Thursday, December 15, 2005

Had a Minute

I found a minute here (which is very rare this week) and figured I'd post a quick update on how things are going.

1. I am more busy now than I was when I was actually in college. I thought coming here and not having to take any classes, do any homework, study for any exams, or write any papers would give me more time. But discipling 17 students and trying to intentionally interact with more has made me very, very busy. Please, if you find time, and you are a pray-er, send a prayer up for some of the students I am working with:

Adam K
Adam H

2. I love the relationship Rachel and I share. Traveling from Wheeling to Pittsburgh weekly has really cramped my time, but the time I get to spend with Rachel has been wonderful. I am loving this relationship, and look forward to growing more deeply with her.

3. I am planning a relief trip to New Orleans January 1st-January 8th. We are all finished with plans, and are just waiting for the day to come when we pick up the rental vans and drive down. I'll let you know how it goes while we are down there. If you would like to check in on the trip, there will be daily postings on the University's website. (

4. I can't wait for Christmas to come. (Because I won't be as busy.) I love my family, I love my friends, and I can't wait to be with everyone again. I miss you all MUCH more than I have said.

5. I have to go to Bible Study. Pradeep and I are leading the last one of the semester tonight on Eph 3:14-21. Then I'll do some rounds through the building, and at midnight we'll all head out to Denny's for the semester's last midnight Denny's run. Hopefully we'll gather a crowd.

That's about it. (Don't worry, I don't intend to use the blog as a journal very often, I just realized there are a lot of people in my life who don't know a lot about what's going on here.)

Monday, December 12, 2005

Chronicles of Narnia

I have a very old, torn paper-back book a shelf in my apartment with a note written in it addressed to my future children. The copy on my shelf is the same copy that I read so many years ago, when as a six year old boy, I read C.S. Lewis' "The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe" for the first time. It was the first "real" book that I ever read, and it has instilled a passion for reading in me that grows to this day. I started reading at a very early age, and after reading this book, I fell in love. As a boy, when I was bored, or ran out of new books to read, I would read "The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe" again. And again. And again. I remember many times laying in bed at night, asking God to let me go to Narnia. I remember praying for him to take me there even long after I knew that there was no such thing as Narnia. Now that I am a full twenty-five year old man, I have read the story too many times to count. I have loved the story my whole life, and in many ways it has shaped my faith, and my outlook on the future. I have loved this book and this fanciful tale my whole life.

This weekend, I went with Rachel to watch the movie version of "The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe". I have so looked forward to a good film version of this story that on the way there I found myself feeling like a little kid again. Then, when the lights went down, and the movie began, I really fell backwards in my life. I fell into the time when I was a boy, and I asked God to let me go to Narnia.

When the movie finally progressed to the point where Lucy found the Wardrobe, I was so worked up, so excited, so nostalgiac, that as she pulled that great big sheet off of that mahogany chest, I cried.

I saw the Chronicles of Narnia movie this weekend, and while I know that there were some hokey parts, I loved it. It was a truly magical thing for me. I don't know if your experience of the movie will be so powerful, but because of my love for C.S. Lewis' tale, I enjoyed the film immensely.

So there you go. A movie review. Five stars, great story. Well done. Go see it.

Friday, November 18, 2005

The Things I Have Learned

The following is the last entry from my last journal. I wrote it on March 1, 2003. I think there are some gems in there, but for the most part it reads like one of those crappy email forwards. Please do not forward the list to anyone. Ever.

This journal is nearly full. Who am I now? What have I to say? For much of my life I have been Oholibah. For much of mlife I have been Joshua. I am a man, like any other, who has built himself of faults and successes, vices and victories. I have made accomplishments no other man will ever make. I have admitted defeat to the same demons that work over the souls of so many other men, as is told in this babbling book. I am ordinary in many respects and extraordinary in others. In short, I am a nobley average man. I see my ugliness. I see the destitute I am without Christ. The discarded infant kicking in the dust covered in the blood of birth. I see the adorned wife, the spotless bride of God. Both of these I know in myself. I am the pheonix. I am the leper, the blind man wincing at his first glimpse of day. I can feel the tapestry of my soul spun into golden robes through the stitching of the spirit of God. I think back to who I was when I started this journal, and I see how far I have come. I have come to terms with my ugliness. I have taken up smoking. I have known the cleansing of forgiveness. I have felt the opening stages of romance, and survived the death of a passion. I have learned to watch the world again, to feel the earth around me. I have acknowledged my sin as I have acknowledged my mortality. I am pleased with myself, but not proud. I am a sinner. I am a saint. My greatest victory of late has been in understanding that comfort is unrecognizable without discomfort.

Fallen men know no joy wihtout the threat of pain.

The hideous tail of love is loss. The trick is to learn not to fear. Fear neither love nor loss, joy nor sorrow.

Fear not the extremeties in life, for the give birth to one another. Learn to embrace them both, not as friends, but as inevitabilities.

Our lives here are largely based on causality and patter recognition.

The trick to living is to be content.

Be content in suffering so that you recognize joy. Be content with joy in order to outlast suffering.

Growth causes pain and pain causes growth. If we run from either, we experience neither.

Paradoxes are not meant to be solved, merely known.

Beauty is an essence, not a construct, and love is a choice, not a chemical.

Plenty of people on this earth will live with aversion or possession as their only goal. Do not listen to these men.

The rich are blinded by their lust. The poor are blinded by their thirst. Listen to neither of these men.

True friends are to be trusted and then forgiven.

Take your life as it comes to you and ask it where it comes from, not where it is leading you.

The words of men who publish themsevles are seldom genuine ;)

No man attempts to do evil.

No man wants to be wrong.

The glass half empty is full of water and air.

The abundance of a thing does not make it non-existant.

Learn to observe.

Walk slowly.

Drive in the right lane.

Do not envy anyone, chances are they envy you.

Love everyone, and everyone will love you.

Dogs that bite are taken out back and shot.

Keep secrets as they are given, but do not ask anyone to bear the weight of keeping yours.


Listen to glad music when you want to least of all.

Be thankful for everything.

Anger is never appropriate.

Maliciousness is never intentional.

Violence is always reactionary.

Forgiveness is the sharpest sword and the fastest bullet.

Every man blows his nose and cleans his ears, no one is above this.

Wealth is an illusion, if you are unconcerned with it, you will find that you have it.

Sadness occurs because we choose to focus on the voids in our lives.

Faith is stronger than belief.

Hope is stronger than possession.

Love is stronger than fear.

Pessimists are lonely, optimists are stupid.

Lies are contagious and water themselves.

Complaining is fatiguing.

Labor makes rest more pleasant.

Worry is unproductive.

Talk to strangers.

Tell everyone that you love them.

Youth is never wasted.

Innocence is never lost.

Watch the people you are talking to our you won't know when to shut up.

Never interrupt someone, chances are they won't listen to you either.

Love the people no one else loves.

Fear God.

Traps set for foxes catch bears, traps set for bears catch foxes.

Incorrigible children are in need of love.

All men are selfish, so give yourself away.

Make faces in the mirror.

Sing in the shower.

See if you can hear the stars.

Man has yet to destroy the sunrise.

Traditions are useful.

Never take the lead and it will be given to you.

Pray for everyone, just in case.

Be a good host.

Cleanliness is overrated.

Messiness is distracting.

There are at least two thousand individual scents in any given room.

Learn people's names.

Be content with who you are, but never finish.

Dead people don't cooperate.

Love and violence are circles that interrupt each other.

No matter the evil, you are forgiven.

"Five is a sufficiently close approximation of infinity."


Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Get Serious

The state of Kansas in their attempts to call evolution into question, has decided to redefine science. No kidding. They came up with a new definition for the word "science." Their definition claims that Science is "a systematic method of continuing investigation that uses observation, hypothesis testing, measurement, experimentation, logical argument and theory building to lead to more adequate explanations of natural phenomena." This instead of the previous "Science is the human attempt to find a natural explanation for what happens in the world."

I guess the reasoning goes like this: If science finds the "natural explanation" for where everything came from, then our "supernatural explanation" will be in jeopardy. So, Kansas redefined science.

Thank you Kansas.

This type of thing really gets me fired up because of what the world hears. The religious right is so much louder than the religious moderates and the religious left. Why can't the religious right realize that God very well could have made the world through evolution? I mean, what is more beautiful, finding that science supports the creation account described in Genesis? Or tossing God and science in the ring? How foolish does the rest of the world think all Christians are because of what a few Christians in Kansas have done?

This is precisely the thing that makes me ashamed to be a Christian sometimes. If being a Christian means I have to be afraid of science... if being a Christian means that I have to stand on the street corner and tell you that you're going to hell... if being a Christian means that I have to like George Bush... if being a Christian means I have to support the war in Iraq... if being a Christian means I have to hate people for cussing, drinking, smoking, and having sex... if being Christian means I have to wear a shitty "Abreadcrumb & Fish" tee-shirt, if being Christian means I have to click my tongue at you when you do something I wouldn't do, if being Christian means I have to talk about beating up the devil, if being Christian means I agree with everything my pastor says, if being Christian means bombing abortion clinics, if being Christian means going to church on Sunday and then doing whatever the hell I want to do the rest of the week, then count me out.

On the other hand... if I'm allowed to be a Christian and read a book... if I'm allowed to be Christian and drink a beer... if I'm allowed to be a pacifist, a philosopher, an artist, a postmodernist, and a democrat, then count me in. I know I'm not the only Christian in the world who believes in evolution, smokes cigarettes, curses on occasion, listens to the radio, watches movies, and loves people. Why are we all so quiet? Why do we allow the religious right to define Christianity to the rest of the world?

There are so many people in the world hating Christians because the Christians with their heads on straight are all hiding in the closet saying "I'm not like all the other Christians." It's time for us to make a stand. It's time to tell the world that Christians are intelligent, loving, and that we are indoctrinated in the culture. It's time for Christians to stand up for themselves and let the world know that we belive in Christ, and that we don't hate them.

It's time for the rest of the culturally minded Christians to get out of the closet and tell the world that being Christian isn't something we're ashamed of. It's time to let the world know that the intolerant religious right is the red-headed step child of Christianity. It's time to stop being defined by the most brazen, impatient, inconsiderate, and intolerant members of the church. Come on... if we bum rush the 700 club all at the same time, we'll knock 'em on their asses.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


As I am sure many of you know, France is dealing with the largest eruption of civil unrest in thirty-seven years. For several weeks now Parisians have been burning cars and hurling rocks and make-shift bombs at responding police officers. It appears as though the riots started in response to the accidental deaths of two teenagers who were hiding from police. But, now they seem to be the result of rising tensions over higher unemployment and lower wages in Parisian immigrant populations. Fortunately, the riots are not organized. There is no group leading the riots, and they are not based in any particular ideology.

That is why I am curious about how the media is reporting on these riots. I have been reading in several news sources, and each report has phrases such as: "The rioters are claiming no religous overtones." And most reporters are going so far as to tell us the ethnic background of every interviewee. In yesterday's article in the New York Times, we read that among the interviewees are a two French-Africans, one French-Arabian, an elderly Jewish-Romanian woman, and a Maltese boy.

I found both of these similiarities to be curious. Why would the media need to tell us what an event was not? Why do we need to know the ethnic background of all of the interviewees? The answer might be a bit self-abasing.

See without being so crass as to say it out loud, the media knows that unless we are told otherwise, we will assume that these riots are being carried out by Islamic terrorists calling a Jihad against Paris. The media has picked up on our prejudice and in their attempts to report news accurately, not only do they have to tell us what is going on, they have to tell us what is not going on.

When I first realized that the media was doing this, I thought that the media was being a bit racist in it's coverage of the story. After thinking further however, I realized that the media is telling us something about ourselves. When the American people hear, "bomb", "riot", or "violent protest", we immediately turn our minds toward Muslims. The media knows that we do this, and in response to the racist tendencies of the American mind, the media is dispelling a rumor before it takes off.

I understand that we are not entirely to blame for this. Fanatic Muslims have generated a prejudice within us through their increased terrorist actions. However, I had a bit of a wake up call this morning when I realized that the media was speaking directly to me. Until I was informed otherwise, I, myself, believed that the riots were being sparked by Islamic terrorists. I see myself a person pretty aware of my own prejudices, and I think I try not to indulge in them by any measure, but I was more than a little surpised to find myself confronting a prejudice of which I was unaware. I am glad that the media is working to dispell this prejudice, and for the first time in a long time, I applaud the media for taking what seems to be an ethical step forward by being proactive and working against a prejudice. Even if it is a prejudice which they may have had a strong hand in forming.

I just hope that the introspection is not limited to myself. I hope many of us realize that we have the same prejudice, and I hope we work to destroy it. If we continue to assume that every riot and bombing is carried out by Islamic terrorists, if we assume that the riots in France are about fanatic religion, and not about de facto racism in the French economy, we will fail to learn from the French rioters. Afterall, the American economy is just as unfavorable to immigrants and minorities as is the French economy. Hopefully, America will take a cue from the French rioters. Hopefully we will be a little more proactive about our economic divide than were Mr. Chirac and the rest of the French Government. What is true of ancient history is also true of recent history. If we fail to learn from it, we will be doomed to repeat it.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


Just in case some of you missed this story in the New York Times:

"The Labor Department's inspector general strongly criticized department officials yesterday for "serious breakdowns" in procedures involving an agreement promising Wal-Mart Stores 15 days' notice before labor investigators would inspect its stores for child labor violations.

The Labor Department reached the settlement in January after finding 85 child labor violations at Wal-Mart stores in Connecticut, New Hampshire and Arkansas, involving workers under 18 who operated dangerous machinery, including cardboard balers and chain saws.

Wal-Mart settled the investigation by agreeing to pay $135,540, but it continued to deny any wrongdoing."
- Steven Greenhouse, 11/1/05.

Just to catch you up.

Monday, October 31, 2005

The Patriot Act

Just in case you missed the absence of media buzz this week, the House of Representatives is meeting now to discuss what to do about this year's expiration of laws in the Patriot Act granting government increased rights to perform wire taps, obtain search warrants, and set certain crimes punishable by death. In reaction to 9/11, the House of Representatives passed a law called the Patriot Act without much debate, or media opposition. That law made it legal for the government to access personal information such as medical records, tax records, information about the books you buy or borrow, and the power to break into your home and conduct secret searches without telling you. The problem is, all of these searches are legitimate even if the investigating organization fails to prove proabable cause if they are gathering information on Terrorism. Meaning, if a government organization is looking into "Terrorism" it may, without proving why, undergo of what would otherwise be considered an illegal search.

The Patriot Act is set to expire later this year, and in preparation, the House of Representatives is meeting to discuss what to do. In face of the expiration of these laws, the House of Representatives, (again without much attention, or discussion) is increasing the number of offenses that could result in the death penalty from 20 to 61. Meaning that if you gave money to an organization which later used that money to fund a terrorist action, you could be put to death. Even if you didn't know where that money was going.

I'm not trying to say anything about the government's role in permitting illegal searches and siezures (which are expressly forbidden in the Constitution), nor am I trying to say anything about the death penalty (which, as a pacifist, I do not support), all I am saying is that this issue should have a greater audience. The issue is far to important to carry on without debate and attention. When we begin to enact laws which expressly restrain rights enumerated by the Constitution itself without discussing such actions, we begin the decline of true democracy. I know it sounds a bit drastic, but undermining the Constitution itself is no small potatoes.

Friday, October 28, 2005

What we want

I found a photo by Gregory Colbert in a discarded copy of The New Yorker today outside of the campus library. I looked at this picture for a very long time, thinking and reflecting on several issues that it brought to mind.

I would like to open up for discussion on this picture. What does it say to you?

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Reactions to What is True?

Let's review what I have said is True:

1. There is a God.
2. We are separated from Him.
3. We want to come back to Him.
4. We can't get back to Him on our own.
5. God wants us to get back together with Him.
6. God knows we can't get back to Him on our own.
7. God incarnated Himself on Earth and died in order for us to be able to get back together with Him.
8. If we believe that He really did that, we can rectify our separation from Him.

Now, my question is: I have been a Christian my whole life, so these truths seem to be self-evident. And they all rely on some fundamental unprovable beliefs. Such as:

1. God exists
and 2. I feel distant from Him.

I have contended that everyone finds these two things to be true, and that's pretty bold. I know. So my question is, does anyone honestly disagrees? I have yet to find anyone who really disagrees with these two truths, but that doesn't mean that no one does. I know it sounds crazy but I assure you, I have had no shortage of conversations with both Atheists and Agnostics, and none of them really believe in their heart of hearts that I'm wrong about these two. Most of the time they have a problem with the Christian God, or the Muslim God, or the Jewish God... I wonder though if there is someone who really, honestly disagrees with these two truths in the depths of their heart. If you do, let me know.

Because I think if you agree with these, then you have to agree with 3 and 4.

3. We want to come back to Him.
4. We can't get back to Him on our own.

I think these are also things that everyone feels. If I'm right in thinking that you agree with the first two, am I being too bold in assuming that you agree with the second two? Because I guess it would logically follow from these that

5. God wants us to get back together with Him.
6. God knows we can't get back to Him on our own.

He is God afterall. The real leap of faith seems occurs in the last two.

7. God incarnated Himself on Earth and died in order for us to be able to get back together with Him.
8. If we believe that He really did that, we can rectify our separation from Him.

If we believe in 1-6, I really think 7-8 would logically follow. It just doesn't seem that there would be any other way. The real leap of faith I guess would be, did God really do it yet?

The big problem with this truth system is that it all relies on a fundamental belief that stems from your own experience. If you experience 1-4 to be true... then I guess it would only make sense for 5-8 to be true. But then again... the whole thing sounds a bit too easy, or a bit too hegemonic to be true. That's when I say... "Well, He is God. It should be easy, and how could He not be hegemonic?"

Your thoughts?

So... What is True?

Well, our discussion moves to the next course. What is True? Here's the question. Here's the thing that people have been talking about since people realized that there was such a thing as truth.

Here you go. It is true that there is a God. It is also true that we all feel some kind of separation from that God. I don't care about finding some astounding proofs to get you to believe these two things through some incredible bit of philosophical logic. I just assume that you feel them both to be true. I think it is "true" that we all recognize these two things to be true. Just don't think about the Christian God when I make these claims, and I think you'll probably agree. At least, I've never talked to anyone who disagreed. I don't care if you call yourself an athiest, agnostic, jew, muslim, taoist or Christian, you think it is true that there is a God, and you are separated from that God.

At any rate, we have the first two things that are true.

1. There is a God.
2. We are separated from Him.

Now there are some truths in between these that we'll leave out through the rest of this for simplicity, but I want you to be aware of them. They go like this.

1. There is a God.
1a. That God made everything.
1b. That God loves everything he made.
1c. That God made us with a free will
2a. We used that free will to separate ourselves from Him.
2b. We are separated from Him.

I still don't think anyone would honestly disagree with these truths. I'm sure I'm being naieve.

This leads us to the third truth: We need/want to get back together with Him. Everyone who recognizes the gap between themselves and God, has the desire to bridge that gap. The problem is, we can't. No matter how hard we try, we will never be holy enough, dedicated enough, or disciplined enough to come back to Him on our own. I think this is something everyone has felt in their own lives as well. If you haven't let me know.

So we have the first five things that are true.

1. There is a God.
2. We are separated from Him.
3. We want to come back to Him.
4. We can't get back to Him on our own.

This is the one where we might begin to disagree. That's why I believe the Bible exists. In a way, it's a big long story proving that we can't get back to God on our own. I'll give you the quick-and-dirty.

The Bible begins with what we want. Man and God together. That's what we really hunger for. Then, there's the fall. A fancy word that says we were separated from God. (Adam, garden of Eden, Snake, apple...) After the fall, God tries just straight up ignoring the separation, and letting us exist separate from Him. That doesn't work. We start going crazy, doing our own thing, and in our sin and debauchery nearly annihilate ourselves. And that makes Him sad. (Everything that happened before the flood.) Then God says, alright, there are bad people and good people. What if we just got rid of the bad people, and left the good people? Then everything should be okay. So, the flood. God wipes out every bad guy in the world. (Isn't that what we want Him to do sometimes even now?) Well, the result is a small group of people that make it through, and the Earth is now left with only good people. Well, in less than a few years, the good people do bad, and everything goes to pot again. So, God says, I'll bring up a group of people who will do my work, and they'll follow a system of laws, and through that system of laws they'll come to deserve fellowship with me. (Israel.) This is, again, what many of us want. Pretty much every one of us wants to find a way to God on our own. We want to do something that proves us worthy to be back together with him. Doesn't work. We try and try and try, and He forgives and lets us try again and again and again, but no luck. We keep wandering away. We just plain old can't be good enough. It's not possible, He tried it.

Now, let's look at how God perceives this whole thing. Because there is a God, it must be the case that He made everything. It is precisely because He made us that He loves us. (Remember this is truth 1a... am I loosing you?)

On to the next things that are true. It is true that God loves us and wants us to get back together with Him. (Truth Six) And, it is true that God knows that we can't get back together with Him on our own. (Truth Seven.) So where are we?

1. There is a God.
2. We are separated from Him.
3. We want to come back to Him.
4. We can't get back to Him on our own.
5. God wants us to get back together with Him.
6. God knows we can't get back to Him on our own.

So, God decides that because we can't do anything to come back to Him, he decides to step in. He incarnates Himself on the Earth and through the system of rules that He has set in place, reconciles us to Him. (The system of rules said from the very beginning that the penalty for sin would be death. "Don't eat the fruit Adam or you'll die." Because the penalty is death, He has to die.)

So, God comes to earth, sacrifices Himself for our sins, and we are allowed to come back to Him. Here's where some of those other truths come into play. We can't get back to God on our own, so He died in order to bring us back. But that doesn't negate truth 1c. (God made us with a free will) Because we still have a free will, we have to choose to come back to God. Because the only way back to God is through the sacrifice He chose to make, we have to believe that He did it. If we believe that He really did it, then we can lean on that belief to find ourselves back with Him. So, there you have it. What is true? It is true that:

1. There is a God.
2. We are separated from Him.
3. We want to come back to Him.
4. We can't get back to Him on our own.
5. God wants us to get back together with Him.
6. God knows we can't get back to Him on our own.
7. God incarnated Himself on Earth and died in order for us to be able to get back together with Him.
8. If we believe that He really did that, we can rectify our separation from Him.

There you go. Truth. More thoughts in the next post.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

PoMo Posts: What is Truth?

In my quest to posit a response to "How can we be Christians in a Postmodern world" I want to begin with answering, "What is truth."

Truth must exist. We cannot go off the Postmodern deep end by saying that there is no truth. That is not Postmodernity, that is skepticism, and while interesting and possibly quite valid, skepticism does not do anything for us. I am not going to address skepticism. So, before you read any further, remember that it might be the case that you are really just a brain in a petri dish on an alien ship and when they turn the correct tooth picks, you think you are reading my blog.

Now, assuming then that we are actually in our bodies, and that we can (roughly) trust our senses, where do we go from here. Naturally it must be that the basic truths exist. Everyone's experience allows for "cold" and "hot" and "hard" and "soft". These truths exist, and we can all attest to them. However, when I say hot, you might not hear the same objective truth that I hear.

Our experience of truth alters its exact definition. For example: In fall, when the temperature dips to 65 degrees, we see a lot of people throwing on their parkas. And yet, in the spring, when the temperature hits 65 degrees, people are wearing tee shirts and shorts. The reason is because we define "cold" based on our experience. If we have experienced a particularly hot summer for several months in a row, sixty-five is "cold." And yet, if we have just held out through a bitterly cold winter, sixty-five is "warm." The temperature outside is defined by our experience. Now, this doesn't mean that the objective truth of sixty-five degrees is relative. The objective truth of sixty-five exists, however if we don't interpret that sixty-five to mean cold or warm, it has no bearing for us. The objective truth is useless to us until we have ascribed a subjective meaning to it.

All that to say that while truth is not relative, our interpretation of truth is relative to our experience with it. This means that we each have a relationship with truth. So, the question was, "What is truth?" My answer to this question is, Truth is a reality.

The problem with certain truths is that they are immeasurable through the scientific method. Because the scientific method is pretty much the only agreed upon mode for truth gathering, this means that there are certain truths that remain merely theories. There is an objective truth behind these theories, but that objective truth lies either in the immeasurable, the purely theoretical, or the past.

If the objective truth upon which a theory is founded lies in the immeasurable, then we are left with theories based on incomplete data. I am thinkiung of the current theories around gravity. The nature of gravity is immeasurable, and we do not know what it really is. We do know that it exists, but we do not fully understand it, so the nature of gravity remains an unmeasurable theory.

If an objective truth is based in the purely theoretical, then the truth is in fact relative to the culture in which the truth is found. These would be truths that center around cultural norms such as piercings, or tatoos. In one culture it is true that slicing open your lip and using a plate to extend the tissue over a period of years is a beautiful thing. That is not true in our culture. Such truths are merely theoretical.

Truths that are based in the past are unverifiable because they happened in the past. We can know a lot about the past, but it is impossible to scientifically verify the events of the past. Try proving that Ghengis Khan existed. It is impossible. We can prove that there are texts that attest to his existence, and that someone in written history is said to have taken over most of Asia, the middle east, and Western Europe in under thirty years, but we cannot scientifically verify that it was Ghengis Khan that was responsible for those things. This idea gets trickier when we talk about supernatural events from the past. We cannot scientifically verify that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, nor can we scientifically verify that Muhammed ascended into Heaven.

The trouble comes when we start lumping all of these theories into the same category of truth. We tend to look at unverifiable truths and claim that they are all social constructs. We say that truth in these things is relative to our experience. But this position is really just an extension of modernity. We become frustrated with our inability to verify or logically prove the truths we hold, so we claim that they are not truths at all. Modernity told us that we could verify everything through science. In this postmodern world, we see that science cannot prove everything, and so we take everything that is unprovable, and we claim that it must not be truth. Our current position is really just the logical conclusion of modernity. In this manner, Postmodernity is really just Ultramodernity.

If, instead, we are truly postmodern, we can understand that there is an objective truth behind some of these that we will never be able to verify. It is either true or false that Jesus rose from the dead. If it is true, then Christianity is true. If it is false, then Christianity is false. We will never be able to verify this claim with certainty, so we must accept our beliefs on faith. We must have faith that Jesus was the Christ, or we must deny that Jesus was the Christ. There is no other option. The problem with Postmodernity arises when we equate the truth about the resurrection of Christ to a truth such as the beauty of tatoos. One culture thinks it is true, another culture disagrees, so we claim that whatever one culture believes is true for that culture. This is fine for truths based on theoretical concepts such as beauty or courage, but it is unacceptalbe for truths based on history. It is not acceptable for Americans to disbelieve in Ghengis Khan merely because we don't want to. It is acceptable for Americans however to disbelieve in the sex-appeal of penile gourds.

So, if we answer "What is truth?" by saying "Truth is a reality." we are then left struggling to answer "What then is True?" More on that later.

Postmodernity Pt. 2

Let me start by saying that, by no means do I have this figured out. What follows is really just a stumbling, rambling attempt to fall down a pigeonhole that might answer our question. Keep in mind that the Postmodernity I am embracing to answer this question might retort that because no one is going to come at the question from the same angle, everyone will benefit in varying degrees from the answer my experience has generated.


The Question:

How are we to be Postmodern Christians?

Answering this huge question demands that I consider many other questions. This question begs, "How do we believe truth exists in a Postmodern world?" It also asks, "What is scripture?", "Why is Christ the only way?", "What about all those other religions that popped up around the same time and pretty much said the same thing?" and "What do we do about the people who are raised in a Muslim world and are socially conditioned to detest the very notion of a messianic Christ?" I'll try to get at the first three questions here. I'm going to answer each of these questions in separate posts. Please keep in mind while you go through the discussion that I don't know if any of my answers hold water. These are just the ideas I have.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005


The following post is pretty much a book report on Truth is Stranger than it Used to Be by Richard Middleton and Brian Walsh. I thought by writing a response I would retain the book better, and I would get the thoughts in the book out to you guys. If you are interested enough, I would encourage you to read the book. I found it quite impressive.

In my readings I have found myself pretty much agreeing with the authors as they discuss Modernity, and Postmodernity. For those of you who do not know what the difference is, here's a quick run-down.

Modernity teaches us that through knowledge and technology, we can achieve the common goals of human kind. Technology and Science will eventually answer all of the questions about how the world works, will provide us with medicine to cure all of our ills, and will grant us a mode by which we will inhabit other worlds. Technology will generate an excess of liesure, money, food, and comfort. If we invest in these things, we will all live full happy lives. If we dedicate ourselves to these endeavors fully, we will be able to spread those same benefits to the rest of the world.

Modernity failed. Plain and simple. It is no secret that Modernity is a big fat lie. Science cannot answer all of our questions. (Scientists still do not know what gravity is.) Technology will not give us more liesure time. (I think of the steady stream of commercials starring the characiture a mother-as-motion-blur running from appointment to appointment.) Technology will not grant us long healthy lives. (I think of the modern debate over euthanasia. Technology has the ability to keep us alive, but some people are asking whether or not the life Technology can grant us is worth living.) Technology does not give us enough food. (Thousands in America are starving. Better food production does not mean better food distribution.) Technology will not make us all rich. (Bill Gates might be the richest man in the world, but America's vast technological advancement has not levelled the economic playing field.)

In the dust of the crumbling Modern hegemon, Postmodernity is the blood on the ground. The megolith of Modernity is not going to be rebuilt. The tower has been abandoned because we have realized that it doesn't do what it promised. At the base of the ruins of Modernity the blood of the fallen laborers is spreading. The puddle of Postmodernity cries against the lies of Modernity and it screams "Science is full of it, and Technology is going to over take us."

The result is a contagious postmodern viewpoint that I have found myself more and more fully believing in. Postmodernity says many things, but mainly it says that "Truth is experiential." Many anti-PoMos have said that Postmodernity is characterized by saying "There is no Truth" or "Truth is relative" I don't buy that PoMos believe that Truth is Relative. None of the PoMos I know would fall into that trap "If truth is relative then the truth that 'Truth is relative' is relative." Most PoMos I know would say that there is such a thing as truth. There might even be something such as objective truth for everyone. The problem with that objective truth is that we all see it through the windows of our own individual experiences. The result is a factioned world. Postmodernity has brought us from a global goal for the unionization of man and the global adoption of democracy, capitalism, and freedom to a worldview of allocation. We allocate truths to those willing to take them. We allocate liberty to those who desire it. Postmodernity basically teaches us that the world sits together at a smorgasbord of ideas and possibilities. We each grab for the ones we want, and no one slaps anyone's hand. If you want to eat dessert and no broccoli, by all means, you may.

The problem with this worldview is that it seems to go completely against Christianity. Christianity teaches that there is ultimate truth. Everyone must believe in Christ, and if you don't believe in Christ you go to Hell. Like it or not that's what our unfashionably elitist religion teaches. Think about it. Someone in a Postmodern world comes to the Christian Bible and he is confronted by people claiming to be mouthpieces of an allpowerful God. These people then tell stories about the glorious days when God helped them commit genocide. Then they move on to the new testament where one man suffers himself to death for all of mankind, and then the apostles advocate that those who do not believe in Christ will go to Hell, and those that do believe in Christ must abide by a life of love and forgiveness. In this life of love and fogiveness, women are told to submit to men, slavery is advocated, and children are to be subserviant to their fathers. Of course the patriarchs are told to be responsible with this authority, but the fact of the matter is, the New Testament (Like it or not) "Posits a divine authority that structures and orders the world in a certain way, attributes an authority to itself, wipes out any opposition that suggests things might be looked at differently, puts clear restrictions on personal and communal life, and then tops it all off with a divine sanction for patriarchy and slavery. And you want a postmodern person at the beginning of the twenty-first century to read this text, learn from it, and maybe even receive it as divinely inspired Scripture? I don't think so!" (Collosians Remixed, 18.)

The question becomes, how may we be Christians in a postmodern world? In a world which screams against all encompassing hegemonic worldviews, how are we to respond? How are we to approach scripture? How are we to live, to spread the message of love an acceptance in scripture without throwing away the message of necessity? How do we tell the whole world that we love and accept them while simultaneously believing in Hell?

Good questions. More on that later.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Yeah I got Privilege

I was at Rachel's on Saturday night calmly talking about the movie we had just finished when next door we heard a gunshot. I leapt from the couch and ran to the window looking out in the direction of the shot to see the shadow of a man running down the alley.

Naturally I freaked. Rachel was at the window with me and as I ran into the kitchen to put on my shoes she started telling me not to go outside.

"Babe, someone might be bleeding to death in the street."

"Josh, this isn't the neighborhood where you go out in the streets late at night. It's dangerous."

She was right. She lives in a bad neighborhood, and I didn't think it was the safest thing for me to go outside. I told her that we were at least calling the police. So I dialed 911.

While I was on the phone with the woman, she asked me to hold for a second. Then I heard her hand cover the phone and she said,

"Do you think she's coming over tonight? I talked to her earlier and she said she didn't know if she was going to come by... Okay. Well, catch me before you leave and we'll set up plans."

I couldn't believe it. The 911 operator had me on hold because she was trying to make plans.

After I made the call, I convinced Rachel to let me go outside, but she made me promise not to leave the yard. So I walked outside. I was outside, quite scared. Every security light on Shuttle Way was awake and staring at me. I sat in the back yard with the dew collecting on the hems of my pajama pants. I sat there worried and scared for a good fifteen minutes while Rachel sent me text messages asking me to come inside.

Finally the Police arrived. This is getting the the whole point of my post. The cop got to the alley and I walked around the corner to talk to him.

"I'm the guy who called it in. We were up in my girlfriend's apartment when we heard the gunshot go off. So I went to the window and saw the shadow of a man running down the alley headed this way."

To which the cop replied, "Was it a black guy?"

Now mind you... I saw the guy's shadow. I cocked my head and looked at the cop. "I don't know if it was a black guy or not... all I saw was the shadow."

"Would you say it looked like the shadow of an African American?"

Let me repeat: "Would you say it looked like the shadow of an African American?" What are you supposed to say to that? Did the shadow look like a black guy's? Um, yeah... it looked like a black guy's shadow because it was black? It couldn't have been a white guy's shadow because it wasn't white? It couldn't have been a white guy because white guy's don't shoot guns? It must have been a black guy sir, because well, black people like to shoot other people. Black people commit crimes, white people don't so yeah... it was a black guy's shadow.

I was pissed. I looked the cop in the eye and said "It is impossible for me to discern the race of the individual based solely on his shadow sir."

"But still, there's a lot of black people in the area, I think it's safe to say it was a black guy don't you?"

No. No it is not safe to immediately assume that the man was black. It is not safe at all. I replied: "It could have been a black guy, it could have been a white guy, it could have been a chinaman. I don't know sir, I saw a shadow. Just a shadow."

"Okay. Well let's go take a look."

Then we took a walk and found that there was no bodies, no dead people, all was safe and sound, and the cop drove off. I don't think I need to say anything about the story... I'm just amazed that the conversation happened at all. You can go ahead and deny that you have your white privilege all you like... but you've got it. You're not responsible for it, but you've got it, and you've got to deal with it.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


I work as an Area Coordinator at a small university in Wheeling West Virginia. Which means I eat in the cafeteria every day. Usually, eating in the cafeteria of a small university means eating overcooked green beans and mushy carrots with meatloaf and pizza every night. But not here. Here at Wheeling Jesuit University the food in the cafeteria is top notch. For example:

Last night we had the following options to choose from for dinner:
1) Chicken and Bean burrito supremes
2) Grilled Tuna Steaks
3) Crab-stuffed tortellinis
4) Pizza/Hamburger/all that other stuff
5) or Blue Cheese and spinach stuffed Filet Mignon!

No kidding. Last night they were serving filet freaking mignon in the cafeteria. Imagine my chagrin then, when last night a student complained that the lemon zested grilled tuna steaks could be more tender. MORE TENDER!! I ate sheperd's pie every night for four years. My college cafeteria was a glorified salt-lick dipped in laxatives, and students are complaining because the grilled tuna steaks could be more tender! Talk about being upset because your wallet is too small for all your fifties and your diamond shoes are too tight.

This type of attitude stems from something in America that many, many of us have bought into. We believe we are entitled to the things that we have been fortunate enough to receive on a regular basis. I believe I am entitled to clean running water. I am entitled to take a shower for as long as I want. I am entitled to throw as much garbage on the corner as I want. I am entitled to plant whatever I want in my backyard regardless of whether or not it is an invasive species. I am entitled to cover my grass in fertilizer that will pollute the water table. I am entitled to eat as much meat as I want regardless of the living conditions of the animals slaughtered for my benefit. I am entitled to eat as much as I want, sleep as much as I want, play as much as I want, drink as much as I want, smoke as much as I want, and so help me when someone gets in my way I'm going to scream that they are judging me. Thank goodness holding people accountable has fallen out of fashion.

The problem with this entitlement is that it takes advantage of those with no voice. As long as someone or something is unable to speak up for itself, I don't hear it. The earth is screaming at me through melting ice caps, desertification, rising ocean levels, increased hurricane activity, increased seizmic activity etc... but it isn't speaking english, so I don't listen.

Children in Africa and India and China are screaming at me with flies on their eyes, but Sally Struthers doesn't let them talk, and I don't like her anyway, so I don't listen. Pass the tuna please.

Millions have been cut to shreds in the streets of Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, the The Sudan, Rwanda, The Congo, but do I care? Not really. I mean it bothers me, but I'm entitled to change the channel. Honestly. I get a little sad that rivers are actually dammed witht he corpses of boys and men, but it all just makes for an interesting soap box. I don't do anything.

The penal system in America is shouting through clogged prisons, and a racially biased court system. I am paying to put people to death because they couldn't afford a lawyer, while I watch murderers get paid millions to catch a football. But it isn't polite to talk about politics or race, so we ignore it. Football on the other hand is the common bond among all men, so let's not jeapordize the sport.

Thousands of babies are being cut out and thrown away every year. But they don't breath yet so they aren't even human. Let's go ahead and call those tiny little babies by their true title: parasites. To the curb. It's my right.

I can't help but think what will happen to me? Will I eventually understand that the Earth has a voice? That chickens and corn and Africa and the poor in America all deserve to be noticed? Will I begin to look at myself as a tender of the garden instead of the conqueror of a foreign land with women to rape and homes to burn? Will I begin to understand that without intentionally taking care of my home, I will soon be swimming in my own sewage? I hope so, but frankly... there isn't much hope. I won't see the consequences of increased hurricanes because I don't live by the coast. I won't see the effects of American injustice, genocide, famine, abortion, and global starvation in my backyard, so I'll change the channel. More football, pass the chili and beer.

I know that it won't do me any good to hold my head and cry because the world is falling apart. But I guess it's time I stepped up and did my part. It's time I started paying a little extra to eat free-range chicken. It's time I started turning off the shower while I lather and turn it on again to rinse. I should shut off the water in the sink while I'm shaving. I should turn off the lights, and drive slowly to conserve gas. I should carpool, and donate money to the World Food Programme. I should go on a trip to Mississippi to help rebuild after the destruction of Katrina. Maybe after I start doing something about the broken system, I won't feel guilty when I watch football on Sunday.

I just hope I do more than say something. I hope I fall into action and I pray that the rest of entitled America catches up before we set fire to the bed.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Seeking Proper Fear

I wonder what it means to fear God. I have had many people tell me many different things regarding this particular command, but the fact is, I just don't quite get it yet. I have no one who has told me something that makes perfect sense. Because, honestly, I think fear is a healthy reaction to the person of God. I mean fear. True fear. I think we should be afraid. Maybe that's why when the angels appear to men, they immediately say "Have no fear." They don't want men to fear them, because men are to fear God. I understand that this fear should be healthy, mixed with and authored from love, but the fact is: God should be a little more frightening. I'm still wrestling with the idea.

I hope that undersanding the proper way to fear God will enrich my life with Him. I don't want to go overboard with this, and fear Him to the point where I'm chaining myself to the law as if it were a millstone, but I do want a healthy balance of love and fear when it comes to God. I'm still trying to figure out just how we're supposed to fear God, but it's something I'm willing to wrestle with. It's something I'm willing to figure out.

I've spent the past several years of my life focusing on the love God has for me, now I think I need to focus more on the fear I should have for Him.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Been a While

Sorry I haven't been able to post in the past few months. Instead of trying to flesh out all my thoughts from that time I have decided to compile a list of witty cliches that capture the top ten things that have been on my mind. In a nutshell, here's what I've been thinking about:

1. My girlfriend Rachel.

2. There are too many people in the world blaming themselves.

3. Integrity comes when we start expecting it from others.

5. Money binds and gags us, stuffs us in the trunk, and leaves us for dead.

6. God forgives us because he wants to.

7. If we had said "I forgive you" after 9/11 we would have changed the world.

8. The protestant church has forgotten her past.

9. The excess of piety is pride.

10. There is no such thing as too much free pizza.

That about sums up my thoughts for two months. I'm sure I'll be fleshing some of these out later. That's just to keep you up to date for now. I welcome your reactions to any of them.

Monday, July 25, 2005

I Must Have the Spirit of Cain

I was up last night watching TV and I came across a televengelist I had never seen before. His name is Robert Tilton, and before the half hour was over I was ready to hunt him down and drown him in a river.

During the show, all he really did was to read a few verses of scripture and then tell people to give him as much money as they possibly could.

His big schtick is that the Devil wants people to be poor, and God wants you to be rich. According to his show last night, "if Jesus were around today He wouldn't want His people driving volkswagons and living in apartments."

Then he kicked it into high gear with a testimonial from a poor family that gave their last $1,000 to Pastor Bob and then the Dad started getting raises, and the wife eventually got a job, and now they are looking for their own home. All because they give $1,000 to Bob Tilton every month. EVERY MONTH!

As you can imagine, I got pretty fired up about this guy. I mean, I live off raising support, and I need people to give to my ministry so that I can eat. This guy is making an absolute mockery out of true ministry, and getting rich in the process.

I did a little research on the guy and found out that he used to have a show going for a long time based in California. After an expose by ABC, he ended up being sued by his contributors, his wife divorced him, and he moved away to Florida. Now, he's back again and making millions.

I don't really care that he has money. I care that he's lying, taking advantage of the poor viewers who listen to him, and he's making a mockery of ministry in general. This is the kind of guy who makes me feel like a fool when I send out a support letter.

The really sad part is that he targets poor black families and challenges them to give money that they don't have. (That's why he's on BET.) He puffs himself up by claiming to be a prophet sent by God, and demands that people give him $1,000. I can't believe it, but people listen to him. Just listen to some of the stuff he has to say. These are all actual quotes I pulled from the web, and all in all this pretty much sums up his thirty minute sermons.

"Am I talking to you? I tell you someone greater than me is talking to you.

"Not only is worrying a sin, but being poor is a sin when God promises prosperity."

"Psalm 112 says, 'The man who fears God, riches shall be in his house.' Which means I've got to have a house."

"Pay your tithe and believe God will fulfill His Word of riches and wealth to be in your house"

"I like a thousand-dollar vow, because I don't like half-hearted people, lukewarm, just, "Well, I'll do a little . . ." I like a thousand-dollar vow of faith. . . . I'm not talking to you that's got it. You that's got it don't pay a bit of attention to me. I'm talking to you that don't have it, and I'm showing you how you can get it! Yes, the Lord's work gets a portion of it. But you get the biggest portion. You get the biggest blessing. I'm trying to talk you out of that dump you're in! I'm trying to talk you into a decent car!... I'm trying to help you! Quit cursing me! Quit cursing me! God, what will pull this blessing from you? I am a blessing. I have been blessed supernaturally by God. I bring a blessing to you this day, and I know it, and my responsibility is to take it to you"

“You say, ‘Well, I want to give a hundred’ or ‘I want to give two hundred and fifty,’” he would often say. “Nope. Nope. Let me tell you something, if you don’t have faith to make a vow of faith to God for a thousand dollars and believe that He’s going to show you where to get the seed to pay on it or pay it the best you can, it won’t work.”

"There's somebody out there who needs to make a $5,000 vow. You know who you are... I know you don't have $5,000, you don't even have $1,000... but you have to vow! Step out on faith! Prove to God that you will draw nigh to him and he'll draw nigh to you! God doesn't draw nigh to us! He doesn't come to us! He's God! We have to draw nigh to him! Send in that $5,000 gift and God will draw nigh to you! He is telling you to do it and you know it!"

"Every time you vow and every time you pay on your vow it rebukes demons."

"Do not attack this anointing! Do not attack this anointing, Saith God! For this anointing gives you the power to get wealth!"

"Say the word $1,000. The Devil hates the word $1,000. Say it!"

If you do send in a gift, Tilton showers your mailing address with holy trinkets. You'll get Holy Financial Prayer Cloths that have been prayed over by Tilton for you to put under your pillow. There's holy oil packets that you use to anoint your wallet, and coins that you have to rub together and say "I trust that you want to bless me God, and I vow to recieve your blessing in response to my gift of $1,000." If you stay on long enough, you might just get the eight and a half by eleven prayer poster with a picture of Tilton with his eyes squeezed shut and his outstretched hand saying "God wants you to give MORE so that He can give more." And of course, everything comes with a self addressed envelope that you can use to send your money back. On the envelope is written: "I want you to give AS MUCH MONEY AS YOU POSSIBLY CAN GIVE RIGHT NOW! IF YOU THINK $100 IS ENOUGH, GIVE $200! Remember this is what we call creative faith."

A woman who used to work at the Office where Tilton's mailings arrived explained how these vows were recieved by Tiltons Word of Faith ministries:

"You're sat down in a cubicle and given a letter opener. You have bundles and bundles of mail and a trash bin beside you. You slice open the envelope, take the money out and throw the letter away in the bin. The bins are picked up and emptied into trash sacks and put into a special room. They weren't there the next day. There is no one to read the letters and no one intends to read the letters that are mailed in. But you cannot help but read them. All these letters were like, 'Pray for me,' because they were terminal or their son is terminal or there was no money for food . . . desperate situations. And nearly all of the letters were from rural Florida or rural Georgia and they often contained cash in wierd amounts. There would be like $17, and the letter would say, 'I realize I have to give $2 more than I usually give.'"

"There were about a dozen other women opening mail and a bunch told me that we were expected to open enough letters to produce $1,000 per hour. It was an unstated criteria that you open enough envelopes to generate $1,000 an hour. It was unbelievable, literally unbelievable."

After opening the letters for two days, she told a manager at her employment agency that she had concerns about what was going on there. She was then told to leave mail services' office immediately and not finish the work day.

Which raises an interesting question. Tilton can't do this on his own, he needs a staff of people opening his mail, and he needs a network to air his show. If this one woman opening letters part time had trouble supporting Tilton's ministry, why doesn't BET feel like they should do something to stop this man from stealing money from their customers? "It's a serious ethical question for [BET President Robert] Johnson," said Jeffrey Haddon, a professor at the University of Virginia who studies TV evangelists. "A network that pats itself on the back by saying it serves the black community ought to stop selling time to people who take advantage of them."

I'm enraged by this guy, and I want him to stop, but I know there is nothing I can do. It's not illegal to ask people to give you money, and he's not stealing it from anyone, he's just taking advantage of people to the tune of millions a year. I don't know what I can do to stop this guy other than to tell people about him, and to boycott BET and products marketed on BET. Maybe of we got enought people together to boycott the network that makes his "ministry" possible, we could get him off the air.

Then again, who am I to talk against God's Chosen Profit. (Oops) I am just some guy. I'm not an anointed man of God like he is, and I don't have the authority to speak for God as he does. Should I really interfere with something someone has explicitly said is the divine plan of God? Maybe I shouldn't be bad mouthing him right? Afterall, Tilton himself said:

"I'm not sent to everybody, God only sends me to a few people. Some people watching will get mad at what I'm saying. That is the spirit of Cain."

Thursday, June 16, 2005

broken finger

i thought it would be funny to type out a post because my fvinger is broken andf i can[t type andf look at the screen at the same time. it also takes too long to hit the back keuy left anf right sop i'm just going witrh it. one hanfded. trying to do my best but oh well... now i know what my dad feels like when he sitsd dowen to typer.

i have been thinking a lot about being a good lreader and waht it means to be a servant leader. i a mwith a bunch of people who are all uased to beingf leaders anfd it is a huge stretch fior mer to submit to so mANY STRIONG PERSonalitiers. i thionk the lesson is due however, that servant leaders are more respected and trustedt than forceful leaders. there is a lot to say fotr stepping baCK ANF SAYING I'M sure youy can xdco this as well as i can if not better.

well that took about twenty minutes andf my good hand is cramping up now. more later.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Leader in Training

Well, I'm learning a lot about what it means to be a leader. I have learned that I used to be the guy who takes charge and pushes other people out of control, and I am learning a lot about stepping aside, being a little more of a wall flower, and letting other people learn the lessons I learned about leadership. This is proving to be one of the best lessons of my life.

I am really enjoying my time out here, but as I move on in my training, I have come to realize that the best leaders, the most respected leaders in this community are the ones who aren't pushing themselves into positions of leadership. They are the ones who are doing what they consider to be the will of God, and as they do it, they are being rewarded with the respect and trust of those around them.

I want to be that. I want to be a safe place. I want to be someone people can turn to, and someone less concerned about advancement and more concerned about mutual edification. I hope this becomes a characteristic of my life. Pray for this.

First Week of New Staff Training

Well, here I am at New Staff Training for the CCO. Everything feels differently to me. I am around a bunch of people I don't know, and to be honest, the most difficult thing about it is walking into a room and not hearing everyone shout my name. (Not that that always happened in Canton, but people were generally excited when I walked into a room, and here, no one cares because no one knows me.)

Things have been going incredibly well. I am learning a TON. I have already learned a lot about sacrificial leadership, and I am developing skills of a leader that carry me beyond the "Do everything because I'm better at it than everyone else" approach. I didn't realize how much I do that, but I really do. Watching this community of leaders has shown me how crippling that attitude can be and it has been a real struggle for me to step back and say "I'm sure these guys can take care of it." I guess my pride is getting a bit of a check out here, but hey, it's about time.

I've been very active, and this whole community really sponsors an attitude of stewardship in everything. No one litters, we all recycle, we turn lights off when we leave a room in order to conserve energy, we carpool everywhere we go, we don't use any styrofoam or disposable plates. We only buy no-name sodas and everyone is very, very sensative and kind to the feelings of others. On the whole, this is a wonderful experience for me.

I think the most difficult thing for me is going to be the cook groups. We have been placed into groups of 6-8 people. In order to make sure that summer training does not come out of the new staff's pockets, a lot of money has been raised for each of us here. However, not enough has been raised to let us go out to eat every night or anything. Instead, each cook group is given $4 per day per person. We then take that money and buy what food we can at the grocery store. I'm sure you know that $4 per day is not a whole lot of money, but we've been doing pretty well so far. We went shopping last night, and I actually asked if I could stay back because I was worried that if I went, I would get all fussy and start making people mad at me. I figured I really don't care what they come back with, but if I went, I could totally see myself saying "What the HELL are you buying ANOTHER stick of BUTTER for!!" So I stayed back and everything went well.

Tonight, I get to see Chris and Jessika White. They are leading our Bible study. And, I start my first graduate level class in about fifteen minutes. We are taking two courses on how to effectively minister and both courses are at the graduate level. Because I will be doing my Master's of Divinity at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary while I am here, I am officially beginning my master's this morning. I can't tell you how exciting this all is.

Well, everyone else is waking up and beginning to congregate in the hall, I should go. Till next time.

Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

A friend of mine asked me recently if there was such a thing as baptism in the Holy Spirit, and if so why she had never heard of it before. I responded with the following email, but I wonder how much of it I got right. Sometimes I wonder if I'm ready to get into this whole discipleship leading thing that I'm training for right now.

Dear Friend-

I'm not sure about this one. This is one of those things that Christians tend to go around and around about. Many Christians will tell you that Baptism in the holy spirit happens when you accept Christ into your heart. (I would be one of these.) Many say that baptism into the Holy Spirit is a fuller realization of Christ in our lives. I'm not sold on the idea that there is such a thing as baptism in the holy spirit that is separate from the baptism into the blood of Christ.

The reason that the Church seems to find a dichotomy (in my mind) lies in the fact that in scripture, many people of Christ's time were baptized with water, and then later with the Holy Spririt. I do not understand the significance of being baptized with water before the death of Christ but apparently it served as some sort of sign that the Christ was coming. (In the gospel of John, when John the baptist is baptizing the people in the desert, the Jews ask him how he can be baptizing if he is not the Prophet or Elijah. Apparently there is a prophecy or a non-canonical book somewhere that says that "The Prophet" or Elijah will come and usher in the messiah by baptizing people. This was what John the baptist was doing. I have to look further into this to understand it more fully.)

At any rate, these people who were baptized under John were not baptized under the Holy Spirit, and even John said this. Christ's disciples also baptized people in the desert, and they also did not baptize people in the Holy Spirit. The reason for this was because Christ said that the "Helper" or "Councellor" could not come until he had died. The Holy Spirit is the spirit of God, and the spirit of God could not rest in unjustified human bodies because we were unworthy of the indwelling of God. However, after the atonement of Christ, we were gifted with Salvation, thereby making it possible for the Spirit of God to dwell in us. Therefore, those who believed in the salvific force of the blood of the Christ were granted baptism in the Holy Spirit. These people were the only ones (in my opinion) who could have experienced a baptism by water, and a baptism of the Holy Spirit. Not because they were ultra-saintly, but because of the time that they lived in. Before the death of the Christ, only water baptism was possible, after the death of the Christ, baptism in the Holy Spirit necessarily follows a water baptism into the blood of Christ.

The reason I believe in one baptism lies around the nature of the Trinity. God is one. Once I have accepted the salvation of Christ, God saves my soul. As he saves my soul, he comes to dwell in me. (Romans 8:9 - You, however , are controlled not by the Sinful nature, but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.) This verse tells me that once I have been adopted into Christ, I have been adopted into God. God is inseparable, and therefore when I am baptized with water, I am forgiven of my sins, I am grafted into the family of God, and I receive the Holy Spirit. Baptism in the Holy Spirit is absolutely a thing, however, if you are Christian, I believe you have been baptized in the Holy Spirit.

If you want the gift of tongues, pray for it. (Scripture clearly tells us to eagerly desire the greater gifts. (Read I Cor 12:27 - 13:3 to find out which gift Paul tells you to most eagerly desire.)

In short, I believe in the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but I do not believe that Christians can get part of God, and then get more of him later. We get all of the inseperable God at the moment we commit ourselves to him. The reason the Apostles did not recieve this was because they committed themselves to the Christ before he ascended into Heaven.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Listening to Strangers

Last night an old friend had a CD release party in town here. I ended up deciding to go, and I had a blast. Apparently there were a few critics there and they all loved him. (Or so said the manager.) But anyway, on to the story.

After the concert, I went outside to have a cigarette. (I quit again this morning by the way.) At any rate, I sat down outside on the curb and this girl asked me if I had ever been to the record store next door. I said no, and we got to talking. She was waiting for friends, and we ended up being able to talk for about thirty minutes. She asked me what I do and I told her that I was going to be a college missionary. Of course, that started the whole, "Are you super religious?" discussion.

Well, we talked for about thirty minutes about some very real issues. She told me all sorts of things about her as a kid, and I asked her how she felt those things had made her grow into the person she is today. She asked me a bunch of questions about Christianity, and I asked her a bunch of questions about her particular brand of agnosticism and we both had a really great discussion. In the end, we were discussing the garden of Eden, and her friends showed up and she had to take off for the concert she was waiting for. I said goodbye and I'll never see her again.

Then I went inside and had a beer with these two girls I had met at the concert and the one girl wanted a cigarette, so we went outside. Once we got out there I said, "So Jackie, what are you about?" and we got into a long discussion on her rich mother who recently disowned her and about my religion. (She also asked what I did for a living which started that discussion.) She really opened up a lot about some of the pain she was experiencing because of the trouble with her mom, and the pain she had to deal with because her father had cheated on her mother and they were divorced. It was really something, and I was really starting to feel for her. I saw this person who was a perfect stranger ten minutes ago blossom into a real life and blood human being. It was wierd.

Then I went inside and almost immediately, struck up a long discussion with my friend's sister Molly, who I haven't had an opportunity to talk to in a very long time. I don't know how we even got into it, but we had a long talk about insecurities and the things that make us feel stupid or scared. She and I both started sorting through some pretty personal issues that we are wrestling with. And then turned around and had a good time with everyone else.

I don't know what it was about last night but I just found myself wandering from deep discussion to deep discussion. And it isn't that I was trying to do it on purpose, God just had me there, at that bar, for a very good reason.

Well, I got home, and I started thinking about it this morning. I would say I had pretty successful discussions with these three women, and it's because I was asking them questions about themselves. Two of the women were perfect strangers, and one I haven't talked to in years. But each time I asked a question like "What are you about?" of "Does that keep you up at night?" the discussion just ran. I found that people love to talk about themselves, and we shouldn't be as afraid of discussing personal issues as we usually are. It's probably very, very healthy to dig up real personal stuff and share it with a perfect stranger who'll never ever see you again. And I'm convinced now that all you have to do is ask someone "What are you wrestling with right now?" and they'll start talking. Of course, you can't just pop in and say that, but if you get to know someone a little bit, you can really have some wonderful discussions by caring about what people say in response to real questions.

So yeah, it was an interesting night last night. I would encourage you, next time you are out somewhere, ask the stranger next to you a question like, "So, what are you about? What gets you going?" And watch the conversation go. Try it, it's fun.
Plus it avoids the weather talk. I hate talking about the weather.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Tie Ball Game

I was thinking this morning about the Superbowl. Not sure why, but I was. And I got to thinking about the one where that guy was a yard away from the touchdown, but he didn't get it in. If he had pushed that football one inch further, they would have won, but he didn't and they lost.

I love football, and I don't want to disrupt the sport at all, but it got me thinking. The point of the Superbowl is to say that this team is better than that team right? Well, what happens when the game ends in a tie? We go into overtime to decide who wins. Now, think about it. We don't go into overtime to decide who is better than the other, we go into overtime to decide who wins. There is a difference. I would really love it if we ended games in a tie. Even the Superbowl. No, especially the Superbowl. I think there is something to be said about two teams getting all the way to the final dance and playing their hearts out for hour after hour. If one team is unable to trump the efforts of the other team, maybe they should line up and say to each other, "Great job, we just couldn't beat you." If the Superbowl ended in a tie, I think it would be a more accurate analysis of the teams. Rather than going into overtime and having one team beat another team by an inch or two, we would say that both teams were equally strong.

Maybe it wouldn't be such a bad thing for football to get rid of overtime. If two teams finish the regulation time and the score is tied, that's that. Sure it's a bit like kissing your sister, but honestly, if one team can't beat the other in regulation, we should be able to say that they are equals.

I wonder what it says about American society that we refuse to allow games to end in a tie. Does it say anything? Does it say that we don't like people being equal? Or is that going too far?

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Late Night Transparency

It's late. I was up past 3 last night, and I woke this morning at 6. I've been going all day-in fact, I've been going all week. But that's a good thing.

I am done with my job. Last friday was my last day. Saturday I go into a 6 1/2 week intensive training seminar for my new position as a college missionary, and I fear that I am not ready. But maybe that's mostly because it's late.

I think it just started hitting me on the way home. I watched Sideways at J.P.'s house tonight, and when I got in the car I was thinking about my own emotions, feeling a bit like the guy in the movie, and I realized with a sense of finality that I am leaving. Over the Rhine was playing on my radio, and I kept repeating the same song over and over. More because the slow reflective groove felt the mood than because of the lyrics. But as I drove slowly home, I realized that I'm really doing it. I'm really leaving everything and moving to be a college missionary. I have really thrown away my steady salary for an income that is reliant on the generosity of other people. And I got a little sad and a little scared.

I'm sad to be leaving everyone, but that's not all that bad. I'm scared because I don't feel ready. I don't feel ready to be a missionary. I'm a joke. I'm not the guy that people would see as being a missionary. I drink too much. I smoke too much. I swear too much. (I promised myself I would never be so transparent on my blog, but it's late and I don't really want to call anyone, so here I am.)

At any rate, I have begun to understand that it's okay. Not that it's okay for me to be doing those things, but it's okay for me to consider myself a Christian in spite of my incorrigibility. God loves me, and he is working on making me into a better person. I am working on being more pliable, and I'm going to trust that God will continue to mold me as I yield. I pray that I yield more often. And Meg was right, it's better to go into this situation thinking you aren't spiritually cut out for it than to think you are. Knowing that I need to work on myself ensures that I will work on myself. I guess, in a way, I am afraid of the day when I think I'm done.

Don't worry. I know I'm not. But like I said, it's late, and I should get some sleep.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Septic Systems are Racist.

I found this email I had sent to my parents a while back, and it made me laugh. I'm posting it here in case you guys need a chuckle.

Mom / Dad-

Glad to hear that the septic is ready.

I was thinking about this whole "Septic System" thing. It is really just a wonder of modern day marketing that these are still in use. Take a minute to think about it: All of our civilized technology, all of our progress through time, and we haven't gone all that far away from yesterday. In the middle ages people used to expell their human waste in chamber pots that were thrown out the back window. We cringe at such foul behavior wondering how could people live in such filth.

We, as modern Americans with the best of technology at our ready instead utilize "Septic Systems." "Septic System." Doesn't that sound high tech? There are pipes in your house, those pipes take your semi-aqueous refuse out to the "Septic System" where it gathers in a 500 gallon excrement processing tank under your lawn. Then the worms that live off of human excrement begin to reproduce under your lawn and eat your refuse. These in turn die and are expelled into the lawn where their half inch bodies are broken down by bacteria in the earth and in turn fertilize your lawn. The modern "Septic System." A beautiful thing.

There is no "System" involved in this. It's a bucket in the front yard! System? Since when does a buried bucket qualify as a system? I should invent something like this. I could invent the modern "Garbage disposal system" No more trash collectors! No more storing garbage in your garage for weeks at a time! Instead, there's a 300 foot deep hole in the earth out back with a thin line of sod over top. A shute in the kitchen goes right there. Ahh... the modern "Gargbage Disposal System."

Or how about the "Appliance Disposal System." We build an extra room on the back of your home to house the "Appliance Disposal System" All you have to do when you want to get rid of an appliance is bring it into the "Appliance Disposal System" and shut the door! No more washer! We got rid of it in our new "Appliance Disposal System"!

Seriously, where do these Septic System people get off calling this a system? A system should require at least two steps. A system should be more involved than: Step 1: Take crap to bucket; Step 2: Take more crap to bucket. I recognize that this "System" is necessary for us to have, I'm just wondering why we bother euphamizing the word. Why do we have a need to glorify everything we do, pretending that all of this is more complex, less ugly, than it really is. We should just admit it. We should just call a spade a spade, quit being PC about this stuff and quit calling it a "Septic System" and start calling it a "Bucketinthefrontyard"

It's not like the Septic System is the only thing we do this with. Isn't it funny that we aren't allowed to say "Retarded" any more? It went to "Slow" and then to "Mentally Handicapped" which was offensive and became "Mentally Disabelled" which became "Mentally Challenged" which begame "Mentally Digressed." Or how about that first it was wrong to say "Nigger" then it was wrong to say "Negro" then it was wrong to say "Colored" then it was wrong to say "Black" and now it's becoming passe to say "African American." The fact of the matter is there are words that differentiate between human beings. "Man" differentiates "Men" from "Women." The problem is, we don't want to admit that there are certain differentiations, so we give them pretty names as if to say that we don't recognize that there is a difference. Soon, the pretty name begins to identify the thing it is naming, and even the pretty name has to be replaced, because it differentiates. Political correctness will never cease because every time we give something a euphamized name, the minute that name becomes popular, it will mean what it is supposed to mean. Maybe instead of telling people to call things by pretty names, we should educate them to accept things and people that are "different." Then it won't matter what we call them, because we will love them no matter what they are.

The fact of the matter is, calling something by a different name doesn't change the reality of what that thing is. A "Septic System" is still just a bucket under the lawn, no matter what we call it. The trick isn't giving it a pretty name. The trick is recognizing that we need it. That we can't live without it. Then it won't matter what we call it, and we won't have to pretend that it's something it's not.

Yes sir, modern man has really come along. Instead of throwing our crap out the window, we put it in a bucket under the lawn where it is stored long enough to feed a population of parasitic worms. "Septic System." It sounds so clean, so neat, so sterile.



Thursday, May 26, 2005


I woke up today on the couch at Sarah's house in Canton. I spent the night last night because I thought I had to work in Canton this morning. I woke up, showered, and went to my car. There I found my glove box open, and my Snicker's bar missing. (I keep a Snickers in the glove box in case I get stranded somewhere and I'm hungry.) I looked in the back seat and the floor mats where over-turned, and all of my CDs were gone. Then I realized someone had broken into my car. My briefcase was gone with my Journal, the Brothers Karamazov, my camera, my iPod shuffle, my calligraphy pens, a letter I had written to my friend Cris, a ring I was going to mail to her, and a book I had borrowed from my friend Dean.

I lost everything in the breifcase as well as the briefcase itself. (Which my brother had given to me for Christmas.) The thing that makes me mad is that I've lost the journal. I don't really mind loosing the camera and the other stuff because it can be replaced, but that journal can't. It has two years of my life in it, no one could possibly want it, and it's gone forever. Probably thrown away somewhere. One of my most prized possessions is in the garbage right now, and I don't know where.

I want to find the people who stole the stuff and say, "Hey, you can keep the camera, the iPod, and the CD's, can I have my Journal back?" That's all I really want.

Then I went to the place where I was supposed to report this morning, and I didn't need to be there. So I guess I could have gone home yesterday and missed out on the whole "Loose all my stuff" thing.

When I got to work today, I was late. (I had to drive up to the office in Akron.) When I got to my desk, my computer was wrapped in Saran Wrap. My mouse, keyboard, and monitor were all wrapped individually. As I unwrapped my computer, everyone came by and laughed with me. Then I proceeded to tell everyone about my car being broken into, and Jake turned to Dean and said "Damn... Even when we win, we lose."

Monica shouted from the corner, "Seriously Josh, that sucks! As if the Computer and a frozen coffee mug weren't enough? You had your car broken into?"

I looked at Jake and said, "You froze my Coffee mug?"

Now I'm sitting at my desk with a garbage can full of Saran Wrap, a lot of missing shit, and a giant glass bowl with a giant ol' coffee mug ice cube.

So, if anyone finds a small leather journal with my name in it, please let me know.

Friday, May 20, 2005


Look out. I'm going off.

I'm frustrated. I'm frustrated because somewhere, someone turned America on its head and started shaking quarters out of our pockets. Maybe I'm totally crazy, but I want to think that there was a time when the value of a human being was based on their usefulness. There used to be a time when hard workers were rewarded with prestige. There used to be a time when knowledge, and integrity were sought after. There used to be a time when we could look at the popular kids in high school and shake our heads and cluck our tongues because we knew that one day they would wake up and realize that expensive jeans and pretty hair won't get you anywhere in life. Unfortunately, today, we would be wrong. Today, expensive jeans and pretty hair are more than enough to get you a brand new lexus and an in ground pool.

It has become apparent to me, after working in corporate America, that the only way to get a promotion is to be ineffective and angry. If you are ineffective, your boss will want you out of your position. If you are angry, your boss will promote you rather than fire you in order to avoid a lawsuit. It doesn't matter if you are good at what you do, it doesn't matter if you are efficient, or hard-working, or more capable than other people in the office. The biggest source for promotions is the chopping block.

At least that's the way things work at my company. I have two bosses who know what they are doing. These two men have a very strong understanding of what is going on, and they are very capable with their jobs. As a result, every bit of work that needs to be done is thrown at them. They have little to no help, and they never actually go home. The people above my immediate supervisors go to tea parties all day, and hold hands with rich people as they tour the office. My boss's title is "Manager" his boss's title is "Administrator." His boss' title is "Director." His boss' title is "Supervisor." His boss' is the COO of WHM. His boss is the CFO of WHM. His boss is the CEO of WHM. His boss is the CEO of WHV. His boss is the owner. My manager is in charge of 54 people. His boss is in charge of 2. The guy who is in charge of 54 people and who sleeps in a desk drawer is paid less than the guy who is in charge of 2 people and goes home before me. I don't understand it. The only reason I can see for the Administrator making so much money is that if he wasn't the administrator, we would have an empty office.

So while the Administrator plans meetings to discuss what meetings need to be planned, 55 people are busy getting work done and making money. While we scratch at paper tablets and tab through computer screens, our CEO walks through with a suit troop pointing at the cubicles saying, "Look at my pretty employees! Don't they look busy?"

I am so incredibly sick of corporate America fighting against productivity and ethics by discouraging hardwork and promoting failure. We are so concerned about getting sued for firing an imbicile that we have started promoting them instead. We are encouraging our good workers to care less, and play more so that they can be "edited" into a new position with more pay and a darker shadow of hidden responsibility. If you work as hard as you possibly can, and do a fabulous job on what you've done, more work will be thrown your way, until you are no longer able to complete everything that is shoveled onto your inbox. At that point, you tell your boss "Look, I can't get to that." And that becomes priority number one, and your inability to complete it is an indication of your lack of a work ethic. Meanwhile, the people surfing the internet all day and copying the faces on the xerox machine are being offered pay raises and corner offices. The workplace in America operates out of some twilight-zone reverse darwinism that puts the weakest, least able-bodied, feeblest minds at the top of the food chain. Lions and sharks stalk and swim on the office floor while guppies and lambs poop their pants on the glass ceiling.

I am sick of corporate America because it has lost its guts. There is no such thing as a dog-eat-dog world out there anymore. Now its a dog-sues-dog-unless-you-pay-me-for-sucking-at-my-job world out there, and the useless dogs, the ones that natural selection should be feeding to the vultures, have the most money, the best lawyers, and the easiest jobs. I find it frighteningly disconcerting that the less work you do in a day, the more you get paid. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe there never was a time when hard work earned promotions. Maybe that's all just one big brainwashing scheme that's out there telling me to work my tail off. I've only been in the business for three short years, and already, I have found it out.

If you do more than people expect, people will expect more than you did. If you do less than people expect, they'll promote you.

As for me? I'm leaving.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Super Computer

I'm dreaming of an all-in-one piece of technology. Imagine a device about the size of your palm. It has a flip cover like a cell phone and a color screen. If you like, you can press a button on the side and tell the device to do a number of things. It can either place a call, or tell your schedule for the day, just like my current cell phone does.

On your home on the subway, you can open the device, press the button on the side, and say "Email" to open your internet based email account. If you like, you can say "Internet" to surf the web a bit on the five-inch color display. All the while, you'll have your headphones plugged in and you'll be listening to any of the three thousand songs you have stored on the device.

But there is more hidden inside. When you get to the coffee shop, you'll uncover the USB cover and plug it into a monitor or T.V. The device will house every document, presentation, database, and photograph that you have on your computer at home right now. It will also store all of your software, and the operating system that you are used to. Once you plug it into a monitor or Television, it will operate just like a computer. If there isn't a keyboard attached the monitor or T.V. that you have jacked into, you'll just unroll the keyboard that you brought with you. The device itself will be your optical mouse.

When you step into your car, you'll plug the device into your dash, and select the music that you want to hear. If you want, you can listen to your radio through the device instead. If you get lost on the drive, you can use the internet browser to find directions from where you are to where you need to be.

Once you get home, you'll plug the device into your television and select the playlist that you want to listen to. Music will play on the speakers in every room of your house. Of course, if you want to silence the music in your living room, or play different music in the dining room, you can set the device to do so. The music will be sent wirelessly to the respective speakers and the music in your house will perfectly fit your mood.

After dinner, you can use the device to stop the music in the living room, and tell the device to play one of the hundreds of movies that you have purchased. Of course, if you are at a friend's house and you want to watch your satellite cable you can plug the device into your friend's T.V. and watch any program you want through your cable satellite provider.

It would need to have a lot of memory, but seeing as I can get a 60 GB iPod right now that's no bigger than this, I'm guessing we wouldn't need much more memory in the device than that. Basically, it would be my computer, iPod, T.V. Satellite receiver, palm pilot, blackberry, and cellphone all in one. We already have these devices running on computers. If we could get them all to operate in the same small portable device, I would have one bill to pay. I would pay $100 a month, and my cell phone, satellite T.V. would be covered. The fee would also allow me to download a certain number of songs and/or DVDs onto the device each month. The company that made these would eventually rule the world of computer sales.

The best part is that nearly everything is run with one or two buttons. I will press the side button and say: Call, Schedule, Email, or Internet, and I'll use the device on it's own to do any of those. If I plug it into a monitor, then I'll use the device like a mouse to select Music, Computer, Television, or Movie to choose what I would like to do. Everything else would be run through the device.

Maybe we'll never have something like this, but I'm dreaming. It would certainly be pretty freaking cool. All I need now is a name. I'm thinking a Jack-in-Box, or JIB... but I need something better. Any thoughts?

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Future of Music

I buckled under pressure and bought a full blown iPod. I realized that the 900 songs I have ripped onto my computer from my CD collection are the only copies I have of the songs. All of the CDs are scratched or missing. I figured rather than spending hundreds to replace all of the CDs, I would just buy an iPod. And I love it.

I now realize that music is moving away from CDs, and toward downloaded tunes. Now, almost everything on my computer is legal music that I purchased on CD and burned onto my computer. (I admit, I did my share of burned CDs from friends and maybe when my conscience catches up with my knowledge I'll delete them.) However, in general, music is being pirated left and right. That's not really news. The increase of the iPod in popularity means that music is about to become much less lucrative because for every ten CDs a record producer sells, 100 will be stolen. Meaning that artists are about to get very, very poor, and music is about to get much, much better.

Right now the richest musicians are generally the worst musicians. (There are a few exceptions, I agree.) It seems to me that the only people who are getting record deals are the people with an "in" or the people who can entertain. The "artists" are still struggling through indy shows in dirty dive bars while the "Rock Stars" are no-talent pretty faces like Brittany Spears, Justin Timberlake, and everyone on American Idol.

Soon, however, things are going to change. The waterfall is about to stop, and those who are interested in money will be fleeing from the music industry. Music will be reduced to a motley crew of people who are interested in making music. Imagine. An industry full of musicians who are artists. The last time music was run by musicians we had people like Mozart and Bach. I wonder what musicians will do when their art is no longer being raped by the money hungry producers.

I'm sorry that the producers are about to loose a lot of money, and I'm sorry that the Justin Timberlakes and American Idols will be found modeling underwear for J.C. Penny instead of making millions shaking their tail feathers on stage. But, I'm glad that we are about to clean up the musical gene pool in America. It's about time the music industry had a shake down and it's about time the scruff was scrubbed off. There is enough entertainment in America. I want music to become art again.