Friday, December 09, 2005
For about a second there, I thought: "Wow. My friends care about me, they're interested in my life, and they want to see what's new with me. Have I had any deep thoughts, any insights, or anything worth sharing with a mass audience."
Then it hit me: you're probably all just bored now that the November Sweeps are over and there's nothing of note on television.
Honestly, things have been so nuts in my life that I haven't been able to post. Last week -- wow; literally week ago -- I took a day off of work just to catch a breath. I was planning on spending the day reading, sitting outside, playing with my dogs...but then something happened, and I wound up spending most of the day (and the next, and the next) in tears. ...yes, my family is fine; yes, my dogs are fine; yes, I am physically fine.
It was a rough patch of days, and it's not gotten a lot better.
If nothing else, you should see my right knee. There's a scab on it (still) from where I hit my knees so insanely hard in prayer -- and stayed there for the majority of three days -- that I kinda hope it scars, so I can have a lasting memento of this predicament. God knows there's enough details in my journals to choke a horse with.
I actually have some deep thoughts to post starting next week, so once I drag my journal in, I'll start sharing. You may want to grab some coffee when you read them -- they'll make you start thinking.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Last night The 706 was...amazing. First off, we had a major kick-arse concert by Matt Papa, dovetailing into the end of a three-week study Bryan Rose was doing on worship for the kids.
The evening started with me almost wrecking my car while driving to Compass, because I was just so...captivated...by the sight of the full moon shining so brightly that clouds did not dare try to come near it. The night sky didn't look real; it looked to perfect for this world, like I expected it to be some kinda funky CGI thing and that I was driving into a blue screen.
It continued with me sitting back and just watching a number of the kids just worship God, feeling His presence settling in on them, and being moved by the Spirit. Not being ashamed or self-conscious, but allowing themselves to celebrate a series of heartbeats, that moment where just they and He connected, where the rest of the world dropped away and it's just the two of them, together as Father and child, with nothing else or no one else mattering at that moment.
It ended with my best friend -- Ashley -- bringing out a birthday cake that would have made JRR Tolkien smile: a chocolate cake with yellow icing, designed to look like The One Ring, with -- no kidding -- the actual authentic script written on the cake. I'm just big enough of a dork to have been able to read it and know that she did a great job of translating it into chocolate
It ended with love. I cried. Sitting there, against the back wall of the theater, watching those kids...I cried. There have been no less than about five times in the last month to six weeks where I have just sat and cried tears of joy over something beautiful that God has hit me between the eyes with -- be it reading a passage in a book (CURSE YOU, DONALD MILLER! YOU MAKE ME EMOTIONAL!!!), looking at the sky, or just seeing those kids last night, and feeling so blessed that I have been there with them on part of their journey...not a feeling out of pride, but almost back-crushing humility, knowing that God is using me -- the flawed, faulty, scarred and scared dirty little vessel that I am.
Oh -- and the fact that I'm over twice the age of these kids? Don't really give a crap. To me, I'm just a big kid at heart, anyway.
Today, on my actual "real" birthday, I'll probably get lots of phone calls and emails from friends wishing me well, but last night?
Last night I got to celebrate with my family.
It was something I'll never forget. -- unless my memory starts to fade, because I *am* getting older, y'know. :)
Monday, November 14, 2005
It was a pure, true fall morning this Monday: the sun was absolutely clear and un-obstructed; there was a haze of a ring around the outline of the sun, that lent to it blinding me as I was headed towards it on the road -- but I could not turn my eyes from it. I was visually drawn to the majesty and power that was set before my eyes.
The clouds were above the sun, laid out in an almost perfect parallel line to the horizon. The clouds seemed to be as one thick mass of a covering...one shroud, threatening to cover the sun and filter its light, so as to give November a more bleary feel.
But the sun would not allow it; its sheer power and dominance in the sky kept anything from encroaching on its radiance. The horizon, the sky itself was amazingly broad in scope...there was nothing -- nothing -- in the skyline to compete or contest its presence. No buildings, no birds, no planes...
Just beauty, nature in its purest, as God intended.
...now. If only it was not going to be 75 degrees today, it'd be ideal. *sigh*
Monday, November 07, 2005
Today has gone exponentially downhill. I'm fairly expecting to either be hit by a meteorite that's going to crash through my car windshield, or I'm going to get trampled by a herd of migrating emus sometime tonight.
Maybe I should go back and read some of my happier posts. ...yeah. Good idea...
But...for those of you who know that I do work with the high school kids at my church on Wednesday nights (as well as, oh, at least five other nights a week)....this. This will explain a little bit of my passion.
And, yeah, we call it "The 706." That's because it's not only the time we start, but it's also the area code. Catchy, no?
So. Applications to apply to be an RA for 2006-2007 are now on-line. The application website's been live sicne 8:00 am on Friday (11/4).
We have 150 applicants so far.
I need asprin.
Friday, October 28, 2005
Oh, nevermind. here. Go play it for yourself and re-live the days of your childhood.
You will live in a House.
You will drive a Red Passat.
You will marry Ashley and have 2 kids.
You will be a college professor in Seattle.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
- I am still recovering from Catalyst -- which was, in essence, a leadership conference. A Chrisitian leadership conference. Don Miller, Erwin McManus, Malcom Gladwell...lots of quality info was given out for free. As were a crapload of CD's, DVD's and books. I think the think that freaked me out the most -- or made my heart skip a beat in joy; it's conflicting right now -- was when Sheryl, the Administrative Assistant at Compass, looked at me and called me a leader at Compass. ...which is NOT something I have EVER considered myself. But it's true -- I am a leader. I lead a College and Singles Ministry. I teach a class on Sunday mornings for High School kids. I volunteer to help build stuff at church. I act in skits. I lead a small group for high school kids on Wednesday nights. I work with elementary age kids in KidMo and KidZu. I spend anywhere from 10-20 hours a week at Compass, serving. Leading. Freaky. And comforting. I think I may just pass out.
- I recently learned that my advisor from graduate school -- Ed Grandpre -- was diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer. The tumor is too large to remove, and it's spread to his liver. I'm really not able to express my feelings right now so...just keep him and his family in your thoughts, okay?
- Last week, I got to spend about three hours with my old roommate from college, Kenny Anthony. We met up at the Atlanta airport, because he's on leave from Iraq for 15 days. I hadn't seen him in...years...and yet there we were, actiing like little kids all over again. It's good to have that memory, in light of what i just typed above.
Thursday, September 29, 2005
Great. In the last two months, I've had friends lose houses, jobs, all their possessions, and major weather damage has hit two cities and locations that I dearly love.
Somebody wanna go slap my momma while we're at it? I mean, this is just getting tiresome.
Monday, September 26, 2005
I really didn't sleep well last night. Thinking about things in my life, and wondering if I totally suck at this whole being-God's-vessel thing that we're called to be in our daily lives meant I had weird (bad) dreams and I woke up on an almost hourly basis.
And, since I am all but freaking out about heading up the College Ministry at Compass Church, serving as the leader (God help them) of GPS: God's Purpose for Students...this means I seventh-guess every word that comes out of my mouth, because the last thing in the world that I want to do is say something on Sunday nights when I'm leading the group that could cause emotional and spiritual damage to someone. Plus, I really don't want to sound like a total jackass. I want to come across as sincere as I feel in my heart, connecting up with people in a way that's relevant, meaningful and fulfilling. I do not want to do to them what was done to me: totally piss them off to God.
Since I normally get up before the sun anyway, this meant I was up especially early, and it gave me even more time to mope and be introspective. What fun.
About the time I saw light creeping through my window shades, I noticed that it had a certain hue to it that it normally doesn't have. It looked kinda red, in fact. And sure enough, the rising sun filtered through the cloud covering gave all of outside this eerie, ethereal glow and feel. So, I hook up my dog to take her outside for a walk, so I can see this odd sky in person, and maybe start to shake myself out of the funk I feel myself in.
...and then, it happened.
While staring up in the sky, watching the clouds move at various speeds, layering themselves as they transition from one point in the heavens to the next, the thought of how...comforting in the midst of this chaos it is that there is a divine plan and a Grand Designer behind it all. That no matter what the literal storms or the emotional storms in our lives may be...God's got it all in control, and there is a plan behind it all and a method to the madness. We might not like, enjoy, or even survive parts of the storms, but He is still holding us all, promising us that no matter what, He loves us and He will sustain us.
And no sooner had this thought entered my mind and heart...before a rainbow appeared. The sign of God's promise. Framed against this dark and grey sky, standing out like a lone smile in a sea of depression...my mind told me that it was simply a refraction of light, that there was a solid scientific reason why this prism appeared.
My heart told me that God just wanted to say hi, and that He was still listening. I wasn't alone, and that He had my heart. And my back.
Everybody go forth and have a great week.
Friday, September 16, 2005
And then there's the fact that I've been mixing up some of my directions lately; I've been thinking about how to get to -- say -- best Buy, and suddenly in my mind, I've mapped out the route down County Line Road in Mississippi as opposed to the route here in Athens. Or I've thought about going to places to eat in Starkville, or Booneville.
If I were a superstitious person, I'd be worried that it feels like multiple aspects of my life are aligning for some kind of paradigm shift. That something is going to happen soon.
Or maybe I'm just paranoid.
Thursday, September 15, 2005
Check out Vintage 21 -- and then click on "Media," and then "Videos," and then "Page 2," and then watch the Jesus films.
...and please be sure to READ about Vintage21 as well. Some of you might just think it's fairly cool.
Special thanks to Bryan Rose at Compass Church for finding this beautiful, beautiful site.
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
Click on this link, boys and girls, to learn why why drunk dialing is a bad, bad thing...
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Everyone and their cousin is chiming in with ways and places to donate, and I'll be damned if I sit idly by...
One thing we all need to consider is this: donating once, twice...that won't be enough. Now, I'm not advocating we simply give, give, give of our funds until we're moetionally and financially depleted, but we need to be cognizant of the fact that giving one time in September 2005 will help, but people -- almost all of the evacuees from the MS Gulf Coast and from New Orleans -- will be affected still in March 2006, October 2007, and June 2009 -- and beyond.
We need to be prepared to open our houses, hearts, and selves to people. Be prepared to emotionally counsel as well as financially. Help people find jobs. Help people find missing family and friends. Help people find new lives.
Trust me -- I have a lot more to say...but for now, I have to get back to work.
- American Red Cross (800) HELP NOW (435-7669) English http://www.redcross.org (800) 257-7575 Spanish
- Operation Blessing (800) 436-6348 http://www.ob.org
- America’s Second Harvest (800) 344-8070 http://www.secondharvest.org
- Adventist Community Services (800) 381-7171 http://www.adventist.communityservices.org
- Catholic Charities (703) 549-1390 http://www.catholiccharitiesusa.org
- Christian Disaster Response (941) 956-5183 or (941) 551-9554 http://www.cdresponse.org
- Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (800) 848-5818 http://www.crwrc.org
- Church World Service (800) 297-1516 http://www.churchworldservice.org
- Convoy of Hope (417) 823-8998 http://www.convoyofhope.org
- Lutheran Disaster Response (800) 638-3522 http://www.elca.org/disaster
- Mennonite Disaster Service (714) 859-2210 http://www.mds.mennonite.net
- Nazarene Disaster Response (888) 256-5886 http://www.nazarenedisasterresponse.org
- Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (800) 872-3283 http://www.pcusa.org/pda
- Salvation Army (800) SAL-ARMY (725-2769) http://www.salvationarmyusa.org
- Southern Baptist Convention - Disaster Relief (800) 462-8657, ext. 6440 http://www.namb.net
- United Methodist Committee on Relief (800) 554-8583 http://www.gbgm-umc.org/umcor
Thursday, September 01, 2005
To any and all former Millsapians reading this: Jessica Ordoyne is safe. Please pass the word along.
I swear. I'm crying. I'm just happy beyond measure this woman is safe and sound. I'm still leeching on to Em and not letting go, though.
Here in GA, I've heard reports of -- no lie -- gas being $5.88 a gallon in places, and people are STILL continuing to buy it.My parents live in Tupelo (MS), and my mom told me that the majority of the gas station have placed tarps or garbage bags over the pumps, shutting them down and not allowing people to purchase gas -- and 45 minutes away in Oxford (MS), only emergency or state vehices can purchase gasoline. Individuals can purchase only "in case of an emergency."
I'm afraid I'll see $5 a gallon for regular before the end of the MONTH, let alone by the end of the year...
I don't live in Mississippi -- any more -- but...I can't cut on a television set without seeing something, seeing someplace that I spent multiple hours in, have good (and bad) memories about...and now these places are all gone.
Good God. The sight...the mere THOUGHT of New Orleans alone is just...I'm not sure if I should cry, scream, vomit...
I've been harping this on a lot of message boards I frequent, so forgive and indulge me for a moment -- please. Please, please, please, please. Consider donating time, money, blood, prayers...this weekend, consider volunteering at a Red Cross shelter in your area, packing up supplies to be sent to the Coast. Consider getting your local church or volunteer organization to join in with others to support the efforts to clean up down there.
Millions of lives -- not thousands; millions -- have been affected by this, and we're just now feeling the first wave of ripples to come from it. The loss of life, the loss of culture, and the loss of property from this is simply too much to be able to comprehend.
I have friends, students, and family members I have not heard from, all of whom live in areas that are reportedly still under water. They may be dead for all I know. I'm steeling my nerves for if I do find out that they are. Thankfully, I heard from someone today and I swear, I thought I was going to cry the whole time we were on the phone together. Emily: I'm not joking. The next time I see you, I am NOT letting go.
So, again: please. Consider doing whatever you can for the people still trapped there, the people who have left and will not have anything to return t, and for those of us taking them in.
Thanks for allowing me a minute on my soapbox.
Thursday, August 25, 2005
Mine? Let's see...I'm...hunh? "Tumbleflump Kissy-Elf?!?" What the crap...?
Tolkien would be ashamed...that's not a real elf name.
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
|You Are 20% Left Brained, 80% Right Brained|
The left side of your brain controls verbal ability, attention to detail, and reasoning.
Left brained people are good at communication and persuading others.
If you're left brained, you are likely good at math and logic.
Your left brain prefers dogs, reading, and quiet.
The right side of your brain is all about creativity and flexibility.
Daring and intuitive, right brained people see the world in their unique way.
If you're right brained, you likely have a talent for creative writing and art.
Your right brain prefers day dreaming, philosophy, and sports.
Monday, August 22, 2005
I think it's been raining for 40 days and 40 nights. I mean, it's been nothing but non-stop intermittent thunderstorms for the longest time. If there is ever a day without 156% humidity around here, I may just pass out from shock.
And for some reason, this crazy weather has triggered me getting sick (or, if it's not the root cause of it, it ain't helped none). I also think that working for almost every single day -- literally -- since July 18...it's worn down my immune system. Kinda like a bad tire. That's how I feel right now. You know that kind: it's down to its last tread; it's gonna blow at my given minute; but instead of buying new tires (or, in my case, taking a day off for rest and recuperation), you keep driving on the darn thing. Why? Because it's easier to keep running on the old tire than it is to pay out for a new one, with money that you don't have, for one that will need to have to take time to be broken in, one that will just be a hassle to change, and one that you will have to take the time off to go to the mechaninc and have it taken care of.
So -- you drive until your tire blows out, leaving you stranded on the side of the road in the middle of the night...alone...and in the dark...
Or, if you're a human like me, you get sick as a freakin' dog and have a massive asthma attack that
almost sends you to the hospital, you run a fever of 100+ for about five days, and you get an average of three hours of sleep each night. This is apparently MY coping mechanism. -- and no, I don;t have the sense to come in out of the rain or to take care of myself while I'm too busy yelling at other people to take care of themselves.
...but on a happier note: my parents have new puppy.
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Josh. Angie. Michelle. We're two weeks away from opening the residence halls, and half the area cooridnators are gone.
David. Sally. Wer'e two weeks away from opening the residence halls, and one third of the Assistant Area Coorindators and one out of six Residence Hall Directors are gone.
One community has NO professionsl staf members in it any more (Josh & Sally -- and they just replaced their secretary).
One community is opening with half the staff gone (Michelle & David -- and their secretary just resigned).
Man alive. May you live in interesting times indeed...
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Kenny and I were roommates in college, back in the 1800's. I haven't heard from this goob in over a year and a half, and suddenly, there's an email sitting in my Inbox from him.
Love 'im like a brother. Just like Cain loved Abel. [Kidding, man -- welcome back to my life. Take care, and come back stateside safely.]
And to scare the small children: here. I don't think I've seen anything this white in quite some time. Makes me feel like I got rhythm.
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Yesterday was weird. Just freakin' weird. And I mean odd in a way that's beyond MY typical description of odd. So odd, in fact, were I to post all the things that happened, several a'ya's would jump flights/get in cars to come look at me dead square in the eyes and go "AreyoufreakingKIDDINGme?"
Started off with me not in the Sonniest (-ha!-) of moods, then the day just took a sharp left at WHATTHECRUNK, and the just kept on barreling down until I fell asleep.
And to top it off,Ii didn't get jack squat finished as far as work stuff goes. Bollocks.
So. How are all of you?
Thursday, June 30, 2005
So, instead of my words, here is a photo of a rabbit with a pancake on its head:
Who says today will be a bad day? There's a bunny with breakfast food looking at you!
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
It's raining outside, and I don't feel like doing any work, so -- eh. Time to reminisce.
IT'S ALL ABOUT THE RELATIONSHIP: I could start on a lovely little chat about how I've been reading a lot, lot, lot of books as of late -- Messy Spirituality; Blue Like Jazz; The Ragamuffin Gospel; Wrestling With God -- that have begun to cause a paradigm shift in how I think about God, my life here on planet earth as a Christ follower, discipleship, the nature of sin and redemption, morality, and the like...and I am insanely comfortable with doing just that. After 33+ years (more than 2/3 of which have been spent in and out of various religious institutions), I am starting to finally feel comfortable with God, how I relate to Christ, and what my brothers and sisters are supposed to be like. Facades be damned; let's be real and be ourselves -- the failed, flawed, and struggling yet beautiful souls God created.
But, nope. Ain't gonna talk about that.
So -- there were three of these monkeys (translation: teenage boys) that we carried from Compass to this church camp we kept calling "the triplets" because they were (a) inseparable [except for when they were scoping out the girls], (b) all rooming together, and (c) just identically goofy in their attitudes. The same triplets who are all under the age of 17, and who collectively smoke like a bunch of lunatics.
Because these are teenage boys who have an attention span of about .017 seconds, and because none of them are what could be called "typical church kids" -- THANK GOD -- the guy who is the Family Minister at Compass made a deal with them: while we're at camp, focus on the group activities, and stay engaged, and once a day we'll leave campus to go smoke -- because smoking at a church-affiliated school during a summer camp populated by minors would cause some people to go into a complete hissy fit. Plus it was kind of against the rules -- and sorta illegal -- so we had to leave.
Now, the FM was struggling with this decision. Partly because it WAS illegal, partly because he felt it might make seem to be advocating this behavior, but also because -- in all honesty -- our kids were like NONE of the other ones there. Rag-tag, smelly, grungy and all with hearts that have nothing but compassion; Dylan is probably one of the most gentle, loving souls I have ever encountered. but they weren't clean -- the clean-cut, presentable kind that he was used to working with, and who really made the camp seem very vanilla (and yes, you can take that to imply a lack of racial diversity as well).
I applauded his decision, and I still do.
We were able to connect with these kids on a REAL level, one striped away from all pretense and bluster. We didn't try to fit them into a pre-described Christian mold. We let them be them, and they gained some trust of the adults who were there (me, Bry and Ry). I truly can't put it into words, but there was something there that bonded us. No emotional, last-day-of-camp "coMIT your SAW-HAL to GAH-WAD" bonding. This was connecting on a human level with these kids, letting them be them, letting us be us (and yes, we DID talk to -- not preach to; but talk to -- them about why we don't advocate their smoking), and showing care for them as people that can translate to them trusting us to talk to them about their souls.
C'mon -- Jesus probably hugged lepers. The least I can do is hang out with a smelly 16-year-old who needs a smoke break.
Monday, June 27, 2005
I've got some notes and stuff to post and share about the trip, what I learned, what I feel made it all worthwhile, and how the *&^%$#! I lasted for five days without coffee.
But, until then -- check out this odd li'l link I got sent. I'm not sure whether to laugh, be embarassed (at the number of songs on there that I own/owned at eon time), or be a combo of the two.
I think I'll just get back to answering the 180+ emails I have sitting in my Inbox for right now...
Thursday, June 16, 2005
Drugs don't kill; they drain. Your checkbook.
Bought my tix for the IMAX viewing of Batman Begins on Saturday. Something about a 6,000 foot high Katie Holmes appeals to me somehow. If for nothing more than the sheer lunacy of the idea...
Monday, June 06, 2005
Wednesday, June 01, 2005
Amount of music on your computer?
Currently, I have about 1700 songs on my computer, many of which I will be dumping soon because (a) I saved them for a project here on campus that I no longer need, and (b) dude, that number's just embarrassing.
Currently listening to?
O How the Mighty Have Fallen by the choir.
Five songs that mean a lot to you?
"Chase the Kangaroo," the choir -- not only is this the song that inspired the name of my little blog-thing, but it also just speaks to me on levels I can't communicate through words. "If Sydney is my destiny, I guess I'll dig until I die." It's one of those songs that just reminds me to chase my dreams.
"Where the Streets Have No Name," U2 -- okay, before anyone starts chanting "Lame," "Typical," or "Cliched" -- I challenge you to listen to those opening chords, remember seeing them in concert (if you have, like I have), and not get chill bumps. Plus, The Joshua Tree came out when I was in high school (shut up), and it still remains one of the best albums ever.
"Smells Like Nirvana," Weird Al Yankovic -- I will admit it: I saw Nirvana in concert. I was a flannel-wearing, attitude-toting, angry Gex-Xer (and still am) back in the day. ..and then came this song... The first time I saw it on MTV, I literally fell off my couch because I was laughing so hard. This song really hit me between the eyes and reminded me that this was just music. Life-changing, soul-shaking, but I wasn't supposed to take it THAT seriously. If you can't laugh at yourself, then you're taking life too darn seriously.
"Low," the violet burning -- one of those songs that if you're depressed will put you right over the edge and straight into the realm of a good, hard cry. "Do you feel lower than angels?" Admittedly, "The Song of the Harlot" hits a LOT harder (and anyone who is a Christian can NOT hear this song and not feel their soul break), and probably would have found its way on to this list if the violets would just record a new version that wasn't so musically dated. :)
"Treasure of the Broken Land," Mark Heard -- be it the original version or the cover by Chagall Guevara..."Nobody gets the second chance to be the friend that they meant to be."
Top five albums?
Chagall Guevara, Chagall Guevara -- musically not that inspired, but probably some of the best lyrics I've ever heard. Ever. And I'll fight you on that. "Violent Blue?" "Murder in the Big House?" Play these bad boys at top volume in your car, and scream while you sing with the windows down and/or top down.
Good Dog Bad Dog, Over the Rhine -- haunting. Honest. This album bleeds truth. "Latter Days" should be included in my top songs, but -- eh. They do it better live than recorded.
The Turning, Leslie (Sam) Phillips -- moody, intense, and just flat-out brilliant.
Welcome to Struggleville, Vigilantes of Love -- perfect timing for this album in my life. Don't ask why, just accept that it's beyond perfectly synchronistic.
March, Michael Penn -- at's some good music, no? And what IF I were Heathcliff?
Last album bought?
Mmhmm, Relient K -- fun, odd, and just...fun. "More Than Useless" is now my personal mantra.
Musically? Sadly, nothing -- I am going to buy the AthFest compilation CD soon. Buncha funky locals who might just inspire my goofy self.
And now -- I pass on the baton. Tim Parsons? Juice? Wooley? Lane? Ashley? Scott?
Friday, May 06, 2005
[Expect my delayed review of The Hichhiker's Guide to the Galaxy soon -- as well as more fun intorspective crap designed to make your heart hurt.]
Tuesday, May 03, 2005
Or, I find outdated websites to obscure bands that I love(d), and it makes me wnt to track down all their crap and restock my CD collection.
I need to win the lottery or something. Seriously.
Friday, April 29, 2005
I immediately cancelled the classes I teach, and headed out the door. To Tupelo, MS.
If anyone's ever planning on making a 700+-mile-round-trip journey in 48 hours...don't. Or if you do, take lots of cool tunes.
So -- once I get caught up on the 200+ emails sitting in my Inbox...I'll be back.
Monday, April 25, 2005
Friday, April 22, 2005
Among the 658 things that have been brewing in my mind and soul since -- well, before my trip to Nashville for the ACPA convention, but they've kicked into over drive after that -- is exactly what kind of contribution *am* I making at Compass...namely, in this case, on Wednesday nights.
You don't know (...yet...) the sordid tales and heartbreaks of my life, especially in regards to my walk with God. As difficult as it may be for you to believe this, at one time I was considering going into the ministry full-time, doing sort of what you do -- youth ministry, although I have a real passion and desire to work with the "older" kids (high school/college/fresh outta). Why I'm *not* doing that is a tale best told in person, so I'll save that one.
Long story short about the Compass/W@7 Sonny-soul-searching issues: you can never know how much I have fallen in love with this family. Never. Man, there are days when I just want to cry tears of happiness when I think about how full my soul is when I interact with everyone there. I've NEVER been involved with any organization -- secular or sacred, for lack of a better comparison -- like Compass. The only comparison I've been able to use to describe it to other people is one that I'm sure I've mentioned to you: this has to be what the early church (like, in Paul's day) was like. We're a group of believers, of friends, making meaningful contributions to each other's lives, and we all pitch in to make the environment at Compass a welcome, learning, and LOVING environment for everyone -- from the "regulars" to the people we hope we don't freak out too much the first time they visit.
And because of this -- as well as because of who I am -- dude, I want to be involved. I want to be involved on any and every level I can be. If that means spending a Saturday tossing crap out of the back room...so be it. If that means nailing trees to a wall...so be it. If that means going to Uzbekistan...so be it.
I want to do as much as I can, every time I can, in every way I can simply because (a) it's giving back to people who have given me so much; (b) we're kinda sorta commanded to do so, and (c) it's me. It's my personality. It's my passion, my drive, and my calling (for want of a better term).
For the last few weeks, I've been...concerned...about me Wednesday nights. As in, am I really doing ANYTHING worthwhile by being there? I'm not the most gregarious -- I leave that to you (and Ashley to a degree). In fact, when I'm around uber-extroverts, even though I am an extrovert, my introverted nature comes to the front, because I don't want to send the people we're around into sensory overload.
I've worried that I'm not saying the right thing (if I indeed say anything worthwhile. I've worried that these kids -- that I love and have come to look forward to seeing -- just think I'm the odd old guy who hangs out to recapture his youth (which was so long ago, "recapturing" is impossible
-- and no, I don't know why or where that comes from; self-identity and issues of worth have always been a struggle with me. Again...Sonny's back story is interesting and should be a freakin' mini-series on Bravo or something.
But...darn that PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE thing we're studying...that goes and throws my theory of how much I suck and how useless I am into a woodchopper and it shows me how much a total load of crap my issues are. In fact, the "extended study" stuff in the back of the notebook we all have (props up to Kelly for this) had the passage from I Cor 12 in it for this week -- the on about how we're the hands, feet, ears, etc. of the body, and how each body part is dependent upon the other.
So, that got me to thinking -- maybe I'm the spleen or appendix in the body of Christ: it's there, doing its job, and if it was gone, the body would be lessened. ...so maybe I'm not really a spleen, but I refuse to give myself the comparison of a butt cheek or something.
Trust me -- I'm not typing all this to seek an ego boost ('cause that would be completely against WHY we/I do the things at the church -- this so ain't for my glory). Nor am I looking for any kind of a validation that I contribute anything/worthwhile to W@7 or Compass in general.
Again: this is just one of the MANY things on my mind as of late. I'm undergoing some major soul-searching issues.
For fun and annoyment: http://chase-the-kangaroo.blogspot.com for all your Sonny-centered angsty pleasure.
I think I'll accidentally trip and sever an artery or something. I tried reading the book, but it was about as exciting as insightful and enjoyable as watching moss grow. Plus, the "rethinking" in the title is a bit misleading -- it's more like "regurgitating old ideas and trying to make them sound kewl and fresh, yo."
Thursday, April 21, 2005
the choir (them's what inspired the name of my site) have a new album out, and -- well, it's quite the welcome change in my CD player. It's also quite telling that as of late, my nostalgia kick has jumped up about 76 notches: I'm listening to older music, or newer albums by older artists -- it you've not yet bought Drunkard's Prayer from Over the Rhine, you should be ashamed of yourself as a human being...no, scratch that: you're NOT human if you don't own this CD. Go redeem what remains of your soul and buy this. You'll thank me. If you don't thank me, you have no taste, no couth, and you probably have chronic bad breath to boot.
Back to topic: why have I been looking back at my past so much? Part of it might have to do with the fact that most of my colleagues think I'm going through a midlife crisis (at 34, if I'm in my mid-life, I'm cashing in my saving account tonight and flying to LA for the kicks of it). Part of it might have to do with the fact that -- frighteningly enough -- Athens has renewed my spirit, rejuvenated ME (the "ME" me, not just the "Sonny" outer shell of me). Part of it might be that I have been enjoying reading some very cool books as of late (click on each highlighted word to see the shameless plugging I engage in).
Part of it might be that -- again, at the ripe old age of 34 -- I am wondering exactly what the crap I'm doing here, why have I squandered (not wasted) so much time doing things that don't matter, and...what the crap am I supposed to do with me, really?
I'm questioning what I want to be when I grow up.
Lord, help me...I might want to leave this field.
Thursday, February 24, 2005
I think it all started this past Sunday. See, after filling out my tax forms (along with the requisite weepeing and gnashing of teeth), I decided to arrange my CD collection. The CD collection that had gotten rather mucked up after an entire semester of me just pulling CD's out to take to work or the car to listen to, and then my neglecting to return them to their appropriate place.
I also blame my current reading of The Art of Being as part of my looking upwards and thinking "Wow -- whatever DID happen to XXX singer?"
This has culminated with me sitting at work listening to Tonio K's Notes from the Lost Civilizaton, one of only about six albums ever released on the What? Record label (Word Records' ill-fated attempt to be cutting edge...in 1986), and one of my favorite albums of my high school days. Mostly because I couldn't quite figure out why the hell I thought this album was so cool -- it just WAS! Oh, to be sure, there are still CD's from this era in my life that matter more to me than I can express: Sam/Leslie Phillips' The Turning; Russ Taff's self-titled album; and anything ever recorded by the choir (including the CD from where the name o' my page stems from).
By the way -- the choir has a new CD coming out soon. It's official. I am so old that everything *I* enjoyed as a child or in my teens is coming back in vogue. Seriously! There are -- sadly/frighteningly -- new CD's out from David Meece, Petra, and Ashley Cleveland. If or when DeGarmo & Key or freakin' Crumbacher decide to have a reunion tour...please shoot me.]
[Hey, Wooley -- feelin' old yet?]
Now, all of this has traipsing down memory lane has led me to find what is quite possibly one of the neatest -- and scariest -- albums I have encountered in some time. A tribute album. Now, in my musical experiences, there have been some hits, and some really bad misses. This one?
It's called Full Circle, and it's a 20-year retrospective on the career of one Charlie Peacock. Not too bad, except I remember buying his debut cassette.
-- of course, the album does off a who's who (of sorts) of excellent musicians: Jimmy Abegg; Brent Bourgeois; BELA FREAKIN' FLECK (who plays a duet with Phil Keaggy); Sara Groves; Out of the Grey; Mike Roe (of 77's fame); Sixpence None the Richer; STEVE FREAKIN' TAYLOR...
Hoo. Pass the Geritol. I gots ta start dancin'.
Tuesday, February 22, 2005
Kinda like I did this morning. Minus that whole "sitting outside with coffee" deal -- mostly due to the fact my patio was still waterlogged from the thunderstorms and hailstorms last night.
While walking the aforementioned fuzzy critters this morning, I saw the sunrise. Through zero-visability fog. Yeah, see, the fog is so thick this morning here in Athens that we've got zero-visability (which makes driving to work fun, let me tell you).
If you've ever experienced fog...if you've ever experienced a sunrise...try combining the two. "Visual majesty" does not even begin to be able to describe it. Like I told someone not too long ago, it's very odd of me to think of God as an artist. Creator, yes. But artist? Most of the artists I know are temperamental, and more than a little self-centered (oh, please -- like WE can deny that).
This morning was yet another example of how this God fellow does good work. I like His stuff. I'd recommned that he publish his best works, but it appears that He already has...
If you're looking for something to read that will change your life, go get a copy of The Art of Being, edited by Constance Rhodes. There are a NUMBER of you people reading this blog-thing that will recognize the names of a lot of the contributors to this tome.
Tuesday, February 01, 2005
1. Donna Troy died.
2. The return/arrival of: a "new" Supergirl, the original Hourman and Hal Jordan as Green Lantern.
3. A new Firestorm, "death" of Ronnie Raymond.
4. A new 7 Soldiers re-imagined by Grant Morrison.
5. War Games in the Bat books that broke up the Bat-crew and put an end finally to the "Batman is only an Urban Legend" nonsense. Batgirl and Robin in Bludhaven, Oracle and Black Canary and Huntress take to the skies, Nightwing -- Dick Grayson -- is largely MIA and Batman largely alone in Gotham with the GCPD against him.
6. Re-booted Legion of Super-Heroes.
7. Re-booted Doom Patrol with the original DPers.
8. Murder of Sue Dibney, secret about the Power Pact and the brainwashing comes out, Robin's father dies, Captain Boomerang dies and is replaced by his son, Jean Loring is a murderer, the heroes don't know who to trust.
9. Wonder Woman is blinded.
10. Many of Hawkman's arch-enemies are coming out of the woodwork.
11. Black Adam has taken over his native country of Khandaq as dictator aided by Atom Smasher, Northwind and the Feitherans.
12. Aquaman is still banished from Atlantis, half the city of San Diego falls into the sea in an incident manufactured by an unknown cabal and the surviving Sub-Diegans turned into water-breathers who die on land (except for Lorena/Aquagirl).
13. Mia becomes Speedy and is diagonosed with HIV.
14. Adam Strange "loses" his wife and all the other stuff going on his book.
15. Hawkwoman (Shayera Thal) re-appeared briefly in Hawkman but then returned to Thanganar ( in time for the Rann/Thanganar War? )
16. The CSA of Earth-2 return.
17. The mention of a Jim Corrigan in Gotham Central, and the fact that he's a crooked cop.
18. Mr. Mxyltpyx mentioning of a crisis soon.
19. In the "Titan's Tomorrow" (10 years into the future) storyline there is talk of a Crisis.
Thursday, January 20, 2005
Trolling through applications for the 2005-2006 Resident Assistants, that's where.
Try 302 completed, viable candididates. Whittled down from 494.
All of which I had to review.
Now all I have to do is figure out how to fit 382 interviews into a day designed to handle 288.
...and the fun ain't over yet, kids...
Friday, January 14, 2005
I have LITERALLY been so busy the past few days that I have not had a chance to check my email. So, if you've sent me an email -- or called me -- sorry. The messages are still sitting in the Inbox. When I reply, just treat it like it's a time capsule or something.
Things are going to be busy until after January 18 -- that's the deadline for all the applicants for C.L.A.S.S. Advocates, Resident Assistants, and Village Community Assistants to finalize their applications.
CURRENTLY PLAYING: Scarlet's Walk by Tori Amos
Tuesday, January 04, 2005
Legendary comics and graphic novel artist and writer Will Eisner died last night, Monday, January 3, 2005, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, at the age of 87, following complications from quadruple heart bypass surgery.
Will Eisner didn't create Superman, Batman, Spider-Man or even Archie and Jughead. Some comic book fans may scratch their heads when asked to describe his work. But every artist and writer in comic books, as well as graphic artists across the entire spectrum of modern illustration, television and film, owes a debt to him.
In 1941, Eisner created a goofball detective named Denny Colt who died (not really) and was reborn as "The Spirit," the cemetery-dwelling protector of the public - and pretty girls in particular. The Spirit possessed no superpowers. He couldn ' t see through his girlfriend ' s clothing the way a curious alien like the Man of Steel might scientifically investigate Lois Lane. And he wasn't a brilliant technologist like Batman, imagineering hokey gadgets and psychedelic compounds for all-night parties with the Joker.