Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Monday, December 04, 2006
1. Make great films. Perhaps even for a living, or as a calling.
2. Write an amazing book with little or no effort.
3. Meet Bono.
4. Learn how to speak Slovak fluently (beyond such impressive phrases as "Please pass the apple juice." and "I'm sorry. I speak very little Slovak."). Or French. It would be cool to speak French.
5. Collaborate with Sufjan Stevens on something.
6. Marry a beautiful woman (of God's choosing), and be an amazing husband.
7. Have amazing kids (at least one girl, please!) and be an amazing father.
8. Do amazing voice-over work for an amazing animated movie. Even if just once.
9. Love God as he deserves.
10. Make a highly successful screen adaptation of The Man Who Was Thursday that G. K. Chesterton would love.
11. Learn to sing.
12. Learn to draw really, really well.
13. Learn to paint.
14. Write a children's book (I mean - borrowing from Jack - the kind of book that I would have like to have read when I was a child).
15. Tour the Europe I don't know very well (preferably with one or two really good friends).
16. Revisit the Europe that I do know well.
17. Write at least one half-way decent movie review of a great film.
18. Learn how to dance. No, really, I'm more serious than Eucharisto was.
19. Run around some really colorful rain forest somewhere.
20. Inspire people towards their relationship in Christ.
21. Learn to cook.
22. Learn to sew.
23. Direct my friends in great films.
24. Provide for my family.
25. Learn how to really, honestly love.
Oh yeah! I forgot to tag people. Umm... I tag
The Queen of Arts and England
Eriol (because he's conservative at heart)
JD (because he was the first to comment)
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Snow, God! Thank you for creating snow! It's such a wonderful invention and just shows your extravagant love by the detail you put into this world's design. Thank you that we can see, God. That we can see snowflakes and sunsets and rainbows against a cloudy sky.
Thank you for how the eye works; how anyone could think this design could have come about by anything other than you is beyond me.
Thank you so much for the conversation I was able to have with my friend on the phone the other night. I thank you for your design for friendship in general. The beauty of companionship is breathtaking. Painful at times, but still absolutely breathtaking.
Thank you, God for telephones. For communication in general. Once again, when communication is messed up, it's the beginning of wars and death and the like, but, when done right, it's beautiful.
Thank you, God for these cool speakers we have. I love listening to music on these things. Thank you also that the left speaker's not broken after all.
Thank you for computers, Elric, and for music in general. Thank you also for my friend who notices things like music and thinks about it in that certain way that starts your mind rolling towards thanksgiving again.
Thank you for the picture on my desk.
Thank you so much for your grace, God and that you desire to restore and forgive and that you desire not harm for your creation but life. Thank you for the forgiveness others afford me. The forgiveness you afford me. The love I'm so blind to all the time yet never diminishes.
There's so much more to thank you for! But I need to publish this, so I'll just end by thanking you for who you are and pray that I would live out thanksgiving throughout my day.
In Jesus name,
Monday, November 27, 2006
Okay, now I'm sad.
What I really meant to say is that, even though I know most of you guys are in school and things are getting kind of hectic, you should be putting most of your brain power towards two things. One, what you are going to get me for Christmas. Two, who/what you want to vote for in my upcoming annual very-patriotic family-friendly Groundhog Day vote! (Sorry Walter.)
Last year, if you'll recall. I asked you to vote on your twenty favorite "moment" songs, tunes that caught your ear at the time; the year before that is was favorite songs in general. Well, I never meant to restrict the voting to songs, so after much deliberation, I have decided that the fabulous subject for this year's vote will be:
Yes, I know, I the Foolish Knight am talking about film. Please try to contain your shock if you would, and instead, start getting out your pencils and legal pads; go to your local video store, breath life back into your Nexflix cue, and bring me back a list of your twenty five favorite films (in order of first favorite to twenty-fifth favorite) by February second! Go! Go! Have fun! Be safe! Don't play snap ball in the middle of the street! Brush twice daily! And (most importantly) be sure to drink plenty of water, okay? All right, now go!
Thursday, November 23, 2006
There are so many things to be thankful for. The extraordinary life you give, the rich, rich blessing to you allow to grow in my life. You have regenerated my soul! You have removed my heart of stone and given me a heart of flesh! With your odd mixture of mud and spit, you have washed away my blindness replacing it with a glorious vision.
Father, I am turned against you many times. I am thinking only of my self many times. Yet you send your love and allow it to flow deep within me.
I thank you for the wonderful films I've seen recently. Thank you that I can even thank you for these films. Some of your people feel guilty for watching and enjoying movies.
I thank you for the freedom you give us. The glorious freedom! Father, with your wind under our sails, our spirits can fly! We are allowed to dwell in your presence!
Father, I am completely undeserving of your love. Father, I feel that I am weak and half-hearted, even at my best. I can talk about you all day long, but I enter into your presence (or even think of it) far too rarely.
Yet you pour your love into me, like Multnomah Falls into its basin.
I thank you for my family and the love we share. It's only because of your grace that I enjoy such a good relationship with each one of my family members. Thank you for increasing us in love. Thank you also for my WorldView family and my extended family.
Thank you for the Newmans, and the present they got me. I'm glad we can joke with each other and laugh. I don't ever want to be in a place in my life where I've lost my ability to joke, to find humor in something. I really really want to write an article about that.
Thank you so much, my dear Father, for the Queen of Arts and England. Her friendship casts such a warm glow on my life. Thank you for the conversation we had last night and how she turns my thoughts towards you.
God, I've experienced some hard things over the past few decades, but nothing worth complaining about when you consider all the lovely things you have filled my cup with. Jesus, you are the best lover. You love with a pure love none can match. All the metaphors in nature can only hint at character of the love you have for me.
So why do I leave this love? Why do I... Oh, I don't know. I don't think I'll ever get the hang of living with you, God. I don't know that I'll ever love you with the love you deserve. Not here anyway.
You have restored my life! You have brought healing and love filling in the dry cracks. I don't know how to say it, really, but I'm grateful. And I guess we can for now just leave it at that. I love you (because you love me).
In Jesus' name,
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
I'm remember thinking yesterday that it's been a while since I needed your grace. What a terrible thing to think; I don't ever want to fall into that frame of mind again.
I thank you for your grace; I thank you that you seek restoration. How terrible it would be if you delighted in tripping us up. How wonderful it is that you instead bring healing. You are a warrior and a healer, like the best heroes in stories.
What a confusing place this world is! Everyone has so many opinions and I'm never really sure what to think. I wonder if I want too much to follow you; if I'm too fevered and in my fervor I miss something, if it would be better for me just to rest.
Father, I'm reminded once again that I can talk with no one the way I talk with you. I hope you don't mind my being so free with you. It's just that, I need to talk with someone this way, and you seem the most willing to listen. Also you are always listening. Which I thank you for.
I think clouds are a marvelous design, God. Floating water? Who would have thought of that? And to see light refracted in the tiny water molecules (yes, I know, all water molecules are tiny) is something that would set anybody straight if they stopped to think about it.
Thank you for golden hour! Thank you for beauty in general.
How tragic that we don't see you when we look at your creation, God, or at the state of the world. How sad it is that so many are blind. I thank you so much for what you've allowed me to see; I don't deserve life or love more than anyone else.
Thank you once again for grace, restoration and healing.
Thank you for all my friends and all the people who could come to my birthday party; thank you for how much fun that was. I feel very spoiled, to be honest. Whether by you or not, I don't know. Thank you for my friend, Moriah and that we could celebrate together. Thank you that Eucharisto could come.
The sight of a bird flying just right against the wind so that it just stays in one spot is a beautiful thing, God. A small wonder.
Thank you that my friendship with my sister gets deeper each day; what a beautiful thing there.
Thank you that my application is finally submitted! Oi, I didn't handle that situation well.
I just want to do what's right, God. I think. I want to be loved, deeper than (I see now) any human can love me. Help me to see your love for me, and help me to know the truth.
I love you.
Monday, November 13, 2006
Saturday, November 04, 2006
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Thank you for old, black and white film. For the scratches and for the jumps. The aesthetics of it is so pleasing. So real.
I thank you for the promise of being real some day.
Thank you for the view outside our bedroom window. For the crow that just flew by, casting its shadow on the frost covered roof of the church next door. The frost almost makes the roof look attractive.
I thank you for beautiful church buildings. For the stone and the stained glass, the way the light filters in, kind of respectfully in that it enter the church very slowly and quietly.
Ouch! Growth is hard, God. To be humbled by you is hard. In a way I hate it, but I also know that it's a part of bringing me closer to you. So I thank you for the humbling you're doing to me, even though I'd rather it didn't have to happen.
Thank you that I can be vulnerable with you, that that's all you really want of me.
Thank you that you are greater than our heart, even if our heart condemns us.
Thank you for Ada and Inman, how Inman's life kind of remind me of my life, his wanderings and desire to do the right thing. God, did you know it's hard for us humans to do the right thing? It's hard for me anyway. I don't know why I have so much trouble with it; other people seem to have an easier time with it.
Thank you for our walk yesterday. I'd rather be alone with you in Mt. Tabor park than anyone else, and I mean that.
Thank you for my friend BDT and for the opportunities he's had to share you with those around him. Thank you also so much for getting to spend time with him tonight. I see you so much more clearly when he's around.
Thank you for letting us go trick-or-treating with some of the most wonderful people around.
Thank you for Jason and how he keeps me growing even though it's hard.
Okay, God, you want me heading towards bed right now. Be with me throughout my week, God. I don't want to give a false picture of you; I don't want to worship a false you. Thank you for how I see you working.
In Jesus' name.
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Thank you for my Dad and his willingness to sit with me and work through my application. I hate paperwork, but this needs to get done. I'm so grateful that I have a dad who doesn't leave me to handle this all myself (he kind of reflects you that way, doesn't he?)
Thank you for how you've shown that this thing with Seattle Pacific is a part of your plan. I like being lead by you, and I really really like it when I know that it's you leading.
Thank you for the word "dwell". Right now I'm not always working in an place that's not 100% of you, but I can rest in that which is of you. I dwell in your presence.
I'm so glad to be practicing what I preach and being in the world but not of it. Thank you for this opportunity to see beyond myself.
I'm so selfish and of such a limited vision. Limited in that I really only see myself. Although, you know that's not 100% true, because the other day a fellow was telling me about how you, God, would have to come down from Heaven and walk up to him and say hello. I was looking at a tree, its leaves turning to Autumn colors while he was talking, and thought about how blind he was. I see you in trees. I see you everywhere, so I guess I don't only see myself. Though it sure feels like it at times.
Thank you for giving a broader view of your world, through this film thing, God. I look at normal people I pass on the street a little differently now, God. How much you love them, God. And how heartbreaking that they hate you. You know that I've told you that I hate you. But you always pull me through it, and you and I come out on the other side, better acquainted because of it. I come out better known. And isn't that the point?
My God, I thank you for being real! For asking only that I present the real me to you! These people talk as if a life with you would be a life of hiding and fakery. Did they ever know you? Don't they see that life apart from you is the fake life? I wonder why you allow there blindness continue.
Thank you for Sufjan Stevens, and the Danielson Family and all those other artists who encourage me by listening to your voice instead of the world's. What companionship I find with these friends! Thank you for companionship. Thank you for Eucharisto and The Queen of Arts and England and my family and Tuesday's Child (from whom I completely stole the title for this post) and Katie and all those other wonderful people who teach me how to walk on this road and where to look to see you better.
I thank you for existence, though, you should know, it can get very messy at times. Lot's of sad things going on here, God. Lots of miscommunication. Lies, you know. And people getting mixed up as to what's really going on.
God, we need you.
I guess all we need do is open our eyes, huh? To see you and what you're doing? If only I was awake! Go ahead, God. Like Tuesday's Child said, stab my spirit broad awake. Let me see you for the first time.
In Jesus' name.
Friday, October 27, 2006
Monday, October 23, 2006
Here are the titles I have so far:
Addicted to Mediocrity
The Elements of Style
The Great Divorce
The Lord of the Rings
The Man Who Was Thursday
Peace Like a River
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
Searching for God Knows What
Till We Have Faces
What’s So Amazing About Grace?
UPDATE 10/27:But wait! There's more; here are the titles that have both been suggested by you and have lept out at me:
The Adventures of Hucklebery Finn
Cry, the Beloved Country
To Kill a Mockingbird
Walking on Water
A Wrinkle In Time
Keep the suggestions coming!
Thursday, October 12, 2006
I'm in a little bit of a hurry today, but hopefully my attitude of thanks won't stop when I hit "Publish".
I thank you for my friends. I thank you for how refreshing they are, I don't know if this is a good thing to be glad for or not, but I am really glad that they don't swear like the inmates in Shawshank Redemption and that they don't smoke like chimneys.
I'm grateful for the ways I've seen you work your restoration in relationships and the ways I've seen you answer prayer on the film set. I'm glad to be praying for people who don't know you, which is really experience I haven't known before.
I'm grateful for you. You are my God. You are the I AM THAT I AM. You are the perfect Trinity, perfect in love and truth and a burning fiercely joyous holiness. The fire of your presence consumes that which is not of you. Thank you, thank you, thank you for turning from something that is not of you into something that is of you. I am now made of the stuff of Heaven. All thanks and glory goes to you. It's all because of you, I AM.
I grateful that you and I both got the joke above, the reference to one of your servant's songs, a pun that a lot of people missed. I'm more glad than I can say that you caught the joke though.
Thank you for being beyond me. Way, way beyond me. How horrible to have a god that you define! Instead of one that defines you. I'm so glad that you created, gave life and breath and define me. I would have no other do so.
I thank you that you (1) call me to live and love you with wild abandon and (2) enable me to love you in such a way.
I also that you that your love for me is vibrant and bold. Any love I've felt, for you or anyone else pales in comparison. If only I could love you with the love you have for me!
Thank you for music. All styles, including country (when it's done right). I'm grateful for Rock 'n' Roll also. I'm glad that you like it to. I know you do, because I've seen you use it to communicate yourself.
Thank you for not leaving us high dry, thank you for always offering your presence. Allow me to walk and breath and live your presence for the rest of my life.
In Jesus' name.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
I exalt you in front of everyone who cares to look. You alone are complete. You alone love, and you decided to pour your completion and your love into our hearts (or, as Lamentations might have it, "heart" singular). Well, first you decided to create us, to communicate us into existence, and that itself was an act of love. You could have kept your love to yourself, you perfect Trinity you, and none of us would have been any the wiser. But that's not what you decided to do. Instead you have given us life, and you keep giving us life even after we reject it time and again. That's the part that I think is pretty amazing. Well, I mean, it's all pretty amazing. I wonder why that is? It's just the truth, why should the truth be amazing? Wow, maybe I should get off this philosophical limb before it cracks under me. I'll think about it later.
Dear God, I thank you for what I see right now: For my watch and for The Paradox of Mr. Pond by G. K. Chesterton, even though I haven't read it and for Albert, who serves me faithfully despite Jason's mockings of Macs.
I thank you for good grammar, God. And for good punctuation. I wish I had better writing and punctuation. It seems silly to be thanking you for something like that, but I guess what I'm really thanking you for is for that which leads to effective communication. Communication is maybe a little bit of a boring word, but it's so romantic! What high adventures lie in wait for he who decides to join the quest for good communication! What fearsome dragons and terrible ogres! But what great battles! The blood and the smell and the stickiness of it all. God you know that, even now, even though spirit soars at the beauty of it, I shirk from such a life. I run and hide my head in the nearest bush. Without you, that is. I need you, God; you call me to real life, but you forget that I'm a ghost, not fit for that world. Don't forget. Don't leave me to lift rocks I can't even grasp.
But you haven't, have you, God? If anyone's done the leaving it's been me, hasn't it? Thank you for your faithfulness. Do you know what I mean by "faithfulness", God? It's kind of a boring word, isn't it, God? What I mean by it is not so much a dog's kind of faithfulness, the kind that is faithful just because it's kind of blind and doesn't really know any better, but rather the faithfulness of Hosea, who saw everything his wife had done and loved her anyway. That's crazy, God. But it's a reflection of your love. Thank you for your love, God; I've done much worse thing to you then Hosea's wife ever did to him, and you intensely love me anyway. Your love burns for me, and I think that's crazy.
God, even when I come to you with fake tears on my face and poison in my walk, you listen to me and guide me back to a better way of doing.
Thank you for tea, and for friends and for tea with friends. Thank you for the delightful tea I had this morning and for the delight company I shared it with.
Thank you a million times over for everyone who is praying for me. I value that so much. I'm so needful of it.
Thank you for Desta, who loves me, God and sees you in me. Thank you that he's praying for me and for what he has reminded me about prayer and my relationship with you and about obedience. God, I want to be obedient so bad. I want to please you, to present myself pleasing to you. I'm so bad at showing my love for you. I can talk all day long about you, God, but when it comes time to act, I simply go limp. I do nothing.
And yet you love me. With an intense love that I have never known the like of in my own flesh.
Thank you for brilliant sunsets! And for Katie and the friend that she is. Thank you for my family. Thank you for chalk and for chalkboards. I do love to draw on a chalkboard.
But the chalkboard in front of me says it's time to get back to work. God, don't let this thanksgiving stop; let this be only the beginning.
In Jesus' name,
Monday, October 09, 2006
If a freight train caricatures some paycheck about another light bulb, then a freight train defined by the submarine procrastinates. When you see some hypnotic reactor, it means that a grizzly bear living with the cargo bay hibernates. When a hypnotic football team rejoices, a briar patch starts reminiscing about lost glory. A fruit cake beyond a bartender competes with the unstable polar bear.
Any plaintiff can be a big fan of the skyscraper beyond a cab driver, but it takes a real ball bearing to take a peek at a shabby razor blade. Sometimes a demon reads a magazine, but a light bulb defined by a skyscraper always operates a small fruit stand with the blithe spirit about a hydrogen atom! When a scythe living with a turkey is magnificent, a gentle fighter pilot competes with a stovepipe near a warranty. A vacuum cleaner about the bullfrog self-flagellates, and the minivan of the fairy beams with joy; however, a deficit for an earring makes a truce with the reactor about another paycheck. Some precise warranty
A light bulb toward another ocean Indeed, another optimal power drill hardly pours freezing cold water on another tuba player. A girl scout buys an expensive gift for an earring. Any roller coaster can have a change of heart about a cargo bay about a briar patch, but it takes a real paycheck to wisely graduate from the seldom precise fighter pilot. A fractured briar patch beams with joy, and another knowingly statesmanlike tomato hesitates; however, the underhandedly elusive photon makes love to the sheriff about a pork chop.
Most people believe that a greasy cargo bay avoids contact with an avocado pit, but they need to remember how almost a chain saw ruminates. An umbrella for a warranty is highly paid. For example, a ball bearing related to the dust bunny indicates that a cab driver non-chalantly gives a pink slip to a judge inside a photon. When you see an asteroid, it means that a hockey player laughs out loud. If a freight train caricatures some paycheck about another light bulb, then a freight train defined by the submarine procrastinates. When you see some hypnotic reactor, it means that a grizzly bear living with the cargo bay hibernates. When a hypnotic football team rejoices, a briar patch starts reminiscing about lost glory. A fruit cake beyond a bartender competes with the unstable polar bear.
Sometimes a somewhat mitochondrial fairy flies into a rage, but the college-educated corporation always completely avoids contact with a fundraiser! Sometimes some sheriff for a mortician prays, but the magnificent cowboy always is a big fan of an asteroid! Some defendant is righteous. The cosmopolitan traffic light single-handledly secretly admires some tattered tabloid. When a cosmopolitan grain of sand prays, a chestnut living with an industrial complex hides. A turkey daydreams, or the parking lot hesitantly tries to seduce another tornado living with the ocean. Another completely outer movie theater learns a hard lesson from a polar bear. A rattlesnake defined by a freight train recognizes the cab driver inside the avocado pit.
Another CEO inside a warranty takes a coffee break, and a so-called pickup truck leaves; however, a fundraiser beyond an ocean knows a roller coaster from a blithe spirit. When you see the wheelbarrow, it means that some carpet tack from a salad dressing starts reminiscing about lost glory. When the proverbial pine cone hibernates, a college-educated graduated cylinder wakes up. The freight train for a mortician has a change of heart about a satellite. Sometimes the college-educated jersey cow flies into a rage, but a wisely obsequious hole puncher always knowingly gives lectures on morality to a tomato! A light bulb toward another ocean
Saturday, October 07, 2006
I believe in God. In the God revealed by the Bible. I believe in the Trinity, that is to say, in a complete, whole and holy Entity which exists in perfect communication. I believe that this God is the only entity which has always existed. Though, “exist” is a sticky word and doesn’t technically line up with my beliefs since “exist” implies a “coming from” something. God hasn’t “come from” anything. Everything has “come from” God.
Part of the “everything” that God has communicated into existence (an accurate use of the word this time) are angels, human beings and the planet Earth (who, for some reason, is the only one of these three who gets to be capitalized). I don’t know a whole lot about angels, but I know that they (like everything else) were created to glorify God. What I mean by this is that they were made to be a bit like prisms which God could shine his perfect completeness into causing the light of who he is to scatter throughout all creation. And I know that one of the angels, the one that was perhaps the biggest prism and refracted the most light decided that, instead of spreading God around, it was maybe time for creation to get a taste of him, without God. He convinced (I’m told) about a third of the other angels to join him in quest to glorify that which is not God.
We have been getting a taste of Lucifer (and those with him) without God for the past six thousand years or so (or however long it’s been since he convinced us to turn our backs on God in the Garden in which man was born). He now hates God and his light and has set himself against anyone who seeks to serve that light, that is anyone who seeks to do that which he was doing before his rebellion. God, being the gentleman he is, has prepared a place for this darkened prism, a place without God since that seems to be the angel’s preference. The place is called Hell, and it is the only place that is completely void of God’s presence. Everyone who enters eternity with a desire to be void of God will go there.
I suppose that some words about Hell’s opposite are in order. If Hell is the total absence of God then Heaven is it’s opposite in that it is the pure presence of God. One thing that keeps Hell and Heaven from being total opposites is that Hell depends on Heaven’s existence whereas Heaven is completely independent of Hell. Hell is dependent in the same sense that a man who takes pride in living outside a certain city is dependent on having a city to be living outside of. Without the city he just lives, which seems like a good thing to me, but for those who choose Hell it is not enough to merely live, they must live apart from something (this is why I fear America’s emphasis on being independent, I fear we are raising a legion of Milton’s-Satan types who would rather reign outside the city then serve anywhere).
So here we are presented with two Kingdoms. The Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of That-Which-Is-Not-God. Inside the city walls and outside the walls. True independence and false independence. Obedience, service to the King (for every kingdom must have a king), or rebellion. Mankind was originally created in God’s Kingdom, in communication with the Trinity. God created Adam and Eve to be representatives for mankind, which is another way of saying that whatever they did we would’ve done the same had we been in their shoes, and gave them a choice: To dwell in his Kingdom, obey him and receive life from him, or to try to make it on their own. Our parents, under the influence of a fallen Lucifer, fell in favor of the latter.
This is where you and I and rest of mankind come into the picture. Our parents decided to dwell outside the city, thus we, their children, were all born outside the city. God said to Adam and Eve that they would surely die if they disobeyed him. This makes sense if we think of disobedience as a kind of turning away. In a way Adam and Eve cut off communication with (turned their back on) their Creator, and since we were designed to live on communication with our Creator, just as a car is designed to run on gasoline, it makes sense that rebellion in this case is described as death. So Adam and Eve were led by Satan (but of their own will) into death, and this is were they birthed all of us.
So now a whole race of walking breathing contradictions exists: A people who feel that somehow this world, this planet is somehow very much their home and someplace from which they can derive comfort companionship and yet, at the same time, feel it very hostile and very broken. We’ve strayed the realm of poets.
So we see that (because of the choice of Adam and Eve) people arrive in this world opposed to the one who gives them life. In other words, we all arrive dead, stillborn.
Who will bring us life? It must be someone who himself is alive, so it can’t be another human, yet humans are the ones who erred, so a human must take on the promised penalty of death. Eternal death, a God-sized penalty.
And now we come of course the most well-known part of this whole story. The part where - and I cannot say this part without worshipping my beautifully creative God - the second person of the Trinity, in order to rescue us from the wilderness of our exile and rebellion, became a human and, after living among us, living in time and skin and loneliness and laughter and tears, dust and sweat, this God-who-was-man shouldered our debt of death, and brought life to those who would grab hold of him. He came out of God’s city, into our wilderness, and compels us to follow him.
I am one of those who has been brought to life, who has grabbed hold of this savior for dear life. Though, God knows, sometimes my embrace is more out of anger or fear than anything else. But I can’t let go, even if I want to. For one thing, he’s also holding me, and (I’m told) he always will, for another no matter how hard, or how foolish or how exhausting (like a candle going out) it is to be with this One, this Love of mine, no matter how much I hate it at times. I could never leave him. He contains all life; there is no life outside of him. I am a failure, a failure of epic proportions, but he is the ultimate success. And he has given me his name, and I (in his Father’s eyes, which, unlike mine, see the Truth fully) have become like him, and this is something worth thinking about.
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
I'm a roaring hypocrite! But here I am again, giving thanks to save my life.
I am two people, God. I am a lazy, apathetic, lustful, prideful, self-worshipping and manipulative user. And I am perfect, sinless, affirming, truthful, alive and loving. I give you endless thanks that the second one is the real me, the part that will live on come eternity.
"Come eternity." What a thought. Let's see if I can form this into words, God:
I have always (almost always) had a problem with time, and as I get older and have more experiences in this world, the more the thought of time kind of bums me out. It seems to kill so many things and so many relationships, and there are so many things I'll never have back, things that are far too far downstream to even be very confident of the accuracy of their memory now. But look at this: Humans and angels (it seems to me) are different in this way; angels dwell in the finality of eternity. We humans do not. It seems to me that an angel's choice is a final choice.
I'm grateful because we don't live in that finality, not yet anyway. Sure we live with it, the thought of death and of entering into a place where we don't have the luxury of putting off decisions accompanies us everywhere. Especially in the car, and especially when I'm driving. (I cannot spell the word "especially", God, but you know that, and you know that I'm very fond of that fact now.)
So, in summery, I am, in a way, now very grateful for time for the luxury of it. Even though it seems to go so fast and so slow.
Thank you for giving us bodies that live in time. Thank you for the song "Sweet Old World" which makes me grateful for the treasures that you've given us outside of eternity (that's not to say that they are not of eternal worth or even eternal in origin). Thank you for Sufjan Stevens, who lives in a house of gratitude maybe more so than any other musician I know.
I keep looking up at the title of this post (which I just mostly picked at random from a Bob Dylan song), and I keep thinking about your creative power, about your Spirit which moved on the water and your Word, by which (and through which) you spoke every created thing into existence. Thank you for being a creative God, God. And thank you for communicating which your creation. Whenever I think of your involvement in your creation, I think about sex. Now if you've given that as a picture of your relationship with us, then I think I can say that you want to be pretty involved in our lives.
So I thank you that the lives aren't true; I thank you that you desire intimate communion with us more than we can fathom. You're beautiful, God. Reality is beautiful. Truth is beautiful. Thank you for speaking these things into our lives. I just can't get over that you communicate with us and that you commune with us. Now I see a little truth in those stories of Zeus coming down and being overtaking with the beauty of a common girl. They're still kind of disgusting stories but I see the truth in them now.
You are the author of beauty, God, so it makes sense that you would be beautiful.
Wait a minute. You made us beautiful and then fell in love with us because of our beauty? We can't really do a lot of bragging in there, can we? Wow. That's crazy. What a fantastic design you have, God. So intricate! So enchanting! Like little flowers on a patter. Think of all the writing and the painting and the film and all the babbling of prophets and theologians just to kind of give a idea of who you are. That's crazy.
I don't really know you that well, do I God? Knowing you is a pretty basic part of life. Thank you that you still love me even though I'm botching even this basic thing pretty badly. Thank you that you love me even though I make typing errors and I can't spell very well. Thank you that you love me.
Thank you that you love me even though I have messed up some things, broken or bent some things you have put in my hands to look after and admire. Thank you that you love me even though my room is messy and my lips are always kind of chapped and bumpy.
Thank you that you love me, God. You're crazy for loving me, you know. I don't know what you expect to get out of the relationship.
Well, maybe I do. Maybe you want me.
Saturday, September 30, 2006
You know what I love? I love reading Jeffery Overstreet's movie reviews while listening to Canon in D Major.
Heck, I love doing almost anything while listening to Canon in D.
You know what else I love? Bob Dylan's voice. I'm serious. To slightly borrow from Eriol, maybe you can sing better than Bob Dylan, but you sure as heck can't sing like him. Zimmie conveys more human emotion with his broken, scratched-up-record of a voice than I've ever heard come from Josh Groban's perfect pipes. And that's the truth.
Friday, September 29, 2006
Well, I just found out that I missed my beautiful blog's anniversary again.
I mean, that's just a bummer, you know what I mean?
I'm telling you, man, a ground-breaking online journal like mine deserves to be honored. I mean, the day I put up this post was significant, something special happened, you know what I mean?
I'm going to bed.
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
What a lovely thing a bike ride is! And what a splendid gift for the Lord of Hosts to give!
I'm so glad (grateful), Father that, even though you are LORD of the Angel-Armies (as The Message puts it), you are also the inventor of the buttercup and the daisy. I thank you for the hints you have left of yourself all around creation and not only creation as in rocks and birds and trees and whatnot but also the institutes you have created, like marriage and families and fathers and churches and the like.
One of the hardest things for me to thank you for right now is direction, because I see that you are pointing me in a hard way. And by "hard" God, I mean a way that requires work.
Work. That's all, God.
How disgusted I am with myself! I hate what I am, God. And I hate it that I'm not willing to change. I hate how, ugh, slow and... I don't know how to say it but acediac I've become.
You know what I mean by "acediac", God. Jeff Berryman was talking about it. I don't really know how to explain it except to say that I know it's not of you, and I'm sorry.
But if I was really sorry, God, wouldn't I do something about it? I am hopeless on my own, God. You know that.
I have a hope in you.
Thank you (I say through gritted teeth) for the hope I have in you. It's hard to thank you, God, when I feel so dead.
But the parenthesis I just used reminded me of poetry. Thank you so much for poetry, God! Thank you for thinking up this brilliant way of helping me in my struggle to declare my thoughts to the universe. Of lifting up my soul to you really, because that's what it's all about.
And I thank you for also for my friends who help me in my effort to lift this massive weight up to you. Friends like Eucharisto (even though I don't communicate with him as much as I should and Katie and so many others God including my family and, though I'm sure the nice people who listen to my thoughts are tired of hearing about her, I thank you for the girl who's picture is serving as the wallpaper of my computer right now. I'm grateful that I can say, when it comes right down to it, that she leads me closer to you and to a better understanding of you and your love for me. Thank you.
Anyway, thank you again for bike rides and for Wendy - my bike - who, I found out, I misnamed, because it seems that the horse after whom she's named is really "Windy". I don't like it when things like that happen, but I guess I can live with it.
Thank you for Mt. Hood and how blue it looks right now, God. I don't want to sound ugly, God, but I think it put the mountains in Colorado to shame. Now I feel kind of bad saying that, what I mean is that I like that you can just look at it and know that it's a mountain. Maybe that's just because it's standing by itself.
Speaking of Colorado, thank you for the Garrett family (I don't know if I spelled their name right); that whole family is spectacular. If my kids end up like their kids I think I'd be proud. Katie (Katy?) Garrett is such a magical person, God, such a gift
Thank you for U2 and for Bono, God. That guy gets the Gospel more and is able to communicate it better than so many other artists out there. I'm convinced that, if my campers had been consuming U2 instead of AC/DC and Pink Floyd and whatever other bands are coming back from the dead these days, my job of communicating the Gospel would have been easier. I don't know, maybe not. Maybe... I don't know. Do you think it's bad that I see your Gospel, your story everywhere? I've been told that I over-analyze things, that I over analyze life and don't just enjoy it and let it come my way. God, whether you gave it to me or I stole it from someone or turned it into something it wasn't supposed to be, I have a brain, a mind that pounces on things, on bits of information and tears them to pieces looking for you, for a trace of you.
Oh Lord! Have I broken your Stradivarius looking for the signature? Oh my... that would be terrible.
But no, God, isn't it the people who don't see you that fall into trouble, who miss the point? Who end up lost and without even spiritual pocket change?
Oh my, God. This really is crazy, isn't it? I've been called wise, God, and I don't think I am. I think it's worry.
Well you know what? To Hell with that! I've too much life ahead of me to spend it on that silly pastime! How ridiculous!
Mmm... God. I thank you for beauty. What a healing balm it is to my soul. As Bono says, God "Soul needs/beauty for a soul mate." Thank you for the beauty that you've sent to me. I know it comes from you, every good and perfect gift comes from you.
So God, kill my apathy and resurrect me to live a new life in you. Let me glory in you.
Monday, September 25, 2006
Let peace rule (give thanks), let the Word dwell (richly) and preach with your guitar close at hand (give thanks).
Sunday, September 24, 2006
Today I’m grateful for love. The kind of love they’re singing about right now. Two joined as one flying towards you.
I hope to have that kind of love one day, God. Be in that kind of love, you know? I’d like, God, to play that divine game of pretend where I play Christ and the other plays your Bride. I thank you that this kind of love exists and that I might one day get to experience it; walk around and kind of play in it, you know like water, like a river. Of course, that'll happen in the future...
Oh my future.
I thank you for you, God. You’re one of the scariest people I know; you ask me to do such hard, hard things. Scary things. I see a lot of darkness right now. I don’t want to step into the darkness, God. It scares the heck out of me; you scare the heck out of me, God, the Hell out of me, I guess. And maybe that’s the point.
But you know what scares me most, my Love? Not holding on to you. Not being with you anymore. There’s real Hell, if you want to know. I'm getting cold and shivery on the inside right now thinking about it.
"If you want to know..."
But of course you do know. You know everything, God. Then why, I half-wonder, do you say that you will say to some, “Depart from me; I never knew you.”? I've talked to other people about this, but there's still a little bit of mystery in it. But I guess that’s the subject for another post. I should continue on, for I’ve much more to give thanks for. Example:
Whales! Thank you, God, for whales! Thank you for pelicans! Thank you for cranes and seals! Thank you for how you reveal yourself at the beach and in your creation in general. Thank you, God for Nature, this dear Sister you’ve given us, who gently, modestly gives an idea of who you are. She quietly paints thunderous pictures.
Did I already thank you for whales? I love their silent grace, dear God, they reassure me so very much of your presence. I turn into a little boy around them.
Ah, God, thank you that I can run to you; thank you that you’re always listening (and talking!). You’re the only one before whom I can unpack my whole mind. The only one who takes me just as I am. Others try, God; some make a noble effort. But my dear Lord, only someone of Godlike proportion could possibly even consider trying unweave the tangle in my brain. Know me, God. Bless me as I seek to know you.
Friday, September 22, 2006
Saturday, September 16, 2006
How well do you know me?? (By the way, I HATE double exclaimation marks with a firey passion that burns with the intensity of a thousand suns; if you didn't know that then you already fail the test. Sorry.) For instance, did you know...
Four Jobs I've had in my life:
1. Auction worker
2. Video editor (for EVERYBODY and his Aunt Charlie)
3. Janitor (it was actually a family job; we were all paid janitors at Montavilla Baptist in Oregon and Little Log in Colorado - which is kind of funny in retrospect, to me anyway)
4. Odd jobs (so true, so odd)
Four movies I would watch over and over (this is the most exciting one)
2. The Incredibles
3. Star Wars, Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
4. Fiddler On the Roof
Four places I have lived
1. Portland, Oregon
2. Bratislava, Slovakia
3. Budapest, Hungary
4. Gallatin, Tennessee
Four TV shows I love to watch
1. I Love Lucy
2. The Dick Van Dyke Show
Four places I have been on vacation
2. Cannon Beach, OR
Four of my favorite foods
1. Stew. Cooked by my Mom. I really miss my Mom's cooking, by the way.
2. Pizza with lots of things on it
3. Chicken Alfredo
4. Anything with potatoes in it. That's really healthy, right?
Four places I would rather be right now (first let it be known that I am perfectly content right where I am right now with my family; these are just four places I'd like to be.)
3. A rain forest somewhere
Four things I always carry with me
1. My tummy
2. My hair
3. My heart
4. My ruggedly handsome face
Four friends that I think will respond (not really relevant; unless you decide to make it so, I guess)
4. The Queen of Arts and England
Tag you're it! You are tagged. so here it goes... Copy and paste. . Delete my
answers, replace with your own and send it back to me and on to other friends!
It's not really over though, because I decided to add some questions of my own:
Four albums I could listen to until those darn cows come home
1. Sam Phillips, A Boot and a Shoe
2. U2, Le Joshua Tree
3. The Arcade Fire, Funeral
4. Sufjan Stevens, Come On! Feel the Illinoise! (MAYBE; his repetition might drive me crazy)
Four writers that have changed my life (or at least caused me to jump up and say AMEN quite loudly)
1. C. S. Lewis (duh)
2. Mr. G. K. Chesterton (he helped keep me sane during the summer; thank you, God for Mr. G. K.!)
3. Jeffrey Overstreet (if for nothing other than whispering to me that I wasn't alone in my views on movies!)
4. Frederick Buechner (brings me back to the essence of Christianity maybe more so than any other author; through his fiction no less.)
5. Phillip Yancy (hey, you didn't really expect me to keep it at four, did you?)
Four dead people who are also my heroes
1. Socrates! (I love this man; I want to be just like him. Dying for education and all.)
2. The guys at the end of Hebrews 11 ("the world was not worthy..."; those guys )
3. (Dare I say) Jeremiah? (this man led a hellish life of communion with God; next time someone tries to sell that "Christianity is easy" crap, point them to this guy. Yes I just said "crap")
4. DAVID! (This messed-up guy GOT IT. Psalm 27:4! Psalm 40:1-3! Communion with Christ is all!)
Four things I'd grab from a fire
1. There's a little book on top of my bookshelf that means a lot to me; I'm grabbing that.
2. My Bible? (the reason for the question mark is that I can buy a Bible anywhere, but truth be told I really am getting quite attached to mine)
3. Albert, my iBook G4
4. Why's external hard-drive (my life is on that beast)
4 1/2. All my books! I'm not leaving those!
Okay, I hope that was fun for you kiddos. Actually it was kind of fun for me too. Hey! You should do one of your own (you know, on your own blog). The one who comes up with the geekiest questions wins!
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Today I’m grateful for pen and ink. For paper and for the gift of being able to render your creation on the page. And God, by “able” I of course do not mean that I can really, fully do that. Just that I may. Dear God, thank you for allowing us to copy off of Nature’s notes on who you are. Who you are. Hm.
Thank you God, that I got to hold a starfish today! I hope that it was okay that I did. I held it just the way I saw the biologist man do it; I don't think I hurt it at all.
(Thank you, also, that you do not charge me for each exclamation mark I'm going to use today. I'm already poor enough.)
Thank you, my Father, for the beach and for sunset on the beach! And once again for the joy of drawing your creation even though sunsets cannot really be rendered in pen and ink. But that's because of all the beautiful colors, God! Such a dazzling sight, God. Thank you so much for all these colors.
And thank you so much for the girl who thinks and dreams (at least daydreams) in so many colors! My mind's black and white, God. Her's is ablaze with color! Thank you so much for allowing me to get to know her; she's such a treasure, and it's such a delight to see the world through her eyes.
Thank you for haystack rock (and once again with the pen and ink).
Thank you also for my cool pillow cases (which the above mentioned girl sewed for me). They're so cool. (And also for the little drawing book she gave me! I'm very grateful for it too.)
Thank you for letting me get to see a starfish in the process of eating a barnacle thingy. That was pretty neat.
Wait. Can I thank God for me?
What I really mean is life. The life you’ve given me.
And what about Mr. G. K. Chesterton? Who was so giddy with gratitude and love for you.
Make me giddy in love with you. You’re the one I seek.
Because you’re beautiful! You are life! You impart life to me! You are worthy; you are worthy to receive the reward of your sufferings. What is the reward of your suffering? What was the joy set before you so that you endured the hardship of the cross?
Union with your bride! How wonderful. Make me (us) lovely, my Love.
You are the Lover, we the Beloved.
To be loved by you. The most complete. The Perfect One. To have the Complete One, the Sufficient One be made incomplete and insufficient for me.
I’ll never understand it. I’ll never be able to describe it really. This is so poor you know, God.
I thank you for my sister even though we argued about whether or not George Eliot is a good writer!
Thank you for Tuesdays and allowing me to post this even if it's one day late. Thank you that I can always give thanks. Make it my life's rhythm, God.
In Jesus' name,
Monday, September 11, 2006
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Hear the prayers of those of us who live on earth
Who are afraid of being left by those we love
And who get hardened by the hurt
Do you remember when You lived down here where we all scrape
To find the faith to ask for daily bread?
Did You forget about us after You had flown away?
Well I memorized every word You said
Still I'm so scared, I'm holding my breath
While You're up there just playing hard to get
You who live in radiance
Hear the prayers of those of us who live in skin
We have a love that's not as patient as Yours was
Still we do love now and then
Did You ever know loneliness?
Did You ever know need?
Do You remember just how long a night can get?
When You were barely holding on
And Your friends fall asleep
And don't see the blood that's running in Your sweat
Will those who mourn be left uncomforted
While You're up there just playing hard to get?
And I know you bore our sorrows
And I know you feel our pain
And I know it would not hurt any less
Even if it could be explained
And I know that I am only lashing out
At the One who loves me most
And after I figured this, somehow All I really need to know
Is if You who live in eternity
Hear the prayers of those of us who live in time
We can't see what's ahead
And we can not get free of what we've left behind
I'm reeling from these voices that keep screaming in my ears
All the words of shame and doubt, blame and regret
I can't see how You're leading me
unless You've led me here
Where I'm lost enough to let myself be led
And so You've been here all along I guess
It's just Your ways and You are just plain hard to get.
I thank you for people. For Donald Miller, first of all, who showed me it's okay to need people. And secondly for all the people he showed me it's okay to need. For Katie (who, I hope, has not transgressed beyond the point of salvation) and her similar need for, and delight in people. I thank you that she delights in me; I know she does, because she missed me very much when I was gone.
And God you know the person first on my mind at present. My Lord, is it all right that she is there? I suspect so. I suspect that your view of things is not half so grave and gloomy as mine is.
Dear God, thank you for being a God of buoyancy, a God that lightens loads and relives burdens. A God who understands what it is to be weary. And confused. Do you, God? Has your mind ever known confusion? Or is that to be the one chink in your armor of understanding?
You must, you must have known confusion. Of course I see it now, a little. I see a little of it in you before you changed water to wine. A little in how you reacted to us human beings.
How do you react to us, I wonder? Are you really very mad with us? With me? Or is your reaction more one sadness? Or maybe amusement? Oh God, to know that, at the very least, if I fall short of pleasing you, I amuse you. To put a grin on your holy face, my Lord. To cause a reaction from you.
Do I cause a reaction, God? Do I have an effect on you? Is there something that, that... happens to you God, when I'm around you? Something that you can't help? What is the effect?
I've heard it said that you love me. I'd like to hear it from you.
Saturday, September 02, 2006
Friday, September 01, 2006
Yes, I said "love". You know, that man-woman thing, the thing that causes well-groomed princes to slay dragons and disgruntled daddies to change diapers at midnight. You know, The Beatles sing about it a lot.
Now, I don't claim to know a whole lot about this subject (having avoided both dragons and diapers with equal vigor), but I guess I know enough to at least make a top ten list, and would you please hold your snickering till the end of the tour? Thank you. Let's begin.
All I Want is You, U2
Eileen's Song, Burlap to Cashmere
Casimir Pualski Day, Sufjan Stevens
Built Her a Cloud, Terry Scott Taylor
A Man and a Woman, U2
This Sweet Old World, Emmylou Harris (A cover of I'm not sure who)
When I'm Sixty-Four, The Beetles
I Walk the Line, Johnny Cash
A Moment in Time, The Choir
Hush Now (Stella's Tarantella), Over the Rhine
Well, there's the list for now; there's no order to it yet, and I know I'm missing a bunch probably. Does anyone have any suggestions? What are your favorites? I'm thinking of trying to put fit U2's "Love is Blindness" into the list; what do you think? What about "Crown of Love" by Arcade Fire? Oh, what about "Girl from the North Country" (Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash)? And should I put why I like each song or just leave that to your imagination?
I love Jeff Berryman; The Daily Hopper has always been one my favorite blogs to go to when I just want to soak in good writing, and the companionship I found in Berryman's Leaving Ruin was great (as in "a large amount"). I had no idea a sequel was in the works! How exciting! Aren't you excited?
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
And, as a card carrying member of the Dorks Of America, I can say it's good to be back.
Let me begin this sojourn back into the land of the (mostly) living with a topic that has been on my mind of late. Or at least my face. I'm talking of course about facial hair, and I'm afraid that other, less meaningful topics (e.g. how I spent my summer at a Bible camp, what it was like being in the same time-zone as the girl with whom I'm prayerfully cultivating a "getting-to-know-you" relationship, the role of rest and peace in the life of a child of God etc.) will have to wait.
What concerns me chiefly right now is the role that facial hair has played in my life and the question of whether or not I should keep what little of it I have on my face (or continue the life of slavery and hardship that is shaving).
First things first, a brief personal history of facial hair:
- About six years old: I wonder to myself where mustaches come from and reach the conclusion (based on a little research and personal observation) that a man's mustache grows from his nostrils. Riddle solved.
- A little later: Bad discovery. I notice some of the older ladies in our village have faint mustaches. Conclusion: Everyone has facial hair; it's just that most women, in order to please their too-psychically focused husbands, decide to shave it off (which calls my Dad's moral character into question and explains my Mom's need for razor and shaving cream). I begin to wonder if God will be okay with me asking my wife to please shave or if that would be changing things too much from the way they're supposed to be (how did Adam cope with Eve's facial hair?). Oh yeah, and it turns out the nostril-hair thing's a bust.
- Puberty: Ahh! Dark hairs on my face! I pull them out in an attempt to keep all the changes at bay. They keep growing.
- A little later: Peach fuzz big time above my lip. Surely girls are not attracted to this!
- A little more later: I shave for the first time! Worries over; it's a carefree life of clean-shaveness from here on out!
- More a little later: Discover the need to shave again, but if I ask Dad if I can borrow his razor will he think I'm growing up too fast? I decide to lock the door and shave in secret. This continues for several months till what I'm doing gradually becomes obvious to Mom and Dad.
- About fifteen years old: The rest of the family finds out that I shave. And the world breaths a collective sigh of relief.
- Spring 2006: Grow a beard-like thing.
- Summer 2006: Shave off beard-like thing. Continue slavishly shaving the rest of summer.
- END OF SUMMER 2006: BEARD-LIKE THING RETURNS! Boy it's nice not to shave! But boy oh boy is my face ever scratchy! [Angst piles up, provoking blog post...]
Hey look! It took me so long to write this post that I've already arrived at a decision without getting to hear any of your input. Oh darn. Well, they'll be more angst to come, I'm sure. Until then, this is me, signing off.
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Thank you for my stuffed kangaroo "Kanga" and her little joey "Roo". (If it be your will, would you allow my kids to be more creative when they name their stuffed animals?) Thank you that we are reunited at last and that they are willing to sit on my bed all day. Thank you also for my yellow blanket which I've had since I was born and which doesn't have a name. Thank you that almost nobody makes fun of me for still having it. Thank you that it has been a good friend these past nineteen and a half years or so.
Thank you for Albert and Elric and the good traveling companions they are. Albert is so cool in all his white-ness, and Elric is so cool in all his green-ness. For Ernest too. I also thank you for my friend's computer Eddie, even though he is a PC. And for Firefly who I helped name. They are all great tools and great friends.
Thank you for my uncle and my cousins. Thank you for how excited they get over music and that my uncle calls me the "iPod master" and that he put me in charge of the music yesterday while we were driving to various grave sites and so forth. Actually, I thank you for all of my uncles; I'd get more specific, but I don't think I'm allowed to.
I thank you for my extended family in general. Thank you that I can count each one of my cousins as a friend in his or her own right and that we all get along so well.
I thank you that my friend now has a Volkswagen Microbus and that I will now see it most every day. This is probably the best thing that's ever happened to me. Ever.
I thank you for tea: For wild raspberry herbal tea and for Tazo Passion tea especially. I thank you that every time I smell wild raspberry tea it makes me think of U2's "Electrical Storm" because I listened to that a lot at camp. I thank you for how you are continually affirming my calling (your calling), how, at camp, you showed me the vital role of art in the lives of children and the amazing ministering power of beauty. I thank you for all the beauty that you've brought into my life. I thank you for women who I'll just see around town or throughout my day who take time to be beautiful. I always want to go up and thank them. I'm not sure why.
I thank you for my friend Tim, for his love of music and of people. Thank you for how much he's taught me about community. I'm sorry that he's leaving. Thank you that he's following you, though. Also thank you so much for the community that you've put me in.
Thank you for the companionship I find in reading; I don't know where I'd be without books. Thank you for Godric, who is always trying to be holy, for Hazel in Watership Down, who wants very much to be a good leader. For Reverend Ames, who takes time to think and to remember. For Marilynne Robinson who causes Reverend Ames to think and reflect. For Philip Yancey, who is always looking for the truth.
Keeping me looking for the truth, and bless me now as I seek to do you will.
In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Of course, I haven't done anything to alleviate the situation.
Okay, so people have been doing this for a long time, and I'm just freaking out over nothing. But freaking out is fun, so I'll keep on with it. Anyway, all this to say that I've now added Katie and Stan to my homepages so I can keep tabs (get it?) on them daily. They post a lot, and have trouble keeping up with them otherwise.
If you, by the way, think I should add your web page to my list of homepages then just let me know, and I'll think about making you a part of the family.
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Oh, and to give credit where it's do, this portrait was done by our own Eucharisto some years ago. (On a program called "Appleworks" - the Mac version of Paint [the best program Microsoft ever designed]).
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
So you see that I'm killing three or four birds with one stone here. But please, poultry genocide aside, join me as I toss this
stone up to glory seeking to give thanks to my Creator. And who knows? Perhaps this will be the first of many thanksgiving posts to come.
To begin with basics, Lord, I give thanks for ultimate frisbee. And for Mt. Tabor park even though there's no good spot to play ultimate frisbee up there. This is why I also give thanks for Berrydale park; it's name makes me think of the asylum in Arsenic and Old Lace, but it has a long stretch of grass, and that counts for something.
I give thanks for rain. For running in the rain. For running in the rain on Mt. Tabor park, in the morning when there is a fog in the air and in the trees.
I thank you, God for my friend who's name I don't want to say on the Internet and who goes running three times a week with Why and myself rain or shine, though of course, because he's from California, he'd prefer it were shine. Also I should say that Why and I go running with him, since he's been doing this longer. I thank you most of all for his willingness to listen, I thank you that you brought him into my life at one of its darkest points. Thank you for bringing me out of that darkness. (Don't let me go back.)
Thank you for artists who show me other ways to do things. Thank you that you are far more creative or imaginative than any human. I don't think I could worship a God whom I could out daydream. Thank you for 2001: A Space Odyssey and The New World. Neither film is complete, of course. But they are both so refreshing to my soul. Thank you for Sufjan Stevens and for the Danielson Family and that they both heed your vision (to borrow from the trailer that supplies me with all the information I know about the Danielson Family). Thank you also for Frederick Buechner and for the colorful wings he has put on my perception of the Gospel. Thank you for G. K. Chesterton and the enormous, crushing joy that is your Gospel that he has revealed to me.
Thank you so much for your Gospel, which is Good News not only for the sinner but for the saved. Thank you that you Gospel is a well to which we can continually return. I thank you that you do not stand in the way; the only thing keeping me from being roaring slobbering drunk on that Living Water is me.
I thank you for my family. I thank you for the crazy, bottled up tensions and relationships that make up a family; how I'd miss that holy insanity! (I thank you also for using Brave New World to point this out to me.) Give Mom and Dad grace as they seek to serve you. Thank you for parents are willing to fling everything to the wind to chase the Wild Goose that is your Holy Spirit.
(I thank you for "Casimir Pulaski Day", which my computer, Albert is just this moment playing.)
I thank you for relationships. I thank you for the health and richness you have brought into my relationships since bringing me out of the darkness I mentioned. All of the rich friendships, the wonderful people that I can't even begin to name in this place.
Thank you for those two wonderful people who lead our college group; you used them to show me the perilous importance of thanksgiving (and for other things which you and I know).
I send a special prayer of thanks also for the relationship you've permitted me to begin with the girl that most people know here by that very long name. That the person called The Queen of Arts and England would even consent to join me on this "getting to know you" venture is cause enough for a thousand songs. Thank you.
Lastly, my dear sweet Jesus, and perhaps most importantly, I thank for my beautiful sister, Midsummer, who's birthday is tomorrow. I thank you for the summer sunshine that she is in this family and I ask that you make your own face to shine upon her on this special day.
And now I end this prayer of (mostly) thanksgiving, with a prayer that you make me fully alive, fully in communion with you. Use me to bring to life those around me. I hope there's some of you left in this post.
In Jesus' name.
Monday, May 15, 2006
Friday, May 12, 2006
I don't have time for a real post today, but (of course) that doesn't mean I can't dig up something from way back in my past. Today's somewhat moldy dish a paper I wrote for my psychology class; yes, it's a hack job, but my teacher liked it, and that's what counts. I quote poetry in it, if that interests you. Besides, some of you (okay, one of you) have expressed interest in reading this paper, so that's probably a good enough excuse. Here it is:Most Fresh Sting: Memory Storage and Retrieval
In the Australian children's story Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox, a little boy name Wilfrid who lives next to a retirement home seeks the answer to a simple question: "What is a memory?" Wilfrid asks this question in hopes of somehow restoring the memory of his friend, Miss Nancy, who is suffering from memory-loss. Wilfrid Gordon's neighbors had many different answers to his question, and one gets the feeling that, if modern psychologists were approached on the subject, a similarly varied response would result. The question of Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge still lingers a little in the world of psychology, though perhaps in more complex forms. Psychologists might have moved beyond simply seeking a definition for memory, and instead are asking themselves questions relating to memory storage and retrieval. It is this topic of storage and retrieval that I intend to survey in this paper, focusing also on the role of the olfactory receptors in memory recall.
The concept of memory storage that probably many of us have in the back of our minds is the idea that we store our memories in a little corner of our brain, in a room, perhaps with a sign above the door, labeled "Memories". This is a nice, neat theory of memory, and, of course, it's wrong.
In the early 1900s, psychologists began a search for such a room, a search that more or less continues to this day. These researchers, like the little boy in the story at the beginning of this paper, were looking for memory. But how exactly does one pinpoint memory? Is it localized in one spot (as our imagination might have us believe), or is it spread across the brain? One famous researcher, Harvard psychologist Karl Lashley, went a long way in answering these questions.
Lashley's method was ingenious, though perhaps cruel. According to author Mark Pendergrast (1996), Lashley started by teaching several rats to complete a complex maze. After that, finding where the rats stored their memory would be relatively simple. Lashley would systematically remove sections of the different rat’s brains and let the rats try their luck in the maze again. If a rat demonstrated a total lack of memory for the maze after a certain section of the brain was removed then the search for the memory's storehouse would be complete. But surprisingly, no matter which part of the brain Lashley removed, the rat always retained at least some memory of the maze; it was not where the brain was affected, but how much it was affected that made the difference in how well the rat remembered the maze (pp. 101-102). Lashley’s conclusion: We store memory all over our brain, not just in one localized area.
As "Psychology Today" journalist Jill Neimark (1995) puts it: "Memory is not a single entity residing in a single place.” Neimark goes on to say that memory “is the likelihood that the pathway of neurons and connections an experience forges in the brain can be reactivated again." (Neimark, 13 Ways of Looking at the Brain section, para. 5).
How, then, is a memory formed? We know that a memory starts as an experience. This experience then passes through the hippocampus, where psychologists believe that memory is received, and then the hippocampus decides whether to relay the experience or discard it. (Neimark). If relayed, the experience will be stored along a complex network of neurons. The neural bonds that are formed may then be strengthened over time by recollection.
In William Morris's poem "The Defence of Guenevere" Arthur's runaway queen ponders the phenomena of recollection; what Neimark describes as a “pathway of neurons” being reactivated:
In the lone sea, far off from any ships
Do I not know now of a day in Spring?
No minute of that wild day ever slips
'From out my memory: I hear thrushes sing,
And wheresoever I may be, straightway
Thoughts of it all come up with most fresh sting (103-108)
If memory recall (surely the lifeblood of memory) is the reactivation of such "neural pathways", how does this reactivation occur? Before attempting to answer this question, let us look at the two different types of memory. In the poem above, Queen Guenevere is referring to what’s called “explicit” memory, that is, the memory that records events, people, conversations, and so forth. The other kind of memory, called “implicit” memory, is what’s being referred to when someone says, "Once you learn to ride a bicycle, you never forget it”. Implicit memories are the memories of the unconscious: skills, routines, strategies, and the like. I do not intend to delve into the recall of implicit memory in this paper, but instead propose to explore briefly the effects of certain sensory stimuli on the minds explicit memory.
We know from experience that a familiar taste, the whiff of a scent can trigger memories long thought forgotten. An unpleasant car trip, and exciting family adventure, a time of great loss, the intimacy of relationship. Consider this quote about the power of the sense of smell to release a flood of memories:
“My grandfather died three years ago, and his image in (a photograph), caught in a moment of posed reunion, often reminds me of my boyhood, when he doted on me as his hunting and fishing companion. Yet the recollections are vague and distant.
Recently, however, I took his old deerskin hunting vest out of the closet and on an impulse pressed it to my face and sniffed. Abruptly there came over me a rush of emotion and memory as intimate as it was compelling. No longer was I an adult squinting across a chasm of years at dim events: Suddenly I was a boy again, and there in all but the flesh was my grandfather, methodically reloading his shotgun as the flushed quail sailed beyond the mesquite.
This was no hazy reverie. I could feel his whiskered cheek against mine and smell his peculiar fragrance.” (Boyd Gibbons)
This only makes sense, considering that the olfactory receptors have a direct link to what is thought to be one of the key areas in memory processing in the brain.
In conclusion we see that, while Wilfrid Gordon may not find a definite answer to his question, the field of the study of memory is beginning to cement some of the foundational concepts of memory, including memory storage, and is also advancing in the study of what sensory stimuli strengthen and trigger memory.
Fox M. Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge (1989) Kane/Miller Book Publishers
Gibbons B. as quoted in Creating Understanding by Donald K. Smith (1992). Zondervan Publishing House.
Morris W. (1909-14). The Defence of Guenevere. The Harvard Classics.
Neimark J. (1995). It s magical. It s malleable. It s..memory. Psychology Today, 13 Ways of Looking at the Brain section, para. 5.
Pendergrast, M. (1996). Victims of Memory (pp. 101-102). Upper Access, Inc. Book Publishers.
Thursday, May 04, 2006
These are just some questions to keep in mind. I can't wait to hear your responses.
Monday, May 01, 2006
As most of you know, I have started up a new blog called Communication Matters. I am very excited about this blog and on it I intend to post all of my most profound thoughts and ideas, which seem to occur to me on a bi-weekly basis. In the meanwhile, I have decided that this blog (Foolish Knight) shall contain a bit more of that which is personal, a bit more of the every day.
So, reasoning along these lines, I thought it would be good to let you know something that has changed about my life in recent days. Well, not changed exactly, but... well, I'll just tell you: The smell of my new deodorant, at times, hurts my teeth. I'm dead serious: It's that strong and that weird.
Now this is a vast improvement over my last deodorant which, by the way, didn't have any odor AT ALL. It seems to me that if a deodorant doesn't really prevent bad body odor (which this last one DIDN'T), the least it can do is cover it up.
Am I right? What do you guys think? Let me know by leaving a comment expressing your views.
Also, you guys should really check out my new post on Communication Matters. It will change your life forever.
Thursday, April 27, 2006
Thursday, April 13, 2006
See ya Saturday! ("Ya" is a weird word too; I'm ashamed to have used it.)
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
Anyway, starting with old news, I have gotten a short haircut. It's been about a month, I think, so it's not so short now, but I plan on keeping it short throughout the summer because it's so convenient (and at camp, convenience is essential).
Which brings me to my next "update" (again, funny word): I've been accepted as a counselor at Trout Creek Bible camp, and I'll be working there from June 8th to August 26th, then there's a weekend retreat, so camp really ends on the 29th. Hooray for weekend retreats, woo hoo! ("Woo hoo" is also a funny phrase, and one that I plan on using a lot this summer. [Keep in mind also, that there is no such phrase as "alot", in fact I planned on using the nonexistent word at the beginning of the second sentence of my April Fools post, just to tip you guys off, but I settled for using two exclamation marks on the end of the first sentence instead - which really, if you ask me, should have been enough of a hint for you guys.])
In other news (which is, by the way, probably the laziest transition phrase ever) today I got to help out with childcare for Mom's Club at church, which, since there are plenty of kids but only ever a few boys, means that there were lots of little pink
(Hey! Because I got bored writing this post, I went to the Looking Closer Journal and found this witty piece about the future of television. Joss Whedon is a funny man.)
people running around, and it also means that I had the chance to truly express myself through the unfortunately under-appreciated category of "pink crayon" art, the results of which can be seen here.
Okay, one last news item: I have started a new blog, what's more, I believe that its justified even! Take a look.
Friday, March 31, 2006
There's so much to tell you!! A lot has happened in my life since you last heard from me; I won't be able to tell you everything though, so I'll just keep it brief. Last week was a wonderful time for me; this girl at church who I've been interested in for a long time (I won't say her name here, but I think that some of you know her) finally agreed to "go out" (as public schoolers would say) with me and we had a great time! I've never been in a serious relationship like this before, so if you all would pray that I would have wisdom, I'd really appreciate that.
Be sure to leave a comment and let me know what's going on in your life! (And happy first of "International Guitar Month"!)