six miles and swam in Lake Washington, then went back to the house & ate curry & drank some champagne, played the Wii for a bit (video games bore me easily) then we went out for some midnight frisbee with his glowing UFO disc out in one of U-district's stunning parks while all the constellations set the backdrop.

My Aunt found an old audio tape of my dad's worship songs, which I converted to MP3 and burned to disc. I am very very happy I have them.

Currently reading:
The Jesus I Never Knew (Philip Yancey)
The New Testament Text, It's Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration (Bruce Metzger)
Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis (C.S. Lewis)
He Shall Glorify Me (Oswald Chambers)
1 Chronicles (Jewish inspired compiler)

And I finally finished 1st responder training and got certified for all kinds of emergency medical stuff.

Overall, it's been a very, very busy couple of weeks.
But I think I said that already.
Well, that's the update so far, or at least a small summary.
My aunt found a tape recording of my dad playing guitar & singing some of the worship songs he wrote back in the early 90's.

He no longer believes in Jesus of Nazareth, so It's sad to listen to, but it gives me hope that he once loved the God I worship, and may some day again.
And it's (in my opinion) good poetry.

From the mouth of the tossing sea
a voice cried out and said to me
sing with the howling wind that's mine
and quench the fire that knows no time
just a wave in the turbid surf
alone the power below to serve
compelled to break against the rock
the very heaven above to mock
the fiery lake of restless flame
of burning self and quenchless blame
a dead sea no life sustaining
and death alone within reigning
thick darkness only could I see
slavery of sin and in
without within a putrid stench
my highest hill simply a trench
but on these waves there rode a boat
carried a restful man afloat
who stood and looked within my fear
and whispered softly in my ear
peace, peace, be still, this word came
and echoed from within my frame
my kingdom grows within your heart
and from within I'll never depart
a dove of light hovered above
the waves stilled by an endless love
I found myself upon the shore
and walking through an open door
unfolding as an endless rope
that led into heavens above
a way that glowed with glory's light
ran like a river through the night
unto a mountain made of stone
crowned with the shining golden throne
upon which sat a wounded lamb
who said with words that lived "I AM"
He handed me a loaf and cup
and told me to upon them sup
and bid me look into his face
where I beheld an ageless grace
then in His eyes a fiery flame
displayed the nature of the Name
and on the apple of His eye
I saw the image of the sky
then forms and shapes all rolled away
and deepest night consumed by day
as all the shadows of the past
rested beneath his feet at last
a Zephyr whispered deeper look
and there within the end a book
in which I saw a tossing sea
and read the words "This too in me"
the very waves in which I'd tossed
Where I had realized I was lost
to their torment were just his slaves
preparing those whom His love saves
and holding all within his hand
there stood one like the Son of Man
He smiled at me and then I heard
the endless river in His word
"All this, through me, my Father pours
that He and I may both be yours
and with the Living Spirit be
One Love throughout eternity

On the "Reverse Golden Rule"
I was talking with my good friend Ian at a coffeeshop and we got to talking about "Spiritual" things, sort-of, since Ian's not a dualist or a supernaturalist, especially Buddhism since that's the last conversation we had shared about such things. I asked him about the qualities of buddhism that attracted him, and he brought up the buddhist version of the "Golden Rule" ("Do not do to others what you would not have them do to you", whereas Jesus' 'positive' version reading "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you"). Ian said he saw it as superior to Jesus' positive version, since it was less invasive and interventionist. He prefers the Buddhist version.

My contention:
The negative version "frees" us from responsibility to exercise compassion. If I am only expected to leave people alone, following this mandate - though easier - would result in selfishness and neglect. And, of course, it's a lot easier to follow.

The "Good Samaritan". In the parable of the "Good Samaritan", Jesus illustrates what His "Golden Rule" looks like in action. And unlike Buddha's version, it requires action. The Samaritan in the story DOES unto the injured Jew as he would have done unto himself. The Priest and the Levite follow the "negative golden rule" by not interfering. They don't do anything bad to anyone, yet it's obvious how they come up short in neglecting an obvious duty to have compassion on the suffering and helpless.

In defense, a proponent of the "Negative" G.R. might say that they would not want to be neglected by passersby, and therefore would act, but that's using a double negative to result in a positive formulation of the "G.R."

Note Jesus' conclusion: "who was the man's neighbor?...go and do likewise!"
Now, a task much more difficult than definition and defense of Jesus' word - to live it by His Spirit! :-)

Friday, August 01, 2008

It's 3:51 AM and I've got an hour and a half to go.

This is the busiest night I've had so far, since I started the grave shift. I found an alarm going off in the Science building lab, a controlled temp room was overheating... Could've been explosive volatile chemicals for all I know, called in to dispatch and they called the on-call engineer to come take care of it. Then I found some chocolate covered almonds set out in the lobby and fulfilled their purpose for existing.
Then there were the two inebriated dikes walking their four dogs across campus, and whistling for the pit-bull they just lost. I got their info & let them know we'd call them if we sighted their animal.
Then I confronted a suspicious guy (not really) in a biodiesel truck to make sure he had a work order before removing barrels of cooking fat from Gwinn (our cafeteria) to convert into diesel fuel.
Fun fun fun.
Here's a link to where I work
Seattle Pacific University
It's pretty. It gets pretty eerie checking in long basement hallways and empty corridors at night with all the lights off, no one to hear you scream and all that...but I don't think I would scream, I'd probably die fighting silently if it came to it.
Well, well, it's the first. I just checked my bank account and the amount being direct deposited into it for payroll is NOT right, I hope it gets fixed before tomorrow morning, I don't want to have one more thing to add to my list, :"gripe at employer about payroll mistake"
Oi Vey.
(which I think is hebrew for "my enemies"-I should check to make sure.)
Reading "That Hideous Strength", I swear, or would if it wasn't forbidden, that book gets better and more enlightening every time I read it.