Wednesday, December 29, 2004
I’ve been sick for over a week. I hate it. Now that I do not have to work this week, my body decides that this is a fantastic time to be sick. I guess that is what I get for working too much and not getting enough sleep. The week has been pretty uneventful, which is nice. I’ve spent a lot of time playing video games (which is something I rarely do) and watching movies. Fortunately, for Christmas I got Season 1 and 2 of one of the greatest TV shows ever, Sliders, and a collection of other movies Harry Potter 3, Blade I and II, Napoleon Dynamite (a present for me, from me). I’ve not gotten around to watching everything yet, but I am attempting to study for my comprehensive exam (or comps) that is in late January. It is scary to me that I do not graduate until May, but my comps are in January.
Christmas was good. Jenn and I spent it with our dog and cat here in Arkansas. We had a good time, although both of us were/are a little ill. It was nice and calm, which was good. Although we both definitely missed being in Colorado with our families.
I’ll write more later, but I am going to go tend to my cough.
Tuesday, December 21, 2004
On Thursday December 16th 2004, my Grandmother won her battle with Parkinson's disease and left this world for a better one. She had been sick for about five years, and had not really been aware of anything for about four of those years. This was for the better as she is now no longer suffering in a frail body while lying in a nursing home bed unaware of anything around her.
Unfortunately I am unable to head back to Colorado for the service (as I am also unable to go back for Christmas). Thankfully I was able to write the eulogy that will be read by my brother and one of my cousin's at the memorial service.
I am so happy my grandmother now gets to be with her husband, my grandfather, again after fourteen years of separation. She gets to see her brother who died in the 1940's. She gets to be in the presence of Jesus and no longer suffer. My family and I are so thankful for that.
Tuesday, December 14, 2004
There is something about the cold weather that makes me feel alive. I enjoy cold weather. I am not a huge fan of snow, but cold weather can be quite nice. Especially days like today that remind me of many Colorado winter days. Its cold and clear and the sun is bright. I love those kind of days.
Last weekend Jenn and I rented Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I absolutely loved the movie, so much so that I watched it twice in the same day. I am not sure why I loved it so much, but it was so unique, so vivid, so real...not your typically mushy love story, nor your typical romantic comedy.
Leadership...now I work in a field where "leadership" is a big buzzword. There are tons of conferences, books, meetings, programs etc... on the topic. In my life I have been involved in multiple "leadership" experiences, but only one or two actual "leadership trainings". For folks my age in my field that is pretty uncommon. Most have been to multiple "leadership conferences", where in "leadership training" programs in college, etc... My questions then to anyone who wants to answer are this: 1)what does leadership mean to you? 2)Are leaders born or made?
I want to hear what real people think. Not just people in my field. Not just what the books have to say, but what actual breathing average yet unique citizens of the world have to say.
Thursday, December 09, 2004
Darkness moves swiftly through the hallways of my mind. It is not that I am depressed; rather it is that I am tired. I hate that I cannot tell some people (with whom I work with or for) how I feel. I have to always to check myself when I say something that could “go against the grain”. I have to be mindful that I do not commit career suicide. What scares me the most is that the questions I want to ask are the worst that could be asked. I just want to know the “why” of things. Why is person X treated differently than person Y? Why group O gets invited and group P does not? If it were simply an issue of policy, I’d shrug it off, but when it is an issue about respect and an issue about people, that is when my hide gets chapped. I guess that is the reason “why” is the most frightening question of all.
Now more than ever in my life I value the statement “question authority” but now more than ever in my life do I feel so strapped that I cannot do just that.
However, I am thankful that I have my job. I am thankful of the things it provides me. I am thankful of the lessons I have learned where I am. I am thankful that I do not have to be here forever.
Tuesday, December 07, 2004
It is the end of the semester here at the ol' blog. This means that work projects are nearing deadlines and school is coming to an end with finals and papers. While I surrender my worldy desires and focus on school and work I leave you with a very interesting article about an issue I have discussed before on this blog. This article is from The Nation and is entitled Democrats Should Fight for a Moral Minimum Wage .
"In Florida, where Bush beat John Kerry by 381,000 votes, voters favored the minimum wage increase by 3.1 million votes (a lopsided 71.3 percent to 28.7 percent), despite the opposition of the state's business community and Governor Jeb Bush. In Nevada, Bush narrowly beat Kerry by 21,500 votes, but voters backed the wage boost by 293,328 votes (68.3 percent to 31.6 percent)."
Click the link above to read the whole article.
Monday, November 29, 2004
Jenn and I are back in Arkansas after our very quick trip to Colorado. Fortunately we did not get caught up in the storm that hit Colorado yesterday.
Thanksgiving was good. It was nice to be with my family, and it was nice to be back in Colorado, even for a brief moment.
It is raining right now. It makes the mood around this place seem even damper.
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
From the Northwest Arkansas Times, "Search and Rescue Buoyed by Volunteers": "'If you have a cell phone and you’re in a situation where you need help, call us. Don’t be embarrassed to call,' said Luther. On Saturday night, a team found two lost hikers and their dog at Lake Wedington who were overtaken by darkness while in the woods. They used their cell phone to call 911."
(I added the part in italics).
Jenn and I had a spiritual experience on Saturday. We were lost, but not afraid. But we were lost for a reason, and I firmly believe it was not just because we failed to take our usual flashlight, waterbottles, and daypack with us. As soon as we realized we were lost, we knew that their was a reason and that we were going to get back home safe and sound. While I do believe we are in control of our own lives, I also think that sometimes during our journey God forces us to stop and examine the situation. He does not force us to go a certain way, rather He throws up a roadblock and forces us to make a choice. I am very glad we encountered this particular roadblock.
Friday, November 19, 2004
Today has been a pretty awful day. It started out awful and it still is not doing to hot. When I got to work today (a little later than usual) I tried to use a quad shot mocha to lift me up. It had that effect for the first couple hours of the day, but as noon came around I was ready for my head to be lifted off my keyboard.
I should be working…I should be working on a project for one of my classes…I should honestly not be sitting here right now because I feel like absolute crap. I’d rather not get into my reasons for feeling this way, but I do.
I need a break from work. I’ve gotten to the point where I will go for 15-30 minutes at a time and just sit and stare blankly at the computer screen. I’ve been working 50-60 hours each week since I began this job. I like the job, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve been working too much and it is finally catching up to me.
I don’t want to complain about my life, that’s not the person I am.
Friday, November 12, 2004
See comments under Blahs for a little background info.
I am employed full-time and I am a full-time graduate student and I pay for my education. I have worked and lived off minimum wage (and slightly above minimum wage) jobs. I have struggled financially. Am I naïve and narrow minded? Well, I think I can be naïve on certain things, but I don’t think this is necessarily one of them.
First, my point in the post you commented about is creating policies on ones faith. If GW Bush is so faithful and he advocates laws based on the Bible, maybe some laws helping out the poor would be a good measure in creating a sort of Biblical consistency.
Second, I do know some teenagers working minimum wage jobs. I also know other people working minimum wage (or slightly over) who are raising kids, paying for college, or working with a college degree. I currently live in an area of the country that is experiencing more of an economic boom than other areas. However, my girlfriend is working in a low paying job, without any health benefits, and she has a college degree. I also know other folks who are working for the World’s Largest Corporation who have to work two jobs to stay a float. Yes, some of this could be due to poor financial management skills, but some of it is due to the lack of a living wage. I don’t know if you are aware of the idea of a living wage, so here are a few links about it.
Resources on the “living wage”:
From the Economic Policy Institute, Living Wage Issue Guide
From Responsible Wealth, Business Leaders and Investors for a Living Wage
I am pretty confident that if a living wage were instated (based upon the factors of each individual municipality) we would have more people working, more people staying at their jobs (because they are happy) and more efficiency in the work place. Part of the reason I left a job is because I was making too little to live off of, and I was working too much for the amount of money. Fortunately I had a little help from my parents to stay afloat, but I am lucky. I know many people who are not so lucky. If you happen to live in an area that has a tourist based economy, or generally has a very high cost of living (like California, NY, etc) you may understand this. I lived and worked in a town with a tourist based economy. The minimum wage jobs did not pay for rent. The minimum wage jobs (mind you, I knew people with Master’s degrees who had to work these jobs) did not pay for food. Most people had 2 jobs. These are people with kids, they are not just teenagers.
I think Joe made some great points in the comments and I don’t need to go over them. However, I will say that until the USA can become a place where everyone at least has an opportunity to get a better job or get an education we cannot be a place where true capitalism or even the bastard capitalism we have, can exist. If you think that everyone has the opportunity take a trip to the Mississippi Delta, or to Shiprock, New Mexico, or to downtown Baltimore and then tell me that all those people you see have the same opportunities as the kids growing up in suburbia. If they have the same opportunities to advance, then maybe, just maybe capitalism could work and be the best for all people.
Oh yeah, check out this information on Fair Trade. This is the way the USA should model its trading. If we cannot pay a livable wage to the citizens of our own country, at least maybe we can help those in other countries earn a living wage.
Resources on Fair Trade:
From the Fair Trade Resource Network, Fair Trade
Maybe I’ve been missing something about Christianity. I understand that the Old Testament came before the New Testament. I also understand that the Old Testament prophesized the coming of Christ, rather Christ fulfilled many Old Testament prophecies. However, my big concern is what we as Christians must believe as the most important. Do the actual words of Jesus Christ mean more or less to us than say the laws in Leviticus in the Old Testament? I would think that the actual words of Jesus would carry more weight since He is our savior. We are supposed to be following Him. That is not to say that what is in the Old Testament is not important or even necessary for us to follow, but shouldn’t we be putting the words and actions of Jesus Christ first? If we talk about being like Jesus, shouldn’t we pay attention to what Jesus actually said and did?
Constantly throughout the Book of Matthew in the Bible Jesus is shown as healing people. Jesus does not go to heal those who are wealthy; he heals all those in need. I would think a person who is striving to be like Jesus would work for all people, not the people who have money.
Jesus comments on Prayer during his Sermon on Mount as found in Matthew 6:
“5"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth; they have received their reward in full. 6But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. “
Now I am no theologian, but it seems to me that Jesus is saying that it is better to pray in private. It is better to speak your needs in private. It is also better to keep our prayers to the point, for God already knows what we need.
On a similar note in Matthew 6 Jesus says:
1"Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven… 3But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. “
It seems to me that our most sincere acts of faith should not be placed upon a pedestal for all to admire (or for us to brag about). Rather, we perform acts of faith with the knowledge that our reward is in Heaven. To me this would mean that one would be acting as a hypocrite to go around telling everyone how faithful they are.
In my last post I briefly touched on the economics of Jesus. I don’t think Jesus was a capitalist, and I am pretty sure He was not a communist, since neither of those two ideas existed at that time. However, in the Sermon on Mount Jesus does talk a lot about the poor, and helping the poor. He also heals people, all kinds of people. Maybe I missed it, but Jesus does not check to see if the people He heals have health insurance. He goes right ahead and takes care of them. All He asks for in return is that they know Him. I don’t think a hospital would treat someone without health insurance like Jesus did. Jesus also feeds thousands of people without worrying about the cost. He just does it. I do think if we in the USA are going to base our policies on faith, shouldn’t we be treating or healing all people regardless of what they have to give in return? I am not arguing for a specific point of view exactly, but what I am saying is that for the benefit and desire for consistency, our President GW Bush should use his same “faith” based thinking and offer health care to all, and be willing to feed others without asking for anything in return.
Here is a little ditty about Supply Side Jesus from Beliefnet, Supply Side Jesus
Tuesday, November 09, 2004
Finally after a week the post-election depression is slowly lifting. I am now trying to concentrate my energy towards work (when I am at work, not when I am away), to school and most importantly to my personal life and health because I have been neglecting both of them recently.
Although while walking through an unnamed wholesale store owned by the World's Largest Corporation Jenn and I kept noticing items about the "faith" of GW Bush. Once again I will not say whether or not he has devouted his life and heart to Jesus, but I will say that the only outward show of faith of the man is his constantly talking about faith. He does not show his faith. He does not work for the people, rather he works for big business. He does not fight for the poor and stricken. He fights for the people with money. He does not offer his assistance to those who need it, rather he offers it to Halliburton and the wealthy of the world. He jokes about not finding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq when at least 6 American Soldiers lost their lives today in Iraq where no weapons have been found. He argues for the sanctity of marriage when millions of people cannot afford health insurance, let alone the costs of a wedding. He argues for the sanctity of life (anti-abortion), when millions cannot afford to feed their children or themselves. He argues for decreasing taxes on the wealthy, when the minimum wage is far from livable.
He may have faith, but I sure don't see it. I know Jesus would not turn his back on these people. Jesus would be there in the streets feeding people both physically and spiritually. Jesus would be lobbying for churches to help the poor...not for churches to vote for him because he believes in the "sanctity of life" and "sanctity of marriage".
We may ask "what would Jesus do?" but we cannot ask that question witout figuring out "where did Jesus go?".
Thursday, November 04, 2004
Like the rest of the "godless liberals" out there I am slightly down after Tuesday. I've talked about it with Jenn and with my brother and my parents. But it still just does not feel right. The last time I was this down with an election was after my first real campaign volunteering experience. I was young (16) and idealistic. I believed a moderate democrat could become the first Democratic congressperson of my suburban congressional district. We lost, by a lot. At least that year we got the good news of a second term for a U.S. President I favored.
Anyway...this article from Alternet.org says it all The Unbearable Darkness of Being
and don't believe the hype about the youth vote being the same as 2000. We kicked butt this time. Check out Peter Levine's post about youth turnout: Youth turnout was huge
Life goes on...
Oh yeah, that whole "godless liberal" thing. Its a joke. Our wonderful "liberal media" and blog world insist that because morals and values were the big issue in this election that no "true" Christian could have voted for Kerry. I guess those "true" Christians know exactly what is written on my heart, eh?
Monday, November 01, 2004
Friday, October 29, 2004
Today I stumbled across a blog post titled “The Democratic Party Has Turned Into A Cult” from REVJAB. Some of the claims made by the author about the Democratic Party include:
- “An all-out selling of soul to ends-justify-the-means, operationally married to "ethics" only when and if it has some helpful persuasive PR effect.”
- “Blind, amoral devotion to a leader that completely disregards and/or excuses the sexual, financial, and ethical evils of the leader(s).”
After you read the above mentioned article, check out what Religious Tolerance.org says about cults. It’s a good explanation, and a very unbiased explanation.
I guess now I am a member of this Democratic Party Cult right? I’ve been involved in Democratic politics for a while, and I have many friends and family who are Democrats, and I just have never seen much of the “Cultish” ways of the Party. If you read what Religious Tolerance has to say, you will find out that typically a “cult” has a charismatic and authoritarian leader. For those of you who know the Democratic party, you are chuckling right now because rarely are the Democrats unified. I sometimes feel that they are more unified against George W. Bush than for John Kerry. And charismatic? I like Kerry, but he is not the most charismatic person in the world.
As for the two quotes from the REVJAB post I have mentioned above, I know there are some people in the Democratic Party that are all about selling out and using “ethics” to get something, but heck the Republicans have their fair share of this. George W’s good buddy Ken Lay at Enron sold out his employees. Former Speaker Newt “Contract with America” Gingrich sold out his first wife when she was sick with cancer, and sold out his second wife to get with a staffer. If I remember correctly the “Contract for America” was all about values right? The point I want to make here is that both Parties sell out and will continue to sell out. Both will use “ethics” to gain votes. Does this make either Party a cult? No.
This blind amoral devotion the author talks about is also laughable. I don’t have a blind amoral devotion to any politician or any other person for that matter. None of the Democrats I know of have it either. Although I do know a good number of Republicans who believe George W. Bush has no flaws, if that counts. So far I am not seeing a connection between the Democratic Party and cults.
I think what may be hard for the author to handle is that the Democrats do a better job at being tolerant. As far as I can tell, the Democratic Party has never declared themselves as the only righteous political party. Political parties are not meant to be Churches, they are not meant to be religions. Some parties may be more accepting of differences, others may not. I’d say that the Democrats accepting non-Christians into their ranks is very non-cultish. Cults are supposed to be authoritarian and oppressive, allowing people with different beliefs into the group and letting them keep their beliefs is definitely not oppressive and authoritarian.
Maybe I am blinded by my devotion to some politician. However, I cannot figure out who I am blindly devoted to. There is no candidate running who I like 100%. Heck, no candidate running that I like 80%, except for Cobb running for the Green Party, maybe.
Maybe I am selling out. I am not sure to whom I am selling out and they are not giving me anything in return.
If anyone really believes the Democratic Party is a cult, please let me know.
Thursday, October 28, 2004
I am one of the many, but I am very excited that the Bosox won the World Series! I happen to live in Cardinal Country, but I am glad to see the Sox win it.
And who knows, just maybe its a sign...seing how the team from Boston wins the series in Busch (read Bush) Stadium. Hehe...
Thursday, October 21, 2004
I know I’ve written frequently about finding a niche. I have always struggled with finding a niche. It has never been an immediate thing. I do not think it is because I difficult to get a long with, nor do I think it has anything to do with me having too high of expectations for other people. But then I do not know if has to do with me being somewhat shy by nature. Ever since moving to Arkansas, it has been difficult for me to connect with some people. Maybe that is typical, I am not sure.
In the office I work in now, I also feel somewhat disconnected. I know I’ve only been here for a couple months, but I just feel “out there” with my office. I cannot identify the reason for this. Although I wish I could. Maybe it is my work ethic. I know I’ve been cursed with a strong work ethic, but surely that is not the case. Maybe I am reading too much into the people in my office, but I cannot know for sure. But seriously, finding a niche, or just feeling connected is not an easy task. Thankfully I do have people here with whom I feel very connected.
Although the running joke with the folks I do connect with here is that the reason we all feel so out there is that we have more of a “Western” or “hippie” attitude towards life. I think there is some truth to that. My experiences in the Mid-South and with Southerners is that many are not nearly as open as the people in the “west” (not necessarily West Coast, but from the Western boarder of Texas and up to the Pacific Ocean).
Monday, October 18, 2004
Faith, Hope and War
Right now I am sitting at my computer slowly bobbing my head back and forth barely awake enough to compose a few meaningful sentences. However, after each miniscule snooze I am awoken to a few good thoughts…or at least a few relatively coherent thoughts. In this almost dream like state, my thoughts are only concerned with my neglected homework, the fate of the Boston Red Sox and the many titles of books I’ve seen the past two days during my trips to various bookstores.
I could write about my homework, but it would make more sense to do it. I could write about the Red Sox, but then I’d be using too many curse words in reference to the NY Yankees. But heck, at least the Sox won tonight. Now when it comes to the book titles, a few of them getting me very heated. Those books are the ones that emphasis the faith of President GW Bush.
I cannot and will not ever judge someone else’s faith because I can never know what lies in someone’s heart. Along with this, I really do not believe it is anyone else’s job to judge the faith of others. However, I think when a candidate for public office uses their faith in order to get people to vote for them, I think that their actions (not their faith) are fair game for discussion. President Bush in particular even talked about his acting on faith during the last debate. First, I’ve said it once and I’ve said it a thousand times on this blog, Jesus told us that the most important commandments are to love God with all our hearts, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Now, it is my understanding that as a Christian one is supposed to follow Christ first by following His actions and His words. Second, it is also my understanding that love is unconditional and is not to be applied on the basis of another’s ethnicity, religion, sex, etc. Third, when Jesus talks about neighbors He did not just mean Mr. and Mrs. Schmelter next door, He actually meant our neighbors in the human race. Now assuming these three beliefs are correct, I can see that GW Bush has not followed these commandments as President (or Governor) for that matter. As Governor of Texas he put to death dozens of criminals. If you love the criminal as yourself, do you put them to death? As President GW Bush (or his campaign, which he would be in charge of) has attacked both Sen. John McCain and for Sen. Max Cleland (both wounded in
John Kerry is not a savior. But he has not told the American people that he loves his neighbors as himself, when he obviously has not done so.
Thursday, October 07, 2004
Okay, well not really.
First, the Arkansan word of the day is Wal-Martians. Wal-Martians are those individuals who are affiliated with the corporate side of the largest retail corporation in the world. Because the University has such good relations with said company and the world headquarters is only 20 or so miles north of here, we have the pleasure of hosting Wal-Martians many times each year. When I heard that word today I chuckled and realized how fitting it was.
Second, last night Jenn and I finally watched Saved! the "controversial" movie about a Christian High School and the drama therein. The movie was very funny, very satirical and touched on a few good points. It illustrated some of the problems that many people see with "fundamentalist Christians". Mandy Moore plays a young woman who is more obsessed with the role of a Christian than the actual teachings of Christ. At one point in the movie when Jena Malone's character questions Moore's character about love, Moore's character throws a Bible at Malone and yells "I am filled with Christ Love". That summed up a lot for me in that one scene.
I recommend this movie, but be aware that it is very satirical and there are no punches pulled when it comes to discussing "fundamentalist Christianity" or at least a perception thereof.
Monday, October 04, 2004
From Wired News: SpaceShipeOne wins X Prize.
I've always hoped that in my lifetime there would be some sort of Space Travel. I don't think we will have anything like the movies, but this is one step in that direction.
I hope the other people that were also attempting to win the X Prize keep on trying.
Friday, October 01, 2004
I am going to admit it, here and now. I am a Flip Flopper. That is right. I have changed my mind before...I hate to admit it. I really do. There have been so many times in my life that I have made a wrong choice and after some time I realized it was the wrong thing to do or the wrong way to go. *Gasp* at these times I flip-flopped, I attempted to correct my mistake.
The Republicans have done an amazing job at painting John Kerry as a flip-flopper when it comes to Iraq. Well, in many ways he is. He was presented with information from the current administration. At that time he believed the information to be correct. Based on that information he made a choice. A choice to support the military efforts against Iraq. Later, after he made that choice he found out that the information upon which he based his choice was incorrect. At that point he decided to change his belief and work against what he previously had supported. Is this wrong? That is for you to decide. However, I'd much rather have a President who recognizes mistakes and changes his/her ways because of those mistakes. It would also be wonderful to have a President who will admit that he/she made mistakes. I don't know if we will get one of those for a while, but I'd rather have that then a President who covers up his mistakes and asks his opponents to not discuss them.
After watching the debate last night, if I had not known better and was to believe everything President Bush said, I would have to believe that Saddam himself flew each of the four hijacked planes on 9/11/2001. I would have to believe that it was Saddam who was the mastermind. Heck, I don't think I heard Bush mention Bin Laden except when he talked about his "ties" to Iraq.
Wednesday, September 29, 2004
Monday, September 27, 2004
I am sure it has been very evident to any and all who happen to stop by here, but I have been quite busy with the new job and class that I have not been posting as regularly as I have in the past. I have had the urge to write so many times, but lack the time to write for any period of time. Well then…
“But I think what we have to keep shooting for and what is achievable is to give everybody the opportunity to vote in the upcoming election, to make the election fully credible, and something that will stand the test of the international community's examination." From Yahoo! News
You may think the above quote is an election official talking about making sure what happened in Florida in 2000 with thousands of people not being able to vote, will not happen again. Quite the contrary, the quote is from Secretary of State Colin Powell talking about the upcoming Iraqi elections. Thank goodness the right to vote for Iraqi’s will be secure. There will be many American men and women making sure all Iraqi’s who want to vote will be able to vote.
I hope the
I am not the type of person to say "America First”, but I do not think we should parade around our “democracy” when we do not have it in our own country.
Enough of that…
Friday, September 17, 2004
Last night Jenn and I along with a couple friends went and saw Garden State last night. It is an excellent movie and I highly recommend it. It is one of those movies that encourages you to examine who you are. I think everyone needs to take time and do that every so often. I don't have life changing moments based upon movies, but movies can make me think, can inspire me, and can motivate me. Without giving away any of the movie, I liked that the movie emphasized the importance and brevity of this life. I also felt that this movie is one of the few I've ever seen that take a more realistic look at the generation in which I am a member. The main character is 26 years old and is going through some of the same emotions and feelings that those of us around that age are going through. Enough of the movie. Although, so far this year it ranks right up there with Napoleon Dynamite and Big Fish for best movies of the year.
How is it that George W and his buddies want a democracy in Iraq, a democracy not influenced by religion, in Iraq and still want more religion and religious influence in our government? Does that sound a odd to anyone else? Seriously, we cannot tell a country which has a long history of Islam that they can no longer incorporate their religion into their government, when we are trying to more incorporate Christianity, which was not the "rock" our country was founded on, into our government?
Despite your beliefs on whether or not the US was founded as Christian nation is not the point here, the point is that we are pushing a country to do something that we ourselves are not willing to do. I don't like that.
I am having problems with the pictures on the site once again. I apologize for the confusion and the utter lack of time I have to be doing this. :-)
Tuesday, September 07, 2004
Wade Hodges has made some very interesting arguments about religion (specifically the Christian religion) and Politics. I think we all need to give his post a read. Check it out at: http://www.wadehodges.com/2004/09/political-ramblings.html .
I am glad more people are talking about the hijacking of Christianity. God is not a Republican, Democrat, Green, Libertarian, etc... None of these parties has the full support of God and none is only doing God's will. We are humans, we are flawed, our organizations are flawed, and our agendas are flawed.
Friday, September 03, 2004
The week is finally winding down. This week, the third week at my new job. The last three weeks have been a trying time, but they have also been very rewarding. I am now feeling as if I am doing something that will help me in my career. It is about time. However, questions have arisen in my mind and my heart about where my life is going, and what I am doing.
I like my field. I like working where I am and I really like working with students. However, I still feel disconnected to where I am. I have been at the University of Arkansas for over a year, but I still feel new. It was not this way in college, at least after the 1 year mark. I feel as if I had my niche here at one time, but I lost it again.
Enjoy the long weekend (for those in the US). Watch some college football and celebrate the purpose for holiday on Monday. And please, do not believe the hype. The hype of the media, they hype of our President and the hype that your tv and radio is telling you to go out and purchase.
For those in Canada. Enjoy the fact that you are indeed Canadian and you share the same nationality as the Barenaked Ladies, Rick Moranis, and the characters from the Red Green show. And lets all hope the NHL will play this season.
And for those elsewhere, thanks for stopping by. Enjoy the weekend and enjoy life.
Tuesday, August 24, 2004
The Christian Science Monitor has a great article called "The New Activism" which talks about the modern political activism on college and university campuses in the United States. I think this article hits on a couple good points. First, "While rallies may abound, don't be deceived, say some campus denizens. 'Activism' today doesn't even remotely resemble the white-hot political passion that gripped college campuses in the 1960s and '70s." While I was not alive during the 60's or the 70's from what I've seen, read, and discussed with those who where alive and active during that time it is clear to me that the ideals meant a little more back in the 60's and 70's. I am sure there are still some of the same types of students, but from what I have experienced so many students would rather go to class, go watch tv, or go to a football game than participate in any "activism", even in the most loose sense of the word.
A second good point is "But there are also students today for whom activism means something far removed from either the debate between left and right or the war in Iraq.
Dihan Thilakaratne, a senior and chemistry major at North Texas University, says he joined a student rally when the cause was one with relevance to his life: a protest against a 7 percent hike in tuition fees." I think that some of the reasons people are more likely to protest something that directly impacts them are more selfish (not necessarily wrong). Many of the parents of the average college students are the members of the "me" generation. These are not the parents who protested against Vietnam and fought for civil rights. These parents are the people who were teenagers when MTV debuted. There is a very different attitude among these people. Grandparents of these students are not the people who lived through the "Great Depression" rather, the Grandparents where the ones who lived during the termoil. It seems as if the youth of today are becoming so far removed from the past. I think it is inevitable, but I also think that the American culture of today has a lot to do with it. The mainstream media talks more about Jessica Simpson than they do about the outsourcing of American jobs. The mainstream media makes a bigger deal of Oprah having jury duty than they do of the ineffectual capital punishment system. We are not being reminded of our history. We are being taken over by the fad of the moment.
Activism and caring (unless something is happening directly to you) are not really "in style".
Sunday, August 22, 2004
This last week has been a very crazy week. Starting this new job has been more hectic than I ever believed it was going to be. However, it has been enjoyable, and I think I will be happier in this job than I was in my past positions.
One of the highlights of the past eight days has been going to see a movie that both Jenn and I have been waiting for ever since we saw the previews. I have heard many mixed reviews, but I believe that Napoleon Dynamite is one of the funniest movies ever made. It made me laugh (so hard I cried). I am amazed that a film can be so adult funny and yet have no sexual innuendos or crude language. I recommend this movie whole heartedly, but do not go in with any expectations, it makes it more enjoyable.
That is all for now.
Friday, August 13, 2004
No, this is not a commercial for that new crappy soft drink; rather it is a statement that means a little more to me right now. Despite the fact that as of late I have been questioning my faith, re-questioning and questioning again, I am unable to write down exactly what I am feeling. Because of that, I choose to write what flows the easiest (no it’s not BS that flows the best, although that is close) and that is politics.
1) I thought that in this Presidential election we are supposed to just accept the military experience of both candidates. However, I guess the efforts of the Bush crew to change the subject of military careers (or lack thereof) has failed, or at least has succeed insofar as Bush’s record will no longer be spoken of. Now what we have is a discussion of Kerry’s service. Donald over at Back of the Envelope summarizes some of these attacks. What I find funny is that we are attacking a man who actually served. Despite what he did or did not do in Vietnam, we actually do know that he was there. It is amazing really. If we are going to leave the military backgrounds out of this fight, then please, by all means, but if those opposing Kerry insist on it, then Bush should be fair game in this department.
2) Alan Keyes running for Senate in Illinois….wow! I was not in favor of Hillary Clinton running in New York, and I am not in favor of Keyes running in Illinois. The whole point of representative government is to elect people who represent your interests. I would imagine Keyes is not up on the issues of concern to most of the residents in Illinois (similar to Clinton NY). This makes me think if we are going to continually have people running in states other than their own, we should think of ridding our country of the system we have now, just a thought. One of the more refreshing things I’ve found in Arkansas is that most, if not all, statewide and congressional offices are held by Arkansans. This is great because those people know the state. That is not to say people from other places do not know what is going on, but people moving into a state just to run seems a little ridiculous to me.
I am sure those who disagree would label me one of those silly liberals. Yes, I can be silly, but my liberalism is closer to the classical sense and my pragmatic thoughts have me more progressive than anything else.
Thursday, August 12, 2004
On Monday I begin my first day as a full-time Student Affairs professional. That is right, I got a full-time job. No more of this Graduate Assistant mumbo jumbo. I will have more responsibility, less free time (as if I had an extreme amount as is) and be making a little more money. Most important, I will be taking that next step in my career and my life.
...another political post to soon follow...
Thursday, August 05, 2004
It all starts last night when Jenn asks me about the spelling of Ketchup or Catsup at our local grocery store Harp's. Now today it is all about W Ketchup, which is billed as "America's Ketchup". Oddly, the website of W Ketchup asks "You don't support the Democrats. Why should your ketchup? I found this all slightly perplexing so I decided to get the real story from the "un American ketchup" which would be Heinz . According to the Heinz page their ketchup is made in America and no actual Heinz family members actually work for the company. The company press release states: “In light of misleading reports, H.J. Heinz Company (NYSE:HNZ) reiterated today that neither Teresa Heinz Kerry, Senator John Kerry nor any of the Heinz trusts or endowments, either individually or collectively, holds a significant percentage of H.J. Heinz Company shares. Heinz also attests that Heinz® Tomato Ketchup sold in the United States is all-American - made at U.S. facilities in Fremont, Ohio; Muscatine, Iowa; and Stockton, California.”
-- From http://www.heinz.com/jsp/nonpartisan.jsp
Now that I am relieved to hear that no part of the $1.19 I spend on ketchup goes to the Democrats I can go to Wal-Mart and get as much Ketchup as I like. Wait a second! If I were to reverse W Ketchup’s “You don’t support Democrats” statement and ask my self “You don’t support Republicans, why should your _____?” lets see what I get.
First, when I ask that question in regards to where I do some of my shopping I find that S. Robson Walton , Chairman of the Board of Directors of Wal-Mart donated money to George W. Bush. Hmm...lets try another one.
Second, when I ask that question in regards to where I bank, Arvest. What do I find? The same situation! Both John and Jim Walton of Arvest donated money to George W. Bush.
Third, I look at my cell phone company Alltel I think I am in the clear until I see that Alltel CEO Scott Ford also donated money to George W. Bush. Man I am batting zero here.
Finally, if anything is sacred it is beer right? Well I am a native Coloradoan so there is one beer that is above the rest, Coors. Well, turns out Peter Coors the Chairman of Coors and a U.S. Senate Candidate gave money to George W. Bush too. Jeez! Not even my beer is sacred!
It looks as if the places where I am spending a lot of my hard earned money have individuals at the top who give money to the people I don't support. I know its only a fraction of my money that goes towards these guys huge salaries, but still, it was my money at one time. Anyway...at least I'll always have my ice cream money going towards something I support.
Basically, I don’t understand the logic of W Ketchup. If there where, in fact, a portion of the money from Heinz Ketchup sales going to the Democrats, it would never outweigh the money coming from people in charge of companies like Coors, Wal-Mart and Alltel that goes to the Republicans. But more importantly, What's the big deal anyway??
BTW...all donations information is from www.FundRace.org
Wednesday, August 04, 2004
Here I sit at my desk on the verge of sleep. I’ve been awake for almost 3 hours, and I have been trying to be productive for the last 1.5 hours. That is not happening right now. The cup of coffee next to the keyboard seems as if it contains a sleep inducing chemical, not my beloved caffeine. The speakers on the computer are full of good energizing morning music from a radio station 1000 miles away near my last home. Still, my mind laughs in contempt, as its only wish now is to find a pillow. Oh, I will wake up. Maybe not in the next hour, but it will happen, and then, I promise, I will be incredibly productive. Until then…
But on a more serious note, I have applied for a full-time position at the University. I had my interview on Monday and now I wait to hear if I got the job. If I do get, I will have to work more, delay graduating with my Master’s (not a big deal because I will be working), but I will also get paid more and have full medical, dental and vision benefits again! The job may keep me in Arkansas for a little while longer, but I think Jenn and I can make it, it’s really not that bad. That is why I am a little anxious. I want to know. I feel like a kid a couple days before Christmas who wants to know what that big box under the tree contains. Is it a wonderful new toy, or is it full of new socks?
Tuesday, July 27, 2004
Why do we fear being alone?
I am not talking about being alone forever, rather I am speaking of being alone for a short period of time without any interaction with other members of the human race. Rarely do I see a person who is walking by themselves who is not talking on a cell phone. At the university I watch as students leave class, pick up their phone and talk while they are walking to their car. I do not try to listen to some of these conversations, but sometimes I cannot help it. Typically these people are talking to their roommates, their parents or their significant others. Usually they are on their way to see these people, and usually their conversation is about what they are currently doing (which is walking to their car or the bus after class). I am sure this is not the case for everyone, but I fear this is the case for too many people.
We seem to demand activity at all times in our lives. We demand high speed internet, we demand thirty second news sound bites, we cannot wait ten minutes for our food at a restaurant, we cannot sit through three minutes of commercials during our favorite television program, we cannot listen to a song longer than three minutes without getting bored, we cannot wait 2-3 business days for our online auction purchases to arrive at our front door…However, we do not demand even thirty minutes a day where each one of us can sit and think and be quiet and be *gulp* alone.
I sometimes wonder what this world (or at least our western culture) would be like if each one of us took a few minutes to be alone and to reflect, rest, pray or meditate. Maybe instead of taking out your road rage on the construction workers, who are “delaying” your drive home by halting traffic, take those few minutes to reflect. Instead of turning on the TV as soon as you get home, kick off your shoes and enjoy the quiet. Maybe all we need is a little time to ourselves. Then again, that just sounds too easy…
Wednesday, July 21, 2004
For those who care, and those who do not, I am currently in the process of moving to a new place of residence. Once my computer gets set up again and what not I will have a couple new and improved postings. (Er...improved? maybe not. Probably just more political rants because that is what has seemed to be stirring inside of me recently).
"A scientist had a bird in his hand. He wanted to find out in what part of the bird's body its life was and what the life itself was. So he began dissecting the bird. The result was that the very life of which he was in search mysteriously vanished. Those who try to understand the inner life merely intellectually will meet with a similar failure. The life they are looking for will only vanish." - Sundar Singh
Monday, July 12, 2004
Just in case you are wondering…
1) From USA Today 6/1/04 : “President Bush is using Air Force One for re-election travel more heavily than any predecessor, wringing maximum political mileage from a perk of office paid for by taxpayers.”
Hmmm…and who was up in arms for Clinton using Air Force One?
2) From Yahoo! News : Ron Reagan to Address Democrat Delegates
3) Does anyone else find it oddly frightening that there are talks about postponing the November 2nd election? Terrorism or not, the United States of America is supposed to be the model of free and clear elections right? We’ve never had to delay the Presidential election for war…I just find this a scary thought….
Tuesday, July 06, 2004
Rarely do I enjoy a weekend where I do not get online for one reason or another, this was one such weekend. Therefore, I decided to post my Independence Day post a couple days late.
To clarify for my fellow Americans, the holiday is not called "Fourth of July", that is the actual date, the official name is "Independence Day". Sometimes I think we forget the meaning of holidays and despite what others like The GW Bush Blog have to say, Independence Day is actually commemorating the day that the American colonies declared independence from Great Britain. That is not to say that we should not reflect on the sacrifices made by those fighting for our freedom, which should be a daily activity. However, what this holiday should remind Americans of is the fiercely unique and autonomous spirit of the group of individuals that joined together to rid our country of an authoritarian presence almost 230 years ago.
Historically we are not a people who like to be spoon feed. We are not a people who like to watch things happen, but not participate. We are not a people who ignore the rights of our fellow citizens. And we are not a people who leave others who are in need of assistance. We are a people, who have strong ideas, morals, and beliefs, but we are not a people who are afraid to stand up for those same ideas, morals and beliefs, nor are we afraid to make compromise with each other because of our respect for the rights of others.
We need to get off our butts, turn off those TV's, walk out of those high-priced department stores and get involved in our communities and the political process. Our government was not setup so we could all just sit on our thumbs and watch the world go by. On this and every Independence Day please reflect on why our founders acted the way that the acted some 230 years ago.
The Declaration of Indpendence
The U.S. Constitution
Tuesday, June 29, 2004
1 Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down his disciples came to him. 2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: 3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 5 "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. 6 "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. 7 "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. 8 "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 9 "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. 10 "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 "Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Matthew Chapter 5 (Revised Standard Version)
I cannot seem to write any words at this time. I am praying for and about a lot of things and a lot of poeple right now. I thought I'd leave a post with some words of Jesus that sometimes are all to forgoten.
Saturday, June 26, 2004
This is pretty interesting, from Yahoo! News: 'Fahrenheit 9/11' Tops $8M in First Day
Last night Jenn and I went to see Fahrenheit 9/11 at the only theater in NW Arkansas that was showing the film. To our suprise the movie was sold out for the first show we attempted to go to. Later, we learned that all 4 shows at the theater sold out at least 2 hours before each show. Thankfully, we did get tickets to a showing.
I've mentioned it before, I am not a huge Michael Moore fan. I had some issues particularly with his movie Bowling for Columbine and with some of this actions outside of movies. However, I believe that he (as do all Americans) have the right to free speech...but on to the movie...
This movie was very powerful. I do not believe everything the movie claims, but I also do not discount it. The movie questions the Bush family and bin Laden family relationship. It also questions the reasons for attacking Iraq as opposed to going after Al Qaeda with full force. The movie is also very emotional as Moore interviews soldiers in Iraq as well as families of soldiers.
There are many places where Moore lets people speak for themselves. Moore shows us the clips of Bush and administration that the news will not. (Have you ever wondered what someone says after or before a soundbite?) Moore also follows around two Marine Corps recruiters on their trip around Moore's home town of Flint, MI. I think the movie was put together better than Bowling for Columbine and I think it will have more of an impact too.
I would recommend seeing this film. I do not think anyone must believe everything that is said, but I would suggest those who are "upset" about the movie to go see it before they make judgement.
Monday, June 21, 2004
I am not the biggest Michael Moore fan (as I have mentioned before), however, I do not think his film Fahrenheit 9/11(nor any film) should be censored because of the political beliefs it exposes. I believe theater owners can and should choose which films they show, but it should be obvious that this film (and others of various political beliefs) will make money for the theater if shown.
Do I believe this film is all true? No. Nothing created by humans can be absolutely true. Do I believe in all the beliefs this film exposes? I've not seen it yet, so I don't know. Do I think people have the right to political speech in the United States? Yes, to think otherwise is against the U.S. Constitution and is unPatriotic.
Sunday, June 20, 2004
Tuesday, June 15, 2004
Sometimes we get so trapped in our own material concerns that we forget that there is another world out there. I work and study at a university. Typically I do not have a whole lot of interaction with folks who are not educated (have at least a HS diploma) and/or who are poor. But in reality there are thousands upon thousands of people whom I never run across simply because I get so into the "university life". Sometimes I hate the fact that I interact with the minority of the population...
I am currently in a time of great transition. I hope and pray for only the best...
Friday, June 11, 2004
Monday, June 07, 2004
The influential American author and the always witty Kurt Vonnegut writes "But I know now that there is not a chance in hell of America’s becoming humane and reasonable. Because power corrupts us, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Human beings are chimpanzees who get crazy drunk on power. By saying that our leaders are power-drunk chimpanzees, am I in danger of wrecking the morale of our soldiers fighting and dying in the Middle East? Their morale, like so many bodies, is already shot to pieces. They are being treated, as I never was, like toys a rich kid got for Christmas."
"Cold Turkey" from In These Times. Check out the whole piece, Vonnegut has some very interesting words of wisdom.
By now the insane amount of media coverage should have seeped through to even the least aware of America regarding the death of former President Ronald Reagan. I will admit, I am not nor have ever been a Reagan fan. However, I do respect the man for the impact he has made on the United States and the world. However, I do question why many in the media and elsewhere are talking about how this is such a sad time for America. My prayers are with his family and friends as they mourn the loss of a loved one, but I do not think it sad that a man who lived a rich and full life and has been suffering for at least 10 years with a horrible disease is finally at peace and now in a much better place. This is not something to be sad about at all. His accomplishments should be celebrated (as should those of anyone who has had such a life). I have seen my grandmother go through a similar struggle with Parkinson’s disease. I will be very sad when she passes, but I will also be so happy that she is no longer suffering and that she is with my grandfather again.
Thursday, June 03, 2004
Living only minutes away from the headquarters of the World’s Largest Corporation (WLC) can have its perks (the economy here is quite good when compared with the rest of the country). But, when the place where you work and go to school is overrun by (or willingly given to) the shareholders of said WLC it gets a little crazy. With vendors giving away things like MP3 players XBOXs and shareholders getting to experience a big name musical act performing just for them it seems as if my university has transformed into WLCU (which could already said, but I disagree with). Now I am not the biggest fan of the WLC (not by a long shot), but they are an example of American consumerism at its finest. Although not the best role model for workers rights, the WLC does participate in a good deal of philanthropy, which is more than I can say for the World’s 3rd Largest Brewer of Beer which happens to reside in my home state of Colorado (the current man in charge is currently running for U.S. Senate, which is laughable. He says he is an average Coloradoan. What? No average Coloradoan I know had their family's multi-million dollar corporation handed to them on a silver platter). But enough on that…
Tuesday, May 25, 2004
Last week I celebrated my 24th birthday. It was a good day. I was able to spend the day with Jenn and many of my new friends here in Arkansas. It was different, as every birthday has been. After 24 years I am still curious, for which I thank God. After 24 years I am able to feel like a kid (although not as often as I like). However, at 24 I sometimes feel older than I am. I let things get to me that a person who is 24 should not let get to them. However, I am not ashamed of my 24 years. I regret very little in my 24 years. Yet, I have lived too little in my 24 years. I vow to change that.
At 24 I think of Switchfoot’s song “24”. I do not normally post lyrics, but these have always struck me:
and 24 tries.
24 finds me in 24th place
with 24 dropouts at the end of the day.
Life is not what I thought it was-24 hours ago,
Still I'm singing spirit take me up in arms with you.
And I'm not who I thought I was 24 hours ago,
Still I'm singing spirit take me up in arms with you…”
I am also reminded of the sermon from Pastor Bob at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church late last month. His questions still resonate with me, and I am taking them to heart:
”When was the last time that you stopped your busy life and took some time to let God speak to you. To fill a moment of yours with peace and serenity, wonder and meaning. What are the significant moments in your life as you look back. The remembrances that you may have piled up like stones to remind you of the special time that God intersected your life, when you felt God close to you, when your hopes were renewed, when your strength was renewed, when life was special, fresh and precious?”
I look forward to what God has in store for me in the upcoming years. I am excited, but I will not sit idle and expect things to come to me. I’ve spent enough time sitting.
Tuesday, May 18, 2004
“God is love, and the ability to love is inborn in every living creature, most especially in human beings. It is only right therefore that the Lover who has given us life and love itself should also receive love from us. God’s love is creative and selfless, giving itself for the joy and benefit of creation. If we do not love God with all our heart and soul and mind and strength and if we do not love others freely and selflessly, then the love within us loses its diving character and turns to selfishness. Love then becomes a curse. Ironically, those who are selfish end up destroying themselves.”
- Sundar Singh
Recently I have contemplated, prayed about, and meditated on the greatest commandments that Jesus gives us in Mark 12:28-31. Whatever seems to be going on in my life or in this world I always go back to this verse. I am not a religious scholar by any means, nor have I been a follower of Christ for a very long time, but I seem to believe that this is one of the most important pieces of wisdom and direction that Jesus gives us. He commands us to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” and to “Love your neighbor as yourself”. But what exactly does this mean? If we are to love the Lord than love is a wonderful thing but, it is not something I think we can ever fully comprehend because the love the Lord gives us is perfect, however, because the Lord wants us to love him with all our hearts and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves, than we must show our neighbors all the compassion and caring that we can fathom. True, we could never equal the love that God has for us, but I think he wants us to try.
I like what Sundar Singh has to say because he talks about how if we do not love freely and selflessly our “love” will turn into selfishness. I know I am guilty of that. I think we all are. I know it is so hard to remember that no one is perfect and that we may not get along or agree with everyone we meet (what a horrible place it would be if we did agree with everyone we met, we would have no free will). However, despite our differences we cannot forget about this wonderful gift and hefty commandment of love that God instructs us about. I do not see this as one of those things we can shove aside or remember later. It seems to me that these commandments of love should be central to our every day lives, central to our worship, central to our work and relationships. I think the words from the Bible sum it up best that “there is no commandment greater than these”.
Friday, May 14, 2004
Where I go in life from this point on will be an adventure. Here it is almost 1:30 in the morning. Last week I completed my first school year of graduate school. As cliche as it is, I must say it went more quickly than I thought it would. I have made a few new friends, have had a few really great (and not so great) experiences, I have begun my career, I have been away from my family in times of hardship (not the first time), I have been away from Jenn and I have had an incredible amount of time to think. I cannot change the past, and this is why I do not regret my decision to go to graduate school and to go 1000 miles away from the people and place I have known for the last five years.
It was a big step, probably the biggest in my life up to this point. There will be bigger, but I cannot imagine or predict the future, that is only known by God. I am very optimistic about the future. I am very hopeful about the future. However, I am scared of the future. I do not know what hurdles lie ahead. I must keep the faith and keep on going. Stopping or trying to turn around is much worse than facing what is ahead of me, I am sure about that.
Tuesday, May 11, 2004
My big brother Joe turns 26 today! Just yesterday it seems like he was 16 and driving a kick arse 1988 Ford Tempo! I am sure he is glad those days are over. I know I am and I know how glad and proud I am to have a brother like Joe. He can be a pill sometimes, but heck, can't we all.
Sunday, May 09, 2004
So as you may have noticed I am having some issues with my pictures showing up on this blog. I am not really sure why, but I have been trying to figure that out... I am also having trouble with Blogger in general, which sucks...Please ignore the obnoxious "image hosted by Angelfire" nonsense for the time being. I am working on it, thank you :-).
Thursday, May 06, 2004
You cannot tell me that the media is liberal...especially after this from Yahoo! News:
Miramax Won't Distribute New Moore Film .
I still have yet to hear an actual decent reason why this is happening.
I am not the biggest Michael Moore fan out there, far from it. But what is America coming to when this movie cannot be released. What is so bad about this movie? Don't we have movies with sex, drugs and violence galore on the screens? I've not seen the movie of course, but I don't think that anything in this documentary could be as bad as regular Hollywood movies...seriously...what is going on with our Bill of Rights?
Friday, April 30, 2004
Saturday, April 24, 2004
A couple weeks ago I had a bird that was nesting in my dryer vent. How odd is that right? Well it was pretty annoying being woken up at 6am by a bird that I thought was flying around my house. No harm was done, the bird had not laid eggs yet. So all was good.
Also...probably not always a good idea if you live in Arkansas to tell your coworkers that a) you have been to one of the "shady" bars in town more than once. b) that you actually like said shady bar. c) the name of the "21 and up" section of said shady bar and d) that sad shady bar is actually a "dance" club.
So I come back from a an errand the other day and I see that my office door is decorated with jungle like things as the drinking area of said shady club is called the "Safari Lounge".
Tuesday, April 20, 2004
Five years is a long time. A lot can happen in five years. Whole lives can be lived in five years. Millions of lives can be changed in five years.
Five years ago I was a freshman in college. Five years ago I watched a tv in horror what unfolded only miles from my parents house and down the road from the high school I had graduated from. Five years ago my neighbors at college were from Littleton, and one a Columbine graduate. Five years ago my roommates girlfriend was a student at Columbine. Five years ago my mom, a social worker for the school district met my roommates girlfriend in the hospital after she was shot.
From the Rocky Mountain News
From the Denver Post
Five years later life goes on for those who survived, but those lives have not gone unchanged. I pray for those who survived and for the families of those who did not.
These names will remain in our hearts forever:
Cassie Bernall, Steven Curnow, Corey DePooter, Kelly Fleming, Matthew Ketcher, Daniel Mauser, Daniel Rohrbough, Dave Sanders, Rachel Scott, Isiah Shoals, John Tomlin, Lauren Townsend, Kyle Velasquez.
Monday, April 12, 2004
The weather here in NW Arkansas was fitting of Easter weekend. Friday and Saturday were somewhat dreary and dark and we awoke Sunday to a beautiful bright Easter morning. While it is cliché to talk to such rebirths at Easter or during spring I believe that on a personal level it is worth mentioning. On a white board that I have sitting in my office (which doubles as a storage room for white boards and chalk boards) I have a small box with three very important things written on it. The first is a quote from Socrates that says “the unexamined life is not worth living”. These are words I try to live by. Questioning things is in my nature and for this I am so happy. If I were to live without questioning I would not be the person that I am today. The second thing in the box is the word “grace” for I must remember that Grace is God’s gift to us and by Grace I am where I am today. Finally I have four letters written in that box. The four letters are R.T.R.C., which stand for “remember the risen Christ”. I have these words there to remind myself of all the suffering that Christ went through and that with all of the “crap” that happens in my life nothing compares to what Christ went through. The words also remind of what happens in the end. The end is not sad, but it is glorious. Although for me, that idea of Resurrection is the toughest thing to remember and to accept…
Tuesday, April 06, 2004
Granted I can be cynical at times. However, typically my cynicism is in regards to politics and the political process. Recently I have encountered many people who are cynical about many of the things that I see as important in life. These things are: relationships, honesty, and passion. I do not really consider myself incredibly idealistic anymore as I have seen many good things and bad things in this world. However, I make a daily effort to remember that in life and the things we do in life, there is always room for improvement. I do not believe that there is any situation in life that cannot be improved in some way (whether it be a physical or more in the mind).
Even in my own life I do not feel that politics is beyond improvement. I think that politics has become a somewhat corrupt enterprise. I feel that to get elected in America one almost needs to be independently wealthy. Despite these "realizations" I do think that we can change this...as I believe with the help and support from God we as individuals can make our own situations better.
So that is my "idealistic" rant...
Friday, April 02, 2004
It is about time... Air America. Finally, a Progressive radio station to combat the non-progressive airwaves (aka Hannity, Rush, and friends). Is it going to be biased? Of course...as is all media, but at least the other side gets some time...
Tuesday, March 30, 2004
This week I am attending my first national professional conference. Fortunately it is in my favorite town...aka...my hometown of Denver. The conference I am attending is a Student Affairs/Higher Education conference. It has been great so far, but I do not believe I've ever been so darn tired at the end of the day. It is worth it though...
*OUT* from D-Town...
Tuesday, March 23, 2004
Ok, so this picture does not represent spring in the least bit (it does show highway 550, a glimpse of the New Mexican high desert and an SUV from Oklahoma in front of us). But it at least got you focused. But seriously... I posted some pictures of last week at Spring Break Pictures. I will post more when I get the opportunity.
Anyway... I had a great time, the weather was fantastic and I got to spend much time with Jenn (I did not want to leave) and some of my good friends. I also got to see a church service for Matthew's House. It was great to see how it has evolved...there were some 20+ people at the service, which is awesome since the first service was only in January.
I also played Trivial Pursuit Pop Culture DVD...which was sweet. It is a great game for those who know far too much about pop culture and other such nonsense.
The final "event" of last week for me including my reading of The Da Vinci Code. I really enjoyed the book...do I believe everything in it? No, its fiction, it is supposed to be entertaining and it was. Did it shatter my faith? No, its fiction and if one fiction book would change my life it would not have been this one and it would have taken much longer than a week to do so. Sophie's World and The Story of B had pretty big impacts on my life, but I only realized that months after reading them. However, neither book shattered my faith (or lack thereof at that time).
It seems as if a lot happened in the world last week. I am still in the dark about much of it. But I do think that many times it is very nice to get away from it all...just for a couple days.
Monday, March 22, 2004
I am back Arkansas. I will post a couple pictures from the trip when I get the opportunity. I am leaving again for a conference this weekend, so I will get it done before then.
Going back this time, I realized how much I love Colorado. It was so pretty and seemed so "fresh" as opposed to muggy which I experienced as I pulled into Amarillo, TX. If there is one place that is not pretty in this country, it is Amarillo. I find beauty in most places I have ever been, but it is just so FLAT! Kansas is not that flat...and stuff grows in Kansas.
Ok, that is enough of my rant on places...
Thursday, March 11, 2004
The weekend is almost here and that means the start of Spring Break. One of the finest joys about being in school again. Next week I will be headed for some cool mountain air in SW Colorado. I may not get the opportunity to post, but hopefully I will be armed with some neat pictures when I get back.
It will be a nice change of scenery and a nice opportunity for a break!
Thank God for the opportunities He has provided me in life.
Wednesday, March 10, 2004
So what is the deal here? Bush gets away with things that Clinton was hounded on. Where is the Liberal media when we need them? Oh...that's right...the media is NOT Liberal. Rather, the media does what it is encouraged to do.
From Yahoo! News: Bush Fund-Raisers Among Overnight Guests
Not to mention VP Cheney giving US Supreme Court Justice Scalia rides in Air Force 2. We all know that if Al Gore did that with a Justice the thunder would have come down hard against him.
Maybe its just things like this that our government can do in "times of war".
Wednesday, March 03, 2004
"Why can't we be as kind and generous in interpreting the Bible for homosexuals as we are for ourselves?" - Lorence Wenke, Michigan State Representative (Republican) from the Kalamazoo Gazette
This state rep brings up from very interesting points. I suggest reading this article for a unique view of this issue.
Tuesday, March 02, 2004
I hate late nights. I think of the problems of the world, I think of the problems of others and I think of my own problems. I dwell on issues I have no control over and I dwell not on those I have control of. I discuss what is best for me, yet I deny the obvious answer, sleep. For years I’ve seemed to be plagued by this insomnia. I know not if it is self-inflicted, or if it really is biological. Despite that knowledge I still sit, awake, aware and mostly aching. My primary purpose at this point in my life is school. But how can I remember the characteristics of the Middle Ages Cathedral schools when I question why I am here in Arkansas?
In a faraway room, right next door the dull roar of the long forgotten hum haunts my insomnia. I know the tune, yet it seems to be off, just a little. I whistle back and the noise stops. I wake up from a dream and my alarm clock screams. I do not even remember if I was asleep at all.
Monday, March 01, 2004
This decency on TV issue has gone way too far. Are we to regress back to the days when a married couple on TV slept in different beds?
All the events that happened in the past led me to be in the position in life that I currently am in. If I am pretty happy where I am right now, why do I still regret things I’ve done or did not do?
Does it seem odd to anyone else that The Passion of the Christ grossed as much as it did this weekend? I do not have a problem with the movie itself as I've not seen it. However, I tend to think that the Jesus from the Bible was not big on materialism...
Is being altruistic or idealistic an outdated dream?
If Stimpy from "Ren and Stimpy" is always getting hairballs, yet he has full use of his hands, why does he not use a brush?
Wednesday, February 25, 2004
From Yahoo! News: Bush makes gay marriage election issue.
I wish I did not have to repeat it, but as Jesus talks about in Mark: ”Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” - Mark 12:28-31
I honestly do not understand why we can not allow committed Homosexual couples the same rights and legal freedoms as committed Heterosexual couples. This is not a religious issue it is a LEGAL issue. If we are to use the word "marriage" I understand the religious implications. However, because of those religious implications we should rid the legal code of the word "marriage" and define the joining of a committed couple of any orientation as a "Union" or a "Civil Union". This would not be ground shattering, it would not change the way our country is run. It would continue our long tradition of equal rights for all. IT IS THAT SIMPLE! A Constitutional Amendment regarding Marriage would be completely ridiculous. If we are to make an Amendment based on this issue we should then go ahead and forget writing laws and just pass Amendments. If that is the case I want a Constitutional Amendment banning cigarette smoking in public places, a Constitutional Amendment against the showing of automobile commercials during NCAA Men's Basketball Games, a Constitutional Amendment restricting the right of my neighbor to own a Lexus and a Constitutional Amendment restricting the usage of National Parks by natural blondes. These things all upset me and I demand that the US Government adhere to my wishes. I hope you are listening Mr. President! (And yes I am being sarcastic).
FATHER, I pray for those in this world who have hatred in their hearts for any of YOUR creations. I pray that you show them how powerful YOUR LOVE is and how essential it is to LOVE all of their neighbors despite their differences. If we are to follow the ways of YOUR SON then we must LOVE one another and treat each other with respect. AMEN.
Monday, February 23, 2004
"Three A.M.! Doctors say the body's at low tide then. The soul is out. The blood moves slow. You're the nearest to dead you'll ever be save dying. Sleep is a patch of death, but three in the morn, full wide-eyed staring, is living death! You dream with your eyes open. God, if you had strength to rouse up, you'd slaughter your halfdreams with buckshot! But no, you lie pinned to a deep well-bottom that's burned dry. The moon rolls by to look at you down there, with its idiot face. It's a long way back to sunset, a far way on to dawn, so you summon all the fool things of your life, the stupid lovely things done with people known so very well who are now so very dead - and wasn't it true, had he read it somewhere, more people in hospitals die at 3 A.M. than any other time...?"
- Charles Halloway in Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes
Saturday, February 21, 2004
On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. - 1 Corinthians 12:22-26
Recently a friend sent an email out to a group of acquaintances. In the email this friend highlights many of the things that he/she likes about each individual. I really enjoyed this email because all of the recipients know one another and it was very interesting to see how this person perceives the rest of the group. However, in the email this friend chooses a few of the recipients and comments on their “Christianity”, rather, makes light of their Christian virtues. I found this odd because not all of those in the group who are Christians had a comment about their Christianity. Rather, those who talk more about themselves as Christians where the ones with the comments on their religion. This is not the first time I’ve encountered a situation like this. Each time I question why this happens. I will not debate whether or not these people are Christians, as God knows what lies in their heart, but I do question whether or not one is more commonly perceived as a Christian the more they talk as opposed to the more they act (with some talk) of being Christian? Basically, who is more commonly believed to be a Christian: a) The person who always talks about being a Christian and wanting to be like Christ or b) The person who acts with the belief that they want to be like Christ and still talks about being a Christian, but is more reserved?
As I mentioned earlier, I am not the person to decide whether or not someone else is a Christian, God knows what is in the heart of each person. I get frustrated when Christians judge me as not being a Christian. I’ve accepted Jesus Christ in my heart, God knows this. I am still a sinner, I am not perfect and I do not deny this. I may do some activities that are not sins, but are against the wishes of some churches. This does not make me any less of a Christian, nor does it make anyone else less of a Christian. Maybe I am rambling, or maybe I’ve not slept enough and have seen too much publicity on The Passion of the Christ. Regardless, I think I’ve written enough.
”Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” - Mark 12:28-31
Wednesday, February 18, 2004
A week ago at 3:30pm I hopped on a bus headed towards Colorado. At 3:45pm the next day I arrived. At 9:30am on Sunday morning I made the trip back. During the 48 or so odd hours I had an experience like no other in my life. I will not go saying that it was a life changing experience, but rather an experience that opened my eyes to things I had not seen or did not want to see. While my time in Durango was great and well worth it to spend Valentine's Day with my g/f, not all of the good things happened off the bus...
I plan on writing more on this later...but as of now a few observations:
1) Riding the bus (that is Greyhound or some other "public" bus service as opposed to a charter) is a very humbling experience. I come from a middle class background and I work in education and go to graduate school so I do not get to interact with people outside this sphere very often. The people that ride the bus are the average Americans. They are the blue collar and working class of this country. They are the waitresses in the all night diners and the construction workers who build the infrastructure of America. I thank God that I was allowed this experience so I could once again realize that not all people are in similar situations to me and the people I know.
2) Many of the people with whom I rode with were content on having nothing to do on the bus. This was amazing to see. In the world in which I live people must be occupied 24/7. It was refreshing to see this.
I had a lot of time to think and I thought about a lot. More coming in the near future...
Monday, February 09, 2004
My heart continually aches for peace. Whether this peace is personal or for the world around me, I am never too clear. I despise my own pain, but I doubt despise it as much as the pain others are going through. At times I wish I could stop what I was doing in order to help others but then doubts fill my mind. Sometimes I think that what I am doing now will enable me to better help others in the future. At other times I think that I am just procrastinating helping others. Once again and in many more areas of my life, I am left with only doubt.
Wednesday, February 04, 2004
Dear Gen. Clark and Gov. Dean,
As a concerned American Citizen I encourage you to stay in the race for Democratic Presidential Candidate through the Democratic National Convention. Americans need clear and defined opponents to President Bush. You two are our best candidates for that job. While Senators Kerry and Edwards are good men and good candidates they are too much like our President. As an American Citizen I want change, progressive change. While I may disagree with the both of you on certain issues, I know that you will take this country forward, not backward. Thank you for your efforts, they are greatly appreciated.
A Mainstreet American
Tuesday, February 03, 2004
Top News Stories that I do not want to hear any more about:
1) The Super Bowl Half Time Show
2) Howard Dean's Campaign Budget
3) The Academy Awards
What I'd like to hear about instead:
1) Powell Says New Data May Have Affected War Decision and Iraq WMD inquiry details unveiled
2) Deficit Is $521 Billion In Bush Budget
3) HIV Rate Still Pretoria's Secret
Wednesday, January 28, 2004
CBS is censoring this ad because it is "too controversial": See Ad. I guess controversial only means political or anti-President Bush. It is not controversial to have ads that encourage people to drink, have casual sex, break the law, spend more money than you have (and go into debt), get fat eating fast food, openly deny God or any other such positive activity. Way to go CBS!
Tuesday, January 27, 2004
Sunday, January 25, 2004
I don’t know what it is about this movie, but I cannot get enough of it. I went and saw Big Fish tonight for the second time (I went with two people had already seen it before as well). I truly believe it is the “perfect” movie. I will put it into the same category as movies like Finding Forrester, The 25th Hour, The Truman Show and Pleasantville. It is a movie where you can laugh and cry and be heart warmed and saddened. I think it captures the essence of what film should be. It is not too serious, and it’s not too fanciful. Above all it is incredibly entertaining. It has the right story, the right director, the right actors and actresses, the right music and the right setting…It is just right. It is a bummer that when it comes to award shows Big Fish had to come out the same year as LOTR: Return of the King, Lost in Translation and Mystic River, otherwise I think it could take home all of the awards. However, I have been known to like movies that others are not so fond of, so maybe that is what is going on…
I am working on one of the more challenging assignments I think I have had in a long while. I am supposed to write a “career path” for my entire career. I am not sure what I want to be doing, and I am not sure where I want to be doing it. I guess it is good that I can sit down and think about my future and my goals for my future. But then again, sometimes that makes me feel older than I am.
On a last note I switched from BlogOut to Haloscan. Looks like BlogOut is no longer, too bad.