Saturday, September 30, 2006


I've just finished all my postcards! I'm free at last!

Sure they were supposed to be done a month or two ago, but, hey - they're done! So I'm happy.

I think that with all my free time all read this exellent post by Jeffery Overstreet.

Psalm 56:3-4

"When I am afraid,
I will trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise,
in God I trust: I will not be afraid.
What can mortal man do to me?"


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

All Bummed Out

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

Through Gritted Teeth (Grateful Tuesdays #6)

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).

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

(Colossians 4:10)

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Grateful Tuesdays #5 (A little short, a little late.)

My dear God,

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.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Thank God for Flannery O'Connor.

And thank God for Douglas Jones and his fantastic essay on one of my favorite writers and her representation of God's dark grace.
I have to say, I love this woman more all the time.

Blogs are about me, right? (Wait, isn't everything about me?)

Okay, so I'm indulging in one of those "email questionnaire" thingies. They're actually a weak spot for me; I'm just too lazy to insert my answers and email a bunch of friends. I don't believe in sending emails to a billion people at once, either. So, of course, I turned to my true love, blogging. Here's the text of the email, with my answers inserted:

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)
1. Serenity
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
3. Firefly
4. Monk

Four places I have been on vacation
1. Ireland
2. Cannon Beach, OR
3. France
4. Italy

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.)
1. Tennessee
2. Ireland
3. A rain forest somewhere
4. Slovakia

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)
1. Eucharisto
2. Katie
3. You
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

Help is Coming (Grateful Tuesdays, One Day Late)

Dear God,

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,


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The Lyrics to "Hard to Get" by Rich Mullins

You who live in heaven
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.

Lay Hold On Eternal Life (Grateful Tuesdays #3)

Dear God,

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.

Friday, September 01, 2006

My Ten Favorite Love Songs

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?

At least Katie will be excited...

Jeff Berryman has good news for Leaving Ruin fans; he is apparently mostly finished with Ruin's sequel Hunting Grace (and anxious to begin work on a third book!). It's in the hands of his publisher right now.

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?