30 May 2007

Almighty and eternal God, so draw our hearts to you, so guide our minds, so fill our imaginations, so control our wills, that we may be wholly yours, utterly dedicated to you; and then use us, we pray, as you will, and always to your glory and the welfare of your people; through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

(stolen from the episcopalians)

29 May 2007

on war (or "once again i present my jumbled thoughts for the enjoyment of the blogosphere)

i’ve been stuck on this whole war theme quite a bit lately. my thoughts have been drifting through everything from why we take the time to remember war, to questions about whether our nation has really been warless, to whether it is really possible to have a “strong” nation state without a premise of being superior at war, and even as far as wondering if we mere humans can ever live on this planet without warmongering...

but the biggest curve-ball of all came in trying to reconcile both memorial day weekend and the church celebration of pentecost...

out nation is a war machine... the birth of this nation came not on some nice little piece of paper from some delegation, but in the bloody sparring that ensued. since then, we have been involved in conflict after conflict with no end in sight. we have even gone so far as to unite patriotism and faith into one tidy little package.

but then i take a good, long look at myself and wonder if i am perpetually at war as well... it seems that there is always somebody to be hostile towards, someone who is out of favor, something to pour out hate upon, always another enemy.

now pentecost. as far as i can tell, pentecost is the proclamation that war is finished. “you killed him,” peter proclaims, “but god has raised him from the dead. therefore, the spirit has come to show us a new way how to live.” pretty impressive words to a nation that was also marked by much conflict and also currently under occupation.

but is is enough to simply not be at war? is it really possible to be neutral? oh yeah, that silly thing called love. as far as i can tell, love is not a violent aggressor. nor is it a passive bystander. love dives into the midst of struggle and strife and conflict. love does not buy into the myth of redemptive violence, but proposes and alternative...

i think that’s the beauty of pentecost... jesus lost to the hatred and fear and warmongering, but love still one out. love proclaims that another world is possible. it is not easier than war (it may actually be harder), but it offers more than just living to die another day. love allows for life to be fully present now...

let us choose love over war. let us choose trust over fear. let us live fully present as those who choose to mourn the reality of war, yet doggedly proclaim that there is a new way to live, a way of love...

26 May 2007

memorial weekend

i find it slightly ironic that we get this weekend to hang out with friends and family and have a good time, yet the time off is due to the fact that we live in a world of war that has claimed way too many american lives (and way, way too many non-american lives)... i think we should do something about that. let us not only remember, but also grieve, and then imagine a different world together...

25 May 2007

It is unbecoming for young men to utter maxims.
  - Aristotle

...although i’m not so sure it’s a good idea for older folks to either...

20 May 2007

just some thoughts...

several people lately have been asking my why i insist on fighting through all of this. why i still go about intentionally seeking conflict in certain situations. why i desire to keep at it even if the way i approach things makes other angry or uneasy or upset...

i have come to realize that my answer is simple: ‘cause i would rather feel the pain involved in all of this messy business than disconnect completely and feel nothing at all. this realization came while on a run today. i’ve realized that my going for runs have become a way of feeling. especially when things get rough, i can go for a run and feel something. often times it is quite painful, especially since i’m not in the best of shape and it’s freakin’ hot here all the time now. but i also feel more in tune with my body and create a whole new way of connectedness. to feel something instead of nothing at all. i shall call this my “manifesto as to why i would make a bad buddhist”...

this also leads me to revelation number two as of late: i have become convinced that peacemaking involves more conflict than war. counterintuitive? (that depends on your intuition). war is simply saying, “i don’t think you have anything good to offer, so instead of trying to hear you out and understand you, i will simply shut-down all means of working through our differences and try to wipe you out of the picture” (simplistic, i know). peacemaking says, “let us try our hardest to make room for everyone to have a place in this existence and continue to work through each and every issue (a.k.a. more conflict) until we can reach a point where we can trust, love and respect each other. suddenly the foundation for so much more has been laid, but alas, that foundation comes on the other side of openness to conflict and not the disconnect of war...

i have no way to unite these two yet or much more depth for processing this, just some thoughts tumbling around upstairs. all i can say at this point is that there is definitely quite a bit or risk involved in both feeling and peacemaking...

16 May 2007

love bug guts...

the number of love bugs splattered on my windshield is directly proportional to miles driven plus the aggregate sum of days since the last good downpour...

(sum multiplied by 2.3 if said days include at least one trip to pearlington)

14 May 2007


one of the things that has really cut me to the core down here is the deep, sincere gratitude displayed by so many for the simplest of things. so many have lost so much, and most people have chosen not to simply be victims, but be grateful for help that they see as pure gift... and are grateful.

case in point: i was talking with one of the homeowners i have gotten to know over the last few months today. this was a rare opportunity for me to talk to a homeowner after they have moved out of their fema trailer and into their new home, since in this construction business we often find ourselves rushing on to the next job to be done. she is so grateful for so many things and so proud of her family’s new home.

but here’s the kicker, regarding her fema trailer she said, “i don’t know which is a better day, the day i seen it comin’ or the day i seen it leavin, for both of those days will forever be two of the happiest days of my life.’”

11 May 2007

happy birthday minnesota!

10 May 2007

food for thought...

these words are not my own, but a random aggregate of others’...

Zealotry = going beyond the Bible and thinking one is immune for doing so

Zealotry, at its bottom layer, is the unwillingness (1) to trust God to work in others, (2) to trust others to listen to God, and (3) to trust ourselves to do what God wants. The ambiguity created by freedom is fearful to many, so they make fences and laws — and in so doing, they create a bounded society of zealots who convince themselves that, even though the Bible does not say something, what they are saying is really what the Bible wanted after all.

G. K. Chesterton’s idea of “making room for good things to run wild.”

The freed know the tranquility of where they belong in God’s society; zealots don’t know where they belong and therefore do not know where others belong.

Zealots judge and sometimes condemn others who do not live by their rules, who explore things they are uncomfortable with — not because they’ve thought through it but because they don’t trust others to make good decisions. The freed, however, can live with the ambiguity that freedom in the Spirit creates: they can trust God to work with others, they can trust others to be responsible, and they can trust another group to
discern its way in this world. The freed can render judgment as discernment, the zealots only judgment as condemnation. The freed can say “that’s not good, that’s not wise,” the zealot will say “you are bad.”

07 May 2007

celebrity look alike contest

volunteer: “you know who you remind me of?”
me: “uh, nope”
volunteer: “c’mon take a wild guess”
me: “uh, nope”
volunteer: “tiger woods”
me: “i didn’t think i was that tan”
volunteer: “not in that way, just every other way”
me: “oh, thanks. that’s a new one”

for some reason i don’t think i’m gonna go buy a whole bunch of nike apparel and quit my day job...

06 May 2007

Sound Off

our local newspaper, the SunHerald has a “sound off“ section. we, the selection committee (myself and the lovely linda) thought we should share some of the goodies...

Need to empty this nest
I lost my home in the hurricane, and I now live with my parents. Please, for the love of God, build new apartments.

Crawfish Robbery
Now Katrina, you have gone and got my goat. You did a very bad act. The worst place to be is between a Cajun and his crawfish. You done crossed that line, you wench.

Shoe Critique
I saw somebody today wearing the ugliest shoes I have ever seen in my entire life. It just made me want to say, ”Oh, baby, them shoes you wearin’, honey, they just make me want to smash your toes, baby.“

Katrina Mouth
Well, I went to visit my dentist, and he told me I had a Katrina Mouth. I told him, what’s a Katrina Mouth? He said, ”You need two bridges.“

True Colors
The aftermath of Katrina has given me an opportunity to measure the character of my neighbors to an extent that would not have been possible otherwise. My neighbors are made of iron - except their hearts, which are made of gold. I will never see my neighborhood as an ordinary place again, for I live among Titans.