Dé Sathairn, Samhain 24, 2007

What Church should be...

I don't often have the answer that question. Normally my idea of "church" is vague and even I couldn't tell you what I really think it should be, but this morning it hit me. I've been up all night, I'm exhausted, I've got great news that I should be writing about, but what I just experienced was just too good. We had a youth all-nighter last night, it was fun but I don't want to do another one for a long time. This morning Mark(our youth pastor), Ben, and I, the three leaders for the evening, just started talking. The conversation was one that was long overdue for me. We talked about the church, what we liked, what we didn't like, but eventually the topic changed to theology, actually the question of Free will. It was good, questions firing back and forth, answers to try and support the statements that we were making. We referenced Scripture, Old and New Testaments, we didn't site anything outside of scripture actually. It really exemplified "working out your faith in fear and trembling." It reminded me of the conversations I would have at school with Allison, Morty, Jones, Erica, Jon, Jeff, and all the rest. I never felt like I needed to go to church, because we talked about our faith. We questioned each other, supported each other. I missed that...That's what church is supposed to be.

Dé Sathairn, Samhain 10, 2007


Have you ever felt like your blowing something completely out of proportion? I know that I have a habit of doing that, and while I don't like I know that it's a part of me and I've come to know the signs of when I'm doing it. It's the price I pay for trying to be a practical romantic. In any case the particular situation doesn't matter...or at least I'm not going to be specific about it. This time I just can't tell. I can't decide if this is just my emotions getting the best of me or if I'm truly upset over this, and then I don't know what I want to do about it even if this is something that is real and not just some over blow fantasy I've created in my mind. There's not much to be said about situations you create in your mind in the Bible at least I've not found any. Though I guess it falls under the category of leaving all things to Christ and not worrying...I guess. That doesn't make me feel much better about the whole thing. I don't mean to sound unfaithful about this, but...I can't help this feeling right now. I'm just praying that if I can't come to a good decision that at the very least it doesn't blow up in my face...I can't have this blow up in my face.

Déardaoin, Deireadh Fómhair 25, 2007

Harmonious Dischord...

There's nothing quite like trying to lead worship for a youth group. The blank faces, the people talking right in front of you, the adults sitting in the back waiting for everything else to get going, the pastors kid who stares back defiantly daring you to make him do anything. I normally don't care. Normally I just let it slip off my back. Normally I can just ignore it. Tonight though...tonight I'm sure that youth group would exist with out the music. It did before, and there wouldn't be anything different even know. I'm just disappointed is all. I'm not up there to give a concert, and if I was I'd treat it differently. Part of me thinks that maybe I should. Maybe I should treat it like a mini concert...but then I'm playing for them, and I frankly don't care what they think. None of them have very good taste...average high schooler musical taste. No I won't make it a mini concert. It's just frustrating, completely dis hearting, and it makes me wring their fat little necks. They want a mic in front of them, but they won't sing when there out there looking at you. They want to play, and confront you about not calling them and telling them about practices, but they don't show up for youth group...ever. They say they don't sing because they don't know the words, but when the words are put up in front of them they still just stare back at you like you just spit in their food.

I don't know what I can do. I don't know if I want to do anything. I don't know if I can. This is only temporary, but part of me would like to leave something behind. The other part of me wants to do something so shocking that it's scars the lot of them for life. There's this idiotic dichotomy I find in my self. The musician what's praise, for someone to tell him that what he does is good and worth listening too, and for people to enjoy him music. Because the music is apart of him, and to not like the music is to hate him. Then there's the servant...I want nothing more that to do my best, and to lead and play to the best of my ability because I'm doing this for God and the people in front of me. And who cares if they like the music or not because it's not fore them, the music is simply the catalyst for something higher. Bull. The music is the ultimate. It is the conduit for emotion, and in itself has life and breath and can survive beyond the simple rudimentary forms in which the so called pop stars find there fame. Taste via popularity, pure music prostituted into a form that is less than it was ever meant to be. Yes I am an elitist, yes I do think that I have a better ear than the average person out there...

This is my problem. The Musician and the Servant, the two constantly colliding never truly finding common ground. This is my dilemma. Constantly fighting off pride, and trying desperately to stay with in His will. Every time someone stares blankly, every time they refuse to sing, I can't stand it. I just...This is who I am.

Dé Sathairn, Deireadh Fómhair 06, 2007

Thinking hard. sometimes some thing's got to give. I'm just not sure what.

Dé Domhnaigh, Meán Fómhair 16, 2007


I'm nervous...really nervous. ask me later...


Dé hAoine, Iúil 20, 2007

The things I hear...

The only thing better than chocolate is...bacon.

I didn't say this, but truer words have never been uttered. I love bacon.

Dé Céadaoin, Iúil 18, 2007

Waiting...and other things that I suck at...

I'm in a musical. I doubt that there's a single person who might just read this that actually knows that. I'm not complaining, there's no reason you would know. I've not written about it up until now because...well I haven't, so deal with it. I've been at practice almost every single night for the past two weeks and thankfully it's coming together. Otherwise I'd be pissed right now. It really is going well, and it'll be a wonderful performance. Actually we only have about one more week before opening night. I'd invite you but...well the last time I checked no one who reads this lives anywhere near me. But that's what I've been doing with my time lately. Nothing major, still unemployed, still doing everything for nothing, still loving it for the most part, still wondering why in the world I want to be close to people I never get to see. I really do. It bothers me so much that I let someone so far a way bother me so much, and it bothers me even more that I try not to think about it. But you know, it's the way it's going to be and there's not really anything I can do about it right now. In all likelihood there will never be anything I can truly "do" about it. So...yeah...
It's nice to be told that your someone's favorite from time to time. One of the girls in the musical told me that as I was pulling out in my car at the end of practice. I'm pretty sure she was joking around with me, we'd been joking around earlier, but it's was still nice to hear the words. The musical is Titanic, by the way. Nothing to do with Leo and Kate. I remember when a touring company came and performed it at IWU, well I remember being annoyed that that the only decent song in the entire show was sung by the telegraph operator's to his telegraph machine. I was certainly not impressed, but now that I've heard the music and have spent time with the characters I love the show. It's great music, and I love my character, I'm Thomas Andrews designer and builder of Titanic. It'll be great wish you could come.

Dé Luain, Meitheamh 04, 2007

the things I hear...

they're simple phrases, but none the less mountains. mole hills in the reality of the world, but mountains in my tired mind. Things I wish I had never heard, but will never forget. the things I've heard bring comfort. They bring pain and frustration in sweet tones. enticing and drawing me close I listen low. forgetting pasts, remembering futures, and never realizing the present. the normal oddities cloud my view. gone in between the phrase I see was I want to hear and remember only those things I'm never told. They're simple phrases, but none the less mountains. If could rise above these mole hills, I might be a better man. They're simple phrases.


Dé Sathairn, Meitheamh 02, 2007

Pray for rain...

I sat outside and waited for the rain to come tonight. It's an awesome thing to sit and watch a storm roll in. I remember a long time ago, back before I had bad thoughts about church camp, I stood on the ballfields at camp and watched a storm roll over the mountain and into the valley that the camp was situated in. There are two storms that I remember from my times at camp. This one came over the mountain like a spear. A pointed triangle of a storm pushing up and over the mountain and then spreading out through the valley. I got drenched walking back to the main building. I sat and watched the rain fall until they called us for dinner. I love watching the rain fall. It's the only thing that I've found that is as soothing to me as watching waves roll in from the ocean. Tonight I waited. I waited because I knew it would come. There was no dramatic sky, no long roll of thunder, just a breeze. I sat there and listened for it to come over the house, but it didn't come, at least not from over the house. It happened with out me realizing it, sounding like wind through the trees a the edge of the yard. It came up through the yard, and then it was there. The rain I was waiting for. I took my book inside, came back out and sat until it passed. It was only 15 minutes or so, but it's a huge thing just to sit and watch the rain.

I've been worried about how things are going to work out. I'm not sure how this whole thing is going to work out, and the best plan that I have isn't going to work itself out for another five years or more. I'm not sure I'm happy about this, but I am going to stick with it. But I'm worried, I worry a lot about a lot of things, but not very often about myself. When I worry I start to think to much. I over analyze and scrutinize every little detail of what's going on. Every little conversation, the length, the subject or lack of subject, and who it was with. I'll blow them out of proportion and come to conclusions and assumptions that never had a chance of existing. Then the rain came from somewhere unexpected. I almost missed it, and I heard that voice inside my head. Sometimes it's the calm before the storm that's important, but sometimes you need the rain. Even when you know what's coming you may never know where it's coming from. I love the rain.

Dé Luain, Bealtaine 28, 2007

Not enough coffee...

I was excited about playing this morning, I really was. It had been a while since I had gotten to play my electric, and was looking forward to playing. If only things would have gone well, somethings are just amazing certainties. Problems with the Churches sound system are one of mine. The group hadn't been able to practice the week before, the room just wasn't available, so we met at eight this morning. I'm glad that I stopped long enough to grab a cup of coffee, because I was about to need it. It took me too long to set up my cords and effect boxes, so I didn't have any time to simply try things out again and make sure everything was sounding correctly. I had to borrow a chord from the back because I didn't have my second one. I miss tuned one string on my guitar which through off the tuning, but not enough for me to know that it was out of tune right away. I was borrowing an amp that I would have rather not used...and I actually didn't. I finished set up without realizing any of this. I started playing at once realizing that my guitar was not playing what it should tone wise, and for that matter the sound coming out is sporadic and horrible. I'm not happy, and I'm confused. I assumed, because I needed to(desperately needed too), that there is something wrong with the amp. I switched aways from the amp and ran directly into the system, praying that this simple fix was all that was needed...it wasn't. I picked up the closest direct box and plugged in. Nothing, no sound, no nothing. My dad, whose thankfully the sound man for the service, quickly came up to give me a hand. I told the leader to just start and keep going, and that I would pick up when I could. Dad quickly flushed out the problem, the other end of the cord never got plugged into the system, I sighed heavily. Not happy but appeased. I strum...sporadic and fuzzy...getting annoyed. I checked all of my lines, no response through the system. Strum one more time...accidentally touching the pickups, response. Stunned and trying again, same response...beyond angry. Dad takes guitar before I break it (literally). I spent the next ten minuets hooking up someone else's guitar praying hard that it wouldn't work, it didn't. Now I'm angry that I've wasted so much time switching guitars. Dad tells me that the chord I picked up wasn't working. I stare blankly, wondering why I'm learning this now. I don't remember saying anything out loud, and I hope that didn't, I pray that I didn't. No one said anything, but they could have been just being polite. I reattach my guitar, change out the lines two more times before finding the last working free line on the stage. With everything finally set, I notice that the one string is still out, I fix it. I let off the bypass and strum hoping to hear my guitar...nothing. Dad had changed the line I was connected to, and didn't tell the guy at the soundboard. Five more minuets and one button later I finally hear my guitar. So with one song left to practice I was set to go. Not enough coffee in the world, no where near enough coffee for that.

My morning. I wish I could give it back. I thought about it, and all I really needed to do was change on line and I would have been fine, but it was the sequence of events that set me off. I normally have a tight reign on temper, but this morning...I'm just happy I had a reign on my tongue. I don't feel good about it, I'm embarrassed by it. I was beyond frustrated, beyond angry, and that my dad had to take my guitar from my hands is just embarrassing. It wasn't a proud moment to be sure. I just couldn't help being angry at what happened, and how simply it could have been solved. I was able to spend time in prayer before we started, and just asked God to settle my mind and focus on Him, and thankfully he did. But now, at the end of the day, I remember what happened. I don't have a good lesson from all of this. In certain respects I'm ashamed of how I reacted and in others I know I acted correctly. I think that this is one of those days where drawing even is a win.

Dé hAoine, Bealtaine 25, 2007

The Man in the Shadows...

I remember a moment a long time ago when I was in maybe seventh grade. The memory is actually kind of fuzzy, but there are certain things leading up to it that make the feelings genuine. I was standing on the outside of the roller rink, arms across my chest, slight smile on my face. I was watching a friend of my dancing with his new girlfriend. You see I had been helping him get in good with this girl for the past two weeks. Telling him what to say, talking to her for him, all the kid things that middle schoolers do when they like someone else. I didn't mind doing this, I liked it actually. There was always something about helping my friends that I enjoyed greatly. Having the chance to do this just made me happy, and standing there alone in the dark I felt happy. I've always preferred to be off in the shadows, leading from the side. No matter how much time I spend out front I'll never feel as good as when I'm off to the side in the shadows.

Things haven't been going well lately. I won't be going to grad school in the fall like I had hoped. I was rejected from all of the schools that I applied to, and there isn't much chance of me getting in under anything else for the fall. On top of this I lost my job. I've taken this as a positive thing, I'm looking for a church...or anything really, though I'd prefer a church. I've sent my resume out to a few places, and while I've not really heard back from anyone (who's offering a job that I'd be interested in) I'm trying to be patient and make the best use of my time. There's a part of me that would really like to stay in my area for a while. It's been seven years since I've started moving and I've not stayed put for more that nine months at a time. I'd like to not move for a while. I've been looking at what I would need to do to get involved with Wycliffe Bible Translators as an Ethnomusicologist. They have some basic grad level classes that I could take, but by all accounts I think it would take at least five years to do the classes, if not just go for a full degree, which would be better, and work off enough of the debt to be eligible to go with them. I'm not a patient person, but it's a goal. But for right now I could use a few good things to happen to me, a church in the area would be nice...I think I'll pray for that. The other things seem like too much of a miracle to ask for right now.

When I was in high school I used used to be in the Show Choir. I loved it, and we were good. I'll probably spend a good part of tomorrow looking for a tape of our last performance my senior year. I'd love to see it again, but on the other hand I'll probably watch it and hate it. I'll take that chance though, but first I have to find it. I've been thinking about this because yesterday I went to Friends and Family night. Friends and Family night is the Show Choir's very last performance. The Director invites all of the alumni and family from the past groups to come and see the years last show and to come up and attempt to sing the last song, which has been the same for the last 10 years. It's been seven since I graduated and Seven since I sang that song...I didn't remember any of it. Besides that there were only two people there that I was in show choir with, both underclassmen. One was a guy, guy recognized me before I did him. The second was the one person I wished would be there. She was actually my last "crush" from high school, a great friend, and one of the few people I managed to keep in touch with after I left for college...at least for a little while. We lost touch sometime during my sophomore year, like I did with everyone. We talked once or twice after that, but eventually the silence that became my relationship from high school took this one as well. When I came back to the area I heard that she was working at the school, so I sent her and email and even tried to stop in and see her. I never heard back from her. I kind of chalked it up to not receiving my email, and me just missing her. Though my second attempt to stop by was less encouraging. I saw her for a second, walking towards me, then she turned quickly and walked the other way. I decided not to follow. Before I go on, my intentions here were simply to reconnect with an old friend and nothing more. Whatever my feelings had been, they no longer are. They quickly left after I left for school. Yesterday I didn't notice her until we went up to sing the last song. There was quick recognition of who I was, by several of the guys. One saying something about "Big Combs." it was the easiest way to differentiate between me and my brother my senior year. Actually he was "Little Combs" and I was just "Combs," but that's not important. I saw her, and she saw me, but I didn't have any time to say anything to her. We knew that each other were there. As soon as the program ended I got up to talk to her, but she was gone before I got the chance.

I'm not sure how I feel about that. I've had friendships that fizzle. There are people that I used to talk to at length that I don't really say more than two words to now, but it's expected. I didn't think there would be jumping for joy or any great conversation, but she didn't even say hello. it makes me wonder if I might have offended her, or made her angry. I really wonder. We did a lot of things together when I was in high school, and to not even acknowledge my existence. I'm not angry, just confused and a little hurt. It's not been a good month. I really feel like I'm living in the shadows, in more ways that one.


Dé Sathairn, Aibreán 14, 2007

Words in the Night...

I've always been a night owl. That's when I do my best thinking. Things just seem to come to me after 8pm, and the later it is the better and easier. That's why I have post-its lying around everywhere. Some people use tape recorders, I can't stand the sound of my own voice so I have post-its. That's the premise for the following, written about 1.30am. It kind of woke me up.

a sideways dance
whose partners have lost the way
Blinded by feelings,
but feeling so strongly
no other direction but forward
I can but obey.
And kneeling down
am greeted with silence
and empty faces
Hold poverty to the Soul
and laugh
and scorn
and reason not
Reason is consumed in passion
and passion
Delivers us blind
and leads me
to my own slaughter at my own hands
It would be better to be alone,
but primal striving never ceasing leads me
onward toward you
Never ending struggle
never ending pain
all acceptable
but silent confusion
leaves me here
cold, Alone
and without."
1.30am 4/13/07


Dé hAoine, Aibreán 13, 2007

signifying nothing...

when you really get down to it, you can either laugh or you can cry. I've never really liked to cry...I guess that's why everything ends up as a joke to me.

Dé Luain, Aibreán 09, 2007

Awe, isn't that cute...

At lunch today I witnessed something that really interests me. I sat across the way from a middle aged guy with two kids, one not more than six months old, with him. When he went to leave, the waitress told him that she wouldn't charge him for his oldest child's meal. It was interesting to me to see all this take place. The single man with kids is the true enigma of the modern age. I would really question anyone who would look at a man like that and wonder about the situation that he was in, how he got to that point, and not feel sorry for him. Now I am assuming, and most likely wrongly, that the man that I saw was single, but for the sake of curiosity I let myself run with it. We say we're moving past the old stereotypes, but I think if we're truly honest with ourselves we would acknowledge that we aren't. For instance, if it had been a single women, with those two kids what would your true reaction be? Especially when the baby started crying? Would you truly be sympathetic or would your guy reaction be something more like, "if she had only..." As I sat there and watched it all pan out I really started wonder about my reactions. I wondered about how society still reacts to the old faux paux (please don't correct my French...unless you're French, then by all means please correct me) we support it on t.v., but in the end we deplore the outcome.

If you really think about it we react completely different to a single man with a child then we would to a single women with a child. Now of course I see it differently, and you'd expect for me to see it differently. I'm still single and still hold on to the lone wolf, alfa male mentality that I've grown accustom to, and even though I say I want kids it's normally expressed as "some day" and certainly not right now. The thing is that that is still a very common perception of a guy, and so to see one of us single and with kids you start to assume the worst. It's out of the norm, women are immediately attached to a man with kids. That's something I completely don't understand. I'm sure it's thoughts of family, and the idea that it's less painful to just marry a man with kids, and possibly a bit of sympathy for the man. Mean while every other single guy is keeping his distance, afraid that it might be some disease that we could catch. We see the single father and are afraid. We feel sorry for the guy. It's kind of like seeing an old dog, you feel sorry because he can't do the things he wants to do anymore.

Is it the same for single women? I've always assumed that it was. Actually I believe that it's worse for single women. Guys certainly are biased against them, historically anyway and even now. I don't really have a direction for this post. It was simply a series of thought I had at lunch and will subsequently be forgotten tomorrow. I just think it strange that in this thoroughly modern world that we profess to be living in that this basic definition between the sexes still stands so strongly. Just curious...

Déardaoin, Aibreán 05, 2007

no title...

I'm going to do this here because I need to prepare for tomorrow.

"And the Spirit of the LORD is upon me,
Because He has anointed me
to preach gospel to the poor.
He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captivities
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."
Luke 4: 18-19
Christ's mission here on Earth. That's it.

Two points:
"To bind up the broken hearted"
John 19: 25-27
"Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, "Dear woman, here is your son," and to the disciple, "Here is your mother." From that time on, this disciple took her into his home."
Christ came to Earth to heal the brokenness caused by sin, but we would be amiss to believe that his only thought was of wholeness for our souls. Brokenness and separation cause pain, and Christ knew that those who love him were watching him die on the cross. He knew that he was leaving, and that their were obligations still that needed taking care of. When Christ looked down, he saw the women that nursed him has a child, held him when he cried, raised him, and loved him even to the end. He loved Mary, his mother, and knew that she needed to be taken care of. Even in a time of greatest pain Christ thought were on the welfare of others. Even on the cross, He sought to heal the hurt he knew his death would cause.

"To release the oppressed."
Matt. 27: 50-53
"And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people."

Freedom from oppression. We've looked at some of the many things that oppress us, we've seen how Christ frees us from oppression, but here we see a final act of release. When sin was introduced into the world, God made a way for us to become close to him, to release the sin from our lives. God set in motion a system of sacrifice, a religion, but no matter how much blood we spilt we would never be able to become close to God. So God became close to us. He came down and presented himself as one last blood sacrifice. With the sacrifice complete there was no longer a need for the rules and legality of religion. We were free to accept Christ as our sacrifice and come and meet God face to face. In the temple the curtain separated the inner temple from the Holy of Holies. It was the Law that only one priest could enter the Holy of Holies, the place where God was said to dwell, but at the death of Christ God ripped the curtain in two from top to bottom so that there would be no doubt. Now there would nothing that kept man from God, but man.


Dé Luain, Márta 26, 2007

Put to shame...again

He continues to amaze me. Not Steve Harvey, God. No introduction necissary, but we can't help but give one.

Pungent Gratitude

I've not done this is a long time, and I'm past due. no excuses...no good ones anyway.

  1. An absolutely gorgeous spring day...even when I'm stuck inside.
  2. Meeting youth a Starbucks and connecting with them a little further.
  3. A youth lesson sprung on me at the last minuet, that I didn't see until an hour before presenting it, that went absolutely swimmingly.
  4. Meetings with a youth pastor who's become a friend.
  5. Practice time.
  6. A new computer that's more than I could have asked for, and a way to pay for it.
  7. Confidence that small things like breaking a string, won't effect my worship leading.
  8. Finally finding a song that all the youth know, like, and are willing to sing.
  9. Seeing Audio Adrenaline in concert one last time.
  10. Being completely blessed and being able to worship with all my heart.
  11. Small conversations with small implications
  12. Feeling that in the grand scheme of this, some of all of this really matters.
  13. Friends who support me, and correct me even though their not with me.
  14. The chance to step up and be the man God wants me to be, and succeeding
  15. Experiencing God's nature, though His creation, even if it's just on t.v.
  16. Kid's engaging in a lesson and making it fun.
  17. Having a job, even if I didn't look forward to going to it this morning.
  18. Skiing with my dad...skiing in general actually.
  19. Sudden strength, quite compassion, and knowing that none of it was me.
  20. The ability to love, even when it's not returned.
  21. Sitting outside and watching nature do it's thing.
  22. Being able to laugh...even when it's at myself.

The list could go on, and most of this is just from the last couple of days. Why pungent? Mostly because I like the word. There's so much in my life that I'm grateful for that in a way it permeates through all aspects of my life. I just don't always take the time to write it, and normally when I do it's somewhere else. This time I just needed to write it out here.


Dé Luain, Márta 19, 2007

On the way home...

I guess it was about a month ago or more, but I went on a ski trip to Michigan. I went by myself, it was just one of those trips, you know. I needed a chance to get away, and just be by myself for awhile. 12 hours alone in a car will definitely grate you the opportunity to be by yourself. It was a great trip with a lot of great skiing and just a few friends. I don't have any pictures to share so you'll just have to take my word for it.

I take trips like that, not so much for the destination, but the travel itself. It's the in between times that I love the most from the summer I traveled with Brothers Keeper. It was the long travel times that we got to know each other, and we were able to just be ourselves with just the other people in the van. But then I also I love the long quite in the car because it allows me just to become steeped in thought. I don't always like the thoughts that I have, but it at the very least lets me recognize them and deal with them as I can. I had some thoughts on the way back from Michigan that I didn't really know what to do with, and it still haunts me just a little. I was thinking about relationships that I've had in the past and the ones I have now, and it occurred to me that I never really thought of the reasons why I want to be in a relationship. The thought didn't start out like that. I was thinking about friends mostly, thinking about them being married or not being married, thinking about the ones I've not heard from in while, some almost a year, some longer. There was something in all of that that made me question myself as to why I thought that I wanted to be in a relationship. Not so much what I'm looking for, but the actual reason why. Like any single person my age I have a list of things that I would like to find in a potential mate, and honestly a few of them are very shallow (who knew? I'm not perfect.). But my reason why...

My gut response was companionship, and for the most part that still is the basis of my response. The thing is, it then occurred to me that if my sole purpose was companionship that I might as well just get a dog. Dog's are great for companionship. They're loyal for the most part, they love you unconditionally as long as you feed them, they snuggle in next to you when your feeling bad, they do all the things you could possibly want, right? It was kind of a depressing thought, and like I said I've been thinking about it for a while now.

I'm not going to get a dog. I would like to have a dog, but my life is just too unstable. I like the instability, which weighs into the discussion heavily. I get annoyed when I can't just pick up and go. Even if it's just to see a movie. I got annoyed last weekend when my cousin showed up unexpectedly to spend the night. I was looking forward to a night to myself, but instead of getting some much needed quiet time he invited some other guys over, asking me if it was ok after the fact, to watch basketball. I was not a happy camper. If anything, I was going to go see a movie, but I really just want to be by myself and not engage with anyone. He stayed the next night too, it was not what I wanted to find after working all day, then having to drive to York and back. It's a selfish thing, and it makes me wonder if I could actually handle being married or even being in a relationship. With the right person I'm sure I would make the effort, but still the idea that person lying next to me in bed, while I am in love with them, is still going to be there in the morning. Know I'm sure that a constant like that would in time become something that is comforting. It's just that for someone like me, who has been so independent for so long, and see his independence as an immense benefit, it get just a little hard to let go.

This of course completely clashes with the idea that I, at least eventually, want to be married. clashes like green and hot pink, man. Even I can't seem to get past it some days. For a while now I've really just shut down relationship wise. I've not wanted to be in one besides friendships and I've like what's come of it. With few exceptions, really just one, since my junior year of college I've sought nothing but friendship with anyone. Even that one exception started as nothing more than friendship, and it will continue being a friendship. Friendships I love, and I like having a lot of them even if I don't hear from people very often. There's an understanding between friends, at least there should be, that each will live there lives and enjoy each others company, grow from each other, nourish each other, and while it hurts to leave these relationships, it understood that it may happen, and there are no hard feelings only sad goodbyes. But they're nothing like the relationship between a husband and wife. I love my friends, but not enough to want to live with the majority of them for any really length of time, probably a week at the most. I mean, I love you guys, but...please leave. So there has to be more than wanting companionship.

It's been a series of completely unrelated conversations that have brought some clarity to my thoughts. There have been a lot of realizations of things already known, which normally make me feel stupid for not having recognized them in the first place, but in this instance its been more of a comfort. Like any relationship it's more about what you put in than what you get out of it and a deeper one, like a marriage, requires a deep commitment to give of yourself. I think that's why a lot of people get divorced now. There's very little in the world that urges us to give of ourselves and expect nothing in return. In fact the world tells us that everything we do should be done to further me, to better me, to benefit me. The thing is relationships don't work like that, not a one. I can say all this knowing that I'm no closer to that kind of relationship than I was that day in the car. I may never be some one's husband, and I may never be able to pour my life into someone like that. I've always known that it was a possibility, and while I don't like it I do accept it as a possibility. I'm prone to protect people, even if it's protecting them from me and the things I know I'll be asked to do in my life. I've never thought it was fair. So there it is...

Dé Luain, Márta 12, 2007

Just one of those things...

It's been a busy weekend. I really just want a day off, but that won't happen until Saturday. So I just have to live with it. There was a lot of good in the weekend. It's just that I spend so much of it exhusted and crankey, I'm still just a little kid is so many ways. This all started Wednesday when I drove up to Milton, PA, which is about 2 1/2 hours away, to hear the chorale sing. I needed that...I really needed that. It was refreshing in a way, and in another way it gave me just a little bit of closure that I needed but never really realized. It's one thing to sit in on a practice, there where many times when I was in practice that I felt like I was just sitting in, but it's completly different to sit through a concert. I've never sat back and heard the choral before...and they where good. I know that people say that it's never the same if your not singing with the group, but they tend to say it in away that makes them sound like they were the reason the chorale sounded the way it did and that without them the group is somehow less. Proff perpetuates those feelings and I completly understand why, it's hard to invest as much as he does into that many people and not feel some great lose after four or five year when they move on to other things. The thing is, no it's not the same, and it never will be, and that is a good thing. Certain people I remember saying the perticular statement about, said it with a distain that I don't think that even they noticed. They hadn't moved on, but in there minds were forced out. But Wednesday night, getting to see Nate and Maria, Proff, Gale, Dan, Tony, and Jenn helped me let go. My personal problem was that my last year I was the only 5th year, and in many ways I was everyone's older brother, or grandpa to some (that stopped quickly). There was respect for me that was given automatically, proff took my advice, freshman to senior asked me questions, even among the officers I was the one that went to proff with questions. It was odd to me that I was in that kind of position, but it was even how I saw myself to a certain degree. Even a year later when I was back on campus for a couple of days, people asked me what I thought and asked what I thought they could do to make it better. I had told them that I washed my hands of the organization, but then continued to dole out advice like usual. But Wednesday it was gone. Talking to Gale afterwards he asked me directly, as only gale can,
"did it bring back memories?"
"Yeah, yeah it did."
"Any tears?"
"No, only good memories."
It's nice to have the answer that they're looking for from time to time.

Thrusday was technically my day off, and for all intesive purposes it was. I had drive up to Reading, again about two hours way. Now I say I had to because a friend of mine was in Reading. This isn't a begruding had to, this is a "if I don't I'll kick myself for not doing it." I'd not seen Jordan in probably four years, and it was a great time to just catch up and see what each other had been doing. The time spent was great, except for me faigning guilt about not flying out to San Diago to visit him. It's not that I don't want to, but I just havn't had the time or the money. It was a good time, a really good time.

There's a song that a local Christian radio station plays, What could be better by 33 miles. It's actually a rather normal christian song. It talks about heaven and what could be better than living in heaven, It's just a normal song...and that's what bothers me about it. I heard the song again on Saturday while I was driving through York and it suddenly hit me exactly what this song was talking about. More than talking about heaven it talked about already being in heaven. Here's the chorus:
I’m living in the days ahead
I’m already dancing on the streets of gold
Can’t stop celebrating in my soul
I’m living in the days ahead
Nothing on earth could ever compare
Can’t wait for the day when I get there
When I see Jesus face to face
Tell me what could be better
Tell me what could be better

Now I know I'm reading more into the lyrics that I should, and it's just a normal song that was writing by a new well meaning christian based band, but I don't think that this is right. I hear the phrase, Be in the world but not of the world (an exact phrase that I'm pretty sure doesn't exist in Scripture), and I start to think that songs like 'I'll fly away' and the one above arn't getting ahead of themselves just a little bit. Like a mentioned before, I don't believe that the exact phrase above can be found in scripture (or at least the parts that I've been reading latly) there is certainly more than enough scripture to support the phrase. In John 17 we read Christ's prayer for us his followers. Christ says over and over that he doesn't want God to take us out of the world but to protect us from it. He prays for our unity. He prays in certain words that we would be in the world, but because we are from him, not of the world. Now you could accuse me of being to much of the world and on certain occations you'd be very correct. I'm not going to defend those actions, I can't and any attemp to do so would be futile under the light of scripture. My only defence is that Scripture is vague on certain issues, and I do toe the line on a lot issues. What can I say, I'm slow. I'm just a little confussed by all of this talk about already being in heaven. I think Paul says it better than I can:

"12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

15All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16Only let us live up to what we have already attained."

Press towards the goal, be focused on the goal, but continue running the race. I'm just not convinced of the benefits of living with my head in the clouds while people are dying for attention here on the ground.

Dé Domhnaigh, Márta 04, 2007

filling space...

I'm posting most because I'm tired of looking at my last post. There are most certainly times when I know that I've done something stupid, and I'm desperately trying to figure away out of it. This isn't one of those times, but unfortunately it feels like it. I've written a lot in this past week, almost none of which will ever find it chance for public scrutiny. Most of it is honestly what Shakespeare once termed "A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and furry, signifying nothing." Now this signifying nothing part is yet to be seen, but that the sound and furry is pretty dead on. In any case you don't want to hear it and I don't want you to hear it.

I've been working on my follow-ups to the Philosophy of music post, again more for my benefit than anyone else's, but I'm doing it. There has just been so much on my mind lately and this has been coming up more and more, and I just thought it was about time to hash out my thoughts, support them with some facts, and maybe open the floor for more discussion.

The youth Pastor...sorry didn't want to hear that song...and I have been talking out some new plans for the direction of the Sunday night youth service. It's been rather lax up to this point, and really isn't going in a direction that He feels that it should be going. We're still having the same old problem that our church, and many other churches for that matter, have always had. Sunday night is for the older group, and is subsequently the smaller group. There is nothing for kids after that and going off to college is the usual catalyst for seeing them disappear into oblivion. He would first off like to see the service become more of a service, and at least have the appearance of formality. We've been discussing emerging worship and how we could implement a good portion of those things on Sunday night. It's going to be a very interesting lenten season for me, because I'm now very much involved with transforming an extremely casual, very clichish meeting into something that resembles a worship service that could potentially attract some of the "lost generation" that we see quickly filter through the doors every Sunday morning. I'm looking forward to it, but I'm trying and praying to keep my head in all of this.

Last Friday I did one of the things that I pray that I would not do while leading worship. I'm not proud of it, and I only mention it here to simply clear the air. No one there will read this, and I don't believe that anyone noticed more that what appeared to be a mental block on my part. I pray consistently that if my heart is not in the right place when I'm in front of a congregation of any size that God would take me out of the situation and place someone else in until my heart reflects the words coming from my mouth. I don't tell that to many people, actually I've only told one other person. Friday night that happened. I won't get into it deeply, because it's hard to explain and rather easy to write off. God took the rhythm and He took the words. A song that I've done several times now, and never once messed it up, even in practice. You could say it's a fluke, but you'd be wrong. I still feel bad about it. It hurts a little to think about it now a week later. It's been a week of struggles.

Finally, if you're reading this...I really want to talk to you. I have no expectations, no preconceived ideas. I would like to hear your side of this, and maybe there's nothing to hear. Still...I won't say anymore. We should talk.

Dé Luain, Feabhra 26, 2007

Empty Air...

The problem with clearing the air is that afterwards, it's empty.
Floating sucks, especially when your the one that jumped.
Sometimes even when you think things through you still don't have answers.
Scars may tell us that we've lived, but they still hurt.
Just never wanted to be that guy.
Can't freakin' breath...no regrets

Dé Máirt, Feabhra 20, 2007

The Philosophy of Music...Beginnings

I think it was three years ago, some time around my Junior year at the wu, that I first started asking a question that has become one of the central defining factors in my music, and my worship leading. I had been taking Dr. Bences' class on later church history, and became very troubled with how music was used during the revival era, late 19th and early 20th century. It was around the same time that I was taking Music History with Dr. Kindley and relearning the introduction of pathos and ethos into music. The question became very troubling to me and for a time made me consider a different direction for music. The question came from first acknowloging two basic absolute facts:

1) Music, regardless of whether or not it was purposefully created to do so, evockes an emotional responce from the listener.
2) Humans are emotional beings and, regardless of ablility to set aside those emotions for any period of time, are primarily guided by those emotions.

The enivitable question manifested it's self very quickly:
Q: Is modern musical worship, or musical worship in a historic sence, pre-revival era, in the simplest sense manipulation, and as such is it morally responsible for the christian community to to eliminate music from the service?

This is a topic that I can't seem to get away from, and honestly I'm glad of it. This single question has kept me honest in my worship leading, helped seek out good songs with substance, and kept me warry of my own short comings as a musician. On the adverse side it has also pertetuated a certain amount of distrust and cynisim toward worshipleaders who I've not personally worked with, or at least gotten to know. Honestly it made the the last three years of chaple at the WU almost unbearable. I won't name names, and it would be remiss of me to think that similar thoughts weren't directed toward myself as well, but I know I was not alone in my feeling when certain personalities where seen mounting the stage, guitar in hand. It was the question along with these simple feelings of distrust, and in certain cases having it revealed that the distrust was desearved, that lead me to understand that worship leading is a relationship between the leader and the congregation that must be cultivated over time. It cannot, like any good relationship romantice or otherwise, be rushed into fruition. Any worship leader who has faces their congregation for the first time can tell you that there are many more blank looks staring back at you than open mouths and closed eyes. It's disconcerting at first, and if it doesn't directly kill your dream of a large congragation worhiping along with you, following every subtle move, completly in tune with what your going, and not caring what that the powerpoint guy just messed up another slide...it definatly beats it within an inch of it's life.

This relationship is a sacred thing to me. It dictates many of the things I do, and in many respects determines the life I have a head of me. We all have reputations that we strive to live up to, even if it's simply not living up the reputation of not having a reputation. I've tried to look good in the eyes of those I lead, all the while trying to stay true to who I know I am. While I was living in Connecticute a possition ended up falling into my lap. Tim, the music director and my boss, was regularly asked to lead a song at the begining of the commity meetings. Everyone meet together for a short devotional before splitting up into the individual groups. I hate meetings, hate meetings, but unfortunatly so does Tim. Being the boss and having abundantly more excusses to get out of them, it evenutally became part of my job discription to lead the song at the begining of the meetings. For the most part I presented myself respectully, but never changed my clothes from what I had been wearing all day. As a result this lead to one day leading the song in jeans and a tee shirt. Everything was clean and my appearance was other wise more than appropriate, but the Senior Pastor felt the need to calmly correct my appearance after the meeting was over. I took the "advice" as he called it with an obvious grain of salt. This was the first and only time I wore a tee shirt to a function like that, and honestly had the people that were there been offened like he assumed they would be, they would have come directly to Tim or myself, not to the senior pastor. One of the things he said to me has really stuck though. He said that he understood that I was a musician, and as such thought of myself as an artist, but he would appreitate it if I dressed a little nicer so that I didn't alienate the folks who just got off the train from New York to be at the meetings. My immediate, but unspoken, responces was: if you understood the mind of an musician/artist we wouldn't be having this conversation. I never said anything of the sort, but Tim and I did discusse it later on, after the Pastor went to Tim as well. I was basically told to ignore the comments.

My immediate internal responce probably common given who I am socially, and then my subsiquent external responce was right on par with who I am personally. I never showed up like that again, at least not to those meetings. Honestly the intial comment never bothered me, but after thinking about it, the second part of what he said, his reason behind why he said what he said really started to bother me. You see I liked Sam, the pastor. I liked what he preached on and how he presented it. He was a good speaker and delivered the messages well, but after thinking about what he said, I started wondering why he avoided some topics. We all avoid certain topics, and we all have our reason for doing so. I avoid talking about things that I consider personal because I don't want you to know about them. I'm not going to come out and say that I know why he avoided certain topics that others would readly go after, and I'm most certainly not condeming him in any way for it. It was his reasons why he wanted me to look "nice." We don't want to alienate the people at the meeting. Some of whom are fresh off the train from the financial district of NYC. They come in there nice, expecive suits, and there I am in jeans and a tee shirt. My only thought on that is this: who am I singing to and for?

There's been a lot of personal experience that has lead me to where I am, and there are many more that await me. I titled this The Phliosophy of Music, and I'm getting to it, but I had to get through some personal things before I could break it down. This is by no means the end of the personal experiances, they'll creap up in the writing from time to time as they always do, but I intend to focus the true philosophy of the music and not just my personal opinion. What is to follow is a treatise. An essay on worship and the power of music. Yes Liz...this is going to be very long.

Déardaoin, Feabhra 08, 2007

More Proof that even I don't know what I'm doing...

You scored as Neo orthodox. You are neo-orthodox. You reject the human-centredness and scepticism of liberal theology, but neither do you go to the other extreme and make the Bible the central issue for faith. You believe that Christ is God's most important revelation to humanity, and the Trinity is hugely important in your theology. The Bible is also important because it points us to the revelation of Christ. You are influenced by Karl Barth and P T Forsyth.

Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan


Neo orthodox




Reformed Evangelical




Modern Liberal


Classical Liberal


Roman Catholic




What's your theological worldview?
created with QuizFarm.com

There was a tie breaker question to get to this result. The top three make me laugh because even I don't think it's completely possible. though the bottom is pretty close to my personal feelings. If you thought that I was messed up, know you know for sure.


btw, I'm stalling. I have things to write about, but I'm not sure how to put them to words right now.

Dé Céadaoin, Eanáir 24, 2007


I've disappeared into the brilliant white.
Into anonymity
Into silence


Dé Luain, Eanáir 22, 2007

beautiful in white...

There are few things that make me happier than seeing little specks of white fall from the sky. I've waited for this all autumn, and been jealous of people who have an over abundance of it, but now I'm satisfied. It's a calm that has only been produced in my life by one other person, and it's delicious...I just wish I had a picture.
It's snowing outside.

Dé Céadaoin, Eanáir 03, 2007

The Days God answers prayer...

Aaron wasn't having the best of times. Oh times were good, but he just didn't feel right. There was just so much on his mind and not that many people to talk too. With Grad school weighing hard, and his thoughts on friends he'd not talk to in a while, and several other things that just didn't seem to be working out, he didn't think he had much to smile about. Even Christmas seemed to get him down, which just mad him angrier than he was before. In fact nothing seemed to cheer him up, nothing. So he had one of his legendary chats with God. Aaron got angry, and questioned away. But then just like always...God said nothing. You see God know's that Aaron just needs time to let it out, so He lets him vent. So after a couple of days Aaron finally got to the point and asked God for something good to happen, nothing big, just something good.

A couple of days went by and Aaron wasn't feeling any better. But then Aaron went to work and found out that the company was making some changes. Aaron was suddenly worried, for obvious reasons. His boss quickly reassured that the only change that he needed to make was back over to the retail store so he could start learning his new position. Aaron smiled. That evening Aaron took a run and felt good that he was keeping up with it, so he smiled again. Then he had a long conversation with a friend on line, and he smiled even more. But then today...Oh today...

Aaron was just walking by the snack machine when suddenly he noticed a yellow wrapper he'd not seen in two years. Could it be, could it truly be his long lost love. He didn't want to believe, he had prayed, but couldn't have imagined something this good. There gleaming like a jewel, dead center in the machine was something very precious. He couldn't believe his eyes.

Coffee Crisp.

It was unbelievable. They didn’t exist outside of Canada, he was sure of it. He had never seen one in the U.S. that he hadn’t brought back himself. Aaron beamed, and hungrily reached into his pocket. But what he pulled out did not make him happy.

Things couldn’t be that bad. Coffee Crisp insight, and Aaron couldn’t even buy one. This was going to be a bad day, but Aaron stopped to think. Maybe this didn’t have to be a bad day, but how?

Then Aaron had and idea.He had to go to the post office at lunch, so he could stop at the bank on the way back. The plan couldn’t be simpler. So he walked away and waited until he could go to lunch. Everything went well. His training went smoothly and he had such a good day. As he left for the day he passed the snack machine one last time, and reached into his pocket.

Not only did he have enough change to buy one Coffee Crisp.

He had enough to buy two.

I’m a simple man, with simple pleasures. Earth, sky, water, friends and good food.

Dé Máirt, Eanáir 02, 2007

The End...

Just some thoughts from the end of the year…

There have been a lot of things on my mind lately. I’m about to send in the last of my Grad applications, which in a way is a huge relief but at the same time the beginning to a whole new set of worries. Worry may be too harsh a word, but it’s the best I can use to describe where my mind will be. I always get a nervous feeling when I’ve done the best that I can do and am about to let go and let God finish the job the way he always intended. I know that some of you out there are thinking that I should be giving it all to God from the start, but the school frown on applications that aren’t filled out by the applicant, kind of a catch twenty-two. It’s not that I don’t trust God or that I believe that old adage of “God helps those who help themselves,” but I do think that God expects me to hold up my end of the deal. I’ve never been the kind of person who is comfortable with waiting for someone else to do their part; it’s actually why I like working alone. I don’t like being dependent, which in itself causes a huge problem. I won’t get into that, trust me you don’t want to hear it, and honestly I don’t have much more to say about grad school. I’ve done everything in my power, so now I have to wait whether I like it or not.

Christmas was good, the weeks before it kind of sucked though. I got talked into singing in the churches Christmas musical which all in all was an enjoyable experience. It allowed me to meet and really talk to some people in the church that I hadn’t up to that point. Though that’s where the enjoyment stopped. I can’t stand hokey, and this musical was the hokey king. What was even worse was that the solo that they wanted me to sing was beyond hokey it was down right pathetic. The whole musical was based off of 1940’s style music, which I love, but the lyrics, the plot, and really everything else was in desperate need of an overhaul. It was probably more frustration that it was actually worth, but any opportunity to where my choral tux is a welcomed one. I meet up with friends for a movie the Friday before Christmas; it was a short meeting actually. We just met up, watched the movie, and then went our separate ways. Not a great grand meeting but it’s a start, you know. I’ve had problem’s meeting up with people since I got back; I made a lot of hard breaks when I left. It’s hard to cross burnt bridges, and I’m not proving very adept.

But Christmas was good. It took me forever to get in the mood. Christmas music just grated on me this year. I couldn’t stand it, and only started really listening the week before Christmas. I’m not sure what it was, but there was just something odd about the whole thing. Nothing this season has felt like Christmas to me. Lots of things have changed and a lot more will change before all is said and done. I think that’s had a lot to do about it, but I don’t really know. Maybe it was the fact that it was warm, unseasonably warm. Freakishly warm, even. I mean, it’s not 55 degrees on Christmas, that’s just not right. There’s just so much about it that bothers me though, the commercializing, the bad spirits even on my part, the plodding horribly played Christmas carols sung Christmas eve. I hate the feeling that with all of this going on that I’ve missed the point completely. I hate faking things, and to be honest I’ve gone to Church late these past couple of Sunday’s because I didn’t want to stand through badly done Christmas carols that I would only sing out of a feeling of obligation. So much of it felt like obligation, right up to the point I woke up Christmas morning and my family gathered round the tree like we always do. That was when if finally felt like Christmas, and I had a sudden sense that no matter how many things change there will be those parts of my life that will always be constant. That Christmas isn’t what the rest of the world has made it. That Christmas isn’t even what the church has made it. It’s not even what I’ve made it. I heard a song a couple of days ago, when I turned the radio back on, that really hit me. “Here With Us” by Joy Williams, actually I have no idea if she wrote it or not, it an amazing song. The whole song is about the simple wonders of who God is, what He has done and Seen, and juxtaposing them with the image of the baby lying in his mother’s arms. There are several lines, the whole song actually, the just hit me hard, but I think the line that hits the hardest and brought the biggest revelation was this one:
“Jesus the Christ, born in Bethlehem. A baby born to save, to save the souls of man.”
At first, it’s not thing but the simple statement it seems to be, and maybe that all it was written to be. But this simple fact becomes so much more when we think of how he came to save us. He was born so that He could die. None of us, while we all will inevitably reach the end, none of us was born specifically to die. The song is amazing, you should try to find it; it’s on “come Let us Adore Him.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about the past year, where I started it, and where I am now. I’m having trouble coming up with whether it was a good one, or a bad one. I’m just not sure. It’s been a year of being up in the air, and with the New Year at hand I don’t see much of that changing, at least not yet. I’m asked on all but a daily basis how the grad school thing is coming, and what I’m planning on doing with it. It would be annoying, but I like talking about it, though I get about four lines into it and I start to get glazed over eyes, so I keep going. Don’t get me wrong; this year has been anything but bad. I don’t think I could call this year bad in anyway, I’m just not sure I’m comfortable with calling it good. I don’t know. It’s an interesting little problem, at least to me it is.

Novus Orsa, New Beginnings, the new year. It’s a time to start over. Thank God, cause I need one. We all need one. I’m not talking about resolutions that you’ll forget by the end of the week, but a real chance to start over. We all have our resolutions; I’m going to try to run every…other…day or something like that, but I know that I’m not going too. I’m busy, but I’m going to try, I swear I’m going to try. But I hate to run. I’ll play soccer until I drop dead, but I hate to run. I’m defiantly nuts. This is a time of Novus Orsa, new beginnings, and I plan to make the best of it. I hope you do as well. Happy New Year to everyone, I hope you’re all doing well. I miss you all, and I hope to hear from you soon. Love you guys, plutonicly though, only plutonicly...