Thursday, October 30, 2008

Dear


Yesterday I received a quick message from one of my best friends from high school. He is currently on his Mission; a 2 year mission trip that Mormon males have to go on; and I haven't seen him since the spring of 2 years ago. He will be returning this summer and I cannot tell you how excited I am to be able to hang out with him again. 

As I responded to his message, I sometimes found myself feeling emotional. At first it confused me, but The more and more that I thought about what I was feeling, the more I embraced it. I felt emotional because I realized how important his friendship was to me. I realized how much I respect and admire him as a person, and it gives testament to the level of our friendship. 

I don't think that I am idealizing our relationship because of the time apart. I know that we really are close friends, and I really do want to continue to invest in that friendship. 

As all of this hit me, I began to understand a little bit more the importance of having good friends. I still sit down and remember the good times that Thomas and I had in high school, and those things make my life happier and brighter. The friendship that I have with Tom and with all of my close friends make me a better person. 

So to all of my good friends, thank you. Thank you very much for making me a better person, and i hope that i can do the same for you. I hope that you have friends that you can think about, and they bring a smile to your face. Its one of the best feelings in the world.

Friday, October 24, 2008

1 Kings 11- My own personal punch in the face


Yesterday I was reading in 1 Kings 11, where Solomon turns from God. At this point in Solomon's life God has blessed him in unbelievable ways, and Solomon had followed God. In 1 Kings 11, Solomon is nearing the end of his life, and in his old age and in all of his wealth and poor decisions he had made, he began to worship other gods. Actually, it was because of the women that Solomon had married that he was convinced to worship other gods. 

When i read this, i was very disappointed in Solomon and the way that he ended his relationship with God. I actually thought that he was a really stupid person for acting this way. If God had blessed him so richly throughout his entire life, then why would he stumble right at the end? I dwelt on this for a little while by myself, then I began to talk with Bethany, my girlfriend about what I had read. 

She brought up the point that Solomon was the wisest person to have ever lived apart from Jesus. I realized that, but i still wasn't turned from my negative view of Solomon. Then, in her wonderfully scathing and forcefully introspective way, Bethany said made me see the story in a different light. The easiest way to show this is through dialogue...

Jordan- "I just don't understand how he could fail right at the end of his life after being the apple of God's eye for his entire life. I mean God had given him everything that he could have ever wanted and more, but he still was turned away from God. He's so dumb! If i was in his position, i wouldn't turn away from God"

Bethany- "Jordan. Stop and think for a minute. You are in his position. You have been blessed beyond most everyone else in the world, but you still turn from God every single day. How can you say that you wouldn't do what he would do, when it is impossible for us to live perfect lives? Just because God blesses you doesn't give you immunity to failing and sinning."

Jordan- "Oh crap. I'm the stupid one, aren't I?"

Bethany- "Now you're just being ridiculous Mister Bolte."

Bethany had it right on. I am just as blessed as Solomon was, but i still sin. The amount of blessing that God bestows upon someone doesn't correlate with the individual's ability to stand strong against sin. The wisest man that has ever lived was still suspect to his sinful nature.

I'm so glad that we believe in a God that knows that we are crappy, but still loves us. He blesses us in ways that we can't even begin to understand, yet we still rebel. I hope that Solomon and his actions help us see that material wealth, God's blessing, and beautiful women don't protect us from sin.

-JB

Monday, October 20, 2008

If allergic to Cheese and Sap, DO NOT READ!


Hey everyone!

Here are some lyrics to a song I wrote to Bethany last year. I felt that I should show everyone else how much she has my heart on our year and a half anniversary.

Together

When I look into your eyes girl
I find comfort in those eyes girl
I look into those eyes and I see
Who I really wanna be

When I see that pretty smile girl
There's true joy in that smile girl
When I see that pretty smile I know
That I Never wanna go

How can I know? How can I
Show you everything you make me feel
How will our love grow together?

Somebody pinch me, I must be dreaming
Its just too good to be true
Me and you, on this afternoon
Together, Forever

My Heart is thirsty for you in my life
Just a thought of you blows my mind
I just need you to know that you are the one for me girl
You are the one for me

How can I know? How can I 
show you everything that I feel? 
Because with you I know
We need to be together

Though the miles may separate us
My love for you gets brighter everyday
That why from my full heart
I must say

How can I know? How can I
show you everything you make me feel?
How will our love grow together?

Happy year and a half love. I'm looking forward to many more. 


Thursday, October 16, 2008

FALL BREAK 2008


Today is the start of something wonderful.

Fall Break 2008.

Thats right. Today starts a chain reaction of fun events that come in many different forms for many different people. Some people left earlier this week, choosing to skip classes to fully enjoy the long weekend. Others have decided that a long weekend at school doesn't constitute skipping classes and have chosen to stay here at school. I am more in the camp of the latter, but just because we've decided to be more responsible doesn't mean that we still can't have fun! My roommate headed back to Bolivia for a week, so from my room alone i feel like we have the entire spectrum of Fall Break activities covered. 

So let me do a little bit of explaining of this coming weekend. 

Thursday- Today is the beginning of all of this insanity. Starting later this afternoon, we most likely will be playing a board or two of Lord of The Rings Risk, which by the way is awesome. After that, Julie Coddington, a fellow PA from English hall, will be possibly making some of us privileged individuals pies and cakes and the sort. We get to be the official taste testers! (SO TIGHT) After these things take place, other mayhem will ensue, but it won't be planned, which is probably the best kind of mayhem. :-)

Friday- Friday we will wake up and begin the day in a lazy manner. Friday is our official Board game day. Risk, LOTR Risk, Settlers of Cattaan, Heroquest, and many others will all be played tomorrow. This is the true root of our geekiness and we are going to relish in it, so be jealous. After all of the gaming has gone on, we are planning on heading over to a neighboring dorm and making root beer! I ordered Root Beet Extract (from zatarain's, the people who also make rice) and Brewer's Yeast (from swanson's, the chicken broth company). I was very confused as to the sellers, but its no use to fret over it. :-) This is set up to be a major event, so a lot of us who are sticking around are planning on heading over and learning this obscure art! Who knows, maybe one of us will find our true calling.

Saturday- Saturday is set up to be another slow start to the day, but then we have a lot of plans. The plans of our overall group deviate a little bit more on this day because of other responsibilities that we have. One guy, Ben Aalderink, will be headed up to Fort Wayne to see some friends from home. Ryan Gates and Dustin Friesen are going to Indianapolis to shop at the Apple store, considering Dustin's computer is on the fritz. *moment of silence for dustin's mac...* I personally will probably be trying to watch seasons 1 & 2 of heroes. I will blog about my reasonings for watching Heroes some other time because this is already a long enough blogpost and you probably wouldn't be interested anyway. :-)

Sunday- Finally, the final day of fall break. On sunday, many people will be coming back with crazy stories of what happened over fall break, all of whom thought they had the best break. Unbeknownst to them, I know that everyone who stayed would have had the most fun. This day we will be doing homework and hanging out with other friends, all of whom realize now that fall break is over that responsibilities have come back to bite them in the butt. 

Its okay though, its college. This is where we are weaned away from childhood and thrown into the cold world, holding onto only our weak presuppositions of the way things are and what we are told we have to do to be good people. Its a bleak and dismal outlook on everything, but that really is all you have in the world.

at least, thats what you think if you didn't spend fall break at Taylor University. :-)

Friday, October 10, 2008

The History of Heroquest.


Ahh, friday. The day when everyone gets to loosen up their ties and shoelaces, all in expectation of the wondrous weekend. Everyone loves the weekend in the words of Loverboy. The lounging, the lack of schedules, the pandemonium that occurs, and Heroquest.

Ahh, Heroquest. Let me explain this game to everyone.

It all started around 3 or 4 years ago in lexington Kentucky, the homeland of Heroquest. It had been a cold, cold winter and spring was wanting to break out of winter's icy grasp. Jack Frost was willing to let up on all of us, but only if he could have one last blast of winter weather before he left. This blast came in the form of a monstrous ice storm which dumped three to four inches of said ice over the entire bluegrass. Any of you readers would know of what i speak, nod your head at your computer screen in confirmation.  Trees and power lines were falling daily, roads were un-navigable, and power was removed from thousands of homes. In Firebrook, there was only two or three streets that had power, and mine was one. Across the neighborhood, Dan Marino's house (not the football player, but the Mormon EMT driver) did not. 
Despite the lack of power, my mormon friend and his cronies were sure to find ways to entertain themselves as they always did. During the 2 week period where they had no power, this desire for entertainment manifested itself in the form of Heroquest, an 80's boardgame that is like a mall madness version of dungeons and dragons. Now here, there is a small aside that i must state. I realize that this is very dorky and nerdy, but i promise that it is worth your time to continue to read. If you are saying on the inside of your head, "Oh Pish Posh! Why should I, a nobel prize winning all american athlete, continue to read about silly board games?"

You should.

Anyways, they taught themselves how to play the game and they actually beat every single mission that they could! With the power still out and the game complete, they did what any other group of mildly bored, ethically sound group of high schoolers does: they started making their own rules and missions. Dan was givn the coveted title of Zargon, the dungeon master (DM) and everyone else was able to create their own specific character. My good friend Thomas was Nigel the hollister Elf. He was wearing trendy clothes and rode on a plaid cloud. 
Oh, the dorky revelry. It was so awesome.

Time continued on, the ice melted away. but the heroquesting continued. More people were joined to the fold (aka me) and the game grew in size and in hilarity. Rules were removed and ludicrous situations were commonplace. Once, a hero kicked coals into the eyes of multiple orcs, successfully burning out the eyeballs of each orc, and then successfully killing the orcs (somehow). 
Ohh, those were the days. The classic days of Heroquest, with all of the original pieces and all of the original players. These were the times that really shaped the way that i saw the game and how i played the game. Yet alas, all good things must come to an end. The end of high school came upon our merry little group of board game adventurers, and the group was disbanded. Sigh...

College! The excitement of living in a dorm with hundreds of other smelly, hormone driven twenty somethings! I came to college and enjoyed the first semester of my schooling at Taylor University greatly. School was fun and all, but the one thing that i talked about regularly was this ridiculous game that i played in high school called Heroquest. I could see the sparkle in other's eyes as I explained it to the excited listeners. Everyone would say, "why don't you bring the game up! We need to play this!" I wish that I could've brought it up, yet i didn't own it! With that, i really lost hope...

Until January! It was J-term and my birthday happened to fall within J-term. Unbeknownst to me, my good friend Steven Stevens bought Heroquest on E-Bay and had it shipped to Taylor. Now the fun could really begin! With that, hilarity and pandemonium has occured in Samuel Morris hall, but i can't really explain it and do it justice. I would recommend that you come and see for yourself... Midnight on Saturday nights... Come enjoy! :-)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Bandanas and Americanos go well together


Today, something horrific occurred in my life. It became known to me that the only coffeehouse anywhere remotely close to Taylor University will begin closing early. Yes thats right, Payne's Coffee and Custard will start closing at midnight from now on. Why you ask! What in all of God's wonderful green earth could cause such a magnificent cloister of greatness shut its doors to hungry and caffeine craving patrons? Money. We asked one of the workers what the deali-o was and she informed us that Payne's wasn't making enough moolah, hence the depressing news. If I'd have had a candle, i would have lighted it for Payne's sake. 

So, if any of my dedicated readers (which i have 2 of! ^_^) happen upon vast amounts of money, please make your way to upland, Indiana and leave an exorbitantly large stash of cash in the seat cushion for the failing business. Everyone at Taylor would thank you profusely.

On another note, I am thinking about re-arranging my computer Keyboard from the Qwerty keyboard to the Dvorak keyboard. The initial benefits will be little, but in the long run, there are many benefits. 1. The Dvorak keyboard is proven to be faster and better for your hands. 2. other will have a hard time sabotaging the work that i create. 3. I will know a vital skill if i want to be an "international person". 4. Its just the thing of a trendy white hipster to learn. 5.  positive challenge would be welcome in my life!

take it or leave it, thats whats going down.

-JB

and to end today, the most entertaining video on the internet... Here

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Music of Life


Ahhh, Monday. You can't really disagree that you feel the least alive on monday mornings. :-)

This past week was a good week for me. I got a lot of homework done, got to hang out with a lot of different people, and i got to experience one of the best concerts that i've ever been to in my whole entire life: Ben Folds backed by the fort wayne philharmonic.

I was told about this wonderful concert by one of my friends on another floor who had an extra pair of tickets. I already was interested in it because i needed to go see a concert for one of my classes, i was sad that the Eagles had lost and i was looking for a way to appease my sorrow, and the tickets were just $23.00! Needless to say, i jumped upon the opportunity to obtain these tickets for my girlfriend and I. 

The concert was part of the Pops series that the fort wayne philharmonic has been recently engaged in. Ben fold came out, chipper and awkward as he seems through his music, but he blew everyone in the audience away with his level of musicianship and skill as a pianist. It is always a good thing when you have a quirky jewish piano player cussing out his ex wives on stage with a philharmonic orchestra. :-)

In a completely different and unrelated topic, I was surprised with an epic choice this past week! I went to breakfast with my girlfriend Bethany this past tuesday, and after we had finished our meal i was surprised with an envelope containing some paper on the inside. After i opened it, the paper read something like this. "You get the choice of a fleet foxes concert next weekend or a kings of leon concert in november. Happy late (long story) anniversary!" 

Now this is a huge descison to be made! Fleet foxes are my favorite find of the summer, as the style of music they play could be called baroque folk. They rock indefinitely, and i would highly recommend everyone to listen to them. The Kings of leon are a southern rock band from Tennessee that have become rock royalty in Europe. The band hasn't rally blown up here in the states the way they have in England. For example, this band was the headlining band at the glastonbury music festival this year, whereas they are playing at a small theater this november. It would be a very intimate show with a wildly popular band. 

Which should I choose?

Have a good week!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Update!

So i'm sitting in class right now trying to pay attention but the teacher is very... wordy. We are talking about pluralism and John Hicks view of all religions. It is a very interesting topic for conversation, but the medium i'm being taught through (my teacher) is less than a great orator. Its okay though. :-)

Last week, i finished reading the book Brisingr. It was a fairly easy read (comparable to a harry potter) but it was much better. I mean, any book that has dragons and flaming swords is alright in my book. 

and, lastly, the eagles lost this past week to the chicago bears. a fourth quarter 4 and 1 was shut down by the bears and broke the back of the eagles... 2-2 isn't so bad... 

until next time!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Snapshot Post

-Sadly, the Eagles lost to the Cowboys on monday night. 

-I am also currently in find new music mode. This can be detrimental to my bank account (though it hasn't posed that problem just yet) and to my computer's memory. The problem: Music is all just too good.

-School and PAing are picking up some, and the grind of junior year has slowly started to dawn upon me. I can foresee many, many sleepless nights. 

-Bethany and I still are not talking, which is hard. I'm still dealing with a lot of the emotion of the entire situation. Basically, its a day to day process. We'll see what happens.

-The Phubbbbbbbs and I went to Noblesville yesterday on a man-date. We talked a lot about the changes and improvements that we can help catch hold in our dorm and in our lives. I really respect him for the strong moral and ethical convictions that he has. It makes me proud of him as a brother in christ and as a friend. We also pretended that we like sports. (example: the first bullet point of this post)

-I heard one of the biggest lineman on the football team here at Taylor squeal like a little girl... at a breath mint. He thought it was a bug. It was unbelievable.

-This past monday night, the ethiopia mission trip team met together and delegated out some tasks. I was appointed to be in the worship group, and I got to lead the team in a song of worship. We sang "you must increase"; my favorite worship song; and I think it had a good effect on the team. As we prepare to head to Yetebon, please be praying for us to have Jesus completely as our focus. We want him to increase and for us to decrease.

-I just read through the entire book of Judges. It is one of the craziest things I have ever read, and i've read a lot of crazy stuff! Basically, the entire old testament is insane. I am fairly amazed at the stubbornness of the Israelites, but then i remember how i continually sin... Sigh, God has a funny way of being ironic...

-The final book in the inheritance trilogy (by Christopher Paolini) comes out this weekend! Eragon, Eldest, and now Brisingr will complete the trilogy and finish a huge endeavor that Paolini started when he was just 16. Lets just hope that if Eldest and Brisingr are turned into movies, they are better than Eragon was...

-A fellow friend on my floor (Steven Stevens) and I have decided and vowed to grow our beards out for a year. Sorry Momma! This doesn't mean that I can't trim the thing and make it look nice, but a promise is a promise... Pictures will probably be posted weekly starting very soon. 

Thanks!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Little Self-Realization

Hey Blog,

So I'm feeling a little bit down currently. To make a long, complicated story short, Bethany (my girlfriend) and I broke up this past week. It has been very interesting to see all the different ways that I've reacted to this new situation that God has put me into. 

First off, I still love Bethany. I love her very deeply. This in no way has weakened that. Yet i feel like it should! Usually when people break up, the relationship dwindles. Usually when people break up, you try and get over the person. I haven't really found that to be true. 

I know that sounds quite creepy, but i promise that I'm not stalking anyone or anything. :-) My love for her has had the cushy exterior taken off of it, and now its time for the rubber to meet the road. Will I try and become a better man for Bethany, or will I stay exactly where I'm at right now.

But through that train of thought comes and even bigger struggle: Should I be improving in my life for her and my love for her, or for God and my love for Him? 

This thought has been running through my head recently, and i've been tossing it back and forth. Through good conversations and a lot of self searching, I realize that my relationship with God is the most important thing in my life. Its not that it should be, it is. Even if i don't want it to be, the way that I view my God is what I base everything else in the world upon. 

Ok, lets just say for a minute that Bethany and I hadn't broken up. Our relationship would've continued and it would have been fine. But what if she died? What if she was taken out of my life in a completely unexpected way? If my world-view is based upon my relationship with her, I will view God as unfair and unjust. Everything that i think in my brain comes back to God, which in turn brings me to Jesus Christ. 

I've been reading through the old testament from front to back, and I am about to finish up with Joshua. In Joshua 3:5 Joshua tells the people to purify themselves because in the next day God was going to do wonders. I feel like i've been called to be purified. Purified in my thoughts and Purified in my actions. God is a jealous God that is so jealous, he constantly draws all my thoughts back to Him. 

Through this lens, I have been so stupid! I apologize to every relationship that I've not been god focused in, to Bethany, and first and foremost to God. 

Hah. This was embarrassingly introspective. I hope that if you bring this to me sometime, I blush. :-)

it feels good to blog.

:-)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Taylor Sucks Time Away...

Hey blogging community!

Once again, i must apologize as to my extreme lack of blog posts in the past month. School has just now gotten back into the swing of things, and it has been very high octane these past couple weeks. Lets see... in the past couple weeks i've been trained to become a PA again, met somewhere around 100+ new people, witnessed the president of my college fall off of his brand new segway and break 2 of his ribs, and see my lovely girlfriend once again. 

and thats just a taste of what has happened!

Wow... where to really start? God has blessed this past month for me in so many ways. I guess i can start with returning to school. I returned to school after a stint in alabama with my parents (which could have been much longer). My dad has gotten into road biking this summer, so we each now are proud owners of road bikes, which has been absolutely amazing. If you are interested in it, i would really recommend it! My dad and I road our bikes even in upland, indiana, which was a much less challenging ride than the hilly terrain in alabama! 

After i returned to campus and bit adeiu to my parents, I realized very quickly the work that was in place for me this coming year. I am one of three returning RAs on a staff of 12. Returner RAs are not a very common thing because of the strenuous nature of the job and the time constraints that it places upon the said RA. 2nd year RAs are looked up to more for some reason (like we know what we're doing) and it seemed that the RAs were listening in particular to me. Now, i don't mind leading something, but the role that i've been placed in is a much larger and more ominous leadership role than i'm used to. It has so much opportunity, but many pitfalls, such as pride swelling up in my life, fatal lack of leadership on my part, and losing focus of what God wants. a prayer request that i have for that role is that God would lead me, and I would be a shepherd being shepherded by the Lord.

Training continued a week or two ago as the RAs were trying to plan out what we were going to do in our dorm for this year. Our hall director (affectionately known as crazy) asked us what we wanted to stand up for in our dorm. What did we want to see as change in guy's lives when they left our hall? What a huge question! I hope that when people leave this dorm, they will be drawn closer to the Lord in how they live.

And thats what we're trying to do. We really do want to see guys come to a greater understanding of what God is doing in our lives as men, and to figure out what this whole christian church thing is all about. 

:::::::::::::::(I started this post about 2 weeks ago, so now i'm finishing it!):::::::::::::::::::

So School has started and i'm back into the swing of things. The guys on our floors are really active in things and are trying to grow. Its good.

relationally, its been a little bit rough, but i'm trusting God. 

Spiritually, I have felt myself have a necessity to cling to God for strength. 

emotionally... lets just say you have to taste the sour to appreciate the sweet.

physically, I got a bike and i've put over 100 miles on it! W00t!

ok, i'm sorry that this has been so long in coming, but life has been going on, so... well, i don't know what to say! :-)

Grace and peace to everyone that reads this. I hope that You can be blessed by this in some way. Peace!

-JTB

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

After a slight hiatus...

Hey blogging world and readers!

Sorry that it has been such a long time since my last update. Life has been a little bit crazy and a little bit different for multiple reasons. I've been on a mission trip, housesat for a lovely family, and really just haven't had much to write about.

First off, i will describe a little bit of my feelings post mission trip. We went to tijauana, mexico for a week to build houses for families that were either living in poor conditions or didn't have a house to begin with. (which i suppose is still poor living conditions...) This was the first mission trip that i have been on that was more focused on work and construction than on the relationships with the people. It also was the first mission trip that i have been on that was trans-generational. We had 9 year old kids and 65 year old men, all working toward the same goal. 

Overall, this was a very difficult and challenging mission trip for me. It wasn't as much of a spiritual mission trip as it was a construction trip. This challenged me in my faith, even as i've come back to america and gotten back into the groove of things. Another challenging part of the trip was the students. I've never really realized how fickle and self centered people can be. As i dialogued with Jake, he basically said, "welcome to the dark side of student ministry". Jeez. 

So basically, that put my faith into a funk. I was fairly disheartened because the mission trip that i went on wasn't the time of growth and the mountaintop experience that i'm used to. This reverberated into the way that i have viewed the idea of a church at taylor. Let me explain.

The more that i've thought about it, the more I've become unsure with the idea. I now have started to see the positives in the ideas that people like david and Blackwasp proposed from the start. Reshaping Vespers or something would be good. But to counterbalance that, I still think that this should be a very bold program. Basically, i think that discussion should happen the entire first semester about TU church. If the idea came to fruition too early, it would be underdeveloped, which is the last thing that it needs. 

To everyone who reads this, i would ask that you pray for the idea of a church or program at Taylor. Also, pray that i can stay focused on what God wants from me in this coming school year. I'll do the same for all of you!

-JB

ps- sorry that this post was so vague and ambiguous! Its been a while since i last blogged, and i'm getting back into the swing of things!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Viva La Mexico!

Tomorrow morning at the literal buttcrack of dawn, A team from the church I'm interning at and I will be traveling to Tiajuana, Mexico to go do some real work! We'll be building 3 houses and a soccer field (how you build a soccer field is beyond me). Pray for us that we will have the energy to complete our work to the best of our ability while fully showing God's love to the recipients of the homes and the individuals we'll be working with. I know God has big plans for the trip!

Until then, everyone's homework is to read news, go running, and live out one of your wildest daydream imaginings. (I recently was thinking about how the world would end if air suddenly turned opaque, lol)

Ciao!

-JB

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The purpose of a church at Taylor University

What would the purpose of a church at Taylor serve?

I asked this question a while ago in a blogpost, and I think now I will try and answer that as best as I can. Hopefully the Dave Matthews i'm listening to can help me out. :-)

As many people that go to Taylor have realized, not everyone that goes to TU is a practicing christian. Some people go to church or read their Bibles every once in a while, but it isn't enough to constitute a strong relationship with Jesus. There are even some people on campus that are in opposition to christianity. A good example of this lack of spiritual concern on campus can be seen in chapel attendance. I know that chapel can be boring, and I know that sometimes I don't want to go or haven't gone, but there have been times where 5 guys from my floor have been at chapel. My floor is made up of 80 people. 

Another example is the growing problem with drinking on our campus (this was brought up by students). Now both chapel attendance and drinking are slippery slopes to use as examples, but they both have some of their roots in a much larger problem: spiritual apathy. It is this spiritual apathy that is a major cause in things like breaking school rules or cheating on schoolwork (another problem brought up by the student body). Now being realistic, I know that you will always have people that will break rules and cheat. Taylor isn't the garden of eden, and its not ever going to be. I'm pretty sure that the garden had more hills and less corn. :-) 

So, as a student that wants to try and combat this wave of spiritual apathy that is growing through campus, what can I do? How can God use me to stop the spread of disinterest in Him? My first thought was to make sure that rules were more enforced in my dorm. Being an RA, I could do this effectively. If rules were more strict, people would not want to skip chapel or break rules because of the consequences. 

That isn't my place though. Yes, I must enforce rules, but that isn't going to change hearts. Its the relationships that I have with my peers that really change me. Its when I see someone else cares for me that I can then be open in the relationship. Its when I see the passion that someone has for something when I can also be passionate about it. I can't tell you how much I really hate watching sports, but when there is a really intense basketball game on and everyone is on the edge of their seats around the TV, I have to watch. I feed off of other's passion. 

A great example of someone who is passionate about life is Tyler Kessler, or as he was more lovingly known as T.K. He just recently graduated from Taylor, but while he was on campus he lived on my floor (Penthouse W00t W00t). Throughout the entire time that I've attended TU, I've seen people drawn to him because of the general excitement and life he approaches everything with, whether it be relationships or a ministry. Because of that, I saw other amazing men come underneath his wing and become involved in the floor and in great ministries because of him.

Now enters the next question: How can we take people that are passionate (like T.K.) about Christ and christianity and combat the spiritual apathy on campus?

There is a multitude of ways that this question can be answered. In no way is the idea of a church the only way. I talked to Rachel Sawyer last night and she had the great suggestion of reshaping Vespers (a sunday night bible study). Justin Heth suggested that this idea be implemented at an already existing church. Many more have said something about just creating another organization or group on campus that can act out passionately. All of these are great ideas! My first thought was a real church on campus, and here's why.

I've been reading the book unChristian by Dave Kinnaman. The book is all about what the newest generation (our generation) thinks about christianity. Some of the things people said about christians is that we're judgmental (I felt great about wanting to be harder about rules) old fashioned, boring, and sheltered. Sadly, I have to partially agree with these observations by non christians. We can be all these things! This applies to Taylor more and more as the amount of non christians on campus grows. So where have these non christians gotten these views of the judgmental, old fashioned, and boring christians? More than likely, Church. Church is the initial place where a non christian interacts with a christian. 

Honestly, I haven't really found a strong church home at Taylor. It probably is mostly my fault for not getting directly involved, but I don't really feel a strong communal connection with any of the churches that I have been to in the surrounding area of Taylor. The churches do seemed old fashioned to me in a sense, and I have been bored in church (not just at Taylor). Now I'm not saying that a Taylor based church should constantly keep someone entertained or occupied, but there is a huge opportunity reshape the way people think about church. So now it comes to it, the real purpose. 

I think the purpose of a church on Taylor's campus would be to combat the spiritual apathy on campus by reshaping people's minds about Christianity, the Church, and Christ. This would be done through the people in the community that the church is in: Taylor. The topics at the church can be the things that Taylor students are actually concerned about, and what the Bible has to say about those topics. All in all, it would be to get people excited and on fire once again for a life in christ by showing them there is life in the church. To show that the church can change, that it isn't judgmental, and that it is concerned about the things of today.

Now obviously there are many questions that follow this. What does a student church look like? What about other's in the community? How would it be operated? What would draw someone back after you talk about the thing they care about? How would this be funded? Who would lead it? There are 1,000's of questions that can be asked and they must be asked. I'm sorry to the people that I've talked to and I've not been able to answer some of these. I felt like I had to have an answer whenever I talked to someone about this idea. Since then, I've realized that if God wants this to happen, it will. I don't have to have an answer for everything or everyone, because my trust is in God. 

This is the way that I see things, and I would love to hear how you see it. 

Thanks so much for listening to me rant! I hope to see responses to this soon. :-)

In Him, 
JB

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Un- Flippin- Believable

I don't know how else to describe this beyond Glorious.

This is the funniest thing I've seen in a long time!

:-)

Restoring a Bridge

Yesterday i read a wonderful article about the church, christianity, and the way that they interact with the GLBT (gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, and trans-sexual) community. The article was written by Andrew Marin, a straight married man that was at one point signed on to play division 1 baseball at a big school. What, not really the type of person that you'd expect to be writing an article about gay or lesbian people? Well, he didn't expect it either. 

Marin begins the article by describing the way that he was brought up: conservative christian family, very heterosexual, Bible believing, and completely ignorant of the GLBT lifestyle. Marin goes on to describe his view of GLBT people what he saw on TV... "I believed I knew gays and lesbians very well because I saw them on TV, I saw the cross-dressing pictures of them at the Pride Parades and I heard "the" rumors." This line of thinking falls dangerously close to my own view and paradigm of gays and lesbians. I'm sure that it also is hitting pretty close to home for most everyone that reads this.

How many people do I actually know and have a strong relationship that is in the GLBT community? I know it feels like this is a little bit removed from most of the circles that we hang out in, but it really isn't. So the question then now is, how can I as a christian bring Christ's redeeming love, not the negative baggage associated with the church, to the GLBT community? 

Its really quite simple really. Its so simple that its often hard to identify. We are called to love people. Those people being gay, straight, black, white, old, young, cool, or hip, it really doesn't matter. How much different would your interactions with the GLBT community look if you approached it with a visage of love as opposed to one of condemnation? 

GLBT's have been beaten over the head by christians that being gay is wrong and they are going to Hell if they don't change. I don't disagree that being gay is wrong. The Bible explicitly states that it is a sin, but imagine how you'd feel if someone approached you and told you that judging people is a sin and you are going to hell. Personally, I would avoid the person! Focusing on whats wrong is not the way to show people the love of Christ. We should look at the GLBT community with eyes that see people, not a sexual orientation. I know that there are many other pitfalls throughout the issue of GLBT's and the church, but we could change the whole tone of conversation between an ever growing subculture in our lives and the church that we are a part of by simply being unconditionally loving.

After the sex scandal of President Bill Clinton, Billy Graham was seen at a press conference that Clinton was speaking at. A surprised press person asked Rev. Graham why he was there at the press conference with the knowledge of that Clinton had recently done. The press person expected Graham to condemn the president's actions, but Billy Graham had a different agenda. Rev. Graham simply stated to the press, "its the Holy Spirits job to convict, Gods job to judge, and my job to love."

Lets just love. 

If this interests you, check out this website.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Precision

I've never realized how jealously relational God really is. 

Recently i've started reading in Genesis with plans to read straight through the entire Bible. I've never actually done this, so i figured that now was as good a time as any to start. With all the changes, plans, and developments that are forming in the church, in my generation's paradigm of what the church looks like, and my school, i thought it was good to go ahead and start again from the beginning. :-)

Anyways, I'm currently in the middle of Exodus and God has really surprised me. A lot. The first thing that has stuck out to me is how specific God is! He has such an order to things, it seems almost tedious. He gives exact dimensions to the ark of the covenant, exact materials to build it out of, and the craftsman he wants to build it. He even gives minute details about the clothes that the priests should wear when serving in the Tabernacle. The attention to detail and the state of orderliness that God demands is astounding! 

At first glance I think, "Man! God is really uptight and demanding!" That is my first reaction. Thinking about it in context, my view shifts and becomes one of understanding. Think what our world would look like if god didn't love order. All the world is based upon laws: laws of nature, social laws, laws of the covenant, etc. Imagine if God haven't been meticulous about how Atoms are arranged. Or if gravity was wishy washy in certain places. He demands order from the Israelites because in order obedience is required. As the Israelites worship God in an orderly fashion, they are obeying God's law, which is ultimately what he wants. 

On another note...

Today, we can all agree... Apple is in the business of stealing lives. Observe.

Also, here is why I don't watch TV.

Update on the TU church:

As more people have been introduced to the idea, the spectrum of reactions continues to grow. Some people are really excited for it, while others have their misgivings. Both views help to develop the idea of what the church could be. the more people that I personally talk to about it, the more i realize how much we need to involve God in this entire process. I've already found myself disheartened in some areas, but I've realized its because I've been trying to do somethings by myself. As a believer and a community member that is trying to cause positive change in the community that I live in, I need to center every action around God. If God wills it, a way will be found. :-)


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Mystery Substance Part 2.

So as i walked out of the garage this morning, i had to notice the stuff that is just chillin in the rocks in front of our neighbor's townhouse. As i described in my last mystery substance post, it is sort of like wet sugar, that somehow can miraculously transform into a chalky white looking substance. Hmm.

Based upon observation today, i have noticed very little change. It has gone from the white chalky back to the wet sugary look. The only thing that i really noticed was that there wasn't nearly as much of it as there was when i first started my observations. This leads me to believe that it has been washed away by some of the strong storms that we've had around the area. This also shows that it is not biodegradable. Whatever it is, it can be sure that it will be under scrutiny from me for as long as my internship lasts. 

This morning as i was sitting in my office i got a call from Jake (the minister that i'm interning under) summoning me to the basketball courts for some mad HORSE games. The middle school minister Darrin and the worship minister Neil were also there ready to play. Never in my wildest dreams did i imagine such a competitive game of horse could be played. There were many red faces, missed shots, and ridiculous shots made by everyone... except me. I think God gave the world basketball for enjoyment. I also think God gave me basketball to keep me humble. :-)

An update on the Taylor church idea:
As i have been talking with more and more people about the idea, i've come to realize that before it gets to a point of forming programming ideas there must be some fundamental groundwork laid for the church. Jake today brought up the point that if we do teach about things we can't have messages portraying different viewpoints of the Bible. This means we have to set the goals, guidelines, and aspirations of the church. Who can do this? I'm hoping that soon more and more people will want to become involved in the idea of a campus church. As soon as there is some semblance of people wanting to actually implement this, we can organize a time or place where ideas and thoughts about the infrastructure of the church could be discussed. Be this a blog, website, facebook group, or actually meeting, I'm not sure. I am sure that of all the people that i have talked to, every single person has not batted the idea down, but they have been excited about it and seem willing to help out in any way they can. 

We can start by discussing this: What would be the purpose of a campus church at Taylor? 

I feel like once this is established, other things will fall into place. What does God want us to do with our community? How does the Holy Spirit want to move us holistically in the future? Please, respond to this either on your own blog and add a hyperlink or leave a comment! 

On another topic, I'm currently researching a little bit about the cultures of ancient middle eastern peoples, specifically the Moabites, Ammonites, and Israelites of and around the time period of the book of Judges. If anyone has any information about these cultures or time periods, i would greatly appreciate it. The research is for me personally, not for my church. I'm interested in the types of metals that they worked with, the types of weapons that they used, and the regions that they lived in. Hah! I'm a geek. :-)

Another question that i heard from my good friend Travis Whalen that has really challenged me is: Are small groups for everyone?

Think about it and respond. Use that Noggin that God has given you! :-)
Oh, also... if you get the chance, check out Newton Faulkner by order of Rachel Sawyer. She has superb music taste, so if you are looking for superb music, listen to Newton Faulkner.

Aaand, I'm out.

Monday, June 30, 2008

What TU needs? Part 2

Sorry that it has been such a long time since i have blogged at all. It has been an wonderful weekend and i was very busy throughout the past couple days. My girlfriend Bethany came down to Indy and hung out with me for the weekend, so blogging wasn't really on the forefront of my mind. :-)

To recap, the idea of a church at taylor is what is being discussed. This church would be student run and student lead in almost all leadership positions and roles of responsibilities. The driving thought behind this is that we want Taylor to become more impassioned. We want taylor to be a true community of believers that is open and actively working toward the goals of the kingdom in both spirit and truth. The best way that I've seen that happen in every single community is when it clicks with people inside the community and when those people then influence others positively. I would rather listen to the guy down my hall who has struggled with pornography and gotten out of it than listen to someone that i don't know. When it is personal, it is stronger and more applicable. 

Hence the idea of a student lead church. When i think about the churches around the area of taylor, i think of taylor students as injections into those churches. We almost are like a cortazone shot. I don't really think that many of the TU students consider themselves members of a church at school. for me personally, I wake up, go to church, listen to the sermon, sit with my taylor friends, then i get up and go eat lunch back at taylor. At no point am i involved in the church the only time that we meet corporately. I know that this sounds bad or heretical or whatever, but i don't consider them my church family. I consider my church family the other christians that i'm living life with. This idea comes a little bit from Acts 2:42, but also it comes from some articles that I've read by Gabe Lyons. If anyone of you who reads this blog is interested in reading some of the stuff that has really reshaped the way that i have looked at church, check out this website. 

As I drove up to Michigan to pick up Bethany, i was given the time to sit down and call people about the idea for the church. All the people that i talked to helped me shape a little bit more of what the idea of a church at school could look like. Thank you to everyone that i talked to! Your input was very beneficial. One of the main points that i realized was that in order for the church to ever be operational was to be really organized and well thought out. This meant we would have to have some sort of a checks and balances system set up so that one person in the whole idea of a church couldn't "take control" of everything. As a community, we are going to be all working together, which will obviously cause conflict and strife at some point. Being organized helps avoid that. 

I would love to continue to have people become excited about the idea of a church, but i can't be the only person who is informing others about it. If you read this blog and you go to Taylor, please tell as many people about the idea for a church that you can. The more people that jump on board now and actively work toward developing it as a program, the better chance it has for actually happening. That means:
  • Questions
  • Comments
  • Concerns
  • Ideas
  • Networking
  • Resources
  • Complaints
All of these things are going to be essential for the idea to work! Also and most importantly, we need to be praying about it! Toss this up to God and see what he says about it. I know that everyone that wants this to happen will be excited and passionate about it, so lets spread the passion and cause change!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

What TU needs?

Last night i got to talk to my good friend David Hauskneckt, who is interning at a church in Colorado. He called me because he has been reading my blog (aww yeah) and he felt like we were learning things in very much the same way. After listening to him, i'd have to agree! We both are having our notions of christianity shifted as we learn more about what ministry looks like. 

After our conversation, I was doing some thinking... What is it that Taylor needs? David brought up the point that Taylor is very intellectual. We have all the head knowledge that we need and more, but how much is involved in our hearts? Are we learning in spirit and in truth? This then made me think about the churches in the area. For such a small area, there are tons of churches. My guess is that in the greater Marion area there are 75+ churches. In these churches, i (personally) have found that it can be pretty dry. The preaching is good at almost every church, but that once again is just knowledge. 

This is still in the super early stages of the thought process, but i was thinking about trying to start a church at taylor. This church wouldn't really be like any of the other churches in the area, considering that it is run by students. I know that is a freaky thought, but i keep thinking of 1 timothy 4:12, "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity." How sweet would it be to actually let people that go to taylor, who are planning on becoming ministers, getting to apply what they are currently learning to the community that they live in? What would it look like if we had a church service in a non church setting... say, the student union? The jumping bean (the coffee shop in the union) could be open, giving it a more coffeehouse feeling than a church service. 

As for preaching, there are 2 whole majors at taylor completely based upon the bible and teaching it. Why not involve a talk from a junior or senior CED major on sunday morning? You could even try and get it involved in the curriculum for those classes! Another thing that would be good: the worship. I know of plenty of people that are really hungering for a deeper and more impassioned worship setting at Taylor. If a church was to start on taylor's campus that wasn't affiliated with the chapel (which has regulations. These aren't bad though) couldn't you do worship however you wanted, for as long as the church wanted? 

Argh... I have to go and do other work so i will continue this thought later! 

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Peer pressure of the hungry kind...

I brought my lunch. I didn't want to spend the money on going out and buying it. I made a wonderful chicken sandwich, I brought chips, oreos, and some orange juice to wash it all down. Why then did I end up eating a chicken quesadilla from Qdobas? I'll tell you why. Hunger peer pressure. Its an epidemic that is sweeping the nation and has been for some time. The infection starts with just one hungry person, most usually a twenty something hipster that just wants some grub. Of course, the congenial thing to do is to invite others, yet this is where it begins to spread. 

Once one person becomes susceptible to the out to eat hunger bug, it overrides the common sense of food that is nearby. That is why a group of 20 guys will walk over a mile to get soft drinks at a gas station at Taylor. The peer pressure of the traveling drives you. A group of out to eaters is a little bit like the roman mob of peer pressure. You can almost never stand up to it. How many times do you go to a fast food restaurant alone? 

I wasn't even hungry! I had just drank a mocha from a local coffee shop so i was still metabolizing the drink, yet i still fell. The odd part was that i almost had to drive as well! If Jake, Neil, and Darrin were more cruel, I'm sure that i would have been outed on some petroleum as well... Oh well. It was a good quesadilla. :)

To shift gears, i want to talk a little bit about the way classical music makes me feel. I know that this is something that is talked about a lot, but i think its important to completely understand what you are feeling and what is making you feel that specific emotion. If this internship at school is teaching me anything, its teaching me that being introspective about the things you do and the ideas that you believe is always good for you. Self improvement comes from observing yourself. 

The most beautiful kind of music is  for sure classical. I don't think that there is any disputing that. I also find that classical music draws the most emotion out of me. Songs like Rhapsody of Paganini are soft and lilting, but they remind me of huge clouds. That is how i feel when i hear a good classical song. Its like looking at something much bigger, much deeper, and much more beautiful than my own life. It carries me into something bigger than myself. I think God gave classical music this kind of depth for a reason. 

The piano is the most beautiful instrument besides a voice. It has such contrast in what it can do, but when it is played well, it brings together every type of music. Look at classical composers, coldplay, Ben Folds, Medeski, Martin, & Wood, Ray Charles, and many others. Lots of different genre's all held together by a piano. By the way, my favorite song is "Fred Jones Part II" by Ben Folds. 

Oh! I also have some random observations about the route that I run everyday.
-There is a house on a road that I run called the "Qaus Haus". I have no idea what Qaus means.
-The Qaus Haus' neighbors have a billy goat for a pet. It is standing in the front yard every time I run by. They also have a carousel horse in their front window. Not really sure why...
-A house I run by has the street address 8888. That is sweet. 

Sorry for the babbling for the last half of this blog post. I promise that my next post will have more meat to it. I'm still learning the in's and out's of this whole blogging thing, so cut me some slack. :-) 

Monday, June 23, 2008

A Third Place

Today I read an article by Mark Batterson that dealt with how the church is and how it isn't changing in our culture. He is the pastor of a church in Washington D.C. (The Website is here) that meets in public places like movie theaters, even though it is a well established church. Batterson describes his church with Old testament jargon, so it requires some explanation. 

In old testament times, there were 2 main places of worship for jews. The Temple, and the tabernacle. The temple was the permanent place where a jew could go and worship the Lord. It was always there and always would be. The tabernacle was mobile. Wherever the cloud of God settled is where the priests would set up the tabernacle. This mobile place of worship is how Batterson describes his church, saying that the building doesn't make the church, but the people do. Also, there are a lot of benefits to meeting in a non-churchy location. (obviously there are cons as well) For example: everyone has gone to see a movie. Therefore, having church in a theater is a safe place psychologically and sociologically. 

Batterson calls for churches to begin to develop "third places" or "postmodern wells". He makes the point that the church has taken a huge step back from effecting culture and the media. We have hunkered down in our christian subculture for fear of corruption or temptation or sin in general. (i'm not really sure which) This isn't what Jesus called us to do in the great commission! As christians, we are supposed to be redeemers to not only people and relationships, but to culture and the world. I think its safe to say that as a whole, the church isn't doing this. Yes there are exceptions, and yes not all parts of culture should be redeemed, but we still aren't doing our jobs! Batterson sums it up nicely by saying, "as long as the church stays on the periphery, our culture will not experience an epiphany."

His church has developed a coffeehouse that sits at the business, cultural, and social crossroads of his community. Smack dab in the middle of downtown, Ebenezer's was just recently rated the #2 coffeehouse in all of Washington D.C. At this coffeehouse they don't have pictures of jesus holding a lamb plastered up on the wall, or have the gospel subtly being pumped through the speakers, but they just want to have a great coffeehouse that can serve a great cup of coffee. The people that work there serve the coffee with a christlike attitude, they don't beat the bible over the patron's heads. And yes, they do use the coffeehouse for church functions, but its primary use is simply a coffeehouse. 

What would the communities that we live in look like if all the resources, time, effort, planning, and manpower that goes into our churches went into a place where we could intersect culture as a church? What does Indianapolis need? A great coffeehouse? A vintage theater? A jazz club? What does Lexington, Kentucky need? A bar that hosts great music? What does Taylor University need? These are the questions that we should be asking! Where can my church intersect the culture that i'm a part of? 

This is the macro ideal, whereas it this question must be played out in the microcosm of our lives. Each person is gifted by God to do different things, and we must play off of those strengths and weaknesses. What makes you feel alive? What is your passion? If you can dance really well, use that for God's glory outside the church on sundays rather than just doing a dance for christians. Artists, make flippin' sweet art in the secular art field and credit it toward God. Open an art studio if that is what your culture needs. 

Jesus didn't hang out in the synagogues, but near the wells, where cultures, society, and people met. Lets follow that example.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A good mix of songs for the summer.

Hey Blog! I hope you are doing wonderfully tonight. I'm feelin' great, now that i have something to blog about! I have been racking my brain over the past couple days as to what i wanted to say, but just today i felt a new wave of imaginative juices permeating themselves all inside of me. HAH. funny sentence. 

The following list of songs are not my love child, but the brilliant mind of Hayley Robb's. She was an intern with me last summer at the Madison County Commission, which is where she is working again this summer. I wish her the best of luck with all those old southern women, and i couldn't be happier that I'm in Indianapolis! :-) Even though Indy is sweet, it won't make a Colts fan out of me yet. 

I was talking to The Phubbbbbbbs tonight (long story about the name. If you really want to know, comment and ask for it.) about our internships that we are in this summer when i started feeling really good about summer. The weather outside today was really weird, but flippin' awesome. I went and got a milkshake from Cold Stone Creamery and sat in a parking lot to watch the magnificent storm clouds float by menacingly. As i was talking to Phubbly i was standing on the back porch of Jose and Nicole's townhouse looking at the beautiful clouds. I was so taken aback by their beauty that i had to tell The Phubbbbbbbs about them. 

To my right was a dusky sky framed about dark grey clouds of fluff. It was whimsical, gentle, and the perfect backdrop to a warm summer night. Alternatively to my left were colossal storm clouds, constantly throwing lightning about. Every five seconds or so another lightning bolt would light up the clouds. It wasn't violent lightning, but more like a giant firefly buzzing about in the storm. It rocked so freakin' hard. I stood in awe of God's amazing beauty, even beauty in opposition of each other, making each more dynamically beautiful. So Phubbbbbbbs, so sorry my phone died, but i really was liking talking to you because i was able to look at the sky longer. :-)

Woah... I just thought their was a mirror directly to my right, when it actually was a dry erase board. Weird...

Today as i was looking at the storms, i was thinking... How many birds get struck by lightning? I mean, there are so many birds on the planet i'm sure there are a few really unlucky ones that are either in trees that get struck, or are in the misfortunate lot of direct strike victims. Does anyone know if birds are commonly struck? I asked this question to my girlfriend Bethany, and sadly she wasn't sure. As the question frustrated us both, a more important and obscure question was raised: How many birds are there on the planet? Are there more birds than people? I'm sure that as you read this, you ponder the same thing, so if anyone has the answer, please inform us! 

Here are some other questions i thought about today:
-Is the blue that i see the same blue that you see?
-If you could have different color hair, what color would you choose?
-What kind of music is popular now? What do you listen to?
-How is Coldplay going to perform the extremely complex musical arrangements of their songs on the new album well? (A.K.A. viva la vida. Does anyone play strings?)
-Can you hear God's voice in Lightning?
-How early can children start to learn how to read?
-What would people think of you if you survived a lightning strike, only to then have a distinct physical feature because of it? (i thought of split irises...)

Tristan Prettyman- Love, Love, Love
Corey Smith- Something to Lose
Donavon- Catch the Wind
The Feeling- Sewn
Joe Purdy- Wash Away
The Decemberists- On The Bus Mall
Josh Rouse- Sad Eyes
Ben lee- We're All in This Together
Scatteredtrees- Summer Sparrow
Jason Mraz- I'm Yours
Eric Bibb- Shine On
Matt Costa- Astair
Melissa Ferrick- Everything I Need
Eisley- Trolley Wood
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club- Promise
Indigo Girls- I Believe in Love
Old Crow Medicine Show- Wagon Wheel
Elliot Smith- Say Yes
Jonah Smith- My Morning Scene
Josh Ritter- Girl in The War

My favorites are Summer Sparrow, Girl in The War, Sewn, and I'm Yours. Check it out. Comment back. 

Love the Feed.

hah. so lame. 

:-)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Mystery Substance Pt. 1

So outside of the lovely home of 8337 codesa way (which is were i currently reside) there is/was a mysterious pile of something in the rocks. I know that this sounds really conspicuous, and it should. I noticed it as i was going to work one day, this odd little grouping of... something. It looks a lot like wet sand or wet sugar, and every single day as i would pass by it the pile looked exactly the same. I'm sure that the people that live in that townhouse must think i'm crazy staring at something in front of their driveway, but i seriously have no idea what it is! I even got Jose (the sweet dude that is putting me up for the summer) to look at it. He also couldn't identify what it was. Over time i lost interest in the pile, only really looking at it to and from work. 

Yesterday i looked at the pile as i walked to my car and lo and behold! The pile has changed! It went from a wet, glassy look to a white, chalky substance. It now looks a little bit like wet flour, or putty or something! I know that this is something of the utmost importance, and i will keep everyone updated on the state of the pile. Whatever it is...


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Urgent Breaking News!!!



Ahh, the bliss of victory. 

One can't complain when the team they wanted to win (anyone against the Lakers) doesn't only win, but literally crushes the life out of them as a team. Last night the Celtics did just that. It was a thing of beauty seeing Kobe Bryant completely and utterly shut down on almost every front. The best part about it all though was that the player who was a major fuel to the fire of the game was none other than Rajon Rondo, Kentucky grad and native. Yeah, we rep pretty hard. :-)

Today i was reading 2 articles on foxnews that were utterly ridiculous. first, a family is suing Petsmart because they said that they sold them a bird with a highly infectious and lethal disease  that killed the father of the family and put the girl into a coma for weeks. apparently, Petsmart is also being blamed for the death of three people in Rhode Island. The three victims received organ transplants with organs that had been infected with some kind of rodent virus, apparently from a rodent from petsmart.  I think before you purchase an animal, it is important to make sure that it isn't infected with a life threatening disease. Also, you could take it to the vet! As for the case in Rhode Island, I really don't know what to say. I feel like they would check the organs for disease before they put it into someone else, but they may not. I'm not sure the strictness of the organ transplant process, but i would be more concerned with the medical department than in blaming petsmart. 

The second article was about a lawsuit against victoria's secret. Now before you judge me for reading this article, let me tell you the headline of the article was "woman sues victoria's secret over thong injury". With a title like that, who isn't intrigued!? well, she apparently was trying to get into the lacy underroo's when something metal that was attached to them flew off and hit her directly in the eye! Ok, first off, what the heck is metal that is attached to your underwear!? it isn't like you are going into battle and you need to protect yourself!?! Secondly, in order for something to fly up far enough and fast enough to hit her in the eyeball, she would have been stretching the thing like it was a rubber band or a slingshot. I'm thinking that she had no idea what she was doing and the underwear got mad, so it basically punched her in the face. Hah. If only thats what would've happened...

I think this is my complaint with Foxnews. The two stories above prove that it is completely about being a sensationalist news source. Why would i really care about defective underwear?! Foxnews is about being the biggest and the loudest about the most extreme news. Now that doesn't make other news sources better than Foxnews. Every single news source is biased in one way or another, so finding the news that you like is more about finding the news that you agree with the most. Personally, i think that looking at multiple international news sources gives the best view of what is actually happening to america, and sometimes even in america. 

Also, its unbelievable how self focused american news is. There have been times where i've read the headline of the BBC news as it talks about a huge massacre in Africa, where hundreds and hundreds of people are dead and dying, only to find not a single mention of it in american news. We'd much rather hear about Britney Spears and the custody battle for her children. Its just sad how narcissistic our culture and society is. 

Sigh... the world will never be perfect, but there still is a lot we could do.

ok i'm out.

Oh! You really should check out this website. Its pretty funny.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

In it or out of it?


Yesterday, Jake and I were talking a little bit about what it is like to be a minister. We at first were talking about what we are called to do as christians, but it eventually developed into, "could i have a greater effect on people if i wasn't in vocational ministry?" This is something that he said he has struggled with, and as i see how ministry works, i can see myself wondering the same thing.

Would i be more effective to the gospel if i was an artist that worked in the secular world? Would people listen to me more about everything i had to say if i was a columnist, not a christian columnist? By that i don't mean i'm not a christian, but if i just wrote about the things that were in the world as opposed to only christian ideals. 

take for example coldplay. They are one of the biggest bands on the face of the planet right now, having millions of fans and huge venues that they play at. Imagine if Chris Martin were a christian. What if through his music he promoted christian ideals? What if they way he lived his life showed that he followed God? He would be able to communicate what a true christian life looks like to MILLIONS of people! He would be able to have a positive effect on people's lives that won't ever step into a church. If he said that he was only going to write christian music for the rest of his career, he would lose a marvelous soapbox that he currently stands on. 

Now, taking it back to my life, what should i do? How many real non-christian friends do i have? How many people do i hang out with that don't know christ? How much interaction with the rest of the world do i have apart from christian society? Looking at it from this point of view, i'm failing pretty liberally at being a christian that is actively applying the Gospel. How much outreach do i do?

On the flip side of this though, there has to be minsters. If there was no church, then christians would be completely left to fend for themselves, which isn't what God intended for us. The church (and the people that run the church) are an important part of the christian faith here on earth. God has chosen the church as the vessel for His message of grace to be communicated to the rest of the world. 

Last night i was talking with my Mom about this topic and we came to the conclusion that the church should be like the doctors and coaches that stand on the sideline of a football or basketball game. The believers in the church (the football or basketball players) are out on the field (the rest of the world) playing against the other team (Non-believers). When one of the believers gets hurt or is tired or doesn't know what to do, they can come to the sideline and receive attention from the church. They get bandaged up, encouraged, disciplined, or taught something in order for them to get back on the field and keep playing. The goal of the player isn't to defeat the other team, but to get them to join the right team. The church can empower believers, but it can't do there job.

This doesn't mean that people that work in a church don't have to be active players as well. Everyone, either on the sideline or on the field, is on the same (winning!) team, therefore they are all working toward the same goal. Becoming a christian and going to church isn't the goal, but working to bring about the Kingdom of God here on earth is. We are working toward holistic redemption and restoration of the earth, not converting to a religion. That might be the means that it is carried out, but is definitely not the end. 

Last night at the mexico mission trip team meeting, i found out that one of the people on my team has the same name and birthday as an international fugitive. Hah! Crossing the border into mexico might be interesting! :-)

Also, last night i finished the book that was currently reading, The Sword of Shanarra. I'm now looking for something new to read, so if anyone has any suggestions, i will gladly accept them! 

until next time!

ps- i'm glad the Celtics lost on Sunday. It means they'll win at home. 

Tight.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Chorizo Attack



Hello again my loving blog! 

Well today is a good day. the sun is shining, the sky is blue, and its the start of another really good week. I cannot complain! 

Last night at catalyst i preached for the first time ever, as was apparent by the way i did it. :-) I was super nervous about speaking, but while i was up there, i realized a little bit that God is going to work in these people's lives whether i'm going to help Him or not. The words that i would say, even if i thought they were bad, would be used to help His kingdom cause. That gave me a little bit more peace about talking, but it didn't help the dry mouth! I spoke on christian community and the wisdom that James has to say about it in the Bible. Overall, i think that the sermon went well, though i wish now that i hadn't repeated what i said so much. Redundancy is not a good trait to display as a speaker. After i was finished, kids came up to me and told me that it was a good sermon, but one student in particular sat me down and talked to me about what i said. She was frustrated with the church and how we are only in our own little bubble, not really all out caring for the world at large. She said that the church was just a big "machine" that was more concerned about converts than believers. 

It was really ironic because that is the exact place that i was in when i was her age. I mean, to a T. I think we even used the same words to describe how we were feeling. After talking with her for a little bit, i was able to encourage her in some of the things that she is learning or dealing with. Its inevitable that every believer comes to a point in their faith that is a little bit of a crisis moment, so she is just having her moment a little bit earlier than most. It was really good to see that people in our youth group are challenging themselves and wanting to grow in Christ. 

Have you ever had Mexican sausage? I was introduced to it yesterday... After church yesterday morning, i met up with my friend Ben Aalderink and family for lunch. They were passing through Indianapolis on there way to Tennessee for a houseboating trip, so they decided to let me grace their presence. We went to the mexican restaurant El Rodeo, which overall is really quite tasty. Good chips, spicy salsa, hot food. You name it, they got it. (no Arroz con Pollo though) As we sat down to eat, i could tell that everyone was in a little bit of a hurry to get back on the road, so we all ordered relatively small meals. I got 2 Chorizo quesadillas. 

Now Chorizo is a kind of sausage that is made from a bunch of different animals (traditionally) but i'm thinking mine was just pork. Whatever it was, it was really spicy! As we finished our meals and i went back to the house, i knew that the chorizo was a bad idea. Throughout the entire rest of the day, i felt just a little bit queasy. Not enough to knock me down, but just enough to make the day uncomfortable. Even as i was talking to my girlfriend at 12:30 at night, i still had an upset stomach. Apparently, this gringo cannot handle his Chorizo...

I think that is it for now! I hope all the fathers had an absolutely fabulous father's day and they got all their heart's desires. Until next time!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Killer plants... seriously?



hello again blogging world. today is saturday, june 14th and i have effectively wasted the day. now, everyone's definition of waste is different, but i feel like most would agree with me. To begin...

i woke up around 7:30 for some reason and then i drifted back off to sleep until 9:30. I was woken by Jake, who wanted to go see a movie. We decided to meet up for the 11:30 matinee of The Happening, M. Night Shaymalan's new film. If you've seen the trailers it looks pretty freaky! i piddled around until the movie time then met up with Jake at the local theater. Ok, this next part might contain a little bit of a spoiler, so if you are planning on seeing the movie, then i would recommend ceasing to read! well, basically the movie is about the environment. the basic gist of the movie was that the plants get pissed at all the people in the world because we are destroying everything, so they produce a chemical that makes you kill yourself in really grisly ways and they then release it into the air. I know... lame. Well to make the movie even better, the characters figure it out about 20 minutes into the movie, so there isn't even a twist! the rest of the movie is filled with morbid suicides and running away from the wind. Yeah, the main antagonists are grass and wind. sigh... Looks like M. Night has lost his touch...
 After the movie, i came back to the house and ate a little lunch, talked with Nicole some, talked with Jose some, then went upstairs and read for a while. I've been reading and looking up music on iTunes since then, making my day effectively wasted. Its strange as i get older, because i feel more and more guilty and pointless about wasting time. I don't know if that is because i have become busier, therefore making the time i have more valuable, or if its just something that happens when you get older. 

I'm a little upset because i missed game 4 of the NBA finals. I watched the first three and i actually enjoyed almost every minute of it (a couple times i caught myself counting seconds between commercial breaks). I've been impressed by the resiliency of some of the players on each team. Obviously, Kobe Bryant gets almost all the spotlight for the lakers, so it interests me to see how the other players react on and off the court to him. During game three, Kobe Bryant was shooting a free throw and the entire crowd was chanting, "MVP" repeatedly. Looking at the other player's faces showed how they were dealing with Kobe's fame. I bet that it is a humbling experience to play on a team like that. 

All i know is that its a humbling experience to lose such a big lead like the lakers did (apparently) in game 4. No more Jordan comparisons for awhile Mr. Bryant. :-D

now for some random thoughts...
I think Esther is one of the strongest characters in the Bible. 
I love the way my girlfriend laughs.
God's providence is tied into his grace, which is tied into our salvation, which freakin' rocks.
My old guitar teacher thinks the music that i like now is gimmicky... oh opposing indoctrination...

i think that is all for right now. if i don't find something else to do, i will probably come back and write for a little while. I like writing. :-)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Earning and Learning




recently i've been stressing out about the cost of eating food in real life. Since i've been in school or at home my whole entire life, i've never had to think about consistently purchasing my own food. I respect every single person who lives a real life much more the longer that i'm in "life". 

Today was a good food purchase though! a six inch sub from Subway only costs $3.91, which i consider an acceptable amount to pay for such a sandwich. Oh, southwest Chipotle sauce, how you justify so much... On another note, the blog spellcheck is telling me that i'm spelling Chipotle incorrectly, and it is suggesting that it should be spelled Shippable. Hm. 
This sunday at the high school service at traders point (the church that i'm interning at) i will be delivering my first sermon! O_O When Jake; my boss; asked me to speak, i got a little frightened, but i'm cool with doing it. I will be speaking on christian community. The key verses are found in James, though i will probably draw from other texts as well. 

Since i've been developing the sermon, i've noticed a couple different things in James. The most apparent thing that i've noticed is how many rhetorical questions James asks. I think in a 20 verse spread he asks 10 rhetorical questions. This intrigued me. I was curious as to why he did this so much. As i pondered, my mind wandered back to my english 100 writing class during my freshman year of college. I had to write a ridiculously extensive paper on epistemology and the study of teaching. To start this off, i had no idea what it was, but i soon came to know that epistemology is just a long fancy way of saying, "when you teach yourself something, you understand it better than when you are taught". 

Applying that back to James, rhetorical questions make a ton of sense. How often does a kid learn how to walk because his parents told him how? How often does a bird learn to fly without first jumping out of the nest? James is giving them guidelines of self discovery, thus solidifying his message more than if he just gave commands. I think it was Thomas Edison who said, "i haven't failed 1,000 times at making a lightbulb, but rather i've found 1,000 ways to not make one." or something like that. :-)

Another thing that i noticed when reading James is his focus on prayer. James gives a section toward the end of his letter that deals with how we as christians are supposed to act within christian community in which he drills prayer into the recipient's heads. "Are you suffering? keep praying about it. Are you sick? have other faithful believers come and pray for you." (James 5:13, 5:14) How much do we as modern day christians saturate things in prayer? When was the last time i spent a day praising God through prayer worship toward Him? Even when he asks who is suffering, he says "keep praying about it", implying the prayer was happening in the first place. its obvious, prayer is the pipeline to correct living.

If you go to this link you can listen to the entire new coldplay album for free. Its not bad, not bad at all. 

well, James calls me once again so i will bid you adieu! 

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Bitter is Better

Today i had a cafe mocha at a coffee shop in a quaint little downtown. It was delicious. Usually i'm more of an americano kind of guy, but today i was feeling something sweet. Interestingly enough, before this past semester at school, i really didn't have much of an affinity toward coffee. The thought of sipping bean juice always made it less appealing than it actually was. Imagine if someone tried to offer you the juice from baked beans as an early morning treat. :-\ 

I think it was a myriad of different things that caused me to enjoy coffee. first, my girlfriend was gone all semester in Lithuania, so i would have to stay up really late to be able to talk to her. More often than not, my homework would follow our conversations, meaning i would be up rather late working on greek or something. I started getting into coffee out of necessity. Secondly, i jumped headfirst into the deepest and darkest parts of the coffee world. A black americano was my choice mostly, and i could rarely finish it in one sitting. This meant that the next morning or afternoon i would be still sipping on a very cold and bitter cup of caffeinated liquid. The weird part is that i actually started to enjoy coffee just as much cold as i did hot. I think in reality i actually just killed enough taste buds with the stuff that i couldn't tell the difference anymore. :-)

I'm listening to Alexi Murdoch, to the song called Wait. It is soothing. highly recommended.