Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Great Essay...

One of my favorite features of Newsweek is a column they carry titled My Turn, which gives non-journalists an opportunity to write an opinion piece. This week's is very thoughtful. After reading it I was reminded how comedic presidential campaigns can get in the candidate's attempts to say all the soothing words the public is begging to hear.

The article can be found here.

Monday, October 27, 2008


Thought I'd share a little bulleted update...

-- For those of you who don't keep up with me via facebook, the great information distributor, you probably haven't heard that I was robbed. I returned home from work one night wondering why the breeze was blowing through the window in my living room, since I never have even attempted to open said window. Then I wondered why I could see to the breeze blowing through the curtains, since my television occupied the space where the curtains were blowing. I then realized there was a break in. They got everything I had that was worth anything, which wasn't much, but enough to cramp my style-- television, computer, a new cell phone I had just opened that day, and worst of all a digital camera that was given to me as a gift. Last week was rough dealing with all that ensues from a break in. As for now, I'll be spending a lot of time in the library rather than going in debt any further to purchase a new computer. The television, I have learned, I can do without.

-- Coming at just the right time, however, was my trip to California this past week to see Jen and the Lake kids. It was a great trip, and I'm pretty sure I saw Yoko Ono.

-- I'm on vacation the rest of the week and will be spending it doing school stuff. I am managing school/work slightly sub par. I'm finding the most frustrating thing about working full time while taking classes is the lack of ability to actually process through what I am learning both intellectually and through social interactions.

-- Here's something I was thinking on the plane ride home today... I think it's funny how four years ago, when Bush won a second term, Christians who were more left-leaning in their politics loved to state that their hope is not in this world. I'm finding these same people are not saying this as much, as it seems their chosen candidate is likely to win. But I AM hearing it among more conservative Christians. I guess the moral of the story is that our hope is not in this world, except when it is.

-- On Friday we attended a fall festival on the Fuller campus. Jude obtained from someone a balloon tied to a rubber band that he spent the weekend playing with. Every morning, however, he realized the balloon was getting smaller. Last night he came to the conclusion that the balloon was just going to keep diminishing until it is a functional balloon no longer. In an adorable, but completely pitiful display, he stuck his lip out and held back a cry saying "I guess I'm just not going to get to play with this balloon anymore." Sometimes I feel like my life is that balloon.

-- Ok, to save this post from being a downer closing, I'll share a better story. Sutton, whose favorite thing being right, told me he already knew something. I asked him if there was anything in the whole world that he didn't know. After thinking for a bit he called me over and whispered in my ear... "When I was a baby, I didn't know brown people existed."

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Great Interview...

Although MSNBC has become the Fox of the left, I am still loyal to it as my news of choice. Rachel Maddow has a new show that I enjoy watching, even though it drives me batty. Using satire and sarcasm, she demeans the conservative side of the political aisle. Finally, though, someone has called a liberal out on their pronouncements to "elevate the tone" while effectively lowering the bar. I looked up from my homework and my jaw dropped when I heard what was going on. Enjoy and discuss...

Sunday, October 12, 2008


"You're still in America in the monastery, and in Hope Church-- these absurd and holy places-- you're still in the modern world. But these places demand that you give up any notion of dominance or control. In these places you wait, and the places mold you." -- Kathleen Norris describing her church, Hope Church, in Dakota: A Spiritual Geography.

"Dakota is a painful reminder of human limits, just as cities and shopping malls are attempts to deny them." -- Also from Dakota.

The concrete and steel that is under our feet and over our heads have brought us together. They make it possible for someone like me to live in a place where my neighbors are most assuredly not like me. On most days these elements serve as catalysts for an economy that provides enough to survive, if not thrive.

But the ease of life created by cities has removed us from the desperation that has driven many over time into the arms of God. So we turn inward and find the struggle there. And at the end of that struggle, the one with demons of pride, lust, and gluttony, we may find ourselves needing God. But it all seems a little cheap in the end compared to people whose very existences are literally at stake.

Being in school is invigorating in many ways, but it has its drawbacks. Most notably is the sense that everybody is just passing through. Add that to the fact that I'm a part of a church whose life revolves those just passing through, and it is no wonder that despair can sometimes set in.

This is why I live for the times I get to sit around a table with my friends who live in this place. Though we may not have a lot of ground to plow and the weather patterns don't necessarily thrust us into reliance on God, we recognize that there is dirt inside us that needs cultivated in order for this long conversion toward being God's people to spring forth. And although we may not be here forever, we are more than just passing through.

Of course there is nothing wrong with just passing through. There have been nomads from the beginning of time. In fact, the tendency to roam may, as a survival instinct, be more wired into our DNA than the tendency to stay. But I've often felt that the desire of some to always be looking to the next thing can be more of a refusal to admit that one day they will die.

Today, in the middle of this city of steel, concrete, and of people just passing through, we spoke out loud. We spoke words from Paul that rumble beneath the ground not just during the Easter season, but during seasons of loss and despair. We spoke them out of the depths. Together, those transient and those with feet planted on the ground, we spoke those words to each other, into the dry and dusty places waiting to be sanctified... "Where, oh death is your victory? Where, oh death is your sting?"

Friday, October 10, 2008

Do you think?...

This is bound to be controversial, but haven't we all been thinking the same thing for the last decade or so?

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

I Often Do Not Heart Customers...

Somewhere along the way I became a smart ass. I suppose this is the lot of anyone working retail for an extended season of their life. Just when I get tired of belaboring the point of rudeness and immaturity, someone ups and does something that just elicits a hearty "Wow!"

Sometime in the a.m., in the kids section.

Can I help you with something m'am?

Yes, my brother bought these magazines for me yesterday and the guy up front says I can't return them.

Yes m'am. I'm sorry, but we have a strict return policy on magazines. We technically aren't allowed to return them at all, but especially if it's not on the same day of purchase.

Well, it's been less than 24 hours.

I understand and I apologize, but its not within the same calendar day.

This really disappoints me.

I really am terribly sorry. Is there something I can help you find?

No, not really.

Ok, well just let me know if there's something else I can do.

(Halfway between the children's department and the door, throwing the bag of magazines up at a velocity that it hits the high ceiling...) You can keep your damn magazines!

(In a state of disbelief...) Wow. M'am, thanks for responding with so much maturity.

I'm going to remember this!

Well, we hate to lose your business.

You can kiss my ass!

(Continued state of disbelief, only without words.)

(As the lady exits the door, approaches entering customer) Don't by anything from them, they won't take it back!


I have no pretensions that my zingers were especially funny. In fact, like George Costanza I have since come up with numerous comebacks that would have been much more devastating. But alas, you only have the moment and you can't go back.