Sunday, August 2, 2009

A few thoughts concerning 1 Corinthians 1:

To attempt to find God through my own internal thought processes without attempting to convene with God himself is foolishness. Where will this take me and to what end does it serve? So the question becomes, where is God and how does he wish to be found?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Another Vignette:

As my friend and I walked down the busy streets of downtown Vancouver, we encountered the Chinatown district.  Stepping over wilting vegetable leaves of a foreign variety on the sidewalk, we pass the produce displays and enter into a market of sorts specializing in a vast array of dried sea creatures.  The smell, while horrendous, tells of a cultural divide that goes mostly unnoticed.  We browse the market, commenting on various outlandish products and then exit into the bustling streets once again.  A few steps down the sidewalk we hear before we see a woman standing over a crate of live, squirming prawns, yelling at the top of her lungs in her native tongue.  She’s a woman of enterprise dealing in the tastes of china, plucked fresh from the seas of the Pacific Northwest.  A few more steps down the street we pass the mouth of an alleyway in which a small group of young Asian boys are threading dowels into the folds of a colorful kite.  A crate of identical kite kits sits on its side spilling its contents into the alley behind them.  These boys are servants of commerce also just like the market worker and the prawn saleswoman.  The life that is sustained within this web of trade is as different as anything I’ve ever experienced yet no less profound.  

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Vignette:

The used book store is musty and old in its smell, intimidating in its vastness.  It’s one of my favorite places.  What other place in the world can Elizabeth Bennett, Aslan the lion, and Jean Valjean reside just an arm’s length away from one another? As I enter the store, older children in tow, I usher them to the kids section, and then head straight for the fiction section myself.  While in this place, enclosed within a veritable wall of literary cast-aways, I conjure my inner adventurer and smile. I know I will be contented.  The book titles converse with me; the covers present the tease. Shall I depart to a medieval castle and become the royal assassin’s apprentice, or shall I flee to an underground safe-haven to fall in love with a girl as we conceal ourselves from the terrible Third Reich?  The setting of the book store fades into opaqueness to make way for a new locale that exists within my imagination: a place where I am not myself yet more me than ever.  As I continue to leaf through, I recall my love for the literature that leaves me impervious to boredom, slaked in rich imagery, and wealthy of character.  

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I have had plenty of time to get used to being a dad.  I have three children ranging in age from four to ten, but I’ve never made the connection between their childhood and my own until recently.  My oldest daughter, Halle, just turned ten last week and it struck me more than any other birthday that my children have had to date.  Ten, being a nice round number, is not anything particularly special to me but it’s the first time that I took a moment to reflect on Halle’s growing up with a recollection of my own childhood.  I can actually remember being ten years old!  Generally my memories of childhood are somewhat opaque and I can’t attribute that to any specifically traumatic moment in my life.  A lot of head shrinks might tell you that an adult with little to no memories of early childhood is suppressing something terrible and unable to recall most events due to a few bad ones.  For me I’m not sure that’s true but still, I just don’t remember much from that period of my life.  However, I can clearly recall being a ten year old.  At ten years old I was, not unlike Halle, a fourth grader and a kid on the cusp of finding himself.  Halle shows many of the same signs that this is true for her also.  Halle is taking piano lessons right now and she’s learning quite nicely.  She is also very much enjoying her first celebrity crush and listening to music that I think is crap.  She’s coming into her own.  For most young kids their taste reflects that of their parents.  They listen to mom and dad’s music and wear the clothes chosen for them by mom and dad.  Halle is growing out of this.  Each morning she spends several minutes in front of the mirror to make sure that her hair is parted on the side just so to achieve that hair-in-the-face effect.  It’s ridiculous really but it’s all Halle.  She also spends countless hours of time curled up on the couch or chair or bed with her nose in a book.  When she’s in this state and I ask her a question, her response in comprised of all vowels.  She’s her own person now, not just my kid. *sigh* I wonder what’s next.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

I think that I’ve had an epiphany. I’m not a man of faith. As much as I might like to be, it just seems that my faith, or whatever you want to call it, just isn’t normally a driving force behind most of the things that I choose to do in life. Don’t’ get me wrong, I believe in a sovereign God that can, ultimately, be in control of every aspect of … everything. I just don’t feel that everything about me, or rather, the way I operate on the most basic of levels, should necessarily be so wrapped up in a spirit of mysticism.

I might compare it to a recent concert experience that I had. By recent I mean within the last few years or so. Some friends and I went to see my favorite musician play a show in Austin. I had decided before hand that I was going to bootleg the show so that I would have a video/audio reminder of the experience that I could keep and cherish and share with others. So I sat there in my seat with a camcorder in my hand. I essentially watched the whole show through a camera lens. So now I have a video/audio memory that is very tangible and neat. I can look back on it whenever I choose. I can dissect it and try to pick small details out of the musical notes that I hadn’t noticed before. But I wonder, did I enjoy the full experience of that concert? Since then, I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy two more concerts of the same artist. This time I didn’t record them. I just sat (or stood) and enjoyed the sounds and the overall experience of the show. It was great. And my memory of those shows is sufficient.

I guess you could apply that to anything in life. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy taking pictures of my children and family and having them to look back on later, but where’s the balance? If I spent all of my time starring at a camera screen snapping pictures of my kids, wouldn’t I be kind of removed from it all at the same time. Almost like I was just observing life instead of living it. I think the same applies to spirituality for me. If I were to spend most of my time pondering different spiritual truths or theological theories, what might I be missing out on? I understand that some people choose to spend a lot of time thinking about stuff on a deeper mystical level and dissecting things in an effort to understand where God stands in it all, and i think that's fine, necessary even, it’s just not for me.

So what does this mean for me and my spiritual man (or lack thereof)? I don’t know. I just think that I’m probably not one of those guys that will struggle his whole life trying to understand God or spirituality or whatever. Does this mean that I’m a bad person? I don’t think so. Does it mean that I’ve given up on the living out of a Christ centered faith system? Not at all. For some reason, I’m comfortable with the idea of being an individual that is living life and loving others as if God were in control of it all anyway. Why sweat the details? I'm okay with saying "I don't know." Does this mean that I’m done talking to God? No. Does it mean that I’ve learned everything that I have to learn about God? Certainly not. I just don’t want to fight with myself anymore about who I am and what type of Jesus lover I’m supposed to be. After all, God made me this way.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

At work the other day, I decided to take a few minutes to go across the interstate to fuel up my car. As I passed under the bridge at about 3am or so, I noticed two homeless guys asleep under the bridge. As I passed by, one of them raised his head up and we made eye contact for a split second. I can’t describe what happened there except to say that it was like I was able to take a glimpse into his life in a way that went beyond just seeing him lying there on his pallet. I felt like I had just felt his hurt. Deep hurt. I don’t know any of the details that led to his misfortune, but I felt like he had somehow let me feel his heart. It’s likely that he’s afflicted with some sort of mental health issues or possibly an addiction of some kind, but it didn’t matter in that moment. All I saw there was a man. Not a bum or a junkie or a victim but a man. And as I parked my car and pumped my gas, I couldn’t stop replaying that quick moment in my head.

…I look over and see those eyes….

…I look over and see those eyes….

…I look over and see those eyes….

And it hit me. Who was he? That was Jesus lying there.

I didn’t know what I could’ve done to love that man, but I knew that I did love him. I loved him deeply. I wanted to lavish my love upon him. I wanted to help him up and then roll up his dirty pallet and place it in my trunk and then take him to my home and introduce him to my wife and kids. I wanted to offer him my shower and fix him a bowl of cereal. I wanted to tell him everything about my life and learn everything about his. I wanted to….. Click…. The gas tank is full… And then I got back in my car, and I drove away; drove back to my life that is conveniently rich with a comfortable house and plush mattress and no hurts that could even begin to compare to the ones I saw in those eyes. The ones I felt in that heart.

…..oh Jesus…. How many times have I passed you by without even noticing.

"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'" Matthew 25:40

Sunday, June 15, 2008


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream--and not make dreams your master,
If you can think--and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings--nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And--which is more--you'll be a Man, my son!

--Rudyard Kipling