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. 


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.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Shalom in the culture

     So, this is blogging. This is my first blog ever to date, so i guess that this is a momentous occasion. We will see how it goes, depending on the frequency of posts and blogs. 

     I guess to start i can talk a little bit about the article that i have recently just finished. The article is called "The Problem of Good", written by Scott Kauffmann. The basic question that Kauffmann proposes in the article is, "if we're all so bad, how can the world be so good?" How can a fallen, non-christian firefighter run back up the steps of the world trade center during 9/11 to save a non-christian businessman whom he doesn't even know? If we are all so sinful, how can there still be many good things being created by humans? 

This is an interesting question. I don't think i've thought about this much. I more think of why do good things happen to bad people? or why does bad stuff happen to good people? All of these questions are answered generally by the same answer: God's common grace. God has given each existing human being the same common grace, which enables us to develop, grow, create, and imagine beauty, truth, love, and the good in life. It doesn't matter if you are a christian or not, God has given the same gift to everyone. 

Why would he do that though? What is it about humans that makes God give us such a gift? It is himself. Originally, humans were made in God's image. This is called Imago Dei. God loves the Imago Dei inside of us, and he blesses us because of it. He loves us because we carry His thumbprint. Common grace is the greatest gift that God can give us as humans (apart from salvation). 

Since we've been given such a mighty gift, what are we suppose to do with it? How can i incorporate common grace into my christian walk? First, we must recognize the place that common grace has within a believer's life. Common grace is a great gift and tool, yet it isn't the best. God's saving grace (salvation) is what sets a christian apart from a non-believer who lives a good life. We are called to spot the common grace in everyday life, point it out, and point that back to Jesus. When we do this we glorify the common grace and the saving grace, thus bringing the point of the Gospel full circle. 

When you listen to a secular song that is extremely well written or speaks of the good in life, that brings glory to God! You CAN say that a secular song is good! Go watch a movie and recognize the fact that the dignity of Imago Dei is reflected in one of the characters! We must become masters of finding life in life if we want to have a good impact on culture. 

This theme of actively finding the good in culture and fostering it can be considered the jewish concept of Shalom. N.T. Wright puts it as "...putting the whole creation to rights." Its the way that the world was meant to be. We have to point out the good in life. Once we begin to effectively do this, cultural impact will increase. 

...Jeez. I know that that was an extremely rough explanation of what Scott Kauffmann meant to say, but i feel as though thats the best i could do. Also, its readily obvious that this is my first blog. *sigh* Looks as though this is the first one of many more mediocre blogs! :-)