Thursday, December 31, 2009


It's thick stuff, the everywhere
where everything's thick as clay
pressing these cookie-cutters in
makes shapes, but they don't stay.
Is there just one reason for anything?
it's a rare find, a thing that's plain
time and space are in french braids
and each question ends in a Hydra's head.
should we burn with every cut
while making shapes out of chaos?
and who decides if its form
is mountain, forest, mind?
most steps out of potential
are so anticlimactic
like a gaudy brand name
So dig deep, and find me.
I'd rather be born, than made.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

With a whole world waiting would you lift away my fears
if I lost my place in hesitation washed away in falling years
all the people behind the faces that are fading in the rearview
has my climbing all been slipping and forgetting those I knew?
and the words, the words on fire, lying under piles of ashes
cold and grey can they be coaxed into a flame of life and passion?
Another life, another life, is what I find myself in asking
another life, a living fountain-to replace the life that's passing.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Just finished the better part of my finals, we'll see how I did. I know I got at least one question half wrong in Christian Formation, and in BIO I have a handful of ones that I had to guess on. But all as the Lord wills. It's over now, and "what I have written, I have written".
The final for Greek is in two days! I'm really happy with how much Greek we've learned in 1 quarter. Looking forward to more.

It's been a lot of fun, and It's hard to believe the first quarter is over already. I'm very much looking forward to having time off to play with the kids and Brandy, and to read non-assigned books, and to sleep from time to time. Brandy's been really great letting me sleep and study in preparation, we're both really pleasantly surprised with how do-able school/work/family has been so far.

I'm in the collegium right now, its swarming with students studying for or recuperating from finals.

On an interesting note, both my last section of Christian Formation and our pastor's study have been through the sermon on the mount. I've been reading through it a lot the past couple of weeks. One of the questions in Christian Formation was "Which of Jesus' teachings do you see the need to implement now"? I answered "Do not Judge" and Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness". It seems with all this time studying I have let my prayers lag more than usual, and as always it seems like I make up for my lack of real fellowship with Jesus with moralism and by attempting to appear more spiritual around friends and acquaintances. (using more christianese, commenting on the sinfulness of friends' activities). The odd thing is that I really do feel a desire to BE more "spiritual" (in the scriptural sense) but when it comes out so cold and awkward I'm pretty sure that it's not out of love for Jesus, but out of love for a godly facade. Lord, please help me.

Jesus, you're always helping me. Thank you that I can count on your grace and that your Spirit is really in me, please stir Him up and wake me up. I don't want to fall asleep.

Well, time to go home and take my contacts off!

Friday, December 04, 2009

"Pie in the sky when you die". It seems that a large chunk of Christendom is feeling the buises from these sticks and stones, and avoiding the idea of after-death promises of scripture in favor of the world's vision of "Pie right now, before you die."

Though, I don't see what's wrong with pie in the sky after you die. If you get pie right now, you end up with death - hardly satisfying. In the mocked Christian version, your life doesn't end with death, but has its final realization in "pie". I'd prefer to end with pie, rather than death, thank you.

Monday, November 30, 2009

I have a Kierkegaard book that I’ve read and forgotten the first couple chapters of. The title is apparently more intriguing to me then the innards, because unlike them, it has stuck. It reads: “Purity of the Heart is to Will One Thing”.
I’ve always been prone to what my mother called “manias” – single interests that would consume my thoughts from the moment I woke up to the moment I went back to sleep. When I was young they would change about once every two years or so. It was herpetology when I was 7, followed by aircraft, space travel and archery to name a few. In my early teens my obsessions included Celtic myths and bladesmithing, in my late teens it was the FBI and Marine Corps. Interrupting all these, if there was a girl I liked, she was my mania for as long as she was in the picture. For most of these manias I would read up on them until I had a good grasp of the subject. The girls? well, I never really knew what to do about that. Usually I would just act really awkward around them until they got uncomfortable enough to avoid me. Then there was God. God was always there too, but He was never the center really, never the thing that got my spine tingling as I contemplated Him.
Until, of course, the “hour I first believed.” (On a side note, it was only when my heart was obsessed with God that I was able to act normally enough around a girl I liked to have her stick around and eventually agree to marry me.)
It has been almost nine years since that hour. I know I don’t have the singleness of vision that I had at that intersection. There are so many ‘things’ in life, so many obligations and concerns, so much to be done and bought and had. As the accessory to these ‘things’, there is the worry that accompanies the possibility of their loss. Yet as I write this, it occurs to me that this list sounds really familiar. These concerns are the weeds that grew up alongside one of Jesus’ parable-plants and choked the life out of it, aren’t they? I pray for that singleness of desire Jesus spoke of, because the part of me that cares about facts holds that this unified vision is the only way I’ll bear “fruit” in the long run - The only way to invest in what really matters, and the only way I’ll see my God.
Jesus said those who do bear fruit He prunes. Last week I thought I lost my Kindle (Amazon’s ridiculously expensive e-book reader). Now, this was a very small branch, and I think I handled its loss fairly well, but the week before I got in trouble at work after missing 6 hours of meetings (though a scheduling mistake on my part). That’s a somewhat bigger branch since in the temporal view it’s my family’s livelihood at stake. I took that somewhat less well. Then there was the Lasik surgery I was scheduled for that I couldn’t get because my financing fell through. I’ve wanted Lasik for a decade. That was a medium size branch for me. At first I just got very frustrated with all these happenings, but as they kept on piling up, I had to resign myself to the fact that these things were not my gods. To obsess over them wasn’t worth it, and in fact, in the aftermath of my frieking out over them I realized that my obsession with them was dividing up my loyalties. I definitely wasn’t “willing one thing”.
Things do have a way of accumulating. If it’s not Lasik or some expensive techno-novelty, it’s a book, a friend, or who knows what else. Of course I don’t see anything wrong with enjoying these things, but the idolatry of focusing my will and desire on multiple objects does fly in the face of what the rational part of me believes. If there’s a way to lock-in one’s will to God and leave it there, I would like to know what it is. I guess that’s the point of the spiritual disciplines. Recently, it seems to be taking Divine discipline too. Maybe I’m wishing for something that doesn’t exist; some kind of spiritual autopilot button where I can punch in the course like the captain of a 747 and then kick up my feet and read a magazine - or whatever it is they do in the cockpit. But it seems that my will is a less expensive plane, the kind that the pilot has to constantly check instruments on and adjust for changing windspeed and direction to keep on course. Considering how much exhortation and correction there is in the New Testament, I’m guessing that’s the model my brothers and sisters are flying in too.

Friday, November 20, 2009

sails are slack today
perhaps the wind is higher
than the mast
or is it the slack hands
that have had their fill of rigging
and just want to hold a cup of coffee?
but the storms, they come,
though unseen
and split the unready ships in two
the sea below is hungry, waiting
the hands and arms need motivating
can't wait for the rain.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

All will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of things will be well.

I got a written reprimand from my boss for being late to those meetings last week, but he was very gracious about it and said he was sympathetic.
Then reading scripture at church I came across the part in Romans 11 where he quotes from the OT, "who has given a gift to Him, that He might be repaid?" This immediately was applied by the Spirit to my heart as a clarifying agent, since I had been whining and discontent-at least internally-about all of my misfortunes that week. I had gotten to the point where I wasn't frieking out, but I still felt as if my not frieking out somehow was something in my favor, and that I was really a decent guy to put up with all the Lord puts me through.

Which is a really bad attitude to have.
Especially seeing that I call Jesus Lord. It's a lot easier to give thanks in everything if you don't have wonderful plans for your own life that you expect to go off without a hitch. But He IS my Lord, and I want to delight to do His will - so may my plans be slaughtered like canaanites.

That's all about that though, It's over and I am done talking about it.


Got to go to a lecture tonight, it was part of a series of lectures on Darwin & Darwinism put on @ School since it's the anniversary of Darwin's birth or death or something like that. This particular lecture was titled "GK Chesterton, a duel with Darwin." It turned out to be more theatre than lecture, as it was a G.K. Chesterton impersonator from Bloomington, MN who gave it. Overall it was pretty good, and I got to talk to the people who put it on. I had been impressed before that the school actually allowed one of the lectures in the series to be less than flattering to Darwinism, but lo and behold, it was co-sponsored by the Discovery Institute. So the school didn't actually put it on, per-se.
Next week I'll be going to the most rabid of NeoDarwinist's lectures, (one of our Bio. Faculty) who will be speaking on Human evolution, and how we're "closing up the gaps" in the fossil record.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Work's getting exciting again, lots of drunks and thieves, and drunken thieves!

Just wrapping up what turned out to be a trying week. First, via a scheduling mistake I missed about six hours worth of very important and expensive meetings on Tuesday (which I've gotten a letter of reprimand for), then being told on Wednesday I couldn't be financed for the Lasik appointment I was supposed to have Thursday, which was the biggest bummer because I've been looking forward to that particular appointment for about a month and been wearing glasses (no contacts) for about that long in preparation. I've rescheduled for February, so I can figure out what's going on with my credit & possibly save enough so I don't have to do the CareCredit thing. I have wanted to get Lasik for about a decade, so that was the biggest letdown. Then there was breaking my toe the day before missing the meetings on a dumbell the kids had hidden under a jacket in the dining room. I've also been tense because my second big Biology test which I took this friday. Still waiting for the results on that one.

Brandy can tell you I was very melodramatic about all this. Since Friday I think I've been able to rein it in a bit. I do want to curb the habit of telling people my problems, as it seems I'm always more eager to tell them then they are to listen-even if they ask-and It doesn't help much. The whole deal did help me realize that my stamina for disaster has gone way down. I managed to say "blessed be the name of the lord" but with a very sour face. I'd prefer to be to the point character-wisewhere I could honestly sing a worship song in similar circumstances.

Our microwave has developed a Zeus complex. The other day as Brandy was heating up some peas in a bowl it began throwing lightning around inside and making a loud snapping noise...not a good sign. So remembering a couple years ago in St. Paul when our then-microwave spontaneously combusted I had Brandy unplug it until we can figure out what's wrong or throw it away.
As a man once sung - "Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you've got til it's gone..." I had to heat up my cold coffee by dumping some boiling water into it. Just not the same.
Radioactive cube of convenience, why have you failed us?

And yet, Romans 8:28 is in full effect. Though He slay my microwave, yet will I trust Him.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Screwed up in a big way. I missed about six hours of meetings at work because I thought they were tomorrow and because I'd left my cell on "silent". I'm gonna get chewed out either way, but pray for me that nothing worse than that comes of it, and that my name won't top the shame list at work for the next six months.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

I was thinking over some scripture related to my "Theological Research Paper" for my UFND class, and as I thought over 1 Cor. 11:7, I wondered for the hundredth time what it means that Man is the image & glory of God and Woman is the glory of Man. This part always confused me because elsewhere in scripture (primarily Gen.) it's clearly indicated that women are also made in God's image as part of the original Adam Then I thought how glory can mean the "best of" its object, the glory of something is that which shows it brightest and clearest. So, with that interpretation, the verse could mean that while humankind in general bears God's image in the fundamental sense; that man "plays the part" of God in the theatre of creation, while woman "plays the part" of "Mankind" in general. Which is interesting, since that would mean women are more human in role than men are - they are more like what humanity is meant to be in relation to God, whereas men are in role more like God - not a reason for pride I'm sure, since most men have no talent for the part, and never bothered to read the script. If my interpretation is true though, women should have a more innate understanding of what it means to be human, and men should find it easier to understand God.

We've got our scripts
and given parts
what we are
and what we aren't
is a love-poem in a playwright's art
to make, and then to win our hearts.

Monday, November 02, 2009

taste and see
but I've heard taste is mostly smell
taste and smell and see
that the Lord is good
but don't stop there
with three out of five
taste and smell and see and hear
and while you're at it reach out to touch
and some say there's six
seven if you count reason.
But when reason collapses in exhaustion
It takes a little desperation
to crawl through the cross
til you feel the empty tomb.
Some stop at the bleeding man
between earth and sky
and cry like a magdalene.
Some stop to spit and make some fun
because they've wanted this divorce for a while.
A few will ask for the body
because if Good dies
they want to stay in its corner
and remember when it was still swinging.
And some will keep crying
and won't stop for angels
because the only thing they ever loved
is dead.
And those few will be the first to hear
'cause blood has the same PH as tears
And those few
with noses congested from crying,
will yell something like
when the cross gives way
to a Living Man.

The other day at the goodwill I finally broke down and got a copy of Luther's smaller catechism. I wanted it for a short reference to go over with the kids as a primer on Christian Doctrine, and I've looked through it multiple times over the years and have always considered it good & clear christian teaching. I remember when I was little at church we were heavy on story but not so much on doctrine-nothing was really well defined. So I figured I'd do them a favor, plus I was reading through Ephesians where he tells dads to raise their kids in the instruction and admonition of the Lord.
So anyways...
Today I slept until about 2pm and when I got up felt the need to do something edifying. So naturally I called Josiah and Jaelle over and pulled out the copy of Luther. It starts out with the ten commandments, and by the time we got to four I thought something wasn't right with the numbers, and then I realised, 'Ole brother Martin numbered the commandments like a Catholic! (Catholics blend out the "graven images" into the first, and it shifts the numbers down. They get #10 by splitting coveting into two: houses & the rest. Odd how houses get their own no-covet commandment and wives are stuck with donkeys.)But I figured the kids will forget the numbers anyway, and I can re-number them later. I wanted it for a guide more than anything, since I need something to go over all the basics, and I can embellish beyond that. By embellish, I don't mean make stuff up, but expand on.

Then Josiah asked why we should "fear" God (since Martin prefaces every commandment with the reason we should obey it-"fear and love of God"). That was a tough one to answer. I kept thinking about George MacDonald telling his childhood story of when he found out about hell, "predestination" etc..., and broke down crying, wondering how God could be more cruel than his earthly father, and how that thought eventually led to him becoming a Universalist. I didn't want to give Josiah that impression, so I tried to explain it by asking if he was scared of me, and he said no, and I said how about when I catch you doing something you're not supposed to, he said yeah, and we took it from there.
Then we all had a short fighing free-for-all, and I read a book with Enoch (who was listless and alone on the couch with a fever) until Brandy called us to the table for chicken soup.

Now I'm @ Work and my co-worker just found a giant dead rat at the entrance to the bertona modules. There are all kinds of wild (and not so wild) life around here. Yesternight I was checking Robbins and a large Opossum was at the south entry door. When I opened it, she just stared at me for a couple seconds before waddling off. 'possums always seem a little slow in the head.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

I am soooooo very tired. So, I'll post a picture I took of a tree yesterday in Martin Square.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"Good idea, but I'm pooping right now" (Jaelle to Josiah as he's explaining his play plans to her through the bathroom door)
We are what we see
I want to look carefully
turn my head
and raise my eyes
fill my fingers
and I'll use these keys
to free some captive praise.
A provider of food and reasons
protector of peace
with sharp sword and strong hands
You take death like an old stuffed toy,
and shake it 'til I'm not afraid.
where has sin gone?
was it ever there?
Love stronger than
the pulse-stealing thing
Stand again in me
bold as a robot
I come for what I need
walking on my knees
the machine of me will be contrite
though without warmth in doing right.

There are black eels in my liver
ugly moths inside my brain
and pale worms all around
that make it hard to feel the pain

I come in front of this, your throne,
where feelings fail there's what I know
Dig out the awful things inside
there's nothing left I can deny

I would like to feel again
Warmth, and light, and even pain
So here I sit
I will submit
You're perfect, make me the same.

It's like a strong tide from an anti-moon
that leaves a dark stripe on the face of the sea
while the tentacled waves wrap around our feet
the cold grip numbs and we don't do what we should.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

It has been the fifth conversation with a ministry leader who's asked you to lead a home fellowship and said they would call the people who would come - and they don't. After that happens three times, you ask if you can call them. By this time the list you're given has shrunk to 3, one of whom is the HF coordinator. Your name is finally on the HF list, but your wife's name's misspelled as a man's name. You talk to the families, and they say there must've been a mistake because 1. they were told they were in another HF, and 2. Your HF isn't on a day they signed up for. This is all very embarrassing. You ask the Ministry leader what's going on, they say they'll take care of it and call you. 2 weeks later, they ask you how the home fellowship's coming along (they never called). You say it's not. They ask if you will come to theirs. You say yes, with relief that it's over and with restrained annoyance that it's taken so long to come to this.

"You" is me. I am trying not to be annoyed. The only thing of comfort that came to mind is Joseph to his brothers: “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good"

So if Joseph can say that to his brothers, who sold him & meant it for evil, then I how can I be angry @ a brother who didn't mean his unreliability and cluelessness for evil at all?

May God help me have an attitude like Joseph.

Josiah's sense of fashion has failed him.
(Those are camo pants.)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

It's a beautiful autumn day out. The morning's at a perfect crisp, there are just enough clouds, the leaves are all in process, so much so that they look vibrant to me. And I'm partially colorblind. I mentioned to Brandy it's the kind of autumn day they write about in children's books. It made me remember the first autumn that I can recall. We were living in a house (my mom & dad don't even know which one it was when I ask them) in WA, and there were deciduous woods all around. There was an enormous sheep pen right next to the house full of enormous and very loud sheep. We played out in the leaves for a while, and when it was time to go inside, we kids spread out sleeping bags on the bedroom floor and started jumping on them. It was all fun and games until my little brother jumped bottom-first onto the head of a nail that was protruding from one of the floorboards under the sleeping bag.
When you're little, I think you're so empathetic that whenever someone you care about gets hurt you feel like you got hurt too. There are plenty of memories where my brother and sister and I are unsure what happened to who because we all think the tragedy happened to us - we all remember the pain and horror so vividly. The only reason I know it was my brother and not me was because my mom told me so.
But tragedies aside, that was the archetypal autumn day to me.
And it's funny how memories work, because there's a children's book that I faintly remember, the illustrations of which blend in with all my autumn memories. It had almost impressionist illustrations, and the final picture was of a mother and her little son walking hand in hand down a trail on a fall day with trees full of brightly colored leaves on either side.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Evil is a parasite
a crawling thing
that shuns the light
it finds the folds
in good's clean skin,
hooked claws take hold
long mouth goes in -
the dark and sickly feast begins.

Is there a bath
that burns the lice
heals the sores
and purifies?

Is it the blood
of blinding light
too sharp and hot
for the insect's bite?

Is it the blaze
of undying life
that flays that louse
like a burning knife?

Is it Christ, the Man
from who's face flees
earth and sky
and biting fleas?

Yes, and yes,
and yes. It is.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Got to listen to Richard Dawkins speak at U-Dub tonight. I admire him for his accent, humor, clarity, and what John Wesley would call "Plain Dealing".
Other than that, the crowd overall was somewhat scary. Between the guys behind me screaming and the guy in the pink t-shirt with the words "Get your laws off my reproductive freedom" standing up and clapping enthusiastically at the anti-creationists comments it was like being a black man at a klan rally. after the pre-game show of mocking creationists & christians in general and Kirk Cameron in particular (Kirk's coming to the UW soon) Richard Dawkins got to speak, reading from his new book "The Greatest Show On Earth" and answering questions afterward.
Some of the most interesting things he said were:
"Bishops and vicars who claim to believe in evolution yet who quote scriptures about adam and eve as if they existed without clarifying that they did not should let their yea be yea and their nay nay, lest they fall into condemnation"

The biggest puzzles of evolution are Sex, the sense of Consciousness, and

The best evidence for evolution is the phylogenetic tree and the distribution of species

He would prefer that Britain remain a christian nation, rather than the invasion [read Islamic] being completed as it has been in France.

He still celebrates Christmas, since he is a "cultural christian" in the same sense that his Jewish atheist friends still celebrate Hannukah etc.

I couldn't clap in good conscience at his readings, as I don't agree with his statements (Though I almost clapped for his exortation to the evolutionist Vicars) I did clap a little at the end for his clarity, honesty, and british accent.

And no, I was not convinced.
The last couple days have been packed with good.
Monday I outed myself as a theological conservative in class. We were reading through "The Chosen" by Chaim Potok and the class discussion had gone to why the really orthodox people were scared of "scientific" study of the Talmudic texts, and the conversation was headed towards why those crazy fundamentalists are scared of science. I pointed out that even Theologically conservative people like myself who believe in scriptural inerrancy don't have a problem with textual criticism, since all statements on inerrancy have to do with the autographs, not the manuscripts or translations, and text criticism is the attempt to get the reading most faithful to the autographs. The prof then said, Oh, so you would call yourself theologically conservative?

The next day I went to school (& got there on time, always a plus) where I started classes as normal. Had an easy time of it after christian formation in the Collegium, where I studied for the Bio lab that afternoon and went over greek conjugations and declensions to make sure I had them memorized. Listening to Supertones on my new Ipod with the earphones Brands got for me, and read up on my Miller Urey abiogenesis objections. Then came bio, where after a particularly dogmatic remark by the professor, (who is, by the way, a great teacher, and I can tell she loves biology, she reminds me of characters from the Madeleine L'engle books) regarding the origin of living cells and proteins via chemical evolution. So I raised my hand and asked how she reconciles a certain issue that even the rabid evolutionist author of our textbook admits is a challenge. We went back and forth for a bit, and then I said I didn't want to use any more of her lecture time up (which is true, she's nice and everyone needs to hear the lectures to get the info for exams). She thanked me and admitted that these are the sort of questions that keep her up at night. Then I heard someone behind me laughing, and thought, Oh, great, I'm "that" guy again. Just like in high school. But seriously, in this christian evangelical school no one once has said anything about the repeated dogmatic statements about chemical and biological evolution that have been made since the start of class. I'd say it makes up from one fifth to one third of each lecture. And no one's said anything! So I ask oblique questions to show that it's not cut and clean and to question their assumptions, just to keep my sanity and 'cause I can't stand to just let that sort of thing go. But I limit myself to one such question per class, and make sure I ask other relevant questions about non-evolutionary subject matter. But to my surprise, when we were doing an exercise sheet, the prof. came up and said that I ask such interesting questions and wanted to know if I could stop by her office after class (I couldn't, I have Greek right after). But I said I'd try in the next week.

Then after Bio lab later in the day, one guy from the Ukraine who was in my Lab group said, So, you seem really interested in those origin of life questions...
And I said, yes, I really am, but as you might have been able to tell, I'm not the biggest fan of chemical evolution.
He said, "neither am I, or Biological evolution either."
So then we got into it and I had a hard time getting back to the lab with all the talk about Ravi Zacharias and G.K. Chesterton and why evolution's (chemical evolution and common descent) is bunk. So we decided to be friends, and he said he was glad I'd asked questions in class since otherwise it would be as if the class was giving unanimous assent. Then after the lab we hung out waiting for our rides and he showed me all his quotes from various authors that he's got categorized in folders for research papers. I was impressed. He reminded me of a younger me, since I had to sit there for a while listening to him because he was just waiting for someone to come along that he could recite all his thoughts, quotes, favorite authors and apologetics to. It was a lot of fun and I thanked God for it.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Polycarbonate windows to twenty-twenty
even with insurance, they cost me plenty
Medical magic for my myopea
the key to a mole-eye's eye utopia
A tribute to my new spectacle pair-
now I can see, and my eyes can get air
I cannot live by contacts alone-
but glasses too - til I get Lasik done.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Thank God for school, but Mondays, oh Mondays, they are days of very little sleep.

A really nice side effect of being busy with school stuff is I don't have enough time to stare blankly at a computer screen or keep refreshing facebook hoping some interesting updates will appear.

I love my Greek class. My Christian Formation class is all right, and Bio's fun, until the professor starts telling us reductionist fairy-tales about chemical and biological evolution and how we don't really need God, but to her, that just makes God seem all the greater. *Barf* She & the textbook were going on about the Miller-Urey experiment and when I asked why that was the only example they used if there were others that hadn't been refuted as well as it was and she threw out a long name and said we could talk about it later. But I don't have a later. I have another class right after Bio. Sigh.

There's a study area for commuter students called the collegium that I've been spending a couple hours in between classes, it's heavenly. Big comfy chairs and it's all laid out like a faculty club like one might see at Oxford or something. Very relaxing when you're in between classes on no sleep listening to Beethoven's "Moonlight" which makes you feel academic and heavenly even when you're daydreaming.

And now, I must go and sleep-dream.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

I was just forced to shoot a squirrel with a blowgun in self defense.
Even though I hate squirrels, I wouldn't normally think to plug a dart in one, but this squirrel was threatening my wife and children.
At first it was trying to get to the bird feeder that's directly outside of the sliding glass door, which is when Brandy started making shooing motions at it. It moved in closer. Then Brandy opened the door & threw some pebbles at it, and it moved away just far enough to dodge the rocks, then came back and kept lunging at her through the glass.
So I pulled down the dart gun, opened the sliding door, and the squirrel charged. It was about three feet from my face when I hit it in the arm. It ran off into the wild where it belongs shaking it's arm with the four inch dart hanging out of it.
And I don't feel guilty, not one bit.
Take that, nut rat.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Trying to get Enoch to say his "R"s. After hearing "Geen Cab" three or four times as he's looking through his animal book.
"No Enoch, fRRRog, it's fRRRRog."
"Say fRRRRRR."
"Nope, Say RRRRRRRR"
"Okay Enoch, Foug it is."

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Venus woke up about the same time as me,
and in her small fire i could feel
the chilly air charged with beginnings.

You've told me the same thing since I was born
The coat you gave me knows my skin
it's the only thing I've ever worn
since I've been born again.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

We're reading "Green" - the final book in Ted Dekker's "Circle" Trilogy(?). So far, so good. Also just finished listening to the Audio version of "Til We Have Faces". And about a fifth through N.T. Wright's "Surprised by Hope".

God willing I can finish a few more before school starts.
Regarding my last Blog.

It seems like when I come up against an apparent problem like the last one, or like a couple years ago with my questions about the apparent irreconcileability of the Gospel resurrection narratives, I have a problem. I tend to friek out a bit, and in my frieking out I transgress in a way that Job did not. I come very close to accusing God. I talked to Brandy about this, concerned because it doesn't seem right, and yet my upset-ness is the thing that drives me on for answers. And seeking and finding answers I am convinced is a good thing that pleases God.

Brandy said that the only thing that came to her mind was "Work out your Salvation in Fear and Trembling"; a passage from Philippians that I assumed I was familiar with. So I typed in "Fear Trembling" into the Biblegateway search engine, and the NT verses that came up all have to do with approaching God in one way or another (in one case approaching a servant of God). The Phil. verse in particular follows up this phrase with "Do everything without complaining or arguing"

So this, I believe, is my problem. I need to find a way to approach these things with fear and trembling, since in approaching them I approach God. Somehow I must maintain a strong desire for answers, but to avoid my flippant flirting with annoyance towards the LORD God almighty - who could squish me very righteously and easily, but has not yet.

So, I repent in dust and ashes and ask my God and Father to forgive me, and I ask for you, dear reader not to emulate my bad attitude of the past, and I ask finally for a more reverent heart to seek answers to future questions.


[Warning: This is a really long blog. Disclaimer: This is not an attempt to answer the question "why do the righteous suffer at all?". That question I believe can only be satisfactorily answered by the answer that Satisfied Job, seeing God's face. Explanation: throughout I use the words deliver, save, protect the plain sense scripture uses them most - physical deliverance, salvation, protection.]

Okay, what disturbed me most about Denise Amber Lee's story was that she had sincerely called out to God to protect her and he had not. The reason that bothered me most is because Scripture over and over again says that God's the defender of the orphan and widow, the helpless; Esp. Psalm 50 where God equates true worship as calling out to God in the day of trouble so He can rescue you and you can thank Him. Also it seemed to me in part false advertising that almost every story in the bible is about people asking God to save them in one way or another and then the follow up of God answering and saving them as if this is how it always goes- a misleading impression if, in fact, you can be a defenseless mother calling out to God as you're being dragged off, yet end up getting raped, shot and dumped in a ditch.

To this I found first of all that:

1. There are a lot of implied stories where God does not save the needy when they call on him, not even the needy righteous from torture, rape, and death.

Starting with Abel, who's blood cried out from the ground to God. Which implies he must have done some crying while his brother beat him to death - and yet God didn't see fit to intervene until Cain was walking off. But he did see fit to protect Cain from being killed.

Then Sodom and Gomorrah. Notice how frantic Lot is that the angels who he doesn't know are angels do NOT spend the night in the square. Could this be because they wouldn't have been the first defenseless travellers he'd seen that stopped to rest in the square only to be woken up by a city full of rapists who gang-raped and murdered them? It would seem so considering the LORD's aside to Abram, that the outcry against Sodom was very great and had reached him. Why had not God answered that outcry when it first went out, and prevented the rape and murder of those defenseless people?

In Exodus 2:23, it says "the people of Israel...cried out" it also says God heard and sent Moses, but how many of those who cried out died under the whip? How many mothers saw their children taken from them and chopped up or thrown into the nile to be eaten by the Egyptian's 'gods' (crocodiles) before God saw fit to send Moses?

In Jeremiah 26, a prophet named Uriah it is said prophesied the same things Jeremiah did, and the king sought to kill him, so he ran away (I presume afraid, and as a godly man, also asking God to save him like Elijah did when Jezebel was after him) to Egypt, was hunted down and dragged back before the king, who most likely mocked him before he was hacked to death with an edged weapon and dumped into a mass grave. As for Jeremiah? It doesn't say the Lord saved him from the same fate, but rather that he was buddies with an official so he got a get out of jail free card. (I'm not saying that the Lord's hand wasn't in this, just that Scripture doesn't say it was)

Job said "Behold, I cry out 'Violence!' and am not answered; I cry for help, but there is no justice" and "I Cry to you for help, and you do not answer me; I stand, and you only look at me"

Zechariah 14 says that just days before the Second coming of Christ the Jews in Jerusalem will be defeated, ransacked, and all of their women raped (By nations that the LORD says he will gather there). Then after they're raped the Lord Jesus comes back to save them.

In 1 Sam 22 all the men, women, children and infants in Nob were killed with a sword by Saul's man Doeg the Edomite because they had helped David, God's anointed. It was a priest's city, devoted to the worship of God. I'm sure all of them called out to God for protection. And yet, of all who called, only one escaped. David heard about it, and didn't blame God, but blamed himself, since he knew Doeg was in Nob when he came and would tell Saul that the priests had helped him. David also wrote Psalm 52 about Doeg-it's worth a read.) However, this is the same David that wrote "I have never seen the righteous forsaken, or his children begging bread." Richard Wurmbrand said he had seen the Righteous go insane under torture and their children eating out of the trash.

In 2nd Kings 15:16, Amos 1:13, 2 Kings 8:12, Israelite pregnant women are torn open by invaders. I have a hard time believing considering their heritage even as part of a backslidden country there was not a single one that called out to God for protection before they were torn open.

Habbakuk said: "O YHWH, how long shall I cry for help, and you shall not hear? Or I cry out to you 'Violence!' and you will not save? Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong?" - He said this of the land of Judah before the Babylonian Captivity, regarding the way the wicked surrounded the righteous and destroyed them in his neighborhood. Apparently he was frustrated that God didn't prevent this in response to his prayers. Then God tells him that in response he's sending the Babylonians to sack Judah. How many at the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians called out to God and were not answered? Those women being raped and murdered, and their children smashed? The writer of Psalm 137 writes: "blessed shall he be who repays you (Babylon) with what you have done to us! Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock!"

ALL THIS TO SAY - Scripture does give record, albeit in a roundabout sort of way all through that there are many who cry out and yet are still raped, ripped open, tortured, or killed. This answers my first question :"why does scripture maintain in story and promise that God always answers and saves physically and immediately?" The answer is, Scripture doesn't, if you look closely.

AN INTERESTING NOTE ON HABAKKUK: When God told him how He would answer his prayer for justice, Habakkuk reminded himself of the way God saved Israel at the red sea from their enemies, and said that He would remember this, asking God to revive this kind of thing and in the midst of the years make it known. God had already told him that all of Israel would be crushed by Babylon in hideous ways, and in the face of this he still reminded himself of God's actions at the Red Sea. Then, he didn't put a pious smile on his face at the thought of what would happen to his people, He says: "I hear, and my body trembles; my lips quiver at the sound; rottenness enters into my bones; my legs tremble beneath me. Yet I will quietly wait for the day of trouble to come upon people who invade us." - in fact, I recommend reading the last chapter of Habakkuk with the "question" in mind.


Question #2: What then, about the apparent promises (Like Psalm 50)? And the stories? What's assuring about them if we have no guarantee that they have any bearing on reality? What of the GOD who cannot Lie?

For that, I turn to Hebrews.

In Hebrews 11, the "Hall of Faith", the first three quarters are those who saw the promise of deliverance in their life, those who "won" and were protected. The last bit, however, are those who were tortured, killed, harrassed and starved in faith. It says they were "commended for their faith" but that (note this) THEY DID NOT RECEIVE WHAT HAD BEEN PROMISED!.

Mind-boggling, isn't it? But why didn't they receive what had been promised? In their case I assume part of their promise was protection and health, salvation and safety, since "In Christ all promises are Yes and Amen" and these things are among the things promised to those people of faith. Yet as already stated, they didn't receive what had been promised. It says rather that "God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect." You might say "Something better?!? what could be better than God keeping his promise?!" But it seems that God considers that it's better that he keeps his promise later, at the resurrection of our bodies. (Made perfect is used throughout scripture of our state at the Resurrection, the "Regeneration of All Things" - when the righteous rise out of their graves to everlasting life and the wicked rise to everlasting destruction).

Also in Hebrews5:7-9, it sounds like Jesus' loud cries and tears during his life on earth were to God to save him from death, but his prayer was heard and answered retroactively in His resurrection, not by the prevention of His death.

So it seems that God considers all his promises to be retroactively answered at the resurrection, when we will receive indestructible physical bodies to house our purified souls in a union that fully reflects God.

With this theme the last verse of Psalm 17 makes sense of Psalm 50 in a way, in that David says he will be satisfied (in the context of a prayer of deliverance from the wicked) at the resurrection, awaking in God's likeness (NKJV translation) or awaking to see God's face (NIV, ESV)

ALSO - In 2 Timothy 2:13 (which I've never noticed before is In the context of hardship and suffering) it says: "If we are faithless, he remains faithful" implying that even if we're terrified and can't see or feel God with us as we're being brutalized or killed, God doesn't desert us.


Third Issue. This one I didn't think about so much when I read Denise's story, but as I read scripture it kept on coming to the foreground.
Apparently, God holds us - Especially those of us in positions of authority - responsible to answer the cries of the helpless for protection and justice.It's not like God couldn't do it, but when the innocent are slaughtered, God blames the men in authority who should have prevented it. THIS Theme is all over the Psalms and Prophets, so I won't weary you with quotes.

As I read in Richard Wurmbrand's "If that were Christ, Would you Give Him Your Blanket" David wrote that he had never seen the righteous forsaken, or their children begging bread, however Wurmbrand said that was because there was a David on the throne who brought the kingdom of God to bear on the country's ills. Wurmbrand said he had seen the righteous tortured to death and screaming in agony, and seen their children eating out of the trash. He also pointed out that the idea that God won't allow his witness to die out in an area from persecution is false, as Islam conquered north africa and the near east, slaughtered and forced conversion of christians there, and thus christianity was wiped out of its former stronghold for a thousand years. - These things Wurmbrand, and scripture, call THOSE IN AUTHORITY, and CHRISTIANS to account for, as things preventable had those men who's responsibility it was had done their job correctly. In Denise Amber Lee's story there was a similar vein, the 911 dispatcher was suspended for negligence and some of the witnesses didn't do anything.

An example of this theme from the Lord Jesus Himself - The parable of the good samaritan doesn't say that the man on the way to Jericho was saved by God, but by a man, and in doing so, the man pleased God. It didn't say or indicate that God was going to supernaturally rescue the victim had the samaritan not passed by. And Jesus told this parable during a very unique time in history when the Son of God was on earth healing all who came to him. He told the scribe to go and do as the Samaritan in the story had done, indicating that even with Jesus on earth the defenseless still needed people to love them as themselves and deliver them from the wicked.

I have been critical of "Social Justice" causes before now, but not so much anymore. I just don't believe they can be empowered by God and sufficient apart from true faith in Jesus Christ.


AS A FINAL NOTE, for those of you who have read this far.

The Parable of the Rich man and Lazarus says nothing of the great faith of Lazarus, but only that in his life he had bad things, and therefore was admitted into paradise. I hope this is the case with those who had no great chance to develop a relationship with God, but who were the victims of the wicked during their life on earth.

All this would not make me less crushed if anything like what happened to Denise happened to anyone I know, but at least I know there is a future, and I know that God isn't deceiving us with scripture.

I consider myself corrected, may God have mercy on me!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

I have read & thought over scripture and I think I have an answer that at least helps me regarding my previous blog. I'll post it soon.

In the meantime though, here are some pictures from my 20 mile (round trip) hike into the Olympic Nat'l Rainforest. My blisters are healing nicely, thanks for asking.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

I read tonight a very disturbing story on the news. It was about Amber Lee, a 21 year-old married mother of two who at a little after 2pm in the afternoon last year was abducted from her house by a plumber, driven to his house, raped, shot in the head, and buried in a shallow grave in his backyard. But that wasn't the most disturbing part to me. The most horrifying thing is that when she was being driven to her death at about 6pm, she got a hold of a cellphone in the car and called 911, and as the worthless 911 operator kept saying hello, she was heard in the background pleading with the man to let her go and saying "please God, please protect me!"

When I read that, I felt sick. I still feel sick. I kept thinking about Psalm 50, when God says "call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me." I've thought about that psalm a lot in the past couple weeks, but how can I think of it now? Immediately I think "How God? How could you hear her begging to you to protect her in what was-if anything ever is-the day of trouble? But you didn't save her!"

Some of the most comforting words in scripture are where God is called the protector of widows and orphans, the defender of the defenseless. But she was defenseless! It's not as if she was defenseless and godless, she called specifically on God to protect her. There was no one else who could protect her, only God could protect her. But instead she was raped, taped up and shot.

I guess Jesus called out to God as He died, and asked why he was forsaken, and we can't say if he got an answer on the cross. But even so, He didn't beg God for protection - He chose to lay down his life. What about those who are terrified? Who beg God for protection? Who have no choice?

I don't know what I'm trying to say, except that I will be very, very careful saying to anyone "God will protect you" or telling them to claim psalm 91. Whatever those scriptures mean, It's obvious they don't mean that if you beg God to protect you, you won't get dragged out of your house away from your husband and kids to be raped and shot.

I Know God is there. I know He's real and that when it suits Him, He does protect those who beg. But I don't understand when He doesn't.

I am not righteous like Job, If God can rebuke Job he can certainly put me in the wrong. And what happened to Amber has not happened to me. I am just a man, and a sinful one. If something like what happened to her happened to me, I would not be able to call God to account for injustice. But the thing that sickens me is that a helpless and terrified woman can beg God to protect her, and be left to what horrors stalk the earth; while the majority of scripture seems to imply that this doesn't happen, that those who are afraid and call on the Lord are saved.

Maybe I'm wrong about Scripture. Maybe I've been reading it wrong. I'll search it to see - and I pray that God does put me in the wrong and show me that I'm a fool. It would be better.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

If anybody's interested, is offering the audiobook MP3s for "Til We Have Faces" for about 11 bucks til the 31st of August, and "Green" the last of the circle (trilogy? it's #4) will be out in Sept. If you pre-order it now off Amazon or CBD, you get a lower price.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I was doing research on slaves and slavery in the early church, and while reading from the "Recognitions of Clement" an early church document from the 2nd century, I got sidetracked in a part where the author is refuting the then common concept, called "Genesis" (what stars you were born under) as a sort of fatalistic determining factor in your behavior & conduct.
The recognition struck me that there is a similar concept, the popular idea that something called not "genesis" but "genetics" determines your behavior, dragging your powerless will behind it inexorably into sins and perversion. I believe Clement's refutation stands for both beliefs, neither of which are supported by reason, science, or Scripture. After giving many examples of populations that have given up sinful customs and lifestyles upon the Gospel's introduction (as proof that people can change their behavior), he says:

"Since God is righteous, and since He Himself made the nature of men, how could it be that He should place genesis in opposition to us, which should compel us to sin, and then that He should punish us when we do sin? Whence it is certain that God punishes no sinner either in the present life or that to come, except because He knows that he could have conquered, but neglected victory."

Also reference 1 Cor 10:13.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Haiku Vs. Limerick.

My leaves drink the sun
veins bring life mixed with water
each fruit holds new seeds
Each man's work is his gift to mankind
a gift woven with hands and with mind
mine's riddled with knots
it's horribly botched
'cause I weave like I'm numb and I'm blind.

After I wrote this, I found out that haiku's aren't 5/7/5 syllables, they're 5/7/5 "moras" - which is a different subdivision of language, like a small syllable. I tried distinguishing moras, but it's beyond my ken.
So we'll consider these American style Haikus. We won the war anyway, right? And if they can put mayonnaise and corn on a roll and call it American, I think my imprecision can slide.
Fun with Haikus

Good Shepherd hold me
I know your name and your voice
help me to follow.

I have been near deaf
But your voice has not left me
And neither have you

Always my rising
you shake off the death of night
I will wake in You.
Time rolls on with iron tracks
like a bulldozer without a sense of art
mangled pasts stuck between its plates
this is what I feel from time to time
but when my lids are closed
and my eyes are open
I know Time is my chariot of fire
and the calm hand of God.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I have worked out @ the gym. For the first time in a couple months. Ran about 3 miles and then did some leg presses-which almost pressed out my meager stomach contents.
It hurt, but it was a good kind of hurt.

I really really want to go hiking the Hoh trail. If I can't get TJ to go with me I'll go by myself, there's a mountain (called "Mount Olympus") and the blue glacier at the end of the ten mile trail. (The picture above, from Google is a view from the glacier.)
I've been talking about climbing Reinier for about a year now, but after looking into it, It looks way too expensive and complicated to reach the summit.

Tomorrow we're going down to my Aunt's place to visit with the cousins. One of them is asking me to appraise her boyfriend. I pray that I'm equal to the task.

Oh, and I got a new toy!

Well, this is all rather random, and I'm going to go to sleep now.

Friday, August 07, 2009

School starts in a little over a month.

We've been having a family church service Wednesday nights (the church we're going to now doesn't have a Wed. Night service). Brandy plays some worship songs, and I teach. I've been teaching through Colossians and I think it's been getting better because last night's service didn't put Josiah to sleep. Last week he succumbed. As did Brandy, almost.
Thank God for coffee. At least I enjoyed it (the teaching).

Today I visited the "Q Cafe", a christian coffeeshop a couple blocks off campus. It's owned by a church right next to it, and upon entering it reminded me quite a bit of "Sojourner's Cafe" the old coffeeshop in St. Paul. Some of my best memories are from that coffeeshop. Isn't it odd, one would think that a person's best "spiritual" memories should be in church or at a retreat, but the coffeeshop wins hands down.

Read an Oscar Wilde quote the other day, it goes: "Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future". It's an interesting quote, and seems to echo the sentiment of most people in that it focuses on the past of the saint, and the future of the sinner.

Why is it that conversion stories are the most interesting? It seems like in all the stories a character gets saved, or gets married, and then the curtain falls, 'cause 'it's over'. The main character may as well have died.

I don't think that's really the case for the saint. Maybe it's because a saint dies to his/her old life, and begins over again. Maybe because as far as the world's concerned, the saint it dead, and that brings in the finality. Now the only interesting thing about him is his past.

But they love stories of a sinner's future, too. At least most people do. It has suspense, climax, and drama.

Even the story of the prodigal son runs like that. The most boring character in it is the "older brother" - the saved guy. I wonder if his character would've been more interesting if he'd gone in search of his younger brother, and used his own inheritance to track him down through all the pigsties and brothels to bring him back. But would that even have been possible? If it were, wouldn't the Father himself have gone?

Unless it's like a Cain/Abel thing. "Am I my brother's keeper"? Cain asked that, and the answer's implied. God didn't stop Cain from killing Abel either. Ultimately, God is his children's keeper, but he seems to expect us to take up that role, and usually is pretty hands-off (at least observably).

So what would have happened? I think it would have been a good story. Maybe that's what Jesus meant when he said "As I am, so are you in this world".

I think that makes for a good storyline too.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

This is an Excerpt from a letter Written by Seraphim Rose (An eastern Orthodox Clergyman) to the Trappist monk Thomas Merton concerning Merton's call to "Christian Social Action/Social Justice". In the light of movements in the church at present, and after reading some of Merton's writings, I thought it was very illuminating and I agree with it wholeheartedly.
Modern idealism, which is devoted to the realization of the idolatrous "Kingdom of Man," has long been making its influence felt in Christian circles; but only in quite recent years has this influence begun to bear real fruit within the womb of the Church itself. I think there can be no question but that we are witnessing the birth pangs of something that, to the true Christian, is indeed pregnant with frightful possibilities: a "new Christianity," a Christianity that claims to be "inward," but is entirely too concerned with outward result; a Christianity, even, that cannot really believe in "peace" and "brotherhood" unless it sees them generalized and universally applied, not in some seemingly remote "other world," but "here and now." This kind of Christianity says that "private virtue" is not enough—obviously relying on a Protestantized understanding of virtue, since everything the true Christian does is felt by all in the Mystical Body; nothing done in Christ is done for oneself alone—but not enough for what? The answer to that, I think, is clear: for the transformation of the world, the definitive "realization" of Christianity in the social and political order. And this is idolatry. The Kingdom is not of this world; to think or hope that Christianity can be outwardly "successful" in the world is a denial of all that Christ and His prophets have said of the future of the Church. Christianity can be "successful" on one condition: that of renouncing (or conveniently forgetting) the true Kingdom and seeking to build up a Kingdom in the world. The "Earthly Kingdom" is precisely the goal of the modern mentality; the building of it is the meaning of the modern age. It is not Christian; as Christians, we know whose Kingdom it is. And what so greatly troubles me is that today Christians—Catholic and Orthodox alike—are themselves joining, often quite unaware of the fact, often with the best possible intentions, in the building of this new Babel....

Friday, July 03, 2009

When I had reached the end of my tether, when my wisdom had run out to the end, when my willpower was revealed as ultimately powerless, when my physical strength was laying dead in the water and without direction, when emotions had lit off all their firecrackers and lay numb and senseless
Then there was Jesus Christ, Crucified, Jesus Christ, with the nails in his hands and feet. Jesus Christ, who bled and died for me, and all my pride was gone, naked I stood-or did I sit? or was I laying? It didn't matter - becuase there was Jesus Christ, the Righteous for the unrighteous, and I knew here was everything I had despised up until then, and that which I had despised was now bleeding for me, and was washing me with that blood. And in the absence of my wisdom, in the death of my willpower, in the release of my physical life and in the irrelevance of my emotions was the One who loved me, the Truth and True Life. And what was not my own he made to dwell in me. It was Himself.

God let me never forget this.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I've heard it said that every man loves three women
one's long dead, one's not yet born,
and one lives in his dreams -
I've also heard the grass is greener
in the only place I haven't been
while all the wonders I want most
I do not know and cannot win
and you know, I've never breathed before
that tune in the key of irrational numbers
to the rhythm of waves on a distant shore
the song to wake me from this slumber
So would you meet me in the sunset
standing on the greenest grass
your three faces own me wholly
my dreams from forward and the past
speak out from the edges
from the doorway to my home
and I know I've never been there
but this time I'm not alone
I belong just over the nearest hill
on the edge of bigger worlds
where the sky's my eternal windowsill
and all I was scared to hope for pours
where we'll step out into morning
and shake off all our dreams
to see them blossom into summer
those seeds that lay so long unseen.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Today I got some books, and a rug. Two books by G.K. Chesterton, and "The Veritas Conflict" and some book by Thomas Merton about "the East". I was on assignment to pick up a rug we'd found on Craigslist for our new apartment (which we haven't moved into yet) we need something to go under the dining table since the new apt. has a carpeted dining room.
And a used bookstore was near to the house where I picked up the carpet, so I had to stop in.

Working on a new tattoo design for Luke, my bro-in-law, it's good to be drawing again, esp. after admiring the artwork in "Fables" by James Jean, and talking to Dan from church who's a graphic designer/artist.

Speaking of tattoos, I've been getting a lot of questions on my tattoo, people wanting to know what it says, It's nice being able to say "Jesus Christ in Lord" in response to a question.

Yesterday we were @ some friends' house and one of them asked me "What has the Lord been teaching you" which is a nice question to get, but hard to answer sometimes. I haven't really been in tragedy mode for so long, we're so used to what many would call hardships that I don't really give them all that much thought, so It's hard to have to struggle with the Lord when you give in right away to Him, and if you do, then it doesn't seem as looming in your consciousness, at least not enough to pop to the surface when someone asks "What's the Lord teaching you." The one thing that did come to mind was that one of the kids (I think, I didn't see so I don't know for sure) stomped my Kindle and messed up the screen, so I got upset initally, and left the house for work without saying goodbye to the kids. I was waiting to get really angry, but I just didn't - so about halfway to work I realized that the only way I'd get angry about it was if I really wanted to be, and realized the Lord was giving me a way out, so I took it and stopped thinking about it. Then when I got to work I called Brandy and she told me she'd been praying for me not to be angry - so I have the Lord and my wife to thank. Then the next day I called Amazon and they're sending me another Kindle free, no questions asked. So thanks to the Lord, and to Brandy, and to Amazon. They (Amazon) may be evil, but at least they're nice.

So that, and the fact Paul/Holy Spirit brings out in Thessalonians chap 3 about the need for "establishing and encouraging" all round between believers.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Stephen Lawhead

So, last night Stephen Lawhead - one of my favorite fiction authors - came to SPU. I was working, but after seeing the posters I delayed my lunch break til 7pm and used it to go in and listen. He was reading from "Byzantium" which was the last book of his I read before the general ban on fiction I imposed on myself after being born again. (I've lifted it since then).
I was really hoping for a chance to ask how all the medieval history research affected his Faith-since I'm planning on studying ancient & medieval lit/history too. This, however, was not to be. In full security officer uniform, I was standing in the back of the room (which was just large enough to support the nerd population of SPU) with my hand held high during question time, but the moderator kept on ignoring me! There would be a pause, during which my hand would be the only one up, and he'd scan the room until someone else flickered a paw, and then he'd pounce on 'em. That happened about five times, so I finally gave up, my lunch was over anyway and I was back on patrol.
I wasn't as annoyed as I'd thought I would be though, it seemed like enough of a blessing to be there in the first place. And I could always email him my question.

It's odd seeing people one admires in person, I remember the day I got to visit Francis Schaeffer's grave (which meant much more to me than last night's entertainment) it was strange thinking that his body was below me, that he was a real person. I don't really know what I'm trying to say, but I'll leave it here because whatever it is, it's too complicated for a blog.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Last night I told 70+ college students to stop screaming and running in circles in the middle of campus at 12:30AM and go to bed. Then I Trespassed the nicest 300lb homeless guy I've ever met, who told me the name of his favorite imported soft drink and the circumference of Korea (neither of which I remember)

Monday, May 25, 2009

When I see trees and the sky it's easier for me to sing praise songs. Usually. Most of us christians acknowledge that It's a gift from God when we get to witness, taste, feel, experience something beautiful in creation. But it seems to me the way I've usually heard it growing up it's as if God happened to find something out there in the universe and thought you might like it, so he brought it - like a kid bringing flowers. The shortcoming with that take on the nature of God's "giving all good things for us to enjoy" is that it makes the gift totally separate from the giver, as if it's something totally other than Him that he wants you to enjoy. I think there's an element of that sort of giving in it, but it's more - you see, anything that IS enjoyable, that IS beautiful or pleasurable isn't just something God found, it's something he MADE! So whatever qualities we find pleasurable, beautiful, desireable in whatever goodness of creation we experience...those qualities come from the one who made that good thing, whatever it is, and in Him those qualities have a Fountainhead. That's why when I enjoy looking at the sky through the trees while singing praise, I'm conscious that all that I enjoy about the trees is part of the nature of the God I am singing to - that he gives a little bit of His own goodness through his creation and that's WHY I enjoy creation, because it's infused with the scent of the Goodness of my God.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Different Motives for Being Born Again.

Also, just the other day, Josiah and I were sitting on the couch after a Nerf Gunfight, and I noticed he was gazing very intently at the photo montage of himself as a baby. He turned to me and asked if he could be a baby again, I told him no, we only get one shot at that, but at the Resurrection we'll have all the good things about being a baby, like the newness and excitement of discovery. He kept looking at the picture and after a couple more seconds said, "I want to be a baby again". I asked him why, expecting some answer about the joys and carefree life of babyhood - but instead he turned to me and replied "Because I want to wear that shirt again. I really like that shirt. (pointing to the shirt he was wearing in the baby picture). I started laughing, and he explained to me that he used to really like his skateboard shirt, which he showed to me in the dirty laundry, but now he really likes "This shirt" (gesturing at the longsleeve camo shirt he was wearing) I told him I already knew he must really like that shirt because he's been wearing it three days in a row.
A Day in the Life of Me.

Today, I counted to 1,000 for Josiah. Well, now that I think of it, it was 1,020. I can't remember why we got on the subject, but he asked me how you counted to 1,000, and I told him it's like counting to 100 ten times. Then he asked me to show him. I started, expecting him to get bored at about two hundred, but no - he sat there watching me, sucking his thumb on and off, for the whole ten minutes or however long it took. Then I counted to 20, to make sure he knew that 1000 wasn't as high as I could count. Which doesn't really make sense, but it made him happy. For most of the time Jaelle was annoyed because the sound of me counting was interfering with her watching the "Planet Earth" DVD. But it ended when I hit about 700 so she went into the bedroom to look at books. (She can't read yet, but she'll just sit and look at books)
After counting to 1,020, Josiah wanted to gunfight. So we did, with these Nerf guns we got him for his birthday. He's a really good shot, he shot me just as much as I shot him - I guess I'm a larger target, but still, that's pretty good. But that's also what he spends most of his time doing, shooting. He got to be a really good shot with his little toy bow too.
Then Brandy came home, and after stuffing the kids with sandwiches and me watching a few gunfighting scenes from westerns or john woo movies with Josiah at his request. The last one was from a movie I've never seen in Chinese with Chow Yun Fat, and I got really into it but then it cut out at the crucial moment. Then the kids took a nap after getting me to pray for them, and Brandy and I sat down to watch the third disk of "Lost" with some cheesy bean dip, chips, and a couple glasses of wine, but not before Brandy sent off the application for the apartment in Queen Ann that we're going for. Then I took my one and a half hour nap, & Brandy was able to snuggle with me for the first five minutes which was nice. Then I woke up to go to work, listening to "Enter the Worship Circle" #2 and thinking again that I should really start picking up the guitar again. And also thinking and praying that I really want to feel what I'm singing and wondering why I don't always and in what areas my relationship to Jesus Christ and the Father is deficient - and wondering about the nature of faith and how C.S. Lewis said that what pleases God most is when a man feels utterly abandoned by God but keeps on believing and obeying, and how O. Chambers says (over and over again) that we aren't meant to live in the "mountaintop experience" but to live in the light of it in the valley, where we spend most of our time. Then I thought about that song I love by Derek Webb "Wedding Dress", and thought about the most recent music by him, how he's become a little too cool for me, all anti-war pro-gay and S-word saying. Then I wondered about Martin Luther and the lawfulness of saying such words, and Then I thought about that mini-sermon "Others May, You Cannot" thing and about my conversation with Nate Musson the other day.
And now, I'm at dispatch refreshing my memorization of Titus amidst incoming calls and manning the reception desk.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Brandy, my wonderful wife, is going to start blogging soon. Maybe. You can click on the link titled "The Ivy Tree" on the left to take you there.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Blessing and cursing

I was pressed and the vinegar came
and here I thought I was full of wine
and It was just a gentle pressure, too.
bitter, burning through the wound
It should have been wine.
When did I neglect this infection?
must have hoped it would go away
but today It was betrayed
when the words in my mouth
turned to brine
long before I turned the handle
to stop the flow
and for all I know
there's still pressure in there, somewhere
Vinedresser, undress my soul
and cut away that rotting growth
-no sweet fruit can come, I know,
Until only fresh water and wine
for and of my brothers flows.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Moving, Apartments, Vacation, and Labor.

So, we're going house shopping tomorrow. It occurred to me that although I have my ideas of what I want and where I think it should be (house with a big living room, a yard, and an ocean view on Queen Ann Hill), But only God knows where the perfect place is for whatever it is he has planned for us is. If that makes sense to anyone.

So, Brandy & I (facilitated again by the wonderful sister who's agreed to watch our kids while we're out) are going to look at five places or so tomorrow and then find a coffeeshop to pray them over and see what the Lord says. It's crazy to think it's almost June now, we haven't even started boxing stuff up yet.

A couple of days ago now I got to go down to Winlock and help my grandma out at her house. She's trying to get it ready to sell, so all the t-posts and huge wood posts with concrete bases had to be pulled up out of the ground, sorted, and laid in the truck. So I got to do that for the better part of the day, then I got up on the roof and figured out a way to take down the TV-Antenna-on-a pole-contraption my great uncle had macguyvered to the roof with a 40' douglas fir trunk/pole. I ended up tying a rope around the rest of the tree-pole and lowering it down from the roof after sawing off the antenna. It was all a lot of fun really, and I got good and sore by the end of the second day.
And my grandma gave me a coleman stove out of the garage! Sweet! I've really been wanting one of those.

Then before that we took the kids to Kalaloch, a beach on the Olympic coast that my mom used to take us to when we were kids. I took a bunch of pictures of Brandy and the kids, got some great ones of Jaelle on the still-wet shore that makes it look like she's walking in the sky.
We all had a LOT of fun there, even if we froze during the night. (I couldn't feel my feet when I woke up, I had to rub them back to life) I got up in the morning and started a fire for Brandy (she told me she loves morning campfires) and she made me some really good egg/sausage scramble stuff over the campfire.
We've got to do that more often!

Oh, and I registered for fall-quarter classes @ SPU. Biology, Christian Formation, and Koine Greek. Registration/Orientation went great. I was the only one during Advising that was going for classics, so I had the Classics professor all to myself for questions and to figure out my schedule, so what normally is confusing, chaotic, and time-consuming took all of 20 minutes.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Water and the Blood

So I was reading in 1 John and came across the part in chap. 5 where he says "This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree." This part has always been one of those passages I read over and am impressed by, but don't really understand. And as I thought about it it reminded me of another passage - you know that part in John's account of the crucifixion, how he says that when Jesus' side was pierced with the spear, "water and blood poured out"? John seems to think it's a big deal, and I never quite understood why. I mean, blood and water are big symbols in Scripture, but still I wasn't sure why John seemed to think that it was so important that he would say "And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you also may believe..." He says it was to fulfill the prophecy that Jesus' bones wouldn't be broken, and that "they will look on Him whom they pierced" But it seemed to me that it was significant beyond this. So today I looked into it and I found something that was very interesting. I was thinking how Jesus' side was pierced, and that got me thinking, there's something else about a side that's very important, isn't there?... yes! Adam! To make sure, I checked the greek word for "Side" in John 19, which is "pleuron" and then checked the septuagint for Genesis 2 to make sure that it doesn't use some different greek work specifying a rib bone or something. But, although most translations read "rib" the word IS pleuron - the same as in Jesus' case at the crucifixion! When God was going to make Adam a companion suitable to him, what did he do? He took Eve, Adam's bride, out of his side, so that Adam could say in complete truth that "This is flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone." It was almost as if Adam in a sense gave birth to his wife, out of His side, through an act of God. In the same way, Jesus' side was "opened up" and let flow that which made the birth of his Bride (the Church, you and I) possible. Jesus, in the giving of His blood for a new covenant and for forgiveness for us who would become His church, and the washing with water through the word to make us blameless for himself:
"This is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins."
"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless."

In meaning this is also connected to the sacraments of Baptism and The Lord's Supper, both of which are the only things of a symbolic nature he told those who would follow Him to do. Symbolic of us sharing in Jesus' death and resurrection, and of taking in His life "Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in Me, and I in Him"..."Having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead."

It's also interesting to me that the early church fathers indicate that the significance of the water and blood coming from Jesus' side was indicative of "two baptisms" among other things. And they drank the Wine of the Lord's supper mixed with water.

So just as God through the living tissue from Adam's side produced a bride, So the new Adam, Jesus, gave out His own life to begin a new creation - and purchase a people for Himself, who would be zealous for good works. He gave birth to the church out of his side, a Bride that will be a fit companion for Him, just as woman is the glory of Man, so we will be the Glory of our Heavenly Bridegroom - "When He appears, we will be like Him, for we will see him as He is"

Monday, May 11, 2009

Encouragements and Exhortations

Due to the kindness of a friend from church who watched our herd of hobbits, Brandy and I were able to go out for an early Anniversary present almost a week ago now. We made it up to Seattle and enjoyed fish and chips up by the Ballard locks and walked through the garden near there. Then we went to a Tully's nearby and sat down to talk. It was especially good to have time to talk about our plans and hopes and thoughts. Before that day I really hadn't tried to organize them enough to present them in any sort of order, and here are a few.

I've had a sort of "drifting" feeling within the past months, of aimlessness - like I'm just existing. I've had doubts about the Lord's plans for us out here - maybe doubts isn't the right word, more like lack of interest. I've treated everything as it comes with indifference, like going to school, or my job, as a separate instance of life, not as a part of a greater unified plan.

Normally I hate planning, because it seems like things so rarely go to plan, and I don't like setting myself up for disappointment. But as I thought about it, I could definitely see the working hand of God in all that's happened with us over the past year. I am coming to believe that it's through my timidity in recognizing it AS the work of my Lord Jesus and the lax way I've talked about our circumstances and plans that have killed the zeal I should be burning with. "And without faith it is impossible to please Him". I had been asking God for specific things for the past three years:
#1. to send us somewhere, then receiving the word to Washington,
#2. I asked for a job, and believed I was being led specifically to the Job at SPU Security, and God not only brought us out here safely, but gave us a place to live, and out of many candidates gave me my current Job. When back in MN I looked at this job, I prayed about going back to school and in part applied with hope of getting tuition discounts.
#3. When I applied to go to SPU, I asked the Lord to give me a sign financially if I was to Go to school with his blessing. I got a full ride with grants and scholarships (didn't have to take out any loans) The amount I've been given to pay for school this year is almost exactly what it will take for a year @ SPU (almost 30K). If my Father hasn't done this, then who has? I could never have afforded this on my own. If it wasn't for my conviction that the Lord was taking us out here, I never would have thought to apply for the job @ SPU security, since they asked for someone with a B.A. in the listing, whereas I don't even have an A.A. .

God has given us a good church to go to here, with a pastor who is genuinely interested in us for the Lord's sake, and who takes the time to go through the "Men in Turn" leadership training with me and to keep me in the word and serving while waiting for God to move us up to the Seattle area. It's not many pastors who would be willing to give that time to someone they knew was only going to be in their congregation for a year. He also shelled out a chunk of cash to give me the resources for that program gratis, including the "Foundations for Pentecostal Theology" book and the Chuck Smith "Through the Bible" series. Because of his working with me I've memorized the first two chapters of Titus (which sadly enough is the first time I've ever memorized two consecutive chapters of scripture) and am now working on the 3rd. May God repay him for all he's done for my good!

Also, a couple nights ago I was kicking students out of OMH at about 2:30AM (it's the physics and mathematics building, so the students would stay there all night to do homework if they were allowed to). I started talking to one of the guys, and as we began talking he asked about my work, and I told him why I went to work here in part-to study classics to learn Greek and Latin and learn the background of scripture better. Then I pointed out that it didn't have any occupational value but was only for my own enjoyment (which is a lie, since I want to do it to Serve my God and His people, but I've said that so many times in an apologetic way as if I was ashamed for going to school for something not technical or "practical" to make money that I'd almost come to believe it) But this blessed kid says "Well, that sounds like it will open up lots of opportunities to minister and serve God" and I again pointed out that I meant unlike physics, which he studies, my degree will have next to no money value, and he replied, "Well, that's why I study physics, so I can support people like you!"

I shut my mouth, and for a second almost felt like crying. I'd convinced myself almost that no one values what I want in my heart and felt the call to - to teach and feed the Word of God to men, and to go to school to supplement this. And here this kid in one sentence made me ashamed of my shame and encouraged me to no end, to think that there are people who so value the word of God and the office of Overseer that they would work to support it! God forgive me. But what that kid said stuck with me, and I have felt its encouragement 'til now.

God help me to encourage others too, I've been reminded how much it's needed!

So I told all this to Brandy, and she told me she's been in the same funk of not feeling like we're doing anything, and like I was going to school just to go to school, and a feeling of unreality regarding us starting a church.

And the more I've been thinking about it, I know I've got to recover a passionate love for God, and a pursuit of Him, and an "Abiding in Him". That's where all these desires came from in the first place, and I can't recover passions created by the lifeblood of Jesus Christ without being plugged firmly into his Vine, and drinking in His life. All these dreams are just that without him, and will be impossible to pursue without Him in me to give me works, to will and to work his pleasure-with pleasure.