Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday's Thoughts

1) Can I have another Spring Break?

2) The Hunger Games movies/book/soundtrack are all good.

3) I had Taylor Swift's song "Eyes Open" on replay. It sounds like NEEDTOBREATHE's "Keep Your Eyes Open." It's like they were on tour together.

4) I have some classy friends

5) Psalm 139

6) If I have to ask, "Is that a t-shirt or a skirt?" You a) didn't look in a mirror this morning, b) did look in a mirror but your mind is mush from reality TV so it didn't dawn on you that sitting would be awkward or c) dumb.

7) I dreamt about my Kat... Imacrazycatguy great.

8) H&M has pants that fit my tiny butt!

9) With some people you just click.

10) Bacon. Bacon. Bacon.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


I saw The Hunger Games movie on Sunday. I enjoyed it.

The books are better (duh).

It’s a 1984, Brave New World, V for Vendetta kinda deal.

O and the soundtrack is great.

It’s also got me thinking about being safe and comfortable. Maybe it’s the compilation of being back from a far away place, or just the themes of the movie/books/music. Either way we are search for safety.

This makes sense really. We organize our house and friends so that we are the most comfortable (we even try to make other cultures different so we can feel safe). Risks aren’t the American’s deal.

I’m not against feeling safe. I’m not against being comfortable (cause I’m comfortable as I write).

I’m against apathy. (Some things really are worthy dying for, imagine that.)

One of my professors said a while ago while introducing an assignment, “Pick any topic you care about, anything. Cause no one just doesn’t care.” But he said it with a hint of irony. Which got me going.

Do we care about anything? My age group, my people, do we care about anything? What would we speak out against (and by that I mean with more than a facebook post)? Would we call something truly foolish, “foolish,” or would we sit down and shut up cause disagreement is difficult?

Apathetic, also has pathetic in it. Just saying.

Don’t read this as saying, “You must have an opinion about everything.” But maybe, just maybe, we should each have something we care about, something, which presses us to disagree and agree, to discuss and to grow.

Maybe we should have something that we care more about than cheap beer and ignorance. Maybe our lives would be better served by not being our lives at all, but by being for something bigger and better than just our one self.

You all know what I think is worth living for and dying for. Jesus.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Black & White Clouds

Down the street from my house is a church. The church has a beautiful garden in the front; it’s dedicated to someone who died.

Often when I need to think I’ll sit on one of the three benches around the outskirts of the shrubs, on the one hidden from the streetlight by the waterfall. It was particularly pungent this time.

The person who died was one of my closest friends growing up.

The garden is in their honor.

There are three kids in my memories. One was just married this weekend, and it was my pleasure to be in the wedding. The other is beholding the glory of God with an unveiled face. The last is myself.

I didn’t know it was this garden that bore their name when I moved in it wasn’t a planned thing. But now I’m glad I’m near their last physical memorial.

Death, the final pang of the fall, the last twinge of the fight of faith, the bittersweet road that must be traveled by all, it is the end.

Spiritually, death is beautiful.

Physically, death is tragedy.

Memorial-ly, death is falling snow.

Never again will the memories of those gone be as pure as it was when the person was there to shake away the constantly falling snow. But the snow never stops, and as soon as they’re gone the snow begins to distort the real them, soon they’re what we want them to be, all the good and none of the bad (C.S. Lewis).

Yet, this applies to more than the dead. It applies to every relationship we’ve ever been a part of. Either we remember only the bad, or only the good. We’ll never get the whole picture right. The situations are too complex for our minds to remember ever little piece, too many subtleties, too many.

But we can still learn from the memory. We can still look to the breaker of the curse. We can still be fond of those gone.

And we can celebrate the friends we still have, those ones which marry and laugh, the ones who’ll be there tomorrow, the ones who text in the night. Because all of life isn’t death, and all of eternity isn’t sorrow, because there is Jesus.

Friday, March 23, 2012


There’s still the dust of India on my boots (it’s red). There are still the hints of curry in the smell of my dirty laundry (and sweat, lots of sweat). There’s still the oddity of driving my car and the comfortable quality of me own bed (and a purring cat).

There’s still the memory of the trip, which’ll outlive the all other remainders.

India, where, at least in our minds, East meets West, that distant land a foreign people. I could write a story for every person I met, for every eye that looked into mine, for every smile made and close call encountered (and I was only there four days).

Everyone talks of the simplicity of other poorer cultures. Everyone talks about how they learned so much from the people they went to serve and how they didn’t expect to do so. I don’t wanna talk about those things.

We’re Americans. We think we can change the world, we’re told we can from very young ages (but if it were true the world would be changing millions of times over in a day). Why do we end up being the ones who learn from the ones we’re serving? Why do we talk of the simplicity and happiness of people who, “Have nothing?”

Because we go into the country with a mindset of saving the world, changing the landscape of wherever in two weeks then leaving. Who are we to change their world with Western (or Eastern) knowledge? Why would we change it? To make it more like ours? To make it more comfortable for us?

Perhaps we serve by giving them the tools they need to work in their own way amongst their own people. By coming in and doing what we can to help their service to others a little bit easier Maybe we just play a quick game of cricket and smile with some kids.

We won’t save them; we don’t even speak their language. But we can give them the tools they need to serve their own. Just like they teach us about how simplicity is really a good thing and happiness in the faith of the providence of God is a possible thing. Things we can use to serve others. (See the circle?)

India Thoughts (The rest of 'em)

1) Thank God for fans

2) Simple.

3) There's something about knowing no one which is beautiful.

4) Keep your eyes open.

5) The Bible is perfect curriculum.

6) We just get them the tools, they'll do the rest.

7) Leaving India was just as hard as leaving Egypt, 'cept I was Egypt for a ton more than 4 days.

8) Rule #2: if your phone rings during take-off it's really obvious someone wasn't paying attention.

9) No, we don't want to listen to your techno music. Yes, get some headphones this is a plane.

10) "If you never leave home, never let go, You'll never make it to the great unknown. Tell me you're strong tell me you see, I need to hear it can you prosmise me to keep your eyes open."

11) Everything I needed I carried on my back. Take that consumerism... But having a house is sure lovely.
12) I've been to where Americans would say East meets West.

13) You know you're almost back to America when an older African American lady is your flight attendant. And is awesome.

14) Lol, Dusseldorf

15) Washing & conditioning my hair is going to be glorious.

16) I just feel dirty.

17) My home for four days of this trip was a few a chair in the sky.
18) According to CST I've been gone 6 days. Technically I've been gone almost 8. Figure that out.

19) I wanna q-tip.

20) 'Merica

21) Played a fun game of "Is-that-a-guy-or-a-girl" in the US customs line.

22) I want & need bacon.

23) Aww they have a nice ole lady working at the front of the customs line!

24) Auntie Ann's first meal at home.

I got to sit in the Business class for one flight... here are the thoughts from that:


1) I'll never be able to go back. You know, there, again.

2) I'm in business class. Where's my scotch, fiddle player, gourmet meal, & million dollars?

3) My chair has lumbar support.
4) If I stretch my legs out completely I can't touch the seat in front of me.

5) It should be considered inhuman treatment of humans to have an 'economy class.' I mean they're packed in there like cattle.

6) I'm ruined.

7) 2 rows in business class is like 400 rows of economy. So. Much. Space.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

India Trip Thoughts Pt. 1

1) It shouldn't be too terribly difficult to find your seat on a plane. They don't move & they're both alphabetical & numerical.

2) "you'd be able to board a train." ~Dumbledore
"and where would it take me?" ~Harry
"On." ~Dumbledore

3) 2 nights on planes. Woah

4) I lost Friday somewhere.

5) Need The Anchor.

6) We barely made our domestic India flight. Barely.

7) Taylor Swift is comfort music. X4

8) There are two white guys in this plane, and they're us.

9) I miss my Kat. A mucho

10) Remember that one time we went to India?

11) The Indian couple in front of me is snuggling. Awww... But their chairs are all up in my knee space.

12) Alexandre Dumas' The Black Tulip is quite wonderful... Because Dumas wrote it.

13) Take 1 Uganda, mix with 1 Egypt, product: India.

14) When it comes to butt padding for long sitting times... I have none

15) That awkward moment when you realize, after you're praying, you're offending the person you're praying for, cause you have your left hand on their shoulder.

16) Pizza Hut had nickelback playing. Ew.

17) I've been up for 3 days. I'm. Sleepy.

18) Bed. Finally. End day #1. 2 days after it began.

19) My caffeine headache comes at 4am.

20) India stretchable time

21) When an Indian "share" they really mean "preach."

21) 5 min nap = lovely, but too short

22) I've been here for 36hrs, & half my trip is over. Maybe it's cause I spent the first 36 traveling, maybe.

23) My watch is right, my phone's time is right, my computer is somewhere in Europe according to it's clock.

24) The mustache is the thing to have in India.

25) This place has no wind.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Mid-Trip Thoughts

Here's some mid-trip thinkings I've had thus far. It's just a short list, but it's a list nonethelesss.

1) Whoever decided boots needed zippers was a freaking genius.

2) Rule #1 don't get on the wrong plane.

3) Texas: Home of the over the top, loud, & occasional cool person... Or the birthplace of pride, arrogance, and big hair; whichever floats your boat.

4)"Kansas, is that in Texas?" German fellow on the plane next to me.

5) Harry Potter on the plane? Yes, please!

You'll get the rest when I get home!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Pre-Trip Thoughts

1) I hope I can post something to the blog somewhere in the trip.

2) I’ve bought so much music in the past 3 days that if I listen to it all before I get back it’ll be a miracle.

3) There will be a post-trip list of all the random thoughts had.

4) I won’t eat bacon for 6 days… it hurts just to say it.

5) Psalm 23

6) My travel partner has reserved some first class tickets for the trip home. That's. What's. Up.

7) If I can’t drink the water there then chances are I can’t drink the coffee there… poo.

8) Taylor Swift is comfort music. (Judge away judgers.)

9) I hope I packed everything.

10) The Kat is in good hands. Whew.


11) Let’s do this thing.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Alone Writing

The other day I went over to The Humidor to write a bunch of papers (It’s my writing place). After I bought the new Bruce Springsteen album (which I rather enjoy), I got to writing.

But, of course, I was distracted by the other men sitting in the fancy leather chairs. Most of them were older (late 50’s to mid 60’s) but there were some other young’ns like me there. But the older men, it was easy to spot the lack of wedding rings.

As they’d put their cigar to their mouth there was no shimmer of gold, not gleam of silver, not even the hint of a faded tan line. Granted some of these men just might not wear a ring, but more than likely (considering America has the highest divorce rate of the whole wide world) these men came to smoke a cigar because going home meant being alone.


Fun word right?

It can be freeing and damning simultaneously.

To be honest I don’t know where to go with this post. I can take the one road and point out we’re never alone, God, the triune God, is always there, always with us, sustaining and upholding.

On the other road we could think about the difficult times when being alone just down right sucks. Or we could talk about when being alone is exactly what our heart longs to be, or, still more and most troubling, that feeling of being alone in a crowded room.

But let’s do this: let’s take this rout, that of being lost and alone. When one can’t find their way out of the night, and the valley has too many curves and turns and drops to seem to ever have an end. As John Mark McMillan says, “The valley of the shadow knows our names…”

What then?

I woke up last night reciting this: “Even in the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for you are with me.”

So to all the alone roads their end is the same. When lost and alone, refining and tempering is going on, and there, in the midst of the confusion and sorrow, right beside us walks another who the valley knows well. When the crowded room might as well be empty, even then the end is the same. When our hearts need the space, there we are being comforted. Jesus is there and knows.

So alone? No. Not at all. Never alone.

But, to be terribly honest perfection doesn’t always keep good company with sinners like us. Though he’s there, he’s not always what we think we need.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Dirty Streets

He walked the dirty street, moving along with no purpose or intent whatsoever, just walking -- more meandering than anything else.

Down the street the politicians where meeting, vying for the position of the, “most powerful man in the free world.”

But this fella had never left the streets. His mom had given him up as soon as he was born. His dad was just a protein donor. Grandma had died some years back. He was completely alone, a ward of the state.

Drugs, violence, sex, whatever the issue he’d been there and done it. Lost his mind in the process. But the suits won’t know his name; in fact the folks in jeans won’t know it either.

When social activism has degraded into liking a status and re-posting a video, who’d ever know the name of the man who wears six layers of clothing on a 60-degree day.

Someday we’ll look into the eyes of the one’s were serving. Someday we’ll know what it’s like to see nothing looking back at you in those other eyes. A hollowness, which seems to want to consume your own person, is all that’s left, a hollowness that scares you as you think of it. The kind of scared that makes you loose your sleep and be afraid of the dark.

But even the fella walking the streets isn’t our only service.

What of a social activism that causes you to legitimately care for the other person? You know, the kind that makes you want to help a guy pick a domino up, or the other kind that causes you to hold the door for a struggling man, or even loving your sister?

Cause we’re great about being concerned for the folks over there, wherever there is, but we’re not doing lovely for carrying for the people here.

Not that some of us won’t go there and do things, but I hope that in our going we learn to care for the people on our own doorsteps, the people in our own Wichita.

At least that’s the thought, the one to move us to action… But we’re more likely to sprint across the street before the light changes than sacrifice our time for someone else.

I don’t want to say be stupidly radical (and by that I mean forget your call and do someone else’s), but I also don’t want to give the leniency to be apathetically complacent.

There are people we can help and we should; and there are those who we can’t help and we won’t. Help those who are within your power to help.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Weekly Thoughts

1) I bought two new albums this week because I heard the songs on commercials. (OneRepublic’s, “Wake Up,” and Fun., “Some Nights.”)

2) Some people just throw you. Like huh?

3) If you don’t speak sarcasm you don’t speak my language -- or my generation’s language.

4) They’re not calling it the iPad3 but errybody knows that’s what we’re gonna call it.

5) Esther 4:16; the story of Job; Daniel 3:16-18 are who we’re told we should be, but the guy from John 4:46-54 is who we are. Our belief hinges on what we want…

6) Someday soon I’ll meet Taylor Swift, and yes, it’ll be enchanting.

7) The Scarlet Letter took a turn for the boring, now it has taken a turn for the heart rending.

8) Joseph Kony has been around for more than 20 years, and has been a bastard for all of them… Dear Facebook status’, thanks for finally deeming him, “bad enough,” to do something about. Someday see these kid’s faces in real life and then you’ll know why I’ve not watched the video or won’t talk more publically than this about it. #rantover

9) I want fireflies to catch. Who’s joining?

10) Coffee. Is. From. God.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Last night I had Earth Science at WSU. You know that one science credit you don’t get done until senior year? Yea, that one. We had a test (surprise!)

After I finished I decided to walk around, I’d never seen campus at night (and since a guy had just been held up at gun point it seemed like a good idea). Walking through the RSC where no one was; over in front of the library (which, is it still open at 8pm?); and down back to the biology building.

But only one thing was nice about the walk, the wind.

It felt like it was forcing me to live. To see reality with eyes wide open and not forget the circumstances and all the happenings of life. (It also slapped me in the face with a leaf.)

(I saw a tweet by a friend, which read, “Just had a horrible nightmare and had to go outside to let that wind wake me up.” Which is exactly what I was feeling.)

I don’t want to over-spiritualize it, the wind. I won’t make a reference to Job and say that’s what I thought about, ‘cause it’s not. Nor will I reference John, ‘cause I didn’t think about that either.

Simply, I want to point to the beauty of it all. This place we inhabit, this creation we see, feel, and know. When under our feet hot hell rages, and above our heads a vast void extends, but on our faces the wind blows past. Trees grown under its pressure and seem to talk to one another (Ents!).

(Ironically enough my science class is all about how the world changes all the time, but climate change is bad… thatisall)

So feel the wind and see the clouds blow by, hear the birds sing their songs and the binding of the trees and know two things, we are not home yet and we are here, now for a reason.

Be not too easily pleased.

Monday, March 5, 2012


I went on my first walk in a long time last night (I also candied pecans and cooked myself a steak dinner. Bam, domestic!). Walks are therapy.

Quite honestly when I walked out the door I didn’t know which way I’d go, where I’d walk to, or how long I’d go for; I just meandered about until I ended up back on my front porch.

But mostly I walked along the river while the trees cast eerie shadows in the light of the moon. The voices of people far away carrying in the still air, the high thin clouds making the dark darker here and there all of it bursting through the seams of my mind to whisper, “Christ is King.”

Now-a-days weeks feel like years and days feel like months. Hours aren’t enough to measure things by (‘cept college algebra) and minutes might as well not exist. Is this growing up? Continually loosing track of time until so much of it has slipped through your fingers there’s no more left to hold.

I’m still just a kid.

But that’s a lie too. Kids are intrepid little devils who are fascinated by fireflies, clouds, and summer nights (or snow fights). The life of a twenty-something is the life of a wondering dreamer, wanting more to life but facing the constant reality of loosing track.

Yet this too is pointing us back to the whisper of the eerie shadow of the trees, “Christ is King.” We, we bunch of almost-kids who dream big and act small, we bunch of semi-adults who fight hard and believe little, we are part of a story much bigger than ourselves.

The beauty of reality is equal to the wonder of our imaginations. With complications, adventures, and the boring all of it is the story of our lives. And this story is intertwined with the story of Christ is King that we, we rag-tag individuals, ought never to look for more than the wonder of Jesus, because in him is enough to see the world changed and our lives made both whole and worth while.

At least that's the hope. Yet the mind of the cynic will always see the flaws, the failures. Indeed, I rarely get far from Lewis, "We are far too easily pleased."

Friday, March 2, 2012

Week Thoughts

1) I started, "The Hobbit." I read it once a year around springtime. It's my favorite.

2) A buddy of mine said this, but I wish I could take credit for it, "This is winter has been the best spring ever."

3) Kat the cat meows for joy when I get up in the morning. It's hard to be angry at her for laying on my face to wake me up when she's so excited to see me. (Apparently I'm a crazycatman.)

4) Had a loverly chat with my uncle the other night. It was the first time we'd ever had a legitimate conversation. (His mustache is what we would call, "epic.")

5) A dear friend of mine is getting married today!

6) I'll be having a roommate once again... Perhaps I'll have two!

7) Pigs eat garbage and make bacon.

8) "When all around my soul gives way He then [and every other time] is all my hope and stay... My anchor holds within the veil."

9) Have you ever just not known?

10) Suspenders have a way of making you feel cooler than you really are.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Mundanely Radical

Hope that is seen is not hope it’s idolatry.

In Romans 8:24-25 we read the rhetorical question: “For who hopes in what he sees?” Yet all too often our hope isn’t in anything past our noses.

Sure it’s easy to write about how we must be hoping in Jesus… But practically, like in the everyday stuff of life, how do we do this? What’s it look like to be radically Christian in a world of mundane nothings?

Doing all things for the glory of God, all things.

We’ve been freed from what we were once slaves to and can now do things to the glory of God. So, now, all of life is amazing.

A good buddy (mentor) of mine wrote a post, “The God of the Mundane,” it’ll be a book soon, but he works through just this idea. How do we as normal Christians live extraordinary lives? Because the likelihood of every believer ever being called to do ‘radical foreign mission’ is pretty slim.

The thought of being able to make friendships to the glory of God and that be a radical thing should floor us! We can get to know our friends and that is radical mission. Crazy. We can fold laundry to the glory of God. Breathing, seeing, smelling, walking, eating, drinking, any and all things can be and now are for the Christian an amazingly radical thing. Because God is, and causes us to be.