Wednesday, December 05, 2007


People are ridiculous. All the local media has to do is throw the words "inch" and "accumulation" together and suddenly you have mass hysteria and chaos. The snow wasn't even covering the grass this morning and yet people are crawling along the roads this morning like they're caught in a blizzard. The snow had completely melted off the streets by 8 but for some reason everyone had switched to "survival" mode. I'm convinced that Cincinnati drivers are the most panicked people on earth. Out by Em's house, outside of Columbus, they don't even talk about snow being a problem until it's at least 3 or 4 inches worth.

Ems and I watched Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer last night. Nothing like a good ol' fashioned dose of '60's social commentary disguised to look like a kid's movie.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A great movie

I'm gonna break from blogger tradition and title this post according to its contents instead of the usual enigmatic song lyric that no one really recognizes or finds relevant to the post.

I saw Into the Wild on Tuesday night with Ems. What a powerful movie. For those who don't know, the movie details the life of Chris McCandless. McCandless was a college graduate who became disillusioned with the prospect of joining the work force and pursuing the American Dream. As a result, immediately after graduating he set out on the road to live off the grid and be free to pursue any goal. Chris burned all of his identification and money and eventually abandoned his car. He successfully severed all ties to his past life so well, in fact, that a private investigator (hired to find him) was never able to track him down.

The reason that this movie struck a chord with me is that I have been wrestling with the same issues of society's expectation and standards for a "successful" life. It seem that what society wants for me is to throw myself at a career so that everything else becomes secondary. Even my faith takes a backseat. I'll state publicly that God comes first but in reality I'll only pursue God in a manner that respects my career choices and personal ambitions. Never mind the fact that Jesus was a homeless man who wandered the countryside healing and teaching amongst the outcasts of society.

The story of Chris McCandless is inspiring to me because he resisted what we all want to resist. The stagnant lifestyle of the American Dream and living for your eventual retirement when you can finally live as you want, just in time to die. I mean, what the crap are we doing? During the movie, Chris reads a passage from Tolstoy. I can't remember the exact wording but it was to this effect: True happiness is only found when performing good deeds amongst those who are not accustomed to having them performed. I'm not sure what Tolstoy's spirtual beliefs were but holy crap that sounds a lot like what Christ did every day. Chris eventually came to realize this truth. Unfortunately, it was too late to avoid his tragic fate. However, he may have lived more in his two-ish years on the road than I have in my entire life up to this point.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Tune in Tokyo

So, the Red Sox won the World Series. Now that I have roommates that really care about professional baseball, I've had the opportunity to watch some of the games. I didn't watch too much of the world series but I did catch a couple games of the Tribe and Sox series. Even with an Ohio team in the running, I still can't manage to put together some kind of interest in professional baseball. It's fun to attend a Red's game once in awhile (when its free) but beyond that I've nothing but apathy for the sport.

The Creepy Campout was this past weekend. A good time was had by all. This was Emily's second appearance at the annual event. She carved a "C-Paw" pumpkin for the pumkin carving contest. She wasn't feeling too good when it came time to enter so I ran the pumpkin up there and entered it for her. I barely entered it in time for the judging to start. The pumpkin quickly gained momentum with the crown and easily beat out the majority of the field. The final round pitted Emily's pumpkin against a kid who look like his pumpkin probably took him the better part of a year to carve. To top off his design he installled a strobe light in place of the conventional candle. He also had a posse of about 30 screaming six year olds to back him up. However, they proved to be no match for our group of obnoxious college kids who have no respect for hard work or the family atmosphere. My favorite part was when Jen P. started the UC chant during the time alloted for cheering for the opposing pumpkin. The crowd was momentarily silenced. Emily took home first prize which includes a nice trophy and a pumpkin pie...owned.

Friday, October 19, 2007

I need an adamantium skeleton

The small group came over last night to watch X-Men III and eat pizza. The movie was pretty good although they had some situations that didn't logistically make any sense. For example, at the beginning of the final battle, Magneto sends in his "pawns". I'm going to assume that these are the less powerful mutants. So, these guys run toward the waiting line of troops and about 15 of them jump 100 ft. into the air to pounce on the soldiers. you're telling me that there are fifteen mutants that all have the power to jump really high. Once they land, they begin to fight the soldiers who end up mowing them down with the "cure". However, after the sweet jump, none of these "mutants" use any other sort of power or ability. Seems like lazy filmaking.

Just before that, Magneto uses his metal moving skills to transport his army to Alcatraz island via the Golden Gate Bridge. While this is visually very cool, one can't help but point out that buses, planes and boats are also made of metal. Why can't Magneto just get on a boat and ride across the bay with his army? Lots of small stuff like that makes this movie pretty mediocre. And what the crap is going on with Archangel? You can't just dramatically introduce a character and then completely exclude him from the plot...terrible.

On a completely unrelated note...the Jesse Hartmann and I were discussing the justification of violence in the Bible this morning. We're reading through Shane Claiborne's Irrisistible Revolution together and the author seems to be of the mind that Christians should be completely anti-war, anti-violence and anti-military. While I would like to live in a world where this is possible I don't think I quite buy all that. I'd like to hear some thoughts. Does anyone still read my blog? If so, comment. Also, does anyone know what the Just War Theory is?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

All of Which are American Dreams

Readin' through Shane Clairborne's Irresistible Revolution. I don't think I've ever encountered an author that could write with such passion yet can state everything so simply and nearly void of over-emphasizing language. I read through a chapter last night that described his journey to work with Mother Theresa in Calcutta. He prefaces this story with a great description of the state of westernized Christianity. Clairborne exposes that fact that American "Christians" spend a great deal of their time trying to explain away the tenants of the Bible. We make the Bible much more complicated than it really is in order to ensure that we'll never have to act on its simple yet radical (to our standards of radical) truths. This statement is undeniably true. I've been to countless studies and heard countless sermons during which a passage of scripture was adjusted to fit our lifestyles. I'm sure I've even led studies that are guilty of this.However, I really can't blame anyone for this. How else are we supposed to take the New Testament from the pages of the Bible and put it into practical usage and still maintain our middle-class American lifestyle? If we had to take every passage of New Testament scripture literally it would destroy our lifestyles' completely.

Anyway, Clairborne goes on to say that he and a friend decided to search for a real Christian of their summer break. Eventually, they contacted Mother Theresa and were invited out her ministry in Calcutta, India. In Calcutta, these two average college students nursed the dying poor of the destitute city and lived with the habitants of a leper colony. I found it very intriguing that these two guys where almost instantly thrown into a very Bible-esque scenario as soon as they accepted the fact that our precious "American Dream" and the John 10:10 life offered by Christ cannot co-exist. Crazy stuff and more food for spiritual thought than I'm comfortable with but I'm getting the very persistent feeling that God is not interested in/tired of my shallow level of American spiritual comfort.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Oak tree you're in my way

Yep, for those of you who haven't heard, my parent's house in Delhi was indeed hit by a Jeep. Luckily, nobody was hurt (driver and passenger included). The driver and his passenger were both drunk and were arrested at the scene. I don't know where the legal process is at in dealing with this guy. I know that he has been charged but I don't know how my parents will be involved in his prosecution at this point. Considering the cirumstances, the damage could be much worse. The car knocked out two of the front porch supports, a window, lots of brick, several wall studs and the drywall on the inside. An armoir was destroyed and the piano had some minor damage. The car also destroyed some landscaping on its way to our house. My parents are taking this like champs though. They've come to the realization that all of the damage is limited to "stuff" that can all be replaced. I feel genuinely sorry for the 18 year old driver. He's going to be dealing with the consequences of this for a long time. A lot of people have been offering us advice on how to handle this situation when it comes to insurance claims and what not. It's easy to see why people don't trust each other when it comes to compensation via insurance companies. While this accident is plainly this kid's fault and his insurance company should fully compensate my parents, I think showing some grace would go along way in this situation. We had some people telling us to write down our work hours so that we could be compensated four our time. I really can't bring myself to do that. I know that he's not going to be the one that is writing the check in the end. But it seems like I'd be taking advantage of the situation and not showing the proper amount of forgiveness if I was to receive compensation.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

There's a country's soul that reads post no bills

Just got back from Louisiana for the second time. A new experience this time. I took my youth group down to the rural areas surrounding New Orleans. It turns out that Louisiana is hot this time of year. The temp was over 100 almost every day. The humidity was unbelievable. Not good for a bunch of Ohioans. On top of all that, we worked outside every day.

This trip was much different than the SBC trip that I took over spring break. A couple of the days were spent in the community of Dulac, LA. Dulac was founded by Houma native americans and French-Cajuns. The cultural diversity is amazing. Nobody speaks English as their first language. Most speak Cajun French or a mixture of Cajun French and a Native American dialect. The first family we worked with needed wood paneling hung in their house and a bathroom painted and finished. I've never seen such obvious and abject poverty. Up until recently, the family had lived with rotting wall paneling in their one room house. They have neither the will nor means to attempt major projects. Most of the homes in the area are small and packed with family members. Many people do not work and a very large portion are illiterate. During hurricane Rita, floodwaters filled most houses with 2-4 feet of water. Most insurance policies will cover hurricane damage but very few will cover flood damage. I can't say that most of these people don't have homeowner's insurance but I highly doubt they could afford it anyway.

The other family that we worked with is headed by a single working mom with several kids. In order to obtain the occupancy permit needed to move back into her house, she had to have the house raised 12ft and placed on stilts. This procedure costs in the area of $25,000. She had been denied funding from several relief agencies including Louisiana's Road Home program. Her husband, unable to cope with the high financial pressure, hung himself from from the newly placed rafter under their raised house. She now has to slowly pay off her debt to the contractors and try to feed her family. Volunteer labor helps out a lot.

I also took the kids down to the 9th ward in New Orleans. As expected, nothing new has been done. Still the same scene of thousand of empty houses. It has become painfully obvious that our government intends to ignore the people of southern Louisiana until the problem goes away and low income neighborhoods and shanty towns on the bayous are left to the mercy of developers who can afford to build raised middle class neighborhoods that will be safe from floodwaters. I really don't know when the term "poor" became synonymous with "worthless". I think I've seen too much to be able to ignore the situation any longer. I hope God will allow me the opportunity to go down there again soon.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Quench my thirst with gasoline

Here's something crazy. The House approved a bill today to allow for the penalization of big oil companies as a result of price gouging. On the outside, this looks like a step in the right direction and perhaps Congress is actually acting on behalf of the general population instead of big oil lobbyists. However, if you actually look at the wording of the bill, you'll quickly realize that it has more "gray" than an aircraft carrier. According the article, the bill states that the only time a company would be in danger of being fined or prosecuted would be when gasoline prices reach "unconscionably excessive" prices and the president declares an "energy crisis". There are a couple of glaring problems with this law.

First, who decides what "unconscionably excessive" is? A college student who is barely scraping by and the Attorney General of the United States probably have different opinions of what qualifies as excessive.

Secondly, why do we need the president to declare the an "energy crisis" in order to stop oil companies from exploting the American public. Of course, this section of the bill was demanded by Texas democrats who would have refused to vote favorably without this stipulation. So what we have here is Congress's typical show of pretending to act while not actually acting at all.

The only real answer I can see to the oil problem is for the consumer to find ways to decrease demand. However, we all need to get to work or school in the morning so I don't really see that happening. Maybe I'll start digging for oil in the backyard. Of course, I don't really own my backyard anyway.

Friday, May 11, 2007

The Light I Never Know'd

Alright. I need to figure out which concerts I'm going to this summer. It's becoming evident that NIN has no intention of returning to the states anytime soon and definetely not this summer. Rush promises to be a great show but the "Petachs" are getting "married" on the same day so that isn't going to be possible. We do have Def Leppard, Foreigner and Styx on June 27. Other than that I'm not real excited about Riverbend's summer concert series.

I succumed to Austin's constant whining about my fish. Austin is now the proud owner of four more fish. I think I'm gonna convert my tank into a turtle terrarium. My brother has a pretty sweet turtle set up in 50 gallon tank. While I won't be able to touch the 50 gallon, he's volunteered to set up my 20 gallon for a turtle.

Oak Hills afterprom tonight and tomorrow night. I just can't get away from that place. So, I'm leading some volunteers from the Navigators down there to help out.

Monday, April 23, 2007

I don't ask noboby for nothin...if I can't get it own my own

Lots of stuff goin on since the last post. I really wanna change the format of my blog but I lack the initiative and the know-how to accomplish such a task.

I got to hang out with my high-schoolers on Friday down at gameworks. It was a good time. I haven't done much, on a social level, with them in awhile. We paid 20 bucks apiece to own gameworks for the night. It's been forever since I've had some quality arcade time. Arcade games have gotten way too complicated in the last decade. I like the two or three buttons and joystick approach or even the "Time-Crisis" pedal and trigger method. Now-a-days you have these way over complicated controls and game options.

On Sunday I led a study with the same crew. I threw some spiritual stuff out there to them. We talked about "seeing the unseen" as Paul encourages in Ephesians. Most of them have never considered the goings on of the spiritual realm. I really don't know if I truly have either. I know a lot of people that seem to be very aware of the spiritual side of things. I have a lot of respect for this because the Bible is riddled with examples of God "opening the eyes of the heart" or causing mortals to see the spiritual realm with their physical eyes. This is a fun topic to try to explain to a group of high schoolers with a background in the mainstream church. Suprisingly, they were pretty receptive to the idea of spiritual things going on behind the scenes of our physical world.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


What the crap happened to my sidebar?

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

I fought a bowl of oatmeal

What an eye opening spring break. I went down to New Orleans with UC's Alternative Spring Break organization. This organization is such a worthwhile cause. Unlike most things that UC sponsors, I genuinely think that this organization actually has pure intentions. I really respect the leadership and goals of ASB. Consequently, I think I'm going to lead a trip next year.

Anyway, the state of New Orleans is unbelievable. I still cannot rationalize why so little has been done in almost two years since the hurricane. Prior to the trip I heard from several people that not much had been done to repair the neighborhoods that were completely destroyed by flood waters. However, I was totally unprepared for the chaos that is flourishing in the city. It's hard to know who is responsible for the lack of progress. If you talk to locals, they'll all say the same thing: the federal government is at fault. Thousands of residents live in white FEMA trailers while there houses are being rebuilt. By providing trailers, FEMA hopes to allow former residents to return to the city and pick up there old jobs and supervise the rebuilding of their homes. However, in many cases residents didn't even receive their trailer until last month. Now, the trailers are being removed from properties because they were designed for only temporary usage. I had the opportunity to talk to three individuals who were all living in trailers provided by the government. While they had been living in their trailers for awhile, none of them have recieved enough federal relief funding to rebuid their homes. Without, proper funding middle and lower income families cannot afford to restore their homes to meet with fire and structural codes.

Volunteer organizations help quite a bit by providing free labor and materials but the non-profit intiative is not functioning on a large enough scale to meet the needs of the New Orleans community in a realistic timespan. Because the rebuilding effort is so sluggish many former residents have decided not to return. In the St. Bernard parish, only 5,000 of the 65,000 residents have returned. No community infrastructure can function when 92% of its members are not residing within the area. As a result, roads can't be repaired, there's very little public education and utilities are slow to return to functionality. To make matters worse, the city of New Orleans is beginning to demolish abandoned buildings.

I had many opportunities to see the progress of the rebuilding process. Organizations such as Habitat for Humanity are doing great things but it is clearly not enough. I couldn't help but ask myself, "is it even worth it to rebuild?" as I observed the thousands and thousands of empty homes with no sign of rebuilding intentions except for the plea "please don't demolish my home" scrawled in spray paint on hundreds of house in the 9th ward.

Friday, March 09, 2007

When the man comes around

School's over. I have one more final to take and two papers to turn in next week. I really need some off time. This has been the hardest quarter of school in a long time. It feels good to have stuck this one out though instead of withdrawing from everything difficult. Only 1+ more years of not changing my major and not dropping classes to go. I'm not really in any hurry to get done but I'm also not a big fan of paying too much more tuition. I also don't know how I'm gonna keep my cash flow up once I'm done co-oping. I only have one more quarter to do and then I don't have to co-op anymore.

I can't wait for this friggin cold weather to leave. I'm really craving some outdoors time. Robert Kleemeier and I are gonna have to hit up the fishing hole before too long. It's been forever since I've been fishing or done anything outside. We took a spritual assessment at Key Laborers a couple of weeks ago. The purpose of the assessement was to shed light on how you best worship and relate to God. I scored a 97/100 in the creation category. So apparently I need time outdoors. I can totally buy that. I really do need to find a job as a park ranger or something.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

1.21 Gigawatts

There's beens some recent banter around my house about the new gold coin. Someone started up this crazy chain email calling all Christians to arms over the lack of the inscription"In God We Trust" on the coin. I like how it's no problem to get "Christians" all fired up over something like this but its like pulling teeth to get them to raise a finger to feed a starving kid or accept an outcast into their community. It makes you feel good about where the church is headed. That's all I have to say about that really. I'm sure Davie will have a much more prolonged rant coming in the next couple days. Oh yeah...the coin actually does have the "In God We Trust" slogan on it, it's just around the circumference of the coin where people with too much time and no purpose can't see it.

So, once again I'm in real danger of completely failing a class. This time...Organic Chemistry II. And unlike other times in my college career, it's not for lack of trying. This class is just rediculous and the instruction is terrible. I talked to the professor yesterday and she explained to me that in order to pass I would have to get a 77/200 on the final. That's doable right? You'd think so but that would actually be the best score (percentage wise) that I've gotten yet on an exam, in this class. I'm really pretty worried about it.

Friday, February 23, 2007

I Shruted it

An occasional picture in your blog posts is never a bad thing. Note: I'm 2 for 2 of my last two posts. Consequence: my blog is superior to yours. I really don't have any incite on this pic...just thought it was funny.
Goin' to Chicago with Davie and Robby this weekend to watch UC play DePaul. Chicago is an amazing city with a lot of character. I was there about a year ago for a conference and have been wanting to go back ever since. Bonus: the whole trip only cost me $60. The game will be sweet but I think that I'm looking forward to walking around the city more than the game itself.
I think sometimes we conveniently ignore the desires that God fulfills in our lives. Last year, at about this time, I was really unhappy with the way things were going (ministry, school, life). I wasn't real involved in ministry yet and wasn't finding a lot of satisfaction in school work. I had two desires at that point: to get highly involved in ministry and to travel. Since then, I've been to Tennessee three times, Colorado, Chicago twice, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina and soon I'll be in New Orleans and then Tennessee again in May. You could say that if you have enough money you can travel anywhere you want and therefore fulfill this particular desire. However, I have absolutely no money. All of my trips were free or cost very minimal amounts because they were orbiting around ministry. As I type this, I'm amazed out how this has worked out. God has fulfilled both desires completely, one desire making the other possible and vice-versa. If I would have planned out a year ago how I would have these desires fulfilled in an ideal situation, it wouldn't have even come close to the reality of how everything turned out.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Find your soul mate, Homer

Johnny Cash and The Simpsons...a match made in heaven.

This is a rediculously boring day at work. I finished everything that I know I should do within a couple of hours of getting here. So now I find myself commenting on Dave's blog and searching the Internet for images of the episode of the Simpsons that features Johnny Cash as Homer's spiritual guide. Which is, if you're wondering, El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer, season eight. I've also been trading emails with the Mr. Ben Lewis and wondering if Austin will ever update his blog now that he's back from Chile and has no regular computer access.

I think last night was the worst night so far concerning our heat situation. I had my space heater running full blast and it barely put a dent in the standing room temperature. I woke up this morning and could see my my room...not cool. I wonder if any health code regulations are being violated here. Of course, ol' Chuck didn't say too much about me creating a geyser in Austy's bathroom. So, I reckon he probably doesn't care too much about how cold the house is at night. Austin's fish finally gave up his fight for life. Must be tough to be a tropical fish in our house.

Anyway...Key Laborers starts tonight. Key Laborers is always a good time. We have Big Evan Griffin doin' the talks. I always appreciate his talks because he speaks from his experiences and observations instead of consistantly throwing biblical principles at you. Definetely a guy that I look up to. I'd be lucky to be half the conversationalist he is one day.

Monday, February 05, 2007

I say we nuke the site from's the only way to be sure

School's a real burden this quarter. I'm startin' to get overwhelmed. And when I get overwhelmed I usually go ahead and withdraw from everything. I consistantly have a ton of homework and the material is rediculously hard to learn. The amount of time that school is consuming is staggering compared to the past couple quarters. To top it all off, I haven't gotten any calls from potential employers.

Because of the added stress, I find myself continually wanting to drop extra-curricular/important things like ministry activities. I've worked very hard to change my perspective from school takes priority over all to God takes priority over all. The past few quarters were fairly easy as far as school work goes and of course co-op is always an easy time. So, putting God first was never all that hard. Now that things are more difficult, I find myself saying that it would be ok to put God on the back burner and hide from ministry for awhile. I don't think there's anything wrong with cutting back to accomodate both ministry and school but I think its also very important to keep in mind that God requires all of us, as living sacrifices, and he'll accept nothing less.

The flip side to this is that God's not a cruel slave driver. He knows our limits and keeps us satisfied. I'm hoping that by submitting to God that he'll lead me to his perfect middle ground.

Pretty good Super Bowl last night. The Colts definetely had it coming for awhile. However, I don't really have any allegiance to either team. Payton Manning bandwagoners make me angry and it would have be cool to see the Chargers win it all. The Bengals own it next year.

Friday, January 12, 2007

oh look a bighorn...that's why I come up here

Got back from Colorado late Monday night. You wouldn't believe the property that the Navigators owns out there. It's in a mountain glen outside of Colorado Springs where bighorn sheep and mountain lions roam free. No joke. It's almost surreal. As soon as I arrived I could scarcely believe that this place actually existed. Let me describe it to you.
Glen Eyrie is located above Colorado Springs in the front range of the Rocky Mountains. There was a fresh blanket of snow on the ground but it was not excessively cold. The air smells like pine and there are conifer trees everywhere. Large pillars of red rock fire straight out of ground hundreds of feet into the air. There are several trail that lead into the mountains at the base of Pike's Peak. The trails take you between and up the mountains with crystal clear creeks flowing freely between each hill. At the end of one trail there was a large frozen waterfall that the creek still flows behind. The waterfall itself is about a 50ft drop. Large icecicles had formed to cage the creek in. The Glen is home to all sorts of wildlife. Rattlesnakes, mountain lions, birds, deer and bighorn sheep. I was fortunate enough to come across a bighorn. It was probably the most amazing animal I've ever seen.
As if the property itself wasn't amazing enough, the Navigators owns and operates a freaking mountain castle! Apparently, back in the 50's the Navigators acquired the castle when it was donated by the Billy Graham crusade and several prominent, Nav alumni, businessman who wanted to give the Navigators a headquarters. The castle dates back to the early 1800's and still had much of the original furnishings and general decor. Rediculous. Normally, I'd question the ownership of a castle by a non-profit ministry but Navs uses this place for so many worthwhile causes that it seems more like a divine gift than the misallocation of ministry funds. Plus the castle is self-sufficient. It can be rented for business conferences and weddings so that it doesn't use ministry funds to stay in operation.
What a crazy amazing place.