Friday, December 19, 2003




This is the realization I realized this morning. Between the ages of 16 and 27 I had visited the following places: pretty much every major area in texas, oklahoma city, tulsa, chicago, atlanta, dowagiac michigan, orlando, santa fe, alberquerque, most of colorado, sedona arizona, the grand canyon, south dakota, iowa, washington d.c. (about half a dozen times,) helsinki finland, the entire country of estonia twice (including the islands of saarema and hiiuma,) riga latvia, and mexico. and two days in jfk airport, and a drive across the city.

Draw a line from waco to dallas going up i-35. Then draw a line from Dallas to Marshall going east on i-20. Now, draw a line from Marshall back to waco going southwest on highway 31. Those lines all form a triangle. Within the past two years, this body has not gone outside of that triangle.

Two years ago I would have been terrified if you had told me this would happen. I would fear not being legitimate. I would fear being labled as one of those people who has never been outside of Texas. I would have feared being labeled poor (which I am.)

But now I am calmly uninterested in what my lack of mobility says about me to the rest of the people in my generation.

Thursday, December 18, 2003


A friend who I think very highly of, who was a part of my ETBU world and has been a part of my Waco world since I had a Waco world, humorously suggested that perhaps the string of expletives found in my Dec. 5 entry was a little over the top. And for that, I say thank you. In the future I'll work on reducing the number of profanities I use. I'm not going to eliminate them altogether, because that would not be true to who I am. But I do think I can be creative without constantly using the word "fuck" to induce humor. Call this my "attempt" at creative authenticity.

Now, you see Mr. T., that's how it's done. It just took a very subtle, and humorous, suggestion from this friend for me to be prodded onto thinking more about what I do. No self-righteous disappointment. No threats of removing his "endorsement." Just someone who cares enough about me to share this common life of following Christ. So, if you have constructive criticism for me, I don't give a shit. Come be a part of my life and earn the right to talk to me the way you talked to me in that email, then I'll listen.


Last night Blake, Daniel, Jason, and I went to see Radio. It was such a great movie. About midway through I was thinking "you know, I hate this. It's so cliche' and emotionally manipulative." But close to the end I just (metaphorically) threw my hands up in the air and said (also metaphorically) "fuck it, I'm crying." Which brings me to this thought.....


I think there's too many people running away from music, movies, careers, thoughts, reality, etc., that are familiar and accesible to the masses. Too many terminally chic people out there. Too many pretensious people who (silently) look down on others because, although they may enjoy music and movies that only make it to the art houses and coffee house of the moment, don't really care to devote their energies to promote those things, just so they can tear it down once the masses start enjoying it, or insult the masses for not catching on sooner. I have this tendency just as much as the next guy, but I'm trying to keep it in check.

Sometimes things are cliche' because they are true.


Yesterday I bought the Joe Nichols cd "Man with a Memory." This guy is awesome. He sounds like a cross between George Jones, Alan Jackson, and George Strait. The CD brings me back to the stuff I remember hearing in my dad's pickup truck on the way home from football games late on Friday nights in the fall.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003


Check out my new thingy on the right about books. I'm not as smart as Ben, so I haven't figured out how to get the pictures of the books up just yet.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

Moments of Grace

Not too long ago, after November, I mentioned how I was ready to get back to the holiness of the mundane, all the while being open to noticing moments of grace. Well, here's a couple of those. These are times that brought me such joy that all I could do was think about how amazing it is when God breaks into your world.


On Thursday I went to Dr. Fulgham in Brownsboro to have the crown put back on my tooth. I went to high school with Ben, the dentist's middle son. We were good acquaintances which, to the rest of the world outside of small town Brownsboro, means best friends. It was great catching up with him through his mom. You know, it's so easy to think that I exagerrate and over-romantacize the friendliness and "real-ness" of people from home... but I don't think I do. I felt so warm and welcome in that place, even though I hadn't seen Ben's parents in over ten years. His mom treated me as if it were just a few days ago that we were talking. It was wonderful.

As I was leaving, I decided to take the back way to highway 31, you know, on Bear Circle, that goes behind the high school, and I saw my dad's truck outside of the gym (that would be the high school gym, not the older gym referred to as the "new" gym.) I also saw about a dozen school busses from other towns and I realized what was going on-- The Great East Texas Shootout, the Brownsboro tournament. This thing is the biggest damn high school basketball tournament in the state, possibly in the nation. Seriously. There are 29 boys teams and 30 girls teams that participate. It's huge.

So I decide to go in and see my dad. I walk in the gym, that was almost my home growing up in the fall and early winter growing up, as I went to every basketball game. (Have I ever mentioned I was voted Most School Spirit all four years of high school? Well, I was. My senior year I was also voted Friendliest, but I had to choose one over the other.-- I chose Most School Spirit in order to have the sweep.) I walk into the capacity crowded gymnasium and spend a good 5 minutes scanning the place looking for my dad. Eventually I see him, on the other side of the court, bottom row, and he has around 8-10 special education (the lowest level of special ed-- i'm not sure the pc word these days) high school kids around him, and he is talking to them, pointing out things. It's as if he's Socrates and all these students are staring at him, hanging on to his every word. He's holding court. Turns out he was subsituting for a special education class that day and decided to take them to a basketball game to teach them how to count by two. I eventually went over and hung out with him for a few minutes before going back to Waco, but not before spending five minutes just watching him and the joy that was spewing out of him. My dad spent over 30 years building tires, and now he was doing something he loved. I was very happy.


Last night I was watching the Lake kids while Kyle and Jen went Christmas partying. This is my favorite thing in the world to do right now.

I put on the old claymation version of Rudolph the Red Nosed reindeer and all the kids were entranced. As they were watching, I popped popcorn and went and sad down on the floor. Jude quietely walked over to me, never taking his eyes off of the movie, and sat in my lap. I started feeding him popcorn, and he loved it.... he was just like a little person, eating popcorn in the movie. Anyway, he started doing this thing that just caused me to laugh hysterically, but quitely so as to not disturb him and cause him to stop. Still in a trance watching the movie, he began lifting his hand over his head, palm up, everytime he was ready for a new piece of popcorn. It was so instinctual, instinctly.... uh..... deep down within him that he didn't even notice what he was doing. Again, I was very happy. And you can be a lot worse than happy.

I know, seems stupid.... but so do many other things God chooses to do to make you appreciate the world and people and things around you.
It's been quite a few days, and I have a lot to say, so let's get this party under way.

The Thing I mentioned on Thursday

Unless you are Eminem, you've probably noticed I use the occasional expletive in my blog. Especially if you read my post from December 5. (Eminem, if for some reason you are reading this, the words in question are damn, bitch, bastard, fuck, fuckwad, etc.... Many people believe these are expletives. By the way, thanks for reading, I love your work.)

Well, somehow people from ETBU accidently got a hold of my blog. I don't know how that happened. All I did was post it on an alumni message board. I was trying to keep it secret, then people started reading that message board. Early last week I get an email from a guy I respect a lot. This person was instrumental in helping me to grow intellectually and in seeing the world in ways I'd never seen them before. He has his flaws, but I still think a lot of him. He sends me this note in a tone that suggests severe shock and disbelief, questioning my "attempts at authenticity" as he put it. What a horrible thing to say... "If this is your attempt at authenticity...."

A couple of weeks ago I was eating breakfast with a friend of mine (another former ETBU'er,) and he told me about this dream he had. He was at this fork in the road and all the people who loved him and were a part of his life encouraged him to pick a path and go down it. So he picked a path, things started going good, and he heard all those people who encouraged him to branch out from behind him.... He looked back only to find they all had guns and started shooting him.

And that's what I felt like when I got that email.

Something intersting then happened. I became more possesed with confidence in sharing where I am to this person in a way I had never before experienced. I sent a reply email that, I feel, affirmed him and let him know how special he is to me, but at the same time lit into him for what I feel was the straining at gnats.

I HATE confrontation and any email or phone call or confrontation I participate in that is confrontational in nature, usually finds me shaking in my boots going into it and feeling absolutely horrible going out of it. This time was different. I felt extremely good about myself after doing it. I'm not glad it happened, but I'm glad I responded the way I did.

Thursday, December 11, 2003


Last night I rediscovered Nichole Nordeman. This girl is one of the three or four Christian artists I can listen to....

How many deaths did I die before I was awakened to new life again?
How many half-truths did I bear witness to, til the proof was disproved in the end?
How long? How far?
What was meant to illuminate, shadowed me still
And all you ever wanted...

Only me on my knees
Singing holy, holy
And somehow all that matters now is
You are holy, holy

Other Stuff

Some intersting shit has been happening the past couple of days. I haven't quite figured out how to blog about it and still be respectful to the parties involved, so I'll wait until this afternoon. I'm about to head off to Brownsboro to the dentist to get my crown put back on. I'll have plenty of time to think about it then and hopefully time to talk about it this evening.

Monday, December 08, 2003

Adolescent Chickens

Just a quick note before I'm off to work. I just caught about 2 minutes of Punk'd. Ashton Kutcher is sporting one of those side burns that goes really high on the cheek.

Within the next month, I bet I see at least a dozen of those on guys between the ages of 16-26.

People do weird shit when they get nervous. As for me, I tend to get this glazed over look in my eyes. I also do this thing where I take a side of my bottom lip and connect it with the top front tooth from the opposite side (hard to explain, you'd have to see.) Some people bite their fingernails. Some people become overly emotional trying to make things more or les ok.

During worship yesterday I had this thought; I wonder how Joseph acted at the birth of Jesus. If I'm to believe the nativity scenes that come out this time of the year, he must have been pretty calm during the whole ordeal. But if I'm to believe that the Christmas story was more grounded in reality than that, then it must have been a different scene. Because I've seen television show that depict how fathers get when children are born. I also remember the "holy shit" look on Kyle's face the first few months after the twins were born-- and it's not the nativity scene.

All I could think of yesterday as we were singing "here i am to worship, here i am to bow down, here i am to say that you're my god," was Joseph leaving the stable (or cave, or whatever) to get a breath of fresh air and to gather his thoughts. We know, if we are to take the Christmas narratives seriously and by faith, that an angel came months before to let Joseph know everything was ok, that God had done this to Mary. But how many times have we looked back on beliefs that we've had, even spiritual experiences, and doubted whether or not that was God or our own emotions trying to make sense out of the situation. It must have crossed Joseph's mind that he imagined the angel, and that it was something (namely, someone) else that had put Mary in this situation. And then when (and if) he decided that the angelic visitation was real, that still probably didn't ease his nerves any. He still had to have had the thought that if this is true, that God had a hand in the pregnancy of Mary, then I've got something extremely different on my hands than all the other Jewish fathers.... and now I'm responsible.

I can't imgagine that Mary and Joseph understood fully who their son was that first night they put him to bed, even though the circumstances surrounding the whole even were somewhat suspicious. But I am pretty sure that, over time, they began to make a little sense of things. When Mary encountered her risen son, all I can imagine is that his life, and everything surrounding it, flashed across her eyes. Suddenly, the angel made sense. The unexpected pregnancy made sense. All the weird and strange stuff made sense.

And for me, it suddenly made sense that we'd be singing "Here I am to worship, here I am to bow down, here I am to say that you're my God. You're altogether lovely, altogether worty, altogether wonderful to me," at Christmas. Because I'm sure that slowly, over time, these words, in some form or the other, were considered by Mary and Joseph.

Friday, December 05, 2003


Ben and I were talking last night about our blogs, and we came to the conclusion that the reason we do it is for other people to know what's going on with our lives and what we are thinking. If we wanted to keep it private, we'd just write it down in a journal.

With that in mind I've invited my friends from the East Texas Baptist University alumni forum into my blogging world. So if you're here as a result of that, welcome... please enjoy.

But I need to let you know a few things, so you want fall back in your chairs:

1. While at ETBU I would have never considered using the words damn, bitch, bastard, fuck, fuckwad, fuckhead, dumb fuck, or women in the minisry, but now I almost consider it a sin to make it through the day with out using all of those words in conversation. So if those words offend you-- fuck you. But I still want you to read on.

2. Most of the people right now who read this are either Baylor grads, or strongly connected to Baylor in some way. If you start up a conversation in any of the comment sections, go easy on them. They think Baylor is the most closed minded, spiritually infused, fundmantelist place that ever existed. Let's let them keep there illusions. And here's a brief lexicon, just in case you get in a conversation and get confused (I'll add more later.)
"Common Grounds"= Hungri Maverick, except with rich customers, rich workers, and where everyone has
their front teeth.
"Dia del Oso" = Tiger Mania, exept that everyone goes.
"Chapel"= Something they vaguely remember going to their freshman year, not a lifestyle.
"Sunday Lunch"= A time to go plop down $15 with a few close friends, not a time to go eat leftovers in
the cafeteria with the weekend remnant.
"Weekend camping trip"= Something that is planned days in advance, not a spur of the moment trip to Caddo
or Lake O' the Pines.

3. If you find it confusing to figure out where I stand on things, don't worry, it confuses me to.
4. I am a Christian (See September 7 post,) but that may mean something totally different than what you are thinking (or, it might be just what you were thinking.)

Thursday, December 04, 2003

I was driving home from the store today, listening to Lonestar's cover of "Walking in Memphis," with my windows rolled down, singing as loud as I possibly could, nice cool breeze, doing the wave with my hand out the window (don't laugh, you know you do it to,) and I thought to myself how happy I am that, even though November was wonderful, I'm glad it's over and I'm back to some sense of normalcy. But then I thought it's just when I say that that something abnormal will happen.

I'm up at the church around 4:30, finished cleaning the kitchen and getting ready for Philapooza, a concert our church community is putting on to help raise money to support Phil Shepard, one of the coolest, most interesting people I know- who is working as a community pastor for a new church in Austin. I'm taking a break, everyone else is gone, to play video games in Ben's office. As I'm walking there I see a plate of cookies on the desk and thought "Hmm, that cookie would be good to eat while I'm kicking ass at Mario Kart." So I sit down to play, bite into the cookie, and break a crown off of one of my molars. It scared the shit out of me, since I haven't had tooth problems in years. Luckily there is a filling under there and it should be ok until I can go back to Brownsboro to my dentist next Thursday. I was embarassed calling for an appointment, since I haven't been in over ten years. Oh well, what are you going to do?
i've long suspected that i'm the biggest dork in the world, now i think the case is closed. it's 5:45 a.m. on thursday morning and i just spent the past hour watching cmt crossroads with dolly parton and melissa etheridge. what a cool show, taking people from different genres and having them sing each other's songs. the last one i saw a few months ago, travis tritt and ray charles was amazing, but i think this one took the cake. the next on (on dec. 12-- i might ask off of work) will be martina mcbride (the best voice in music) and pat benatar.

well, i guess i'm off to bed again.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

i'm sleepy. about to go to bed. it's been a good day. good day at work. jason's back from honeymoon, had a great lunch catching up with him and talking about the wedding weekend and how great it was. had an insanely wonderful time this evening playing with the lake kids-- it should be illegal to have as much fun as one year old boys do while being chased. west wing was very good tonight. i have tomorrow off. just a good day.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003


1. I saw Howard Dean last night on Hardball with Chris Matthews. I disagree with most of this guys policies, and would never vote for him because of that. But, out of all the Democratic hopefuls, he's the one I could stand behind and support if elected. He's the only one who seems to hold his political beliefs personally, not as an impetus to get elected. I believe in him as a person, even though I don't agree with him. Unlike the others, he spoke out against the war with Iraq from the beginning, and he is still speaking out against it. All the other Democrats (at least the one's who currently hold elected office,) supported the war when it started, but are now saying they didn't. Dean's the only one who is consistent.

2. With that said, I am loving W. more and more each day. I thought his secret trip to Baghdad was gold. Of course there will be those who say it was a political move. To those people, I have two words... Fuck You. Most people who had a problem with it are people who just don't like the guy, and nothing he would do, no matter how valid and genuine, would ever be accepted as a good move. I feel sorry for people like that, but what are you doing to do? I'm reading this book right now called AntiAmericanism that is, interestingly enough, written by a French scholar. He makes a good point when making the comment that some people's minds will never be changed. Quoting Jonathon Swift he states "You can never reason someone out of something they were never reasoned into." In other words, most people's opinion of the president is solely personal, and has nothing to do with policies. They just really don't like the guy.

3. The Michael Moore train still keeps moving along, and it baffles me. I found out a couple of my friends from work, ones I previously thought were intelligent, are fans of his. What the fuck is the problem with you people? I read the first chapter of his new book, and couldn't read any further. It was proof of what I said earlier that certain people's opinion of the president is solely based on the fact that they thought he stole the election. Moore couldn't let a paragraph go by without insinuating that Bush wasn't rightly elected. The final vote in Florida said that Bush won that state. Every major news agency and political watchdog group in the entire fucking nation went to Florida in the months after the election to count every ballot, and every single one of them came to the same damn conclusion: George W. Bush had more votes than did Gore. Sure Gore won the popular vote, but we have this pesky little document called the Constitution that says the popular vote doesn't elect a president, the electoral vote does. So if you have a beef, Mr. Moore, it's with the Constitution, not the president. It's entirely possible that he had some valid points based on substantive facts in the book, but unless you come forward with intellect, rather than sensationalism, right off the bat, you might as well stop writing and start jacking off, because I'm not going to listen to you.


4. In 1991 Saddam Hussein invaded and occupied Kuwait, a soveriegn nation that was helpless to defend itself. The U.N. led by the U.S. said "Oh no you don't. Get out of Kuwait." When he refused to do that, we used force to remove him. To prevent us from going all the way to Baghdad and beating the living shit out of him, Hussein agreed to allow U.N. inspectors into Iraq for an unspecified time. In '94 Hussein kicked the U.N. inspectors out. From that moment on, we had the right, based on the cease fire agreement of '91, to kick ass in Iraq whenever the hell we felt like it.

In the meantime, in 1992, Hussein sent bombs containing mustard gas, into Kurdish villages in the south of Iraq that aided the allies during the Gulf War, killing thousands of people in horrendously painful deaths.

In 1993 the CIA uncovered a plot of Hussein's to assasinate former president Bush during a visit to Kuwait.

Since attacking Iraq earlier this year, we have uncovered at least two mass graves containing the bodies of thousands of political prisoners, denied their freedom for speaking out against Hussein.

Is it really necessary that we find WMD's in order to justify removing this guy?

About unilateralism: France and Germany, the two major opponents against the war, had said numerous times that they would not support military action against Iraq EVEN IF we found weapons of mass destruction. So their not participating is irrelevant.

About solving problems diplomatically: Over the past 10 year, every major diplomatic measure had been taken to try to get the UN inspectors back into Iraq. Dozens of UN resolutions. Food for oil programs. Everything. Some people only respond to force.

About not finding WMD's yet: Everyone, from the UN, to the CIA, to the intelligence agencies of at least a half dozen other countries, agreed that Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. So if the president had faulty information, dont' just blame the US. Blame the intelligence communites of other countries as well as of the U.N.

About why I'm a W. supporter, but am liberal in so many areas

5. I want my teachers and professors and people who guide me along intellectually to see things in shades of grey. I want my friends to be open minded about a wide range of topics. I want those who I look up to spiritually to show me the wide world of belief and faith and ideas. I want the person who is in charge of leading my nation to be strong, resolute, and sure of himself (or as those who don't like him would say, cocky.)

Monday, December 01, 2003

here's to wishing you were here.
here's to whatever is important to you right now.
here is to those you love.
here is to those who love you.
here is to your mom, and all the jokes she spawns.
here is to love, reckless, messy, hoping, undeniable love.
here is to wishing you were here.

muh, fuh.