I got a stolen wife and a rhinestone life

I'm listening to Beck's "Odelay" album. If you have a chance, listen to the commentary about empty life on the song Sissyneck. I want to make a video about it. And I'm still listening to the Flaming Lips "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots." The first song on the album, Fight Test, is so beautiful as it builds in intesity and describes the narrator's attempt at pacifism. It starts out with a distorted voice saying, "The test begins now," as though he felt was being tested on his beliefs and failed.

In other news, I think I'm going to be a teacher. After having today off (Memorial Day), I thought, "I really enjoy having time off. Teacher's have time off. I want to be a teacher." Yesterday at a graduation party I was watching a slideshow about cross-country and thought, "It would be fun to coach cross-country." So that makes it two thoughts in two days about a career. That's a lot for me. I guess those aren't the best reasons to begin teaching, but I think that those perks could win me over quickly.

CO was fun. It was short but seeing the family again was cool. It's hard because I know that I'll see them again in a couple weeks, so there wasn't the desire to spend a lot of time together because I always assumed that next time we'll get to hang out more. It was funny like that.

And I learned that my dad and brother talked about my topic of sex on this blog. Which is funny because I mentioned it once in passing. And I've said more about God on this blog than anything else. I hope that they talk about faith, too.

That's all. Time for class. I'm out.


I was wrong, I thought I was right

It's just another day in paradise. Last week we went to PHX on Friday and turned around on Sunday and drove back. It was a short trip, but I feel like I rested a lot. That was nice.

I feel empty. I hate when I go through days just waiting for life to happen to me. It's on those days that I'm not even looking for truth or beauty or love; I'm just floating. There is something to be said for floating, I guess, but what if life was something that consumed me? What if everyday was a chance to find God rather than trying to let Him find me? I swear spirituality is not something that happens to us it's something that we create. Maybe, I just don't protect myself enough and allow life to be rich in mystery and instead allow the mediocre to be my norm.

It's all gibberish, I know. But that's inside my head and it's times like these that make me want to say, "If I could just take a pill and make this all normal, I would." Except that pill doesn't exist and the search for it leads to death.

If I were to die today, would I go to heaven? I have faith to say yes, but what evidences besides faith? I swear this emptiness is weird, because in a logical sense, how does emptiness consume anything? How does nothing overwhelm the something? And yet that's what it feels like.

Part of me wants to logic it all out and part of me wants to wallow in it. Which side is better? Which side leads to truth? There is truth in loneliness and there is truth in life. However, the embracing of emptiness seems, well, a little empty.

It's all gibberish, I know. Someday, I'll look back on it and say, "that meant that and it all makes sense." I just get pissed off that most of my life feels like that. Most of my life feels like I will look back on it someday and understand and right now there's no meaning.

God, help me enjoy the mystery. Help me look past the past and long for the present reality and the future hope. Please please please may I live a life that reflects You. Amen.


How long will we sing this song?

My stomach hurts. I'm lactose intolerant and I think it was the carmel frappucino I had that is kicking me in the bile right now. Woof.

That is all.


Knocking on heaven's door

In case no one has noticed, I'm trying to write titles taken from songs. It's actually kind of hard to think of them, which is odd considering I have songs stuck in my head all day long. The point is, I wish I could have come up with a better title than knocking on heaven's door, a lame song from the 80s.

I'm in class right now, which is boring. I wish that I could pull more out of it but I think I'm very distracted by the notion of the entire internet just a few clicks away. Becuase I love information so much, it is such a temptation that it's not even funny. And apparently I always cave.

I went to church yesterday. I showed up at 9:30 for a service that apparently started at 9:00. Oops. And I went to the traditional service which was just that, full of traditional people. And by traditional, I mean old. It was interesting though, because on the way, I thought to myself, "I'm going to look for God today" instead of looking for things that I liked and didn't like. Which was interesting for me, especially as a consumer. I can't even really think of a comparison. I guess it's kind of like walking into a store with the expressed intent to find things for sale but not needing to buy. That metaphor really doesn't work, though, because I do need God.

Instead of looking for Him based on preferences, I just went looking to see where He would show up. It was a very freeing experience. And for a bit, I could imagine myself sitting with these old people each week and trying to find God together. It was nice.

So I'll probably go next week to the contemporary service but with the same attitude. I'm not going to find a perfect church, but if I look for Him, I can find a perfect God.


Can't buy me love

Well you could. If you had the money.

It's been awhile since I last posted. Not a lot has changed since then. I am digging the Flaming Lips, though. And my dad came and went. He was out here for graduation. Becky's, not mine. Fragmented sentences are neat.

Time to get back to work. I'm still trying to figure out how to love God. Tell the kids.


Relevant and the like

In this month's relevant magazine there is an article about Moby. He says some very interesting things about Christianity that make me like him more. He seems to have an incredible grasp of the Bible and understands the principles of Christ very well. He's my new favorite DJ.

I'm still working my way through Searching for God Knows What. I've come to a part that describes Christianity as being outside formulas and states that we have reduced it to a bunch of trivia. Miller says that we seem to give preference to those who have an uncanny ability to memorize. I think that's funny.

But he also says that we shouldn't be doing this. We can't even describe the relationship between a man and a woman; but we have a formula for becoming a Christian. (Believe these things, say this prayer, follow this code, etc.) He says we should allow the mystery of it all to define as well. The closest the Bible comes to it is a bunch of metaphors (Bridegroom of Christ, lost sheep, etc.) and that should be good enough for us.

I hope that it is. I pray that I do learn how to enjoy that mystery. And especially since Ryan and I talked yesterday, I've tried to imagine some steps I can follow to love God, or I've tried to imagine some things I can change. Maybe I'm going about it the wrong way. Maybe I should be trying to appreciate the mystery of it and dwelling on that more. How do I love my wife? It's not a simple answer. How much more complex should my answer be to how I love God?


How do I love Thee?

Today I had lunch with Ryan Daffron. He is the brother of a co-worker but also has become a friend of mine. I've been thinking about calling him lately because he just moved down here from Oregon.

We were just catching up with each other for awhile and he asked me about church. I told him I didn't go. He asked why not. I told him this: "We started not going to church right after we got married because Danielle's spirituality does not revolve around doing things that she doesn't want to do. Why should we go to church if we didn't want to. My spirituality was founded on going to church out of duty, not relationship. So we have this interesting dilemma: whose faith wins? It's a lot easier to not go than to go, so often we don't go. And now we have gotten into the habit of not going, which makes it easier and easier to not go."

His response: "This bothers me."

Then he proceeded to probe further into my spiritual background. There was a lot of discussion back and forth, but ultimately, I garnished several things.

1) If we love God, we should keep His commandments. And his commandments will not be grievous to us. If going to church is a burden to us, we shouldn't go to church. But it is probably more indicative to our state of loving God than we let on. Therefore, the real question is, do I love God?
2) Spiritually thinking, I have let fear control my relationship with my wife. I have not taken an active role in leading our family spiritually. I actually had an actual problem with this (Why should my wife have to listen to me spiritually? Why wouldn't her spiritual role be as leader?) until Ryan said, "That's why the church is the bride of Christ. We need leading." And I then remembered something Danielle had told me once before. She reminded me that she was first attracted to me as a leader while we were in Mexico.
3) I need to seek God. I had tried to convince myself that maybe the Church needed me, whether it was for leadership, or guidance, or money, or whatever. Ryan said, "The Church doesn't need you though. Do you hear yourself? All of your words imply that there are people who need you and ultimately, they don't. People don't define your strengths or self-worth or anything. God does."

The whole thing was a real good ass-kicking, and it has given me new thought about it all. I want to find God. I want to love Him. And despite my attempts to beat myself up over it, God still has grace, and is still very very interested in what I am doing.

Ryan also reminded me that Satan has a great desire to see me fail. And he said that it is very hard to work at APU and remain spiritually filled because it is such a spiritual place. And even though I'm not sure what I exactly believe about Satan, I can admit that where I am now in life is a turning point. I think I see a much greater importance now in finding God and only Him. And what makes me think that Satan does want me to fail is the voice I can hear right now that is telling me that trying to force knowledge of God and love of God is futile.

God, please please please give me the desire to know you more. Forgive me when I fail: I am depraved without You. Give me grace as only You can. Search me and find me and make me whole. Revive a desire to only seek Your face and Your approval and Your knowledge.