free flying soul

"this world has nothing for me and this world has everything...all that I could want and nothing that I need"

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Location: Macclesfield, North Carolina, United States

Born: 1970; Graduated High School: 1988; Married: 1991; Children: 1996, 2000, 2005; Graduated College: 2008; Figured Out This Faith Thing: In Progress

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The New Me

Colossians 3:1-17 (ESV)

Put on the New Self
1If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

5Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.

12Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

I keep waiting to see the new me. Every now and then I'll get glimpses of him but he doesn't seem to hang around for very long. Just when I think that he's moved in to stay, he up and runs away, leaving me with the old me. For the record, I don't like the old me very much. The old me likes to say things he shouldn't. He jokes and carries on in ways that aren't appropriate and uses language that he knows is not suitable. He's lazy and undisciplined. He's unconcerned with the lost and hurting souls around him. All he really cares about is having a good time and avoiding conflict. The bad thing is that he knows better. The old me picks up his Bible and scans over the same passages he's been scanning over for years. He reads the words and can quote quite a few of them, but he hasn't learned to live them. The old me is a survivor. He likes to fight until he can fight no more. He never gives in easily and he always goes down swinging. Sometimes that's a good way to be, but not when it's the old me. I want so much for him to die. I want him to take one last gasp of breath and be gone for good. I've already got the weapon to do it. It's been in my possession for years, all I have to do is pick it up and use it. I need to kill him. It needs to be premeditated. I've even got the perfect accomplice to help me carry it out. It's a shame I love the old me so much. I need to learn to hate him. I need to convince myself that he must die. I need to put a sword right through his heart. I need to do it today.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

A Brief (But Important) Question

If your church just disappeared....would the community miss it? Would people stop and ask, "Hey...what happened to that church?" Would be people be missing out if you were no longer there? Would they care? Would they even notice?

That's a really sobering thing to think about...isn't it?

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Watching Movies, Writing Stories

When I was a teenager, especially during junior high school, my favorite kinds of movies were those slasher flicks that seemed to pop up overnight. You all remember those don’t you? Half-naked girls, boozed-up dudes and a psycho killer running around in the woods at night; that was what I considered top notch entertainment.

Some folks are movie snobs. They like to sit down and watch critically acclaimed films and analyze them for socio-political undertones and that kind of crap. Or they like to watch the classics and savor the lost art of film-making. Me? I enjoy the classics too. Friday The 13th, Halloween, A Nightmare On Elm Street and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre are some of my favorite films of all time.

These are the movies that I watched during my formidable years. In fact, a bunch of us guys would get together nearly every weekend and watch these things over and over again. We just couldn’t get enough of them. One of my best friends was this guys named JP. His folks bought the first VCR that I had ever seen. The thing was the size of a suitcase and must’ve weighed about thirty pounds. It also cost right at a thousand dollars. It was humongous and ugly, but it was the coolest thing any of us had ever seen.

J’s parents, L and S, actually bought a lifetime membership at the very first video rental store in [small town where I'm from]. The pace was called Beasley’s and I think they had to pay a hundred dollars to join. Needless to say, we all thought that J’s house was the place to be on a Friday night. Keep in mind, this was in eighth grade and most of us had yet to acquire our first girlfriend. In fact, the only boobies we were seeing were the ones in these crappy horror movies.

We rented these movies by the dozens and watched them so many times that we had the majority of the scenes memorized. We knew where each and every breast was going to pop out and where each throat was going to be slit. That was pretty amazing considering that most of them didn’t even have a solid storyline or anything that remotely resembled a plot. In fact, most of these films, and I use that term loosely, were filmed with cheap equipment and released direct to video. The average budget for one of these things couldn’t have been more than a couple thousand dollars and I think that was all spent on finding three girls that were willing to take their clothes off in front of a camera.

But, for some sick and twisted reason, we loved them. They all had the two ingredients that were absolutely necessary to make a successful slasher flick; gory, violent death, and boobies. That was all it took to make us happy. We didn’t need Oscar-worthy performances or high caliber acting, we wanted to see blood and nipples. These movies were so bad, in fact, that they tended to make the more mainstream films like Friday The 13th and A Nightmare On Elm Street look like cinematic masterpieces. I do want to interject that both of those films actually had REAL actors in them, Kevin Bacon and Johnny Depp to be more precise, but that’s really not important.

The movies we watched had names like Slayer, Scalps, The Mutilator, you know, real catchy monikers that promised carnage. A typical story might involve a group of teenagers, all played be struggling thirty-something actors trying to escape soap opera hell, piling into a rusty old Dodge sedan and heading off to the beach for a weekend of fun in the sun.

But we knew what was waiting for them when they got there. After partying the night away with a six-pack of Schlitz and some really bad dance music, the crazy kids would pair off and go their separate ways. The pissed off killer was always seen sneaking around in the shadows, awaiting the baring of the breasts, before he actually killed anyone. In fact, he usually waited until a really lame shower scene, thank you Mr. Hitchcock, before the blood started to splatter. Before you knew it, the crazy kids began to vanish one by one.

It seemed like one girl always managed to survive, and she was the one who wasn’t sleeping with her boyfriend, so let that be a lesson to you. She remained a virgin and managed to kill off the psycho by the end of the movie. But we all knew that psychos didn’t really die in the movies, Jason and Michael Myers had already taught us that. Evil never died in the movies, at least until a couple of sequels got made.

And that was the fuel that fed my overactive imagination. That was the catalyst for my writing experiments, well, that and the unhealthy dose of Stephen King that I consumed constantly. He made a crap load of money and all he did was write freaky little books. That made my dream of becoming a great horror novelist all the more appealing. So I wrote.

My first attempt at a story was called Fangs and was about this weird werewolf-like creature that snuck around killing people. I actually made it though three pages before I quit. I soon followed that with Asylum. It was the story of a really pissed-off fellow that wanted to kill his parents. I think it may have actually hit page four.

But my first big breakthrough was a story called Death-night. Where I got such original titles I’ll never know. Death-night was about this guy named Billy who went around slaughtering folks. I never came up with a very good reason why he was doing so, but I did come up with some very inventive deaths. I remember one scene where Billy killed this old guy in a country store with a garden hoe. He then went next door and knocked off the fellow’s wife with a spade.

Death-night reached page forty or so before I finally lost the vision and quit. I don’t know what ever happened to the manuscript. My guess is that it ended up in the trash when I finally moved away from home.

I really caught the writing bug in ninth grade. That’s when I began to write stories and insert me and my friends into them. I rode the bus to school and it was an eighteen mile trip one way, so I had plenty of time in the morning and afternoon to concoct these horrid little tales. Most of my friends from the bus ended up in them one way or the other. I typically survived the massacre and in a few special instances, I was the actual killer. It was a lot of fun to kill off all those people around me and it really made a long bus ride seem much shorter.

One of these so-called bus stories ended up being the thing that defined me to a large number of people. It was called Camping Out and it spawned not one, but two sequels. The original story was basically a Friday The 13th rip-off with me and my friends inserted.

to be continued....

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Looking For The Right Words

Words are powerful things, aren't they? We can build things up with them and we can tear them back down with them as well. I have been one to choose my words very carefully for most of my life. Part of it is the writer that dwells inside, trying desperately to escape. He struggles to find the perfect words to say but usually he comes away feeling like a loser. The perfect metaphor or simile has eluded him again.

Sometimes he likes to fool around and write down any and everything that comes to mind. These things rarely see the light of day, with good reason. They are often mindless and silly but still the writer struggles to put them out as well.

I can remember when I was dating my wife all those years ago. The letters I wrote to her were worthy of prizes. The emotions often spilled from my pen to the page effortlessly. Where did that go? What happened to that poet? I guess the grocery lists just don't elicit romantic thoughts do they?

Words, they're funny things, especially to those of us that like to play with them. I thought that as I grew older the words would come more easily but it seems that my well has dried up. I fight with the keyboard and bash my brain, trying to get one more sentence to make sense. Words, sometimes I hate them. But....I can't seem to live without them.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

I Am Always The One Who Calls

Satellites mediate for us
The days events through fiber optics.
I hope we can change the saying.

I wouldn't mind but you are my only hope.
I wouldn't mind but you are my only hope.

Clear as a bell are the short breaths
That you take when you're distracted.
Same as the way that you roll your eyes
When I've asked too many stupid questions.

My faith in zeroes and ones to host our romance,
Rests on hope you gave that I've some claim to your heart.

I wouldn't mind but you are my only hope.
I wouldn't mind but you are my only hope.

Clear as a bell are the short breaths
That you take when you're distracted.
Same as the way that you roll your eyes
When I've asked too many questions.

I will call you in three weeks,
Maybe then you'll have some more to say.

by David Bazan

I absolutely love this guy.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Holy Ghost Smackdown

I'm sitting here alone, wasting away my day off. Some things never change, do they?

Uneasy....that's the word that describes my life right now. Everything seems so weird. I feel as if something is about to happen and I haven't got the foggiest idea what it may be. I do feel as if God is working on me right now. I'm getting a major Holy Ghost smack-down in several areas of my life. It's a spiritual butt-whupping of TBN proportions.

Everything seems so meaningless. It's like I'm stuck in the book of Ecclesiastes and can't find my way out. It's not a pleasant place to be.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

I Need Some Sacrifice

I need to sacrifice every part of my life. I need to go to the altar and give all of it away. It doesn't matter that I may have the liberty to do those things, it doesn't matter if I have the right to do some of them....I've got to get rid of them. I can't let my freedom in Christ come between me and Him.

Why are we so determined to find the lines between black and white and right and wrong? It's like we deliberately dive into the gray areas and then use scripture to justify it. Why can't we be content to stay in the areas that we KNOW are right? Why do we have to push the envelope? Why?

It's so stupid. Think of all the things God could do through us if we'd just stop testing His boundaries. I want to get out of the gray....I really do.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

I Had A Dream

Do you ever feel as if you're living in someone else's reality and not your own? I look at the life I'm currently leading and I can't quite figure out how it became mine. It's not a bad life, in fact, it's a pretty good one so I'm not complaining. But it's not the one I planned, heck, it's not even close. I've often sat around and moped over the loss of dreams or the failure of plans and wondered, "Why didn't things turn out the way I wanted?" I'm starting to believe that I've had it all wrong. Instead of being in a constant state of looking back I should be constantly looking around. Instead of asking why, I should be saying thanks. I look at all the dreams and goals I set for myself years ago and I can honestly say that I'm glad I didn't attain them. I have a wonderful woman at my side and two incredibly awesome boys. I have a beautiful little girl and as scary as that seems, I wouldn't trade it for anything. I wouldn't trade any of it. I don't know who's dream life I got, but I'm glad that I'm the one who ended up with it. I just hope he's enjoying my old dream as much as I'm enjoying his.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Keeping It Real?

I don't have a lot of really close friends in real life. I have quite a few people that I call "friend" but I don't know if I could open up to them and share my deepest, darkest secrets. I find it easier to open up to a bunch of strangers on the internet than I do with most of the people in my home church. I guess that might not seem so surprising to those of you raised on the internet, but I do think it is rather odd and (perhaps) a little sad.

Do any of you find it strange that so many people are able to open up and share all sorts of things in this medium? I've read things on Xanga, Blogger, and Livejournal that absolutely blew my mind. I guess that some of the things I've shared in my own internet ramblings would probably shock and offend some that know me in person. How many of us bloggers actually think about the ramifications of our posts before we hit that button and hang it out there in cyberspace? I know that some family members read things I had written in one of my other online journals and took offense at them. How did they find them? A Google search of my last name led them right to my online confessions. They couldn't believe that I had spread our family's dirty laundry out and invited the world to take a peak. In retrospect, they were absolutely right.

I've since decided that some things have no business being shared among strangers, no matter how close we may think they are. The truth is that all those buddies in our AIM lists and Xanga subscriptions really don't know us and really shouldn't know some of the things they know about us. As much as we try to keep it real and honest, I believe that most of us fictionalize some part of ourselves when we go online. I know that the person I am on my favorite forum is only a slight reflection of the person sitting at the keyboard. He's just a character based upon the real me and I guess that makes it easier to dish out all that dirt. It's his dirt, not mine. It's easy to fool yourself into thinking that it's harmless until you actually hurt someone by sharing too much.

That's why this thing doesn't have any names attatched. I'm not naive enough to think that it's still 100% anonymous either. There are people out there who could spend about five minutes and STILL tell you who I am and where I'm sitting as I type this. That's the risk we all take when we log in and begin typing. That's why I have made a deliberate effort to make sure the line in the sand remains uncrossed. I admit that this is a release for me. It gives me a chance just to ramble and rant about whatever I wish but I have learned that some things need to be left unsaid.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Not Much To Say

I did my first ever Fantasy Football Draft tonight. An old friend of mine invited me to play along with some of his college buddies and co-workers. It didn't cost me anything so I said, "What the heck?" We had an online draft and I did okay...I guess. I managed to get Tiki Barber and Donovan McNabb even though I was the next to last pick. I also picked Baltimore's defense and Andre Crumpler as my TE. I probably won't win but I think I'll do decent. I don't feel like going through all 15 picks but I got some good guys. I picked Delhomme as my back-up QB.

The students are all back on campus now so things are bustling and exciting. It's good to see some of the kids from my home church and some the students who helped out at camp this Summer. There are seven of us from our home church here. That's not bad for a school with less that 300 students. It's also nice to know some people. My boys like them and they treat my boys like family. It also helps that we know some of the faculty from our first stint here.

We really feel like this is the begininng of a new phase in our life. We've closed a lot of doors but there have been so many opened that we are often speechless. God continues to shower us with blessings. There have been several times over the last month when we honestly didn't know what we were going to do. We finally put it in His hands and He has been faithful ever since. The doubt and fear is quickly disappearing.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The Kids Are Alright...And Some Other Stuff

My children amaze me. I never would've thought that I could be content to just sit and stare at them as they sleep. My daughter will be two months old this Friday. It's hard to believe that it's been that long. It seems just like yesterday. Of course, that goes with my two sons as well. My oldest son is nine and it just blows my mind that he used to be as small as his sister. My middle son will be five in December and he is making me old with every passing day. He bounces off the walls. have a fraction of his energy now.

I have spent the last two nights playing full court basketball with some of the guys here at school. How I wish I could bottle some of my son's get-up-and-go and take a swig between plays. I might be able to keep up with them for a whole game. Perhaps my feet and ankles wouldn't be screaming at me so loudly right now. That's okay, if I keep it up I'll either be in great shape...or dead. I guess I win both ways huh?

School starts back for me and my oldest son next week. We went to the local Wal-Mart and bought school supplies. It's kind of cool to walk down the aisle with your kid and argue over who's going to get the last Darth Vader composition book. You wanna guess who won that one?

I placed out of a basic computer class (thank You Jesus) and have to add one more to keep my full time status. I'm taking a light load so I decided to add Greek. I figure one semester will give me a good indication of whether I want to pursue it any further. I'm also thinking about taking at least two semesters of Hebrew before I graduate. I will probably wait until my Senior year before tackling that one though.

I'm about to dive back into the book I began this evening, I Was Wrong by Jim Bakker. I just finished up a couple of books about Johnny Cash. They were very interesting and have stoked my interest in early bluegrass Gospel music. We'll see where the Bakker book takes me. Perhaps I'll start my own TV show when I finish.

Good night, God bless, kiss your mother.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Feel The Burn

Well, I played ball again tonight. I'm tired and my body aches but there's something refreshing about it. It feels good to know that my body is sore because I was actually doing something good for it. It's much better than the stuffed, miserable feeling I get after eating way too much spaghetti and crashing on the couch for a night of Law & Order reruns. I don't fool myself, these kids (yes, I'm calling 20 year olds kids) are in much better shape than I am and can play MUCH better than I can, but I'm having a ball...literally.

We're having some serious thunderstorms tonight. I like storms. I like the way lightning looks as it streaks down to Earth and I love the boom as thunder rattles everything. I like the breeze that blows in off the river as the rain comes pouring down. Nothing beats a Summer thunderstorm.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Throw Me The Rock...Uh...Nevermind.

Well...I accepted an invitation to go play basketball with some of the students here. The dorm RAs are here early so they decided to play some full court b-ball. I was the tenth man. Let's just say this, if I do this every night I will either get in shape real quick or die. It was a lot of fun though. I hung in there as best as I could and actually nabbed some rebounds, blocked two shots, and scored twice. By our third "period" I gave up chasing down fastbreaks and just took my time. I got winded a couple of times but I think I hung in there. I didn't school anybody and I didn't run with some of the better guys but I did hold my own. I actually surprised myself and played much better than I anticipated. I won't lie though...I'm beat. These guys are in pretty good shape and are fifteen years younger than me. I didn't expect to be able to run at all but I did okay. I even got a couple of high-fives. I guess the walking has paid off, huh?

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Today Was A Good Day

Weekend was great. We went over to our neighbors' house for lunch. He's one of my professors and his wife is a hard-working Mom and hometeacher. Lunch was great. Roast beef, potatoes, rolls, and veggies. I actually ate carrots. That is a minor miracle for me. After lunch we sat and talked about all sorts of things. They have a real heart for reaching the poor and underprivileged. They volunteer at a soup kitchen up the road and asked if we'd be interested in going with them sometime. He's also one of the Elders at the church we've been going to and is really pushing for more community involvement. He totally blew me away. We talked a lot about how the church should be more involved in meeting the physical AND spiritual needs of those who are overlooked and less fortunate. It was such a breath of fresh air to hear someone talking like that.

We finally made it to Sunday School this morning and got blown away by another one of my professors. We were studying Jeremiah and he taught straight out of the Hebrew. It was awesome. We were all using English and he was reading from the freaking Hebrew. Not an interlinear....straight Hebrew. It floored me. When he's in church he uses the Greek for NT passages as English. That rocks. I get to learn from these guys at school AND in church. Awesome.

I am so ready for school to start.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Top Ten Songs Ever

I was watching some folks on a messageboard I frequent try to compile their top ten songs ever. It was interesting seeing some of the people and tunes they picked. I will be honest, I didn't know a lot of them. Some of these people are what I call "music snobs" and their lists looked like resumes for music snobbery. It did get me to thinking about what songs I would put on such a list.

I don't know that I can even begin to make such a list. Do I limit it to certain genres or time periods? Do I only include sacred music? Do I leave off sacred music? What sort of criteria do I use? After pondering it for two days I have even less of an idea how to do it. I tell you what I will do though. I'll give you ten songs that made a huge impression on me. They aren't what I'd call the greatest songs ever, but they were instrumental in making me who I am right now.

Sweet Is The Night - Electric Light Orchestra
Judas' Kiss - Petra
Once In A Lifetime - Chicago
Have You Ever Seen The Rain? - Creedence Clearwater Revival
I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry - Hank Williams
I Wanna Be Sedated - The Ramones
Overdose - George Huntley
Reach Out - Stryper
The Trees - Rush
Near The Cross (the hymn)

Friday, August 12, 2005

Library Day

Our family has recently begun a new family tradition. Every two weeks we go to the library and get books. Today was the day. I decided to only get five books this time. I didn't finish two of the ones I checked out last time. I grew weary with one of them and just couldn't get a good start on the other one. I may give them another go at a later date. Today I decided to stick with recreational reading. Here are my picks for the next two weeks, although I've almost finished one already. I think I may be having my personal Library Day early.

Cash - Johnny Cash
KISS: Behind The Mask - David Leaf and Ken Sharp
C.S. Lewis : A Biography - A.N. Wilson
To Kill A Mockingbird - Harper Lee
The Dream-Quest Of Unknown Kadath - H.P. Lovecraft

I really wanted some H.G. Wells but all they had was The Invisible Man.

School starts in eleven days and I'm really starting to get that anxious (but exciting) feeling. My books have been purchased and are sitting on the desk waiting for me. My class schedule is taped to the side of the fridge. I'm ready to finally finish up this phase in my life. It's taken me quite a while to get here but God has been extremely patient and has led me here. I can only thank Him.

I did apply for a part-time job today at the little pizza joint up the road. It would be nice if I could get it. We'll see how it goes.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Why Didn't I Buy CDs The First Time?

I have a box that is literally full of cassette tapes. Many of them are from Christian bands and were bought between 1986 and 1995, before I had CD player.This now causing me massive grief because I would love to replace some of these with CDs and I'm quickly discovering that it will be nearly impossible for me to do so. Why? Well, some of them were never released on CD and the others are now out of print.

I first discovered that my switch to CDs was gonna be costly when I went to go buy the first Whitecross album on. My cassette copy had finally worn itself out and I found an online place that sold out of print stuff. It cost me $40. The next album I went looking for was from a guy who called himself Applehead. My cassette of that one had mysteriously vanished and I was really looking forward to hearing it again. I found one copy online that was going for $75. Needless to say, I didn't pick it up. I managed to track down another cassette and secured it.

I have replaced a few of the tapes in my collection through E-bay and the average CD price has been about $25. Tonight I got the itch again and went looking for two albums by the Swirling Eddies. I found both of them on E-bay. One was selling for $69 and the other (the one I REALLY want) was up to $76. You read that right. $76 for a CD. Mind you, it's a brilliant album and I love it a lot...but $76? I guess I'm gonna have to convert my cassettes to mp3 and burn them to CD. I really can't believe that some of these things are that prized by people other than myself.

Would it be wrong to take the extra money from my Pell Grant and go shopping?

(insert winking smiley here)

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

I Guess I'm Just Heartless

There was a story on the news tonight about the rising rate of desertion in the U.S. Armed Forces. Evidentally a lot of current military personnel are upset about war and don't want to return to duty. There were even a couple of guys up in Canada who had deserted and run away. They basically said that they joined the military for the benefits and the money for college, they didn't want to go to war.

(This is the part where I play my invisible violin and weep from the bottom of my heart.)

I understand these folks being against war and not wanting to kill people, I really do. I feel the exact same way. Here's the difference though...I didn't join the military. I would have a big problem going to another country and shooting someone dead. That's why I didn't enlist. EVERY SINGLE PERSON serving in any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces is doing so voluntarily. We don't have a draft and we don't force people to join. Don't join the Marines and then try to tell me that you didn't sign up to fight...yes you're a MARINE!!!! You have been trained, with my tax dollars, to be the BEST killer possible. Don't weep and whine about having to do the job you signed up to do.

I know...I'm cold and heartless. I can't help it. I have a big problem with people whining about how they didn't sign on for a war when they are professional soldiers. What exactly have they been training for? That's like a doctor whining about having to practice medicine or an accountant claiming that he didn't sign up to do taxes. I've got news for you...if you joined the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marines then you signed up to fight wars when they happen. You knew that when you signed the papers.

Or am I being unreasonable?

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

A Meaningless Post To Take Up Space

I actually have a couple of lengthy posts in the works but I want to take time and flesh them out. I don't have anything earth-shattering to write tonight so I think I'll give you all a peak at what's on my nightstand and in my CD player this past week.

Currently Reading:

The Silence Of The Lambs
Here I Stand: A Biography Of Martin Luther
Michael Moore Is A Big Fat Stupid White Man
The Gospel According To Disney

Currently Listening To:

George Huntley - Brain Junk
Electric Light Orchestra - Discovery
Derek Webb - She Must And Shall Go Free
Def Leppard - X
The Choir - Let It Fly

Currently Watching:

The Incredibles
Seinfeld Seasons 1 & 2
The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again

It doesn't get any more exciting than that does it?

Monday, August 08, 2005

I Wonder

I was watching Deep Impact on television last night and I was wondering what God would do to people who selflessly sacrificed their lives to save others. If you've seen the movie then you know what I'm talking about. Do you think God would allow someone into heaven for laying his life down for the sake of humanity? I FIRMLY believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to reach the Father, so I don't know how to answer the question.

I've always wondered about so-called "death bed confessions." If you know you are about to die in a matter of moments, are you truly calling on Christ to save you? Or is it just the fear of death causing you to react? Jesus told a parable about a worker hiring people to work in his field. He hired some early in the morning and he hired even more as the day progressed. At the end of the day he paid them all the same thing regardless of how long they had been in the field. I have always been taught (and assumed) that parable was addressing this matter. All who call upon the name of the LORD will be saved, no matter how long they live afterwards.

But that really doesn't address my question does it? Anyone out there have any opinions? Do you think God would show mercy to someone who gave his/her life for a fellow human? The Bible does say that there is no greater love than when a man lays his life down for his friend. How far do you think that extends? I'm not sure.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Bang My Head Again

Stryper have a new album coming out in a couple of weeks. I know that they aren't the greatest thing to ever happen to music, but I really like them a lot. I also know that listening to their music back in high school helped me. Whitecross is also releasing a newly recorded version of their debut album. The clips I've heard totally blow away the original. I was a metal head and they opened up a new world for me. I never imagined that Christians could play music as cool or as heavy as the stuff I enjoyed. I knew about Amy Grant and had even heard Petra but Stryper were MY kind of music. They were as heavy Motley Crue and Quiet Riot and they sang about Jesus. It was exactly what a wayward teenage church kid like me needed. Stryper introduced me to other Christian metal bands like Whitecross and Bloodgood and they kept from totally diving headfirst into the secular scene. Most of my friends were die-hard metal dudes and they gave me grief for listening to some of the stuff I did. But Stryper and Whitecross and some of those other bands weren't any different musically so they didn't mind them. They kept a little bit of my childhood faith from washing away during those years. I can't say that I got through the experience totally unscathed but I did come out on the other end and I give those groups some credit for that. Even when I was into the whole partying thing, I still had lyrics glorifying God going through my head. I like to think they helped preserve that part of me that knew I was wrong. I dunno...maybe I'm way off base.

I do know that I'll be picking up copies of both CDs.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Bowling All The Way To The Grave

You know what? I don't want to like a band called Bowling For Soup, in fact, I want to hate them with all the passion of a white-hot star. It is against everything that I hold true and dear....but dang it....I like that song 1985. I like the fact that I recognize the references (both lyrically and visually) and I like the fact that the guitarist is a big fat slob just like me. I like the fact that they not only name-drop two Molly Ringwald movies, but they diss Limp Bizkit as well. I like the fact that the song is catchy and I can hum along.

The song is fun. Maybe I'm just an old geezer remembering a kindler, gentler and more hedonistic time. I can relate when they ask, "When did Motley Crue become classic rock?" It is the thing that keeps me up at night. That and the fact that the local "oldies" station played The Eagles yesterday. I am slowly realizing that death is making his way to my door....I just hope he's playing this song when he knocks.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

And We're Off...

I started my first ever exercise program tonight. That's right, I'm actually going to try to lose weight the way you're supposed to. My goal is to walk every morning and every night. I've got a nice little route to walk around the campus here and it's not too far from our apartment. I did six laps tonight which is right at two miles. I want to be able to add laps as my body grows healthier and becomes used to physical activity. My eventual goal is to be able to run five miles a day but I realize that is off in the future somewhere. My body has pretty much been inactive for the past twenty plus years and I can't jump into it that quickly. I want to set realistic goals and meet them. Once school starts and the gym is open I can use the equipment there as well, but the walking seems to be a pretty good start I think.

I'm also trying to organize a daily quiet time. There have been times in the past when I faithfully prayed and read my Bible, but they have somehow managed to slip away. I realize that I will be in the Bible a LOT once school starts but I really believe that personal devotion is much different than studying it for a test. I also want to start family devotions but I really need to sit down and look at our current schedule and see when the best time for it is.

There are so many areas in my life where I have been undisciplined. One of the goals I set when I decided to come back to school was to be a more disciplined Christian, husband, and father. I feel like I'm talking baby steps right now in all three areas but for the first time in ages, I'm moving forward. Thank You LORD for being so merciful and gracious to such a slob as me.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Over There

I'm watching FX's Over There right now. It has reminded me why I'm a pacifist. It also makes me wonder why certain types of movies and TV shows are allowed to air unedited and others aren't. I know I've ranted on this before but I just don't see why saying G**d**n in a movie or show about war is okay but Jackie Gleason saying it in Smokey & The Bandit isn't.

I personally don't want to hear it at all, but it does make me wonder how networks justify editing it out of one show and not the other. The episode I just watched used THAT word ten or eleven times and also threw in at least six s**ts for good measure. Yet when a movie like Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure comes on they edit out the word douchebag. Would it be acceptable if one of the characters in Over There muttered it? I wonder.

FX is showing Black Hawk Down tomorrow night, I wonder how much (if any) of it will be edited.

Monday, August 01, 2005

The View

I will be honest, I had never actually sat down and watched an episode of The View until this morning. The only reason I even tuned in today was because one of the guys from Exodus International was going to be up there with a young man who had been freed from the homosexual lifestyle. I don't know why I expected a fair treatment of such a controversial group on a show hosted by Barbara Walters.

Let me begin by saying that the first 18 minutes of the show turned me off and I never fully recovered. I already had a negative attitude towards the show before the guest I wanted to see ever came out. The opening sequence this morning consisted of these five intelligent women rambling on and on about absolutely nothing. This may be their typical format but I must say that I was left feeling overwhelmed by the vast amount of nothingness they covered. It's not that I don't appreciate or understand female conversations, this just didn't have anything to all.

The show began with Joy Behar (who I do not like at all) talking about losing her ovaries. I'm sympathetic towards the fact that she had medical problems that required the loss of her reproductive organs, but I didn't need her joking about it. It honestly seemed like a comedy bit with no purpose other than the repeated use of the word ovaries.

The conversation then quickly focused on their preferred doctors. Star Jones Reynolds informed everyone that HER doctor was a Republican and had been on some board that President Bush had put together. She then implied that he was good doctor anyway, which brought chuckles from everyone. Meredith Vieira then had to tell eveyone that she preferred Jewish doctors. A good laugh was had by all.

Then Elisabeth Hasselbeck shared that her parents had lost a dog over the weekend that was 17 years old. She explained how the dog was part of her family and that she loved the dog and that it had been around before she got her first period. Why that was important I'll never know, but it generated much sympathy from the panel and they all pondered how long you should wait before buying a new dog.

There were a couple other things they talked about but I had already zoned out and I only heard Barbara Walters explain why The View is such a great show and why it has gotten so many critical reviews over the last eight years. I can sum it up this way: Men are bad and cause road rage...women don't.

Anyways, back to Exodus International. I had to sit through an interview with some fellow whose schoolteacher wife had been caught having sex with an underage student. Joy (who I REALLY don't like) was quick to ask the guy if their sex life was good. After deciding that the guy's ex-wife was a child molester and deserved prison, they played some tapes of his wife talking ot this kid. Much was made about nothing and then they introduced the next guest as a guy who ran a conversion camp for gays.

It is at this point that I got a little mad. Star made sure to spit the words "conversion camp for gays" out in a most venemous fashion. She might as well have said concentration camp. They also had on a young man who had gone through the Exodus ministry and was sharing his story. He was interrupted repeatedly by the hosts and corrected on his misunderstandings about homosexuality. The tagline at the bottom read: Went To Camp That Made Him Straight. I don't know why I was expecting a show like this to treat Exodus fairly but I can say that I was disturbed by their lack of respect for the two men up there. Here were five heterosexual women trying to tell two reformed homosexual men why they were gay. It really ticked me off.

When the young man sharing his story finally got around to talking about his newfound attraction to women, Joy (who I absolutely can't stand) asked him if he had finally had sex with a female. He responded that he was waiting until he got married. You can just imagine the reaction that got. Needless to say, The View did not give a serious look at the issue. They played it up in Jerry Springer fashion and just blew the two guys off without every seriously discussing what Exodus is or what it does.

I guess I was expecting too much wasn't I?