It's inventory time.
Time to take stock of my existence so far.

My life has always been about me. Sure, there've been times ( maybe only moments but moments nonetheless) where I've put aside my selfishness long enough to actually do something meaningful (or somewhat meaningful) for another human being -- yet for the most part I'm all about me, doing what needs to be done for my personal survival and, hopefully, success. Think about it: what could possibly be more important than myself?

And then God slaps stuff like this in front of me:
Quake kids sold to sex trade
October 24, 2005 SIX-YEAR-OLD Aisha loves the orange blouse and jeans given to her by the kind woman who rescued her from the chaos of the Kashmir earthquake. She snuggles up to the woman, trying to forget the devastation of her village home and the deaths of her parents 16 days ago.

What Aisha does not know is that the woman, Kausar, is a prostitute who has bought her from relatives for 50,000 rupees ($1500) and plans to put her to work in the sex trade as soon as she reaches puberty.


She will auction the girl's virginity when she reaches puberty and expects to get up to $4700 for that alone. "She could start work as soon as she has her first period," Kausar said.

If Aisha refuses to work as a prostitute, she will be sold to a pimp.

(full article)

I read that story last night and I felt nauseous. I felt empty. I felt shallow. I felt angry. I felt helpless, frustrated, mad that I'm so useless. I've become this self-centered, self-enclosed, self-righteous whiner who is so caught up in his own trivial 'challenges' that he can't see the truth: Life, real Life, is bigger and more important than his own.

After reading that I started to think about my own problems -- you know, being short rent money; having a 'rough' time with mid-term exams; not knowing what to wear in the morning; not knowing what to make for supper; wondering how I'm going to get to the movie store to return my movie before it's overdue. Hard stuff. Real 'challenging' stuff. Life-and-death stuff.

I wake up some mornings wondering what I'm alive, why I bother going through the motions and putting in any effort and trying to stay afloat when the whole ocean feels like it's meant for nothing more than to swallow me whole. And then I hear things like this. Kids. Little kids. Innocent, lonely, needy kids being so ripped off and hurt and abused in ways that I can't even fathom. Yet I feel like I have no right to say anything, because I am so self-centered all the time. As if I, of all people, have any right to be upset. After all, don't I contribute to the problem? Doesn't my lack of action, my lack of 'doing' anything make me just another audience - willing to watch and give the appropriate 'ooohs' and 'aaahs', but never getting off the couch to put my money where my mouth is?

"Ernest Hemingway once wrote, 'The world is a fine place and worth fighting for.' I agree with the second part."
(Morgan Freeman, Se7en)

I've been feeling really challenged lately to live my life much more 'purposefully' - as in, behaving like I'm not just a result of happenstance but a consciously and purposefully invented being. We've been reading the book "The Purpose Driven Life" at church the last few weeks. Honestly, I was really skeptical before picking it up - I'd avoided it this long basically because, well, it just seemed like another Christian fad, another excuse to make some money (see "The Prayer of Jabez"). And yet despite my mental objections, I started reading it and actually found myself both challenged and encouraged. Life is more than nothing. Life is more than me. Life is meaningful. Life is all about God.

After reading that story, about all the little kids who are being put through so much unimaginable crap, I feel like I'm starting to get it -- my life has nothing to do with me. It was never meant to. My life is a breath of air, a wind, a fog, a mist. It will be come and gone within moments. Wasting it away on myself is pointless. It's empty. I want to live my life with the passion of a man with a mission, a goal, a finish line to reach. And for me, that means I want to help people. I have no delusions of grandeur, no fantasies of saving the world, no dreams of being famous or becoming a household name - I don't want anything I do to ever be about me. I want my actions to affect people in such a way that when I'm dead all that I leave behind is Jesus. It may sound trite, it may sound cliche, it may even sound insincere - but I don't care. I just want to live my life for more than me. Because there is so much more than me.
Pure and lasting religion in the sight of God our Father means that we must care for orphans and widows in their troubles, and refuse to let the world corrupt us.
(James 1:27, NLT)

If you are at all interested in reading up about some of the stuff that goes on all over the world with slavery and human trafficking, here are a couple of sites to look at:

Free the Slaves
Anti-Slavery International

No one can solve every problem or help every person or fix every broken thing. But I think most of us tend to give up before we've even started. I don't want to live like that anymore. How can I go to God and ask Him to help me in my time of need when I won't go and help others in there's? The sign of a selfish heart, and therefore a sign of a heart very unlike Jesus', is one that won't see the needs of other people and step up to do what they can to help fill them.

I have a selfish heart. But I want to change.

I Wish...

...we could hibernate like animals do. Or at least had the option. It would be nice to sleep for a long, long time.

There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket -- safe, dark, motionless, airless -- it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.

I believe that the most lawless and inordinate loves are less contrary to God's will than a self-invited and self-protective lovelessness...We shall draw nearer to God, not by trying to avoid the sufferings inherent in all loves, but by accepting them and offering them to Him; throwing away all defensive armour. If our hearts need to be broken, and if He chooses this as a way in which they should break, so be it.

C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

I just saw this on Yahoo! News - FireFox has been downloaded 100 Million Times, even before their one-year anniversary. Pretty impressive.

Gotta say, I love my FireFox. Compared to Internet Explorer, well, there is no comparison. If you do decide to give it a try (or you already do), make sure to find a good theme - I have the 'Brushed' theme, and, I must tell you, I find it mucho wonderful-o.


Step 1. Turn computer On.
Step 2. Turn speakers up to "Loud".
Step 3. Click here.
Step 4. Do a little dance.

I got a new copy of my driver's license in the mail today, and included in the envelope was a form to register to be an organ donor. I already registered last year, but it reminded me both how easy it is and how important it is. It's quick to register and heck, if you're dead, why would you care? You aren't using it anymore. And besides, think of the people you could possibly be helping. Ever see the movie John Q? I rest my case.

If you're in B.C., click here.
In Ontario, click here.
In Alberta, click here.

And for those of you in other parts of Canada, you can check out GiveLife - there is also a map with links to specific Provincial programs. Anyone else - sorry, ya gots to go looking yourself (hey, that's why God invented Google).

Instead of doing my homework this afternoon, I was watching some old re-runs of CSI -- Season 3, to be exact. I started watching one episode, number 312, called "Got Murder?" and right away I remembered seeing it on TV. And I also remember it being one of the more disturbing ones. In the end, we find out that this teenage girl was in love with her dad (her mom had left some years ago and she sort of "took over" the job) and had been showing signs of being pregnant. She was telling them that her dad had done it. So they checked it out. And she turned out to be a virgin. They figured out that she had "Pseudocyesis" - False Pregnancy. Apparently, or so they said, the person would give off the signs of pregnancy without actually being pregnant. So, being the curious fellow I am, I looked it up. Turns out it's a real condition. Like I said, messed up.

Just thought I'd share...

So Sha had this link on her blog awhile ago. It makes me laugh everytime. And it may come in handy one of these days, you never know.

The Biblical Curse Generator
Lost for a smart remark to see off your enemies? Unable to deliver that killer insult? Put an end to unscriptural restraint with the amazing Biblical Curse Generator, which is pre-loaded with blistering smackdowns as delivered by Elijah, Jeremiah and other monumentally angry saints. Simply click the button below, and smite your foes with a custom-made curse straight out of the Old Testament!

Some satire for the easily amused, compliments of Lark News - The Best Source for Ridiculously Funny and Sometimes Sacreligious Fake Christian News (think The Onion).
Hip youth pastor now completely unintelligible

AUSTIN — After immersing himself in popular slang phrases, youth leader Dave Jackson has become completely unintelligible to members of his church, even the youth.
"We stopped understanding him about a month ago," says Tanya Gooden, 17, of his youth group. "It was a slow process. Now when he preaches we have to assume a lot of things by his tone, not his words."
Jackson, tracked down at his church office, told a reporter, "Fo shizzle, my nizzle, it's the big mack tizzle, you trackin'? The get-down was off the hook, bra. Big-time ace. Dey scened until the old folk rolled in and the crew got dot gone. Good Sunday, bra."
Jackson can no longer speak plain English even if he wishes to. At times he desperately tries to cross the chasm of incomprehension he has built. For senior pastor Rich Leonard, that's not good enough.
"He's about to shizzle himself right out of a job," Leonard says. •

Imagine that - "Vancouver is the world's most desirable place to live" (of the 127 cities considered in a study). Well, it is pretty darn nice. I can't argue with that. It was great to see that other Canadian cities were ranked so high also -- Toronto, Calgary and Montreal were all on the list. Viva la Canada!

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