Déardaoin, Aibreán 27, 2006

What the crap...

I really want to say somthing about how high gas prices are right now. The whole situation really just makes me angry. I'm paying 3.15 per gallon, which makes me angry. The people we've put in charge are currently using this to try and get re elected, which makes me angry. More importantly the people who are in charge are completly impotent to do anything but argue about ways that might fix this problem. They bicker, and moan, and sit on there own hands instead of helping each other reach a common ground on the subject. Now I know that they don't have to pay for their gas, I pay for their gas, so why should they care? Well I care, dang it, I care! FIX THE PROBLEM! I'M PAYING YOU TO FIX THE PROBLEM! WHY HAVN'T YOU FIXED THE PROBLEM! So, now that I've said that...
This may be the most selfish thing that I've every said...but I'm going to say it anyway. I really don't like it that I don't sing as much as I think I should at Church. I hate that I sing melody when ever Tim calls me down to sing the praise choruses, I never sing the first tenor line. I wouldn't care except for the fact that I am a first tenor. What I'm singing is literally destroying my voice. Everytime I have had a solo is been, a nice, rather boring song, that doesn't fit my voice because it's to low. I've been passed over again for a solo in choir, again. I mean...your paying me to do somthing of these things right? That's why I'm here? And I really don't want to conduct the piece that we did in october, but for some reason are going to do again in two weeks. What's the point in that? I can't do anything with it, they already know the piece, they've done it a dozen time's I'm sure, they won't watch or react even if they do. I'll do it anyway, and I'll do everything that I can do with it. A word out there to all music students, assistants or otherwise: Never let the director teach the choir your piece, because then it will sound like he wants it, and not like you want it.
So yeah...maybe I am selfish, but I needed to get this out. Maybe next time I'll talk about somthing better...more important...somthing less self-aborbed. I'm just angry and annoyed is all. So...I was a good day, I'm just stuck here for right now. Talk to me tomorrow.

Dé Máirt, Aibreán 11, 2006

The Coin...

"'Show me a denarious. Whose portrait and inscription are on it?'
'Caesar's,' they replied.
He said to them, 'Then give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's.'
Luke 20: 24, 25

I remember explicitly the first time I heard this piece of scripture. I was being taught a lesson on finances, taxes, and tithing by my mom. She was making me give up some of my allowance for tithe for the first time, and I really didn't appreciate the effort. I stood there after my mom asked me to do this and explain why we do it, telling me that the Bible says we should give 10 percent back to God. Since I was maybe nine or ten at the time, if the Bible said it it was ok with me, even if I didn't quite understand why God wanted or needed my money. Maybe He needed some new underwear, I wasn't really sure. What I did know is that the government had no real need for my money. I told my mom this, and she smiled and calmly opened her Bible to this passage and explained it to me saying that we pay taxes because that's what Jesus said to do. The money obviously came from the government in the first place, so if they wanted it so badly they could have it back.

Maybe you have the same kind of experience with this passage, maybe not, but I think we all somewhere along the line ended up with the same conclusion. "Pay your taxes, cause Jesus said so." We can even support it with what Paul tells us to do in Romans 13:1 and the writer of Hebrews 13:17. It's fairly conclusive that Jesus told us to pay our taxes...Or I thought so until this Sunday.

This past Sunday the President of the Center for Judaic-Christian Studies in Dayton, Ohio gave the message. He spoke of the Triuphal Entry, of people praising Christ as he humbly rides in of a donkey, He quickly pointed that the crowd that would shout for his death in just a few days was not the same crowd that welcomed him to Jerusalem. "Those, he said, would still be in bed in those early morning hours after they had enjoyed the Passover meal. The crowd condemning Christ was most likely temple guards and people loyal to the ruling powers." WE then moved to our main passage. He said many of the same things that I've just said but then turned and said that this wasn't Christ's point at all.

The pharisees have been backed into a wall here by Jesus and they are searching for any reason to get rid of him. He's just told the parable of the Tenants (Lk 20:9-19). The People are appalled that the obvious subject of the parable, the Pharisees, would be reviled by God and their authority taken away. Yet Jesus reminds then that the Psalmist prophesied "the stone the builders rejected has become the capstone." (118:22) The teachers of the law and the chief priests are furious but know that to arrest Jesus out right would insight a riot so they attempt to trap him with a political question. They ask him whether or not it is lawful to pay taxes to the Roman government. Jesus realizing what is going on asks them for a denarius. The question you should be asking at this point is why didn't he just take one his own out of his pockets? The answer is simple...He didn't have one. Exodus 20:4 "You shall not make for yourself and idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below." It was unlawful for Jesus to have in his possession something with someone else's image on it. The fact that he asks for one, and receives one from some one associated with the temple let alone a teacher of the law or a high priest is down right scandalous.

The Denarius has on one side of it a picture of the Roman emperor, Tiberious in this case, which would be bad enough, but Mr. Pryor revealed to us that on the opposite side would have been an inscription, "Tiberious Caesar son of the DEVINE Augustus." Not only is this coin a symbol of roman oppression to the Jewish people it is an artifact of Roman religion. In essence an idol, forbidden by Jewish law, and it was in the possession of the temple.

When Christ asks whose picture is on the coin he very subtly references the creation account where God says, "let Us make man in Our own image." This is why the passage is so important. Christ quickly places ownership on two things in this picture, the coin and man. He tell them that if the coin is created in Caerar's, who thinks himself divine, image then give it back to Caesar, but you are created in MY image. We are to give back to God what is God's by right of creation, ourselves. The taxes are not important, give them what they gave to you in the first place. What is important is what you've done with your heart, your mind, your soul. By having the coin in their possession they are breaking the same laws they are supposed to teach and uphold in others, where is their mind, where is their heart, their soul?

We so often attempt to live our lives like the Pharisees where trying to live theirs, pious to the people who matter. On Sunday we raise our palm branches and cry "Hosanna in the highest! Blessed be your Name!," but as the week moves on we turn and say "Hail Caesar!" by what we have in our pockets. Christ told us that we cannot serve to masters, that eventually we would learn to love the one and despise the other. The coin seems like such a simple thing, but it held so much significance in the long run. This wasn't a social commentary on the good or ill of taxes, it was a revelation of moral truth to those who thought they had it all together. These men where so sure that they were doing the right thing, that Jesus was just trying to insight the people against them, that they missed the truth of his message. Love came to earth to save them, but all they could see was the power slipping out of there hands.

Déardaoin, Aibreán 06, 2006

my simple prayer...

"My daddy's in Russia, so you're my daddy every Wednesday."

You know, even my hard, sarcastic, and way to often cynical heart can be melted. Especially when Katya, hugs me as whispers that in my ear. I've never been so honored in my life, never so scared. I never wanted so badly to be a father until I heard that whisper. I want so badly to live up to the standard that my dad has set for me, to be a man equally passionate about his family, his wife, and his God. I know no greater challenge. I just pray I'm man enough to live up too it... and that I get the chance to try.

God if you never bless me with a wife I will be fine as long as you always bless me with children.


Dé Céadaoin, Aibreán 05, 2006

lists of seven...

Liz I'm doing this all at once. For anyone else who might be wondering. My great, Canadian, short friend Elizabeth Stewart (all of which are quite lovely characteristics btw) tagged me to do some list of seven. So lists of seven it shall be. I love a challenge. Let the trial of brevity commence.

7 things I would like to do before I die:
1. Sky dive
2. Scuba dive
3. Learn Russian, French, and Gaelic
4. Learn to Fly
5. Hike the Appalachian Trail (all of it, though maybe not at one time)
6. Get really good at skiing
7. Read the compelet works of C.S. Lewis

7 things I cannot do:
1. Have a serious conversation with Dan Ankney
2. Go easy on myself
3. Go through a day with out listening to or making music
4. Talk coherently before 10am without coffee
5. Be nice
6. Not be sarcastic
7. not laugh in a days time

7 things I say most often
1. wow (normally said after someone else says somthing completly idiotic)
2. sweet as (there no second s get your minds out of the gutter and ask me)
3. wicked sick
4. You got that? you ok? Don't hurt yourself... (normally after someone fail to put together a simple english sentence, see number 6 in the previous list)
5. I win!!
6. Yeah, you suck.
7. I don't care. (my personal favorite. It can be applied to anything, though my favorite is when someone, like Kelly or Jeremy huff, tells me that that they hate me.)

7 place you might like to visit before you die
1. Ireland
2. Denali in Alaska
3. Russia
4. Salzburg, Austria
5. Paris, France
6. Thailand
7. Rome, Italy

7 things I hate:
1. People who talk even though they have no idea what they are talking about.
2. People how carry out War in the name of God.
3. Slow drivers
4. People who automatically assume they are right
5. Any guy who can't keep his word, has no sence of honor or what it means to be a gentleman, and treats women like trash
6. The idea that getting drunk is a way of having a good time.
7. People who can't laugh at the absrudity in their own life, including their faith.

7 activities I enjoy doing
1. Hiking/camping
2. Skiing
3. Reading
4. Singing, or really anything to do with music
5. Writing in my blog
6. Talking to friends over coffee
7. Video games

7 friends you want to do this list of sevens
1. Amy, because I'm pretty sure you're the only person who still reads this, besides liz.
2. Morty, but he won't.
3. Allison, but I know she's busy
4. Erica, but I doubt she'll read this...and she doesn't have a blog that I know of.
5. Kinky, but she probably won't read this either.
6. Jones...not that he'd be able to stop at seven.
7. Andrea, though again, I'm pretty sure she doesn't read this.
8. Any random reader who may like to enlighten me to his or her presence.

So there you go. 49 things you probably never would have guessed about me...well, maybe not. At the very least they are 49 things that you never really ever wanted to know in the first place. Here's hoping I hear back from at least some of you. If it works maybe I'll start writing about you guys more often, then I'll hear from you more...

Dé Luain, Aibreán 03, 2006

Alone in the dark...

This is becoming a disturbing trend. Last thursday I sent another 4 and a half hours in a car just so I could get to a wedding. Now I know this soulds rather benine, and it is except for the fact that I didn't leave until 11pm (and that after being up since 8am). It's rough driving through the night, especially when I don't have Amy to talk to and make fun of the signs for Schenectady. Now I'm not complaining. I could have easily left early on friday and made it to the rehearsal just fine, but there were other things that I needed/wanted to do while I was home. Like I said, this is becoming a rather disturbing trend with me and weddings. Let me just give a run down:
John and Jennie Gregory - Traved some 2,400+ miles over four days, alone in my car.
Nate and Maria Lail - After traveling from hanover, PA to marion. I traveled about 1000 miles in 24 hours (to Eau Claire and back to marion).
Steve and Amy Kannel - Hanover to Bryan, OH (I think that's were I was). Three days, stopped in Marion on the way back...not exactly the same direction. aproximatly three weeks after Nate and Maria's wedding.
Keith and Hidie Bortner - this was last thursday.
Lets face it, I love you guys and would drive to Antarctica if that's where you were getting married, nobody get any funny ideas.
Alone as I was, my mind, like normal, started to run away with me. Fortunatly it can't go far becuase I'm in my car...right. Anyway, I started thinking about all of my late nights, which started me thinking about the summer I traveled with BK, and it was all down hill from there. No, it was great for a chance to remember thinks I havn't thought of in a while. People I haven't thought of. It was great remembering everything from that summer on the road. The odd thing was that I found my pictures from that summer completly by accident on saturday. I put some faces to names and memories that I had gone through and remember things that I had completly forgotten until I saw the picture. Even so there were a few pictures that just drew blanks. I'm sure they were important at the moment, but I couldn't for the life of me remember what they were suppposed to be. So, contrary to the rather foreboding title of this blog it's a rather happy one. One of my great friends from my home church got married, I got to be there, a little worst for wear but I was there, and as I sat in the dark speeding toward somthing that has been known to throw me into introspective melancholy I remembered what I truly consider one of the best spent three months of my life. I would live them over in a heart beat. Jon, Amy, Steph, Tim, and Jon (Peter) I don't know if I ever thanked you for laughing at me (like when I got pulled over and played "who sir? Me sir?" with the cop), being angry at me, letting me laugh with you (Get Down, Jaun Carlos!!), keeping me a wake, keeping me going, letting me drive all the time (even if you didn't like sitting shotgun with me, Pete), generally having a little fun (like convicing the whole of East Michigan Family camp that I was from Ireland), and letting me laugh at you (why else would you spill stuff all over yourself every time you ate?). It was great reminiscing even if I was alone in my car. Where else would I be? Everyone knows that "I should be the one behind the wheel."