It is also good to love: because love is difficult. For one human being to love another human being: that is perhaps the most difficult task that has been entrusted to us, the ultimate task, the final test and proof, the work for which all other work is merely preparation. That is why young people, who are beginners in everything, are not yet capable of love: it is something they must learn. With their whole being, with all their forces, gathered around their solitary, anxious, upward-beating heart, they must learn to love. But learning-time is always a long, secluded time ahead and far on into life, is - ; solitude, a heightened and deepened kind of aloneness for the person who loves. Loving does not at first mean merging, surrendering, and uniting with another person (for what would a union be of two people who are unclarified, unfinished, and still incoherent - ?), it is a high inducement for the individual to ripen, to become something in himself, to become world, to become world in himself for the sake of another person; it is a great, demanding claim on him, something that chooses him and calls him to vast distances. Only in this sense, as the task of working on themselves ("to hearken and to hammer day and night"), may young people use the love that is given to them. Merging and surrendering and every kind of communion is not for them (who must still, for a long, long time, save and gather themselves); it is the ultimate, is perhaps that for which human lives are as yet barely large enough.

But this is what young people are so often and so disastrously wrong in doing they (who by their very nature are impatient) fling themselves at each other when love takes hold of them, they scatter themselves, just as they are, in all their messiness, disorder, bewilderment. . . . : And what can happen then? What can life do with this heap of half-broken things that they call their communion and that they would like to call their happiness, if that were possible, and their future? And so each of them loses himself for the sake of the other person, and loses the other, and many others who still wanted to come. And loses the vast distances and possibilities, gives up the approaching and fleeing of gentle, prescient Things in exchange for an unfruitful confusion, out of which nothing more can come; nothing but a bit of disgust, disappointment, and poverty...

(Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters To A Young Poet)

I love getting my hair cut. Well, in general. I mean, I like the feeling, even though it's rare that I'm satisfied with the way the person cut my hair. For crying out loud, how hard is it to follow my instructions? Can't they understand I want it like Brad Pitt's? How frickin' hard is that to do?! But anyway. I like having my hair cut. It feels nice to touch. Do you want to touch my hair? (Say no and this conversation never happened...)

- - -

I really don't like hot weather. How odd is that? I dunno. I always just feel super uncomfortable. I like it cool/warm, with a nice breeze. But that scorching, burning heat that lights the hair on my arm on fire -- I ain't having that. I mean, it's not like I'm anti-summer. I just appreciate a cool day over a day in Hell.

- - -

I hope Rob & Amber don't win the Amazing Race. But I have a feeling they will...'Reality TV' is evil. Evil I tell you! Eeeeeeee-vul! And yet I watch. Oh, what a fool am I.

- - -

I'm listening to some stand-up comedy, and having a really hard time typing. I keep bursting into fits of laughter (and I think my roomate keeps turning up the TV louder and louder) and then I can't breathe and then I type a few words of gibberish then try to delete them and type something meaningful and then start laughing again. The worst is that I tend to alkmsdfa asdkf8d2930-2 ';sdlfdss ...

- - -

It seems incredibly egotistical of me to refer to myself as "The Stewart. I mean, really, I am only one member of a vast Empire of Stewart's, both past and present. And here I am, affixing a definite article to my name, as if I, Kyle, am the single most important member of the Stewart clan...

...Meh. Too late to turn back now.

"Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!"
(Admiral Farragut, as quoted by Stop Five Records)

I was thinking the other day (ok, why do most of my posts start this way -- "I was thinking" -- as if I could write anything and not have thought...geesh) about the sort of movies, music, books that I like and it occurred to me that the ones that mean the most to me are the ones that show people as very ... how do I say this ... screwed up. A friend on the Relevant message boards asked me why I liked Punch Drunk Love, and it reminded me of that. The most meaningful stories, to me, are the ones with very unsmooth/uncool/problematic/flawed people. Just a few (recent) examples: Garden State, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Royal Tenenbaums (actually, anything Wes Anderson), 21 Grams, Mystic River, Magnolia, yadda yadda yadda. You get the idea.

And it isn't just in movies (though I seem to spend all my time talking about them). It's music too. There is just something I appreciate about vulnerability in other people -- like it gives me a reason to be vulnerable myself. Personally, I think it's one of the biggest problems with so-called "Christian music" -- a lack of being able to relate to the human condition. I don't want to fall into the trap of over-generalizing, but what seems more common than not is this inability by some Christians to show weakness, to step out and risk offending (which is a whole other topic in itself) and talk about their human struggle. It's as if we've decided that human problems aren't as significant as 'spiritual problems' (is there really even a difference?). Why is it such a scary thought to talk about doubt, about making mistakes, about anger and hate, about our inability to love people, about the dangers of wealth, about a landfill of other issues? And even when some artists dare to go there, it's with a sense of reserve, with only one foot in the water. "Yes I've struggled with doubt. But God healed me of that. Amen. Now on to a happier subject: tithing!"

When I was younger, I think I preferred stories about people/characters who were strong, who had it all together, who could do amazing things and come away from it unscathed (ie. most action movies). Now it's different. I don't relate to strong, untouchable characters -- because I've never been strong or untouchable. Show me a guy who has issues, who struggles, who has to fight not only some external problem but an internal one as well, and that's a guy I'll be able to relate to.

Ah yes. Another day, another rant. My sincerest apologies.

I just watched "The Corporation" last night. Oh. My. Goodness. If you find it at the movie store, rent it. (Of course, be warned -- it's a documentary, and it's 2.5 hours long. But it is well worth your time.) I was incredibly convicted by the end.

Because I'd have a ridiculously hard time trying to explain it myself, I'll just quote the website for you:
THE CORPORATION explores the nature and spectacular rise of the dominant institution of our time. Footage from pop culture, advertising, TV news, and corporate propaganda, illuminates the corporation's grip on our lives. Taking its legal status as a "person" to its logical conclusion, the film puts the corporation on the psychiatrist's couch to ask "What kind of person is it?" Provoking, witty, sweepingly informative, The Corporation includes forty interviews with corporate insiders and critics - including Milton Friedman, Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, and Michael Moore - plus true confessions, case studies and strategies for change.


The film is based on the book The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power by Joel Bakan.

But because I think it is a "well-worth-your-time" type movie, I'll provide a few examples of what was in it:

  1. It described the fairly recent change in patenting laws that now allow genetic code to be patented and owned. Everything except for a full blown human being can be owned. There are companies today that literally own the genetic code to certain animals, diseases, disorders, etc. No kidding:
    Today, every molecule on the planet is up for grabs. In a bid to own it all, corporations are patenting animals, plants, even your DNA.
  2. Did you know that the song "Happy Birthday" is owned by AOL-Time-Warner, and to use it in a movie you have to pay them $10, 000?! Wow.
  3. One country (who's name I can't remember at the moment) actually had their water supply (including rain water) bought and controlled by an American corporation, to the point where the citizens were forced to make such choices as whether to feed their children or buy them water. Eventually, they revolted and took the water back, having to overthrow their own government to do so.
  4. National disasters are profitable:
    The Corporation exists to create wealth, and even world disasters can be profit centers. Carlton Brown, a commodities trader, recounts with unabashed honesty the mindset of gold traders while the twin towers crushed their occupants. The first thing that came to their minds, he tells us, was: "How much is gold up?"

There are ton of other things I was going to say about it, but I'm thinking it could turn into a super-long post -- and I have to study for an exam tonight. Basically, I think the film is an important one. I was really convicted about how easily I allow myself to be controlled by advertising and, basically, big business. Not only that, but how unconcerned I am for the world in which I live. I feel ashamed at how little regard I have for the majority of the population on this planet. Not only is it un-Christ-like, it's overwhelmingly inhuman.

Today's Subject
: Movies.

I was thinking (for some reason) about who my top 10 favourite actors are. These are 10 actors whose movies I will go see no matter what -- I see their name, I go (Ok, ok. Within reason.). I was at first startled to realize there were no girls on my list ('What could it all mean?'). But I think that there just aren't a whole lot of female actors I'm particularly fond of (which is probably more to do with the characters they've been cast as, notsomuch their acting ability). But I'm going to add a few honorable mentions, so I have an excuse to include some females, and some more actors who I really like.

Here's my list (in no particular order):
  • Christopher Walken
  • Kevin Spacey
  • Bill Murray
  • Clint Eastwood
  • Christian Bale
  • Luke & Owen Wilson (Ok, I cheated, that's two. But they're related. So sue me.)
  • Djimon Hounsou
  • Sean Penn
  • Benicio Del Toro
  • Brad Pitt (ever since Snatch & Fight Club)
The honorable mentions:
  • Penelope Cruz (I'm more selective when it comes to her movies, but hey, I loved Vanilla Sky.)
  • Meg Ryan
  • Cate Blanchett
  • Nicole Kidman
  • Lucy Liu
  • Kirsten Dunst (Ok, I thought she was less-than-great in Spiderman 1 & 2 -- and I'm the only one who thought so, apparently -- but she's still a good actor.)
  • Halle Berry
  • Claire Danes
  • Edward Norton
  • Will Farrell
  • Adam Sandler (yes, Adam Sandler -- especially after seeing Punch Drunk Love.)
  • Giovanni Ribisi
- - -

Anyone seen the movie The Woodsman? Man. I just saw it last night. Talk about a heavy movie. It's one of those movies where when it ends, you aren't sure how to act. It isn't a perfect movie, but the acting is excellent, the story is powerful, and the overall quality good enough that it does what it was intended to do. I actually read that the actors all worked for free because they were so impressed with the script and thought it was an important movie that needed to be made. You don't see that every day.

In case you haven't seen it, or were wondering what it's about, here's the general idea: Kevin Bacon plays a guy who just got out of prison after 12 years for sexually molesting little girls, and the story is basically about his struggle to "get normal" (like I said, it's a 'heavy' movie). I really respect movie's that are made from this point of view (like Dead Man Walking), because to me, they look at people as real people, which includes the criminal. In an interview on the DVD, the producer (Lee Daniels, who also did Monster's Ball) talked about how he felt both sorry for the main character and repulsed by him. I think the movie shows that really well. I think it also shows how powerful our relationships with people are -- in the movie you see the affect of the people who treat him like a monster and the affect of those who try to help him. Really profound stuff, in my books. Overall, it definitely isn't an easy story to tell, but I think this one did it well.

(By the way, it probably isn't a movie for everyone. Just to forewarn you, in case you might want to see it.)

Here's a bit of pressing news I felt I should pass on to you:
"LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Wendy's International Inc. on Friday doubled to $100,000 the reward it is offering for information on the origin of a human finger found last month in a bowl of chili at one of its restaurants."
(Full article at Yahoo! News, April 15, 2005)

Who knew the fast-food industry was such a dangerous place?

- - -
Unimportant Trivia To Expand Your Mind:
Did you know Christopher Walken's real name is Ronald Walken?! Weird.
- - -

Today was my last class of Christianity & Culture. It was funny, because during our last discussion the teacher touched briefly on how the world thrives on self-gratification, the glorification of the individual, and the fight for personal fulfillment and personal rights. The Christian life, however, is based on the exact opposite ideals: giving up personal desires, living in self-sacrifice, altering my world-view from one that is me-centered to others-centered. Jesus served as the perfect example of that throughout His life, and most obvious when he died on the cross -- he literally went the polar-opposite of personal pleasure/gratification. It isn't that it's some masochistic way of life. It is simply and absolutely all about other people. It's about giving up my personal comfort for the sake of those I come into contact with.

It wasn't that I was hearing something new. Instead, it felt like God was wrapping all my thoughts and struggles this past while up into a final challenge, and using someone else to get it into my fat head. I had to laugh. And what was cool was that He gave me a ton of opportunities to put it to work today. I've got a lot of growing up to do, I know, but it's the sort of growth that only comes when I choose to attempt it. I think that time is way past due.
Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn't think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn't claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death--and the worst kind of death at that: a crucifixion.
(Philippians 2:5-8, The Message)

I've fallen in love with the song, "Jerk It Out" by Caesars. "What song is that?" you ask.

"Oh, you've heard it," I reply. "It's the song on that iPod commercial. The green one. Yeah, that one." (An excerpt from a recent conversation I had with myself. It didn't end well.)

Every time I see it I just want to go out and buy an iPod (damn those Marketing Genuises). But because I can't afford one, I got the song instead. My newness lusting has been appeased once more. Amen.

I found this on my computer today. I forget where I got it from. But it always makes me laugh.

Change is inevitable - except from a vending machine.
(Robert C. Gallagher)

I was thinking last night about how much I have changed over the last year-to-year-and-a-half. And I was thinking about how subconscious and undetected that change was, for the most part. I suppose that's the way personal change is -- rarely something obvious and instantaneous. Which is a scary, scary thought. Because if change isn't easy to notice as it's happening, it means all you have to work with is hindsight. That really doesn't make me feel better.

One thing that really hit me was to do with my relationships with my friends. I feel very ... far away. It's my own fault. I think that within the last year or so, I've tried to keep my friends at arms length. I know why I did it, but I'm not sure I was really aware I was doing it, until recently.

I've always wanted my life to be transparent. I wanted people around me to know that what they saw was what they got, that I wasn't hiding anything. But that requires vulnerability. And I don't think I've had the self-confidence or whathaveyou to be able to live like that and not crumple under the criticism and judgment that people inevitably dish out (I say inevitably because I know people do it sometimes unaware that they are doing it -- I know I do). So what happened? I got hurt. I let other people's thoughts and opinions affect who I was, and then things just got unbearable. It's almost sick how textbook a case I am sometimes -- I get hurt, I throw up my defenses. As a reaction to that hurt, I retreated back into my castle. It's safe there; nothing gets in, nothing gets out. Simple.

But it's not so simple. Because life isn't life without people. I've come to realize that nothing I do in life will matter an iota if it isn't others-focused. What a funny paradox. My whole life is this fight against selfishness as a natural reflex, but life itself is meaningless unless it is lived in self-lessness.

I feel lost at times, though, almost overwhelmed by this hole I've dug for myself. How do I get out?! My relationship with God has suffered a lot for the same reasons -- keeping anything that could require intimacy at a distance just shy of outright rejection. It creates this vicious cycle. I struggle with an overwhelming sense of guilt, but I don't know how to accept that God forgives me anymore. I don't know how to accept Grace as a gift, not in my heart anyway. And all of this only perpetuates my feelings of being distant from God.

The problem is the same between me and my friends. I don't deserve them. And I don't know how to start over. I don't know how to turn around, to stop going down this empty, lonely road, this lifestyle of being me-focused, and show them that I care and that I want their friendship. There are a couple of friends that if I didn't have right now, I'd have probably lost my mind. I gotta say, they're pretty tough people, to put up with a dink like me. And believe you me, I am very glad they have.

All I know is that I need to start trying to show people again that I do care, and to stop only thinking of myself and instead live my life with the others-focus that I know God desires from me. I only hope that a year and a half from now I can look back and see the gradual, maybe even undetected, change for the better.
All change is not growth, as all movement is not forward.
(Ellen Glasgow)

I finished another book last night: The Death & Life of Superman (Roger Stern). The writing in the book wasn't the best (let's just say you could tell it was written by someone who writes a lot of comic book scripts), but the story kept me hooked. I love Superhero stories. I don't know why. In real life, the thought of middle-aged men running around in tights doesn't do it for me. But somewhere in the recesses of my imagination, it's still a heck of a lot of fun to pretend.

I think I'm trying to rebound from my recent discovery that I never really finish anything. Actually, though, I didn't finish the book on purpose -- it was just that good that I couldn't stop until it was done. But I'm a wee bit tired today -- I finished the book five minutes before my alarm clock was supposed to wake me up this morning. Yeah. I was up a little too late, I think. But there are few things that equal the satisfaction of finishing a book. Maybe because unlike watching TV, it requires patience, attention, dedication, thought. Whatever it is, it's satisfying, anyway.

On to other topics! In the slices today on was the most ironic thing I've heard in some time:
"Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye, authors of the Left Behind series, have criticized the new NBC mini-series Revelations as being 'unbiblical' and 'weird.'"

(You can read the short article here.)

Doh. Those guys are silly.

[enter complete change in topic]

As of yesterday, I've had to stop and take inventory on where my life is, what direction I seem to be going, and where it is I actually want to go. I talked to the registrar at school and found out I am way behind (compared to where I thought I stood) when it comes to how many classes I've done, and how many I need to graduate. Of course, I took a year off, and even now am barely even a student. Add to that I'm only a junior and have been in three different majors, so quite a few of the classes I have taken don't fit into the program I am in now.

Son of a motherless goat.

What's been bothering me more is this question that is always nagging me: what am I doing here? The number one reason I am here right now, and the reason I would have an incredibly hard time leaving (should I choose to do so) is because I started it and I want to finish it. The thought I could have spent all this time and money and energy on it and not finish, bothers me to no end. Bah! It's such a frustrating feeling. But for once in my young life I'm not really afraid of the idea of a complete change in my life. I just need to either, a) buckle down and spend another year getting this finished, or b) forfeit the last three years of college. I think I'm leaning towards (a), which, more than anything, is going to require a lot of patience on my part. Great. Just great.

In closing, for good measure (and because I can), I will quote the song "Plans" by Bloc Party:
Wake up dreamer
It's happening without you
Stop being so laissez-faire
We're all scared of the future

I just finished reading 1984 this morning. Geez. What a book. For some reason I was under the impression that it had a more optimistic ending. I don't know where I got that idea from. I suppose I just assumed all books had some sort of happy ending, or at least hinted at one. Still, though, it was good stuff. I even danced around my house naked just to celebrate my freedom. Ok. No I didn't. But I thought about doing it. Aha! Take that, totalitarian pigs!

Oddly enough, the book was first published on June 8, 1949. June 8! My birthday! And it refers to the year after my first birthday. How creepy.

Well, actually, it really isn't that creepy. At all, in fact. Unless, of course, one looks at the math. Check this out:

The book was written on June 8, 1949. I was born June 8, 1983. Subracting the two dates gives us 34. The book is called 1984. If we add 34 to that number, we get 2018. Now stay with me: I am 21 right now, so if we subtract my age from 2018, we get 1997. If we take that date, minus the date it was first published, we get 48. Are you seeing what I'm seeing? 48! Flip those numbers around and what do you have? Exactly. You have 84. As in, 1984.

Coincidence? I think not. What does it all mean, you ask? I don't know yet. But it's big. I feel it in my bones. It's gonna be big...

Do you ever hear a new band (well, new to you anyway) and think to yourself, "How in the world did I survive all this time without this music?" It happens to me every once and awhile. The other day the same thought occured to me when I heard Bloc Party. There are a lot of bands that are doing that to me lately. I feel as if I've uncovered this whole other musical universe that I'd been ignoring for such a long time. I love it.

Know what I mean?

Welcome love/I have made a place for you here/I know every word they say/I know how they want to make you change/Change if you want, but don't you go and change for me/I will love you as you are/I didn't mean to make you want to go and leave/It's a fight between my heart and mind/no one really wins this time/If you don't find the love you want, if I have acted ungracefully, I don't want to see you go/I never meant to make you want to leave/But go if you want/Make your way straight to the door/I hope that you look back before you go 'cause grace looks back before it starts to leave/In the fight between my heart and mind, no one really wins this time/In the endless fight of grace and pride I don't want to win this time.

That's the song I was just listening to by Copeland, called "No One Really Wins". In an interview the lead singer did with Circle Six Magazine, he touched on it really briefly, saying this:
I just believe that there's a place in the church for everyone. That's pretty much what the song was talking about. I don't want to get too much into it, but it's basically about being accepting. The line, "change if you want / but don't you go and change for me / I will love you as you are / I didn't mean to make you want to leave," pretty much that's just about…if you believe homosexuality is wrong but you want to love people, you can't just sit there and tell them, "I'm not going to love you until you change."

When I first heard the song, I had known what it was about, but still found it challenging to listen to. It amazes me how unlike Jesus I can be, especially in how I treat homosexuals. And when I look around at how others treat them, I am amazed even more. It isn't that I don't believe it's wrong; I do. What bothers me is how homosexuals have been villianized to this point where they somehow deserve the specially ordained hate of the Church.

The other night some friends were over and we were watching The Amazing Race (a reality TV show, in case you didn't already know that). One of the teams on the show is a gay couple. On this episode they were doing really well, and one friend (who, I will note, is currently attending Bible College to become a pastor) made the comment that he really hoped "the fags" didn't win, and that he also hated people who "talked with that girly voice". Another friend spoke up and told us that he felt like boycotting the show because of the gay guys. After all, "why would they even let people like that on the show?" I was blown away. This coming from two guys who'd call themselves Christians -- ie. Christ Followers.

It isn't new, this attitude of contempt for homosexuals by the Church. You'd have to have your head buried to have not heard or seen some form of disrespect and hate towards homosexuals by Christians. (How about the website,, in case you wanted an example, albeit an extreme one). But it breaks my heart. I don't understand where it comes from. I don't understand how people can carry the banner of Jesus Christ and still treat human beings with such lack of compassion.

I'm not defending homosexual behavior. I'm not trying to gloss over what the Bible teaches on it. What I am defending, though, is homosexual people. Where was it in the history of the Church that we decided to forego Jesus' command to love our neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:36-40), and instead pick up our pitchforks and protest signs and burn them at the stake? How far from being like Jesus can we go before we can no longer call ourselves Christians? I feel like we've been testing the limits on that for some time now.

I doubt there are even a significant number of Christians who have any sort of [positive] relationship with homosexuals. We've dug our trenches so deep, and carried our doctrine so proudly, I'm less-than-hopeful that there are even a few Christians willing to put their pride behind them, put down their Theological clubs, and embrace a homosexual. I know I’d have a hard time with it. I am very aware that I have no homosexual friends (that I know of). I shy away from it. I have too many prejudices, too much of an 'image' to lower myself to such a position. There is a limit to how accepting we are of people, right? I mean, Jesus had his limits, didn't he?

That's just it. I don't see that in the Gospels. I don't see Jesus putting His foot down and saying, "Hi. My name is Jesus. It's nice to meet you. Before we get too far in, I should warn you: I can't get close to you unless you stop being like that." What was one thing that characterized Him? He accepted people. He didn't let walls divide them. How could GOD get close to prostitutes, terrorists (after all, were not Zealots terrorists?), scumbags and thieves? Not to mention powerful people, rich people, men of authority? Jesus had no limits. Jesus didn't make people change before he loved and accepted them. It wasn't that he ignored the sin. But he knew that people don't respond to judgement. People don't need another finger pointing at them.

There's the old Christian mantra, "Love the sinner. Hate the sin." We seem to flap our gums a lot about that. Everyone wants to think they know how to do that. But history tells us it isn't so. We don't honestly distinguish between sin and sinner. Well, not unless it's one of our friends who struggles with pornography or greed or lying or cheating. In those cases, well, those are special. We know the difference, right? But gay people! No way! They are too different from us normal folk.

Like I mentioned before, I'm not arguing that homosexuality is an a-ok way to live. I'm saying that we have taken on more authority than we were ever given. God didn't tell us to go and convict our neighbor of his sin, to show him the error of his way. We were called to preach the good news -- the mercy, grace, love of God. That each one of us is a sinner, a miserable failure, and yet God has chosen to save us. Why can I not try to show that same love for my fellow man, despite his faults?

I think we as Christians forget what it is to be human. We forget that we all are ancestors of a sinful man and woman. We all suffer for it. Homosexuals are human beings too, relatives to the same man and woman! It seems like a simple enough truism, but more often than not we seem to make them into abstract ideas, problems that can be solved through a few easy steps, or by chanting the right prayer seven times.

The challenge is the same for all of us: to apply what Jesus taught to real life. It isn't easy. Most of the time I'm the furthest thing from being like Jesus. But I want to be like Him, and I want to learn to love people like He did. I have no excuses. Maybe my challenge, now, is to love those people who call themselves my brothers, but don't have the slightest clue what the word 'love' means. Now that is hard to do.

Psalm 66

It's been one of those days, and it feels like it's crushing me.
"I am Yours. Save me."


Psalm 66

1 Shout with joy to God, all the earth!
2 Sing the glory of his name;
make his praise glorious!
3 Say to God, "How awesome are your deeds!
So great is your power
that your enemies cringe before you.
4 All the earth bows down to you;
they sing praise to you,
they sing praise to your name." Selah

5 Come and see what God has done,
how awesome his works in man's behalf!
6 He turned the sea into dry land,
they passed through the waters on foot-
come, let us rejoice in him.
7 He rules forever by his power,
his eyes watch the nations-
let not the rebellious rise up against him. Selah

8 Praise our God, O peoples,
let the sound of his praise be heard;
9 he has preserved our lives
and kept our feet from slipping.
10 For you, O God, tested us;
you refined us like silver.
11 You brought us into prison
and laid burdens on our backs.
12 You let men ride over our heads;
we went through fire and water,
but you brought us to a place of abundance.
13 I will come to your temple with burnt offerings
and fulfill my vows to you-
14 vows my lips promised and my mouth spoke
when I was in trouble.
15 I will sacrifice fat animals to you
and an offering of rams;
I will offer bulls and goats. Selah

16 Come and listen, all you who fear God;
let me tell you what he has done for me.
17 I cried out to him with my mouth;
his praise was on my tongue.
18 If I had cherished sin in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened;
19 but God has surely listened
and heard my voice in prayer.
20 Praise be to God,
who has not rejected my prayer
or withheld his love from me!



I just downloaded the web browser Firefox. It's pretty rad. I haven't fiddled with it too much yet, but I like it so far. I've been using Netscape for the last few months, because my IE kept getting a ridiculous amount of spyware and virus attacks. I never got any from Netscape, and apparently Firefox has quite a bit of protection too.

One of the thing I loved about Netscape was the 'tabs' -- instead of opening a bajillion seperate windows, you could just open a bunch of tabs in the same one, and flip through a few websites at a time. Firefox has that too. Also, so far it seems to load everything way faster than Netscape did. I think it's worth checking out. Takes up very little space, which is another bonus.

And I mean, if I recommend it, it must be quality, right?!

Yesterday was the worst job-related experience I have ever, in my entire life, gone through. I would give more details, but earlier today I spent a half hour writing about it and then my computer crashed and I lost it all. So I really don't want to spend that much time thinking about it again. Needless to say it was un-be-liev-a-ble.

Funny thing is, while I was there I realized what it is I want to do with my life. That makes me happy. (And no, I'm not going to tell you what that is. Unless you pay me. I take checks or cash.)

Still, despite the overall torturous experience that was my day, God managed to teach me a thing or two. The whole time I was working I kept thinking about the verse, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men..." (Colossians 3:23). That's rough. I don't think I do that enough -- work for God, not men, that is. If I were to rephrase that (though I realize I tread on extreme out-of-contextness), I'd put it, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for a paycheck." You might think, heck, what's the difference? Well, I can only speak for myself, but a lot of times, while I do care what the supervisors think of my work (hence the "men" in the above verse), I also think, "I just need a paycheck. I just need the money." The money, the bank account balance, becomes me goal. I think, tough, that money is never an end-all. We need it, yes. And like Paul says in 2 Thessalonians 3:10, "If a man will not work, he shall not eat." But it wasn't just eating for eating's sake -- it was more than that. It was to continue to spread the Gospel (afterall, it's hard to preach when you're dead -- though I suppose even that is possible, as the Pope's death is an example of). And the goal of working for your food was obvious, just from reading a lot of what Paul taught -- the idea of supporting yourself, to "not be dependent on anybody", and through your hard work, being an example to unbelievers (1 Thessalonians 4:11, 12).

I think my brain functions on short-term goals. I only really pay attention to the immediate future. For example, when I need my rent money, I focus my energies on getting money for that end. It isn't that I don't think about the future, but I tend to pay more attention to the now. I discovered yesterday that by doing that I miss out on the whole of what it means to be a Christian. My life quite literally is not my own. My means aren't for my ends. That doesn't mean I shouldn't use some of the money I earn for such things as entertainment or whatnot. It only means that I have to recognize a few things: one, I only have the money because of God. It was His blessing me with the job and the abilitiy to do the job that I have the money. Two, everything in this life save for God is temporary. Every "thing" I own will not last. Three, with everything I am blessed with (which includes work, money, 'stuff', friends) I am ultimately responsible in how I use them.

All of this is pretty basic, of course -- things we should always be aware of. But it is amazing how easily I forget what life is about.

Ok, this is the funniest e-bay feedback I've ever seen. Genius.

Well, for those of you who saw this blog before now -- it's looking a bit different. I discovered the magic that is other people's creativity, and their generosity in making their Blog-plates available to the less-fortunate (people like me who have neither the equipment or the current know-how to design their own). You'll see the creator's link at the bottom of the page. He's got some cool ones.

I wasn't liking how dark and cramped the last one felt. This one's got some room to breathe, I think. Anyway, that's enough messing around for the evening.

Now, let's just hope this all works out...[nervous twitch setting in].

Boo. I just installed the Haloscan commenting system-thingee-magig, and (because I didn't think before I did -- a common problem of mine) I lost all my previous comments. What crappiness. I am sad.

To all of those who left thoughtful and/or witty remarks (well, even if you posted nothingness) I am sorry. Please book an appointment with my secretary to beat me senseless.

We must not allow other peoples' limited perceptions to define us.
(Virginia Satir)

Today I realized something about myself that for whatever reason, I've never realized before: I need new things, and often. By things I simply mean new 'stimuli'. Which is sort of odd, because I've always hated change -- or more specifically, the bloody pain it requires.

Anyway, today I was thinking about why it is I love to buy things. I've always thought that I've been somewhat addicted to buying things. But I've noticed other things in my life that all point to the same thing: being addicted to newness. For one, I've always wondered why I've never had a job that I've wanted to do for any extended period of time. After a few months, I am always sick of it. The longest job I've held was this past year working for Fort Nelson First Nation. But even with that, by the end, I was ready to get out. So here I've been worried that I am never going to get a job I want to do for a long time. A second problem is how I tend to start things and not finish them, or at least take forever to get through them -- specifically with books. I get book after book and manage to read about half and then go on to the next. Sure, I love the feeling of finishing one, but it's the getting there that is tough. A third is that I have a hard time listening to a CD over and over and over. After about a few weeks, at the most, of obessing over it, I'm ready for a new one. Which is probably why I have so many (though I consider it somewhat of a 'hobby', so I think I'm clear there).

And so today all of this came to mind, and the idea that I am addicted to "Newness" dawned on me. Why in the world has it taken me so long to notice this?!

There are a few concerns I have with this. One, I don't want to be doomed to a life of being unsatisfied. Obviously I won't be able to have a new wife, new kids, a new house whenever I get the itch for more newness. I won't be able to quit whatever career I have when I get bored with it. I won't be able to fit a bajillion unfinished books into my house, either. And I don't want to feel trapped by repitition, which seems like a feeling I may encounter.

Yet it also encourages me; at least, the discovery of this personal quirk does. I think I am less afraid of change, as a whole right now. I also think it may help me control my mini-addictions. If I know that I am simply longing for new 'stimuli', maybe I can divert my attention from ways that may cost money! Like going to the library...

Isn't it funny how sometimes we're just suddenly aware of our little personal idiosyncrasies?

Or is that just me?!

Oh, it is?

How silly.

The problem with writing about religion is that you run the risk of offending sincerely religious people, and then they come after you with machetes.
(Dave Barry)
I've been thinking alot about traffic lights. A strange subject, no doubt. Perhaps it's because I like to go for walks, and there is a set of lights just by my house, and I always pay attention to the amount of traffic around here. But for whatever reason, I think they are quite a genius idea. While it is always a pain getting a red light and having to stop and wait and try not to look at the car stopped beside you (although, as a side note, it can be quite fun to stare intently at the driver until they look in your direction, and then raise your eyebrows real high and smile big -- just make sure it isn't a police officer), you have to consider what chaos traffic would be if it weren't for them. Here in Abbotsford there is an intersection affectionatly known as "Five Corners", because, obviously, it has five different roads meeting up, so the light system is quite the art exhibit. I was thinking today how it already feels like madness, but how ridiculous it would be without those lights there, or even working together.

And then I started to think about how God puts 'traffic lights' of sorts in our life. I think it's His way of helping us learn. Everyone is at a different point on a different road -- their own personal highway. As we move along, God will choose to stop us when He feels we need to be stopped, and will let us go when He deems it appropriate. Sometimes life feels like it's going nowhere, like we're parked, when really, we're just at a red light. It won't stay red forever, but there is a reason we're there. If we're grumpy about being inconvenienced, I think we miss the point that God is trying to get accross. There is no "normal" life, no "normal" order of events. God has different purposes for all of us, and when He chooses to keep us in one place for a period of time that He considers necessary, while letting others go on their way, I think we need to embrace it. Without those checks, those moments of going and stopping, without God's traffic lights, I think we end up forfeiting a great deal of what God would have for us. I know from personal experience that disregarding traffic laws can be not only embarassing, but expensive. I'd be $160 richer today had I not blown that stop sign. I wonder how many of God's red lights I've blown?

Ok, it was a strange analogy, I know. The things that go through my head, I tell ya...

the sounds of music

the reading rainbow

  • A Generous Orthodoxy
    Brian McLaren
  • Brave New World
    Aldous Huxley
  • Catcher In the Rye
    J.D. Salinger
  • Smoke & Mirrors
    Neil Gaiman

motion pictures

people i spy on

internet tourism

recent gibberish

ancient history