Sunday, March 29, 2009

I have been reading Ayn Rand's "The Fountainhead" after finishing "The Brother's Karamazov". Between those and spending depressing amounts of time uploading other literature onto my kindle, I have realized that I have hardly read the word of God at ALL!!!
God help me, no wonder I feel so fragile. It's no wonder that the spirit is the center of a man, and a weak spirit is as incapable of holding up a body as a weak spine. I've had more fears and anxieties to fight in the last couple weeks that I have in a long time, or at least it's the first time in a while I've been prey on their radar.
Just got back from church, all better.

Monday, March 23, 2009

I have a headache. But the aspirin is casting it out slowly.

The day after tomorrow I am being sent to "Fire Academy" where we get to play fireman out at some Firefighter training academy up in the mountains for some 12 odd hours - dressing up in the gear and putting out fires. It's for work, since we're the first responders for fire emergencies as well as medical and pretty much everything else.

This is an interesting job, in a lot of ways it reminds me of being an on-call chaplain in St. Paul. Last week I had to respond to a call where a girl was cutting herself to relieve stress and ended up doing a worse job than she'd intended. NOT what I'd want to see, but I guess I'd rather it be me than someone else responding to it. I got to talk to her boyfriend a couple days later and he was very grateful for what we did, and said that she was doing better now. He said I was very "calming".
I seem to have that effect on many people. It's almost like I'm a sedative or something. I remember when I was little my mom would have me read to her to put her to sleep, which was very annoying to me because I want ppl to enjoy a book with me if I'm reading it to them, and if they're asleep that's hardly what I had in mind. Brandy falls asleep when I read to her too.

The first round of Layoffs @ SPU is over, and Safety and Security got through it unscathed, as far as I know. Next year they'll reassess and see if we need to lose more ppl. Praise God I kept my job, I really do like it here. And it's nice being at a job where I expect to stay for longer than two years. I wonder, it would hardly do for them to lay me off now that I'm accepted to go to school here, since I'll (Lord Willing) be bringing in more money with grants etc... than they pay me in a year.

Brandy & Theresa caught a crab at the beach on accident while gathering shells two or three weeks ago. it's a little tiny shore crab (about as big as a dime) with a white carapace. Brandy decided to keep it as a pet and got rocks and sand and a round fishbowl thing to keep it in with barnacles and krill and other tiny sea creatures that came along for the ride in the bucket. She goes to the beach every couple of days to get fresh seawater for the new "aquarium". Then night after she decided to keep it she had a dream where it grew huge and got out of the cage and I was trying to catch it but it was too fast, and then it turned into a dog, like the Scrunt from "Lady in the Water". Hopefully that doesn't happen. When Theresa found it she was washing shells in the sink and it jumped out, and she tried to hit it (Brandy & Theresa like to kill small things that crawl) but only succeeded in knocking off two of it's tiny legs. But yesterday it molted and its legs grew back. Brandy says it looks a lot bigger now, and I laughed and said as long as it doesn't turn into a dog we're all right. She laughed because that's what she was thinking about too.

Just listened to Andrew Petersen's "Far Country" on the drive in tonight, made me tear up. I haven't listened to that album in a long while, but it's so good, especially "Queen of Iowa". His voice is kind of nasal, but the words and the passion make up for it. I remember when Dominic got me that album off Itunes he said it reminded him of me. That whole year it seemed like everything I was reading and listening to had to do with Heaven, the New Heavens and Earth, and the Resurrection. That was a good year but intense. I want that kind of intensity though, I want to be urgent in everything that has to do with Jesus and the Gospel - even if it gives me ulcers. Like the four month period (more like a year off and on) where I was trying to reconcile the accounts of the resurrection in the gospels & that was a huge issue because it would decide whether or not I would be able to believe in the inerrancy of scripture. I want to take all these things seriously, because if they're real, they're pretty much the only things worth taking seriously, and if they're not, than they're not worth "taking" at all.

The last couple weeks I feel like I've been in isolation, all I've been doing is working, I hardly feel like I've been able to spend time with Brandy or the kids, but I haven't really done anything with anyone outside of the house.

Well, that's not entirely true. T.J. and I have been working out about once a week, and I'm almost to the level I was when I'd stopped working out in college! It makes me happy. Although I ran two miles on the treadmill this morning and it took me 18 minutes!!! that's terrible - more of a jog than a run. AND I dropped my Ipod.

But I do want to DO something. Something important. I really need to start getting some bible studies ready.

TJ and I had a long talk about the upper middle class after working out this morning. I don't like the upper middle class, and he wants to be the upper middle class. I guess for me when I think of the upper middle class I think about the seed sown on the thorny ground, where the thorns which were the cares of the world and deceitfulness of riches grew around the plant and choked it. But that doesn't give me any right to dislike them I suppose, I should love them... But I don't trust them.

Almost finished with a book cover for Beth that I promised to do at the beginning of the year...horrible - why do I take so long with everything? I finally got the scanner at work to work and was able to get the image on my computer. T.J. looked through my sketchbook and spent the rest of the hour trying to convince me to go into freelance graphic design and make lots of money. I thought that was funny. Also, it seems like every time I draw people, the guys I draw look like me. I've got to start drawing other guys out of magazines or something to get out of that rut. It comes from having to use myself as a model and getting facial proportions off myself for my concept of what the male face looks like. But it's odd, I don't try and make them look like me.

I want to read "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand, after reading "Anthem" I really want more. Apparently they're making a movie of it too.

And now I've got to get to work.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

So, it looks as if I am going to school after all. I got a financial aid letter the other night saying that I'm getting enough grants and awards to cover almost all of my tuition. I wasn't expecting it, to tell the truth.
So, what this means is that Brandy & I (Lord willing) will be moving up closer to seattle, in the Magnolia/Queen Anne area.

Most of all though I want us to do God's will, I know he didn't have us come all the way out here just so I could go to school. My main prayer is that God will lead us where we need to go, and that he would help us to know when and where to start a bible study, and which church to get involved with up there.

The church here has kind of started to hold us at arms length, at least that's how I feel. The guy in charge of the youth ministry called me last week and said that due to pastor's orders he's taking over Relate again, since he's the Youth leader and all - apparently he'd never cleared handing Relate off to me with the pastor, and once the pastor found out he told Joe that shouldn't be happening. It's just as well since Joe's been taking most of the Relate sessions anyway, the ones that weren't vetoed by special speakers etc...
The pastor here was really encouraging me to start "Men in Turn" -his version of pastoral training, after some coaxing I agreed, and then after putting in all the paperwork I've been chasing him around the past month trying to set up an appointment to meet with him about it, since he said we have to meet first to start the training. I finally got a date from him, and it's going to be another week or so till we can meet to start this thing I filled the paperwork out for last month.
It almost feels like an old school CC St. Paul "Test".
He also kept dropping very strong hints that he wants me to stay here and not move, and become part of the ministry here in CC South, but I encouraged no illusions of that happening, and I think they've finally taken me seriously and are withdrawing...

But, this could all be me being pessimistic. I have a tendency to do that; for instance: if something of mine is missing for a couple days, I assume that it's been stolen and get upset at the hypothetical thief, only to find the "stolen" possession behind the couch or in my closet or wherever I left it last. Why do I think the worst of people?

I finally broke down and shelled out the money to get the (ridiculously expensive) Logos for Mac bible engine, so that I can open up my Oswald Chambers and Francis Schaeffer CD's and hopefully load them on the Kindle.
All this reading... Reading through Brother's Karamazov again, but I just read a quote of John Wesley that struck me:

Beware that you are not swallowed up in books! An ounce of love is worth a pound of knowledge.
- John Wesley


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Prayer on a Tuesday morning.

I have framed you with so many stones I cannot see your image
I have dressed you up so well I can't see the man
Jesus cut through dust of ages
come into my room
I am full term
don't let me be
don't let me die inside the womb
Men are billions, words are many, you are only one
They have their children, I would be yours,
turn me to a son!

Monday, March 16, 2009

All that's called gold does not glitter.

I was talking to a good friend a week or two ago who espouses a blend of Buddhism and Agnosticism, which since Buddha himself was something of an agnostic, is almost a natural blend.) -Actually, I think he and I ended up talking about the same thing a couple of months ago when we last went out for coffee.
Anyway, we got on the subject of the "Golden Rule" as it's stated by Buddhism and Christianity. He was saying the virtue of the Buddhist formulation is that it's in the negative, (don't do to others what you would not want done to you) so it keeps you from getting into other people's business.) I can't really remember what I said in response, but I was thinking about it tonight on the drive into work, and I've decided that the version spoken by Jesus Christ is the purest form. I think this because the Buddhist version asks us not to do, whereas do unto others as you would have them do unto you makes plain a fact of human existence:

It's impossible to "not" do.

As human beings, all of our actions (and apparent inactions) require a dictate of the will, even in not doing we have made a choice, and to choose is to do. As human beings, even if we're paraplegic (as long as we're conscious) can't stop willing, can't stop doing. And Jesus' words give a more basic and true to fact exhortation than any negative version can.

I think what got me thinking about it is that I'm reading through Aldous Huxley's "Island" which is a utopian novel showcasing the same themes as his other novel "Brave New World" (therapeutic drugs, therapeutic sex, organizing society) but this time with a walloping dollop of mahayana Buddhism thrown in to make the mix glow. It's about an island where everything is happy and everyone's well adjusted due to population control, buddhist philosophy, tantra, open families and happy mushrooms. It's like the U.N. playbook, and a vision of the best the world has to offer. But he really pushes the Buddhist philosophy and really criticizes Christianity in the book, which is what got me thinking about the conversation I'd had with my friend again.

Now, to practice!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Worship came out of my eyes
I poured out my soul
through the grate
down a hole
while my Idols lay still
as all idols will
now it's dripping in the dark
it's not like a set of keys
I can't bend hanger and fish it out
for a soul is a slippery thing
best kept for sure hands
and I need yours now
to forgive,
and fish it out.