Sunday, April 30, 2006

The Cowardly Lion

People call me a coward because I'm a pacifist. It happened last night. At four o'clock in the morning, I awoke to students yelling outside my door. I won't go into details about the story, but at one point I was in the middle of nine students, three of which were heavily intoxicated, and the other six hate me because I get them in trouble on a regular basis. Two of the three were trying to pick a fight with each other, and the others were taking sides. There I was, all five-three, buck thirty of me, surrounded by nine drunk and angry college lacrosse players. I was mad, I was tired, and I was yelling at people much bigger and meaner than me for them to disperse. I was so angry and upset that my fists were clenched at my sides as I shouted "It is five o'clock in the morning and I don't give a sh** about this. Everyone goes to bed right now, or I write you all up for failure to comply." The whole time I wondered, what if someone hits me? What if they all hit me?

When people find out I'm a pacifist, they always ask me the same question. "If you were sleeping and someone broke into the house and tried to rape your wife, you mean you would just let him do it?" To be honest, I don't have an answer. The only response I have is: "Why did you ask me that horrible question?" I think about things like that all the time. I have dreams about being mugged and I have to sit there while some guy jabs a broken bottle into my stomach. It horrifies me. Watching my wife being raped is the most awful thing I can possibly imagine ever happening, and people force me to think about it happening on a regular basis. Maybe they ask because they are genuinely curious. Maybe they are intrigued by the anomaly that I am because of my beliefs. More than likely though, they think it will help me to stop being a pacifist. And frankly, it nearly works. Every time I think about it, I think "If being a pacifist means sacrificing my wife, then I don't want to be one." But there's the rub. I am not a pacifist because I want to be. I am a pacifist because I believe I have to be. I believe I have been commanded by God to be a pacifist. And I know how crazy that sounds.

I guess that's why it bugs me so much when people say things like the student last night who said "Go ahead, clench your fists! You're not going to hit me. You're a f****ing coward." Those are the times when I wonder if I have enough courage to remain a pacifist.

I'm not a pacifist out of choice, or some hippy free love morality. I'm a pacifist because I believe Jesus meant it when he said to love my enemies, and to turn to them my other cheek. I think he really meant it when he asked God to forgive the Roman soldiers who laughed as they nailed him to the cross and watched him die.

I guess I should ask, where's the coward in that?

Friday, April 28, 2006

Thursday, April 27, 2006


So, I've been thinking about blogging recently. I started this whole blog thing as an attempt to say things that I wanted other people to hear. I did that for about a year. I was a town crier, shouting about things that I didn't like, or trying to challenge people to think about things that I found important. For a year, I had very limited readership on my blog. During that time, I promised not to make my blog become a diary. To those of you for whom that promise meant something, I apologize for the past few weeks. For the past few weeks, this blog has been an attempt to get people to like my blog as much as my brother's.

Many people enjoyed reading my blog when it was nothing but political rants and ravings. Of those people, I think a substantial amount were less interested in what I had to say, and more interested in checking to see if I had updated it or not. When they saw that I had they went on their merry way without reading anything. Or they would scroll down and see that there was a lot to read, and then go on their merry way without reading anything. To that portion of my readership I say, "Why did you waste all that time?"

Then there were those who read my blog because they know me, and just wanted to see what was going on with me. To you I apologize. My blog for the past year and a bit told you little to nothing about myself. This blog told you very little about what was going on in my life, and told you instead that I get the New York Times in my email every day.

In short, for the past year and a bit, this blog was my attempt to sound more learned, more important, and more educated than I really am.

Then, everything changed. My big brother started a blog. It was an overnight success. Everyone joined in. Everyone was posting comments and reading his (long) posts. Needless to say, I was instantly jealous. Here I had been blogging for over a year, with little to no evidence that anyone was reading what I wrote. Tim wrote one post and people all over Ohio were drooling as they ran to the Internet.

I initially thought it was because people wanted to encourage him. Then, he kept blogging, and people kept commenting. Then I thought people were coming because he has pretty pictures. (Which I think is partly true.) But I recently realized that people were reading Tim's blog because he was capturing his audience. He was saying: This is what's going on in my life. Tim was telling a story.

That's what people want. People want stories. My blog was not much more than a liberal incarnation of the Baptist preacher screaming hellfire on a box in town square. Tim was telling a story.

That is what I am going to try to do from now on. To those of you who enjoyed my senseless rantings and ravings about things, I expect these types of posts to surface now and again, but I wouldn't check here everyday expecting one. To those of you who want this to serve as a diary of things I have done, I will not lead you astray. It remains my goal to not have a blog which is merely a diary.

My attempt now is to tell a story, but a story with meaning. I will be trying from here on out to use my blog to have fun, and to talk about the things in my life that are leading me to think aboud deeper issues. I will talk about my time spent at Sister Constance's this Saturday, and I'll let you know what being around Wheeling's homeless makes me think about.

For those of you that managed to read this whole post... without pictures... thank you. I'm honored. To those of you that haven't read this whole post... yeah, oh well. Whatever.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Customizing my page

So, I want to customize the look of my Blog. I have been playing around with that oh so confusing html gobbldegook in my template with little to no success. I managed to change the picture that appears at the top of the screen, but after toying around for over 3 hours, I cannot manage to get this image to appear at the bottom of the screen...

Any ideas on what I might be doing wrong? Any ideas on what might make this easier for me? I have heard of things called Wizywig editors etc... and I just don't know anything. All I want is for that image to appear at the bottom of the screen...

For those of you who don't know anything about HTML and are feeling left out right now... I charge you with this. When pumping gas, don't ruffle your cashmere sweater around a whole bunch just before you grab the pump handle like this lady. (Don't worry, she doesn't get hurt.)

Of course, I would love to learn how to do further customizations later, but right now I am just so frustrated that trying to learn how to get a paragraph separation in HTML language is way too much.


*What the crap

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Pittsburgh, Virginia and D.C.

Okay, Rachel and I have some interesting stories from time spent in Pittsburgh, Virginia, and Washington D.C. from the past two weeks. I have not had the time to talk about these.

Rach and I got into Pittspuke the night of Easter. We decided to go take a walk downtown, and parked in the PPG courtyard. (A beautiful glassy building castle-like structure in the middle of the city) We parked the car, and looked over to see a handful of homeless guys sitting on the park benches. We decided to go into McDonald's and buy them all some dinner. We came out with four Big Mac meals and gave them away to the guys who were on the sidewalks. I was happy to give them something to eat for Easter dinner, but I feel miserable about it too... mainly because we just finished watching Supersize Me. We then went for a walk through a few streets and over one of the many many bridges in Pittsburgh. I snapped a couple photos because I was trying to be my brother Tim. One of the pictures really hit me, not because of the picture but because of what it was a picture of. On either side of the bridge, the builders had gone so far as to create these tiny little miner gargoyle things that really hit me. You never see stuff like that anymore, and I wish people who were involved in construction projects now adays cared about stuff like that.

It's out of focus, but you can see what I'm talking about.

This is the bridge we walked on. All the steel crisscrossing
and the way the road bends because of the taughtness of the bridge...
it was fascinating to me.

The obligatory Political photo.

This is the Rachel I sometimes think of when I'm not near her.
Out in great big Pittsburgh, all alone and kind of small.

Rachel was not comfortable with me taking pictures because she was afraid that I would get mugged. There weren't a lot of people around the city that night, and it was getting dark, and we were dressed pretty nice, and I was snapping pictures, and we are both very, very little, so she just felt like we were targets. Which led into a conversation about fear generated by lies told by the media... and led into a conversation about my insecurity concerning how small I am... oh well...


This weekend we left for Newport News Virginia. (Near Virginia Beach) where my old college roommate Matt Peters was getting married. He was a bit nervous, understandably.

Peters at the rehearsal, being his normal, casual, take it easy self.

I love this guy. If you don't know Matt Peters very well, I feel badly for you. I think everyone needs a carefree, loving person in their lives just like Peters. I miss him a lot because he is out in VA, but it was wonderful to see him for a few days. Congrats Matt.

If you are ever at a wedding and someone is taking a picture with the groom, don't be that guy in the background with your fingers in the air. I hate him. This is the only picture I have of Matt at the wedding, and now there is some moron's fingers in the picture from here to eternity. Thanks a lot Uncle whoever you are.

A shot of the beautiful bead work on the dress Rachel wore to the wedding.
I really like that dress.

After the wedding Rachel and I decided to head east to see the ocean. We found a place called Buckroe beach and walked next to the ocean for a few minutes before getting in the car. It was the first time I had ever taken a romantic walk on the beach... I just wish it could have lasted longer.

The batteries died right after taking this, so I couldn't take another picture.
Thank goodness for photo editing software. Before I toyed around with this,
you couldn't see our faces at all.

Washington D.C.
After a quick stop at the Atlantic Ocean, we got in the car and drove into Washington D.C. where we met my friend Cristin for lunch. We wanted to go eat at a place Steve Garber (Author of The Fabric of Faithfulness) had mentioned was a good place to eat...

But it's closed on Sundays.

So we went to a Carribean Grill instead. Quaint little shop. It was very nice. I ate fried plantains for the first time in my life, and baked Yuca for the first time in my life. Both of which I really enjoyed. I want to try to make them sometime.

I snapped a few pictures in the room because the colors were just irresistable. The pictures don't capture it.

The shop was just loaded with character, and I snapped some pics.
Rachel didn't want her picture taken.

She got fed up with me, the incessant shutterbug,
and gave me her Sean Penn impersonation.

Then we started on our way home. On the way the road dipped down in front of us, and there were these huge valleys where you could see for what felt like miles and miles and miles. It was so beautiful, and I tried to get a photo as we drove by at nine thousand miles an hour (Rachel was driving) but the end result looked more like post drop Hiroshima than a beautiful scene. In order to make it feel more like Hiroshima, I made the picture black and white.

Believe it or not, this was really an absolutley gorgeous scenic overlook.

Well we ended up finding a small scenic overlook off the highway where we could actually stop and play around a bit, so we did. We parked the car and got out to walk in the grass. It turns out that this spot was the site of a civil war battle that saved Washington D.C. from being taken by the South. I need to read up on my American History. (Even though I hate it.)

Rachel getting ready to eat a dandelion.

Rachel laid down in the grass for a while.

It's only now that I realize, it is very possible that the grass she is laying in here was the same grass a man died in during the Civil War. It reminds me of the Carl Sandburg Poem below.

By Carl Sandburg

Pile the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo.
Shovel them under and let me work
I am the grass; I cover all.

And pile them high at Gettysburg
And pile them high at Ypres and Verdun.
Shovel them under and let me work.
Two years, ten years, and the passengers ask the conductor:
What place is this?
Where are we now?

I am the grass.
Let me work.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Green Thumb

I bought seeds for a Fat Bellied Buddha Plant, and a Coffee tree recently. (It cost me ten bucks for twenty seeds...) The Fat Bellied Buddha Plant just started coming out! (The Coffee seeds take much longer to germinate.)

Now that I think about it, it's not all that cool looking just yet.
I'll send you updates as it gets bigger.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The McCowins

Rachel and I spent a good portion of Easter at her parent's house this past Sunday. We got to spend some time with her brother Jarrod, sister-in-law Heather, and her neice Cora. (Just about the cutest thing that moves.) Her brother Jarrod is a great guy, he laughs a lot, and makes me want to make him laugh, and her sister-in-law Heather is a blast to watch with Cora. She's a blast to be around because she is so full of energy and life. Sometimes she is just bolting back and forth from the couch to the ground to Cora's newest toy, and I just sit on the piano bench watching. And Cora... I mean seriously... who can say enough about Cora? Jarrod and Heather both love Cora more than anything. I love that about them.

Now, I am saying a whole lot about Jarrod and Heather, but I really need to throw a bone out to her parents, and her cousins John and Jason and his fiance Lindsay, and her Uncle Jimmy (who were all there at Easter.) Her parents have always been really excepting and loving of me, and they make me feel like I'm at home even though I'm not. From day one, being at her parent's house (which should be a really awkward place) was never awkward, and felt calm and soothing. Her mom and dad really seem to accept me in, and are two of the most loving people I know.

I know what you're saying right now... "Way to suck up to the in-laws on your blog" right? Well, just so you know, I don't think any of them have the address.

(Rachel, could you email this URL to your parents?)

Her Uncle Jimmy (James) is fabulous, and I'm really glad she has an Uncle in the family who I am excited to have as an Uncle-in-law? Is that how you say it? Uncle-in-law? He might like the Steelers, but I can't hold it against him, because he's a great guy. I love watching him with John and Cora. He's basically just a huge teddy bear. Her cousin Jason and his fiance Lindsay are really fun people, and I wish I were around more to get to know them better. I would love to be able to just hang out with the two from time to time, they seem like people Rachel and I could be friends with. Her other cousin John is awesome too. He has a handicap and can't talk at all. You never really know what he's thinking, but usually he's thinking something about cieling fans, or Ritz. (He got a box of them for Christmas) He loves turning on the ceiling fan in the dining room, and going into the bedroom to turn the radio on really loud. I never feel like I belong quite as much as when John grabs my arm and starts pulling me to the cupboard. I open it up and he thrusts his arms out at a shelf clapping his hand shut. That's my cue to pour him a bowl of cereal. Or, if he's in the dining room tugging on the cieling fan, I come in and turn it off, and he laughs and laughs, only to turn it back on. So I turn it off and he laughs and laughs, only to turn it on again. I'm pretty sure he could play that game until he starved to death. I like John a lot.

So, that's the McCowins. Or at least the McCowins that were there at Easter. I'm glad it was a small crew, because there is a lot to be said about all those folks that weren't there for Easter. Maybe I'll introduce you to those folks when they come by for the next holiday.

Oh, I snapped this loving photo of Rachel's brother Jarrod playing with his little girl Cora, and I thought it just summed up that loving relationship much better than my words would. See what a good parent he is? You can really tell how much he loves his little girl...

Never, never NEVER! Shake a baby.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Rachel and I have a new puppy!

Well, more accurately, Rachel and I have a puppy that my Mom and Dad are going to keep for two years while we live in the dorms. Then Ghyszmeauo (Rachel wants to spell it "Gizmo" but I think that's boring) is going to move in with us! So... in two years... Rachel and I have a new puppy!

Here's the story:

My brother Jeremy breeds Boston Terriers on the side. It's something that he enjoys doing, and gets a small profit from. Well, he has a bitch named Ollie. A few months ago, Jeremy studded his bitch and she whelped six pups. (Doesn't doggie pregnancy sound brutal?)

Ghyszmeauo is the one on the far left...
it looks like she has her face pressed against the cage.

Five of the pups were purchased, and one has been left over because she has a hernia. No one wants to buy this sweet little cute little darling little bitch, and when Rachel and I were home for Easter, we both fell in love with her. Of course, we can't have a dog here at WJU because we live in the dorm, (though I'm going to try to talk my boss into it... I am sure to fail) so my parents are going to watch her for the first two years. That should be pretty good because my parents are good about training dogs for the most part. I can't wait to have her here every now and then, and I am really excited to get to spend time with her when I go home for short stints. Rachel is as excited as ever because she loves that little pup so much.

I really can't get enough of my we little girls!

So... here are some photos.

Seriously... she is JUST too much. How CUTE!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Sometimes, you don't know how bad it's going to hurt.

This has been a strange Easter for me. Rather than realizing how much the ressurection means to me; rather than realizing how powerful Christ is to have conquered death; rather than truly understanding the grace and mercy that comes with this season, I have instead realized two things:

1. Nothing hurts more than knowing that you have betrayed someone you love. I can't imagine the pain Judas felt when he threw the coins to the floor and tightened the noose around his neck. But I'm sure every inch of his soul was self-absorbed with the guilt of betrayal. Betrayal that hurt him because it revealed to him his own wrongs, and all he wanted was to be was right. Knowing that you have betrayed someone who deeply loves you hurts because it screams in your ears. Betrayal puts a megaphone to the sensative ears of your ego, that precious ego which you so gently stroke and bolster every day, and screeches your imperfections like a banshee wailing for its death. I have betrayed someone whom I deeply love, and nothing has ever hurt me more. And feeling that pain screeches all the louder. I should be feeling badly for the friend I hurt, but instead, I am sad because the perfect person I pretend to be has died. I am selfish. I betrayed a friend, and knowing this hurts my ego, and I am sad for myself. I am a wreck. This Easter, I am learning about just how depraved I am.

2. I am more concerned about appearances than I am about truth. This year I tried to fast from everything but water for lent. I ate food, but didn't want to drink anything but water. I failed miserably, but it only bothered me when I was failing in front of other people. If I drank a glass of juice, or a soda when I was alone in my apartment, I was fine with it. When I drank a beer in front of people who didn't know I was fasting, I was fine with it. (But almost everyone knew I was fasting because I shouted my pious endeavor to everyone who saw me take a sip of water.) But, when I drank a glass of wine in front of people who knew I was fasting, only then did I feel like the hypocrite that I am. I went for a run the other day. When I was near WJU, while I was running next to the road, I ran hard. When other people could see me, even though they were complete strangers, and I knew I would never see them again, I ran as hard as I could. I looked fit, and trim, and cool. When I got into the woods, I stopped put my hands on my hips and sucked in air like a dying fish. Then, when I saw a man on the path, I started running again, lest he think that I was out of shape. I ran as hard as I could until he was out of sight, and then I stopped again, wheezing and sucking air. I don't really care about my own betterment, all I want is for other people to think I am disciplined. I want other people to envy me, and I'll do what I can to appear like I have it together. I want other people to be jealous of my character. I want other people to think I am a god. Then, when no one else is watching, I fall apart, and I don't have a problem with it. If I can be pristine and clean while people are watching, then I don't mind sitting in my own shit with the door closed.

This has been a very, very difficult Easter for me. I want to be encouraged. I want to be forgiven. I want to finally become the person that I try so hard to appear to be. I am tired with failing, with being lazy, with falling short and being okay with falling short. I am tired with my apathetic run at sanctification. It's time I put some effort in, and actually met Christ in my private time like I tell everyone else to do. It's time I took off the mask, time I stopped pretending, time I admitted that I'm a mess. It's time I did something about it. It's time I started concerning myself with Christ's opinion of my actions.

This whole experience reminds me of when we are growing old, and we realize that the heros in our lives were just normal people. When you see your dad grab his aching back while he's digging a hole. You realize that he's not a super man, he's just another middle aged guy with a shovel full of dirt and a bad back. It's like when you look at those heros in your life, those people that you made into false gods, and you think to yourself, "My how the gods have fallen."

Only this time, the god is me.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

My Grandmother's Couch

I have been inspired by constant visits to my brother Tim's blog. In his blog he displays a lot of pictures that he took out in Chicago. While, I am unable to create photographs quite as beautiful as his. (I'm sure it's because his camera is better than mine. It has nothing to do with the fact that he is a trained, learned, talented artist and I'm a caveman.) But, last night I was sitting around late at night after having met Rachel in Washington. (PA) I looked over at the couch that I got from Grandma B, and I realized what a simple, but beautiful piece of furniture it is. The light from my lamp was casting all sorts of great shadows on the dimples by the buttons, and I decided to take some snapshots.

Well, that said... this is my photo study of Grandma B's couch. (I inserted some hard returns between each picture so that you can view them one at a time. I think it works/looks better that way.)

No really, that's all. I don't have anything good to say.
Just took some pictures of a couch.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Cook out

Yesterday I worked in the office for a few hours. It was nice to be in the office with Sue and Tracy and it is really starting to feel like things are winding down a bit.

Then I went outside. It was beautiful! I was walking across campus with noting in my hands, with nothing on my schedule for the rest of the day and the students were actually out of the buildings! They were out on the lawn throwing frisbees, and sitting in the grass studying, I was so excited. It was so warm outside, I was actually hot for a minute! Can you believe it? I was HOT!Anyway.

I passed one of my residents Danny Swan who asked if he could grill outside on the second floor. I told him that he couldn't grill on the patio because it was a fire hazard. (Never in my life have I ever worried so much about Fire Hazards.) But, I told him, he was welcome to grill out in front of the building. And I told him to use my grill.

That's Danny Swan... with the headband on.

Then I realized. Beautiful day + Grill + Meat = FUN! So, I promptly went to the store and purchased 80 hot dogs, 30 hamburgers, 14 sausages, buns, mustard, charcoal, napkins and lighter fluid. (I realize now that the only thing I brought to eat was meat... I'm such a guy.)

We must have had around a hundred people come by.
Either that, or fifty people ate like a hundred.

There was nothing but meat to eat. Meat, meat, and more meat.

I then put the grill together and cooked out in front of the building from 4:30 to 6:15. In that time, we ate every piece of meat I had purchased, and Danny brought down 10 hot dogs and ten hamburgers which we promptly threw on the grill and ate as well.

Danny showed me a little trick where you cut the ends of the hot dogs
to make them "bloom" as he said.

When it was all over, I looked around me and realized something that struck me as very funny. Take a look at this picture. This was just before I brought the "left-overs" inside. (Which were plates, ketchup, mustard, and napkins. The can of soda is empty.)

The cooking table after everything was said and done.

Notice the lack of meat, and the abundance of napkins left over.
It was like something out of a Visa commercial.

90 hot dogs
14 sausages
40 hamburgers
3 napkins.


Guys coming in and out...

It was a blast to have the residents hanging out in front of the building, and to have the smell of a big ol' cookout going across campus. Now that it's all over, I'm thinking. This was an unplanned, completely non-advertised event, and we probably had 100 people stop by. This merely leads me to think: next year... it could be BIGGER... (Who knows, we might even have potato salad.)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Hurricane Katrina Aftermath

Photo I took in the Ninth Ward on January 3.

It has been eight months since Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. The city has had eight months to start rebuilding. The city held a multi-million dollar Mardi Gras parade a few weeks ago.

August Blanchard went looking for his mother February 25th. He went to her home in the ninth and cracked the door. When he did, he saw her hand on the ground. There lay August Blanchard's decomposing body. In plain view. In the living room, face down. All anyone had to do was open the door and they would have found her.

But, in the ninth ward, in the poorest district in New Orleans, the search for dead stopped before it finished. And there are dead still to be found in the ruined streets of the ninth ward.

A landlord in Lakeview put a for sale sign on his home, only to find later that a previous tenant was laying dead in the attic.

Two weeks ago, searchers in the ninth ward found a little girl with a blue backpack laying dead in her home. A few feet away, they found the arm of a man who appeared to have been trying to save her. The rest of the man's body was found by carrion birds and other animals. His identity will never be known.

Wanda Jackson's nephew was six years old when he was swept away by the flood waters. His mother could not hold him because she was gripping onto a tree and his three year old brother at the time. Wanda wonders why the searches through the Ninth Ward were never finished. Discussions abound as to what to do in the Ninth Ward about rebuilding, but it doesn't seem as though anyone is asking about finding the dead bodies. "They did not build nothing on 9/11 until they were sure that the damn dust was not human dust; so how you go on and build things in our city?" Said Wanda.

Joseph Naylor (54), who had no family save a possibly estranged cousin, was found by his friend in the attic on March 5th.

Lydia Matthews came home to a neighborhood and checked on her neighbor Anita Dazet. Lydia found her face down, dead and rotting in the living room. The church across the street had been leaving meals on her doorstep for weeks.

The homes these people were found in, all had the orange or white spray painted "X" on the front. The front of the home said it had been searched. The dead body inside said otherwise.

The really horrible part about this story is thinking about those people who survived the flood. They were alive, and were going to be okay, but could not get out of their homes because their homes were collapsed. They just could not move the rubble out from around them, and there they sat waiting for rescuers. The rescuers painted an X on the front of the home, and they died.

Something went terribly wrong in New Orleans. And while it may not save any of those who have already died, we would be nothing short of ignorant to think that this won't happen again. Someone needs to look into FEMA. Something needs to change before the next hurricane strikes.

Monday, April 10, 2006


I walk across campus
with a binder tucked under my arm
and I barely notice the spring.

I barely notice the robin
in the mulch
under the bushes
strutting his red barrel chest.

I barely notice how high is the sky
now that the grey winter blanket
is gone.

I barely notice the earth under my rubber soled shoes
damp and yielding to my heavy steps
no longer frozen and stone.

I barely notice
the chorus of birds around me.

I barely notice the warm air
on my bare arms,
the sun beaming proud,
high in his bright blue sky,
the squirrel sitting on the bench
clutching a tiny rosary
in his tiny little claws.

I notice the hawk.
I see him circling in the air
now against the sky,
now against the brown mountains.

The mountains full of trees
The trees full of bare brown branches
The branches full of their millions
and millions of delicate emerald buds.

I notice the people jogging past me.

I notice the butterfly that landed on the edge of a trash can.

I notice the stones popping
under my shoes
as I twist my feet on the ground.

I notice the tree in the courtyard
still clutching the dead brown leaves
from last fall.

I notice the boys
playing frisbee.

I notice the girls
on blankets in the grass.

I notice the golden daffodils
standing in the raised beds
proud of themsleves
for being the first ones awake.

In a five minute walk
from one building to the next,
I notice some things,
and miss so many more.

All I'm doing is walking
with a binder tucked under my arm
while the world is yawning, and stretching awake
from her long cold slumber.

I hold the door for someone
as he walks out,
and I walk in.

"Beautiful day." he says.
I agree.

That's all. That's it.

Then, I'm back inside
where there are no seasons,
and I notice nothing at all.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Top 10 Reasons people love Christ

So, the last post was a bit pessimistic, I agree. And, it may come across making me look a bit disillusioned. And I agree again. Maybe I am a bit disillusioned. But my true point is to be made here. Yesterday I listed my top 10 reasons why people hate Christians, and now I'll list the top ten reasons why people love Christ. Ready? (I assume you might already have guessed what they might be. If so, check out the references.)

1. Christ was not judgemental. John 8:3-11.

2. Christ was forgiving. Luke 23:33-34.

3. Christ was not hypocritical. John 18:20-23.

4. Christ did not assume that everyone was going to Hell. Mark 12:28-34.

5. Christ was neither stubborn nor stupid. Luke 22:42 Matthew 7:28

6. Christ did not worry about stupid things that don't bother anyone else, nor did he assume that other people cared about such petty fights. Matthew 12:9-12

7. Christ did not hate people that disagreed with him. Matthew 5:43-44

8. Christ did not care about numbers. Matthew 7:14

9. Christ did not take himself too seriously. John 3:13-15

10. Christ had a sense of humor about his own religion. Matthew 5:1-7:28. (I'll admit, it might be a stretch to claim that The Sermon on the Mount was a demonstration of Christ's sense of humor about his own religion. But it did show that Christ knew there were changes that needed to be made to the heart of Judaism. For the closest thing to proof that this demonstrated a sense of humor, pay attention to the last sentence.)

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Top 10 Reasons people hate Christians.

I've been thinking lately about Christianity, and wondering why people are so turned off to it. Here are some reasons I think people don't like Christians. (Keep in mind, these are all generalizations, but these are generalizations that I think all Christians are responsible for.)

1. Christians are judgemental. Christians live their lives according to strict do and don't guidelines and expect other people to do the same. Christians say that people who do not live in fear of this strict laundry list of sins will burn in Hell.

2. Christians are unforgiving. Christians preach about Christ who died on the cross for our sins, but maintain that Christ only forgives Christians for their sins. He does not forgive non-Christians for anything. Instead, Christ remembers every sin a non-Christian has ever committed and judges non-Christians for the same sins Christians are forgiven for.

3. Christians are hypocritical. Christians sin a lot. Christians slap silver Jesus fish on the backs of their cars, and then cut people off, swear and honk their horns and flip people off. If you offend a Christian's religion, he or she will respond in anger often yelling at you for disrespecting God, and will frequently remind you that he or she is going to Heaven.

4. Christians assume that you are going to Hell. Non-Christians see evangelism in three ways: Pastors standing on a box downtown reading from the Bible telling people that they are going to Hell, Christians passing people at the gas station with a glib statement such as "I want you to know that Jesus loves you and wants you to ask him into your heart." or the handing out of tracts (poorly written, poorly illustrated, shallow comics that reduce all humanity into the two categories of bad people who are going to hell, and Christians.)

5. Christians are stubborn and stupid. Christians think (in spite of everything that science tells us) that the Universe is only about 10,000 years old, and that Dinosaurs never actually roamed the earth. Either that, or they think that Dinosaurs walked around with people and during the flood their bones were the first to settle because they were heaviest.

6. Christians worry about stupid things that don't bother anyone else, and assume that other people care about their petty fights. Is it sinful to baptize a baby? Should we sprinkle a baby when we baptize him or her? If you were sprinkled during your baptism were you really baptized? Christians shouldn't drink. Christians should only vote for republicans. Women shouldn't be ministers in a church. Electric guitars are not appropriate for worship. Christians should hate homosexuals. There is no such thing as evolution. It should say "In God we trust." on our money. Mary was sinless. People who don't speak in tongues are not Christians.

7. Christians hate people groups that disagree with them. Christians do not want homosexuals to be legally married in the United States because they think homosexuality is wrong. Rather than prohibiting homosexual marriages in the Church, they want to prohibit homosexual marriage all together. They claim that this is out of fear that homosexual marraige will undermine the sanctity of marriage. Meanwhile, some Christians refuse to grant divorces to abused women, and over half of all the other Christians get divorced in under ten years.

8. Christians are more concerned about numbers than they are about Jesus. Christian churches are becoming huge complexes where the sole goal is to bring more people in the door. Christians say that this is motivated out of a desire to bring more people to Christ, but rather than giving money raised from increased attendants to charities and missionaries, most churches use these funds to buy sound systems, high quality cameras and for increasing the salary of the head pastor.

9. Christians take themselves too seriously. Christians live in constant fear of sin. When they are not afraid of sinning, they are committing sins. After they commit sins, they spend an unbelievable amount of time feeling guilty for their sins. This process develops Christians into self-absorbed people who focus more on what they are not doing than on what they are doing. As a result, they are afraid to do things that the rest of the world finds enjoyable. Such as, going to a bar, watching an R rated movie, or smoking a cigarette.

10. Christians have no sense of humor about their own religion. If you tell a Christian about the things that seem strange about their religion, or about the practice of their religion, they will respond in either anger or disassociation. Either they will begin a long argument about why God loves them more, or they will tell you that they are not like most other Christians.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Last Night's Dream

I was sleeping last night on my couch, where I sleep almost every night, when I started having a relatively mundane dream that ended with me being horrified, and leaves me now being curious about how the mind works. (How's that for a run on sentence?)

Until I say so, all of this is a dream. I was asleep for all of this, but it felt very real to me.

So, in the dream, I was sleeping on the couch when someone woke me up by knocking on the door. (I'm still dreaming...) I rolled over, and decided not to answer the door because I wanted to sleep. I shut my eyes and tried to go back to sleep when I heard a key go into my door. Then I heard the door creaking as if it were opening, and I sat up.

At this point, I woke up for real.

Now I'm really awake, and I'm on my couch sitting up, looking at my door... just as if my dream had continued into waking life. Just as I realize that I'm awake, I hear someone say "Joshua!" and my heart drops into my gut. I'm wide awake, and I look at the door and see a dark shape standing between the door and my table. My heart is slamming around inside my chest, and I don't have my glasses on so I can't really see what this shape is. I don't want to move because I I am afraid and I just sit there staring at this six foot tall black thing against the wall. Then I realize that the dark shape is just a shadow cast by my dresser on the back wall. I roll over and try to close my eyes, but I'm so afraid because of everything that just happened that I can barely fall asleep again. I lay there for a few minutes wide awake and horribly scared, thinking "Soon, when I'm scared like this, Rachel will be there with me." I lay there for a few minutes like that, and the next thing I know I'm asleep again.

The whole thing only took a few seconds, but I swear I was wide awake when I heard my name. I remember thinking "I'm awake and I heard that. I heard that wide awake." It was almost as if I was awake on my couch when I heard someone from my dream say my name. It was like my dream wasn't over yet, and carried on into my waking life in order to finish. I know this has happened before in that strange space between being awake and asleep. We sometimes feel like we are wide awake, but our minds are still dreaming. That's probably what was going on last night, but, MAN! that was scary.

Anyway... that was wierd...