Late night ponderings with moody guitar music and dim light.

The subject states what’s up in my room right now very well. I have my “sleepy/making out time” light on and as I’m not making out with anyone…It must be sleepy time. I’m also listening to Andy Davis’ “Black Keys”. I’m fixin’ to go to bed to wake up extra early to meet with Dr.Nienhuis for before breakfast coffee. I don’t really drink coffee and one of my enemies in life is the early morning (before nine), but I’m sure it will be good anyhow.

I went to a new park today. Seward Park in Beacon Hill. My friend Michael Richards and I took some time before his interview to take part in “experiencing new things in Seattle day”. Seward park is both awesome and ironic. I’ll get to the irony part in a second. It’s basically an entire peninsula surrounded by lake Washington. Mercer Island’s rich folk live right across the water. There’s a great trail around the peninsula. Mike and I stayed on that part…the interior of the park was marked with signs that read “POISON OAK”…We decided to err on not spending the next 2 days being really itchy. The park is really quite wonderful and contains a great beach to throw rocks into the water from. I assume that you know we did that while we were there. The only downside to the park was the fact that it was balls cold and almost raining out. It would have been amazing had it been sunny, or had I brought a jacket. Sometimes I dress more according to what I want the weather to be than what it actually is.

Now the irony you may have been waiting for. There’s a memorial in Seward Park that dates back to 1930. It commemorates the United States “lasting amity” with Japan in 1930. They gave the park the awesome cherry blossoms that are there. That was in 1930. In 1941 (11 years later) the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor…and if I’m not mistaken in 1945 we dropped two atom bombs on their country…There. That was the irony. It’s sad really. I wish we all could have gotten along without bombs coming into the relationship.

After I got back from the park I was feeling strange. I took a nap. It was nice. I woke up feeling lonely. I got irritated with it. I declined going to dinner with most of my boys because I didn’t want to offend the group that went before them (whom I told I was going to wait to eat until 6). Basically it happened that they all had gone before 6 and I didn’t want to go alone, so I got pouty and went to Gwinn after they’d left hoping to eat with them anyway.

On the way however, I met my friend Julie Smith and ate with her instead. I barely ever see her these days except in passing and it was great to eat with her. We had a great time. I’m really grateful for people like her around whom I can relax and enjoy myself without having to be a specific way. You know those people? The people who can handle your shit? She’s one of those people. I appreciate her. She has a recital coming up…you should go. It’d be worthwhile. She sings like an angel. No lie.

While I ate dinner two things happened. 1) My Gwinn spinach had insect eggs on it. That is not a lie either. It was disgusting and frustrating because I didn’t get to eat my spinach. Tangent. You may have noticed that I eat a large plate of spinach at dinner every day. It’s been that way for about 2 years. No, I don’t use dressing. I couldn’t get the measurement right so I gave up. Plus, there’s never any good vinaigrette. Yes. I realize it’s a lot of spinach. No, I really don’t love it. I eat it because it’s good for me and also because I don’t notice that I dislike it anymore. Back on track now. 2) I got to chat with my friends Mark Stone and Melyssa Norris. They pretty much are awesome. They live in Emerson. Lots of awesome people do.

After a rousing 2 hour study time with my friend Michael Rudolph (Rudy) I stopped in to see Maisha Seebeck. She’s a great friend and Peer Advisor. I quite literally would have gone insane without her on my staff this year. She’s a blessing.

Rudy and I studied for our class called history of latin america. We talked a bit about how we’re to help the people there fix their societal problems. We’re not called as people of God to stand by while our brothers and sisters in the Lord suffer and die. We’re not called to stand by while any people suffer and die. Apathy is not a divine calling. Sympathy and empathy are. So what do we do? I was wondering if the process of helping them involves standing beside them or just helping them get started and then letting them do the work. I wondered if eventually am blessed to help people in Latin America…will I have to leave? Is my place in my country of origin doing the Lord’s work? Or am I given the opportunity to walk alongside my people (God’s people) during the entire process of whatever it may be?

I think that it might be somewhere in between. Surely we aren’t supposed to impose a new sort of colonialism by means of our support. We are called to help those in need, not to spearhead projects on their behalf. At the same time I don’t think that it’s necessarily a thing where we have to leave them on their own after a project has been started. For one thing they might be able to do without us, but if that’s where we are shown by the Lord to be…then that’s where we ought to stay. If all of God’s people are my people then my family has no nationalistic, societal, or class distinctions. My people are all of God’s people. Our citizenship is not here. So, maybe that means that there’s a place for someone like me (or you…) in a place that is not filled with people of our same skin tone or culture. Those things aren’t important. The important question is are they God’s? Then they’re family. If they claim not to be God’s you’ve got to love them like they are His…because it’s a fact that they are. He owns everything. Sometimes you’ve just gotta deal with it.

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A series of Shout outs.

Here they are. You seen em? No? You missed out.Okay, I admit it. That last post was not great. This one might not be so grand either. I just wanted to take a moment and toss a few shout outs to people who I’ve been thinking about. I’ll probably have more stirring thoughts another time and although this is really just for me and not for all of you, I am not above giving the shout out.

Chris Kyle: You’re cool. Thanks for the conversation today. Keep on participating in what Jesus has for you.

Aaaron Bollinger: Thanks for reading and being a great friend, man, and SMC.

JJ: Thanks for laughing at my innapropriate jokes at staff meeting.

Nate Goodwin: You’re a satch.

Tyler Gorsline: I miss you buddy. I wish we lived on the same floor again. There’s nothing like the memories I have of coming into your room late at night and talking to you in a soft voice while rouner was asleep…or praying/taking a nap on your couch.

Kevin Binz (AKA Roomate): Sometimes I watch too much Smallville because of you.

Michael Richards: We hosed that alien scum.

Gilly: I finished the first jug of grape juice today. Thanks for the generousity.

Rick and Cody: Good conversation this evening gents. Good stuff.

I’m adding a photo of those cherry blossoms that I was talking about a few weeks ago. I hope you like them….It appeared at the top. That’s what they looked like.

Multi-tasking While Watching Smallville again.

So it was Monday today. I celebrated it by buying a ticket to Miami International Airport. I’m going to Costa Rica and thus I needed a round-trip ticket to Miami to facilitate that. On August 26th I get to fly to Houston at 1 in the morning, then I get to wait for three hours…then I get to fly to Miami. Sigh. I’m going to be wicked tired on the 26th.

Time out. Lois Lane in Smallville is extremely foxy…Seriously. I think it’s her hair. Okay, that and the eyes…and she’s sassy…and overall really attractive. Let’s say she’s got alot going for her.

Time in. I went to class today. There was lots of learning. I learned alot about the South American tendency to stage a military coup (sponsored by the CIA of course). It seems as though Latin American governments had this tendency to put a military dictatorship into place in order to avoid the poor people getting rights. Because if they get rights, then they’d vote…and then the rich people would be less rich. I wonder if we in the US do the same thing…

Time out. The actress who plays Lois Lane in real life is married. Sad day. I guess I’ll have to keep dreaming. Maybe there’s a real woman who is like her in every way except that she’ll love Jesus….That’d be awesome. Okay, last time. I promise.

Time in. Mark Stone says hi. I sat with him at Gwinn tonight after my run. I went running. Remember the response we talked about. If I go running and tell you then you give me no more than an “Okay. That’s good for you.” Exercise should happen because it’s good for me. Not because I’m fixin’ to be real suave in the eyes of the ladyfolk or because it gives me the feeling that I’m valuable.

I found something in life that I really dislike. Tedious paperwork. I don’t like folding pamphlets. Nope. Not at all.

I think if I was a super hero I would have a lair. Not a crappy lair that’s filled with poop or anything, but rather one that I would have awesome and filled with cool tools and a pet dragon. I dunno why I just said that. That’s what I get for watching smallville while I blog. I think that’ll do now. Catch you later.

A quiet fury in my belly tells me I’m hungry

Note: This was written on Friday afternoon.

So it’s that time of the afternoon where I am getting hungry. I get cranky when I’m hungry. If I’m hungry for too long I get headaches and get really tired. It’s not there yet and dinner is soon, I just thought I’d forewarn you in case we’re ever together and I get irrationally angry.

I went over to Ashton hall last night for small group with the boys. Then I ended up hanging out there until about 2AM. I took a shower in those lovely community bathrooms. People always give me the “whatever floats your boat.” sort of comments after I express how much I like using community bathrooms. They only say that because they’re just satches (as my friend Nate would say) who haven’t experienced the glory that is showering and pooping next to other people. There’s some very valuable interaction that takes place in those moments…okay, maybe I shared too much information, but let’s summarize by saying that there are some great people in Ashton who I love seeing.

Today I went to class where I learned more about Colombia. I could go into great detail, but I think it would be better just to tell you that the US government is paying money to the Colombian government to fight drugs. However, the government pays some of that money to paramilitary groups who then do the dirty work that the military can’t (massacres and assinations) with the revolutionary armies. The government, the paramilitary groups, and the revolutionary armies are all paid by the drug cartels to keep out of the way…and the American populace makes drugs more profitable by actually buying them…not to mention that what we (as the US) are doing is driving the price of cocaine up (and thus the profitability of the enterprise too). We’re creating more of a reason for people to be selling drugs in the first place…ARG!

Note: This was where I started as of Sunday night.

I was reflecting on my frustration with US foreign Policy in Latin America and I was reminded of something. I talked with Dr. Nienhuis about the fact that I wasn’t going to go to the School of Theology’s “Why go to Seminary” lecture because there wouldn’t be any Latin American seminaries there…I want to go to one (if that’s what the Lord’s got for me) where the classes are in Spanish. I mentioned that I was apprehensive about making that statement, but Dr.Nienhuis looked at me and said something to the effect of, “That’s your gig man.” He definately used the word gig. It made my aspirations seem cooler. Yes. Things about Latin America, Spanish, and helping the people there…that may just be my gig. Neato.

Let’s see…Weekend highlights: Saturday was PA fun day. I got to spend the majority of the day with my lovely staff playing in the greater seattle area. Breakfast at Pike Place Market. Afternoon go-carting and put-put golf at Bullwinkle’s family fun center in Tukwila (better than the last time I was there with my graduating class in high school…life feels different after 3ish years), and then to Deleitant’s in Capitol Hill for dessert food. All in all a great day that had 2 great things especially going for it: 1) it was at least 70 degrees the whole day. 2) I made a great mix for every car to take. All the 2pac most people could handle…which was too much for some people on my staff anyway…sigh. They’ll get it. I know.

Saturday night (and Friday night) I was on duty. After PA fun day I took the hardest nap I can remember. Crazy dreams. I woke up with the shape of my ear imprinted on my arm…it took me some time to get used to life again. Then I spent the night playing fun games and watching movies with the boys on my floor. I also got unofficially invited to a guest-listed mocktail party down the hall. I felt pretty special, but I wondered what everyone else who wasn’t invited thought…hmmmm….

A friend of mine is experiencing the emotional roller-coaster that is a relationship. Everything seems to be going fine. By the roller coaster part I mean that people have emotions. The funny thing about emotions that I have learned is that you don’t get to control how long you feel them. You either give them the space to effect you as long as they are around…or you lose something of your humanity in shutting them out. Neither option is extremely funtastic. But, I guess I’d take being human over feeling no pain…because when you can’t hurt, you can’t have joy either.

I watched the movie called “the kingdom” with some of my boys. It was a rough film. It was about the war on terror as an FBI team coupled with Saudi police officers to find insurgents in Saudi Arabia. Things got ugly and lots of people died. They got the ‘bad guy”. At the end of the movie one FBI guy asked his friend what he said to make their FBI buddy stop crying in a meeting. At the same time a relative of the “bad guy” asked the “bad guy’s” grandson what he told him before he died. Both answers were the same “Don’t worry. We’ll kill them all.”…Forgive me, but that is very ugly.

Victory for “the good guys” in this film came at the expense of a lot of people dead. Watching violent movies is harder for me these days. I find myself thinking about the “bad guys”. Who are they? What is it that makes them think that killing innocent American civilians is okay? What are the situations in their lives that support that sort of thinking? Is killing them back the right answer? Aren’t they human too? Earlier that afternoon I was reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Letters and Papers from Prison. He said:

“We must learn to regard people less in the light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer…God himself did not dispise humanity, but became man for men’s sake.”

After reading that quote and seeing the violence that so many people in the world view as the solution to their problems…I cannot help but feeling sorry for those who see the only way out a particular situation to be violence. We really (in the case of the War on Terror or the War on Drugs) create a cycle of retributive violence. I wonder whether or not there will ever be enough people who will lay down their arms and refuse to retaliate in an effort to show love to their enemies. Check out this link. The Lego people say it well.

http://www.thebricktestament.com/the_teachings_of_jesus/on_love/lk06_17p20p27.html

One last thing. I went to falcon idol on Friday. People sang. Some of them very well (high fives to first and second place winners Karianne and Zach), some not so well. I got feisty in the crowd and asked the bald judge (by shouting) who was being really negative where his hair went. The crowd laughed. I felt kinda bad for that, because that wasn’t showing him a lot of Jesus’ love for him…but at the same time I didn’t feel too bad because he really was being quite a jackass.

The think I meant to say was that I think I’ve developed a bit of a superstition about girls that sing. I’m into it. Girls that can sing have another thing going for them in my book, but at the same time they scare me. Both times I got involved/tried to get involved with girls that sing I wound up being hurt pretty bad. No, they didn’t try to poison me. I just got interested and they weren’t and then it hurt quite a bit in the emotional sense. For months. Maybe I’m older now and more jaded, but I dunno. I think at the end of the day I’m honestly intimidated by girls that sing. For one thing musically talented people have had this ability to make me feel like anything I am is a sham. The other thing is that whole girl who sings attacking my heart superstition I’ve got going on. Okay so that’s that, here’s this other thing:

I’m going to tell you a series of facts that I don’t throw around. Before I begin to to tell you these things, know that I don’t mean to boast in any way. I can sing. I’m a Bass 2. I was in choir for about 2 years in college and took private voice lessons. The concert choir director wanted me to be in choir, and my private voice lesson guy told me that I shouldn’t stop singing. I’ve heard things like these for awhile. My mom tells me I’m good at math and that I should do something with it, my AP Bio teacher said I’d be a good scientist, my culinary arts teacher told me I could be a chef, and my friend Kenny who directed the one acts I was in during high school told me I shouldn’t stop acting…I haven’t done anything that any of these people said. I let all these things go to some degree. I still love to cook, singing is great fun, and acting is likewise. I liked math and science…but none of these things is really a passion of mine. I like them all, but I don’t really desire these things. I wonder if in not pursuing these things I let go of gifts that the Lord blessed me with. Did I waste what I have been given? Who would I have been if I had gone with any of these things?…I’m not gonna say it keeps me up at night, because it doesn’t, but I wonder who I might have been if I had chosen differently in life.

As it is I have all these little facts about me that cause people to say “You can sing?” or “You took Calculus?”…Yes.  Yet, the incredulous way in which these questions are asked are somewhat offensive. It’s as though I am believed to be what I show myself to be at each point. If I sing, then people know that. If I do math, then they know. Otherwise they assume that I can’t do either….even if I tell them. People do that with my ethnicity too. I get lots of “you’re Hispanic?” Yes. I am. I am half-Hispanic. My dad’s from Texas. I’m sorry I don’t look Mexican enough to fit into what you think Hispanic people should look like. I have a genealogy website from my cousin that I can show you…Sigh. Maybe we could give people a little mystery and not assume we’ve got them all figured out. I’m guilty too. I thought the guy on this video was just a cell-phone salesman…Watch. You’ll get what I mean.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1k08yxu57NA

Think it over. Maybe people can be mysterious.

I’m going back in time…to yesterday…

Tuesday….Hmmm.

Well. I got up planning on studying for 2 hours…I ended up studying for .5 hours. I guess I didn’t need all that time. It was all in my head after that. Hurray! So, then I played this awesome game called X-Com UFO defense with Michael Richards…ALL AFTERNOON. Seriously. It was a long time. Let’s just say that the aliens are starting to mind control our men. We’re no longer effective in the field…We gotta get those Psi-Labs operational!

We were supposed to have a softball game, but then we had 4 people who were able to play…thus it was a forfeit. Sigh. Then I did some homework and generally bummed around. It was supposed to be “new things in Seattle day” but i didn’t feel like going anywhere because it was so cold. So I didn’t.

Then I played Settlers of Catan with Paula Green’s boyfriend Joel. He’s a cool guy. It was fun. His smack talk was all for naught though…neither of us won. That frikkin’ Aaron bollinger and his pomposity won the day in an irritating fashion. Good news though. Joel brought his dog. It was an awesome golden retriever sort of dog that was very amusing. I pet it alot and it seemed to enjoy that. It would do this thing when I stopped petting it where it would bump my arm with it’s cold wet nose. The surprise always made me move my arm so it was more convenient to scratch behind Nikki’s (that’s the dog’s name) ears than it was to put my arm back where it used to be. I thought it was great.

Oh, I also watched Univision yesterday. The Spanish channel. It was pretty great. I’m told that Spanish actors want to be in the Telenovelas…but they really suck. Everyone is hyper-dramatic and it’s absolutely absurd. The actresses wear too much makeup and the sets are far too vibrantly colored to the point where you end up asking yourself “why is that wall lime-green?” about every 5 minutes. Another question you end up wondering depending on your Spanish proficiency is “Just what the hell is going on?” I’m okay at answering that one. I think that by the end of the half hour that my friend Nathan and I spent actively watching I was able to decently follow the plot. A professor was fired and Juan Domingo wanted to know why…Still, that didn’t explain why Juan’s mother was giving the most ridiculously intense looks ever at everyone…all the time. Maybe her daughter with too much eye-makeup was making poor life choices…or maybe I’ll never know.

I also ended up watching “The Family Stone” last night. It’s an obscenely predictable sort of girl movie. My friends Lindsey Goff and Jess Bosarge have been wheedling me and Aaron Bollinger to watch this movie for the better part of a quarter…We held out this long. Then Aaron caved. So I did too. Mostly the movie was a girl version of “Meet the Parents” the awkwardness was painful at points. Still, on the whole Aaron and I mocked it all the way through until about the last half hour…where it was actually worth watching.

The family in the movie was huge and close-knit. There was a deaf gay man. The whole family spoke sign language to him…That was probably what kept me interested during 90% of the film. Sign Language is awesome. I want to learn it.

The other thing that I recieved from this mostly hollow shell of a film (whose ending redeemed a great part of it’s crapiness) was a desire to be an old man someday. I never really wanted to be an old man because I didn’t see why it would be good. But after seeing the oldish dad in this movie…sure…I guess I could handle being an old man…and a father to boot. I’m still leaving the door open for Jesus to have me be single forever, but I’m okay with the alternative also.

The sunshine is coming out. I can see it through the window. It’s gonna be nice when it’s here for real…80 degree weather beckons to my soul. It was sunny on Monday…I got really giddy and happy. I get to go to Costa Rica this summer…It’ll hopefully be sunny all the time there. MMMmmm….Oh yes…

I went to sleep after the movie and woke up to one of my guys having gotten locked out of his room…That sucked alot. My sleep groove was definately thrown off and sleepy Carl (the angry half-awake version of me) was not happy. Then I took a midterm. Then the rest of my day carried on and I am here in the ASSP office.

One last thing. I realized while watching the Family Stone that I am into fiesty girls. One of the sisters in the movie was this really attractive and sarcasticly sassy girl…She was really cute. I guess at the end of the day I don’t mind fiesty women as long as we don’t always have to be fighting. Mostly it’s really attractive. But if it lasts all the time then I wouldn’t love it.

It gets hard to Remember these things after several days.

It’s been a few days and like I mentioned it’s harder to remember significant events in retrospect. So I’ll try to summarize.

Monday: Class, work, staff meeting fun time. After staff meeting some friends of mine and I went to the Matador in Ballard and got nachos for a ridiculously low price. My friend Taylor Clark and I ate 2 plates as a team and while they were delicious…the second plate was not necessary. I think it was worth it though.

Then I came back to my floor. It was “PA appreciation day.” I got a card signed by most of my residents with notes saying how much they appreciate me. I actually shed a tear. It feels good to know that coming down on the end of the year people think I’m doing a good job and appreciate me.

Then I watched Smallville until about 3AM. Clark Kent is a dumbass. I’m going to spoil things, so if you are an avid fan who hasn’t seen through season 5…skip this paragraph. Okay. So he finally tells the girl he loves that he’s superman. Then he proposes to her. She says yes. The only downside is that she dies. See, Clark decided he wanted to be a regular man for awhile and lost his powers. Then he died and was brought back to life through some kind of strange alien process which costs another life in exchange. She was the exchange. At the moment that they’re engaged she drives on the road and dies in an accident. Clark cannot deal with reality so he gets a magic crystal from the fortress of solitude and tries again. Well what do you know, this time he manages to let his dad be killed in the process of changing what he does. That sucked. Okay, so I know that Jonathan Kent isn’t a real person, but it hit me hard when he died. I think in general that happens whenever people talk about people they love dying (even in the completely fictional realm of Smallville).

When people die whom you love it sucks alot. I realized in the process of hating Clark’s stupidity and wishing he hadn’t killed his dad that I don’t like it when people die. I don’t like having to say goodbye to people I love. I don’t like other people having to say goodbye to people they love either. Death is not a pleasant thing. Even for those whose loved ones die of old age, the process isn’t any easier. In essence we are forced to take a step back from our experience and live in a world of hurt as a response to death.

I guess I kind of understand why we have to die. People who don’t believe in God would say it’s a part of the way nature works. Things die they say. I find that to be an unsatisfying answer. Why would death feel so unnatural if it were meant to be a part of life? Why would every part of our being rebel against this occurence if we were meant to die? I guess that would mean that at some level biologically everyone and everything wants to live. Why? If it’s meant to die, why the fuss? That seems like a silly state of affairs to me. Random nature seems to be cruel. Without God it seems as though we live for no point. We strive towards this goal of “carpe diem” of seizing the day because the days are short. We live with the goal of living the best life we can… but if at the end of the day what we put in is meaningless in the sense that we die and that is the end…what is the worth in that? We seem to have done no more than earn a state of nothingness.

Some people might say that “well, you effect others who effect others…you did something by living well.” Okay sure. Even then, I think what they are emphasizing is the fact that we’re all going to live on through others. They emphasize the parts of us that are still around to ease the pain of our passing. Even in accepting death we are forced to emphasize life to be able to view it in anything but a depressing fatalistic sense. So, this really isn’t very satisfying.

I think though that death becomes something more when you look at it as a Christian. It is not the end. Not matter how tragic or sad, death (for everyone) becomes a kind of stepping stone (or lack thereof) into eternity. Into what we are meant to experience. The bible tells us that God’s intent was not pain and death, but that these were a result of our rebellion. Death is not and was not God’s goal with creation. It was not meant to be “the way things are”. Christ tells the thief on the cross that at his passing through death he will be with Christ “in Paradise”. Saint Francis of Assisi had a prayer that ends like this:

“For it is in giving that we receive, it is in forgiving that we are forgiven, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”

It helps me to think about it this way. I don’t think it’s naive. For if in reality (to paraphrase CS Lewis) nothing on earth seems to satisfy my desire then it must be that I belong somewhere else. I am unfulfilled by the atheistic view of death. It leaves me wanting. It asks me to set aside something within me that screams with pain and anger and sadness at the event of death. Atheism asks me to become less human. It basically tells me that I should not mourn death because it’s all part of “the way things happen”. I just can’t do that.

The point of all this is to say that I’m tired of people dying. I don’t like it. What’s more I don’t like it being rationalized to me as “okay”. NO, it’s not okay. It’s really not. Death is not what we were intended to experience. I’m not saying people don’t die, I can accept that they do. I’m just saying that I will not be badgered into being “okay” with it because I don’t see that I have to.

It’s now too late to write anymore. I have a midterm tomorrow. Part 2 when I’m working at the office. You just wait.

Why does my face hurt? Because I have a headache.

Sometimes I get headaches. Well, often I get headaches. They usually choose to hide behind one or both of my eyes and throb. The result is that my face hurts. I don’t get it, but that’s what I mean if I ever say to you that “my face hurts”…either that or I got hit in the face by my brother playing Wii-baseball.

I have a headache now. I think it is because I am sick. Not deathly ill mind you, just sick enough to lose focus on many things and hate being awake. When I get sick it’s hard to focus in my Spanish class. The last time I was sick I thought I was losing the whole language because I couldn’t focus and none of the words made any sense. Today it wasn’t quite like that, but nor was it far off. I looked out the window alot.

There’s this girl in Spanish class who speaks very fast. I don’t always understand what she says because she says it so fast, but at the same time she is such a refreshing person to have in class. She’s way better than me and she’s really impressive in her linguistic skills. High five to her.

Yesterday I went and talked to Dr.Neuhouser about Mennonites. It was great. Firstly, the mennonites do this thing called ” the Mennonite Central Committee” it’s their international development and relief arm. 3 year committments in other countries. They have a program in Colombia that focuses on helping the victims of the 3 way civil war that’s happening there. I am interested. A man named Tony Campolo came on campus Wednesday night and talked about gaining authority (people do what you say because they want to) through radical acts of service. I was so excited that someone was echoing my thoughts already. Not that I desire authority, but rather the service part. I thought about MCC and what they do and what I want to do and what Tony was saying and I told God “Here I am! Send me!” for about 5 minutes straight. He just might.

That’s something that I wonder about. I want to do this. I want to do MCC’s program in Colombia after college. It scares me a little though. Several reasons:

1) I could die. I am not scared of death, but at the same time it’s not as though I want to hang out with it and buy it icecream. Working with Mennonites means pacifism. I guess I can deal with that, though it does tend to lend itself to the distinct possibility of letting someone kill me rather than kill them first.

2) It may take me awhile to find a woman who is interested in long-term sorts of relationship with me if I do this…I guess that’s short-sighted and not very dependent on Jesus, but it’s hard when what I want in life and what the standard American Christian woman wants in life are so different. Think about it. What do girls really want from men? Companionship? Yes. But also the majority of them value security too. I don’t think they’ll get a nice house in a suburb with a husband who wears a suit and tie to work in who I am. I doubt many father-in-laws are going to be wicked pumped about a poor man who has no goal of living in a huge house and living the safe American dream. The American dream is not mine.

3) 3 years is a long time away from people I love.

Anyhow, that’s what I thinkin’ about lately in that sense.

More on Mennonites. According to Dr.Neuhouser the mennonite church is all about congregations. The overall denomination leaders can’t tell everyone what to believe. The congregations have to decide based on what the holy spirit is telling them. Then they do stuff. Same with the bible. The pastor doesn’t say what it says. They believe you need the community to do it. So everyone reads it and somehow the pastor preaches on what they decided. That’s pretty money right there. My friend Rick said, “that’s annoying.” In the sense that it’s annoying that one person doesn’t tell them what to do, but in all honesty…I love it. It came out of the reformation when the protestants were trying to deny that tradition was what determined belief n’stuff. They said “Sola Scritura” (only Scripture), but their scripture was interpreted by one man just as much as the catholics. The catholics had the pope. The protestant denominations had Calvin, Luther, and Zwingli. Hmmm….I like Mennonites.

Also, the mennonites don’t kill people. They’re pacifists. I like that. I don’t get the concept of “quit killing people or I’ll kill you.” It seems like they agree.

The last thing we talked about was the Mennonites view of scripture. For them the central part of the bible is the gospels (Jesus). the way they view scripture is that all of scripture is interpreted through Christ. So, you don’t read Moses to understand Jesus. You read Jesus to understand Moses. It’s kinda hard to wrap your mind around, but I like it alot. So for Mennonites, Paul doesn’t interpret Jesus. Jesus interprets Paul. Fun stuff. Thanks to Dr.Neuhouser.

Last thing before I take a nap before dinner. Sometimes people clap after praise music. Why do you do that? I don’t get it. Unless you’re clapping for Jesus, you’re confusing me. The people playing music may be good. Yes. I agree. But why are they playing music? Is it to put on a good show or is it to bring glory to God and bring people to a place of worship? I think the second one, or at least I would hope so. When we clap for them what are we saying? Perhaps we’re thanking them, but it feels less like that. It feels more like we’re getting done with praising God and then starting to praise people. Yes they have amazing talents and gifts. Tell them they played well after the service. It’s not about them, or me, or you. It’s about Jesus. Clap for Him if you’re gonna clap. I don’t like that either because He’s not putting on a show, but still it’s better than clapping for the people playing praise music. Clapping for them is like getting a present from your mom at Christmas that is handed to you by your uncle and then saying thank you to your uncle. It’s rude. Your uncle gave you the gift directly, but he didn’t buy it.