Wednesday, December 30, 2009
"Merry Christmas" doesn't ring with silver bells all the time. The year turning new isn't always happy. Seasons of joy seem to be peppered with suffering.
This is where we live.
This is how we are.
This is how it is.
"God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world."
-CS Lewis, The Problem of Pain
Why would we ever want to cease to be roused? If we are indeed deaf and sitting in a wallow of our own filth, but can see outside of it a world of clean splendor, then why would we ever choose to stay and not be drawn out of it? It doesn't make any sense.
Until we figure out what brings us out:
Who wants to be hurt? Who wants to not feel comfort or happiness? Thus, the paradox of our faith.
Jesus separated himself from his heavenly throne, from his Father, and from his Glory to take on the greatest pain, so we have no footing to stand on that will allow us to shake a fist at God for the hurt we feel. Still we do and still he allows it, but once the dust of anger settles we see where we are and where He is and we put our fists down.
If you are in the community of believers, hold the ones around you. Notice them. Ask them about things. We don't have any other source by which to maintain our sanity. We are the church. The most coveted bride. She has scars and beauty marks all the same, and is becoming in a gown of bandages. She is us and we are her.
Friends, if you're content with life, get ready for a storm to come soon. If you're not content, take heart that God is rousing you. If you are apathetic or unaware, I pray that God screams at you and you hear. I pray this for myself.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Here’s fourteen days to look
You’ve got your time so keep it
But remember your papa shook
The world into its place
Just where it was supposed to be
And I see a million faces
Running to a hundred places
How’s it ever gonna fit
If it’ll never make any sense?
My day is a year
And My year is a day
Goodness fleets soon as it’s near
Clearly someone’s gotta pay
Just like it’s supposed to be
And I see a million faces
Running to a hundred places
How’s it ever gonna fit
If it’ll never make any sense?
Help isn’t coming soon
It’s already here
Stop looking to the moon
I’ve already been made clear
Just like I’m supposed to be
And we are a million faces
Running to a hundred places
It’s just gonna have to fit
Faith might never make any sense…
But that’s how it’s supposed to be.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
11 Things about me in random fashion
1. I have a completely irrational, but very real fear of driving next to semi trucks with my windows down because I think the tire may blow out and come into my window and kill me. I have seen the Mythbusters on the subject and it was “Busted”, but I’m still terrified.
2. I’m hairy. And I hate it. I feel self conscious about it. One of many reasons I’m a “winter” man and not a “summer” man. Despite the name.
3. The first time I ever played drums was in 4th grade and it was in the newly started church Children’s Orchestra. We only played one song, and I think it was about Mary, but that’s all I can really remember. It could have been about the one with the lamb, or the one with the Jesus. I don’t know.
4. One of my biggest pet peeves is people using the word “literally” like it’s the only word in the English language that adds emphasis to a phrase. If you’re not using the word for what it means, stop it. Seriously. Or I will literally shit a brick. (prime example of how not to use it unless you want me to punch you.) Also, I hate it when girls call me "man" or "dude". It's weird and it makes me feel uncomfortable.
5. My parents didn’t ever take video of me as a child (it was the 80’s and video recording equipment was for people who ate caviar and drove Rolls Royce’s) but they did take quite a few pictures of me. There is a box of photos in their attic full of pictures of me and my brothers. I tell you this to lead into this stat: 68% of all those photos of me are naked.
6. Last year I got bronchitis and was laid up in my house for 8 straight days. Once I ran out of movies I wanted to watch, I started watching Lost to see what all the hub-bub was about. After 3 episodes I was officially addicted. Over the course of the next 8 days, I watched Seasons 1, 2, 3 and caught up to the current episode of Season 4. You may not realize how much Lost that is, but the only other thing I did besides watch the show was sleep. Seriously. It’s the ONLY thing I did for 8 days. And when it was over and I was healed, I shaved my head because I wanted to be like Dr. Jack. Also not kidding. I seriously did that.
7. I have a higher than average amount of patience, but there are some people that really bug the hell out of me. Like the lady that sits next to me at work. She has so many annoying quirks. I won’t try and list them, because it’s too much, and also, you wouldn’t be able to appreciate the annoying-ness of them via blog.
8. I was off work yesterday for Veteran’s Day and made a breakfast for myself that I’m now going to tell you about. A delicious 2-egg sandwich on toast with lettuce, tomato, mayo, cayenne pepper sauce, and bacon, along with a bowl of granola (or bowlnola), a glass of chilled filtered water and a Granny Smith apple. It was amazing. I love making breakfast food. And eating it.
9. Kara “challenged” me to do this list thing and she lives in Philadelphia, PA. I miss her a lot.
10. I’ve had 4 major head injuries, one of which scalped me. I had 8 staples in my head for a few weeks. I also have dealt with depression in the past (and still a little) and my doctor told me it’s highly likely that those are connected. Apparently so much trauma has happened to my head, that it was “re-wired”. Something else my head injuries did was give me two weird growths on my ears. I believe it’s called “cauliflower ear”. Wiki that shiz.
11. I always look at the clock when it’s 12:34. Seriously. Noon and midnight. It happens so often that I feel extremely weirded out by it. Like maybe something huge is going to happen to me at 12:34 someday. And this is just times way of “counting up” to it. My own personal Armageddon. Jamesageddon.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Friday, September 4, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
So I started to write a short story while I was flying to Paris last year. Then I stopped for a long time. Then I started again when I was in Nashville a few months ago. And then I stopped. But I want to continue, so I'm putting up the first section of it here for you to read and give me feedback. Thanks :)
Disclaimer: Any likeness to actual people or events is purely coincidental and in no way reflect by any inference the beliefs of the actual person, place or entity as described in this story.
Jack and Florence and How They Fell In Love
If there was a day of the year that could beat Christmas, this might the one.
Florence had resented her parents for years. Let's be serious. Who names their daughter Florence post 1943? But despite her disdain, today could not have been better. It more or less started when Jack tripped over her purse.
Jack may sound bold and daring and somehow gentle and caring as a name, but not this Jack. For the last 20 summers, Jack didn't leave his house. And over the course of 20 winters, he never threw one snowball at his non-existent friends. So he figured after a quarter of a century out of the womb, he should probably birth himself out of his current cave.
Jack was a day trader who worked from home. He spent the majority of his adolescence playing online poker. Little did he know that he could utilize those skills to make an honest (sort of) living.
If there was a day of the year that was scarier than Halloween, this might be the one.
Jack didn't just lack social skills, he was completely inept when it came to human interaction. Words didn't form sentences when they fell out of his mouth. His hands shook as he would force himself to use them. He would shift eyes constantly, never looking up, just side to side behind the rapid fire blinking. But he came into the world for a reason, so he tried to keep his focus as he moved towards the local coffee shop.
Florence was studying the classics. She wondered almost everyday why in the hell she ever picked that as a course of study, but she was consistently intrigued by it all. The deeper she got into her classes, the more intrigued she found herself. So in her comfortable wingback chair in Portland Brew, she was lost. Double carmel macchiato in one hand, Anne Bronte's "The Tentant of Wildfell Hall" in her lap, she was lost. But after what only seemed like minutes but was actually hours, she was found.
Jack stumbled from stairs of the bus as he attempted to look like a normal human being who could exit a bus. Didn't happen. What did happen was a bag thrown from his shoulder, an awkward noise thrown from his mouth and a bruised ego that was already in bad shape.
If there was a day of the year that hurt more than April 14, this might be the one.
Jack proceeded to gather himself and his things and make his way into Portland Brew, the local coffee shop with the most mediocre online reviews. His hope was to find a non-Starbucks place that served fair trade coffee but didn't have too many patrons. He was throwing himself into a pool to learn how to swim and figured that was enough. That it wasn't necessary to jump into the ocean on his first day. Although it was already feeling like the chlorinated waters were rising into a huge squall.
As Jack made was walking up the entrance sidewalk to the shop, face down, he arrived to an opening door which was a quick reminder of why his mother always told him to watch where he was going. Jack missed her. But at that particular moment the only thing going through his head was the door that just hit it. He was too far to turn back homeward now but was questioning this venture more and more with each act of clutz he perpetrated. Once he collected his jarred thoughts he continued into the shop, resolved to watch where he was going. His head up, looking at exactly what was in his way. But his focus on the above-the-waist area of the world blinded him to where his feet were, and it wasn't long before his steps were fatefully interrupted by a purse sitting next to a wingback chair.
Florence was surprised to say the least. Her mind was so swallowed in the novel in her lap that not much shook her. But this did. Jack did. Her novel quickly closed as her legs reacted to the man tripping next to her, and her hands tried to deflect his bag which was barreling towards her face, but they weren't fast enough.
And with that, with the cold sting of a book bag to the face and the harsh burn of falling face first next to a beautiful girl, the two paths of Jack and Florence met.
She could've gone the way of a younger girl and focused on the pain. She could've let the anger take hold. She could've given into the baser desire to scream. But she didn't. In her refinement she didn't. In her compassion she didn't. Instead, she quickly jumped to her feet to help the poor man up. And he, flustered in his down state was surprised to say the least. His mind was so swallowed in the situation of yet again falling that all he would notice was people noticing and laughing. Not so with her. She noticed. She did not laugh. She helped. This angel of a lady cared.
"Oh my God! Are you ok?!"
"Ummm, yeah, I.. I uh .. I think so," as he took her hand. He wasn't sure what to make of her. In the last 35 minutes of being away from his nest, his chick heart hadn't seen anyone this gentile. His mother always kept him under her wing. Protected him. Shielded him. But this was a different feeling. This felt... freeing.
He brought himself to his feet again but now with angelic help, tried to brush off all his shame, but he couldn't. She could. She did. With her smile. Which he noticed immediately was dripping blood from the corner. Then it hit him like it hit her. "Oh geez! Your mouth! Did my? Did I? Oh geez! I'm sor.."
And before he could get the ever so important word out she stopped him, "No no no, I'm fine. It just startled me, really." And with that wiped her lip with a napkin and handed him his bag. He didn't know what to make of her. Of this. So he just took the bag and awkwardly started to step away only to be stopped again, "Wait..." She wasn't sure what to make of him. There was something that captured her about his being. His existence sort of, amazed her. It could've been her novel. It could've been the stark contrast he seemingly held to the entire world around him. Not sure what it meant she offered, "can I get you a cup of coffee?"
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Sunday, August 16, 2009
forgive me if i don't stand
i've only had a bit to drink
but stretch to me what is your hand
and i'll give you reason to think
hope down and ante up
we're all waitin' to fill our cup